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Re: OT: Corpses, etc. (was: Re: Gender in conlangs (was: Re: Umlauts (was Re: Elves and Ill Bethisad)))

From:Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>
Date:Thursday, November 6, 2003, 4:33
> > The Trehelish punish criminals by > > first executing them and then > > burying them so that their spirits are stranded > > in this world. > >Hm. Wouldn't that be sort of liberating? I mean, >is it better to be stuck here, where at least you >can torment the living, or be stuck nowhere >forever?
Not really. It is painful, or at the very least uncomfortable, for a spirit to be stuck in this world. There may not be any joy for them in the next world, but there is no pain, either. To strand a spirit in this world by refusing it cremation causes it to suffer.
>Daine would be horrified at the depression of >these beliefs!
Oh, it's horribly depressing. The Cwendaso and the Nidirino have no respect for Trehelish cosmology.
> > (And this is not incompatible with my other > > post where I said that the spirits of the > > dead are dangerous to the living, because the > > priests can perform special > > "bounding" rituals which will keep the ghosts > > within the bounds set on the > > graveyard.) > >Ah. But they can wander the graveyard, yes?
Yes, they can wander the graveyard, and the graveyard is full of ghosts, so the gravediggers need special protection before they can enter it and must be cleansed afterwards.
> > (You know, I started out > > with the Trehelish being my first conculture. > > They were the only one for a > > long time, and this about Death being their > > most powerful diety is > > something that I only came up with a few months > > ago. It really changes how > > I view them - they're really not as nice as > > they used to be -, > >I think it must be true that as we explore our >cultures deeper, they become less nice. It just >means they're taking a more real dimension. Just >like when you get serious with someone, you start >finding out that they burp or scratch at >inopportune moments and are not the perfect ideal >you placed on a pedestal at first!
Even my Cwendaso, who are by far the nicest of my concultures, are not perfect people. But they are gentler people than the Trehelish by far.
> > but it also explains some things about their > > culture that I've known about for a long > > time, such as the general level of brutality by > > our standards - and by > > Cwendaso standards.) Anyhow, yes, they do > > *that*, but nowadays they are > > generally confined it to doing it only twice a > > year in each temple, and > > they are no longer allowed to select victims by > > lottery. > >Bummer.
The priests difinitely think it's a bummer. The general population, on the other hand, is much happier without the lotteries.
> > Victims can now > > be obtained only from the Trehelish government > > from the ranks of condemned > > criminals; anything else is strictly illegal. > > Four hundred years ago, they > > were performing such sacrifices *much* more > > often, and the victims were > > never criminals. And even though Death is the > > most powereful deity in > > their pantheon, he is not the most worshipped > > one today. These days, his > > worship has been falling out of favor, and > > there is a small minority of > > Trehels who absolutely refuse to worship him. > >Hm. Never thou worry! He will have his own in the >End! ;)
There are Trehels who understand perfectly well that Death will take them in the end, but they still see no reason to worship him. They are a small minority, however.
> > They are very conservative in that > > department. And Tovlm instructs that the > > bodies of enemies are not to be > > allowed to be defiled. So...let the Cwendaso > > get into a minor war with the > > Trehelish...when the Cwendaso win a battle, > > they are *required* not to > > allow the bodies of their fallen enemies to > > become defiled. (They are > > allowed to despoil the bodies as long as they > > don't strip them.) So they > > stand guard over them, waiting for a party of > > Trehelish soldiers to come > > and claim the bodies and give them > > funerals...but the Trehelish don't know > > that they're expected to do that or that they > > would be allowed to. So when > > the Cwendaso can't stand the smell any longer, > > they bury the bodies. To > > them, this prevents them from becoming defiled, > > since the birds and beasts > > can't get at them underground. > >But what about worms and bugs and similar? Not to >mention a whole host of burrowing critters that >would consider such an all you can eat bonanza?
Hadn't thought of that...I guess they do the best that they can.
> > But we know how the Trehelish feel about > > burying bodies (or you do if you've read my > > other post on this thread > > today), and they became quite offended...Nasty > > mess. > >Yep. Daine warfare (inter se) is a highly >ritualised affair, and there are practically no >deaths. [Injuries, sure, but not much actual >death.] Any warriors that die in a battle would >be taken by their relatives or fellows to be >prepared.
The Cwendaso simply do not go to war against each other. They have othe ways of handling such tensions.
>War with Men is another matter, as they never >quite got the message. That is a bloody affair >and results in many deaths on all sides.
When they go to war against the Trehelish, everyone dies.
> > Anyhow, there is a sister people to the > > Cwendaso, and they probably still > > worship their ancestors. Who knows, they might > > be like your Daine as far > > as making musical instruments out of human > > bone. I know very little about > > them, other than that they have probably still > > not come out of the Sone Age. > >Oh? You'll have to work on them!...
I'll have to give it some thought. First I need to develop the Cwendaso more thoroughly.
>Now, the Men about dó practice Medicine as we >know it, and are extremely fond of dissections >and especially vivisections. [Of course, the >Christian religion prohibits abusing Persons in >this way, but in general do not consider Daine to >be persons. But that's another matter!]
Now, I wouldn't put it past Trehelish people not to abuse condemned criminals in that way. They might offer them the option of permitting themselves to be dissected, and they would be rewarded with a cremation instead of a burial. A lot of men would take them up on it.
>Medical science has long understood what we think >of as totally basic physiological and anatomical >concepts. They've long understood that blood >travels through veins and is moved by the heart >(they divvy up the circulatory system a little >differently, because they don't understand that >the blood is oxygenated, so don't understand our >concept of artery/vein); they know that the lungs >take in air and that stopping them up will cause >death (but don't understand why); they are aware >of the function of nerves; they are aware of the >extent and function of the gut, the kidneys and >the female reproductive system.
Most of these are things that the Trehelish know as well.
>This line of inquiry has led to a very advanced >surgical practice, considering the low technology >level. They don't know about microbes (I don't >think anyone's ever thought of reversing the >_telespeculon_ into a _parviopticon_),
The Trehelish make good glass, but they have no optics.
> but do >know that hand washing is dreadfully important.
I believe that the Trehelish understand this as well.
>They have some rudimentary understanding of >anaesthesia, presurgical preparation, >postoperative recovery, sterile technique and the >dreadful importance of haemostasis. They're not >afraid of going after bowel obstructions, >hernias, cataracts, and all the lump-n-bumps of >minor surgery. They're pretty handy in the >orthopaedics department as well, and have >experimented some with fixing complex fractures >with strips of metal; they even go into the brain >and eyes with little fear (though a >_parviopticon_ would be very handy for the >latter!).
They're a little more advanced than the Trehelish, but the Trehelish can do various types of surgery.
>On the other hand, internal medicince still >largely relies on a doctor pulling the handiest >bottle of green goo off the shelf, informing the >patient that This Will Work, and charging half a >crown for the service.
Now, the Trehelish have a very good understanding of herbal medicine and are always improving it. They even have a couple of antibiotics derived from herbs. > There may be things that
> > can be done to a corpse by the priests that > > will render it temporarily safe > > to handle. On the other hand, the Trehelish > > may have the Nidirino, a > > people whom they subjugated and who are now > > partially integrated into > > Trehelish society and culture, to thank for > > medical advances. > >Some of those would be...?
Advances in surgical technique, mainly. Isidora who needs to fall into bed before she falls onto the floor


Costentin Cornomorus <elemtilas@...>
Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>