Uhrol's Requiem of Passing
"We ask of you, oh divine beings, to accept the imperfect ones who have perished to reside with you in eternity. Let them rest, in peace, until the end of all things."
One of the more hallowed rites of the Rhyliss pantheon, this is a ritual performed to honor and remember the dead. There are many variations of this ritual, in minor ways, but it sees much use inside the Empire and many of its allied realms. According to the Grave Wardens, this is a necessary component to preventing the deceased from rising again as an unhallowed undead. While there is some dispute on this, none have offered up evidence to support the counter-claim. What is known for certain is how the Grave Wardens view this rite as a sacred duty, and a great shame should they fail in keeping this tradition when it is called for.
The exact origins of the ritual itself lie in history and myth, and is usually retold in various ways. What is known for certain is the chosen remembrance of a priestess of the Keeper of Graves was adopted by various other sects until it was the normal way for one to remember and honor the dead. When the reforms of the First Emperor saw to it the twelve gods of the Rhyliss Pantheon were chosen, many tomes and records were destroyed or rewritten - save a handful. One of those pertained to the Requiem, only renaming it in subsequent mentions into Uhrol's Requiem. The further inclusion of the number twelve in various aspects also can be traced to this time, as it was to reinforce the idea of the pantheon including twelve deities.
At proper chapels to the Keeper of Graves, the Requiem takes on a very formal affair. It opens with a traditional recitation, and follows into a reading of names of those who died in the time since the last observance. If possible, the bodies (cleaned and dressed in death shrouds) are laid out in a chamber where relatives are permitted to view them and bestow any gifts they wish buried with their dead. A priest will lead a prayer to the gods to accept their followers, and forgive them their faults. At the end, a silver bell is rung twelve times, as twelve candles are lit in time with each chime.
At smaller gatherings, some of the pageantry is left out but the important parts retained are telling. The dead must be shown respect and given decency before being put to rest, embodied in cleaning it and dressing it in a simple death shroud.
Components and tools
The most important components of this ritual are either the body of the deceased or some representative portion, usually a lock of hair or in a more grim manner - a finger. The body must be cleaned, any wounds closed, and clothed in some manner; this is usually taking the form of a death shroud of various cloth materials which covers the body. Beyond that, the master of the ritual must have a proper consecrated symbol of their faith. For more organized rituals, there is a silver bell specifically cast for this ritual and used for nothing else kept at the chapel, as well as twelve black candles and a set of silver candlesticks impressed with the sigil of each deity in the Rhyliss pantheon.
In the wilds, when the ritual must be performed swiftly, only the most basic of components are required as listed above. The body of the deceased is sometimes not buried, but instead burned on a pyre in order to avoid the grave being disturbed after or lost.
Primarily there is but one key participant; the Grave Warden, a priest of Uhrol who has been instructed in the ritual process. A few of the other faiths have adapted simplified and quicker rituals of their own to instruct their own followers, as adventurers and places in the frontier often do not have a proper priest to perform the Uhrol version of these rites. The Grave Wardens are often among the traveling priests who make efforts to visit every village they can in a region at least once in a lunar cycle to handle this duty.
Since the founding of the Empire, the custom of the Requiem is different for many places. Larger settlements hold the Requiem on the night of the new moon, to mark the end of the current lunar cycle and spend a night reflecting and remembering those who have died. As such it has become something of a communal event in small villages, along with the Greater Requiem to mark the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter. In larger cities, it is largely carried out quietly as the communal aspect has been dropped in favor of a quieter and more private remembrance.