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The Rat King Archives
The Collector and the Rat Pack
Prophets and Matchmakers, Part V
of Post: Carriage ride from hell
Ebreth looked dreamily out the window of
the Trade Carriage at the scenery. Everyone seemed to have the feeling that
they were finally going to end this Rat King business once and for all. It was
Alphred was sitting on the floor of the
Carriage, chanting in some weird dialect. It was starting to get on Ebreth's
"Could you stop that?" Ebreth
Alphred continued chanting, then looked
up. "I must tell the Great Spirits
where I am so they can guide me."
Alphred started chanting again, and Ebreth
looked back out the window.
They were starting to enter a fog bank.
The mists rolled past the Carriage as it moved. Ebreth liked watching the
patterns. Suddenly, the mist was inside the Carriage.
"What the hell?" said Khyrisse,
Then the wall of fear hit everyone.
"Oh shit!" cried everyone,
almost at once.
The entire Rat Pack tried to scramble but
there was no room. The mist reduced the visibility in and the around the
Carriage to zero. Sounds of screams and ripping flesh filled the air.
"Stop the Carriage!" someone
The Carriage ground to a halt and the mist
"Who did he get?" asked Val.
However, her question was moot. Vas, Alphred, Fred, Asinus and the former
assassin from the pyramid were all curled up on the ground outside of the
"How did they get there?" asked
Val, Ariath and Khyrisse rushed to the
"Looks like he was in a rush this
time," Val said. "We must be getting close."
They dragged the five back to the
Carriage. No one noticed the jade charm hidden among the others around Janice's
Rat Kings: Prophecies Will Not Be Denied
of Post: Too Bad For Odn
Odn cast a spell to prevent the Trade
Carriage from reaching the Seven Princedoms for months, by trapping it in a
recursive loop. Unfortunately, he neglected to factor into his spell the
environmental constant Khyrisse was starting to use in all her spatial and
temporal magics. Instead of trapping the marked ones in a recursive loop, the
spell seemed to have trapped the recursive loop in one of the marked ones. Odn
cursed internally. He had no idea why that had happened, but damn him if he was
going to admit that to Laran. "Everything is going exactly according to
plan," he said, in his most sinister voice.
He was just going to have to stall them
the old-fashioned way. And hurry up.
Meanwhile, waiting to rendezvous with the
Rat Pack in Tharr that night, Janus smiled. Everything was going exactly
according to plan.
Asinus Paris, felled by the Collector
of Post: Hard To Keep A Good Ass Down
"What was that?" groaned Asinus,
shaking his big gray head. "Hey, lolly, come give us a little
mouth-to-mouth, why don't you." He made a lewd gesture at Khyrisse with
The Dead College
of Post: Mistaken Identity
Endicott quickly rushed through the
labyrinth of passages that made up the lower level of the Dead College. He
pushed aside the arras that hid the concealed door and put the silver key into
the lock. The door swung open into Beliath's hiding place.
"You were right, Beliath,"
Endicott/Tach said. "Greymalkin attacked the doppelganger you procured in
"Money well spent. The Brotherhood is
often a resource that many people forget about."
"So now that you know the truth, what
do you plan, lord?"
"I suspect that the King of Kings is
behind Greymalkin. Fortunately, I've made contact with one of those who oppose
him." Beliath reached into a cauldron and pulled something out. "And
this will ensure that at least that one will be able to oppose him."
In Beliath's hand, Endicott saw ten rats,
bound together by their tails.
Jack Paris, Warp
of Post: The Death of Jack Paris
Warp stepped out of transspace into the
Center's citadel at the Nexus of Space and Time. He kept a warp field around
him so that the Center's surveillance wouldn't detect him.
The Center was a cosmic being that came to
Earth once to "acquire" the thousand most evolved human beings.
Triad, Manstalker and the Templars were able to drive him off, fortunately.
Warp encountered him for the first time when the original USS Infinity entered
his space and he attempted to trap them indefinitely for study.
Needless to say, an alliance with Orion
was something that worried Warp a lot.
Warp moved to an access terminal and
plugged the intrusion palmtop Mech had designed for him two years ago into it.
"Okay, you little hunk of plastic, do your stuff," Warp muttered
moments, it had used the translation codes from the Infinity One to access the
Center's computer files.
Warp typed. "Spill it, space-boy," he whispered. "Orion
Alliance," the palmtop read. "see also Warp Project and
"Sheee-it," Warp muttered.
"I don't know which one sounds more interesting."
Jack paced nervously. He couldn't feel
anything himself, but something had everyone else on the ship fidgety and
nervous. He again wished that Val was here to act as his anchor to the human
(or elven, Jack supposed) world. The door opened.
"Hey!" Jack shouted. "I had
Orion silenced Jack with a strong blow.
Jack fell against the wall.
"What th--?" Jack started.
"We know that you have been in
contact with Warp," Orion said. "And he is now AWOL. Explain to me why
I don't kill you now, Paris."
"I don't know what you're--"
Orion pressed a button on the side of his
belt and Jack felt pain wrack him. Numbers started to lose their rationality.
Lines bent. Things divided themselves by zero.
"I can destroy you, Jack Paris. I
know your secrets. Now tell me where Warp is."
"Flark you," Jack spat.
Orion pressed another button, and Jack's
body was torn apart, the magicks exhausted beyond repair.
The mathematical equation that was Jack
Corfa Paris leapt for the only stable anchor it could find.
Orion picked up the comlink and tore it
open. Removing the recording chip, he handed it to Pyre, cowering behind the
"Replay this. Find out what he sent
From inside the Starcrusher's computer, Jack
saw and heard all.
Unfortunately, he was helpless to do
anything at all.
"Center, this is Orion."
"What is it, I'm busy," the
Center said, adjusting the containment constants. "You know what happens
if she gets free."
"We may be too late. Warp knows about
our alliance. He's escaped, probably to your citadel."
"Full dimensional scan!" the
"Anomaly on deck seven," the
"He's here," the Center said.
"I'll get back to you."
"He's not ready!" Orion shouted.
"He won't kill her!"
"I'm not going to give him a
choice," the Center replied.
The Center slammed his hand on a console,
cutting off all connection outside the Nexus of Space and Time.
"Oh, fuck," Warp muttered as he
breached the containment grid around "Psiapocalypse."
The glow from the center of the spherical
room was blinding.
"What have they done to you,
Tess," he said, a tear running down his face.
Tessa gave no answer as she continued to
destroy the universe.
of Post: Meeting of the Minds
Xyrhyix shuffled along the landscape
towards Tharr. Passing through a small village, he sensed something... strange.
Turning, he headed off the road towards a native structure.
"I'm looking for Flicker,"
Alderon said. "I was told that you knew him."
"Flicker Zzenith knows in ways
many," Zzenith said.
"What?" Alderon said. "What
are you saying?"
"Zzenith Flicker incarnations
previous in knew."
"Know Zzenith Flicker does."
"Excuse, can you say that
Xyrhyix appeared in the doorway.
"Friend of yours?" the bartender
"Argos like creature is, but Zzenith
kin is not."
"Can you understand him?"
Alderon asked the bartender.
"Friend are you, creature Zzenith
like?" Zzenith asked Xyrhyix.
"Friend are you," Xyrhyix
repeated. "Creature Zzenith like."
"Argos DNA similar is," Zzenith
reported to Alderon and the barkeep. "Drawn to Zzenith's presence creature
"Huh?" Alderon asked.
"Ale with Zzenith creature
"Ale with Zzenith creature
have," the thing answered, and shuffled into the bar.
"Mugs of ale two, please,"
The barkeeper plopped two mugs down.
Zzenith grasped one in a tentacle. Xyrhyix did the same.
least this I understand," Alderon sighed, and the three creatures drank
the good wine long into the night.
Jack Paris and the E Street Rat Pack
Rat Kings: Penultimate
of Post: Tharrfest Dead Ahead
The city of Bannin was just becoming
visible across the Tharrian plains. Jack smiled. He was feeling a little left
out, being the only one unmarked by the Collector.
Of course, he wasn't feeling so left out that he ever wanted to
see it again...
"Tharrfest, ho!" Ebreth cried
out from the seat next to him.
"Wow, like, this is gonna be rilly
cool," Janice said. "I wonder if they'll have tie-dye here."
"What is Tharrfest, anyway?"
Alphred asked. "Is it a ritual gathering to give thanks to the
Skitch opened his mouth to disinform
Alphred, but Jack beat him to it.
"It's a marketplace, the largest in the Seven Princedoms. Merchants
from all over Ataniel gather to trade wares and to, ah, gossip."
"This is going to be so much
fun," Vas sighed.
Up above, Ariath rode next to Khyrisse.
"So, did you and Ebreth work
everything out?" Ariath asked congenially.
"No," Khyrisse sighed.
"Why the hell not?" Ariath said,
He left too soon, Khyrisse thought.
"I was dealing with stuff about Eric... I..." didn't really give him
a chance "I have a lot to think about."
Ariath sighed. "Get over yourself,
girl. He won't wait forever for you."
Then Bannin became visible, and Tharrfest
Khyrisse and Ariath
Kristin L.K. Andersen
Rat Kings: Shoot Me Now, Please?
of Post: More Goddamned Unwanted Romantic Advice
"Waiting three days constitutes
forever?" Khyrisse asked with a wry lift of her eyebrow.
"I dunno, you tell me," Ariath
said. "Do you see Ebreth sitting up here?"
"It's not like he's not interested in
you. Why don't you just jump him?"
"With a gleefully chuckling audience
outside the door? You have got to be kidding!" Khyrisse shouted,
exasperated. "Making an ass of myself over someone is one thing, but I'll
be damned if I do it as a spectator sport!"
"And you're likely to make an ass of
yourself over Ebreth?" Ariath grinned. "Boy, you weren't kidding
about him, were you?"
Khyrisse groaned, painfully embarrassed.
"Ariath, shut up..."
"Suit yourself," Ariath replied
amiably, and settled back to enjoy the scenery.
You know, loud conversations out here carry a bit to the inside
of the Carriage, Ariath thought with a smile. I wonder if any of that one made
it. Naah, too much to hope for... and
if Vas heard it, it'd only make him worse!
Ariath chuckled. Khyrisse looked sidewise at her, suspiciously.
"What now?" she demanded.
Rat Kings: Everybody Pairs Up
of Post: A Deal With Ariath
"I'll tell you what," Ariath
"What?" Khyrisse asked.
"If you go for him, I promise to make
sure that at least me and Vas are too busy to pay attention."
"So now it's safe for me to be alone
"I didn't trust him before... but
what he said to you seemed genuine. I'm satisfied if you are."
"Not yet," Khyrisse grinned.
"You bad girl!"
"Takes one to know one."
Tharrfest was dead ahead.
An Antisocial Valkyrie
Skeins of Fate
of Post: Completely Unrelated To Rat Kings
"The Myriad is an ancient Norse
artifact," explained Flicker. "The Valkyrie have been questing for it
since before I was born."
"Stop expositing, Messala. It's very
"You know," he said,
"Luthien doesn't have to do this, Norn. If you tell people what the hell
you're doing they're a lot more likely to follow you."
"He'll do it because of what will
happen to him and his family if he doesn't," said the Valkyrie,
"don't mistake that for a threat you can just ignore, Mageson, it is your
destiny. Your life as a lich lord would not please you."
"I'm doing it because Flicker asked
me to," said Luthien, glaring at her. "Maybe if you had any friends
you wouldn't have to work so hard to get people to do what you want."
Norna was prevented from hitting him by a
seven-year-old oath, so she hit Flicker instead. "Where are we going, Norn,"
sighed the archer.
"Well, that figures." He looked
at Luthien. "Too bad I'm not the Giant Slayer any more."
KoK, et. la.
of Post: Approaching the nadir
Odn was worried. Things were moving out of
control. It would have been ideal if he had had more time, but he could still
work things out.
"Laran," he called. "The
time is almost here. We must take our position in the true King of Kings."
The Collector, who unknown to Odn was not
Laran but something else, bowed his head and opened a secret passage. The two
of them walked down the passage and down a long staircase. When they reached
the bottom, Odn invoked a small spell and candles lit all over the room.
Cyclopean would best describe the room. It
was so large that the ceiling and far walls were out of view. The floor was a
chaotic mix of bones and wrought marble. The Collector and Odn walked a
serpentine path across the floor, avoiding the death traps they had set just in
case. The two walked in silence. Both knew what they had to do.
An hour later they reached their
destination. A large parabolic area in the very center of the chamber. Above it
floated hundreds of rosy spheres, with arcane sigils engraved on each one.
Within each sphere was an image of someone who the Collector had marked. The
spheres formed a slow-moving tornado of magic and glass. Directly beneath the
center of the vortex was Odn's masterpiece, the true King of Kings: a rat king
of close to 100,000 rats. Actually, the count was one hundred thousand minus
one. There was room for one rat near the very center of the King of Kings.
"Our puppets insist on forcing the
issue, so we shall oblige them. Laran, take your position!" Odn commanded.
The Collector obliged and stood slightly
off-center from the core of the King of Kings. Odn followed and stood in the
very heart of his creation.
"The necromantic energy is reaching
its peak. Soon the world will tremble to the wrath of Odn, the fourth and greatest
of the Lich Lords!!"
The Collector stood silently watching
Odn's back. It grinned a predatory grin. If Odn had seen that grin, he would
have been very afraid.
of Post: Our State Fair is a Great State Fair
Alphred looked around the fairgrounds.
"Something is wrong," he said, grabbing a totem from his pouch.
"What are you going to do with
that?" asked Vas warily.
"The owl totem makes the unseen seen.
It makes what is hidden not hidden. It makes..."
"Ok. Ok! I get the point."
Alphred invoked the power of the owl totem
and the world changed, at least to Alphred. Things looked sharper, more alive.
However, alive was the wrong word. Things looked dead. There was the air of
death everywhere. It hung in the air like a dank miasma.
"This is bad," Alphred said.
"There is not life, just death around here."
"That's not all that's strange,"
"What?" asked Skitch looking
"This is supposed to be a huge
"Well, where are all the merchants?
Where are the shoppers? In fact, it looks like we're the only people
The entire Rat Pack grew silent. They
didn't like this one bit.
Jack and the Pack
Rat Kings: Penultimate
of Post: The Owl Totem Is Not What It Seems
"That is because your death is here,
mortals," grinned a lanky, twisted, bearded five-eyed creature.
"Incoming!" Vas shouted, and
fired off two glowing magical arrows.
"That's not the Collector!" Jack
"Jack, dear," Val said, pushing
him to the ground, "shut up and take cover."
"Yes'm," Jack agreed.
"How many bloody minions does Odn
have?" Ebreth shouted, running for safety.
"I am the Spirit of Darkness, the
Anti-Life incarnate," the thing cried.
"And I'm getting really sick of
this," Khyrisse yelled, shooting off a disintegration at the thing.
The thing burst into a thousand pieces.
All of which began to grow.
"Something is wrong!"
Alphred looked at his totem. It glowed with
a strange black glow. It seemed the spirits here weren't quite as friendly as
he had hoped.
Janus, Master of the Five Elements stepped
into the fray. Flames poured forth from a circle floating before his hands.
"Time to rock and roll," he intoned eerily.
No one noticed the Rat running away,
chased by... something even worse.
Khyrisse, fallen divinity
Kristin L.K. Andersen
Rat Kings: Who Needs 'Em?!
of Post: The Things We Think Of
You know, Khyrisse thought as she blasted
away at the creature, I'm getting more tired of being called "mortal"
than I am of being one.
Khyrisse and The Rat Pack
Kristin L.K. Andersen
Rat Kings: Who Needs 'Em?!
of Post: Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head
The creature fragmented into a thousand
pieces under the influence of the disintegration spell, all of which grew into
little miniature versions of itself. Several fell on the closest members of the
Rat Pack. A strange sound was heard, followed by exclamations of pain. Khyrisse
swatted at one of the critters on her arm and cursed. She was surprised by the
sudden chilled feeling shooting up from her elbow. She blinked down at it in
surprise. There was a thin place on her sleeve the size of a small apple-- you
could see dimly through many tiny holes in the leather, as if it were gauze,
and the skin beneath it was blooming with little pinpricks of blood, welling up
right through the stoneskin.
What the hell is this thing?
Khyrisse looked around as the many little
creatures continued to grow. They were about four inches tall now, and there
were hundreds of them. I can't get them all without fireballing my own
group! She fired magic missile at half
a dozen of them. They exploded, laughing merrily in tiny voices, and then there
were several dozen smaller ones dancing near that spot, trying to catch up in
size with the first batch.
"Oh, goody. Destructive spells just
make it worse. Time to leave, guys!"
Ebreth Tor, out another boot
Rat Kings: Penultimate
of Post: Matter and Anti-matter
"I'm ready when you are," said
Ebreth Tor, with surprising deadpan for somebody whose foot was being slowly
dematerialized by an antimatter creature.
Rat Kings: Penultimate
of Post: Void Where Prohibited
Janus, Master of the Five Elements watched
the mini-monsters dissolving his robe. Shit, he thought to himself. Much more
of this and they'll be able to see who I really am under here.
Looking around, he noticed that no one was
paying much attention.
"I call upon the Fifth Element!"
Janus cried loud enough so no one would miss it. "I call upon the
There was a sudden rushing noise, as air
started to be sucked into a gaping black hole between Janus' hands.
The little creatures were drawn along with
it. "Hey, if we can get them in here, we can zorch these guys once and for
all!" Janus resonated.
Val and Alphred
of Post: Life and Void
Alphred, who just threw two of these
killer dolls off himself, nodded to Janus. He quickly pulled the most precious
of all his totems out of his pouch, the unicorn totem. He invoked the spirit
and healing energies; energies of life flowed out. The anti-life creatures'
responses were immediate: they fled from the onslaught of life-giving forces,
right into the path of the void Janus had created.
"Good idea," Janus yelled,
concentrating to keep the void active. "Now we need to herd them."
Val, who just managed to duck a blow from
one of the anti-life things, heard Janus and saw what Alphred was doing. She
called upon magical powers and started throwing healing spells off, one after
It was like the anti-life creatures were
caught between two walls. They all now lined up with the void Janus had
Janus, Master of the Five Elements, Khyrisse
Rat Kings: Penultimate
of Post: Air, Water, Fire, uh... What Was That Middle Part Again?
"Line 'em up and bowl 'em down,"
Janus said in his strange intonation. "Stay right there, Tarzan."
Khyrisse had stepped forward to help. She
stood across from Janus, focusing her will for a spell to blast them into the
void. However, before she could utter a word of magic, she felt a strange
pressure in the back of her throat. Suddenly, a tremendous stream of water shot
forth from her mouth, spraying the creatures and forcing them into the Void.
Janus wiped his hands on his robe, pulling
it tightly around himself. "Man, I hate anti-matter."
Khyrisse stomped up to Janus.
"You. Did. That." she glared.
"Hey, we've gotta stick together, hm?
Not many of us left." His faceless face leaned over and pressed itself to
her lips briefly.
With that, he disappeared into the void.
"I'm really starting to hate that
guy," she said, grinning under her breath.
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