- This article is about the antagonist. For the checkpoint in Chapter Six, see The Raven King (Scene).
|The Raven King|
|Status:|| Deceased (Human Form)
Alive (Raven Form)
|First appearance:||The Legend of the Sword|
|Last appearance:||The End|
|“||One death gives reason for a second. The second lends glory to a third. And I curse the Raven Lord who lit the torch for terror in these lands.||”|
– Narrator of The Animation Series
The Raven King, or Raven Lord, is a major character and the primary antagonist featured in Heavenly Sword.
The story of the Raven King begins in The Legend of the Sword as part of the game's Animation Series. According to in-game lore, the Raven King commanded a vast army, and with it he sought to conquer the world. Leading his soldiers into battle, the Raven King unleashed wave after wave of terror and destruction on the people of the various lands he sought to bring under his rule. Entire villages were decimated, with the lands around them being destroyed to the point of complete lack of arability. Humanity itself was at its lowest point in recorded history, with entire populations described as "disappearing like smoke." Worse still, it seemed that no one alive in the world could stop the Raven King on his path of total domination.
Appearance of the Heavenly Warrior
However, not all hope was lost, it seemed. Out of the heavens above came a warrior of immense strength and virtue, bathed in an otherworldly glow. This warrior would lead mankind in one final battle against the Raven King, with the fate of the entire world at stake. With the warrior came the appearance of a weapon unrivaled in its lethality. While the Raven King was able to easily defeat those of the normal human populations of the various territories he'd earned via conquest, he was no match for the warrior, quickly being felled in battle by his sword. When the smoke cleared, total annihilation having been avoided, all that was left of the warrior was his sword. As for the Raven King, however, he seemed to have been vanquished for good; a great blight on the world had finally been purged.
The Rise of Bohan
However, there had been whispers during that terrible time that the Raven King was not in fact a mere mortal, for no man could inflict the manner of violence and despair he'd wrought during his life; that, in fact, he was demon spawn, risen from the depths of hell and simply occupying a human vessel. This may have been proven true, for in the years following the death of a king in a distant land, a raven black as pitch with a crown eerily similar to that of the Raven Lord's was seen accompanying that king's son, now the monarch himself. As the Raven King was rumored to be a god or demon-like figure in the past, this raven may very well be the entity itself, with the king merely being his newest vessel.
Events of Heavenly Sword
The Raven King makes his first physical appearance in Heavenly Sword during the final cutscene of the Prologue, when he is seen taking off from Bohan's shoulders to retrieve the Heavenly Sword itself. He also appears, somewhat eerily, in the checkpoint The Heavenly Sword in Chapter One, where is shown roosting on top of a gate leading to a clearing, before flying off once more. He subsequently appears in every following chapter with the exception of Four, with him actually being the final boss fought in the game in Chapter Six. In this chapter, as Nariko returns from Purgatory as a living goddess in order to slay his soldiers and save her clan, Bohan pleads with the Raven King to imbue him with his powers so he can defeat her, to which the Raven Lord begrudgingly agrees. However, it is to no avail, as Nariko proves to be victorious in a battle reminiscent of the one between the Raven King and the Heavenly Warrior, centuries earlier. With this, the Raven King is slain once more, this time, it appears, for good.
As depicted in Heavenly Sword, the Raven King is closest thing to a living incarnation of pure evil. In his life as a man, he was capable of unspeakable acts of cruelty, from the destruction of entire settlements to the total destruction of entire communities and clans of people. However, he also appears to be exceptionally shrewd in terms of manipulation and tactics, as he is shown in The Legend of the Sword to be a commander of a large army of soldiers; this indicates an understanding of the intricacies of social groupings, as he, like Bohan in Heavenly Sword, was able to bring people of differing cultures and values under his banner into one large, effective fighting force. He was virtually unmatched in terms of generalship, facing little to no resistance from opposing forces on the battlefield. It can certainly be argued that had not the Heavenly Warrior appeared when he did, the Raven King may have indeed conquered the world. Even after his defeat at the hands of the Warrior, the Raven Lord bided his time, essentially manipulating Bohan into becoming his new vessel during his reign in an attempt to regain the control and dominance he once held during his life. However, attempts to obtain the Sword in order to prevent its use against him proved to be his own undoing; had not the Raven King, via Bohan, so ruthlessly and relentlessly attacked Nariko's clan in an effort to obtain the Sword, it can be argued that Nariko would have never felt the need to sacrifice herself by using it in order to save her clan. This in turn would have never led to her being reborn as a goddess and therefore defeating the Raven King, this time for certain.
In life, the Raven King appears to be a man, albeit one of immense stature, with the ability to command large armies of men to go forth and wreak havoc and terror on anyone he sees fit to receive this terrible punishment. Due to his skill as a commander and tactician being unrivaled during his peak, the Raven King faced virtually no resistance, leaving him with little need to hone his skills in combat. As a result, when faced with the Heavenly Warrior and his namesake Sword, the Raven King was beaten soundly, having his own weapon cleaved in two by the power of the Sword before quickly being slain himself. In his demonic form, the Raven Lord appears to be much more cunning and manipulative, biding his time until the moment to claim the Sword and reclaim his aforementioned status presents itself. It appears that his skill in battle has improved greatly, if one can use the fight between him and Nariko in her goddess form as an example; however, it may also be that his skill is simply that of an enhancement to Bohan's own prowess in combat, as Bohan himself has trained from a young age. Easily the most difficult foe in the game, the fight between the Raven Lord and Nariko takes up a total of three checkpoints, more than any other Boss Battle featured in the game. However, even with this newfound skill, the Raven King is still no match for the might of the Heavenly Sword, as he once again is defeated.
The Raven King appears in every chapter of Heavenly Sword with the exception of Four, as well the Heavenly Sword movie and two scenes in the Animation Series: The Legend of the Sword and The Rise of Evil.
- The Raven King is the only character in the video game to not be voiced by a voice actor, nor mimicked via live motion capturing such as Nariko or Bohan.
- The Raven King might be a reference to the concept of Yatagarasu (ヤタガラス, "three-legged crow") in Japanese and East Asian folklore akin to the other enemies Nariko fights in the game.
- The appearance of Yatagarasu is typically interpreted as divine intervention, with the three-legged crow typically being depicted as a deity of guidance for a monarch or leader. This ties in well with the Raven King's relationship with King Bohan during the game's storyline.
|“||A battle between Heaven and Hell, here on Earth, Nariko...have you stopped to think which side you are really on?||”|
– The beginning of The Raven King