Zero Year Chapter Three

In the last chapter, we witnessed the commencement meeting of the UPFR. Later we join Nyarai and Azrael on a visit to Azrael’s parents house. In this chapter we meet The Eartherian Royalty.

Chapter Two BYR

Key information/terms

  • RFYT(Realm Youth Fighting Tournament): The RYFT is a fighting tournament held every two years when the best fighters across the realm come to compete against each other in ages groups 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17, 18-19. It’s a mixed gender competition.
  • Eartherian Training Suit: Oneies jump suits that weight anywhere from 50kg to Ojwang’s custom made 350kg suit.
  • Gyata wood: A material similar to wood but as strong as titanium. 
  • “Oh Jiwe”: Short for oh Jiwetembo. In the west it’s the same as saying oh God.

Key Setting

  • In the UPFR The Queen has her own personal estate made for her by her friend Head Chair Khari.

Key Characters

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

Princess Zula Abimbola fourth of her name

Alias: Princess/ Four/ Bug

Age: 16 (26/01/1378)

Home Nation: Central Udongardhi, Haribitem (Earth Queendom, Western Realm)

Occupation: Secondary student

Ashe Element/Influence: Earth/ Not expressed yet

In story fact: She’s probably been outside of the castle no more than 90 days total her whole life. The only other places she’s been to are Dod and Jerissi (Abimbola loyal nations). Zaire is the only person she really knows her age. Her limited social circle doesn’t help with her Autism.

Zaire Anansi Abimbola-Akinjide

Alias: Greenie / Nansi

Age: 17 (01/02/1377)

Home Nation: Central Udongardhi, Haribitem 

Occupation: First year University student studying Theoretical Ashe Science

Ashe Element/Influence: Earth/Not expressed yet

In story fact: Zaire thinks sarcasm is a personality trait. He purposely sticks out his tongue when being sarcastic so Zula can pick up on it. Though he pushes her buttons at times, Zaire is very protective of Zula. He decided to attend Uni online so that he can still go to school in the castle with Zula.

Queen Zula Abimbola third of her name

Alias: Queen of Eruption/ The Dormant Volcano

Age: 48 (13/05/1346)

Home Nation: Royal islas of Dod, Haribitem

Occupation: Queen

Ashe Element/Influence: Earth/Lava (Solar)

In story fact: Gasira is known as the greatest Queen of the 8th cycle. despite her greatness, she has been suffering from an unknown ashe related illness for an unknown amount of time. It was first detected 21 years ago.

Ojwang Akinjide

Alias: Ojwang of Power Ashe / Rhino / Crumbler of Mountains

Age: 48 (25/09/1346)

Home Nation: Royal islas of Dod, Haribitem

Occupation: Earth Kingdom/ Castle Stone Guard Commander 

Ashe Element/Influence: Earth/Base

In story fact: If Gasira is the greatest Queen, he is definetlty the greatest CSG Commander. All of his merits are tied to Gasira’s. He is considered the physically strongest person in the realm and he likes to remind people about it. He is an actually mountain 209cm (6’10 ¼) and 195kg (430lb).

Olufemi Abimbola

Alias: Femi / Mchanga (A slur for sand wielding Abimbola)

Age: 53 (01/01/1341)

Home Nation: Jerissi, Haribitem

Occupation: Hand to the Queen and head advisor of Abimbola royal council

Ashe Element/Influence: Earth/Sand (lunar)

In story fact: Femi was not Zula’s first choice as her hand. But she felt his talents were better fit be side her because southern Abimbola would not follow an “Mchanga”. 

Deka Cocoa

Alias: Big sis

Age: 30 (08/11/1364)

Home Nation: Dod, Haribitem

Occupation: Zula’s Main caregiver

Ashe Element/Influence: Earth/Lava

In story fact: Because of the Queen’s health, Deka has done just about everything but breast feed Zula. They have a very close relationship and they can be codependent at times. She also has guardianship of Zula.

Kaikara Abimbola

Alias: Flame

Age: 27 (23/12/1367)

Home Nation: Jerissi, Haribitem

Occupation: General of Abimbola army

Ashe Element/Influence: Earth/Lava (Solar)

In story fact: She has three older and three younger brothers, but is her mother’s only child. She is actually named after the Evil Queen Kaikaras (Seven Generations) of the 3rd cycle. 

Princess Imani Adeleke first of her name

Alias: The Eclipse Princess

Age: 21 (07/04/1372)

Home Nation: Galorewin, Haribitem

Occupation: Princess 

Ashe Element/Influence: Earth/ Lava & Sand (Eclipse)

In story fact: She’s actually very confident in most aspects of her life, but when it comes to the possibility of her being the Queen after Zula 3rd makes her question herself. She is very ashe sensitive. Meaning she can sense the emotions of others through ashe. Its constant emotional stimuli overload and the source of her anxiety.

Xolani Adeleke

Alias:  Copper Sand / Xo

Age: 33 (24/08/1360)

Home Nation: Galorewin, Haribitem

Occupation: First advisor of the Adeleke Royal Council

Ashe Element/Influence: Earth/Sand (Lunar)

In story fact: Xolani is actually a princess and only Zula and Imani have a stronger claim than her. During Secondary school, Xolani turned down her claim to the throne (Technically she’ll always have claim) making a two year old Imani the only Adeleke princess. When her older sisters died, she took in Imani and Kato.

Kato Adeleke 

Alias: Sandstorm / Golden Sand

Age: 27 (06/10/1366)

Home Nation: Galorewin, Haribitem

Occupation: General of Adeleke armies

Ashe Element/Influence: Earth/Sand (lunar)

In story fact: Kato thinks very highly of himself. Probably the most self-confident person in the series but he doesn’t think he’s better than anybody. He feels everyone should love their selves as much as he does.

Magma & Mango

In the Rock The Queens oldest daughter is arranged to marry the  son of the Royal guard General closest to her age (If both parties consent to it ofc). When the Princess reaches age of courting (14). (Not to be confused with the age of consent. That’s still 18) her and her arranged courter are gifted lion cubs. Zula’s cub magma is a girl and Zaire’s cub Mango is a boy.

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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 Three: Royalty of The Rock

Part one: Twelve to Thirteen

          In the Courtyard of the Queen’s stay, Zula and Zaire had been sparring since the commencement meeting ended. Their sparring matches tended to go on for hours. Neither of them accepted defeat easy. They both stood on opposite sides of the yard trying to catch their breath. 

Zula was brown skin with brown eyes. Was a bit short for an Eartherian but she was due for a growth spurt in the coming months. Her brown hair was done in four equal sized puffs held in ruby hair ties. She wore a red and gray 50kg training suit. 

Zaire was dark skin with emerald green eyes. He stood 193cm (6’4) but slender for an Eartherian weighing just under 90kg. His hair had a black to green ashe ombré. His sides were faded and on top of his head were short plaits with Gyata wood beads. He had on the same 50kg training suit as Zula.

            Zaire was bent over across the courtyard from Zula trying to catch his breath.“Wha… What’s the score?”

           “Twelve all,” Zula said wiping the sweat off her head.

           “I mean the score without you cheating,” he laughed.

           Zula stood up folded her arms and smirked. “A Princess never cheats. She just has another set of rules.”

           Zaire stood up, stretched his arms and cracked his neck. *Spirit State: Ashe Awakening* His eye glowed emerald green as he laughed. “Well if you’re going to cheat.” 

           Zula began to center her ashe *Elemental control: Boulder Manipulation* five large chunks of the ground started flowing in the air. “Coward!”

The boulders came flying toward Zaire. He jumped over the first, ducked under the second. Kicked the third. He dodged the fourth by the skin of his teeth but and he wasn’t quick enough for the fifth. It sent him flying across the yard. 

Zula sprinted toward him in an attempt to make it a close range fight. As soon as Zaire looked up, Zula was in his face. *Elemental production: Stone fist* Zula’s fist was covered in stone about to smash Zaire’s face in.

            *Ashe technique: Stealth* He hid his physical presence and moved out her striking distance.

            Zula punched through the rock that was behind him completely missing Zaire. “Arghh!!! Stop running fr-

            Still in stealth, Zaire kicked Zula across her face throwing her across the yard. “Was your guard down or am I that good,” he laughed as he ran after her. 

As Zula tried to get up he kicked her in the gut before she could stand. “How do you plan on winning the RYFT if you can’t beat me?”

            *Ashe Technique: Sensory Location* Zula caught his location and tried to sweep his legs but he flipped out of the way. “Pray to Jiwetembo we aren’t in the same bracket.”

            Zaire tried to get another free lick, but this time Zula grabbed his arm before he could land his punch. “Gotcha,” she laughed.

            She picked Zaire up above her head ready to slam him into the ground. *Split technique: Underground surprise* Suddenly, the ground beneath her broke open. The surprise made her lose her grip. Zaire’s split came jumping out of the ground and kneed Zula in the stomach sending her flying into a wall. 

            Zula jumped up and wiped her face. “Even awakened you don’t hit hard enough. You’re supposed to be twice as strong not twice as weak.” 

            “Yeah well it feels like I’m winning so,” he said as he and his split ran toward Zula.

            “I’ll stop playing then.”

            Zula traded punches with Zaire and his split. He had the numbers but not an advantage. Zula saw an opening and grabbed one of them by the inside of their upper arm and kneed him in the gut. *Ashe Technique: Fakes* She was confused. Her knee went through him. She grabbed the wrong one.

            Zula looked around for Zaire to pop out. As she turned around, he was in the air behind her ready to land the final blow. *Element Production: Stone fist*

            “Too easy,” she said while centering. *Element manipulation: Stone Submission* Zula manipulated the rocks that was Zaire’s split. Zaire was still in the air defenseless. He fell to the ground as the rocks covered Zaire’s upper body. 

“Accept defeat Greenie,” she said as she put her foot on his chest.

“I haven’t been defeated. I can still win.”

“When are you going to stop with the tricks and learn how to fight?”

“I’m a strategist not a trickster.”

“Whatever you want to call yourself add loser to it.”

“I’m not a loser until I accept defeat.”

“Fine, I’ll stomp your face in.”

As Zula raised her foot, He swept her other leg from under her. To break her fall she stopped centering her hold on Zaire broke out. He quickly flipped up and dug his hands in the dirt. *Element Manipulation: Soil Swallow* The ground beneath Zula opened up and swallowed her up to her neck.

  Zaire sat with his legs crossed in front of Zula. Magma and Mango were walking toward them. “Do you accept defeat Four?” he laughed.

“You cheated.”

“How?”

“I had you pinned already.”

“I told you I didn’t accept defeat and you still let your guard down. You have to be better Four if you’re going to live up to the Zula name,” he said poking her nose.

“Do not lecture me!” she said as she pulled her head away.

“You rely on your strength so much sometimes you don’t think.”

“Are you calling me a stupid brute?”

“I literally never said those words.”

“You’ll never be a good Commander running away from fights!!”

“I was being helpful but you are being rude. Let’s go mango. The girls aren’t being nice,” he said walking away.

            Deep in the soil, a worm had crawled on her foot. Chills shot straight up her spine. “Ahh! What is that? Zaire wait! It’s a worm! Help me!”

            “I know you can manipulate without centering four. Just focus your mind and not your hands.”

            “No, it’s on my toe. Stop please! I’m sorry.”

            “I believe in you Zula.”

            “I’m going to break your nose!!!!”

            “You don’t think she’ll break it again do you mango,” he asked holding his nose.

Part Two: Celebration Shuku

Deka was in the kitchen preparing tea. She was an Eartherian with dark brown eyes and black hair done in a long braid. She was still in work uniform. Zaire walked in and he saw Deka preparing tea. He put mango down and tried to sneak passed her. 

She heard Mango’s paws tap across the tiles and looked up for Zaire. “I was just about to get you two. Where’s Zula?” 

“Uh Zula…Oh there was a worm or something. She went straight to her room.”

“A worm?!?! I should go help her.” Deka placed the tea set down and headed her Zula’s room.

“Wait Deka slow down she’s 16 you don’t have to baby her.”

“Zaire that’s my job.”

“Deka dear are you still bringing my tea?” The Queen asked from the other room.

“Yes, your majesty. Zaire if you did something, I won’t stop her when she gets you back.”

Zaire and Mango raced down the hall to the living room. His father, Femi and the Queen were all sitting at the round table. 

Ojwang was the peak of Eartherian genetics. He stood 209cm (6’10) and weighed 195kg (430lb), but his body had grown soft over time. His black hair and beard were beginning to gray. He and his son shared the same complexion.

Femi was a much smaller man compared to Ojwang. He had blonde hair, pale skin and blue eyes. He was reading something on his tablet.

The Queen was Zula 30 years in the future. Her brown hair braided under her bonnet. She planned to do a braid-out the next day.

Zaire sat in the chair between his father and the queen with Mango in his lap. “Father just the person I was looking for.”

“How was the spare?” Ojwang asked.

“Smells like it was good,” the Queen said.

“Really well! I can feel my stamina in the spirit state increasing.”

“That’s great to hear!! The Future of the CSG is bright!!!”

“I know you two kept score. Who won?” Femi asked.

“Zula finally got me twelve to thirteen.”

“Really? You had her the last few times. I know she’s excited to win again,” the Queen replied.

“Yeah, I think she punches harder than you,” he said punching his father in the arm.

“They call me Ojwang of Power Ashe. Crumbler of Mountains for a reason now.”

“Oh Jiwe. No one has called you that in over a decade,” The Queen laughed.

“That’s only because you’ve kept peace in the realm.”

They all laughed and were having a good time, until there was a large flare in ashe. It caught everyone by surprise. Ojwang stood up,  Femi stopped reading, The Queen stopped smiling, Deka almost dropped the tea, Mango flinched and Zaire was holding his nose. 

“Oh goodness. She’s going to break his nose again,” Deka said to herself.

“Who’s Ashe is flaring like that,” Ojwang asked.

“I was just getting used to this nose mango,” Zaire said under his breath.

“What about your nose Nansi?” the Queen asked.

“Well it’s getting late everyone I think I’ll head on to bed,” Zaire said trying to leave.

“ZAAIIIIRRREEE!!!!!!!!!,” Zula yelled from outside.

Ojwang grabbed him by the shoulder and throw him back in his seat. “Sit down!!”

“Whaaat did you do?” Deka said as she entered the room.

“She started calling me names and then I wanted to teach her a helpful lesson that she really could benefit from. Auntie ZG save me!!” he said as he jumped behind the Queen’s chair.

“What compels you to try and ‘teach’ people lessons?” Ojwang asked he sat back down.

“Why’d you get her all riled up?” Deka said as she placed the tea in front of the Queen.

The Queen played with Zaire’s hair as he clunged on to her. “Bug isn’t going to hurt you Nansi. She’s almost an adult she needs to learn to manage her anger.”

“Ha! You were no better at her age,” Ojwang laughed.

“Where is he?!?! I’m going to break his nose!” Zula said as she stormed into the room.

“Aht! Aht! Act like you have some sense,” The Queen said. 

“But he-

“Do I have to repeat myself Zula?”

“No mother.” 

“Yeah listen to your mom,” Zaire mocked sticking his tongue out.

“Now come here and show me your face it. Looks like you’ve awakened.” Zula walked over to her mother giving Zaire a dark glare. The Queen held her face and looked into her eyes.

“Blink twice.”

“Now close real tight.”

“Open. No more flashes you’ve fulling awakened Bug,” she said kissing her forehead.

Zula’s mood change within an instance. Zaire could no longer brag about it. She could to it too. “What color? Orange? Red?” She asked in excitement.

“Emerald green, just like your grandmother,” The Queen said as a tear rolled down her face.

“Copycat,” Zaire said with his arms crossed.

“You know what that means,” Deka said as she hugged Zula.

“Celebration Shuku?”

“Celebration Shuku!”

“Shuku would be amazing right now,” Ojwang said rubbing his stomach.

          “Mom said no sweets.” Zaire said. 

           “Yes Ojwang of Power Ashe has grown soft over the years.” The Queen laughed.

           “I am a grown ass man. Your mother doesn’t run me,” he said poking Zaire in the chest.

           “And imma tell her you said that too,” Zaire said under his breath.

           “Should I tell the Adeleke to join us?” Femi asked.

           “Oh yes, I forgot. Invite them and Kaikara too. Zaire! Zula! Go wash up you smell like outside. And study something when you’re done. Deka will bring you Shuku. After that, Deka don’t let me ask another thing from you tonight? Okay.” The Queen said.

           “Yes, Ma’am,” Zula and Zaire said.

           “It’s no problem at all your majesty.”

           Almost an hour later, the Adeleke and Kaikara had joined them. Everyone was eating shuku except for the Queen. Xolani ate her shuku with a fork and knife. Kaikara was dark skin with curly red to orange ashe ombré hair in a pineapple bun. Xolani and Kato were Light skin with red hair. Xo’s was in bantu knots while Kato had a fade and waves under his durag. 

           She watched everyone eat as she sipped her tea then finally decided to speak. “The summit itself can be a bore but I hope the Stay is treating you well. Khari over saw construction just to fit my liking.” 

           “Everything is wonderful,” Zolani answered.

           “Oh yes everything has been just great,” Imani added.

           “Kaikara what about you? Are you all settled?” the Queen asked.

           “Yes, I’m fine. It feels like home almost.”

           “Magma and Mango have better table manners than you too. Such savages,” The Queen scolded watching Ojwang and Kato stuff their faces.

           “I’m not a savage. I can flip the switch. This shuku is just so good,” Kato laughed.

           “Kato dear you’re in the presence of our Queen this would be the time to… flip the switch,” Xolani said.

           “He acts like a child,” Imani said to herself.

“Femi you can be so quiet sometimes. What are you working on over there?” the Queen asked.

“Making sure Lord Shaka’s birthday gift is perfect.”

           “Be sure you send my note too.”

           “As you wish.”

“Good. The 50th is an important one, but I wish my friend was here with me. Democracy is lovely but one ten-year term wasn’t enough. His replacement was awful, and the new one. What’s his name? he’s not so much better. Did you see him today?”

“That address was rather tacky,” Xolani laughed.

“Why did he drag Lady Obi like that? I thought they were friends?” Kaikara asked.

“Political separation. She’s not good for his image anymore.” The Queen added.

“Yes, but you can’t do that and propose her proposal twice.” Xolani laughed.

“Shaka would never do anything like that. If he was still in power, the Wave might actually be my favorite Nation.”

“Really. Gasira? Over Dakarai and the Lightning?” Ojwang asked.

“Dakarai was my mother’s friend. He’s like my uncle, but Shaka and I came up around the same time. Imani what are your-

The Queen began to cough violently almost throwing her out of her chair.

“Your Majesty.” Femi asked.

“Do You need water?”  Xolani asked.

“Is everything alright?” Kato, Kaikara and Imani asked in unison.

All of them were worried except Ojwang he was a bit upset. It took her awhile to gather herself again. “I’m fine it’s just a cough. Nothing life threatening. Imani what are your opinions on the leaders of the realm?”

“Well I… uh-

“Take your crown off love. Were just talking. Beside the Rock is in a time of transition. You have the most important opinion at the table.”

“I imagined Prime Minister Gila to be friendlier. I don’t think I made a good impression on him.”

“No worries Massai is a bit introverted is all. Your address was just lovely today. Very heart warming. I really loved it. Your public speaking has improved.” 

As Xolani, Zula and Imani talked about the summit, Ojwang, Kato and Kaikara ran out of shuku to eat. 

“So, OG. What do we do?” Kato asked.

“Yeah what do generals do at the summit?” Kaikara added.

“Well there’s peace so we do nothing. This is a vacation.”

“Fine with me,” Kato said.

“Good. I wasn’t prepared. The Queen just sprung this on me,” Kaikara said.

Everyone was talking for a while and then the Queen noticed Femi hadn’t said anything for some time. “Oh, I’m Sorry Femi. Are you ready to give your presentation now?” She asked.

“I’m always ready.”

“Well you should’ve said something. We don’t have all night.

Behind Chapter Two

            This chapter Zula and Zaire are sparring. Zaire decides to teach her a lesson after losing. The score of Zula’s and Zaire’s spar 12 to 13 is symbolic. In the. First two drafts they were 12 and 13. In a flash of anger Zula awakens the spirit state. The Queen late invites Kaikara and the Adeleke to join them for shuku and Femi’s presentation.

Question I think you may have

Will we see Zula and Zaire in the RYFT?

            There’s a possibility. I wrote about 75% of a RYFT Arc in the second draft. The thing about it is so much has changed since then. I’d have to rewrite half and then finish it. The RYFT arc would canon but it won’t have any plot bearing parts. The second story arc takes place well after the RYFT. As much as I’d like to finish it, I don’t see myself having the time to do so.

Does Zula have anger issues?

            I wouldn’t say she has anger issues, but she definitely has a temper. Only Zaire is able to trigger her like that. Also, having a bad temper is in her Abimbola blood.

Why is Zaire a sore loser?

            If Zaire answered this, he said we wasn’t being a sore loser but teaching Zula a lesson. When they asked who won he said Zula and even complimented her strength.

Some before story facts about Zula and Zaire

            They probably spar with each other at least 150 rounds (points) a week. Zula has Zaire by three matches in their all-time record. The fact that they spar with each other makes them a great team but hurts them against other opponents. Zula is really strong so Zaire doesn’t focus on hand to hand combat because it no use against her. Zaire is exceptional with ashe techniques so Zula only uses sensory to combat that. She’ll rarely us another technique.

            They are the only children their age that they know. Traditionally the Princess and Son of the royal guard aren’t raised in the castle. They are raised along with the children of other royal and nobles in Dod like Zula and Ojwang were. Due to The Queen’s health, she wanted to be close to her daughter and broke that tradition. Every once in a while, they’ll visit Dod or the other children will come to the castle, but for the most part its always Zula and Zaire.

            Zula has broken Zaire’s nose four times. Twice he had to get a surgery. Zaire’s never hit her hard enough to break anything (He’s not pulling punches) but he has knocked her unconscious twice. 

These are all of the 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? So far are you team Zula or Zaire? 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 student. Bear with me please.

Chapter Four Preview: The Next Chapter is titled “What Have You Heard?” and it will introduce more than five characters from the Wave. What do you predict will happen next?

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!!!!

Should Our Star Athletes Go to HBCUs Instead?

To most this is an easy question with an easier answer. Hell Yeah!!! Keep our Black athletes and talent in our schools. I get it. Why allow our Black Student Athletes to get exploited and mistreated at PWIs when they can just go to HBCUs?

I’ve seen this discussion on my TL multiple times before and I’ve always been on the fence about it. I was a borderline Power 5 Track Athlete. Most of my offers were from smaller D1 schools though I ended up going to FSU. I wasn’t offered by HBCU coaches. Many of my peers who were definite Power 5 talents also recall never being offered by HBCUs and that’s where my position on the discussion ended. They aren’t offering us anyway so…

But it wasn’t until recently my perspective shifted. In one of the series I’m writing the Main character’s brother is a top 5 basketball talent and he’s seriously considering going to an HBCU. That fictional storyline brought me to a realization.

Let’s say hypothetically all the Kentucky, Duke, Clemson and Bama boys go to Howard, FAMU, NCAT and TSU. What happens to the athletes who only got offers from Howard, FAMU, NCAT and TSU?

Seriously what happens to them? Try to answer that question for a bit.

Like I said before, Many Power 5 talents weren’t offered by HBCUs. I know athletes that were top twenty in the nation in their event in track. They sent in questionnaires to schools and still weren’t offered.

When Black Power 5 athletes share those anecdotes, some shift the blame to HBCU coaches. Claiming that they aren’t doing a good enough job recruiting, but this isn’t about coaches being “bad” recruiters per se.

Since they were formed, HBCUs have always been about giving the black community the opportunity for and a chance at higher education. It’s always been about giving Black people a space to earn degrees.

Many star and power 5 talents didn’t need an HBCU for that opportunity at higher education. They had dozens of coaches knocking their door down. They were fine without an HBCU offer. But what about the athletes that Kentucky, Duke, Clemson and Bama won’t offer? Where’s their opportunity for higher education?

There are NCAA scholarship and roster limits. Everyone can’t play. Hell everyone can’t even ride the pine. Coaches can’t offer everyone. So they skip out on the kids with 12 offers and look for the kid who wasn’t going to college until they went an asked about them.

My father is a high school Track coach at Hallandale High. Go Chargers!!! You can discredit and hate on Hallandale’s track program all you want, but one thing you have to acknowledge is that they get kids into schools. Coach Battle, My dad and Coach Heaven work hard marketing athletes to coaches. I’ve seen them call, email and literally chase down college coaches at track meets first hand for years.

Sometimes athletes aren’t Power 5 caliber but they still have to talent for the next level. That’s where HBCUs come in. That’s why the three of them have more HBCU coach numbers in their phones than PWIs. That’s why HBCU coaches come to their practices looking for “Diamonds in the rough”. I’ve had teammates that had no plans of going to school until an HBCU called them.

Lives have been changed for many thanks to their one HBCU offer. For them, HBCUs were the only chance at college. If all of our Star Black athletes decide to go to HBCUs they would indirectly be eliminating opportunities from their peers.

I’m not saying Black Student Athletes shouldn’t go to HBCUs. Everyone should go to a school that they want to go to. If a few top 100s go to HBCUs instead it would be great, but before we force this mass exudes think about who’s being hurt by all of it.

You’re probably saying well if the top athletes got to HBCUs then offers will open up for athletes that weren’t originally power 5 talents. All of that sounds good, but the kid with the Kentucky offer can’t just trade offers with the kid going to FAMU. Power 5 coaches are paid millions to win. They aren’t looking for “Diamonds in the rough”. They aren’t trying to give kids a chance at higher education. They are trying to win Championships. They’ll go overseas before they offer a kid that wasn’t on their radar.

Let’s say Power 5 coaches started lowering their offer standards. It would take years probably decades for that shift to happen. How many classes of high school seniors are you willing to sacrifice for HBCUs to become the new Power 5s? How many degrees unearned by black people is enough for you so that 10 HBCUs can be in the top 25?

The idea of four HBCUs being in the College Playoffs, HBCUs taking over march madness and the Number One Draft Picks coming from HBCUs is be great. But every time you dream that dream think about all the black student athletes that will be fucked over for it. Think about all the black high schoolers that would miss out on the chance at college if Howard and FAMU were trying to out recruit Bama and Clemson.

Think about it this way. Let’s say you’re an HBCU coach and you have three offers left. Are you going to give it to three top 100s with 20 other offers or three kids with no offers that are depending on yours to change their situations?

If you say three top 100s, then I have to tell you your vision of star athletes going to HBCUs is NOT Pro-Black at all. You don’t want to see more black people furthering their education. You just want to watch your school play in a New Years Bowl Game.

Until higher education is free or affordable to all so that students don’t have to depend solely on athletics to go to college, I think we should pump the breaks. This’ll do more harm than good.

Yeah HBCUs would take over D1 and Power 5 sports, but what about the kid at home unable to go to college because the next Michael Jordan took his offer at NCAT instead of going to UNC?

Yeah the schools will benefit and profit from it. Better buildings, better professors, better resources etc. Yeah black student athletes would be subject to way less racism if the went to HBCUs, but they’ll still be exploited. They still won’t be paid their worth. The NCAA will still make billions off their backs whether if they go to HBCUs or not.

The Problem isn’t star athletes going to PWIs. The problem is that the College and Higher education institution was built on racism to purposely keep black people out. The problem is that we needed HBCUs in the first place. The problem is that in the wealthiest nation in the world students have to rely on sports because Higher education is ridiculously Unaffordable. The problem is that the NCAA is allowed to exploit and use our athletes to make billions in return for “free education” while students athletes are less likely to graduate.

This is way more than picking a school to play for. There are serious Structural and Institutional flaws that won’t be corrected by playing football at Tuskegee instead of Alabama.

Zero Year Chapter Two

Chapter Two is here!!! Chapter one was in the past but in chapter two we step into the present!!!

BYR Chapter Two

Key Information/Terms

  • UPFR Summit: every four years unless there is war, the United Peace Front of the Realm holds One week of Summit meetings to assure peace is kept throughout the realm
  • UPFR council: The Council is made of 27 members. 24 members of equal power and 3 head chairs who have more power than other members. But equal power as each other. They are similar to the UN. They make the international laws and all nations leaders answer to them. The entire UPFR council is 135 members. 
  • Eartherian Beauty Standards: People in the Western realm are on average 10 centimeters (4in) taller than the rest of the realm. They also out weight everyone. In the West, height and weight are signs of health and wellbeing. The more the better.
  • -Krü: How you’d address a friend formally in Shari

Key setting(s)

  • UPFR Grand War Room
  • Path outside of the UPFR Lightning Lodge

Key Characters

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

Nyarai A. Aku

Alias: Black Cat / Kitten

Age: 24 (17/04/1370)

Home Nation: The Capital State, Umemardhi

Occupation: Youth Combat Instructor (Ohunu Head of Financial Crime Regulation)

Ashe Element/Influence/Ability: Lightning/ Eclipse/ Shaker

In story fact: Nyarai is directional dyslexic and has no sense of direction (left, right, N,S,W,E). She tells left & right by bracelet & bolt. She wears a bracelet on her left wrist and she has a lightning bolt tattoo on the right side of her head. She’s an ambidextrous so remembering by handiness wouldn’t help.

Azrael Nwadike

Alias: Wraith/ Jungle boy/ Krü

Age: 24 (09/06/1370)

Home Nation: The Capital State, Umemardhi

Occupation: Lightning ambassador in Canna (Ohunu Head of Political Crime Regulation)

Ashe E/I/A: Ancient/Base/Ashe Eye

In story fact: Many believe when his grandfather steps down as Agradahene, he will become the head of his tribe. He thinks anybody even his teenage sister would be a better choice.

Maaza R. Nkosi 

Alias: The UPFR Queen / Maz

Age: 51 (27/03/1343)

Home Nation: Framasia, Sinaga (southern realm)

Occupation: Head Chair of UPFR council (1 of 3)

Ashe E/I/A: Ancient/ Base (non-expressive)/ None

In story fact: Unlike most characters in the series Maaza is non-expressive. Other than the mandatory combat level one class every child takes, she has no formal training or experience in combat. Despite that, she is well verse in meditation and studies sorcery.

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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 Two: How Long Has it Been?

Part One: Summit Agenda

         The first day of water in the Lion’s spring (06/02/1394/08) was very important. It’s was the beginning of the 20th UPFR Summit. Government officials all across the realm had gathered to part take in the summit in hopes to keep peace thriving. After the commencement ceremony, The realm’s top officials all gathered in the UPFR grand war room to begin the first meeting of the summit.

Most would agree the weather was quite fitting for the UPFR summit. Not a cloud in the sky. A gentle breeze and the warmth from the sun felt comforting, but if you asked anyone from the Lightning they’d tell you the clear sky felt unnatural especially in Lion’s spring. There was no chance of rain not even a sun shower.

         Black Cat and Wraith were both dressed in their all black Ohunu body suits along with their Ohunu mask. Both the Black cat and Wraith were traditional mask that hadn’t been worn since the late ‘70s. Dakarai parading around with them was a sign of pride and achievement, but it was seen as a threat to some and rightfully so. Black cat and Wraith meant nothing good to enemies of the Lightning. 

         *Ashe technique: Sensory location* Black cat used sensory to ID officials. “Everyone seems to be hear,” she said into her mic.

         Wraith did the same but for his side of the crowd. “All except for Lord Shaka. His child surprising is though,” he responded.

         “The serpent? Well I guess the intel is confirm. Stay alert.”

         All 42 nations were being represented by some official. They were all waiting for the summit to begin. Head Chair Nwadike looked the same but had earned himself a dad bod. His hearing aid was much smaller due to technologies advancement in the last two decades. He wore a cool grey Senator and white dress shoes. The collar and cuffs were white. There was a single stripe on both arms running cuff to collar. It was green neck to shoulder, yellow shoulder to elbow and red elbow to wrist. Across the chest embordered in white was the Mpatapo symbol. Head Chair Gyasi was a brown skinned woman in her late 40s with light brown eyes. She wore the same uniform as Khari but with a white Hijab and matching heels. Jahzara rose from her seat and prepared to address the room along with Khari.

         “I ask that you all stand upon the arrival of this year’s Master of Festivities and Summit Moderator.” Khari said.

         “She has been on the UPFR council since 1378 and a head chair since 1383. I present to you the Lady of Dwiwyth, Maaza Nkosi.” 

         Everyone stood and applauded to greet her. Maaza was light skin with brown eyes she sits as tall as Jahzara. her hair was shaved on the sides and the rest was slicked back in a bun. The master of festivities did not wear her UPFR uniform. She was wearing a white and gold pants suit with an Mpatapo brooch on her left chest pocket. Khari helped her walk up the platform stairs. She stood in front of her seat waiting for the applause to die down so she could give her opening remarks.

“You may be seated. I’m overjoyed to see many old and new faces in the room today. Just like the previous decades of this cycle, the 1390s have been amazing so far. The people here today have set the tone for the realm and all of its citizens.” She said as she scanned the room and made eye contact with random faces in the crowd every other sentence.

She paused for a brief moment and made noticeable eye contact with Dakarai. He smiled sincerely instead of trading death stares. Such a fool. Reigning decades past his time. “The dialogues we have this coming week will be for the sake of the realm. I ask you to think of the realm as the people that live in it and not land, armies or capita. We all have a responsibility to them,” she said.

  Dakarai’s smile irritated her. She moved her eyes toward the Queen of the Western nations and she was fast asleep. No common decency as always. Disrespectful bearer of the crown. Maaza didn’t let her thoughts consume her and continued. “Today is just the commencement meeting, we will list everything that is on our agenda. The floor is open for anyone to add anything to the agenda after we finish listing it. I would like you all to remember that would be the best time to add something to the agenda.”

She searched for Lord Shaka of the Wave nation but couldn’t find him. If he is not here who will be presenting in his place? “After today, things can only be added if it relates to the meeting of that day or is deemed an emergency to the council. But first, if anyone would like to address the room the floor is yours.” 

The room applauded her again then took their seats. Just as the room reached a silence, Nsuohene Gahiji made his way to the center of the room. He was a short dark skin man in his mid 60s. His eyes were a deep ocean blue. His head shined in the light and his grey beard was perfectly groomed. He wore an Agbada that matched the color of his eyes.

“I am Nsuohene Gahiji Falade of the KT. I am not Kali Obi of the Pomboo. I will not continue the aggressive reign that she set out. I am not responsible for what she did, but I am the Nsouhene. My job is to bring the wave out of the darkness that it was once in.” 

The rooms response to him was fickle. His nation’s allies applauded. But others like the Lightning weren’t so impressed.

“Isn’t he the same Gahiji that sat on Kali’s advisory board,” Asante asked sarcastically.

“No, I think he’s the Gahiji that recommended Kali to force Lord Shaka into retirement,” Dakarai laughed.

“You’re right. He’s the Gahiji that won’t let Lord Shaka represent himself and sends his child instead,” Raziya mocked.

The room had grown silent again and over in the Earth kingdom’s section The Adeleke were speaking amongst themselves.

“I think this is a good time to make an impression dear,” Xolani said.

Princess Imani was the Eartherian beauty standard. She was tall, well over 100kg but had curves carved by Jiwetembo herself. Her skin was light like her eyes. Her nature dyed hair was in a bone straight bob parted to her left. She took a deep breath and stood up preparing to speak.

“I would like to thank, Queen Zula third of her name and the council for having us at this year’s UPFR. This is the first time that an uncrown tribe from the Rock has attended the UPFR. This type of inclusion is what I admire most about this generation of leaders. The example that Queen Zula has set out is inspiring. I hope she influences others my age the same way she’s influences me.”

After Imani a few other leaders spoke giving praise to either The Queen, Dakarai or the Prime Minister of the ROF Massai Gila.

When everyone was done addressing the room, Maaza called out the Summit agenda. Day of Life (7th), Was the financial meeting. All land purchases, and Tax alterations would be discussed. That was an important day for Gahiji and the Wave. If their Mainland proposal was rejected again, it couldn’t be brought back up.

Day of Fire (8th) was going to be about Official agreements. All renegotiated treaties and approve alignment and loyal changes since 1390 will be covered. Maaza was planning to best Dakarai in front of the realm and scold him for his shady political and financial actions in recent years.

  Day of Wind (9th) was a free day meant for officials to enjoy the UPFR festivities. Imani wasn’t too excited for this. Xolani was planning to have her meet and shake the hand of every realm leader. 

Day of Earth (10th) was all about Science and technology. all advancements and discoveries made in the sciences since 1390 were to be covered. Lord Shaka wasn’t in attendance to give his presentation on the new Communication Network he was working on. Would his child Jabari being able to step up?

Day of Lightning (11th), was for international crime regulation. Raziya and the Ohunu have been working tirelessly to find a solution to combat the realms largest growing criminal developments. She hoped the council would be willing to bend the rules.

Lastly, Day of Water (12th), was set to be the concluding meeting. This was the Queen’s favorite day of the summit because it would all be over.

Part Two: Nightly Nwadike Walks

         Later that night, Nyarai was in her hotel room, lying in her bed bored out of her mind. She had grown to 165cm (5’5). Sometime during Secondary school she cut her hair and has had the best waves in the east since then. Her vitiligo had grown across most of her face and body. On the right side of her head she had a Lightning bolt tattoo. She wore industrial earring in both ears and had a septum nose ring.

She took off her purple durag and decided to brush her hair again until she felt her 6th sense. Where is he going? She put back on her durag, walked out to her balcony and saw Azrael walking with a hoodie on. A hoodie? In spring? What is he doing? Did Raz give him a mission without telling me?

         *Elemental production: Light Screen Footing* Nyarai created thin sheets of light and used them to walk down from the 4th floor balcony. When she got close enough she decided to give her dear friend a scare. *Magnetic Vibration Hold* Azrael’s body suddenly lifted from the ground and he began to vibrate violently.

         Azrael was his father’s child. It was like he stole his face. They were even the same height. The only differences was he was still lean but more muscular. He had a taper fade and waves that were nothing compared to Nyarai’s. He wore a hoop nose ring in his left nostril.

Nyarai put him down and for a few seconds he was on the ground gasping for air. “I get the feeling kitten may not be a fitting name anymore.”

         She helped him up smiling ear to ear. “Where are you going Jungle boy?” 

         “You know attacking someone isn’t greeting them, right?” he said as he continued to walk.

         Nyarai skipped behind him along the path. “Did Raz assign you something? I can help!” 

         “I’m Nwadike we like to feel connected to nature.”

         She placed her hand on his chest to feel his heart. “Why is your heart racing then liar?” 

         “Um… maybe because you just assaulted me. Did you forget that quickly?” 

         “No, I felt it in your Ashe too.”

         He stopped walking and faced her. “What? You are not Ashe Sensitive you don’t feel anything.”

         Before she responded he waited to look him in the face. Then she remembered they were in the UPFR not the Lightning. “Oh Umechui, don’t tell me you’re sacred to go home. Khari can’t still scary you. Your almost a man jungle boy.”

         He folded his arms and turn his face up at her. “I am a 24 year old man and I am not afraid of my father.”

         “It’s okay I’ll go with you.”

         “Come on kitten. You can come with me tomorrow.”

         “Well it’s too late. I can’t see the hotel from here. You don’t want me to get lost, do you?”

         “It’s okay. I’ll walk you back.”

         “Pretty please Krü? I promise I won’t steal your thunder.”

         He let out a deep sigh. Great now her and Neela are going to tag up on me. “Only if you promise.”

         She jumped on his back and started playing with his ears. “Yes. I knew Anaya raised you better.”

         “How is Prospective Analytics?” he asked as he began to walk.

         “You mean school teaching. It’s dreadful. She won’t even let me teach the combat 3 classes,” she said rolling her eyes.

         “You know Raz loves you right,” he said trying to look up at her.

         “If she does, she has the strangest love language.”

         “You know why kitten.”

         “Ugh they are long gone. I can barely remember what they look like,” she said.

It was quite for a moment. Azrael wasn’t too sure how to respond. That was a shit topic to bring up genius. Especial on a visit home. “You know what? I think you should ask her for more responsibility,” he said.

         Nyarai laid her face on top of his head and started mopping. “I’m not feeling like being let down again, you know? I have the title that’s all that matters, I guess. I’ll find joy in Prospective Analytics.”

         “No, I’m serious I’ve been talking to Asante about it and he thinks the timing couldn’t be better.”

         “I don’t know Krü. Raz can get… scary sometimes.”

         “Ha. You’re just as scary. I promise it’s going to work this time.”

         “Okay fine I’ll do it. But enough about work. What are the boys like in Canna?”

         “Disappointing to say the least,” he said rolling his eyes

         “No duh, but what type of disappointing are they?”

         “Very shallow. They just want to be with the ‘future’ head of the Nwadike tribe.”

         “Eww. What about the girls?”

         “Just as bad. I think I’m going to start telling people Micah is next in line and not me.”

         “He is better suited honestly, but one day Somebody out there is gonna want the jungle boy in you more than they want to be Nwadike.”

         “Aww thanks. What about you? Anybody in love with Nyarai?”

         “Ha! Don’t make me laugh. Zahra hates me and so does every other Aku mother. An Aku man won’t even approach me.”

         Azrael shook his head. “I’ll never understand it.”

         “I know right! they have no agency when it comes to their mothers. It’s like some matriarchal enchantment. I’m sure Raz did a study on it.”

         “No, I mean you. It’s weird that you hold on to the most problematic Aku Tradition. There are six other Umemarian tribes of men in the Lightning kitten.”

         “I don’t know. It just feels weird with other guys. You know?”

         “It’s weird? Hmm. What about Tahir? Last time I check the Eartherian mountain of goodness was Zadzisai is he not?”

         “I mean but Tahir is…Tahir…is…

“Flashbacks getting you huh?” he laughed.

“No. Me and Tahir were never serious it’s different.” 

“I’m just saying step out of your comfort zone a little is all. Besides if you’re going to complain about how weak Aku men are, why date them?”

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BTC Chapter Two 

In this Chapter All of the Realm’s officials come together for the UPFR Summit. After a few meeting address, the schedule is announced. After the summit, Nyarai and Azrael catch up as they walk home to visit his family.

Questions I think you might have

Aku incest?

You’ll may not have asked this question, but I see people do it with Naruto and the clans of the leaf. No, the Aku do not practice incest and nobody does for that matter. In real life everyone last named smith isn’t related and it’s the same for all tribes in the realm. Nyarai’s dating pool isn’t her cousins. For the Aku it is tradition to only marry within your tribe not family.

Who is Zahra? Why does she hate Nyarai? Why does it matter?

Zahra Aku is Nyarai’s Paternal Grandmother and the head of the Aku tribe. Bo and Aza’s flee was very embarrassing for Zahra. She wanted to somewhat fix the situation by taking in her granddaughter and raising her as her own. That didn’t happened because Raziya had always been Nyarai’s Tertiary Guardian. Zahra and Raz have tension and Nyarai doesn’t like how she treats Raz. Nyarai reminds the Aku of their tribe’s darkest moment and they are very passive aggressive and patronizing toward her. Nobody has tried to court or even date her because of it.

Who is Tahir Zadzisai?

         Tahir is thee heartthrob in the Lightning. He is Umemarian born and raised but he has both Lightning and Earth nature ashe. Along with his Ashe and build, people call him the Eartherian Mountain of Goodness. He and Nyarai have had on and off relations since they were 19 but she claims to have ended things last year. 

Why is Jabari referred to as Shaka’s child instead of his son?

         Jabari is non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns. They have no canon sex. So please respect non-binary/genderfluid people and their pronouns real or fictional.

These are all of the 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? What day of the summit are you looking forward to? 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 student. Bear with me please.

Chapter Three Preview: The next chapter is titled “Royalty of The Rock”. We meet a number of new characters and their dynamics with each other. What do you predict will happen next?  

         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!!!!

Zero Year Pride

As i’ve said before, Ninth Hour Fiction is all about representing the ENTIRE black community and the includes Black Queer people. If that makes you uncomfortable or if that’s something you can’t support then NONE of the Ninth Hour Fiction works are for you because I write that gay shit. Black people have been queer since the dawn of time. You can’t be Pro-Black without support LGBTQ+ people.

RESPECTING PEOPLE IS NOT AGAINST YOUR RELIGION

To my LGBTQ+ family especially my black LGBTQ+ family do not feel guilty for celebrating pride. I know times are rough and the black community is going through a lot right now. Don’t let anyone force you to “choose”. You are Black and Queer at the same time all the time. There is no choosing. You can support the Black Lives Matter movement and celebrate Pride at the same time. Love you always, Happy Pride!!!

Although we’re only one chapter in, I wanted to highlight and celebrate Queer characters in Zero Year. These are the Confirmed Queer Main and supporting characters to date. Assume everyone else is bi until I confirm otherwise.

Lightning LGBTQ+ Cast

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

Agradahene Lord Nyala Furaha

Alias: Wraith / Defender of the East / Protector of Peace

Pronouns: She/Her (she prefers Lord over Lady)

DOB/DOD: (12/09/1240) to (03/07/1327) She died peacefully in the arms of her wife of 64 years.

Home Nation: The Furaha State, Umemardhi

Occupation: Agradahene (1276 to 1318)

Ashe E/I/A: Lightning/Storm/Cloud rider

Bio: Lord Nyala was known for both her prowess in battle and politics. During her 42 year reign as Agradahene, the Lightning council never petitioned against any of her decisions. Prior to the UPFR’s formation, she headed the Peace council from 1277 until it was disbanded in 1282 due to war. During the first dead lock (World War) she became known as the Defender of the East and Protector of peace. She and her troops kept Wave and Earth armies out of the eastern continent and ended the War herself in 1286. In 1286 she founded the UPFR in hopes to never see another Deadlock War.

Ambassador Azrael Nwadike

Alias: Wraith/ Jungle boy/ Krü

Pronouns: He/Him

Age: 24 (09/06/1370)

Home Nation: The Nwadike State, Umemardhi

Occupation: Lightning Ambassador to Canna (Ohunu Head of Political Crime Regulation Branch)

Ashe E/I/A: Ancient/Base/Ashe Eye

Bio: Azrael is bisexual with no lean or preference. He is the grandson of the current Agradahene Lord Dakarai. Many believe when his grandfather steps down, he will become the head of his tribe. He thinks anybody even his teenage sister would be a better choice. Lord Nyala is his biggest inspiration. She was the greatest Wraith the Ohunu had ever seen. He doesn’t feel that his role is to be upfront as a political leader but behind the scenes working in the Ohunu getting things done. Which is ironic because his cover job is being an ambassador.

Lord Asante Chidozie

Alias: Peace keeper

Pronouns: He/Him

Age: 45 (27/09/1348)

Home Nation: The Chidozie State, Umemardhi

Occupation: Lightning First Advisor

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

Bio: Asante and his husband Taj have been married for nine years. They have a seven month old daughter Sanaa. He’s known as the Peace Keeper because of the three main Lightning Leaders (Dakarai, Raziya and himself) he’s more likable. Dakarai is loved by most but he has terrible relations with the UPFR. People hate Raziya simply because she is the Ohunu Coordinator. But Asante is the golden boy, peaceful storm gate turned First advisor. He is nobodies enemy because they maintain that he is harmless compared to Raz and Dakarai.

Wave LGBTQ+ Cast

Liege Jabari Akpabio

Alias: The Serpent / JB / Jay

Pronouns: They/Them

Age: 22 (19/06/1372)

Home Nation: Manta island, Majinardhi (Wave, Northern realm)

Occupation: Assistant to Nsuohene / SETRP Researcher

Ashe E/I/A: Water/ Ice & Scald / Night Moon

Bio: Jabari is non-binary pansexual. Jabari was orphaned in their youth but was found by then Nsouhene, Shaka Abpabio. Shaka became their father and took them under his wing. Jabari actually named their self when they were seven after Jabari Zemmamouche (A philosopher from the 5th cycle). Jabari is known for their intelligence and extreme aptitude. Shaka is known as the Greatest mind of the realm. He believes that if Jabari were to sit in a room with the leading minds of the realm for an hour, Jabari would walk out the smartest because of their ability to grasp and understand concepts and information.

Lady Daisha Folorunsho

Alias: Da Da / Dai

Pronouns: She/Her

Age: 22 (11/06/1372)

Home Nation: The Folorunsho Terrain, Edawyn

Occupation: Philanthropist / Entrepreneur

Ashe E/I/A: Water/Base/None (Non-expressive)

Bio: Daisha is a Trans Woman and one of Jabari’s closet friends. Dashia is heir to the Folorunsho cartel and her Aunt’s favorite. Unlike most of her kin, she doesn’t sit on her birthright wealth. She’s invested, and started a few businesses to better the Folorunsho tribe. Daisha and long time boyfriend Ndamukong Onai the second are rumored to get married with the coming years. They are viewed as a power couple because Young Onai is the head of the Onai Cartel and Tribe.

Lord Khamari Omenma

Alias: Eyes in the Mist

Pronouns: He/They

Age: 42 (12/09/1351)

Home Nation: Pomboo island, Majinardhi

Occupation: Second Advisor of Wave council / Mist intelligence Coordinator

Ashe E/I/A: Water/Ice/Frost

Bio: Khamari is a Trans Man and currently the highest ranking Trans Political official in the Wave since Lady Oladele (the Nsouhene of the 1350s). Khamari is the only Wave advisor that has never run for office. Lady Kali (Nsouhene of the 1380s) hand picked him when Lord Shaka retired from the council in 1386. Khamari is the Coordinator of the Mist (Wave Intelligence Agency). He is known as the Eyes of the mist because his secretive nature.

Earth LGBTQ+ Cast

Queen Zula Abimbola third of her name

Alias: Gasira/ Queen of Eruption/ The Dormant Volcano

Pronouns: She/Her (it’s disrespectful to use pronouns when speaking to or about the Queen)

Age: 48 (13/05/1346)

Home Nation: Royal Isles of Dod, Haribitem

Occupation: Queen of the Earth Queendom and Western Nations

Ashe E/I/A: Earth/Lava/ Heat resistance

Bio: Gasira is Biromantic asexual. She never married, but has one daughter Zula fourth of her name. Gasira is known as the greatest Queen to ever live. Her reign started in the middle of a war which became three different wars due to her becoming Queen. The Abimbola came out victorious in all three and the wars were later named The Wars of Gasira. It’s said that a fit of her anger will cause volcanos to erupt. Since then her reign was the most peaceful. The Western tribes have never been more unified before her reign. Despite her greatness, the Queen has been suffering from an unknown ashe related illness for an unknown amount of time. It was first detected 21 years ago.

Zaire Anansi Akinjide-Abimbola

Alias: Greenie / Nansi

Pronouns: He/Him

Age: 17 (01/02/1377)

Home Nation: Central Udongardhi, Haribitem (Capital of the Earth Queendom)

Occupation: First year University student studying Theoretical Ashe Science

Ashe E/I/A: Earth/ Not expressed yet / Not expressed yet

Bio: Zaire is asexual. He hasn’t experienced romantic love but he’s curious to find out what it’s like. Zaire is son of the Current Castle Stone Guard Commander Ojwang Akinjide and he next in line. His mother Ashanti is of Royal Blood meaning he is a prince (though Princes has no claim to the throne). His middle name is very appropriate. He is a cunning trickster though he’d rather be called a master Strategist and Tactician. He spends most of his time with his best friend Four (Princess Zula fourth of her name).

Dr Xolani Adeleke

Alias: Copper Sand / Xo

Pronouns: She/Her

Age: 33 (24/08/1360)

Home Nation: Galorewin, Haribitem (Adeleke Royal Estates & Castle)

Occupation: First advisor of the Adeleke Royal Council

Ashe E/I/A: Earth / Sand/ None

Bio: Xolani is pansexual. During Secondary school she decided to turn down her claim to the throne making her then 2yr old niece Imani the only Adeleke princess of the current blood line. Xo earned degrees in Politics, Psychology, Economics and Western Tribal Sociology to prepare herself to be the greatest First Advisor to guide her Niece if she was to ever become Queen.

Remaining LGBTQ+ Cast

Lady Maaza R. Nkosi 

Alias: The UPFR Queen / Maz

Pronouns: She/They

Age: 51 (27/3/1343)

Home Nation: Framasia, Sinaga (southern realm)

Occupation: Head Chair of UPFR council (1 of 3)

Ashe E/I/A: Ancient/ Base / None (non-expressive)

Bio: Maaza is Lesbian. She is non-expressive, but because she was raised in the Nkosi tribe, she is well verse in meditation and sorcery. She started university at 14yrs old earning degrees in Law, Philosophy and Literature. From 1368 to 1376 she served as the Governor of Western Framasia for two four year terms. In 1378 she joined the UPFR council and became a head chair in 1383. She is known for holding Major Nations like the Lightning, Wave, Earth and ROF accountable.

Lady Jahzara Gyasi

Alias: Jah

Pronouns: She/Her

Age: 52 (05/10/1343)

Home Nation: The Gyasi State, Keydria

Occupation: Head Chair of UPFR council (1 of 3)

Ashe E/I/A: Earth/Base/None

Bio: Jahzara is Lesbian. In 1367 she started interning at the UPFR. Five years later she became a member of the council and then a head chair in 1385. Jahzara is credited for writing 60% of the “Successful” Legislature made since 1383. She is keen on protecting independent nations from war and manipulation from Major nations. Jahzara and Maaza have been rumored to be in a relationship since 1381. They are not married because it is illegal for Head Chairs to have romantic relationships with each other (though they have the power to get that changed).

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

This past week a Police officer, a man that swore to serve and protect the people stood with his knee on the neck of George Floyd for eight minutes while two other cops held him down and another watched ultimately murdering George Floyd. He was unarmed and he was non-violent, yet none of it mattered because he was black. This was not some coincidence. George Floyd was killed by a racist white cop because he was black.

George’s story is not unique. Sadly there are many other’s like it. Unarmed black people are being killed by the Police for “blank(ing) while black”. Every week there’s a new hashtag. Every time our hearts break. Every time we are filled with fear. Every time we have to fight the draining battle remaining people that our BLACK LIVES MATTER.

When is this going to end? When are people going to realize that this isn’t normal? When are people going to realize this isn’t a black issue? This is a human rights issue. A systematic flaw in the Criminal justice system. Police officers should not feel comfortable killing unarmed black people and they shouldn’t be able to get away with it.

Even if you want to pretend this isn’t about race (Because it definitely is about race) it’s still wrong. People are going to jail for selling dime bags longer than police officers are going for murder. That is a problem!!! Only a privileged people can ignore that .

We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Something has to give. Systematic oppression has to tore down to the ground. Every racial bias in every institution has to be thrown away. The cognitive bias and prejudice that make people think the mere presence of a black person is a threat to their life has to be corrected.

As a community we only can love, support, protect and care for ourselves so much. The rest of the country can not sit and watch. This isn’t the time for non black people to mind their business. Not being racist isn’t enough. Get up and stand with us.

Being anti-racist isn’t something that deserves a pat on the back. Everyone should be upset by this. Having empathy and being able to see outside of yourself isn’t gold star worthy. You are not invited to “the cookout”. You are not your communities resident white savior for being a caring human being. If you are going to use your privilege for good remember to leave you entitlement at home.

BLACK LIVES MATTER BLACK LIVES MATTER

https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd

Zero Year Chapter One

Zero Year is finally upon us!!! Enter the Realm of Maisha Sayari and enjoy the story of Zero Year!!!

Before You Read Chapter One

Key information/terms

  • Goskeechü Ashe Suitakü: the literal translation Shari Shari to English is “Knowledge ashe everything”. It means you can’t lie to the ashe and the ashe will not lie to you. Whatever you feel the ashe is telling you is true.
  • Centering: This is when people press their hands together making prayer hands to focus their ashe.
  • Ohunu: The Ohunu is the Lightning’s Intelligence agency.
  • Storm gates: The Storm Gates are the Lightnings Civilian Security and Protection organization. (Not a police force)
  • -Küch: is the suffix ending you’d use when referring to a superior in Shari Shari (Eastern language). 
  • Roskaazek: It is a Shari Shari curse word that can mean anything depending on the context.
  • Nature dye: When someone’s hair naturally is the color of the elemental nature. Yellow for lightning. Blue for water and Red for Earth. 

Key Setting

  • Chapter one takes place twenty-one years prior to the beginning of the story in Umemardhi or the Lightning nation western jungles. Majority of the lightning is made of jungles. 

Key Characters

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

Nyarai A. Aku

Alias: Black Cat / Kitten

Age: [4] 24 (17/04/1370)

Home Nation: Western Umemardhi, Sharichui (Lightning nation, Eastern Realm)

Occupation: Youth Combat Instructor (Ohunu Head of Financial Crime Regulation)

Ashe Element/Influence/Ability: Lightning/ Eclipse/ Shaker

In story fact: Nyarai is directional dyslexic and has no sense of direction (left, right, N,S,W,E). She tells left & right by bracelet & bolt. She wears a bracelet on her left wrist and she has a lightning bolt tattoo on the right side of her head. She’s an ambidextrous so remembering by handiness wouldn’t help.

Raziya Aku

Alias: Leopard/ Raz

Age: [26] 47 (22/08/1347)

Home Nation: Western Umemardhi, Sharichui

Occupation: [Ohunu Head of Social Analytics & Research] Chief Ohunu Intelligence Coordinator

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

In story fact: Raz is primarily an Academic. She isn’t an Ohunu field agent although she is well qualified for field work.

Dakarai Nwadike

Alias: The Ashe Trembler / Eastern King / Gift from Umechui / Old man

Age: [70] 91 (11/11/1303)

Home Nation: Southern Umemardhi, Sharichui

Occupation: Agradahene and Head of Nwadike tribe

Ashe E/A/I: Lightning/Magnet (Solar)/ Shaker

In story fact: He is incorrectly considered a meditation guru, based on how much time he spends meditating. Despite his great strength he didn’t awaken the spirit state until he was 30, while most people of his caliber awaken it in their teens or early twenties. He was never good at meditation and was never pressed to rage. He wasn’t good at meditation until his 40s.

Kwame D. Nwadike

Alias: Pure Gold / Eastern Prince

Age: 45 (05/01/1328) died 1378

Home Nation: Southern Umemardhi, Sharichui

Occupation: Chief Ohunu Intelligence Coordinator

Ashe E/I/A: Earth/Base/ Metal production | Lightning/Magnetic/ Metal Magnet

In story Fact: It’s said that he has two ashe elements, because Umechui and Jiwetembo both wanted him to represent them with his power.

Khari Y. Nwadike

Alias: Silent Storm / The Runaway

Age: [32] 53 (30/04/1340)

Home Nation: Southern Umemardhi, Sharichui

Occ: [Head of Lightning Advisory Council] Head Chair of UPFR council (1 of 3) 

Ashe E/I/A: Lighting/Storm/Cloud Rider

In story fact: After his Brother’s death, he moved his family to the UPFR and took a job on the council. To people who don’t know him personally, he is known as a coward and the runaway.

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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 One: Goskeechü Ashe Suitakü

The roars of thunder broke through the steady hum of the rain. Dark clouds hid the night sky. Strikes of lightning lit the dark sky for a millisecond at a time every so often. It was rain season in Umemardhi. The rain would remain, but in the morning, the thunderstorm would be over like always. The violence in the clouds woke up Nyarai. Her skin was brown with spots of vitiligo along her forehead and fingers. Her nature dyed hair was in twist with purple kitten barrettes at the ends. She was only four and had yet to grow accustomed to the stormy nights. She left her bed in search of her father. A story would do the trick.

She wasn’t tall enough to turn on the lights, so she ran her hands along the walls as she walked down the hall. She turned the knob to her parents’ room and opened the door. “Daddy, I can’t sleep,” she yawned, rubbing her eyes.

They weren’t sleeping in the bed. She walked around to the master bath to check for them. Lightning flashed from the window, and she quickly ran out of the room. She thought he might be in his study, but the door was locked. The thunder growled her again, so she kept moving to the front of the house. Maybe he was out front with Mommy. The living room was also empty. She climbed on the sectional and turned on the lights.

           Files were all over the floor. The front door swung back and forth in the wind. The rain was coming in the house. Maybe they were outside. She was too scared to put on her Hijab or shoes. Just as her toes touched the wet porch, Purple lightning exploded in the trees in front of her home. 

           The wind howled and whirled past her. It’s was like she felt someone touched her. “Daddy?” She ran with a smile on her face thinking she would finally feel the warm embrace of her father. The wind guided her through the trees into the jungle. She reached an opening and stopped to look at the sky. 

Suddenly a giant owl swooped down at her. She jumped and crouched down on the ground. When she looked up, she couldn’t tell which way she came from. The wind was no longer guiding her. She couldn’t see the house anymore, she was lost. Her father said to never go where she couldn’t see the house. She went too far. 

           Tears started to run down her cheeks. She looked up, and the owl circling her up above the tree. It came down full speed as if she was its prey. Just before it grabbed her, Nyarai was surrounded by a cyan-blue sphere of light. *Light Protection Sphere Three Layers* The owl bounced off the sphere, breaking one of its layers. The owl kept ramming the orb, trying to break the sphere.

           A dark skin woman with an emerald green raincoat and matching Hijab dashed through the trees calling out her to niece. “Kitten!!!” Nyarai opened her eyes and saw the blue light spheres protecting her. “Raz?” she said, wiping her tears as snot ran down her lips.

           *Spirit State: Ashe Awakening*. Raziya’s eyes glowed cyan blue as she picked up speed running to Nyarai. The owl viciously pecked at the spheres until it broke the last layer. Nyarai was fully exposed. She got up and started to run as fast as her little legs allowed. 

           “Kitten!!!”

           “Raz!!!”

           The owl snatched Nyarai by her arms. Her feet were a few centimeters off the ground. *Lightning bolt spear* Raziya called on a bolt from the sky and launched it straight through the owl’s head. 

           “Oh, Kitten, are you okay? Why did you come outside?” she said, hugging her tight.

           Nyarai cried into Raz’s shoulder and tried to answer her. “I… I… I was looking for d… Daddy and I went too f… far. I can’t find him.” 

           Raz wiped Nyarai’s tears as she fought back her own. “It’s okay, love. He’ll be back. Do you wanna spend the night with Titi Raz?” 

           “Okay, but I forgot my shoes and hijab.”

           “It’s okay, I have things for you.”

***

           Five black trucks with six wheels each speed down the road leading to Nyarai’s home. One black car followed behind. Thirty Ohunu agents jumped out of the vehicles dressed in their Anthracite grey uniform rain suits with Umechui’s emblem on the left chest and Ohunu in 3m across the back. 

In the car, the driver stayed in, but Khari, Kwame, and Dakarai exited. Khari was brown skin and average height with a slender build. He had a skin fade and a clean-cut goatee. In his right ear was a hearing aid. He wore the same rain suit as the agents. He walked into the house, followed by agents. 

Kwame was dark skin and stood 12 centimeters taller than his younger brother. He was muscularly built. His dreads were fastened at the top of his head by an emerald encrusted golden bracelet, and a thick beard with streaks of grey. He wore rain boots and rain suit bottoms with no shirt. He accessed the outside situation and directed the agents.

Dakarai’s skin was lighter than both his sons, and he stood just a centimeter taller than Khari. His fit slender build remained even in his advanced age. There was a scare that started at his left temple and ran down to his clavicle. His head was bald, but his grey and white beard reached his chest. He wore sandals, shorts, and an oversized Ohunu raincoat.

           Dakarai opened an umbrella and walked toward Raz. “The Ashe is Black tonight.” 

           “Dakarai-Küch,” Raz greeted as she slightly bowed.

           “How is she?” he asked, walking them to the car.

“She’ll be fine for now.”

           Dakarai wiped Raziya’s tears with his thumb. “I know this is hard on you. I’m grateful that you alerted us as soon as possible. We’ll handle it from here. Get out of this storm and take her home. She’ll need you from here on out.”

           Raziya nodded, got in the backseat with Nyarai. As the car drove off, his mood switched from endearing and loving to angry and impatient. “Khari keep a squad here, Kwame you and yours head south. I’ll go west. Someone get in touch with the Storm gates now!!!”

           “Lord Agradahene-Küch, none of the Storm gates in both the west and south regions are responding,” an agent replied.

           “Contact all regions then. We need to know where Bo and Aza are heading.”

           “Yes, sir.”

           Kwame stood on top of one of the three trucks heading west. *Ashe technique Sensory location*. He connected with all of the ashe within his 600-meter radius searching for Bo or Aza signature. After two or three minutes, an unnatural amount of ashe spiked and was approaching his location. A giant black bird-shaped object swooped down right and crashed in front of the trucks tossing them into the air. 

           Kwame was tossed into the air along with the trucks.*Elemental control: Metal Magnetic Hold* Using his ashe, he caught hold of the trucks and tried breaking the fall. As he tumbled into the ground, his grasp loosed for a split second, and the trucks were thrown into the roots and vines of the trees. 

The trucks were smashed entirely. *Spirit State: Ashe Awakening* Kwame’s eye glowed gold. *Elemental Control: Metal Grip* he motioned his hands and ripped the trucks open. “Is everyone alright? Can anyone continue?” he asked.

           “What was that?” an agent asked.

           “Very black Ashe. I’m going forward. Continue when you can.” 

***

           Back in the house. The agents forced their way into Bomani’s study. Khari and agent Spark were looking through his’s files. They had no clue what they were looking for. Hopefully, something would stand out. All of his Ashe research can’t be gone,” Khari said.

           “Nothing is dated from this year. It’s all late 60s,” Spark replied.

           “Keeping looking we’ll find something,” he said as he felt around for a false shelf or door.

           Spark was going through another box of files until she came across a strange symbol. She ran her fingers across it, and her eyes glowed black. *Ashe Seal Activation: Enchantment Command Kill* She reached for her khopesh and swung for Khari’s head. 

He quickly dodged, disarmed, and pinned her to the ground. “I won’t let another agent go rogue on my watch,” He said with her khopesh at her neck.

           Khari noticed her eyes glowed black. Spark’s eyes glowed a soft yellow in the spirit state. She had to be under some type of trace. He looked other and saw the strange symbol that she had found. He hit her head against the ground, trying to snap her out of it.

           “He was experimenting with seals?” he asked himself.

           “All units beware of any strange symbols. Avoid physical contact with them,” he said in his earpiece.

           “Silent to Gold? Silent to Tiger? Roskaazek!!! I’m getting static. Long-distance communication is jammed. 

***

           Kwame was running through the jungle, getting closer to one of the Storm gate base in the south. To his surprise, a unit of Storm gates were charging at him. 

The Storm gate in front was centering their ashe. *Elemental Production: Sky Strike 7 fold* Seven lightning bolts came down aimed at Kwame.

           *Ashe Technique Stacking: Disruption Sensory Sphere* Kwame reflexively made a sphere of protection. The Storm gates continued to charge toward him. *Magnetic Circular Repel* He created an emp that pushed them back, but they weren’t letting up. “I’ve never seen an enchantment used to this magnitude.”

           The Squad captain grabbed Kwame’s shoulder. Kwame grabbed his wrist and flung him into the other Storm Gates. “Well done, Bo. You were always brilliant. Let’s see if I can break the enchantments without hurting them.”

*Dual Elemental Control: Earth Pit Prison Magnetic Vibration Hold One Third* The ground under the Storm gates opened up and formed a stone cage. All seven of them were trapped in a magnetic hold, unable to move. 

           “Gold to Silent? Gold to Tiger? Roskaazek!!! I’m getting static.”

           *Ashe Technique: Split half* A clone of Kwame appeared and ran off back toward Khari and the house.

***

           Dakarai had made it to a base in the west. He was entirely surrounded by thirty enchanted Storm gates. *Static finger tap one eighth* He lifted his left index finger over his head, and sparks of lightning hit every one of the storm gates knocking them unconscious.

*Godly Summoning: Spirit realm entrance * Dakarai’s eye glowed amber yellow, and he entered the spirit realm. The floor was made of stone tiles with tree roots and vines cracking them. The air was thick with storm clouds. He couldn’t see what was in front of him, but he continued to walk until the stone tiles ended. He looked up, and the clouds parted. Sitting on a throne of storm clouds was Umehui Roho. The Tiger God of Lightning. 

           Dakarai did not kneel, but he cleared his voice and spoke. “Umechui Tell me, am I feeling Usiku Upebundi’s presence?” Umechui looked down at him and saw the persistence in his expression. Dakarai had asked similar questions before, and they always fell on deaf ears, but this time he was going to answer him. “Goskeechü Ashe Suitakü.”

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Behind Chapter One

In this Chapter start with a flashback of Bo and Aza’s flee. Baby Nyarai wakes up in the middle of the night to an empty home. She wonders outside and is saved by her aunt Raziya after being attack by an owl. The Nwadike men and Ohunu agents arrive on the seen in attempt to find Bo and Aza before they cross the boarders. They are encounter with enchanted Storm gates and eventually come up short. Lastly Dakarai visit Umechui in the spirit realm.

Questions I think you might have

How did Raz know to come for Nyarai?

            Kind of a complicated answer but the spoiler free answer is sometimes you just get a bad feeling about things and luckily Raz was right to act on it. 

What is Raz’s relationship to Nyarai?

            Nyarai’s mother Aza is Raziya’s older twin sister. Raz was also Bomani’s best friend growing up. 

Moves and techniques

Moves and techniques are in astric because they aren’t verbalized by anyone. I always thought it was weird in anime that characters said their attacks before or while they did them, so it doesn’t happen at all in zero year.

Use of the words White and Black to describe people

Maisha Sayari is based on Africa before European imperialism, so everyone is black. People don’t describe their skin with colors. They say pale (albino/vitiligo) light, medium and dark. When someone says someone is black, white or gray they are referring to their moral affinity. A black affinity doesn’t believe rules are absolute and that sometimes wrong thing can bring good. A white affinity believes that laws are absolute as long as the lawmaker is logical and that doing something wrong is wrong even if it can bring something good. A gray affinity is caught in the middle and believes there’s truth in both believes. Gray is also used to describe someone as boring, bland or nonchalant.

These are all of the 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? 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 student. Bear with me please.

Chapter Two Preview: The next chapter is titled “How Long Has it Been?”. We jump to present day at the 20thUPFR summit. Also Nyarai sees her best friend in person for the first time in a little over two years. What do you predict will happen next?  

            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!!!!

Umemardhi

Geography & Climate

Umemardhi or Land of Lightning or The Lightning is the largest country in Sharichui (eastern realm). The lightning is landlocked and surrounded by rivers and Mountain ranges.

The Lightning 60% Jungle. About 75% of those jungles are uninhabited. The rest of the jungles have home to Millions of people for thousands of years.

The Lightning’s seasons are different than most places in the realm. They have Regular rain season (spring), sun shower season (summer), Light rain season (fall) and Night rain season (Winter). In the spring it rains all day and storms every other night. In the summer there’s only light sun showers. In the fall it only drizzles. In the winter it only rains at night.

Culture & Tribes

Tens of millions people are divided into the Seven Founding tribes of Umemardhi.

  • Nwadike
  • Chidozie
  • Zadzisai
  • Ihejirika
  • Furaha
  • Sarpong
  • Aku

Over 40,000 years ago these seven tribes lead by the Mother of the Aku tribe Ancestor Masika formed a city-state and birthed Umemardhi.

Language

Umemarians speak Shari Shari (Native Eastern Tongue). Shari is a unique language. It’s grammar and syntax differs from most of the other major languages in the realm. Native Shari speakers are hard to understand when speaking other languages because of their accents and tone of voice. People from other parts of the realm say that easterner speak in riddles.

Cultural Practices

Each Umemarian tribe has different naming ceremony and practices. Aku children are named by their father’s mother or eldest female family member. Zadzisai children aren’t named until their first birth day.

Across all tribes 12th birthdays are a big deal. At the beginning of each season a ceremony is held for children turning twelve in that season. They are now old enough to contribute to society. They aren’t adults yet but they can do a number of things for themselves.

Government & Economy

In the Lightning they have a Tribal government with three layers. Advisory Council, Umemarian Senate and the Citizen Representatives.

The Advisory Council is made of 13 members: The Agradahene, The head advisor, Ohunu Coordinator, Storm Gate Commander, the three Army generals and the other six Tribal heads. (The Agradahene is the head of the nation and their Tribe). The Agradahene has the power to do what they want unless the council petitions them.

The Umemarian Senate is made of 76 members. Each tribe has a Council of eleven (expect for the agradahene’s tribe). The senate govern their tribes directly, create and vote on legislation. They also have the power to vote on any issue the advisory council motions to them.

The last layer of are Citizen Representatives. There’s 63 CRs per tribe. People vote for the rep of their district. They do not vote on anything else. CRs are to represent the people and serve two year terms with a max of three terms. The CRs monitor the Senate and make sure the people aren’t being taken advantage of. They can vote to remove and or replace senators.

Economy

The Lightning is a socialist nation with some differences. The Umemarian Senate owns a controlling percentage of every business. They have a wealth maximum of 150m annually. Every RUEC (Realm universal electronic currency) over 150m belongs to the government. The top 20% owns 45% of the nations wealth.

Federal Agencies

The two major agencies of the government is the Ohunu and Storm Gates. The Lightning does not have political parties but politicians are divided by which agency they support or trust the most.

The Ohunu Intelligence Agency (OIA) main function is to use information, intel and research to protect the Lightning, avoid war and keep citizens content. The Ohunu are technically independent of the Law in the Lightning and are comfortable breaking laws Internationally.

The Ohunu is divided into four branches: Scientific Research, Social Research, Foreign Affairs and Crime Regulation.

The Ohunu has never been caught committing crime and their actions usually benefit the people of the lightning. The Ohunu’s accomplishment aren’t published mainly because they were probably achieve by illegal means. Everyday citizens don’t know what the Ohunu does or how they operate. Majority of Ohunu agents have “everyday” jobs.

There is strong suspicion and distrust with the Ohunu all across the realm. With in the Lightning freedom of speech and right to privacy aren’t a thing per se. You can not use public a platform to speak ill of the Ohunu or the government. The Ohunu can access to every aspect of someones life if it is deemed necessary. Their Social research methods (spying) especially internal would be deemed invasive and unethical by most governments.

The Other agency is the Storm Gate Guard (SGG). The Storm Gates function as homeland security, border patrol, and emergency rescue. Realm-wide Immigration and Travel laws are pretty tight. The SGG makes sure people that aren’t allowed out stay in and vis versa. The Army is not allowed to mobilize on Lightning soil unless under attack by a foreign nation. The SGG handles any threat to big for the police force.

The secondary function of the SGG is appearance. Citizens don’t have much role in the government and don’t trust the Ohunu. The SGG are the good guys that help strengthen the governments public image and citizen relations. They are a propaganda device. Children dream of being Storm Gates when they grow up. In some peoples eyes the Commander of the Storm Gate Guard is a more respectable position than being Agradahene. If a Storm Gate were to “mess up” the Ohunu would purposely spin the blame on themselves. The SGG has to be spotless no matter what.

First Saga & Arc Reveal!!!

The first saga of the Zero Year Series is titled “Storm of the Spirit”. We mainly follow 24yr old Nyarai Aku. As an Ohunu agent its her duty to protect the Lightning at all cost no matter what. This time around the enemy is so familiar yet foreign to her and the Lightning. It seems as though the Ohunu does not know everything that goes on in the realm.

We begin in the first story arc titled “20th UPFR Summit”. All of the realms government officials come to together for a week long summit in effort to keep peace thriving. Just because they’re in a time of peace it doesn’t mean there isn’t political tension between nations and the UPFR (United Peace Front of the Realm).

I’m really excited for this Saga and Arc!!! I’ve be finalizing the opening story arc and I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Zero Year begins in eight days!!! In my next post we’ll dive into Nyarai’s homeland Umemardhi. What is it like and how it differs from the US.

Redemption Arcs

ATLA dropping on Netflix this past Friday got me thinking. First, Zuko is has the best Redemption Arc. His outline should be the standard in my opinion. Secondly, I realized Redemption Arcs aren’t always done right.

A bad redemption Arc and can really hurt a story. The main problem with bad redemption Arcs is that they don’t feel real. They feel like the character changed only because the writer wanted them to. they didn’t earn it.

Redemption Arcs have to feel real. This is my outline to a good Redemption Arc.

1. Why now?

Why does your bad guy want to be good? There has to be events that leads to this point. Wanting to be good is actually the middle of the redemption arc.

Think of being Evil as a job or your major. You don’t just quit or change majors out of nowhere. You might’ve quit on short notice, but there were things that lead to that. You probably thought about it or wrestled with the decision often. There was something building into that moment.

It’s the same for bad guys. We need to know what lead to this. Also the bad guy themselves needs to know why they want to be good. They can’t kill the princess at the end of chapter 11 and want to be the hero’s best friend in chapter 12 solely because that’s how the writer wrote it.

2. Rejection

Now that your bad guy has made decision to change for good (supported by canon events), they have to be rejected.

Forgiveness, Respect and trust have to earned. The Good guys aren’t supposed to be wiling to accept them with open arms. Remember they spent a large portion of the story fighting and or running from the bad guy. They should want nothing to do with them.

2.5 Rejection response

The bad guy has to response to that rejection. Their reaction depends on the character.

“I’m sorry. I’lll do whatever I have to for your forgiveness!!!!” *Crying their eyes out and while on their knees*

“I get why you want nothing to do with me,” *Wonders off into the darkness with their guilt and sadness*

“You need me!!! You can’t beat them without me!! I was trying to help you idiots” *Lashing out in anger unintentionally proving why they shouldn’t be trusted.*

3. The trials

The bad guy is given SMALL test to prove themselves (THIS IS NOT THE END)

The good guys haven’t accepted them yet but they are showing promise. They haven’t messed up YET. They personally think this is it. They are proud of themselves. They didn’t think they would’ve made it this far. They are finally started to separate themselves from the past.

4. The “What’s Wrong with Me” moment

Just when things were going well it falls apart. For the first time, they are confronted with their past and make the wrong decision. This moment is big on a personal, mental and emotional level for the character. They should be vulnerable, show emotional weakness and consumed by self doubt. Something that makes them ask “What’s wrong with me”.

Now this event or mishap has to be forgivable and understandable. Remember they are being redeemed.

Side note: Unless it’s a Failed Redemption arc (Failed as in they aren’t redeemed not as in bad quality redemption arc). Failed Redemption arcs are good too. After doing the work and almost turning things around completely, they just can’t. Old habits die hard.

If it is a redemption arc then this has to be a forgivable offense. They can’t kill the other princess in the middle of being redeemed and somehow be forgiven after it. It doesn’t have to a be huge event but it has to be something that warrants their self-conflict

5. Fight or Flight

What happens after depends on the character. This is when their resolve is challenged.

Are they going to fight to be good? Do they believe in themselves enough to keep going? Or are they ashamed to face it? Do they run away from the situation?

This is when the good guys come in and their relationship with each other builds. Do the good guys understand their emotional struggle? Are they willing to forgive this mishap because they saw them work so hard? Or does this mishap confirm their suspicions? Was this the one mistake they were waiting for to kick them to the curve?

Regardless of what way things go, something has to happen. Also remember the good guys don’t have to have the same reaction. Aang trusted Zuko way before Katara did.

6. The Action Apology

There’s somebody in the good group that the bad guy wronged the most or has the least amount of trust in them.

The bad guy has prove to them that they are good. it can’t be a simple “I’m sorry.” They have to do something that completely contradicts what was previously thought of them. This is their selfless moment. The breakthrough when they finally win the fight against their old self. This part is also full of emotion. Everyone has to feel this moment. The characters involved, the readers and or watchers. Tears should be falling.

7. The I am Not You

Now that the good guys have accepted them and they’ve conquered their past self, we have to see the fruits of the labor. When you plant a peach tree you eat the peaches.

The Action Apology was not the end. That good has to come to use. This is usually the final battle. I’m not saying they should take the MCs spotlight and fight the big bad, but they have to prove themselves useful.

If a redemption arc is similar to this outline its more than likely a damn good redemption arc.

Other than Zuko what is your favorite redemption arc? If you can’t think of anyone else, what part of Zuko’s redemption arc is your favorite?

Are Villains A Dying Breed?

First I think it’s important to define what I mean by villains. To me there’s four types of the “bad guy”.

You have your Anti-hero. They’re aren’t too good and sometimes don’t have good intentions but they do the right thing in the end. Characters that have redemption Arcs usually fit this group.

Next are Anti-Villains. They are opposites to Anti-heroes. They are good and usually have good intentions but they end up doing the wrong things. They have tragic past and tend to be misled or manipulated by someone else. they also fit the redemption Arc group.

Then are your Antagonist. They aren’t necessarily good or bad they just oppose the main character. Antags can be good or bad depending on who the protag is.

Lastly you have villains. People that are evil for the sake of being evil. No real rhyme or reason to it.

Based on what I’ve been reading and watching, Villains are on the decline or at least as the main “Bad guy”. And I understand why. AHs, AVs and Antags tend to be more compelling. They have more layers to their Character Arc and development. Readers and or watchers want great characters. Writers have more options and ways to make a bad guy a rounded character if they’re an AH, AV and or Antag.

Just because a villain is Pure Evil doesn’t mean they can’t have layers. Pure Evil doesn’t mean Static and Flat. Villain can also be great characters. What was the point of no return for them? What are lines they won’t cross? Are there rules to their evil? Give them a Failed redemption/ Betrayal Arcs. They’re still evil but you see into their character more. You probably won’t sympathize with them but at least they are more than they guy trying to blow up the pretty girl ever chapter/episode.

Villains are great and they should Continue to be written. They don’t have to be Flat. It’s possible for Villains to be well rounded it just takes a different writing approach.