The Ritual Maidens are a group of Divinitian Demigods known across the world for their skill and religious devotion. They were formed in 1316 by Empress Sunniva in response to an outbreak of 'raw magic' in the Black Lake region of southern Divinice.
When they aren't cleansing regions affected by raw magic, they perform an important cultural duty, acting as priestesses and cultural leaders. They are so highly prized, in fact, that they rarely leave their home in Amanta without an escort from a military branch trained for that purpose.
To become a Ritual Maiden, a Divinitian Demigod must first graduate from the Divine Academy of Science (pending), as so must be at minimum 16 years old. The assignment from there is unclear, but is implied that only the most talented individuals are assigned to front-line positions and take leadership roles.
For most, Ritual Maiden seems to be the end of the road. However, it is possible for a Ritual Maiden to join the 'backbench' of the Council of Princesses, though by which process isn't known. It may be a case-by-case decision by council members. Once a member, they may eventually be elected to Princess and hold a portfolio on par with a democratic politician, and may even be elected Empress should the chips fall precisely.
For particularly prominent Ritual Maidens, such as Seora, one of the main benefits is a high level of cultural influence, being regularly sought out for her opinions and advice. For perhaps more rank and file members, a guaranteed benefit is the lodging in Amanta, where all their needs are taken care of so that they can focus on work and spirituality.
The primary purpose of ritual maidens is to cleanse regions of raw magic using their own Light Magic. Their secondary purpose is to take prominent roles in religious events, such as solstice celebrations, as well as being in any demigod-themed events.
By virtue of the high social standing all demigods enjoy in Divinice, ritual maidens are offered a high degree of respect by the human populace. There are rumours that those above them, such as the Council and the Empress, look down on them, but there is no evidence to this end.
Approximately half of demigods from Metropolitan Divinice are said to be Ritual Maidens, which places the overall population percentage at around 1%.
The Ritual Maidens were formed abruptly in 1316 after raw magic tainted a river source in Stolisia, with the river flowing into Black Lake on the Divinitian side of the border. At this time, their duty was solely to try and cleanse the raw magic menace using anything at their disposal.
Raw magic spread at other points in the border, and as the scale became apparent, the Ritual Maidens began to focus on control rather than complete removal. This mostly affected Black Lake and its neighbouring towns, who found themselves inside a loose quarantine zone and left to try and handle the problem themselves.
As the situation settled down in routine over the coming years, and as numbers were bolstered by graduates from the Academy, they began to adopt traits from previous groups of elite demigods throughout Divinitian history. Most obvious of these was a transition into a high religious role, reframing their work as divine duty against 'poison from Kysro', as it was sometimes said.
In recent years, many who are removed from the land border with Stolisia have forgotten about the issues with raw magic and view them solely as a religious and cultural institution, and they are heralded by many as the truest manifestation of Ylais' divine light.