Category: Zeke


From Within


“Zeke, I have a vessel waiting. Join me,” said Ji.

From dry to wet eyes silently twinkled like so many stars in the heavens, illumination, not reflection. “I can’t.”

“Which is why you must.”

Categories: Story, Zeke, Ji

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Papa

Zeke

Categories: Story, Zeke, Papa, Paintings


What was before, is left behind. Zeke takes his vows.

Categories: Story, Zeke, Zing Tao

Lil’ Zeke


Dorfel watching on the shores of Valla.

Categories: Story, Zeke

Serenity in Solitude

The next morning.

Categories: Story, Zeke, Paintings

Living Lantern

Zeke lifted his glass in a single fluid motion throwing back the last bit of amber snoot like an old sea captain bailing out his sinking vessel, resigned to going down with his ship. Not one to drink much, a few shots would have normally gone straight to his head, especially since sustenance had neither been wanted nor welcomed. Not tonight. The events of the day and the events to come wrapped his mind in a protective coat of impenetrable soberness as if the darkness of reality filtered the alcohol from his bloodstream before it could work its magic of deception and illusion.

Looking out the cove window, Zeke caught sight of a rare three moonrise as a bitter smile marked the memories of better times and he wondered if even the heavens were mocking him now; putting him in his place as if to say, look now little one. The wind whipped and swirled and he could see the white caps in the cove jostling with the shore like school boys shoving and pushing in line. What was would remain but a memory for the morrow and the fortnight and beyond heralded a page not written even in the imaginations of the great Hynerians of letters.

The night air felt heavy with anticipation of rain and hail and the trees outside the estate swayed and bowed in their own melancholy language as if to say we too are innocent of the crime, yet condemned nonetheless. Zeke took a deep breath of the humid heavy air, his short grey hair looking all the shorter in the brisk coil. His white tunic flapped to its own complaint revealing a musculature of one many years inferior and he felt his eyes, so full of liquid protest just a few minutes before, ache in dryness, their essence stolen by a remorseless gale.

Looking to his left, the sway of a single lantern caught his eye and against brute force his ducts succeeded as mother memory squeezed a drop of juice the child could not manage. Although it had been more than a decade, it seemed just yesterday that he had taught Kyra the art of constructing a living lantern. They had gone out night after night in search of the sea-amines, walking up and down the wet beach, hoping that this would be the night the sea would give up its most rare treasure. Sea-amines were native to the area around the cove, glowed, when in harmony or some would say love, with a porphyrous iridescence, and if properly cared for, could be domesticated. When housed inside a living lantern, their magenta radiance illuminated the porch with a slightly pulsing light.

Soon, thought Zeke, what nature had given, she would reclaim. Yet, still, on one small vessel, somewhere beyond the sable turbulence, a heart beat strong and that heart carried the hope and promise of life beyond this catastrophe. Holding the lantern in his hands, as if to calm the life within such as to calm the life without, Zeke closed his eyes and gently kissed the slightly warm shade. As our fates are destined to cleave not, so our spirit lives on beyond the touch of local disturbance. Kyra, wherever you are, we love you. May Janus be with you my dear child.

Categories: Story, Zeke, Kyra, Hyneria

Home, Blu

Kyra’s trembling hands accepted the package, grasping the slender metal folio with both hands for fear the turbulent winds whipping off the bay would snatch Papa’s gift for itself. Through eyes blurred with tears, she kissed Papa goodbye; his strong arms pulling her tightly into his broad chest with such might she feared his embrace would crush the unknown treasure in her hands. He barked a few words over the cacophony and wiped the tears from her cheeks before she turned and quickly boarded the waiting vessel.

Zeke leaned his cloaked resolute frame into Bravo’s hot bluish-white blast, the steel-plated deck beneath his feet rattling like an old wooden rollercoaster, the metal handrail transferring a final blessed kiss of warmth to his aged and leathery palms. Defiant and proud, he shunned the standard bulky blast goggles, paying for his unadulterated view with eyes that burned and teared with a scene he never dreamed would shimmer before them. He had seen plenty of mirages in his travels across the sands of Silus; but this was not Silus and that vessel was no mirage. She was leaving. She wasn’t coming back. Quick as lightning with a thunderous cracking report to match, the vessel disappeared into the roiling dark grey clouds taking its warmth and heat as quickly as it had taken his love.

“Master Zeke, are we going home now?” asked Blu, who was, for all intents and purposes, Goldie’s mechanical brother.

“Yes Blu, we’re going home.”

“And Miss Kyra, should we wait for her?”

“No Blu. She’s not coming with us.”

“Oh.”

“On second thought Blu, let’s head to Valla. I don’t much feel like being alone at home tonight.”

“But Master Zeke, you always have me.”

“Yes Blu, I do. I always have you.”

“Should I alert Miss Kyra as to our destination?”

“That won’t be necessary. Miss Kyra won’t be coming back.”

“Oh. And Goldie?”

“Blu, I’m afraid we will never see either of them again. When we get to Valla, would you fix me some snizzle?”

“Yes Master Zeke.”

“And perhaps, just this once Blu, add a drachm of snoot.”

Immeadiately upon arriving at Valla, Zeke entered his study overlooking the cove and begin to write:

I look back on the general unfairness of life, and I wonder where this idea, that everything would even out, wrongs righted, hard work rewarded, I wondered who planted this idea so deeply in the fertile soil of my adolescent mind. If I could find them today, I would beat them to within an inch of their life; an inch with asinine precision, with cold calculation, with malice born of infected rusty oozing bitterness.

“Master Zeke, your snizzle, just as you requested.”

“Thank you Blu.”

“Will there be anything else?”

“Shut down all communications and secure the compound. I need some time alone.”

Categories: Story, Kyra, Papa, Zeke, Hyneria, Blu

Let Go

Calfuray smiled. Her legs straddled Von’s waist pinning his back to the damp ground, the tip of her dagger trembling an inch from his heart. She could feel his strength weakening, his hands and arms straining with the last gasp effort of desperation. He had been a worthy adversary, but there were more prey to hunt. Leaning forward, her weight shifted the balance.

“Concentrate Von,” said Zeke, standing to the right of the chair, his hands folded behind his back such that his head appeared to float above his ubiquitous white tunic. His stance gave the contradictory appearance of solidity and fluidness. “The fire can only touch an unfocused mind, a mind deluded in darkness,” repeated Zeke.

Von was nothing if not determined. Sweat rolled down his long angular face, carried away by the creases of age worn by time under his eyes and along his high cheeks. The chair hummed lightly as bolts of fire moved closer. His hands, strong and agile, struggled to articulate the controls, which oddly felt heavy and sluggish. The fire intensified and the rate of rotation increased. The orange and yellow flashes blurred as if forming a solid wall of fire.

“Darkness seeks darkness. Neither resist nor engage. Seek the light Von. Close your eyes. The light you seek cannot be seen, it must be felt. Search your heart my friend. There you will find the light. And stop trying so hard—effort is always the sign of the wrong path. You cannot swim against the tide. Let go and follow the light.”

Damn the platitudes thought Von. Why did everything have to sound like a cheap postcard? Light my arse. The only light I see is the damn fire from this Janus forsaken contraption.

The chair slowed and the fire subsided. “That’s enough for today,” said Zeke. “Until you are ready to concentrate, to allow yourself to believe, to trust the flow to take you to higher ground, well, until that time, we are just wasting our time.”

“I don’t see the point of this exercise Zeke. What is a chair bound in this blasted fire going to teach me?”

“At this point in your life—nothing. Grab your stuff. We’re done here.”

“Zeke.”

“I thought you might be ready. I was wrong.”

“Sorry to disappoint you,” offered Von.

“No disappointment Von. What is, is. I fully accept the reality. Otherwise, I would be as lost as you. Now cheer up. You might be confused, but I know exactly where we are; and just as important, where we need to go.”

“Would you like to share that information with me?”

“Von, don’t take this the wrong way, but you have not experienced enough pain in your life. There are two keys to the door of light. One is Love and the other is Pain. You are not ready for Love, but pain is definitely an option. If you want to graduate into the special Blue Onyx division, it will be through the fires of pain. The option is yours. You can let me know in the morning.”

“Let go my friend. I promise my dagger is sharp, its poison swift and my aim true. You will feel no pain. Close your eyes. Stop resisting. Sweet slumber awaits,” said Calfuray, the purple slits of her eyes growing wide and narrow.

Von let go. Like a boulder he had been carrying uphill, his resistance tumbled away and he felt an incredible sense of lightness. Calfuray never saw it coming. Those that were there said night turned to day for one brief moment and, as if nature had bowed its head, silence reigned.

“Von, do you read me?” asked Kyra.

“Von, are you okay? Von?”

Von stood, scratching the itch on his head. Pain my arse he thought. I’d still kick Zeke’s butt if he were here. “Kyra, I hear you loud and clear. I’m feeling a little warm but otherwise I think I’ll live. Be there in a sec.”

Categories: Story, Von, Calfuray, Zeke, Kyra

Fire of Truth


“Von, you knew Papa when he was a young hynerian. What was he like?” asked Kyra.

“He was unlike any hynerian I ever knew, one of a kind. His exploits on Zael were legendary,” said Von.

“I know, heard the story a thousand times,” laughed Kyra.

“As great as Ji was, he knew he needed a native to take the Tao to another level, and there was no one, and I mean absolutely no one, that could have done what Zeke, your Papa, did for the order. Did he ever tell you about the Fire of Truth?”

“Never heard of it Von.”

“Ahh, well, it is all you need to know about Zeke. In the days after Ji handed him the reigns . . .”

“Sorry to interrupt your story Von,” interjected Snazzle, “but I think you might want to look at this transmission I’ve just picked up from the target area.”

Catagories: Story, Von, Kyra, Zeke, Ji, Snazzle


Horrors without, horrors within. Dauculus represented the single greatest loss of Zing Tao in the history of the Order. AAR’s were never released to the public and those within say even time itself failed to wear down the gates of regret. Zeke never spoke of the matter and until the meeting with Rog, neither had Von.

“Peace is not a place Rog,” said Von. “Physical wounds heal. Sometimes the emotional ones, well, sometimes they take a little longer.”

Rog took another sip of snoot and Von continued. “We all make mistakes. We all have regrets. Hindsight is 20/20. Would we have done things different on Dauculus if given the chance? Absolutely. Mistakes were made and lives lost. The real damage, and I want you to listen to me very closely, the real damage was not what happened to us, but what we thought about it.”

Von leaned back in his chair without breaking eye contact with Rog, judging the measure of the Hynerian’s comprehension. Rog gazed down at his glass and swirled the snoot to bring the aroma into play. He wasn’t sure if Von’s words or the snoot was making him the most dizzy.

“She’s going to make it Rog. And she was right; if you had interfered you would have put her life at risk.”

“How do you know that Von? How do you know she is going to wake? How do you know I shouldn’t have done something when I could?”

“Trust me Rog. Matters of this nature happen for a reason.”

“Speaking of reasons, you never did say why you, a mighty Zing Tao, are onboard our ship?”

“I owed a debt.”

“What kind of debt?”

“Dauculus Rog. Why do you think I told you that story? I screwed up. My career should have been over. I thought it would be. The Hynerian that should have been most angry, I’m talking about Zeke, took the blame for me. He never reported to Ji nor told anyone else that I was the one that failed the others. Hynerians, some of the most highly trained Zing Tao, reporting directly to Zeke lost their lives because of my mistake.”

Rog sat stunned.

“My Kestrel crew failed to provide covering support. Zeke’s deployment got ripped to shred’s by chaos engineered Raptors. They were defenseless. Caught in the open waters. I can still here the distress signals and radio chatter in my head as if it were yesterday. By the time we arrived it was too late. The damage had been done.”

“I’m sorry Von.”

“When we landed and I exited my Kestrel, Zeke was the first one to greet me. I expected court martial, on the spot.” Von paused, looked down at his drink and then back up at Rog.

“And?”

“With tears in his eyes he hugged me.”

Rog looked askew at Von.

“Only a Zing Tao with the ability to make it to the ninth order could have responded with that level of compassion in the heat of the moment. I learned more in that one embrace than my entire training up to that time. And I owe everything else I accomplished because of that Hynerian.”

“And how does that lead you to our little ship?”

Von laughed and standing up slapped Rog across the head. “Maybe you should lay off the snoot a bit. I’m here because of Kyra bonehead. Zeke asked me to look after her. I knew it was my chance, my chance to repay the debt.”

A loud knock at the door interrupted Rog’s response. Yul had found her Hynerian.