Zero Year Chapter Eight

In chapter six, Dakarai asked Azrael to steal a book from Maaza. In this chapter, Azrael and Nyarai do as they were told.

BYR Chapter Eight

Key Information/Terms

  • Spirit State Ashe Rage: Ashe rage is one of the two types of the second stage of the spirit state. Ashe rage is when an untamed Ashe aura forms around the user. 

Key Setting(s)

  • Outside of the residential district of the Capital.
  • Grand UPFR Library

Key Characters

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

  • Black Cat (Nyarai Aku)
  • Wraith (Azrael Nwadike)
  • Serpent (Jabari Akapbio)

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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 Eight: The Senses Lie

Part One: Nightmare In The Field

The sky was clear, and the field lively like springtime. In the middle of the field was a tree. On the right branch, there is an owl, and on the left branch is an eagle. Under the tree was a toddler in grey stumbling over their first steps. In the distance, there was a woman in white and a man in black arguing with each other. The child tried to reach out to them, but lost their balance and fell. When the child looked up, the man and the woman were gone. The field was no longer fruitful. The grass was set ablaze. The wind blew with thick ash in the air. The sky was cloudless. In the east, there was a lunar eclipse. To the left, there was a solar eclipse. 

Jabari stood frozen in place with a straight face. Jendayi and Sokoro tried to snap them out of it. “Jay! Are you okay? Look at me. We’re here,” Jendayi said, wiping their tears.

Jabari fell down to their knees and went into a panic. What? Where am I? What happened to the field? Jendayi held Jabari’s face in her hands. “Jabari, look at me. It’s okay, I’m with you.”

“What happened to the field?”

“There’s no field baby. Take a breath and five, four, three, two, and one. We gotta get you back grounded.”

Jabari took a breath and looked in on five things they saw. They felt four things, focused on three noises, and smelled two more. “I need to taste. I can’t taste it.”

Sokoro handed Jabari a piece of his Koeksister. Jabari chewed and began to stand up. “Are you okay?” Sokoro asked.

“Yeah, I just went blank for a bit.”

“Maybe we should call it a night,” Sokoro said.

“No. I’m just tired from the presentation. I’ll get some rest. Don’t let me kill the fun.”

“You sure? We can go. It’s getting late anyway,” Jendayi said.

“No, it’s fine. Some rest is all I need,” Jabari said.

“Okay, be safe,” Jendayi said.

Part Two: The Cat and The Serpent

Black cat and Wraith were waiting for their target in a tree. “I don’t think. You should try something you’ve never done before on a mission,” Black cat said.

“It’ll be fine. Just don’t flare you’re Asha too much,” Wraith said.

“Alright. Let’s go.”

Jabari walked alone on a path heading back toward the Capital. Another one? I have to talk to Shaka. There’s something about that field. There’s a reason I keep getting taken back there. Jabari stopped walking and looked around. Something felt off. *Ashe technique Stack: Stealth & Sensory expansion* As Jabari hid their presence, they felt two strange ashe signatures approaching.

Who is that? These signatures… they feel fake!!! *Spirit State: Ashe Awakened* Jabari’s eyes glowed Cerulean.*Ice Production: Khopesh*. Jabari produced an Ice khopesh in each of their hands and prepared to fight. “Ohunu!!!”

Black cat came charging straight for Jabari unphased by their stealth. *Sensory location* “Stop wasting Asha on Stealth I don’t need sight to fight.”

Jabari swung both khopeshes at Black cat. She slid to the ground, barely dodging them. Jabari swung against aiming for her neck.*Light production: Screen Defense* Black cat blocked the strike with a light screen.

*Ice control: Spear* Jabari put both khopeshes together behind their head and turn them into one ice spear. Jabari thrust the spear through the light screen.

*Magnetic Repel Push* Just before the spear touched her mask, Black cat used magnetic repel threw Jabari back. They loss grip and the spear flew behind the Black cat.

Black cat charged toward them again and punched them in the face. Jabari tried to counter, but Black cat blocked it. 

Black cat went for a kick in the ribs, but Jabari countered and jabbed gave her a quick three-piece. Jabari tried to kick Black cat across the face, but she grabs their leg and pins them to the ground. 

Jabari motion their fingers toward them.*Ice control* The ice spear came flying in right behind Black cat’s head. *Lightning production: Palm Shock Wave* Black cat sensed the spear and destroyed it with a shock of Lightning, but Jabari broke free.

“Wrap it up, you’re flaring,” Wraith said with while centering.

“Argh, fine!” *Magnetic Vibration Hold* *Ashe Technique stack: Disruption & Lock hold* Black cat and Wraith performed a tag team holds on Jabari, breaking their stealth and spirit state. “How long have you been telekinetic? That not in your files,” Black Cat asked.

“Their fingers moved,” Wraith said.

Jabari recognized the markings on their Ohunu mask. What the fuck do they want? “The Master of Espionage and The Face of death. I’d like to add your mask to my collection.” 

“Is that an admission to murder Serpent?” Wraith asked.

“The Wraith opposed to murder? Quite ironic. Why did you ambush me?”

“We’ve been tracking and following us since the summit began. Why?” Black cat asked.

“I don’t know what you mean,” Jabari said.

“I don’t like liars.”

“I do my job. What exactly are you two doing?”

“How much longer?” Black cat asked.

“Play nice,” Wraith laughed.

I need to get out of this hold. Maybe if I push her buttons. “I can feel your evil glare behind the mask. Why is it that the black cat is more murderous than the Wraith?”

“Stop speaking.”

“Is this a weak attempt to gain intel? I thought the Ohunu operated better than this?”

“Says the captured Assassin. The Wave doesn’t have anything of use to the Lightning.”

“Come on, Come on. It has to be here somewhere,” Wraith said to himself.

Jabari tried to move their leg a bit. Black noticed and intensified her hold. “Sit down, you’re not holding.”

“If you release me now, I won’t harm you.”

“The Serpent is only a threat to unsuspecting politicians. How much time?” Black cat said.

“A little longer,” Wraith answered.

What is he going on about? Why does she keep asking about time? “Pressed for time? You’re stalling. Who are you trying to kidnap? Or is this an Assassination?”

“Relax Serpent, you’re projecting. The Ohunu is much more than kidnap and murder,” Black cat said.

“If my friends are in danger-

“Shut up already. Nobody in the Wave is worth it.”

“Then why am I here?!?!”

“You were in the way. So now you’re here out of the way.”

“Wait, don’t tell me it’s under here? Wow, it is,” Wraith said.

“You have it?” Black asked.

“Yes,”

“Have what? He hasn’t moved a muscle?”

“It doesn’t concern you.”

What is going on? What are they doing? “Are you Mimicking my signature? If you intend to harm the Wave I-

“Again, with this? You truly think you’re some protector of the Wave. You’re nothing more than a danger to the people. A pawn doing the dirty work for corrupt leaders. You think you’re a one-person Ohunu, but you’re just a criminal. Kali’s toy. A shame your Father.”

“Enough. Let’s go,” Wraith said.

Wraith stood back up, and Black cat walked closer to Jabari. “Serpent answer me this, Do you believe everything you see?”

Jabari started trying to fight the hold, but they couldn’t get loose. “You tease and taunt like a schoolgirl. Release me and fight.” 

“Engage in combat with a civilian? I’d never,” Black cat mocked.

“Release me, coward!!!”

“It’s getting late. Maybe we can fight another time?”

“Your hold will break as soon as you run away. You might as well fight me.”

“What if I told you we are already gone?”

“Easterners really do speak in riddles!”

“Do we have enough distance?” Black cat asked.

“Yes,” Wraith answered.

“This book better be worth it.” Black cat bent down and got right in Jabari’s face. “I’m actually disappointed in you Serpent. Your Ohunu file literally says beware of supreme intelligence. It feels like your head is somewhere else,” Black cat said.

“Do not insult me!!”

“You want to be released, so I’ll help you.” Black cat let go of her hands, but Jabari was still unable to move. Why can’t I move? What is this hold? Black cat began to take off her mask. Jabari was petrified by the sight.

There was no face under the mask. Black cat tossed her head in Jabari’s lap. “The senses lie. You’re the only one here. 

*Ashe Technique stack: Illusion, Split, Masking, Sensory, Disruption & Lock* Wraith finally broke his stack. He and black cat faded from Jabari’s sight as if they were never there.

Jabari jumped up from the ground *Ashe Technique Sensory Location* Jabari tried to locate their signatures, but they were long gone.

“Senses lying? Book? What? Illusions!!!” *Spirit State: Ashe Rage* An aura of ashe raged around them along with Jabari’s emotions. “There are in the grand library. I’ll cut her down.”

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Behind Chapter Eight

In this chapter, we learn that Jabari has a strange nightmare and may have ones similar to it before. Also, Black cat and Wraith successfully steal the book while making a fool of Jabari, thanks to Wraith’s elaborate technique stack.

Questions I think you may have

How did Azrael pull off that stack?

Azrael has a large ashe reserve and high ashe stamina. A six stack is hard for anyone to do, especially if there’s elaborate illusion involved. He could barely stand trying to hold it. 

Why did she go in like that?

           There are a couple reasons. Since Azrael was stacking, he couldn’t use his illusion to mess with Jabari’s mind only their senses, so she had to distract them before they noticed. Secondly, many people compare the Serpent to the Ohunu. Being the Co-head of branch and understand the structure of the Ohunu, that comparison is disrespectful. She feels that Jabari gives the Ohunu a bad look. 

“Easterners really do speak in riddles.”

           There are five major languages: 2nd tongue (central), Sinagasse (South), Kazwezian (North), Magharibi (West), and Shari Shari (east). 2nd tongue is the most common language spoken all over the realm. Over 56% of people in the realm are fluent in it. The other four languages have similarities with the 2nd tongue. Shari Shari is different, though. About half of the words, phrases, and grammatical sentence structure in Shari don’t exist in other languages. Because of this, when they speak another language, the translation is rough, and it can be hard to understand them. That’s why people say they speak in riddles. 

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 questions for this chapter, you’re welcomed to still interact on twitter or in the comments section. What did you like? What didn’t you like? So far, who’s your favorite character? Who’s your least favorite? Will Jabari catch up to them? Will Maaza find out about the book? What’s so important about the book? 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 Nine Preview: The next chapter is titled “Mother to the Motherless.” This is the second to last chapter of the 20th UPFR Summit Story Arc. 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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