A Shepherd (導師 Doushi?, "Monk") is a human contracted to a powerful seraph in Tales of Zestiria who has the ability to purify malevolence at its roots, and is, by extension, able to purify the hellions. A Shepherd's ultimate goal is to defeat the Lord of Calamity. The Shepherd plays a crucial part in the story and serves as the mediator between humans and seraphim. The Shepherd is advised to avoid becoming involved in the affairs of humans, such as politics, lest society become dependent upon the Shepherd's intervention or otherwise misuse their power. Shepherds themselves are not immune to malevolence and can even turn into hellions.
List of Shepherds
- Asura - A former Shepherd from an unspecified time period. He possessed the sword that was infused with the power to cleave malevolence. He became a hellion, and his sword was taken by his seraph companion, Altul. Maltran later steals the sword during the events of the game.
- Pawan - A former Shepherd, contracted to Lailah during an unspecified time period. He was known for purifying over 10,000 hellions. He became a seraph upon his death.
- Michael - The Shepherd prior to Sorey, who died eighteen years before the game's events.
- Sorey - The Shepherd during the Age of Chaos and the protagonist of Tales of Zestiria. Initially a human with high enough resonance to see the seraphim, Sorey becomes the Shepherd through contracting with Lailah by taking up the Sacred Blade.
- Rose - Initially Sorey's Squire, Rose takes the mantle of the Shepherd by contracting with Lailah and makes Alisha Diphda her Squire three months after the Age of Chaos in the post-game DLC titled "Alisha's Story".
- Artorius Collbrande - Known to be one of the first Shepherds, as well as a hero thousands of years prior to the events of Tales of Zestiria. He is the main antagonist in Tales of Berseria, the distant prequel to Zestiria. Unlike most Shepherds, Artorius is a tragic man who has gone through extremes to purge the world of malevolence by stripping it of all emotion.
- Claudin Asgard - The king who ended the Era of Darkness. He is referenced in Tales of Zestiria as having been a Shepherd. In Tales of Berseria, he is only mentioned to have been an Exorcist, as well as Artorius's mentor.
- Ironically, both known Lords of Calamity, Heldalf and Velvet Crowe, were created by the actions of a Shepherd of their respective age. Heldalf was cursed by Michael, and Artorius sacrificing Velvet's brother, Laphicet Crowe, leading to Velvet into becoming a therion seeking revenge.