Zero Year Chapter Six

Last week we watched Maaza and Gahiji got at it for a bit. This week, Nyarai decides to take Krü’s advice and asks Raziya for more responsibility!!

BYR Chapter Six

Key information/terms

  • Levels of crime: There are five levels of crime 1 to 5 (five being the most serious). 
  • Lightning Council classes of importance:  The lightning have 6 classes of importance and urgency. The higher the class the less members of the council are needed to make the decision. Class 1 & 2 calls for the whole council. Class 3 & 4 calls at least half have of the council to be present or the Agradahene has the right to decided alone. Class 5 & 6 the Agradahene has the right to decide alone regardless of how many council members are present. 
  • Lightning Council: the lightning council is made of 14 members counting the Agradahene. Head of the council, Chief Ohunu Coordinator, Commander of the Storm gate, Tribal heads of all seven tribes (Agradahene is the tribal head of their tribe), and the three army generals. 
  • -Rosk: it is a formal yet very petty way to address someone you hate. 
  • Stoziimaa Kruitaa: The literal translation in Shari is Protect spirits. It means may the spirits, or ancestors protect and watch over us. It is a common way to say goodbye in the east.

Key Setting

         The Lightning Lodge in the UPFR Capital.

Key Characters

Picrew: https://picrew.me/image_maker/296093

  • Dakarai
  • Umechui
  • Azrael
  • Nyarai
  • Raziya

Asante Chidozie

Alias: Peace Keeper

Age: 45 (27/09/1348)

Home Nation: The Chidozie State, Sharichui

Occupation: Lightning First Advisor

Ashe E/I/A: Lightning/Base/Flash

In story fact: Asante was originally a storm gate being groomed to one day be the Commander. But because of Kwame’s death, Khari’s departure and Olajuwon being more qualified, Dakarai groomed him to be first Advisor instead.

Olajuwon Sarpong

Alias: Protector of the people

Age: 51 (06/06/1342)

Home Nation: The Sarpong State, Umemardhi

Occupation: Storm Gate Guard Commander

Ashe E/I/A: Lightning/Storm (lunar)/ Weatherer

In story fact: Olajuwon is the man of the people. People love him. Almost as much as they love Dakarai.

Sadé Furaha

Alias: Strike from the sky

Age: 47 (19/05/1346)

Home Nation: The Furaha State, Umemardhi

Occupation: General of the first third army

Asha E/I/A: Lightning/Base/Shocker

In story fact: Sadé is a former Ohunu agent who quickly joined the army within her first three years. She’d consider her and Raziya rivals. Former Agradahene Nyala Furaha’s wife was her great grandfather’s sister.

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ZERO YEAR DISCLAIMER: Though many of the Zero Year’s elements are inspired by and based on existing African Cultures, Zero Year is not an accurate representation of African cultures. The purpose of ZY is to appreciate and pay homage to African Culture via a fictional story and world. Zero Year is not real and shouldn’t be treated as a canon of African Cultures, traditions, practices, and people.

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Chapter Six: Cats of the East

Part One: No Jungles in Sinaga

The next morning Day of earth (8th) Dakarai was standing in a tree gazing into the Capital city line. “There’s not a single jungle in this whole continent,” Dakarai said.

            “In the 7th there was,” Umechui said.

            “Dear friend reveal my enemies so that I…

            “Protect the lightning. The realm isn’t yours to save.”

            “Taboo, Taboo, Taboo,” Dakarai laughed.

            Behind him in the distance, Azrael was standing with Dakarai’s shirt and sandals in hand. “It look like his meeting is more important than ours.”

            Dakarai jumped down from the tree and began walking toward Azrael. “Good morning grandson,” Dakarai said.

            “Good morning old man. How was your Morning meditation? Insightful, I hope?”

            “Meditation feels off here. I’m a home body. Where were you the day before? I was looking for you.”

            “I went home. Why what happened?”

            “Nothing. I went to see Yaro.”

            “How is he doing?”

            “The spirits keep him youthful.”

            “That’s good to hear. The meeting starts in a few everyone is waiting.”

            “Nonsense, it starts when I get there. I want to talk to my grandson for a bit. It’s about time I pass this down to you.”

            “Pass down what?”

            “Keep your distance.” he said as he backed up.

            Dakarai took a deep breath, closed his eyes and began to center.  Just as his hand touched, everything around him started to blow away. Azrael was barely keeping his footing. It had been awhile since Azrael felt his grandfather’s Ashe flare. It was amazing to feel the ashe rush against his skin. 

Dakarai slowly opened his eyes were glowing yellow. A yellow aura of ashe started to form around him until it form a large sphere. The Aura started to float above his body into the sky. He closed his eyes, interlocked his fingers and closed them tight. The Aura of ashe compressed into a small ball about the size of a pebble.

 Azrael was confused. He still felt the immense amount of ashe but it looked as if it disappeared. Streaks of lights started to come from the aura, then finally. It burst into a great flash of light. When the light cleared, Israel couldn’t believe his eyes. He was mesmerized.

            *Ancient Ashe Technique Mnyama: Great Tiger* A six meter tall yellow Tiger made of pure ashe appeared behind Dakarai.

            “Did you summon Umechui?!?! What did you just do?!?!” 

            “It’s pure ashe. Can’t be physically attacked and its invulnerable to anything weaker than it. It’s called Mnyame.”

            “Teach me!” He said still shocked.

            “Later. We have a meeting remember?” He said as he put his sandals on.

            “Come on its been awhile since in learned something.”

            “Hmm you want to learn something? There’s a book that would be perfect for you.”

            “A book? Teach me that instead.”

            “Yes. Maaza stole a book and I want you to steal it.”

            “When did Maaza steal a book from the Lightning?”

            “Oh, the book doesn’t belong to the Lightning.”

            “Who does the book belong to?”

            “I guess it technically belongs to Yaro, but enough of that we’ll talk after the meeting,” He said putting on his shirt.

Part Two: Fifteen running

            Raziya, Asante and Nyarai were waiting in the lodge for Azrael and Dakarai. “Sorry to keep you all waiting. My morning Meditation was a little longer than expected. ” Dakarai said entering the room.

            “All is well Dakarai-Küch,” Asante said.

            “I know the rest of the council back home are stressed and worried about what is to come from this summit. You all are more even kill than them but, I can sense some worry. Take it from me I’ve been to Summits when we were on the verge of war, after war, After assassinations. I’ve seen it all. This Summit isn’t nearly as tense. You’ve all worked hard to protect the Lightning, the East and the Realm. There’s nothing to worry about. Everyone Take a deep breath with me… Hold it… and exhale. Now Asante what do you have for me?” 

            “Intel suggest that you will be put on an informal trial for the partnerships you made with Canna and Zoiven in 1388. Gahiji and some UPFR chairs believe you violated the Economic Prosperity initiative Act of 1354. How should we proceed?” Asante said.

            “It’s like he sees you as his rival or something,” Raziya laughed.

“I still feel like it was a mistake not to help Lady Asha. Things would be a lot smoother,” Azrael said.

“I wanted too but, Lord Shaka thought she’d win on her own so we left it alone,” Raziya laughed.

“Democracy is weird. You let the people vote, but they don’t know who should lead them in the first place,” Nyarai laughed.

“Well it’s not all of their fault. The people are only as knowledgeable as the information they have access to,” Asante said.

“Yes, and propaganda is the Wave’s strong suit. How else do you think Kali lasted her whole term?” Raziya said.

“Yes, the Wave and Lightning are very different but I have yet to make an opinion on this Canna thing. Nyarai assess the situation for me,” Dakarai asked.

Nyarai grabbed at her tablet and threw her hand at the projector. So that what she was looking at was visible to everyone. “This sounds like Maaza to me. The partnerships were approved by the council 18 to 9 in ’88. Maaza voted against it. Any reasonable suspicion she may have is low and proof of foul play is lower. I think she’s just throwing a fit.”

            “That is true. At the last summit she didn’t bring it up. Maybe she thinks she has something,” Raziya said.

            “Out of curiosity, did my Father vote for or against?” Azrael asked.

            “Against.”

            “Why does he humor her?” Azrael said to himself.

            “Thank you Nyarai, Someone Call Olajuwon and the Council,” Dakarai said.

            Asante used his tablet to call the Lightning council and projected it on the holographic viewer for everyone to see. Olajuwon was in view. “Proxy!! How’s everything?” Dakarai greeted.

            “Dakarai-Küch. A bit of a discussion has formed here we’d like your input,” he responded.

            “I’m listening,” Dakarai said.

            Sadé entered the holographic view. Her arms were crossed and she had yet to lift he eyes from her feet. “Last week, the first third was short 15 troops. I sent a special unit to search for them. They reported that they had reached the heart of Canna already when they encountered them. Eight were killed, three are currently detained and the rest got away,” She said.

            Dakarai was no longer smiling. This was not a laughing matter. Asante, Raziya and Nyarai were all shocked and a bit confused. Azrael’s reaction was different. He saw everyone else’s reactions and was embarrassed that he already knew. You’d think they’d report that.

            “Why wasn’t this reported?” Raziya said trying to stay calm.

            “We had the situation under control. We’ve got great intel out of the three arrested,” Sadé said.

            “Four missing troops doesn’t sound like under control to me,” Asante said massaging his temples.

            “Rogues and deserters are Ohunu business. I should have been notified the moment you found out troops were missing,” Raziya said.

            “We know more about this case than the Ohunu knows about anything. And as commander of the first third, first third troops are my business,” Sadé said.

            Nyarai and Azrael locked eyes immediately. Raz was trying her hardest, but she was about to lose composer. “You stupid bi-

            “Raz!!! Sadé since you know so much, where were these troops traveling to?” Asante said interrupting her.

            “Yes, enlighten us oh great General Furaha-Rosk,” Raziya said rolling her eyes.

            “Well they were in Canna and they said they were trying to make it to the UPFR or at least Hiraa,” she said.

            The room was silent. They all were shocked and disappointed in the “intel”. She accepted to be true. Raziya couldn’t hold it anymore. She erupted into laughter.

 “From Canna, through Ibiresea and Ibirewen to the ROF. They were not going to the UPFR, because they would be arrested upon arrival and neither Hiraa because it’s a UPFR protected nation. Basically, a jurisdiction extension of the UPFR. They were going to the ROF that’s were all rogues travel to,” Asante said massaging his temples.

“You sent troops across borders? Fifteen running and hopefully no more than five hunting. Twenty people counts as an assault unit. If you were there, which I think you were since you’re so proud of this failed mission, it’s extremely illegal. There should be a warrant out for your head. Did you even file them as rogue criminals before you went after them?” Raziya said.

“Should we say something,” Azrael whispered to Nyarai.

“No this is the only fun Raziya has,” she laughed.

“I did not send twenty troops across borders. Your twisting the situation,”  Sadé yelled.

“But that’s what it looks like doesn’t it?” Raziya laughed.

“I’m sure we can all agree this situation is bad for the Lightning. It’s important that everyone follows protocol,” Asante said.

“Fine. But, retrieving troops shouldn’t be illegal,” Sadé said.

“Well it is across borders,” Raziya said.

“You’re right it shouldn’t, but it is. Anything outside of the Land of Lightning is for the Ohunu to handle. You were wrong to go after them. Anyone else has anything to bring to the council?” Dakarai said.

“Other than that, all is well here in Umemardhi,” Olajuwon said.

“Stoziimaa Kruitaa,” Dakarai said.

“Stoziimaa Kruitaa,” Olajuwon said.

Asante ended the call and Dakarai looked upset with Azrael. “Explain yourself,” he said.

“I was under the impression that she had already reported it.”

“Ha! That was your first mistake,” Raziya laughed.

“No excuse you’d double check anything else,” Dakarai said.

“Tell the truth you handled this right?” Asante asked.

“It was a group effort between me, shock and three,” he said.

“Accept a compliment Jungle boy, you’re their lead,” Nyarai said shaking his shoulders.

“Thanks, But I’m just doing-

“But nothing. This could’ve been worse,” Raziya said.

“Nyarai’s right. Wraith has saved the lightning again. But this rogue issue is far out of control now,” Dakarai said.

“I hate to say it but, the Ohunu can’t handle this ourselves. This is a realm-wide pandemic,” Asante said.

“We have to play by the rules to fix this. That reminds me, Be on your best behavior old man. We’ll need Maaza’s cooperation for my proposal,” Raziya said.

“I’ll try,” he laughed.

They went on to finish the rest of their meeting. The whole time Nyarai was thinking about her and Azrael’s talk the night before last. Was the timing, right? Or was he just trying to cheer her up? And if it was, what was that based on? Did he know something she didn’t? Or was this a hunch he felt in the ashe? 

“Should I say it? No maybe later,” She thought to herself.

“Now or never,” Azrael said holding her hand.

She waited for a silence then stood up. “I think I’ve proved myself time and time again. I think that… No, I know that I’m ready for more responsibility,” she said.

“Nyarai we’ve spoke about this a hundred times you-

“Let her finish,” Dakarai said.

“I know, but it’s been 21 years. They aren’t coming back. I’m not in danger. I can’t grow hiding from them or with you holding my hand,” She said.

“She has a point and her success rate is higher than any of ours,” Asante said.

“Only by 0.0002,” Azrael said under his breath.

“Hush, this isn’t about you,” Asante said.

“Looks to me like Nyarai is asking for a promotion. What does the Coordinator have to say?”

“Nyarai you’re already one of the top ranking agents the next promotion is my job. I can’t promote you,” Raziya said.

“You know what she means,” Dakarai said.

Raziya looked up at Nyarai and saw that she was serious. Why would she make me do this again? This can’t become a constant theme for us. Raziya wanted to keep Nyarai as far away from the Ohunu and her parents as possible. Growing up she pushed her to be a storm gate, but the Ohunu was what she wanted. Raz was never good at telling Nyarai no and she didn’t want to push her way. So, she slowly started allowing her to explore the Ohunu thinking she’d have her parent’s case resolved before Nyarai got too deep. Hoping she could give her peace of mind and closure. 

Years later, the case was still open and Nyarai had become a top field agent. Her options of protecting Nyarai we getting low. All she had left was to deny her rank. 

Why does she make me this person? I hate being this mother. She took a deep breath and tried to hold back the tears“Kitten I-

“Don’t do that,” Nyarai said with her head down and fist clenched.

“But-

Nyarai rose her head and revealed eyes full of tears. “Be straight with me Coordinator Aku.”

Raz wiped the tear falling down her cheek and took a deep breath. “Fine agent Nyarai Aku. Your presence is a danger to other agents. You have direct relations with two level 4 rogues that the Ohunu and Council has determine have a strong interest in you. All things considered; You may keep your title as Co-Branch head, but I will not give you the full responsibility of your merit,” Raziya said. 

Her heart was struck by Raz’s spear of lightning. She sunk into the seat of her chair swallowed by pain and regret. “I understand Coordinator Aku. Thank you for your audience.” Every time. Why does she hate me? I told Krü this was a bad idea.

Azrael reached for Nyarai’s hand to console her. He nudged Asante so he could say something.

“Since we’re in his presence, As head of Advisory council I request the Agradahene’s opinion,” Asante said.

“I agree with both Agent and Coordinator Aku. The council determined the agent a danger to the Lightning, but that decision was last revisited seven years ago,” Dakarai said.

“Are you suggesting the decision should be revisited?” Asante asked.

“Yes, and I deem the matter of class 4 importance.”

“Very well. At a class 4 importance, at least half of the council must be present or it’s the Agradahene’s decision alone,” Asante said.

“One, Two and three. That’s less than half. I deem Agent Nyarai Aku is no longer a danger to the lightning or Ohunu. I ask that Coordinator Aku grants Agent Aku the full responsibility and workload of her titled position effective immediately. Agents Aku and Nwadike are dismissed.”

Nyarai was surprised. From heartbreak to joy in a matter of moments. Raz could no longer hold her back. She was finally going to be treated like the Co-head of an Ohunu Branch. She would be able to actually do what her job required of her. Azrael had his arms up ready to hug her. He was right. It did work out. They contained themselves until they left the room and celebrated.

Back in the room Raziya didn’t have the same joyous reaction. “That was disrespectful and uncalled for.”

“It was protocol.”

“Bullshit. This was plotted by you Asante!”

“Don’t look at me this was Azrael’s idea. He came to me four months ago about it.”

“If my Kitten gets hurt, I’m murdering the three of you.”

“She’s an adult now. You have to let her go a bit Raz,” Asante laughed.

“What do you know about parenting?” Raziya said.

“I’ve learned a lot from Sanaa,” Asante said.

“7 months to 21 years? Stop talking to me Asante,” Raziya said.

“Okay well Dakarai what do you think? you have well over 50 years of experience.”

“I don’t really know. Both of my boys have told me I’m a better leader than father. But one thing I do know is I trusted Kwame too much and didn’t feel the need to protect him now he watches over us. Raz I think this is the reverse situation. Trust her more. You’ll only push her away if you don’t. She feels doubted not protected.”

“What do you know? Neither of you are Mothers!! When Zahira pits the council against you and drags this out all the way to the Senate I will not help you.”

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Behind Chapter Six

In this chapter, We learned about upcoming conflicts between the Lightning and Maaza. Azrael is to steal a book and Dakarai is set to be questioned by the Council. We also touched on the overarching problem of the realm rogues and deserters. Lastly, we got to see Nyarai and Raziya’s bond and the conflict of it. Nyarai will no longer be held back by Raziya and the Council. 

Questions I think you may have

How serious is Bomani and Aza’s flee?

Without getting into too much detail, it is very serious. A 21 year old case that’s pretty much gone dead is still a class 4 importance. In chapter one we saw the Ohunu go after them including the Agradahene. It’s very rare for the Coordinator to be in the field and far rarer for the Agradahene to be in the field. 

Aren’t Asante, Raziya and Olajuwon equal in power?

Yes, they are equal in power. The only time one is over the over is in their field. So, Asante and Olajuwon answer to Raziya on Ohunu related matters. Raziya and Asante answers to Olajuwon when it’s comes to the safety and security of civilians. Raziya and Olajuwon answer to Asante when it comes to anything council related.

How were Asante and Dakarai able to go over Raziya’s head?

A few legal technicalities. If Raziya made the decision in here office and without Dakarai’s audience, it would’ve stood. Also, their meeting was technically a council meeting. Usually only council members are allowed in council meetings, but Dakarai granted Nyarai and Israel proxy council privileges during the Summit. Also, Nyarai and her employment status is an important part of her parents case.

Because of these rules, Nyarai was allowed to speak freely and ask Raziya for a promotion. Since it was a council meeting and Asante is first advisor. He can pause any decision and ask for the Agradahene for their opinion. Since the decision was made in Dakarai’s presence and Nyarai’s employment status being a matter important to the safety of the Lightning, he was able to call a vote if Nyarai is a danger to the people. Because of the limited amount of councils members, he was able to decide himself.

Who is Zahira?

            Zahira is head of the Aku tribe and Nyarai’s paternal Grandmother. They are not close. She personally believes Nyarai is a danger to the people and will die on that hill. 

These are the only questions of the top of my head I think readers would ask. If there are any further questions you may have about this chapter please interact in the comment section or on twitter. I’d like to answer at least five of them. If I answered all of your question for this chapter, you’re welcomed to still interact on twitter or in the comments section. What did you liked? What didn’t you like? So far who’s your favorite character? Who’s your least favorite? Was this promotion a good idea? Is Raziya being too overprotective? Other than flee, what are some theories you have on what Bomani and Aza did? What is in the book? Why does Maaza have it? Ask me questions about the process of writing Zero Year or this chapter. Interact with another reader. Share so someone else could read Zero Year along with you. 

Disclaimer:  I’ll try my hardest to answer questions without spoiling you guys. If it’s a really good question with a spoiler answer I’ll repost the question for other readers so they could also think about it. Constructive feedback is welcomed. I want to become a better writer and storyteller. I won’t answer or respond to anything that I feel is disrespectful. Also, I’m a full time college student. Bear with me please.

Chapter Seven Preview: the next chapter is titled “Played a Fool by a Fool”. Maaza and Dakarai will face off. How do you think it will turn out? 

I’d like to thank you for taking out some time to read Zero Year. It really means a lot that you decided to read. I hope you continue to read. Please like the post, leave a comment and share, share, share!!!!

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