The cell walls felt colder,
The sense of imprisonment,
More profound and terrifying,
As murder upon murder of
Crows lay siege to the tower,
A cacophony of chaos,
Aching in my nightmare!
A Cyralost appendice for those interested:
Cyralost’s crows are large black birds that (like the raven) can live in all manner of climates, though they need to roost on a perch (something that gets them referred to as a passerine bird, though the word passerine means ‘size of a pigeon’ as well as ‘one who perches’, with is daft as crows come in a variety of sizes, no individual being identical). They perch using their three pointed toes, two of which point forward and the third protruding behind.
Though many refer to a group of crows as a flock, the correct collective noun is a ‘murder’ and a murder of crows can appear as a fanciful term in literature but certainly sounds right when you look upon those ominous looking birds.
The sound a crow makes is often called a ‘caw’ (quite a chilling sound if you are in the middle of nowhere in the gloaming and the caw is the first thing you hear for a long time) and if you listen really carefully, the crow’s vocalization can be fairly complex.
It has been theorised that these birds’ system of communication could almost constitute a language and some rangers monitor this closely as there is some conjecture posed by the Druids that the crow is becoming steadily more clever than it should be and that if its mimicry evolves at this continued extent, it may one day be able to change form also (like Xalims).
Crows are noticeably intelligent, able to fashion tools and even use bait to fish with. They live in a complex society with an obvious hierarchy that mirrors those of the races (something of note, sourced from the Calastrian chronicle ‘The Crow King’.
Cyralost’s crows have a black, glossy plumage (juveniles can be discerned from their elders by a slightly more dull appearance) and this makes them practically invisible to their adversaries and prey as they hunt on bright sunny days when the disparity between light and shadow is at its greatest and the crow manoeuvres cannily between the shade of trees and such to take full advantage of this.
Much like their cousins, the ravens, the crows are depicted as harbingers of doom because of their dark colour, their unnerving caw and tendency to eat carrion. They are commonly thought to circle above scenes of death, blights and battles but strangely, do not feature heavily in any mythology or religious literature pertaining to the Pernicious Pantheon of Perishing; who are associated with such things.
Crows are often linked with death and the after-life in particular, though of as spirit guides and used as such by some Druids and the occasional shaman. It is believed that a crow will live for about eight years in the wild but have been known to exist for as long as thirty in captivity (very strange), hence they are used extensively as familiars as their longevity makes a useful evolution of a relationship with the bird possible. Old birds tend to develop funny quirks and behaviour patterns, often showing grumpiness or even contempt for their masters and mistresses but are surprisingly loyal.
Necromancers use large crow feathers as quills but this is thought to be out of tradition more than any specific use, though I guess it is entirely possible for a crow’s plumage to have magical properties other than those of transmutation.
Crows are omnivores and really will feed on anything, fish, eggs, frogs, vermin, carrion and other undesirable foodstuffs. They pair off and mate, tending to form large families, each individual playing a role in the crows’ society.
There is a legend of a blue beaked crow in Kiketra that can not only talk but cast spells, those that believe this tale tend to theorise that it is a wizard or wytch trapped in the crow’s form when a transmogrification spell went awry.