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Ravnyr, Corvus champion

Every once in a while, a child will be born weak and small, like a blot on their clans honor and strength. Too often will this individual be shun, laughed at or outright exiled from their old bonds. Destined for a life of shame and weakness, as they travel the wilds alone in survival.   For those unlucky few to wander the woods alone, without food or fresh water, without friends or companions to aid their journey, only a handful will survive, even fewer manage to remain bold, instead of break.   This tale does not speak of the survivors, the lucky few who still manage to find their feet in life. No, this story is about the one who bend, break but reshape into legend.   Every once in a while, a child born weak and frail will be exiled to die on their own. Yet dread tales speak of those who return years later, wearing dark tunics of ill omen, and feathers of their corvid murders. What fate befell them at first amused the villagers, at the ridiculous display. The weak return, serving the most pathetic of all the wilds animals as their champion, as their kin.   Not a whisper will be heard in the morning ashes, as the carrion birds feast their stomachs upon the victims of a newborn Ravnyr's reclaimed honor.   -Scarnic Lore

Summary

The legend, spoken only in hushed whispers comes from the old, yet somewhat still ongoing tradition that certain clans that take the most pride in their strength and ruthlessness exile the weak, both physically and mentally to ensure only the strongest warriors are fit to carry their legacy further. It's believed that this selection increases the clan members power from generation to generation, while it purges any flaws.   Living breathing Ravnyr even walk the lands, yet have been recorded to lose fights against both Ulfhednar and Berserkr, which has many question how much is true of these raven-kin's tale. Whether a spinner or lies, or a true champion simply bested by a better warrior, it still doesn't answer an age old question.   Whom is the undefeated raven feathered of a clan since long forlorn.

Historical Basis

Drinking in the shadows, hiding in the plain sight of a local tavern, one may meet an individual clad in dark tunics said to be kissed by the ravens. This man, with braided gray hair and a long wild beard is a known skald who travel from town to town, telling stories about slaying kings, crushing armies and the old classic about the lost village of Eldrfylki.   The uncanny part behind his tales, is that even though they all seem like epic sagas spun from the wildest fantasy, there is always some glimmer of relatable truth in it. Even the village itself is known to remain in just the place and ruin which the man mentions.   Perhaps the tale his tales a true, yet as the man always disappear traceless after a scene, few have had the chance to know the truth of a man as mythic as the legend itself.

Spread

The legend of the Ravnyr may not be the most well known around the world, but it's a common tale in both Scarnza and the southern provinces within Diestria and the Dark Elven Empire. The three seats of the Golden Dunes also speak of the Caras family as a murder of Ravnyr, even though they are half-Drow.

Variations & Mutation

Cruel, sadistic and fed up with hate was the original picture of a Ravnyr. They were dishonorable warriors, bringers of disease who used their own self pity and weakness to justify mass killings through trickery and deceit. Only ever spared their freedom due to the danger in attempting their lives.   Nowadays they are portrayed in a very different light, as combatants who fearlessly fight any odds with a stride in their hip, and a hook latching onto an unsuspected target from the shadows.   It's uncertain if this mutation from selfish fiend to hero comes from the tales of Aethyn Caras, which matches the tales of a Ravnyr from their history as an exiled, stuck up noble, to a heroic defender and prized diplomat. Even though they were not from any northern ethnicity, they still count as a somewhat modern Ravnyr, due to their dealings with Sarak whom dubbed them the Blackblooded Crow.   Other transformations comes from skilled scouts and trackers that often seek to come up with some form of personal identity to spin more renown around their name. Too often do these men and women take up the unoriginal mantle of a self pronounced Ravnyr, just to seem more special than they really are.   As a result to this mantle, many of the older warriors tend to shame and expose the scouts as braggards, while the young and unwise praise them as trekking heroes of the wilds. All while the true Ravnyr, should they exist, likely laugh at them from the shadows.

Cultural Reception

In traditional northern culture, the Ravnyr is seen as more of an omen, than a person. Tales speak of those who have felt or caught glimpse of someone following them through the shadows, before a carrion bird takes flight. Afterwards, it is bad custom that someone is found dead dead. The cause is never known by seemingly natural reasons without bloody wounds, or poison in their veins. Sometimes it even happens in terrible accidents.   The more modern northern cultures explain the Ravnyr as justified, as a chosen champion of the Worldfathers harbinger, otherwise known as Sarak. It's said that this first of Ravnyr also was the first blackblooded crow and served an important role in secretly protecting the world against mythical threats.   Down in the south, and the elven lands, Ravnyr are seen as nothing more than the heroes of bedtime stories. Parents usually tell different spins of Aethyn's tale that differ from culture to culture. Most humans see him as a pureblooded Empiran child, while Drow and elves alike describe her as dark elf. Even then the drow version includes tropes of love triangles and secret nobility, while the high elven describe her as a cold slaver who suddenly had a change of heart.

In Literature

Champions of the olden Heros, Avatar of the trickster. -An epic piece of northern lore that explains the Ravnyr's relation to corvus birds and the trickster Aasar.
Tales of Origin, Kol Ekkertson the first raven-kin. -Old history, written by Skald Gunnald the braggard, whom persistently state that he met a real original Ravnyr who burned his village.
Mysticism of shadows, by Fredwald Vocatus. -A guide on shadowmagic written by the famous Vocatus, which briefly references hints to truth in the Ravnyr mysteries.

In Art

As portrayed in folktales and the works about Kol Ekkertson, it's said that the Ravnyr looks nothing like a proper Northerner. While well trained, they are described as standing no taller than 5.7 feet, which is seen as below short for their people.   It gets more obscene though, with the description of coal painted faces, short kept ashen beards, and dark blue paint covering their eyes, while a blue cape and hood adorned with dark feathers coat their bodies. Underneath the cover, they dress in hard linen tunica that go down all the way to the kneecaps, yet split by the waist to allow good mobility. Combined with linen leggings and metalclad climbing shoes, the Ravnyr matches it's style perfectly with colors of black, dark blue and toned down green.   As for the finer details, the Ravnyr carries a metal belt with strange leather pouches and a hook and chain. Fur bracers with talons adorn their hands, and by their hip they wear a large hunting knife and a duo of axes. On their back, they wear a composite bow and quiver, adorned with dark runes of ill omen.
Related Species
Related Locations

Abilities of Legend:

Shroud of the shadows: it is said, that the Ravnyr have unnatural powers to blend within the shadows through more than simple wit and camouflage.
Fog of sickness: In more than one tale regarding the Ravnyr, people have explained seeing villages, entierly wiped out by green mists, which has caused them horrible fevers the day after.
Steps of feathers: Ravnyr are said to silence all sound in their surroundings. You never hear their steps, you never hear their bowstrings, you never hear their victims screams as the knife plunged through them.
   

Corvus Champion:

The path of crows and/or ravens is one of trickery, deceit and clever wit. It is seen as a dishonorable path to walk, yet is often followed by the desperate, like thieves, scoundrels and outlaws. The Ravnyr turn their tricks and wits into an art instead, were they erase entire armies from it's canvases. Through fear alone, that dig into the hearts of the the bravest Drengr, the corvus forced seats for their champions at the afterlife feast.  

Avatars of the Trickster:

  As an avatar of the Trickster, it means that the Ravnyr devotes his or her fighting life to serve the will of the Trickster, and end up by his table in the great halls of the afterlife, once they fall with weapon in hand, or simply die a devoted life. This devotion can easily be spotted on their many ebon buttons and an ivory medallion that carries the symbol of a great serpent circulating the edges of a wolf's head that stare with blood soaked eyes.

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