(in the County of Ellenbrook and the Duchy
Heraldry: A stylised raven in knotwork over a green field
Leader: Gansk Harshencraft
The Origins of the Group
The name of the Storm Ravens is derived from the pantheon that the group worships. Odin, the All Father, is the favoured ancestor within the group (although you might find personal opinions differ depending on which Raven you ask) and the group is named after his two Ravens, Hugin and Munin, which represent ‘Thought’ and ‘Memory’. It is even said by some that members of the Storm Ravens can actually be traced back to Odin’s very bloodline.
The ancestral home of the Storm Ravens was a mountain called Ravendark situated in north eastern Vanaheim, Norsca. This cold, isolated and inhospitable environment housed the Storm Ravens since their beginnings and has significantly affected their lives and philosophy. The Storm Ravens have learnt that self-sufficiency is the only way that they will survive. Self-sufficiency has become the back-bone of Storm Raven life. Strong, stubborn and often insular, the Storm Ravens have approached living in a place such as Ravendark with the philosophy that a glad and happy spirit will see you through even the coldest winter. Some have seen this approach to life as insulting and derogatory, misinterpreting some actions as making light of sad events and dishonouring heartbreak with laughter instead of sorrow; quite the opposite. This is the way of the Storm Ravens. This is their way to deal with dark times. This unflinching sense of humour has been so well established within the very essence of the people, that they regard it nowadays as part of their spirituality, and even though they worship the Norse pantheon, they follow it very differently from other Norscans.
Like other Norscans, they believe that the pattern of their fallen will reside beside Odin in the Halls of Valhalla and return to fight alongside our ancestors at Ragnarok. But unlike other Norscans, they do not follow the same ceremony. They celebrate the good times and regard particular misfortunes with humour and the telling of stories so that the memories of their fallen are solidified within the minds of the people with humour and good nature, and not sadness and misfortune. Based, in no small part, by their hardened need for self-sufficiency, they ‘recycle’ the bodies of their fallen by burying them, rather unceremoniously, into the mushroom fields in the bowls of Ravendark, then drink together to their memory and their deeds with laughter and merriment over copious amounts of intoxicating brews. Contrary to the beliefs of other Norscans, this is not only considered honourable, but what every Storm Raven would wish for. They consider the idea that their fallen, along with their belongings, be placed on a boat and burnt, to be a waste: a waste of possession, marine equipment and, ultimately a body. This is a waste that perhaps less self-sufficient peoples can afford, but not the Storm Ravens. A very close bond of brotherly comradeship holds together those with the belief that loyalty and self-sacrifice in the interest of the Storm Ravens is the most important thing they can live up to. To this end, it is the dying wish of Storm Ravens that they shall make the last possible act of self-sacrifice and help provide the people with sustenance through the cold, hard winters. Some Storm Ravens believe that this sacrifice means that there is a small part if their fallen heroes inside them; consequently, it reinforces their spiritual connection with the other Storm Ravens and with Ravendark itself; making them, in a sense, one with their home and their ancestors. This is true for all Storm Ravens except the nobility. The Harshencrafts, and Harshenhands before them, are the only ones afforded a different fate. Their corpses eternally reside within cold, stone tombs in the bowels of Ravendark, with Carrick Harshenhand already in residence and three empty tombs in wait.
These beliefs, related to self-sufficiency, which have resulted in this rather unusual method of bereavement and of sending their fallen to Valhalla, have also meant that the Storm Ravens have developed a spiritual connection to the items formerly in the possession of their fallen heroes. Though it is not unusual in any pantheon to believe that a sword carries with it a connection with the warrior or soldier that wielded it, it is usually passed on more as a symbol, rather than, in the case of the Storm Ravens, a very pragmatic use of resources. They are imbued with a hint of the spiritual; it saved their life and defeated their foes, and carries with it the blessings of Odin and Thor. For this reason the Storm Ravens have evolved the same divinity in the handing down of weapons and armour to other Storm Ravens as the passing down of the memories of their fallen to the next generation; helping them to follow in the foot steps of their heroes.
After Gansk’s retirement from the position of Lord Seneschal of the Wolf Faction and Carrick’s ritual circle vaporising catastrophe of 1106, there was a general feeling of unrest felt amongst most Storm Ravens and the desire to find a new environment to build and grow in. So, following Lyra Harshencraft’s blossoming relationship with Michael O’Donovan, the Storm Ravens closed up Ravendark and moved to Hrafenholm, Gloucester; their new home.
Hopes are that Albion will bring a new light and prosperity to the people of Ravendark. Though it is not expected that the Storm Ravens forget their Norscan heritage, habits and dress, they will have to adapt to Harts customs. Having said this, it has been observed that certain Storm Ravens have been enjoying the novel wonders of both tea and cake, although the barbarian tendency to keep battle dress at all times and to throw oneself headfirst into any and all fights seems not to be diminishing. Despite the unpopularity of frockcoats and gentility, the Storm Ravens seem keen to uphold their traditionally close bond of brotherly comradeship upon the battlefield, along with their innate urge to grow mushrooms and rear pigs, as were the stable types of farming back in Ravendark. They face new challenges, with new allegiances and new friends, which must all be met with fervour, guile and, above all, the sense of humour that has kept these, the hardiest people in Norsca, strong for so long.
Compiled from various sources at the request of Gansk Harshencraft.