Chapter 30: The Pied Piper of Ermarian

Chapter 30: The Pied Piper of Ermarian Dikiyoba
The two red rats--the one from the Nethergate Forum and the one from the Geneforge 4: Rebellion Forum--reached the entrance to the cave at the same time. A large crowd of recently summoned rats milled just outside the entrance of the cave, waiting to reinforce the rats in the Geneforge 4: Rebellion Forum.

"Where are you going?" one asked.

"To see Beater of Mazes. I have important news!"

"So do I. Come on."

The red rats dashed down the passage to Attorosi's cave, but it wasn't there. They traveled down another passage, occasionally passing a newly summoned rat. They stepped into the cave containing the summoning machine. Several giant rats were busy explaining the situation to the rats that continuously popped out of the summoning machine.

"What do you want?" one of the giant rats asked.

"Is Beater of Mazes here?" one of the red rats asked.

"No, down there." The giant rat pointed to a narrow, twisting passage at the other end of the cave.

"Thanks." The red rats sprinted into the passage. Then they slowed to a nervous walk, for they were completely alone in the passage. There was enough magic in the air to make their fur stand on end.

"What do you think is happening down here?"

"I don't know."

"Halt!" A white rat blocked their path. "Where do you think you're going?"

"We need to see Beater of Mazes."

"It is busy and cannot be disturbed."

"But this is important!"

"Excuse me." A white rat carrying a container of essence from the Geneforge Series Forum pushed past the red rats and entered the cave where Attorosi and several other white rats were working.

"Excellent." Attorosi took the essence from the rat and poured it into a vat, also stolen from the Geneforge Series Forum.

"There's also some red rats out there. I think they want to see you," the white rat said.

"Bring them in," Attorosi said.

"Bring them in? But... but you said..."

"I know what I said. I said bring them in," Attorosi said.

The two red rats entered and looked around. Equipment was scattered everywhere.

"What is all of this?" one of the rats asked.

"Equipment that we have stolen from the humans," Attorosi said.

"From the humans? What are you using it all for?"

"We are perfecting the race of rats," Attorosi said proudly.

"What do you mean?"

"Look at yourselves! You're incredibly quick and agile--the perfect spies and messengers. Before I began to develop new forms, we rats had nothing like you. And now that we have all this equipment from the humans, we'll be able to develop even better rats even faster."

"But... but... you're doing experiments on rats! That's what the humans do!"

"I know. It is regrettable but necessary. However, we ask for volunteers whenever we need a living rat and we treat them with respect and don't harm them in any way. That makes us far superior to the humans. Anyway, you needed to see me?"

"Oh, yes. We're having difficulty in the Geneforge 4 Forum, and we need you and the white rats there to help."

"Well, this will function on its own, so I don't need to be here watching it constantly," Attorosi said. He singled out several rats. "You four will remain here to watch over the experiment. The rest of us will go to the Geneforge 4 Forum."

"There's also a problem in the lower forums," the other red rat said.

"What is it?"

"There's water leaking in. I shut the door to the Richard White Games Forum, but it won't hold back the water for long."

"From where? How fast is it flooding?" Attorosi asked.

"I don't know," the red rat said.

"This must be a trick of the humans! Close all the doors. That will give us plenty of time to defeat the humans and then figure out to do with the water," Attorosi said.

The red rat scampered off to close the doors. Attorosi and the white rats joined the rat in front of the cave.

"Follow me! We will punish humanity for its crimes and turn this place into a haven of peace and security for rats everywhere!" Attorosi led the group of rats towards the Geneforge 4: Rebellion Forum.


Schrodinger, Arancaytar, Nikki, Archmagus Micael, Thuryl, the Lurker, Rakshasi, JadeWolf, and Student of Trinity made it to the Geneforge Series Forum without problems.

Student of Trinity caught sight of a white rat scooping more essence out of an essence pool. "Hey!" He slung a rock at it, knocking it out instantly.

Synergy and Randomizer joined the group.

"Good shot!" Synergy said.

"What are you two doing here?" Arancaytar asked.

"You don't have the right directions," Synergy said.

"What do you mean?" Schrodinger asked.

"Zeviz was a wererat. He gave you the wrong directions to the summoning machine," Randomizer said.

"But you know how to get there correctly?" Schrodinger said.

"Everybody hide!" Rakshasi said.

Everyone searched for a hiding spot.

"Why?" JadeWolf asked.

Thuryl pulled him down just in time. With Attorosi in the lead, the mob of white and newly summoned rats passed. When the rats were gone, they all stood up again.

"We'd better hurry. That's a lot of rats," the Lurker said, "It won't do any good to destroy the summoning machine if the rats kill everyone else."

"We have to get past the rats guarding the entrance to the Blades of Avernum Forum first." Randomizer pointed to the wandering rats.

Arancaytar pulled out the magic flute and began to play a simple melody. The rats stopped, mesmerized by the sound. Schrodinger walked carefully through the charmed rats and motioned for the others to follow.

"I have a better idea," Thuryl said, "Kill them!"

The deed was quickly accomplished. Arancaytar stopped playing and they continued into the Blades of Avernum Forum.

"That felt wrong somehow," Archmagus Micael said.

"Why? Now we don't have to worry about them sneaking up on us," Thuryl said.

Randomizer and Synergy quickly located the cave and led everyone as close as they could get without being seen by the guards.

"There are lots of rats right at the entrance, so be careful," Randomizer said.

Arancaytar started playing the flute again. Schrodinger poked his head into the cave. All the blue rats were asleep. "It's safe," he whispered.

Once the Spiderwebbers had dealt with the guards, they continued exploring the cave. Arancaytar was up front, guarded by Randomizer and Synergy. Nikki kept as close to Arancaytar as he could. Thuryl and Schrodinger were last.

Student of Trinity peaked into a larger cave. "Here it is!"

They crowded inside, killing the guards and the few new rats that had been summoned.

"Now all we have to do is figure out how to destroy it," Schrodinger said.