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The symbol of the Great Horned Rat

The Great Horned Rat is the unholy god of the skaven and one of the five major Chaos Gods active in seeking to corrupt the Mortal Realms.

A wicked and selfish deity, its goal is to cover all the Mortal Realms in the verminous legions of its people, thus increasing its own power and eventually becoming the master of the other Dark Gods in the Great Game.

The Great Horned Rat is often referred to as a "he," with the masculine gender, though in fact, like all the entities composed of magical energy called the Chaos Gods, it in fact has no gender.

History

The Great Horned Rat is the fifth major Chaos God, rising to join the pantheon of the Ruinous Powers in the last days of the World-That-Was. The Horned One's origins can be traced back to the World-That-Was, with the creation of its hideous people and its own birth within the Realm of Chaos due to the toiling of an unnamed mortal clad in grey.

That mortal's work -- the creation of an unholy artefact known as a Screaming Bell -- brought an entire city low and destroyed not only its Human and Dwarfish citizens, but also created the skaven -- the end product of both mundane rats and the human children of the city being exposed to the mutating effects of warpstone.

With the death or mutation of the city's mortal inhabitants, the skaven proceeded unopposed to overtake the ruined city's subterranean ruins, which were dubbed Skavenblight. The skaven first became aware of the Horned Rat's existence following a failed attempt to expand their already substantial home -- some unforeseen wrench in the works of a great tunneling machine had destroyed every building in Skavenblight, save for one -- the large church in the centre of the city's ruins that housed the first Screaming Bell.

From the church, those skaven that had survived watched as twelve grey-furred ratmen stepped out, the first Grey Seers, who proceeded to explain that they were the ones who had been chosen by the Horned Rat to lead their people, as ordained by their scabrous new deity.

Since then, the Great Horned Rat has served as the symbolic leader of the Council of Thirteen -- the skaven's twelve most powerful leaders, with the Great Horned Rat claiming the thirteenth seat, the most powerful on the council.

Unbeknownst to the skaven, the Great Horned Rat plays much more of an active role in its children's lives than they realise -- just not as expected. The Great Horned Rat serves on a second council -- the Shadow Council of Thirteen, forged of itself and the Verminlords -- its own rat-like daemons -- each representing one of the twelve main Great Clans of the skaven.

For the most part, the Great Horned Rat stays in the shadows, watching its children quarrel with one another, sabotage other species and cause general mayhem in the Mortal Realms. However, on rare occasions, the Great Horned Rat will deem it necessary to personally interfere in the affairs of mortals.

This has usually occurred whenever a skaven civil war has gotten out of hand; this has only occurred twice, but the restoration of the skaven as a species in the Mortal Realms could mean the Great Horned Rat's presence will be more keenly felt.

Recently, the Great Horned Rat has been able to ascend into the pantheon of the major Chaos Gods; though still regarded as a lesser deity by its brother gods, it is only a matter of time until the Horned One becomes as dangerous as the other Dark Gods.

Splintered Aspects

While the skaven view their god with some commonalities, the Great Horned Rat is also viewed as representing different aspects of skaven life and is even named differently from clan to clan. These variances can be wildly different, though tend to always be consistent with the culture of the skaven clan in question.

For instance, the Clans Verminus view the Great Horned Rat as a warlike god who demands his worshippers rend their enemies to pieces with tooth and claw. They refer to him as the "Great Conqueror" or the "King of Lashes."

The Clans Pestilens view their god as the "Great Corruptor," who brings ruination to the Mortal Realms through his mastery of disease, plague and virulent pathogens.

The Clans Skryre refer to him as the "Dark Innovator" and imagine him as a twisted mechanical beast for whom they twist and re-purpose the technologies in the world.

The Clans Moulder call him their "Writhing Broodsire" and "Fleshgifter," imagining him as a heavy mass of ratflesh.

Finally, the Clans Eshin refer to the Great Horned Rat as the "Murder Shadow" or "Scuttler-in-the-Dark" who brings low kings, noble lords and the other mortal races' champions.

The Grey Seers have their own secret names for their god, thirteen names specifically, that is known only among their order.

Ambitions and Mythology

"The other gods underestimate the Great Horned Rat...at their own Peril."

Skaven Battletome

The Great Horned Rat was once a minor Chaos God in the time of the World-That-Was, brought into being by the birth of the skaven race. The Great Horned Rat, like its people, is paranoid and abominable, now risen in power to compete with the other major Ruinous Powers. It seeks the ruination of the Mortal Realms like its brother deities, not just for its own sake, but rather to gain primacy amongst the other Chaos Gods in their neverending Great Game for ultimate domination of the Realm of Chaos.

Viewing his brother gods as rivals, the Great Horned Rat believes the elimination of their worshippers will render them weak and therefore set the stage for the Horned One itself to become the paramount member of the Chaos pantheon and the winner of the Great Game.

To this end, the god uses its children to visit destruction upon all surface-dweller societies. However, the Great Horned Rat's love of ruin is not limited to its enemies;t it also enjoys watching its foul children tear each other apart, enact scheme after scheme, and commit atrocity after atrocity.

But in true skaven fashion, this skaven-on-skaven conflict also has a purpose and is not merely for their god's enjoyment. The Great Horned Rat has so primed the minds of its children that the society they create is brutal and merciless. Only the most depraved, cunning, and deadly of the ratmen can survive, let alone thrive. The weak are forbidden to breed, are worked until death, and barely survive day-to-day, a savage culture all of the Horned One's devising.

The Great Horned Rat believes the veritable testing ground that is skaven society will only make the skaven stronger and therefore more able to carry out the Great Ascendancy against the other mortal species and Chaos Gods when the time comes.[1]

Sources

  • Chaos Battletome: Skaven (2nd Edition), Prologue V, pp. 4-6
  1. Skaven Battletome, Page 4,5,6
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