Azumartuk (ah-zoo-MAHR-took), a word from the ancient tongue of the people of Achera, literally translates to “The Light of Law”. He is one of three deities of the group known as The Three. The group includes Azumazran (“Light of Wisdom”) and Azunapath (“Light of Creation”).
Azumartuk, along with the others of The Three, govern all aspects of existence and work to hold the forces of utter destruction (The Nazul) at bay. As part of this fight, Azumartuk gave humanity with the power of law and sense of justice with which to achieve peace.
Azumartuk is primarily associated with Law, Justice, and Earth.
The worship of The Three (and Azumartuk in particular) began with the ancient Acheran tribes. When the Acherans achieved their Empire, about a century after The Scattering, the worship spread to other parts of Zaldara. Though the Empire eventually atrophied, the faith did not. Temples to The Three still stand in many parts of Zaldara, though they are most numerous in Achera, Kuskar, and southern Yulania.
Azumartuk is a secondary deity to Azumazran, though he and Azunapath) are never referred to has having any other relationship with Azumazran than “The Three”.
The Three stands in direct opposition to the forces of darkness and destruction. In particular, are the Nazulim those that have been fooled by promises of power or immortality to operate for the benefit of The Nazul and its Daeva (demons).
There has been a minor schism with a sect known as the Daodari, after their leader, Daodar. The Daodari believe that the Three are simply manifestations of a single deity, the Uncreated Creator, or The One. This heresy has largely remained influential only in some portions of Kuskar.
“Sorcery” is a power that the Temples attribute to manipulation of the divine spark granted to mankind by Azuamazran. To do this is to imperil the soul. It is not evil per se, though the works done by an individual can always be sometimes good, sometimes evil, and often indifferent. It is a path best not taken. Others see it as abomination—particularly the sect known as the Daodari.
Appearances and Emissaries
Azumartuk has been said to appear in the dreams of some special followers in the form of a tall man in dull robes bearing a long staff from which hang a set of balances. He has also been known to appear in the aspects of a black bull or a great owl.
The Three do not exist within our reality, but in a plane of existence known as Bethaizu (“spiritual light”). The maintain their creations and work on this plane primarily through the Amapehta (or “great spririts”). There are but six great spirits in service to The Three:
The Amapehta often taken on the forms of men and women, according to their natures and objectives. They also can appear as winged humanoids of made entirely of fire and light.
The Yazuta (“shining ones”) are lesser spirits, the souls of good men and women who have been transformed into servants of The Three after their death. These can appear as themselves in life or as brightly glowling, vaguely humanoid, forms.
Worship of Azumartuk
The pleasure of the deity is based almost entirely upon actions in life. Ritual is merely a reinforcement of the principles of laid down by the Three and a path to true wisdom.
Azumartuk stands in judgment over the lives of all men of free will, meeting the soul on the Path of Rebirth. If found worthy, the soul will be lead to the Wheel of Ages and will live again in the next Age. If not, then the soul will return to this Age to find wisdom, but in a lower form. The most foul will be cast out from the presence of the Light to be consumed by The Nazul—or perhaps be reborn as a Daeva (evil spirit creatures). The best will be transformed into the Yazuta, spiritual servants of the Amapehta, the six great servants of The Three.
Blasphemy are mockeries of life and creation. The forces of destruction sans the cycle of rebirth. The Undead. Associating the Three with un-truths. The taking of the divine spark from malice or destructive thoughts.
The faith of Mazranism is the Truth. However, other gods are often assumed to be powerful Yazutas that people have mistakenly attributed the title “god”. But people are judged by their actions in life, not their adherence to faith, and so long as they do not stray from the path of Goodness, the Three have no issues with other faiths.
Worshipers and Clergy
Both men and women may serve The Three as priests or paladins.
Priests of Azumartuk wear dark, simple robes trimmed in red to denote their status. They also, except in the home or when bathing, always have their head covered. Often they wear a red turban or headscarf to accomplish this and further denote their status. All of the clergy also wear the symbol of the balance on their person somewhere (pendant, charm, sigil, etc.).
When called upon to do battle, priests and followers of the Three will cover their faces with a veil, denoting that they fear to look upon the violence that they are called upon to do.
Regular worshipers also cover their heads all times, men usually wearing turbans or short caps while women will wear a head scarf or long, hooded cloth.
The Temple welcomes the worship from any who would seek the path of Light and Wisdom. One need only look at the Elves, Halflings, and Dwarves to see that they are related amongst the varied creations of the Three.
The Orcish and goblinoid races, however, seem to breed for destruction and thus are suspected to spring, as a mockery of true creation, from the manipulations of the Nazul. Nevertheless, if an individual from such a race were to truly seek the Lighted Path…well, that remains to be seen.
The Temple also gathers worshipers of Azumartuk who wish to become holy warriors, taking Azumartuk’s justice throughout the lands. While priests certainly do fight in their god’s name, Paladins have a special calling.
The paladins of Azumartuk tend to be much more structured than the priests of the same faith. They have several ranks to attain within their organizational structure:
= There can only be one person of this rank
Paladins often adventure on their own, though some stay in cities with large temples as a standing army. They serve as bodyguards for priests, aid the Kargan of Achera in conquests, and sometimes take up arms against heretics in Achera and other lands.
Temples and Shrines
Temples to the Three exist throughout the civilized west of Zaldara, though they are most heavily concentrated in Achera, Kuskar, and southern Yulania. Also, many folks will have shrines to Azunapath in their homes to maintain their blessed status after marriage and/or childbirth.
Temples maintain a “fire sanctuary” where an eternal flame is maintained by the clergy. When praying, all followers of Azumazran face toward a source of light. This also includes followers of Azumartuk, in deference to the leader of the Three.
Temples tend to be simple and austere, though some have glorious facades and murals depicting the Three in various functions.
Shrines tend to be an small altar with a sconce for a flame for prayer.
The current rituals and theology behind the worship of the Three (aka Mazranism) was codified in the teachings of Qaisar, a first-century hermit whose scrolls were found in a cave high in the mountains of the Kuskar borderlands. It is believed that his scrolls (known as The Mazrani Scrolls) were divinely inspired.
There is another set of teachings by a man called Sohrab Naderi known as The Path to Judgment. Naderi was a famous military leader from the days of the Acheran empire and devoted follower of Azumartuk. Here, in his musings and thoughts, are the basic tenets that govern the lives and training of paladins.
Followers of Azumartuk tend to have private prayers at each sunrise, facing a source of light (even the sun).
Mazranites also hold special rites in the Temple on 15 Longnight (winter solstice) and fill their homes with candles to demonstrate the light of Azumazran battling the darkest night.
Paladins of Azumartuk hold the day of 3 Starfall in reverence. It is said that on that day the great Naderi had his revelation on the field of battle and turned his life over to Azumartuk. Paladins often spend this day in quiet contemplation. They also do the same on the anniversary of their becoming a Sword-Bearer.
There are no other prescribed days of worship for the followers of the Three. Temples provide light and sanctuary, as well as spiritual advice, but do not hold weekly or daily times of prepared worship. That is for the conscience of each individual to decide.
Certain dedicated followers of Azumartuk perform daily obediences in order to receive special boons from their god. The obedience takes the form of a special ritual in which the follower holds their primary weapon before them, bathed in light, with their holy symbol of Azumartuk hanging from it. Recite prayers and passages from the Mazrani scrolls or The Paths of Judgement to “light your path”. Gain a +4 sacred bonus to Knowledge (Nobility), Knowledge (Local), and Diplomacy checks.
Some followers may feel the need to make a sacrifice in the name of Azumartuk. Acceptable sacrifices are placed in flame to be consumed and to illuminate. Thus, acceptable sacrifices tend to items that are combustible in some way, as well as hold some inner meaning to the supplicant. Some create effigies of themselves for sacrifice to represent the purging of their former selves, for example.