The Towers of Silence are built atop hills or low mountains in desert locations distant from population centers or oasis. There are a few in other in forest areas as the Aviansis Kepts ranged beyond their normal borders.
The Kepts (tribes) of Aviansis consider the dead body to be unclean. Their religion prohibits allowing corpses to pollute the pure elements of earth and fire and water and air. Corpses are therefore placed atop the for their flesh to be consumed by Ravens and occasionally Vultures. Once the bones have been bleached by the sun and wind, they are thrown into the ossuary pit at the center of the tower.
The Towers are squat round buildings surrounded by tiny gardens of desert plants, and may only be entered by the Quiet People -a special class of Aviansis bearing the symbol of Merideth. These towers are open to the sky. The roofs have perches for the birds to rest. The bodies are arranged inside the towers in three steps: men around the outside top most ring, women in the second middle ring, and children in the innermost bottom ring. In the center is the ossuary pit.
Of course some people seach ossuary pits for bits of jewelry and such. A pity most have poisonous snakes in them - kept alive by the Quiet Ones in the area.
Some tower have pillars on their roofs. It is there blessed companion birds that died without their companions are lifted to the sky for one more flight.
Note: The Quiet Ones are a small group of people who have been touched by the spirit or their bloodline has been. These people (actually everyone) are prohibited from speaking inside the towers. Outside the towers they still quiet, to avoid bring 'spiritual attention' to themselves.. as they have the ability to be heard by the spirits (and hearing them as well). At best, they will speak only in whispers.
These towers are actually spread all througout the lands as Aviantix had quite the confederation of cities (think Rome). Many are in ruins as the time of the Aviontix was long, long ago. A suprising number are still in good shape, being built by the Aviontix master craftsmen. In fact, many cities are proud to have them in their walls (or near by), as it shows that this is an important city since antiquity. This is not true, as these were built away from places where people were living at the time. Cities have either grown up and around them OR new cities have been built here. A few Silent Towers are still in use as final resting places, as older families continue following family traditions. Far from Aviansis, these are often called Soul Towers.
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? Responses (7)
A solid writeup of the towers of silence found in parts of the Middle East. A curious detail that I've encountered about these is that in some areas, the vultures that they need to consume the bodies are becoming rare, causing the bodies to sit unconsumed. They are trying to encourage more of the birds to settle in the areas of the towers. Even worse, some of the medicines used in the regions are toxic to the birds.
A colourfly minor location for an interesting encounter - what if there is someone hiding here, or the characters need to speak one of the 'Quiet People'? Would they stay quiet, when old superstitions command them to do so?
A nice brush-up for the Middle Eastern counterparts, and indeed there is a problem as the vultures are now becoming more rare due to contaminants in the boides they consume, be it livestock or human.
Great idea for a small encounter. There are some minor typo's but other than that, nice job...
Nice quick write-up giving enough to use and plenty to work with.