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Acolyte

Career

Qualifications

Book
Old Book by Anna Langova

Becoming an acolyte requires years of careful study and sacrifice. Not only must an acolyte be born with magical ability, but also pass through rigorous training and education. The first step in the journey in a newly chosen acolyte is to read each sacred text of all the gods. Then, the new acolyte must read the sacred texts of their god an additional seven times under the instruction of a different temple elder or high priest. The priest may ask them to review the texts additional times until they are each satisfied at the understanding. During this time, the acolyte is also taught one of the sacred magical arts of their god, decided by the acolyte's mentor.

The acolyte then reads each text in the inner sanctum of the temple in the audience of the god, the high priests they studied under, and a large portion of the temple's residents. This is the only time the inner sanctum is seen by anyone but the god and their acolyte. The acolyte then delivers a speech of intent to serve their god, which they write themselves. They then demonstrate their skills in their magical art to the temple's residents, the priests, and their god. The god can then either accept or decline this vow. If the vow is accepted, the acolyte's training continues. If it declines, the acolyte is removed from the temple.   It is now that the acolyte's training begins in earnest. The acolyte begins actually serving their god and their bond grows very quickly during this time. It is now that the god begins to think about their acolyte's Familiar, which is decided based on their acolyte's strengths, weaknesses, needs, and future. The Familiar is usually chosen to mitigate these weaknesses, but can sometimes be chosen to accentuate the acolyte's inherit strengths or to aid them in their specific future.   Finally, the acolyte continues to study their magical art until they can demonstrate mastery, as determined by the priests who oversaw the acolyte's initial training. Now, it is time for the final part of the acolyte's training. They must add to their temple's cross-stitched tapestry, a 16" x 60" section. This is done with the shaft of a Stymphalian Bird. The shaft itself is almost as hard as steel, and sharply barbed from where the vanes had attached. The acolyte must cross-stitch their section of the tapestry, dying their own thread from a selection of dyes, telling the story of the temple from the point of the previous acolyte's death. This generally takes two to four months, which is spent entirely in the inner sanctum. The acolyte's mentor is the only one allowed in the inner sanctum at this point to bring the acolyte anything they require. The acolyte, despite the painful nature of the task, is not allowed to speak. Once they are satisfied with their section of the tapestry, the god is invited into the inner sanctum and judges the work of the acolyte. Again, they may decline the acolyte's offering, which can mean discarding the section of the tapestry and starting over, or ceasing the acolyte's journey.     If the god accepts, however, the newly declared acolyte is given their title, access to the acolyte's quarters at the temple, and their familiar, which is hand chosen by the god during the time the acolyte is completing their tapestry. The trainee has now become a full-fledged acolyte and a metal band is affixed around their wrist as a permanent sign of their status.

Payment & Reimbursement

While acolytes are sometimes given a salary in return for their service, that is less common than simply caring for their needs and giving them the acolyte's quarters in the temple

Other Benefits

Being an acolyte carries with it extreme honor for the individual and their family. They are well cared for to the best of the ability of their resident temple. The acolyte's quarters are generally quite lush and private for the acolyte. Additionally, most acolytes consider working so closely with their god to be an added benefit, as they can often ask their god privately for things. Having a Familiar, while not exclusive to acolytes, is another benefit.

Perception

Purpose

The acolyte serves the god's manifestation, tending to all their needs. Additionally, acolytes often act as a buffer between the people around their temple and the god, communicating needs and desires in ways that will be understood by both parties. Perhaps the most important task of an acolyte, however, is allowing their god to manifest outside of the confines of their temples.

Social Status

While this position doesn’t guarantee wealth, it is highly sought after. Many times, this position is filled with nobles who are down the list of being in line for a throne.

Demographics

Very few people are deemed suitable to even begin the training required to become an acolyte, and even fewer complete all the required steps and rituals.

History

In the very early days of history, the acolyte also functioned as the high priest. They oversaw the running of the temple, arranged for sacrifices, and lead worship, but there were instances of disloyalty as the Holy Wars began. In response, acolytes has to do more and more to prove their loyalty, which made having an acolyte at every temple no longer feasible.

Operations

Workplace

An acolyte most often operates out of his or her home temple. Unlike many temple residents, they have access to all parts of the temple. When an acolyte travels outside their home temple, they are often accompanied by a large enclosed wagon for comfort. While their god can manifest at their location, it’s more common that the god will simply manifest to them when they have arrived at the destination the god desired.

Provided Services

Acolytes are always powerful mages in one of the many magical arts. Their services are often given to royalty, provided they stay close to their home temple and don’t do anything very dangerous. Additionally, they consecrate new temples

Alternative Names
Ahnah
Type
Religious
Demand
Even within temples, having an acolyte is something of a luxury. Many temples strive to have an acolyte train the mentor who then trains the next acolyte, but that isn't often the case, and there can sometimes be many years between acolytes.
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Role in Theocracy

In theocratic nations, the ruler and most high ranking officials will be acolytes by name, though they will not serve in a traditional acolyte's role. Additionally, the palace and many government buildings will be consecrated as temples. This allows their god to freely communicate with them, even outside of temples and other consecrated areas.   One such example is the Emperor of The Fidean Empire. Rulers of theocratic nations will usually undergo their training as acolytes before assuming their role as ruler, as the process to becoming an acolyte is so rigorous. This is seen as simply part of their education and training.       Of course, this does not mean that acolytes are not needed outside of the government. Temples of theocratic nations still rely on acolytes. It is important to note that acolytes serving in theocratic governmental roles are usually on a higher class than those serving in temples, despite not serving the intended function of an acolyte. Unlike acolytes serving in temples, acolytes serving governmental roles are sometimes permitted to not have magical ability.  

Acolyte's Band

An acolyte's band or bracelet is usually a completely closed ring made of steel or silver. Sometimes, it is plain while other times text is engraved in the outer side, or something of a sculpture to represent something in the temple's history, the god, the acolyte's Familiar, or the acolyte themself. It is almost always designed to not be removable to deter theft and impersonation of an acolyte, while also being easily recognizable. There is often a log of the design of area acolyte's bands kept for use within the temple. It is rare but not unheard of for an acolyte's band to be an heirloom passed from acolyte to acolyte.  

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Cover image: Beige Pages Book Open by George Sharvashidze

Comments

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26 Jun, 2019 14:09

Whilst I do love this article for the extreme raw detail it hasn, I’m still going to point out some stuff that will hopefully make this article better! If my advice isn’t useful to you in any way, you’re free to discard it!   1) first of all, I noticed that you have a big text wall right at the very beginning. Cutting that up, throwing in some quotes and images is sure to spice the article up!   2) As for the vignette , I know it can be hard to summarise most of the article in only one paragraph ( something which I know all too well) but you should write down the vignette and throw in a quote or image or both! That will certainly pique the readers interest in this article!   As for some questions about the content itself, do the acolytes have any special power granted upon by the gods for their service to them as an acolyte? Are there any higher ranking acolytes apart from the normal ones?   I have to say I still did love the amount of effort , dedication and detail you put up in this article . The sidebar is amazing too and definitly helps to beautify the article a bit. Again if my advice does not sound helpful at all, you’re free to discard It! I definitely won’t mine! Congrats anz and keep up the amazing work! I’m planning to read all the articles of Lathai today so wish me luck! And Goodluck on summercamp too! Hoping to see you and the other cookies ( despite not being a good cookie myself) absolutely rock the stage!

30 Jun, 2019 04:14

Hey Bloodclaw! Thanks for the read and comment! I've added some pictures and tried to condense some things so hopefully it reads a little better now! Acolytes get the ability to consecrate ground for their god and receive a familiar, and their god gains the ability to manifest to their location whether or not they're within consecrated ground or not. There are no ranks for acolytes officially, unless you count acolytes within a theocracy which looks a little different to what would be considered a "normal" acolyte.

I'm glad to hear that you liked it! I passed your message along and don't know if any have been in touch, but they all said they wished you luck in SC as well! Thank you again for the feedback!