The Way of Fivefold Essence

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Contents

Philosopy

The Way of Fivefold Essence, or Fivefold Way is an esoteric tradition of sorcerous martial arts practiced by wandering masters throughout the Empire. Its philosophy and practices are based on a tale from the earliest days of the world. According to the Way's practicioners, all of mankind's ways of fighting (from the most skilled swordplay to the roughest fist fight) stem from five root techniques. These were taught to mankind by five spirits who embodied the five elemental essences of the universe.

The five spirits saw that mankind in its innocence was helpless before the forces of corruption which had crept into the world. So they granted a measure of themselves to give form to the will and fighting spirit which was already present in mankind. Each spirit chose a hero from the corners of the world, and taught a style of fighting which was the essence of conflict: neither physical or spiritual but a pure form of both. These five heroes came together to drive back the monsters and make a place for mankind in the world.

The heroes taught what they had learned to their followers, each of whom interpreted what they learned differently. Over centuries, these teachings fragmented into many and varied ways of fighting, each of which reflected one specific aspect of the unified whole which was lost. Most warriors are now beings only of the body, while sorcerers still tap into the spiritual power which once aided all mankind. The practitioners of the world's many martial arts preserve a kernel of the unity of mind and body which the spirits taught, as they channel their inner power into feats of martial prowess.

The practitioners of the Way believe that it is possible to distill and reconstruct the original pure style of the Five Spirits from the many kernels which remain in the world, as well as from ancient wisdom which can be found hidden. Furthermore, they believe that re-capturing the wisdom taught to mankind by the five great spirits will form the key to the resistance of humanity to corruption and evil in the world. To that end they practice techniques which combine fighting methods with manipulation of elemental energy. They seek out exposure to as many of the fighting styles of the world as they can, so as to glean from each a piece of the original wisdom.

Techniques

The fighting style of the Way is collectively called Five Essence Style, and mixes physical combat with manipulation of elemental energy. Any given practitioner, however, will practice a unique variant based on their own knowledge and experience. Some practitioners focus on perfecting a single element, while others seek to balance all elements. Members share their knowledge with others they meet, with the goal of one day unifying all their techniques into the pure form taught to mankind in ancient times.

Known Members

Open Questions

  • Is the Way a religious/ascietic/monastic order, or just a fighting/sorcerous one?
  • What are identifying features of practitioners (dress, customs, etc)?