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The Book of Ataniel

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Prophets and Matchmakers, Part II


Character(s): Jack, Asinus
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor II
Title of Post: Ass And You Shall Receive

"Thanks for the smoke, toots," Asinus said to Khyrisse. "I'm Asinus Paris, your math-boy's uncle. You ever hear of saddle smile?"
"Can we just get going?" Jack sighed.


Character(s): Khyrisse and the Rat Pack
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor City Again Goddammit
Title of Post: Dazed and Confused Den Mother

"Isn't that why adolescent girls like horses so much?" Khyrisse replied without thinking, then pinched the bridge of her nose and turned red, right through the stoneskin. "Jack, your uncle is a bad influence."
"Sorry," Jack said miserably.
"Don't worry about it," she sighed, without moving. "I have weirder relatives, trust me."
Once the blush died down, she looked back up. "All right, we might as well go deal with the lame gang first," she said resignedly. "The Pyramid it is. All aboard that's going; no pinching, shoving, kicking, backstabbing, prophesying, eating the upholstery, writing on the walls, or warning me about Ebreth Tor, please. Bickering and flirting are of course allowed, since I couldn't stop anyone if I tried."

Character(s): Skitch, Ebreth, Fred
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor Redux
Title of Post: How About Wising Off?

"But I wanted to eat the upholstery," complained Skitch.
"That's nothing," said Ebreth. "I wanted to warn her about Ebreth Tor."
"GET IN!"
"If I say the King of Kings must die, is that a prophecy?"

Character(s): The Paris Family meets the Rat Pack
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor II
Title of Post: Doug is a Stinker

"Actually, the nature of prophecy in modern philosophy would allow for that, Fred," Jack explained. "You see..."
Val closed her eyes. A nap it was.

***
"You know you're dating Ebreth Tor," Asinus said.
Khyrisse clenched her fists. "I know. I don't need to be warned."
"Warn? Who cares about warning? I'm just a hell of a lot better in the ol' stable. This donkey tongue ain't just for show, chickie-baby."

***
"Jack," Val interrupted. "Your uncle is an ass."
"Don't I just know it," Jack sighed.

Character(s): The Rat, et. al.
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: What the Rat Saw
Title of Post: Words from the rat

Everyone piled into the Trade Carriage. It was like a scene from the circus. Ebreth tripped over Jack. Jack fell into Val. Val fell back onto the seat. A high pitched "Thank you!" emanated from under Val. She jumped up, hitting her head on the roof. The rat, looking up at Val with a look that could only be translated as some sort of curse.
"Sorry," Val said, "I tripped."
"Thank you," the rat said, dejected.
"I've got to remember to make version 2.0 roomier," Khyrisse said as she closed the Carriage door.
The Carriage took off towards its destination.

Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor Redux
Title of Post: The Great Rimbor City Roadside Pyramid-O-Rama!

The pyramid loomed gaudily over the deserted fairgrounds like some kind of preposterous gilded mountain. Ebreth understood, of course, why Lucas had opted not to build a monument that was actually made of gold just outside of Rimbor City; it was even likely that in the bustle and glamour of the 801 Fair the thing had looked exciting. Now it looked like an oversized theme casino painted gold.
Ebreth caught himself really hoping he wasn't going to have to die in such a cheesy dungeon.

Character(s): Ebreth and Ariath
Author: Laura Redish, with help from Doug
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor Redux
Title of Post: A Need For Thieves

"The door's locked," Ebreth announced.
The Rat Pack kind of looked around at each other.
"What," said Ebreth, "somebody knows how to pick locks, right?"
There was an uncomfortable silence. "I could try," said Skitch, a little dubiously. "You don't think it's trapped, do you?"
"You travel without a thief?"
"Norn took ours," mumbled Khyrisse.
Ebreth looked at Ariath and Ariath looked at Ebreth. "Well?" said Ariath.
"Well what?"
"This has got a deadbolt and stuff," said Skitch. "I'm sorry, Khyrisse."
Vas cast knock. "No good," he said. "The door's magically protected."
"Maybe it'll work better if Ariath casts it," said Ebreth. "Maybe we should all turn around and look over there while Ariath casts knock."
"Bite me, pirate boy."
Khyrisse checked the door frame. It was beveled. There was no way she could squeeze through in wraithform. Ariath sat down and started doing her nails. "Looks like we're stuck here until somebody figures out how to pick that lock."
"Yes, maybe somebody should," said Ebreth.
"I can wait all day, pal," said Ariath. "This takes three hours to dry."

Character(s): Alphred
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Rats kings and all that stuff
Title of Post: Alphred crashed a party

Alphred was still wet from his swim across the sea to Rimbor. Using the magic of the toucan totem, Alphred quickly homed in on his quarry. He summoned the power from the aprix lizard totem and his speed increased tenfold. There was the group he sought. They were standing in front of a large pyramid. It reminded him of the ruins of El Shiai, in the underground world of the fungus men.
"This is good," Alphred said to himself. "All I need to do is summon the power of the slug totem and slow myself down."
Alphred searched for the slug totem, but couldn't find it. Just his luck, he forgot it back in Salagia.
"This is going to hurt," he thought, as he ran full-force into the doorway of the pyramid, smashing the door wide open and leaving him stunned.

Character(s): Jack Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Rat Kings: Pyramid Power
Title of Post: Watch Out For That Pyramid?

Jack looked down at the white-haired savage. "Hi there," he said. "I'm Jack Paris, freelance mathematician. Here's my card."
Alph looked at the card, wondering what sort of totem it was.
"We're the Rat Pack," Khyrisse said. "Thanks for getting the door open for us."
"Really, thanks," Ebreth added.
Ariath stuck her tongue out at him.
Inside the pyramid was a huge open lobby that looked like it originally was meant for some sort of display. The display was long gone, but inside were over a hundred teenage boys and girls, dancing, smoking, and making out on mattresses laid around the room.
"This is my idea of a dungeon!" Asinus Paris cried. "Hey, baby," he said to Khyrisse, "wanna find a mattress?"
"Hey, dude," a young man with long hair and barely pubescent face fuzz muttered. "Like, what's your damage, man... why for you be comin' down on our rave?"
"Warrior King Mountain?" Novoa asked Khyrisse.
"Warrior King Mountain," Khyrisse agreed.
Then the man in the robe with the giant rat mask came out.
"Or mabye not..." Khyrisse corrected herself.

Character(s): Khyrisse and the Rat Pack
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor City Again Goddammit
Title of Post: Are You Sure This Isn't the Sillyverse?

The Rat climbed up on Jack's shoulder and squeaked in astonishment at the man in the rat mask.
A cry went up from half a dozen teenagers near the door.
"Look! They have a rat!!"
"It's a rat! The rat has come!"
Some chippie in a grey vest ran up and swept up the surprised rodent in a hug. Asinus was probably jealous as hell-- she wasn't wearing anything under the vest. No buttons, either.
The girl disappeared into the crowd of teenagers, extolling in a bubbly voice the virtues of rats everywhere and this rat in particular. Cheers and the occasional yelp from a bitten admirer followed her progress towards the man in the rat mask.
"Who are you guys?" one of her friends asked excitedly. "Where did you get the rat? All the ones we found were already dead!"
"We're the Rat Pack," Khyrisse said automatically. "Where the hell is she taking our rat? We need him!"
"Cool," said the girl, with a stoned sort of awe in her eyes.
"They're rat worshippers," Ebreth murmured from behind her. Khyrisse would have given quite a bit to see his expression; it sounded like he was about to die laughing.

Character(s): The Rat and his groupies
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: What the Rat Saw
Title of Post: I am Rat-ar, god of thunder!

The Rat was confused, amused and frightened all at the same time. He felt comfortable with Jack. However, all these folks seemed to worship him. Humans were definitely strange people.
The barely clad girl carried the rat to a large throne and sat him on it. Surrounding the throne was a rat's banquet. The rat was impressed. Foods of every shape and size. Bushels of grain. Tubs of peanut butter. Hunks of cheese. Too bad he was lactose intolerant.
Suddenly the room grew quiet and a mousy man came out from behind a curtain. He was dressed in a tunic made of fine silks and was wearing a rat mask.
"As foretold, our savior has come," the garbed man cried out. "The Rat King has arrived!"

Character(s): Alphred
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Rat Kings
Title of Post: One confused Jungle King

Alphred pondered the card, then tucked it into the pouch that hung from his loin cloth. He would discern the nature of this m'a'th eya tish yan totem later. Right now his head hurt, but he couldn't bother with that. These people were obviously the guardians of the creature he was searching for. Unfortunately, just as he opened his mouth to speak to the rat's guardians, the rodent was taken away by a horde of nubile teenagers.

Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor Redux
Title of Post: The Attentions Of A Donkey

Ebreth had tears in his eyes from the crude passes Jack's horny old uncle was leveling at Khyrisse. He was doing his best not to laugh, but the crusty donkey trotting after the delicate elven sorceress, chomping his cigar and making crass invitations, was like something out of a slapstick comedy. Jack's ears were scarlet. "Hey, Jack," gasped Ebreth. "A little help, please!"
"This isn't funny," said Jack, mortified. "What are you guys doing with my rat?"

Character(s): Geryon the Hunter, First Intendant Lilith
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Hell In A Handbasket
Title of Post: Among The Enemies Of Trillarillia Carraria

"We have beaten back Jhiapa's forces, Intendant."
"Good," she said.
"And Intendant." She waited, impatiently. "I have something on Ms. Trillarillia."
"You don't say." Lilith was suddenly very interested. "What kind of something?"
"A lead on how you might be able to destroy her soul forever."
The archdevil frowned. "I'm not in the business of destroying souls."
"Well, you'd better get in the business," said Geryon, "if you want Trillarillia. Mighty
pre-patriarchal goddess forces don't go to Hell."
Lilith looked around her. "I'm in Hell," she said.
"You're running Hell. You want to offer her a job?"
"No," she said. "I want to ram the Schism Tine up her ass."
"Would you settle for destroying her soul forever?"
"I would consider it," she said. "Keep talking, General."

Character(s): Khyrisse, Ariath, Two No-Good Bodyguards, and Asinus Paris
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings: Who Needs 'Em?!
Title of Post: Khyrisse In XXXenophile Hell

Khyrisse would have been more amused than anything else, having just found the third-dumbest cult in existence, if it hadn't been for Jack's uncle hitting on her. She pushed at the crowd surrounding the rat throne, trying to get to their guide. She didn't get very far. The teenagers seemed to be hopping up and down around the throne in a solidly packed mass, chanting. Some teenaged boy offered her a hit of sageweed. Khyrisse glared witheringly at him. "I have to be nearly three times your age. Go away. Vas, can you come here and do something about this?"
Vas appeared at her elbow. "Nearly three times his age?" he asked, a little surprised, and edged in front of her to push people out of the way. "Just how old are you, milady?"
"I'll turn forty this autumn."
Vas turned to look at her over his shoulder. His mouth shaped the word "forty", but nothing came out.
"What?" Khyrisse said defensively.
"My apologies, milady," Vas said, with a teasing grin, "but when Luthien said you needed babysitting, I didn't think he meant it literally."
Khyrisse and Ariath both gaped at him. Khyrisse looked furious; Ariath looked intrigued. "How old are you?" Ariath asked curiously.
Vas valiantly tried to suppress his laughter. "Old enough to vote, which her ladyship here wouldn't be for another thirty-five years!"
"Only in Liratyn! I can kick your butt all over this room, Vas. That makes me plenty old enough, by Dyved standards!"
"Ye gods," Valende gasped, hand over her mouth to suppress her own laughter. "She wouldn't be thought to have left puberty yet, in Liratyn."
Khyrisse shrieked suddenly-- but not because of what Valende had said. She spun around and glared at Asinus.
"Not from the feel of that," he agreed, leering horribly at her. "Trust me, I know a forty-year-old ass, and that ain't it."

Character(s): Ebreth, Skitch, and Fred
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings: Rimbor Redux
Title of Post: Clear The Detonation Area

"Oh, man, and is she going to kick yours," muttered Ebreth.
Skitch took refuge behind Fred. "What's going on, Wilbur?" said the transformed demon horse, cluelessly.

Character(s): The Rat Pack
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings: Pyramid Power
Title of Post: Ebreth Changes The Subject

"Uncle Asinus!" said Jack, horrified, and got between the donkey and Khyrisse.
"Why, you whippersnapper!" huffed Asinus. "You don't see me chasin' yer skinny behind away from that floozy of yours!"
"Jack?" said Khyrisse, too nicely. "Be a sweetheart and move out of my line of fire."
"He, uh, he doesn't mean anything by it," Jack said awkwardly.
"The hell I don't!"
"Can we concentrate on my rat?" begged Jack.
Ebreth shook his head. "I think forty is a wonderful age," he said, seriously. "It's not how long you've lived that matters. It's how much you've experienced, and how much you understand." He put his hands gently on Khyrisse's shoulders and moved her to the other side of him, away from the crass donkey. "And I'd say that puts Khyrisse ahead of you two, unless you've been deities too and just haven't shared that with me."
Val hung her head. Vas just chuckled, unrepentantly.

Character(s): Khyrisse and the Rat Pack
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings: Who Needs 'Em?!
Title of Post: What Exactly Does "End the World's Suffering" Mean?

"Oh, that's not the point," Khyrisse complained under her breath, squirming restlessly in Ebreth's hands as he gently kept her away from Jack's uncle. "Liratyn's an old-fashioned pain, always was, it's why my dad left. Did you see what he--" She waved an indignant finger at the equally indignant donkey.
"Count to ten!" Skitch called helpfully.
Khyrisse rolled her eyes and gave up. "I'd turn him into a cockroach if he weren't Jack's uncle," she muttered, and yanked her tunic down firmly over her hips.
"You act as if you'd never had your butt pinched," Ebreth said in mild amusement.
"It's been a while, that's for sure. Would you goose a Grendel-worshipping arch-mage?"
"Depends on the arch-mage," Ebreth said blandly. Khyrisse actually took him seriously for a second, before noticing the mischief in the blue eyes.
Khyrisse yelped in alarm and skipped away. "I'm going to go get the rat!" she said, and dove into the crowd, elbowing her way to the throne. "Hsst!! Rat!"
The rat didn't look up. He already had a nest the size of her torso on the throne and was blissfully chewing his way through a stale sandwich, twice as big as he was. "Oh, lord. Another one seduced by the call of godhood," she said, flopping to her knees in front of the throne with a sigh. She was only half kidding. "I'm going to have to get Jack, aren't I?"
"Yes! Another believer heeds the call of the Rat!" shouted the man in the rat mask.
"Follow the rat!"
"The Rat King will end the suffering of the world!"
"Rat King! Rat King!!"
"We're not worthy!!"
"Cleanse the world of its evil, Rat King!"
"Abandon your false gods, follow the rat!!"
"Why do I not like the sound of this?" Khyrisse asked. A moshing kid bumped into her, and she whacked him one negligently. "Mabye I'm insulted." She climbed higher up on the dais and waved at Jack over the crowd. "Jack! He doesn't want to go!! You're going to have to come talk to him, I don't speak Boolean!"

Character(s): Jack Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: The Rat Who Would Be King
Title of Post: Another Pain in Jack's Ass...

Jack wended his way through the crowd to where a nubile young blonde was stroking the rat's fur.
"Excuse me," he said, "but that's my Rat."
"Hey, maaaan, the Rat ain't no one but his own, maaaan! Like, don't be oppressing the Rat, maaaan."
"I have to assume this is where you needed to come," Jack said to the Rat. "But we're, uh, kind of missing the point."
The Rat noshed on some more sandwich.
"I mean, you didn't bring us here for the food and, uh, company, did you?"
The Rat looked up innocently.
"Please?" Jack beseeched. "No one's going to listen to us again if this is another wild goose chase."
The Rat started to gnaw on the pillow he was sitting on.
Jack turned to Khyrisse and shrugged. Resigned, he sat down on the junk-covered dais next to the Rat.
"I think we're meant to take some of the girls," Asinus said. "That's why we're here. Unless it's going to make you jealous, chickie-babe," he added to Khyrisse.
"Ow!" Jack suddenly shouted as he leapt to his feet. "What the flark?" Jack stood and pulled a miniature knife out of his butt. It was about two inches long, and very light. It was weathered with age, but an engraved "O" on the base was still legible.
"Okay, who's the jerk who left some old mithril amulet of a dagger on the seat here?" Jack demanded.
The Rat burped and went back to enjoying the attentions of the Rat worshippers. He'd tell Jack where the third and final stop was as soon as he had his tummy rubbed.

Character(s): The Rat Groupies
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: Rat Kings: Who Needs 'Em?!
Title of Post: Khyrisse Obligingly Points Out the Obvious

Khyrisse came very close to telling Asinus that he could have all the teenybopper girls he wanted. Suddenly thinking about the probable outcome of this, Khyrisse kept her mouth shut.
She leaned over to look at the offending item. She blinked twice. "Jack, it's a mithril dagger." She reached out and tapped a fingertip on the engraved "O". "Odn was one of the original Mithril Dagger Heroes. You just completely missed out on the whole Shadow thing, didn't you...?" Jack looked defensive. Khyrisse smiled at him, one of her rare gentle ones. "Don't worry about it. It's nice that someone on this planet did."

Character(s): The Rat
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: What the Rat Saw
Title of Post: Enough of a good thing

The rat was having the best time in his rodent life. It was about time, he felt, that he was someplace where nobody was trying to kill, harm or otherwise maim him. Yes, he could live the rest of his life here.
The rat circled once around the nest and drifted off to sleep. A faint blue glow started to emanate from the rat's underside. Then everything went to hell.

Character(s): Alphred
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Rat Kings
Title of Post: Are you sure this isn't XXXenophile?

Alphred was getting frustrated. He had traveled thousands of miles to find the rat without a tail. He had finally found it and now was hampered by a horde of rat worshipping teenagers. Well, he would have to do something. He removed the oyster totem from his pouch.
"This will cause enough of a distraction," he thought as he invoked the totem.
The totem's invisible energies moved through the mob increasing everyone's libido to a furious level. The idol worshipping cult paired off in twos, threes and even fours. Soon a path opened among the orgy of lust and Alphred waded forward to grab the rat.

Character(s): The Rat Pack
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Rat Kings: Pyramid Power
Title of Post: Just What This Tobrinese Farce Needed

Jack and Khyrisse, standing on the dais with the rat, turned in surprise as the crowd of rat-worshippers started acting like they had taken Ecstasy. Jack surmised that some kind of mind-affecting force was spreading through them. He noticed that it seemed to have a cone shape and be emanating from the white-haired Salagian. Then the wave reached the dais, and he noticed that Khyrisse was sticking her tongue in his mouth.
Why was Jack Paris always the only one unaffected by these things?

***
Meanwhile, behind Alphred, as the Rat Pack looked on in utter bewilderment, the undead thing misted through the broken door and launched itself at Ariath.

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