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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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- 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 TheocracyIn 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 BandAn 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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