BREACHSPACE: Fiendish Profiles, “The Sewer Rat Who Would Be King” by E.J. Tett
Two red eyes blinked in the darkness of the sewer, eyes glowing like the embers of a dying fire. Sewer Rat sat huddled on top of his pile of soggy, stinking clothing that he had dragged down into the sewers to use as his bed. He’d used the stinger on his tail to numb his victims and then, laughing and chattering to himself, he’d ripped the clothing from their bodies and raced back into the depths with his prize. He could only imagine the looks on his victims’ faces once they were able to move again.
All around him in the gloom, hundreds of tiny warm, wet bodies wriggled and writhed together. His rats followed him wherever he went and he knew that they adored him. Worshipped him.
It was all that he deserved, of course. After killing his summoner and master, Archos, and delivering his soul to Hell, Sewer Rat was free to do whatever he pleased. And what pleased him most was ruling over his kingdom of rats in the World Below.
Other imps mocked him. Imps who could shape-shift better than he could, into bats and cats and spiders… Sewer Rat would shift into the form of his fat, black rat and scuttle off into the darkness, chattering to himself about the unfairness of it all. One day he would take his rats and rise up out of the sewers. Then he would see who was laughing…
Something brushed against his skin. Sewer Rat looked down to see one of his underlings touching the magic ring he wore around his wrist. He hissed at the creature and it dashed off, squeaking in panic before diving into a crack in the sewer wall.
Sewer Rat smiled and sat back comfortably on his rags. He twisted his ring bracelet, flapped his leathery wings, and then folded his arms and surveyed his kingdom. Things floated past him in the dark. Scum floated on top of the water. Slime dripped down the brick walls. Sewer Rat thought it was the best place he had ever lived.
He closed his eyes to doze when he sensed a faint hum of magic in the air. All around him, the rats squeaked and screamed and clambered over one another in desperation, a writhing, boiling mass of bodies that soon dispersed and scattered into the darkness, leaving Sewer Rat alone.
Footsteps sloshed through sewer water, heading down the tunnel towards him. Sewer Rat’s yellowy hide shimmered briefly and then he became invisible, watching to see who would come his way. He could feel magic radiating off the figure and he knew it was a fellow fiend.
He kept as still as he could, holding his breath in anticipation, and watched as a rabiemi strode towards him. He opened his mouth in a silent hiss, baring his rodent teeth. He wondered what one of Hell’s elite warriors was doing in such a place but then he felt it again. The tingle of magic. His eyes locked on the rabiemi’s belt and he almost jumped up and down in excitement. The belt was powerful, he could feel it. Made of snakeskin and with a metal clasp, the rabiemi had adorned it with the teeth of his enemies. Sewer Rat wanted it badly.
The rabiemi stopped by the heap of clothes. Its beard twitched and Sewer Rat could see it was looking for something. He stayed still, pressing himself flat to the clothes pile and keeping himself invisible. He waited but his eyes were drawn to the belt again. Carefully, he edged forwards, reaching out with a clawed hand, reaching for the belt…
The rabiemi swung its glaive. Sewer Rat screeched and jumped back, his invisibility forgotten. He flapped his wings and fluttered about the rabiemi’s head, chattering and shrieking while the fiend tried to grab him.
Sewer Rat spat curses and then quickly disappeared. He flew down the tunnel and away, not making himself visible again until he was certain the rabiemi wasn’t following him. After a while, he settled himself down beside the sewer river and congratulated himself on his bravery.
He thought again about the belt. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to wear it and he knew also that, like his ring, he wouldn’t be able to work it. But he knew that he wanted it. And he knew that he’d get it. No imp would mock him if he had such an item.
As he brooded in the dark, rats emerged from tunnels and cracks in walls. They clambered out of the river and slunk down from the walls above to join him. He smiled and gathered them all to him and two came forward from the group, baring between them a small, dead snake. The rats dropped their kill at his feet and Sewer Rat picked it up.
He pondered the dead creature for a moment and then, in one swift movement, stripped the skin from the body and tossed the flesh to his waiting rats to feast on. He tied the skin around his waist and then, in the darkness, Sewer Rat laughed.
BREACHSPACE: Fiendish Profiles, “The Sewer Rat Who Would Be King”, written by E.J. Tett, published by XEI is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.