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"Let the wisdom of Rathma protect us from those that would do us harm."

The Books of Kalan (excerpt)(src)

Rathma, whose birth name was Linarian, is a first-generation nephalem and tutor to the first Necromancer of his namesake's order, the Priests of Rathma. Rathma's parents were the ringleaders of Sanctuary's creation, Lilith and Inarius; he balked against their different yet equally domineering ways from an early age.

Rathma was a key participant in the Sin War, acting in the shadows alongside the mystical being Trag'Oul to sabotage both his parent's causes and preserve the Balance by ensuring that neither his parents nor their respective races could dominate the future of the world. Subsequently, he was one of the few residents of Sanctuary able to recall the events of the war, which was assumed to be an allowance for the original nephalem due to their highly advanced ages by that time. He then established the Priests of Rathma along with founding necromancer Kalan, ensuring the Balance would forevermore have its protectors even if the world could not remember the events that nearly destroyed it.

BiographyEdit

Early LifeEdit

"Inarius and I stole the Worldstone, and now we have a group of renegades to follow us. I have created a new world where we can live in peace. A place of infinite possibilities. Inarius believes that escape is enough. In time, I will show him that even victory is possible. But first, I will give him children."

Lilith(src)

Linarian was born to the angel Inarius and the demon Lilith, who, among their followers, had escaped the Eternal Conflict of Heaven and Hell to create Sanctuary. Linarian sought out the deep recesses of the world, and studied the cycle of life and death, teaching it to those willing to venture into his subterranean habitat.[2]

The renegade angels and demons, seeing that the nephalem were far more powerful than their parents, argued as to whether to kill or spare their new progeny. While Inarius weighed his options in solitude, Lilith lashed out and killed the remaining demons and angels to prevent them from harming the nephalem. Horrified, Inarius could still not bear to kill Lilith,[2] and banished her into the Void.[3] He then attuned the Worldstone to cause the powers of the nephalem to diminish over time. Through each subsequent nephalem generation, their powers diminished, effectively giving birth to the weaker, mortal race known as humanity.[2] During this time, Linarian rebelled against his father’s plans, strengthening his power while seeking those who were aligned with his goals.[4] Living among the first generation of humanity, Linarian discovered a fundamental truth; that the forces of Light and Darkness would clash eternally, and that both were a threat to the world.[5]

At some point, Linarian had offspring, who would have children of their own, becoming humans over time. One branch of his descendants formed the ul-Dyssian line.[3]

The DragonEdit

At some point, Linarian was contacted by Trag'Oul—a celestial being who was tied to Sanctuary. Aware of the threat that Heaven and Hell posed to Sanctuary, Trag'Oul, with some hesitation, took on Linarian as a student.[6] He taught Linarian the concept of the Balance—the delicate interplay between the powers of order and chaos. Linarian eventually changed his name to "Rathma" (a name given to him by Trag'Oul) which meant "keeper of the Balance," representing both his identity and his charge.[3] Rathma proved himself an able student, and through Trag'Oul, received wisdom that angels and demons lacked.[6] He began working to keep Sanctuary hidden from the High Heavens and limit the influence of the Burning Hells there.[4] Rathma served Trag'Oul for centuries, and in doing so, kept the Balance within Sanctuary.[6]

The Sin WarEdit

Scales of the SerpentEdit

Recruiting MendelnEdit

"Who are you? I know you, but not your name!"
"Yes, we have come to know each other quite well, son of Diomedes...and I thus apologize for what I must do. Unfortunately, you leave me no choice."

Mendeln and Rathma meet(src)

During the events of the Sin War, Rathma sensed the return of his mother Lilith, so he started searching for a way to stop her.[4] Aware that Heaven had not discovered Sanctuary, he was willing to bide his time, and counter Lilith and Inarius as required.[3]

Rathma and Trag'Oul worked alone for some time until they knew about the young Ul-Diomed brothers (Uldyssian and Mendeln), both of whom distrusted Rathma and were very skeptical towards him. Nonetheless, after some time, Rathma decided to select Mendeln as his first disciple.

He talked to Mendeln through the reanimated body of Achilios, before appearing to Mendeln directly. He was vague on the details, but gave his name as Rathma, before disappearing with Mendeln, leaving Achilios to shamble off. The two appeared in a realm of endless darkness. Ignoring Mendeln for a moment, Rathma conversed with Trag'Oul, discussing Lilith and Inarius, whom Rathma considered more likely to reduce him to dust than his mother. Mendeln, able to hear the conversation but not see Trag'Oul, demanded that the source of the second voice show itself. Rathma bid that the dragon show himself, reminding him that Mendeln was mortal, and that there couldn't be any explanation without Mendeln seeing the guardian.

Mendeln beheld Trag'Oul, and through him, realized that Rathma was Lilith's son. Rathma did not deny it, telling Mendeln that he was his distant ancestor, and through him, Inarius and Lilith were as well. Mendeln was taken aback at the revelation that all humans were descended of angels and demons, but Rathma assured him that neither he or Trag'Oul sought the son of Diomedes as their puppet. Rathma telepathically conversed with Trag'Oul, who relayed to Mendeln what the nephalem had told him. Hell was aware of Sanctuary's existence, and because of Lilith, it was only a matter of time until Heaven discovered the world as well. That even if Lilith was defeated and Inarius offered peace, Sanctuary would likely be destroyed by one faction or the other, since neither Heaven or Hell could abide the other side gaining control of the world. To avert this, they needed Mendeln's help.[3]

Uldyssian and the WorldstoneEdit

Rathma and Mendeln returned to Sanctuary, where they met with Uldyssian, who had been incapacitated by Lilith. Mendeln wanted to help from the outset, but Rathma held him at bay, telling him that Lilith would have slaughtered him if he tried to interfere directly. Uldyssian was taken into Trag'Oul's realm, who, like Mendeln, was aghast to learn that Rathma was Lilith's son, and demanded to know what Rathma was, if not a demon. Rathma explained that he was descended of Lilith and Inarius both, and that he was a nephalem. Uldyssian wanted to leave, and in a fit of anger, unleashed his powers. Rathma was aghast—Trag'Oul had told him that they were too weak to do this. Trag'Oul responded that Uldyssian and "the others" were different, that they were neither nephalem or human, but something more. Uldyssian was cast out of the realm and found himself at Mount Arreat. There, he met with Bul-Kathos.

Afterwards, Rathma joined them and was disappointed to see how far gone Bul-Kathos was—his original body had withered away, and only his spirit endured. Dirt and grass had formed around him, giving the semblance of a body. Regardless, Rathma informed Bul-Kathos that Lilith had returned to the world and that in such a situation, he could understand why he wished to show Uldyssian what lay inside the mountain. Bul-Kathos consented, and they entered the mountain via teleportation, getting as close to the Worldstone as possible before resorting to physical means. He told Uldyssian that Lilith had taken control of the Edyrem through Serenthia. Uldyssian was aggrieved, but Rathma told him that for now, they had to let Lilith play out the charade, as they had more important matters to deal with.

Rathma led Uldyssian into the Worldstone Chamber, where they were attacked by winged creatures. Uldyssian was able to dispatch them, once again catching Rathma off-guard as to just how powerful Uldyssian had become. He explained the nature of the Worldstone to Uldyssian, that it was not only because of the Worldstone that Sanctuary was hidden from Heaven and Hell but because of Inarius's tampering, every generation of nephalem had been weaker than the one before. Yet the latter clearly wasn't true, and Rathma realized that it was because of Lilith.

He and Trag'Oul felt that Mendeln had great potential for helping them maintain the Balance, and he began to examine and watch Mendeln without Mendeln being aware. Rathma eventually confronted Mendeln directly, and though the young man was doubtful at first, he joined forces with Rathma and Trag'Oul, becoming the second necromancer in history. Even after Mendeln became his student, Uldyssian found it hard to befriend or even trust Rathma after what happened between him and Rathma's mother Lilith. Because of this, humanity's nephalem birthright was returning. Uldyssian was merely the first.

But what to do next? Rathma admitted that he had considered altering the Worldstone to once again dampen humanity's powers, but left the choice to Uldyssian. Uldyssian settled on using the Worldstone to make humanity more powerful, given the threat of the Triune. Uldyssian tried to alter the Worldstone's resonance, but instead altered the Worldstone itself, something that Rathma hadn't thought was possible. What this meant, however, Rathma couldn't say.[3]

The ReturnEdit

"I am disappointed in you, my son."
"As you have ever been since my birth, my father."

Inarius and Rathma reunite(src)

Rathma and Uldyssian returned to Trag'Oul's realm, where they met with Mendeln. Uldyssian lost patience and demanded to know if his actions at the Worldstone had actually changed anything. Rathma said that they'd need time to observe, but Uldyssian had no patience for that. Trag'Oul interjected, stating that Inarius had become aware of the change in the Worldstone. Rathma sent Uldyssian back to Sanctuary, while he and Mendeln departed to meet with Inarius. They arrived somewhere in the region surrounding Arreat. There, they met with Inarius.

The reunion was strained, as was the manner of humanity and the nephalem. Inarius calmly stated that if necessary, mankind would be removed from the world, for it was only by his will they existed. Inarius, losing patience, entered Mount Arreat, and found the results of Uldyssian's handiwork. Rathma, enjoying his father's horror, declared that "he has done the impossible," to which Inarius responded that "he" may have doomed them all, before disappearing in a flash of light. Rathma explained to Mendeln that only individuals like Inarius or Lilith should have been able to manipulate the Worldstone, but Uldyssian had changed it in a manner that the angel could not comprehend. Rathma warned, however, in regards to Inarius's parting threat, that the angel might seek to remake Sanctuary anew, rather than live in a world where there existed creatures he could not control. Which would mean the end of mankind if the angel went through with such an idea.

In the aftermath, Rathma and Trag'Oul sent Mendeln to Partha for what they called a "final test." Mendeln completed it, but in the meantime, Trag'Oul lost all trace of Achilios. They realized that he must have been taken by an angel, and ergo, Heaven had discovered the existence of Sanctuary. Rathma fell into despair, believing all to be lost. He explained to Mendeln that against Lilith, against Hell, and even his father, he had been willing to play the long game, but with Heaven aware of the world's existence, oblivion was nigh.[3]

The Veiled ProphetEdit

A Time of AngelsEdit

The Edyrem destroyed the Temple of the Triune. However, Rathma urged Mendeln to speak with Uldyssian, as he feared that his brother was growing arrogant as his powers continued to grow. Mendeln defended Uldyssian's actions in stamping out the remains of the Triune, but Rathma warned him that in doing so, Uldyssian was blind to Inarius's machinations. Mendeln assured him that Uldyssian was aware of Inarius, but the emotional wounds Lilith had made still lingered. In the meantime though, there was still the matter of Achilios. Neither Trag'Oul nor Rathma had been able to find him, and if an angel other than Inarius had indeed taken him, then the implications were dire. Rathma concluded that the angel who had abducted Achilios was Tyrael, and that he had come to Sanctuary alone to judge Inarius for his crimes, along with the world of Sanctuary itself.

From afar, Rathma watched as Uldyssian's army came under attack by a horde of mantises. They concluded that this was not the work of the Mage Clans, and that someone was trying to prevent the Edyrem from reaching Kehjan. Thus, Rathma headed for the city himself. There, he met with Uldyssian, informing him that the Mage Council and a number of guild leaders had been slaughtered, and their deaths pinned on the Edyrem. He also informed him that the link between Rathma and Mendeln had been cut. They were able to rescue Mendeln from the Cathedral of Light. Uldyssian wanted to go after Malic, but Rathma told him that the man was of no concern to them. The Heavenly Host was approaching, with the intent of cleansing Sanctuary of the "abominations" that was the race of Man. Uldyssian declared that they would fight them, join forces with the Mage Clans, but Rathma said that they'd still likely lose. Thus, there was only one recourse left—ally with Inarius.

Uldyssian was aghast at the suggestion. Mendeln too, suggesting that they ally with Tyrael. Rathma was aggrieved to hear confirmation that Tyrael had indeed come to Sanctuary, and told Mendeln not to trust him, warning him that regardless of whatever honeyed words the Archangel of Justice had used, they could not trust him. Right now, Inarius was their only hope.[6]

The VoidEdit

Rathma entered the Cathedral of Light, not materializing within Inarius's inner sanctum as a sign of respect. Meeting his father, however, the respect wasn't shown to him in return, with Inarius asking his son if he'd come to beg forgiveness for his sins. Not rising to the bait, Rathma laid out the looming disaster they faced, with the looming Heavenly Host. Inarius scoffed at the idea of an alliance, snidely asking who else they should add to the ranks. Rathma realized that his father had gone insane, outright refusing to believe that Tyrael had been on Sanctuary, and that even if a thousand Tyraels were on Sanctuary, they could not stand against him due to being tied to the Worldstone. As Inarius ranted, he let slip that Diablo had offered an alliance with him as well and that the slaughter in Kehjan was by his own machinations. Rathma still tried to reason with Inarius, but it was no use, as the angel cast him into the Void.

To save Rathma, Trag'Oul sent Mendeln into the Void. Mendeln was able to find Rathma in the darkness, surrounded in a sphere, but also had to contend with Lilith. However, Mendeln persevered, and managed to rescue Rathma, who was grateful for the rescue. However, it had come at a cost, as Trag'Oul revealed that by stretching out to find Rathma, he had slipped in his efforts to keep Sanctuary hidden. Thus, the Heavenly Host knew where to find the world.[6]

The Battle of the Golden PathEdit

Rathma and Mendeln returned to the Edyrem, where Rathma told Uldyssian that Inarius intended to defeat Uldyssian personally as a display of his power, uncaring of the fact that any victory would last minutes before the Heavenly Host arrived. Indeed, they might arrive before the battle was finished. Uldyssian declared that whatever the outcome, they would die fighting, and led his army to Kehjan. Rathma advised him that Inarius would not attack during the night, that he wanted to slaughter the Edyrem during the light of day so that all of Sanctuary could behold it. He also advised Uldyssian not to move on the Cathedral at night, as he sensed that there was something "out there." Uldyssian agreed. That night, as the Edyrem slept, Uldyssian conversed with Rathma once more. Rathma admitted that he could no longer sense his father's presence.

Morning came early. Astoundingly early. They realized that Inarius had moved the sun itself, rising in the north, where the army had to march. Rathma advised that Inarius hadn't really moved the sun, but only altered the Edyrem's perception of it, but to Uldyssian, this was cold comfort. He was able to move the clouds themselves and negate the illusion.

In what would be known as the Battle of the Golden Path, the Edyrem did battle with the forces of the Cathedral of Light. The Edyrem succeeded, but with heavy cost, and Inarius himself remained to be dealt with. In the lull that followed, Rathma departed from the army, stating that he was going to find what help he could. A "family gathering," as it were.

Rathma gathered the Ancients to his side, including Bul-Kathos. They charged into battle, one which had become a three-way fight between Heaven, Hell, and the Edyrem. The battle ended thanks to Uldyssian, who sacrificed himself to end the carnage. The Edyrem were frozen in place, with exceptions including Mendeln and Rathma. He revealed that the Angiris Council itself had come to Sanctuary, to determine the fate of the world and its peoples, along with Inarius. However, the location seemed to shift, and Rathma revealed to his companions that they were in Sanctuary, and in the Silver City at the same time.

The Council voted in favor of sparing Sanctuary and humanity, ironically thanks to Tyrael himself casting the deciding vote. Rathma and his companions watched as Mephisto himself presented himself before the Council, offering a truce. Hell would agree to stand aside from Sanctuary, just as Heaven would, to let humanity choose its own path towards light or dark. In return, Inarius would be handed over to Hell, as recompense for the loss of Lilith and Lucion. Furthermore, the memories of the Edyrem would be erased, and their abilities nullified, in order to let mankind begin again. Rathma and his fellow Ancients, however, would be allowed to retain their memories, for as Mephisto put it, "they are few, and their day is already over."

The pact was made.

The Sin War was over.[6]

ReunionEdit

"There is a bit more to show you. The jungles of Kehjan are rich in the magical forces that will encourage both your learning and the learning of your students. Trag will bring us there."
"And then?"
"And then I will prepare you for when I am gone. The day of the nephalem is, as they say, long over. One by one, I and my kind will cease to be. There are fewer now than during the battle even. The future is what is important."

Rathma and Mendeln(src)
The Edyrem had their memories altered, believing those to have died as having perished from plague. Mendeln was the exception, his memories retained due to his link with Trag'Oul. He left Seram, where he reunited with Rathma. Mendeln, desiring to separate himself from his old life, requested he receives a new name, similar to how Rathma had received his new name from Trag'Oul. Thus, Trag'Oul bequeathed the name of "Kalan" to him.

Rathma told Mendeln that they would head for Kehjan's jungles. Mendeln would bring some former Edyrem with him, where he would instruct them in the ways of the Balance. Rathma believed that one day, the Edyrem would return, and when that day came, they must not be an appendage to either Heaven or Hell. Preserving the Balance would help achieve that goal.[6]

The Priests of RathmaEdit

"Rathma: The necromancers who venerate this nephalem have depicted him in the form of a great writhing serpent. Is this mere legend, or did he somehow take on this strange inhuman visage?"

Deckard Cain(src)
Rathma

Rathma as depicted by his followers

In the years that followed, Mendeln founded the Priests of Rathma, known to many as the Necromancers. He began to teach others his skills and impart his understanding of the Balance.[4]

Rathma is venerated by the priesthood, who depict him as a great writhing serpent.[2] However, Rathma's ultimate fate remained a mystery.[1]

Those who achieve the rank of Master Necromancer within the priesthood are honored with a few bones from the skeleton minions that once served Rathma. These artifacts are generally used in the priest's gloves.[7]

In-gameEdit

Diablo IIIEdit

In Diablo III, there are multiple items from the Bones of Rathma set which are named after Rathma. Additionally, Rathma's Shield is a Necromancer specific passive skill that carries the first nephalem's name.

Diablo IVEdit

Rathma possibly appears in Diablo IV; the game's reveal cinematic shows an individual summoning Lilith into Sanctuary. Cinematic files label the summoner as being Rathma.[8]

Personality and TraitsEdit

"Finally, we come to Rathma, a brooding, solitary being who sought out the deep recesses of the world. He studied the cycle of life and death and taught it to those willing to venture into his subterranean habitat. Rathma is the patron of the necromancers, and he values the Balance of light and dark above all things."

Deckard Cain(src)

Rathma is said to have inherited his father's stoicism,[9] and Bul-Kathos regarded him as being without humor (not entirely true, as Rathma showed himself to be capable of dry humor at times), though the two had respect for each other. By his own admission, Rathma is a "stubborn fool."[3] He was a brooding and solitary individual, speaking in a "bland" tone most of the time, and valued the Balance of light and dark above any other consideration,[2] believing it to be the best and only choice for Sanctuary.[6] He resents both his parents, believing that Lilith sought to save the nephalem not out of any love, but to make them her own. He likewise considered his father to be capable of actions just as heinous.[3]

Rathma is tall and has very pale skin. His face resembled that of a normal human, but Mendeln noted that his features were angular and "far too perfect." Uldyssian further noted the "great age" that he could see within Rathma's eyes. During the Sin War, he wore a dark cloak, and carried a dagger made out of bone.[3] His hair was exceptionally dark, though after Uldyssian's sacrifice, streaks of gray appeared upon it.[6]

Rathma is capable of shifting between Sanctuary and Trag'Oul's realm at will, and can teleport within Sanctuary.[3] He can also pass through solid objects.[6] He has demonstrated an ability akin to telepathy, but it is not reading thoughts, but rather, the sensations behind them. In Rathma's view, this is far more accurate, as thoughts can be filled with lies.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Diablo III, Rathma's Skull Helm
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Book of Cain
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Scales of the Serpent
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 2017-06-23, Deadly Roots: The Lore of the Necromancer. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2017-06-30
  5. Rise of the Necromancer, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2017-06-30
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 The Veiled Prophet
  7. Diablo III, Rathma's Macabre Vambraces
  8. 2019-11-30, Proof: The Pale Summoner IS Rathma! Blizzard's LEAK!. YouTube, accessed on 2020-04-02
  9. Diablo III, Inarius's Reticence
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