Erron Ratdweller (180 a.S.-223 a.S.), part time rat exterminator and amateur researcher of the human Erpheronian tribe of southern Sarvonia, is noted for his in-depth research into two of the most unusual of subjects - the vile rat and the city rat. He began his career attempting to find ways to destroy the rats that lived under the city of Nyermersys, but ironically, the very pests he was trying to destroy became a subject of devoted research for him until his death. He was bestowed the title of Master by the city of Nyermersys and was given the honourary name of Ratdweller.
Erron Ratdweller was thin in build and short of stature, standing about 1.6
peds in height. In some
ways, he was jestingly thought to look very much like the creatures he was
trying to exterminate. He was described as pale skinned, with a patchy
reddish-brown beard and thin wisps of red hair covering his scalp. He had a look
of intense scrutiny as if analyzing everything he saw. He had a mouth that
formed into a thin frown and eyes that constantly darted to and fro in a nervous
fashion. His nose was thin and sharp and he possessed a strong chin with a
Erron's clothes were simple when on the job. Although he lived a comfortable life of a middle class citizen later in life, he was known to be frugal and conservative in dress and rarely exhibited signs of his wealth. He wore simple wool tunics and pants, usually dark coloured. His bony hands and long fingers were always shrouded in thick gloves and his shoes were thick soled and always soiled with stains of varying colours and thicknesses.
Erron had become accustomed to walking and working in tight, cramped areas of the sewers and as a result he had developed a slight hunch. His short legs were flexible and strong and he could contort his body to fit in small spaces. Although his eyes were always squinting, he never seemed to have trouble seeing and was never seen wearing any sort of glass lenses. He was always thought to be several years older than he really was due to his hunched and balding appearance.
Personality. Erron was a serious man who rarely took a moment to enjoy life's little joys. As an only child growing up with mostly absent parents, Erron had come to learn to occupy himself and as such he developed an uncomfortable social life. His soft voice and timid behaviour often caused him to be teased as a child and his short build and clumsy, stilted walk never allowed him to become ingratiated with the more popular and outgoing children.
Erron possessed a clearly intellectual bent and he had a very analytical and logical mind, which was not uncommon given his Erpheronian roots. He kept his work areas neat and tidy at all times. Physical strength was not one Erron's better qualities and as such he was unsuited to life in the Erpheronian military. Therefore, Erron turned his attention to intellectual pursuits such as reading books and writing journals and short stories. He was known to have an excellent grasp of the Aerpheriane dialect and his written notes on his study of rats are well organized and detailed.
Erron also developed a love of animals, specifically all things that crawled, slithered, scampered or squealed. He especially found snakes and insects interesting but he came to revile rodents of any kind. This is possibly because his home was rat infested and he witnessed the terrible effects that the pests had on his family's lives.
Biography. Birth (180 a.S.). Erron Ratdweller was born into a peasant family, in the Nermeran capitol of Nyermersys, on a sunny Gnomesday, Changing Winds, in 180 a.S. He was an only child to an herbalist/healer mother, a member of the Order of the White Knights, and a mostly unemployed father. His mother had a difficult pregnancy, and was often sick and bedridden for days at a time. When Erron was born, his mother was in labour alone for several hours, while his father, as usual, was spending his time and the family's money at the local tavern. His mother's screams of pain brought a neighbour woman who assisted in the birth of Erron. The baby was tiny, probably born too early, weighing close to 5 ods.
Youth (185 a.S. - 201 a.S.). Erron grew up under the harshness of a typical peasant life. For a time, his family's only source of income was his mother's skill at herbalism. She was a healer and amateur alchemist and a member of the Order of the White Knights. She would hand pick various kinds of flowers, herbs and plants and sell them for medicinal purposes. She would prepare such native plants as the tooth cabbage, the kheem plant and the red berry bush. Erron observed how she would carefully pick the most healthy plants and prepare them by drying or mixing them into various concoctions. She kept a journal of herbal "receipts" that she added to as she learned new ways to use the plants. Because of her job as a healer and her membership in the Order, she was a respected citizen and her skills insured a steady, if meager, income for the family.
As a child, Erron was aloof and quiet. His parents never encouraged him to associate with others as they were socially inept as well. Instead, Erron was taught at home through the age of ten. His mother recognized his intellectual mind and he learned how to read and write with enthusiasm. She also taught him organizational skills and record keeping. These skills would come into use later in Erron's life when he began his research into rats.
Erron's father was a drunkard and rarely assisted in the education of his son. He once was a dashing soldier in the military until a training accident left him partially blind and limp. He lost all motivation for life thereafter and was content to letting his wife become the chief income earner. However, the one thing that his father was good at was creating traps for the rats that infested their house. Erron's mother learned to create rudimentary poisons and baits to use with bait to lure the pests while his father would place crude stick traps attached to baskets in hopes of catching a rat before they could devour the family's food. It was from these experiences that Erron came to know rudimentary pest control methodology.
Adult (201 a.S.). Not only was his own house plagued with rats but the entire city of Nyermersys was plagued as well. It was a constant problem among Erron's neighbours and the enterprising young man decided to do something about it. He began by improving upon the traps and baits created by his parents and used them in creative ways to catch the rats.
He would first purchase fresh food, or sometimes fresh scraps, and place them in a heavy basket or pail. The food was attached to a string that was attached to a stick. When a rat attempted to eat or take the bait, the stick would fall releasing the basket and thus trapping the rat. Erron would then destroy the rat.
However, he realized that he had to come up with a way to destroy the rats' nest in order to fully control the pests. For this, Erron knew he had to come up with a poison method where the rat would take tainted bait back to its nest for others to feed upon.
Revelation (204 a.S.). It was when Erron was 24 years old that his mother became gravely ill. Erron discovered that she had been bitten by a rat that she had tried to chase out of the kitchen. The bite wound became infected and she died shortly thereafter. During her burial, Erron witnessed a peculiar sight. He noticed a dog eating bits of scraps nearby. The scraps were laying amongst a dull, gray coloured fungus. The animal was eating so quickly that it was also ingesting the fungus. This would have not caught Erron's attention until he saw that, within moments, the dog became violently ill. It hacked and coughed for several minutes until it finally collapsed in death. Erron, ever curious, discovered why. The scraps were pieces of beef but the fungus mixed in was toxic. After some investigating among some of his mother's herbalist associates, they told him it was a fungus known as Queprur's love mushroom. If ingested, Queprur's love causes intense hallucinations, violent illness and death.
The Business Grows (205 a.S.-210 a.S.). Erron experimented with the rare Queprur's love mushroom and found it growing in cemeteries, battlefields and other places where the dead were interred. According to legend, the fungus was said to feed on the agony of the slain, but Erron never gave the story any truth. He also learned that the mushroom, when prepared and mixed in certain ways, was used as a highly addictive trance drink. Thus, he was also able to buy some samples from a few less than savory characters around the city. After some experimentation, he eventually found the right combination of mushroom and bait that effectively could kill a rat quickly while also being palatable for the animal.
Erron made a name for himself as a rat exterminator and quickly came to know a booming business in Nyermersys. He never gave away his secret bait recipe. He was called upon at all hours of the day to kill rat infestations in homes, businesses and public places.
One such place that Erron had yet to go was the sewers. He knew that city rats lived in the sewers and that it was one place where he had yet to attempt to exterminate. He never enjoyed smelly dark places, but his work under buildings and rat holes gave him the courage to explore the sewers of Nyermersys and attempt to eliminate the rats there.
Research (210 a.S-223 a.S.). He soon found hordes of rats under the sewers and his poison control worked well. After several attempts at exterminating the upper sewer rats, he ventured into the lower sewers. It was here that he found a most unusual race of rat. He discovered a single rat that was a greenish-yellow colour and behaved in a most aggressive manner. He named this particular rat Dagaarn, after his father. He noted the rat had a missing ear and rather than kill the odd looking animal, he decided to cautiously follow it around to see if it would lead him to its nest.
After several weeks, Erron made detailed records and maps of where this green rat lived and went. Intrigued, Erron made more and more frequent trips to the sewers to find the cause of the green rat's condition.
During his years of study, he also came to know quite well the upper sewer rats that were not green coloured. He named these "city rats" and made maps of where they lived as well. He noted that the green rats and city rats rarely encountered one another but he had yet to see what would happen if they did. He decided to find out. He captured a city rat and let it loose in the green rat's domain. After some watching, he saw the two types encounter each other. A fierce fight broke out. Erron was shocked to see that the green rat produced a vile, acidic blood that quickly ate the city rat's flesh. The green rat's defense was extraordinary and Erron knew that no poison could possibly affect this animal. He named the green rat the "vile rat".
From then on, he studied the vile rat with the goal of discovering just how and why the vile rat came to be such a disease ridden creature. How does it survive? How does it live? How does it reproduce? Erron learned all of these things and more during his many ventures in the sewers with these rats.
Death (223 a.S.). Erron's work among the rats of Nyermersys brought several dangers to himself but while he took all manner of precaution to protect himself, in the end, it was his own subjects that did him in.
It was one morning, on the 10th day of the Awakening Earth, when Erron had taken yet another trip down on the lower sewers to finish his study of the mating practices of the vile rat when he encountered a group of the animals attacking a vagrant man who had unwittingly intruded upon a vile rat nest. The man was old and helpless and Erron took it upon himself to aid the poor fellow. He caught the rats' attention and they gave him chase down a winding corridor. He intended to lead them upwards to the surface areas where they would come into contact with some city rats and perhaps give up trying to chase him.
During the chase, Erron dropped his map and soon became lost. He was cornered and the rats swarmed him, smelling the poisoned bait in his tunic pockets. He was overcome and he died from the many bite and claw wounds inflicted by the vile rats as well as from their acidic blood. In the end, it was the pest that killed the exterminator.
Importance. If it wasn't for the work of Erron Ratdweller, the cities of Santharia might still be plagued by rats of all kinds. Erron's research was eventually found and assembled by one of his apprentices and submitted to various other researchers and lore keepers and what they found was a truly extensive diary of a man intrigued by the very same pests he came to destroy.
Over the years, Erron's method of pest extermination was improved upon and adapted to other creatures such as birds, insects and other pests.
Ultimately, Erron Ratdweller's work provided insight into a previously unknown creature viewed only as a plague and pest. The city rat came to be known later as a steed to Rat Brownies and the vile rat's noxious vilique came to be known to provide poison for use by Kasumarii assassins. Master Erron Ratdweller, part time exterminator and accidental researcher, died as he lived: among his tiny animal subjects.