|“||Whatever the upheaval in his life, it had left him living entirely in the present. He was compelled by the past and oblivious to the future.||”|
Raven (birth name Corvo, alias Corbie) was the first recruit of the Black Company after the band made its historic first trip across the Sea of Torments. In his late twenties, described as thin, with dusky skin, and not especially tall, Raven abandoned his children and served with the Company for a relatively brief period (about one year, chronicled in The Black Company). After the Battle of Charm, he deserted the group with his young ward Darling and escaped to the frigid city Juniper in the distant northwest. By Shadows Linger, he had become the unwitting servant of the Dominator – one of the most powerful and evil men in history. Raven would fake his death twice, now abandoning even Darling. Leading up to The White Rose, Raven accidentally ensnared his disembodied spirit inside the Great Barrow, the Dominator's subterranean prison. After the climactic Battle of the Barrowland, Raven drowned his sorrow in wine, but desperately tried to rise to the occasion when his worst enemy, the Limper, threw the world into bloody chaos during The Silver Spike.
Raven's preferred weapon was the knife, but he was also an excellent archer and tracker, benefiting from some training in sorcery in his privileged youth. A man known for his exceptional combat skills and cold-blooded manners, Raven was feared both by friends and enemies.
- 1 Before Croaker's Annals
- 2 The Black Company
- 3 Shadows Linger
- 4 The White Rose
- 5 The Silver Spike
Before Croaker's Annals[edit | edit source]
Raven, like many men of the Black Company, spoke little of his past. Croaker – the band's historian – recorded virtually no details about Raven's earlier years in his Annals. But the important details which follow were uncovered by Case, who noted them in his journal during The Silver Spike.
A privileged birth[edit | edit source]
Raven was born into the aristocratic Corvo family of the flourishing Jewel City called Opal. He was a baronet with significant properties, titles, and honors. He was placed into an arranged, loveless marriage with a woman called Morningstar and they had twins. There was a noteworthy rumor that the marriage was an attempt to end a feud that had been going on for a hundred years, and that it did not succeed as intended. Baronet Corvo and many of the men in his family were early supporters of the Lady's Empire.
Morningstar's betrayal[edit | edit source]
While he was serving the Empire away from Opal (possibly in the Windy Country), Morningstar took lovers who were associated with the Limper (the Lady's imperial governor in Opal). His wife, her lovers, the Limper and his enforcer Zouad, and some others orchestrated the seizure of the baronet's properties and titles. They also framed some of his male family members for crimes for which they were unjustly executed. Finally, an attempt was made on the baronet's own life and he was left for dead, but his enemies did not know that the assassination failed. He abandoned his twin children to seek revenge around the time the Black Company arrived in Opal.
The Black Company[edit | edit source]
At the Gardens of Opal[edit | edit source]
Raven crossed paths with the Black Company which had recently accepted Soulcatcher as their employer and were moving north through Opal. Once they reached the city, Raven invited them to a meeting in the extravagant Gardens. Raven asked for a permission to join the Company, which resulted in a divided vote. Croaker was intrigued by him and approved his recruitment, however One-Eye, the Captain, and others voted not to admit him. They felt that his past would cause trouble. And they were right. Raven's troubles were related to one of the most vicious sorcerers among the Ten Who Were Taken – the Limper. Raven did not disclose that he had been betrayed by his own wife and had lost all his possessions in scheme sponsored by the Limper himself.
After humiliating Lord Jalena at the Gardens, the Captain asked Raven to either finish his vendetta quickly or abandon his quest for revenge, in order to join them. He started right away. Three of his enemies (his wife and two men, presumably her lovers) were at the Gardens at that time. Raven quickly killed the two men with his dagger, and strangled his wife in front of countless witnesses. A few days later, Raven joined the Company, declaring he had hunted one other traitor and was willing to forget the final one, who had escaped his justice.
Rescuing Darling in Forsberg[edit | edit source]
Soon after joining them Raven demonstrated a more human side to his cold personality. At that time the Company was passing through a Rebel village in Forsberg province, which had been attacked and burned by Limper's cruel soldiers. A mute young girl was being sexually assaulted and her grandfather Flick forced to watch. Although the Company and the Limper's men were on the same side, Raven did not hesitate to kill two of the soldiers in order to protect the two civilians. The girl was adopted by the Company and was later known as Darling.
Ambushed in Oar[edit | edit source]
The conflict with the Limper's soldiers was postponed, but not forgotten. Shortly afterward, Raven accompanied Candy, Doughbelly, Jolly, and some others on a "turnip patrol" to buy supplies in Oar and cart them back to the main force which was garrisoned at the fortress in nearby Deal. When they failed to report back, Croaker and some others decided to investigate. They found their fellow soldiers wounded at a inn/stable owned by a local named Cornie. Although local thugs were the attackers, the Limper's subordinates Lane and Zouad were responsible for the ambush. Raven had received mortal wounds in this retaliation strike and Flick was killed for standing up for him. Fortunately for Raven, another Taken, Shapeshifter, had arrived at Soulcatcher's request. The sorcerer healed Raven and saved his life, his main reason being that the Limper was also his hated rival, in spite of the fact that both were serving the same master.
Assassination of Raker[edit | edit source]
Raven was instrumental in several Imperial victories against the Rebel in the following months. Together with Croaker and a select group of Company veterans, he traveled to wintry Roses and participated in Soulcatcher's sting operation against Raker, a prominent member of the Rebel Circle of Eighteen. Raven was utterly fearless when they were confronted briefly by the Limper. Later, after Raker was successfully discredited and disowned by the other Rebels, he attacked Otto. In retaliation, Raven took Croaker and used his excellent tracking skills – augmented by his minor wizardry – to stalk Raker throughout the city. He used Croaker as bait and impaled the distracted Raker with his sword. Raven then decapitated Raker with a serrated knife, and he and Croaker claimed the Imperial bounty: a pile of treasure.
Capture of the Limper and Whisper[edit | edit source]
Raven and Croaker next executed the capture of Whisper and the traitor Limper in the Forest of Cloud. There, Raven finally had the chance to resolve his personal grudge with the Limper. But when the Lady personally arrived and offered Raven the chance to execute the defenseless Limper, he refused to do so. Like Raven, Soulcatcher and Shapeshifter also turned down the opportunity to murder their nemesis. That same night, Raven witnessed the Limper's extensive torture at the Lady's own hand, his removal by a dragonfly demon, and the Lady's use of the Rite of Taking against Whisper. But he collapsed in exhaustion and slept for many hours longer than Croaker. The two, accompanied by Silent, left the Forest and next waited outside Lords to rendezvous with the main body of the Company, which was being besieged by Harden.
At the Battle of Charm[edit | edit source]
Having lost many of their best leaders, the Rebel opted for a final confrontation. During the Battle of Charm where both sides intensively used destructive spells in combat, Raven was the first to deduce that their mute orphan girl might have a hidden power, as any spells seemed to lose their power and disappear near her. The first hint of this came before the battle, during a failed assassination attempt against Raven. A mysterious attacker (presumably Soulcatcher) used a sleep spell to keep him subdued before attempting to knife him, but Darling was unaffected and chased away the assailant. Then, when the Circle utilized a wide-ranging sleep spell against a formation of soldiers where Raven was situated, Darling shook them awake. Before the battle was done, Raven deserted from the Black Company, taking Darling with him, in order to protect her from the Lady.
Shadows Linger[edit | edit source]
Several years later Raven appeared in Juniper, as a rich man involved in some shady affairs. Marron Shed, the owner of the Iron Lily was involved in his business, as he owned money to the gangster Krage. Raven's dark secret was revealed. He was collecting dead bodies from the streets and selling them to the Black Castle. Raven even killed a Guardian and forced Shed and Asa to help him plunder the city's Catacombs of some of its corpses. That move focused the authorities' attention on them. Krage, who was previously humiliated by Raven, also gathered his men and tried to eliminate him, but their ambush failed. Raven and Shed killed 5 of them and paralyzed Krage, and even sold the bodies to the Castle. However, Raven had to put a stop on this business when he narrowly avoided being captured during a surprise raid at the Crater. There, he found out that Croaker and the Black Company were investigating his affairs on behalf of the Lady. Being forced to flee, he used his savings to buy a ship and left the city along with Darling.
Soon afterwards Raven was reported dead. After abandoning the Lady during the Battle of Juniper, the Black Company brothers went to Meadenvil to investigate Raven's death and search for Darling. Hiding in the countryside from Bullock, Raven faked his death in the presence of Asa, and planted a corpse at the spot later. The decayed body was found in the outskirts near another newly-formed Black Castle. Croaker and the rest were not convinced and soon found proof that he was alive. They followed the trail to the city of Chimney, where they found Darling and his ship. However Raven was once again reported dead after slipping whilst in the city's public baths.
The White Rose[edit | edit source]
Years later under the name Corbie, he reached the Barrowland and started working for the Eternal Guard there. He moved into the house that had belonged to the infamous wizard Bomanz in order to investigate the wizard's secrets. Working as a secret informant of the New White Rose Rebellion, Raven sent some letters to Croaker using Rebel couriers, letters which told the true story of Bomanz. He used the gathered information to enter the Barrowland in his spirit form, to check if the Dominator was still truly in stasis. Unexpectedly, he encountered the awakened Dominator and fled in abject terror. One single misstep caused his soul to become trapped in a sinkhole of ancient sorcery within the Great Barrow, and, two demons – Tracker and Toadkiller Dog – were simultaneously liberated from their imprisonment. The soldier Case who was his only friend at that time began taking care of his unconscious body.
Following Raven's letters, Croaker arrived and retrieved his friend's body. They both were captured by the Lady's soldiers and taken to the Tower. After the Lady and Darling formed an alliance against the Dominator, Raven's body and mind were finally reunited. Immediately after the Battle of the Barrowland, he tried to put on a grand show to impress Darling by killing the Lady, who had been rendered defenseless. But Croaker shot him in the hip with an arrow. Raven survived the wound, but his body was permanently damaged. His love for Darling was revealed to be the motive behind his risky actions, but she could not forgive his lies and left the Barrowland without him.
The Silver Spike[edit | edit source]
Abandoned by Darling, Raven was stricken with grief. He went to the nearest city, Oar, and wasted days in drinking, while Case was trying to keep him out of trouble. Despite being a drunken wreck, Raven clearly detected the magic alarm of a fetish that was disturbed by Smeds Stahl at the Barrowland. Aware of the danger and frightened, he sobered up quickly. Although Case assumed Raven would take them toward Darling, he actually turned south, seeking Croaker's help. Arriving in Opal, he was too late, as Croaker and Lady had just taken to sea aboard The Dark Wings. Raven and Case then followed them in a miserable grain barge across the Sea of Torments to Beryl, where even Raven had never traveled before.
In the southern continent, he encountered Darling with her companions, Silent, the three Torque brothers (Stubby, Paddlefoot, and Brother Bear), Bomanz, and a horde of monsters from the Plain of Fear. This time she at least accepted his company. After defeating the Limper at the Temple of Travellers' Repose, they headed back across the Sea of Torments aboard windwhales. Together they passed through Opal, recently sacked by the Limper, which was already being rebuilt by imperials. There, Raven was forced by Darling to meet with his twin children. He had abandoned them before joining the Black Company and was ashamed to reveal his identity now. The twins, now about twenty years old, did not quite realize Raven was their father and the emotional reunion didn't happen.
Back in the city of Oar, Raven learned of the theft of the silver spike. He helped kidnap Brigadier Wildbrand (commander of the Nightstalker Brigade) and recaptured her when she escaped. But was not around when Old Man Fish stabbed Darling and Case and lethally wounded Paddlefoot. Soon after, he took Brother Bear on an unsanctioned investigation to track down the spike thieves, but Smeds Stahl ambushed them, killing Bear and knocking Raven unconscious. The spike was retrieved after the Limper was temporarily neutralized. Raven fought and killed either Gossamer or Spidersilk, who tried to take the spike for themselves, and desperately searched for it in the snow after it was dropped. He grabbed the artifact, again trying to be a hero for Darling, but did so with his bare hand. His talent for sorcery, although very limited, now served as channel, and he was infected by its black magic. He stood up straight, despite a broken leg, as the Dominator's evil energy was starting to possess him. Horrified but left with no choice, Darling ordered his immediate execution. Case relayed the order to Scar, and in a moment, a centaur threw a javelin clear through Raven's skull, killing him instantly. As Case recorded in his journal: "This time he would not be back from the dead. This time he wasn't faking."