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Rhenet the Rat God

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This note is found in the Tomb of Nephos.

Rhenet was not always a rat and did not always preside over the vermin and lowly creatures of the Korvan Basin. He was once a powerful and proud man, a merchant whose wealth rivaled any who bask in the light of Rahn.

But he was not born into the life of wealth and power. No, he was born a diseased and lowly vagrant to a widowed mother with nothing more to give him than her faith in the Eldritch Sun. And so, unable to care for her sickly child, she prayed to her god and pledged her own life so that Rhenet would be spared the plight that was his birthright. The desperate mother's prayers were answered and miraculously the infant grew to become a healthy child.

As a young man Rhenet was conscripted to the service of a trade ship where it is said that even the cruel sea showed him favor. He grew strong and clever in his service and his skill as a sailor brought him much renown. He worked furiously to honor the life he was given and through his drive and dedication became the captain of the ship to which he served.

His success at sea was so great that he would one day return to the Cairan Docks and from there command an armada of ships that sailed in his name. It was from this position of power that he built his grand wealth and from which he began to forget his humble origins. The success of his life so tainted his ego that Rhenet began to believe he was destined for greatness, that a life such as his could not be a coincidence. He sought greater power and forgot the gift which was given.

Those who served or were loyal to Rhenet showered him with their adoration and his pride grew with his wealth. The shade of his origins was all but forgotten as Rhenet proclaimed himself the master of the seas and commissioned the first of many temples to be constructed in his honor. Quickly, sailors and seafarers began paying tribute, leaving riches and treasures at these sites of worship. It was said that the favor of Rhenet bestowed good fortune upon those who took to the sea. Some even perceived him as a god of the waters, an ascendant whose legend spread beyond even the Korvan waters.

But the grand hubris of Rhenet drew the ire of his benefactor. And so, the Eldritch Sun left his throne, disguising himself as an elderly vagrant so he could walk amongst the people of the Korvan Basin. There he heard the adulation for Rhenet, listened as the people spoke of the man as if he stood among Korvaak's Chosen, those few mortals whose service and dedication to the Eldritch Sun had earned them a place aside his throne. This rightly enraged the divine and in his disguised form he sought court with the self-appointed god of the seas.

In a grand temple built in his name, Rhenet met with the old man. He laughed at the sight of the sickly and broken creature before him. "What have you to give the master of the seas, you poor old fool?" asked Rhenet.

"I have come to remind you of the life you should have lived," the man said meekly. "I am you as you should have been, were it not for the kindness of the Eldritch Sun."

}Rhenet laughed once again "You have come here to threaten me? Who are you to speak for the gods? How dare you?"

And with that the old man's voice boomed, shaking the earth beneath their feet. His form twisted and grew as he spoke and a blistering heat washed over Rhenet, burning away his clothes, peeling and bubbling his flesh. "I do not come to threaten, I have come to collect upon the gift which was given."

The searing heat cleansed Rhenet of his pride and he cowered before the towering figure. "Forgive me," begged Rhenet, "I did not know."

"What have you to give me you poor little creature," the figure boomed.

"I give my life," cried Rhenet.

"Indeed. But death is too small a price. No, you shall serve me as the lowliest of creatures you have always been. You will hold court over those who saw you as a god."

With those final words, Rhenet's body collapsed upon itself, twisting, tearing and grinding until finally he appeared as a massive diseased rat. His temples were brought to ruin in an instant, and from the rubble emerged a swarm of rats. All of those who had followed the master of the sea, all who had pledged their loyalty to him or begged for his favor were cursed to live out their days as vile vermin in the service of the Rat God.

Take heed of the story of Rhenet, for all things that we cherish in life are gifts of the Eldritch Sun.