Human Mourning Customs

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Human Mourning Customs is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.

The Mourning Practices of the Turamzzyrian Empire

The Turamzzyrian Empire is vast, and its many counties, duchies, baronies, and other lands have customs and practices as varied as the stars in the sky. When it comes to death, funerals, and mourning practices this is especially true; while there are some overarching threads of commonality, humans practice a variety of customs around death.

Imperial Customs: The Setting of the Sun

The death of the ruler of the Empire is a time of great, state-mandated mourning across all its lands. While each area may have some of its own traditions around these imperial mourning periods, the overall process is quite similar.

The initial, empire-required activities of the mourning period take place over fourteen days, culminating in the coronation of the new emperor or empress. However, the full mourning period is one year and fourteen days. It is also important to note that the first day of the mourning period does not always coincide with the day of the ruler's death. Depending on circumstances, politics, and numerous other factors, the official mourning period may start several weeks after the actual death. In practice, the delay is rarely more than a week or two, with anything greater than twelve weeks being found only in times of great upheaval such as war or catastrophic acts of nature.

During the first eleven days in Tamzyrr most operations cease, except for those critical to staying alive and well. Other cities may follow suit, with the Empire amply compensating merchants who do so. Nonessential businesses close, black armbands are donned, and a general air of solemnity permeates the lands. On the date of the coronation, the mourning activities are deemed over. Some, especially those closest to the Sun Throne, may continue other mourning traditions for longer.

The newly coronated leader and their immediate court will wear a black armband for the full mourning period. Others may do so if they choose, but there is no stigma for removing it after the coronation.

Lying in Sun State
Upon the death of an imperial ruler, the Order of the Setting and Rising Sun springs into action. This order specializes in the pomp, circumstance, and protocol around a dead emperor or empress as well as overseeing all the necessary mortuary aspects. They also work intimately with the Church of Koar on the impending coronation.

First, the Superior of the Solarity, head of the Order, declares the period of empire-wide mourning. Fast ships, scrying mirrors, and couriers are sent far and wide, carrying the news and the start of the mourning period.

The Sunset Undertaker leads those who study the art of embalming in the empire, with a focus on handling all royalty. While others beneath the Sunset Undertaker are used for general royalty, only the Sunset Undertaker works on the Sun Throne. They are immediately called to ensure the body is appropriately preserved and, when necessary, retouched or reconstructed.

After embalming is completed, private, familial rites are held. These are by invitation only and will vary depending on the individual. No official record of these private rites is made -- they are meant to honor the individual and not the entity of the office.

On the third day, the deceased ruler will be moved into the Amphitheater of the Setting Sun, where they will lie in state for seven days. The amphitheater's sole purpose is for the death of a ruler, with two smaller amphitheaters nearby used for other royalty. Made of darkened orange-red marble resembling the setting sun for which it is named, the amphitheater is opened to the public, and thousands will queue for hours for a few seconds glimpse of the ruler lying in Sun State.

Setting of the Sun
On the eleventh day, the official imperial funeral is held in the amphitheater. Leaders and nobles across Elanith attend or send representatives. It is a sedate and formal affair conducted by the Patriarch of the Church of Koar. Lasting hours, the funeral is a morass of obscure protocol known only to the Church and the Order of the Setting and Rising Sun, both entities carefully controlling each speech, eulogy, prayer, and honorarium.

At the end of the funeral, a processional winds its way through Tamzyrr. The imperial sarcophagus rests in a crystal-encased coach, its final destination the Royal Mausoleum at sunset.

Rising of the Sun
The mourning period continues for two more days, but the solemnity of the previous days is lifted. The Sunrise Superior ensures celebrations in honor of the Emperor or Empress's good works are held across the city, the ruler is feted and remembered, and the mood turns to anticipation for the coronation.

Taking place on the fourteenth day, the coronation of the new ruler takes place at the Temple of Steps. The Emperor or Empress's first act is to declare the period of initial mourning over, and a year later, on the anniversary of their coronation, they proclaim the formal end to mourning.

A Note on the Royal Mausoleum
A series of ornate crypts, mausoleums, and temples, the Mausoleum of the Sun Throne, colloquially known as the Royal Mausoleum, inters emperors, empresses, their immediate family, and other honored royals and individuals. It is comprised of numerous, ornate buildings connected with underground passageways.

Other Royal and State Customs

Upon the death of a member of the royal family, the Sun Throne will declare a period of mourning commensurate to their personal and political importance. This ranges from three days to six months. As with a ruler death, the official mourning period may be delayed, but rarely more than a month or two. An acolyte under the Sunset Undertaker will perform embalming rites, and a private, family service will be held.

If the deceased resided in Tamzyrr, they will lie in state for three days at a smaller amphitheater near that of the Setting Sun. On the third day, the funeral is conducted by a High Priest of the Church of Koar with internment in the Royal Mausoleum. There may also be a processional, but it is not a required component to a royal funeral.

For royals residing outside of the capital, the Sun Throne will declare mourning for Tamzyrr as well as the deceased's area of residence at a minimum (empire-wide mourning is situationally dependent). Those with few familial ties outside the capital will frequently be returned to Tamzyrr; individual preferences will be honored, however, and consideration to the deceased's connections given. Whether in Tamzyrr or elsewhere, the tradition is to lie in state for three days, and most major cities across the empire have appropriate amphitheaters or temples for this purpose. Interment in the local royal mausoleum would follow the funeral.

Local customs are also honored during the period of mourning.

Non-Royal Customs


OOC Information

  • Created by GM Xynwen, March 2023