|“||You've lived there, Wren. How can you allow our people to suffer in the Plane of Ashes?||”|
Zed is a Blackblood who was imprisoned in the Plane of Ashes, but recently freed and let loose on the world. He managed to befriend Talon and even begin a romantic relationship with her before they traveled to Vor-Anden. Once there, he became the host of a Kinj with the ability to manipulate minds. After betraying Talon, she banished him back to the Plane of Ashes.
He returned to help her fight the Prime Order, though he betrayed her again and took control over the Outpost with his fellow Blackbloods and Blackfist. He forced Talon to summon the high priestess Yavalla from the Plane of Ashes and resigned his post as the leader of Gallwood to Yavalla. He served under her dutifully and was only swayed when Wren insisted that her mother was using her kinj to infect people and strip them of their free-will.
Talon was elected as the base commander with her appointing Zed as her second to rule over the Blackbloods' at Gallwood. He held this position even after Queen Rosmund resumed control of the Outpost. After the destruction of The Hive, and Queen Rosmund death, he remains loyal to Talon and hopes that with a little guidance she can bring their people out from the Plane of Ashes. He would then do what he could to help Wren in her duties to guide the remaining Blackblood children to be the future of their people. After the wedding of Talon and Garret, Zed crown Talon as the Queen of the Realm.
Zed was born to a prestigious Blackblood family. He used to llay ie on the ground at night with his mother and look at the stars. She was later killed in the war which was hard for Zed to come to terms with. He also had a sister who was murdered by Rebb and they were enemies before they were trapped in the Plane of Ashes. Later on in his life he would tame a Lu-Qiri name Vikka. Zed also has a younger brother named Corven who was he close to growing up.
Throughout The Outpost Series
In "Regarding the Matter of Garret Spears", Zed is freed from the Plane of Ashes when Talon summons another Lu-Qiri. They engage in a fight and Talon is knocked to the ground. With Zed having the upper-hand, he asks where Rebb is. He later elaborates that Rebb murdered his sister and they are enemies.
Zed explains that Rebb doesn't want to free his clan because he and his clan believe they can live in peace with humans. Janzo deducts that this is why Rebb killed the Dragman. With all the names destroyed she can choose who to bring through the portal leaving her enemies, including Zed, behind. Zed is surprised when Talon tells him that Rebb killed the Dragman. Talon surprises Zed and regains equal leverage. She asks him to relinquish the control of his Lu-Qiri to her with her promise to return him after. When Zed refuses and wants to go along to kill Rebb, Talon refuses and makes him stay behind.
Zed ignores Talon's warning and uses a crossbow to mortally wound Rebb's Lu-Qiri, Ekkundi. The fighting Lu-Qiri falls out of the window and the distraction saves Talon's life, and by extension, Gwynn's. After the fight, Talon returns his ring that controls his Lu-Qiri, as she said she would. Zed asks Talon if she trusts him now. She says that she might, and he asks her to catch him up on the history that he's missed. She takes him to The Nightshade Inn so they can talk over a drink.
In "The Blade of The Three", Zed has been staying over at Talon's place as they talk about their race, the Plane of Ashes, and their experiences in their life. Later on, Zed finds The Key in Talon's things and they argue about it. Zed remembers the stories from his childhood but only remembers that it is somehow involved in a stone wall and stars. He wants to know where the rest of it is but Talon doesn't know what he's talking about. He hands her a paper with the key printed on it and tells her to look at the stone in the middle. The stone is missing from the key Talon has. She remembers seeing the stone around Varlek's neck when he attacked her as a child. She doesn't tell Zed what she remembers and simply tells him that is all the Dragman gave her.
In "Because She's Worth It", Queen Rosmund arrest Zed as a to force Talon to send Vikka back into the Plane of Ashes. While in jail though, Zed is enjoying eating and the taste of bread, something that he hasn't had in over hundred's of years. At night, Zed summons Vikka, who appears in the fog. Talon then opens the portal to the Plane of Ashes. Zed then tells Vikka to go through the portal. Vikka is reluctant at first, but after Zed yells and commands him a second time he goes through. The following day as they travel out of the Outpost Zed says that he and Vikka have been together for a very long time. Talon then trust him enough to tell him that the other part of the key is with Varlek's body. They decide to go out of the outpost he next day to collect the key part from Varlek grave.
In "There Will Be a Reckoning", Zed and Talon are walking through the woods, making small talk. A creature shoots across the path carrying a baby in its mouth. Zed saves the baby by shooting the creature in the side, causing it to drop the child. He then shoots the creature in the head to kill it. The mother thanks them profusely for saving her child, while the father tells the woman not to speak to Zed. Zed is visibly hurt and tells Talon that even when they save humans' children, they still hate Blackbloods. They then continue on their travels.
Zed and Talon rest for the night by looking up at the stars. Zed forgot what they looked like while she remarks that she takes them for granted. He tucks her hair behind her ear leaving it exposed, and asks how old she was when she cut the points off. She tells him she was around ten at the time, and only did it to fit into society. At the time, she thought she was the last Blackblood. He asks if she regrets it now that she knows there are more of them, but she doesn't as it kept her alive. She rolls to her side and touches the points of his ears, saying she hasn't touched one since she was a child. He realizes she's never touched a Blackbood man before, but she doesn't see how it's different than a human man. He tells her that there is a bond between Blackbloods that she'll never have with a human. A moment passes before she kisses him. They begin kissing and he sits up so she's on his lap. They undress and continue to kiss.
The next day, Talon and Zed are sleeping when the father from the day before whispers to Prime Order guards that Zed is the one with Devil's ears. The soldiers begin surrounding the duo and are closing in when one steps on a twig that snaps. Zed and Talon are on their feet in seconds, fighting off ten guards. It isn't long before they overwhelm the guards, killing them all. Talon tells the village man to run and he does. Zed remarks that fighting alongside another Blackblood was fun, to which she admits that it was kind of nice.
Across the realm, Zed and Talon have arrived at the place where the key might be. They discuss the Blackbloods, to which Talon claims people were peaceful but Zed thinks it's only because they rejected the Blackblood ways and underestimated humans' capacity for hate. He wants to start a remote place away from humans to start fresh with the rest of their people. He wants to bring Vikka back through since the only humans are days away, but she refuses. He shrugs saying he had to at least try.
In "The Only Way", Zed and Talon arrive at Vor-Anden and he explains its history to her. He claims that the power they need to save their people is inside, to which Talon reminds him that they're also saving the Queen. He tells her of course and continues inside. Talon uses the necklace's blue light to reveal markings on the floor leading to the wall. A beautiful chalk portrait is revealed on the wall. A constellation is among them. He explains that he is looking for Bellator, the greatest Blackblood warrior of all time. Talon is surprised that he can read the stars, to which Zed explains that when he was younger he and his mother would spend hours just looking up at the stars, so he learned to read them. She died during the war before he was banished. Talon expresses her sympathies and Zed places the necklace on the wall. It causes a tremor throughout the cave. The ground splits open and a chunk rises from the ground in a spiral.
In the podium are several hollow holes that are seemingly empty, which enrages Zed causing him to hit the cave wall. Talon notices that one has a second hole, to which Zed digs his knife into it to find whatever managed to chew its way out. A small insect emerges with wings. Zed touches the insect and it flutters then glows purple, emerging into his skin. It forms a ball and travels up to his temples. He mutters that he's got it then leaves.
Once outside he explains that there are seven Kinj's but over time the Warriors must have returned for them, meaning that only his and Talon's remain. He wants to know how she uses hers so she explains, then asks what his Kinj does. He claims to have no idea how it works or what it does.
Talon awakens beside Zed believing she heard something. Upon realizing she didn't, she lies her head back on Zed's chest. He strokes her hair as she talks about being close to the Greyskin border. She's not scared of the Greyskin's, more so the Prime Order who patrol the border. But it wouldn't be stupid to worry about the Greyskin's either. Zed agrees but has to leave to go to the bathroom. While sneaking out he notices a camp of humans and hides as he watches them. His Kinj glows and he telepathically tells the human to put his hand in the fire, and the human obeys. Zed ensures he keeps it there long enough to burn.
During their trek back to Gallwood, Zed admits he wants to return to Vor-Anden and rebuild the ruins together to make it a safe place for his people. He wants to ascend with her. She tells him they will ascend with Gwynn's blessing - separate lands, separate people. If he brings her his Kinj and they fight for her she will give them her blessing. They argue over trusting humans as they disagree on the matter.
Talon is almost attacked by a Greyskin when Zed uses his Kinj to save her. He telepathically commands it to freeze and stay still. She jumps to her feet and impales it. She then confronts Zed about what just happened, realizing that he lied to her about not knowing what his Kinj does. He tries to use his Kinj on her, commanding her to open the portal to release their portal. It doesn't work on her and she realizes his Kinj can manipulate people's minds. This enrages her so she attacks him. His Kinj doesn't work on her as the Asterkinj won't let it. They begin sword fighting with Zed realizing that the Kinj's are protecting their hosts. She slices open his arm then snidely remarks that he doesn't seem to be very protective. They brutally fight with Talon having the upper hand until he takes her down then slices her ribs open, seemingly winning. He tells her that using her was the only way. He offers to help her up but she throws dirt in his eyes the continues the onslaught of attacks. She has her blade to his neck wanting to kill him but instead, she opens the portal and kicks him through it. He screams something at her in Blackblood seconds before the portal closes.
In "This Is Our Outpost", Talon once again summons Vikka and Zed. He comments on how bad of timing it was for her to bring him to the outpost. She then asks him to use his kinj before asking him to call out names. He does so and many Blackbloods and Lu-Qiri come through the portal, and the battle is won by then. After the battle, he reveals that he once again betrayed Talon by bringing the Blackfist over through the portal, and they all seize control of the outpost.
In "For the Sins Of Your Ancestors", he has been the leader of the Outpost for thirty nine days and maintains a firm grip on the human residents. He makes them collect rocks in the quarry. Though he seems cruel, he is the only one keeping all the humans alive. Unfortunately, this power is tested by his own cousin, Yobhan, leader of the Blackfist. Yobhan wants to take over the Outpost, kill the humans and force Talon to summon Yavalla. The two family members are at odds with each other, until Yobhan's patience runs out. He tries to make a power grab with several Blackfist. He almost succeeds too, if Talon didn't intervene. After a failed rescue attempt of Rosmund, Zed deems Garret Spears, and Tobin Aegisford to death. This makes Talon open the portal to the Plane of Ashes. Zed then calls forth Ketma, who is then followed by their master Yavalla. He is the last to grace her upon arrival, and hands over his position to her.
In "The Peace You Promised", Zed is among the attend to the trail of Garret Spears. He is found guilty of murdering a Blackfist the night before and is condemned to death. At the town square he is seen carrying out the sentence as the crowd gathers. Just when Garret is about to be drowned, Janzo interrupts. He ask Zed to make Talon say a "proper goodbye", which he allows. As Talon kisses Garret Zed is visible upset with the show of affection. After Garret is "drowned" he hands the body to Janzo to have a proper burial. Later on he is seen in the citadel hallway having been served lunch while talking with Rosmund. While they compare each others ruling and share snarks at one another, Rosmund ask Zed if he can make her spend some time with her handmaiden. He agrees, but on the condition of once a day only. Then as he is talking with Yavalla in the same room, Wren burst through the room with her findings accompanied with Janzo. At night after the fight against the humans and Blackbloods, Zed is in attendance as the humans demand Yobhan's death for the murder of the unarmed Weldon Calkussar, after the humans had surrendered. The next day Zed once again the spokesperson carrying out the sentence of execution.
In "A Life for a Life", Zed arrives at Talon's Place with Yavalla. Yavalla wants Zed to accompany her down the hidden passage, but he says that he should stay and watch over The Outpost as there are still un easy feelings and affairs between the two races. Following this, he has Rosmund come back into the throne room. He then tells her that the Blackbloods have noticed that Tobin Aegisford is missing. He then hands Vikka one of Tobin's shirts for Vikka to use to track Tobin. As Rosmund is hauled away in horror he then let's his staff know that Warlita is no longer allowed to visit Rosmund. The next day, Rosmund summons Zed to her room for tea and snacks. When asked what is with the setting, Rosmund feigns trying to make peace between the two. Starting the charade, she ask why Zed hates her since they first met. He then explains, that after he and Vikka had saved her from Rebb and her Lu-Qiri, she forced Talon to banish Vikka back to the Plane of Ashes. She counters this by saying that she believed that Zed was untrustworthy and would betray them, which is exactly what happened. When Rosmund "accidently" drops a tray of cookies, Zed bends down to pick it up. When afterwards he sips his tea and notices it has a bitter taste to it. Rosmund then reveals that she slipped him something bitter into his tea and says it is a poison that only she has the antidote to. She then demands that she call back Vikka. Zed informs her of his ring's true function as a whistle that can be heard by Vikka for many miles, but Vikka is long outside the range of the whistle. Zed then blows on the ring to no avail, and then commands the guards to search her and the room for the antidote. After the return of Talon, Janzo, Wren, and Yavalla word has been received that Tobin made it to Aegisford safely. Zed then demands the antidote, only for Rosmund to reveal that what she slipped in his tea was meant to help her migraines and is not poisonous. Zed is dumbfounded and angry but never the less impressed with her bluff.
In "The Key to Paradise". Zed is in the throne room when Yavalla burst through the door after failing to infect Talon. She then ask Zed why he never told her that Talon's kinj protects her from his kinj, to which he calmly states that it was never brought up. He then wonders what the kinj she got from the lost Blackblood citadel does. To which she annoying states once again that it brings everyone to paradise, making him wonder why everyone hasn't already been there. Yavalla then gives a vague excuse, telling him that her kinj actually spreads peace. She then ask if Zed trust her, which he says she does. Later on in The Nightshade Inn, Talon and Janzo try to explain their discovery of Yavalla's kinj and her betrayal. Zed tries to defend her saying that she is not evil, and that she was the only one in the Plane of Ashes that tried to help guide the Blackbloods to peace and harmony. As he is about to leave he is shocked to see that Garret is alive and holding a sword at him. He takes a seat once again. As the group is about to discuss more, they are interrupted by Wren. She came to see Janzo and inform him of her mother's attempt to force a kinj inside her. When Zed hears this he is shocked to believe it and is deeply hurt by finding out it is all true. A horn call is heard and the group go outside the inn. They see that Tobin Aegisford has come back with an army outside the outpost. They all can only stare in disbelief as Queen Rosmund hugs him.
In "Someone Has to Rule", Zed is attendance of Queen Rosmund's memorial and was also there when Falista revealed that she has royal blood. Later on in the evening down in Janzo's Lab, he tells Wren that she is the only that can replace her mother's role as high priestess, and that the other Blackbloods are just waiting for her to say the word. This was merely a warning to let her know that the other Blackbloods already see her as the high priestess. He leaves to finish his game of octor with Talon. He wants to make things interesting so be proposes a different wage; if she loses she will bring the rest of their people through, however if he loses then he has to do something for her in the future. In the end he loses to her, and she never claims her prize. The next day at the entrance of The Nightshade Inn, Zed meets up with Wren and is surprised to see her ears have turned white, indicating she is pregnant. He is even more surprised to find out that not only is Janzo the father, but that also Blackbloods and humans can reproduce with each other.
Zed is a battle-harden man that is prone to violence. While he may seem like he enjoys hurting others, deep down he cares a lot. This is because living many years in The Plane of Ashes has made him a person who doesn't show any form of weakness. It is because of this environment and the fact that he lost his parents at a young age, he can be a jerk at times. He is a manipulative person with negative impulses. His dislike for humans clouds his judgment and leads him to make rash choices such as mentally manipulating an innocent human to burn his hand. However, he is willing to work with humans despite his dislike for them. He is patient, able to play the long game when manipulating Talon. He made sure to win her trust in the hopes that she would eventually free the Blackbloods trapped in the Plane of Ashes. He pretended to care for her and kept the ruse going to the point where she slept with him and began to develop romantic feelings for him. Ironically enough though he ended up developing feelings for her. After Zed has betrayed Talon multiple times, these feelings still linger on. Zed doesn't care who he has to hurt to achieve his end goal. This is furthered when he is willing to kill an entire village using Lu-Qiri to stop the spread of The Hive. However, he is loyal to Talon when they rescue Rosmund and Tobin, showing that he is capable of redemption in some form. When it comes to being the one betrayed, he gets hurt badly. When Yavalla betrayed him, he tried to see reason and understanding from it. Only for him to give up and feel depressed about it, using alcohol as a coping mechanism. With the death of his brother, Zed now carries a lot grief and guilt with himself. So much so that when given a chance to participate in a ritual to help ease the guilt he chose not to. He hopes that with the guilt that he carries, he can be a better person than he was. This varies to a certain degree, as before he didn't use to show a lot of emotions, but now he makes himself vulnerable to others while still being his jerkish self.
Zed has long, curly black hair and brown eyes. He is a little taller than Talon and has an athletic yet slim build. He has minimal facial hair and double-pointed black ears that show he is a Blackblood. Zed wears heavy metal armor that is worn from decades of being trapped in the harsh environment of the Plane of Ashes. After becoming the leader of the Outpost, he dresses more appropriate for one of his stature, but afterwards he goes back to wearing his signature armor and clothes. After the death of his brother, he wears a black fur cloak with his usual armor. This may because it used to belong to his brother, or he just merely shows his extra burden of guilt that he carries.
Powers and Abilities
Zed possesses all the standard powers and abilities of a Blackblood. Additionally, Zed is an extraordinarily skilled fighter whose abilities rival only those of Talon. They have fought on several occasions, with each outcome varying. He has bested highly-trained individuals including Prime Order soldiers and a group of Blackfist. Zed seems especially skilled at fighting groups of enemies and fights well alongside Talon. While he is skilled at all forms of combat and weaponry, his signature choice is to dual wield two swords. When he secured a kinj, Zed began to incorporate its mind manipulating abilities into his fighting style. Instead of charging into the fight as he would before, he waits a moment to pick out a specific enemy to use his kinj on, in an attempt to aid his allies.Formerly:
purple kinj, Zed was bestowed certain abilities. When he focuses on a being of any species, he can use Mind Manipulation to force them to do whatever he wants. But he can only use it on one being at a time and from a relatively close range. He used this ability on humans, a Greyskin, and attempted to use it on Talon. However, her Asterkinj refused to allow her to be manipulated and protected her. The Kinj can, however, control those infected by The Hive. Though it can not control the leader of the Hive who has the true Kinj.
Yobhan and Zed are cousins. Despite this blood relationship, they hate each other. This is mainly because Yobhan is a Blackfist and Zed is not. While the two share the power of leadership of The Outpost, the two have blows with how to handle the humans. Yobhan believes a strong, firm, and hard hand must be used on the prisoners. Zed on the other hand wants to show some mercy towards the humans. It is Yobhan's own methods and cruelty that ends up killing himself. With Zed saying that his own actions killed him. A sentence that Zed calmly stated.
Zed is the older brother of Corven, and Zed's only living blood relation. They were close as children and until Zed left the Plane of Ashes. He didn't want to leave his brother in the plane, but Corven was a dutiful servant to Yavalla at the time and refused to leave. In Zed's absence, Corven had a near-death encounter with Sai-vek Redwan which left him mentally unstable. Zed was unaware of this prior to reuniting with Corven and was excited to see his younger brother once more. Corven holds nothing but resentment for Zed as he abandoned him in the plane, and has a warped sense of reality as he believes Zed is responsible for the deaths of their parents. However, Corven still loves his brother very much so. He sacrificed his own life to protect his brother by taking an arrow instead of his brother. With his brother's death, Zed uses his own guilt to try and be a better man.
Zed first met Talon when she freed him and his Lu-Qiri from the Plane of Ashes. When Zed revealed that he hated Rebb as Talon did, they formed a mutual alliance with neither trusting each other fully. They began to form a bond over their mutual heritage, as Zed is the first Blackblood that Talon has communicated with since she was a child. They butted heads over Talon's hesitation to release the Blackbloods from the Plane of Ashes, while Zed wants her to release them now. As they continued to bond, they eventually became friends when Talon committed to helping him free their people.
One night, while they were stopped for a rest, they watched the stars when the discussion turned intimate. She kissed him and they proceeded to sleep together. She later learned that he only brought her to Vor-Anden to secure a mind manipulation Kinj, not to help her save the Queen. He attempted to use the kinj on her but was blocked by her Asterkinj. After his betrayal, she banished him to the Plane of Ashes. She summoned him weeks later when the Prime Order attacked Gallwood. Zed, along with an army of Blackbloods and Lu-Qiri, helped Talon win her battle. He betrayed her once again and ceased Gallwood alongside his fellow warriors from the Plane of Ashes. When Yavalla turned on the realm, Zed helped Talon fight against her and secure the real. While he won back her trust, he forever lost her as a romantic partner. Zed was once very vocal in his pursuit of Talon's attention. He hopes to one day win back her heart no matter how long it takes or who he has to get her away from. He initially doesn't understand her interest in Garret Spears, finding him boring and predictable. He once told Garret that the only reason he doesn't kill Garret is because he makes Talon happy, and he could never hurt her like that. They now have a functional friendship with occasional flirting from him. After he crowns her Queen, he would become one of her advisors to their people with the other being Wren, though he would serve as only for military while she was all other matters.
Zed and Garret had an uneasy relationship; due to their mutual feelings for Talon. Zed has said that he dislikes and resents Garret, as Talon chose to be with Garret instead of him. When Zed first took over the Outpost, he abused Garret and the other residents of Gallwood Outpost, forcing them into manual labor or they would be beaten. Because Talon ultimately chooses to be with Garret, Garret tends to feel more superior to Zed. They gradually learn to tolerate one another when they are forced to work together to fight The Hive outbreak. Though they may never fully trust one another, they don't let their personal differences interfere with their duties. When Garret was temporary under the Hive's control, Zed did his best not to try and hurt Garret in any way possible at the cost of being defeated by him. During the awakening of The Seven, the two would ask each other for advice on how to handle missions, or even how to proceed with matter inside the Outpost. During the wedding between Garret and Talon, he was in attendance as one of the groom's men, indicating that they have patched up their difference and are now great friends.
Notes and Trivia
- Zed is the first male Blackblood to be seen in the present day. He is preceded in appearance by several unnamed Blackblood villagers, who were seen exclusively in flashbacks.
- Despite his dislike for sharing information about his past, Zed has told Talon about his tragic family life and made his feelings for her abundantly clear.
- Zed and his brother, Corven, are played by real life brothers, Reece and Ross Ritchie.