Once a powerful cult in the ancient Allarian Empire, they lost a lot of their power and influence when the empire fell. Some believe the cult can trace it's root back even further into the past.
Little or nothing is publicly known about the existence of this shady order. In many cities and kingdoms that house cells of the Whispering Ravens, people with the right connections could discover the existence of a cell of spies, perhaps even hire them, but they would never know that the cell was in fact a part of a larger organisation.
Members Only InfoEdit
The cult are worshipers of a female aspect of Merkari whose portfolio includes secret knowledge and spies, she is known to them as the 'Elysian Raven' or the 'Secret Lady'. They believe that Merkari actually is female and has duped the rest of the gods and the world into thinking she's male, all the better to observe unwatched.
Merkari's true female name is a secret; perhaps the higher tier of the cult know that name?
The cult is organised hierarchically, with each member only knowing one person in the tier higher than them. Cult members lower than that are probably not aware of how large or organised the cult is; sects in different towns and cities probably have different names. This makes it difficult for anyone to realise their existence. The higher tiers of this hierarchy haven't been defined too much to sustain an air of mystery about the organisation, they may have an eventual agenda; but right now they are only just beginning to reassert themselves after a long time hidden and inactive.
Esoteric ArcanaEditThe Whispering Ravens have a magic tattoo which lets them communicate over short to medium distances as well as serving as a means of identification between members. The standard way to pass a message to another continent is to use the tattoo to send it to the nearest safe house, which will have some method (fast courier, teleportation circle, longer range communication magic) of getting the word to the next safehouse, etc, until finally it reaches one which has something capable of reaching across continents. Of course, the more complex this network is, the more chance there is of things going wrong (meaning the capability is there if the DM wants a message to get through for story reasons, and if they want to block it it's easy to find an excuse).
The highest-level leaders also have a long-range communication ritual that works between continents, but is unreliable, so they only depend on it during emergencies. The exception is during certain concordances when the state of the heavens and the shifting seas line up just right, which lets this ritual work without flaw.
That means that during certain astronomical conjunctions, the entire leadership of the Ravens, wherever they're located, "meets" to plan strategy and discuss the most privileged of secrets. They keep this fact well hidden, because if an outsider ever found out how to calculate the conjunction they might be able to find some way to eavesdrop or even mess with their great conclave. But they do it despite the risks because this is the only time such a meeting is possible.
The cult's main tenet states that they cannot influence events or civilisations directly; they may take no actions. They can however influence others through the giving or withholding of knowledge.