Anna: Today we’re joined by a very special guest, Shado, from Raven Flight. Thanks for being here, Shado.
Shado: Blackberries! Where are my blackberries? You promised I would have blackberries, if I did this interview, Ronne!
Ronne: Behave yourself, you crazy raven! You’ll get your berries afterward! Sorry about this, Anna. Shado was being a bit stubborn doing the interview. I promised he would have blackberries if he did it.
A: That’s all right. Maybe you could help by answering a few questions for us, Ronne.
S: What? This is my interview! Ronne already had her turn.
R: Then stop acting like a lunatic, settle down and answer Anna’s question. Ok?
S: Humph! Ok. Ask your questions, Anna.
R: It’s about time.
S: Ronne, shut up.
A: Thank you for joining us, Shado. First off, I am surprised you are a bird. Hearing you talk is unusual to say the least.
S: It shouldn’t be surprising. We are descended from Huginn and Muninn, Odin’s raven’s. Among Corvids, ravens are the most intelligent. In a number of ways, we are much like humans. We take care of the hurt and senior ravens, we mourn our dead, and we have a sense of humor.
A: This may be a silly question, but what do the names mean?
S: The names are from Old Norse. Huginn means ‘thought’, and Muninn means ‘mind’ or ‘memory’. We still debate that when we get together.
A: Are there many more like you?
S: We keep our numbers secret, but there are more of us than anyone realizes.
A: What are your abilities?
S: For one thing, we can speak just like a human, we can quickly learn other languages, we have shared memories from the past, and we can speak mind-to-mind with the human we are paired with.
R: Which can cause all sorts of problems. Nothing like listening to some jackass bore you to death with what he’s saying, and there’s a voice in your mind cracking jokes and making rude comments.
S: Oh, but it’s so much fun, Ronne! Now keep quiet, this is my time to shine.
R: Fair enough, bird.
A: Shado, how did you ravens become joined with humans in this way?
S: I need to go back in history to explain this. Lady Raven’s responsibility is the Court of Passage and the land of the dead. She sees to it the spirits of the dead pass through the archway to reach her land. We have always served as messengers for her and spies if you will. Letting her know when there is war, plague, or famine that would bring many spirits to the Court and her land. Before you can ask, I will not tell you what that region looks like. We are bound by oath to say nothing of the land.
A: Fair enough. What about the Court of Passage? What purpose does it serve?
S: When a person dies, their spirit passes through an archway that leads to the Court. As far as we can tell, this area has no end. Upon entering across the way is another archway that leads to the land of the dead. Most spirits head right for that arch and disappear. As it should be. Some spirits, those that are very strong and stay in the Court for a while. Sometimes they return the way they came and return to life. They are the ones who were considered clinically dead. In certain cases, Lady Raven intervenes or a high ranking member of the Raven Council. In Ronne’s instance, Lady Raven spoke to her directly. That’s the highest honor a spirit can receive, an invitation from the Lady herself.
Last of all there are the Shadows. Sometimes, for whatever reason, a spirit doesn’t pass through to the land of the dead. Instead, they become trapped in the Court or return as a ghost to the land of the living. Ghosts aren’t bad really. The Shadows, however, are bad news. They are evil, and corruptive. They have always existed, coming from a place called the Spawning Ground. There’s an archway that goes there, but no one in their right mind goes through it. If enough Shadows gather, they can prevent spirits from going to the land of the dead and eventually that spirit turns into a Shadow.
A: Now, about you special ravens and your human companions.
S: Ronne, she’s as bad as you.
R: Just tell her, Shado.
S: Very well. About six hundred years ago, there was a sudden increase in Shadows in the Court of Passage. We still don’t know whom or what was responsible for that Then some of the Shadows started passing through the archway to this world. At first, they only killed a few people here and there. We ravens believe they were scouts. Then around the year fourteen hundred and fifty, more Shadows began entering this world and they are organized. Dmitri Basarab is the one responsible for this influx and for the creation of the Order of the Shadow Dagger. The Order is still in existence today and we believe it’s run by Evan Basarab who might be a direct descendant of Dmitri.
When Lady Raven decided to take an interest in these Shadows and what they were up to, she came up with the idea of recruiting humans who managed to cross the Veil yet not cross into the land of the dead. Since ravens already had the ability to cross through the Veil, she recruited the most intelligent of us to become companions to these humans. Morgan Byrne was her first recruit and Cail was her companion raven. That much we know for sure. In turn, Morgan recruited the first Raven Wyng and gave her a unique ring from the Lady.
Usually we join the human when they make their first voluntary crossing through the Veil and into the Court. Sometimes we join them afterwards. The bond between us goes beyond death and our human is able to draw strength from out sprit when they need help.
A: What happened to the ring that Lady Raven gave to the first Raven Wyng?
S: It’s still around. Unfortunately, we don’t know who has it now. Something got screwed up somewhere. That’s one of Ronne’s tasks; finding the current owner of the ring. There are things she needs to know.
A: Shado, thank you for an interesting discussion. I hope you will join us again. Ronne, thank you for bringing him here today.
S: Thank you for having me, Anna. Ronne, I want my berries now.
R: I better get him out of here before he really raises a ruckus. Thanks for having us here, Anna.