Ravenna Harlaw was born to Harmund Harlaw, Lord of Ten Towers, and his wife, Ravella Drumm, in the year 358 AC, the fifth child of their brood of seven, and the only surviving female member of their line, with two sisters - one elder, one younger - dying in infancy.
Austere in her appearance, Ravenna is recognized by the severity found within her features. Inky locks fall from crown to hip in wild curls that surround a long face squared off by an angular jaw, wherein full lips are wont to settle into a stoic line rather than a smile, and dark eyes - a strange mix of deep grey surrounded by indigo - peer down the length of a sharp nose from beneath a bevy of thick lashes.
Her attire generally consists of simple leathers worn low upon hips, fitting over curves like a second layering of skin might, coupled with a hauberk of finely linked mail. Steel stays provide support while iron decorates the leather bodice laced over a feminine form to accentuate the curves of breasts and the narrowness of a slender waist. Open robes of violet trimmed in crimson are worn over, adorned by silver clasps bearing the scene of a kraken overtaking a ship. A single piece of jewelry is worn - a chain of gold that once belonged to Ser Harras the Knight, passed down to him from his Serrett mother, its medallion of alternating peacocks and scythes surrounding the black pearl at its center.
In her youth, Ravenna Harlaw was described as a fierce and often unpredictable creature, inheriting her mother’s stony coolness and Harmund’s harsh sense of diplomacy. As the sole surviving daughter in a household full of boys, she was raised amongst her brothers as if she, too, were one of them - training alongside them, taking to the seas with her father and his men, learning what it meant to be a proper reaver born into the House of Harlaw.
But while Ravenna may have come into the world on the sixth day of the ninth moon of the year 358 AC, a squalling babe covered in the same blood that coated her mother’s thighs, her recollection of the moment that she was truly born takes into account an entirely different set of events occurring on another date entirely - more than a decade later. It was not amniotic fluid that she coughed up out of her lungs in a desperate attempt to draw breath then, but sea water.
The Sea Song was lured off course on its run up the northern shore in early 372 with the young Harlaw in tow as they rounded Cape Kraken during a sudden tempest that came upon them without notice. Darkness prevailed against skies that had once been clear and blue as clouds thickened and blotted out the sun. Angry waves grew so large that the vessel was dwarfed, tossing the ship as if it were little more than a child’s toy, while rough winds ripped sails that men struggled to get down and tie off as they slid about on a deck awash in salt and rain.
There was no mercy in that wind, no grace to be found within the waves - only a tempest hell-bent on tearing the ship and its crew apart, that they might all come to an eventual rest several leagues down with the fishes. The air was still thick with a briny mist come morning, the deck awash with salt, foam, and strands of seaweed carried up from the depths, but the skies had cleared and the waters of the Sunset Sea were placid.
Not a single man had been lost during the squall. The only daughter of Harmund Harlaw, however, was nowhere to be found.
Days later, with the Sea Song safely back into harbor at Ten Towers, a body washed up on the shores of Great Wyk. Tangled in sailcloth bearing the scythe of Harlaw and burned by wind, salt, and sun alike, the girl’s flesh was abraded by spherical marks that wound their way around her body, decreasing in size from calf to collarbone, when she was discovered by the old crone wandering the shore collecting seaweed for her stores.
Hlora the Hag was often sought out by the locals for preventive measures, cures, and treatments for the islanders’ various afflictions. She was much more than just a medicine woman, however, and was also known for her abilities in what many considered the darker arts - telling a person’s fortune if they could cover the expense, because such things always come at a cost.
Harmund Harlaw was willing to pay any price when word was received that his daughter was alive - if barely.
The sea witch and her bastard, Hrothgar the Mute, accompanied Ravenna back to Ten Towers, where Hlora continued to treat the girl who was dehydrated and delirious. Even the best salves and poultices, however, could not heal the damage that had been done - Ravenna would bear the strange circular scars forever. And if feverish ramblings were to be believed, the marks on her flesh were the result of being dragged to the deep by a kraken’s feeding tentacle - only to be released from its clutches by the Drowned God himself.
Such delusions, however, gained no more rhyme or reason once Ravenna gained consciousness. She swore - may the Storm God strike her down should she have been telling it false - that the days she had been missing were spent beneath the waves in the Drowned God’s own halls alongside merlings and the mighty he had chosen to be his oarsmen, so that she might know His voice once He returned her to shore. Once resurrected, she, in turn, would live her life devoted to doing His bidding.
He kept his promises - delivering unto her a Teacher, a Shield, and an Awakening upon her resurrection.
In some effort to make light of the situation, Harmund joked that only Ravenna could have managed to escape the clutches of a sea beast as such - she had always had a way with animals, after all. Ravella Harlaw, her mother, had once asked her daughter of eleven years, after she was found playing with sea serpents in a cove on the island intent on making pets out of the venomous creatures, if she would dare to try to bring sharks to bear next. Her daughter shook her head at the ridiculous question, but was followed home from the shore the following day by a large osprey.
The Lord of Ten Towers was a firm believer in the Old Ways, however, and when his jokes seemed to fall on deaf ears, he relented to the stoic youth he faced. The crone and her son remained on the island of Harlaw thereafter at Ravenna’s request, and her father never once questioned the old hag’s teachings or the interest his daughter took in her potions and her prophecy.
The years that followed passed without consequence, until old age finally claimed the life of Hlora. Aged two and twenty, Ravenna remains the sole witch of the Sunset Sea, reviled by some for her practices, but revered by so many others, carrying on the same traditions of the woman who went before her, all the while calling her work the divine will of the Drowned God, whose call she heeds whenever she hears His whispers upon the waves.
Recent Events Edit
- 358 AC - Ravenna Harlaw is born to Lord Harmund Harlaw and his wife, Ravella Drumm, the fifth child of seven.
- 362 AC - Sylas and Senelle Harlaw are born to House Harlaw of Ten Towers.
- 362 AC - The Lady Ravella passes away during the birth of her seventh child. Senelle Harlaw, the third daughter of Harlaw, follows her mother to the grave in the days to come.
- 369 AC - Andrik Harlaw, her eldest brother, is executed for the murder of his rival, Urron Greyjoy.
- 370 AC - Ravenna is betrothed to Urrigon Greyjoy, the third son of Roryn “Ironshod” Greyjoy.
- 372 AC - Ravenna is washed overboard from the deck of the Sea Song during a tempest.
- 380 AC - Lord Harmund Harlaw dies at sea.
- Hrothgar Pyke - A simple man; Ravenna’s sword and shield.
- Gift - Strong
- Negative - Mute
- Maia - A thrall in service to Ravenna, who plays the part of servant and lover on occasion.