Though the Cult is not the state religion, nor is it obligatory, it is widely practiced. The King and God, after all, does not deny that he set the Sun burning, nor that he maintains the holy Flame, and thus many pay him due honour. It is perhaps a faith more common among the humble folks of the lands, who see the sun above them and recognise its power: they pass the simple shrines at crossroads, or pause for a moment near the temples in towns, and make the sign of the quartered circle.
Local priests or priestesses have some small local power, depending on the region and the faith of those there. The Cult takes a very definite pose of not being involved in secular matters: they claim only to be concerned with the well-being of souls, and in giving aid to those in need, imitating the divine example of the Sun who gives heat and light and life to all.
In the Rimlands, in the further reaches, the Cult is weak, as local beliefs are stronger: though the odd outpost may exist, the odd missionary wander, in general it is no better than any other common superstition.
In the nearer areas to the Silver City, it is a common faith, a belief held by many: often the most dedicated servants of the Cult come from here. After all, these are the folk who live near the Flame, who even sometimes see the Creator and his Children, when they deign to walk abroad. They know that their lands are blessed.
In the Silver City itself, many admit to the faith, and many more pay
homage in the churches as a thing of habit, without even thinking about it.
There are dissidents, of course, who say that the King is merely a man, though
a great one, and no divinity: the Creator in his mercy takes no action against
them, and so the Cult in turn permits them to go their ways.
The High Priestess Jibril of the Cult resides in the Great Cathedral of the Silver City, unless commanded elsewhere by the Incarnate Sun. She is a kindly woman with silver eyes and a gentle touch. Under her, there is an Archpriest (or Archpriestess: both are known) for each of the Sunlit Lands: they dwell in their quarters, reporting to her once a kalend.
Below these Archpriests are many common Priests and Priestesses, who are in turn served by Acolytes or Novices. The Cult is often considered a worthwhile place for a younger son or daughter, so is not short of new adherents.
A junior member of the Cult is expected to obey a superior, even one from
a different district: truly strange orders, or commands that smack of heresy,
might be reported to another superior, though.
First and foremost, always, the Lord and Creator, the Sun Incarnate, the King, Brand.
Worshipped as intermediaries are his four wives, who are often begged for intercession, or invoked as beings who were once mortal and who might hear a mortal's prayer with more compassion than the God himself. They have their own titles and litanies, and there are small shrines to them in almost all Cult chapels.
Finally, those who are children to the King, and bear the divine blood:
they too have their place, and are often regarded as patrons of different arts,
or symbols of particular virtues. Usually in a Cult chapel there will be
medallion or mosaics set into the walls, or windows glazed, to remember them
and to aid in their invoking.
The Four Ladies:
"Lady of the Damned, Lady of the Sorrows, Lady who guards the Steps of Heaven, Lady of the Stars, hear and intercede with the All-destroying Sun. You who walked beside him, you who stood beneath his light, you who turned from him, you who turned to him, hear us and be merciful.
Freya, Lady of the Damned, you who know the tortures of the treacherous, you who he cast down for your treachery and placed among the dead still living, hear us now as you sit among the dead, and remember your love in days gone by: hear us and repent your many sins: hear us and be merciful.
Morwen, Lady of the Sorrows, you who weep for those banished from the light, you who cast aside your mortal body to embrace the immortal flame, weep for us also, and bear our words to the Sun on high: weep for us and remember your love: weep for us and be merciful.
Belissa, Lady who guards the Steps of Heaven, you who raised your sword against his enemies, you who kneel before his feet and swear your loyalty, defend us also as you walk the endless roads of Heaven: defend us as we seek his holy light: defend us and be merciful.
Elaine, Lady of the Stars, you who counted the lights he set in the heavens, you who watch from the heights of the skies in remembrance, look down on us also as we travel through the shadows: look down on us as we search for his Truth: look down and be merciful.
All-destroying Sun, All-powerful Sun, look down upon your children below and hear our prayers."
Many people pick one of the Ladies, or one of the Sun's Blood, as a
personal patron, and address their prayers to this patron.
|Berenice||- the Defender||(Shield)|
|Joan||- the Savior||(Sword)|
|Horace||- the Shadow or the Mystery||(Eye)|
|Rika||- the Maintainer||(Scales of Justice)|