"We are a people of faith, and so must our leaders be of faith as well. We will not be held back by heretic politics or any departures from our creators. Let the Ehlen and the Humans squabble over fraud elections and keeping their church held under the thumbs of wicked men. Religion and state, together united, just as we shall be in our goal to make our people whole." - Clenneth Menes, first High Priestess of BakisonAfter Sturmenoth Menes gave his life to form a capital city worthy of uniting the Dahlen people, it was up to his three daughters to bring them together. His eldest daughter Clenneth announced her rule in a powerful speech to the first citizens of Bakison and took the mantle of becoming the first High Priestess of both Bakison and Nioyaathep. Her sisters, Gamira and Zavenethep, were tasked with traveling The Sands of Sturn and visiting every major settlement in order to find and establish the first network of High Priestesses. In each city, they found the largest temple and met with the leading family. The eldest and most able women from each temple were chosen to become High Priestess of their respective temple and city. This began the first generation of a true matriarchy among the Dahlen people. Although Sturn, a male, is their true creator deity, it was decided by the three remaining Menes sisters that it was only right for women to rule. Just as Sturn had left Dahlia and Mortair behind to watch over the Dahlen, Sturmenoth left his daughters behind to watch over the capital city as well. It was easy for the people of Nioyaathep to align with these statements as great faith and a newly established prophecy had aligned with one another. Bakison's formation seemed to match the very formation of their religion, which to the people was too grand a thing to be considered coincidental. The Dahlen were said to accept this new ruling class and defer leadership to their High Priestesses unanimously and without contempt. However, as the first generation of High Priestesses selected, many patriarchs of their temples disappeared without any word in a transfer of power recorded as 'free of violence'. There remains to this day one High Priestess for each city that governs over not only their respective settlements but the surrounding areas as well. Each city remains mostly autonomous in attending to its own matters but all have to answer to Bakison for affairs that extend beyond. It is a dual-purpose role still as it was originally intended; the High Priestess oversees all affairs, both religious and political. Not only must one keep a tight bond with the Dahlen pantheon and philosophy to guide their clergy, but they must also become masters of economics, military, and diplomacy. The burden is great and although there are many who wish to claim the seat of the ruler, there are few who could bear its weight.
Rule in RitualNaturally with Mortair, goddess of rituals, as one of their patron deities, the High Priestesses' life is riddled with ritual and sacrifice. Upon their coronation, a High Priestess is to be blinded in a great ceremony. The actual manner of how they are blinded and the circumstances surrounding it varies such as there are no records detailing how Dahlia was blinded as a babe. In Bakison, they use a mixture of viper venom and belladonna poison and apply it directly into their tear ducts. In Anenoyte, the eyes are carefully removed from their sockets and then consumed by the new priestess to fully encapsulate their resolve. In any case of difference in the ceremony, the new High Priestess remains awake and without pain relief until the ceremony has been completed. Death caused by such a ritual is said to prove that the new priestess is not worthy and the next in line will be selected. Every day, the High Priestess will enter a four-hour period of deep meditation and prayer, secluded from the rest of the clergy. This period is to only be interrupted by a dire emergency for the city. It is in this period that the priestess is meant to connect with Dahlia and Mortair in order to receive guidance for their leadership. The Dahlen also believe that the priesthood meets during this time, connecting the cities across the vast desert through scrying pools in their chambers. This is said to be the reason how Nioyaathep can stay so united despite being the largest nation in the world. A High Priestess is set to rule either until death or failure of ability. If one is found to be unable to perform their role to their expected capacity, they are expected to recuse themselves from their position and pass the mantle onto their next successor in line. This next successor is most often a female descendant of the previous priestess. Should the High Priestess have no viable descendant, one will be selected from their clergy by the High Priestess of Bakison. For Bakison, the case of no successor is supposed to be left to a vote by the remaining High Priestesses throughout Nioyaathep, but such an event has yet to occur.
Current High Priestesses of Nioyaathep and Length of Rule: Bakison - Dhamra Menes, 131 years Anenoyte - Menothep Paresi, 44 years Oiyasi - Clanta Phin, 26 years Nyopothep - Mentir Saluvan, 73 years Neimahei - Sinti Dvaresh, 52 years Noytevenom - Amanahsta, 249 years Enomenolhi - Ranna Linn, 68 years Tooyeiepo - Avan Desthepo, 8 years Noyacki - Gamil Sventho, 84 years Setoep - Ruchil Bahrat, 27 years Saemoy - Morpatra Aman, 38 years