-Auguinare: The leader of a cult that formerly worshiped Pharasma (or at least thought they did), but now follows the Raven Queen. Not as good at politics as he'd like to be, but well-liked by those beneath him and usually manages to get by somehow.
-Brent Orlavsky: A young nobleman from Brevoy. Perpetually cheerful and excited, and appears to be traveling the world for fun. Owner of Fes.
-Emidio: Friend and ally of Zofia. Apparently has a way of controlling a large number of undead, and has problems with authority figures.
-Fes: Slave of Brent Orlavsky. As a trained Aldori Swordlord, she's deadly with her blade - and she doesn't seem terribly bothered by her status, either. First met during a tournament to recover the so-called "Belt of Grace".
-Fhanys: A young woman from the village near the tomb where Sevia slept. The villagers seen to regard her very highly, more than would normally be expected... and she seems to have access to at least a little divine magic. Now a Cleric of Sevia.
-Norben: A young man from the village near the tomb where Sevia slept. Seems to be on close terms with Fhanys, and is often by her side.
-Otiward: Priest of the village near the tomb where Sevia slept. Somewhere in his 30's, tall, and surprisingly muscular for someone in his position. Otiward is very interested in history and knows far more than the average person about ancient events, symbols, and other things.
-Priadan: An obsessed cleric intending to sacrifice an entire nation for a place at the side of Death. More of a showman than someone with actual ability. Killed by Sevia when he opened her tomb.
-Zanaver: Priadan's second in command. Willingly followed the madman, though he seems to have reasons of his own for that... Killed in his room by an unknown force.
-Zofia: A girl who claims to be a descendant of Tar-Baphon (and is not especially happy about it). Missing her left leg below the knee.
Leads for Power:
Sevia's Paladin Code
* Help those in need.
* Punish those who harm or threaten innocents.
* Destroy or bring to rest undead.
* Do not kill without good cause. (ie Tenets of Killing)
The Text of the Raven Queen
In life she is the Raven Queen. In death she is the Keeper of Souls.
As the Goddess of Death, the Raven Queen is (or was) the ultimate arbiter of life and death. Though, despite her dreaded reputation, she is loath to tread on the sanctity of life, which she believes is a sacred gift of her sister Sarenrae's. Both work side by side to ensure the cycle of life and death - one watching each aspect. Taking life is something which she views as sad and regrettable, those who follow her teachings take great care with who are acceptable or not to kill, for Sevia views wanton waste of life most capriciously. Many also forget that Sevia is also the Goddess of Fate, and as such, knows at the moment of birth the destiny of all mortals, and the circumstances of their eventual death. Though, in the Age of Lost Omens, fate is not as certain as it used to be.
Nevertheless, every mortal will eventually die, and their soul will depart their body for the sanctuary that is Avalon, the gates of the afterlife. It is here, that every soul waits to be judged, wherein the Goddess of Death ultimately determines (or determined in her time) the destination of each soul. She weighs the actions of the mortal during their life, and typically sends them to the plane of afterlife most befitting their alignment - it should be noted, that the disposition of the soul matters little at the time of death, and that if a mortal commits great evil, they should not expect entry to a good aligned afterlife without serious acts of good, even if they are good aligned upon death. She is also inclined to send souls to any deity that has claimed that person through their worship or promise of their soul - despite her distaste of deities like Asmodeus, the Keeper of Souls does not play favorites in this regard, tending very seriously to her impartial duty; the only exception of course being Urgathoa.
Burial Rites also play a significant part of her faith, the Raven Queen knows perfectly well the tragedy of death - mortals lament the passing of the loved, and this too is a natural emotion. The Raven Queen commands her faithful to cremate themselves, but allows others to intern the death within the ground to preserve them; albeit she commands bodies be protected in some manner from the possibility of undeath if they do. Her faithful are typically tasked with handling the deceased and administering proper rites without the presence of a cleric of another faith.
For any soul not claimed by a greater power, she will give that mortal a choice - accept the plane they are bound to, or return to the material plane. These souls will be reincarnated as newborns, who may give up who they were to become someone new entirely, these souls will retain only an echo of their former selves, and are free to live life again and try for better. In essence, she allows those souls who lived terrible lives a second chance; she is (was) often fond of guiding those who truly suffered, such as slaves, to good parents who will look after newborns well. As the Goddess of Death, she is also accustomed to dealing with intercessions of those who would seek to bring back to life a soul. The Keeper of Souls may or may not allow such, depending on that person's destiny and whether raising them will play some greater part in history, she typically allows such if the circumstances show the person died prematurely, or did not finish some great quest. This is also the sole case where she allows such petitioners to consult permission from a deity other than herself, that being Sarenrae. Though it is possible to Raise the Dead without permission, it is a grave insult to the Raven Queen.
There is of course one other fate for the dead; those who made enemies of the Keeper of Souls in their life, or greatly displeased her. Behind the Gates of Avalon lay the Boneyard, a place where the souls of the truly damned are buried and never allowed to reach the afterlife. These are the people who defied the Raven Queen; this graveyard is the typical resting place of nercomancers - people who defy the sanctity of life.
Ever since the ascension of Urgathoa and the spawn of undeath, nothing has drawn the absolute hate of Sevia more. Viewing undeath as an abomination desecrating the sanctity of life, the Raven Queen forbids her followers from ever practicing the art, and to seek to destroy or put to rest such creatures when possible. As the Goddess of Disease, it is known that some mortals pray to her in times of sickness to placate her - The Raven Queen frowns upon such practices and typically snuffs out nearby light sources when mortals do this to show her displeasure and discourage the practice.
The Act of Killing:
Here the Raven Queen lays out when and why it is acceptable to kill among her followers.
Forbidden: Killing when it is forbidden is a minor sin though not damning in of itself, she recognizes accidents do happen however.
-Killing an innocent person who has not done wrong by you or anyone else. To do so is a waste of life, and to abuse the art of death. One should be above wanton killing. -Killing for wealth, pleasure, or personal gain. An abuse of power, even Gorum frowns on this. I have no need of selfish followers invoking my name just to further their mortal coil.
Allowable: The Raven Queen makes distinction when it is acceptable to kill, which is inclusive not exclusive; she makes great leeway and trusts followers to use their judgement.
-In service of a higher cause To kill in the defense of your country, or to make the world safe through some deed is your prerogative. Sometimes death and destruction must occur for new life and change to come to the world. If the cause is just, it may be allowable. But be wary of paving your road to hell with good intentions. -To defend one's self or others, even if the danger is not immediate. Far be it from me to prevent someone from protecting themselves against those who would seek harm. -End someone's suffering Should someone be dying or crippled, or merely seek an end to their mortal life, it is acceptable to send them to me. I will grant them peace. -Is a worshiper of Norgorber, Archaekek, or Rovagug These are distasteful and distrustful individuals. Kill them if you want, you have my blessing. They are little better than Urgathoans. -Is undead Pity them, for they are souls who were lost or corrupted by dark magic. You need not destroy them always, for some can be put to rest by consoling their angry souls, for those who cannot be put to rest peacefully, destroy them.
Mandated: The Raven Queen requests that followers make attempts to ensure the demise of these sworn enemies. Refusing to do so brooks the Goddess' disfavor. She does not expect her followers to blindly go to their deaths though if they believe they cannot succeed. It is also acceptable to defer the matter to others, such as a town's guards.
-Worshipers of Urgathoa I do not suffer my sworn enemy to live, nor her pawns. -Is a necromancer Prevent undeath by slaying those who would create them. -Is a cannibal Life is sacred. Look to Erastil and Gozreh to sustain your body. Eating sentient beings is a desecration of the dead. -Is a lich For those who have sought unlife cleanse them from this earth with rage.
It should also be noted, the Raven Queen will be far more lenient on those who attack others carelessly should they avoid killing. Attacking the innocent is much less severe than killing them.
The Raven Queen's Servitors:
Those who came first - Psychopomps came into being some time after the beginning of mortal life, when she offered the first souls of her followers the opportunity to deny existence on the many planar afterlifes and instead stay within Avalon as the agents of her will. Those who accepted were reborn as Psychopomps, the shepherds of the dead, who tend to the River of Souls, and commune with mortals in her stead, as well as fight those who interfere in the cycle of life and death. Dispassionate and stoic, they are often revered among other planar denizens for their neutrality in petty squabbles. Their loyalty is also without question, both to their creator and to their mission, though now that devotion lies with Pharasma.
The undead spirits of tormented souls who refused the Gates of Avalon. They haunt the Material Plane and the Shadow Plane, always searching for those who wronged them in life. Unlike the Psychopomps, the Raven Queen did not create them, but she saw in them potential to strike against her enemies. So she gifted her mortal followers the divine ability to bind them, and these undead only, promising these wayward souls her favor in exchange for their service to her causes and that of her mortal followers. These followers became the first Shadow Dancers; and used a particular ritual to bind their Shadow companions. Though undead, the Raven Queen tolerated their existence, knowing that they would eventually be destroyed or find peace, and reach her either way. In the mean time, stripped of their ability to create spawn, they proved exceptional at the destruction of corporeal undead and necromancers.
The Kayal - Fetchlings:
Fetchlings are as much the race of the Raven Queen as the Dwarfs are to Torag, the Elves to Calistria, or the Humans to Aroden (though now Iomedae). Compared to these other races though, the Kayal as they call themselves, are relatively new to Golarion. They trace their descendant to the dedicated mortal followers of the Raven Queen, who followed her into the Shadow Plane to crusade against undeath and the blight of Urgathoa. The Shadow Plane did not leave them unscathed, the Raven Queen or her mortal followers, and both were tainted by its negative energy, giving rise to the first Fetchlings. Most stayed within the Shadow Plane after her disappearance, cutting themselves off from the mortals of the Material Plane, others sometimes find their way back - though in no true great numbers, and given their mysterious nature, other races treat them warily. Given her absence though, she can barely continue to call herself their patron - if they even remember her at all. Perhaps the Raven Queen's return will herald a new age of glory for those Fetchlings left behind?
For the Raven Queen, the domains of Death, Rebirth, and Fate are all inexorably linked. What lives must die, and what dies is reborn as new life - even if on another plane, and all life has a destiny, that which is seen from the past and which one spends mortality treading toward. Darkness is the exception, it is more figuratively linked to this triad than literally. At its core, Darkness merely represents the absence of Light. That is not to say at least contextually Darkness can represent death, after all, it is the Sun which sustains life on Golarion. Regardless, Darkness is merely the manifestation which both the Raven Queen and mortals have given to the concept of Death.
And where her sister Sarenrae is represented by the Day and Light, the Raven Queen is represented by the Night and Dark. Two opposites of the same coin. But the Raven Queen teaches that the Darkness need not be feared, for those born to it or dedicated to it, the Night can be a safe blanket, an immutable shield from the prying eyes of those who seek to hurt you. A calming slate that can remove the burden of vision and focus the other senses, or blind ones enemies from a swift strike of the sword.
Of course, nowhere represents this aspect of the Raven Queen better than the Shadow Plane - a dark mirror of the Material Plane from which the Raven Queen was reborn, along with her most passionate followers. Tainted by raw negative energy, they developed strong supernatural powers.
For all worshipers of the Raven Queen, Darkness is a sacred thing which grants them power, safety, and serenity.
The Role of the Faithful:
To the Raven Queen, there are three kinds of worshipers; The Priesthood, the Free Spirits, and the Shadow Dancers.
A Priest's Role - Priests of the Raven Queen serve the community above all else, before the rise of Pharasma they preformed largely the same tasks. Typically their duties came in assisting with the passing of the dead, ensuring the proper rites and safe burial or cremation. They often assist births as midwifes, although at the time this responsibility was often shared with priests of Sarenrae whom bore greater domain over. They also acted as judges for those seeking to use resurrection magics, communing with the Raven Queen herself for such permission and acting as a bridge between mortals and their god. This Divine aspect is also often called upon by the other branch of her faithful, the Shadow Dancers. Their last duties often lay with prophecy, where they took prophets - especially mad ones - into their care, or often themselves gave prophecy as powerful Oracles.
Adventurers - Called Free Spirits by the faith, the role of a devotee to the Raven Queen does not often appeal to most people. Certainly all mortals venerate the Goddess of Death to some degree, given that she is the only god they are ever likely to meet; yet there are some who place her above the others of the pantheon. Those who seek the aid of the Shadows in their adventures, some who place great stock in destiny and wish to understand their fates - especially when dealing with the mysteries of prophecy, yet others simply wishing that she might take pity on them if their ventures lead to an untimely demise. Of course, her faithful take care to remind others that worshiping the Goddess of Death does not bestow a license to kill.
Shadow Dancers - Ancient warriors endowed by the Raven Queen with supernatural powers, these assassins stood as her divine agents on Golarion with one goal above all others; the eradication of unlife. In many ways, they are mirrors to the Red Mantis Assassins, yet also opposites. The Raven Queen makes no secret her disdain for Archaekek's followers and their methods, always sure to remind her followers to adhere to a higher cause than money or the simple thrill of a kill. Shadow Dancers were organized into a loose hierarchy:
-Novices: New devotees not yet judged to be worth training or who have demonstrated their loyalty to the order.
-Initiates: Those who have taken an oath of loyalty and train under their masters in the arts of fighting, and the knowledge of their enemy. It can take years before an initiate is deemed skilled enough to be called a Shadow Dancer.
-Disciples: True masters of shadow, these full fledged assassins train initiates, act as spies, kill enemies of the order, and cleanse areas of undead. To be called a Disciple, one must have at least one level of the Shadow Dancer PrC. When they can manage to summon a Shadow, they are known as a full fledged Shadow Warrior. Among the disciples there are varying degrees of rank. High Priests of the Raven Queen may also ask them to carry out tasks in lieu of the Grandmaster.
-The Grandmaster: Shadowy figures of frightening skill, who have demonstrated both stunning adeptness with a blade, a tenacious ability to survive, and a mind sharp enough to defeat a foe before he even knows it. The Grandmaster's function is to drive its Disciples towards singular goals, keep the order in working condition, and ensure the will of the Raven Queen is being carried out.
Relations with Other Gods:
Those counted among friends of the Raven Queen
Sheyln - Flighty, vibrant, full of life and love for the world, Sheyln is often seen as a curious companion for such a dour, bleak looking deity such as herself. Yet the Raven Queen finds much to look forward to in a deity who seeks to brighten the lives of those around her - Idealism personified that the Keeper of Souls appreciates in a world often seen as gone mad, or in the depressing responsibility of caring for the domain of Death. Shelyn offers a shoulder to lean the head on, and for one so isolated from everything, that is no small gesture. In particular, she finds great interest in the work of Shelynites - followers of Shelyn are often asked to help design temples to the Raven Queen, so as to help make them more welcoming and hospitable.
Gorum - Truly no friendship could ever be more complex or at odds. It is often said that where Gorum fights, the Raven Queen looms nearby to collect the fallen. Some think the Raven Queen, as the Goddess of Death, reveals in his destruction - but to the religious who understand her distaste for wasteful death, their relationship becomes even more bizarre. In truth, the Raven Queen understands that as destructive as Gorum is, he desires death no more than she does, merely a good fight. That doesn't mean they don't butt heads - Gorum often calls her followers cowardly for striking from the Shadows and never fighting head on, the Raven Queen calls his brutes who swing a sword and call it skill. They agree to disagree. The more conspiratorial minded speculate that they have been or perhaps are lovers, some claiming she has been the only one to know what his true face looks like underneath the foreboding helmet, yet both refuse to speak on the matter. Whether or not they are, it is difficult for any to claim such kinship with him.
Irori - A difficult God to live up to, Irori stresses discipline, self balance, and bodily perfection. All aspects The Raven Queen finds admirable. The two gods have often spent untold time simply sitting still and feeling the world around them without a single word uttered, neither of them needs to. They have often enjoyed sparring matches as well. Despite how at odds she has been with the other ascended, the Raven Queen feels true respect for the one mortal who found immortality through nothing but his own inner strength, and encourages her own followers to look to his example.
Those named enemies of the Raven Queen
Urgathoa - The Raven Queen's hatred of Urgathoa is well understood by mortal kind, not only has she made it abundantly clear, there is little to explain. Urgathoa represents everything wrong with life, that is -unlife- she desecrates the sanctity of souls by creating twisted caricatures that enthrall the innocent, and spreads diseases where ever possible to ensure mortals suffer slow, painful demises. Tales tell that Urgathoa was the first mortal to ascend to godhood when she escaped the Boneyard and returned to the material plane, bringing into existence pestilence and undeath. The Raven Queen sometimes also speaks of a period of time shrouded in mystery in which her quest to slay Urgathoa led her to a twisted, hateful existence - what that means exactly she refuses to elaborate on.
Norgorber - God of Murder, the Raven Queen has little to say about him. She knew him little, but of all the ascended she liked his the least, and something which none speak of eventually brought them to blows. Seeing the propagation of senseless death at his hands, she names him among her most hated opponents.
Sarenrae - At one time a foe, another time a friend, now unknown. Their relationship has always been haphazard. Initially both thought of their ideals as inseparable, but following the fight with Rovagug, the Keeper of Souls was able to convince Sarenrae that in order for new life to flourish, all life had to be finite. Their agreement is perhaps the moment when Sarenrae took on the domain of Redemption, and both agreed to ensure the cycle of life, acting as the protectors of mortals.
Yet, for their professional partnership, both Goddesses were exact opposites, Sarenrae a paragon of kindness, honesty, friendship, and above all a champion of light. Meanwhile the Raven Queen is moody, often duplicitous, reclusive, and a champion of dark. They mostly tolerate each other by spending only a minimal amount of time together, acting as if two children sometimes in their sibling rivalry.
For some reason, the Raven Queen refuses to speak much on their current relationship.
Pharasma - Before her fall, Pharasma was a herald of the Raven Queen. Seemingly even more stoic and withdrawn, yet no less dedicated, Pharasma made an excellent right hand with which the Raven Queen could trust vital tasks to and rely upon her to remain above the influential passions of others. Both knowing the other well enough that they need often not speak to each other to convey their intentions and disposition. That said, they have not always seen eye to eye with each other, and perhaps given her fall, Pharasma's subtle criticisms of the Raven Queen's path are validated.