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The Rat King Archives
Prophets and Matchmakers, Part I
of Post: Finding Octavian
"Octavian, huh?" Ebreth kicked
off his chewed-up boot. "You can keep that," he told the rat. The rat
didn't seem especially appreciative. "How do we find this guy? Skitch,
could you find his hideout?"
"No," said Skitch. "He made
me pass out with a chemical. Then somebody stole me while I was
unconscious." He paused. "I don't think that was his hideout anyway.
It wasn't really cool enough."
"Mabye Novoa knows," suggested
Khyrisse. "Novoa had spoken with Octavian when I contacted him."
"Oh yeah," said Ebreth. "That
was when he connected St. Augustine with me. You know, we may not need to find
this guy." He tapped his bare right foot on the cobbles. "He may come
looking for me."
The Rat Pack
Kristin L.K. Andersen
Rat Kings: Rimbor City Again Goddammit
of Post: Oh, Doug Just Wants to Know Who Octavian Is! *grin*
Khyrisse thought for a minute. "Well,
I take it that the Rat doesn't already know where Octavian is?"
The Rat squeaked and started grooming its
"I guess not," Khyrisse sighed.
"I think he'd already be going if he
knew," Skitch said.
"He is the sort to lead by example,
isn't he? Not one for stirring speeches-- except in mathematics, I
assume," Vas said, with a little bow in Jack's direction.
"Novoa's sending didn't have a lot of
detail, folks," Khyrisse said, looking up at Ebreth with a faint, worried
frown. "It said that the bomber was probably with us and, I quote,
plotting with Ebreth. Does that make Octavian a good guy or a bad guy? Do we actually
know which of us set the bombs? Was it Lucas or Pieret?"
Skitch hopped around on his left foot.
"Why don't we buy Ebreth some boots while we try to figure stuff
out?" he said. "I'll bet it's better than talking about it in the
middle of the sidewalk."
Mind Games redux
of Post: More evil on the way
The undead Diari warriors floated among
the wreckage of the scout ships. The sentience at the head of the juggernaut
craft Vision was getting angry. It had waited many millennia for this
opportunity and was not going to be stopped by fools in a feline craft.
The malevolent force at the center of the
ship thought, and quickly came up with a solution. It called upon the
multi-dimensional forces that was its essence and called forth a servant. The
servant was a shapeless thing with thousands of eyes and mouths. Streaks of
blackness oozed through its being. The sentience, which had long ago taken the
ship's name as it own, told the thing what to do. The creature curled up on
itself and flew off, away from the ship and towards Ataniel.
Rat Kings and all that stuff
of Post: Who says villains aren't adaptable
The King of Kings was huddled over a
cluttered desk, reading through piles of scrolls. Things were not going as
planned, but they were not lost yet.
"Laran, come here," said the
King of Kings.
A fetid mist coalesced next to him and the
Collector stepped out of the brackish fog.
"We have lost three of our targets.
The one who was already marked is of no great loss. However, the warrior and
the priest must be replaced."
The Collector stood soundlessly. Its
ember-like eyes watched the King of Kings coldly.
"Do you understand?" the King of
The Collector nodded.
"Here is who I have in mind,"
the King of Kings motioned the Collector closer and he told his servant what he
had to do.
Mind Games redux
of Post: Not quite dead
Tarrin was nowhere. At least, nowhere was
the best way to describe it. The world was a fog of non-light and non-dark. A
silvery grey mist that was both translucent and opaque at the same time.
After awakening in this place, Tarrin
decided to walk around a bit. Unfortunately, there were no landmarks or
remarkable features. For all he knew he was walking in circles. Tarrin did the
only thing he could do in a place like this. He sat down and waited for
something to happen. Nothing did.
Rat Kings and Mind Games
of Post: Look who is late
Alphred reached the spot the spirits of
the totems guided him to, but there was nothing there. Well that wasn't
completely correct. He sensed that something very evil had been here recently,
but now there wasn't anything.
The Jungle King walked around the clearing
where the Demon-rift had been a few days ago ten times. Then he caught the
scent. Leaping into a tree, he sped off to the south after his quarry.
What the Rat Saw
of Post: Rats and string
The rat grabbed the piece of string in its
mouth, and scampered up Jack's leg and into his satchel. He added the bit of
string to his nest, then walked around the nest a few times. Once he was
satisfied with it, the rat left the satchel and perched up on Jack's shoulder,
anxious for what would happen next.
Khyrisse and Skitch
Kristin L.K. Andersen
Rat Kings: Rimbor City Again Goddammit
of Post: New Shoes
Khyrisse was sitting on one of the chairs
in the store, perusing her notes while Ebreth got himself some new boots.
"Hey, what about these?" Skitch
called from behind her. Ebreth chuckled. "I meant for Khyrisse,
Khyrisse looked up and grinned.
"You've got to be kidding."
"What? The heels are high enough!
They're like three inches..."
"Skitch. They're green."
"They're cool!" Skitch grinned
evilly at her.
"You've been talking to my father
again," Khyrisse surmised, and put down her notes. She picked up a
polishing cloth to clean some of the dust off her spike-heeled black boots.
"I'll stick with the ones I've got, thank you. Guys, I can't find anything
in this book of Barry Spivot's to connect him with any of this. I don't think
he's involved after all. Why he wanted to murder me, I'll never know."
Khyrisse stopped and stared at her right
"Whoa," Skitch said.
"That's really weird."
Under the dirt was a mottled stain,
imprinted into the leather over her right ankle, a sort of bleached green color
against the surrounding black. Khyrisse blinked at it, then scrubbed some more
of the dirt off. The stain went most of the way around her ankle.
"What the hell?" Khyrisse glared
at the cloth in her hand, as if she suspected that it was doing this, and
blinked again. She raised it to her face and sniffed carefully.
Ebreth looked at her curiously. "What
She held out the cloth towards him. "It--
it looks like there's salt mixed in with all this dirt and stuff. I dunno. It
smells kind of ...odd." Khyrisse made a face.
"It looks like something grabbed your
ankle there!" Skitch said, crouching down for a closer look.
"Well, when did that happen?!"
Khyrisse groused, lifting her foot and glaring at it. "Dammit, these were
my favorite boots."
"You could buy the green ones!"
said Skitch, and ducked.
Hell in a Handbasket
Title of Post: Legion of Substitute Rat Packers
"I told you I sensed him," Cori
said, following her blade. "The spirit of my ancestors reside in here, and
they know a lot more than I do."
Ailonwy and Cori stood before a sphere of
"He's trapped, though," Ailonwy
said. "That's a sphere of demondark. I doubt even your sword could get
through that," she challenged, hiding her manipulative smile.
"Bull," Cori said, swinging
Oshi's blade through the demondark. A pale figure fell out through the gash.
"I'm impressed, Cori," Ailonwy
"Where am I?" Tarrin asked.
"Hell," Cori said. "But
you're still alive, like me."
"But... the prophecy... the
rift...?" Tarrin stammered.
"Damned if I know," Cori said.
"Pieret trapped me in here. Ailonwy here is going to help us get home in
return for freeing her home plane from some demon jerk named Ansakir."
"Are the others coming for us?"
"I'd be surprised if they didn't
think we were dead."
"Well, I guess I've really stepped in
poo-poo," Tarrin sighed.
Ailonwy raised one thin eyebrow.
"That's one way of looking at it,
Kristin L.K. Andersen
Rat Kings: Four Point Landing in Rimbor
of Post: An Unpleasant Shade of Green, Indeed-- Shame on You, Jack!
Valende's greenish pallor was due less to
the ocean and more to the fact that her brother drove like a maniac.
He's going to try to loop this foolish
contraption one of these days...
Valende, in the clear light of day, was
having second thoughts, and so was keeping very quiet while she tried to sort
Not about Jack. I could never have second
thoughts about Jack, she thought, smiling at him as they walked through Rimbor
City, looking for a clue. He's far too sweet. It's just... I wasn't planning on
this. In fact, I was planning to avoid it.
Her eyes lit on her brother, walking ahead
of Khyrisse with Ariath, gossiping merrily away. Of course, that hasn't stopped
Vas. Vas changes his mind with the winds, though-- if he hasn't forgotten all
about it, he gives a very good impression of it. Both what happened during the
Madness, and being possessed by Lucas St. Augustine. Her face clouded at this
thought, and she sighed quietly.
Jack looked at her in surprise. "Val?
Are you okay?"
"Yes, I'm all right," she told
him, and kissed him on the cheek. "Just thinking."
various members of the Paris family, Harry Novoa
Rat Kings: Rimbor City II; We'll Always Have Paris
of Post: Relatives and Animals
"Caimen, we've got trouble,"
"Robinson. The Word says that he's
dead. Some ruckus in Sturtevant."
"Flarking hell," Caimen spat.
"Did he find Jack?"
"Word didn't say."
"That's the third Paris dead in as
many weeks. This is too much of a coincidence."
"Asinus sent Word that he's planning
to rendezvous with Jack in Rimbor."
"Great. Not only is the Remnant
picking at our business, something killing Parises left and right, but I have
to trust your brother Asinus?"
"Life's challenge," Lora smiled.
"You're up to it, Caimen."
"Hey, kid, where're ya going in such
Daquatson looked into the eyes of a beefy
Rimbor cop. They weren't pleasant eyes.
"I'm here to see Harry Novoa,"
"Didja sign in?" the cop asked.
"What the hell do you mean? There's
"RCPD headquarters is a toll
zone," the cop grinned.
"I don't have any money on me,"
Dac lied. "I just need to see Novoa."
"Problem, Carruthers?" Harry
Novoa asked, stepping into the lobby.
"No, sir," Carruthers said.
"This kid's here for you."
Harry glared at the corrupt policeman as
he led Dac into his office.
"What've you got for me, Dac?"
"I found 'em, Novoa. They're in a
shoe store on the balustrade."
Asinus Paris had finally laid the cigar on
the edge of the table, and he was maneuvering his bulk so that he could lower
his head and take the thing in his teeth. Smoking was much more of a pain in
There was a knock on the door.
"Flark off," Asinus said.
"It's Novoa," came the voice
through the door.
Asinus looked up, and the cigar rolled off
"The door's open. You think I can
work a flarking lock?"
Novoa opened the door. "I've found
Rauvin Paris watched Asinus through one of
the twelve Orbs of Kenru. He watched as the donkey and the policeman headed out
of the Augustine Arms. He didn't see the Minaret with Asinus. That meant it was
still in the hotel room.
Touching another Orb, he spoke aloud. His
words were transferred through space to one of his minions in Rimbor.
"Orn, it's time. Try the ass' room, it should be there. Then bring me the
"Well," Jack smiled
understandingly, "whenever you want to talk about it."
Val looked at Jack. "Soon, dear
"Only when you're ready."
That was when Harry Novoa approached with
a familiar looking donkey. "What,
no hug for your Uncle Asinus, kid?"
Jack was glad that he had control over his
sense of smell as he hugged the donkey.
"Val, this is my uncle, Asinus Paris. What're you doing here, Uncle
"Paris family business, kid,"
the donkey said, looking suspiciously at Val.
"The Remnant has returned."
As if I wasn't busy enough, Jack sighed.
of Post: The Process Of Elimination
Ebreth had really had to put his foot down
to get the stupid leatherworker to take his money for the boots.
"Novoa," he said, "do you know where we can find this Octavian?
The rat wants us to talk to him."
Novoa just kind of looked at him.
"Another relative?" he asked Jack.
"What?" said Jack. "No. No,
the Rat's no relation."
"If I knew where to find him,"
said Novoa, "he wouldn't be a very effective vigilante, would he?"
Well, that did make sense. "Maybe if
we just went down into the sewers he's find us," he told Khyrisse.
"He went to all the trouble of trying to warn you about Lucas. He must
have an interest in you." He paused. "They were Lucas' bombs, by the
way. He told me as much. Not that it really matters." Ebreth looked
around, frowning. "All right, you have a big underground complex, and you
teleport it out from under the Rimbor City Arena. Where do you put it? There's
not that much empty space in this city, you know. And there certainly aren't
just convenient empty caverns under every tavern. There's got to be a limited
number of possibilities."
of Post: Warp's Agenda
Warp stepped through the viewscreen onto
the bridge of Orion's flagship. "I got your message," he said to
Orion. "Where is he?"
"I'm right here, Warp," Jack
Paris said, stepping forward.
Orion watched as the two earthlings shook
hands and hugged. If Paris was smart, he wouldn't mention anything about his
month-long float. The disruption field that Orion's scientists had designed
would completely eradicate Jack's physical body, and Orion was going to hold
that over the mathematician's head as long as he possibly could. "Now that
you see your friend alive and well, will you head downstairs to the briefing
room?" Orion growled.
"Chill out, mohawk-head," Warp
said. "I need to talk to my pal for a bit. You got any food around
"Mess hall, second level,"
Sharpedge started to count the minutes he
Warp grinned, and a blue portal opened
beneath him and Jack. The two fell through it.
"I show them on deck two, mess
hall," Pyre reported.
"He shows a great knowledge of this
ship's layout," Orion frowned. "I continue to underestimate him. That
"Have you had time to get a feel for
the ship's computer?" Warp asked after their food arrived.
Jack shook his head. "It's way beyond
me... and I haven't had much time to learn, really."
"Damn. You've got the perfect
ability, and you're computer illiterate," Warp sighed.
"What do you need?"
"I need to know what Orion's up to.
He's been sending me on make-work missions, but I get the feeling that he's
just studying my limitations."
"I, uh, couldn't say," Jack
"I'm sure you're not supposed to tell
me anything, but here's a comlink to a receiver I planted on this ship. It
reaches me by way of a third-party dimension, so it's untraceable. You can send
me messages with it."
Jack looked at the box quizzically.
"Okay," Warp sighed. "First
you press this red button..."
Jack really wanted to get back to Ataniel
where he was in a much higher percentile...
Rat Kings: Rimbor City II
of Post: Big Empty Spaces
"Hmm," Novoa said. "If it
was that big, there's only two other places it could be, barring heading south
into the Gila lands. The City Fairgrounds are on the east coast, and there's a
giant pyramid built there back in 801 for one of Augustine's city
beautification projects. The other place is the Giant's Fortress, a hollowed
out mountain that was the seat of one of the ancient Warrior Kings. Of course,
even the Duke refused to open it up after the landslide covered it in
"Can we cut out the damn exposition
and someone get me a cigar?" Asinus demanded.
"Jack, did we really need more
talking animals?" Val asked.
"Bite me, chippie," Asinus
Ebreth Tor, practical man
Rat Kings In Rimbor
of Post: Where's Waldo?
"Well, if I was an evil undead thing,
I'd much rather hang out in the seat of an ancient Warrior King than in a
pyramid from the World Fair," said Ebreth, "but I'm not an evil
undead thing, so I could be wrong there. Khyrisse, do you have any way of
scrying those two locations? I mean, I'm sure this guy is shielded, but if one
of the locations shows empty and the other's got static, we'll have a
Khyrisse and The Rat Pack
Kristin L.K. Andersen
Rat Kings: Rimbor City Again Goddammit
of Post: I Didn't Really Mean "Circus" This Literally...
Khyrisse sighed and handed Skitch the
Trade Sigil. "Go get the cigars from under the seat, will you?"
Skitch eyed her dubiously, looked at the ass and had second thoughts about
saying anything. He ran out the door. "Sure," she said, rummaging in
her pack for her silver mirror. "I can scry those two places easily
enough. Give me a minute." Khyrisse cast magic mirror on the little hand
mirror, twice. Both times she inspected the view carefully, and shook her head.
"I don't see anything. Both of these places look totally abandoned,"
she sighed. "I better warn you now, though-- if we're dealing with Odn, he
probably knows the spells that let you lie to someone scrying. He could show me
a picture of an empty cavern, an illusion, and I wouldn't know the difference.
There's no way to tell without going there."
Skitch came back in with a package and
gave it to Khyrisse. She opened it up and prepared one of the cigars
absent-mindedly. She'd obviously done this before. Lighting the cigar, she held
it out to Jack's uncle at a convenient height for him to take it.
"Hi," she said, very calm. So many weird things had happened on this
trip that she clearly wasn't surprised by anything anymore. "I'm Khyrisse.
I seem to be in charge of this pack of suicidal busybodies. It wasn't my idea.
You're Jack's uncle?"
Skitch grinned at the sight of his teacher
offering a donkey a cigar. He'd remember that one for sure. "Finding
Octavian's closer than going all that way, isn't it? He might know
"We don't know where he is, though,"
Valende pointed out. "It might take us just as long to find him as it
would to find Odn, and there's no guarantee he'd help us."
"Why don't we just tell people, you
know, street people, that we're looking for him and need help? He's a
vigilante. He'd at least come find out what was going on, wouldn't he?"
Skitch asked Novoa.
Mind games redux
of Post: By the pricking of my thumb
Xyrhyix flew through space with a single
It passed through the radiation belts of
Jupiter without even blinking.
It raced through the asteroid belt dodging
the larger rocks and absorbing the smaller ones.
It passed through the Martian sky at night
giving the mole like humanoids who lived under the red planet's surface
It flung itself into a orbit that took
itself over Ansalia and around through the asteroid field that surrounded
Ataniel. It worked its way past the two old moons and the single new one. It
then hovered for a moment and plunged down into the atmosphere. As it entered
portions of itself burned away greatly reducing its size. When it left Vision
it was the size of a large boat. When it crashed into the sea off a small
island in the Montas Archipelago it was the size of a man. It was also hungry
and it had a purpose. It began its mission by consuming a school of fish then
swimming east towards the mainland.
of Post: An Ass Is An Ass
"If we used Khyrisse's carriage we
could be at the fairgrounds in a matter of minutes," said Ebreth. "I
doubt it would take long to get to the mountain, either, but if Odn's not in
the pyramid there's likely to be either nothing or some lame gang in there, and
if Odn's not in the mountain there's likely to be all kinds of badass monsters
in there, so maybe we should try the pyramid first. If there's nothing there,
we could turn around and try the mountain."
"What's to keep him from just
teleporting away again?" said Vas.
"Well," said Ebreth, "if he
does that, there'll only be one place in the city big enough for his complex.
Eventually either we're going to corner him or he's going to put the damn thing
down on an apartment complex somewhere and it won't be a big secret
anymore." He saw the donkey go up on its front legs out of the corner of
his eye and jumped back just as he kicked the back ones out at him. "Hey,
Asinus gave him a nasty look. "Don't
like your kind."
Ebreth kind of looked at him. "You
don't like pirates?" he said. "You must have a lot of fun at family
"I don't like your kind, you flarkin'
Ebreth raised both his hands. "I'm
being dissed by a donkey," he said to himself.
"I totally relate," Fred told
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