Unmarked spoilers in the character page entries - don't enter if you don't want the material spoiled!
The series has Loads and Loads of Characters, so this page is fairly extensive.
The Investigation Team
Ranger Harrell White-Shoulders
A very big White-Shouldered Griffin and veteran ranger.
- Blood Knight: He's pretty much the biggest example of this in the books until he eventually meets Winter, the Newland griffin.
- Break the Haughty: The horrors of the human lab don't just break his haughty side, they grind it - and his confidence - into powder.
- Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: In the end, Harrell meets up with the few survivors of Ranger Cheer's family and begs their forgiveness. They grant it, Cheer's surviving son and hanz acknowledging the Sadistic Choice he had to make, but tell him they cannot forget that they were betrayed by him.
- Good Is Not Nice: He takes this trope pretty seriously, though not quite into full-fledged Anti-Hero territory.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Eventually, after it's all over, Harrell agrees with Coro-er - that Russell and the captive humans should all be dealt with with Extreme Prejudice. To do otherwise, he says, is to court The Farmer and the Viper on a worldwide scale. Kwap disagrees...
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: His favored tactic for interrogating bad guys - if they don't yield, he just keeps squeezing harder with those six inch murder knives of his...and once they do give him his information, he usually punches a half-dozen neat holes in them anyway.
- Jerkass: Starts out this way but gets better as the series wears on.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: As a ranger, Harrell is of the shred first, ask questions never type when dealing with bad guys.
- Knight In Sour Armor: As typical for many Roz Gibson protagonists, he very much believes in the rangers and their mission, but Might Makes Right mostly rules his life, and he's constantly grumbling about anything he sees as unnecessary or new fangled.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Harrell does the one truly unforgivable thing for a griffin: Kill a hanz. Said hanz was trying to kill Kwap because Harrell had just attacked his griffin companion, but nonetheless Harrell could have simply restrained him until he ran out of fight. Instead, he as always takes the most expedient solution: Punch holes in them until they stop living. And he pays for that decision forevermore.
- My Greatest Failure: As an apprentice ranger, he joins a small battle flock with his mentor to take down an adolescent Thunderbird that had gone Ax-Crazy and started eating people. His mentor tries to talk it down. Cue Mentor Occupational Hazard when the Thunderbird responds to his entreaties by launching a surprise attack. Despite Harrell's best efforts, his mentor dies, and he almost flees the battle. Ultimately, he takes down the Thunderbird - but only after it had killed or wounded all the rest of the battle flock. That makes him extremely uneasy when another Thunderbird comes calling for him personally...
- Noble Bigot with a Badge: Does not like greenies. He does try to keep it under wraps early on when confronting friendly greenies, but by the end his prejudice is seared into his brain - and with very good reason.
- Not So Different: Ultimately finds this out about himself when he's asked an Armor-Piercing Question by a greenie correspondent rescued from human!Earth:Harrell:You didn't care that he was planning to murder all the griffins and hanz on the Northern Continent?Shithead:Would you care if someone told you they were planning to kill all the Builders here, or in Newland? Would you really care? Would you risk your life to stop them?
- Pragmatic Hero: His strongest suit. He'll get down and dirty with anyone smaller than he is, which is pretty much everyone not Vaniss White-Shoulders. His willingness to use his talons saves his partner Kwap on multiple occasions.
- Rated M for Manly: He's one of the biggest badass griffins around and has no problem finding partners during the mating festival, a fact that he is happy to boast about - but the one he really wants is the only one bigger then he is, his ex-mate Vaniss.
- Retired Badass: Harrell gives up his territory willingly to his apprentice and disappears into exile at the end, though he does at least take a barkbox so as to keep his family in the loop.
- Sadistic Choice: Whitehead gives him a choice: Reveal the location of the photos or he kills Altera. Harrell betrays Ranger Cheer and her family by saying they had the photos, on the off chance that Cheer could defend herself and her family better then poor, blind Altera. Unfortunately, he seriously underestimated how fanatic Whitehead's mooks were...
- The Sheriff: Definitely gives off this vibe; just like his human equivalent, he is in charge of all law enforcement in a given territory, and he has a deputy (in the form of an apprentice).
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: After his experiences in the human lab, and being repeatedly unable to help griffins being killed or about to be killed, he gains the Thousand-Yard Stare and disappears.
- Sociopathic Hero: Fully justified in that Harrell is a giant bird of prey, but he thinks of killing as the first, last, and only solution to dealing with bad guys...extreme even for a griffin. Ultimately Defied: After he returns from his horrible sojourn to human!Earth, he loses his taste for killing and death...but also loses with it the ability to be a ranger. He gives up his territory to his apprentice without even token resistance and resigns his commission.
- That Man Is Dead: Says this directly:Harrell: The griffin you knew died...he died back in that room, watching other griffins tortured and killed, those he should have been able to protect. When I couldn't do that...Ranger Harrell died. Sub-adults do a wander to find out who they are. I have to find out who I am now.
- The Big Guy: Takes this role in the duo.
- To Be Lawful or Good: He straight-up chooses the former every time.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He has a very nasty tendency to shred potentially useful contacts, but the biggest one comes when he is forced to defend Kwap from a ranger whose only crime was having his mate and chicks held hostage, then kills his hanz when he goes berzerk and tries to kill Kwap. That's a huge no-no for a griffin, and leads right to a Heroic BSoD.
- Working with the Ex: In the first book and toward the end of the second, he has to work with Vaniss White-Shoulders, his ex-mate. He still carries a torch for her, but she's not interested.
Investigator Kwaperramusc Dancer
A non-predatory Dancer-Griffin, based off the Birds of Paradise. Elite Investigator for the griffin capital of Defiance.
- Agent Peacock: Though he starts as The Dandy, eventually comes to live and breathe this trope.
- Break the Haughty: Rather like Harrell, his stay in the human world grinds his haughtiness to a fine powder, but unlike Harrell he takes the powder and reforges it into diamond-hard armor.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Censored by the fact it's in Dancer dialect, but Kwap leaves zero doubt what he's screaming at Harrell after Harrell suggests that Kwap spend more time at the Flatland City station with Ranger Nightmare.
- Dancer Stuffiness: Kwap adheres to extremely strict social codes and etiquette. When Tirrsill asks him to demonstrate the famous dance, he huffily states that it is done only on the mating site and only for potential mates. Is extremely uncomfortable with being touched by anyone he doesn't know (save females during Flight Festival). It even takes a true life-and-death emergency to get him to use his Charles Atlas Superpower, because it's based off a call during the mating dance. He finally starts to crack at the end, when he touches a human as a way of sealing a deal, and makes a very broad exception for his Fire Forged Friend Tirrsill.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Kwap uses his flamboyance and ladykiller looks to hide a very dark past. Far before he was born his people were conquered and their land stolen; wishing a better life than an aboriginal jungle-dweller with no civilized niceties at all, he signed up to be educated by the greenies - and was lied to about the price he would have to pay. Kwap was forced into indentured servitude on threat of being made permanently flightless. He trained as a greenie security specialist in Newland, often being forced to work against the guerilla fighters there as The Mole. The information he gathered from inside the greenie society, however, proves invaluable and lifesaving once he joins Harrell.
- Deuteragonist: Starts as this, but quickly steals the show from Knight In Sour Armor Harrell.
- Genius Bruiser: Kwap ultimately becomes this. He still lacks talons and is very lightly built, but he more than makes up for it with intelligence and sheer badassery, even when facing far better armed and faster Tropica griffins, and by making use of the environment as a weapon. Fire ants play a prominent role as a Chekhov's Gun.
- Glass Eye: Eventually gains one after a greenie attack ruins his eye on human!Earth.
- Great Detective: No griffin on either Earth can match his powers of logic and deduction. However, he stops short of being an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, frequently running into the limitations of his knowledge when trying to puzzle out human!Earth.
- Keeping the Enemy Close: Kwap has his way of dealing with the threat of future invasion by humans - keep the "monsters" captured from human!Earth to study and learn from, even the human Big Bad. Harrell thinks they should all be killed immediately. Kwap wins.
- Language Barrier: When he finally meets a friendly "monster", both he and the monster attempt to talk to one another, but there's no hope at all of one being able to speak the other's language - their vocal equipment is just too different. Fortunately, it doesn't stop them from forming a friendship.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: He can paralyze any mammal nearby (hanz, wolfen and herders all have sensitive ears) and even hamper griffins with a jet-engine scream, and it saves his and Harrell's lives early in the story.
- Mutilation Conga: Loses more and more of his pretty plumage as survives numerous attempts on his life, then the horrors of human!Earth. By the time he makes it back to griffin!Earth, a character remarks that he looks (and smells) like he's been dead a week.
- Omniglot: In his own world. He can speak greenie, Griffin Common, dancer-griffin, Newlander and other languages. Subverted once he arrives on human!Earth: English completely defeats him. He manages to puzzle out most of the alphabet and even some simple words, but a greenie language expert eventually tells him he'd never, ever manage to learn English's weird grammar and syntax in time, and even if he could read it, his chance of speaking it is zero.
- The Atoner: Wants very much to make up for his years as The Mole for the greenies, so he joins the ranger's investigation into the disappearances.
- The Dandy: Such a dandy you'd mistake him for Camp Gay at first, but he's really Camp Straight instead.
- The Smart Guy: Definitely the smartest griffin in the entire series. Beauty and brains in one neat package.
- The Unpronouncable: His name, which even most griffins can't pronounce properly. When the hanz Tirrsill is assigned to him as assistant, however, she pronounces his name perfectly, foreshadowing their eventually bonding.
- Took a Level in Badass: Holy shit. Goes from being The Dandy and The Load to enduring and surviving the full horrors of our Earth. He loses a lot of his pretty plumage and gains some permanent scars and a Glass Eye, but he's nearly a Memetic Badass by the end and gains the respect of the highest ranking rangers in the world.
- Trauma Conga Line: A nonstop one stomping all over Kwap from the moment he arrives on human!Earth. Diseases that make him mortally ill repeatedly, poisonous food and water, poisonous air, being constantly hunted by assassins, moving from hiding place to hiding place under duress, constantly on the edge of starving to death...that Kwap survives at all is nothing short of 6 inch ceramic Plot Armor, but Misery Builds Character, and Kwap evolves into an expert at unconventional warfare and survival.
Tirrsill, hanz of the Ninon-el entertainment clan.
One of Harrell's hanz, loaned out to Kwap during the investigation.
- Androcles' Lion: A nearly literal example, considering she thinks of our housecats as "little lions". While she and Kwap are hiding out at a treehouse, she befriends a cat of one of the local residents. The cat, in turn, leads its (friendly) human owners right to her and Kwap - just when the two need help the most.
- Badass Adorable: Though at first she's as much The Load as Kwap, she eventually learns to put up quite a fight all by her lonesome and saves Kwap's life a couple of times in human!Earth. She learns to use a greenie gun and knife, and even executes a commando raid on the lab solo.
- Eating Pet Food: She finds she can live quite happily on cat kibble. Kwap, unfortunately, can't, and that's a major challenge to overcome.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Kwap, once they make it off Human!Earth alive, they are inseparable, and he 'inherits' her by mutual assent.
- Hidden Depths: She turns from secretary to survival expert practically overnight when trapped in the human world with Kwap.
- Interspecies Friendship: She actually forges one with a family of "Monsters" after she befriends one of their cats, and it saves both her and Kwap's lives.
- Justified Criminal: She becomes an adept thief but only steals food, magazines, and occasionally books, the former to keep them alive, the latter two to help Kwap try to puzzle out the monster world.
- Like a Duck Takes to Water: Is reassigned from her job as an entertainment secretary and field scout to Kwap as his assistant, and she has no problem at all making the switch. Justified Trope, because the two utilize very similar skillsets.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Insists on cuddling up with Kwap, which he strongly dislikes, as it's a major breach of griffin etiquette. However, by the time their adventures conclude, Kwap's happy to invite her into his personal space any time she wants.
- Rascally Raccoon: She looks similar enough to human!Earth's raccoons that she has some freedom of movement around human suburbs.
The Black Hats
Whitehead the Kaerling Flock Leader
- Artifact of Doom: He builds and re-opens Irrant-eet's dimensional gate, which nearly turned into a Doomsday Device the last time it was used. This time works better: It opens to human!Earth.
- Bad Boss: To an extreme. Anyone that has failed him, has outlived their usefulness, or that he wants to make disappear ends up straight in the human lab, there to be experimented on unto insanity or death. His Tropica Elite Mooks fare no better - he plans to exterminate them with the rest of the griffins.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Most greenies scream and screech, just like our parrots. Whitehead very rarely raises his voice and says as little as possible.
- BFG: His custom weapon of choice is a semiautomatic heavy rifle that fires exploding rounds. The first shot drops a griffin shieldsuit every time. The second shot blows their head open.
- Big Bad: His conspiracy spans both Earths and threatens virtually everyone.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Occasionally falls victim to this - underestimating Kwap's ability to survive on human!Earth is the biggest mistake he makes, and one that ultimately brings his plans crashing down.
- Feathered Fiend: Pretty much the epitome of this trope.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: On the surface, Whitehead looks like any other flock leader of any other greenie city - vain and pompous, but negotiable, and for a while, that's what he was...until he discovered Irrant-eet's gate.
- Green and Mean: Inverted. Whitehead is white with a red patch around his eye, and is a truly horrific villain. The "common" greenies, all-green, tend to be well behaved workers or even HeelFace Turn.
- Kick The Herder: Never passes up an opportunity to stomp puppies, both to maintain his mystique among his underlings and to demoralize the heroes.
- Living Lie Detector: He can, with no effort at all, detect when a griffin is lying to him, and uses it specifically against Harrell:Whitehead: You griffins are terrible liars. Not social enough, I guess.
- Omnicidal Maniac: This is what Whitehead ultimately reveals himself to be - he doesn't care how many die, so long as he and his inner circle get to rule the remains.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Whitehead never uses his greenie name, Jarret-eet; he is simply Whitehead to greenie and griffin alike.
- Pet the Monster: He has just one moment of regret, but he makes it count: When he leads Kriss, Russell's Dragon, to a horrible death at the talons of Vaniss' War Flock, he actually regrets including her in his Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. He makes the one apology (even if it is to a dead body) he offers in the series, hopes that perhaps her shade hears it, and uses two rounds of his BFG to take revenge on the Red Shirt that killed her - even though it leaves him without enough rounds to kill the captives. Sadly, this isn't redemption, but a mere moment before he goes back to his normal cold, ruthless personality.
- Sadist: Making griffins suffer is what he lives for, but is just as happy to have greenies, wolfen, and herders tortured as well, including by his own beak and claws, when he needs to let off steam.
- We Have Reserves: He sends a seemingly endless stream of assassin squads out to try to keep his secret.
- Would Hurt a Child: Kills a griffin chick to break the other captives and does so without a second glance.
- Xanatos Roulette: He usually has multiple Xanatos Gambits running at once, and only a huge layer of Plot Armor protects the protagonists as one gambit after another drops like anvils on their heads.
Russell, the human CEO
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Whitehead offers to make him rich if he sets up a lab to develop the griffin death plague, and he does exactly that.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: He and Whitehead consider each other their Dragons - but when Russell gets truly angry, even Whitehead starts getting afraid. Even though there're a nominal team, they are hampered by a serious lack of trust - Russell is well aware of Whitehead's Chronic Backstabbing Disorder and he isn't above it himself.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Before the gate buildings are destroyed, Harrel drags him through to griffin!Earth and traps him there - to be used as the griffin's experimental subject, one of the few "Monsters" they get to study.
- Man Behind the Man: It's his technology and assistance that turns Whitehead into the omnicidal threat he is.
- Obviously Evil: Doesn't even bother to hide his metaphorical mustache twirling: He drives a black Lamborghini with the license plate BLK GLD. This becomes a major disadvantage when the police of human!Earth start closing in on his operations.
Doctor Deverall, the human research scientist
- Bad Boss: Apparently took a few pages from Whitehead. He sends a constant stream of vet techs into the griffin enclosure under the assumption they're a bunch of mindless lab animals. They're not, and that gets used against them again and again. Worse, when the War Flock arrives with the police in tow, he orders his guards to start shooting and takes the civilian personnel of the lab hostage. Most of them are killed as a result.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Quite frequently inflicts this on his griffin captives to keep them in line, in the form of electric cattle prods.
- Evidence Dungeon: The lab building, particularly to Kwap's cold eye. Coro-er provides an insider view of being trapped in within its horrors.
- Evilutionary Biologist: Is an expert molecular biologist and physiologist, which he uses to create a genocidal plague to kill millions of innocents.
- Hoist by His Own Petard / Laser-Guided Karma: He's such an unrepentant monster that he's even willing to do the same to greenies as he does to the griffins; one such greenie, tortured into madness, Heel-Face Turns and ultimately undoes both his and Whitehead's plans. He himself is pinned down and Impaled with Extreme Prejudice through his leg by one of his own captives, Winter White-Tail, whom he shot and left for dead...only to find out the hard way that she was Not Quite Dead after all. Vaniss simply leaves him there - but not before the hanz sappers set the building on fire behind them.
- Labcoat of Science and Medicine: The griffin captives he experiments on never learn his name - they only know him as 'the white Alpha' and he's the only one the griffins normally see that wears it - the vet techs all wear green. (The lab techs also wear white, and it's those that the griffins primarily target during the Roaring Rampage of Rescue).
- Mad Scientist: His commissioned task is to create a tailored plague to kill the griffins, but he really wants to study them. It's not an improvement.
- Killed Offscreen: You never actually see Deverall die, but considering his femoral artery was cut by Winter and he was pinned by her body, his options were: Bleeding to death, burning alive, or having the building come down on his head. It's not likely he survived.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Is a bigot and a thorough misogynist that is constantly hitting on or trying to touch Russel's Dragon.
A Tropica griffin and Ranger for the Kaerling territory
- Asshole Victim: Nobody's really sorry to see her dead.
- Blood from the Mouth: In her dying moments. Not that it's necessary to show, considering Harrell's just crushed her chest like a beer can.
- Dark Chick: She's literally and metaphorically so, being Whitehead's primary griffin minion.
- Informed Ability: She's supposed to be Whitehead's best griffin fighter, but she honed her talons on rangers that either were crushed into submission by Whitehead, were much smaller than her or were very young; when she meets a real fighter, she's quite promptly stomped. Other Tropica Griffin Elite Mooks of Whitehead's are actually much better fighters - and a much more lethal threat.
- In Name Only: Like the rest of Whitehead's Tropica griffins, she's there to see new lands, make a passel of credits and kill whoever Whitehead wants her to kill. The "ranger" title is there only because she successfully defends the territory from the Crossline Plains griffins, and because the Chief Ranger of the area, Rekken, is completely in thrall to Whitehead.
- Obviously Evil: Doesn't even bother to hide that she's working for Whitehead: Her mission is simply to keep any nosy griffins away from Whitehead's illegal Kaerling facilities, and kill those who don't yield.
- Seldom-Seen Species: She and the Tropica griffins are based off Verreaux's Eagles.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: She's so used to beating up on little prairie griffins and red-tailed griffins that she thinks she can easily take Harrell. He very quickly shows her that size matters - twice. The first time gets her a broken leg. The second time gets her dead.
- The Brute: Isn't particularly bright, but is single-minded about her mission. She's also quite big, so she easily can overpower and kill little Prairie and Forest griffins. Then she meets Harrell.
- Too Stupid To Live: She decides that after facing Harrell once and getting stomped that she's the ideal candidate to guard the gate from him. He responds to her sneak attack by crushing the life out of her after a short and bloody fight.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Mnear's seen exactly four times before Harrell finally crushes her to pulp and puts her out of everyone's else's misery.
- We Will Meet Again: After Harrell finally Curb Stomps her and gives her a broken leg as a memento, she can't wait to get back into battle again with him, and it goes even worse for her the second time.
Whitehead's Captives A.K.A. the missing griffins
Vaniss and Harrel's daughter.
- Berserk Button: Threaten Voll and there is nothing and nobody that can keep her from trying to help, not even Vaniss herself. It ultimately proves futile as he's taken away and killed anyway.
- Beware the Nice Ones: One of the nicer griffins you'll ever find, but heaven help you if you threaten her friends and she's not restrained. A griffin as big as her turning into The Berserker is not a pretty sight, and a Death Glare from her is enough to actually get a human to Bring My Brown Pants.
- Break the Cutie: She had a particular fondness for Voll before he's taken away to his death. When Vaniss finally frees the captives, she insists on going after him. Arriving at the egg-lab, a Mook tells her (through Coro-er) that he's been infected with the plague and is beyond saving. She falls into the griffin equivalent of helpless tears, her spirit broken.
- Improbable Weapon User: She doesn't initiate the Poop Wars but does organize it, much to her father's abject horror.Harrell: Aera! That's disgusting!
- Mama Bear: She considers herself a Parental Substitute for Voll, and nothing stands in her way to try a rescue - not even Vaniss.
- Say My Name: When she's informed Voll is already dying of the griffin death plague, all she can do is scream his name.
- The Leader and The Big Guy: Among the captives it's her that organizes the resistance and her that's constantly extolling them not to give up, and she's also the largest griffin there - a third bigger than Harrell and she's only a teenager! She also is assigned to hide their Dark Secret - especially from Harrell.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to her own father after he reacts with disgust (above) to her idea to initiate the Poop Wars, telling him just how desperate their situation is and if they're doomed to be treated like animals, they had to fight like animals. Afterward, she curls up in a corner and griffin-cries. Voll, little more than a child himself, actually gives Harrel a Disapproving Look and curls up against the fence with her for reassurance.
A prisoner of war from Newland.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Of Harrell. She even preens his crestfeathers, a horrifying breach of griffin etiquette.
- Big Eater: Never stops demanding food, especially when she's put into heat.
- Blood Knight: Like most Newland griffins, she considered it practically a holy duty to exterminate every greenie she finds, as well as every animal and other race caught helping them in any way.
- Dark Chick / The Brute: A rare protagonist example. It doesn't show well in the picture, but Winter is big - not as big as Harrell or Aera, but she towers over the smaller falcon and forest griffins.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Shot by Deverall and dying, she nonetheless manages to put her talons through his leg and force him to inject her with the last of his plague, leaving him trapped and helpless.
- Eating the Enemy / I Eat Greenies for Breakfast: Winter is quite happy to tell you how she fought the griffin-greenie wars.
- Evil Laugh: She demonstrates a chilling one, emphasizing just how deranged she is.
- Foreign Cuss Word / Precision F-Strike: The only griffin to actually have a word in her native dialect (Newlander, which Harrell wouldn't understand) transcribed, and she makes it count:Winter:She's gone, ranger! Tore her own throat with her talons one night! Idiot skazska bitch! Now we all have our talons cut!
- Obligatory War Crime Scene: She brings the horror of the greenie-Newland griffin war home, in her description of what she did to a bunch of innocent civilians that just happened to move sheep onto her territory.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: She says one final line to her crush Harrell before charging Deverall:Winter:I would've had you fly for me, handsome.
- The Berserker: Considering she's from griffin!Earth's Iceland, "Viking Berserker" is probably the best way to describe her fighting style, along with a generous helping of Sadism.
- Would Hurt a Child: And in an unthinkably awful way: She devours greenie chicks alive and gets the giggles thinking of their agonizing deaths inside of her. She even suggests doing the same to the herder pup sent to watch them, but she never gets the chance.
- Yandere: Because Harrell is stupid enough to get her talking, she gets the hots for him once she's put into heat and never, ever stops trying to cajole him into boinking her, whether he's willing and capable of the act or not.
A courier from the Northern Continent, blind from a human disease.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Aera realizes that the human vet techs go into Altera's cage with no protection because he's so nice, and blind to boot. That gets very specifically weaponized against them, and though Altera doesn't kill the vet tech his Playing Possum gambit lures in, he very efficiently strips him naked, recovers the RFID tag to his cage and passes it silently to Cerrick - with only verbal instructions to find and do any of it.
- Death Seeker: Griffins don't tolerate handicapped members, so he's trying to kill himself by starvation when Ranger Harrell joins the captives.
- Mr. Exposition: Tells the full tale of how he was kidnapped and ended up in the lab, filling in the blanks for Harrell. It's, to say the least, a harrowing tale.
- Parental Substitute: It's this that drives his purpose after he's rescued from the lab - Kreet's surviving chick won't leave his side, so he vows to take care of her and raise her to adulthood.
- The Determinator: Once Harrell convinces him to live, his attitude turns around 180 degrees and he becomes this.
- The Heart: Once he recovers from his depression, he becomes this to the group of captives. When, toward the end, it looks like he will be put to death, his imminent demise takes the heart right out of the rest of the captives; however, a lucky accident spares him and he is one of the few survivors of the lab.
- Worth Living For: Harrell tells Altera of his encounter with Altera's hanz, Kinnee, hopelessly lost without his griffin. That convinces Altera to keep trying, right to the Bittersweet Ending.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Aera notices that their human tormentors go freely into his cage, because he's blind and meek. They have him play dead (down to fouling his cage) so he gets a chance to attack a lab tech and steal one of his RFID tags. The plan works to perfection.
One of Aera's storm chasers and a prairie griffin chick
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Whitehead uses Chex to demonstrate that he Would Hurt a Child. The first shot doesn't kill the poor hatchling. He lets him suffer for a long, long moment, then destroys Chex's head with the next several shots.
- Innocent Bystander: Chex. He's just a hatchling, and the first thing Whitehead targets.
- Mr. Exposition: Cerrick explains life within the lab, and also lets out the crucial piece of information that it isn't just griffins there - herders, hanz, wolfen and greenies are also imprisoned within the facility. It's also him that ultimately reveals the captives' Dark Secret about what really goes on in the lab, and what the red tags actually mean...
- Swallow the Key: Basically makes himself into a stolen RFID key's hiding place. The crop doesn't digest food, so it wouldn't damage the key, and it was easy to bring it back up again whenever it was needed later.
- The Smart Guy: Among the captives, he's the smartest of the griffins, having nearly Kwap's deductive ability about the workings within the lab.
Other notable griffins and hanz
Chief Ranger for Earthquake City
- Awkward Handshake: When (with Coro-er's help) she negotiates an alliance with the Texas Rangers, the human Chief Ranger concludes the deal with a handshake with the giant griffin.
- Da Chief: She's the no-nonsense chief ranger for Earthquake City, and Harrell's superior.
- Death Glare: In a world full of giant birds of prey, nobody can Death Glare like Vaniss. There's a reason it's her picture that used to grace the Nightmare Fuel page. She's good enough at it that she can even shut Harrell up with one.
- Large and in Charge: She's the biggest griffin on the entire Northern Continent, and makes zero secret of the fact that she can kick your tailfeathers - not even Harrell is immune.
- Four-Star Badass: Once she switches into full military mode, she becomes this.
- Frontline General: Once she gets the War Flock together, she leads it personally into battle against Whitehead's forces.
- Lightning Bruiser: She's one of the biggest griffins of the Twin Continents - which doesn't stop her from having blinding speed in combat.
- Non-Promotion: A positive example. She's promoted to field general for the War Flock as a sort of final exam to joining the flag officer corps of the rangers in Defiance.
- Non-Idle Rich: As griffins go, she's quite wealthy, having a virtual mansion-roost in prime real estate. This makes her not one jot less dedicated to her job, and her connections in Defiance help Harrell and Kwap on numerous occasions.
- Old Flame: She and Harrell were once an item, but they eventually went their separate ways. Harrell carries a torch for her, but she's already moved on.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: When Kwap's message gets to her telling her to raise a very large War Flock and wipe Kaerling off the face of griffin!Earth, she vouches for him with the head ranger and doesn't hesitate to start recruiting that army.
- After all is said and done, she remains so. She recognizes Whitehead as a monstrous exception to the many peaceful builder cities and trade ports, and keeps the overt war limited to Kaerling, the human gate facility, and Deverall's lab. Post-war, she deliberately keeps the full extent of Whitehead's genocidal plans secret. That prevents reprisal attacks against peaceful greenie settlements, and ultimately prevents the entire Twin Continents from degenerating into a Newland-style Forever War.
- Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Once the War Flock finally reaches human!Earth, the battle quickly turns into this.
- Scylla and Charybdis: When Kwap returns home, he gives Vaniss two choices: Close the gate immediately and doom all the griffins on human!Earth to slow death, or bust in with the War Flock to rescue them, and risk the bioweapon getting loose and destroying her world. She ultimately has Kwap put it to a vote, and it's unanimous - invade human!Earth, recover the captives, and kill the bioweapon preemptively by destroying the lab. It works, but Scylla, in the end, gets her due.
- The Juggernaut: Eight feet from talons to crest - nothing, griffin, greenie or human, stands in her way if she wants to go somewhere.
- Tranquil Fury: When she gets angry, she doesn't throw temper tantrums - she just gets very, very cold. That's a really good time to run like hell, as a number of human mooks find out the hard way.
Ranger for Flatland City
- And Call Him "George"!: Those she's friendly toward don't have it much better than those that piss her off.
- Eating the Enemy: She's not as dedicated to this as Winter White-Tail but she's not above it either. Implied to have happened to one of the two greenie assassins she caught. (The other, upon witnessing this, "sang like a spring bobolink.")
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Yaht-eet the station master. He's one of the few sentients of any species not to fly for their life away from Nightmare, but instead regards her with a great deal of affection. She returns it in full. If you need a favor from Nightmare, Yaht-eet will make sure you get it. Treat him badly or threaten him, and you are in for a world of hurt.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: If you're a greenie lawbreaker and dumb enough not to tell her what she wants to know, heaven help you.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: She's only known as "Nightmare" and she is just that, to griffin and greenie alike (though for wildly different reasons).
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: If you're a greenie lawbreaker in her jurisdiction, you'll soon find out why she's called "Nightmare". Two greenie assassins find this out the hard way.
- No Sense of Personal Space: She insists on getting physical with everyone no matter who their species, which is nerve-wracking for the small hanz and drives traditionalist griffins like Kwap completely batshit.
- Raised by Wolves: She was raised by a greenie and herder mixed family, so she inherited greenie social habits and herder physical affection - and knows absolutely zip about proper griffin etiquette.
- The Big Guy: She's not especially bright, but she's huge for a Golden-Nape, pushing into male White-Shoulder territory.
Chief Ranger for Crossline Plains
- Despair Event Horizon: Once he crosses it, the cowardice drops away and he launches a suicidal attack.
- Dirty Coward: Played with. Rekken is constantly cringing and fawning to hide the truth, and does nothing to fight Whitehead's takeover, disgusting Harrell. However, it comes out that Whitehead kidnapped his wife and chicks, and once the truth comes out, he goes kamikaze.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate / Suicide by Cop: Begs Harrell for death when he realizes he cannot beat him, to protect Kreet and his chicks. Harrell can't bring himself to kill him, so he attacks, and when Harrell tries restraining him, he gets his paws in position for a disemboweling kick, forcing Harrell to crush his throat and kill him.
- I Have Your Wife: Whitehead gains control of him (and the other rangers of Crossline Plains) by kidnapping his lifemate Kreet and both their new chicks. Unbeknownst to him, they've been sent to the human lab and are already as good as dead by the time Harrell confronts him.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Is this to the other Crossline Plains rangers, who have no idea that he is in thrall to Whitehead.
- The Berserker: Once he realizes that Harrell and Kwap are not going to simply leave, he launches an all-out attack on Kwap to try and kill him. When Harrell responds in kind, Rekken's hanz also turns into the The Berserker, trying to kill Kwap. Harrell kills them both.
Crossline City Ranger, her hanz and her family
- Big Damn Heroes: When Harrell is in truly desperate straits trying to fly away from the Kaerling facility, she and her family answer his call for help and drive off the greenies and Tropica griffins, giving him a safe place to hole up and heal.
- Despair Event Horizon: When the twins (below) manage to kill Nye, her apprentice (and child) she dives headlong past this and never recovers.
- Morton's Fork: They're part of Ranger Harrell's: To save Altera, he fingers Ranger Cheer to Whitehead as having the photos of the gate facility. That gets them attacked repeatedly, and Altera still is marked for death, even if it isn't Whitehead himself pulling the trigger. Averted in the end only because Altera survives. They also face their own Morton's Fork: Keep the photos and die, or give them to Kinnee to take to Defiance and die anyway? They choose the latter.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Cheer's reward for her good deeds is to end up completely embroiled in the Kaerling conspiracy, which costs her apprentice, part of her hanz's family and ultimately she herself their lives.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go: Spoken by Ern, one of Cheer's children, to the greenie and wolfen assassins that came to kill the family and take the photos - right before a Big Damn Heroes moment by another Crossline Plains ranger:Greenie: I did. *points to wolfen* He didn't.
Hanz of missing courier Altera Blue
- Big Damn Reunion: At the very end, after going through hell and back multiple times, Kinnee and Altera Blue are finally re-united, and it's hard not to get misty at the reunion.
- Indentured Servitude: A mild example. Kinnee has to indenture himself twice in order to both hide and to acquire the necessary credits to keep the MacGuffin moving toward Defiance.
- Little Hero, Big War: Kinnee is the one that ends up with Kwap's MacGuffin, the photos of the Kaerling facility. A good part of the second book is Kinnee's attempt to protect those photos and ultimately get them to Defiance.
- Magnetic Plot Device: Once Harrell gives away the location of the photos, the greenies send a never-ending stream of assassin squads after it. Somehow, Kinnee manages to avoid being killed by any one of them. Eventually, hands them off to courier Rine Blue - which causes the greenies to target him and leads to one of the truly awesome moments in the book.
- MacGuffin Escort Mission: Kinnee's primary purpose in the story is to get the Kaerling photos to Defiance, though eventually he passes off the hot potato to Rine Blue.
- No One Should Survive That: Kinnee is Target Number Two for Whitehead for much of the second book, and faces a seemingly endless bunch of Mook suicide squads that never fail to track where he's run to next. Every time, they manage to kill one or more of his hosts, and usually manage to shoot him as well, but he some how, some way survives every time.
- Plot Armor: Occupies quite a privileged position in the story, as the only secondary character to get full plate Plot Armor and one of the only ones to make it through to the end alive.
- Tracking Device: Kinnee's rotten luck reveals a crucial fact: Every greenie communication device is one of these, and it is how Kinnee is being tracked from place to place during his MacGuffin Escort Mission.
Whitehead's social savant.
- Chekhov's Gunman: We first see her with Whitehead, who is trying to get what information he can out of her. We next see her much later, in the human lab, waiting to be rescued by Kwap and Tirrsill - and to use her skill to save them all.
- Crazy Awesome: Once she Heel Face Turns and starts working with Kwap, her insanity actually works to their advantage.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: She comes to realize just how insanely dangerous humans are to her world, and once it fully hits her, she goes insane.
- Mad Woman In The Attic: Whitehead, once he gets what he can out of her, gives her to the humans to be locked away.
- Omniglot: Her most useful feature - she can speak English fluently.
- Morality Pet: More or less becomes this once freed. Despite being a greenie and having worked for the Big Bad, and despite being tiny enough to swallow in one gulp, the griffins from Kwap on up treat her mostly with delicate respect. Even a pissed-off Aera doesn't do more then lightly prod her with a talon. Quite a contrast with the rest of the story, where greenies are shredded and dismembered on a routine basis.
- Oh, Crap!: Has a great Oh, Crap! moment when she realizes that Tirrsill broke her out of the lab - in order to take her to Kwap.Coro-er:Griffin? GRIFFIN?!
- Self-Harm: Like with parrots on human!Earth, her madness causes her to pluck herself bald save for the head (which she can't reach with her bill).
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: She is telling the absolute truth about humanity and its level of threat, which she tries like hell to communicate to Whitehead. He dismisses her concerns as just mad rambling. Kwap, on the other hand, takes her deadly seriously.
- Trolling Translator: She threatens this whenever the griffins get out of line. When Aera prods Coro-er with a talon and demands she translate to a Mook, the greenie spits back that if she wasn't careful she'd tell the tech that Aera wanted to mate with him.
Whitehead's second in command
- Breaking Speech: Once he frees himself from his bindings, tries to convince Kwap and Tirrsill to give themselves up to Whitehead to avoid starving to death.
- Dirty Coward: Kwap threatens him with torture by fire ants, and he readily agrees to turn traitor and show him the location of the gate facility.
- The Dragon: He basically acts as Whitehead's greenie dragon and go-between.
- Implacable Greenie: After Kwap forces him to turn traitor, he never rests in his efforts to find and kill Kwap and Tirrsill.
- Mr. Exposition: On the way to the gate facility, he readily fills in a large number of gaps about the humans' Earth for Kwap.
- Turncoat: Once Kwap finds an effective threat, he temporarily turns on Whitehead, revealing the location of Deverall's lab to Kwap and Tirrsill. Once he's released, he does everything possible to hide that truth from Whitehead.
- We Can Rule Together: As part of his Breaking Speech, he offers to talk Whitehead out of killing Kwap if only he'd join up, as he's well aware of Kwap's background as a Builder-trained Mole. Kwap turns him down flat, and he flies away.
Whitehead's military savant.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Before the War Flock arrives, he sends his lifemate away to the Greenie city on Emerald Islands and vows that succeed or fail, he would return to the Newland war just to get as far away from the "monsters" as possible.
- Evil Cripple: A veteran of the greenie-griffin wars, Enther-eet had both his wings torn off by a vengeful Newland griffin. He's fully on board with Whitehead's plan to kill all the griffins.
- Genius Cripple: Knows more than any other greenie about griffin tactics and weaknesses.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Fought against the Ax-Crazy Newland griffins and was permanently maimed by them, and now he wants revenge.
- Killed Offscreen: He leads the final fighters into battle against Vaniss' War Flock and is torn apart with the rest of them.
Whitehead's elite executioners.
- Action Bomb: Whitehead's solution to the loose end of a surviving twin in a permanent Villainous BSoD? Strap a grenade packed with C4 onto her and send her straight to Kwap's Roost to take everyone there out in one blow. It damn near works, too.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Kill one twin, and you force the other into a permanent Villainous BSoD - and that's exactly what Harrell does once he's shielded.
- BFG: They carry special sniper rifles - built by humans - with far more range and penetrating power then standard greenie rifles.
- All There in the Manual: Their names are Soonder-er and Seckter-eet, but they're rarely addressed by their names.
- Twincest / Villainous Incest: Is heavily rumored to be occurring, since they are in perfect synchrony with one another. They encourage the rumors by living like mates, believing (correctly) that it adds to their mystique and intimidation factor.
- Cold Sniper: They definitely qualify as this and it is what makes them most useful to Whitehead.
- Creepy Twins: Their defining feature. Even Whitehead's commanders are creeped out by those two.
- Informed Ability: They're supposed to be Whitehead's deadliest assassins, but sent to kill Kwap and everyone with him, they only manage to kill Cheer's apprentice (and son) Nye - who blundered right into their ambush - before Harrell smashes them.
- Nightmare Fetishist: They quite enjoy watching others die in horrible ways, and always want to explore all-new ways of killing things and all new things to kill.
- Professional Killer: Both of them are pro snipers and are called to use their skills frequently. They even have a recent addition to their guns: Human-made laser sights.
- Sadist: Both of them. Their previous job was executing greenies by dismembering them, and they enjoyed every moment of it.
- Single-Minded Twins: To a fairly extreme extent - they can move and speak in absolute synchrony when they want to.
- Tempting Fate: The page quote. "Everything can die." And after Harrell manages to get a shieldsuit on during their assassination attempt, they quite rapidly find out that includes them.
- Villainous Breakdown: Harrell manages to kill one of the two, and it completely, utterly breaks the other, effectively neutralizing the twins and causing Whitehead fairly serious grief.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Get all of one scene before the attack on Kwap's roost and their subsequent destruction at Harrell's talons.