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. - Curse of ChalionSacred animals are 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 are used, though generally the color of the animal reflects the color associated with the god they represent. In the main temple of Cargegoss for example, a blue jay is 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 use a more 'motley' selection of animals, and Cazaril remembers an instance using five kittens with colored ribbons around their necks. The Roknari use four fish marked with dye, and interpret the swimming patterns.
The sacred animals are released one at a time and make a distinctive gesture to sign their respective god's interest or disinterest in the deceased person. They become agitated if someone tries to push them to give a false response. For example, all the sacred animals at Dondo dy Jironal's funeral react negatively and refuse to approach the body. When the the blue jay representing the Daughter is placed on the corpse's chest, the bird reacts by dropping a blob of guano and flying away. In the most extreme case, Fafa the ice bear nearly kills his handler when prevented from signifying that the Bastard has taken up a deceased man because the temple had accepted a bribe.
In addition to their use in funeral rites, rats and crows are considered sacred to the Bastard and as such are used in death magic. Also, a crow is used to determine Cazaril's innocence when an accusation of rape is made.