Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XXXVIII – The Great Cleanup Effort

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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…

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XXXVII – The Aftermath of Battle

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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…

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XXXVI – The Battle of Treehold

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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…

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XXIII – Into the Grimwood, the Forest Journey Begins

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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…

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XXII – A Funeral for Finbar, More Mourning for the Corvids

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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…

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XXI – From the Mouth of a Beast, a Narrow Escape

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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…

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XX – The Scream of a Man-King & the Murder of Finbar

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The Scream of a Man-King & the Murder of Finbar

As soon as Corvus & 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

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XIX – Taking the Crown from the Hand of a God

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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…

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XVIII – Inside the Chamber of the Man-King

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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…

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Corvus – A Raven’s Tale – Crown of Crows – Part XVII – The Corvids Reach the Man-Colony of Ironholde

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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.

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