Last Wednesday we looked at the Prince who ruled the nation of Alfresia. Now that we have finished off with the four secular Princes, we’ll look at who controls the hearts and minds of Alfresia.
This week’s Prince is the High Priest of the Prodigalist Faith!
Clearly not the full title, no, not for someone of this stature. While he may be colloquially called the High Priest, his full title is “The Sovereign, Eternal and Most Revered Ordinary and Rector of the True Faithful in the Free State of Alfresia“. That is exactly why he is simply called the High Priest.
Alfresia never had a High Priest until it gained its independence a century ago. Under Prodigalist Canon Law, each sovereign nation can only have one High Priest to guide it in terms of spiritual matters. Thus when Alfresia was still only an archduchy of the Kingdom of Fresland, it was the Fresian High Priest who ruled the Alfresians Prodigals. Fresland, however, was a very large kingdom and so the Archduchy of Alfresia had its own Archbishop to govern it as the High Priest’s proxy.
Now that Alfresia is free it seems that the island is too small for both an Archbishop and a High Priest. For all intents and purposes, the Archbishop was the High Priest before the War of Independence; he ruled from the great Eternal Temple in Middelburg and already took care in the governance of each priest, bishop, monk and abbot on the island. What was there left to do for a High Priest? Some speculated that the Archbishop would be the one to become one of the Six Princes of Middelburg, but the new High Priest was a wily man, a politician at heart.
Leaving all the administrative work to the Archbishop, the High Priest was free to travel across Alfresia, letting every peasant and bourgeois merchant know exactly who he is and what he can do. The Archbishop continued on being the true head of the Prodigalist Faith in Alfresia and the High Priest became a figure head, but a figure head the faith can’t do without.
The High Priest has become the greatest lobbyist of the Prodigalist Faith, making it his life’s work to keep the interest of his flock in the forefront of every important politician and merchant on the island. The Archbishop may trade in souls and spirits, but the High Priest trades in favours and information, likely selling his soul in the process, but advancing the Prodigalist agenda one favour at a time.