Content warning: potential violence and gore.
As the strong baritone voice of your father crooned hymns of ancient vastayan heroes into your eager ears, you closed your eyes and tucked your feathers into your lap. Envisioning those legends dancing across your mind, your mouth moved without conscious effort and you sang along with those familiar folk-hymns. Right now, you were but a little girl. But you knew deep in your heart, that one day, you would grow up to be just like those legendary heroes.
It was these haunting melodies which served as your guidance and fed your ambition. They instilled within you a different source of a magic – one not of spiritualism, but of emotions. Every time you felt downtrodden or afraid, you would think back to your father's songs and, reinvigorated, you would steel yourself and continue forward, fighting against all odds.
You spent your childhood days honing your skills and shaping yourself to become the perfect vastayan warrior. You helped your fellow tribe members wherever you could, assisting with foraging for food, babysitting the younger children, or even hunting alongside your elders on lucky days.
However, as you spent your days dutifully fulfilling your roles to the tribe, there was a darkness seeping into the very tribelands you had spent your entire life in. The elders knew of it and raised their concerns in hushed whispers whenever they thought the children were asleep. But you knew. You possessed the foresight and perceptiveness that would carry you into adulthood. Even at such an early age, nothing slipped passed your notice.
As the years onwards, the concerns grew to become very real. Humans were trampling all over the Lhotlan's sacred tribelands, the selfish beings they were, and were attempting to harness the magical powers there for themselves. Greedy, foolish humans. You despise how callously they treated your land. Whereupon your brethren treated the land with respect, they heartlessly took whatever they needed and discarded the remains as though it was nothing more than trash. Your blood boiled at such treatment and your innate sense of justice could never accept such mistreatment.
Your elders and your people discouraged you from interfering with the humans, but you refused to stand by and watch as your kind endured such treatment. You had always been a disciplined child, and had always followed the rules… but this would be the exception.
Against the direct decrees and orders of your tribe, you departed from the safety of your home to meet with the humans. In your naivety, you were certain that you could reason with the humans and reach some sort of compromise. Surely.
Initially, you were optimistic. You followed the paths of destruction left behind by the humans and not before long, you had found one of their many villages.
It was not long before you learned just naive you had been. The humans looked at you with curiosity, interest, fear, and disgust, but you were certain that such feelings would pass once they got used to your strange appearance. Surely once they heard your reason, they would change their ways. But try as you might, none would take you seriously. You were too strange and too different.
For example, one day you found yourself mobbed by a group of humans. Their grimy hands reached out to pluck your feathers, while others held you down against your struggles. At first, you were unwilling to harm these people, for there was a strange look in their eyes. It was a look which you had grown to recognise through the years – a look of desperation. You had often seen the very same expressions on the faces of your own kind as humans trespassed upon your land. But there was something eerie to these human expressions. Something else. Then you realised too late. Greed.
The humans only took and never gave anything back in return. With a pang of horror that was quickly replaced by anger, you realised that they were trying to steal your feathers as priceless trophies. With was upon this realisation did you finally act. Throwing caution to the wind, you attacked these people with the same deadly precision which you often conducted yourself with back at home.
Those humans soon realised that your feathers weren't only for show – they could hurt and kill just as easily.
This event only seemed to set a precedent for what was to come. The more you tried to reach the minds and hearts of the humans - to appeal to reason and logic, the more they seemed to resist you. Often, the humans – wary of anything strange and different – thought of you as some sort of monster, given your appearance, and tried to rid of you.
Fools. It was the humans who were the real monsters.
It was with great disillusionment did you drag yourself back home. You were disappointed with yourself. You had failed. Still, you looked forward to returning to the safety of your family and your tribe. There would was nothing better than to hear your father sing another one of your favourite folk-hymns.
But he never did.
True, you returned home... only it didn't feel like home. There was something dark and evil that wasn't there when you had departed. Something stained the air and left a bitter taste in your mouth. Worried, you searched for your tribe but found nothing.
Days turned to weeks turned into months but still, there was not a single trace of your beloved tribe. You searched for anything that could suggest their whereabouts. Any sign of struggle. Any sign of migration elsewhere. You searched high and low, far and wide. But nothing ever came of your efforts. At times you almost felt like giving up, falling to your knees, and crying out in despair.
Eventually you stumbled upon an ancient vastayan temple. It was a construct which you only had only vaguely recalled from vastayan folktales you heard as a child. But there was something different about it. Gone was the spiritual mystique and otherworldly aura it should've radiated. Instead in its place was a putrid dark and malevolent presence. With a start, you realised that it had been tainted by unnatural shadow magic, disrupting its connection to the spirit realm. It must've been the cause for the darkness that had spread across your tribelands.
You had little choice in the matter. You needed to dispel the darkness and corruption that had lain waste to your beloved homeland. If that involved bringing an ancient temple to ruin, then so be it. Although it pained you to destroy such a sacred site, you unleashed your raw power in the form of deadly feather blades and demolished the temple until it became nothing but a pile of rubble and debris.
When you toppled the last column over, you felt it. A familiar wave of pure and unadulterated magic burst forth, as though unleashed from a dam, and bathed the land to its horizons - purging the mountains to every blade of grass of its corruption. You rejoiced. After many months of despair and hard work, you had restored Ionia to its former glory. Everything was perfect. Everything was back to the way it should be. Everything except for one detail.
Your tribe was still nowhere to be found.
You became a wanderer. Living a nomadic lifestyle, you journeyed across the lands with a new purpose: to purge the world of the despicable humans who had started it all. The humans were like vermin, establishing strongholds across Ionia and kidnapping Vastayan for their own nefarious purposes.
Although you were unable to help your own tribe, you could at least help others who had fallen victim to the humans. You were ruthless in your task, cold and efficient. You slew any and all who dared oppose you and your goals. You felt nothing as humans fell before you, your feather blades imbedded within their still warm bodies.
Soon, you became known as a mysterious and formidable force. Humans learned to fear your name:
“The Violet Raven.”
One day you were asked to retrieve a sacred vastayan artefact that had been stolen by humans.
Your journey took you to Vlonqo, a human settlement situated at the base of a mountain.
You would have dismissed him had it not been for the familiar hymn which you had not heard since childhood.
The song was paired with dramatic hand motions. A dramatic performance which mandated an even more dramatic performer. It was an ostentatious individual which bore excessively decorated and lavish garments, such that it brought you to memories of vain peacocks. You watched as he commanded the attention of those within the market square to crooned his – admittedly silky – voice towards the entranced audience.
It was a fellow vastayan, showcasing a palor of cheap tricks that wouldn't have fooled a Lhotlan child. Glitter and light. That's all it was. You didn't try to stop the urge to roll your eyes as the crowd collectively oohed and aahed over the ridiculousness. You wouldn't expect anything more from such simpleton humans.
When the other vastayan completed his performance with a theatrical bow, his audience gave a round of applause that wholly summed up your opinion of entire human race. Shallow insects concerned with the beauty and pretty things, no matter how empty and meaningless they were. Their chants of his name, 'Rakan. Rakan. Rakan.
' only served to irritate you further.
Without sparing another glance, you continued your search for the stolen vastayan artefact.
Your mission was easily completed after that, and you loathed to admit it, but the buffoon had inadvertently assisted your task in causing a distraction long enough for you to make your escape.
You stuffed the vastayan artefact into the folds of your violet feather cloak and manoeuvred your way away from the town and into the mountainous terrain. You had no idea why, but most irritatingly, thoughts of the golden-feathered vastayan refused to leave you alone. It was like an annoying bug that refused to leave you alone. No matter how hard you tried, you could not shake the images of that golden feathered man from your mind's eye.
The day's experience had stirred emotions within you that you had not felt in a long time. You initially chalked it up to his singing of an ancient folk-hymn, but the more you thought about it, the more you realised that there was something more to it. Your analytical mind found difficulty in piecing the puzzle together. The happiness and mystique which he had imparted upon others, the carefree nature of his dance, the laughter in his eyes… it was something that you could not shake off as easily as you wanted.
And yet, too entranced in your stupor, you were caught unaware by a band of mercenaries.
Although you had initially been caught off-guard by the ambush, you had expected a fight. Feathers clashed with blades and spilt blood onto the dirt. You dodged the clumsy humans strikes with his sword and returned only with dagger-like feathers careening with deadly precision into their hearts. The roar of their shrill screams as they die only served to invigorate you further, although your emotionless face would've never conveyed such raw emotion. Cold faced and cold-hearted, you stabbed and slashed, dancing amongst the vibrant sprays of crimson. This was what you needed. A nice satisfying fight was your reprieve from confusing and unwanted desires.
Except that your joy would not last very long.
appeared. The outrageous buffoon.
"I don't need your help!"
You cried, flecks of rage illuminated your irises as you caught sight of those tell-tale golden feathers within the midst of all the bloodshed.
He didn't listen. He raved something about not wanting to miss the party and continued stealing your kills. Most irritatingly, he was a surprising good ally. It seemed that with every bound of agility he made, the target was served upon a platter for you. Golden feathers reined in the attentions of the bandits, giving you the opening you needed to hurl your feathers into their soft flesh. Although you were certain that had never meet this man before prior to this day, it was obvious that you both complimented each other.
When all was said and done, the pair of you had left human carcasses strewn colourfully across the mountain trail. As you panted heavily, wiping the sweat from your brow, you turned to look at the partycrasher, Rakan.
You told him that you didn't need him now and that he should leave you alone.
And in the end, you were glad he didn't.