THE LEGEND OF RAVENBLADE
BY ISILHIR


In the old tales of ulvur history, there is always one name that returns, always one that like a bird passes over many lands as it flies south for the winter has passed through countless legends and stories. When this name is uttered, the eyes of every ulvur flickers with awe and exitement. The name is both that of the greatest of heroes and the mightiest of weapons ever emerged from Rimjora's spiritual womb, for they were one. Of their epic legend the following tale will tell; with not only sorrow and darkness of both lost love and rage, but also the most terrible battle the ulvur ever fought as of yet in focus. A battle in which the first appearance of the Red Moon played a most significant part...


n the thundering storms she rode, it was said. With the roaring of the northern winds she came; her head held as high as her sword, and her eyes gleamed like the blade in the cold light of dawn. Her pride and strength were matched by naught but her beauty. As she raised her blade and cried aloud a howl of battle, legions came to march by her side; following her in death and darkness in the name of Rimjora, the Mother of All [note: Rimjora is the ulvur term for "Nature"].

She carried out the will of the All-Mother, it was said. To pass out judgement, be it of mercy with her wisdom, or of rage with her blade upon the defilers and usurpers of the hallowed ground. They were not a sword and its weilder. They were the sword and the wielder in one. Her true name was now long forgotten, but in time, her name would become that of her blade, and the blade's that of its mistress. If that name had emerged from an age of legends and rumours or if it was the true word spoken as if in baptism by Rimjora's own voice, none now longer knew, but it had become as powerful a word as death, time and fate.
The Ulvur Hero Ravenblade

View picture in full size Picture description. The famous mythical hero of ancient ulvurian history, Ravenblade. Image by Isilhir.

Ravenblade.

The very pronounciation of the name seemed to bring an instant burst of power into the voice of the speaker, or if it simply was the meaning of the context in the whole sentence, which spoke of tales of glory, battle and epic legends as a rule. People's eyes would gleam in excitement and bewilderment as the great tales of old were told; and her presence always had a part to play in each story, minor or major. Bards would sing about her legacy; thus enchanting the packs even more. Such was the power of the legend of Ravenblade. Yet legend was now all that it was. Times had changed. The destroyers of the All-Mother spread like a plague over the world; caring nothing about ancient sacraments or their own once so strong bond to the innermost divine essence that was the spirit of the world itself. Like a swarm of vermin they consumed and disintergrated everything in their path, all to feed their own bellies until feeding was no longer possible; leaving a trail of decay behind them. Lost and forgotten, these poor souls. Condemned they were, yet never beyond redemption. At the breaking of the final dawn, no other option than union would be accepted.

But to make the lost understand this would be an ever so hard battle in itself. The great victories and alliances of old were now but scarce remains; mere mentionings or elusive ramblings in the great records of ancient history, long forgotten by the rest of the world, as the odds of which Rimjora's warriors fought against grew greater for each passing of the moon.

Yet the name of Ravenblade still sang with the hymn of honour and victory. The day of reckoning drew nearer. The joy that danced upon the soft howls the bards and minstrels told her tale with now glimmered within the eyes of each man and woman, and the packs would rise anew to awaken the world in the name of Ravenblade, the name of Rimjora's own sword daughter.

Her tale was that of glory, but also sorrow and death. But aside from what battles she won and threats vanquished, the love in her life always seemed to fascinate each one who happened to hear the story for the first time the most. For her love was deemed unnatural and tragic, and foretold to bring her nothing but misery. The one she loved was not of her kind. But like in battle, she rewrote the pages in the book of fate as she had ever done; challenging and conquering all signs of doom and despair. She and her beloved would set aside all prejudgement and tear down every wall of bigotry among their respective kin and instead unite them in peace. A shaper of destiny, they would call her.

But there would always be a darkside of any Moon, and there were many a creature of Rimjora, but also not of Rimjora in the world in that age. Ancient, hidden forces of evil still lurked in the deepest, darkest abysses; waiting for any chance given to open their greedy jaws and engulf the world in madness. A long, dark road of sorrow and death awaited Ravenblade and her beloved, and betrayal, despair and eventually conflict would grow into the strongest of storms to threaten the balance of the All-Mother's children. Wars both within and outside their borders would rage, and an age of blood and clashing steel reigned. Some blamed Ravenblade for this, as the truth lay hidden in the clutching claws of dark lords. Lies, false rumours and the like would divide people all over the world, and peace would soon be but a memory. And as if swept away in this tempest of damnation, Ravenblade was made immortal; doomed, as she saw it, to live in enternity and leave her beloved to death. She hated this, and herself, but most of all Rimjor'a own will for evoking such a cruel fate. Not even by her own hand could she bring herself to deliverance, and her natural instincts would never let her foes smite her. She became a spirit of rage; leaving her beloved behind in a secret sanctuary without his knowledge, to hunt what she believed were her arch enemies in a personal crusade.

But darkness played her into its own hands, and soon she was but another fallen hero that had become a puppet of evil. Madness took her, and not even when her beloved chased after her to comfort and show his utmost devotion to her and her cause would her mind become clear. Thus, in a night of no moon nor stars, when the thundering storms roared at their strength's peak, Ravenblade sought to fight the man she had held in deepest affection, not knowing all was the doing of powers darker and more powerful beyond her comprehension. But her beloved cast down his blade; refusing to fight her. With her mind clouded still, Ravenblade swung her sword and wounded him deadly. Down he fell, and as his blood spilt; drowning Ravenblade's sword and hands, it was as if a great, dark mist lifted from her mind and spirit. She gazed down at the fruit of her temporary insanity and realized at once what she had done. Thinner than a strand of hair was the line between deep, dark despair and instinctive valiance which she balanced upon in that moment. She searched her mind, and finally allowed herself to trust Rimjora's blessing songs once again. She opened up her entire spirit to the All-Mother; letting the purifying rain wash away any poisonous, tainted feelings that had parasited her. Time had a pale presence in this inner struggle, and whether it felt to Ravenblade that eons or just moments had passed before she found her peace of mind, she could not determine. In reality, it was no more than the blink of an eye, and her beloved still lay on the ground before her; deadly wounded, but alive. Ravenblade did her best to mend his wound, where upon she carried him to the nearest healer. For many a day and night did his soul float between life and death, and this threatened Ravenblade to become lost in a sea of tears and the deepest of self-hatred.



But she was not lost.

A short burst of anger flickered in the rotten heart of her dark puppet master as he lost his grip on her mind, and this forced him to come forth from his twisted sanctuary of lost time and reveal himself. And for the first time, Ravenblade saw the face of what she knew was the true source of all sorrow. She had lost her soul in a storm of rage and bloodlust as she had vanquished more and more of Rimjora's enemies, and her mind had become an easy prey for the dark powers. Immortality, sorrow of lost love and an ever burning bloodlust had now tainted her spirit in the name of darkness. This infuriated her in a way that shook the very foundations of the world, as if the All-Mother's own, pure rage had exploded within her like the fiery breath of a dragon, and together with an otherwordly vengefulness, it gave her powers she never could have dreamt of. Like a flame her angry spirit burned, and fire was said to spurt from her eyes, engulf her sword and burst out in a trail behind her as she walked.

The dark lord now feared her. Never before had he encountered such power conceived by nothing but the pure will of Rimjora. He gathered his minions; their like never had nor never again would walk the lands of the material plane. They marched with their master, destroying every sign of life be it of creatures or greenery; covering all in the coldest of ice as they drew onwards. So twisted they were, that any warrior brave or foolish enough to face one of them would cast down his weapon and flee in fear.

All save Ravenblade and her kin.

Into the far north, beyond all life, that now was a realm of cold death, Rimjora's warriors marched, led by Ravenblade. Bright and warm she burned; cutting through the glacier like a heated knife through butter. There the two legions clashed in a battle of ice and fire, and as they fought, it was as if time had stopped, and neither the day nor night could claim their respective dominion on the sky. The cosmic momentum was lost in an eternal hour of twilight. And perhaps as of this, or if it was by some other, ungodly force of evil unseen, the dark minions never seemed to diminish in number, despite the countless piles of corpes wallowing up by the hands of each of Ravenblade's warriors. She, on the other hand, did not have such power to conjure armies, and her own people could not stand their ground forever. Soon, the numbers of the ice demons would be of their advantage, and the battle appeared to be lost in the next few breaths.

Then a howl, and the twilit sky turned burning red.

As eons went by and Ravenblade's kin passed out of knowledge to the rest of the world, the Moon in younger history writings came to be deemed as much a legend as Ravenblade herself; a mere natural phenomenon based on loose rumours and never proven. But in the age of Ravenblade, the Moon was strong and bright; an extention of Nature herself it was said. And in that moment, as Ravenblade watched her proud warriors fall one by one on the bloodstained fields of ice, she howled. She gave all of her strong and fair voice to the howl. She called upon the Moon. Not just its powers, like she and her kin always did in the midst of battle, but the Moon itself. And the Moon came. With the fiery howl she drew it to her, and the sky turned red as it entered the unseen doorway to the world, and the same red flame lit deep within every warrior that still lived, and their powers were not just rejuvinated, but grew tenfold. Their eyes glowed red, and like a flaming wave they came down upon the demons. And they joined their leader in her deafening howl, despite that their ears bled from the strength of it. With a battle fury never seen before they drew back the enemy, and every single one of them was unstoppable. But the fires in their eyes were but candle lights in the void compared to the flame that burned in Ravenblade. The fire wreathing her now had the same red tone as the Moon, and from her back, a pair of burning raven wings now spreaded to their full pride. If her warriors had came down like a flaming wave on their foes, she was like a roaring ocean of fire that raged against its nemesis; the dark lord himself.

There they fought each other, Ravenblade's red fire against her former puppet master's cold darkness, at the very edge of the world it was said, for their battle took place on the peak of the highest iceberg, where no child of Rimjora save Ravenblade could ever find breath without suffering an instant death of internal frostbite. There, at the edge of the world, under the Red Moon, Ravenblade smote her arch enemy at last. In a blinding flash of ice and fire she slew him, and banished his wicked soul back to his dark little corner of time and space, far beyond the moonlapse and the borders of the world, where naught but the overwhelming, maddening silence of the Void would answer his twisted dirges.

The land under her feet would ever be that of coldest ice, but Ravenblade could hear Rimjora's comforting whispers telling her that the darkness was gone.

For now.

The sky was no longer red; the Moon had returned to its ordinary place and a calm, blue roof now covered the world. Time had started moving again. Ravenblade stood still on the peak of the iceberg. Her fiery attributes were all gone, and she now appeared as she had always done. She lifted her head to the sky, closed her eyes, and howled at the top of her lungs a hymn of triumph. Her warriors watched her in awe and joined in.

As the song slowly rode away on the wings of the morning wind and silenced at last, Ravenblade sank into a pile of exhaustion and drifted away into the deepest of sleep.

When she awoke it was in the arms of her beloved. The scar of the wound would never leave his body, but he had fully regained his health. He did not speak, for no words were needed. In their hearts they both knew that all was forgiven. Ravenblade's mind and spirit were now completely purified. Together with the rest of the world, they could now exhale in peace again, at least for the moment.

But there was many a dark force in the world still, in places both obvious, but also not so obvious, and as time passed, less and less deliberate and concious. Nature would soon be threatened by far more things than ancient, otherwordly lords of darkness. Ravenblade and her beloved, and the bloodline that would follow; would bring a new aspect of her kin into the All-Mother's garden, would all live and die as legends, yet never forgotten, it was said. But forgotten they now were, not by their own kind, but by the rest of the world. Too many of Rimjora's children had forsaken their bonds to her and strayed on to paths unknown and darker still, and soon, the legends would come to stay legends alone, and not the lessons and guidelines for the future they once were.

But now, the old flame had been rekindled. What was left of Ravenblade's kin had sworn to themselves to awaken the world before the end. When the darkness returns, union would be the one path to victory. The one path to survival.

By each passing of the Moon, the howling of the Ulvur grew stronger as it echoed in the great, northen woods, and the tale sung was that of Ravenblade.

 

Story written by Isilhir View Profile