This Raven’s Tale tells the story of a young Corvid named Corvus; who leaves his home in Crowshaven and heads out on a journey to search for a mythical herb to heal his dying sibling and ends up on a quest that holds the fate of his entire species on the line.
This personal project was an exploration into the world of Children’s book illustration and graphic novels, I wanted to experiment with a new illustrated style and also put some words down too in order to flesh out the storytelling aspects.
I have now started re-editing all of the slides ready to put into book format, as well as editing the text, the main body of the story is published on here to give an overview of the story of Corvus.
Part 1 – Crowshaven
The world has changed greatly since the days of the Old Corvidae Empire, a dark age has set in and the Corvid Colonies have separated over the past century and a half, scattered throughout the world and estranged.
Crowshaven is the largest single Corvid Colony in the known world, being home to thousands. The inhabitants live in the surrounding trees with the most important members of the Chieftain bloodline living in the Great Tree.
Meetings, moots, assemblies and courts are held in the remains of an ancient temple that the Corvids call the Divine Slab of Forefathers, situated on a hill next to the Great Tree.
Within the Colony of Crowshaven lives a particular Corvid of little renown at this point in the story; his name is Corvus…
Part 2 – The Sickness Of Corvus’ Sibling
Upon returning from a recent gathering expedition in the Smallwood, Corvus younger sibling was struck with a sudden illness that rendered her almost lifeless and fading rapidly. Corvus tried to seek help from the Colony’s physicians with little joy, none of their ‘remedies’ having any positive effects.
Corvus’ lifelong friend Finbar finds him at his tree and brings some hopeful news:
“The sages speak of a White Raven who lives in an Ancient Watchtower at High Point, he is said to have flown these skies since the days of the Old Empire and possesses a depth of knowledge and wisdom in the art of healing and herb-lore.”
With no other options available, and the prospect of a mystical ancient White Raven; Corvus, with his good friend Finbar alongside him, embarks on a quest that will take him far from his home in Crowshaven.
Part 3 – Flight To The Ancient Watchtower
The journey from Crowshaven to High Point is over 130 leagues as the crow flies and with the life of his Sibling hanging in the balance, Corvus, with Finbar alongside him make the journey in a single flight, although it takes many hours, flying through the night and into the following morning before reaching the Watchtower.
The Ancient Watchtower itself is perched comfortably on one of the cliffs at High Point at almost the most northerly point of the land and has stood there bravely in the face of the winds of change for centuries, holding its ground but very slowly succumbing to its inevitable ruinous fate.
Rumour has it that the White Raven was living in a Colony not far from High Point when the foundations were laid for the Watchtower, in the Golden Age of the Old Corvidae Empire.
Part 4 – Corvus Meets Alwyn; The White Raven
After an arduous journey, Corvus and Finbar finally reach the Ancient Watchtower, exhausted, but glad to find substance to the myths and legends of the Colony; The White Raven was indeed living there.
He introduced himself to the pair as Alwyn, and informed them that he had been expecting a visit soon, despite having not seen a soul in over a decade.
“You have come at a time of great change, oh winged wanderers, and I believe that it is not mere chance that brings you to my abode, nor that just the two of you should arrive under the same sun.”
In the distance to the north, two Corvids can be seen heading towards the Watchtower.
Corvus related the illness of his fading sibling to Alwyn and asked for help in locating a true remedy.
“The physicians in Crowshaven can’t help her now, some have mentioned a herb called Starshade, but none can tell me where to find this herb. The Sages are sure that only you, the White Raven can know of its location!”
Part 5 – The Meadow Temple; Astralus Starshade Herb Amongst Ruins
“The herb that you seek has many properties, and a very short lifespan once picked.”
The White Raven had a grim look on his face, and went on to relate to Corvus all that he knew about the Starshade herb.
“There are some ruins on an island to the east of this Watchtower, the Meadow Temple it is called. That is the only place in my knowledge that Astralus grows dependably.
It appears only at night, under starlight; hence it’s name in the common tongue of Starshade, and once picked it will wither and die by the following sunrise. There is no known way to preserve neither the herb itself or its roots and it cannot be replanted once harvested.”
Corvus knew that it would be near impossible to harvest the herb and get it home to Crowshaven in a single night but he had to find a way; meanwhile, two other Corvids arrived.
Part 6 – Munin & Hugin Arrive With Grim Tidings
Just as Alwyn finished explaining the properties of the Starshade herb, the other two Corvids that had been seen in the distance arrived. Straight into the Watchtower they entered, looking panicked, flustered and exhausted.
The two Corvids introduced themselves as Munin and Hugin from the Colony of Dimhallow in the Northern Rayvik Kingdom. They had traveled a great distance across the open ocean on the North Sea to find the White Raven and bring him a vital warning.
“Our Sages and Wisebirds insisted that we brought the information to you and that you would know what to do with it and how to save us all!”
Munin done the majority of the speaking, with the occasional affirmative coming from Hugin; Munin’s crazed look and spiked hair certainly suited the message that he carried.
“There is a Darkness spreading throughout the world and it is killing our kind rapidly, it seems to be coming from the Far North; we recently lost contact with all Colonies north to Dimhallow and this is what incited the Sages to send us here. A warning must be giving to all of our Kinsfolk!”
Alwyn had been listening intently and as soon as Munin finished talking his posture changed, his eyes seemed to glow, and he began to relate a prophecy from the Dawn of Corvids.
Part 7 – Alwyn Relates A Prophecy From The Dawn Of Corvids
Four and the White Raven in a place where the stars spawn
A warning of Darkness, a plague from the Far North
A sickness that spreads turning Corvids to waste and bones
The only hope is one Colony, one King in a safe abode
Between the sky-stone falling and the next full moon
The Crown must be taken from the hand of a god
Or the Darkness will spread and it affects all croons
No more songs from the Corvids and the land is forgot
Alwyn then explains the prophecy:
“On this night, the sky stone fell like a flamed eagle flying through the night sky. This means that before the next full moon, you four must travel to Ironholde and retrieve the Crown of Crows from the hand of the Man King.
All Corvids must be united under one King and taken to Treehold Keep, there is an old castle there, the air is clean and protected by the Silvertip Mountain Range and should protect all those dwelling within from the Darkness.
The Corvid Colonies will not unite unless a King is crowned, and there is little time left to fulfill this prophecy; failing to do so will result in…
Part 8 – Corvus Makes A Tough Decision – The Corvids Begin Their Quest
Having heard the prophecy, Corvus is left with an impossible decision to make; does he source the Starshade herb and save his sibling only to see the whole of Corvid-kind eventually wiped out by the Darkness; or does he take up the quest and risk failing and the definite death of his sibling who is just a day or two at most away from death now?
There is no time to do both, the next full moon is less than a week away and the Crown must be retrieved by then.
Alwyn, the White Raven; hasn’t left the land around his Ancient Watchtower in over a century and the reclusive manner of his being suggests it could be just as long again before he even considers doing so, regardless of the reason.
Reluctantly, but seeing the bigger picture and knowing the outcome of not even trying to do so, Corvus decides that the only true course to take is to take up the quest of heading to Ironholde and getting the Crown.
Finbar, Munin & Hugin agree to join Corvus in the fulfillment of the prophecy and heading out on the quest and the White Raven shares with them the fragments of an old map so that they can find the way.
Part 9 – A Conspiracy Of Corvids Arrive At The Thornwatch Colony
Having left the Tower of the White Raven, the four Corvids travel southwards towards Ironholde, and after a hundred leagues and ten hours of flight time they reach the small Colony of Thornwatch.
Like the many Corvid Colonies, Thornwatch was set up after the fall of the Old Corvidae Empire with a roost site that contains both ruins and trees for nesting, an elected Crowchief and communal services for each member of the Colony; such as hunters, gatherers, builders…
Finding this Colony after a day’s travel has lots of benefits for Corvus and the others, Corvids are social creatures that are always keen to meet others of their kin and trade stories, discuss family histories and share meals; hospitality is at the very heart of Corvid culture.
Corvus decides that the right thing to do is to tell the Corvids of Thornwatch about the prophecy, the quest he is undertaking and the potential outcomes, he advises them to head to Crowshaven as that will be the main rallying point for all the Colonies once the Ravenking is crowned.
The Crowchief of Thornwatch listens to this news and then makes his decision regarding the future of his Colony.
Part 10 – Corvus Gains Some More Quest Companions
The Crowchief of Thornwatch heeds the prophecy that Corvus relays to him and he agrees to take his colony and head to Crowshaven; he also offers the services of three of his most renowned warriors.
The Corvids spend the evening in conversation with the three new companions to their group; Ronin, Ethelred and Everild and they look over the map fragments that were given to them by Alwyn, the White Raven, in order to figure out the best route to take to Ironholde.
They decide that avoiding the Grimwood Forest for now and heading through the Burntwood is the best option; upon coming out of Burntwood they can hug the coastline and avoid the risk of getting lost in the forest thickets.
The Conspiracy of Corvids now has seven members and thus a greater chance of succeeding in the quest of retrieving the Crown from the Man-King; the group agree to leave Thornwatch at first leg to get onto the first leg of their journey.
Part 11 – The Unwelcoming Sight Of The Burntwood
Since leaving Thornwatch the Conspiracy of Corvids has had a rather uneventful journey traveling at height across the north-east plains but despite being uneventful they all had a strong feeling of trepidation knowing that within a day’s journey they will arrive at the Burntwood.
The Burntwood and the Gravelands are the site of an ancient battle ground from the days of the Old Corvidae Empire and a sad time that contributed to the fall of the Empire.
The Battle of Ash Feathers saw the first time that the sworn enemies of all Corvids; the Rattus Rodentius managed to get the upperhand and it proved to be fatal. They coaxed the 6th Corvidae Legion into the forest, trapped them and set hundreds of fires simultaneously, wiping out the entire 6th Corvidae Legion and razing the Eastwood to the ground.
Since those times, the Burntwood and the Gravelands have been a no-go zone for Corvids and none are known to have ventured through there in centuries. The air is still too thick and dense to allow for flight and this is another factor that keeps many away and superstitious.
That’s all about to change, now that a Conspiracy of Corvids have arrived at the fringes of the wastes…
Part 12 – A Mysterious Calling From The Entrance To The Graveland
Reaching the end of the Burntwood, the group find the entrance to the Graveland; several Corvid skulls decorate the desolation surrounding the entrance which is a hole in the rocky outcrop that surrounds the entirety of the land they’re heading towards.
Corvid warriors often wear the skulls of their ancestors into battle but seeing the skulls of their kinfolk used in this manner strikes the Conspiracy of Corvids with both fear, and intense anger. The Rattus Rodentius had desecrated the remains of the fallen Corvidae soldiers and the remains have been left in place ever since.
Corvus swore that once the quest was over with and the Darkness passed, if he was still alive he would lead an expedition to retrieve all of the remains of the 6th Corvidae Legion and give them a proper funeral. All those that perished in the Burtnwood would have been reduced to ashes but those who fought their last stand in the Graveland needed to be taken elsewhere.
Suddenly, a strange calling could be heard coming from the entrance to the Graveland; suspicious of a trap set by their enemies; if indeed any remained in this land but intrigued as to the source of the calling, the group decided to push on without stopping to rest.
Reaching the entrance and seeing through to the Graveland, the Corvids brace themselves to discover the source of the strange calling…
Part 13 – The Fall Of Ethelred Into A Watery Tomb
Not stopping for rest before entering the Graveland was about to prove fatal for the group. The calling voice seemed to have become fainter, as if further away now despite them heading closer towards it.
Entering into the Graveland the Corvids felt a shift in the atmosphere, the air felt denser and thick and they began to feel exhausted. There were watery pools scattered about throughout the land that they needed to head across and an eerily oppressive mist.
The calling started to get to Ethelred in a way that it didn’t affect the others, he started to become obsessed with finding its source despite the others wanting to move on and leave the forsaken wastes far behind.
Suddenly and without any warning, Ethelred flaps his wings and takes to the sky, at first he seems to be flying fine but then he becomes stiff as though wrapped in the web of a large spider and he rapidly drops from the air and splashes into one of the pools of water.
All of the remaining Corvids other than Corvus attempt to fly to get to him with haste and despite flying low and closer to the ground than he did they all suffer the same bound up fate, without landing in the water thankfully. Corvus heads towards Ethelred’s location hopping as fast as he can with the odd flap of his wings to boost himself, cautious of suffering the constriction of the oddly dense atmosphere.
As Corvus reaches the pool that Ethelred fell into, he sees him just rise above the water, flapping his one free wing to try and get himself out of danger but to little avail. Corvus finds a stick and uses it to try to pull Ethelred to safety.
Finding it too much of a struggle to pull his friend from the water with his leg strength alone, Corvus decides to use his wingpower and he flaps his strong wings to pull himself backwards and drag Ethelred with him.
He feels the fog enclose him, his wings stick to his body, he falls to the ground unable to move his wings any longer.
Ethelred is lost…
Part 14 – The Long March Of Bitter Grief
The loss of Ethelred is a bitter blow to the Conspiracy of Corvids and it puts a huge dampener on the journey ahead, most affected by his loss is Everild; she grew up by his side and she was promised to him in marriage, which would have been fulfilled at the end of this adventure.
The long march of bitter grief is taken one small step at a time, putting one foot in front of the other and slowly moving forward.
The long march of bitter grief, a journey long and hard to take
No time is there to sit and weep, a burning strong that lasts an age
The tears will fall, the pit is deep, the hurt a song for darker days
The long march of bitter grief, when words are gone and hearts are pained
Finally out of the Graveland, the Corvids can rest for a while before taking to the skies again and continuing the journey to Ironholde.
Part 15 – The Long Flight To Ironholde
With the last whirling mists of the Graveland well behind them and the strange binding worn off, the Corvids once again take to the skies and stretch their aching wings.
They stick to the coastline for this leg of the journey so as to avoid entering the Grimwood, doing so at this point would risk too much of a delay and if they got lost in the ancient forest they would never get to Ironholde in time to fulfill the prophecy.
Part 16 – A Brief Rest At Stonewall
With one night remaining before the next full moon and the end of the time limit deemed by the Prophecy, the Corvids decided to stop for a decent night’s rest at Stonewall, just a few leagues from the settlement of Ironholde.
This was the first real rest they had taken since leaving the Colony of Thornwatch many days ago. So much had happened in the time since they left Thornwatch and so much ground covered. The loss of Ethelred was also still weighing heavily upon his closer comrades; Everild and Ronin.
Stonewall used to be the home of a Corvid Colony, many moons ago; before the Man-Colony was built at Ironholde and this led to the Stonewall Corvids; those that survived the intrusions, to leave their once loved home and head off elsewhere.
Corvus hoped that it didn’t bode ill for their quest…
Part 17 – The Corvids Reach The Man-Colony Of Ironholde
After an arduous journey, that has already been fraught with grief and sorrow the Corvids finally reach their destination. Now comes the real challenge.
They arrive at Ironholde in the early evening with the Sun is slowly making His way down towards the western horizon. The Corvids know that a full Moon will be rising this night and in order to fulfill the Prophecy they must take the Crown of Crows before the night is over.
The first step is to identify the room of the Man-King; they quickly do this and then they plan their attack.
Many years ago, Ronin had been kept in a cage in a Man-Colony and he put forward the plan to wait until nightfall to make their move; he had first hand experience of the behavioural habits of Mankind and knew that for the most part, they became unconscious during the Moon light hours.
The Corvids agree to this idea, they find a nice nook in a tower wall to rest in and wait for the full Moon to begin its climb.
Part 18 – Inside The Chamber Of The Man-King
The Corvids locate and reach the chamber of the Man-King and they quickly hatch their plan to take the Crown of Crows from his finger. Finbar checks that the human in bed is the Man-King and prepares for Corvus and Ronin to take the Crown.
The Corvids are quickly made aware of the large dog that is asleep on the floor of the chamber, sleeping but with its ears pricked and ready to detect any intrusions and protect its master at any cost.
The rest of the group wait outside, close enough to help if needed but far enough so as to lessen the risk of alerting any guards, human or canine, of their presence and their intentions.
Corvus and Ronin prepare to leave the window sill, and the dog’s snoring stops…
Part 19 – Taking The Crown From The Hand Of A God
Finally the moment has come; the opportunity to fulfill the first part of the Prophecy and retrieve the Crown of Crows, every flap of the journey has led to this point.
As earlier agreed, Corvus and Ronin are the ones to take the Crown and the Man-King’s finger in the process, Ronin has the sharpest beak so he will make the cut whilst Corvus takes the finger.
Very much aware of the large, protective canine sleeping just a few feet away, the Corvids decide to go for it and move as fast as possible afterwards.
Corvus begins to pull the Man-King’s finger and Ronin makes the cut…
Part 20 – The Scream Of A Man-King And The Murder Of Finbar
As soon as Corvus and Ronin took the finger of the Man-King he awoke in a screaming and pained panic, before he could realise exactly what had happened, the dog was awake and trying to attack the Corvids who were fighting back ferociously and keeping the dog’s attention divided as to which of them to go for.
The Man-King saw what was happening and regained his senses, he grabbed the nearest thing he had to hand, which was his axe and began swatting about at the Corvids, trying to land a blow.
Eventually he did…
He landed a fatal blow on Finbar as he attempted to leave the chamber back through the window with Corvus and Ronin who had just escaped with the Crown.
Finbar was struck with the backside of the axe head, his spine and neck broken, killing him instantly.
As fast as that, Corvus had lost his oldest and dearest friend…
Part 21 – From The Mouth Of A Beast, A Narrow Escape
There was no way that Corvus could leave his dead friend behind for his corpse to be eaten by the Man-King’s dogs, or worse.
He dived back in through the window and into the chamber, avoiding the swings of the axe and trying his best not to become the guard dogs next meal.
Corvus grabs the body of his dearest friend and narrowly escapes the teeth of the guard dog and makes it out of the window and into the air to rejoin the other Corvids.
Now they have the Crown, the next phase is to return to Crowshaven and get the Ravenking crowned; a necessity in order to unite all of the Corvid Colonies and move to the castle at Treehold Keep before the Darkness comes.
Before that can be thought about in depth though, there is a more pressing matter at hand.
Corvus needs to hold a funeral for his oldest friend, Finbar…
Part 22 – A Funeral For Finbar, More Mourning For The Corvids
The Corvids manage to get to the edge of the Grimwood without any further problems, carrying with them the body of Finbar, broken and lifeless. Each of the Corvids carries the body for a way, sharing the load between them in order to reach their destination as quickly as they can.
At the edge of the Grimwood Corvus announces “We shall hold the funeral for our dear friend here, in this spot, before the Grimwood. To carry him through and try to return him to Crowshaven by this route would be folly. The Great Golden Eagle has a keen eye and will find him wherever he lies.”
The Conspiracy of Corvids calmly collected their thoughts for a few moments, and then they sang a funerary song together as is the custom amongst their kind.
They said their farewells and last to say his was Corvus; who had known Finbar since they were Hatchlings, they then entered the Grimwood.
They entered amongst the shadowy darkness of the trees and the dense thickets, hoping against all hope that they didn’t have to face any more loss before this journey ended…
Part 23 – Into The Grimwood, The Forest Journey Begins
With two of the Corvids now lost along the way, the remaining five finally enter the Grimwood and begin the last leg of the journey back to Crowshaven.
For Corvus, it feels like an age ago that he left Crowshaven and first met the White Raven; Alwyn; made the tough decision that he had to make in order to see the prophecy fulfilled; and the grief stricken walk out of the Gravelands.
In some ways, Corvus knew the worst was yet to come, the Grimwood is a forest that strikes fear into the hearts of even the hardiest of travelers. Rallying all the Corvid Colonies together under a Ravenking and the exodus to Treehold Keep would also prove to be a challenging endeavour.
The five Corvids; Ronin, Corvus, Hugin, Everild and Munin take a brief rest on a rock and look into the distant depths of the woodland.
The unknown awaits them; and they await the unknown…
Part 24 – The Stone Circle And Mirror Pond At Mistglen
There are a vast number of scary things to be happened upon within the confines of an ancient forest, especially one with a reputation such as that held by the Grimwood. One of those scary things is a sudden clearing, such as the clearing in the centre of the Grimwood known as Mistglen.
The open circle of land set within the confines of the Grimwood is a fair few leagues of open space, with a scattering of trees, ponds and meadows. True it its name, there is also a lot of mist in the area of Mistglen and this gives what could be a place of beauty, an eerie and otherworldly atmosphere.
After battling their way through the rough forest terrain, the Corvids wind up in Mistglen, their attention immediately drawn to the Stone Circle that surrounds the Mirror Pond; they decide to head towards it to take rest and recuperate by the water.
They know now from the map that Alwyn gave them that they are about halfway through the Grimwood and this gives the group a sense of relief.
The problem being that it can soon turn to complacency…
Part 25 – A Reflection Of Glory In The Mirror Pond
The Mirror Pond in Mistglen is a place of legend, there are many tales known to the beings that live outside the Grimwood; the only problem being how much the tales differ from one another as to what the Mirror Pond offers.
Corvus is wary of the place and the ‘promises’ it apparently offers and he warns the others to be cautious whilst near it.
Hugin and Munin however, have different ideas. They find themselves immediately drawn to the cool reflective glare of the Mirror Pond and they immediately head to the water’s edge for a better look.
What each of them sees looking back at them is their own reflection, but wearing the Crown of Crows, a promising future of kingship and glory unfold before each of their eyes. The visions that they each see begins to stir up an envious greed and dangerous sense of ambition; they describe to each other the visions they saw.
This causes and intense feeling of jealousy between them; Hugin dives at Munin in rage…
Part 26 – A Battle of Greed – Munin Against Hugin
The idea of kingship has never crossed the mind of neither Munin or Hugin, the fight that the two ended up engaged in is testament to the power of the trickery of the Mirror Pond. It started out as an innocent glance at their reflections in the water and ended in a full blown battle; not only against each other, but also against themselves.
The two brothers from the distant northern Colony end up fighting each other in a meaningless battle of greed.
The other Corvids have a long moment of not knowing what to do, whether to step in and try to stop the fight or to leave it to unfold.
Corvus decides to take matters into his own hands…
Part 27 – An End To Sibling Rivalry, Corvus Settles The Dispute
In those tense and emotionally charged moments of Munin and Hugin swooping at each other and viciously fighting over a future that was an illusion of trickery shown to them by the Mirror Pond; Corvus joined the fray and powerfully split the two brothers apart.
“Of all that we have lost so far, the many leagues we have covered together and how close at times we have come to death, you two think it right and acceptable to kill each other? To fight over that of which you have no right? We have come all this way to fulfil a prophecy that doesn’t result in either of you becoming Ravenking!”
Munin & Hugin see that Corvus is carrying the pack that contains the Crown of Crows; they discern that he has no ambitions of wearing it himself and he also spent time by the Mirror Pond. The pair realise that they have become seduced by their own greed and ambition and this was enhance by visions that they saw in the water, but visions that already existed in the depths of their own hearts to begin with.
They heed Corvus’ words, they make their peace with each other and vow to see this quest fulfilled in the right manner.
The Corvids settle down to rest for a while longer before heading back into the Grimwood…
Part 28 – The Corvids Arrive At Crowshaven, A Surprise Welcoming
The group manage to get through the rest of their journey through the Grimwood without any further problems or delays, and after what feels like an age of being away, Corvus returns to Crowshaven; without Finbar but with four others.
Upon arriving, Corvus was most surprised by the welcoming committee that awaited him at the foot of the Great Tree.
Alwyn, the White Raven alongside Harfengel, the Chief of Crowshaven who is soon to be Ravenking; and the sick relative of Corvus, fully recovered and eagerly awaiting her reunion with her brother.
Although he hadn’t left his Ancient Watchtower in over a century, Alwyn knew that he had to in order to pay his part in the fulfilment of the prophecy; he had sent Corvus on a quest that stopped him being able to save his sibling so Alwyn assumed responsibility to get the Starshade herb to her.
There was now a lot of catching up to do, but more importantly, a lot of planning to do. Every Corvid Colony needed to be moved as one Colony to the Treehold Keep to escape the coming Darkness.
Part 29 – A Reuniting Of Siblings
When Corvus had accepted the quest to fulfil the prophecy that the White Raven had told him about, he knew that he was leaving his ailing sibling to a certain death. This was not a decision that was taken lightly however, it was a decision that he had to make.
She was distraught by the news that Finbar hadn’t made it back home, he would be greatly missed, especially with the major changes coming to all of the Corvid Colonies.
The first major change would begin tomorrow, with the crowning of Harfengel, making him Ravenking…
Part 30 – A Ravenking Is Crowned, Ascension Of Harfengel
After such an exceptionally perilous and wearisome adventure, Corvus and the others would naturally have wanted to rest; however, the fulfilment of the prophecy only laid the groundwork for the rest of the journey.
Retrieving the Crown of Crows was the important part that needed to be done in order for the Corvids to be saved from the coming Darkness, but that alone wouldn’t be enough. A Ravenking needed to be crowned, all of the Corvids rallied together as one Colony, and to get to the Treehold Keep and battle the Rattus Rodentius hordes; the long-sworn enemies of Corvids.
All those that had already arrived in Crowshaven and those that has been living there already, gathered together at the Divine Slab of Forefather to see the Ravenking crowned.
Fittingly, Alwyn the White Raven conducted the ceremony and crowned Harfengel making him Ravenking and Chief of all Corvid Colonies, thus giving him the power and authority to bring them all into one Colony.
The glory of this occasion took everyone’s minds away from one thing.
War was coming…
Part 31 – The Last Corvid Colonies Arrive At Crowshaven
A Ravenking had been crowned. The Corvid world was changing, and changing fast; which was a necessity with the Darkness coming. The word had spread across the many lands that Corvids inhabited in the days following the crowning of Harfengel, there was a constant stream of incoming new Corvids.
Only so much time was left though, it was very nearly time to leave Crowshaven and head to Treehold Keep and the newcomers were still arriving at a steady pace.
Harfengel announced that within the week they would be leaving Crowshaven and heading off to the new land, ready for war in order to claim the only safe haven…
Part 32 – The Corvids Assemble For War
The time had finally come. Preparations were being made. The war assembly was underway
Harfengel the Ravenking had all the Corvids getting ready and dressed for the grand exodus and battle that awaited them. Since the days of the Old Corvidae Empire, such a large Colony of Corvids had been unheard of.
Even now, on the day they were preparing to leave, more Corvids were arriving; Alwyn hatched a plan to leave a a handful of messengers for any late arrivals, they were to leave and fly for Treehold Keep as soon as any sign of the Darkness was apparent.
The Corvids donned their skull helms with pride, sharpened their beaks and hoped for safe passage to their new home…
Part 33 – A Corvid Soldier, Skull Helm Detail
As far back as the great Raven’s Tales go, Corvids famously wear one piece of armour into battle. The skull helm of an ancestor that died valiantly in a previous battle. Other than the helm, it’s just a sharpened beak and talons ready for any grappling needed.
The skull helm gives its wearer an edge, not only is their head protected from their enemies, it adds a massive intimidation factor. Throughout the history of Corvids, the Rattus Rodentius Clans (the sworn enemies of Corvid-kind) have always held a deep-seated fear of the skull helms worn by the Corvids; therefore they have always tried to take the helms away from Corvids they have defeated in battle.
Wearing the skull of an ancestor also gives the Corvid an added responsibility, they want to live up to the great deeds of their ancestors…
Part 34 – The Corvids Arrive At Treehold Keep
The journey from Crowshaven to Treehold Keep was a relatively straight forward affair; but upon arrival the Corvids were aware of an ominous atmosphere around the castle itself. They kept back at a distance at first, to keep an eye on the castle itself. Harfengel sent a handful of Corvids to survey the area and get the lay of the land.
The rumours of the Rattus Rodentius clans moving into Treehold Keep some years ago were well known to the Corvids, so an ambush was to be expected; and Corvids are very curious creatures so there were no chances to be taken.
Keeping their distance across the water until more information was available was the safest play until the Corvid scouts returned with news; whether good or bad…
Part 35 – The Rattus Rodentius Army Awaits
When the Corvid scouts returned to Harfengel the Ravenking with news, it was as expected.
The Corvid scouts spotted the Rodents inside the castle and in turn, they too had been spotted and the Rodents were quick to raise the alarm and prepare for a siege.
It was hoped that the castle was empty but the Corvids had left Crowshaven with war in mind as the most likely outcome.
This was it.
This was the culmination of a long history full of rivalry and vengeance; deep seated hatred that had been passed down through the generations.
This was the beginning of the end…
Part 36 – The Battle of Treehold
There never was going to be time for negotiations or diplomacy between the Corvids and the Rattus Rodentius; the hatred went further back than memory itself and there were no stories of a time when the two kinds got along, or even tolerated each other.
Their history, in its entirety was one of war and deceit, battle and bloodshed; nothing more, nothing less…
The Ravenking Harfengel was not going to allow his entire species to become extinct due to losing this battle and not being able to hold up in the Treehold Keep.
It was all or nothing. Kill or be killed. Win this battle or lose to extinction. Present moment versus eternity…
Part 37 – The Aftermath Of Battle
Whilst the clouds of the Darkness can be seen covering the distant landscapes and slowly causing the deaths of all the creatures it touches, the Battle of Treehold comes to its bitter end.
Death reeks both within the castle walls and without.
The Corvids managed to gain this victory but failing to act fast could cause it to be short lived and bittersweet.
The Darkness was coming…
Part 38 – The Great Cleanup Effort
With the battle over and the surviving Rodents fleeing off into the distant landscape there was only one call to order left for the Corvids before the Darkness finally reached the land.
The great cleanup effort was at hand, all of the corpses had to be removed from Treehold Keep and burned, despite the traditions and hereditary laws of the Corvids and their funeral rites, this included their kin.
Treehold Keep would keep its inhabitants safe from the Darkness but only if the castle was clean and without any fresh remnants of death and decay for it to cling to and infect those nearby.
For the first and hopefully last time in Corvid history; Corvids were cremated alongside Rodents and in a rush too which meant little or no real funerary speeches or rituals.
Times were indeed changing. Life was heading in a drastically different direction. The world the Corvids knew along with it…
Part 39 – The Darkness Spreads
It felt like a lifetime since Corvus had left Crowshaven in pursuit of finding the Starshade herb that would cure his sister’s sickness. He had found the mystical and somewhat mythical White Raven; learned of an ancient prophecy and now seen it reach its fulfilment.
The Crown of Crows had been obtained and a Ravenking had been crowned after centuries of divided tribal territories.
The battle for Treehold Keep was over and the war won by the Corvids.
Now all that was left was a waiting game. The Corvids knew that the Darkness was going to spread and they were assured by Alwyn, the White Raven, that the castle was a place of safety and sanctuary.
The Darkness slowly swallowed up the landscape; the Corvids kept themselves hidden away and prepared for a long, dark winter…