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Path of the Dead

Excerpt from the Flowing Soul

What is death? This is a challenging question for many, but we should consider The Cynosure and how it influences our lives. This will create a good foundation.

What is the soul? Is it simply energy like magic? Or are they ghosts stuck in a body?
No, those are part right and still wrong. The soul is Cynosure. Yes, that is what I said. It is the part of us that is part of The Cynosure and the flow of the world. This is why we have dream and have visions. We are connected as is everything. We can see only a part of the whole and the body is a distraction from our purity. At the same time, the bodies are tools given to us to learn. All that we learn is put back into the Cynosure to be used by others.
So death as a both a loss and a gain. We lose our loved ones, but they will visit us in our dreams and provide knowledge to the future of the city and people.

History

Space is more limited than most might believe in the underground, but tradition from the surface was to bury the dead. During the Chaos Phase these traditions were ignored for the most part. some were buried, but these graves were moved or robbed, so many bodies were burned or thrown in the Endless Sea.
One unusual burial was the "chute." This was a hole in the ruins of a surface city and dropped to an unknown depth. The warlords in this area would just toss the dead down the chute. This ruins are still abandoned and is largely untouched.

Death and the Cynosure

The arrival of Dimitree, The Eyes of Cynosure would create the city and change how the people would see death.The soul is said to be part of the Cynosure and the body borrows that soul so it may experience things. All of the experiences of a person is transferred to the Cynosure when they die. This ideal has led to the belief that the body is only a shell and most rituals are about the soul and not the body. The emergence of undead have also led to the belief that the shell of a body may be controlled or filled by a demon.

Execution

Soul Centers are created to guide the souls of the departed back to the Cynosure. Soul Guides are trained in that process, although there may be small differences on different Strata or different races.
Soul Travel is the process that is usually used to guide the souls. These are the most common steps in the process.

  1. Celebrate Life:A soul that feels its life was not worthwhile may not return and may become lost. This doesn't need to be a party, although it sometimes is, it does need to be about the positives of the life of the deceased.
  2. Complete the Soul:A soul may be fractured especially if the death was specifically tragic. The Soul Guide will do a ritual that brings the soul together and helps heal it. The exact process of this is pretty open, but the following prayer is used at the end.

  3. We seek you to follow the visions of the Cynosure.
    We seek you to hear the words or your grand journey in life.
    Find all that you are and all you will become.
    Find and bind your experiences and you will be whole.
    The Cynosure calls to you and your experiences.
    The Cynosure will guide you home.

  4. Guide the Soul: The above quote is used to start this process as well. At this point all but the closest loved ones leave to allow less distractions. The Guide will walk around the room with the others following and trying to get the soul to follow them as it pieces itself together and prepares to move on. This movement is generally symbolic in nature, but does seem to create closure for many families.
  5. Destruction of the Body: With the soul gone, the body is destroyed. Although families can stay to watch this part, most leave this up to the soul guide and leave. The body is taken to acid pools that are created in a small room. The body is slowly placed in the acid until it is destroyed.

Components and tools

The celebration stage usually has food and some music to play while people are making speeches. The rest of the process uses some incense and herbs to create a calm setting for the soul.
Crevice does not have graveyards and the dead are not buried. The bodies are destroyed in some way. The most common method is a chemical acid bath that quickly destroys the bodies.

Participants

The ceremony is open to all during the celebration portion, but only the closest family and friends are there to help guide the soul.

Exceptions

Shadow Elves (Grey Elves) : This is the only race to use some of their surface beliefs in their funeral ceremony. The Shadow Elves lived on islands on the surface and the sea was their life. So in death they follow the first three steps, but instead of destruction, their bodies are sent out to sea. Some people have pushed back on this practice, worried that demons may use the bodies to attack from the sea. This notion has been dismissed by the Kyren. Several visions and dreams regarding this practice has reinforced its usage by the Shadow Elves.

The Verdant : This group has the only known graveyards in the city. They bury their dead in blood moss, which does break down the body, although much slower than the acid baths. Some have brought this up as a concern, but the Kyren chose not to interfere as long as the bodies stay in the Verdant Grotto and are destroyed.

The Dead Rise

The belief that the body can be used by demons has been reinforced many times. Throughout history the dead have risen at seemingly random times, although some events are attributed to the birth of a demon. Some disasters have made the destruction of bodies impossible and these seem to crawl out of rubble and attack people.
Research by necromancers have led to them replicating the demons in their ability to animate the dead. They explain it as taking a bit of the Cynosure into the body to give it a semblance of life. They say that demons don't use the Cynosure at all and corrupt the bodies they animate. Animation has become more acceptable and created a new option for the dead. Donating their body to the Necromancer guild for experimentation is now both acceptable and cost efficient as the guild pays the family for the body.

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Comments

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24 Jul, 2018 16:30

Are they any variants performed when they have a lot of dead to deal with all at once?

24 Jul, 2018 22:47

There have been several tragedies that may require something like that. I will have to think about it. Thanks for the idea.

24 Jul, 2018 19:58

This is really neat. I like the detail that you've put into it and how the exceptions are integrated into the different cultures. That's really clever.

24 Jul, 2018 22:51

Thank you, there are likely a few more cultural variants that I just haven't considered yet.

25 Jul, 2018 16:00

That definitely makes sense!

24 Jul, 2018 20:56

i love this! i think its a really interesting but also understandable religion, and the detail is really good too. This is more a side note, but the readability of it is very nice too.

24 Jul, 2018 22:52

I felt this was an important step in the religion. Thank you!