Church of Echoe
The Church of Echoe is based in Lyrise and is devoted to the worship of Echoe, Goddess of Dreams. The church is officially led by Saint Alice, but since she generally has other duties assigned by Echoe, the church is led by the Perilune, meaning “closest to the moon.” The current Perilune is Perilune Claire, though recent events have called that into question.
After the Perilune, the church is led by a council known as the Oneiroi, an old Verdayl word meaning “dreams” or “dreamers.” There are nine Oneiroi, one of whom is the Perilune. In theory, each comes from a different region of Lyrise, but this has not always been true in the church’s history. After the Oneiroi are the Ladies Sartran who oversee a small collection of churches and then the rank-and-file Priestesses. Any particular church has at least one Priestess. If there are more than one, the one in charge is usually referred to as the High Priestess. Below the Priestesses are the Novices, who themselves are sometimes ranked by lunar phase (New, Crescent, Half, Gibbous, and Full). Those rankings fell into disuse in most parts of Lyrise during the reign of Miku and are only used in Aventurine or during very formal ceremonies. While most clergy are female, men are welcome as well and have even served as Oneiroi. No man has ever been Perilune and thus there is little debate as to whether Echoe would appoint one or not.
While men often struggle to become clerics of Echoe, both men and women are equally drawn to the church’s military arm as fighters or paladins. The Battlemaidens of Echoe are a prestige class of female warriors (either fighter or paladin) who excel in both combat and devotion and aspire to be like St. Alice. Due to their unique appearance and manner in Anatisian churches, they are the most recognizable symbol of Echoe. They tend to be very militaristic and many of them are adventurers. Any man can be a Paladin of Echoe, but only women may be Battlemaidens. The head of the military arm is known as the Selene and usually is a Battlemaiden. While not one of the Oneiroi, the Selene is almost as high ranking, depending on how she is viewed by the Perilune.
But just as Echoe gives dreams, she also sends nightmares. Those who study her nightmares are the Nightmare Spinners (Complete Mage, see below). Founded by Harris Castille, the Nightmare Spinners use fear, stealth, and arcane casting to do the tasks that the church doesn’t want to be involved in, such as disposing of child-like Dreamless. During Zerstorung they went into hiding until contacted by the Resistance of Manny as their powers were ineffective on most antitheses. Post-Liberation they have yet to make contact with the rest of the world. Nightmare Spinners know they are looked down upon by the rest of the church and swear an oath by the Seamstress to use their powers only for Echoe and only as best as possible. Some Nightmare Spinners have become evil, but routine inspections by paladins ensure that they are caught and the rest do not fall down that path. Those who begin to succumb to the temptations are given counseling and healing, sometimes by clerics of Savani, in a rare show of cooperation from the draconic deities.
Adventuring clerics of Echoe are usually, but not always, officially tied to a home church. This church is generally the one in which they were raised. Since it is no more than a paper status, an adventuring clerics Church of Residence (or Home Church) changes frequently. Across Anatis, adventuring clerics are usually referred to as Clerics while those who administer churches are referred to as Priest(esse)s or Pastors, even though both adventuring and stay-at-home clerics hold the rank of Priest(ess) (or higher).
Metagame Note: While most church priests use the Priest NPC class and most adventuring clerics use the Cleric class, higher level church priests always use the Cleric class. Players should not take levels in Priest unless they are playing an older church priest who has recently become an adventurer. For flavor, players may find themselves as Novices in a church until Cleric level 5 or so. Additionally, a player devoted to Echoe may take levels in the Nightmare Spinner prestige class despite its restricted source material. Doing so will grant you access to spells, feats, and items (if self-crafted) from Complete Mage.