Offerings to Nulltide - Balaceti Funerals Tradition / Ritual in Teshelyn | World Anvil
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Offerings to Nulltide - Balaceti Funerals

The balaceti pods of the northwestern Balacen have a close relationship with Nulltide Bay. Anything that enters its waters vanishes without a trace, and at some point the balaceti integrated it into their funerary rituals. A fallen balaceti is taken by their family along with their most important possessions and set adrift into the Nulltide. The disappearance is interpreted by the grove pods as a passage into the afterlife, whole in body and soul.


The first balaceti tribes were thought to have made their home in the southwestern Balacen, near what is now known as the Sauhul Archipelago. It wasn't for several generations that pods made their way north to the Nulltide, but once the magical properties of the bay were known, it was taken by the whalefolk as proof of some kind of afterlife. The ritual has changed in the centuries since its inception, but the core components of balaceti funerals have remained the same since the discovery of Nulltide Bay.

Components and tools

A small funerary raft is built for each ceremony. Each one has enough room for the departed as well as any of the important items that are being sent with them - ceremonial attire, favorite toys, mementos, etc. The raft is built with a small hole in the bottom so that the raft will eventually sink into the Nulltide as it drifts away. When the raft is empty, its weight is not enough for the hole to prove a sinking hazard, but with the combined weight of the departed balaceti and their treasures, it usually takes twenty to thirty minutes for the raft to sink.


Balaceti social structure is organized around small and close-knit family groups, so funerals are usually attended by the entire pod as well as any extended relatives or friends that may wish to pay their respects. The rites are conducted by the pod matriarch, as well as the daughter of the departed if they had one. If not, another female family member will fill the role. They will speak to the life of the one they lost, and the family speaker is expected to have prepared a short whalesong verse that represents their character.   After both have spoken, the family member prepares the funerary raft and gives it over to the matriarch, who then sets it adrift into the Nulltide.


Offerings to Nulltide, as the funerals are known, are usually conducted at sunset. Unusually for the balaceti, the ceremony is held at the surface rather than under the water. This not only ensures that speakers will not need to pause for breath, but it also calls to mind the symbolism of the water's surface as the boundary between one world and the next. Balaceti of course have several methods of breathing underwater, both magical and technological, but the symbolism of the surface is key to the ceremony.
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