The Black Piper is a Maraish folk story, and sometimes a god, that is often misinterpreted by outsiders as a form of death-worship. While the Piper is a god of death, it’s not the macabre black-magic that practitioners of his faith are accused of. The Black Piper is the shepherd of souls into the afterlife, “playing them out” in a manner of speaking. He appears as a black-clad Maraish man, with a painted skull or a painted skull mask that appears before the dying. He always takes requests and is said that he can play anything the dying ask him. His coming is marked by the sound of his piping.
There are stories associated with the Piper, usually about a local bard that escaped death by challenging the Piper to a contest and winning. It is not sure if the Piper is prone to accept these challenges or not, but it has resulted in the frequent use of the phrase “out piping the Piper” to refer to a particularly lucky individual who seems to cheat death. The legendary bard Elysian is said to have challenged the Piper and won on two separate occasions before requesting a duet as his last song.
Worship of the Black Piper usually takes the form of funeral proceedings, during which a band of clerics will play music at the death feast, and lead the gathered in Well May the World Go. Sometimes clerics of the piper will fill requests to administer the last rites to a dying individual or to throw what is called a “living wake” where the funeral feast is celebrated with the dying present. Cleric wear black kilts and painted skull masks in imitation of their god.