Sunday, July 5, 2015

Carpe Blogiem: The Bonecarvers of Sicatra - Part I

First Day we stay under the sky,
Second Day we sit in the sun,
Third Day in the darkness we lie,
Fourth Day we lay among the wind all alone,
Fifth Day the earthen clay covers us dry,
Sixth Day the fire turns earth to stone,
Seventh Day the stone under waters lie,
Eight Day from a tree the body is flown,
Ninth Day does the knife cut for our bodies to be shown,
Tenth Day the bonecarver takes us to the road we must walk all on our own.
–The Bonecarver’s Rhyme

The tradition of the bonecarvers grew out of a single act before the Giant’s Rebellion began in earnest. When Ilios’ son, Tanith, was murdered the grieving death god buried the boy as was proper to all their customs, but the mutilated body could not be properly embalmed. Ilios opted instead to divest the corpse of its flesh and over the course of a month painstakingly carved in intricate detail all the deeds of Tanith in life. He then wrapped his son’s bones in their burial shroud and began to war against the giants.

At least as old as the Rebellion itself (around 10,000 years give or take a century), the Bonecarvers have scribed the deeds of the fallen into their remains to be remembered forever. During the millennia-long conflict, the Warborn – elves, dwarves, and men – followed his example to prepare their dead. Ilios, in a moment of compassion showed the caretakers of the dead his methods and thus was born the order of the Bonecarvers.

Early History
Shortly after handing down the rites of the dead to the Warborn, a massive battle broke out between the giants and the gods and there were tens of thousands of dead. The early Bonecarvers burned or boiled the dead, spoke to the ghosts of the dead, and carved their deeds on the bones of the warriors. Unwilling to inter their dead in the ground, the first of the Chambers of the Evermore (then just glorified wagons) were created. Originally, the dead were kept together, but were later divided among the Warborn, then by clans, then by family. The rites changed over the years, but the core most - the carving of the deeds - remained.

When the first tors (massive citadel-like structures that served as bases for the deities and their armies) went up, separate chambers in the depths of the edifices housed the bones and become the first known permanent Chambers of the Evermore. After the Warborn’s Farewell the rites began to change. Only the skraelingar (and their later weaker blooded descendants, humans) still use the same practices of their forbearers in more or less the original ways.

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