Return to the Unifier
A rattataki tribe member's death is felt in the whole community, and each member will participate to wish the deceased good luck and fortune on their journey back to the Unifier. A gathering is held at the tribe's central area, the fighting pit if the most convenient, and the deceased will be carried to the center of circle created by the clan crowd by their closest relatives. At the circle's center is a canvas of hide especially meant for this ritual, safe-kept by the shaman and brought out along other ritual components ahead of time. Aside the approaching relatives and the dead family member they carry, the shaman is the only one inside the circle's center. All of the deceased's belongings, including clothes, will be removed, cleansed and set aside by the shaman. And for the following hour to hour and a half, the shaman will proceed with cleansing the body of the dead itself by scrubbing it thoroughly with red-hued clay. Once the body has an even reddish hue its considered properly clean and the ritual can continue.
Components and tools
Leather CanvasThe shaman will bring a large leather canvas to place the dead's body, usually made from stitched together pieces of animal hides. Larger hides are hard to find but often considered 'better'.
Red ClayRed clay can be found in abundance at the foot of the mountains, or by digging a distance down into the earth. It's common for a shaman to have a storage of already prepared clay. The clay is collected by hunters or warriors, dried and then grinded down to a fine dust before being stored in large stone jars behind the shaman's hut.
Stone BowlA bowl made from stone, about the size of two palms. The edges are normally decorated with incised runes and the bowl's bottom has the Unifier's symbol.
Bone ScoopA tool used by the shaman to extract the dead's eyes from their sockets. Usually made from a piece of animal cheekbone cut by the carver into a spoon-like shape.
Strong-scented HerbsThese are used by the shaman to burn in the stone bowl together with the dead's eyes. The ashes are then mixed into an ink by the inkmaster afterward.
Journeyman's GiftsA set of pre-prepared items gifted to the dead that'll help them on their journey. The set usually held a set of clothes, a stone knife, a pouch of aromatic herbs and dried food, and a pouch with small stones. The small stones were carved with a rune each signifying water, fortune, endurance and bravery, and blessed by the shaman.
The shaman leads the ritual's proceedings. He will perform all of the cleansing components, direct the other participants and speaks with the Unifier. Other key roles are the inkmaster who'll place the death rune on the dead's forehead, and the carver who has prepared and brings in the gifts given to the dead. The dead's immediate family will carry them in and out of the circle, and will also be present throughout the ritual even if their participation is minimal. After the ritual, it's the immediate family that carries their dead away from the settlement.
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