Azumazan (ah-zoo-MAHZ-run), a word from the ancient tongue of the people of Achera, literally translates to “The Light of Wisdom”. He is the primary deity of the group known as The Three. The group includes Azumartuk (“Light of Law”) and Azunapath (“Light of Creation”).
Azumazran, 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, Azumazran imbued humanity with the light of inner knowledge and a soul of goodness.
Azumazran is primarily associated with Light, Goodness, and Fire.
The worship of The Three (and Azumazran 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.
Azumazran is the primary deity and driving force behind The Three. The others (Azumartuk 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
Azumazran has been said to appear in the dreams of some special followers in the form of great king, with long black hair and beard, and a shining crown, so bright as to nearly blind. He has also been known to appear in the aspects of a white stallion or a great shining dragon.
The Three do not exist within our reality, but in a plane of existence known as Bethaizu (“spiritual light”). They 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 Azumazran
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.
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. In fact, Azumazran represents the Ultimate 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 Azumazran are expected to wear long beards and hair, in imitation of the humanoid aspect of their deity. They also wear white robes trimmed in blue to denote their status. They also, except in the home or when bathing, always have their head covered. Often they wear a blue turban or headscarf to accomplish this and further denote their status. The head of the Temple, known as the Haslam-Azu (“Light Bearer”) wears robes trimmed in silver (or grey, in a poorer temple). They, too, wear a blue turban. All clergy also wear the symbol of the Dragon as a pendant.
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. Men and women tend to wear their hair long and men wear long beards. It is said that if man or woman’s hair turns white as they age, the hand of Azumazran is upon them—it is a blessing.
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.
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 Azumazran 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.
There are no other prescribed days of worship for the followers of Azumazran. 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 devout followers of Azumazran perform daily obediences in order to receive divine blessings in the form of boons from their deity. The obedience takes the form of a ritual performed by the follower in which they light a special incense candle (5 sp) and contemplate the flame while reciting passages from the Mazrani scrolls for an hour. Gain a +4 sacred bonus to all Wisdom-based skill checks.
Some followers may feel the need to make a sacrifice in the name of Azumazran. 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.