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Zaros (pronounced "ZÀ-ross"[3]) is the god of fate and control who once saw much of Gielinor as his dominion during the Second Age. Created as a divine aspect of shadow to serve as a plaything of the Elder Goddess Mah together with his sister, Seren, Zaros rebelled against the control imposed upon him by his creator and left to wander the universe. After spending uncounted aeons watching and observing various mortal races throughout the different planes, Zaros came upon Gielinor to establish a domain of his own, a historic event that marked the beginning of the Second Age. Throughout much of the centuries-long dominion, he founded an expansive empire that occupied most of mainland Gielinor, standardising the speech of the various races under his rule and pushing advances in the sciences, such as medicine, industry, technology, and magical discoveries[4]. At the height of his Empire, Zaros was betrayed by his Legatus Maximus, a Mahjarrat named Zamorak. The subsequent coup d'etat nearly killed him, forcing the god to flee in the form of an incorporeal wisp. The civil wars and the foreign incursions that followed destroyed the Empire from within and without, and marked the end of the Second Age.

The God Wars that ensued saw the eradication of his once ubiquitous state-religion that had administered the Empire in his name. Unlike most of the gods in Gielinor, no church exists in his name, though certain groups such as the Desert Bandits and loyalist Mahjarrats retain faith in the god.

History[edit | edit source]

Main article: Zaros/History

Unlike the majority of gods on Gielinor, Zaros never ascended to attain divinity, but was rather a god from the start.[5]

Religion[edit | edit source]

The symbol of Zaros on a gravestone

The symbol of Zaros is a circle with four small, rounded juts pointing outwards surrounding a Greek (equidistant) cross, and is usually found as ornament on Zarosian artefacts and clothing, as well as Zarosian fortresses such as Viggora's Fortress. Unlike some gods, such as Saradomin and Armadyl, who derived their symbols from Elder Artefacts, Zaros' symbol is his own creation. Its meaning and what it represents however, is unknown.[6] Zaros' colour seems to be various shades of purple, although cream and gold dominated the Senntisten Temple. The Zarosian religion makes extensive use of the Infernal language, which was taken from the original inhabitants of Infernus.[7] Although it is also used in other instances nowadays, albeit rarely, it is originally a demonic language which became the official Zarosian tongue and the non-Zarosian groups and individuals using it, such as the Kinshra or Dionysius, may be unaware of its origins.

The altar of Zaros in the Senntisten temple.

Zaros' goal is to guide Gielinor's inhabitants from the shadows, pushing them towards their full potential and protecting them from harm. Upon arrival to the planet in the Second Age, he deemed establishing a large empire with massive armies the best way to achieve this. However, this eventually led to a rebellion and his own banishment. As such, he has chosen a more subtle means of accomplishing his goal upon return, trying not to rule, but act as an unseen but omnipresent power silently guiding mortals to their greatest potential, and working with only a small number of those that have reached this state of total potential.[8]

Moral alignment[edit | edit source]

It is my belief that everything that occurs in life - both good and bad - should be used to forge oneself, to better oneself. Where Guthix sought balance in the world, I seek balance in oneself.

Due to his conquering of land and initiating of many wars in the Second Age, Zaros has often been called an evil god by followers of the gods who attempted to erase him from history, and given that history is written by the victors this may not be the case. Most who know of Zaros today, but who do not follow him, usually regard him as evil and something to be feared. However, it should be noted that his intentions are not malevolent. During Fate of the Gods, Zaros claims that his disputes with Saradomin taught him the notions of good and evil, but he dismissed them, stating that there is no good and evil, only action and consequence. Zaros himself can therefore be better described as alien in his morality rather than either good or evil.

Zaros' followers, however, differ greatly in morality. Some of Zaros' followers may be called evil in the conventional sense of being ruthless, enjoying being deceptive and seeking power for power's sake. In addition, the Ancient Curses and Ancient Magicks, the Zarosian patron prayers and spells respectively, seem to be highly combative in nature as they focus on inflicting damage on others and draining them of their powers. Saradominists have claimed that the "evil" nature of the Second Age Zarosians, most likely referring to traditionally hostile races such as demons and vampyres, is to blame on the god himself, stating that he willingly allied himself with them.[9] Queen Senliten, who aided in defending her empire from Zaros' armies, has described him as an ever-plotting vile creature. However, as noted before, he was not aware (nor had he the ability to be) of the alleged cruelty of his followers' actions. According to Zaros, he used the first sentient races (such as demons and vampyres) he encountered that were not claimed by other deities and because they had the potential to serve his goals well, and by the time he reached other races they had already aligned with other gods. He has also stated in Fate of the Gods all would be welcome under his banner regardless of race.

In particular, prior to his journey to the world known as Gielinor, Zaros had no concept of "Good" and "Evil" moral alignments. While talking to him using the Shard of Zaros, he mentions specifically that he learned this concept from Saradomin himself. Zaros disagrees with this assessment instead saying "there are only actions and consequences". This is likely a product of his analytical nature which comes from Zaros being a Transcendent being versus an Ascendent being. While disagreeing with Saradomin's beliefs Zaros does see merit in them, the evidence coming from the prosperity of his followers, in particular humans.

Zaros' relationships with the other Gods is a complex subject. The major reason being that he views other Gods and their corresponding beliefs in a different way. Traditionally, most Gods view other gods as rivals whose beliefs they believe will bring ruin to the world. Zaros differs in two ways. The First is that he does not view other gods with the noted exception of the Elder Gods and Seren as Gods. Instead he views them as mortals who have obtained an immense amount of power to the point of being able to influence other mortals on a global scale. The second is that he does not view other Gods as rivals but instead as both tools and obstacles. For example, Saradomin is currently the strongest of the Young Gods after the death of Guthix and the Battle of Lumbridge. Zaros views him as narrow minded and a hypocrite for believing in good and evil but using questionable means for the greater good. However conversely, he believes that Saradomin's beliefs and actions have merit as stated before. If he could broaden his views, Zaros believes he could make a capable envoy with mortals and a key ally.

As for Zamorak, Zaros still holds the view even after his betrayal that he was his finest general and he trusted him immensely, still to this day not completely understanding why he did what he did. He theorizes that it is Zamorak's strong will to overcome anything, interestingly enough, Zaros says it as a compliment. Retribution is not a priority or even a goal of Zaros for Zamorak's betrayal contrary to the views of his followers. As for Bandos the deceased God of War he stated that he had two talents, the obvious strategic mind and the not so obvious ability to find the truth in any situation. His constant demand for war was his weakness and lead to his downfall at the hands of his rival Armadyl. If he had learned to control his thirst for violence, Zaros believes he could have proved useful.

Armadyl is the subject of a great deal of respect and interest from Zaros. In the category of the Young Gods Armadyl holds the most favour from Zaros. This is a combination of several things including his ideology and his actions as a result of his experiences. When Zaros first met him during the Second Age, he viewed him as naive who would not be able to capably lead his followers through the brutal war that devastated the world. While partly true, with Armadyl witnessing the near destruction of his entire race. Zaros is sympathetic to his loss, noting that unlike the other Gods: Zamorak, Saradomin, and Bandos; Armadyl's intentions were always pure. To the surprise and admiration of Zaros, Armadyl did not fall to despair but instead was emboldened to fight for his beliefs and his followers resulting in his victory over Bandos. With his beliefs reinforced and his capability as a leader in war and willingness to work with others apparent, Zaros harbours a great deal of admiration for the Young God, in particular for his belief that mortals and Gods can live together in peace. Armadyl in turn sees Zaros as a mysterious entity, unsure of whether he would be Gielinor's saviour or destructor. If the World Guardian opted to tell Armadyl about his people being experimented on to be nihil, then Armadyl states that he is a monster that only deserves contempt.

Powers and abilities[edit | edit source]

After Guthix, Zaros is the most powerful Young God (along with Seren, if not slightly more powerful than her). He possesses a wide range of powers that is well beyond normal gods. Presumably, he created ancient magic and curses. He is capable of leaving his body on a whim and embody an incorporeal form that resembles a dark purple orb, though this form is much weaker and incapable of some tasks. While in this form, Zaros can enter the mind of an individual and empower them with unlimited use of ancient magicks and curses. Zaros also has the ability to drain power from entities, as he drained energy from the muspah. He can even drain energy from other gods, such as Loarnab.

To defeat Loarnab, Zaros demonstrated the ability to cause purple tendrils to emerge from the beast's own shadow, ensnaring it and preventing it from moving. Zaros created more tendrils, this time coloured green, that descended from the sky around Loarnab, restraining its movement even further. Finally, red coloured tendrils stabbed at the beast and pierced its hide, causing severe bleeding. To prevent Loarnab from dying until its power could be harnessed, Zaros healed it with an icicle like structure. Zaros can fire a purple beam that he used to overpower Zamorak during their confrontation on Freneskae. Against Sliske during his Endgame, Zaros used an attack resembling a green energy bolt.

Zaros, like most gods, can create portals to other worlds and teleport himself and other beings that are not beyond his power. He has a unique, involuntary ability to incite loyalty in beings, even gods such as Seren, within his presence, but this power cannot affect beings who dampen divine energy. He can manipulate existing life-forms, and this is how he created the Nihil. Zaros can also enter a person's mind and read it to some extent, as done with the player during Fate of the Gods. As seen while conversing with him, Zaros is capable of shapeshifting. As stated by Azzanadra in the Temple of Senntisten after Fate of the Gods, Zaros can enter the Shadow Realm. It was stated that he not only has a better understanding and control, but also a better grasp and mastery over the Shadow Realm than Sliske.

Followers[edit | edit source]

The chamber of Nex, prominently displaying the Zarosian symbol in the floor plan.

Originally Zaros was worshipped in his empire in the north-east of the known continent. However, its settlements were destroyed by Zamorak and Saradomin before the former utterly laid waste to the land itself. Most traces of the Zarosian religion and the god himself, such as altars and temples, have been destroyed by Saradomin and Zamorak during the Zarosian Extermination in an attempt to wipe all traces of him from RuneScape. His remaining followers were either killed or forced into hiding if refusing to defect. Without their god, the Zarosian following diminished throughout the Third and early Fourth Ages, until being reduced to a small number of Kharidian bandits.

Groups and races[edit | edit source]

Notable individuals[edit | edit source]

Azzanadra, one of the few remaining Mahjarrat loyal to Zaros.
  • Akthanakos - A Mahjarrat of average power who is the sworn enemy of Enakhra. He was a tribune in the empire.
  • Ayanetka - An archbishop of Senntisten, who encouraged the bishops and priests of Zaros to remain faithful following the betrayal of Zamorak.
  • Azzanadra - An exceptionally powerful and honourable Mahjarrat, regarded as Zaros' most faithful servant, and is known as the Champion of Zaros. He played a major role in Zaros' return to Gielinor, and was one of Zaros' generals, as well as the pontifex maximus.
  • Char - A powerful Auspah and the last of her race. She is extremely loyal to Zaros and also one of his generals.
  • Dagroda - A Priest-King of Senntisten who ordered the Zarosian withdrawal from Senntisten when faced with the overwhelming forces of Zamorak and Saradomin.
  • Eblis - A bandit of the Kharidian Desert Bandit Camp who aided in Azzanadra's release from the Jaldraocht pyramid.
  • Jhallan - A fairly strong and arrogant Mahjarrat, who became tired of battle when the God Wars broke out. As such, his skills as a warrior diminished, leading to the other Mahjarrat looking down upon him. He was eventually sacrificed at the 18th Ritual of Rejuvenation. He was a pontifex in the empire.
  • Mizzarch - An apparently fairly weak Mahjarrat who was sacrificed at the 15th Ritual of Rejuvenation. He was a pontifex in the empire.
  • Nex - An extremely powerful Nihil general of Zaros who was imprisoned in the Temple of Lost Ancients.
  • Sliske - A very powerful and devious Mahjarrat, who is quite different from the others. He was the first of the Mahjarrat who allied with Zaros, leaving Icthlarin behind. While his actions have benefited either himself or Zaros, he always chooses the action he deems the most fun. He was the praefectus praetorio in the empire. Sliske was excommunicated by Zaros for his dubious actions.
  • Vindicta - A powerful and vengeful Dragon Rider acting as the general of Zaros' army in the conflict for The Heart.
  • Wahisietel - A wise Mahjarrat who works closely with Azzanadra under the disguise of Ali the Wise. He attempted to protect Zarosian settlements during the God Wars. He was a legate in the empire.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Update history[edit | edit source]

The update history project is a work-in-progress – not all updates to this topic may be covered below. See here for how to help out!
  • patch 28 May 2019 (Update):.
    • The clickbox on Zaros during Fate of the Gods is now larger and easily clickable.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • While on Freneskae, Zaros drained power from the muspahs spawned by Mah's nightmares to sustain himself. This was first hinted by Kharshai claiming that Zaros' power was stronger than it had been in a long time.[10]
  • Zarosian history seems to share a lot in common with the real-world Ancient Roman history. This includes a heavy usage of Latin.
  • The Kalphite Queen used to remark that "[the kalphites] are faithfully waiting for the return of Zaros" when talked to in a skill hall. This connection has not been explained, but the dialogue is no longer present.
  • The encrypted message in the description of the Chaos Elemental's card in the RuneScape Top Trumps reads, once deciphered: "There will come a time when the Empty One returns aiming to take the Stone and confirming himself as an Elder God." This was a hint at Zaros' future plans. Additionally, it once said "bizarre boron swell", which is an anagram of "Zaros will be reborn".[11]
  • Bob the Cat says "Well, I don't believe much really since I know I am Zar-.... erm, well, no, I erm, meow?", but he is known not to be Zaros.
  • Zaros is voiced by David Rintoul.
  • In some concept art featuring Zaros, he is shown wielding a staff. This staff has not appeared in-game.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ Movario's notes (volume 2), "While Guthix Sleeps", RuneScape.
  2. ^ Jagex. "The Old Blood." RuneScape Lores and Histories.
  3. ^ Jagex. Official lore livestream with Mods Mark and Osborne Official lore livestream, 4 November 2012.
  4. ^ Zaros, "Fate of the Gods", RuneScape. "My empire led to a great many advancements: industry, medicine, technology, magical discovery."
  5. ^ Zaros, "Fate of the Gods", RuneScape. "I did not become. I have always been. I was created this way."
  6. ^ Mod Crow. "Campfire - Answers." 27 June 2013. General Forums.
  7. ^ Mizzarch, "Mizzarch's memory", RuneScape. "Another of Zaros's gifts was a shared language - that of the ancient Infernals - that was mandated for all humans and quickly supplanted the many and varied tribal dialects."
  8. ^ Jagex. Above the Lore - episode 12: The Joy of Zaros Mods Jack, Osborne and John A Above the Lore podcast, 16 October 2013.
  9. ^ Lennissa, "The Curse of Zaros", RuneScape. "Evil will always breed more evil, and will never be satisfied with what it has. The Empty Lord chose to ally himself with the dark creatures of this world, fully aware that their own natures would cause them to rally against his rule, and take every opportunity they could to betray him."
  10. ^ Kharshai, "Koschei's Troubles", RuneScape. "Zamorak’s and Zaros’s power is stronger than it has been in a long time, and I am needed here."
  11. ^ Jagex. Postbag 5 - "Transcript:Chaotic chat, family trouble and secrets revealed!", Letter 4, by the Chaos Elemental. RuneScape Postbags from the Hedge.