514 Ratscue

    Nix handed him the make-shift lockpick and moved away.  "We could go up... or maybe try and."  He was interrupted by the sound of one wrist shackled, unlocking and landing on the floor.  "Nicely done, Shitty Bard."  By the time the third shackle was unlocked, the Rat-King decided that their best option would be to try and find an exit on this level.  "If my Ducky were here, we could just waltz out the front door like we owned the place."

    A loud thump of metal on rock announced that the skeleton bard was finally free of his restraints.  "I can't tell you how good that ..."

    [Bone Fortress Special Event: Guilds Only!]

    The rightful King of Eidengal has freed himself from his restraints and is in the process of escaping the Keep!

    [Inferno: Mission]

    Assist the King in escaping the Keep.  You must return him unharmed to your own territory.

    [Trifecta: Raging One-Thirties, Slaughter, Road Kill: Mission]

    Stop the King from escaping the Keep.  You are authorized to kill or capture him.

    [Failing the Guild Event Mission will result in severe penalties]

    All previous limitations on Guild Communications within the Bone Fortress are lifted for this event. Only Guild members may actively participate.

    Rat-King stared at the skeleton, who was slowly climbing to his feet.  "I distinctly remember you saying four stupid names, and none of them were Eidengal!"

    The skeleton nodded his skull in agreement.  "I didn't want to sound pretentious."

    /Inferno: Semmi: What's going on?  I don't see a King!

    /Inferno: Wind: The boss is probably Nixing something.

    /Inferno: Ducky: Nix is with me in the Keep!

    /Inferno: Shae: You're in the Keep?

    /Inferno: Nix: We both are; it's a Ratscue!

    Rat-King swore under his breath.  "We have to leave, King!  If I can get you to the Tribunal (2) Burrough, we are home free."

    "Sorry for the bother, Rat-King.  Just call me, Duran!  Our best option is getting through that trapdoor."  Duran grabbed hold of the chain with his bone hands and started climbing upward.

    /Inferno: Ducky: What do you want me to do, Nix?

    /Inferno: Nix: Whatever you can without exposing yourself.

    /Inferno: Pon: Alpha team!  We're up!

    /Inferno: Ducky: Bring Fey!

    Pon, Semmi, Wind, Fajii ran toward the shoreline.  They were followed closely by Shae and Fey in skeleton form.

    Once they were out of sight, Semmi stopped and handed Shae a [Thine Enemy] ring before slipping hers on.

    /Alpha: Semmi: Broom it up!  We're heading up the coastline.

    /Alpha: Pon: The hell is that Punk doing now?

    /Alpha: Wind: Let's find him first.

    /Alpha: Pon: How? We can't enter the Keep.

    /Alpha: Shae: He's this way.

    The redhead was already mounted on the Bone Drakon's back; without waiting for a reply, Fey took to the air and headed north.

    Ducky brought up her hud and zoomed in on her current location.

    /Inferno: Ducky: Can you tell me where you are?

    Rat-Nix was near the top of the chain when the door was swung open, and two heads popped into view.  A moment later, a sword was thrust down into the empty space at the skeleton King. "Retreat!"  Nix scampered a few meters down before pausing.  He could hear the distinct sound of running echoing from below.  "We're about to have company from both directions.  Where does that trapdoor lead?"

    "It's the throne room!"

    /Inferno: Nix: We're below the throne room, leave that to me but start working on an exit.

    /Inferno: Ducky: Okay.

    "Don't panic... I'm sending the boys up."  Rat-Nix ordered his minions up the chain; he held tightly to the links as a thousand rats streamed over him and the Skeleton King before stampeding through the trapdoor.

    /Trifecta: Sandi: We're nearing the sewers!  Don't let that bastard enter the castle!

    /Trifecta: Tilly: If he comes up, we'll send him back down...  Holy Shit!

    A thousand rats swarmed upward into the throne room.  The two players guarding the trapdoor were instantly overrun as hundreds of sharp teeth tore at them.  When the skeleton peeked out of the door a few seconds later, both men were lost under huge mounds of brown rats.

    Nix exited into the throneroom, ignoring his feeding minions while he scanned the room. Unexpectedly several NPCs were sitting in the surrounding benches; none of them made a move toward him.  "Give me a sec, while I figure this out."

    "Passage behind the throne, it leads to the fifth floor next to the armory; from there we'll have to fight."  The Skeleton headed around the large throne and squeezed into a small doorway.  Nix followed behind as the hall climbed steeply.

    /Inferno: Nix: We'll be coming out near the armory on the 5th floor.

    /Inferno: Ducky: Okay!

    Nix followed Duran through several twists and turns and up a handful of steep stairways.  The scurrying of tiny feet followed in their wake.  The passageway finally ended abruptly with a circular hole less than a meter in diameter.  "This the armory?"

    "Close; it's the Quartermaster's Office."  Duran ducked his head and took a few steps forward before emerging through a fireplace.  An older man frowned at him from the desk but didn't offer a comment.

    Rat-Nix paused a moment, his yellow eyes moving from the Quartermaster to the ring of keys on the wall.  The Quartermaster watched without comment as Duran removed the keyring and walked toward a large vault.  Rat-King had all of his minions move into the office and wait.

    /Inferno: Nix: None of the NPCs are even moving when they see me.

    /Inferno: Semmi: The Guild Event Message said that non-Guild members aren't allowed to participate.

    The armory was at the end of a long hallway, directly across from the Quartermaster's office.  Rat-Nix followed Duran into the hall and waited while he unlocked the door.  The heavy metal door swung inward when the skeleton king pushed against it.

    "Shit... This is a dead-end hallway!"  Rat-Nix moved ducked into the doorway when he heard the sounds of running boots.  Arrows, fireballs, and Ice attacks filled the narrow hall an instant later.  Nix sent his rats forward to attack and scurried into the armory behind Duran.

    "Bastard Asses!"  Duran yelled at his pursuers while locking the armory door and setting the heavy bar in place.  "This is awesome, Rat-King!"

    Nix's rat-head nodded in agreement.  "Is there another door into this vault?"

    Duran shook his head.  "Nope.  We've basically imprisoned ourselves.  But hey... This is way better than hanging from a ceiling all day and with a dose of rat-torture tossed in."

    "I'm liking the positive attitude, Duran." Nix scampered up the nearest counter and started looking around.  "What's in that thing?"  Rat-King gestured towards a tall cabinet with hundreds of small drawers.

    "Should be accessories, rings, bracelets, and amulets."  Duran found the shelf he was looking for; he reached up and removed a reddish-brown mandolin.  "Heavens... they left it on a damned shelf."

    Nix watched as Duran strummed the instrument with his free hand; for a moment, a stout man super-imposed itself over the skeleton.  "I can see you."

    Duran nodded and continued playing; after a few seconds the skeleton had been completely replaced by a wide-shouldered man who appeared to be a bit under five feet tall.  "Yes... your real form should have appeared also."

    "I'm the Rat-King; this is what I look like."  Nix moved closer to the accessory cabinet.  "Unlock this for me and find me a chair."

    /Inferno: Nix: Why is the King so short?

    /Inferno: Ducky: Is he?

    Duran unlocked the cabinet and then found a stool high enough for the Rat-King.  The sounds of pounding could be heard on the vault door.  "The steel door is enchanted... They aren't going to break it down."

    "Let's see..."  Nix opened the top drawer; it was lined with rings.  "Stealth... We could use more of those.  Underwater Breathing, I'll grab one of those."

    "Rat-King!  Why are you wasting your time?  These walls are several feet thick, and there aren't any windows."  Duran leaned against one of the weapon racks while he continued to play.

    "Find me a bag to put this stuff in!"  Nix moved to the next drawer after placing the rings he wanted on top of the cabinet and spilling the rest on the floor.

    "The Rat-King is very bossy."  Duran began searching for a bag while Nix went through the remaining drawers.

    /Trifecta: Rorum: We trapped them in the armory!

    /Trifecta: Sandi: Perfect!  Grab the keys and wait for us.

    /Trifecta: Rorum: They have the keys with them.

    /Trifecta: Benefici: Spare key?

    /Trifecta: Rorum: Nope.

    By the time Nix finished pilfering the cabinet, Duran had found a leather satchel big enough to carry everything.

    "There's no way out.  Why bother taking this stuff?"  Duran swept everything into the satchel when the Rat-King fixed him with a yellow-eyed glare.  "Fine... Now what?"

    Rat-Nix pointed sat on the stool, facing one of the stone walls.  "Tell me, what's behind these walls?"

    "Hmm?  Well... The north wall is the mess hall.  The west wall is a private residence, and the east should be a bath."

    "Bath it is then.  Let's make a door."  Rat-King hopped down and walked along the east wall until he found an empty section.  "This should do."

    Duran stared for a moment, his face showing confusion.  "You say that like there's a door there.  Can you walk through walls?"

    "I don't need to.  This is the armory."  Rat-King pointed to the half-dozen cylindrical devices that were mounted on wheels.  "I have cannons."
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