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The Midnight Emperors

Ravens. I know that traditionally they are a seen as a grim bird of ill omen and that many sheep farmers hate them, but I feel very drawn to ravens. I've always known the raven as a bird of wild places, companion to wolves, master of the granite cliffs and high mountains, intelligent, fierce, implacable beings.

Most of the corvids are easy to see; flocks of rooks loll and chatter in our fields, jackdaws play at the tops of church and castle towers, crows congregate on our roofs and garden fences cawing insults at passing cats and humans; but ravens know us and watch us and disdain to interact with us. Trying to watch ravens is like a game of cat and mouse, they never let you get close, but are curious beings and will not hesitate to stalk you from the air.

One winter, just a couple of years ago, I was walking a footpath that ran right through the middle of a ploughed field. It was a bleak day and the field was a high and lonely one, far above the farm huddled below in the valley.…

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