Skip to main content

Chapter 20: The Rats Have Problems Too

Chapter 20: The Rats Have Problems Too

In the Blades of Avernum Forum, the three giant rats that had been guarding Smoo were off-duty now. They sat and talked at the edge of a pond.

One glanced at the hill were Smoo was kept. "I'm glad we're done with that. I don't care how important the prisoner is, guarding him is unsettling."

"And the wererats are just creepy. If humans are so evil, then why is Attorosi working with rats that can become humans?" The second rat shuddered. "I don't like them at all."

"Or even the white rats. Magic is a human thing. We shouldn't be messing with it," the third rat said, "Do you smell something?"

One of the mung rats joined the three giant rats. It waded into the pond and began drinking. The three giant rats immediately began protesting.

"You stink!"

"What did you get into?"

"You're messing up the water!"

The mung rat stopped drinking long enough to glare at them and say, "Get used to it. We found some trash in the Avernum 4 Forum, and there's a bunch of us there right now."

One of the giant rats twitched its whiskers. "We'll see about that."

The three giant rats scurried away.


Smoo was exhausted. He closed his eyes and rested for a minute. He had to escape; he had to warn the others. He sat up again and rubbed the rope binding his wrists together against a sharp rock. Finally, the rope snapped.

Smoo checked to make sure the three new giant rat guards weren't watching him. Instead, they were talking a short distance away. Smoo untied the ropes binding his legs. Fortunately, Attorosi had kept its word and healed Smoo's leg. Smoo carefully got up and limped off.


Attorosi stood in its cave, speaking with a wererat, now in the form of Smoo. "Do whatever it takes to convince the humans that you are the real Smoo. Except, of course, give away the location of the summoning machine. Find out who the moderators and the people that Smoo named are. Take out any that you can and report back with descriptions of the rest."

"Yes, Scourge of Humans." The wererat left.

A moment later, the three giant rats entered. Attorosi noted their unhappy demeanor.

"Excuse me for a moment," Attorosi said. It ran from the cave and caught up with the wererat. "Don't leave yet. Instead, come meet with me again after I'm done speaking with the giant rats."

The wererat nodded.

Attorosi rejoined the three giant rats. "Now, what seems to be the problem?"

"It's the mung rats. They smell really bad," one of the giant rats said.

"Yeah. They're giving the rest of us a bad name. Most of us are actually very clean, as you well know," the second rat said.

"Anyway, one of them jumped into a pond. They're going to pollute the water if they do that," the first rat said, "Maybe they like that, but the rest of us don't."

"Hmm. I see. Well, I shall designate one pond for the mung rats and the rest for everyone else. Anything else?" Attorosi said.

"Yeah," the third rat said, "The wererats."

"What about them?" Attorosi asked.

"They can turn into humans! How can you let such half-breeds work with us?" the third rat said.

"They are not human-rat crosses. They are rats with the ability to transform into humans. They are rats and they are loyal to us. Let me assure you that they would like nothing more than to not use their abilities and live normal rat lives. But they can't. None of us can while the humans and their barbaric poison, traps, science experiments, cats..."

"Cats can't hurt us. In fact, we eat them," the second rat said.

"They may be able to hurt a fully grown rat, but they mercilessly massacre children and babies. The humans also have swords, guns, and spells that they use against us. Against such weapons, we must use whatever we have against the humans. The wererats are bold heroes risking their lives to build a better society for us all. Do you understand?"

"I... I think so," the first rat said.

More overwhelmed by Attorosi's fanaticism than convinced, the three giant rats left. The wererat waited until they were gone and then stepped inside. Attorosi was pacing again.

"They'll be questioning my use of magic next. Don't they understand the world I'm trying to create for them?" it squeaked to itself. Then Attorosi noticed the wererat. "Oh, it's you. Your old orders still stand. In addition, bring any device or method that the humans use for controlling others that you find back to me."

"Yes, Scourage of Humans." The wererat left again.


One of the rats who were in charge of guarding Smoo looked over and realized he was missing. "Shoot! He escaped!"

"He what?"

"Find him, find him!"

After several minutes of searching, one finally concluded, "He's gone."

"Then someone has to go tell Bane of Humans that we failed."

"Not me!"

"Not me either!"

"Or we could go hunt him down ourselves."

"That's a better idea. Let's go."

The guards scurried off.