Monday, 23 August 2010
Crows, as a bird, are the Guardians of the Dead and so their chosen elves are somewhat different to the norm. An elf selected by a crow is named CrowSinger and they mimick the duties of the crows in life - they become the guardians of dead souls, guiding the departed to the peace of the Halls of Jhkol - the Lord of the Dead in the elven religion.
Due to the power of the crows they only select three elves from each House to act for them. Should a House lose a CrowSinger (due to violent death or jingizu / sorrow) then that House becomes blighted. An example of this being the House Velent'm and what befell them in the end - loss of their Lord and a seperation from the mainstay of the elven peoples, despite their continued close ties with the House Aditu.
CrowSingers have been called 'shamans' in other cultures.
They do not rival the Priestesses in religious rank but are often regarded with respect and perhaps a little trepidation due to the nature of their spirit guides.
The crows live together in a large colony making their nests high in the tree canopy.
In Aquila they have taken the branches of the dead trees that surround the barrows of the dead within eyesight of the Rose Gardens.
No one knows who is laid to rest within the barrows since the Fall of Aquila for few would dare enter such places. However, it is fitting for the crows to want to be close to such a place.
The head of the crows is a bird named Rauxlor. He is the head of the crow nation and has previously taken CrowSingers from multiple Houses at the same time - they are then seen to be the 'primary singers' within their House.
He is ancient even in the terms of the long lived. Some would say he knew the Mad King in his days as a youth but that may be exaggeration. More likely Rauxlor came to being at the end of the Wars of the Mad King, for he would have found much work in seeing dead souls to their resting place that would tire even a supernatural being and the suspicion is he fled the Garden on one of the ships and then came into his own at the founding of the nine cities.
Rauxlor now reigns over a large murder of crows and has chosen to now reside with his kin who watch over Aditu in Aquila.
Although only three crows name a CrowSinger there are a great many crows within the murder, for they are a collective. A community of birds just as in nature.
Rauxlor took Navarre,
Seeker has taken Avarin after the death of Amiel-Has at the end of the War of the Returning and Shadow has taken Tirandel (the longest serving singer to the crows currently).
Rauxlor is now grooming his replacement Singer, suspected to be the son of Avarin and Navarre to ensure a continuing strong tie to the House Aditu.
Seeker is young in comparison to her own lord Rauxlor and known to be among the more vicious of the crow colony. The balance of Rauxlor and Shadow keep her in check.
Rauxlor is a wise elder being that considers before acting but will not stray from a harsh course if it is required.
Little is known of Shadow for Tirandel is a more solitary figure (outside of her fellow CrowSingers) and this is reflected in her spirit guide also.
It has been known for the three named crows to appear to others who are not CrowSingers. This is extremely rare.
When this happens they take on a larger form than their normal size in the eyes of those who behold them. They are also very vocal speaking directly to their audience, lacking patience and animated, to the point of seeming agitated.
A CrowSinger would see them in normal size when conversing and much calmer - something they do frequently with their chosen ones - for they are more attuned to the birds than non CrowSingers.
Since the Returning the crows watching over House Aditu have taken up residence in Aquila as described.
Since the fall of the five lords in 1107 they have constantly cast a shadow over the city by taking to the skies on a daily basis circling above the Rose Gardens and the three ancient towers.
Any that visit the crow's nests find a disturbing sense fall upon them that makes them uncomfortable and their visit to the barrows short.
At the time of the year 1110 the crow shadow has started to diminish slightly with the birds favouring their nests to the day's skies and adopting a more usual pattern of their existence.
The 'Crow Road' is the term used for the passing of an elf's spirit immediately following their death to the Halls of the Dead.
It is a spiritual journey but also a physical one for the crows who actually are believed to escort the souls of the dead.
Their CrowSingers aid this transition from the mortal plane of being by conducting rites and rituals. If it is deemed that a soul has not completed the Crow Road journey then they are considered to have been lost to darkness and will never find peace.