Under Feet of Clay
Threefold Path of Zorwa
Domains: Darkness, Fire, Strength, Sun, War
Subdomains: Ash, Blood, Light, Night, Resolve
Favored Weapon: Scimitar
The ancient teachings of Zorwa are mysterious, esoteric, and incomplete in Calopius. Educated Tieflings tell that there are ancient ways of comprehending the world that rely on the patterns of the world, and that even gods are subject to these forces. In the blood-fed flame, Tiefling mystics see the combination of these forces, which rage within each mortal and immortal body for control. Each of these beasts must be fed and filled, while woven into harmony. Among Tieflings, the soul is drawn into one of five afterlives. Those fully ruled by the Beast of Light are swept up as fuel for the stars, giving eternally of themselves while perpetually burning in agony. Those who have fed the Beast of Darkness instead sink into the underworld, where they are given a pocket of perfect isolation, where they have total control over the void. Conversely, those who are slaves to the Beast of Blood sink into the soil, where their soul is broken into pieces of animal souls, since they forsook their higher minds for animal instinct. Those who made no choice instead join the Twisting Nether, a flux of raw soul materials to later become the souls of new mortals. Those who maintained balance in their lives and die in a state of balance instead join the ranks of the Enlightened Ancestors. Filled with kings, wise teachers, and the most successful Zorwans, the Enlightened Ancestors form an enclave most Calopenes would equate with the Anthrotheon, though Tieflings educated in their traditions would sigh at the comparison without fully being able to explain why it isn’t the same.
The Beast of Light is an honorable, just, and honest force that drives one to shine for others. It is the instinct to give of oneself for loved ones, stand up for principles, and sacrifice even life itself. Sharing, kindness, and duty are the realm of Light. However, martyrdom is not idealized in the Zorwan Paths, and instead is seen an act of madness or passion. The Beast of Darkness is selfish, controlling, and cunning. At its core, Darkness is required in business, politics, and bureaucracy, as these rulers are expected to outwit their foes, dominate their underlings, and maximize their benefit. Taken to an extreme, though, Darkness calls for one to destroy everything close to them. The Beast of Blood is ruled by instict, filling its appetites and satisfying the flesh. None of these are meant to fully dominate the others, as each has its own pitfalls. Allowed to run rampant, the Beast of Blood would glut itself in food, sex, and decadence while lazing in sloth. Many nobles are accused of giving way to such a path, sitting in opulent palaces and undertaking no real risks for themselves.
These beasts have no set form in depiction, though the Beast of Light is always winged, the Beast of Darkness has glowing eyes, and the Beast of Blood has a gaping, drooling mouth. These three, usually white, black, and red, create a circle around a flame, which embodies all elements of the Zorwan paths in its form. The flame feeds on blood, a life essence considered liquid, elemental fire. It emits light, yet darkness rises in the form of smoke and shelters the flame. The prominence of flame also means that respected dead are cremated. The body itself is considered an empty vessel after death, and the treatment and ritual care for the corpse are meant not for the departed, but to ease the grief of those still living.
Participation in the Zorwan Path within Calopius has no set rigors or rituals, though many will practice meditation and occasional fasting to tame the Beast of Blood. Since most adherents are Tieflings and Half-Orcs, the Beast of Blood has taken on the form of a tempting master, and dominates the make-shift ritual chambers among the slave pits in fighting rings. Barbarians and Bloodragers channel their anger, accepting the gifts of the Beast of Blood, while attempting to keep enough of their wits about them to keep the Beasts of LIght and Darkness alive long enough to subjugate the Beast of Blood in old age. For many, Blood is the only path that remains an option.