The Kinstone Monument
The Kinstone Monument is a cairne of skulls located a short distance from the Irminsul in Kinmoot. The skulls are held together in various ways including twine, mesh, wood, metal, string, cloth. The Kinstone Monument, rather than being a symbol of vanquished foes, is a testament to honoured allies. Any whose skull adorns the monument are considered kin of all the northkin, regardless of species. To have one's skull added to the Kinstone Monument is a great honour, reserved for only the most notable of individuals. NOrthkin from across the three nations travel to the monument to add skulls and to pay respect to the honoured ancestors that reside within the monument. That skulls on the bottom of the pile regularly crumble and deteriorate is seen as simply part of the natural cycle, and none of the skulls are preserved. It is more important that an honourable ally be added to the pile than it is for their individual skull to be preserved. The acceptance of a skull to the monument happens twice per year, on each equinox, with supplicants bringing their allies' skulls and boasting of their deeds. The Kinning, as it is called, is attended by members of the Irminsul Council, as well as select members of trade guilds and organisations residing within Kinmoot, and any spectators that wish to observe. If the group agrees with the preliminary boasts, the supplicant gains the right to add their honoured companion to the Kinstone Monument. These events generally attract large crowds.
Purpose / Function
The Kinstone Monument is a place of honour for those who have earned it. Methods of earning a place vary; some may be added for prowess in battle, but others may be honoured for brilliant farming innovations, hunting techniques, or magical methods. What is important is that the individual made significant contributions to the wider northern culture, and deserves to be honoured for it. Animals are sacrificed to the monument, fetishes and tokens are added to the pile, and religious rites are done at the monument. Most interaction with the monument is of a deeply personal nature, and few honour their kin in the same way.
The pile has collapsed several times in the decades of its existence, and has been rebuilt each time. Twenty years after the end of The War of Tusk and Horn, a large pit was dug and the monument placed within it, to more easily contain its chaotic nature.
The Kinstone Monument began as a simple mass grave. As the forces of the north overtook the Irminsul and what is now known as Kinmoot, the casualties were heavy. After the fighting, those who remained alive dragged their fallen comrades into a grand pile to be cremated, as was tradition. The humans and elves, however, had favoured beheading as a method for execution, and in the early days of the siege they had executed hundreds of northern slaves to deter the attackers. Wishing to honour their fallen comrades, the northerners stacked the heads of the fallen into a grand pyre. After the cremation, however, a large pile of skulls remained. Some claimed that it was an act of the gods, other scoffed at it being a twist of fate, but all agreed that, mystical or not, it was an important sign. Soon, as the war flared and raged on, the pile grew larger with the fallen as the years sped on and the death tolls grew higher. Kinmoot became the seat of northern control, even as the southerners pushed back, and the monument of skulls grew ever larger as more and more northkin distinguished themselves fighting for their freedom.