The Raven Queen was ancient, perhaps as old as the Flood of Noah or even older. She had possessed many names and many guises over the long millennia depending on which people she chose to bless or curse, their languages, traditions, and the like. She had her favorite identities so when apart from the places of men, she would adopt one that pleased her.
She was also very moody. She could create, deceive, protect whole nations, or murder Kings. It was just a matter of which side of the celestial and metaphorical bed she woke up on in any given age.
“What shall we do today, Kutkh?”
“Call me Ishmael,” the archetype perched upon her shoulder replied.
“You jest certainly. Quoting a work of man again? Melville won’t write that line for centuries.”
“I just like the name and you’re a fine one to talk given your current appearance.”
“I consider the look classic, Ishmael.”
“You would.” Ishmael rolled his eyes and then shook his head, dismayed at her fickle nature and refusing to recognize that it was also his own.
“The question remains, Ishmael. The world is before us. How shall we engage it?”
“I don’t know, but I’m cold. Why do you have to keep it so cold around here? For that matter, why are we here at all? You couldn’t manifest in some tropical clime? Why all the snow and ice?”
“The frozen mountains and starkness of gray skies appeals to me, Ishmael.”
“Well not to me. I’m going to turn up the heat.” With that, the obsidian omnivore took wing and soared into the slate-colored sky.
“Where are you going, Ishmael?” The Queen didn’t have to raise her voice. Her relationship with the raven was perfect and they could hear each other no matter where each was located in Creation.
“You’ll see. Just make sure you’re securely seated.”
Scant minutes later, she discovered the answer as the entire landscape shook like a toy in the hand of an angry child.
“So, you’ve managed to make it even darker,” she addressed Ishmael as he returned to her side. “Look at all this soot. Where ever will I find a way to launder my gown? It’s one of my favorites.”
“The people over there are going to wonder how to launder the Earth, but getting the volcano to blow its top also warmed the joint up.”
“The people?” She cast her gaze eastward. “Oh, yes. They call themselves Tlingit and I believe you’ve created a new god for them.”
“Hey, why don’t we pay them a visit? It’s been a while since I’ve been worshiped. I like to see them all terrified and bowing down.”
The Raven Queen’s ample chest heaved a heavy sigh. “Very well, I suppose. It beats sitting here amid the falling ash. Perhaps we can induce them to build a Temple so I could have a bit of shelter.”
I wrote this for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #194. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for creating a story or poem and there’s no word count limit.
I had trouble deciding on what sort of black bird to use, but ultimately settled on the raven, although generic “ravens” aren’t any different from crows apart from size.
When looking up The Common Raven, I discovered they have a rich folklore and mythology attached to them and are mentioned as far back as Noah in the Bible and Cain and Abel in the Koran.
I decided to allude to all of those tales and legends, having both the Queen and the archetypal Raven periodically shift names and roles depending on their mood and whatever history and culture called for.
Today, we visited 800 CE (or AD if you prefer). That’s when modern-day Mount Churchill erupted covering the Yukon with tons of ash which can still be seen today along the Klondike Highway. That event has also long been part of the oral tradition of the First Nations peoples of that area (although I made up the part about any of them worshiping ravens).
I chose the Yukon because the raven is the Yukon Territorial Bird.
To read other stories based on the prompt, visit Blenza.com.