The Raven Express was a package-delivery business that operated within the city of Ravens Bluff during the 1360s DR. They used trained ravens to carry and deliver small, wax-sealed, scrollcase parcels to various cities throughout northern Faerûn.
Located on Raphiel Way, within the Altarside neighborhood in the city's Temple District, in the merchant district, Raven Express was located within an unassuming, two-story building that had once served as a manor house.
The first floor contained the main shop, where customers received a friendly greeting from the owner, Legov Nairb, and picked up and dropped off their packages. The second floor held Legov's living quarters, while the ravens lived in bird coops on the roof when they were not on deliveries.
The ravens of Raven Express would carry letters or small items weighing no more than 4 ounces (113 grams). Promising confidentiality, Legov would put a package in a miniature scroll-tube and sealed it with wax to waterproof it, then tied it to the leg of a raven trained to fly to the intended destination, much like a carrier pigeon. Once released, the raven would fly to the correct destination, and it rarely went astray.
The costs and estimated-times-of-delivery for the cities to which the ravens had been trained to fly were:
- Tantras: 7 gp; half-day
- Calaunt & Procampur: 10 gp; one day
- Tsurlagol: 15 gp; 2 days
- Mulmaster: 25 gp; 4 days
- Hillsfar: 30 gp; 5 days
- Saerloon: 35 gp; 7 days
- Phlan: 40 gp; 8 days
- Westgate: 50 gp; 10 days
Each of these cities had a similar Raven Express office operated by an agent of Legov. Whichever the city, upon delivery, the agent dispatched a runner to deliver the message or package to the recipient.
Raven Express was often used by Ravenians to get urgent messages to other cities, especially by merchants to keep in touch with their agents. It was exploited by thieves, fences, and smugglers to get stolen items out of the city quickly, namely small, valuable, and very recognizable treasures like jewelry. Legov's specialty was fencing unique jewelry to other cities where they could be sold without being recognized. The Ravens Express agent would send back the sale price to Lego, who took a 20% commission and sent the rest to the client thief.
Furthermore, despite his assurances of confidentiality, Legov read the messages he was asked to send and would sell any useful information gleaned or use it to blackmail customers. Sometimes, he even altered the messages for well-paying competitors of the customer.
The retired thief Legov Nairb founded Raven Express to combine his love of birds and the power of his ring of avian control. His former partner-in-crime Thorn persuaded him to smuggle goods as well. Expanding into other cities, the branch officers were managed by thief acquaintances of Thorn. Raven Express grew into a lucrative fencing operation, even more profitable than its legitimate business.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Brian Vogel (August 1994). “The Raven Express: They Deliver Messages - And More”. In Jean Rabe ed. Polyhedron #98 (TSR, Inc.), p. 31.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Ed Greenwood (November 1998). The City of Ravens Bluff. (TSR, Inc), p. 110. ISBN 0-7869-1195-6.