Funeral Street

Funeral street is the name given to the row of temples and churches that runs along the length of Kheol. It is called that because of the preponderance of places dedicated to gods of death and the afterlife, and because the denizens of the city tend not to be particularly religious, outside of funerary practices. Funerals in Kheol are a common sight, which are afforded respect and right of way, as well as a standard toast raised by any drinking in sight of such a procession.

Any god can have a temple in Kheol, as the Underworld welcomes all mortals eventually, regardless of belief. But it is common knowledge that the Yamas care greatly for the undead and demand they be treated as equals to mortals, and so priests of gods which are particularly antithetical to undeath are warned ahead of time by their peers: the Yamas do not brook the turning or banishment of undead, and take such actions very seriously.

On the other hand, gods which favor the creation of undead are sometimes less welcome in the city, for their understanding of the purpose of creating such creatures is sometimes at odds with that of the Yamas. Neither do the rulers of Kheol brook the mistreatment of the undead, so those priests inclined to create undead with reckless abandon do not last long in the City of Masks.

Ironically, gods of life and nature are quite popular in Kheol, as many of the mortals living there feel the occasional urge to reconnect with the world of the living, even if only in the form of the occasional sermon or rite. The same can be said of some of the undead denizens of the city, at least among those who remember being alive in the first place. Sanguineous Tehom is known to attend the occasional sermon at the Church of the Blessed Oak, though he has never been seen to speak to anyone while there.

The street itself is a jumble of small buildings in mismatched styles, some built behind, atop or below others. There are several “blocks” of temples and churches separated by cemeteries or charnel grounds, which over time have developed distinct characters. There are, for example, the Block of the Living and the Block of the Dead, sections devoted to gods of life and death, respectively, which are separated by a large, orderly cemetery maintained by priests of the goddess Sadovnika.

This development of blocks of related temples has helped to keep down animosities between different priesthoods, but even among, say, thirty gods of death, it’s possible for disagreements to grow heated. Such disagreements are usually ignored unless they disrupt life in the city, such as when priests of the death gods Ferri and Maski fell into a shouting match about which direction tombstones should face. The argument lasted three straight days, before a Yama appeared and rendered everyone involved mute. The churches now continue their argument – and their sermons – entirely in writing to this day.

Artwork:”Funeral Ceremony” by Émile Bayard, from Primitive man, by Louis Figuier, 1876.


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