“My love is gone forever, and I still cannot believe it. Dear nephew, you cannot understand what it is to lose someone who was a wife in deed if not in name, and to have lost her before we could settle together. I feel as though my heart has been ripped from my chest. I paint in bright colours but I wear mourning clothes even now. None of my success means what it should. I keep her ashes with me still, though the seers say I should bury them. I shall do no such thing. I will turn my love into a pigment before I trap her underground…” A letter from the artist Elise Scordato to her nephew, on the subject of an unknown lover’s death.
Death for Tapestrians is a solemn affair which has remained largely unchanged for generations. Upon death, very little is done to the body. It is cleaned and prepared for burial, before being buried or burned and the ashes buried, depending on the space allowed. Keeping the ashes or parts of the body is seen as highly taboo, with even locks of hair seen as an unnecessarily morbid practice. (This is not helped by stories of human remains being used by unscrupulous magic users to reanimate the dead and control them for their own horrifying gains.) The ceremonies are led by a Tapestrian Seer who talks about the life the person led and how it related to the fate woven for them at birth, before concluding that regardless of personal achievement death is the one fate shared by all, and as such it is important to mark the passing over of another life. Mourners wear dark colours and the closest family of the deceased stand by the body. Traditionally this was to guard the dead until they were returned to the earth. Some families like to plant a tree or bush over the grave, in order to continue the cycle of life and death. Funerals are held as soon after death as possible. Before the widespread availability of freezers and cold rooms, this was a practical step, but modern funerals are still arranged as close to death as possible, with many of them being performed only a few days after death.