Physical Description Edit
She is described as being small and lightly built compared to other gryphons, with a deeper keel but narrower chest, long and tapered falcon wings and almost human-like "hands." The toes were long but the talons short, which made it impossible for her to slash like a "normal" gryphon, but allowed her to manipulate objects with surprising dexterity.
She was gold in color with small ear tufts and no neck ruff. She also had malar stripes and eye markings over her head, similar to those of a falcon.
Early Life and the Mage Wars Edit
Shunned as a youngster for not having parents and being physically different from all other gryphons, Zhaneel suffered greatly from very low self-esteem and depression. Her parents were both killed on a low-risk mission when she was a fledgling, and she was passed through a series of uncaring foster parents. She did manage to pass the rigorous training, but was left with what little self-confidence she had destroyed and a negative attitude towards both her abilities and body image, mostly due to being tormented by other fledglings for her small size, longer wings, and lack of proper talons.
No wing of gryphons would accept her willingly, so she just attached herself to one, and ended up serving as a scout under Commander Loren in Kelreesha Trondaar's wing of gryphons during the Mage Wars. She flew back patrols--ones that were reserved for fledglings or punishment of adults. She could fly them faster and higher than other gryphons, and preferred them because it gave her time to be alone. It was around this time that she also began to contemplate suicide.
Things began to look up for Zhaneel when she encountered three makaar while on patrol in a supposedly safe sector. Too far away to call in for backup and unwilling to let them go, Zhaneel attacked them as she already had suicidal tendencies, and wished for her death to mean something. She came at them from above and killed them by stooping and hitting them with clenched fists, sending them to deaths upon the ground. Her commander then recommended her for recognition to Urtho, who in turn gave her a reward-token that could be traded for any number of services or goods in the camp.
At the suggestion of Skandranon, she then took the token to the kestra'chern Amberdrake. Unfortunately for Zhaneel, she was uninformed what a kestra'chern actually did, and went into the session expecting something quite different. After clearing up the misunderstanding, she ended up having a heart-to-heart talk with Amberdrake, describing her life and the misery that she had endured. He then inspired her to take up specialized training for herself, which included learning basic healing and how to operate a crossbow.
She eventually set up an obstacle course with the help of Amberdrake's hertasi Gesten for herself to train upon, and even attracted the attention of a journeyman mage, Vikteren, and the gryphon trainer Taran Shire, who worked with her to improve the course and add elements to it, such as magic. Her running of the obstacle course gained quite a large audience as many gathered during their off time to watch her, which greatly increased her self-confidence and her status among her comrades, and impressed others, especially Skandranon. This also gave her to confidence to stand up to her superiors, such as when the trondi'irn Winterhart demanded that Zhaneel cease the obstacle course as a waste of time.
After completing a successful mission to retake Stelvi Pass and disable Ma'ar's newest weapon, Zhaneel began training other gryphons in her techniques for combat, and how to run the obstacle course that she had designed.
Skandranon successfully courted her, and they developed a rapport that led to them being a fearsome team in battle. During the final battle against Ma'ar, she Gated through along with Amberdrake and Winterhart to get away from Urtho's Tower before he died, and later reunited with Skandranon, Aubri, and Kechara after Ma'ar's headquarters in the Royal Palace of Tantara was destroyed.
The White Gryphon Edit
After the Mage Wars, Zhaneel joined k'Leshya in their flight to the eastern shores of Velgarth, helping to found the city of White Gryphon. She eventually became the mother of twin male gryphlets, Keenath and Tadrith, and the adopted mother of Kechara.
In the series Edit
Zhaneel appears in the following works: