- See also: Road of the Beast (book)
Via Bestiae, commonly called the Road of the Beast, is one of the major Roads that Cainites may choose to follow in Vampire: The Dark Ages and Dark Ages: Vampire. Followers of Via Bestiae control their Beast through the primal concepts of survival, strength, and individuality. Many members of the Road of the Beast choose a simple, animalistic existence to best serve the beliefs of Via Bestiae, while others follow it by living a simplistic existence, akin to barbarians. Followers of this Road are known as Ferals.
The founder of Via Bestiae is commonly believed to be Ennoia, who also and most appropriately founded the Gangrel clan. Reflecting on the corruption that had developed in Enoch, Ennoia found it to be a mere distraction from the Beast rather than a way of mastering and controlling it. Plunging into the wilderness, she disappeared for forty years; when she returned, the Beast was under her control. Gathering interested followers, Ennoia began teaching her methods and lessons, leading to what became Via Bestiae.
Rules and PracticesEdit
Fighting for the right to exist is the number one rule of Via Bestiae. To the Feral, there is no mercy or compassion, no helping others; there is only themselves and their needs. They are expected to make themselves able to survive in any situation, and so strength and wile are strongly desired and respected among the followers of the Road of the Beast. However, followers of the Road are also not to kill unless needed to feed, or to take silly risks. They may ally themselves with their Beast, but are never to be controlled or manipulated by it; to succumb to its will would be to fall in with the wretches of Via Peccati ("Road of Sin").
While there is little organization, the Feral are still far more organized than many Cainites would believe. Most important to this are the Lorekeepers, who gathers the knowledge and traditions of Via Bestiae and keeps them safe and circulating among the Ferals. Wardens, who guard the sacred grounds of Via Bestiae, also have a place of importance on the Road. Rituals are common among the Ferals, usually to focus themselves on a task to come. Celebrations of thanks for blood and of mourning for those who have passed on are also common.
- Caine's Valley, the Holy Land
- Ennoia's Theater
- The Great Mosque at Córdoba
- The Ruins of Bjorn's Longhouse, Denmark
Hierarchy of SinsEdit
|Via Bestiae ("Road of the Beast")|
|10||Taking foolhardy risks.||Survival is paramount|
|9||Leaving the weak unchallenged.||Only the strongest should lead|
|8||Killing without need.||Murder is a creation of society|
|7||Avoiding the wilds.||In nature lies strength. Civilization is soft and weak|
|6||Tormenting others needlessly.||Only "civilized" folk engage in these things|
|5||Making unbidden sacrifice.||You owe others nothing|
|4||Failing to kill when necessary.||Nothing is more important than survival|
|3||Not defending your territory.||Those who do not defend their territory have it taken from them|
|2||Showing your enemies mercy.||Mercy is for the weak|
|1||Failing to feed your Hunger.||The beast must be satisfied|
The four optional Paths of Via Bestiae are:
- Via Praedator ("Path of the Hunter") - Ferals that exist to prey on those they consider lower than them. To do otherwise is blasphemous. They also use their Beast as a tool to accomplish their hunts.
- Via Erronis ("Path of the Nomad") - For these Ferals, civilization and anything associated with it is anathema. They travel light, and they travel always. This path is known as Tariq El-Bedouin to the Islamic Kindred, and is one of their main Roads.
- Via Feritas ("Path of the Savage") - The Ferals on this Path are the most prone to unleashing the Beast in fits of rage. Their fury is directed towards anything they consider weak, especially civilization. They strike often, and they strike hard.
- Via Venator Umbra ("Path of the Grey Hunter") - If there are any Ferals who do not loathe the concept of civilization, it is these. Rather, they view towns and cities as a different form of hunting ground. They are the most civilized of the Ferals, but make no mistake, as they are no less capable of hunting than the others.