"And if we find such a place, we will say, 'No rats here,' and it will be a blessing."
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After the rat plague became too severe, the people of Hira fled their city and crossed the Broad River to establish a new city, which they dubbed Noradz, or "No rats." The rat catchers became priests known as the Ra-Kacharz, who maintained strict rules about routine and cleanliness.
City of the Rats Edit
After buying muddlets from Tom's shop, Lief, Barda and Jasmine set off along the road to the City of the Rats, when they arrived at an intersection. Though Tom told them to take the left path to Miller's Rise, they assumed that he advised the other path because thought it unlikely for them to go to the City of the Rats. However, the muddlets smelled their favourite food and bolted for home. They threw their riders, who were knocked unconscious. When they companions came to, they found themselves in Noradz, a city where cleanliness is holiness. The city's leaders, the nine Ra-Kacharz, acted as priests of Noradz. They required the companions to eat a meal in the city, because the food had been blessed and needed to be eaten. During the meal, a serving girl called Tira accidentally knocked a bread roll to the ground at the companions' table. The Ra-Kacharz saw the spilled food and seized Tira, stating spilled food is evil and must be punished with one hundred lashes. In desperation to save the girl, Lief told the Ra-Kacharz that he was the one who spilled the food. The Ra-Kacharz convened and decided that since Lief was a stranger and did not know their ways, he would not be punished.After Lief's ordeal, Jasmine coaxed Filli out of her jacket with some vegetables from the table. The Ra-Kacharz saw Filli on Jasmine's shoulder and the hall erupted in pandemonium. Reece, leader of the Nine Ra-Kacharz, shouted that the strangers had brought evil into their halls and were trying to destroy Noradz and its people. The Ra-Kacharz tried to kill Filli, but he ran from the room. The Nine held a trial to determine if the companions were to live. Lief had to choose either a 'Life' card or a 'Death' card from the sacred Cup. Reece ordered him to turn away while he put the cards in the Cup, but Tira saw Reece's sleight of hand and silently warned Lief that both cards read 'Death'. When Lief turned around, he touched the Topaz to clear his mind. He drew a card out of the Cup and pretended to stumble, dropping the card into the fire behind him. Lief apologised for his clumsiness and told Reece to look in the Cup, saying that the card he chose could be easily determined by the card that remained in the Cup. One of the other Ra-Kacharz drew the remaining card, which read 'Death', indicating that Lief had chosen the 'Life' card.Reece was furious and ordered the other eight Ra-Kacharz to take the companions to the dungeons, to be imprisoned for life for the crime they had committed. After they had spent a while in the prison, Tira came to ask them if they had received any food or water. She said Reece gave orders that he alone would bring the prisoners food and water, but she thought he had not. They begged Tira to unbolt the door and free them, and eventually, she gave in to their pleas. They found their packs hidden in a crevice, and Tira was shocked to learn that Reece lied about letting them keep their supplies. With much convincing, Tira agreed to lead the companions through the walkways above the kitchens to the back way out of the city - the Hole, where food was discarded and only the Ra-Kacharz could enter and live. The companions witnessed a food inspection, where two of the Ra-Kacharz deemed only a few jars of fruit clean, and the rest were sent down the Hole. Lief was furious that so much food was wasted in Noradz while the people of Del starved to death. Barda asked Tira to retrieve their weapons, but she was too afraid to defy Reece any further. Barda said Reece deserved death instead of loyalty, which frightened Tira into leaving the companions.
Lief and Barda were about to enter the Hole, but Jasmine was unwilling to leave Filli behind. Reece entered the room, grabbing Jasmine and lifting her off her feet while driving Lief and Barda with his whip towards the Hole. Tira returned with the companions' weapons and felled Reece with a frying pan. In shock, she dropped the pan to the floor. Three Ra-Kacharz heard and came running from their sleeping quarters, allowing just enough time for Tira to escape. Angered, the red-clad figures began cracking their whips, driving the companions back. Filli came running from the red door which the Ra-Kacharz came from, causing enough of a disturbance in the Ra-Kacharz that Barda was able to knock two of the Ra-Kacharz' heads into the wall. Lief kicked the third Ra-Kachar in the leg and felled him with the frying pan.
The companions stripped the Ra-Kacharz of their garments to wear them for protection in the Hole. They discovered that Reece and the other three were branded with the mark of the Shadow Lord on their faces. With cooks coming to deliver more food to the Hole, Lief, Barda, and Jasmine entered the tunnel with an unconscious Reece as a hostage. The sloping tunnel was covered in a slimy red fungus, but the clothing of the Ra-Kacharz provided enough protection. Reece, however, woke up in the tunnel and kicked out of Lief's grasp. The man died in terror, unprotected from the fungus in the Hole. The tunnel leveled to a conveyor belt and opened to the outside world, and the companions hid themselves in a food cart driven by Ra-Kacharz and pulled by Muddlets.
Cavern of The FearEdit
Barda led a group of palace guards to Noradz to free its people from the Ra-Kacharz and obtain food for Del. He found the city empty and the food burned, and learned from Tom that the Ra-Kacharz had driven the people to the Shadowlands just a few days prior to Deltora's liberation.
The Shadowlands Edit
Tira of Noradz was one of the first successful conversions of the Conversion Project. She was freed with the rest of the Shadowlands slaves and brought back to Del. Barda saw her wandering, confused, and walked over to speak with her.
The Sister of the South Edit
The Ra-Kacharz Edit
- Main article: Ra-Kacharz
The Ra-Kacharz, once the rat catchers of Hira, are the priests of Noradz. They uphold the laws of cleanliness, watchfulness, and duty; bless and inspect food; and rule the city. The Nine are revered and feared by their subjects, whom they keep under strict rule. The red-clad Ra-Kacharz swath their faces in red cloth and carry whips. When they speak the word "Noradzeer" and sweep their hands from shoulders to hips, the people of Noradz echo the word and motion.
Both males and females can hold the title of Ra-Kachar.
The citizens Edit
The citizens of Noradz respect and fear their leaders. From birth they are taught that cleanliness is the ultimate virtue, spilled food and furred animals are evil, and the Ra-Kacharz' word is law. They have shaved heads and wear black tight-fitting clothing and black boots. Children of Noradz must be trained before they can become part of regular life in the city. They eat in a training room separate from the main hall.
Some citizens of Noradz are allowed to work outside in the fields, but they are taken out of the city in the morning and brought back inside at night.
The cooks Edit
Cooks of Noradz have the most prized and most difficult jobs. They are dressed in all white, renowned for their skills, and trained to cook from their youth.
Noradz is an indoor city built of stone. Much of it is a winding network of hallways and corridors between rooms.
Noradz has a large meeting hall with a fireplace, torches on its walls, and double doors that open to the dining hall. The dining hall contains rows of high tables with no chairs. The Ra-Kacharz eat at raised table at head of the room.
The vast kitchens are as "big as a small village", with walkways above them for cleaning and inspection. Steep metal steps at the end of the kitchens lead to a door that opens to a small room. In the room to the left is a red door that leads to the Ra-Kacharz' sleeping quarters, and across from the door is the Hole. The Hole is barred by a metal grill. Once past the grille, the tunnel slopes down steeply and levels out to a conveyor belt. The inside of the Hole is covered in Scarlet Night fungus. The Hole is one of two ways out of Noradz - the other is the main gate in the hill.
The Noradz dungeons are dark, windowless cells with metal doors, located at the bottom of a winding stone stairway.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Rodda, Emily. City of the Rats. Scholastic Australia. 2001.
- ↑ Rodda, Emily. Cavern of The Fear. Scholastic Australia. 2002.
- ↑ Rodda, Emily. The Shadowlands. Scholastic Australia. 2002.
- ↑ Rodda, Emily. The Sister of the South. Scholastic Australia. 2004.