In the southern mainland, a funeral is a somber affair, attended by mourning family members, somber priests, and held in dark, cold cathedrals and churches. The bodies are buried in the cold ground, reduced to nothing but worm food. The wealthy ones are placed in stone crypts with a roof over their coffins, where the elements cannot harm them. In some places a celebration of the persons life is held, usually in quiet respect for the deceased: a dull event, if anything. But a Drankaran funeral is a time of celebration, either of the individuals life, death, or both. From the lowliest karl to the richest Jarl, if they lived a life worth living, they are burned on a pyre in honor of their achievements, and that their souls may join the gods in the afterlife.
The origin of this practice was unknown to many for centuries, especially to the southerners that live away from the Drankar Islands. It wasn't until the famous scholar, Lucien Laracranz, joined an expedition to the islands in an attempt to record and study the culture of the Drankaran's. Based on stories from numerous sources, as well as from observing ancient cave paintings once used by the Drankaran ancestors, Laracranz deduced that the practice originated from a survival tradition. When the Drankaran's were still cave dwellers they would often run low on fuel for the fires that kept back the cold air of winter. To compensate for this, they would kill the weakest members of their tribes and place them on the flames. This carried on as they slowly began to make their homes outside, but eventually evolved into a religious ritiual when coupled with the eventual worship and deification of the local dragons.
The execution varies from person to person, which then varies from place to place, which then varies furthermore from island to island. They all follow the same basic principle. If a person dies, their body is then prepared for the eventuall passing into the afterlife. They are cleaned of any dirt, grime, or blood, and any open wounds are stitched up. A gothi, or priest, resides over them and sings, maybe dousing the body with water or oil. The family members do their mourning in private, usually staying with the body and speaking to him or her as if they were still alive Meanwhile a grand celebration is being prepared in their honour. The people may be feasting, drinking, dancing, singing, playing games, performing mock fights, telling stories both true and exagerrated of the deceased deeds in life. To the Drankaran's, while they are sad that someone has died, they are also overjoyed, for the fallen may now enter the halls of the gods, and perhaps even join the Alföðr (pronounced All-father) in his firey home. Following the preparation of the body, they are then brought out and placed on a mound, a pyre, or perhaps even a boat that they owned. Placed beside them are items they owned in life, If they were particularily wealthy, a slave or two may be sacrificed to continue serving in death. Once some words are spoken by a priest, the family members are the first to ignite the fires. The funeral continues for days afterwards, sometimes weeks depending on the person or simply where one goes. But even this must pass, for life on the Drankar Islands is harsh and unforgiving, and its people will not let one death stall them forever.