Dance of the Corpse Flowers
I awoke to the smell of death. I was worried that the condition of my weary travel companion had worsened while we had rested, but the progression of the infection had not changed, maybe even improved. No, as we crested the hill after a very fitful breakfast, it became clear that the smell was caused by the vast blooming field of blood-red flowers on the other side of the hill.Every autumn on the Spine Coast, the putrid smell of the Corpse Flower wafts from the crannies and valleys of the region, alerting the locals that the time has come to reap what they have sown in the spring. Seeing as the growing of the flower is particularly taxing to the community, the time of their harvest is a cause for sober celebration.
Bloody HarvestThe day begins with the local Jardér travelling to the fields of Corpse Flowers and reaping the flowers. A quick prayer to Geshiné often begins the harvesting, giving thanks to the Ruler of Rebirth for growing life from split blood to nourish yet more life. Flowers are wrapped into bundles with dark green thread and wooden tags, most notably by the children of the village.
Candlelight VigilThe Corpse Flower, as the local Jardér know well, require a very particular watering regimen, leading rarely to the death of those who tend to them. Part of the sobriety of the celebration is because of this fact, and after the flowers have all been collected, candles are lit in the memory of those who died between the planting of the Corpse Flower and the day of the celebration. Following this, people usually have a short dance at home with their families before retiring to bed.
Why the Corpse Flower?The Corpse Flower - which has no relation to the similarly-smelling plant found on Earth - is a very important part of the local economy. This is because the flower, despite its offensive smell, is actually edible and nutritious. If one can stomach the awful taste, a handful of the flower's thick petals appears to be as healthy as a small meal. In addition, the colour of the flowers makes them a popular choice for some specific bouquets (as long as one deodorizes them, of course).
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