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Cult of the Raven

by Joaquin Menchaca

Long ago in the untold past of Mystara there existed great forces battling for their dominance within Mystara. These mighty forces caused great destruction throughout the planet as the forces of the elements raged their eternal war upon each other. Land masses changed, volcanoes formed, oceans came to life, and the very air was mad with fury.

During this time that several forces allied with the forces of nature. They vowed to preserve the balance so that nature remains in harmony, and never again allow the elements to ravage war in the Prime Material plane. Nature is the harmony of all the elements, but the disruption causes imbalance and destruction. It was these alliances that discovered how to tap into the power of nature, and it was these alliances that formed the first known druidic circle. These druids promised to preserve the balance of nature with the forces on Mystara. They fight any threat to nature in order to strive for balance and harmony. They will sometimes assist people or defeat people based on the desire to enforce this accord.

Very high level druids rise to the level where they can see the balance beyond mortal thinking. They see how the four elements war within us all, and how they are causing turmoil within the world. They travel the planes to help preserve the balance. They will defeat or assist elemental gods, lords, and forces, which in turn has a direct or indirect impact on the occurrences of events within Mystara.

The splinter group found and excelled in the ability to commune with animals and animal spirits. They learned how to speak with the animals and animal spirits. They practice their religion in solitude of nature of the wild lands in what is now Karameikos. During the first settlements from Nithia, the druids assisted the settlers and taught them how to cultivate the land without doing severe harm to nature. Many settlers became devote members of the druidic faith and in time this religion grew to become the most dominant religion of the land.

One favoured animal spirit was the Raven. The Raven warned of a growing evil hidden in the mountain near the Lost Valley of Hutaaka. The Raven also reported sightings of large gnollish war. The druids at this time used the knowledge to prepare for war, and to seek out this hidden evil. Later after the gnolls invaded and occupied Traldara, the druids would use their powers of nature to assist the Traldar in defeating the gnolls. The Raven assisted the druids in acting as a messenger. With the help of the druids and the Raven, the druids were able help the leaders mobilise the armies and coordinate attacks unbelievable speed and organisation. In recognition to the Raven's contributions, the druidic circle became known as the Circle of the Raven.

The druids are granted powers by the life energies of nature, rather than any one particular god. They are granted powers by the animal spirits and spiritual familiars as well, and the most popular spirit for this circle is obviously the Raven.

They also have the belief that nature is both ruthless and generous depending on the acts of the creatures of Mystara. If any being defiles nature, then nature will release her fury in revenge. The lust for revenge must be satisfied for the defilers crimes. This sect satisfies this hunger for revenge with sacrifices from animals to the enemies of nature itself. Somewhere along the line, it was felt that Thyatians were enemies of nature, so when defilers commit crimes, some Thyatians might disappear. Over all their theory seems to be true. They get bountiful seasons when they perform sacrifices, but when they don't the crops are bad. They also receive druidic spells. So what they are doing is correct, or is it? Are they being manipulated by another evil force? Or is all this a coincident?

In one story, it is said that one can achieve immortality as he is reincarnated into a lifeless vessel, and the spirit watches over his soul. The spirit prevents his soul from crossing the River of Styx, and bounds his spirit to this plane of existence. This is only in legends, though there are some true believers.

The raven is never controlled by the druids. They simply cooperate as it is their will. The druids then in turn assist them in their wishes. The raven is just a force of nature (or god if you will) like other animals. It is the life essences that incarnates the ravens of the world. The collective spirits of all ravens, is "The Raven".