The rare frescoes and statues which depict Valeras show him as a bipedal entity, although his resemblance to most mortal races stops there. His legs are animalistic, resembling the legs of a wolf or perhaps a hyena in appearance, with a wickedly long dewclaw always shown; his torso is muscular, and covered with a disquieting combination of scales and fur unlike any natural creature, scattered in ragged, irregular patches. He has four limbs projecting from his upper torso - two are somewhat humanlike, aside from the hands having only three fingers and each finger being tipped by several inches of wickedly sharp claw; the other two are long, squidlike tentacles, the ends tipped with stingers purported to carry a virulent poison that attacks the mind. His head is a freakish thing indeed, appearing somewhat like a baboon, but also somewhat like a snarling hyena - the sculptors always take great pains to give an impression of a great deal of cunning mingled with the unholy hunger that drove this lost god.
Valeras is a long-dead god, one of several lost gods whose names are remembered only by devout scholars and perhaps a cult or two of worshipers. He was a god of death and destruction, decay, and bloody, violent vengeance.
Legends say that when the Great Mother miscarried the one who was meant to be the god of Life, this foul carrion-eating god of death and decay was what was born instead, the divine essence bringing terrible life to the stillborn god. Banished from the Isle of the Divine in the far north, the abomination traveled far, sowing death and destruction in his rage at being cast out and being warped by his actions in turn, until he reached the Midnight Vale in the farthest south, where he found a small community of mortals who were slowly starving in the midst of a famine.
His first worshipers were those people, and to this day this village - since moved into the darkness of the nearby mountain caverns - remains ardent worshipers. He gave them a small measure of his power, warping them to feed on carrion and to destroy to make more food; it wasn’t until he discovered that the famine was the result of another settlement miles away diverting the river that had caused the famine that he took on the mantle of vengeance, empowering his followers with the relentless hunger and endurance of a pack of rabid beasts, goading them across the miles to fall upon the other settlement in a furious bloodbath. Those not slain in the attack either converted to the worship of Valeras in the face of the obvious power of his followers, or were dragged off to be killed and eaten later - either by the worshipers or by the god himself.
Slowly, Valeras came to realize that his worshipers could help him, even as he had helped them, by exacting his own vengeance on the followers of those who had cast them out - and so the first missionaries of this foul god went forth, infiltrating the nearest cities and receiving inspiration from Valeras. These were all terrible failures, each found and killed for cannibalism within the week - which only served to spur Valeras to a terrible rage and send out more - these told to move more cautiously and take that which none would miss, or which had already been consigned where none would look. Many became keepers of charnel houses and catacombs, slowly corrupting the people of the cities to create a new cult of Valeras, undermining the power of the other gods and feeding on the bodies that had already been given to the grave.
For several centuries he spread his worshipers this way, sometimes corrupting entire cities, until finally his worshipers struck, conquering several nations in the dark of the night amid a furious bloodbath that left priests of other gods and would-be opponents of the reign of his cult dead and rotting, waiting to be tossed aside or devoured.
While this was the height of his power, it also marked the end of his reign, as the other gods were no longer ignorant of his threat, and soon armies began to march from the other cities, bolstered by divine power as they struck at each of the fallen nations; in each case, many of the most powerful of the carrion-eaters fled, leaving the lesser cultists and those duped into obedience to die in their stead, until only a handful of cities remained around the Midnight Vale.
It was then that Valeras knew he was fated to die by the hands of those who had cast him out, and it was then that he crafted the Bolt of Twilight as part of a plan to return from death. Entrusting the bolt to his cult after telling them that it would in time, allow him to return from death itself, he went forth, battling the other gods in each of his cities; the venom of his stingers drove several gods mad, and his mounting fury took many others to the grave before Koriel, the now-lost god of chaos, transfixed him with a spear crafted from the raw stuff of creation, slaying him and leaving his body to fall and rot away.
Since that day, the cult has used the Bolt of Twilight several times, and it is their hope that the eventual death of the now-corrupted Sun Dragon will be enough power to allow the rebirth of Valeras, who now slumbers, slowly consuming the souls already passed through the Bolt’s magic and gathering himself together for his return to the mortal world.
Beyond his ability to fashion things from the corrupted darkness in the depths of the caves where his cult dwells, Valeras has only one thing that would be of value to mortals - the venom in the stingers of his tentacles, if somehow coaxed forth, is a potent neurotoxin that can drive any being into an insane cannibalistic fury; a large enough dose will forever turn them into a monstrous carrion-eater. This was the fate of Goge, the God of War, now since imprisoned in the Rift of Broken Souls, where the sparks thrown up where his thrashing smashes his chains against the walls are said to be the cause of the strange fires of the northern lights.
Valeras, if ever returned to life, will have learned a great deal from his mistakes, bidding his cult to go forth and infiltrate the temples of the other gods around the whole of the world, corrupting them slowly from the inside out. His rebirth will also be not as a living god, but as an undead nightmare, his half-rotten body animated by the energy harvested from the souls corrupted by the Bolt of Twilight, and his hunger warped from dead and rotting flesh to living souls.