Remembering: Aelotoi Mourning Customs

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Remembering: Aelotoi Mourning Customs is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.

Remembering: Aelotoi Mourning Customs

Death felt like an old family member to the aelotoi on Bre'Naere -- a frequent and unwanted visitor that brought sorrow and heartache with emotion-numbing regularity. Across the centuries, all aelotoi cultures embraced the Ceremony of Remembrance, and memories warped and faded about other funerary customs.

Today, however, aelotoi on Elanthia have been able to meet, compare stories and tales, and sometimes reawaken ancient memories heard at an elder's knee. In addition, two decades have given some time to create new customs and traditions, including around death.


Respectful treatment of corpses on Bre'Naere was often difficult to come by, with the kiramon enslavers unceremoniously dumping bodies in unused pits. If an aelotoi was fortunate enough to die during the night or a rest time, their fellows were sometimes able to sneak the corpse away for a quick burial, but this was rare.

Because of this, aelotoi focus less on the physical remnants and more on the spirits and souls of those who have passed. This is still true today, but now, the respect and honoring of the physical can be incorporated. With only two decades of freedom in Elanthia, burial customs have not quite settled into predictable patterns with individualism reigning supreme. Family honors the individual, with requests trending toward simple, private burials in beautiful and secluded wooded areas.

Ceremony of Remembrance: The Pala'tara

Forged out of necessity, the aelotoi's Ceremony of Remembrance or pala'tara was, for centuries, the only safe means to honor their fallen. Originally an annual ceremony to honor ancestors, under the kiramon's oppressive dominion, the pala'tara eventually replaced all earlier funeral customs. By the time of their arrival on Elanthia, the custom was for aelotoi elders to gather and hide flowers, bringing them out only when it was safe. These flowers were reverently dropped into a cookfire, petal succumbing to flame as names of the ancestors were whispered.

Legend has it that initially, when flora was still more plentiful upon Bre'Naere, different flowers could send different messages to those that passed, but, as the planet's beauty died, any flower was deemed acceptable, and the intent was to honor all dead, both ancient and recent, and to send flowers to them in their afterlife.

Recently, with the proliferation of flowers and colorful other flora at their fingertips, some seek to recreate an aelotoi language of remembrance. The current ceremony is a reverent but open affair -- all are welcome to participate and send a flower to their friends and family beyond.

Culturally Specific Flowers:
While this is still in flux and not universally adopted, here are some flowers favored by many today.

  • Cyrtae'ni: Wild violets and wild pansies
  • Gaeh'deh: Dragonstalks and irises
  • Mrae'ni: Edelweiss and rosemary
  • Vaer'sah: Wild roses and heather

Burning of the Enemy: The Ymwyn

Since arriving on Elanthia, a subset of aelotoi have (justifiably) taken to slaughtering kiramon. These radical warriors created the ymwyn, the ritual burning of kiramon carapaces at the Ceremony of Remembrance to honor their fallen. They take great pleasure in sending proof to the ancestors that their oppressors are paying the ultimate price.

The ymwyn has not gained much popularity thus far, and when done, it is mostly by members of the Gaeh'deh clan. However, it is accepted and understood by most, even if they choose not to follow this practice.

Sky Flower Ceremony: The Liraflyr

The liraflyr is a new custom, taking root with the Cyrtae'ni. Taken for one aelotoi name for dragonfly (the other being cyraflys), the liraflyr takes mourners to a pond, creek, or glade, where a designated officiant "calls" the dragonflies. It is not expected that a dragonfly actually will answer the call, but rather, this is an honoring of the creatures who welcomed their people to Cysaegir and a request that any hearing the call take wing and carry messages of love to the newly departed.

After this, picnic baskets are laid out, blankets strewn about, and the mourners gather together to eat honeycake and drink liramea, a type of sweet mead developed originally for the ceremony. Storytelling and reminiscing abound, and the solemnity of the ceremony is replaced with a lighter mood. Before they leave, a few honeycakes are left out as an offering for any dragonflies nearby.

A Note on Dragonflies, Honeycakes, and Liramea
When referring to the dragonfly, aelotoi use ciraflys and liraflyr interchangeably, and they translate both roughly to "sky-bright flower" or "bright flower of the sky." When referring to the ceremony, the Cyrtae'ni use liraflyr and translate it literally to "sky flower ceremony."

Aelotian honeycakes are handheld small pastries, similar to a fritter, made with bits of fresh fruit dipped in cinnamon and locally sourced honey.

Made from local honey, honeysuckle nectar, and hints of resin, liramea is a sweet, herbaceous mead originally developed for the liraflyr. It has grown in popularity, however, and it is becoming increasingly common to see it in Cysaegir.

Tributes of Flora: The Brefyr

Taking inspiration from the Illistim, Mrae'ni have created the new tradition of brefyr, a tree-based ceremony. Individuals seek out a favorite tree, flower, or other plant. They gather seeds from their chosen flora and place it in a keepsake box. These boxes are elaborate examples of marquetry art inlaid with a new, aelotian style of glasswork called zelflyr. Periodically, they may refresh the seeds, and those interested in magic and alchemy may infuse seeds in an effort at bonding with their flora. This magical bonding is still under experimentation and development, but it has piqued the interest of numerous magically inclined aelotoi.

Upon the person's death, family or close friends plant the seeds in a quiet and simple gathering. Some choose to plant in the woods outside Cysaegir, but others have designated favorite spots, and these are honored. Once emptied of seeds, the brefyr box is filled with mementos of the deceased person's life and given to their spouse, closest relative, or friend.

As of 5123, the practice is gaining popularity amongst the Mrae'ni and others, with some aelotoi youth requesting brefyr boxes and some new parents commissioning the boxes before a baby's birth. At these tender ages, the boxes serve to hold the various trinkets and detritus children love to collect, and they are encouraged to seek affinities with local flora.

A Note on Zelflyr: Called "glass of a thousand flowers," zelflyr is a type of mosaic glassworking created by an aelotoi artisan and her apprentice recently. This technique produces numerous patterns across the glass, and by expert application of colors and placement, these patterns range from simple repeating strands to intricately duplicated designs. The most common uses of zelflyr are beads and discs, both of which are used to adorn brefyr boxes, clothing, and jewelry. Larger pieces, such as vases, are possible, but much more complicated to create.

Waves of the Wandering: The Vaetyrril

Wandering aelotoi, especially those of the Vaer'sah clan, have created the vaetyrril, or traveling waves ceremony. The ceremony is based on coastal rites seen in their travels. If aelotoi are near the sea, then offerings to the waves are given. These can be favorite flowers, zelflyr beads, or other treasured trinkets.

When not near the sea, mourners bring the sea to the ceremony, gathering shells, bits of driftwood, seaglass, and so on. These offerings are then placed in a small lake or stream in lieu of the ocean, and a few items may be reserved to be added to the bonfire at the pala'tara.

OOC Information

  • Created by GM Xynwen, July 2023
  • Material Restrictions
    • Zelflyr requires alteration fodder