"They're witches. They have a capacity to manipulate genetics to the point of seeming magical, but I assure you, they aren't. They're very possible to love and even more possible to hate. Most importantly, they can be killed."
If you've been reading "A Storm Of Fire," you've heard about the Zephyre. Red Witches. World Enders. The species behind the Draak. A mostly female race of humanoids with minds far more advanced than humans could fathom and a lust for power and absolute control.
In the beginning, the Zephyre discovered the Leviathan on Draakon. At the time, the Leviathan were mindless beasts. Colossal dragons consumed by hunger and need. They were, however primal, a powerful species and in them the Zephyre saw a means to seize control of not only Draakon, but multiple other worlds as well. To harness their power, the Zephyre needed to make them into something else and through genetic experimentation, they gave the Leviathan the ability to shift into the forms of men.
Not only are Zephyre skilled in genetics and science, but their minds are a vast network of psychic domination. They're able to invade the thoughts of others and do anything from manipulating their choices to controlling their actions completely. The Zephyre used this ability on the Leviathan and kept them completely under their power, but when the desire to expand on their experiments became too great, they began to breed. The offspring of a Zephyre and a Leviathan started a whole new chapter in genetic mutations and it also marked the end of Zephyre dominance.
Zephyre were a female-dominant species that evolved in the universe, jumping from world to world and destroying much of what they came in contact with. They're a highly advanced race that history has called a higher power. Driven by discovery and advancement, Zephyre shape their long lives around changing the world around them. Manipulating the natural order of things has become an addiction to their kind and has brought about the destruction of many civilizations and species throughout the centuries. Believing themselves to be gods, most Zephyre are unable to experience emotion the same way humans do and instead see everything and everyone as a branch from their own genetic tree. It's speculated that they were the first and from them came every other species in the known universe and perhaps beyond. They've been called the Creators as well as World Enders and everything in between.
Physical Appearance/Culture: Zephyre are described as being very tall, somewhat muscular, and extremely beautiful in a dangerous sense. Their skin tends to hold purple or red tints that set them apart from humans, but their eyes are the real tell. Ranging from purple to blood-red to golden yellow, Zephyre irises are larger than usual, typically taking up much of the white in the eyes. Zephyre females also grow two horns from their scalp that tracks along the head. They continue to grow with age and eventually arch into the back of the head. thousands of years ago, it is said that Zephyre would purposefully let the horns grow until they pierced the brain and caused death. The otherwise immortal Zephyre viewed this as the peak of discovery in the individual and accepted death in an almost ceremonial manner. Later, Zephyre began to trim their horns in order to live longer and this led to infighting and a new era of power and slaughtered beliefs.
Zephyre also have hair, much like humans, which grows in deep reds to black colors. After the tradition of growing out their horns was abandoned, the length of their hair became a way to gauge a Zephyre's age and "wisdom." Often times, Zephyre who had long hair were revered while those with short hair were considered young and foolish. Those with shaved heads were marked as outsiders and were often hairless as a punishment for a crime.
Abilities: While Zephyre do not possess any physical abilities aside from being slightly stronger than most humans, their telepathy has been known to take down entire empires and lead armies. It is not unheard of for a Zephyre to be driven mad by the vast knowledge constantly coursing through them or be driven to suicide because their minds are unable to close out the thoughts and intentions of those around them. It is also speculated that the Zephyre themselves are the results of a genetic experiment and their overly sensitive psyche is a side effect of a synthetic mutation. If that is true, no Zephyre alive has been able to identify their maker.
A Zephyre's telepathic abilities vary from individual to individual, but all are capable of reading the thoughts of others. Many are also capable of implanting thoughts and intentions into the minds of others and therefore they are able to control them. In past conflicts, one Zephyre could control the actions of a dozen or more Leviathan. Some older, more sadistic individuals can control the actions of others while keeping them conscious, manipulating their bodies into doing things against their will while they watch.
Relationship with Leviathan/Draak: While they were not immune to flames, Zephyre did breed with Leviathan without having to be marked or made genetically compatible. This was done by artificial insemination and later removing the offspring from the impregnated Zephyre and developing it fully outside the womb. This also allowed the Zephyre to observe development and correct any imperfections and unwanted mutations before the embryo fully formed. Before this process was perfected, those few Zephyre who did breed with Leviathan in a traditional manner were killed at the moment of birth. It wasn't until the Draak branched out that they discovered their ability to mark their mates and prepare them for pregnancy and birth.
Eventually, the children began displaying Zephyre characteristics as much as they were Leviathan. These offspring are called Ash Bringers and typically appear in many of the same red colorations as their mothers. They also harbor many of the same egotistical traits as well as short tempers and even telepathy. These traits paired with the ability to shift into dragons and manipulate fire like their fathers, led the Zephyre to stop breeding after a time. This, however, didn't stop the new generations of Ash Bringers from rebelling against their oppressive makers, and eventually these conflicts led to war. A war the Zephyre couldn't control with mind tricks as their sons were not susceptible to them.
A few Zephyre suggested genetically altering themselves in order to become immune to the fire Draak possessed, but a large majority of Zephyre believed their genetics to be too pure to muddy with that of dragons and their egos and greed caused their empire to eventually fall.
Today, the Zephyre are scattered throughout the universe following the uprising led by Draven and Valerio Tempest on Draakon. Those few that decide to show themselves are still chasing power and likely will be until the day they die.