Priesthood of the Gods
The Temple of the Great Gods, located in Algoma, oversees the training of priests for the various temples throughout Ayrith. It is headed by a council of senior priests who collectively make all decisions related to the governing of the temples.
Innitiates must pass a test of faith before being allowed to join the temple. The details of this test are never spoken of, even among the priests and innitiates. Once an initiate is permitted to enter the temple, they spend five years studying the teachings and deeds of all the gods. At the end of their five years, intitiates choose which god they will devote their lives to, and go on to study the ways of only that god for the rest of their lives. They are able to choose from numerous temples across Ayrith dedicated to their god, and join the priesthood there. All such temples have a heirarchy based upon seniority.
Priesthood culture is strongly community-based, both within the temple's priesthood and in their interactions with the faithful. All temples do much charitable work, often opening hospitals, orphanages, and homes for the poor.
The priesthood seeks to encourage devotion to the gods and care among all citizens of the world of Ayrith.
Not even the governing council of priests know when the priesthood began. It is often claimed that it was begun by those who most closely followed the gods when they walked the lands during the First Era, but there is no written record of the priesthood's founding.
Mythology & Lore
It is commonly believed that the gods themselves walked the lands of Ayrith during the First Era, teaching humans how to use tools, create, speak, and farm. It is also believed that during this period the gods had children with humans, creating long-lived humans with powerful magical abilities. Over time, the ages of these magic-users became that of the usual human, but the magic remained. Various gods are considered the origin of different types of magic, explaining the diversity seen among those who have magic and why certain types of magic are more common in areas where certain gods were said to have walked.
The first priests of the gods were those closest to them and their children, especially after the gods left the lands of Ayrith to the care of the humans they had spent hundreds of years teaching. When the followers of these gods came together to form a cohesive pantheon from their gods and a formal system of worship is unknown, however.
It is believed that the world of Ayrith was created by the Great God and Goddess, who built it as a place for their children to play. It existed as rock and light, and with the magic of the Great Gods, it became populated with plants and animals, including humans. The children of the Great Gods were said to have walked various areas of Ayrith, building on what their parents had created. For full details, read the Myth of Creation.
Tenets of Faith
The gods walked the lands of Ayrith to teach humans how to be god-like, and so it is important to teach others how best to navigate the troubles of the world. Even the most troublesome of the gods have a lesson to teach, and those lessons must be preached to those most in need of them.
Though the exact details of how the various gods are worshipped differ based on the exact temple, most worship includes prayers and feasts held in the gods' honor. Many forms of worship also include rituals of various sorts, though human and animal sacrifice is not permitted.
Priests, regardless of gender, wear robes in colors that symbolize their chosen god. The style of robe may very slightly based on seniority, but the details vary by temple.
Political Influence & Intrigue
All world leaders are influenced in some way by their faith, regardless of which gods they identify most strongly with. All seek approval from local temples and often donate resources to them.
Each of the Gods of Ayrith have their own believers, with various sects serving even the most minor of the gods.
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