Fam, I’m back! For this episode, special thanks to @dunadhaigh who reinforced the idea of the serfs being forced to work not for sustenance, but to pay for the outrageous lifestyle of their betters.
Clerics are the caste above knights, and compose approximately 5% of the ziggurat’s population. Their role in society is to divine the Zigguratti’s will and interpret it for the lower castes through writs, laws, and public proclamations. Their other (potentially more important) role is to live a lifestyle that outpaces the ziggurat’s gross production rates, in order to necessitate eternal growth and serve as a visible lodestar of envy compelling the lower castes to work harder. According to the doctrine that child-rearing servitors teach child serfs, all clerics used to be serfs themselves. By working hard and hoarding their currency hours, these former serfs earned enough to be promoted into the clergy caste. It’s difficult to validate or invalidate this claim, as serfs rarely even get to interact with the clergy.
The clergy is the dynamo around which the ziggurat’s economy spins. By financing and consuming the projects, products, and services the serf’s produce, they ensure that there is a always a preponderance of work to be done so that serfs will never run out of food or the opportunity to earn currency hours. Without the economic growth that their lifestyles and expenditures drive, the ziggurat would languish behind other ziggurats and be usurped by foreign Zigguratti less amenable to the lower castes needs.
Like others in the ziggurat, they have a neural jack and AR overlay, but knight visibility into their AR, location, or vitals, is prohibited unless the cleric themselves initiate a connection. Clerics do not have work augmentations, because they don’t work. They do, however, have the ability to change how they are visually perceived. While the other castes have their status flagged in AR via color scheme, the cleric has the ability to overwrite their appearance in AR, taking on an appearance as big or small, or as sublime or horrifying, as they wish. This physical representation is only limited by their imagination. Few clerics allow themselves to appear mundane. Most take on the mien of something that alternates between seraph and pazuzu, aquatic and avian, celestial and sinister, massive or miniature, never assuming the same form for long in case it becomes gauche.
There are only one sin that would push a cleric into the burdendom: burden-harboring. Clerics generate more currency hours by inhaling and exhaling than the most industrial of serfs could ever hope to accrue. Most have the means to support hundreds of serfs were that their prerogative. Be it through boredom or benevolence, some do make the mistake of secretly sponsoring serfs as projects, prodigies, or playthings. Ironically, they are typically caught and reported by other clerics attempting to sponsor the same serfs. When a serf turns down an offer from their magnanimous betters, it is clear that another cleric beat them to the punch. For this reason, clerics will never pay a sponsored serf in a way where they couldn’t be outbid. As a result, those serfs who are exploited by clerics are typically done so for little more than an extra currency hour or two a week.
The rare cleric who loses their status is in a unique position. Their lifestyle of leisure and lack of augmentation ensures that cannot do the work that even a child serf can do. However, their AR implants are hardwired to mask them from knight tracking and interference, making them invisible.