the memories below are vestiges of various times and places. scattered throughout an alternate timeline and. the fact that Raven remembers being a child was most likely a result of illusion magics or fey curses cast upon him to revert him to youth for a time. In truth he is older than argyle itself. His true Identity remaining unknown
Chapter 1: Mirth and Murder
Nestled in the valley far in the north was where the boy was found. In the valley of ever changing seasons and Wild magic the land were the dragon sleeps and the mystic and mysterious realm of the fey blends and dances with the real world. Here he was found under a great tree with the falling leaves his only blanket and the chill autumn breeze as his only lullaby. In the branches of the tree above a single raven perched cawing and observing him as if it was watching over him. The band that found him assumed him to be a fey child, The mystic realm often came in contact with this one here and its denizens were known for indulging in the delights of the flesh with the mortals of the land. It was not too uncommon that the results of such joining be abandoned. Not quite old enough to be a child but not quite young enough to be called an infant the only thing that was know about his life before was his name “Asmodeian”.
The clan he was brought into were gypsies and performers travelling from place to place preforming for peasants and kings alike. From ballads to tumbling acts and exotic dancing they performed for any who would have them bringing reverie and entertainment to all. He was raised communally by the clan learning every aspect of their life with eager and unquenchable curiosity. Within the clan gender and race inconsequential and though each had their own strengths and weaknesses you were looked on as a person first other factors second. Lynx a silver haired quick witted half elf taught him how to sew his own clothing and play the flute while inadvertently teaching him the art of agile speech. Owl the kindly old lute playing dwarf taught him reading, storytelling, and the finer points of patience and attentiveness. Viper and Nightingale taught cooking cleaning dancing and singing while Bear taught him about fighting and blacksmithing. It upon his 8th joining day that he was introduced fully into the clans other purpose. There had been small hints of it through his childhood thus far. during his instruction in how to cook with Viper she had showed him ingredients you added if you wished to kill or sicken people. Owl had taught him how to lull people into a false sense of security so they would be easier to surprise or catch off guard. and even Lynx had taught him how to hide weapons in compartments sewn into his clothing in ways that guards wouldn’t notice. The second face of the clan was a group of highly skilled assassins. As was custom in the clan he was given the name of an animal that he related most closely with. throughout his time with the clan there had been one creature that he seemed to actually have a connection with and that was the raven.
There were other children in the camp around ravens age. Cat a wiry young elf just going into her 80’s, Jackal a Human boy about 12 years of age, Panda a half orc who had the talent for precaution instruments, Robin a dwarf girl who had a singing voice almost unparalleled in the camp and finally Shark a child the band had found near the entrance to an underdark access, shark was a drow. And so it was the days of ravens childhood were full of music laughter and vigorous training. Testing for musical instrument talents as well as weapon talents were preformed on each of the children. Shark naturally had an affinity for twin daggers and instrumentally he took to the piano. Jackal was best with a chain and musically the violin suited him. Panda chose a bow and naturally the drums. Cat became lethal with shields and her instrument was a cello. Robin naturally was a singer and her weapon whips and fists. Raven didn’t seem to have any weapon he was good with “It’s alright lad” Bear had told him chuckling at the youths frustration “your the lucky one. We’ll just have to train you in everything until you get a good handle on one or another. Raven frustration turned to bewilderment and bear let out another rich booming laugh. That laugh was always a comforting sound to Raven. Viper had always told him “As long as bear is laughing you know things will turn out somehow”. Contrary to his name Raven was actually a talented singer nothing like robin of coarse but definitely better than most his age. True to his word Bear began teach Raven in every weapon that the clan knew how to use. Sometimes some of the other children joined in other times it was only Raven and the older clansmen.
“There is an old dwarven saying” Robin said one day while they were training together, Raven had just been disarmed and his weapon flung across the yard. “that for some enemy’s the earths power is all you need. Mountains stop armies, stone dulls steel and a single pebble can start an avalanche” Raven looked sceptically at a stone lying near him. Bear chuckled
“maybe she’s onto something lad maybe your favoured weapon is rocks.” At that prompting Raven grabbed the stone and resumed his training with hopeful enthusiasm. He proved however to be no more skilled with stones than he was with anything else. “don’t worry boy I’ve known many a great warrior who had just as much trouble as this if not more. Now lets go get some supper and you can have the evening off to play with yer friends. You gotta let kids be kids once and a while eh?” Raven nodded gratefully and scampered off to get cleaned up.
Time went by and soon the drama’s of teenage years were upon the children. Under the watchful eye of the Lynx and Nightingale they fell in love got hearts broken, hearts mended formed rivalries and experimented with new found urges. It was about this time that they discovered Ravens true emotional nature. Every emotion for him was incredibly vivid and intense. Anger sent him into fits of rage that often resulted in fights and punishments. Sadness had him disappearing for days sulking in the woods. Happiness found him bursting into joyous boughts of singing, laughing and dancing. And Passion left him unable to control himself and completely lost to the rest of the world. Indeed it would have caused many problems and hurt many of his friends if not for the watchful guidance of the other clansmen. They chalked it up to his possible fey heritage and though the other children were intimidated by his intense moods for the first few years some of them eventually warmed up to and even came to except that aspect of him. Panda and Cat were especially empathetic towards his plight Cat being elven had some understanding of the intense emotions though hers weren’t quite as extrem as Ravens. Panda related almost completely with the uncontrollable anger being half orc that animalistic fury was something he always had to battle himself. Shark ended up acting as an outlet for raven always being the instigator of ravens fits but always making sure that raven targeted him and always being willing to laugh about it with raven after he had calmed down. Jackal and robin stayed clear of him for the most part being overwhelmed by his wild fluctuations. Though Robin did tentatively approach him from time to time as they did enjoy singing together. Regardless of others reactions and support Raven quickly became aware of his condition and saw it as a terrible weakness though the more he tried to control it the worse it seemed to get.
By the time they were in their late teens they were all blossoming into brilliant performers and deadly assassins. Even Raven with all his earlier troubles displayed an innate knack for quick killing both with and without weapons. its was around this time however that Ravens days within the ever changing valley were drawing to a close. Dates were unimportant to raven so he did not know when it came but it came abruptly and brutally. A war a great and terrible war of high magics and brutal disregard for the land and its people saw the clans homeland destroyed Raven and his companions witnessed through their young eyes the effects of war on their people. The clan even lost some of their own to the carnage as none was fully immune to the effects of such an event. Less in number the clan moved on to other realms hoping to weather the storms of conflict. business was dangerous but good in times of such strife and the young ones got extensive practice in their deadly art. They lost Jackal during a mission to take out a general of one of the armies and Snake, Cat and Raven had to finish the mission for their fallen comrade. Ravens rage over his friends death broke one mirror and almost cost them their cover but did prove to help the mission complete faster.
The war continued on for years and just when it seemed it was drawing to a close another sprung up this time involving demons. Some of witch took an unhealthy interest in Ravens clan. The Demon Amon for an unknown reason decided to place a powerful curse upon The clan and from that moment on ravens life went mad. The curse trapped them within a dark reflection of the real world and slowly influenced the minds of those within it causing them to twist and change and have a terrible compulsion to kill each other on site that got stronger as time went on. 6 years would the curse last and any who survived would be able to go free or so Amon said. Thus began Ravens Six years of hell.
Trapped in a dark reflection of the world with a clan who took the act of killing to a deadly pinnacle of skill all being driven against each other butchering one another. Surviving long past the point of mortal tolerance do to a mix of special training and the unnatural fortitude granted by the demons curse. For Reasons that to this day he doesn’t understand raven was unaffected by the curse and was forced to be completely sane as he watch Beautiful Nightingale massacre Robin. Lynx tear Viper limb from limb before beginning to eating her alive. Raven managed to kill lynx with Sharks help and put Viper out of her misery. When Panda turned on Cat Raven did not know what to do he froze overwhelmed with to many emotions to handle It was shark that ended up saving Cat by knifing Panda in the back with a dagger laced with strychnine. Though shark was definitely not immune to the curse he did seem to show incredible resilience to its power. “there has always been an urge within me to do evil” shark told raven as they walked with dazed Cat through the twisted landscape “ this curse only makes the urge a bit stronger and I am so used to suppressing it that it isn’t much harder to resist now.” It was on the fifth year that Cat finally lost control. The pain of having to kill her almost unhinged Ravens mind. They had been almost constant companions sharing romantic attentions for each other often in there later years the flood of precious memories that coursed though his mind as his hand pierced through her chest left him shuddering and wailing long after her body had gone still. It was on the 364th day of the 5th year that Shark finally lost control. Raven having had to survive in this hell for so long could deal with almost any of the clan members now. save perhaps three Bear, Wolf and the man standing in front of him now… shark. The battle lasted little more than 30 seconds before raven was bleeding and fighting to stay contious. Shark rose to deliver the killing blow, Tears streamed down his face as his dagger flashed towards ravens throught, and then Bear and Owl were there. Owl took the dagger in the side while grabbing raven from harms way. Bear locked into combat with Shark. He was already heavily wounded from previous battles and appeared to be barley holding on to his sanity. “RUN!!” He roared “the curse will end in less than a day RUN!” They ran leaving bear and shark behind in the twisted valley not long after they had escaped the sound of a great bell filled the air and the darkness lifted as quickly as it had come on that day that seemed like an eternity ago. Owl’s wound was full of poison and without the demonic constitution sustaining him his life began to quickly slip away. “don’t let the Demon win Asmodean.” he choked out with his last few breaths. The gentle storyteller lifted his lute out of the bag beside him. “take this and continue our ways it is my final gift to you. Don’t let hatred consume you. We all…..” His voice trailed away into a dieing sigh and the familiar smells of death soon followed. Raven stared at Owls corps for a long time before wordlessly getting up strapping the lute to his back and walking off into the woods. Overhead a single raven circled watching him just as it had on the day he had been found.
Chapter 2: Your gonna go far kid
Raven spent the next few years of his life in the south. He made some connections with a local assassins guild and started doing some work for them to prove himself. The leader of the guild Strega Kay was a greedy overbearing man with a large verticle scar across his left eye. He agreed to let Raven join under the condition that he prove himself by doing his first job for free. Raven seeing no problem with this carried out his duty quickly and effectively. Raven was amazed at how easily these people were impressed. It soon became apparent to him how sloppy common street assassins were. Killing was an art form as much as any ballad was. it was neither inconsequential nor lightly taken and was to be handled with care and finesse, or so he had been taught. But the assassins of these guilds, or “common murderers” as he came to call them after a few months, seemed to see it as some sort of sport or nine to five job. They rarely researched their targets before deciding to take a job not caring of what effects of the targets death might have. They just blindly accepted jobs did them shoddily and wanted extra pay at the end of the day for work they hadn’t done. Regardless Strega was incredibly impressed with Raven “nice work you did” he said observing the funeral precession out the window “ clean quick quiet and traceless, you’re gonna go far kid.” Raven simply shrugged and went to search for another job. It had hardly been clean he had stabbed the man three times after he had struck the killing blow he did not even know why he had, his arm had just moved on its own. For the first time in his life his emotions seemed quiet, Almost dead. 10 years saw him climb to the top of the guild standings. Only once had he tried to take out Owls lute to play. He could not seem to bring himself to play it. There was no music in his soul now. All he saw was blood and dead friends when he looked at it, Some that HE had killed. That’s all he was was a killer no better than these brigands he worked with now. There was no songs for him. It wasn’t long before the attempt on ravens life came. It was only a fraction of a seconds warning caused by his assailants carelessness that let Raven live. Raven subdue the man and after a quick interrogation discovered who hired him was none other than Strega probably afraid that Raven was going to take over as guild leader. Raven gave his attacker a quick death then set to work gathering information on strega. It gave Raven pause when he found that strega had a daughter but that hesitation vanished when he found out the strega abused her regularly. As soon as he had mapped out strega routines he made his move for the kill. Strega and three of his men walked through the dark street Raven calculated that with the element of surprise he could deal with all four with minimal difficulty. The sound of sliding steal rang through Ravens head as he leaped upon Strega, one strike one blow one kill he turned to deflect the attacks of Strega’s men only to find them…running? Fury griped him these cowards had no loyalty not even to their leader! He systematically and mercilessly chased down and killed the remaining COWARDS. He got careless with one of them and ended up with a knife in his arm. The last thing he did before he stumbled out of the town was leave a simple note on stregas doorstep. “Your father is dead. murdered by my hand for the crimes he committed against you and for creating a guild with no honer no loyalty and greed as it’s only motivation this stains the name of assassins everywhere, if you wish to seek vengeance that is your choice though I don’t advise it. Regardless you are free of his attentions now. RAVEN” a single drop of his blood hit the page while he was writing but he gave no notice. With the note he left a black feather and a bag containing 2000 gold. That done he stumbled out of town not to return for many years.
The fury he had felt seemed to have dislodged the block he had had on some of his emotions and his actions became more and more erratic. He bounced from town to town murdering underworld denizens, drinking until he was kicked out of taverns and sleeping with any woman that would have him. The only thing that prevented him from siring bastard children all over southern argyle was a spell taught to him by Nightingale called block the seed her firm insistence that he use it whenever he followed his base instincts. 90 years past while he continued the cycle of rising thought the assassin ranks always getting told “your gonna go far here” before inevitably getting targeted by the higher ups in the guild he was in as a threat. Him retaliating and then moving on, Not always unscathed. Several times he came away with permanent scars. He was out of control, ashamed of his weakness, of his lack of control, struggling with nightmares of the past. It was during one of these cycles of self-destruction that he came across a Woman named Lucile.
He found her leaning under an archway to keep out of the rain. An elf by the look of her build or at least half elf. Platinum blond with a darker complexion and deep green eyes she was beautiful. Judging from her revealing outfit, and the way she looked at him he could tell she was a prostitute, profession that elves did not take part in. He took shelter from the rain on the other side of the archway across from her. For a long time they stood in silence their eyes met for along moment and neither looked away. Something passed between them during that moment, a kind of understanding a kinship shared by the downtrodden perhaps or maybe a kinship shared by professionals whose work was frowned upon.
“Where are you headed stranger?” She asked. The tone of her voice told him she wasn’t trying for a client with him.
“Anywhere I suppose” he answered. He didn’t ask about her she didn’t look like she wanted to talk about herself.
“Your elven?” she said after a pause “don’t see ears like yours on too many folks”
“possibly, I don’t really know” he replied “ It’s cause i was so curious and wanted to hear everything that’s why or that’s what my friend Ca…..” He trailed off, why was he talking about his childhood memories with some woman he had just met. He shouldn’t be this open with anyone not anymore talking like that could reveal weakness weakness that could be exploited. But for some reason he wanted to talk to her.
“your running from something. Your past, a mistake, a lover I don’t know but you gotta be easier on yourself or your gonna run yourself out” She said quietly looking out into the rain-soaked street
“What makes you think that and what do you care if I am?” he was doing his best to keep his guard up but for some reason it kept slipping maybe she reminded him of someone from the clan he wasn’t sure.
“Whats it matter I’ve been there I know what to look for, and I care probably for the same reason, or maybe I care cause I know deep down you want me to care.” she was looking right at him now.
He tried to reply but no words came out his erratic emotions had been bottled up for to long now. 100 years of running from the pain trying to bury it in work, in drink, in women. Anger had driven him this far but now this Elven woman had released the stopper on all other aspects of himself. He drew himself up and panted his fist hard on the wall beside her. He tried to seem angry to tell her to mind her own business tried to scare her off but the only thing that came out of his mouth was a quiet sob. He sagged into her shoulder crying quietly. She warped her arms around him and hummed an old elvish sooth-song to him. He tried to stop at first but found himself helpless to stop the torrent of emotion rushing through him and eventually gave in letting it out. How long she stood holding him humming that tune he could not say but eventually his sobs subsided. For a long time they stood listening to the sound of the rain cascading off the slate roves and onto the muddy city street. Finally he lifted his head up and looked at her. “thank you.. and I’m sorry” he said sitting down with his back to the wall
“Don’t worry about it” she replied sitting down next to him. “The strong ones always suffer in silence. You do that enough and something inside you dies.”
“Strong? Heh I think you misjudged me there, I got a weakness, I got a lot. I’m not even strong enough to fight em.”
“We all have weakness your problem is your tryin to fight all of em” she said resting her head on his shoulder.
They talked all afternoon told some jokes and talked about life. When they talked about love she told him it was nothing but a cruel hoax. Her grandma had died when she was 5 and she never did know her folks. Her father fell in a street fight and her mother by an overdose. Raven looked down at her his mind reeled at the Idea of having to grow up alone like she had. She spoke of strength in him when all he could see was the incredible strength she had to have to just be here today. Moreover he found himself arguing with her about love being more than what she thought telling her that in some ways she had shown it by helping him earlier. They talked quietly yelled laughed argued and shared life experiences for hours. On the topic of his weakness she simply told him in order to stay strong you have to accept your weakness “I’ve slept with brigands thugs and smugglers, congressmen and governors. I’ve seen therapists and holy-men but this weakness is my only friend it feeds my need it numbs my soul it start to creep in.. take control, I sell my flesh I pierce my skin and tomorrow I’m gonna do it all again.” she said almost as if to herself.
“well let me say it doesn’t need to be your only friend anymore I’ll make sure to stop by this way again if you ever need to help just ask. You’ve done more for me today than I think you know so I swear if you ever need a friend you got one in me. I’ll be in town for the next few day now if you need anything I’ll do all I can”Raven promised. She smiled at him a smile somewhere between disbelief and gratitude. The rain had stopped and it was late evening.
“I guess we both should get back to work.” She said standing up
“Ya guess your right” Raven stood as well “by the way whats your name?”
“Lucile” she said smiling again “and you?”
“that’s not your real name”
“no it ain’t. But maybe we can talk about that another time. I’ll meat you here tomorrow?” he asked
“sure. Same time I’ll wait under the archway” she replied nodding towards it
“sounds good” Raven walked off the with a new destination in mind. It was time to stop running. A small smile crossed his face as he walked down the street, overhead a single raven soared watching him vigilantly and seeing him grow.
Chapter 3 The Sewn Seeds Grow
Raven returned to visit Lucile several times before leaving town. Heading north north to the remains of land he had grown up in. After several weeks travel he finally reached the ruins of the valley there he layed down his lute case opened it and gazed upon the instrument. With a deep breath he took the instrument out looking up at the clear blue sky as if looking for permission from the spirits of his lost family. Placing the polished neck under his arm he tentatively began to play. He was out of practice, horribly so at first the chords jarred off the strings like a dieing badger. Laughing loudly at his own ineptitude Raven kept playing the joy of music slowly filling him. Slowly but surly the jarring sounds began to pick up a tune and soon they were even plausibly enjoyable. 7 days he sat of that rock only stopping to eat and sleep. Jotting down songs as they came to him paying tribute to all those he had met for Lucile he wrote a song called “weakness”, in memory of his clan he wrote a song called “the mountain song” and “The Bards song” Even Strega got a song “your gonna go far kid” and for those that might have related with his life of late he wrote a song called “unwell” and “longfall”. Finally getting up from the rock he turned toward the Elven community of Anagthus to turn over a new leaf.
On his way to anagathus his shoes finally gave out on him. Damn! This was the 23rd pair this century! He had to hobble almost 200 leagues on a pair of ragged shoes. After about 150 it was decided that he was going to learn to make his own shoes. Once in anagathus he found a room at a tavern and began searching for a cobbler. He found old elven cobbler by the name of Nearen Orilian. Raven explained his exasperation at the state of the cobbling business in argyle and how he wished to make foot were that would last a t least a century. Nearen was impressed by ravens passion and since his son was aiming to go into politics he had no apprentice to pass his skills onto so he agreed to teach raven the art of cobbling. For 20 years he stayed in anagathus when he wasn’t learning cobbling or wooing elven women at the tavern with his music, he was studying in the library his fey curiosity driving him to learn anything he could get his mind around. Near the end of his apprenticeship he had created his own shoe design Nearen suggested he name the shoe style of his last name Everlast it was a perfect name for shoes that were supposed to last at least a century. Alas his escapades over the past 20 years in agathus had made him rather notorious among the women of the community and wherever he went look scandalous or disproving looks were cast in his direction depending on the elf of coarse but regardless Raven new it was time to go.
His interest in blacksmithing took him in the direction of the dwarven cities to see if he would be allowed to work among them. On the way he stopped in the town where he had encountered strega upon walking by were the assassins guild used to be he was astounded to see the building replaced by two buildings a sigil bearing a white and a black Raven with wings encircling each other hung above the door. Curiosity peaked Raven entered the building with the black raven on top. After some careful questions with the right people he found out that Stregas daughter Nora Kay had changed the very nature of the guild when she took over she had supposedly been left a strange note by some dark guardian of honer named raven that had told her what she must do and had given her the means to do it. She had First split the guild into two making and order of knights known as the order of the White Raven. The other half of the guild she began instilling principals of honer among the assassins and had written up a code that all members of the guild were sworn to uphold if they wished to have its protection. Upon Nora’s death her twin children Shiloh and Amy had taken over each respective piece of the guild Shiloh leading the knights and Amy ruling the assassins. Both pass down the story of the mysterious RAVEN that changed the fate of the guild forever and still watches out for those who uphold the code. Raven was astounded all he had meant to do was give her something to live on given the fact he had just murdered her father. he hadn’t expected her to interpret it like this And in three generations this had happened? A small smile spread across his face. he had taken his first step to honering the memory of his clan and he hadn’t even intended to do it at the time. Perhaps there were others who needed the help of a wandering Black bird as well. As he was leaving town a dark haired woman in her mid thirties called to him. “your him aren’t you?” She called
“Him who?” Raven Replied without turning around
“the Dark guardian RAVEN”
“I think you got the wrong..”
“My grandmother had this pendant made with the blood that was on the massage from the RAVEN. It is supposed to react whenever he is close and it was glowing the whole time you were in the guild” she pulled a pendant out of her cloak and held it out for him to look at. It flared brighter as she did this. Her eyes widened slightly for a moment as if she had just confirmed it in her mind.
Raven turned around “look You…” he was about to tell her she had got it all wrong and that he was no holy guardian and that what he had done was just a simple act of kindness not some sign from above. But then he saw the look in her face so full of hope and joy at knowing this guardian was real. “..have done a great job. I’ll keep a lookout for your people when I can. Just Remember that it was yer grandma, mother and you who did all this not me. All I did was throw the first stone. Though I’d be lyin if I said I wasn’t proud o what you’ve done here.”
“Regardless I want you to have this” she tossed him a small signet ring with the raven insignia on it. “that’s a special signet ring, we have eyes and ears all over argyle. That ring will identify you as a friend so if you ever need anything show that ring.” there was light in her face from the praise he had given her family. He was actually a little embarrassed at being held in such high esteem.
“thanks The offer goes both ways. Take care…” He faltered not sure if this girl was Amy
“Shea. Amy was my mother”
“Take care then Shea, Give my regards to the leader of the knights”
“I will. Thank you Raven” She smiled and watched him walk away. Three generations! How long had he been wandering? it didn’t seem that long ago that he had been stumbling into Stregas office looking for work. A twinge of sadness came over him. The human lifespan was so short this might have been the last time he ever spoke to Shea before she passed on. He had meant to come and check on Stregas daughter only to find that almost four generations had already come and gone. He shook his head and continued on.
As always with his journeys he got sidetracked and found himself in the lands of the northern folk the worshippers of the Valker and walkers of the tundra and fjords. There he met Thanis a chief of one of the many clans. For six years Raven spent his time learning the ways of the land studying under shamans of the tribes helping with hunts and learning to trap and fish with them and drinking and wenching with them in times of prosperity. His lute was a foreign instrument to them so after playing it for them a few times he taught them how to make them. On his fifth year a child fell sick the shamans could not cure him they said it was a sickness known as demon fever and there was not a shaman in the land that could heal it. The word Demon set off something deep within Ravens psyche and he asked if he could see the child. He did not even know what he could do but he refused to give anything more to the demons. He knelt beside the child. The boy looked over at him barley able to stay contious through the pain but not a word of complaint left his lips.
“whats yer name kid?” Raven asked as he unrolled his herbs
“ Fjen… Fjen Geirason” the boy answered weekly
“well Fjen hold tight I Think may be able to help ya”
“it is wrong to give the boy false hope” the shaman whispered disapprovingly
“With all do respect… shut it, I’m gonna try something” Raven Replied. He reached down and put his hand on the boys chest. He was acting on instinct now. He “felt” the sickness within the boy felt the pulsing hot death, consuming the fragile life-force. Within himself he felt a flood cool cleansing energy it flowed through him through his hands into the boy he heard a gasp vaguely but was lost in this task. The power flowed into the boy enforcing the life-force within him quenching the hot fire of infection. Flowing cleansing clearing strengthening and finally subsiding. Raven opened his eyes he was surrounded in a circle of black feathers the boy was breathing normally now and the clan shaman was staring at him. Raven felt weakened as if he had just given up a piece of himself but that didn’t matter the boy would live that’s what counted hear. He shakily got to his feet and walked out. The shaman never spoke of what had happened in the tent all he said was that Raven had power of the shamans within him and had asked the spirits to save the boy. Raven was given a pendent signifying that he was an honorary shaman among the clans. Raven argued that it would be unnecessary but the Shaman that had been with him insisted though strangely he also suggested that he leave after the ceremony. Raven was reluctant to leave Thanis but wasn’t going to argue if he had overstayed his welcome.
“We may not meet again Thanis” Raven said to his friend as he was leaving
“We may yet my friend and if not it is the will of the gods. At least we had a time together I will tell stories of you” He laughed then a great booming laugh that reminded Raven so much of Bear
“no need Thanis I didn’t do nothin special” Raven replied
“you saved a boys life! That boy has strong blood too one day his family might end being the clan leaders you never know.”
“Every life’s precious Thanis I just did what anyone would do.” He gave one last wave to his friend and walked off into the forest. Over head single raven Perched now watching for the right time.
Chapter 4 Time waits for No-one
As Raven walked through the woods however something was different all the scents were sharper all the sounds in the trees seemed to speak to him as if what he had done to heal the boy had unlock some wild part of him. He began to wander with less of a destination and more of a joy of the wilderness 2 days into his wanderings he encountered a raven. It felt like meating an old friend he approached the raven and extended his hand. It hopped onto it and cawed. He smiled let it onto his shoulder. He never questioned why the bird decided to come with him or why they seemed to be able to understand one another. All he knew is he felt a connection with it and that it felt right to travel with it. He named it Odin and continued on through the wilds. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, months to years. He ran for years through the open planes and deep forests ravens seemed to be helping him directing him to prey he ran with the wolves, raged with the thunder, wept and laughed with the rain sung with the wind and slept under the open sky moon and stars. Every day seemed to make him stronger faster, things seemed clearer. For 100 years he wandered the wilds pondering many things. A different man steped onto the path that spring morning. The next few centuries seemed to pass by quickly as he had many things to do. For 20 years he lived with the dwarves of Dwarf Gate fighting alongside them in the underdark holding back the abominations and creatures of the deep world helping them with many battles and acquiring valuable combat experience. When he had finally gained their friendship he trained under a dwarven smith named Torin at the great forges of Sky Forge for 10 more years. He was told of the great secrets of Skyforge steel, “A Skyforge smith’s word is as strong as his steel, so long as you never break a promise your steel will never falter” Raven soaked in these words, and though he was told that he was barley a Journeymen towards the end of his time there, he felt like he had learned limitless secrets of the great forges. During his time there his good friend and shield mate Glorek’s Daughter was mortally wounded during one of the under dark raids. Once again Raven called upon that strange power and gave a piece of himself to heal the wounds. It was different than healing the sickness this time the wounds felt cold and the power within him like a warming flame radiating life. Upon his leaving he was told he had a friend among the dwarves if he were to ever return.
He frequently checked up on Lucile during this time telling her of his experiences and listening to her tales. Using the connection he had established with ravens and the signet ring he had been given he collected information about all kinds of events. He also used his connection with Ravens to help people contact him leaving a single trained bird with each of the people telling them to send it for him if they ever needed aid. He warned rulers of impending invasions helping noble houses get back on their feet. Using his knowledge of nature’s movements to warn farmers of early frosts and helping the raven guilds members. His attempts at good were not always successful there were many a time when his melding led him to be chased out of town by angry farmers or he was too late to save someone or worse still when his influence caused someone’s death. He took these failures in as much stride as he could. Learned from them and pressed onward hoping that what he would be wise enough to prevent more of the same from happening in the future.
It was around this time Raven went to visit Lucile only to find her with child and in labour. The local midwife was on another call and Lucile had no place to go for help. Though Raven was no expert on the process he had studied herbs with his clan ages ago and was able to help her deliver albeit clumsily. Only to find that the child had not survived the Birth. At first Raven had thought this for the best considering she probably didn’t want the child anyways given it had probably been a mistake with work but his mind was immediately changed when he saw the anguish on Lucile’s face. He could not let this stand but he was no cleric! What could he do?.. He knew.. he wasn’t sure if it would work but it was worth a try. Anything to help this woman who had been through so much. He drew on that strange power within him once again. When he touched the infants still form though it was completely different he had healed sickness before healed dire wounds but always his subjects had been alive. Now in his mind all he felt was this great black wall chill and endless without substance yet so solid it could stop a titans charge. There was a strange draw to it. Like something within him was resonating with it. Of course there was this vast wall was death and he was a bringer of death why wouldn’t there be resonance? He began to gather himself synchronizing with the still infant again it was different always the powers he was fighting and the powers he was drawing upon had been opposite. Cold for hot, hot for cold. Now it was cold on cold. Bracing himself he drew everything he had and threw himself at the wall. Again and again he enveloped himself in the cold energy from within himself and threw himself against the unyielding obstacle again he was vaguely aware of a sharp intake of breath from Lucile. He kept trying. Over and over but the wall was unscalable unbreakable. NO he could do this if there was nothing else he could do in this life he could at least save the life of a loved ones child! Once more he hurled himself at the barrier once more it denied him but with a small glimmering crack were he had struck. HOPE. He didn’t know how many time he hurled against that wall how long he sat with that child in his arms but just when he felt like he had nothing left the wall gave way in a brilliant storm of light and an infant’s cry was the last thing he heard before his consciousness faded into oblivion. He awoke a month later in the church of Liliana. Lucile was sitting calmly nursing her child by his bed side looking out the window. “Thank you Raven. I don’t know what you are or how you did it but thank you” Raven just quietly looked at her and her child. “her name is Caterina” Lucile said “the church hear said they will look after us until we can get on our feet.”
“no need darlin. My profession is pretty lucrative if you know what I mean” raven replied seeing his things were beside his bed he slowly sat up and reached into his bag producing a bulging sack of gold and platinum. He handed it to Lucile “now don’t you offend me by refusing this. Us death defeating monster types are pretty excitable.” in spite of herself she laughed at that comment.
“Thank you. And here I am with nothing to offer you in return” she said tears welling up in her eyes
“Hey now,” he said quietly. Wiping one of the tears out of her eye “you just live a happy life and raise Caterina well. That’ll be more than enough repayment for me. As for myself I still got work I need to do”
“what do you owe them. What is it that makes you believe you have to keep living the way you do.”
“I don’t know. It’s funny you ask because you were the one who helped set me on this path but… It’s not a cross it’s a choice. I do what I do in memory of my family and because there are just things that need to get done. Besides I’m not unhappy the way I live I do it for me too.” With that he staggered to his feet and collected his things. by the gods he was weak. “you take care I’ll make sure to stop in now and again.” this event had set in his mind another thing that needed doing. Raven also took this opportunity to apprentice under a midwife for many reasons once he had completed his training he started for Morning Glory. Even after all this time though he still hadn’t fully recovered from the incident with Lucile. Raven was not without enemies. During the time when he had been randomly killing and running from his past he had made plenty of blood enemies. One of them just happened to be on the road that day and saw the opportunity to get revenge, the fight didn’t last long Raven was bleeding badly and dizzy before long and the final blow was about to be struck Raven had flashbacks of the battle with Shark. This time though there was no Bear to stop the blow. He readied himself for one final strike. He could at least take out his opponent at the same time. But the blow never came. His attacker was now staring at long blade that had just sprouted from his chest. Behind him stood a man in nobles robes with seal that Raven recognized as house Tugrur. “Are you alright there sir I heard that the roads were bad for bandits these days but in broad daylight like this! Damies beard!” Raven wasn’t even sure if Damie had a beard but supposed it was just an expression. Seeing how wounded Raven was the man, who introduced himself as Arithorn Tugrur, took him to his manner to heal up. Raven stayed several months while he healed and as was to be expected of his fey nature indulged in a few hidden delights with Arithorns daughter. On the more serious note however this man had saved his life and was actually not a bad person it was not often that a noble would take a stranger of lower rank into his home and help him for no other reason than them being in trouble. Such concern for the common folk was almost unheard of in nobility. It was on the day of his departure that Raven swore an oath to Arithorn to watch over the line of house Tugrur until the line fails or Ravens death.
It was then Ravens Turn to help out someone on the road along his path he ran across a wandering Elf being attacked by several assailants. A quick glance told raven that these were not common bandits. They moved with a fluid grace and attacked with the finesse of battle hardened warriors. They were good and it did not look like the elf had much left in him. It was either help or let the man die and Raven as usual followed his nature. If the attackers were good he was better utilizing the element of surprise he managed to take care of them in short order. The elf thanked him and asked where he was going. When told Morning Glory the elf offered to travel with him introducing himself as Balthazar the travelling mage. Raven agreed and so they set on their way. The two became fast friends and to Ravens surprise Balthazar had lived an equally full life. He belonged to a family of incredibly gifted mages each possessing a unique way with the flows of magic able to tap into the primal concepts like time space and death. Unfortunately because of this talent his family had become a target of the demons during the wars and with their power they had enslaved his family members to use as weapons in the war. They weren’t counting on the power Balthazar had wielded however. Balthazar had been born with the unique understanding of the bond between all things using this knowledge he had created spells that were able to syphon power out of the demons curse and even steal a small amount of his siblings powers over the other concepts. He had had to kill his siblings however and was now the last of his line. He was now on a quest seeking forbidden knowledge. Like the power behind the deities and the interaction between life and death. True causes of undeath and how the soul changes when becoming a demon or angel were also on his list of to do’s and he was thankful that he was an elf and thus blessed with a long lifespan. Raven assumed Balthazar knew the dangers behind the knowledge he was seeking and thus spared him the speech on what mortals should or shouldn’t know. So Raven shared what he knew with the mage and even after reaching Morning Glory they spent another 10 years adventuring and travelling together.
When they finally parted ways Raven spent the next few years in Morning Glory working as a bard and falconer. There he learned of the elven gods as he had studied the dwarven ones in his time with dwarves. Then on to the temples across the land studying the teachings of each god good or evil to get a bit more understanding of the world around him.
Several times over the centuries he tried to love but after the third time he watched his loved one grow old and die he knew his heart couldn’t take it anymore. He always returned back to see Lucile after each of the deaths though she was painfully starting to show signs of ageing as well. It rent his heart to think of losing her but he knew there was nothing he could do about it. Catarina was full grown now and though she was a spark of hope that might keep him sane through Lucile’s passing. She too would age and die would he be able to handle that? He knew now that he was not elven in origin or he would have been showing much more severe signs of ageing than he had now. As it was almost 600 years had passed and he still didn’t look much older than 25 he was seeing Balthazar grow old he had gotten to know and befriended 8 generations of house Tugrur and had to witnessed 6 grow old and die already. He often contemplated withdrawing from the world but not only was that selfish on his part he knew deep down that his emotional state wouldn’t allow it even if he did so. Maybe he was immortal maybe he was just incredibly long lived regardless he was going through the pains of having such a lifespan. He tried to use his powers on Lucile but all it seemed to do beside weaken him was make her look younger she still felt her age and that meant she would probably still die when her lifespan ran out. He kept doing his work as an assassin and as a bard he kept travelling the world warning giving people warning helping unravel master plots and fighting in battles behind the scenes. But he was getting more reckless Over the years He had acquired titles one being the Prince of Ravens and now more often than not he was being called Storm Crow as he always seemed to show up right before trouble arose.
On his way down towards what was now known as Ain Raven encountered a family being attacked by orcs. The orcs had already killed the parents and were advancing on the young girl. Raven quickly dispatched the orcs but there was little he could do for the mangled bodies of the girls’ parents. He had found that the older someone gets the harder it is to revive them and the more of the body he had to repair the harder it got as well. If he tried to revive either of them he would probably wind up killing himself. He decided to help the child in the only way he knew how by taking her with him and raising her himself. She was an elven child and after a few months of him slowly helping her get over what happened to her parents she told him her name was Brook. For 50 years he tried his best to raise her. Teaching her to dance to play instruments and giving her all the basic life skills that he had been taught. But he soon found the same obstacle that he had run into with his friends so many centuries ago his uncontrollable emotions. While he was able to keep them well enough in check with most people when he was so close to some like with a parent bond his emotions would run wild when she angered him he would go into a fit of rage when something worried him he would become a nervous wreck and even when he was happy he thought he saw the fear in her eyes at how over the top he became. He was scarring her half to death with every emotion he went through or so he thought. He realized that he was too erratic to raise a child and so he sought out the great monk monastery to send her for training. At first they were against it. She was too old and too free spirited to be part of their order but one thing they could deny was her skill and focus in the martial arts Raven had taught as much as he could in their time together. They eventually agreed after he talked with them at length about the situation and showing them her skill. He visited the monastery frequently after that to see her and help her with some of life’s problems. It hurt that he was incapable of raising her on his own but it was just another thing he would have to learn to deal with he surmised. The least he could do is be there for her once and a while. It was on his way back from tone of these visits to the temple that he met Sora
Chapter 5 Angels and demons
He had just finished playing a set in the local tavern when she came into the room. Ravens blood began to move faster. She was probably one of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He couldn’t say what it was that made her so beautiful only that she was, and when she started to dance there was no question of who her dance partner was going to be. He advanced through the crowd. She didn’t take long to notice him as he approached and wordlessly she pulled him into her dance. The two of them soon lost themselves in the joy of the dance. You could tell how they felt by the looks on their faces they spun in circles with the moon in their eyes they forgot where they were and they lost track of time and they sang to the wind as they danced through the night. The bard playing was entranced not once did his fingers stop playing and likewise not once did their feet stop moving drums hummed through the air as they continued to dance every soul in the room keeping time with their hands. Finally in the wee hours of the mourning the two retired upstairs they got a room together but for once in his life Raven had no desire to do anything but lay beside her and the feeling was mutual. Nothing could compare to what they had just done that evening. She told him her name was Selwyn and that she had never had such a wonderful dance in her life. He could only agree. For a long time they lay there beside one another enjoying each other’s warmth before she said it. “We aren’t meant to be though.”
“I know” he said a small stab of pain going through his heart. He knew she wasn’t meant for him he didn’t know how he knew but he had known from the moment he saw her. That still didn’t change how he felt. He wanted to be meant for her. But somewhere within himself he knew that he would keep her from her true happiness if she chose him. They slept.
It was around this time that another Great war swept over the land a war that threatened all once again it wasn’t a surprise to raven to find himself fighting in it. What was surprising was that he had a friend with him this time Selwyn was quite skilled both with a blade and with the arts of healing and with great courageousness she charged onto the fields of battle retrieving the wounded and use her mysterious skill to revive the fallen. This habit of hers often had Raven finding himself on the main battle front in order to watch her back. It was not a position he was usually seen or used to but as the years went by he gradually got used to it. Using his training in almost any known weapon he entered the battlefield unarmed scavenging any weapon he found on the field: daggers, axes, chains, whips, spears, bows, throwing knives, even hammers and stones. And as the pile of his enemy’s bodies grew so did his repitour of weapons to choose from. He always fought with his cowl and hood up. Wearing the coat he had made while in the wilds, black thick leather hemmed in black feathers. When he wasn’t in battle raven often could be found carousing in taverns and raising the spirits of the soldiers with song and dance. Many times Selwyn saved his life with a timely placed heal spell or a shout of warning of an attacker. One thing Raven did notice about Selwyn is that she wasn’t ageing. Even though she looked entirely human over the years he had known her she hadn’t aged a day. He puzzled over this but never asked any questions in spite of himself.
It was his small army of black winged friends that warned him of the surprise attack. A large force of the enemy was coming up from the underground. The forces of good were already tied up with great conflict on the surface and even the great champions were locked in great and terrible combat. If this surprise attack went through it would take the strongholds of the allied armies while they were out on the fields. The war would be lost. There was no time to organize a coherent force big enough to repel them warnings had been sent to the leaders of the armies but none were close enough to reach the tunnels in time. All raven could do was gather up a few of the bravest knights from the order of the white raven and some skilled assassins from the raven guild and head to the war-front to try to deal with the attackers Selwyn met him at the entrance with a small platoon of white cloaked figures that seemed to glow slightly in the darkness. He did not question who or what they were Selwyn had already displayed enough mysterious powers as it was. What was summoning an army of shimmering soldiers? He did however try to convince her not to go.
“Are you so pompous that you believe your men can hold the tunnel alone? Are you willing to put these brave men at more risk for MY sake?” she replied angrily. “Raven you will need my help you know it. I am here to defend my home and all the good people in it I will not cower in a corner and watch you and all these brave men die”
there was no arguing that Raven simply nodded “sorry darlin, just didn’t want to see you get hurt is all”
“This is war Raven, If we lose I will hurt more than I ever could on the battle field, you should know that better than anyone”
“Yer right I don’t know what I was thinking. Come on then Selwyn lets go give em hell” at the mention of hell there was a slight twitch in Selwyn’s face. She often seemed to see things and know things before they happened and that little twitch worried raven more than anything had in a while.
The numbers were vast Raven and Selwyn’s forces were outnumbered one hundred to one. They used the tunnels bottlenecks to make the fight feasible but so numerous were the tunnels that often the enemy force would suddenly come spilling out of a side tunnel to flank Ravens or Selwyn’s forces. After several hours of fighting Raven got the message that help was on the way. But it might be too late already. They were getting pushed back and once the army reached the surface it would all be over. Selwyn’s expression grew sad then. “I saw this coming why is it still hard” she closed her eyes and began to chant in a language Raven Couldn’t understand. Iridescent blue runes sprang up on the ground around her, and then it happened, Brilliant white wings thrust out of her back her long red hair taking on a Glowing hue of gold.
“you’re an angel!” Raven Said his voice was horse his eyes wide in awe.
“Only half Angel Raven” Her voice chimed out of her lips like a chorus of silver bells “I know not who my mother or father was but manifesting powers like this is forbidden I know that.”
She began to manifest a torrent of brilliant white energy and sent it at the support pillar of the cavern. With a deafening roar half the cave collapse burying a good portion of the enemy force but still more came advancing relentlessly onward. Selwyn spread her wings and a great shower of sparks spread through the cavern healing the wounds of the allied army. Even though this cut the enemy force back further they were still coming. When the last of Ravens men had been cut down only Raven and Selwyn stood alone facing almost 500 enemy troops. Selwyn had been weakened from fighting in the form she was in and was barely able to hold herself up on one knee.
Raven braced himself. Five hundred against one. The odds were impossible but he couldn’t let it end here with a roar he flung himself at the wall of soldiers. The ring of sliding steal rang through his head as he leapt onto the first undead soldier slicing off its head. ONE. Spinning into a pirouette he deflected a spear thrust at him and planted a throwing knife in his attacker’s chest TWO. The sound of steal whistling through the air warned him of the attack behind him. Dropping to a crouch he grabbed the swordsman’s arm and sent his blade into another soldiers neck. THREE! As Raven rose he gutted the swordsman groin to neck with a rising slash. FOUR. He had lost the element of surprise now and simultaneous attacks were being launched at him. Using the soldier he just killed as a shield from three crossbow bolts then stabbing a sword through the body to kill a soldier on the other side. FIVE. Spin, Slash, SIX, jump, Falling strike, SEVEN, spin, duck, roll, throw, EIGHT every instinct every ounce of deadly training he had ever received and every year of experience he had gleaned from his long life was being put into this moment. He could not yield. Help was coming Selwyn had to live and the line must hold. NINE, TEN faster he spun reflexes and senses strained to their limit. ELEVEN, TWELVE. Two more body’s hit the floor of the cavern. He spun to face the next attack. Then it came a cold sensation ripping into his side followed by a rush of warmth flowing down his hip. There was no pain. Adrenalin and training were doing their job dulling that. But suddenly he had less use of his left side it was sluggish. I didn’t matter he could still… THIRTEEN! He dropped one more soldier. A Fountain of blood hit his face FOURT…. no, this blood was his own three swords pierced his chest now the world went silent. His faltering heartbeat rang in his ears as it tried desperately to beat with too little blood and a piece of Steel thrust through it. They pulled the blades out and began to advance on Selwyn she was shouting something at him but he couldn’t hear her. His form hit the floor a warm red pool forming around him. He had failed this was the end…
Once again that strange instinct took over. He could heal mortal wounds on others why not himself? An explosion of black feathers drew the soldier’s attention back to his still form. Up he raised blue and violet energy seeping from his eyes. His wounds healing in front of their very eyes. Again he attacked. When the second mortal wound was struck he had downed 20 more men. The third 43. each time a flurry of black feathers erupted from him each time the wound vanished. Each time he was a bit weaker. He didn’t care. He would not let them pass. He could hear Selwyn Screaming at him now “RAVEN STOP!! I will die for this as the mortal half of my soul cannot handle the powers I have just manifested! Run I will delay them until help arrives!”
“NO!” He roared back at her. Surprised at the strange deep voice that came from his own thought “you are Meant for more than this remember?! You will survive this if I have to butcher every last one of these bastards!”
By the time help arrived over a hundred lay dead on the ground. Raven had been struck down 10 times and when the men came to relive him it was all he could do to stumble to Selwyn. She had done her part as well using blasts of radiance to cut swaths through the front ranks. But that was taking its tole on her as well. Her wings faded and with them she began to as well. He did it instinctively now synchronizing his ragged soul with hers. He could not save the angelic part of her that was beyond him when he was at full strength but maybe he could anchor her mortal soul so that she may live on at least for one lifetime. He screamed as a searing pain ripped through him. Power rushing from his body into hers it was working! He did not know how or why but it was! Even a small piece of her celestial self was being anchored. Perhaps one of her children one day might inherit a piece of that mighty heritage. If only he could bare the pain just a little longer… Done! She was stable. Now he had to get her to safety… He could barely walk! How was he going to…? Suddenly the roof of the cavern gave way. It snaked directly under the edge of the ocean and apparently it could no longer with stand the torrents of battle below and water above. Water rushed in sweeping away the combatants, Raven and Selwyn into the open ocean. The last thought in Ravens mind was a plea to Odin to make sure Selwyn was seen to safety.
Chapter 6 The Plague and The Present
Raven awoke in a small hut by the edge of the woods somewhere south of Tukin a young alchemist named Alera was tending his wounds. Odin was waiting on the window sill of her hut.
“oh thank the gods your awake” she said in an exasperated voice. “Is this your bird?” She asked pointing at Odin “He’s been hounding me for weeks ever since I fished you out of the cove and started tending to you.”
“Ya” he replied weakly “he’s my buddy”
“well tell your “buddy” to stop taping on my window then before I decide I like Raven stew”
“Will do ma’am.” Raven said leaning back on his bedding.
“oh I suppose I should be a bit gentler on the sick” Alera said finally sighing. “what’s your name?”
Alera looked sceptically at the bird outside then at him. “A man named raven with a pet raven points for originality I guess” She mumbled sarcastically. Raven chuckled he couldn’t quite guess Aleras race she wore a lot of clothing that hid any distinguishing signs though he would guess she was younger. Beakers powders and test tubes sat neatly throughout her hut each categorized and clearly labelled to almost an obsessive degree. Alchemy had never been a widely practised field with magic being so predominant it was almost a redundant practice, or so most mages thought. Of late however there were more and more young adventurers picking up the old dusty tomes of Dr. Jeckal and roger bacon.
When Odin was finally let in he told raven that Selwyn was safe and was living in a town called Hel in the north. Raven sighed with relief and began to think of what to do next. He was unlikely to ever see her again. Something told him that his time with her was up. He spent several years with Alera helping her gather materials for her potions and keeping her company with his songs and tales of adventure. She had a very businesslike yet almost motherly air about her even though she was young. Her alchemy skills were incredible and she seemed to have a special knack for shape-changing potions. Often startling him when she walked into the room with various different forms. When he finally felt well enough to leave he thanked her and told her if she ever needed anything he would be glad to help.
His wanderings took him back to check on Brook, Balthazar, Lucile and Caterina. All were glad to see him alive and otherwise doing fine. He stayed and visited for a few months with each of them. Then it was after that that he had his first encounter with the plague. Taken by surprise by the mass of undead that had been a village he barely escaped with his life. As the incidents of the plague rose crusades began to be stuck up Raven was often there trying to help were he could though admittedly he was not of as much use as he once could have been especially against creatures with no discernible physical weaknesses. On the fields of battle he met a man named Vigo Kay a knight of damie of exceptional skill and resolve. After seeing each other on the battle field a few times they ended up talking and sharing a few war stories. The next few battle they fought together watching each other’s backs and sharing information on fighting techniques. When Vigo was pulled to another region of Argyle to defend it from the plague the two of them parted as friends saying they would keep in touch. Travelling near a city, Veit Qune, he stopped in for the night. As it turned out the head of the weavers guild was in labour as well as another woman in the town. Two babies possibly on the same night. These things always happened on a full moon. He assisted the midwife in birthing the guild-masters child. A baby girl whom didn’t cry she simply lay serenely testing her limbs and lungs for the first time. From this nature did she get her name Serenity. Raven had noticed there were some things that the midwife of this town knew that he did not so he decided to stay a little while and learn from her. While he stayed there he got to know Tren Serenity father. At first just wanting to show his gratitude for helping his wife he had invited Raven for a supper at their house. But after talking for a while the two of them had got talking in all kinds of tales of travel and adventure. Often after that you could find Raven and Tren sitting in the Tavern in the evenings going over business strategies or reminiscing about days past. Alas Raven soon had to continue on his journey and left for Honastica to continue his work. The house Turgor was having some difficulties and he was trying to help Elrad Tugrer get it back on its feet.
On his way to Honastica Raven met another influential figure. A sorceress and a powerful one at that. Her name Jade she, had been stamping out the plague wherever she could using the powers of her bloodline to great advantage. She was also a lover of music and carousing and it wasn’t long before the two of them found their way to the bedroom together. As Raven was casting his block the seed spell however jade discreetly cancelled it without his knowledge. Naturally Raven was shocked when he returned from house Tugrur several months later that she was with his child. She told him that he needn’t worry about raising it with her as she had made the choice to have it and wanted a strong heir to her bloodline. Sighing Raven shook his head telling her that that wouldn’t be right he would at least help her support the child. He ended up doing much more than that. Jade during her pregnancy was infected by the plague. Using the skills he had picked up as an herbalist and midwife over the years he managed to help her survive long enough to give birth to the child but was unable to save jades life and in the end had to slay her as she turned. He named the child Irathell. Roughly translated It meant determined hope in feya
Knowing from his previous failure as a single parent that he needed someone to take care of her he eventually came an orphanage run by the church of Damie that seemed safe from the ravages of the plague. As with all the people that were important to him he kept tabs on her and made sure she was alright working behind the scenes to help them along. Not one month after jades death Raven came across another child in need. A village was being overrun by undead and only a few survivors remained one being a young girl no older than five that stood in abject terror as undead swarmed towards her. Raven managed to hold the undead off for a time but in his weakened state was unable to do much more than hold them back. In a final act of desperation he pushed the girl into a mill and while fighting undead piled debris in front of the door. Once the door had been completely buried he led the undead off hoping to come back for the girl once he had lost them. Days past as the undead hounded him trailing him regardless of how hard he tried to lose them when he finally made it back to the village the girl was gone. The debris had been moved but there was no sign of her not even a body. What there were was signs of human activity meaning she had been taken by someone. He set about searching for her; anyone could have taken her from slavers to bandits to the church. He needed to make sure she was alright.
For several years he searched until he ran into Vigo Kay once again. Vigo recounted the events of the night they had found a girl of such a description. (See Laker of Tukins opening paragraph). He then told Raven that she was being looked after by Prior Gayden. Raven was relieved and revelled with Vigo in the tavern that night playing his lute and singing while Vigo recounted war stories and thing he had seen. Vigo spoke of a young girl who had just been accepted into the order Lesanne Truthblade. The orphan girl was aspiring to be a paladin of Damie and to fight the plague and other evils. Often when the Raven and Vigo would talk he would tell Raven of Lesanns progress. Letting him know how she was training with Angela Silverspear, how she had summoned her first mount and it had been a wolf! It was in this way that Raven watched the young paladin; Lesanne and the young alchemist Lakshimi grow. As it turned out Irathell or Hell as she now called herself ended up studying with Laker this both made Raven happy and made his life much easier as checking up on Lucile, Caterina, Brook, what was left of the raven guild, Laker, Irathell, House Tugrur and Lisanne was becoming more and more time consuming at least some of them were in the same place.
As the years went by a cure for the plague was found and it seemed to Raven that things were starting to calm down. How wrong he was however. It wasn’t long before Vigo began to mention his fears of corruption in the church. The tolls on soul saving and the ridicules laws they were passing was indication enough of this. It was around this time that Odin came to Raven with a very interesting message. That and old friend was being held in the Octagon. It took Raven several attempts to infiltrate the fortress. And when he finally found the cell Odin had indicated it was the largest shock he had had in several centuries. There in the cell stood Bear. A mired of emotions washed over Raven. But it was when Bear spoke that he realized how far gone his former mentor was. He still laughed but no longer was it the rich deep comforting sound that had set Raven at ease. It was almost a trill shriek of madness He stumbled to the side of the cell. Vaguely recognizing Raven. “Raven?” He croaked it seemed an effort for him to stay lucid. “I thought you were…” He shook his head “never mind you’ve got to listen to me” “The man in the next cell I’m training him…” He burst into another howl of mad laughter “If you could call it that… His name is Fox” Ravens eyes widened Bear had given the man a name! That was the equivalent of being accepted into the clan!
“Why?” Raven was all that came out of Ravens mouth.
Another gale of chuckles “I thought you were dead Raven! I thought everybody was. The clans knowledge couldn’t be lost… and besides the grey lady told me too!” The grey lady? Ravens heart sank. Bear really was mad. How had he lived this long? Were had he been all this time? Then the sound of footsteps echoed in the halls. Bear leaned up against the bars the strain of thinking coherently showing clearly on his face. “Listen lad. It’s too late for me. Those men are coming to put me to death… but…Fox with Fox there is hope… the grey lady will help him escape I know she will… and once he does… Oh for the love of the gods be silent!” he said the last bit to himself banging his head against the bars as if to beat away some unseen voice. “Help him Raven. You are the last of our clan now… I have a feeling that you will be given the chance to help a great many people soon. It warms my heart to find you alive Raven… I can see in your eyes how much you’ve grown. From that clumsy young orphan boy into a true warrior of our clan… Take care and May the light of Desna be with you always…” he fell silent for a moment and then the madness returned. “what’er ya looken at little blackbird?” He laughed madly. The footsteps were drawing nearer. Raven tore himself away and fled down the corridor not looking back knowing now that forward was the only way he could look. Bear was dead; all that was left of him now was the laughing man.
As soon as he escaped the prison he got a Raven from Alera. She needed help staging her death so that she could escape the churches clutches things were getting a little too hot for her in there. Raven immediately set out on the task organizing a “bandit” attack on her when she was travelling to Don-Ton making sure the word spread that she was killed and smuggling her out. Another meeting with Vigo confirmed the situation that the church was going down a dark path. The proclamations that were coming out the guilt and suffering that they were bringing to their own people… soon after he ran into Balthazar the aged elf had been driven out of the Don-Ton library and was muttering something about new rules about elves Raven happy to see an old friend travelled with him for a few days on his way to check up on House Turgur, Elrad had died a few years ago but he had had two children Cecil and Lily they might need a little help with the house so Raven thought he might as well do some behind the scenes assisting. On the road however they came across a man with the house emblem on his jacket. He was obviously Cecil Raven had seen the boy once when he had been a young lad and there wasn’t much mistaking it. He seemed in a great rush Raven asked Balthazar if he could possibly help the boy out. Balthazar agreed to assist the boy and was approaching him when Odin arrived with a message, Hel had been Raised to the ground and it seemed the church of Damie were the purpitraiters. Hel? Wasn’t that were…Selwyn. A wave of grief and Rage hit him but he bottled it. Right now he needed to save what he could he followed Cecil though a few day behind as his horse was not enchanted when he got to the village the decimation that met him rended his heart once more. Bandits had apparently attacked the village or so the villagers had said. Balthazar saw Raven and approached him. “It wasn’t bandits Raven the church started this. I don’t know all the details but I am pretty sure the girl was killed in the attack” The rage swelled again straining against its restraints in his heart.
“ Balthazar could I ask you to go and see if the kid needs help he’s met you before and he’s probably as skittish as a scared rabbit right now. “
“If he wants me to do any magic for him it won’t be free. I already did him a favour for you. But I suppose I could give him a discount for you. Depending on what it is”
“thanks” Raven walked away into the woods. Selwyn, Laker, Elrads Dream, Cecils sister, Alera, Fox, Bear! All of them by the churches hands! He began to inspect his blades it was time to do some work in the… no. The time for work in the shadows was done; he had to take a direct hand in this, looking at his blades for a long time he remembered the old saying robin had told him so long ago. No weapons such a foe did not deserve to have weapons used on them. He began to remove all the knives the daggers the chains the swords the hammer even depositing them all in an Iron box from his back pack. He dug a hole in the woods and buried it there sending one of his feathered friends to mark the spot for whenever he returned to retrieve his blades. All he would use to take down this church was the love that’s in his heart…He held his hand to his chest letting the images of all his friends living and deceased flash through his mind, he knelt and picked up a stone form the ground… And the stone in his hand.