On Proper Behavior at Mass
by Kerani in Dark Ages
To begin with, I find it almost incredible that this essay even has to be written. Religious masses have been conducted since the eight gods first showed themselves in Temuair, and I myself have been attending masses since the Atavism Age, when I could count my fellow worshippers on my fingers. Yet there are still some who apparently have no idea how to conduct themselves at these gatherings. Still, there are always the newcomers, as well as those who just donít seem to understand unless itís spelled out for them. This treatise is written in the hope that Aislings will learn and follow the guidelines I propose.
It is to be assumed that all the principles set forth here apply at all times, to every Aisling. However, certain exceptions can be made. Before the mass actually begins, some moving about and chattering is expected. This is fine, but when the presiding priest indicates that he or she is ready to begin, everyone should find their seats and remain in them, and all spell-casting, skill-using, and talking should cease. This is when the rules should begin to be enforced.
Here, I will list and explain the common regulations that should be assumed to be in effect while the mass is in progress.
+Respect the priest. This means NO TALKING while the priest is giving the sermon. Ever. ((Even OOC.)) If you have something to say to another person, WHISPER. Even if there is someone disrupting the massóor rather, especially if there is someone disrupting the mass. The only exception to this is if you have been expressly permitted to speak. This permission should be obtained either by speaking to the presiding priest before mass begins, or by raising your hand. Also, under no circumstances should you harass the presiding priest in any way. Deoch knows they go through enough hardships without having their sermons interrupted by someone attacking them, either physically or verbally.
+Respect other Aislings. This means you should never attack anyone else in any way, be it with prayers, spells, weapons, or words. Even if someone is openly insulting you, donít respond. Doing so only causes more trouble. Also, itís considered good manners to ask someone to join you in prayer before just announcing that theyíre doing it.
+Do not fidget. I suppose "fidget" is a rather tame term for what I mean here. There should be absolutely no spell-casting or skill-using of any sort during the mass. The place to practice mor srad is on the battlefield, not in the temple. The only spells permitted are prayers, and even then, the only thing you should be doing is either giving thanks or praising the priest. Anything else that involves using faith is to be avoided.
+Be patient. Donít shout things like "When is mass going to start?" or "Could you please hurry up? I have to go." If you canít sit through the sermon, you donít deserve the reward at the end. Itís as simple as that. Remember, this is a religion. That implies that you were committed to it when you joined, and everything that goes with it. If you find the sermon boring or too long, donít say anything. Just take a nap; itís much more pleasant for everyone involved, and not nearly as disrespectful under the circumstances.
+Be cooperative. If someone asks you to move, then move. If someone asks you to be quiet, then be quiet. If for some reason you are unable to do this, simply explain your situation to the person addressing you calmly and patientlyóand again, in a whisper, even if they didnít use one.
+Do not advertise. This means you should never, ever, try to sell or buy anything at a mass. Not even in whispers. This is a temple, not a marketplace. If you absolutely have to get rid of those greaves, do it when the mass is over.
+A temple during a mass is incredibly attractive to what are known as the Lagorah Dubhaimid, or the Lag Demons. Wherever Aislings gather in force, the Lag Demons can often be found as well, and a mass is the perfect source of life energy they seem to need. Thus, attacks are to be expected. Should you be the victim of an attack by these horrid creatures, don't make it worse. Just stay calm and quiet, and try not to move. Shouting about the attack does NOT help. All it does is further anger the Lag Demons, often causing them to attack surrounding Aislings as well.
+Because of the onslaught of the Lagorah Dubhaimid, tempers often run rather high while everyone is dashing around in an effort to receive their godís favor. For this reason, it is imperative that you remain respectful to everyone. NEVER shout at someone to move. You have a perfectly good set of legs; walk around them, or simply wait. Chances are, they are under an attack by the Lag Demons, and are unable to comply. If they do not move, NEVER (and I cannot stress this enough) push them. Not only is it rude in the extreme, but it is also an abuse of an ability meant either for law enforcement or for simple, harmless wrestling.
+The Lagorah Dubhaimid will begin to disperse as the Aislings do. For the sake of your fellow Aisling, leave the area as soon as you have received your blessing, unless you have business with the priest.
+Not even the priests are spared by the Lag Demons. If you ask them a favor (again, whisper) and they do not respond, be patient. Most priests operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. So if you have a question or a favor to ask of the priest and theyíre in the middle of dealing with someone else, be courteous and wait your turn.
It is my opinion that the priests presiding over a mass are entitled to be strict. After all, from everything Iíve seen, I draw the conclusion that priests get the most dumped on their backs. They can barely defend themselves in battle, yet are in constant demand to defend others while being attacked by creatures who know that priests are easy pickings compared to the heavily-armored warriors; then, when their companions ignore their pleas for a rest, they get blamed for letting those companions die. To top it off, they must put up with blathering idiots and violent maniacs at their masses. Frankly, I am greatly impressed by the patience exhibited by many priests. After all, patience never was one of my strong points. However, thereís a point where patience is not enough, and some steps must be taken. But priests are Aislings just like everyone else, and theyíre not exempt from the rules either.
+I believe that at a mass, the officiating priest should act, and be treated, much like a guard. Unruly Aislings are entitled to two warnings before they are banished from the temple. No more, no less.
+When administering these warnings, try to distinguish between a disruptive comment and one that contributes to the sermon. Granted, this all depends on the sermon and the god. I follow Deoch, and of late, our sermons have been fairly loose, allowing Aislings to speak their minds if they have something valid to add. I can see a mass of, say, Gramail or Luathas being more controlled. However, thatís entirely up to the priest in charge. My point (and I do have one) is that Aislings shouldnít be banished from a mass simply for voicing an opinion (although voicing an opinion about another Aisling could be grounds for punishment, depending on the context).
+Treat all Aislings equally. No Aisling, be it 45th-insight monk or 4th-insight peasant, is exempt from the rules, or more or less worthy of respect, provided they have proven that they deserve it. It makes no difference whether the Aisling standing in the corner and repeatedly entreating the god through the shrine attendant to cast a destruction ritual is your best friend; he or she is still disturbing the mass, and should be warned or punished accordingly.
+All Aislings are welcome at mass. I know this sounds like just a repetition of the previous point, but here I am referring to religion. Nobody should be forbidden to enter a temple because they worship a rival god, unless they do something to prove otherwise. For these purposes, everyone is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
In closing, I would like to add that all masses are conducted differently, and every priest has his or her own methods. It is my sincere hope that those methods are chosen with the best interests of everyone involved in mind. It is also my hope that all those who worship any of the gods of Temuair will find this document, buried as I am sure it will be somewhere between Benticís Bestiary and Raevenís "On Guards and Guard Duty", read it, and learn from it. I look forward to spending many an insightful mass with all of you!
"In the Eyes of the Phoenix"
Devout worshipper of Deoch, the Flamelord