Zari - Red Shadow Character in Hanzelot | World Anvil

Zari - Red Shadow

In the beginning there was peace

Zari never complained. She worked, she worked, and then she worked some more.
— Ferhat. Zari's friend. Tales of the Red Shadow

Zari lived with her parents and siblings in a peaceful little town south of the Gaella Planet. She worked wherever her strong hands and good will were needed. The employers and people who worked with Zari always complimented her on her cheerful attitude and never ending strength. Usually, she worked in the fields cultivating and taking care of the crops for her people. She also helped in the mines extracting the minerals they used to trade with other communities.

When she was not working she shared her time with her family. As the oldest of six siblings, Zari had many duties assisting her parents in the care of the little ones. She doted on them, spent hours playing with them, feeding them and she loved to bathe them and put them to bed. Her father always insisted she also took time to share activities suited for a young woman with her friends.

For Zari, work was the moment she shared with her friends but sometimes she visited the Bright Forest where people of her age drank and danced beneath the stars, away from the prying eyes of the adults.

When she had the time Zari tended to her garden. Her flowers and plants were admired by everyone. She was proud of her "little children" as she called them and loved to see them grow and flourish under her tender care.

Life wasn't perfect but it was simple. She had a loving family, a pleasant work and good friends.

Tragedy unleashed

Like most of us, Zari lost everything. Grief and then rage consumed her.
— Nushin. Survivor.Tales of the Red Shadow

One day, the peaceful lives of Zari and her people were destroyed when a powerful and never seen spaceship landed on their fields. Although they weren't the first to arrive from the sky, they were very different from the previous space travellers who arrived in another distant location on Gaella one thousand cycles before. The tales about them were distorted from time and fantasies but were mostly benign.

These travellers were not benign. The ship was gigantic and inside her belly thousands of merciless soldiers were waiting to slaughter everyone and enslave the entire region.

Zari was in the mines when the ship arrived. Word was sent to them to remain there and to escape when it was possible. Zari didn't listen to this advice and tried to save her family.

It was not easy to get to her home but she managed to avoid the soldiers killing and destroying everything they saw. Zari clung to the hope that her family escaped or were spared. Her hope and all that was bright in her died when she reached her house. Between her destroyed garden were the lifeless bodies of her parents and siblings. Her family was murdered with a weapon she hadn't ever seen, for a reason she didn't understand, by enemies she didn't know she had. Cradling her little brother's body for the last time Zari swore revenge.

Zari returned to the mines and told her friends what she saw and together they left the only home they ever knew.

They had to travel a long distance to stay safe. Many didn't make it or surrendered to the invaders. Zari endured and hardened herself. The weapons and technology the invaders brought with them helped them to quickly conquer the region and submit the people.

Zari became a shadow of her former self, gone was the light of her eyes. No one saw her smile again. She worked for food and shelter and waited for the opportunity to have her revenge.

Hope fueled by hate

We will make them bleed every drop of blood they took from our people. We know Death, it holds no power over us anymore.
— Zari. Warrior. Leader. Tales of the Red Shadow

The invaders from the Enis Planet spread around the information that more ships would come and soon the entire planet would kneel before the powerful new rulers. People were scared and obeyed them and even tried to win their good graces to survive or obtain some benefits for them and their families.

After a couple of years of this reign of terror no other ship arrived. While the invaders moved their ship to other places they couldn't risk to lose the territories they already had and lacked servants to manage big lands beyond the region where they first arrived.

Zari took upon herself the task to build a network of loyal spies and a rebel group. At first no one wanted to listen to her, they were too afraid. The horror of the mass graves was a painful memory. Zari never stopped trying. When the time passed and no more invaders came she doubled her efforts. She couldn't explain how the first ship arrived or why but she knew that whatever or whoever made it possible wasn't doing their part anymore. Maybe another thousand cycles would pass until other travellers arrived. That gave her plenty of time to defeat the actual invaders and time to prepare to defend themselves to future generations.

When she noticed that the power of the invaders weakened and they started to fight among themselves she understood that was her moment to put her plan in motion.

Zari avoided the invader's surveillance and got intel about their weak points, dubious loyalties, and most importantly how to get inside the ship to destroy it.

With that knowledge Zari encouraged her people to fight against their enemies. She organized underground rebel groups. None of them had proper training in fighting or weapons but what they lacked in technique they compensated with their hate for the enemies who took everything from them.

On those times she acquired the alias Red Shadow because of her attire and her skill to sneak up on her enemies without being noticed and leave only blood as the only sign she was there.
As a leader she commanded respect because she always was the first to defend her brothers and sisters in arms, protect the innocent and acted with courage. She believed they could regain their freedom and most importantly, revenge for their dead. Her people believed in her.


The Sacrifice

Red Shadow was as fierce and strong as reckless and vengeful. Zari was the bond that brought us together. Zari was the shield against our enemies. She gave her life for us. It's our duty to remember her with honor.
— Adnan. Zari's Brother in arms. Tales of the Red Shadow

On the night that the invaders fell, many rebels lost their lives. They knew that would happen and prepared for that destiny. They fought and gave their lives because they wanted to defeat and annihilate their enemies.

After the rebels took possession of the most important places in the town, their resources and got hold of their superior weapons the invaders surrendered. All of them were killed.

The invaders' leader rushed to his ship with his surviving guards but when they got there, Zari and her most loyal soldiers were waiting for them. The battle was bloody but the leader survived and got inside the ship. Zari followed him.

Zari knew very little about the ship, the invaders never authorized any natives to enter and learn about their technology. Every bit of information she got was a rumour at best. She knew that the ship had the power to erase entire towns. She deduced that power could destroy the ship itself.

Her goal was to destroy and that was she did. While Zari chased her final enemy she tore apart everything she saw. She was the Red Shadow. She only saw red through her rage.

In the heart of the ship she faced her enemy and tried to force him to activate the destructive power sequence with the (false) promise to keep him alive. Of course, he didn't believe her and fought her. At the end she won the battle and killed him with a sword through his chest.

Zari was alone in the massive ship because her plan was first for her comrades to lure away the soldiers and then she would be the one with the task to destroy it at whatever cost. Her plan was almost complete. She couldn't risk her soldiers and neither was she interested in surviving the night. And while Zari knew many people wanted the technology in the ship for themselves, all she saw in the ship was death, misery and pain. The ship couldn't exist anymore.

She searched for the ship's main power and tried desperately to activate something that messed up the controls enough to cause a destructive chain reaction. Zari didn't know if she could do it, if the explosion could affect the town or not, but it was a risk she needed to take. For the first time after the death of her family she prayed to the gods for help. For the last time in her life her prayer was answered. The ship exploded but the town, her comrades and fellow citizens remained safe.

After the victory, the people honored Zari and all the fallen soldiers. Her name and her sacrifice for the freedom of her people are known even today after one thousand cycles. If another spaceship comes, the people not only of Karan but the whole planet are ready to receive them.

Circumstances of Death
She met her end with honor

Zari before the invasion

  • She loved to eat the fruits of her garden surrounded by her little siblings.
  • She was an excellent dancer. Her elegant movements bewitched every young person in the Bright Forest.
  • When she was in the mines she used to play pranks on her friends by jumping in front of them out of nowhere.
  • Her favorite season was when the days were long and sunny and the nights short and warm.
  • She had many people after her heart who tried to flirt wiht her but she gently rejected them all. She was only interested in having loyal friends.
  • Her worst flaw was her stubbornness. When she had an idea no one could convincer her she was wrong.
  • Sometimes her siblings complained she was overprotective, even more than their own mother.

Zari after the invasion

  • She traveled far away to train in combat and to learn to use weapons.
  • She always kept with her two things from her old life: seeds from her favorite flower and a little doll from her youngest sibling.
  • She never cried in front anyone or when she was alone.
  • But she always gave comfort to the people who crumbled under the weight of the memories about the massacre or the cruelty of the invaders.
  • She was a strict commander and demanded a lot from her soldiers.
  • Her comrades admired her and did their best to obtain her approval.
  • The first enemy she killed never saw her face but did hear her voice saying "You're the first of thousands"
  • The rest of the people she killed didn't see or heard anything.

Zari's legacy

  • Statues of Zari are all over the southern region of Gaella and it is possible to find plenty of them in the northern hemisphere too.
  • The biggest monument in her honor was built in the same site where she perished in the ship explosion.
  • Historians recollected information and testimonies about Zari and her life to keep her story alive for future generations. That was the origin of the book Tales of the Red Shadow.
  • Zari's action are not only remembered by everyone in her planet but also left a lesson: never trust the strangers from the sky.


Please Login in order to comment!
25 Jan, 2021 23:05

I love the Hero Forge images you've used to illustrate her in different moments of her life. Her story is amazing - she fought for her people and died to protect them. I love her. <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
25 Jan, 2021 23:08

Thank you Emy!! I'm very proud of her :)

30 Jan, 2021 10:32

Beautiful article Melu, very well written. I really like the notes on the sidebars to flesh out her personality beyond what can be gathered from her history.

6 Feb, 2021 20:48

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed reading her story :)

Master Gege16
Gege Escriva
7 Feb, 2021 04:33

Zari is such an idol ♡ She fought for her people and deserved so much, but her sacrifice made her get into eternity. Is impossible to not love her. She was so good and selfless in life, the final of her story made me cry, but I'm happy that her legacy is being honored. She'd be really happy from wherever she's spending her afterlife...

Explore the Kingdom of Moskova with me! Wonders and darkness await for you. Are you ready for the adventure?   Are you undecided about where to go on your vacation trip? Why don't you try to discover Ulan River with me?    
1 Mar, 2021 20:32

Gege! what a lovely comment!! I'm so happy you liked Zari and her story (even if I made you cry, sorry about that)

14 Feb, 2021 22:56

I always love a good vengeance-seeker, nice work!

1 Mar, 2021 20:37

Thank you, Samuel! I enjoy revenge too ;)

16 Feb, 2021 20:38

No mercy for the wicked. Well doen, Zari.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
1 Mar, 2021 20:39

That's right! No mercy! Thank you, Michael, for your comment.

9 May, 2023 20:14

Such a sad story about Zari's family. But she's such a badass, getting her deserved vengeance.   How long is a cycle is terms of Earth equivalents?

9 May, 2023 20:53

Zari was a hero, I adore her. All the planets that I mention have similar cycles to Earth. A cycle (or year) is around 300 or 500 days, depending on the planet. also days are like ours. thank you for commenting!