Pholtus is a stern Oeridian guardian of unbending Law, both natural and human. Pholtus sees himself as the first and final law-keeping god. This makes him unpopular with other gods of law and their clergy. Where his cult is dominant, other religions are pushed aside.
Worshippers of Pholtus are called Pholtans. Some Pholtans claim that he set the sun and the moon in the sky and maintains them in their rigid procession to show all creatures the One True Way, a strict path which allows no deviation but absolutely assures rightness. Such claims are not regarded as doctrine.
This church does not have much respect for those of other religions, especially chaotic ones. The faith of Pholtus often conflicts or works at cross purposes with that of Saint Cuthbert, whose alignment is also borderline lawful neutral/lawful good.
Clerics of the Blinding Light are expected to bring the word to unbelievers, and brook no argument against this practice. This quest means they must travel far from their churches, usually in groups should unbelievers and heretics turn hostile. They smite chaos where they find it, and Evil once chaos is rooted out. These clerics get along well with conservative paladins.
Pholtus's clerics are most active in cities, where they seek to reveal the light to unbelievers. They act as lawyers, judges, and arbiters when they're not preaching about their god. They are never completely without light if they can help it. Magical light is preferred, but a candle or a piece of luminous fungus will serve if no other light is available.
Pholtan's perform all the usual acts within a community-oriented religious organization. However, it is well known that Pholtans provide help only to those they deem worthy, that is to say, those who adhere to the true faith. They can offer their services to adventurers but never without the hope of converting them. Similarly, they can provide food, clothing and other equipment to the sick and the poor, regardless of their faith, but only to compete with clergy of St. Cuthbert or Pelor (or other similar deities), and try to convert these lost souls to the cult of Pholtus.
Apart from the sacraments, the clergy provide care and advice to their parishioners. They also make sure to provide education, imbued with the word of Pholtus, to all the children in their community from an early age.
PaladinsPaladins of Pholtus are known as templars or inquisitors. They consider questions of morality to be secondary to faithfulness to Pholtus and his One True Way. They seek the destruction of chaos, darkness, and evil, in that order. While some individual Pholtan paladins can be as merciful as paladins of Pelor or Heironeous, doubt and mercy are not considered virtues in their tradition, and many believe them to be weaknesses.
VestmentsTraditional clerical vestments include white robes and garments, with trim dependent on the priest's station. Low level priests (Glimmering) have no trim. Mid level (Gleaming) clerics have silver trim. While high level priests have gold and silver trim.
Modern, less dogmatic, branches dress in typical Andorean fashion, but in monochrome, going from black with white cuffs and collars for devoted lay members to a light grey for lower clerics and white for ranking clergy.
Pholtan paladins traditionally dress in white and pale yellow tunics of fine linen or silk, with silvery borders decorated with suns and moons or excerpts from Pholtus scripture.
HierarchyAll priests of Pholtus are referred to as "the Illuminati".
Theocrat Ogon Tillit currentlt sits on the Throne of the Sun. He is also referred to as His Reverent Mercy, Supreme Prelate of Arbonne. He watches over the destinies of order, helped in his decisions by the Council of Nine Prelates which constitutes the governing body of Arbonne and that he meets at least four times a year.
It is said that the Theocrat is chosen by Pholtus himself (although he is actually elected from the nine prelates of the ruling body) and that he must therefore occupy this position for life.
The church is well organized and highly hierarchical: novice priests (level 1-4) are called the Glimmering (and wear white garments); full priests (level 5-8) are called the Gleaming (and wear white with silver trim); and high level priests (level 9+) are called the Shining (white with silver and gold). They are required to observe strict rules of morality and virtue.
TemplesBuildings consecrated to Pholtus are white, almost always stone.
RitualsIn each temple, a mass is celebrated daily, with the greatest solemnity, by the high priest. The course of the mass and the liturgical actions are recorded in missals. Passages from other books and sacred texts, almost all written in Old Oridian, are read in an order specific to each rite. The rest of the mass, especially the sermons (which are particularly long), is often said in the local language. Almost every sentence is punctuated by an "O Blinding Light" that the faithful take up in chorus several times in a row. The faithful regularly confess, donate and burn candles to thank Pholtus for its benefits.
Holy DaysRemembrance Day
On this day, the clergy commemorate those who have fallen in the service of the Church. Typically, solemn ceremonies are held in cemeteries, often involving plaintive hymns.
Blinding Light Festival
These four days of celebration (very expensive) constitute one of the rare times of rejoicing within the church. Mass is said every day at noon and is followed by a hearty banquet.
The first day, called Day of Devotion, is devoted to evangelical services, where the priests seeking to convert people to the Blinding Light.
The second day, called Reflection Day, is devoted to introspection and takes place in calm and prayer. Everyone meditates on their past actions, assesses their life and reflects on personal goals for the future.
The third day, called Dedication Day, is devoted to the ordination of new priests, baptisms and the incorporation of new members into the army and the orders of chivalry associated with the worship of Pholtus.
The last day, known as the Grand Holiday, is devoted to various ceremonies, more or less pompous, intended to celebrate the choices made during the previous three days.
(Great Day of the Gods, the 4th day of the Fertility Festival)
While most of the inhabitants of Flanness honor Pelor and the gods of nature on this longest day of the year, it is the Blinding Light of Pholtus which is honored in the Theocracy of Arbonne. Since the reunification of the church, all of Pholtus' followers have been asked to do the same in the rest of Flanness. They must dress entirely in white on this day and it is now considered blasphemy to wear any yellow dress or to participate in the festivities in honor of Pelor.
ScripturesThe Libram Snactus Vox is regarded by many to be among the Pholtan faith's most sacred writings.
A hymn of the clergy is below:
O Pholtus, O Blinding Light,
Bright is your Wisdom,
Which will help us to defeat the Heretics.
O Blinding Light.
Give us the Light of Day,
As we praise you at Dawn.
Give us the Light of Night,
As we praise you at Twilight.
O Pholtus, O Blinding Light,
We praise your Word,
Defend your Honor,
And reveal your Light.
O Blinding Light,
Protect us, your faithful servants,
O Blinding Light of Pholtus,
Light, Divine Substance of the Creator.
OrdersThe Knights Templar of the Theocracy of the Pale are the most infamous of Pholtus's paladins, combining Pholtan conviction with nationalistic zeal.
The Lords of the Gloaming are a group of Pholtan paladins who seek to destroy portals to the Lower Planes of existence. Saint Ceril the Relentless was among their number.
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The One True Way is a strict path, but guarantees greatness. Show no tolerance for those who do not give all for the cause of Law, Fanaticism in the name of the Blinding Light is praiseworthy, and Law's champions shall be rewarded in the era when chaos has been vanquished.
Pholtus is depicted as a tall, slender man in a white robe, with fair skin and hair, and eyes that shine with the fires of devotion. He carries the Staff of the Silvery Sun, an ivory object with silver engravings and topped by an electrum sun-disk.
Pholtus has an unfriendly rivalry with Saint Cuthbert and despises the Oeridian wind deities (Atroa, Sotillion, Telchur, Velnius, and Wenta).
He is opposed by Trithereon and Xan Yae. Clerics of Norebo particularly enjoy bothering his followers. Pholtus is allied with Heironeous and Pelor.