Death is a common enough occurance, and it happens all over the world. However, because Crossroads in Time is set predominantly in Corus, we shall, for the most part, cover what happens in Corus.
Causes of Death
Just to give you some ideas of what might happen in Corus.
- Dying of old age. Oldest story in the book
- Murdered. Happens. Why, up to you. Perhaps for money, or to avenge a wrong. Or maybe someone was drunk and flung a meat cleaver. Who knows.
- Accident. Falling and breaking your neck. Working with tools and slicing yourself, bleeding to death. Perhaps barrels of wine were improperly stacked, and they fell down and crushed you. Read 'freak accident.' Or, perhaps, they got thrown from a horse. People in this time don't exactly were helmets.
- Sickness/Illness. This is only too common. If people live in impoverished states, don't get enough nutrition, or contract a deadly illness (such as the sleeping sickness), if they don't get medical attention, they die. And when you're living in an impoverished state, often, you can't afford a healer.
- Starvation/deprivation of water. Pretty self-explanatory.
- Over-use of Magic. If a mage uses up too much of their magic, they may begin to draw on their life force, and end up killing themselves.
- Battle. The war is over, yes, but bandits and marauders still require attention, and people such as the Queen's Riders or the King's Own can easily expire while fighting.
- Execution. If someone has committed a crime, they can get sent to Execution Hill (also known as Gallows Hill) to be beheaded or hanged. If someone is sent to work in the mines, that's as much a death sentence as being hung.
- Suicide. Y'know, killing yourself on purpose. Known as "the Black God's Option."
Deities of Death
The Great God associated with death and the dead is the Black God. When someone dies, those left behind in the Mortal Realm ask the Black God to accept the person into his fold, or they wish for safe passage to the Peaceful Realms, the domain of the Black God and the place where the souls of the dead go for their final rest.
- One of the servants of the Black God is pigeons. They are the winged messengers that bear the souls of the dead from the Mortal Realm and to the Peaceful Realm. However, if a soul was murdered, they are unable to pass to the Peaceful Realm until their unfinished business is taken care of.
Associated with death is the Graveyard Hag, who is both the patron goddess of Carthak and the daughter of the Black God. She's more a trickster than anything, but one of her abilities is to raise the dead; she is the Necromancer.
Burial of the Body
In Corus, the Black God's priests oversee the burials of the deceased. For common folk, the dead are buried in the City Graveyard that is located on the outskirts of the Temple District, near the Black God's temple. It doesn't cost anything to bury someone, but if you wish to have a headstone for the grave, you must pay a hefty lump sum. Otherwise, the grave is marked with a rock.
In some cases, the body is not buried, but cremated, and the ashes spread in the wind.
In Tortall, the colors for mourning are black, lavender, and gray.