Ancient Carrion

If there is no honor bestowed upon the dead, if their keeping is corrupted, then there is no honor for the living.
-- Sister Yengara, Order of Cinders

  It's said that God became angry with His angels and cast their tower into the depths of the ocean. A curse of time fell on Emberscythe and all those who lived in what was once paradise were no longer the keepers and protectors of the dead, but began to know death themselves.   The continent shook and broke, the oceans rose and waged war against the land. Dragons fell from the sky and the sun disappeared. Portals dimmed, quieted, and turned to ash.     At the edges of the destruction a forthright and stalwart community found themselves in one of the last untouched portal plains of Ehrylion. So they set forth to take up the mission the angels failed in-- to guard and uphold the integrity of the dead until that time they could pass through the veil into Heaven. And with this vow, Carrion the Bastion of the Ehrylion Plains, rose into prominence.    

Reign of Fire


The celestial dragon A-beth circles Carrion in a pattern as if she were herself a sun. There is no other source of light for Carrion. Daytime is when she is overhead, and night is when she has gone over the horizon.

Like all celestial dragons of the Emberscythe plane, she leaves behind wake-- a pheramonic byproduct-- which streaks across the sky in gold, pink, and green hues. When her orbit becomes closer to Carrion, which happens in regular intervals, the interaction of her wake with the Carrion atmosphere create giant swaths of fire falling from the sky. This has led her to be known as "vindictive."

by Farseeker via Midjourney

Effects on Greater Carrion

The yearly reign of fire had marked effect on Carrion architecture and building practices. Many towns were carved out of mounds or built of the red stone of the Carrion desert. Some smaller towns and cities were established inside great caverns (though these were commonly reserved for Ehrynite Creches).

Because of the heat of the desert and the fires themselves, travel during the Fire season was quite trecherous, leading to some ingenious metal clad carriages and even a few underground roads that led to the capital.

Food could be hunted from indigenous wildlife that seemed to, over the years, evolve strategies to stay free from flames, or provided from plant and animal life grown and tended inside of protected Creche greenhouses.

 

Festival of Descent

When the season of flames draws near, citizens of Carrion migrate underground to vast retreats of luxury (or at least safety). During this time there are great festivals and feasting, as well as large worship services for the Honored Dead.

 

Religions and Beliefs

The Faith of Q'Samae

 
by Farseeker via Midjourney

Eschewing the "old" God of Emberscythe, the people of Carrion formed a new religion based on their belief that a great dragon, Hata-i lived below the surface of the plains in a deep slumbering, and his mate-- the vindictive A-beth-- flies in the sky bringing little light to the world. Each dragon is worshipped (even A-beth) as part of the draconic divine duality of Carrion.



A core teaching of Q'Samae is that Hata-i and A-beth will eventually unite and hatch a great magical egg, giving birth to a greater god of the undead, Samaeth who is destined to lead Carrion into a golden age.

It is said that Hata-i blessed the dead and raised them from their slumber so that his son, Samaeth, would have an army for the conquest of Emberscythe. A-beth, being a goddess of destruction and flame, destroys the dead so that Samaeth cannot throw her from her seat of power in the sky.


 
We've flourished in a desert, tempered in the heat of flames, just imagine us in paradise anew! If only A-beth would not scorch the earth we walk on and set fire to our crops out of her jealousy of Hata-i's slumber.
Lord Merinden I, Avatar of Hata-i
 

Ehrynite Congregation

 
Ehrynite Creche by Farseeker via Midjourney

An offshoot of the Faith, the Ehrynite Congregation was a complex culture inside Carrion Society.

The religion was based primarily on the belief that bonded twins Ehryn and Ehryn were the emissaries of Hata-i and A-beth, not the Avatar of Hata-i who sat on the throne in The'en Cathedral. Having been granted vision into the knowledge that the dragon gods held, the Ehryns founded a series of creches across the lands of Carrion.

Ehrynite Creches were unparalleled in their understanding of the natural, growing world. Inside caverns and fire-safe greenhouse cities, they provided and cared for the bulk of Carrion's foodstuffs.


Important Texts


 
by Farseeker via Midjourney

Book of q'Olandiel

Purportedly "discovered" while forming the mound in which to build the town of White Skull, the Book of q'Olandiel is the premier religious text for Q'Samae. Attributed to an angel who survived the sundering, Olandiel, it is a long adventure tale of over 1000 pages that follows Olandiel on his journey from the heaven of Ojsai to the plains of Ehrylion.

It imparts many precepts and practices to the Faith, and contains primary themes of the treatment and honoring of the dead, the role of Hata-i in the raising of the dead, and the necessity for keeping A-beth from she herself taking rest as Hata-i does lest the world be torn asunder.


Books of Pure Duality and Pure Totality

The first of the two Ehrynite religious texts, the Book of Pure Duality is traditionally covered in white leather and details the bloodlines and lineages of the Ehrynite Congregation. Its required in all households so that there is no inbreeding.

The Book of Pure Duality, in a similar note to the Book of q'Olandiel, is a tome that explains the way of the Ehrynite way of life and traditions. Its major themes are centered around the idea of "two-into-one" and practices, rituals, and traditions that help bonded pairings (or "twins") maintain this holy union in their daily lives to be closer to unity and te totality of all that is.

by Farseeker via Midjourney
 

The Fall of Carrion

 
by Farseeker via Midjourney
  A 200 year war for control of the Honored Dead (prompted by Halmen-et infiltration of the Silverlands), eventually led to the complete destruction of Carrion a mere 2100 years after the first fall of Emberscythe.   It's said the living and the dead battled, and a dark foe rose out of the ashes of battle to lay waste to everything. Everything was corrupted and turned to evil, and it is rumored that the dragon Hata-i burst out of the earth and destroyed Carrion before he himself could be turned to the darkness.   There are few surviving records of what actually happened during this time, and they are kept in secret, guarded by the remaining monastic orders of Q'Samae.  
There has been no greater influence on modern culture than the influence of Ancient Carrion. If the Bastion of Ehrylion had not been destroyed, Emberscythe would be a vastly different society than as it currently stands.
-- Dr. Jon Avrael, School of Histories

 

Legacies

 

Soul Wardens


The remnants of this organization continue to serve and protect the dead during funerary rights across Emberscythe. While the undead don't walk among the living, the souls are still preserved in the carved crystal and bone skulls, an art only truly known by the Soul Wardens of Carrion.

Crusades


It has been suggested that the integration of Carrionic refugees (including many Silver Knights) into Kalkurine culture is what finally spured the Vaelen to launch the first crusade against Lakmur for control of the Holy City of Cazriel.

PORTAL PLAINS


The portal plains describe the regions of greater Emberscythe where world portals were located. They are so named because they are devoid of much mountainous terrain and their geography is primarily flat plains of grass. "Ehrylion" is the name given to these four locations, and they surround Emberscythe.
  Once, each plain was inhabited by great dragons who would activate the portals and bring trade and travel from Emberscythe to the greater connected multiverse. They essentially connected the lands of paradise undying to the material, earthy realms. However, since the sundering, none of these portals seems to be functioning.
by Farseeker via Midjourney
 

THE'EN CATHEDRAL

What a marvel of engineering The'en Cathedral is! With spires reaching so high they could graze A-beth's belly (if she ever dared to fly overhead) and an interior cavern reaching so low one could hear Hata-i himself snoring in his peaceful slumber, this cathedral city dominates the center of carrion.

 

It's easy to see why no other city has risen up in the Carrion Empire to compete with such splendor; even after almost two-thousand years. From the hanging gardens tended by loving bonded Ehyrinite twins, to the glass palaces of the Honored Dead under the cathedral itself, this extensive metropolis is incomparable to all.

 
by Farseeker via Midjourney

THE WARDENS

The Wardens as a collective (includes Tomb Wardens, Soul Wardens, and Blood Wardens) work in tandem with the Carrionic Nuns and the Monks of Siun to protect and care for the dead on their journey to The'en cathedral where they (with Hata-i's blessing) be reborn.
Run out an' tag one of them wardens, Joss. Looks like the worm of death is here.
--Carrionic Wise Woman

 

RAISING THE DEAD

by Farseeker via Midjourney

Hata-i gave the power to raise the dead to the monastic orders of Q'Samae. Freshly dead corpses are soaked in ley and a warden is assigned to paint special glyphs, called kocharin, across the honored corpse to hold in the soul.

These bodies are then placed in special caskets and laid under the surface of the Ley Road, and towed to The'en Cathedral where a ritual is performed to bind the soul permanently to the undead body.

If blessed by Hata-i, the corpse rises anew, bonded to one of the Tez'equiel Council, and has a station of honor in Carrion society. If not, the soul is captured into special crystals and placed into carved skulls for safe keeping until the birth of Samaeth.

 
by Farseeker via Midjourney
 

NOTABLE FIGURES FROM THE WAR OF THE DEAD

 
Sia et'Lene
Character | Sep 9, 2022
 
Sister Vestraga
Character | Sep 9, 2022
 
Sir Bhalin Silvershade
Character | Sep 9, 2022
 

ORGANIZATIONS

Tomb Wardens - Historical
Organization | Sep 7, 2022
 
Carrionic Nuns
Organization | Sep 9, 2022
 
Tez'eqiel Council
Organization | Sep 9, 2022

Cover image: by Farseeker via Midjourney

Comments

Author's Notes

All images are art created by me, Farseeker, digitally or utilizing Midjourney.

 


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9 Sep, 2022 07:29

Golly, this article is pretty; lovely work on your visuals in that they're pleasing to the eye and keep my attention as a reader due to the way information has been formatted. And to top it all off, it works well on my mobile phone.

9 Sep, 2022 14:28

Thank you! I am a very visual person, so if what I'm reading or writing is aesthetically pleasing it keeps me interested... but is probably the reason it takes double the time to get anything done XD.

Be sure to check out my entry for this month's challenge: Ancient Carrion
9 Sep, 2022 19:13

This article is fantastic. Love the outline of it and the artwork used! ( do remember to credit them! ), Overall it is a fantastic article!

9 Sep, 2022 21:39

Definitely will do that today! They are all images I created from Midjourney so I got a little lazy when uploading. Thanks for the reminder. I'm glad you enjoyed the article :).

Be sure to check out my entry for this month's challenge: Ancient Carrion
11 Sep, 2022 19:28

Wow. This was a very beautifully looking article.

Master Dazzlinkat
K.S. Bishoff
12 Sep, 2022 20:50

Absolutely fantastic!

Here is my Challenge article! HROKENTORM   Come vist my worlds PANGORIO for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures! HYPNOSIUM is my new historical fantasy world!
19 Sep, 2022 10:59

I really enjoyed this article and the legacy part is really cool, particularly the crystal/bone skulls.

Check out my world Orlos :D