The Murder of Crows
Facing your Daemons - The Tale of the Crow Father
(As told by Esha Raine, Death Singer of the Mountain Clan of Iocanthos)
“Long ago our people came here upon a great steed of metal that galloped between the stars. We spread across the land and multiplied, until we had covered the land with our people, our places, our deeds, and our dead.
Then came the great time of darkness, when all became corrupted and evil. The magic which had brought us here across the sky, and which allowed us to work miracles, began to fade – and with its passing we lost touch with our brothers and sisters across the sky. As the magic became weaker and weaker we ceased to be one people, but became many tribes, fighting like animals over the scraps of magic which remained, until all the magic was gone. By then we fought because fighting was all we knew.
During this time people prayed. They prayed for many things. Some prayed for a return of the old magic. Some prayed for strength and success in battle. Some prayed for succor and protection. Some merely prayed for death.
Often, such prayers went unanswered, but sometimes they were heard, and sometimes that which heard also heeded. These were the worst times, for those things which came to the people were worse than nothing at all – cruel and terrible things which made ever greater demands in exchange for their aid, which warred on one another using the people as proxies for their own malevolent and inscrutable purposes, who enslaved entire tribes or, worse yet, drained them of their souls leaving them husks.
For a long, long time, one such being ruled the Mountain Tribe.
Little is known of it now, for when Saint Drusus defeated the ancient evil and destroyed it, he purged the knowledge of it from the tribe, so that there was no possibility of it ever rising again from the memories of it. But it was a terrible and cruel entity, that demanded sacrifice. The sacrifice of foes captured in battle, or the sacrifice of members of the tribe if no prisoners could be found. These sacrifices took place upon the summit of the hill where Stern Hope now stands, and the hideous altar once rested where the cathedral has now been raised. It was said that our master’s greatest delight was to pluck the eyes from those sacrificed to him, and that he used his power to alter the shale crows so that they have no eyes, and yet somehow can see. For this reason, when we speak of him at all, we speak of him as the Crow Father.
Long did the Mountain Tribe suffer the yoke of slavery to this creature, for once the tribe had fallen under the creature’s sway it proved impossible to escape. For generation upon generation we served, unwillingly, our unholy master’s every demand. But then, at last, our prayers were answered, for the Emperor – who we knew not then – sent the blessed Drusus to Iocanthos to cleanse it of evil in His name, and to free us from the bonds of slavery that had fettered us for so long. In but a week the holy Saint and his legions of angels had purged the land of many of the ancient evils. The Mountain tribe was freed when Saint Drusus himself did battle with our foul master, threw down his sacrificial altar, and slew him upon the hill within the very center of his power. Saint Drusus then cleansed the Mountain tribe of the evil which had tainted us, and left behind him missionaries who taught us the true faith – faith in the Emperor! From that day to this we have been faithful to the Emperor, and praise his name!
Since the coming of Saint Drusus, the hill has been considered a place of ill-omen, and has been shunned by the Mountain tribe. Only with the arrival of Abbott Skae and the construction of the cathedral dared we hope that the ancient evil might be fully cleansed from the land, and the purity of the Emperor’s Light brought forth to this blighted area at last!"