Sihi is home to a diverse community of individuals from various cultures and backgrounds. One of the unique practices of the Sihian community is their approach to burial rites which is both environmentally conscious and spiritually significant. When a member of the community passes away, after the successful upload of their Sheath to Avalon, their body is prepared for burial by a team of specially trained monks. The body is wrapped in a biodegradable shroud of linen or cotton and placed in a simple wooden coffin made from recycled materials.
The burial takes place in a designated part of the station's vast fields, which serves as a natural burial ground where the bodies are used to replenish the nutrients in the Sihian soil. The coffin is placed in a shallow hole, and a young sapling is planted above it. The tree represents the life that the deceased lived, and its growth symbolizes the continuation of their legacy.
A simple stone marker with the name and birth and death dates of the deceased marks the burial ground. As the tree grows, it absorbs the nutrients from the decomposing body, returning it to the ecosystem of the station. This allows for a sustainable cycle of life and death and a beautiful way to honor the memory of the departed.
The family, friends, and the community come together to plant the tree and say their final goodbyes, it is traditional that those that are particularly close to the deceased contribute a small amount of soil from their own travels as a symbol of the interconnectedness of all life on the station and beyond. This burial practice serves as a reminder of the importance of sustainability and respect for the environment, even in the face of death.
The above is just a description of the most widespread of the rites observed by adherents of the Starlit Path, among the varied species and cultures of Sihi there are others that cling to other pillars of Sihian society. Notable Alternatives
The Viking Funeral
In accordance with ancient Norse beliefs, most of the people of Leviathan perform the ancient ritual of the Burning. After upload, the body is prepared and preserved until the day after uploading of the sheath. There are three methods which are practiced depending on the approval of the family. All services are led by a member of the Temple of Freja, or through a special request a Sihian religious member.
- The Burning: The body is placed on a ceremonial pyre, where the body is burned in public view. While the friends and loved ones of the deceased gather around the site, for a celebration of life, complete with a large feast. The ashes are then collected and placed in the holy site on The Leviathan, known as `The Gates Of Valhalla`
- The Burning Ship: The Body is loaded into a special pod and launched into space where a dragon (sometimes the companion dragon if possible) torches the pod, and the ashes are dissipated into the ether.
- The Great Recycler: The body is brought to a facility where the body is broken down into base components and used to create fertilizers and other things used in farming.
The Mausoleum of the Soulless
Due to their sacrifice of their soul and sheath and their resulting inability to be uploaded into Avalon, the members of the Unsheathed Soul are honored instead by having their remains interred in the Mausoleum of the Soulless on the Island Sanctuary in the center of the Churning Sea on the Capstone of Sihi. The preparation of their bodies for this is handled by the same order of monks as usual, however, in place of the linen shroud, they are interred in full military dress.
The funeral service is led by members of the Sheathed and Unsheathed Souls in as private a manner as is possible for the interring of heroes in a national monument and the exact order of service is unique to each knight so honored.
Tomb of the Unknown Warrior
A more recent addition to the Mausoleum of the Soulless, the Tomb is a memorial to all those that could not be retrieved. It was pointed out, in the aftermath of the Crisis over Dachia, that those lost out on quests and battlefields where their Sheaths could not be retrieved were as equally lost from Avalon as any member of the Order of the Unsheathed Soul.
This marble sepulcher stands as an obelisk in the center of the Mausoleum, centered over the grave of a Man-at-Arms retrieved from the battle fought on the surface of Dachia. It is engraved with the following:
Beneath this stone rests the body Of a Sihian warrior Unknown by name or rank Brought from Dachia to lie among The most illustrious of the land And buried here on Dachia Day In the presence of The Castellan of Castle Sihi Their Council of Elders The Grandmasters of their Knights And a vast concourse of the station-world
Thus are commemorated the many Multitudes who during the Crisis Gave the most that Sentients can give life itself For the Lady For High King and country For loved ones, home and Sihi For the sacred cause of justice and The freedom of the sector
They buried him among knights because he Had done good on Dachia Both toward Avalon And toward his home