"I'm not putting on makeup and dressing in three layers to go up there and listen to that noise. The whole process is rigged anyway."
OverviewThe Nam-En is the high priest of whichever religion currently dominates a nation of Adin. This is a prefix title attached to the God the priest serves, that precedes their given name (e.g. Nam-En Ninurta Steve.) The Sherdasans no longer revere the Gods in the same way as the Adinites, and do not support this title in their lands. The people of the Five Nations are free to worship any combination of Gods, regardless of the controlling religion. A change in the Nam-En does not mean a change in individual worship, but rather a cultural shift in the nation's policies. If a nation is plagued with food shortages and drought, a Nam-En of Enbilulu, God of Rivers, Canals, and Agriculture, might best be suited to guide the Lugal and the nation's people to correct their course. A Nam-En serves until death, or until the immortal Lugal of the Nation renounces the Nam-En to address the needs of the people. The Lugal may do this at any time, but it is never done without cause. A Nam-En that has been removed from their station is able to nominate themselves as a candidate for their own replacement. Renouncing of a Nam-En is rare, usually limited to cases of corruption or incompetence. A religion gains much by being the national sect, with a natural uptick in worshippers and tithes. The En (priests) will do their best to work with a Nam-En that is doing poorly, potentially hiding their misdeeds while they try to stay in power. If a Nam-En becomes too inconvenient for the religion to support, they will look within their ranks to find a replacement candidate before reporting the Nam-En to the Lugal themselves. While this runs the risk of losing the seat of Nam-En to another religion, it has proven successful on many occasions. Removing their own Nam-En by recommendation to the Lugal allows the En to argue that their religion is still the proper choice for the nation, just under new leadership.
The Guiding Light FestivalWhen the position of Nam-En is vacant, the En of every religion that thinks they should be in charge begin to choose a candidate, including the religion that previously held the title. On the 61st day of the current month, already a Holy Day, the En and citizens from all over the nation congregate in the capitol city and a six-day festival occurs. Between the entertainment and the vendor stands, the candidates and other pious En attempt to sway the minds of the people to their beliefs. They listen to the concerns of the citizens, and hold public debates between different candidates. They also host elaborate feasts in the temples, and bribe the people with gifts and blessings. Some candidates will choose to step aside and instead support another, if they believe the other religion will better guide the nation forward. They may also simply forfeit and not support another religion, though this is less common. Outside of this competitive process, there is no real animosity between the religions, and usually the needs of the nation are obvious enough that a candidate stands out as a clear choice.
Choosing the Path ForwardAt the end of the festival, the remaining candidates assemble outside the temple of the preceding Nam-En. As the names are called out, the throng of citizens gathered around them shouts out their approval. If more than one garner an overwhelming response, the less popular candidates are removed from the group and another round is called until there is a clear winner. If this process does not reach a definitive conclusion, the festival is extended for another three days, with only the remaining candidates vying for the love of the people. On the third day, the Lugal appears with great ceremony and brings the candidates together again. The people again voice their approval of the final En, and if it is still too close to determine, the Lugal will give a short speech on the needs of the nation and make the final decision. The new Nam-En will then relocate to the capitol, if they didn't already reside there, and provide the Lugal directly with insight and guidance. They also guide their En as a spiritual leader, embodying the virtues of the God they serve.
I love the opening quote! This whole process seems remarkably open about the politics and bribes and usually underhanded dealings of the whole thing. I'd be curious to learn a little more about some of the past holders of the position.