Rath'Fener was a priest of the Mask Council in Capustan during the Pannion War. He represented the Ascendant Fener, wearing a tusked, fur-painted, articulated mask in the god's image through which could be seen his human eyes.
He had achieved a Sceptred Rank as a priest within the Boar of Summer's worship and was a master of temple politics. Already at the peak of what a mortal could achieve within the temple's sanctified walls, the ambitious priest sought to one day attain the position of Destriant.
Rath'Fener came into conflict with the Grey Swords, a mercenary company also devoted to Fener, after they were hired by Prince Jelarkan to protect the city from the Pannion Domin. The priest was unaware that the ancient title of Destriant he sought already secretly and rightfully belonged to Karnadas of the Grey Swords. The mercenaries' Mortal Sword Brukhalian refused to allow Karnadas to reveal himself and put the pompous priest in his place.
Through days of fasting, the priest claimed to travel to Fener's realm and to the Tusked One's own hooves. There he learned that Trake had been killed by minions of the Pannion Seer, but he was perplexed to note that fellow Councillor Rath'Trake appeared to be possessed of a silent joy. Rath'Trake quietly warned the Grey Swords that Rath'Fener was no ally of the mercenaries or their god. Instead he thought them a threat and would do anything to break them.
Rath'Fener sought to undermine any initiative the Grey Swords made to defend Capustan from the Pannion Domin's forces, ostensibly through his ignorance and that of the Mask Council. In reality, Rath'Fener was secretly in league with the Domin, purposely sabotaging any effort to aid the besieged city. After the Pannion hordes broke the city's defences during the Siege of Capustan, the priest invoked the Eighth Command of Fener's Reve summoning Brukhalian and his remaining Grey Swords to aid him at the Thrall. The Mortal Sword obeyed the order knowing full well he and the Grey Swords had been betrayed. Arriving at the Thrall they were ambushed by ten times their number of elite Pannion forces and slain.
After the deaths of Karnadas and Brukhalian, and the liberation of the city by the Bridgeburners and the White Face Barghast, Rath'Fener's betrayal was revealed by Itkovian, Shield Anvil of the Grey Swords. Resisting calls for mercy from the others present, he ordered the priest restrained by Captain Norul and he delivered Fener's sacred judgement. Itkovian cut off Rath'Fener's hands, but since Fener himself had fallen, the boar god was not the one to receive them. Whatever took the hands and attempted to claim Rath'Fener's soul caused "dark tattoos [to appear] on the man's skin, but not those belonging to Fener. Writhing, alien script swarmed his flesh as the unknown claimant made its mark, claimed possession of the man's mortal soul. Words that darkened like burns. Blisters rose, then broke, spurting thick, yellow liquid. Screams of unbearable, unimaginable pain filled the plaza, the body on the flagstones spasming as muscle and fat dissolved beneath the skin, then boiled, breaking through. Yet the man did not die".
Itkovian, sensing Rath'Fener's atonement, absorbed the priest's sorrow and memories, where it was revealed he was once a young idealist, corrupted by the maligning influence of the Mask Council. The Shield Anvil saw the man's path to betrayal. He had as a young acolyte, been "pure of heart, [but was] cruelly schooled not in piety and faith, but in the cynical lessons of secular power struggles. Rule and administration was a viper's nest, a ceaseless contest among small and petty minds with illusory rewards. A life within the cold halls of the Thrall that had hollowed out the priest's soul. The self filled the new cavern of lost faith, beset by fears and jealousies, to which malevolent acts were the only answer. The need for preservation made every virtue a commodity, to be traded away". Itkovian chose to embrace the priest and was himself transformed by the experience. Rath'Fener's spirit was released to Hood and his corpse crumbled to pale ash.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Memories of Ice, Dramatis Personae
- ↑ Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.240
- ↑ Memories of Ice, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.364
- ↑ Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.247
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Memories of Ice, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.591
- ↑ Memories of Ice, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.361
- ↑ Memories of Ice, Chapter 7, US SFBC p.240-241
- ↑ Memories of Ice, Chapter 10, US SFBC p.364-365/376
- ↑ Memories of Ice, Chapter 16, US SFBC p.539-543
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Memories of Ice, Chapter 17, US SFBC p.591-598