19 September 2004

(58) Raven's Rules

So you woke up one day after a bad dream like something out of that Alfred Hitchcock movie, only to find yourself covered in feathers. Well, if you've survived the hatching of the spirit egg, then you're doing good so far, sport.

So you wanna know, "Now what?"

Well, first off, remember one thing: You are a lucky punk. You were given that spirit egg for a reason. It may bring you a lot of shit, but it brings a lot of good stuff too. And you're lucky enough to have a reason for existing that is pretty straight-forward, in a time when the monkeys are chasing their tails trying to figure out what life is s'posed to be all about. Gaia loves
you boy. Take care of her, and she'll take care of you. Keep Sol and Raven happy and they'll take care of ya too.

That's probably as good a place as any to start. Raven's Rules. Raven's Rules are just that; the rules that our spiritual grandaddy set out for us to live by. Its like the 10 Commandments of the Corax (pardon my Judeo-Christian reference). Understanding these rules will give you a good feel for what it is that you were put here to do. So sit down and listen. Or read. Whatever.

Raven's Rules:

There Are No Secrets
Share What You Know
Teach 'Em What They'll Learn
Protect the Eggs
Remember Why You're Here
Bear Witness
The Truth Matters
Everything's Part of the Cycle
Don't Play Favorites

Plenty of folks have an opinion on Raven's Rules. You'll learn to look for different teachers and always get a second, third, fourth opinion, etc. But for now, you'll have to make due with mine.

These are our Rules. Pretty Simple, actually... Keep yerself alive,
learn shit, tell what you learn, and keep things going...

There Are No Secrets

We were put here to find stuff out. Simple as that. If someone's got a secret, we hafta bring it to light. When people start keeping secrets, then bad things start to happen. Information is a vital resource, crucial to survival. Its not something to be hoarded and jealously guarded. Information kept hidden has a tendency to go bad; the people who need it suffer, the people who are guarding it drive themselves crazy. When secrets remain hidden, they turn into skeletons in peoples'closets. Its our job to make sure that this doesn't happen.

It’s your duty to uncover every secret you can, even the unpleasant ones. Left alone in the dark, secrets fester, rot and turn into some damn unpleasant things. It’s our duty to uncover things that others want hidden, because odds are, if someone’s taking the effort to hide some information, that information’s dangerous. If you hear a rumor or catch a detail that nags at you, you had best follow up to the best of your ability or there’ll be hell to pay. You never know if that lead you ignore as being “too ridiculous” will turn into the thing that bites you in the ass.

Share What You Know

Just 'cuz you found someone's dirty laundry doesn't mean its going to get clean all by itself. You've got to air it out. Most of the stuff you find out, you won't be able to do anything about. But its amazing how much can be accomplished by just delivering the knowledge to the right ears. An example:
Say I discover a nest of banes festering in the local low-income housing project. What am I, one lonely bird, going to do to clean up the mess? Well, I drop in on my Wolf friends, who can go in and clean up the mess, and then hopefully do a little Rite of Cleansing to clean up any lasting taint.
Finally, I can do a little homework to find out what attracted the banes in the first place; maybe its a nearby industrial plant polluting, or tainted pudding in the elementary school cafeteria. Once I have this information, its a simple matter to bring it to the attention to a local Citizen's Action Group or some other mundane organization that cares, and has the werewithal to fix the situation.

Information does no good in a bottle. It doesn’t matter if you know the three magic words that will save the world; as long as those words are locked in your brainbox, they’re not doing anyone any good, including yourself. Odds are you’re not going to be able to do a damn thing about
most of the secrets you uncover, but that’s not the point. After all, we’re not here to take care of the messes, just to uncover them. That’s why it’s necessary to share what you know. Tell others, who can tell others, who can tell others who just might be able to do something about whatever you’ve stumbled over.
On a more somber note, the sooner you spread the word over what you know, the safer you are. If you’re the only one who knows what the local Pentex subsidiary is up to, you’re a prime target. If you tell three other Corax, who tell three more each, who tell a buttload of wolves, well, suddenly you’re way down on the hit list priority.
And if they do catch you, if word of what you found gets out, at least you didn’t die in vain.

Teach Them What They’ll Learn

Not everyone accepts the straight dope from us, or even likes us. And sometimes, the very folks who won’t listen are the very same ones you need to get information to. In that case, Raven has authorized use of unnecessary and ridiculous force. More to the point, the methods don’t
matter — the information has to get through. It doesn’t matter how. It doesn’t matter if you have to get a whole pack of wolves howling for your blood or if you have to make yourself look like an idiot to get a lion to listen — if they have to know, then it’s your job to let them know. And you will do whatever it takes, dig, because there’s damn little more important than making sure the right info gets to the right people.

Protect the Eggs

This one is a no-brainer. Eggs are our future. We’re too few as is.
Defend a spirit egg with everything up to, but not including, your own life. We can’t afford to lose a single one of us, even to save another, except under the most dire of circumstances. But a threat to an egg is intolerable. If you see anything going after a spirit egg, cowboy the bastard.

Remember Why You’re Here

We’re not the fighters. We’re the scouts and communications officers.
Yeah, it’s tempting to be the one to save the day and rescue the girl, but we’re not built for that, and trying stupid heroics is a good way to get yourself killed. Your job is to get information and get out, preferably without the enemy seeing you. If you do get spotted, escape makes more sense than fighting, particularly since he can call on more reinforcements than you can. Before you throw a single punch, consider what you’re up against and what your odds of walking away from the fight are. Nine times out of 10, that should be enough to send you scurrying in the opposite direction as fast as you can go.
In the end, it’s not important who gets the job done. It’s important that the job gets done, and if the job is kicking ass, there are lots of folks out there better at it than we are.

Bear Witness

Every living soul has a story, and it’s part of our mandate to save as many of those stories as we can. That’s why we drink the eyes of the dead, after all. It’s a great information source, sure, but it’s also respect, and making sure some little bit of the corpse’s story gets carried away by
The other part of this rule is that you cannot turn away. Not now, not ever. No matter how brutal or horrifying what you’re looking at might be -- and I’m talking about anything from the killing fields of Kampuchea to the worst bits of Bed--Stuy-- you have to see it all, so that when you tell the tale, you tell it right. To do any less is disrespectful, and dangerous.
There’s no cutting corners in this business.

The Truth Matters

Partial or inaccurate information gets people killed. You are not allowed to skimp on your observations for any reason, from your tender sensibilities to the fact that you’re getting the heebie-jeebies. If you can’t tell the story accurately, if you don’t have the facts, then don’t tell the story at all. Don’t make things up to patch the holes, because that always leads to disaster.

Everything is Part of the Cycle

Don’t judge anyone or anything out of context. Gaia had a plan when she put this rock together, and everything has a part in it. So don’t jump to conclusions about whether someone or something is unnecessary until you figure out why they’re doing what they’re doing, and what purpose it serves in the grand scheme of things. After all, some day someone might
just look at you, with your beak buried in a corpse’s peepers, and decide that you were some gross bit of vermin barely worth the round of birdshot he buries in your ass to ‘protect the sanctity of the body” from your unholy depredations. In other words, judge not lest ye be judged.

Don’t Play Favorites

We owe both Sol and Raven tremendous debts and we show our respect every chance we get. This means whispering every secret we learn into the air, not to mention thanking both of them at every Parliament.
Furthermore, it means recognizing that we’re damn lucky to have the favor of two powers like that, and that we probably shouldn’t do anything to screw that relationship up. So demonstrate proper reverence to both, kiddo. Play favorites with Sol and you just might get burned.


You’ve been given an unimaginable gift: wings. So use 'em. Fly, ‘cause it’s a dead cert no one else in your family can. Experience everything you can. Talk to everyone you can. Learn as much as you can and look at things from as many angles as you can. Why? Because you can, that’s why. As much fun as just getting airborne is, it’s also symbolic of what we’re doing here. If you can look at a problem from another angle, say, from above, you have to do so. Don’t let any of your talents or opportunities get wasted. Otherwise, why the hell did someone think you were worth wings to begin with?


Or you’ll cry. In the middle of all of the bullshit that we have to put up with - and believe me, it’s worse than you can imagine - you have to remember that we’ve been given some tremendous gifts. In spite of it all, kid, we’re lucky - damn lucky. We get to fly, after all.
So laugh. Look for the humor in everything, because sure as spit it’s there, and after drinking dead men’s eyes and seeing the horrors this rock holds, you’ll need it. A moment of laughter at the right time can tide you over through a bad patch, until you can get the wind behind you again and realize how sweet life really is.