Peaceful cut

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The Peaceful Cut ceremony is performed by Praxian nomads whenever they slaughter a herd-beast, and most other animals. It shows due deference to the spirit of the animal and guides it on its way back to Mother Erithra. This allows the spirit to be reborn into another animal, and also prevents the spirit haunting the butcher.

The owner of the animal to be slaughtered (normally a woman) selects the animal from her herd. She approaches the animal and starts to sing a special song to it, to tell the animal what a good beast it is and all about the wonderful place it is going to. This song calms the animal and the woman leads it away to the waiting butcher. She will often give it a message for Mother Erithra just before she hands the animal over to the butcher.

Meanwhile, the butcher has selected the spot where the animal will be killed. This should be out of site of the rest of the herds (a gully is ideal) and preferably is somewhere devoid of plants. He has assembled the tools he needs: the hobble-strap, the razor, the hoe, and the axe [1]. He takes the animal from the woman at the point where the animal can no longer see the herd. At this point, the animal is considered dead by the woman and the rest of the clan.

The butcher takes the animal to the place of slaughter, singing a calming song. He hobbles the animal so that it cannot move and then chants to the animal to prepare it for its journey back to Mother Erithra [2]. When the time is right, the butcher says, 'The time has come for us to play our parts in the Covenant of Life and Death. We shall remember you in the wealth your body will give us. Return now to Erithra!' and slits the animal's throat with the razor [3]. The blood is allowed to spill to the ground, to provide the sustenance that will allow plants to grow in this spot in the future, to feed more animals.

After a few seconds [4], the animal is pushed onto its side and its neck placed over a bowl to collect the rest of the blood. As the blood drains away, the animal's spirit becomes concentrated in its tail. Once the bleeding has stopped, the butcher uses the hoe to dig a pit in the blood-soaked earth and cuts off its tail with a single stroke of the axe. The tail is buried with a prayer to speed the animal's spirit to Mother Erithra. Once this is done, the butchering of the carcass can start. The animal is rolled onto its back and the first cut is along its belly from neck to tail. The skin is layed out to form a mat on which the butchering takes place; this is to prevent anything going to waste.

[1] These tools of death are some of a Praxian man's most precious posessions. Good ones are passed down from father to son.

[2] Rules note: this singing counts as Ceremony time to increase the butcher's Craft: Butchery skill, at a rate of one minute per increment.

[3] Rules note: this is the casting of the Peaceful Cut spell.

[4] The longer the animal is allowed to bleed onto the ground, the better luck the tribe will have, but the less food is obtained from the animal. In times of extreme distress, all the animal's blood is allowed to drain away.