The Warring Triad (三闘神, Santōshin?, lit. "Three Warring Gods"), also known as the Statues, are an important plot point in Final Fantasy VI. According to legend, the Warring Triad are collectively the gods of magic, and the beings that created the espers. They are named Demon, Fiend, and Goddess.
In ancient times the Warring Triad feared each other's power and started a war. The humans and animals caught in the crossfire became espers and were enslaved by the gods to fight for them. Eventually the gods realized the chaos their fighting was causing and sealed themselves in stone, their final act to give the espers free will and ask them to protect them from being awoken. After the War of the Magi, the espers fled the world to a new realm and took the Warring Triad's petrified statues with them. The Triad were placed in a delicate balance of power, and it was said catastrophe would occur if they were moved out of position.
A thousand years later a man named Gestahl rediscovered the secrets of magic. He built up an Empire and invaded the esper world, kidnapping espers and draining their powers, resulting in Magitek. Kefka Palazzo was aware of the Warring Triad's existence, as he was maniacally reveling in his increase in power and mentioned his plans to reawaken the Warring Triad within the Magitek Research Facility. After discovering magicite, the true power of the espers, Gestahl invades the Land of Espers with Kefka, raising the Floating Continent with the Warring Triad's power at his fingertips. Kefka seizes the Triad's power for himself and uses it to murder Gestahl. Kefka succeeds in moving the Statues out of alignment, releasing their power, shifting the face of the world, and conquering the world.
Kefka uses the power of the Triad in the World of Ruin to exert his destructive will on any city that resists him, using a ray of energy called the "Light of Judgment" to burn anyone who opposed him, or destroy entire towns. When the party raids Kefka's Tower with hopes of defeating Kefka, they destroy the Triad to get rid of Kefka's power source. This worries Terra, who is half-esper and half-human. The Triad are the source of magic, and thus the espers' life force. If the Triad were destroyed espers would die, possibly including Terra. By this point Kefka had drained most of the Triad's power into himself and thus had become the source of magic. After Kefka is defeated Terra survives as a human without the espers' innate magical abilities because of her strong feelings for the children in Mobliz.
- Main article: Demon (Final Fantasy VI)
- Main article: Fiend (Final Fantasy VI)
- Main article: Goddess (Final Fantasy VI)
The Warring Triad are fought as bosses in Kefka's Tower.
"Catastrophe" is the name of the musical piece that plays when the party confronts Kefka and Gestahl before the Warring Triad, and is also used when the Floating Continent rises. During the three battles with the Warring Triad, the music used is "Battle to the Death".
Three statues that appear in the Desert Palace appear to be an allusion to the Warring Triad. The outer statues are demonic creatures titled "Promise of the Evil God" and "Truth of the Devil". The middle statue is angelic, and is named the "Illusion of the Goddess".
The Japanese name of the "Ruthless" paradigm may be a reference to the Triad — the Japanese name for the Paradigm is "撃滅の戦鬼", translating as "Warring Demons of Destruction" and consists of a Commando, a Ravager and a Saboteur.
In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Kefka's EX Burst is titled Warring Triad. The input sequence to power up the attack features three controller commands appearing over Kefka in a triangle formation in the same positioning as the Triad's statues. The circles surrounding the commands when they appear are colored in the same pattern as the Triad's color scheme: the top circle (Goddess) is blue, the left circle (Fiend) is yellow, and the right circle (Demon) is red.
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Kefka's Dissidia EX Mode card references his draining of the Triad's power with its effect. Instead of paying Kefka's cost to play him from the hand, the player may instead send three Backup or Forward cards of different elements to the Break Zone.
A triad is defined as a "group of three". The number three occurs with great frequency in countless mythologies and religions found across the globe.
The Warring Triad may be loosely based on the Japanese gods Amaterasu, Susano'o, and Tsukuyomi. The storm god Susano'o and the moon god Tsukuyomi are male, while the sun goddess Amaterasu is female and the strongest of the three siblings. According to myth, when Izanami, one of the first gods and wife to Izanagi, died and went to the underworld, Yomi, Izanagi attempted to retrieve her but she was unable to follow. Izagani returned to Earth and bathed to purify himself, washing out Amaterasu, Susano'o, and Tsukuyomi, from his eyes and nose. Though the three are siblings they are opposed to each other, Amaterasu and Tsukuyomi having a falling out when he killed the food goddess Uke Mochi, while Amaterasu and Susano'o were always locked in a feud.
In the original concept artwork by Tetsuya Nomura, the Warring Triad are given names beyond their basic titles. The Goddess is given the name Sophia, the Demon is given the name Zurvan, and the Fiend is given the name Sephiroth. "Sophia" is the Greek word for "wisdom", and is commonly represented as a goddess, as well as being a primary deity in Gnosticism. Zurvan is a primary creation god of Zoroastrianism. The sephiroth is the pathway leading to God, also known as the tree of knowledge, in kabbalism. Each of the three names represent the highest levels of knowledge and power in their respective religions.
- The triad is linked to the three basic elements. Fiend corresponds to Ice, Demon to Fire, and Goddess to Lightning.
- The Warring Triad is one of a few deity trios in Final Fantasy lore. Among summons Shiva, Ifrit, and Ramuh, as well as the Magus Sisters, are well known trios. Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy also brought a fal'Cie deity triad of Pulse, Lindzei, and Etro. Of the above trios, all but the Magus Sisters are in opposition to each other.