By: Helm Lardar
Special Thanks to: Sleepy

Zaros is one of the oldest and most powerful gods in Gielinor with a rich and interesting backstory dating back to the second age. At the height of his power, he ruled a vast empire with some of the most powerful races as his subjects and his abilities were considered by some people to be on a par with that of Guthix himself. While the God Wars served to erode much of his memory, much information about Zaros has been revealed through quests, especially The Dig Site, Desert Treasure, and The Temple at Senntisten, although information about him is also revealed in many more quests.

History of Zaros

Zaros arrived in Gielinor in the second age after the Majharrat. With his immense power and abilities he created an empire with many followers stretching across the Wilderness, Asgarnia, Misthalin, northern Morytania, and some areas of the Kharidian Desert.

Zaros - The remains of Senntisten, Zaros' capital city.

Zaros’ reign and conquest was well documented by Perjour, a court chronicler magically bound by a book and used by the god as an element of control. However, other Gods since the second age worked hard to eliminate all possible knowledge of Zaros to some success: the only piece of information we have about Perjour is in the lore ‘Twice Burnt’, found by Reldo. As a result, it is hard to tell what Zaros’ intentions were or exactly how his conquest took place. A few key pieces of information about Zaros did survive, however.

Firstly, we know that Zaros attracted the Majharrat to his cause from Icthlarin, a desert god. Having the abilities of many Majharrats to aid him, augmented by his own strength, would have been extremely advantageous. Other notable races to follow Zaros were the Demons, Dragon riders, and Vampyres. However, most of these followers deserted Zaros at his betrayal.

In addition to beasts and monsters, Zaros had a very strong human component to his army, a section of which is in the God Wars Dungeon. The strength of these trapped warriors gives a good idea of some of the strength of Zaros' empire: four of the most powerful gods had to team up to contain them.

Although several of Zaros' settlements were destroyed (notably Senntisten, his capital at the modern day digsite and three of his wilderness fortresses Dareyeek, Carrallangar, and Annakarl), one fortress remains intact: Ghorrock, the fortress of ice at the North West survived. Its size and obvious potential capability gives a good idea of what other Zarosian areas might have looked like at the centre.

Zaros was betrayed by one of his most trusted lieutenants, Zamorak, who was a Majharrat. He gained control of the staff of Armadyl and the Stone of Jas (two incredibly powerful artefacts) and used his influence to gain popular support before engaging Zaros in combat in Zaros' throne room. During the ensuing combat, Zaros was stabbed in the back by the staff of Armadyl and despite what appears to have been tremendous resistance (Viggora, a prominent Zamorakian at the time of the betrayal, says that Zaros was roughly as strong as Guthix) was tipped on his back. The staff connected the two enemies and Zaros' power flowed to Zamorak, thus ensuring his power.

Zaros was then banished to the shadow realm and Zamorak after a brief period of banishment and return began the god wars, effectively ending Zaros' empire.

Zaros - The interior of the Jaldroacht Pyramid.

However, Zaros is currently making attempts to return to Gielinor. Since Guthix was asleep during Zaros' time in Gielinor, they appear to have little knowledge of each other and it seems likely that the edicts of Guthix may not affect Zaros. There are several events that will have precipitated this, but one of the key ones is the freeing of Azzanadra, one of the most powerful Zarosian Majharrat, from the Jaldroacht pyramid by the player in the Desert Treasure quest. Azzanadra's immense drive and energy have already established a communication link between the Empty Lord and Azzanadra himself following the Temple at Senntisten.

Religion of Zaros

Zaros was originally worshipped by the followers of his great empire. However, with the destruction of that it is hard to find many traces of it, and even harder to find any teaching.

Zaros' symbol is the X surrounded by a circle with four points surrounding that. This can be found on his two altars in the Jaldroacht pyramid and below Senntisten, and also on ceremonial robes, armours, weapons, books and other items dedicated to Zaros. This is most often displayed in purple, which appears to be the religion's favoured colour.

One source of information about the Zarosian religion is the ancient hymnal, a book describing the Zarosian curses (their equivalent of prayers). Here is an introductory quote from the text:

Gathered here are the chants and curses of the Mahjarrat ancestors. Within these pages they lie translated to the human tongue, in the knowledge that soon Zaros will rule over all races, no matter how weak they be. It is right, then, that all should use the words herein to give to praise to Zaros in worship and in battle. To this end Zaros has attuned his temple at Senntisten, so that by praying at his altar in that wondrous place these curses will fill the minds of the followers, and his power be bestowed unto them. Oh, what wondrous god and sacred place is this? This altar that nourishes the spirit far beyond the altars of the many false gods! And finally, a warning, for the weak-willed halfwit humans are known for their treachery.

Here we can see several elements of the Zarosian religion: firstly, that the Majharrat had the greatest power, second, that the Zarosian religion was strongly martial, and third that Zaros does not tolerate other gods.

Another source is Zaros' god book, a shield that offers players the chance to preach some of Zaros' wisdom. Notable quotations include:

“The followers of the Great Lord are few, but they are powerful and mighty.”
“One day your loyalty will be rewarded.”
“Oppressed thou art, but fear not: The day will come when the Great Lord rises. Power to the Great Lord!”

The preaching particularly centres around the power and abilities of the small, oppressed group of Zarosians, and remains hopeful that the Empty Lord will return, never doubting what his abilities will be like when he does. As a result, the Zarosian religion has clearly developed into a small group of people seeking strong power and rejecting any other possible gods. The only currently known human community of Zaros followers are the desert bandits who worship him as they revere Azzanadra.

The final piece of interesting information we have about the Zarosian religion is that much of it uses Latin: the Ancient curses, for example, are written in, and Nex's bodyguards and armour drops have Latin names. However, this could simply suggest that the human language has evolved from Latin in the second age.

Alignment of Zaros

Whether Zaros is good or evil is a contentious issue: no god on Gielinor actually appears to have a clear standing point on this spectrum and Zaros is no exception.

While initially appearing evil as his army was made of demons, vampyres, and Majharrat and he gave rise to Zamorak, the god of chaos, his empire does not appear to have been as bad as might initially be thought. Indeed, Zaros is characterized by being powerful rather than embodying any particular view on life: perhaps he is best symbolized by the Majharrat themselves, powerful beings of which some desire evil (Zamorak, Lucien) and others desire good (Azzanadra, Wahisietel). Zaros does not appear to desire the pain of his subjects, but merely the control.

It should, however, be noted that Jagex keeps deliberately silent on this issue, preferring to slowly release such matters in quests.

Notable Followers of Zaros

Some Majharrat still choose to follow Zaros. Known amongst them are Akthanakos, Azzanadra, Jhallan, Sliske, and Wahisietel. As a result, their followers are also generally Zarosian: for example, Sliske has cursed the Barrows Brothers to do his bidding.

Kharshai, another Majharrat, could also be Zarosian.

The Ancient Army of Zaros, including Nex, her four mage bodyguards, the ancient soldiers, and the blood reavers.

The Desert Bandits.

Potentially Kalphites. An interesting case can be made for them, including their saying that they look forward to Zaros' return and their use of shadow magic, but evidence is still inconclusive as they are supposedly the spawn of Scabaras and Zaros does not seem to tolerate other gods.

Potentially some of the elven clans: Glarial, an elven queen, has the symbol of Zaros on her tomb.

Potentially some of the monkeys of ape atoll: a few of the graves in their cemetery have the symbol of Zaros.

Zaros - Glarial's Tomb

Is Bob the Cat Zaros?

No. While he might say he is, you can't trust a talking cat. Bob's true identity appears to be that of Robert the Strong, a hero who fought the Dragonkin, and besides any further conspiracy theories, Azzandra states that Bob the Cat is not the Empty Lord.

Zarosian Items

Almost any item with the prefix ‘ancient’ is Zarosian. However, here is a list of the items currently known:

  • Ancient Staff
  • Ancient Book and pages therein
  • Ancient Talisman and Stone tablet found at Senntisten
  • Relic, once used at the Altar of Zaros
  • Ancient Hymnal
  • Ancient blessed dragonhide armour from Treasure Trails
  • Ancient painted rune armour from Treasure Trails
  • Ancient prayer armour from Treasure Trails
  • Ancient Ceremonial robes
  • Potentially Barrows equipment (see "Notable followers of Zaros")
  • Torva, Pernix, and Virtus armours
  • Zaryte Bow
Zaros - Ancient Ceremonial Robes

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Published on: February 18, 2013 08:52 PM EST by Salmoneus
Updated on: June 17, 2014 11:35 AM EDT by Sobend