Chapter 8: The Unbroken Velus

Anthony DeLapi, Staff Writer

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Mortem has punished one’s evil, but that does not end one’s life. One can still find redemption through the path of ram, and through the will of mortem. The velus are examples of this. Evil, corrupted men brought down to their lowest point, into the mud and waste. Their bodies mutilated and twisted into the very beasts they’ve tortured and abused. But instead of fighting the pain, they accepted the pain. They laid in their wastes for many years, until they slowly risen from their shame. They took small steps both physically and mentally, to rebuild their lives while also avoiding the fury of mortem. But then something strange happened. After they picked themselves backed up, and rebuild their civilization, they still continued the traits they possessed while being in the waste. Always cautious, and careful, and concerned. While other mutants moved on to different goals, the Velus remained to their principles they were punished by. They all came together, despite their different forms. Big Cats, Bears, Birds, Elephants, Apes, and Many More came together to build a new world. The Velus are the model of the future. 

-The Forbidden Texts 

Mozak has been riding for days now. He finally passed through the Desert, leaving all of its sand and torture behind him. He then passed by the Mountains that were once his home, the Caverns. They seemed both familiar and foreign to him. The Caverns seemed deserted to him, but he continued on his way. That place wasn’t his home anymore.  

When he continued riding, he saw an odd figure in the distance. It was a Zakaz, like him, but a Toad. It had a giant bag on its back, and it was slowly moving along. Mozak felt bad for this creature and rode right beside the Toad. 

“Excuse me, sir” Mozak said, “Do you need any help?” 

“No thank you I’m good,” the Toad grunted as he moved along.  

“Where are you off to,” Mozak asked. 

“I’m heading back West, back to my village. The Archers have called off all the raids on villages, and I’m heading back to my people in the Swamp-lands,” the Toad explained. 

“Really? Well good for you sir, and have safe travels,” Mozak said as he rode off. He couldn’t believe it, the Archers called of their raids. That was their essential form of living, and they just gave up on it. Maybe there was still some good coming to the future.  

As he was heading farther up North, he saw another odd figure in the distance. It was a black bird-like creature sitting on top of a white rock. It looked like a statue at first but came alive when Mozak got closer. It then spoke.  

“Hello Mozak, bringer and taker of life,” the Oracle said calmly. 

“Who are you?” Mozak demanded. 

“I am the Oracle. The eyes of the of the past, present, and future,” the Oracle said humbly. 

“What do you want?” Mozak asked. 

“I have been through many ages Mozak, and I know now when they’re about to end. The fall for your age is coming soon, and a new age will rise,” the Oracle said. “I have looked through time, the stars, space, and life itself for information on this conclusion, and I’ve found the information that I need to part onto you.” 

“Well, what is the information?” Mozak questioned. 

“When the end comes, don’t kill the Archers, but don’t let them live. They will meet their fates soon, because they have chosen the path of ambition over order and will suffer because of it” the Oracle said. 

“You helped the Archers?!” Mozak exclaimed. 

“In a way. The Archers have always been ruthless, and to cover up their crimes with their belief in Mortem is not an excuse. I told them this, when they arrived at my waters, that they must understand that the choices they make will have an impact, good or bad,” the Oracle explained. 

“But the Archers didn’t do anything really bad recently. They stopped with their raids,” Mozak explained. 

“Yes, but they still didn’t good anything really good either,” the Oracle replied. “They let the Metal Mountains crumble because of their poor planning, and thousands died.  They head to the White Mountains now, and they will commit horrors there as well. Their raids were beyond forgiveness, and who says they won’t stop after this is all over. I have saw the future, shortly after my encounter with the Archers, and I saw after all their fighting at the end, they continued with their ways afterwards. That is why they must be stopped,” the Oracle said. 

“But what can I do? I can’t kill them, but I can’t let them live,” Mozak said. 

“Exactly, you can’t kill them. You just can’t let them escape from the war,” the Oracle said. “But ONE THING, Boron” 

“Boron?” Mozak said confused. 

“Yes, Boron, let him live,” the Oracle said. 

“Why?” Mozak questioned. 

“I cannot tell you that, because that could put the future we are now trying to make in danger. But just remember this, Boron lives in the end,” the Oracle said. 

Mozak was confused, but he was slowly understanding that this was obviously past him in magnitude. “I understand, “Mozak said. “I will try my best. I am going to the Velus now to get there help, but I will remember this now. Thank you.” 

The Oracle nodded in response and smiled and got off his rock and began walking away. 

“Where are you going?” Mozak asked. 

“East,” the Oracle replied. 

“But if you go East, you will be in the Waste Lands. There is nothing there,” Mozak said. 

“Exactly, a perfect place for my meditation,” the Oracle said smilingly as he walked away. 

Mozak watched the Oracle walked away into the distance, but when he went to look back at the white rock, it was gone. Mozak was surprised, but again, he understood this was probably beyond him in magnitude. He then continued his way on.  

He began riding through the forests, filled with tall trees that cut the sunlight into sharp angles. It was a quiet place, with the only sounds heard were the birds chirping, the calm water running along the stream, and the quick sounds of animals walking around. This was a place of serenity, and Mozak enjoyed it. He felt calm and relaxed here, for the first time in a very long time. It sounded crazy to him, but maybe he would stay here after all of this fighting was over. He could use a vacation after all that has happened. But Mozak realized his dreams were not important now, the priority was to reach the City of Velus, and talk to Cassius.  

Mozak passed through the forest and reached some grasslands. But these grasslands were different from others he has seen. There were small mounds of snows scattered around, and giant piles of rock scattered as well. In the distance, he could see more woodlands, and in the East, he saw the figure of the White Mountains. They were gigantic even from a faraway distance, and he couldn’t believe the Purple Rider was there right now trying to find the Tablets of Ram. It seemed like the Rider was in a different world now, from what Mozak was seeing. But still, recognizing what needs to be prioritized, he continued North.  

As Mozak continued his way, he saw in the West the saw glimpse of the Plain of Ares and the Red Sea. The skies there were in a greenish-yellow, and it look completely abandoned. The whole world seemed gone now in Mozak’s eyes. But, once again, what needs to be prioritized came to him, and he continued his way.  

Mozak started to notice the weather was beginning to become cold. His body initially took the cold well at first, but its true symptoms soon overtook him. His scales shivered through the cold winds, and they began to freeze up as he moved along. He luckily packed warm clothes for him, ones he didn’t realize the Purple Rider set up for him before they departed. The Rider was smart like that, it was prepared for what may come.  

Mozak finally reached to the Northern forests. The snow nearly drowned his horse, but they continued on their way. When they reached the entrance to the woods, they saw a giant wooden statue of a wolf. It was holding a pitchfork in one hand, and a book in the other. Despite being covered in snow, Mozak could make out what the sign below it said.  

Remember the Pain, Plan to Caution, Live a Caring Life. 

Mozak could feel his tiny claws on his hands begin to crack under the cold conditions. The weather was becoming unbearable, and Mozak, with no thinking at all, rode straight into the forest. He could hear the snow winds howl and echoes throughout the dense forest. He didn’t know where he was going, just forward. Through the streams, through tangled up vines and bushes.  

Suddenly, the horse stopped right in its path and let out a scream. Right in front of them stood large stone figures. While Mozak calmed down his horse, he took a glance at these rock creatures. There were six of them, and each was a different animal with a different tool in its hand. The Lion with a Sword, The Tiger with a double-pointed Pike, The Bear with a large Axe, The Wolf with small sharp Daggers, The Elephant with a Shovel and Hoe in both hands, and The Ape with the Bow. Mozak looked at these figures with astonishment.  

“I wonder who made these. Maybe they are the Velus idols?” Mozak thought to himself, when he suddenly realized he was still freezing, and got himself back to moving.  

A spear was then suddenly pointed right at Mozak’s head, then another, and another, until he was surrounded. These guards were wolves, covered in thick clothing and hoods. They all had the same snarly and angry look on their faces. The type of face someone makes before they leap into action yet is still restrained by some exterior force. This exterior force would be the captain of the wolves, recognized by his blue cloth on his clothes compared to the other wolves, who wore a more brown and muddy color.  

“You are not welcome here, Zakaz,” the Captain said as he stepped toward to Mozak.  “We don’t care who you are or what you’re doing here, just leave this place alone or face the consequences for your actions.” The Captain shuddered a little and the snow fell off of his fur.  

“I’m not like the others of my kind,” Mozak explained. “My name is Mozak, and I know the Purple Rider, and he told me to find your leader Cassius.” 

The wolves stared at him silently, as if by what he said broke some barrier of security in their minds. The captain was surprised by this as well. 

“No one has ever met Cassius, except the Two Riders. Very well Mozak, follow us,” the Captain said while his ear started to twitch in response to the cold wind.  

And so Mozak, the Wolf Guards, and the Captain, headed deeper into the woods. As they went deeper, the trees became more dense and thicker as well. It was like entering another plain of existence, something that was completely out of this world. The trees looked like walls now, covering nearly everything in sight except the small path the group was taking, and the vines covered the whole environment, with a sprinkle of the freezing snow still attached to some places. The snow was also beginning to disappear, but it wasn’t due to melting. Where they were going was too warm for the ice to survive. Suddenly, the Captain stopped.  

“Mozak. Close your eyes,” the Captain said with a cold-star in its green deadly eyes. 

Mozak did what he was told and closed his eyes. He could hear a crackling sound all around him. The sound a tree makes when it falls down and also when sticks break. He then felt a thrust of wind pass right through him.  

“You may open your eyes now,” the Captain said. 

When Mozak opened his eyes again, he couldn’t believe what he saw. He has entered a region of land on the planet that exists outside the boundaries of nature. This was an underworld, but a pleasant one as well. This was a beautiful green forest, the type you see during late spring. There were rivers running along the trees, and a big lake in the middle of the small world. Up above, Mozak could see the sky was pure white, glowing with light. Suddenly he realized it wasn’t the sky, it was the snow. Mozak walked down the pathways with the guards and saw a giant village. 

The village had all different types of buildings, including in shape and size, and all around the ancient beasts as Velus roamed. Compared to other creatures, the Velus seemed more relaxed than others. They moved around quietly, but not rudely or depressed. They just kept to their own businesses, while also being respectful of others.  

Mozak and the Guards finally reached the home of Cassius, to which Mozak’s surprise, wasn’t a large building or castle. It was a simple yurt, with ancient symbols, flags, and banners decorated all about. There were skulls of all different types of creatures hanging about on large wooden boxes as well. Mozak recognized a skull of a Zakaz, but he continued his way into the shady yurt. 

The inside of the yurt was decorated in a very cultured way, as if each object had a purpose in some way. There were many types of clothes hanging from the walls of the yurt, expressing different colors and styles, expressing a different form of species even. There were wind-chimes, and skeletons of small animals hanging from the wooden rods that kept the yurt together. In the corners, there were large piles of supplies and other trinkets. These trinkets were chests, dinning-ware, paintings, and strange small contraptions with gears and buttons that even Mozak had no idea what they were. All these trinkets seemed foreign to the mostly tribal Velus, as if they came from somewhere else. In the middle of the yurt, a wide circular space was left free for a medium-sized fire in the very center of the home. The flames crackled and danced to the top of the yurt, while an old-looking Velu’s gaze was directed upon it.  

This Velu was in fact Cassius, but his appearance contradicted the stories told about him. Maybe his time of taking down foes was long past him, because what only remained was a hunched, wrinkled, and decaying creature. Cassius was a Lion-genome type of Velu. His once orange-red hair was nearly white and gray. You could see his bones move as he took in slow deep breaths, and his wrinkling old skin stretching to reveal them. But despite of his weakened older state, there was still signs of strength in Cassius. The bones wrapped in flesh and tissue still seemed as powerful as they were in his younger years. Cassius’s greenish eyes continued to stare into the fire, his eyes absorbing the warmth of the flames. 

“You can leave us Captain,” Cassius said in a deep rattily voice to the captain. His eyes were still fixated on the fire.  

The Captain nodded in response, and he and his troops left the yurt. Cassius extended his paw toward Mozak from his cloak. His claws were long and sharp, and there were patches of fur missing. Mozak could see scars on Cassius’s arm, extending to his whole body from behind the brown-reddish cloak Cassius wore. 

“You can sit if you want Mozak,” Cassius said as he still stared into the fire. 

“How did you know my name?”, Mozak asked him as he sat down onto the dirt floor vertical from Cassius. Suddenly Cassius’s head popped up straight at him. His face looked the same, but his movement was jolted upward. Yet there was still a look of calmness to his face, he even looked chill as well.  

“No, no no, don’t sit on the floor. Look at me, I’m sitting on a rug. Go. Grab a rug for yourself,” Cassius pointed to the far left of the yurt, where a basket filled with rugs was snugged in by a bunch of artifacts. He them licked his face a little after talking, causing his gray whiskers to move a little on his face, and his ivory-colored teeth to be revealed.  

Mozak got up and walked to the basket. While taking out a rug, he noticed something strange about these artifacts. The artifacts seemed to advance and to technical to be from the past. They had all different types of buttons and wires and lights scattered all over them. Other artifacts also seemed odd, because of its historical importance. Cassius had some ancient slates of carvings, and some of these carvings had strange pictures on them. One of these pictures showed a group of humans gathered around a tall structure, while a black being from the sky threw something into the structure. Another one was strange as well. It showed a small looking animal overlapping a picture of a Velu. There were different types of colors scattered about the painting to indicate some type of transformation, but this painting confused Mozak. It contradicted most of the history the rest of the creature he met had claimed. While it was just a painting, it surprised him how the Velus came up with such an alternate theory of creation. He walked back over to Cassius, threw open the rug, and sat down again.  

“Is something troubling you?” Cassius asked Mozak.  

“A little actually,” Mozak confessed, “I was looking at some of those artifacts back there and I noticed one of the strangest artifacts I have ever seen. Some of them seem like they didn’t even come from the past, “he paused to see Cassius’s reacted, but Cassius was just starring on at him as he was before, no difference. “And some slate paintings as well showed some weird paintings. One showed a small looking animal, turning into one of your Velus,” he looked up again to see Cassius had the same face he had before, calm and chilled.  “Me and the other Zakaz have been told by our teachers that we are the punished humans who were mutated into the lizards, but I just wondering how you came up with your stories as well?” Mozak finished. 

Cassius was silent for a moment, but he then spoke only two words, and from there he left it where it was. 

“It happened.” 

Cassius now extended his arms to a pot laying on the side of the fire and hanged it over a branch above the flames.  

“We are running out of time Mozak, the Purple Rider was smart to send you to here to ask for our aid, but time still is still a factor against us. If we should stand up against the Zakaz, we need to act right now,” Cassius said. 

“How did you know…” Mozak was going to ask until Cassius interrupted him. 

“The Flames fused with the ancient sparks of potions, the creaking-tongue of trees, and dreams of our ancestral spirits, have told me and many more of our council that you, Mozak of the Caverns, would come to us. I apologize if I sound rude in any-way, but we need to get started after all of this. I let you take your time coming into our city in order for you to get more comfortable but know we must act quickly.  I have talked to the spirits, and strange things have been happening. Your friends have gone silent in the spirit world for reasons I am not sure,” Cassius stopped for a second when Mozak asked if they were dead shockingly. “No, I would’ve felt with the spirits that they would’ve died, but they didn’t, they just seemed to go silent. But I can trace where they last were. The Shaman Xenon was in the lair of the Overlevas, and the Purple Rider was close to the Orange Rider when I last felt them. But I have sadly one theory though, and that is the Overlevas are behind it,” Cassius finished speaking to let Mozak sink it in, 

Mozak was confused and upset by this, but for some strange reason it didn’t feel foreign to him, as if it were going to happen.  

“What now?” Mozak asked.  

“The Overlevas are sided with the Zakaz, twisted by their dark beliefs of Ram. And in order to preserve a balance, we the Velus must join you and the remnants of your people who stand against your Archers. We must march off and unite any of the fallen creatures who are against the Archers. For we also serve Mortem and Ram, and if they succeed, the destruction of the world is inevitable,” Cassius finished.  

“Ram? You serve Ram as well?” Mozak asked. “I was told Ram was a warrior of Mortem, but I thought only the Overlevas believed in him.” 

“Only the dark deeds of Ram do the Overlevaas believe, “Cassius said. “Ram also did deeds that were in favor of the light. Deeds of justice, compassion, and mercy. The Overlevas see the violence in Ram, when we Velus see the compromising of Ram,” Cassius explained.  

Mozak was still so confused on what was happening but was just letting it happen.  

“Wait, how am I supposed to unite the creatures of the world against the Archers? I don’t even have an army,” Mozak questioned. 

“I will give you my Velu forces. Outside of this Yurt the Council will be waiting for you with the entire military force of our city,” Cassius pointed to the exit of the Yurt with Mozak starring out there sheepish and wide-eyed surprised. “From there go to the Mountains and get the Basureros. Then go to the city of Ares and get the humans to join you. From that point, gather any remaining Zakaz that are left roaming the wastelands,” Cassius strategized to Mozak, “they would enjoy your help.” 

“But I’ve been told by a toad that the Archers’ stopped with their raids,” Mozak explained. 

“They did. But I have seen whispers of the future, and there is no doubt that the Archers will continue with their ways after this battle,” Cassius explained.  

“Ok, that actually makes sense. But there was another thing, I met the Oracle on the road,” Mozak explained and to this Cassius’s eyes popped open a little. “He told me that I personally can’t kill the Archers, but to just not let them escape,” Mozak paused for a second to take in what he was about to just say. “He then told me that I have to let Boron the Turtle live.” 

Cassius remained quiet for a moment to this information, his eyes now moving with frustration at first, then a couple of seconds of thinking, then suddenly realization, then now to another expression of calmness, but this time in a more open-eyed way. 

“I trust the Oracle. He can see many things into the future. And if he says the Archers must not be slain at your hands, then I will see to it that one of mine one takes care of it. And as for Boron…. he shall live if the Oracle says so,” Cassius said.  

Cassius now got up, he struggled a little a first and Mozak tried to help, but Cassius raised his hand to indicate he was fine. He walked over to a chest and pulled out a long weapon covered in cloth. He extended it toward Mozak 

“Mozak, I know you feel you don’t deserve the type of recognition you have been given for the past few months, but let me assure you the reason is because you were given a mission that defines the progression of this world’s life,” Cassius explained. “You may not think you were chosen because you were special, but that’s false. But now you have become special by taking this mission into your hands. You had help along the way, and that was because they too saw the glimpses of the future as well, and they saw your purpose,” Cassius said as he began to unwrap the clothed weapon.  

“What is my purpose?” Mozak asked. Cassius then finally finished unwrapping the weapon, to reveal an orange-colored sword. The type of metal the sword was made from made it glitter and gleam like fire does during a dark night.  

“A Zakaz, out of the thousands of oppressed, who will rule the unknown future,” Cassius said as he moved the sword around a bit to show the power the sword had. “And while the future is still unknown, we will still act upon it, to see you lead it to a better place, but for now the Archers and their Empire must be destroyed,” Cassius said as he handed the weapon to Mozak.  

“This was the weapon of my ancestors; some say even Ram at one time held it. I was sadly never able to have a child, which is one thing the council must think about when I soon pass on, and in so I will give it to you. It is called Lampu.” 

Mozak held on to the sword tightly. It felt so light, yet it felt so strong moving it about. He then felt something he hasn’t felt in a long time. Happiness. But not just the general type of happiness, but a specific happiness. A happiness of knowing that he will soon bring glory to the future. But then, there was always a sense of reality and doubt that came to his mind, and he had to contradict this happiness again. 

“But how am I supposed to unite all of these creatures with me?” Mozak asked. Cassius then laid a paw on Mozak’s shoulder and smiled a little at him.  

“Tell them the truth, Mozak. Don’t lie, and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Tell them the places you’ve been, the struggles you’ve went through, and the people you’ve met that have helped you along the way,” Cassius explained. “Also, hear their stories as well, and be compassionate to their beliefs. They are also tried to these current times, and will join with you against the Archers,” Cassius finally said as he then rose to his tallest height. His robe hanging off him a little, as his elderly skeletal body was being shown a little.  

“Lead the creatures of the world to a better future, Mozak. Lampu is at your side, and destiny is in your favor. Finish this battle, and then take each step at a time from there. I am sadly too old to fight now, but I will stay here and pray for your cause, and my council members will aid you on your quest. But for now, farewell Mozak,” Cassius finished. 

“Thank you, Cassius, thank you for everything,” Mozak said as he left somewhat relieved out of the Yurt to a whole army of Velus surrounding it.  

Mozak was in complete surprise by the amount of Velus outside, and the different types of animals among them. There were lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, apes, rhinos, elephants, elk, moose, and many wolves. They had traditional weapons strapped onto their armor, but they all carried the fire-swords the Zakaz also had. A council member, this one being a Zebra, walked up to Mozak. 

“Greetings Mozak Zakaz, this will be your Army for the current battle to come,” the Zebra explained excitingly. “I and a couple of the council members will follow you along your way, but first we need to speak to Cassius for a second,” he finished and Mozak nodded in response.  

After a couple of minutes of quiet discussions inside the Yurt, the Zebra with the other council members exited the camp.  The Wolf Captain from before, then walked up to Mozak. 

“General, we are ready for your orders when-ever you are ready,” the Captain said respectfully.  

Mozak was surprised to be called General for the first time, but then looked onto the Army. He didn’t really have anything to say right then to pump them up, and just wanted to focus on the mission.  

Velu Soldiers!” Mozak yelled. “We will go to the Straight Mountains and get the Baseurus, then we will go to the city of Ares and get the humans, and then we will pick up any other Zakaz along the roads until we reach Bakea. Velu Soldiers! March out!” Mozak yelled as he raised Lampu in the air. The army then roared in response, and began to march out, with Mozak and the council members riding out in front with the horses.  

The Velu Army and Mozak marched through the winter wastelands of the North to the Mountains westward, where the Baseurus were located. Despite the continuous cold howls of the wind and air, the army still moved forward. This is something they have been trained for and will only take a break if their commanding officer said so. Their commanding officer was Mozak, and he would only give breaks when it was time to set-up camp for the many dark nights that were impossible to move through with the dangerous blizzards.  

One night at the camp, Mozak was sitting with the other council members around a fire. They were quiet mostly, with a couple of moments with small whispers of conversation. After weeks of riding with the members, despite not chatting all the time, Mozak felt that it would be a right time to ask some questions to the council members. 

“Hey, excuse me for asking this, but why did Cassius send you here anyway?” Mozak asked to the whole group. 

“The Zakaz Army has the Overlevas at their side,” said the Bear Council Member, “and will probably use their dark sorcery in the battle to come.” 

“They serve the cruelty of Ram’s soul,” said the Elephant Council Member, “and in so their magic is more dangerous and sicklier.” 

“We serve the merciful nature of Ram’s soul,” said the Zebra Council Member, “and we will counter-balance the actions of the Overlevas, preventing them from turning the battle to their favor.”  

“We won’t be able to help elsewhere when we block the attacks of the Cult,” said the Tiger Council Member, “but the Army will take care of the Zakaz Army, and you can take care of the Archers.” 

Mozak was concerned at that moment. “But the Oracle told me that I can’t kill the Archers. We must find another way to beat them if you’re in a stalemate with the Overlevas.” 

They all sat silence for a moment, then they all started to bring up suggestions randomly. Most of them seemed risky, so they then went into the concrete facts about Bakea. The city was extremely old, and its inner structures were decayed and rotten. They also had an advantage of, if they continued their course with no major obstacles, at least a one day’s head start on the Archers’ and their Army. They learned this from Velu spies who saw where the Zakaz where located now and estimated their distance to the city. The Velus also had highly explosive weapons, just like the Zakaz Army had. With all of this, Mozak and the Council Members came up with a risky idea, but they knew if they were to stick with it no matter what happened, they could succeed.  

The next day, Mozak and the Velu Army reached the Baseurus’ Mountains. The Baseurus were tired and hungry, and they didn’t seem happy to see Mozak, who was the cause of Leon’s death a couple of months ago. But now, the Archers are pushing them out of their Mountains where they survived and are almost close to extinction. Mozak learned this from them and made an agreement with them if they won the battle that was to come, the Baseurus can take back their Mountains, and no one will take them away. The Baseurus liked this deal and agreed to join Mozak.  

After another day of assembling the strongest of the Baseurus, the Army was marching out again, and this time they had hundreds of Baseurus flying overhead above the army. They then moved westward to the City of Ares. They crossed over the winter wastelands, into soggy marshlands, and then into the tall grassland fields to the City of Ares. The Army decided to wait outside of the city, so Mozak and the Council Members could go in to negotiate. They met the rulers of Ares, who were somewhat surprised by what was going on, but also seemed un-interested as well. Mozak told them he knew their Shaman Xenon, and the rulers of Ares were less suspicious of the Zakaz. They knew if Xenon was with Mozak, then they knew they could trust him. The rulers explained that they were also concerned about the growing Zakaz threat and offered their help as well. They sent out thousands of their armed soldiers to join the Velu and Baseuru forces. Before they left, the rulers just had one request. This was that after the battle, the City of Ares could expand southward where they can also cultivate in the lands the Archers refused to let them. Mozak agreed to this, and once again they were off on their way to Bakea.  

It was now only a march down the road to Bakea, and to Cassius’s predictions, there were many wandering Zakaz on the road. When Mozak allowed them to join him, he heard the current news about what was happening with his people.  

The Archers have spent so much time on finding these Riders for the past months, that their provinces throughout the land started to become more independent from their rule. This led to brutal riots with the Zakaz Army and civilians, which caused many of the Zakaz people to leave these provinces to avoid the violence. These people now because of this violence, have started to become skeptical of the Archers’ rule, and decided they don’t want anything to do with it. Mozak used this to his advantage and promised the people that he would see an end to the violence if they defeat the Archers in these provinces. Hundreds of Zakaz joined with Mozak’s army that day with that promise.  

Mozak and the Velus were ready. They had the support of the Basurus, the Ares people, and some of Zakaz people. They were on their way to Bakea, with an advantage of time, and support behind them. They had a plan, even though it was risky, it could still work.  

Mozak thought along the road, and realized he did a good job negotiating with the people along the way. He promised things that he would be capable of doing if the Archers were defeated. The only thing now that concerned him were the Texts. He hasn’t heard from the Purple Rider for a while now, and no spoke anything about seeing him recently. While on the way to Bakea, Mozak was wondering what was happening in the White Mountains with the Riders, and the Tablets of Ram.  

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