Zaros, or the Empty Lord, is perhaps the most mysterious and one of the most powerful gods ever to have been worshipped in the history of RuneScape. The most feared god in the Second Age, he reigned a vast empire stretching from Western Asgarnia to the region in Morytania in which Canifis resides. He was the most powerful god known at the time, from his arrival soon after Guthix engaged his slumber, to his downfall after a betrayal event lead by Zamorak. Present-day Saradomin and Zamorak followers consider Zaros as an evil adversary. Others, like the inhabitants of Kharidian Desert and some Mahjarrat deem Zaros quite the opposite. This includes a Mahjarrat named Akthanakos, who recalls in certain quests of how early human settlements in the past having lived prosperous lives under Zaros. However, Saradominists such as Lennissa have claimed that:
- "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."
Some of Zaros's followers are evil in the conventional sense of being ruthless, enjoying being deceptive and seeking power for power's sake. Also, the Ancient Curses, a set of prayers the player can obtain at the Altar of Zaros, seem to be evil in their focus on inflicting damage on others and draining others of their powers.
Zaros arrived in Gielinor after Guthix fell in deep sleep. From this, it is possible to conclude that Guthix may have little knowledge of Zaros and vice versa. After his arrival, Zaros led powerful race of near-immortals called the Mahjarrat, who originated from Freneskae; Little he knew about his future disposition by his Mahjarrat general Zamorak at the time. Many of the Mahjarrat joined Zamorak, while others (such as Azzanadra and Akthanakos) remained loyal to Zaros. A statue of General Khazard is in the courtyard of the recently rediscovered Ghorrock, an ancient Zarosian fortress, which could mean Khazard had some connection to Zaros, although it seems unlikely since General Khazard was born after Zaros was banished.
Zaros's legacy is still strong, as Saradomin will not speak of him, instead making evasive responses such as, "For your own continued good health, I implore you to drop this subject. Speak that name no more, and trouble not your mind with such thoughts." and Zamorak fears him immensely, implying Zaros in his prime possessed power surpassing that of either.
According to the Mysterious ghost, "As I told you, the Empty Lord was extremely powerful, but not so powerful that he could rule over the other deities of this world. Should he have made a move against any other god, then he could still have been easily brought down by the combined efforts of the others." However, with the aid of the Staff of Armadyl, Zaros's power would be magnified to a degree enabling him to overcome all on Gielinor, but due to the interference of the other gods and their followers, he failed to obtain the Staff.
- Side: Unknown
- Gender: Male
- Symbol: File:Zaros symbol.svg
- Colour(s): Purple and Black (Cream and Light Blue in Temple at Senntisten)
- Race: God
- Followers: Desert Bandits, some Mahjarrat, possibly Kalphites and other races.
Zamorak, a Mahjarrat general under Zaros, wanted to become a god and leader of the Mahjarrat. With his close Mahjarrat followers Hazeel and Zemouregal, as well as the vampyre Lord Drakan and others, he plotted Zaros' downfall. To defeat Zaros, however, they needed a powerful artefact, such as the Staff of Armadyl.
Staff of Armadyl
Valdez, a faithful Saradominist, stumbled upon the Staff of Armadyl. He knew that it was a very powerful god weapon and could not fall into the wrong hands. However, a thief called Rennard found Valdez, knocked him unconscious and stole the Staff. He intended to sell it to Zaros. Instead, Zaros's messenger, Kharrim, took it to General Zamorak of the Mahjarrat, who was mortal during that era. Another Saradominist called Lennissa found out about the sale and informed her superior, a Saradominist mage called Dhalak. Dhalak was supposed to pass the information on to Saradomin himself, but he instead enchanted the staff so that Zaros could not detect it.
Whilst the followers of Zamorak distracted the guards, Zamorak battled Zaros and managed to stab him in the back with the Staff of Armadyl to weaken him. However, this also enrages Zaros, with the staff still impailed in his back he seized Zamorak by the throat and lifted him into the air, Zamorak wouldve been killed, but something made Zaros stumble and fall onlo his back, causing the Staff of Armadayl to go through him and into Zamorak. This gave Zamorak enough power to turn into a god. It is suspected that Zamorak used the power of the Stone of Jas to also assist him in becoming a god.
The Empty Lord was a powerful god, stronger than any of the others awake at the time, possibly even as strong as Guthix is, and Zamorak was but a mortal: a Mahjarrat warrior all the same, with all of the strength and power that that entails, but mortal nonetheless, but to see him fight, you would not think of him as a ‘mere’ anything...He was war itself! Flurry after flurry of blows he rained upon the Empty Lord, and the very castle walls shook and quivered with their power, but the Empty Lord would not fall! Even with the weapon of a god embedded in his back, he fought on, and with each blow our victory seemed less and less certain…
Zaros faded from RuneScape while Zamorak seemed to become more real. However, before he was "banished", Zaros uttered a curse onto all those involved in the rebellion. The curse was to make them wander around Gielinor as ghosts for eternity. The following six people were affected by the curse:
- Valdez, a Saradominist explorer
- Rennard, a seemingly Zarosian thief
- Kharrim, a Zamorakian messenger
- Lennissa, a Saradominist spy
- Dhalak, Lennisa's boss
- Viggora, a Zamorakian warrior
Zamorak was also affected by Zaros' curse, but because he became a god, he couldn't die.
However, the others involved were seemingly unaffected. Viggora theorises that it was because all of Zamorak's other followers were magical and so the curse was much less effective on them. Zamorak won the rebellion in the end.
The followers of Zaros were actively hunted by followers of both Saradomin and Zamorak, hinting they worked together to bring Zaros down. However, Zamorak soon turned against Saradomin and other gods, starting the God Wars. Even during the God Wars, when Zamorak battled with other gods, he occasionally joined forces with Saradomin to fight off the remaining followers of Zaros.
In the recent Q&As from three Jagex Moderators (Mod MMG, Mod Roderick and Paul Gower), it has been hinted that Zaros will return soon. It was also hinted many years ago by the Chaos Elemental in a Postbag from the Hedge with the phrase "bizarre boron swell", an anagram of "Zaros will be reborn".
During The Temple at Senntisten, the player collects three items to give to Dr Nabanik (Azzanadra), used to contact Zaros. This creates a connection between the temple and the plane where Zaros is located, allowing speech. This connection is only the start of what may happen when Zaros is fully reborn, as shown in a cutscene. The cutscene shows the dark mage's portal going crazy (almost destroying the universe according to him) but the mage thankfully manages to control it. It also shows an earthquake which cracks a Zamorak statue at the Chaos Temple. The Monks of Zamorak are furious, and suspect it is the Saradominists' fault.
This manifestation of power appears to have violated the Edicts of Guthix, which prohibits all other gods from directly interfering with Gielinor (only the gods' followers can act on behalf of their gods). If this was indeed a violation, it is not known whether it was intentionally in violation of the Edicts, as the edicts were proclaimed during the God Wars, long after Zaros had disappeared from the plane of Gielinor. It is also possible that the Edicts do not affect Zaros as he had not been in Gielinor at the time they were put in place. Also in one of the god letters Guthix stated that he did not know of Zaros, which increases the probability that Zaros is not effected by the Edicts.
The symbol of Zaros is a circle surrounding an equidistant cross, and is found on an ancient talisman at the Digsite, and on the Ancient Staff. Zaros's colour seems to be purple or black, although cream and light blue dominate the restored Temple at Senntisten.
Originally Zaros was worshipped by an unknown empire in the north-east of RuneScape (the wilderness) and in the city of Uzer; however, that empire was destroyed by Zamorak and Saradomin while Uzer was destroyed by Thammaron, one of Zamorak's generals. Most traces of the Zarosian religion, such as altars and temples, have been destroyed by Saradomin and Zamorak; however, there are two known altars remaining: one underneath the Digsite and another in Azzanadra's temple.
On the Ancient Spellbook, the 4 teleports that lead to different levels of the Wilderness are also destroyed grounds of Zarosian worship: Carrallangar, Ghorrock, Annakarl and Dareeyak. The other teleports, Ice Mountain (Lassar), Canifis Pub (Kharyrll) and Edgeville (Paddewwa) were important military and defence fortresses. The Digsite is referred to by its ancient name, Senntisten.
Zaros probably had a treaty with Scabaras at one point. Talking to the Kalphite Queen head in a player-owned house, will sometimes cause her to say, "we are faithfully waiting for the return of Zaros". This is odd because the Kalphites are allegedly followers of Scabaras—for example, a Keris dagger works on the Kalphites. The Kalphites are also occasionally said to have been spawned from the blood of Scabaras. This may lead some to believe that the Kalphites are the followers of both Zaros and Scabaras.
Seeing as Zaros convinced the Mahjarrat to join him leaving Icthlarin, and Scabaras was a 'Lesser God' of the desert, it's possible that Scabaras helped to undermine Icthlarin's rule over the Mahjarrat, and convert them to the Zarosian religion. Conversion, is, after all, what Scabaras is famous for, and he is the 'evil god' of the desert gods (or so the Menaphites portray him as), making him the perfect partner of the 'Empty Lord' who is sometimes suspected to be the god of impurity and evil. It is also possible that Zaros had a pact with more than one desert god.
Some gravestones also show the Zarosian symbol on its top. When read, it says "_______, servant of the Unknown Power, perished in this place." Some gravestones found in the Yanille Agility Dungeon also bear the Ancient symbol of Zaros as well; why they are in a place such as Yanille is not known yet. It may be possible that Yanille was built to cover up a Zarosian settlement site much as Senntisten was destroyed and built over.
Groups and races
- Desert Bandits
- Certain Mahjarrat
- Possibly Kalphites
- Hellcats apparently follow Zaros as they say "Thank Zaros" when you free them.
- Azzanadra - A powerful Mahjarrat attempting to revive Zaros. He is involved in the quests Desert Treasure and The Temple at Senntisten.
- Eblis - A Bandit of the Kharidian Desert Bandit Camp. He is involved in the Desert Treasure quest.
- Sliske - One of the more powerful Mahjarrat. His current whereabouts are unknown.
- Jhallan - A cowardly Mahjarrat who is involved in The Tale of the Muspah quest.
- Akthanakos - A camel-headed Mahjarrat who is enemies with Enakhra. He is involved in the Enakhra's Lament quest.
- Laheeb - A Bandit who stole Rasolo's gilded cross. He is involved in the Desert Treasure quest but does not actually appear in-game.
- Possibly Wahisietel - A Mahjarrat mentioned in Zemouregal's Notes Part II. He does not currently appear in-game although he might be Ali the Wise as it is a anagram of Wahisietel
- Possibly Glarial - An elven queen. Her tomb bears the Zarosian symbol, which may be an indication that Zaros' empire reached much farther than previously thought, as his symbol also appears in the Yanille Agility Dungeon.
Bob the Cat
Bob the Jagex Cat was thought to be Zaros due to some dialogue when talking to him using the Amulet of Catspeak. However, there is no real evidence to support this. In the "Tail of Two Cats" quest, players find out that Bob is or was "Robert the Strong". Robert the Strong existed during the Fourth Age. If the player asks Bob the Cat while they have a cat following, he will tell their cat to join him and destroy Zamorak. Also, asking Bob the Cat in Catherby, should the player ask him about cats being created by Guthix and he will say "Well, I don't believe much really since I know I am Zar-... erm, well, no, I erm, meow?"
- Ancient staff
- Ancient talisman
- Stone tablet
- Ancient hymnal
- Blood diamond
- Ice diamond
- Shadow diamond
- Smoke diamond
- Ancient statuette - Originally called a Zaros statuette
- In the Varrock Museum, the symbol of Zaros is sometimes identified as "Ancient Symbol".
- "The time has come, my warriors, to begin your servitude to me...to my god. But first, you must die..." from The Fall of Six hints at the return of Zaros. This is backed up by the recall of the Barrows Icon that was needed to contact Zaros, an icon protected by the Barrows Brothers.
- Zaros may be a reference to Zoroaster (also called Zartosht), a prophet after whom the religion of Zoroastrianism is named.
- After 16 June 2009 players were able to receive a Zaros Statuette in PVP/Bounty Hunter worlds as a reward for killing another player. It was later renamed Ancient Statuette. The Ancient Statuette is currently the most valuable reward from PvP/Bounty Hunter worlds as it is worth 5 million coins.
- The roads of Mort'ton appear to be shaped like a Zaros symbol. As well as this, the Shade Catacombs contain various gravestones with the symbol of Zaros. This is most likely due to the Zarosians who once lived there in the Second Age.
- On the day of the release of Temple of Senntisten, the Message of the Week after a player logged in, referenced Zaros's return, saying "Guess who's back!". Though, it could refer to Azzanadra, who disappears after Desert Treasure.
- There are gravestones in the Yanille Agility Dungeon that bear the Zaros symbol. These graves should not be confused with the Large Graves found throughout the world. The symbols on the large graves throughout the world are actually Celtic Crosses. The Zarosian graves (like the ones found in the Yanille Agility Dungeon) use the same symbol found at the top of the Ancient Staff.
- The paths within the Mage Arena form a symbol of Zaros. This was probably a coliseum of sorts in the time that Zaros ruled those lands.
- Coincidently, Zaros is the name of a village in Crete, Greece.
- The symbol on Zaros head could be based on Arnold Rimmer from the show Red Dwarf.
|Facets of gods||
|† denotes gods that are deceased; ‡ denotes gods part of the Menaphite Pantheon|