The Voice of Xanth
Attach:voiceofxanth.png
AKA: The Priesthood of Xanth, the Old Faith
Leader: High Wisdom Fay Prydwen?
Races: All races welcome
HQ: 18 Bell Park, New Alexandria?

Long ago, the Priesthood acted as the Voice of Xanth, an official intermediary with a direct line to the goddess herself. Priests would wander the realm spreading word of Her existence and Her support; they would negotiate with Her on behalf of the People (some say it was their efforts that led to the creation of Elysia? as a refuge in the first place); and the temples, shrines and statues they built in Her honour served as constant reminders of the hope and wonders She granted Her Children.

These things were lost to time, along with the temples and shrines that were left to ruin, but in recent years the Voice has made a comeback and is ardent in their attempts to not only revive the old traditions but also to rebuild what was lost. They no longer have the splendour and glory of a multi-temple religion, and currently have only one shrine with which to display their love and worship for the Creator, but with their efforts they plan to change this and more.

Politics

The Priesthood's arrogance (see Territories) has caused some tension in Alexshire? as not everyone believes in Xanth or that She has Elysia's welfare at heart, nor do many citizens wish to be "preached at". Others enjoy their own simple methods for honouring their Lady and fear that a return to the old ways will destroy the new.

Mindful of these tensions, other cities are resistant to the Priesthood's attempts to spread their tendrils beyond the shire's borders. There are also fears that the Voice is more interested in gaining political power, such that they had prior to their dissolvement centuries ago -- but that has not stopped their attempts to forge relations with the governing councils of not only Alexshire but Espur? and Nubia? as well.

However, there has been no hint of an actual relationship between the Voice and Xanth Herself since they parted company centuries ago (despite the High Wisdom's claims to the contrary) and this is a huge detractor when the Priesthood's biggest role was -- and is supposedly still -- to act as Her Voice. Indeed, the group's very name came from their role as intermediary, and can only be a lie now if that relationship has been lost.

Relations

The Voice of Xanth was once a massively influential organisation that officially represented Xanth and acted as intermediary between Her and the People. There is a lingering fondness for them because of that, but there are also any number of stories about how they parted company with the Creator, which range from the benign and apathetic to the treacherous.

The new Voice has been quite arrogant in their meetings with city officials, and there are concerns that their rush to return to the old ways -- which no longer fully suit Elysia's culture and society -- are little more than an effort to regain their lost glory. These concerns are only exacerbated by the absence of any sign that the Priesthood has regained its footing with Xanth, and many fear that the High Wisdom's claims are at best exaggerations and at worst outright lies.

Yet despite all this, designing for the new temple in Alexshire has forged on. Construction began in 10,011 XA, and two women claiming to be Xanth's new acolytes took up the caretaking of the statue in New Alexandria? -- a sure sign that something is changing, and hopefully for the better.

Territories

The Voice of Xanth is based out of a small office in Bell Park in New Alexandria, this being only a street away from the quadrangle where Xanth's last remaining statue watches over neighbouring buildings. However, the Priesthood arrogantly claim the whole of Xanth's Creations as their territory, stating as their reasoning that anyone or anything made by Xanth belongs to Her -- and subsequently is also the domain of Her Voice.

Organisation

The Priesthood has four ranks.

Novice
Also sometimes known as Initiates, Novices do not yet have permission or the training necessary to perform the Priesthood's rituals or to act as Voices. Instead they are little more than assistants or even general labour and are put to work on menial tasks and errands that the Priests themselves do not wish to do. :+ Novices wear plain lilac robes while "on the job". They have no Mark as they are not yet ordained.
Priest
Priests make up the majority of the Priesthood, having both the training and the office to perform almost any ritual and to act as a Voice[^Originally there were two types of Priest: those who wandered the land as Voices, preaching Xanth's laws and telling stories of Her deeds (as well as surreptitiously recruiting more novices); and the Ears who lived in a temple or near a shrine where they became a town's resident spiritual guide and counsel. The latter no longer exists simply because only one shrine remains, yet not all Priests are wanderers now as a few remain in Alexshire to assist with political maneuvrings.^]. :+ Upon completing their novitiate tests, Priests are branded with the Mark of Xanth, a small purple butterfly that is usually tattooed somewhere visible (such as the back of the hand or a wrist). They also wear lilac robes with simple white embellishment whilever on duty.
High Priest
The High Circle is made up of a select few High Priests (these being the only High Priests currently in the Priesthood, and always having an even number of no more than six) who act as advisors to the High Wisdom. :+ High Priests perform the most sacred and secret of the Voice's rituals (which are very few right now as many were lost to history), overseeing initiates' tests and assigning patrol areas. Those on the High Circle also serve as political counsel, which is why there can only ever be an even number of them (so that the High Circle plus the High Wisdom ultimately constitutes an odd number to prevent issues with ties in democractic decisions). :+ High Priests wear white robes that are made of more lavish materials than those of the priests and novices, these being also more elaborate in design and trimmed with lilac embellishments. Their Mark is edged in silver to denote their rank. Those of the High Circle also wear silver circlets of a simple butterfly design.
High Wisdom
The High Wisdom is the leader of the Voice of Xanth, usually elected from the High Circle as a long-serving member with the training, background and drive to serve the Creator and the Priesthood as both a spiritual advisor and a political force. :+ The High Wisdom's robes are similar in material and design to the High Priests' but are embellished in gold instead of lilac, and this gold feature is carried through into the edging of their Mark as well as their butterfly circlet.

Both from Arvee

History

The Priesthood of Xanth has long been the direct link between Elysians and their Creator since the first High Priest, Danyel, witnessed Her arrival? in 8,000 BC (0 XA). Much of this early history has since been lost to the general public (though the Old Society? claims to know more), but it is assumed that Danyel was instrumental not only in founding the Voice of Xanth but also in setting Her up as a god. He is also assumed to be the chief designer of the first temple, though it is doubtful that he survived to actually see it built.

In the first few millennia of Xanth's reign as a goddess, the Priesthood was devout and enjoyed a great deal of power across the Earth?. They built several temples in her honour and many more shrines; some theologians and historians even believe that the Voice is the founding father of many modern religions as well (including those of Earth).

However, around the time of Elysia's creation and the mass exodus of Xanth's Children from Earth, the Voice floundered. Their temples, though supposedly transported along with the population, were apparently left to fall into ruin. Some believe there was a mass crisis of faith when the Priesthood disagreed with Xanth's decision and consequently abandoned Her, while others believe the crisis was caused by Xanth's abandoning them first. Whatever the reason, Xanth's shrines lasted far longer than her temples, with Elysians continuing to pay homage to her long after the Priests stopped, but they eventually fell into ruin as well. Only one, located at the heart of New Alexandria and supposedly tended by Xanth Herself, survived the centuries.

In recent years, there have been murmurings of sightings of Priests across Elysia, but these were attributed to flights of fancy. During the Xanth Day? festivities of 10,007 XA, the Voice's revival was confirmed when girls bearing the traditional Mark of the Priesthood passed out invitations to a special celebration.

Since then, the Voice has grown and reorganised, electing a real leadership and petitioning the Alexandrian Council? for the building of a new temple as well as official recognition. There are already plans in other towns for the construction of shrines and statues and, all across the realm, Priests are reviving the enthusiasm for, and belief in, the Creator.

Whether Xanth recognises them officially remains to be seen.

Joining

Being a Voice of Xanth is a way of life as much as is it a job. Even during their leisure time, priests were expected to constantly be looking for ways to spread word of the Creator and Her deeds, and they believe that -- now more than ever -- Elysia needs firm spiritual guidance back to the safety of Her bosom.

Because the Priesthood's primary goal is to revive their long-dead faith, its members must be prepared to travel a great deal. Being Xanth's Voice is not easy; in fact, it can be downright dangerous. And to be sure that this life is the one for you, you must first train as a Novice to experience the lifestyle without the commitments and responsibilities you will face as an ordained Priest.

That said, anyone may consider themselves a member of the Old Faith simply for following the beliefs[^There are many Xanthian? and Anti-Xanthian? religions, and few of them agree on the minor details. Some of them even disagree on the big things, like when and how Xanth arrived on Earth, so even if you believe in Xanth, you may not believe in the Old Faith.^] of the Voice and by honouring Her. It is only if you wish to become a Priest that you must undergo this training as a Novice, and it is very easy to sign up for this training.

In fact, if you became aware of the Voice's revival through the Word of a Priest, you only have to ask him to take you on as his acolyte and he will take you to Alexshire once he has finished his rounds[^If a Novice joins a Priest while on his rounds, much of the required training can be completed on the way to Alexshire. It is usually enough, at least, to know one way or the other if you are suited to the life of a Priest.^]. If there is no Priest in your area with whom you can sign on as a Novice, you can instead make your way to the Bell Park office in Alexshire by yourself and then approach a Priest there who will explain your duties as an Initiate.

Once you feel you can perform the duties of a Priest alone, you may request your Novitiate tests. If successful, the overseeing High Priest will give you the robes and Mark of your new office, and assign you as a Voice to a particular area you will then be expected to patrol on a regular basis.

Known Members

[^#^]

Organisations Religious Elysia Alexshire Alexandria Xanth Voice of Xanth