If you ever met a Ravir, you’d want to reach out and give him or her a hug. Those walking, talking dogs could be that cuddly, especially the shaggy ones. They had as many looks as there are dogs in a kennel. Some were short-haired, some had enough fur to romp in the snow and not feel the cold, not that the cold bothered them much. Some looked like Boxers, with turned up pug noses and others had the longer snout of a Shephard. Some were lean as a Greyhound, others lumbered and slobbered like Newfoundlands.
Never mistaken for warriors, these gentle folk lived in burrows close to the great Stones at Jahar. They were the worker bees who kept the Stones well-oiled, at Leyrantha and other places in the wilderness that saw little use. Ravers didn’t have a lick of sorcery, not a drop in the whole pack. Not one of them could so much as light a candle using the Spires, but Harnor didn’t withhold his gift out of pettiness, as he thought Aerdran had done with the Harnae. He’d have given them a pinch or two, but Deridean had said not to. The Councilor didn’t want the Ravirs distracted from their noble work of tending the Stones.
As weak as they were in sorcery (a polite of saying non-existent), they were that strong in earthsong. Every Ravir could channel, every single one of them, which was unheard of, and they were very good at it. To put this in perspective, less than a third of the Fair Folk could channel. Other races sent promising candidates to the Ravirs for training before taking the Test, that’s how easy channeling came to them. Imagine what praying was like, with the Earth Mother inspiring each and every one of them!
For the first millenia after the Congress, while the world waited for Andis to pass the Test of the Stones, Leyrantha was entrusted to the Ravirs. Shandilar the Firstborn, who had the face of a Great Dane, and his daughter Shalandra, an upright chocolate Labrador, took on most of the responsibility themselves, leaving the other Ravirs to fetch sticks. I’m just kidding, the Ravirs looked like dogs, but were as smart and sensitive as the other races and did not play fetch, roll over, or sit on command, but they did wag their tails when happy.
The Ravirs played host and hostess to the crowds that would gather at Leyrantha to watch hopeful channelers face the Test of the Stones, and the more promise a candidate had, the bigger the crowd. The largest crowd on record (well, it would have been if they kept records on that sort of thing) was the one for Andis’s Test. News of what she’d done in Najahar’s Stones had spread like wildfire and people from every race came to watch, hopeful that centuries of waiting were over.
None were happier about Andis’s success than the Ravirs. Serving the Earth Mother was their greatest joy and they had been as eager as anyone to learn who would be the eyes of the world. There wasn’t a jealous bone in them, it just wasn’t in their nature, and after the Test, Andis made Jahar her home, lived among the Ravirs, and called Shalandra her BFF.
When the Dark Lord broke free, Andis did her best to stuff the genie back in the bottle, but the Traitor laid her low. Then the Earth Mother came to the Stones and battled One-Eye, but he was too much for her. The Earth Mother, the Ravirs and Andis (down but not out), retreated to lick their wounds. Ravirs may have looked like dogs, but missed out on the best part of being canine. If they couldn’t lick their balls, they could at least lick their wounds. If not for Shandilar, the Ravirs might not have escaped Jahar. The Firstborn sacrificed himself to buy his people time.
After the BUN, the Ravirs were dead to the world, like the Dolforro. As far as anyone knew, none had survived, but the Ravirs were very much alive and kicking in Ardilun, their very own fold in the Girdle. Eventually, word of Ardilun leaked, Kandol had something to do with that, but of the Ravirs, nary a whisper.
Eventually, Kandol found a way to Ardilun and discovered the Ravirs and Andis were alive and serving the Earth Mother. Withered Crone when she arrived, time and Ardilun’s earthsong had made her the Maiden again. Kandol brought Shalandra and her son, Shandrakal, up to speed on current events in the world and the Ravirs were shocked to learn that a thousand years had gone by on Sangrar. Only a hundred had passed for them.
Kandol only made it to Ardilun that one time. Not long after he returned, the world fell apart and when it was put back together, Ardilun was beyond his reach. He could open a portal for others to use though and, after striking his deal with Thar and Raena, sent the heirs of the Pearl Throne to Ardilun as part of their training. Every heir until Tormyn Blackheart learned from Andis and the Ravirs, but when Tormyn arrived, Kandol sensed shadow in him and sent him packing rather than open the way to Ardilun. Kandol had let evil into Ardilun once (that’s a story unto itself) and had sworn to the Flame to never make that mistake again.
That might have been the end of Ravirs in The Tale, had Hali not found Shavrakar (no relation to the Firstborn, all Ravir names were similar sounding) sleeping in a burrow thousands of years later. How he came to be there, still alive after all those years, was a mystery never fully solved, but you can bet it wasn’t an accident. It’s always a good bet to blame it on the Balance and in this case, I have no doubt. The role the mute Ravir played in Hali’s quest pretty much clinches it.