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Descent to Ascension

When one of the Hiarue is killed or simply passes, their bodies are preserved in sea salt until the Descent to Ascension can be held under a crescent moon. The deceased is then surrounded and covered in a thin layer of scented flower petals, and dried berries and fruits. The berries and fruits are put there as a final worldly feast before passing from this world. In the early night, just after the crescent moon rises over a beach, two selected individuals take the deceased and dive below the ocean. Usually, wherever Hiarue can be found, Riya Octopus are not far away. Swimming to around 1km out, and diving down to the seabed, the two selected individuals will find the den of a Riya Octopus. Once the den is found, the two place the deceased flat on his/her back in front of the den, with both arms folded across the chest. After waiting a moment or two, the Riya Octopus will leave its den to investigate the situation. Once it recognizes the situation, the Riya Octopus will pause, bending it's front four tentacles and lower it's head and mantle in a sort of somber bow. The two chosen individuals return the bow to the Riya Octopus and leave. This concludes the part of the Descent to Ascension that requires the Hiarue, and they may now depart. After this, the Riya Octopus a species greatly revered by the Hiarue, disposes of the body. It is the belief of the Hiarue that the Descent to Ascension allows the deceased to enter the Depths of Eternity, the boundless blue ocean of the heavens.

It is technically not known what the Riya Octopus does with the deceased Hiarue, though it's worth noting that this ceremony is done in the early evening, before the Riya Octopus would usually go out to hunt overnight.

History

Ever since the Hiarue broke away from the traditional beliefs of the Ruridai, they have held Descent to Ascension ceremonies. The tradition began after the wreck of a Ruridai ship on a voyage from Bhillibii to Lino Saesif. As they went, an unexpected storm erupted out of nowhere, flipping the ship over and smashing it to pieces. With an original crew of 42, only 8 survived the ship breaking apart, and the storm scattered those remaining far and wide. The very next morning, each of the 8 sailors that managed to survive the night found themselves on the same small, wave beaten, island cove, and each with the same story. While desperately clinging to floating bits of the ships debris, each says a large Riya Octopus rose to the surface, observing them and anyone else who happened to be around them. Six of the men say that were with someone else who had already died when the Riya Octopus approached. After it's first observation, the Riya Octopus gently dragged the already deceased individuals down to the depths. The ones who remained alive were terrified, especially when the large tentacled creature reappeared for them. Wrapping a tentacle around the stranded but still alive sailors, the Riya Octopus calmly made it's way to the shore, being careful to keep the heads of the Hiarue above the water. These men not only credit the Riya Octopus with saving their lives, but felt they were paying their deceased comrades great respect, and accompanying them to the Depths of Eternity.

Execution

The scented petals that are laid atop, under and around the deceased are their to mask the smell of the corpse, but they also have symbolic meaning. The soft texture of the flowers symbolizes the the gently and peaceful transition from life to the after life. The dried fruits and berries symbolize the carrying of the Hiarue and Ruridai tradition, being, and identity, into the next life. The berries and fruits are often personalized to match the personal favorites of the deceased individual. The Riya Octopus is a creature revered as godlike by the Hiarue, being taken to their final resting place by one of this species is an extremely high honour. It is believed it will allow them to pass on to the next world, and swim in the Depths of Eternity.

Components and tools

For this ritual, the petals of scented flowers are required to create comfort for the deceased, and give them a soft layer to rest upon. Dried fruits are also placed around the deceased to symbolize their final feast as one of the Hiarue of this world. The third item, a thin strap belt, is only required in the extremely rare occasion that the deceased Hiarue was in their life a wielder of a Fybratian weapon. These is to have what remains of their weapon journey with them to Depths of Eternity.

Participants

Though many may appear at the beach to farewell the deceased, only the two who were closest to the deceased individual may dive with them below the waves, and attend him/her to their watery farewell. These two individuals are known simply as Shepherds, tasked with protecting the deceased while escorting them to the den of a Riya Octopus. If someone who is deemed worthy of being one of the two Shepherds is physically unable to do so, a replacement may be selected by that individual.

Observance

This ceremony is only ever observed on nights with a crescent moon. It must also be held off the coast in salt waters. It must also be held in the early evening, not long after the rising of the moon.
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