Last week Raziya asked Dakarai to be on his best behavior during his questioning with Maaza. Will he pull through for her?
BYR Chapter Seven
- The Economic Prosperity Initiative of 1354: This is the first official law made to protect Merchant nations. It made it legal for merchant lords to run nations. It made it illegal for foreign nations to have power or control over Merchant cartels and or nations. It also made it illegal to wage war against a Merchant nation. In return merchant nations paid a 40% tax to the UPFR
- Deadlock War: A deadlock war is very similar to a world war. It’s when the three major nations (Wave, Lightning and Earth) are all engaged in war. Because of their alliances, 20 other nations could easy be thrown into war.
- The Merchant UPFR agreement of 1366: This is a revised EPI. Merchant leaders agreed with the UPFR to pay a 26.5% tax in order to be protected and recognized as independent nations.
- UTFR (United Totalitarian Front of the Realm): Dakarai is a big deal to the people of the eastern realm. Historically he’s had a few major run ins with the UPFR. So, in the East they call the UPFR the UTFR.
- –Nox: The formal way to address an equal in Shari
Grand War Room
- Dakarai Nwadike
- Maaza Nkosi
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.
Chapter Seven: Played a Fool by A Fool
Day of Fire later that same day, night had just fell. The meeting most of the realm had been waiting for was about to begin. The Grand War room was packed beyond capacity. The overflow of people were outside of the UPFR building were watching live on a big screen.
Khari knew what his father meant to the realm, but always felt their fixation on him was laughable because he’s really just a weird old man. He shook his head and laughed as he addressed the room. “I’m sure everyone has been waiting for is last on today’s agenda. The questionable partnerships that Merchant nations Canna and Soiven have with the Land of Lightning. Agradahene Nwadike, I ask that you stand before the council,” Khari announced.
“Wake up Zula it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for,” Ojwang said.
“Imani watch how well Lord Dakarai handles himself,” Xolani said.
“Ojwang I bet 100 he finds a way out of this,” Kato said.
Ojwang, Femi, Xolani and the Queen began to laugh at him once they noticed he was serious. “What?” Kato asked confused.
“The old man is the only person crazy enough to bet against him. If you want a bet, how about who he chooses to represent him,” The Queen said.
“50 he picks Asante,” Ojwang said.
“You could bet against the odds sometimes you know.” The Queen laughed.
“There’s nothing wrong with a safe bet,” Ojwang laughed.
“Fine I’ll go with the dark horse, Raziya. Femi what about you?” the Queen said.
“Raziya. Who do you have young Kato?” Femi said.
“300 he represents himself,” Kato said.
“Kato!! That’s not a friendly wager,” Xolani scolded.
“It’s fine Xo. Young Sandstorm likes the risk,” Ojwang laughed.
The crowd roared as Dakarai slowly walked toward the center of the room. Maaza rolled her eyes and kissed her teeth. “It’s clear that everyone loves drama as much as the next. Lord Dakarai, do you know what your being called upon for?”
“I know I’m a Ninety-one-year-old man, but I heard what my son… I mean Head Chairman Nwadike said,” he said.
“Will you have anyone represent you?”
Dakarai began to pace back and forth in the center of the room playing with his beard. “Well my wife did in 57, but she’s only here in spirit. My son did in 78 but he works for the good guys now, so there’s a conflict in interest. I would call on Raziya, but she’s not friendly. I could call on Asante, but everyone likes him. I don’t want to make my enemies his so-
“Agradahene Nwadike, please answer the question,” Maaza said.
“This is not his best behavior,” Raziya said rubbing her temples.
“Raz the people want a show. You know he’s a pleaser,” Asante laughed.
Dakarai finally stopped pacing to ask a question. “Well, is this an official trial?” He asked.
“No, this is a formal questioning,” Maaza answered.
“No charges. That’s good because the third times’ a charm,” he laughed.
“Lord Dakarai, Please do not purposely delay our process,” Jahzara said.
“I guess I’ll represent myself,” He laughed.
“That’s a 100 a piece! No RUEC and no silver. Pay me in gold,” Kato laughed.
“You gon take what I give you,” Ojwang said.
“Good let’s begin. In 1357 you were accused of illegal waging of war. You beat the case. Ten years later, in 1367 you began your Western reach-
“Which was legally approved by the UPFR and remained peaceful until the UPFR waged war against me,” Dakarai said interrupting Maaza.
“Yes, that is true. In 1378, you stood trial for it and beat the case. Then ten years later, you partnered with two merchant nations. Something that hadn’t been done since 1354 when the Economic Prosperity Initiative was approved. You were in attendance at that UPFR summit, right?”
“He’s broken at least two laws. Maaza will be sure to get him to step down,” Gahiji said.
“Don’t get your hopes up. This is a questioning, not a trial. There isn’t even any charges,” Khamari said.
“Yes, I was there. I think it was my 5th Summit, 4th as Agradahene,” Dakarai said.
“It’s like he’s been to almost every summit. How old is he?” Zula said shocked.
“As old as time,” Zaire laughed.
“Stop it Nansi. Zula he and your grandmother were great friends,” The Queen said.
“Ten, very interesting number for you. It seems that about every ten years you find a new way to undermine the UPFR.”
“That’s just a coincidence. In the Lightning we have our undermining the UPFR meetings every twelve years,” He laughed.
The room began to shake with laughter as well. “He’s no help at all,” Raziya said putting her head down.
“Poorly placed joke,” Asante said face palming.
“Very funny,” Maaza mocked. Is nothing serious to this fool? Does he take joy in breaking the law?
“Before we continue, May I have a seat? I am an old man you know,” He asked.
“Fine, Asante,” Maaza said.
Asante got up to bring Dakarai a seat. “Any other time Raz would enjoy this but remember she needs Maaza’s cooperation later this week. So, play nice,” he whispered.
“Lady Maaza it would be nice if you could cut to the chase. I have a granddaughter here in the capital. I’ve been here almost four days and I have yet to see her,” Dakarai said as he sat with his feet in the chair.
“Family is important. You have a thing for making partnerships and pushing your own brand of peace that counters the UPFR’s standards. In ’88 you did something that was outlawed 40 years ago. We the council are concerned you are attempting to take control of merchant nations. What do you have to say about that?” Maaza said.
“Hmm I’d say considering the past, this is a good concern for the UPFR to have. I remember in ’26 there was an attempt on Agradahene Micah’s life. They got that poor Lord from Asteraseth. It was the start of the 2nd deadlock,” he said.
Maaza took a deep breath. She was trying her hardest to tolerate him but he was making it hard. “What does the 20s and 30s have to do with today?”
“The realm has come a long way is all. Back then something so small as this would’ve never have been brought up,” he answered.
“So, you’re saying you see no error in your ways?” Maaza asked.
“No, I don’t. Back then the UPFR passed laws that benefitted the people and not just the head chairs.”
The room shook with cheers of agreement. Khari looked down and shook his head. Father you are so embarrassing. Umechui why haven’t you taken him yet? Maaza was gritting her teeth and clinched her fist. Leader of the idiots. Jahzara placed her hand on Maaza’s trying to calm her down. “What did you say?” Maaza said through her teeth.
“Ahaha,” Jahzara laughed nervously.
“Now he’s putting on a show,” Ojwang laughed.
“And I’m loving it,” the Queen laughed.
“The EPI made it legal for Merchant lords to run nations as long as they paid a tax. Like you said that did stop partnerships between Merchant nations and Major nations because, at the time, UPFR protection was more beneficial, but nothing was made illegal. I also don’t have any control over Canna and Soiven. They remain independent nations with their own governments,” Dakarai said.
“Is it true that you are seeking more partnerships with merchant nations?” Maaza said.
Dakarai counted on his fingers. Canna, Zoiven, Sevarith, Areagord, Alaerith, Sevyn and Adendabard “The lightning already has seven of the eight allowed alignments. Some time ago today we went over alignment approvals, and I didn’t make any new ones.”
“The partnerships in question weren’t made at a Summit. Coming into today, you had two pending alignments. If they hadn’t aligned would you have sought out for more merchant nations?”
“I love hypotheticals as much as the next, but not those about the pass. It cannot be changed. It doesn’t matter about what I would’ve done. Maybe you should ask me about what I will do instead.”
The Crowd shook with laughter again. Jahzara place her hand on Maaza’s again, but Maaza pulled away and took a deep breath.
“Then what do you seek to gain from these ‘partnerships’?”
“To provide a better and more convenient option of protection for Canna and Soiven.”
“That convenient option you provide is another attempted you’ve made to undermine the UPFR. According to the Merchant UPFR agreement of 1366, Merchant nations are to pay a 26.5% tax to keep their legal standing and for the protection provided by UPFR forces.”
“That 26.5% is actually two different taxes. The only mandatory tax in the agreement is 14% to keep legal standing. The 12.5% tax isn’t mandated. If a nation decided to seek protection outside of the UPFR they could.”
“The council has reason to believe that the leaders of Canna and Soiven were coerced to align with the Lightning.”
“All of Canna and Soiven’s neighboring nations are other merchant nations, UPFR Protected and other Lightning aligned nations. I think they aligned with who they trusted more.”
Maaza tried her hardest to remain calm. She had a straight face, but her body was shaking violently with anger. She couldn’t get out another word. This Fool!! He deserves to be locked in the Cursed lands for all of time!! Tormented!! Ripped apart and put back together a billions times over!!
“My goodness he broke her,” Massai laughed.
Jahzara looked other at Khari to get him to finish the questioning. “Nope this is you two. I told y’all he don’t know how to act.”
“There are other layers to this problem that worries the council. The lightning’s military presence put the people of Canna and Soiven at risk,” Jahzara said.
“The UPFR is more of a danger to the people than the Lightning anywhere in the Eastern Realm,” Dakarai laughed.
“What are you trying to say Lord Dakarai,” she asked.
“The UPFR is called the U-T-F-R in the east for a reason.”
“U-T-F-R? What does the T stand for?” Jahzara asked.
“The T stands for To-
Asante quickly sprung out of his seat and spoke over Dakarai. “What Lord Dakarai mean’s to say is that, there are two times more people in this room then they are Lightning Troops in Canna or Soiven. The primary function of the agreement is to protect Merchant Lords without completely occupying the Nations.”
“What else do you two plan on ruining for me this week? Let me know and put it on a list so I can know ahead of time,” Raziya said.
“Paying a 7% tax for no more than 400 troops feels off. The UPFR will closely survey and continue to investigate Canna and Soiven to make sure there is no foul pay,” Maaza said finally gathering herself.
Dakarai turned his attention to Gahiji and locked eye contact. “I hope I won’t be watched as much as Lord Shaka. It’s a shame he couldn’t make it. But I suppose today is his birthday after all. I wouldn’t want to come either. Gahiji-Nox, send my wishes. Council am I dismissed?”
“Yes. The council has no further question for you Agradahene Nwadike,” Khari said.
“Thank you Head Chair Nwadike,” Dakarai said on his way back to his seat.
“The old man plays a dangerous game. Kato statements like that are why you don’t bet against him,” The Queen laughed.
BTC Chapter Six
Talk about a backfire? In this single part chapter, we got to see Dakarai make a fool of Maaza in front of the entire realm. According to Prime Minister Massai, He broke her.
Questions I think you may have
Why is the rock always betting?
The reason is mostly out of story. The Earth Queendom is on the West coast and so is Vegas. That’s pretty much why they bet. Gambling is pretty big in the Earth Queendom.
How did Kato win?
He’s pretty clever. He used the Queen’s words against her and took a risk. She said only Dakarai is bold enough to bet against Dakarai. Kato thought Dakarai representing himself was his worst option, so that’s what he bet with.
RUEC vs physical currency?
Silver, gold and precious gems were the original currency of the realm. They are both still used, but RUEC is easier. Kato wanted to give them a hard time so he asked to be paid in gold.
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? Do you think Dakarai was out of line? Do you think Maaza will try to retaliate? 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 Eight Preview: The next chapter is titled “The Senses Lie”. Black Cat and Wraith plan to steal Maaza’s book, but have an unlikely encounter. How do you think it will turn out?
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