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Tree Burning

A dark night, broken by a single torch head aloft. The gathered Feirie raise above the brittle remains of their home, and cast the torch down, igniting the broken and dead wood. In a sudden hideous explosion, the tree is ablaze, and the swarming Fei watch their home burn.

History

It is been a long standing tradition of the Feirie, that upon the death of the colony's tree, it be burned down, along with the mummified corpses of their ancestors. The Feirie do not believe, and do not think of, their ancestors as being 'gone', until their body is cremated in such a burning. As each tree lives for many generations, this is a rather rare event. Often, nearby colonies will arrive to see the burning.

Execution

Every time a feirie dies, their body is mummified and placed in a special house at the top of the tree. This is called 'First Rest'. These corpses collect over many generations, as the trees can live for up to 8 years (over 300 earth years). When one eventually dies, the entire colony gathers up their possessions, moves the corpses into the heart of the root ball, and burns the tree to the ground with all the mummies inside. The youngest male adult throws the torch into the tree. This signifies the new generation giving one final gift to their ancestors; that of 'Second, and Eternal Rest'. Trees typically explode when the ceremonial torch hits the volatile sap pockets, and the intense heat cremates the corpses and turns their bones into bone slag. The burning usually takes place at night, and after letting the ruins smolder overnight, the colony collects the slag, and leaves for a new tree. If the colony was particularly big, it might split into two or three, as the new colony might not be able to sustain large numbers.

Components and tools

A huge feast is held the evening before the event, which is suppose to use up any perishable foodstuffs that cannot be taken on long journeys. The ceremonial torch is carved from the wood of the dead tree, and decorated with engravings.

Participants

The entire colony, and usually the 'cousin' colonies, or nearby and friendly ones come to show respect and say goodbye to both the departing dead and the colony.


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