Sickles, scythes, and other bladed implements, used in farming (read: reaping and harvesting), are often shown to be tools of the trade for the grim reaper, or the harvester of souls, as it were. The sickle, as a farming implement, has been around for tens of thousands of years. The scythe has been around for several thousand, its use popularized by a people called the Scythians. Oh history, you funny, funny person, you.

The scythe was an awesome tool that let people harvest their grain standing up, rather than bent over, leaving them to throw out their backs in other, more creative fashions. The cradle is like five scythes together, making a wicked-looking claw thing. They didn’t come about until the 1800s or so, making them a little late to the party for most mythology, but there’s no telling whether someone might’ve thought of or implemented something similar to the cradle before then. They’re awesome, by the way. Type “grain cradle” into Google image search and check it out. :D

Honestly, I’m still trying to piece together various bits of lore regarding death and the harvest. The harvest, fertility, death, and rebirth are hard to separate when it comes to ancient cultures and religions, since they are all part of that good old-fashioned circle of life. Where a death mage falls in the cycle is a good question for another article. Does a death mage have a hand in fertility and rebirth, or is she relegated to death?