Mal Zath, the Blood Bull, is the lightning-god of war and slaughter and rage. He is credited as the creator of the minotaur race. He is a popular god of war in cultures that take an aggressive approach to conquest. His allegiance is with the Lower Nine, who accept his unending bloodthirst and rage. His sister is Xacshi, mad goddess of fire and destruction, who follows in his wake; his most hated rivals are Valysa the Protector and Evrel the Merciful.
In Rasenna, Mal Zath is a god of civil war, of massed battle and of the slaughter of hated enemies. His faith is not openly popular in peacetime, as its tenets are generally incompatible with the appearance of civility. His symbol is a pair of bloody horns.
The more sophisticated depictions of Mal Zath in Rasenna depict him as a burly warrior-king in red, bull’s horns emerging from his crown or helm, or sometimes as a muscular giant in torn armor bleeding from a hundred wounds. Older and more primal works show him as gore-soaked and horned, as a bull/human hybrid, or as an immense scarlet bull with horns of lightning. He is depicted with many weapons, but the most religious works show him wielding a great double-bladed axe named “Kinslayer.” He favors omens such as unexpected lightning strikes; blood seeping from edged weapons; brief rains of blood; smoking hoofprints (especially in metal or stone); the winding of horns; and cries of the slain or other sounds of unseen slaughter.
Few know the truth of Mal Zath’s unholy rites. Most suspect his worship to entail blood sacrifice, ritual combat, and drug-crazed sequences of carnage; lurid works of art imply as much. His priests’ public offerings are more socially acceptable, if still somewhat dramatic; a bleeding here, the sacrifice of a bull there. In wartime, the Horned Priests earn a place alongside many armies, using rhetoric and ritual to drive troops into a state of exalted fury.
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