No one knows how long the corvid cult has existed for. Eons, likely, or at least as long as therianthropic cave paintings of men with wings and black birds were lit by firelight and painted with fear and reverence by men. It’s called many names, Raven Host, Murder of A Thousand Eyes, Corvus Occassus, The Crow Cult. Their totemic worship is answered in omens, signs, and whispered secrets in Thrush.
The cult’s tenets are simple at first, consisting of only three core rules: deceive once a day, always take from the dead, and warn other siblings of danger before taking flight. The higher the echelons of worship, the more esoteric the laws: a feast of flesh, a sacrament of theft, a secret kept.
Thus fledgelings are brought into The Great Wheel, the first and central circle of the Black Bird Gang. The make-up is similar across the world: thieves, grave-robbers, brigands and street toughs, the usual rabble. But something is different with them, something uncanny in its ability to unify them. Maybe it’s how there’s always a crow watching them outside, ubiquitous though they are in the world. Maybe it’s how they know where she hid the knife, like somebody whispered it to them. Maybe it’s the little colorful ribbons and coins they keep finding on their person, like gifts.
For all the blessings, the great bird-beast they worship has increasing demands. The Great Wheel encompasses all followers, but the Left Wheel follows stricter rules in preparation for the Filled Skies: that certain earthly members, in possession of certain treasures, must be plucked as gifts to their god. Assassins, the lot, murderers of finest skill, Rhyming Rooks, a penchant for poetry with every kill. They mimic voices and sounds without equal, and cling to the dark like black pinions. The Right Wheel finds harsher laws making way for the great all-scouring flock that will pick the earth clean of life: seek the secret sign, hoard the glimmer of glamour, and the gilded coin so greedily guarded by men and worse alike. Wizards, druids, and all manner of hedge-witch make up the arcane arm of the cult, Augers and Haruspex, Magus Magpies and Raven Mavens all to the man. They are the esoteric priests and diviners, giving orders to the other wheels as the omens see fit.
The Central Wheel is the deepest chamber of Their Thieving Trickster God, the truth apparent to their high-priests: The Raven Creature wishes to steal much, much more than arcane might and physical wealth. They divine on carrion, crawling through the wreckage and the aftermath of battles. Some follow armies like black-clad priests of the dead and dying, hearing the last words of warriors and victims like a profane version of confession. They never help. Where else would their brothers and sisters over head feed? Trophies they take: teeth, eyes. Sometimes ears, to better hear and see the cries from the Crystal Mountain filled with the Cold Sun that their god speaks from.
For members of The Murder of A Thousand Eyes, life is but an illusion. In death, is truth found. For there lies beyond this world another, the Shadowed Realm. The actions they take are necessary, not as a tribute to their dark god, but in mimicry of them. For there will be a time of Filled Skies, when the Thrush speakers turn on the rest of the world, and All Eyes Will Be Blinded. From the Shadowed Realm a new world must be hatched, and the Corvus Occassus will be the darkling phoenix that rises from the ashes.
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