The Rats are a rat/human hybrid race said to exist in long ago cities.
Kenku mythology is very long and complex, but in their stories, their historical rivals have always been the Rats. Like the Kenku, the Rats are humanoid with animistic qualities. Also like the Kenku, the Rats were once animals but were turned into humanoids through divine intervention. Unlike the Kenku, who were punished by a deity and made to walk the earth instead of fly, the Rats were actually rewarded for their cunning and guile by a benevolent trickster god with the ability to stand upright and speak.
The Rats, in Kenku myths, come up from the ground, especially from sewers, to cause mischief and to steal. A common refrain from a Kenku upon someone complaining after losing an item is to say, “The Rats have it now.” Rats feature in the earliest Kenku myths as a stand-in for the perils of city life. As Kenku moved from their forests into the cities early in Known History, they were often marginalized and taken advantage of by locals, and the Rats, always under their feet, served as a scapegoat. Disease and most major misfortunes have always been blamed on the Rats.
The Rats, large humanoid rats who can speak and who trick those who go too deep into the City into giving up all their possessions, have never been seen during all of Known History. It’s generally believed that instead, only the Rat Pox, a strange and incurable disease only Kenku can get (said to be concocted by the Rats to wipe out the Kenku), ever actually existed. Cases of Rat Pox are still around to this day, though are rare.
Rat Pox starts as an irritation of the eyes and throat, turning the host’s eyes red. A red rash develops after the eyes turn, spreading from the top of the head down and causing the infected Kenku’s feathers to fall out. Rat Pox can kill the host in weeks or months, or years in rare cases, but is always eventually fatal. It cannot be communicated to other Kenku or to other species. No source, reliable treatment, or cure exists.