Hood is the God of Death from the Malazan Empire series of books written by Steven Erikson.

Hood Jaghut eats the brains of a female Forkrul Assail

Ever since I picked up this series I’ve been churning out characters from the books in my spare time. I’m going to give you a little backdrop of what the story is about. The Malazan Empire wants to take over the world, and it is extremely successful! As they take over the various continents the books describe the ordeals of their armies, in particular the focus is mostly on the soldiers themselves. The books are very difficult to get into, and frankly I think the author was stoned out of his mind prior to writing these, but I found them very interesting. In particular what the author manages to do, is fit some extremely powerful characters into his story, and every once in a while, these characters clash and typically someone dies. The scene below depicts one such clash, yet despite the brutality of the scene it was something which made me laugh when I read it.

Hood is from an ancient and extremely powerful race called the Jaghut. These are humanoid creatures with tusks and greenish skin color, who usually live a very isolated life. At some point in ancient history the Jaghut were the supreme race in the world, but have subsequently been hunted into near extinction after a lesser race rebelled against their decadence. Still the Jaghut are extremely powerful, and among them have risen ones called Jaghut Tyrants who can enslave just about anyone with their telepathic powers. Among their many powers Jaghut have the ability to summon ice, so much ice that a single Jaghut can cover an entire continent with it. There were very few Jaghut Tyrants in the history of the world, though each time one rose up they caused destruction and wars on the global scale until they either got killed or imprisoned. The first book in the series has a scene with a Jaghut Tyrant named Raest who has been sleeping within a prison for thousands of years. There’s little known about Hood himself in the stories, except that he died during the ancient times and somehow became the God of Death subsequently. This is not unusual, one must usually die before they undergo a process known as ascension, which brings them their divine powers. In general almost all gods in the Malazan series are creatures who died, yet they still persist and can manifest in the realm of the living. More frequently they prefer possession, or small nudges, rather than showing themselves, because subsequent death might become permanent. What is known about Hood though is that he was unmatched among other Jaghut in terms of power. The sheer badassery of Hood is only elaborated upon in the last books of the series.

The Malazan soldiers in particular are extremely fascinated with Hood, and the realm of the dead. Usually when soldiers curse they invoke Hood’s name, and they typically talk about his awesome breath, and hairy balls. It doesn’t take but a few pages of reading the books to realize the Malazan marines are absolutely insane though…

The other creature represented in this picture (the one with the tasty brain tissue) is a member of a race called the Forkrul Assail. You have to get to the last book of the series to really understand more about this race. Here’s a concept sketch I put together of what the creature should look like.

Forkrul Assail Concept

The Forkrul Assail are humanoid in appearance but have extra joints in their arms and legs. They could breed with other humanoid races, but the pure blooded Forkrul are very powerful warriors and can enslave other creatures with the power of their voice. Read the books to get more info, if you can get through the complicated weave of characters and impossible events, the books offer some of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever read about.

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