Hrathen was a high priest of Shu-Dereth, and an accomplished statesman. For most of his life, he was a devout follower of the Derethi religion, although his devotion was more a product of logic than of faith.
Hrathen was a graduate of Gahjan monastery, and rose quickly in the ranks of the priesthood. His talent for public speaking made him an invaluable tool of Wyrn in Wyrn's attempt to conquer the world through the spread of the Derethi religion. Hrathen's particular talent lay in destroying the kingdoms of those who did not convert, and he brought about both the destruction of the Duladen republic, and the simultaneous invasion of Arelon and Teod. During the invasion of Teod, he came to a full awareness of Wyrn's corruption of Shu-Dereth, and was instrumental in stopping the complete destruction of both kingdoms. Unfortunately, his efforts to save Princess Sarene resulted in his death at the hands of Dilaf. For his efforts, he was buried with the rest of the heroes of the battle just outside of Elantris.
Little is known of Hrathen's youth. He was a citizen of Fjordell, and from a young age was determined to enter the priesthood. While still a boy, he appeared to have an intense ardor for Shu-Dereth. This passion would define the rest of his life, although it would be extinguished in his first experience at a monastery.
Dakhor monastery, was the most elite of Fjordell's Derethi monasteries. Hrathen proved both his talent and devotion by being accepted into it's ranks. However, the experience there was not the one he had expected. The priests of Dakhor wielded a power not unlike that of the Elantrians, though the monk's powers were much more adapted to battle. The most remarkable difference, however, was in the requirements to gain powers. Where the Elantrians gained there powers in a seemingly random fashion, the priests of Dakhor used human sacrifices and strange rites to alter themselves. For some powers, such as the ability to travel great distances instantaneously, a secondary sacrifice was necessary to activate the power. In many ways, their powers are similar to hemalurgy.
Hrathen weathered the early stages of the training with mixed success. He was able to complete the beginning stages of the transformation--a reshaping of the bones in his right forearm. The exact powers that this bestowed are unknown, though it seems likely that it enhanced his physical capabilites, given the prowess he demonstrated later in life. His time there deeply scarred his psyche, however, and when Dilaf, the leader of the monastery sacrificed a monk to transport himself a short distance, Hrathen left Dakhor.
After leaving Dakhor Monastery, Hrathen was still resolved to progress in the priesthood. Accordingly, he went to Gahjan monastery to finish his training as a Derethi priest. Not one of the three specialized monasteries, his training there was a combination of religious instruction and military training. Hrathen excelled at both disciplines, and rose quickly in the ranks of the priesthood. In a relatively short period of time, he ascended to the rank of gyorn. As a gyorn, he was one of a group of twenty men that stood nearly at the top of the religious hierarchy of Shu-Dereth. Only the leaders of monasteries and Wyrn, considered the voice of God, stood heigher than Hrathen, and neither was often a presence in Hrathen's day-to-day actions.
Conversion of Duladel
Soon after rising to the rank of Gyorn, Hrathen convinced Wyrn to send him on a mission to convert the Republic of Duladel. At the time, Duladel wsa a republic not unlike the Roman republic--a relatively small, aristocratic republican class, and a much larger group of ordinary citizens. The Republic was also the home and only major representation of Jesker, a naturalistic religion that taught of a powerful, natural force. The strict definition of conversion would have required the conversion of most of the Republican class to Shu-Dereth, but Shu-Dereth's strictly ordered power structure would not have worked well with the Republican political philosophy.
Understanding this, Hrathen moved in with the intent of overthrowing the government of the Republic. He was soon able to establish a large following, thanks to his training and natural skill as an orator. Hrathen's intent seems to have been limited to establishing a King with Derethi sympathies, but in the process of instigating a rebellion, he accidentally threw the country into a bloody and prolonged civil war. His training was such that he could not fail to use the opportunity to firmly ensconce Shu-Dereth in the resulting kingdom, but he regretted the bloodshed he caused there for the rest of his life. Ultimately, his failure to protect the people of Duladel, more than any other event, would shape his reaction to Wyrn's planned destruction of Arelon and Teod.
Mission to Arelon
Read Elantris and find out what happened.