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"The dog-fox, released from its copper chain, sniffed, trotted to the bier, whined, hopped up, and curled itself by dy Sanda's side. It rested its muzzle over the deceased man's heart, and sighed deeply"
―At a funeral[src]

Sacred animals were used in funeral rites to indicate which god has taken up the deceased person's soul. The omen was 'the one tiny miracle the gods granted every person, no matter how humble, at their passing.'

Various animals were used, though generally the color of the animal reflects the color associated with the god they represented. In the main temple of Cargegoss for example, a blue jay was used for the Daughter, a great green bird for the Mother, a flame coloured dog-fox for the Son, a gray wolf for the Father, and white rats for the Bastard. Smaller temples used a more 'motley' selection of animals, and Cazaril once described an instance using five kittens with colored ribbons around their necks.

The ritual[]

The sacred animals were released one at a time and made a distinctive gesture to sign their respective god's interest or disinterest in the deceased person. They would become agitated if someone tried to push them to give a false response. For example, all the sacred animals at Dondo dy Jironal's funeral reacted negatively and refused to approach the body. When the the blue jay representing the Daughter was placed on the corpse's chest, the bird reacted by dropping a blob of guano and flying away. In the most extreme case, Fafa the ice bear nearly killed his handler when prevented from signifying that the Bastard had taken up a deceased man because the temple had accepted a bribe.

Roknari variant[]

The Roknari chose to place fish marked with dye in a tub and interpret the swimming patterns to identify which god had taken a person's soul. They avoided identifying the Bastard partly by not providing a fish for him - the tub held four fish; the rest of the way involved deliberate misinterpretation of the patterns.

Other uses of animals by the gods[]

In addition to their use in funeral rites, rats and crows were considered sacred to the Bastard and as such were used in death magic. Also, a crow was used to determine Cazaril's innocence when an accusation of rape was made.