Harold Hates Rats

Harold’s fathers raised chickens and made a comfortable living selling eggs in the market.  One thing Harold learned at an early age was that were there are chickens, there are bound to be rats.  Rats love eggs and feathers and scraps that the chickens leave behind.

From an early age Harold was taught to hunt rats. One year he kept a running total of his number of kills by putting notches in the chicken coop wall.  His total that year from Solstice to Solstice was 412 dead rats. It turns out that as much as rats love eating the feathers off chickens as they sleep, chickens love eating rats they are left dead in the coop.

As soon as Harold could be out on his own, he left the farm and ran straight to the city believing that urban life would be glamorous and free of the noise and stink of the chickens, and most of all free of rats.  When he got to the city he got a job sweeping the floor and clearing dishes at a small inn and had a cot in the wood shed in the back.  Harold couldn’t have been happier, until one day the Inn Keeper came to Harold and gave him a small sword and said, “I need you to go to the basement and clean it up, rats have started coming in from the horse stables next door, and they are eating all of our grain.” Harold dropped the knife, threw off his apron and ran.  He ran out the door, down the street and kept on running.  He didn’t stop until he had gotten as far from people and rats as he thought he could. That is when Harold met the Druids.

Harold learned the ways of the Druids and learned that all creatures have a place in the balance of nature.  He even convinced himself that rats were a necessary evil and they too had a place in the natural world.

 

One day Harold met a Priest and Ranger in a tavern and got swept up into a quest to save a small town from eternal winter caused by an unknown force emanating from a nearby Keep.  They entered the Keep, and the first thing they encountered, – giant rats.  They fought more rats in the pantry and down the hallways. They wound their way through the keep an icy thrown and Harold’s first ever boss battle.  What horror would he face?  What fate had cursed him that it would be a wear rat permanently transformed, wearing a bone crown and calling himself the Ratling King.

At this point the gods should’ve said, “enough”.  They should’ve blessed Harold with the ability to cause paralyzing fear to any scurrying rodent – the word should’ve been spread to every hole that a disease laden scavenger crawls out of – that Harold was a rat slayer.  However, the rats continued to appear in every adventure that he went on.  There were screwed rats and burned rats and decapitated rats.

Harold became a very powerful Druid, one of the strongest in the land.  He had proven himself so worthy that the forces of nature the Fey and the Fell gave him great power. An epic quest came to him as his abilities took on a whole new level of strength. He was trudging through the retched swamps with his companions.  He endured many days of cold, wet, torturous half frozen, half mud terrain, with cockatrice forever flying overhead watching their progress, flame spurts, and quick sand that could swallow a horse.

A storm had been brewing for days overhead and when a large cluster of foul rodents of unusual size ambushed the party.  Harold had had it.  He jumped onto a rock and threw his hands to the heavens that clouds had set in low and began to swirl around the sky.  “I am sick of the Rats!” he exclaimed.  So great was his ambition to use his newly granted spell and rid the party of this horrid curse that he called down all the power he had created in 6 successive quick lightning bolts. The strikes hit their marks to the astonishment and confusion of the rest of the party.  Explosions broke the landscape and shrapnel of trees, mud and rat flesh covered everything with 50 yards.  Harold collapsed to the ground.

When he woke the next day, he realized his party had built a sling and was trudging through the swamp with him as another of their burdens.  It took three more days for him to travel on his own strength and 5 before he could focus well enough to ask the wilds to grant him spells.

During his recovery, a tree sprite came to him one evening while on watch and warned him, the greater power you command, the great your restraint must become. Harold did learn to control the gifts that nature gave him and he never again had to fight another rat.

 

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