|“||When I was entombed in that… that sarcophagus, I almost lost my mind, Carter. I still have nightmares. And when I tap into Ra’s power, I have the same sense of panic. He feels imprisoned, helpless. Reaching out to him is like… it’s like trying to save somebody who’s drowning. They grab on to you and take you down with them. Maybe that doesn’t make sense. But his power tries to escape through me, and I can barely control it. Every time I black out, it gets worse.||”|
Zia Rashid is a female Arab magician and a powerful scribe of the House of Life. She was the favored one of Ra and hosted Nephthys when Julius Kane freed the five children of Nut. She is also the girlfriend of Carter Kane.
Zia lived in an Egyptian village known as Al-Hamrah Makan (meaning The Place of Red Sands) with her father and mother. Zia's father was an Arab farmer who would search for artifacts in exchange for payment from archaeologists. When she was eight years old, her father brought home a small red statue, unaware that a monster was sealed inside. He unwittingly unleashed it and it destroyed the entire village. The House of Life found her hidden in a fire pit and under some reeds, where her mother had hidden her; she was the only survivor. Chief Lector Iskandar took her in, but found that Zia had no memory of her life. He provided her with the details of what happened to her, as well as photographs of her village and family, something that Zia later included in a shrine to her family.
Zia then began to train as a magician in the First Nome; when she turned thirteen, she was the only one in her age group to remain in Egypt.
When the House of Life begins to suspect that Julius Kane may try to summon a god, Zia and Michel Desjardins begin to tail him. They follow Julius and his two children, Carter and Sadie, to the British Museum, where Julius releases five gods. Unknown to both her and Desjardins, Zia becomes the host for Nephthys. After the explosion, the two find the unconscious bodies of Carter and Sadie. Zia suggests that they be killed, but Desjardins refuses because it is not within their instructions. They return to the First Nome and Iskandar comes to realize that Zia is, in fact, a godling. Fearing for her life, he hides her away and replaces her with a shabti. Not long later, the shabti Zia tracks down the Kane siblings in Brooklyn, where she briefly fights Serqet after Bast, the cat goddess failed in her fight against Serqet. Sadie opens a portal to the First Nome after Zia binds Serqet with the Seven Ribbons. There, Zia brings the siblings to Iskandar, who decides to 'test' them in the morning to see their real godly powers; Zia then shows the siblings to their quarters.
That night, Zia goes to her shrine, but is spotted by Carter, who follows her. While she is praying, he sees a glowing orb lift from her and float away, but when he mentions it, he is met with confusion. Upon studying her shrine, Carter asks about Zia's family and she explains her past to him. Feeling for her, Carter suggests that they go to the mall sometime and have fun, something that Zia assumes is a date. The next morning, Zia teaches Sadie and Carter the basics of magic and has them duel one another. She becomes shocked when she discovers Carter hosts Horus but the training is cut short, however, when Zia hears the news of Iskandar's death and that Desjardins has become the new Chief Lector. Zia advises the siblings to run away, warning them that the next time they met, it would be as enemies.
After their escape, Desjardins, Zia, Mel, and another magician began to search for the Kane siblings, saving a plummeting airplane in the process. Zia was eventually able to contact Carter in his sleep and asked him to meet her in Las Cruces so they could work together to defeat Set. Upon meeting there, however, they were betrayed by Mel and a fight broke out. Due to the efforts of Amos Kane, who had recently joined with the Kane siblings, Zia, Sadie, and Carter were able to escape, but Desjardins summoned Sekhmet to hunt them down; they were eventually able to convert her into Hathor by tricking her into eating salsa. Sekhmet thought that it was blood, and drank so much that it put her to sleep as she turned into the gentler cow-headed Hathor. Zia then helped the siblings animate a coat to drive a car for them and they began to head toward Phoenix until they encounter Amos once again. Zia, knowing that Sadie intends to defeat Set by speaking his Secret Name, seems to sense that Set is possessing Amos. She offered to tell Sadie Set's secret name and asked that she use it against Amos. Sadie, however, refuses, and the group continued on to Phoenix where they confronted Set. In the battle, however, Set attacked Zia, believing that she was Nephthys and unaware that she was, in reality, a shabti. Zia was gravely wounded, but had managed to tell Sadie Set's secret name. Sadie was able to use Set's name to defeat him, but moments later Zia's shabti disintegrates, much to Carter's grief. Desperate to ensure her safety, Carter vowed to find the real Zia.
Carter and Bes find Zia at Makan al Hamrah in a sarcophagus. They rescue her and carry her to the Nile, where Nephthys leaves her. Zia struggles to breathe and Carter tries giving her mouth to mouth, but she punches him and yells at him, but then asks what happened to Iskandar. Carter tells her that he died, and told her about her Shabti they met in New York, and Desjardins becoming Chief Lector. Zia tells Carter that he is a Kane and will be put to death, and tells him it is illegal to summon Bes. Zia tries to incinerate him but Carter defends himself with Ra’s weapons, outraging Zia.
Their conversation is cut short when Menshikov and Desjardins arrive. They try to manipulate Zia against Carter but he pleads with her that Menshikov is evil. Zia sides with them but can sense something evil about Menshikov. Zia watches in shock as Carter attacks Menshikov and her terrified face convinces Carter not to kill him. Carter is turned into a snake and Zia pleads with Menshikov to stop. Bes scares them back home and Zia is shocked, telling Bes that he killed him. She meets Sadie and Walt when they arrive and tells her to go away, but she passes out.
Zia wakes up in a Hotel room in Egypt at 10 AM the next day, and is confused, and tries to attack Sadie, blowing up two hotel rooms. Sadie eventually calms her down and convinces her to side with them, and become friends. They took her shopping and she bought new clothes, ate falafel, bread, and spiced beef and played Senet with Walt, Sadie, and Bes. Zia greets Carter when he wakes up and tells him of the past events that happened, and says that she and Sadie are friends. Carter remarks in horror, but Zia calls Sadie persuasive, a good diplomat, and admirable, pleasing Sadie.
They discuss finding Ra and Zia says that Menshikov disturbed her too much, and that she never trusted him, that Iskandar hid her for a reason, and that Ra must be awakened and Menshikov stopped. Zia agrees to go to Brooklyn with Walt because she wants to talk to Amos herself, and that she could convince the Magicians to side with her. Zia and friends escort Carter and Sadie to the Great Pyramid, and Zia pulls Carter aside to talk. Zia tells Carter that she knew his heart was involved the right place rescuing her but she needs time to become close to him, and that he is endearingly clumsy. Zia tells him to be careful and follow his heart, not the will of the gods.
Zia later defends Brooklyn House against Kwai and Sarah Jacobi, and tells Carter and Sadie that she couldn’t reason with them, but is confused as to why Ra is an old man offering her a bug. Zia and Walt put Ra on the sun boat and jump off when Ra rises to the Heavens. Zia decides to accompany Amos to Cairo so he can be recognized as Chief Lector, and opens a portal there. Zia says her goodbyes to the siblings and touches Carter’s arm, thanking him, and promising that they will talk when things are settled, and walks through the portal. Sadie notes that she thinks that Zia can tell that she and Ra have a connection.
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Zia hasn’t visited Brooklyn’s House or seen Carter and Sadie for six months, but Carter and Zia spend time scrying. Carter scrys with Zia and Zia threatens to strangle him, with Carter thinking she is cute when she threatens to kill him. Zia tells Carter that everyone has heard about Dallas and was concerned that he was dead. Carter explains everything that happened and Zia curses in Arabic, relieved that Carter is alive but mourning Anne Grissom. Zia gives him the message Sarah Jacobi sent him and talked about her attacks.
Their conversation is interrupted when Ra enters the room, and Zia has to tell him to not drink the enchanted oil and gives him a cookie. Zia tells Carter that Ra gets upset when she doesn’t visit him and that none of the other gods want to care for him, and is afraid what would happen if they did. Zia tells Carter not to blame himself and that she would call him that night, but hangs up to talk to Sobek, to her annoyance.
Sadie and Leonid later go to visit Amos and sees him and Zia plan battles in the war room. Sadie is shocked at how grown up Zia looks and that if Carter saw her, his jaw would drop. Zia is shocked as to why a Russian is there but Sadie tells her that he is a friend. Amos casts a spell so they can all communicate without the language barrier, and Zia is upsetted from Leonid’s news, and says that she should’ve killed the rebels when she had the chance. Zia is horrified when Amos mentions that he must defeat the rebels through other means, but Sadie doesn’t know what he means yet. Zia agrees to go to the Netherworld with Sadie and is reassured that Amos will care for Ra.
Zia and Sadie have lunch, discuss more strategy, and Sadie tells her about she and Carter’s plan about Setne, shocking her, but she agrees to the plan. After Sadie talks to Isis, they go to Sunny Acres Assisted-Living Community to see Tawaret and Bes. Zia has a meltdown and tries to burn down the nursing home, but Sadie stops her. Zia tells Sadie about her blackouts and how they get worse with the more power she uses, and how Ra is trapped in his body. Zia tells Sadie about how Amos is planning to use the power of Set, to Sadie’s horror. Zia and Sadie go to the beach near the Lake of fire and meets Tawaret. Zia goes to stop a fire fight between Fire-Embracer and Hot Foot, and comes out unscathed, with only a few blisters.
Carter and Walt give Sadie and Zia a ride to Osiris’s house on the Egyptian Queen, and Zia is suspicious of Bloodstained Blade, the demon captain. Carter and Zia are uncomfortable around each other, with Zia sitting far away from him, worrying about her blackouts, and Carter trying not to stare. The four talk, and Zia tells Carter to follow his heart, putting her hand on his arm. Zia watches Julius Kane hold the trial for Setne, and is disgusted by him, asking why they need him to help them.
Zia and Carter go with Setne to the ship, and they leaned against the rail, with their forearms touching. Zia worries about Ra, wondering how he is, but she stops to restrain Setne with the Seven Ribbons of Hathor. Zia threatens to burn Setne’s smile off his face and interrogates him. Setne tells Zia that Ra is getting to her head, and tells them that they are in Memphis, Egypt. Zia uses the ribbons as a leash for Setne, and takes him to the Wheelhouse. A giant hippo attacks the ship and Zia is catapulted into the water while attacking him. Zia and Carter go to shore after Hapi is summoned, and they are given Hapi pills.
The two wake up in an entry tunnel of a tomb and Zia feels sick from the pills. They enter the tomb with Setne and tells Carter about the Apis Bull. Zia summons fire and burns a bunch of cobwebs, and tells Carter to watch Setne. Carter realizes that Zia is using the magic of Khepri, but Zia says that she will tell him later. Setne takes the book, causing the Apis Bull to attack, and Zia and Carter run through the catacombs to escape. Zia protects Carter and says that she isn’t leaving him, and attacks the bull while chanting a spell. The bull shoots laser beams at her and Zia is possessed by Khepri, killing the bull but burning up in a trance. Zia collapses and Carter carries her back to the ship, kissing her on the forehead and watching her in her feverish state.
Zia wakes up when Bloodstained Blade is attacking Carter and defeats him. Zia cures his injuries with Nefertems balm and they decide to have a picnic in the Land of Demons. Carter tells her what happened and Zia tells him how she is going to host Ra, how she almost lost her mind in the sarcophagus, and how she almost killed Carter. Carter reassures her, telling her that she saved him, how shes the key to bringing back Ra, and gives her a protein bar. Carter tells Zia that he owes her a date at the mall food court, and Zia says she wished she would be there, and kisses him. Zia tells Carter how she is afraid to get close to other people after losing Iskandar and her parents, and how she might hurt him, but Carter reassures her.
The two fish Setne out of the water and discuss capturing the Sheut of Apophis. Setne guides them to the shadow, and Zia promises to incinerate him if he says anything she doesn’t like. Setne uses magic to make them look like demons and leads them to the Sea of Chaos, and they hold hands. Carter almost fell into the sea but Zia stops him. Zia performs the spell to capture the shadow but is tied up with Carter by Setne, and the Book of Thoth is taken from her, but are saved by Sadie. Zia tells Sadie what happened and how she didn’t want to be chosen by Ra. Zia almost pushes Setne into the sea but reluctantly drags him along.
The three are attacked by demons, and Zia cannot fight since she used all of Khepri’s power, but are saved by Bes and the gods at Sunny Acres. Bes is happy to see her and offers a hug, but Zia rejects it. Zia wonders if she should help the gods, but Bes tells her that they will be fine. They go back to the mortal world and Zia sees Ra, saying her name for the first time. Zia takes Ra in, being his host, and Ra is reborn, with Zia becoming the Eye of Ra. Zia/Ra greet Bes and Sobek, with their personalities mixing and being happy to be reborn, appearing as Zia in the mortal world and Ra in the Duat.
Zia tells Sadie to care for Carter, and goes with the gods to fight Apophis as Ra. Carter is freaked out that Zia is now an old sun god, but Sadie reassures him that it is only temporary. Zia/Ra tells Carter and Sadie to protect Amos, and they give them Ra’s crook and flail. Zia/Ra attack Apophis, throwing flames at him, and Carter Zia’s ba becoming weaker. Zia/Ra talks to Carter, but gets distracted and is swallowed by Apophis. Zia/Ra leave Apophis when he is killed, and Ra leaves Zia. Ra says that Zia will heal, but it will take awhile. Carter helps heal Zia in the rooms of the First Nome.
Two weeks later, Carter and Zia go to the Mall of America as their first date, and order Chinese Food, Mexican food, Pizza, and ice cream. Guys at the mall stare at Zia, wondering how a guy like Carter could end up with a girl like her. Zia tells Carter that she knows it was weird when she hosted Ra, but Carter tells her that it wasn’t, but Zia says it was. Zia tells Carter that Amos wanted her to live a normal life and that she was going to live at Brooklyn House and teach initiates, and go to school, unless it made him uncomfortable. Carter says she’d love if she lived with him and rambles, but Zia tells him to shut up and kisses him.
Zia is highly intelligent, and is often harsh, determined, and single-minded, making her an excellent fighter and strategist. She is also, however, passionate, holds her dear ones close to her heart, and possess a warm, soft and more vulnerable side that she rarely allows to show. Carter is likely one of the few to ever have seen it, though indirectly being as it was still only her shabti. Zia may at times become scared, intimidated and frightened. During The Serpent's Shadow, she fears that she is unworthy, not ready, and not strong enough to accept her responsibility as Ra's host. After kissing Carter, she tells him she fears getting close to people as everyone she cared about deeply (Iskandar, her parents) has died, though Carter apparently helps her get past this.
Zia is described as being very beautiful with 'vaguely Arabic' features and straight, jet black hair cut at her jawline, Egyptian-style. By The Serpent's Shadow, Zia grows her hair out down to her shoulders. Her skin is caramel-colored and her eyes are startling amber and lined with kohl. When she is furious, Zia's eyes look like they "might ignite." She wears loose linen clothing and Egyptian perfume. In The Serpent's Shadow, she is often seen wearing white linen and camouflage outfits. She has been described as 'both beautiful and dangerous'. According to Carter, she looks like Queen Nefertiti, with her high cheek bones and bright red lips. After being given the last Khepri beetle by Ra, Zia wears it as a necklace which allows her to channel Ra's power. Even after Ra merges with Khepri and is reborn, Zia is still seen wearing this scarab necklace.
Zia is an extremely skilled magician of the House of Life and specializes in the element of fire. She is skilled in general combat as well and seems to be adept in terms of strategy. Her position in the House of Life is the scribe, meaning she is just beneath the Chief Lector's ranks. Ra, the sun god, recognized her potential and she later became the Eye of Ra, fighting Apophis quite well along with the other gods.
Path of Khepri-Ra
Eye of Ra Abilities
During the final battle against Apophis, Zia became the Eye of Ra to fight the enormous serpent. Although she retained her powers from the Path of Ra, she also had another attack which she lost after Ra and the other gods left to the Duat:
Carter Kane: Zia herself does not seem to pay him much mind. It is not until Carter has proved himself upon their entrance into the hidden city of Heliopolis that Zia truly begins to take note of him. She is later touched by Carter's concern for her and his offer of a date. This causes Zia to feel sympathetic with Carter's plight and this, in addition to Nephthys's influence, may be what brought Zia to ally herself with them. Their affection for one another begins to grow to the romantic stage, however Zia's shabti is destroyed, and Carter is distraught by the idea that the real Zia may not know him. It is probable that she somewhat knows him, as it can be inferred that the blue balls of energy her shabti sent were actually memories to the real Zia, meaning that while she doesn't know Carter, she technically does, though her shabti's memories, and the shabti acting as she would.
In The Throne of Fire, the real Zia is first convinced that Carter and herself are enemies, but after making a fuss, she understands Carter's liking to her but tells him she isn't ready. The first time the real Zia showed her affection for Carter was when they held hands (almost) and feels concerned when she finds out he is ready to give his life to save the world.
At the beginning of The Serpent's Shadow, Carter and Zia haven't seen each other in person in months, but the situation has driven them closer and they communicate through scrying, having become good friends. In the Land of Demons, Carter and Zia have a semi-romantic picnic where Zia opens up to Carter, admitting that while she does like him, she fears losing him like everyone else she's cared for in her life. Carter's compassion ends up causing Zia to kiss him. and later, Carter finally takes Zia on a date to the Mall of America as he'd promised her shabti. Several nearby guys are shown to be jealous of their relationship and Zia reveals that Amos has offered for her to take a break from the First Nome and Sadie has offered for her to stay at Brooklyn House and go to American school and learn to be a real teenager. Zia asks Carter how he feels about this, if it would be awkward and when he stutters out his acceptance, she kisses him, showing an ability to shut him up with no magic necessary.
Iskandar is the only family Zia has ever known. When Zia was eight years old, Zia’s village was destroyed, and Iskandar found her and took her in. Zia lost her memories, but Iskandar showed her the memories of her old life. Zia loved Iskandar and Iskandar cared for Zia, treating her as his own daughter.
When Iskandar found out that she was hosting Nephthys, Iskandar was extremely worried about her and decided to put her in a sarcophagus at her old village to protect her from being put to death, and created a Shabti version of her to hide the evidence. Iskandar gave her dreams of Apophis and gave her Ra’s crook and flail to show her her purpose of hosting Ra.
Zia never knew her parents, since they died when she was eight and she had no memory of her past life, but Iskandar showed her photographs and told stories about her family, and Zia kept a shrine to them.
When Shabti Zia and Sadie Kane first met, the two were very annoyed with each other, and did not like each other. Zia often snapped at Sadie and Sadie thought that Zia was annoying, but teased Carter Kane for having a crush on her. Sadie also didn’t trust Zia, and thought she wasn’t on their side. The two didn’t become allies until Zia save Sadie the secret name of Set, “Evil Day”.
In The Throne of Fire, the real Zia met Sadie and the two got along very fast, with Sadie convincing Zia that Carter and Bes were allies and to side with them against Vladimir Menshikov and Apophis. Zia told Carter after he woke up that Sadie was admirable and a good diplomant, pleasing Sadie. Sadie and Zia also played a game of Senet with Bes and Walt Stone.
In The Serpent's Shadow, the two had become close friends and allies, confiding in each other. Sadie thought that Zia looked grown up when she saw her at the First Nome and didn’t tease her about Carter liking her. Sadie also did not like what Iskandar did to her in the sarcophagus, caring about Zia’s well being. The two went to Sunny Acres Assisted-Living Community and Zia told Sadie about her blackouts, Ra being trapped in his body, and hosting Ra, something she only told Amos Kane. Zia also told Sadie about how Amos is planning to host Set. At the end of the book, the two are so close that Sadie asked Zia to stay at Brooklyn House with them.
In Brooklyn House Magician's Manual, Zia got worried after seeing a “Help Wanted” sign, and immediately went to see Sadie.
Zia and Amos met for the first time in The Red Pyramid, when Amos defended her against Michel Desjardins. However, Zia did not trust Amos because she could sense that he was being possessed by Set, and offered Sadie Set’s secret name to use to defeat Amos, angering Sadie. However, Zia turned out to be right.
In The Throne of Fire, Sadie convinced Zia to trust Amos and Zia decided to help him defend Brooklyn House against Sarah Jacobi and Kwai, and saw him as an ally. Zia went back to the First Nome in Egypt to help him and protect him from the rebels. The two became close over the months, with Zia confiding in him about Ra and her blackouts, and Amos telling her about hosting Set to defeat Apophis, gravely worrying her. The two also talked about war and defenses, defending the House of Life. Amos ended up offering Zia a chance of a normal life in Brooklyn, showing how much they care for each other.
In The Throne of Fire, Ra talked on and on about Zia, calling her Zebras, saying that he wanted Zebras and that he liked Zebras, showing that he knew that Zia would be his host. Zia met Ra at Brooklyn House while fighting Sarah Jacobi and Kwai, giving Zia Khepri, saying that he liked Zebras, confusing her. The real reason was that was what she needed to host him. Zia and Walt Stone took him to his sun boat, helping him rise to the heavens.
In The Serpent's Shadow, Zia tells Carter that she had been babysitting Ra almost every day, because the other gods didn’t want to. Zia was annoyed by him, but grew to love and understand him, figuring out that he was trapped in his body. Ra also loved Zia, getting excited whenever he saw her. Zia grew to care for him very much, being very worried and saddened when she couldn’t watch him for a day.
Zia eventually hosted Ra, and became the eye of Ra, with their minds more or less combining. They were in harmony and fought Apophis together. When Ra left her body, Ra told Carter that she would be okay, but Carter should care for her.
Carter and Bes rescued Zia from the sarcophagus in The Throne of Fire. Bes didn’t want to rescue her at first, thinking it was a trap, but doing it because Carter wanted to. Zia was initially furious at him, calling him a thing. Bes didn’t like her much either, trying to reason with her, but also asking Carter if he can punch her. Bes is later impressed with her after withstanding a full frontal boo. The two later warm up to each other, playing Senet together and gambling for Vlad Menshikov’s glasses and taking her back to Brooklyn House.
In The Serpent's Shadow, Bes is happy to see her and asks her for a hug, but Zia declines.