Kawakzif, the Rabid God
The lowly disease god of a strain of rabies, wolf-headed Kawakzif thrived under the mismanagent of Heaven. By expertly culling and spreading their maddening illness, they cultivated mortal fear into mortal worship, founding a cult between the borders of Creation's empires.
For centuries, the Rabid God grew fat on prayer. At first, these were prayers of fear and warding, hoping to keep the god's illness away from the people's herds and hunting dogs, and futile prayers for a cure to the madness eating away at their loved ones. In time, however, Kawakzif came to be worshipped as a god of punishment, and the Rabid God took to the role, enacting pitiless justice for those who aired their grievances with lavish or desperate sacrifice. Rabid wolves were their instrument of vengeance, and fits of madness, and sleepless fevered nights. Their old racket of managing the spread of their sickness fell to spiritual hangers-on.
One night, Kawakzif awoke to their sanctum screaming, prayers of terror shaking the very walls. Their strain of rabies had befallen a god-beast of the woods, and it had turned its frenzy on the faithful. It ruined lives and livelihoods, it slew hunters who set out to kill it, and it ate the flesh of men. Kawakzif thought little of it, knowing that the beast would soon die.
But the beast couldn't die.
Every mortal attempt to stop it failing, Kawakzif was forced to act themself, but they were as powerless as their worshippers. When they tried to hasten the progression of the rabies, it only intensified the monster's deathless rage; when they sought it cure it, it only made the monster stronger; when they took material form and faced it in battle, they were torn apart.
Fleeing through the woods in ragged and bloody formlessness, Kawakzif felt veins of guilt run through their terror. They knew then that they'd failed in their duty — that they, who had scourged evildoers, had only wrought evil themself. Falling to no knees, the Rabid God began to pray: for penance, for punishment, and for a champion who could fell the monster they'd made.
The Sun answered all three prayers with a single gift of flame.
Kawakzif sought out one who had lived like a beast and burned themself on the pyre of his Exaltation. The beast was soon defeated, and the Bassarid stood with the world at his feet, burning with the fires of Exaltation and fever. Kawakzif had offered no command, only a plea to stop the beast and redeem them, and now their Chosen is free to follow their heated heart.
The Bassarid inherited the Rabid God's power over rabies and their self-appointed role as a fury, but also an arsenal of symbolism: rage and delirium, insomnia and infection, wolves and fever heat. With these newfound powers, he might:
- Go without sleep or water at the cost of wolfish hunger.
- Send his spirit abroad in the form of a wolf.
- Take on and prosecute the grievances of others.
- Sniff out misdeeds and creatures of darkness.
- Endow mortals with wolflike battle-forms.
- Burn with fever as hot as a furnace.
- Accept unreason and monstrous frailties in return for strength.
TraitsWho Is the Bassarid?
This text refers to the Chosen of the Rabid God by masculine pronouns, but this is out of convenience; the Rabid God might have Exalted anyone who has "lived like a beast," literally or metaphorically. Below is a handful of potential candidates:
- Irsimë: A prince of the region, whose family confined her to a private garden during a stint of mental illness. Exaltation allowed her to master her condition, and now she seeks to reclaim the throne denied to her.
- Second Son: Condemned to outlawry for the murder of his husband, Second Son has spent years living off trapping, banditry, and deceit. That life can't sate him anymore, but he doesn't yet know what to do with his power.
- The Feral: A boy raised by forest spirits, talented in sorcery but unversed in speech and the ways of society. He did not slay the monster, but cured and tamed it, and now they travel together as master and familiar.
The Bassarid is an Essence-based Exigent intended for Terrestrial play. During character creation, he receives the Natural Immunity Merit for free, even if he doesn't meet the prerequisite.
The Bassarid's anima is a smoldering darkness in the hues of a wolf pelt, billowing out like a cloak. At Glowing anima, his eyes turn fiery and bestial; at Burning, he is marked by wolfish hallucinations, seeming at certain angles like a nightmarish beastman; finally, his Iconic manifestation is an ever-evolving litany of his deeds and sins in Heavenly script, bright and hotly shining.
[Anima effects TBD]
The Bassarid is restricted by the Terrestrial keyword.
The Bassarid can initiate into Terrestrial Circle Sorcery.
The Bassarid is dissonant with all of the magical materials. However, he is neutral with artifacts which incorporate the matter or spirit of terrestrial predators and fierce beasts -- wolves, boars, leopards, and the like -- or great spirits and behemoths of similar nature, regardless of material.
Longevity and Death
While the vitality and improved healing of the Chosen will hold off senescence, the Rabid God's Chosen is unlikely to live longer than a decade or two past 100. His Exaltation will die with him, but it is capable of propagation: a mortal who survives rabies inflicted by the Bassarid's Charms and anima powers, and who possesses the right heroic potential and affinity for his power, might be Exalted as he was. Such fellow-Chosen will have to contend with an Essence fever more intense than that of the first Bassarid, urging them to live like beasts until they come into their power.