Champions of Letherna
The Court of the Raven Queen
The Raven Queen’s domain of Letherna is a glittering palace of obsidian and silver, located at the very center of the Shadowfell. Letherna is the place to which all of the spirits of the dead come before ultimately proceeding on to their final fate. Within its confines, they regain some semblance of form, and they pass their days in the court of the Raven Queen until they receive their final judgement. Letherna and its environs are in a constant state of winter, though the spirits who dwell there feel no discomfort because of the fact; to them, it may as well be midsummer.
The nature of Letherna has been known to change, just as the Raven Queen seems to. At times, it is a place of revelry, and its spiritual inhabitants dance and feast. Other times, it is a daunting citadel, and the spirits of the dead wage war against each other, unable to die no matter how grievous their wounds. The court might go on a hunt, pursuing some creature of the Shadowfell — or the court might become the hunted, chased down by the Raven Queen and her servants.
A particular spirit may stay at the Raven Court for a few days, or for a few centuries. The spirits swiftly lose track of how long they’ve spent there; time passes strangely in Letherna. A hero a thousand years dead might be encountered there, swearing he had just recently arrived, while another, dead for only a day or two, might feel a century had passed. In this way, Letherna is very similar to the courts of the fey. The Court might therefore be a very good place to obtain information about a wealth of topics — provided an adventurer could reach it without dying, or could return from the dead afterwards.
The Raven Queen is a psychopomp, empowered to both escort the newly dead to Letherna and to sit in judgement of them. She does not always do so, however, and when she does, it’s as likely to be for a common peasant as for a great hero. On the other hand, she frequently gives up the spirits of great heroes and terrible villains to the agents of other gods, and these spirits then go on to dwell in their gods’ dominions.
On occasion, the Raven Queen will allow a spirit to return to mortal life even without a bargain (or the use of such intercession rituals as Raise Dead). This occurs when she determines that the creature in question has a part to play in fate that is as yet unfulfilled. Those who return in such a way are often marked by the experience, possessing a quirk of appearance or just an “aura” that makes ordinary mortals uneasy in their presence. A boon of this nature is never extended twice.