By Felicity Kendris in Dark Ages
It is with humble heart that I offer this letter of direction. Be pleased to read and glean knowledge from it so that you may enhance your craft.
To begin, contrary to popular belief a priest's main role is not curing the mighty warrior of their ails, as they would have you believe. This is a serious misconception. A priest's most significant role is honoring the God or Goddess they have chosen. We shall touch upon this subject first, as it seems to be the most overlooked.
All right, you have been through the Temple of Veils. You walked in a peasant and after many twists and turns were spit out a priest. What now? Some would first ask, "so where do I hunt?" This is the wrong attitude. At this point you should begin to prepare for ascending. When you initially decide to become a priest, you will take you first set of vows. This is a private discussion between yourself, your guide and Glioca.
It is a very personal decision to undertake a life of service and one that should not be considered lightly, in time you will be offered the option to ascend to full priesthood, but before anything, you have to choose your fellowship. Your first step is to select the deity whom you shall serve. You do, necessarily, have eight choices. Each God/ess has two allies and two enemies. I could go on forever speculating the reasons why whom is who. Needless to say, it is known among the Gods why they have chosen whom they have and it is not my place to question such things. I shall touch on each God/ess briefly here so that you might know what you're getting into, so to speak. More information may be gathered by visiting one of their temples, but this is not a discussion on Gods, but on the work of their clergy.
It is best to select the God/ess with whom you most relate. The deity you select will generally have much to do with the followers you will be dealing with. For example, Fiosachd is known as the "Rogue King" and therefore, many of his followers are the rowdy sort. Being rogues, they are fond of sport and trickery, and I guarantee the one trying to calm them will make a fine target for their jokes. If you are unprepared to deal with this type of behavior it is best to choose someone else. Fiosachd's enemies are Deoch and Cail, His allies are Ceannlaider and Gramail.
Another loud bunch would be the fellows of the God Ceannlaider, he is the "Warrior's God" and so, of course, you will have quite the sampling of battle-ready practitioners. His temple is filled with spars and many battle cries. So the weak-willed would not be a good choice to lead this group. Ceannlaider's enemies are Glioca and Luathas, his allies are Fiosachd and Sgrios. Moving on, you won't find much boasting and all around fury at the temple of Cail.
Cail is the god of nature, and his followers tend to be the calm, meditative sort. Although they may get a bit lively when discussing the state of Temuair, they are generally good-natured. You'll see a lot of monks in this fellowship, and although they are warriors, they do have the quiet force of spirituality at their center. Cail's enemies are Fiosachd and Sgrios, his allies are Glioca and Luathas. Similar to this fellowship are the Gliocans.
Glioca is the Goddess of love and as the name implies, the biggest passion you'll find here, is love for one another. Although the masses may be filled with shouts of adoration and displays of affection, this can be a bit much for those with weak stomachs. Unless you possess her compassion and love for all, Glioca might not be your Goddess. Glioca's enemies are Ceannlaider and Gramail, Her allies are Deoch and Cail. If this fellowship is almost what you're looking for, but not quite, you might consider Deoch.
Deoch is the God of light, and like Danaan before Him, possesses a great love for Aislings and all manner of creativity. In this case, your masses should be quiet, but your announcement board will be filled with poetry and stories. One tall tale after another will fill your ears. If you aren't a fan of creative genius or not the type to sit through a hundred and fifty-stanza prose before your services, there may be a better choice. Deoch's allies are Sgrios and Glioca. Deoch's enemies are Luathas and Fiosachd.
Perhaps you would consider Gramail. Gramail is the God of law, and in that, his fellowship is generally quite orderly. The multitude of rules and regulations that govern his services and patrons could fill volumes. There are, of course, the written laws. These are not to be followed above and beyond the unwritten laws that you should be aware of. As opposed to the Priest-specific laws, not to be confused with the fellowship laws. You get the idea. Gramail's allies are Luathas and Fiosachd. Gramail's enemies are Glioca and Sgrios.
If however you have a memory like that, perhaps Luathas is your God. Luathas is the God of gnosis, or divine knowledge, if you will. His services are quite the staging grounds for rhetoric and philosophical discussions. The only time this bunch gets rowdy, is when they are arguing some divine point. Of course, if you do try and regulate these wonderful fellows, they will hand you a 15-page essay as to why, exactly, you are completely wrong and devoid of all common sense. Luathas' allies are Cail and Gramail. Luathas' enemies are Deoch and Ceannlaider.
Last but not least, we come to Sgrios. Sgrios is the God of death and destruction. His worshippers do tend to be the bitter and cynical sort. They are often quiet during masses, but this is generally because they are brooding or plotting the untimely and sudden demise of one or another Aislings. I suppose it is a good thing that the masses tend to be orderly and carried out with the swiftness and brevity of an execution because, honestly, would you argue with them? Sgrios' allies are Ceannlaider and Deoch. Sgrios' enemies are Gramail and Cail.
After you have selected a God/ess, you will want to get initiated into that fellowship. You can do this by speaking with the church attendant about fellowship. Once you become initiated you will gain all the rights any worshipper has, but not that of a priest just yet. It is my suggestion that you attend a mass or two and become familiar with their announcement board, because as they say, "When in Rucesion, do as the Rucesians do." This should give you a general feel on how things are going in the temple currently, i.e. Who hates Whom etc. Also any rules that may have been put in place by the fellowship. Also it will take a great deal of initial faith to ascend to full priest hood. Between the services and the board, note to yourself, names that are frequently cropping up and familiar faces. This will give you a "foot-in-the-door", so to speak.
After enough faith has been built up into your God of choosing, you will want to ascend to full priesthood by once again speaking with the church attendant about fellowship. Once you are a common sight in the church, you may request to perform any of many jobs priests can do.
The biggest job of a priest is to either lead or assist a mass. I would suggest assisting first, so you learn and become familiar with the ins and outs of the procedure. I could explain it over and over again, and I will, but there is nothing like seeing it first hand. Masses are an integral part of the priest business, and it is necessary to become an adept at throwing one on the slightest notice. Priests often schedule a mass and find themselves unable to follow through. This makes for a very unhappy fellowship and eventual disgrace on the priest involved. If you are unable to perform a scheduled mass, it is definitely worthwhile to find a suitable replacement.
In order to cast a proper mass, it is necessary to say a few words before hand. These have come to be known as "sermons". A lot of priests make the mistake of being overly long-winded. This causes restlessness amongst the fellows. Suddenly, summonings are appearing everywhere and they wonder what went wrong. The fact is they went wrong when they decided to preach half a moon on the terrible state of civics in their city. Your fellows are never there to hear a lecture, nor are they there to hear your personal views on politics. The fellows are there simply to worship the God of their choosing. No more, No less.
I find it best, personally, to spend about five minutes on current events and announcements and ten minutes in worship. If someone has something to add, have him or her say his or her piece or view at the end while you are casting your mass. Once cast; tell the fellows they may begin their worship. As far as what to say, pick one aspect of your God and discuss the possible meanings and implied and actual benefits of such a blessing.
It is best to have more than one mass per double-moon, as not all fellows will find the same time convenient, based on personal preference and the strange myth of correct "time zones". Additionally, each God has two allies and they may select to attend all available masses. It is difficult to tell how many of these zealots you have in your temple at any one time, so it is best to arrange your times to allow for every fellow to attend all the masses available on that particular day. Although this may make things difficult, every fellowship is only as strong as its weakest fellow, so do what you can to appease the "masses", if you will.
Afterwards, if your speech was good you'll get some praise and a lot of initiation requests. It is rather unlikely that you will have the faith to grant their impulsive requests. But what can you do if you were a born leader? I find it helpful to have an assistant just for this purpose. Quickly announce that all requests for initiation and consecrations should be directed to Brother or Sister <Insert-name-here>. Sometimes this can get a little much for one priest to handle and you might want to add a third. I find that most successful fellowships have a team of priests serving the needs of their fellows, their particular roles changing per mass.
Initiations should be performed with the God you follow in the forefront of your mind. Would this follower be an asset to your fellowship? Are they aware of the ramifications of being a member? Are they fully versed in all your God represents? You should be sure that the individual lacks any qualities of a heretic and is serious in this endeavor before allowing them membership to your church. There are many other temples and zounds of other priests who could care less. Don't be one of them. Every fellow you initiate will honor you or disgrace you. Never initiate a worshipper you would be ashamed of.
As far as consecrations go, it does take faith to perform such a task. Often a priest will ask for an item consecrated to one of the two enemies of that fellowship. This, in itself, is a reasonable request The desecration of that item will allow them the faith necessary to perform the consecration. However, there is only one desecration possible per day, so for the priest to run out of faith is not wholly impossible. In this case, hopefully there is another priest available to take over. If not, note the names of the fellows you missed and promise your services as soon as possible and, above all, adhere to your word.
You can only consecrate certain articles of clothing; boots, greaves, rings, guantlets, bracers and earrings. Also not all articles in one of those particular categories can be consecrated. The item must be "plain" and also non-perishable. Wearing a blessed item grants the posessor a particular "bonus". Glioca items grant more wisdom. Deoch items grant extra regeneration. Sgrios items are more durable and do not break as quickly. Ceannlaider items grant more strength. Fiosachd items grant more dexterity. Gramail items grant added magic resistance. Luathas items grant more intellegence. Cail items grant more constitution.
Possibly the life-blood of the priest is prayer. Prayers have various benefits depending on the God you choose, but one things stands the same regardless of the faith. It is necessary for a priest to frequently give thanks for all the benefits he or she has received. This goes beyond any miracle. Often, I have knelt and gave thanks for the fellows of my church supporting each other and for all the trust and faith they place in me. I give thanks for all the friends I have made. I give thanks that Temuair is still here and for my church. Always remember that regardless of how exalted you may seem, without your fellows, you are nothing.
Another task priests are often called upon to perform is miracles, which is done through your prayers. This, like anything else, requires faith. Miracles are different depending on the God that is granting them, but most are beneficial in one way or another. When casting miracles, you have two options, that of supplication and of entreatment. When you are supplicating, you are using the minimum amount of faith to perform the miracle. The results may not be as grandiose as that of an entreatment, but your faith will not be tested as hard. If you are in doubt as to how much faith you have at the moment, this may be your option. In the case of entreatments, you are pushing your faith to show grand results. The effects will be marvelous, but your faith will be depleted to a much greater degree as well. In any case, you may use an assistant to help you in your work.
Getting back to fellows, sometimes it is a necessary evil to say good bye to one of your fellows. Perhaps they have wronged another in such a way that it is unforgivable. They may begin to lack the qualities necessary to properly worship your God. They may be so disruptive in masses that it's a pain to even have them attend. In this case, you have two options. If you think that this may be an isolated incident, that for some reason, today, they aren't in the correct frame of mind to be here. After a warning or two or ten, you may ask them to leave. If they choose to deny your request, you may oust them. This is done with banishment.
Banishment will remove them from your deity's house of worship for about 8 days. They may learn their lesson and return with apologies. However, they may also return with a vengeance. They may vow to disrupt everything you attempt for the remainder of their days. In this case, you have the option of excommunicating that fellow. This option is only available for fellows of your faith and won't remove allied worshippers. So it's best to know your fellows by name and face as much as possible.
As I have stated previously, each God has two allied Gods; In the case of one of your worshippers growing fond of one of these allies he or she may elect to "shift" their faith from yours to theirs. They will need your help as a priest to make such a move. It is best to speak with them before hand so you know why they have decided to do this and which God they have moved closer to in their heart. If you have a policy that this information is private and personal, you need only ask which faith they would rather join and grant the simple request.
What if it's not an allied God they wish to join? Sometimes this does happen and in this instance they must forsake the God they once loved, you may do this by removing them from your list of worshippers. It is a rather solemn occasion when this must be done. You need only speak to your attendant and ask them to remove the name. This allows for the gossip surrounding such an event to reflect that the person chose to leave and was not kicked out for some wrongdoing on their part. You might tell the person leaving that they will need to take some time alone before joining another fellowship, the rule is a double-moon. This is so they may clear their thoughts and regroup.
Excommunication permanently removes them from your faith. It is the will of your God, through your hands, removing those unworthy from their sight. This will not, however, remove them from your space. This requires much thought. If they immediately return to your service, it is best to immediately banish them and hope they forget about you. It is rather unlikely that they will, so this option is best used with caution. In the case of the thorn in your side being an allied worshipper, it might do some good to speak with the head of their church on their actions. This is why we attempt good relations with our allied churches.
While many Aislings might view all of this as a most fulfilling lifestyle. There are, unfortunately, those who would find it a chore. Another, older Aisling, may grow tired of the constant demands of the ever increasing number of the devout. Perhaps the God/ess you have chosen for one reason or another ceases to inspire you and you find it a better option to seek out a new faith. Whatever your reason, you have a choice to leave your fellowship for newer horizons.
An ascended priest, or one who has taken the full vows of their priesthood, may give their position to another willing faithful priest. This is called abdication. This will relieve you of the awful task of having to ask one of your brothers or sisters in the priesthood to throw you out on your ear, so to speak, through excommunication.
What of the good fellows that never disrupt you and are a pleasure to have at mass? Those rare individuals who go out of their way to help others and yourself? There is a reward system in place for darlings such as this. The geas is a special blessing available only to priests. It imbues the recipient with insight and knowledge beyond what they have gathered themselves. There is a minor geas and a major geas. They should be given sparingly, as knowledge is best achieved with experience. Often, priests send their fellows out on quests for items with the promise of such a reward. This is generally a good way to handle it.
In my deochs as a priestess, often a fellow such as a monk or a rogue will desire to do more for their church. I will select a quest in accordance with their knowledge and skill and send them off with every blessing available. They will return many days later with several desecration items in hand, weary of body and war torn. I take the heavy items from their weak grip and heal them and then quickly bestow on them their gift. The light in their eyes and the smile beaming from their swollen and bleeding lips makes my job such a pleasure.
Prayers may also be available remotely with use of your prayer necklace. You will be given this token at your acceptance of your God and their subsequent acceptance of you. In order to use this item, you must first cast your prayer. Then remove the necklace and place it at your feet to indicate your scared space. Lift it from the ground, and pray as necessary. It is a good idea to pick your necklace up quickly as there are those about with less than honorable intentions and they might steal it from directly beneath your nose, or feet, if you prefer.
Sometimes a younger warrior in the midst of battle will see you
and shout, "Heal!" This is most disrespectful of your
craft and training. It is your choice to either grant or deny
their request, I usually follow their, "Heal!" with my
own, "Ask!" But it's really a personal preference. We,
as priests, are given a multitude of psalms to make the lives of
other Aislings easier. Here are some, but not all, that will be
available to you:
|IOC: This is your most useful spell. It is that which will restore life to a wounded aisling.|
|ARMACHD: This will enchant the target aisling with aprotection that will lower their armor class, allowing them to receive less damage.|
|BEANNAICH: This will give swiftness to the target aisling.The aisling will be able to hit more often than normal.|
|FAS DEIREAS: This will give a harder hit to the targetaisling making them damage a creature more.|
|CRADH: This will curse a creture and cause it to lowerits guard to anyone attacking it.|
|AO CRADH: This will cure the curse and restore normal state.|
|BEOTHAICHDEUM: Using this spell will cast a circle callingupon the sacred ground of the fae so that a priest might mix faerie liquor.|
Some of these spells come with different strengths or usage. By using the old tongue you can determine how strong a spell is. Beag means little. Mor means greater. Ard means grand. For instance, the spell "cradh" comes in four different flavors; beag cradh, cradh, mor cradh and ard cradh. Each having varying degrees of power. Most higher versions of spells require a weaker one to be practiced thoroughly before obtaining it.
There are many more spells that a priest can get. These are but a few that, as a young priest, will be available to you. It is best to simply take some time and walk around to all the trainers yourself and see what they have to offer.
Some trainers will actually teach skills to priests. Although we do not get many of them, the ones we do get are most useful in everday endeavours. The most useful is PERISH LORE. This will allow you to identify any object to it's true name and also tell you that if, forbidding, one perishes while holding it, it will go to Sgrios's realm too. There are several other lores that may be obtained, but they only work on specific types of objects. Priests may learn HERBALISM, which will allow you to pick some of the flowers around you and mix them with wine or even wax to create useful items. There are more skills to be learned than this, it would be good for you to walk around and find them out on your own.
Much of the old tongue that
is commonly used can be learned from a few mundanes. Research can
be done with these mundanes on GRAYMAYRE and ENTREATIES in
Mileth. Also, some priests elect to carry around with them
lectures that the mundanes teach so that a new priest does not
have to walk to the mundanes, but can learn it directly from
Dear reader, I do hope my writing has been of use to you in your search for knowledge. Be aware this is merely the view of one priestess, and others may see things differently. I do wish you the blessings of Fiosachd, or "Good Luck" in your continued study.