Under Feet of Clay
Unlike the Cleric, who chooses a life of devotion, the Oracle is selected by the gods themselves, sometimes against the oracle’s own will. For some, this manifests in childhood, others awaken to their powers much later in life. Regardless, the Oracle serves as a vital link to the heavenly world of the gods. Once they are recognized, oracles are a blessing and a curse upon a land, as it seems the beasts of Gaia are aware of an untrained oracle, and ceaselessly pursue them. For this reason, newly discovered oracles are sequestered in temples to learn from clerics and older oracles the power they carry and the responsibility this mark bears.
The duty of an oracle is manifold, but for the public, their greatest duty is the reading of signs manifest in the physical world of the will of the gods. Oracles rarely perform sacrifices, instead reciting meaningful lines from the grand myths and poems of Calopius, or verses inspired by their own trances. Other times, they look to the motion of birds, the casting of dust on the wind, the position of stars, or the swirl of foam on the waves. Most oracles come to be known for a particular kind of interpretation. Some are masters of speaking with the dead, others are clearly gifted in the sacred dances, and so on. These skills need not have an immediately obvious tie to their patron, such as an oracle of Zagrius who earns their visions through fasting and discipline rather than wine. Other duties of the oracle can include the dispelling of curses, healing of injuries, tending of cattle, or in certain temples (especially of Cytherea) the duty of sacred prostitution.
Each god’s oracles follow a different track, but upon being discovered oracles go through a series of tests and trials to ensure they have mastered their gifts. These mysterious rites are known only to the oracles themselves, kept secret even from the Clerics that protect them. Younger oracles are kept locked away, trained in the ways of the pious and raised to understand their god or goddess in ways a cleric would envy. As they mature in their abilities, the oracles are allowed a measure of autonomy, but can never venture far from the temple without a Cleric or Paladin to protect them. Upon realizing the full extent of their training, oracles are allowed to depart their temple if so guided by their deity, some drawn by visions or premonitions to regions for reasons they do not fully understand.
Schedule of a Young Oracle of Parthaenae
7:00 am: Wake up
7:15 am: Morning hymns
8:15 am: Breakfast
8:45 am: Observation of Morning Sacrifices
9:30 am: Individual Instruction (Star Reading)
11:30 am: Lunch
12:15 pm: Group Omen Reading Instruction (Birds and Fish)
2:30 pm: Scribal Practice
3:30 pm: Guided Reading
5:30 pm: Dinner
6:15 pm: Individual Instruction (Entering a Trance)
8:15 pm: Assigned Sacred Text Reading
9:15 pm: Lights Out