A shadow hangs over the peaks of Kelba. Could this be the Black Crow? Almost... the new threat seems far more sinister and is known as Steel Beak, the bird of misfortune. A figure who loves to pick on poor travelers, and only ever leaves a few traumatized survivors behind. But who is this dreaded… Steel Beak?

Some say they have already seen two feathered silhouettes chasing and jousting each other through the clouds. Could this be the Black Crow struggling with this formidable new enemy called… the Steel Beak?
Is he a jealous villain? A merciless and amoral avenger? An… evil twin? Many rumors have begun spreading since the appearance of Steel Beak in the Kelba region. However, it is difficult to find out the truth, especially since knowing that approaching this individual could cost you your life.
I, Handerson Crowper, was able to get an exclusive interview with Steel Beak! That voice of his echoing out from his steel helmet, that bulging blue skin, covered in muscles… oh Twelve Gods above, that arrogant and domineering attitude still haunts my mind!

Here it is Twelvians, the full uncensored transcript of the meeting:

Handerson Crowper: Hello, thank you for welcoming me to the top of this rocky plateau and of...

Steel Beak: Hold onto your feathers! I don't want to beat around the bush, but before we start the interview... did you bring what I asked of you?
HC: Uh... Yes, of course [It’s at this point I held out my purse full of Kamas]. So I wanted to...

SB: Wait! Let me count... [2 stressful minutes, with only the sound of Kamas being counted heard, passed by]. Ok, everything looks good, what did you want to know?
HC: Well… I wanted to ask: why?

SB: Why? Why what? Why I agreed to talk to you? You have the answer to that: Kamas! Why are you still alive? …Well, Kamas? I am a man of honor, after all.
HC: [forced laugh, I assure you.] Hehehe... No, not that but thank you for... What I was actually wondering, and I think that all our readers will wonder too, is, uh… why are you attacking the people of Kelba, and especially, the Black Crow?

SB: Hmpf! It is simple, they are all cheats, liars and traitors! The one you call the Black Crow is an imposter. I am the true Black Crow. I was to receive this legacy, and this clown stole it from me. All these blind merchants do not understand, they do not know how to make the difference between the REAL Black Crow and this Crobak-with-attitude...
HC: Receive a legacy? Are you saying that there is… was more than one Black Crow, or several men behind the mask?

SB: Yes, of course. It is an honor to become the Black Crow after another has fallen. There can be only one… “Master Crow” and this Master chose a successor. I was that successor: a lifetime of training and learning from the Master himself but then… everything changed.
Imagine this: I was on my initiation trip to earn my feathers, and when I returned... BAM! No Black Crow to be found, yet his shadow still loomed over Kelba... But his flying dance is not the same, he has changed. He is no longer the REAL Black Crow.
Therefore I investigated, questioned and harassed people around me and it was the low-life thugs that finally spat it out! Finally, I found out that Master Crow had long since disappeared for almost 10 years, and we both know that means he’s likely to be dead. No villain had contact with Black Crow during that time so I know that it is I, and only I, who knows that Master Crow and the REAL Black Crow are indeed the same person.
Everything became clear to me: behind the mask of the Black Crow is now hiding an imposter. I must avenge my Master and restore the true name of the Black Crow, restoring both glory and sinister notoriety.
So I decide to put into practice what I have learned from the Master. I’ve got myself a mount, improve my weapon skills and my technique, I have forged this steel armor and I have created a new name.
I am "Steel Beak."
Only when my mentor, the man I've always considered as my true father, is avenged, then I will become the REAL Black Crow, and the world will tremble when watching his shadow emerge, all the way from Emelka to the Sidimote Moors, and even from the Thicket of Yurbut to the Turfo Canyon! Now go, I'm angry.
HC: But I... I have more…

SB: Disappear!!! [Steel Beak stood up and flew away on his newly-acquired mount.] If you're still here in 5 minutes, I will catch you and throw you down from the highest peak of Kelba!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how to conduct a professional interview!
You now know everything. Or at least, everything that Steel Beak was kindly willing to tell me. It is now up to you, dear readers, to believe the words of this bloodthirsty but somewhat honorable criminal.
It is apparent that many questions are still unanswered: who really is Steel Beak? Who was the man we knew once as the Black Crow 10 years ago, and is called Master by Steel Beak? And whose face is the Black Crow's mask hiding today?
Maybe only the reckless warriors of the World of Twelve will find out by venturing into his territory, “the Shadow of Death" as called by the residents of Kelba...

Handerson Crowper

Category: Background