Azunapath (ah-zoo-NAH-pahth), a word from the ancient tongue of the people of Achera, literally translates to “The Light of Creation”. She is one of three deities of the group known as The Three. The group includes Azumazran (“Light of Wisdom”) and Azumartuk (“Light of Law”).
Azunapath, 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, Azunapath created mankind, and continues to nurture it with healing and the gift of life-sustaining waters.
Azunapath is primarily associated with Life, Healing, and Water.
The worship of The Three (and Azunapath 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.
Azunapath is a secondary deity to Azumazran, though she and Azumartuk) 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 Azumazran. 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 beautiful, woman with long, black hair in blue-green robes. Se has also been known to appear in the aspects of a silver fish or a silver heron.
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 Azunapath
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.
Azunapath’s realm is childbirth, healing, and water. Her name is invoked by sailors seeking safe harbor, by mothers in the throes of labor, and by those that feel the pain of injury or disease. Often, priests or priestesses of Azunapath preside over the naming day ceremonies of children in their village.
Blasphemy is mockery 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.
Priests of Azunapath wear light blue robes trimmed in green to denote their status. They also, except in the home or when bathing, always have their head covered. Often they wear a light green turban or headscarf to accomplish this and further denote their status. All of the clergy also wear the symbol of the Orb (life-giving egg) 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.
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 Azunapath, in deference to the leader of the Three. Shrines to the Lifebringer also tend to dot harbor areas and fishing villages.
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.
Followers of Azunapath tend to have private prayers at each sunrise, facing a source of light (even the sun), or, preferably, immersing themselves in a pool of water.
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.
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 devoted followers of Azunapath perform daily obediences in order to gain a special boon from their chosen deity. These obediences come in the form a daily ritual. Each dawn, the supplicant contemplates passages from the Mazrani scrolls over a lit pool of water. Gain a +4 sacred bonus to Heal, Perception, and Swim checks.
Devoted followers that wish to make a sacrifice to Azunapath should submerge their gifts in a body of water such as a lake or the sea. Sacrifices should never be in the form taking a life or destroying something. Giving something up or being lost in creation is more Azunapath’s speed.