The Tree of Faces
There is a network of sacred groves in the Sildaryn forest; central to each grove is a great many branched tree from which are hung masks constructed from a variety of materials. When a hinta of Sildaryn passes through the grove during their annual migrations they add additional masks. These represent the Sildaryn from that hinta whom were lost during the previous year. Damaging the masks, or injuring the tree is a terrible crime to the Sildaryn.
With the annual pattern of migration there are always a few Sildaryn who are unable to travel. Such individuals will be left at this grove in the care of a few permenant resident dalfyn, whom tend to the grove year round. They provide palliative care for ailing Sildaryn whom remain in the grove in addition to their regular duties.
“I am old for any Sildaryn. Many do not see more than seventy summers. Most Dalfyn that are unable to continue the cycles will chose to remain at the groves to pass on their wisdom in their final years. The primary reason for my considering remaining at the grove at all is my health. I am getting old, and may not do well for another circuit of migration. Better to stay at the grove where I may be of service, and less of a burden. It is not retirement, I will remain a Dalfyn.” – Talir Sinto, Dalfyn of the Sun Piper Hinta.
Redditor /u/jsgunn shared this inspired comment (which still gives me shivers to read):
I can imagine a family traveling though, perhaps hanging a new mask and the father taking one of the older children to see the masks of the ancestors. “This is your great grandfather, who watches from the trees. He was a Bowyer, and loved the ash trees. This is his father, who watches from the trees. He was a proud warrior and fell in battle against a mighty foe. This is his father, who watches from the trees. He picked flowers for his wife every day and was known to be fiercely loyal. This is his mother, who watches from the trees. She was a medicine woman and loved peace, it was her words that stilled the anger between our tribe and the Thanna. There are others for you to meet, my son, but their faces are at another tree.”