Death and Funerary Customs Among the Faendryl (essay)

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Title: Death and Funerary Customs Among the Faendryl

Author: Lord Silvean Rashere

To All Faendryl in the Diaspora, Greetings:

The question of death and dying has been referred to me as if I might reach out with skeleton key and unlock all the mysteries of the cosmos for eager minds. To my never ending disappointment, such a thing is beyond my grasp. But I can bring you consolation still, for there is no mystery in death among the Faendryl.

With each generation, our people move one step closer to apotheosis. In a sense, this is the faith of our people since we do not and cannot perfectly know the particulars of this event. But, at the same time, we have sure knowledge that this event shall occur in history even as it brings about history's end. An abundance of signs provide testimony to this news, but none of these are so clear as the inimitable glory of the Faendryl people. In short, we are the eschaton. With the fulfillment of this destiny, our present understanding of life and death, past and future shall be proven insufficient.

And so, should a Faendryl succumb to death, this is only a temporary affair. Take comfort in the knowledge that all who are lost shall be joined with us again. Our final step shall be into a new reality beyond all valences, beyond all death. This is a step we are destined to take together. If you will indulge me, I ask you to consider the crest of my own family: By our blood, even the stars shall be subdued.

Your mind properly formed in regard to our destiny, let us discuss how best to care for our dead. You will recall, of course, that the bodies of the most esteemed Faendryl are preserved in great mausoleums so that they might continually act as guides and witnesses among us. The Faendryl form is sacred, inviolable. It is fitting that those with knowledge of the appropriate rites should first cleanse and then preserve our ancestors from all decay. It is a great comfort to walk among the tombs of the Patriarchs and know that they are waiting, eternally watchful.

Cremation is a permissible alternative. The rendering of the Faendryl body to smoke and ash is redolent of our eventual transcendence beyond substance and form. The fire itself can be achieved through any means, magical or mundane. It is customary for the family and close associates of the deceased to participate in the kindling of the flame once any memorial activities have concluded. As the flame ignites, a respected and learned Faendryl should recite:

In the name of the Patriarch we stand as witness to the passing of (name) from among us. Though we find ourselves in a valence of shadows where death is the greatest seeming of all, we look forward to a time when our people shall be made whole once more.

At this point it is customary for those in attendance to reply with:

Glory to the Faendryl.

Once the cremation has ended and at the conclusion of any local or familial customs, the ceremony is closed with this recitation:

Glory and honor to the Patriarch, let the memory of (name) remain with us as a testimony to the enduring will of our people. Let us go forth into this broken world with a renewed desire to bring about our destiny so that we shall meet again.

And so ends such a ceremony and my advice on the matter. By my hand on Volnes, the 16th Day of Fashanos during the reign of Korvath Dardanus Faendryl, Patriarch XXXIX, Honor to His Name.