Day Zero
DZ Cover
Author/s Kresley Cole
Release Date August 1, 2016
Publisher Valkyrie Press
Series The Arcana Chronicles
Pages: 174
Preceded by
Followed by
Poison Princess
Release Order
Released after
Dead of Winter
Released before
Arcana Rising

Day Zero is short story prior to the events of Poison Princess.


Ashes to ashes . . .
Evie Greene's story of the Flash is just one of many. All over the world, those connected in some way to the lethal Arcana game--like Death, Jack, and Fortune--must first survive a horrifying night of blood and screams.

We all fall down.
Some will have to grapple with new powers; all will be damned to a hellish new existence of plague, brutality, desolation, and cannibalism. Find out who they lost, why they endure, and what they sacrificed in order to live past Day Zero. . . .


Day Zero provides a short background on the history of the Arcana before diving into the individual players. There’s a one-sheet that listed each player’s name, Arcana card details, powers, and details of the their life before the apocalyptic event known as The Flash, among other things. For some (but not all) characters, we also get a short story following their lives on the day of The Flash aka “day zero.” These vignettes provide big, previously unknown details: Who was aware of their powers and who wasn’t, who had a Chronicler or Tarasova training them for the big event, what brought them to the battle field of America originally, and who was hooking up with whom before the game even started. All of it could have huge implications on the series moving forward

The Fool, Gamekeeper of Old, Matthew's character page is mostly blacked out, with only cryptic phrases left on his page.

The Magician, Master of Illusions, Finn is described on Day Zero as staying at his brother's house and thinking about his old life in California. He's has the opportunity to sleep with his brother's girlfriend, who keeps flirting with him, but ultimately can't and begins to cry due to old memories. She leaves him alone in the basement, and because he stays down there he is safe when the Flash begins.

For Circe, the Priestess and Ruler of the Deep, her story tells of how she not only lost the love of her life, but also ended up leaving him at the alter during the Flash because the ocean called her to her watery temple.

The Empress, Our Lady of Thorns, Evie's story is touched on as well, although it seems to be the exact same excerpt of what was already written in Poison Princess. How she retrieves her drawings from Jack's shack, then Mel drives her home, they talk about her visions, and ultimately her Mom and her have to go to the basement to avoid the Flash. Etc.

The Emporer and Stone Overlord, Richter, is described as a character who was already prone to anger and violence. It starts at his hockey game where he demonstrates some underhanded moves, and it is insinuated that his father is also abusive as a means to push him to be a better player. When he is caught off guard and knocked down during the game, he gets to enraged his volcanic powers activate and he melts the entire rink. At the same time the solar flares rain down but he survives because the heat doesn't affect him. At the end it is shown that he can control lave.

The Heirophant, He of the Dark Rites, Guthrie has a page with basic information, but if you want more of his story it will not be provided in this book. Turn instead to Endless Knight.

The Lovers, Duke & Duchess Most Perversse, Vincent and Violet have a character page with basic information, but if you want more of their story it will not be provided in this book. Read instead Dead of Winter. They are lightly mentioned in Poison Princess and Endless Knight, but nothing in depth.

The Centurion, wicked Champion, Kentarch is in Kenya on Day Zero. Moments before the Flash he inadvertently teleports himself from a dangerous situation where poachers were about to shoot him, back to his home with his wife, Issa. Just as he arrives the flares start. He holds his wife tightly and is able to make both of them incorporeal, though it is hinted that he can only maintain that form for the both of them for a limited time. His story ends on a cliffhanger, but in Tess' story it is revealed that when incorporeal, he is able to momentarily hide from the flares in a type of mid-realm. In Tess' story it is revealed that he is able to warn her about the flares, which because of the time difference (Kenya/North America) haven't reached her yet. Tess attempts to help them but can't, and he is unable to hold on any longer. Ultimately his and his wife's futures thereafter are a mystery to the reader. Although in Arcana Rising it is briefly mentioned that he searches for his wife, and will unlikely do much for any alliance until he locates her.

Strength, Mistress of Fauna, Lark's story entails how she used her powers over animals to become a famed animal trainer. Her father gave up his veterinary practice, and she her animal trainer job, when Aric offered them money to acquire species and save them in his castle. They agreed because of the money.On Day Zero while she was with the animals, the solar flares started while her father was out and it is presumed that he died outside. She discovered more of her powers that day when, during the solar flares, the animals all went wild. A cougar escaped and killed the dam and sire of who would later become her three favorite wolves (Scarface,Cyclops,and Maneater). She commanded all of them to be quiet and they obeyed.

The Hermit, Master of Alchemy, has a character page with basic information, but if you want more of his story it will not be provided in this book. Read instead Poison Princess.

Fortune, Lady of Chance, Zara's story is about a gun cartel leader’s daughter in Brazil with a wicked desire for revenge and her ability to steal luck from others. This power pretty much causes her father’s death, when he reveals that it is his fault that her mother was kidnapped and killed by a rival cartel gang.

The Fury, She Who Harrows, Spite's story on day zero consists of her sprouting claws and wings and becoming a type of fury/demon creature. When the solar flares began she was able to protect herself my cocooning her body in her wings. When that was over she emerged to find the catastrophic aftermath around her, she went home to see if her sister was still alive. She found her, but when she opened her mouth she accidentally spit out acid and melted her sister's face off, presumably killing her in the process. It is mentioned in Arcana Rising that Aric fought with Spite -described as a fanged demoness with batlike wings and the ability to spit acid- but she was unable to use her acid powers against him. Evie presumes that Sol had his bagmen bite her to neutralize her powers.

The Hanged Man, our Lord Uncanny, is still the inactivated card and has all of his information redacted. A lot of fandom members speculate that Jack is actually the inactivated card. Especially since in this book, Day Zero, a bit of Jack's page is also blacked out. Although in The Dark Calling (The Arcana Chronicles #5) it is revealed that it is in fact Paul, the EMT that lives in Aric's (Death's) castle.

Death, The Endless Knight, chronicles the story of how Aric has been alive all these centuries just waiting for the game to start and to seek his revenge, while preparing himself for whatever catastrophe might arise. As the game is about to commence, The Empress' emblem is the last to fade.

Temperance, Collectress of Sins, Calanthe's story shares details of how she was trained from a young age to play the game. Her goal was to make Joules fall in love with her so he'd be useful to her once the game started. As Joules was a choirboy, and would only be there for a short amount of time, she tried her best to get him to sleep with her, though he never did and instead said it should happen after they were wed. On his last day there, much to her surprise, she realized that she was also in love with him. She ends up telling him about the Arcana game. He appears as if he's about to leave, but he ends up staying. As they're reconciling they hear the subway car he was about to get on stop deep inside the tunnel, and then above them the solar flares begin and chaos erupts.

The Devil, Foul Desecrator, Ogen has a character page with basic information, but if you want more of his story it will not be provided in this book. Read instead Poison Princess.

The Tower, Lord of Lightning, Joules has a character page with basic information, but if you want more of his story it will not be provided in this book.

The Star, Arcane Navigator, Stellan's story describes how he came from a very big family that made him travel to America because they had a feeling that the games would take place there. During his plane ride, and overall trip he delivered a series of sarcastic texts to his parents. He never truly believed in what they'd taught him until Day Zero came. He was in a subway car and when the Flares started the people around him assumed he was a terrorist. They grew to be a menacing kind of mob, and when he became too alarmed he began to glow until be erupted in a blaze that incinerated his clothes and everyone around him.

The Moon, Bringer of Doubt, Selena's story is about her being raised by her aunts, who she secretly believes caused a fire to kill off her parents, who hadn't wanted Selena to be so wrapped up in the Arcane lore. As an act of rebellion, she heads off to college on an archery scholarship with her goal being to find friendship. She thinks she's found a friend -Candy, and is considering joining her sorority, when during a party a group of guys manage to roofie her and drag her away to a separate room. Candy notices, and although Selena slurs help, due to previous jealousy over Selena getting all the attention, she ignores her and mutters that she's a slut. Just as the group is about to have their way with her, Selena's fury and self empowerment activates her powers. She beats them to a pulp, breaking several limbs, and when she sees Candy knocks her teeth out. The story ends with her deciding to go back to her aunts and win the game.

The Sun, Hail the Glorious Illuminator, Sol is with his two romantic partners, their polyamorous relationship is going so well he was planning to propose to them on the day that the Flash happened. It was supposed to be after they threw a rave in an abandoned insane asylum. During Day Zero he faints then wakes up to them attempting to suck his blood, having been turned into bagmen. He discovers his powers over all Bagmen when he orders them to stop and they comply.

Judgment, the Archangel, Gabriel is shown to have been kidnapped as a child by a cult who believe he is a fallen angel. It's shown that they live in a very old fashioned way, and with old timey speech to match. On Day Zero, the day the cult correctly predicted would be the apocalypse, he is supposed to perform a ceremony where he'll jump from a cliff. He does so, rather than being pushed, and as he falls his wings erupt, talons appear from his fingers, and he soars into the sky.

The World, This Unearthly One, Tess' story offers us a glimpse into her life, and how she can apparate to her crush’s house, where she in inadvertently sees him masturbating to her photo. Deciding it's incorrect to spy, she attempts to return to her body but she get's stuck in a sort of mid-realm where she meets Kentarch. He's holding on to his wife, and although Tess tries to help, he disappears as he is unable to use his powers on two people for an extended amount of time. Before he leaves, however, he warns Tess of the solar flares and tells her to look away. Afterwards she almost takes herself out of the game by simply attempting to save her parents' lives. During the Flash, they are mesmerized by the lights (she isn't as she remembers Kentarch's warning) and are about to die as the solar flares get closer, so Tess grabs their hands and makes them become intangible like herself. However, as she cannot control her powers very well, she is quickly depleted of almost all of her calories and fat. She refuses to let go, quickly becoming emaciated, deciding that if her parents die, she'll die with them. However, upon seeing that she is dying before their very eyes, her father shakes her off and disintegrates almost immediately into a pile of ash, with her mother following suit and also letting go of her hand.


We pretty much just get to see where each of the cards, including a rehash of Evie, were on the night of/day of (depending on where in the world they were at the time), and it gives small glimpses into who they were prior to their participation in the game.

0. The Fool, Gamekeeper of Old (Matthew)

I. The Magician, Master of Illusions (Finneas)

II. The Priestess, Ruler of the Deep (Circe)

III. The Empress, Our Lady of Thorns (Evie)

IV. The Emperor, Stone Overlord (Richter)

V. The Hierophant, He of the Dark Rites (Guthrie)

VI. The Lovers, Duke & Duchess Most Perverse (Vincent and Violet)

VII. The Centurion, Wicked Champion (Kentarch)

VIII. Strength, Mistress of Fauna (Lark)

IX. The Hermit, Master of Alchemy (Arthur)

X. Fortune, Lady of Chance (Zara)

XI. The Fury, She Who Harrows (Spite)

XII. The Hanged Man, Our Lord Uncanny (Redacted)

XIII. Death, the Endless Knight (Aric)

XIV. Temperance, Collectress of Sins (Calanthe)

XV. The Devil, Foul Desecrator (Ogen)

XVI. The Tower, Lord of Lightning (Joules)

XVII. The Star, Arcane Navigator (Stellan)

XVIII. The Moon, Bringer of Doubt (Selena)

XIX. The Sun, Hail the Glorious Illuminator (Sol)

XX. Judgment, the Archangel (Gabriel)

XXI. The World, This Unearthly One (Tess)




Originally, this was going to serve as a guide for the possible television series that was proposed for this story, so each card in the major arcana, all 22, are given names, descriptions, information on their Arcana powers and traits, and those that are still alive during the game are given their own short story about where they were and what was happening to them on “Day Zero,” or the day the Flash occurred.