Zachin'Dach/Zakhin'Dakh is an unusually large and intelligent griffon who often travels in company with Almonihah. While in many respects (except for his size) a normal griffon, Zakhin'Dakh is somewhat smarter and considerably more curious than your average griffon, the fact which originally brought about the meeting between Zakhin'Dakh and Almonihah. Since meeting his half-dragon friend, Zakhin'Dakh has started to learn the ways of the ranger—as well as a bit of the language of the Great Eagles.
Zakhin'Dakh shrieking out a challenge, by the incredibly awesome Skysealer. :)
Some of Zakhin'Dakh's expressions, by Troy
Zakhin'Dakh reference sheet by Scorpion451
Zakhin'Dakh enjoying a map, by the amazing Katie Hofgard!
This was drawn by me, horror of horrors. While full of mistakes and partially-erased lines, it does give some idea as to Zakhin'Dakh's size and coloration:
Date of Birth: Unknown
Place of Origin: Somewhere in the Stormpeaks
Currently Located: Somewhere in Draezoln (Who knows where?)
Height: Around 9' at the shoulder
Length: About 16'7"
Weight: If you can weigh him, I'd be interested to know
Fur Color: Tawny golden-brown
Feather Color: Brown
Eye Color: Amber
Occupation: Griffon Ranger
Nickname(s): Zach (though only AZ's allowed to call him that)
Appears In: Draezoln
Zakhin'Dakh is a griffon—he has the head, forequarters, and wings of a great eagle, and the hindquarters of a lion. His plumage resembles that of a steppe eagle. The only truly unusual things (for a griffon) about Zakhin'Dakh are his great size (fully twice the size of an average griffon) and the cheery, intelligent sparkle in his eyes.
Zakhin'Dakh, being a griffon, cannot speak Common (although he understands it), though Almonihah has been teaching him some Great Eagle. However, he still communicates mostly through gestures, screeches, and shrieks. However, even using such limited communication tools, Zakhin'Dakh's irrepresibly cheery nature shines through.
Biography (Currently somewhat outdated)
Zakhin'Dakh started life the normal griffon way, by hatching in a nest with three siblings, attended by a mother griffon. There seemed to be nothing exceptional about him during his childhood, though he was perhaps slightly more curious and intelligent than his siblings. In truth, nothing out of the ordinary really happened to Zakhin'Dakh until he struck out on his own after reaching griffon adulthood.
He had the misfortune to choose as his range an area also occupied by a tribe of ice trolls, also known as ice or frost giants. Ice trolls are not known to be friendly to competing predators, and Zakhin'Dakh fared badly in his encounters with them. Eventually they decided to track him down to his lair. Zakhin'Dakh observed them making their way towards him, and decided that flight was better than fighting.
Zakhin'Dakh flew for a long time, longer than he ever had before, until he eventually found a sheltered valley. Exhausted, he found a convenient ledge along the rim of the valley and collapsed. When he awoke, he started to explore his new home, more cautiously now, on the lookout for anything that seemed dangerous. What he found, however, made him very happy.
As Zakhin'Dakh was soaring over the river in the middle of the valley, he startled a herd of deer. Their movement drew his eye, but something else about them drew his attention. They had to be twice the size of normal deer, one of them enough to feed him for at least a week (Zakhin'Dakh had a very big appetite). Suddenly, Zakhin'Dakh was very sure he had found his new home.
Zakhin'Dakh did indeed settle into the valley, and while he did discover other predators there, all of them similarly oversized, none of them flew, so he had no trouble avoiding conflict with them. And over time, as Zakhin'Dakh lived and hunted in the valley, he found himself growing to match the scale of the other inhabitants. For a time, Zakhin'Dakh lived care-free, satisfied that his great size and strength gave him safety, and that the large herds of huge deer gave him sustenance.
One day, however, a visitor came to the valley. A very unusual visitor. Zakhin'Dakh noticed him from his lair up on one of the mountains ringing the valley. He walked on two legs like the ice trolls had, but he was much smaller. What was more, he had wings, though they were leathery rather than feathered like a griffon's. And he seemed to be all bronze-colored. The other thing Zakhin'Dakh noticed is that he seemed to be doing something like what the ice trolls had been doing to find his lair.
Curious about this visitor and his activities, and confident that such a small creature posed no threat to him, Zakhin'Dakh flew out to get a closer look. He could see the bronze-colored two-leg looking at the ground, walking slowly. He showed no indication of noticing the huge griffon overhead. Eventually, Zakhin'Dakh decided to land and challenge the visitor, thinking vaguely of somehow figuring out what he was doing. However, as Zakhin'Dakh glided in to make a landing, the stranger looked up at him, snorted, and said "Took you long enough."
Zakhin'Dakh was startled at the stranger's reaction and even more surprised to find that he could understand the meaning of the strange noises the stranger made. Noticing the griffon's surprise, the visitor snorted again and said, "Didn't think I'd noticed you? Or didn't know you could understand Common?"
Zakhin'Dakh, of course, couldn't respond, so he simply screeched a rather confused-sounding screech. The stranger actually laughed a bit at this, and then said, "I'm Almonihah. And you've got to be the biggest griffon ever." Zakhin'Dakh screeched proudly and puffed out his chest in response to this, which brought another laugh from Almonihah. "Proud of it, too, huh?"
Almonihah chuckled again, and then said, "So you're wondering what I'm doing, aren't you?" he asked. "Nod your head like this," Almonihah demonstrated, "to say yes, and shake your head like this," again Almonihah gave an example, "to say no." Zakhin'Dakh gazed quizzically at the odd motions the little creature in front of him made, then, slowly understanding what they could mean, started nodding his head.
"Thought so," Almonihah said, with a decisive nod. Turning, he gestured at the ground. "I was tracking—specifically, I was tracking you, and your little hunt here last night." Zakhin'Dakh sqwaked in surprise. "How did I know that?" Almonihah guessed the question behind the griffon's surprise. Zakhin'Dakh nodded again. "Let me show you…"
Zakhin'Dakh was enthralled by the draconic ranger's description of reading tracks, and, when the light began to fail, was more than willing to oblige when Almonihah invited himself to the griffon's lair. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, as Almonihah opened Zakhin'Dakh's eyes to an entire world outside of mere eat-and-don't-get-eaten, and their acquaintance quickly deepened into a close friendship.
Eventually, Almonihah told Zakhin'Dakh that he would be leaving. No amount of protesting, even using the fragments of Great Eagle that Almonihah had taught his big friend, could convince him otherwise. And so Zakhin'Dakh (after a bit of miscommunication) declared that he would go with Almonihah.
Skills and Abilities
In addition to the normal abilities of an extraordinarily large griffon, Zakhin'Dakh also has the benefit of the ranger training Almonihah has been giving him, further honing his natural skills.
- Flight: Zakhin'Dakh is a swift and able flier (his very name means "Swift-Wing"), able to cover great distances quickly, as well as maneuver nimbly in combat.
- Size: Zakhin'Dakh takes great pride and pleasure in being BIG, and takes advantage of his size in combat.
- Eagle Eyes: Zakhin'Dakh, given that he has the head of an eagle, has very sharp eyesight, especially in bright daylight.
- Tracking: Although somewhat hindered by his size, the combination of his eyesight and Almonihah's training makes Zakhin'Dakh an above average tracker.
Being a griffon, Zakhin'Dakh does not have much use for most items, but he does have a few that he uses.
- Dragonhide Saddle: Made from the de-scaled hide of a green dragon, Zakhin'Dakh's saddle not only provides a place for Almonihah to ride, it is also enchanted to provide Zakhin'Dakh with a small measure of protection from acid and physical attacks.