|Official Name||Hinterlandic Raven|
|Common Nicknames||Suicide Raven, Dollhouse Bird|
|Habitat||Brissiaud, Regalian Archipelago|
The Hinterlandic Raven is a very peculiar bird that displays exceptionally odd habits, including suicidal tendencies. The raven is generally seen as a very mischievous, intelligent bird, that is acutely aware of its surroundings and the people that live near its nest, to the point that it is remarkably perceptive of human behavior. Strangely enough, this bird is also poetically suicidal and downright self-destructive, for reasons unknown as of yet. This bird has become a re-visited continuously curiosity for scholars, serving as a hallmark example in understanding irrational animal behavior.
The Hinterlandic Raven has been part of Brissiaud and the Anglian regions longer than recorded history shows, and even to this day, the raven is vital to the cultural identity of the Hinterland’s people. The Hinterlandic Raven is known to have had an ancient and complex relationship with the Feathered Dragons of Anglia, even being referred to as the “Draconic Heralds” back when the Dragons still roamed the countryside. This name was used because these birds often heralded the arrival of the Dragons to these areas, and would show up in large numbers, creating a lot of noise, just before the Dragon appeared. In fact, this relationship was so defining that the Ravens were also referred to as “Dragon’s Pets,” due to the affectionate way the Dragons seemed to avoid harming, or killing them. When the Feathered Dragons disappeared from Anglia and the Archipelago as a whole, the Ravens started displaying odd behavior. It was then that their current, suicidal patterns of behavior began to take shape, which is theorized to have come about by the loss of protection and stability the Dragons’ provided. The bird became extinct in Anglia shortly after this behavior appeared, only surviving in Brissiaud which soon became the only place to find them. Their existence, while mostly unnotable, has been, punctured by high-profile appearances and actions across the Archipelago in recent years. During the Drachenwald Crisis, an army led by the rebelling barons marched on the Hinterlands. The much larger Baron’s army severely outnumbered the army that stood in their way, but the Hinterlandic army’s leader cleverly used nearby nesting Hinterlandic Ravens to their advantage. By causing a local forest fire, the Ravens entered their suicidal state and started flying into the Baron’s army, killing themselves on their weapons. At the end of the day over 800 raven corpses were counted, but they had scared away the Baron’s army, as the soldiers thought demons were at work when the ravens descended on them. Much more recently during the Dragon Crisis of the Regalian Archipelago, the arrival of the Dragon Emperor but also Rikkira were heralded by flocks of these birds they flew to the Holy City and then remained there for several months, often in deathly silence on rooftops even when the dragons swooped low over the city. They have gained a reputation as disturbed birds, and that is likely to continue into the future if they keep up such these odd, frightening appearances.
The Hinterlandic Raven is often mistaken for other corvus birds, such as the Dragged Crow. Their proportions (height, wingspan, and weight) are the same, but there are external physical identifiers. A Hinterlandic Raven can be identified by its burgundy-colored chest, which often appears back during flight, as well as a larger beak and more pointed head than other corvus. Their most distinguishing attribute, however, is their behavior. They are considered more nimble, agile and faster when flying than most other common birds, being able to change direction seemingly in an instant. They are also noted to have lightning fast reaction times, and so are distinctly aware of everything that is happening around them. As such, the bird is not known to fall prey to natural predators, as they can take off far before a slower predator reaches them. Their heightened responsiveness and agility are theorized to be attributed to the species’ irregularly fast heartbeat, giving it the energy to move at faster speeds, but this high heart rate is also the suggested cause of their erratic, suicidal behavior.
The Hinterlandic Raven is on the brink of becoming an endangered species due to how limited its habitat is, and how often they seem to kill themselves, as well as each other. The bird is barely diverse at all, as there are such small amounts of both sexes. Many speculate that if the Hinterlands would ever suffer major deforestation, the Hinterlandic Raven would probably go extinct.
Life Span and Development
The Hinterlandic Raven is born in clutches of two to seven light purple narrow eggs with black speckles. The Raven is then assumed to undergo the standard development of many similar birds, being fed worms or small insects by their parents. However, this is where most information on them stops. The Raven is notoriously difficult to study because of its suicidal, reckless behavioral patterns in stressful situations, so information on the exact development of the bird has been practically fruitless. Little is known about the exact time span of development, maturity, nor about the mating patterns of the bird. What is known is that the natural lifespan of the Hinterlandic Raven is remarkably long, at an estimated 30 years, though this is hard to confirm as the vast majority of them do not live that long. They are killed within their nests, while others enter a suicidal state far before adulthood is ever reached.
The bird’s mental capabilities are perhaps the most crucial to the identity of this bird. If the bird’s nest has been disturbed, it will enter a suicidal frenzy in which it will repeatedly attempt to kill itself by any means possible. The most frequent way in which it tries to do this is by flying into buildings, but they have also been known to impale themselves on guardsman's spears and halberds, fly into fireplaces, sit down on the ground next to cats, and even drown themselves. This suicidal, self-destructive behavior seems irreversible once triggered. Scholars theorize this behavior is due to their elevated heart rate, which, while making them excellent predators, also mean they are in a constant state of alertness, and therefore stress. Any sudden sources of stress, such as their nest being destroyed, then causes the raven to enter a state of erratic panic and recklessness, which most often leads to unintentional suicide.
As mentioned, the Hinterlandic Raven’s nest is very important to the species’ well-being. They are extremely intricate and particular in their organization, and many Hinterlandic people refer to them as ‘Dollhouse Birds.’These nests are then referred to as ‘dollhouses,’ though mainly because they are also littered with crafted dolls and wooden, carved figurines that resemble humans. The Ravens seem only to collect human-shaped figurines and arrange them in strange patterns in their nest. These dolls are incredibly important to the bird. In fact, most of its psyche seems to be related to how organized and pristine its nest, and dolls, look. This obsession is theorized to be a way for the bird to reduce its excess anxiety and stress. If the raven feels the dolls are dirty, or the nest has been disturbed by outside factors (like woodcutting, or by other animals) then the bird will enter its aforementioned suicidal state. However, this serenity seems so important to the bird that they sometimes even consider their own younglings a disturbance to the perfection of their nests. Such situations result in the Hinterlandic Raven simply throwing its young out of the nest, only for them to die upon hitting the ground. Anyone hailing from the Hinterlands has had at least one encounter with a Hinterlandic Raven committing suicide, one way or another, either in the bird’s childhood or adulthood.
One would say these animals are too stupid to live, but the creature is deceptively intelligent, - It just uses this intelligence in an unfortunately self-destructive way. These birds seem to be very aware of the finer nuances of Human interaction and can tell the moods and context of a conversation simply by observation. They can recognize patterns in Human behavior and learn how to best deal with them, (or, ultimately, use it to kill themselves). This leaves the bird to be identified as a brilliant bird, that is tragically self-destructive. Many have speculated that this bird may once have been the most intelligent bird in existence, only one step away from communication with the races of Aloria, but that the sudden disappearance of the Feathered Dragons made them aimless and vulnerable, and without their Draconic Masters, they devolved into fragile insanity.
Territory and Groupings
Adult Hinterlandic Ravens exclusively live in mating pairs, often sharing a nest and living as the only pair within several hundred square meters. These birds are incredibly territorial and will fight each other for coming too close to their nests. Younger ravens that leave the nest also tend to group up with each other, forming small, equally territorial groups, until they find mates of their own. They tend to their nests high up in trees on the border of Human settlements, both with the intent to steal dolls from the children, but also because the bird seems to enjoy watching the Humans go to work, live, and die beneath them, while it's perched high above in its dollhouse nest.
- Most Hinterlandic Ravens are exclusively monogamous with their other raven partner, however, there is a local saying that all ravens enter a mating season with the opposite sex, while they live life with the same sex. This refers to the fact that as soon as any raven couple experiences a situation where they reject their younglings and kill them, the raven may decide to have no further offspring for life and engage in a same-sex partnership until they inevitably commit suicide.
- In the Hinterlands of Brissiaud, a job exists called the Ravenplucker, which involves a town official patrolling around towns and cities, collecting Hinterlandic Raven corpses and providing a proper burial for them, in a so-called ‘Raven-mausoleum.’
- One would think the Hinterlandic Raven’s population is in jeopardy, but despite their suicidal tendencies, they tend to sire more offspring than they kill, so the population is always averagely stable.