Zed is the first ninja in 200 years to have unlocked the ancient, forbidden, and dangerous arts of shadow manipulation.
Zed, as most ninjas do, comes from humble beginnings. As an orphan of the Ionian Isles he was taken under the benevolent wing of the great ninja master, (Name), of the Kinkou – an ancient order dedicated to maintaining balance in all things. He was trained within this order and showed great promise as a student, eventually becoming a possible candidate to join a mighty triumvirate of warriors known as the Twilight Council. His acceptance as such a legendary ninja was continually drowned by another prospective student: Shen, the benevolent master’s own son, against whom it seemed that Zed would never gain the favor of the master he considered his own father. Frustrated and jealous of the favorite son, tired of being forced to live in Shen’s shadow for so long and desperately seeking a way out. It was then that he looked to his own shadow, the shadow he wished Shen was living in so that he too would know Zed’s frustration and anger. Dark thoughts poisoned his mind and forces he did not fully understand led him to a sealed part of the mighty clan’s temple where he found an ornate box radiating with a foreboding energy. Zed knew he should not open the box for he could feel the dark power within it, feel its resonance with the feelings staining his mind, but he chose to seek this power instead of continue to live in the shadow of others. In that moment, opening the box that had been sealed away for so long, he succumbed to the shadow and found his edge within himself: He would use his own shadow to overcome the shadow that Shen had cast on his achievements for so long. He knew his techniques in such an art were far from perfect but he challenged Shen to a duel immediately and, finally, defeated him. He looked up expectantly, believing that he would finally hear the words of praise he had sought from the Master for so long. Instead his surrogate father hung his head in shame and, with a sad look in his eyes, banished Zed from the temple and from the clan.
Humiliated and torn, young Zed wandered the Valoran wilderness for years. He trained on his own, forsaking the ways of order and balance taught to him by the Kinkou that had, in his mind, limited him far below his potential for so long. As he traveled he met fellow wanderers who wished to share in his knowledge. While training his ever growing ranks of followers, Zed became obsessed with perfecting his technique: an obsession he soon realized that he would never be able to do with only his partial knowledge from the mysterious box. With this goal in mind he led his ranks of followers in an assault upon the Kinkou temple in order to claim the box and the knowledge within it, only to be met at the gates by his former master. Much to Zed’s surprise the old man lay his sword at Zed’s feet and apologized deeply, saying that he had failed Zed as a master and – as much to his shame – as a father. He said that by banishing Zed from the clan he had abandoned him, who he had raised, to the darkness that had surrounded his heart instead of showing Zed the path to balancing his soul. To correct these wrongs (name) implored Zed to follow him into the temple, destroy the box once and for all, and lead his own followers back to the balanced path. He followed his master into the temple, and moments later those gathered outside heard Zed cry out in pain and anguish. Before they could enter the temple themselves, Zed emerged from the temple with no mark upon him and carrying (name’s) severed head. Throwing it at Shen’s feet, he screamed for his followers to kill the students of the balanced path and to secure the box.
That was the day on which the ancient order fell to darkness. Shen’s heroic efforts on that day allowed some of his fellow students to escape the massacre, though many died in the violence at the temple. The temple itself now serves as a home and training ground for the new Order of the Shadow. It remains unclear what happened that fateful day; some say the master tried to attack Zed, others claim that the darkness in Zed’s soul overcame him and that his shadow is now the one in control. Whichever is true, Zed’s verdict is a simple one: perfect one’s technique and kill any ninja who refuses to embrace the shadows.