A lot of the animals in Empyrean are the same as animals in our world. They have birds, horses, dogs, fish. Some can talk, some can't.
Then some of the animals are culled from our collective mythology, like dragons & unicorns.
Lastly, some of the creatures only exist in Empyrean. I wanted to create some unique animals to make this fantasy world different than others.
That is where the Quzzak comes into the picture. Very monkey-like and inspired by lemurs. Kez is like family for Zandria and Olena. He's old and wise, but retains his playfulness. He is a great side-kick that can sometimes say things that the main characters can't or won't. He gives a different perspective from his own experiences. He tends to be a little cynical, but also very protective.
Easter egg: my oldest son is named Zak. He might not like me saying that he was the garrulous template for this character. Not only did I adapt his name into the species and the character, but also, I wanted the girls to have a big brother-type looking out for them.
Kez helps the girls escape from their village and leads them out of the jungle. They have a lot of history, but they also have many exciting adventures to come.