The Death Rites of Talpa

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The mountainous land of Talpa, home to the barbaric race of the same name, is a curious place. The people there, of all Mortality on Dutherim, are furthest from the glory of the Peak. They were the last nation on the continent to abandon their ancient ways, and legends speak of great walls and fortresses barring the mountain passes between Talpa and neighbouring lands, to prevent them warring upon the nations below. Their worship is debased, closer to antesermal worship than true veneration of the Peak. Their art is crude, presenting the gods in simple forms without regard for their glory. But it is in their deaths that they commit their greatest offence against the faithful.

It is well understood that the civilized people of Janspar differ greatly in their Death Rites. The feasts and pyres of Pyrcho are as different from the lengthy funerary processions of Silaka as they are from the infamous dirges of the Shibani. In Jufain, the funeral is an affair only for the deceased and the priests; in Mfezili the entire community aid in carrying the body in its funerary boat and burning it on a river or at sea. However, with the sole exception of Talpa, all enlightened nations of Janspar know that to allow a Mortal to leave this worldly existence, their body must be cremated.

In Talpa it is not so. A mountainous land with thin soil, the death priests of Talpa lack the wood to build funeral pyres. In place of proper rites, the bodies are laid in towers adjoining their temples. These curious structures, open to the sky, allow the carrion birds inhabiting that country to descend and feast upon the flesh of the deceased. This practice, clearly antesermal in its origin, persists to this day despite centuries of knowledge of the Peak.

After the bodies have been stripped of all flesh, the bones are retrieved by the priests and taken into the deep recesses of their temples. It is not known how they are disposed of thereafter – though rumours abound of the priests fashioning bone tools and ornaments or grinding them up to use in foul magics.

Luoan pamphlet, AR1655

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