Monday, January 30, 2012

Death Among the Sabiri

The Sabiri regard death as part of the process. They revere their fallen dead, especially the warriors and those who perished honorably. They regard a long life as honorable, too. One who is wise or clever enough to live to an old age and pass away without a sword in the gullet deserves recognition, it is felt. Cowards, traitors, and those who exhibit utter selfishness are disdained and rarely given fair treatment when time comes for burial.

While most notable Sabiri are interred in stone-capped dolmuns (and most tribes have at least one or two such locations that they will tavel to for the burial and honoring of noteworthy personages of the tribe) the average Sabiri is buried in a small stone cairn and without too much fanfare. They revere the dead, but do not feel that the soul, once it has migrated from the body, has any use or memory of its prior life as it moves on to the next.

Chieftains and great heroes get treated a little differently. Over the last few centuries the Sabiri grew fascinated by the immense ziggurats and other burial mounds in a large region called the Necropolis, adjacent to where the city of Fartheren was established. It has long been the practice that chieftains, warlords and heroes be buried here. High priests, too, have come in to the habit of seeking interment in the Necropolis. Tribes will deviate from their routine, sending large funerary processions over hundreds of miles to reach this location, that a chieftain may be buried.

While a few especially megalomaniacal chieftains and warlords have seen fit to erect their own burial mounds at the Necropolis, just as many have seen fit to have an existing Kadelan ziggurat excavated or opened, that their body would be interred within. This practice is actually quite common.

When a wealthy Sabiri passes away, he tends to take it with him. Some chieftains will even have their favored wives and daughters (though never their sons) buried with them, and it goes without saying that all Sabiri prefer to be buried with their horse. This practice of wealthy burials has also led to a surge of interest among foreign grave robbers. A small cult of sabiri death priests called the Kad’harak tend to the Necropolis for this very reason, and will vigorously defend the hundreds of monuments and mounts at the site against possible theft.

Sabiri have a decidedly different (though not unusual) reaction to undead. The undead are regarded as abominations, and only the demon cultists of the Servants of the Shroud seem to regard the undead as anything to be valued. Most Sabiri are very superstitious about undead, for they represent a break in the cycle of reincarnation, a scar in the symmetry of the universe. Undead are reviled and hunted. Those who manufacture them, such as warlocks and necromancers, must do so in secret for fear of reprisal. Most Sabiri prefer to be buried with the Mark of Tilalk, a white runic etching placed in paint upon the foreheads of corpses, believed to grant good luck on their journey to the next life, and to protect them from unnatural reanimation.

Next: Hnaka Warrior Women

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