| Spoiler warning!|
This article contains a lot of plot details about the story.
Made by Tacimur on deviantART
|Species:||Dinaelurus illumina sapiens (Named)|
|Pelt Color:||Fawn/tawny with cream underbelly|
|Past:||Un-Named (for some time)|
||Bonechewer, unknown Named males, Thakur|
|Book Appearances:||All books|
Ratha has a sand-colored (also described as tawny or tawny/golden or fawn/gold) pelt with white fur around her whiskers and green eyes. Her chest and under belly fur has been described as "creamy" colored. As a yearling in Ratha's Creature, she was described by Thakur how she was sheding her fawn coat for a mature coat.
Ratha makes her first appearance in the series as a yearling (adolescent) herder. She is seen on the verge of capturing a three-horn deer after sprinting tight circles around it, tiring it, then using her clan's technique of paralyzing prey with their stare. When a dragonfly breaks her concentration, the deer goes back on offense and charges. Her teacher, Thakur, commands her to flee up a pine tree as he kills the deer with a bite to the neck. As she climbs down, she's curious to know why and he response that it had learned not to fear her. She's tempted to eat it until Thakur reminds her of Meoran's wrath if any fangs touches the carcass before his before helping him drag the carcass back to the clan. She complains that there is never enough meat at the clan kill for her fill, having to wait even longer for those younger than her to eat first.Thakur cheers her up by announcing that she was to stand guard with him and the other herders agianst a prejudged attack from the Un-Named, primitive cats opposite of the Named who cannot think or speak, who treathen their way of life. As she trails behind Thakur later that night, she isn't able to keep up and falls behind. She spots an Un-Named figure sleeking along low branches and disappears, she turns tail and runs back before reuniting with Thakur. When she tells him she had seen an Un-Named One, he retorts that it must have been a cub pretending to be a night hunter since the Un-Named never allows themselves to be seen. She defends herself by confirming that it was the exact same cat she had seen sleeping at the edge of the meadow after a fight with Cherfan. Thakur becomes tense as he drills question as to if she heard the Un-Named One speak, to which Ratha gently reminds him that the Un-Named are not clever enough to speak. Further up the trail, they notice a shadow pelting away, feeling arrogant having been proved right they chase after him with no avail. Back guarding the herd, Ratha starts to wonder if the intruder was actually a clan-cub when she leaves to find Thakur. He is seen chatting with another clan herder and teacher, Fessran, on top of the sunning stone as she appears. Fessran congradulates her determination to work hard, and Thakur commends her as one of the only female cubs who is honing the herder skill and worked hard to do so. She becomes furious with him however, as Fessran believes he is being "short-whiskered" like their clan leader Meoran. She's still fuming over Meoran's ban of training female cubs as herders, as evident of Drani's daughter Singra, who was denied being selected for two seasons (years) and have now grown "soft and fat". Claiming that her worth to him is so low, that he would he have no problem pairing her off with a gray-coat (older male) and put his whelp in her place. Heavy mist cloaks the meadow by the time she calm herself. She leaves to tend to her herd and heartbeats later, the Un-Named raiders attacks. She is told by Thakur to stay and keep Fessran's dapplebacks together.
No sooner does she complies, Ratha is once again confronted by the raider dragging off with one of the clan's herdbeast. She charges, catching him off-guard and knocking him down. However, he is bigger and stronger, quickly dominating the brawl and mauls her pinned down. Only when he thinks she's died does she spring up and breaks his lower fang and shreds an ear. The idea of using tricks on him similar to herding herdbeast since the Un-Named weren't any smarter, and it works for a while as she hurls insults at her opponent, mocking his inability to understand. To her shock, response back and even mimics her insults, leaving her paralyzed and dumbfounded. He lunges back into the fight and wares her out enough to drag off the herdbeast, while she yowls insults before blacking out.
When she comes too, dawn hasn't broke yet and she takes the oppurtunity, though brused and battered, to retrieve some of Fessran's lost herd back to the meadow. She reunites with Thakur, who retorts that Meoran had underestimated the enemy raid, does she confide that she'd fought the same raider from before and inquires why he'd asked her about the raider she had meet in the meadow. Thakur pleads her to forget but when she's about to pry Fessran returns limping, angry Ratha had failed to keep half the herd together before she leaves elsewhere. Clan herders Srass, Tevran and Gare arrive in the meadow after the first wave. Srass greets Thakur by his mockery name "Thakur Torn-Claw" and Thakur in response, call his more honorable title "Srass of Salarfang Den". He reports that the Un-Named were growing bolder, attacking a back-up team of herders before they entered the battle and badly bitten two. He advices that it isn't safe embarking on the trail back to camp and to dig out a shallow den. When she innocently says the raiders only kills herdbeast. He mumbles that they are willing to kill the Named out of shear hatred. Tevran reminds him of clan leader Meoran's words of the raider's stupidity, and he mumbles that beasts can still hate before Ratha and Thakur leaves.
Feed up at Thakur for not answering her questions, she leaves him in the dust as she belts off into the fog, left alone to ponder her budding awareness of questioning things she shouldn't and fear what it may all mean. She comes to the startling realization that the reason her teacher cared enough to wonder if the raiders talked was because he knows they can. When the rising sun lifts the fog to reveal the carnaige of three-horns, dapplebacks and torn bodies of both the attackers and defends, she notes how her clan set themselves apart to the Un-Named yet they all look similiar in death.
Mornings after the raid, the clan discovers the true extent of the attack as more herdbeasts were killed in comparison to the amount of those born in the spring. They are desperate enough for herders that they've shortened the training time and graduated students with partial training to guard the herds, including Ratha. She is glad to no longer train under Thakur's tutelage because she doesn't trust him anymore. While on guard, a bolt from the sky sets the forest on fire. Ratha along with the clan gets the herd across a river while she almost drowns in the process. She awakes on the beach a few days later in a dug out den on the beach clutter with clansmen and herdbeast. She's in the midsts of grooming herself when she is called upon by Thakur and Meoran. She greets the clan leader by offering her throat, to which he brushes his sharp fangs dangerously close. In the processes, she remembers ruours of who old Baire had never abused the right. He insist, against Thakur's better judgement, to return to clan ground even though much of the grazing grasses are ashes and that the clan was to swim back across the river the next morning, whether Ratha is physically capable or not. She almost drowns again without the help of Thakur, and bristles at the realization that Meoran hadn't even bothered to wait. Neither had her other clanmate in fear of angering the clan leader.
Determined not to prove Meoran right by allowing to think of her weak, she is eager to return while struggling to coax a tramatized Thakur through the ash burnt forest. Eventually she becames angered and snaps at him at who Meoran was right to call him a coward and that his father was "an Un-Named Bonechewer". Thakur lashes out a her and confirmes that her ill-tempered rumor was actual truth as the reveals that he is infact half-clan. His mother Reshara sired him with an Un-Named male and was subsequently banished after birth. Although she succeeded in taking one of her cubs, the father was unsuccessful, murdered by Meoran and punishes Thakur by pulling some of his front claws. Baire took pity on him however and not only allowed him to stay but named him as well.
With the conflict defused, the two continues through the forest. They come across dwindling flames to which she figures out pretty quickly how to smoother them out effectively. Fessran finds them to fetch them back and she shares her secret to killing the Red Tongue with her. When Fessran finds another flame fighting to out it, Ratha becomes interest peaks as she gets defensive in protecting her creature. Thakur flees and Fessran leaves since she made it apparent she chooses dying flame over her kin. She soon discovers how to keep her creature alive by feeding it wood and is rewarded by it warmth. Fessran returns to check-up on Ratha and is shock she had fought to keep it alive. She convinces her that her creature is only dangerous when it get to large and that it'll keep her warm throughtout the night. Thakur returns as well, and is horrified that even Fessran has accepted the dreadful creature now. He tells Ratha of how he regrets training her as it was a mistake and a waste before he leaves.
The next morning she decide to present her creature to the clan and the two of them devise a method of carrying the Red Tongue like a torch back. When they return, the clan is hostile towards Ratha as the fire hides her scent and Fessran calls the clan out for their foolishness. When she present the fire to Meoran, he tells her to take the wretched thing and leave, stripping her of name and kinship. Enraged, she brandishes her torch and challenges anyone brave enough to kill what is unkillable. Thakur speaks out amongst the crowd, objecting to the fire being able to die and she is hit hard by his betrayal. Meoran digs his fangs into his scruff and shakes him violently for answers, Thakur tells her to take her creature and run before he kills her. With the power of the flame wanning, she and Fessran turns tail and run.
She sprints out of clan ground with the pack not too far behind her. As the two dashes to get across the creek, she slips on mud, toppling her into the water. Fessran fishes her out but by then the torch had already fizzing out. Realizing they were too weak from hunger to run, Ratha tells her to feign victor in killing the Red Tongue and chasing her off clan ground, smearing her blood on her to prove otherwise. She would avoid the clan's wrath while she run. After she faintly overhears her plan working, she takes off into the night, off clan ground and into marshlands. Exhausted, she collaspe near a rotting log only to wake shortly after realizing she slept on a termite mound and laps some off them up before galloping on.
The first few days of her exile she tries her unsuccessfully at hunting. While is attempting a sloppy kill of a marsh-shrew, her catch is stolen by the raider and eats it infront of her. Before he leaves, he tells Ratha that "only good hunters eat" which sinks her into despair. She realizes all of her prior knowledge that had served her in the clan is worthless. She tries again to catch a shrew, this time using her wit. She figures if she bury its burrow hole, the shrew would become helpless but fails when it escapes her through another burrow and finds herself with a muzzle filled with mud. Desperate for water she tries to drink from a stream until the raider returns and warns her that she is about to drink bad water and that it'll make her sicker. She questions why he is stalking her and if he was going to kill and eat her. He replies that he is interested to watch such a poor hunter in all his life, and against her clan's rumours that "we do not eat our own kind" and that she was too scrawny to be worth killing. She ignors his offer to show her a cleaner stream in favor of sleep and wonders why his face and smell was familiar. He grabs her by the scruff to encourage her up with no avail. He gets frustrated and leaves.
Ratha wakes up to find the raider return to her with food. She devours most of the shrew before she realizes he caught it for her and askes why. He replies that it was for the same reason he pushed her away from the bad water. She follows him to a spring where she drinks and washes the thick mud off her pelt. She is about to leave when the raider inquires to where and she notes that he looked beautiful in the setting sun before killing the thought. She proclaims she will go hunt now that she has the strength, althought the raider points out that all of her agility and cleverness pales to what little she knows about her prey, thus making her a poor hunter. To her growing suspicion, the raider shows kindness in his offer to teach her the ways of hunting. With her options limited she agrees, but protest that if he can call her "clan-cat", she must call him something if she is talking to him and she settles to dub him Bonechewer. The two spends quite some time together as Bonechewer teaches Ratha about his world. He explains to her that the Un-Named keeps to their territories when Ratha ask why they haven't come across others. She argues that, if so be the case, why had her allowed her to stay? He response that it was because she was different, which confuses her when he claims her clan name wasn't the unique factor but senses she wouldn't get the answer from him.Summer transitions to fall when Ratha sheds her coat along with the last of her spots, growing back a thick gold and cream pelt, marking the end of her adolences. It is winter when she awakes in the den "itchy and irriatable" when Bonechewer is out foraging. She meets him again when they find a slain three-horn fawn in their lake, possibly a predator's kill washed away in the storm last night. Ratha has eaten her fill by the time they noticed one gray and one spotted intruder watching the kill. She notes how the spotted one was a half-grown cub and the other an aging elder, both looking "rough and wild" with the eyes of the hunter. Bonechewer niether attacks or challenges thems, insteads asks the younger one if there are more than he and his companion. Ratha compares how sharp and clear the cubs eyes were like Bonechewer's in contrast to the dull stare the older one carries. The cub response that there were due to their prey becoming harder to hunt. The little spotted-coat reminds Bonechewer of "the wanderer's claim" when he tries to shoo them away and allows them to eat at the carcass, much to Ratha's disbelief and outrage since they haven't earn the rights to the kill.
She watches the old gray-coat with curiousity. When she eats her fill, Ratha blocks her path and prods her with questions. The old one response with a near swipe to the head, and the spotted-coat replies that words on her were wasted as she cannot speak and barely understands him. She apologizes but the cub points out that she wouldn't care, that he liked her company because she is a good hunter and that she didn't talk. She finds herself without words and the two depart soon after. leaving her uncomfortable from the encounter.
The next morning Ratha awakes hotter and even more uncomfortable since yesterday. She finds herself being irrisitably attracted to Bonechewer but doesn't know why. She and Bonechewer envitably mates over the coarse of the next few days. When her heat ends, she glad to have her sanity back but is a tinge remorseful at the loss of her new sensations. Days later, the closest encounters with the Un-Named are of tracks as they pass through their territory. She notices how anxious Bonechewer is becoming as he is seen remarking their borders and concludes that, they too, will leave. To where and why, she doesn't know. She follows Bonechewer one day to a clearing where he meets an unusually black, Un-Named female he calls "Nightling" along with her two heavy, twany males each possessing the same eyes as the Old Gray. She speaks about a gathering place calling all the Un-Named to arrive, and urges him to come since few among them have the gift of wit. He turns her down and she tells him that he would be wise to return to the clan and leave his territory to the Un-Named, since he would be betraying them and leaves with her guards. Ratha learns of Bonechewer's past with the Named where he confesses and states that she was clever enough to have figured it out in due time. Despite warning her about seeing things she'll not like, Ratha is even more determined to go with him, since she would have his cubs and food grower scarcer in their territory. Later she would piece together Bonechewer's brotherhood with Thakur.
On the trail, Ratha and Bonechewer eventually meets Un-Named ones. She continues to observe the Un-Named and questions why does the gift of intelligence where in some "it barely flickered, while in others it burned," despite how they were the same kind as the Named. She notes how familiar the trail is to her and realizes that their journey was leading them into the heart of clan ground. Days later they arrived at the meeting place, a stone clearing, where the Nightling appears agian. She tells Bonechewer to meet among the stones-with-fangs with the council leaders before commanding at her companion guards away. She questions Ratha's presence, since she hadn't seen or smelt her before although she hastily denies not having the gift. Ratha is insulted being talked down to and against Bonechewer's wishes, she decides to follow him to the cave.
She overhears the council leaders plan of annihilating the Named and to take back the land the clan stole. Bonechewer tries to reason that the clan's herds feeds them in the harsh season and by destroying them would condemn them all, but his words falls on deaf ears. She flees noticed and Bonechewer follows her. She is appalled at her mate for going through with the plan but he reasons with her that, although he has no desire too, he has no choice as he has no control over the matter and risk the lives of him and his family. He also reminds Ratha that she no longer bares any loyalty towards the clan who drove her out, and the thought of vengence starts to appeal to her.
In the first raid, Ratha is lead by a young male barely out of adolecents, along with the Old Gray, who have abandoned her companion and attached to Ratha, to her dismay. During the raid she attempts to mentally detach herself from the Named and lure a three-horn away from the herd. Unfortunately, she displayed skills are identified by the herders. Srass gives chase and almost kills her until the Old Gray and raiders overpowers him. A young silver coat crushes Srass skull despite the senior herder baring his throat in submission and Ratha's pleas to spare him. Even after death, his body is mualed by the Un-Named, haunting Ratha and prompting her not to re-enter the battles. Her progessing pregnancy demotes her to lugging kills back to the pack and stand guard in the rain with the Gray, whom she learns to push aside some of her greviances and tolerate her company. She becomes distraught as her growing belly rises attention and she come to realize her cubs would be born in the worst season and would end up losing them. She also get downtrodden when she sees Bonechewer ignoring her as he eats the best prey with the council leaders and planners. Bonechewer, however, begins to visit Ratha, bringing her fresh meat from the kill, who she shares with the Gray.
Eventually the Un-Named overtake clan ground, taking the Named's dens and herds. In the camp, Ratha is haunted by faint memories of the clan and refusing to pick a den, instead taking refugee up a tree. Snow blankets the territory and Bonechewer takes Ratha to a den he dug out of the hard earth before the snow fell, telling her who he understands her inability to find comfort in the dens as much as it is for him to sleep in Reshara's den.
When spring finally comes around, she and Bonechewer leaves the Un-Named to returns to their marshland. Ratha soon gives birth to a litter of four, naming the first born and only female, Thistle-chaser, based on the cub's tendencies of chasing thistles despite it boring in her nose afterwards. Ratha nurses her cubs with Bonechewer, along with her dream of restoring a new and better clan with her little family. She tries to explain her plan to her mate, but he seems more interested in young, proving to be an affectionate father.
From the day the cubs' eyes opened, she has been waiting patiently for signs of "the gift" to appear but grows anxious by the lack of results. Bonechewer continues to council patience into her but as summer rolls around she begins to doubt their intelligence. The cubs begin to mimiker her words and gestures but her pride fades when she realized the cubs didn't understand what they meant. She and Bonechewer gets into an arguement. She learns that her off-spring had genetically inherit being witless through Bonechewer's heritage and had no hope of speech, as he described similiar results to his cubs he sired before Ratha. She flies into a blind rage and violently attacks Bonechewer and without realizing it, fatally biting Thistle in the process. Enraged himself now, Bonechewer banishes Ratha from the family and follows her to the edge of the territory before she leaves.
For several days of summer, she wanders aimlessly, trying not to think of her past or future and finds herself on a makeshift clan ground. She is caught by Thakur, who was skeptical at first but soon become estatic by her return. She demands Thakur to confess why he had betrayed her on the night she was exiled and he reveals the although Meoran is cruel and stupid, his kind understands his power, where her creature creates enough fear to render the Named to wailing cubs, Meoran saw it to and was right to drive it away. Thakur tells her to wait as he returns to his herd and comes back with merger rations of food from what's left of the herds. He urges Ratha's to return as Meoran would be foolish to turn her away with so little of the Named left. She confronts Meoran and the Named, picking out Fessran, Cherfan, his mate and Srass's son. Despite Thakur assumption, Meoran still refuses to take her back and Ratha declares the clan is better of standing together without her, free from the taint of the Red Tongue, and better for her before submitting to him and leaves.
She mills around clan ground border planning to leave in the autumn. Thakur, who continues to visit her and bring her meat,is aware of this himself and wishes her the best. Thakur spends some time talking to her with news of the clan, one of which, includes one of Cherfan's cubs died trying to help defend the herd with his father. Despite Ratha's hatred of those of the Named and Un-Named, she can't help but feel pity and mourn the loss. As the season changes, she finds herself surprisingly unwilling to go.
An unexpected rainstorm brings agian the Red Tongue to Ratha. Fessran appears before her, disguisted by Meoran's stupidity in allowing an untrained cub to guard the herds. She pleads with Ratha that her time to lead has come, that she will follow her agian when she takes up her creature again. She refuse, still haunted by the past. Fessran takes it as fear of the fire and bounds into the midst of the burning forest to forge for a torch and wait for Meoran to come.
Thakur appears to warn them of the clan's coming and to throw away the Red Tongue. In the confrontation with Meoran, Fessran losses her creature leaving Ratha to fend off the massive leader, knowning she couldn't win to his size. Thakur tries to reasons that the Named doesn't bare fangs against the Named, but his words are wasted as Meoran mauls him repeatedly. Ratha rises to the opening and lodges her torch in his jaws. The tyrannical leader soon falls and withers from the flames burning inside out, proclaiming Ratha as the new leader of the Named.
Armed with her creature again, Ratha leads her people back to the dens in preparation for the Un-Named forces. When midnight comes, the Un-Named attacks but with the Named branding torches, they no sooner turn tail and flee. Trampling over each other back to the forest while the less fortune are seared with the Red Tongue. Dawn arrives and reveals the clan truimphant at last. Thakur tells Ratha that a fallen Un-Named one has asked for her. Bewildered, she goes to him and discovers it is Bonechewer, his chest trampled in and beyond the medical knowledge of Thakur. With is last words, he tells Ratha how foolish he was to lead his pack of cowards. He claims the cubs he sired were "savage little killers," scarcely able to keep them from each other's throats, let alone his, and that cubs left soon after her, giving him nothing to hold to his land. He request to be mercy killed. Unable to watch, Thakur delivers his brother a throat bite and reports that his last words to her was that "clan leaders are not fordidden to grieve," and at the words she wails and unleashed all of her past rage and sorrow she had felt for seasons. She vows that even though the power of the Red Tongue is madness, it is also life and her people will survive as it is the only life they have left.
In Clan Ground Ratha was facing the Un-Named cat which they later named Shongshar. Later after Ratha cast out his Un-Named cubs, he took his revenge and used the Red-Toungue against her.
- Thakur has been with her in all the books, and shows only one instance of hostility to her (when she reveals her mastery of the Red Tongue).
- Bonechewer is her first mate; however, they "break up" after she injures Thistle-Chaser, and after he dies Ratha becomes Thakur's mate.
- Shongshar was a friend at first, but after his betrayal to her, she thinks of him in a cursed light and hates what he's done.
- Ratharee is Ratha's pet lemur-like animal and closely bonded companion.
- Thistle-chaser is Ratha's daughter. They begin estranged, but they grow closer through their adventures and plights. "Ratha-mother" is the nickname Thistle-Chaser gives the leader.
- Fessran is Ratha's closest friend, having supported her in all her adventures. Ratha trusts her enough to make her the first Lead Firekeeper.
- Meoran is Ratha's first adversary. He is mysogynistic and hateful toward any females who aspire to do more than give birth to cubs.
"To Ratha, the Red Tongue was an animal and its life should end with its death. To find the Red Tongue alivehere, even this faint and flickering part of it, was contraty to all she knew of life or death."
~ Narration in Ratha's Creature, page 58
"This is my creature. I have brought it to the clan. I am Ratha, who once herded three-horn deer. Now I herd the Red Tongue."
-Ratha brings the Red Tongue to the Clan in Ratha's Creature, pages 86-87
"Look how she runs that little animal and has no fear of it. Not to train her, Yaran, would be a waste and the clan can't waste ability like hers." ~Thakur trying to coax Yaran in allowing him to train his daughter in Ratha's Creature, page 8
Bonechewer: "Your clan teaches that the Un-Named are witless. Why should you be upset to find that some of them are?"
Ratha: "I thought Meoran waas wrong....What I was taught; it was just words. I said them, I learned them; I even questioned them, but I never knew what those words meant. Not until I looked into the gray coat's eyes and found nothing there."
~Ratha about the Un-Named old one in Ratha's Creature, page 134
"This is my creature. It shall be yous as well. I will teach you to keep it and feed it, for it must never be allowed to die. You shall be called the Named no longer. Now you are the People of the Red Tongue."
~Ratha to the People of the Red Tongue in Ratha's Creature, page 243
- In her exile in Ratha's Creature, Ratha is only a "yearling" or around a year old, when she goes into her heat for the first time. This suggests that the Named females are capable of reaching sexual maturity by the time they hit their first year. However appears that's common in the Clan for the younger females to wait until their second year of age. (It could be that she was simply an early bloomer, as it's said that Thakur may have been a late bloomer, since he "took a long time to grow up.")
- In Ratha's Courage is mentioned that Thistle-chaser had 2 brothers. This is a mistake because actually Ratha give birth to 3 sons and Clare Bell confirmed this number for the WIP project of the graphic novel. Two of these three sons have been found (Night-That-Eats-Stars and False Bonechewer), meaning only one cub is remaining!