Zephra becomes the TigressZEPHRA

Real Name: Zephra

Identity/Class: Demi-Goddess(?), Pre-Cataclysmic and Hyborian Eras

Occupation: To serve her father and Arkyn

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Zukala, Conan the Cimmerian, Elric of Melniboné, Arkyn and the Lords of Order

Enemies: Conan, Jaggta-Noga, Kulan Gath, Gaynor the Damned and Xiombarg's Swords of Chaos, Terhali

Known Relatives: Zukala (father), El-Ron (brother)

Aliases: The Demon-Woman, The Tigress, The Avenger of Arkyn

Base of Operations: Zukala Castle in Zamora, Koth

First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian I#5 (May, 1971)
{Prima apparizione Italiana: Gli Albi dei Super-Eroi#17 Editoriale Corno}

Powers/Abilities: Zephra was very long-lived, or, mostly probable, was immortal like her father. Her magic powers were probably derived from her father.
    She could transform in a tiger, quite strong and fast, and invulnerable to steel weapons. Probably she also had the "second sight", the power to see the future. When the human form of Zukala lost most part of his powers, she also was almost without powers, but if she was close enough to Zukala she still could use some magic.
    When she was imbued with the divine power of the Lords of Order, she was extremely powerful. Her body emitted eldritch energy and she could launch, and resist, tremendous blows of enchanted energy. She could float in the air and she was virtually invulnerable to any weapon, normal or enchanted.

head shotHistory:
Conan the Barbarian I#5 (fb) - BTS) - Legends about Zephra said that she was born during the "Hour of Zukala", i.e. when the wind was coming from North and the first light brought the morning. This could have granted her the "Second Sight" and the ability to see in the future.
    Zephra grew with her father, Zukala, until the age and shape of a young woman. She kept this appearance for eons without aging.
    In the Hyborian Era, they went to live in a Castle near a village in Zamora, on the way between Shadizar and Arenjun, not so far from Shadizar. One night, Zephra was dancing under the stars, and another young woman of the village saw her.
    During another night somebody saw the Tiger transforming back in the human form and everybody in the village knew about her powers.

(Conan the Barbarian I#5) - 50-60 years after the night that Zephra danced under the stars, she went to the village to take an annual tax not paid to Zukala by the peasants. In the mist, she materialized in her Tigress form in the middle of the village, and started to crush things and threaten people. She was distracted by Conan the Cimmerian. She assaulted the Barbarian and his sword crushed on her fur without harming her. She grabbed the young warrior with her teeth but didn't sink them, as she felt love for him. Then, she ran away.

(Conan the Barbarian I#5 (fb) - BTS) - She went back home and peered into the future, and saw Conan near her, with a shining axe in the hand.

(Conan the Barbarian I#5) - When Zephra arrived at the Castle she only had the time to report to her father about the missed payment, then she fainted in his arms.
    Hours later, awakened, she found Conan in the castle, hiding behind a tapestry. She confessed to Conan her powers and her love for him, and she embraced him, but they were discovered by Zukala. A fight started between the swordsman and the sorcerer, and Zephra tried to defend both from each other. She obeyed Zukala's order to transform into the Tigress, but she refused to attack the man she chose as her partner. Then the demon Jaggta-Noga entered in the room and attacked Conan at Zukala's command. Zephra jumped forward to defend Conan, but she could harm the demon, who flung her through the room. She was wounded and reverted to human form. Then Zukala succored his daughter and banished Jaggta-Noga to his abyss. Wounded and stunned, Zephra pronounced Conan's name, before being magically transported in another place by her father.

(Conan the Barbarian I#14 (fb) - BTS) - The following year, Zephra and Zukala were in Koth and served Arkyn the God, Lord of Order. Apparently, Zukala's magic powers were very reduced so Zephra lost her immortality and her shape-shifting powers. Zephra was sent by her father to meet Conan and to involve him in a plan to stop Queen Xiombarg of Melniboné from reviving the green Empress witch Terhali, who would conquer both the worlds of the two witches. 

(Conan the Barbarian I#14) - Zephra was riding to find Conan, but she was intercepted by the Hooded Ones, emissaries of Xiombarg. At dawn, she was noticed by Conan, who intervened, and with the help of some great white enchanted eagles saved Zephra. She convinced the Barbarian to follow her to Zukala.
    After Zukala convinced Conan to help them against Xiombarg, Zephra and Conan left for the sunken city of Yagala where Terhali was sleeping. That night the two met Elric of Melniboné who, after a brief struggle with Conan, joined with them. Moments later they were forced to fight the Prince Gaynor the Damned and his demons. Despite the ability of the two warriors, the demons were too powerful, so Zephra invoked the help of Serusha, Goddess of Rain and Storm. The rain melted the demons and saved the party.

Zephra destroys Terhali(Conan the Barbarian I#15) - Near the Eastern border of Koth, Zephra and the two warriors were attacked by monstrous and demonic beings. Zephra was too far from her father to invoke his help, so the men had to pass through using their swords. They soon reached the Sighing Lake's shores, where the City of Yagala was half-sunken. Using a raft of bones they reached the City and interrupted Kulan Gath during the ritual for reviving Terhali. Gaynor the Damned and his Chaos Pack intervened and Terhali was awakened anyway, and her City renewed in its golden shining state. Zephra had to assist when Terhali killed Kulan Gath's body and overpowered Conan and Elric. But a streak of light surrounded Zephra from the sky: Arkyn, Lord of Order asked her to become the human host of the power of the Lords of Order to fight Terhali. Zephra accepted--despite Zukala's warnings--and was transformed. Enveloped by blue-white flames, floating in the air, she attacked the immortal Terhali. The divine fight was closely matched, but eventually Zephra destroyed the Green Witch. The enormous power was too much for her human body, and Zephra died moments after having lost the divine powers.

    After Conan and Elric left the citadel with Zephra's body, Yagala crumbled in the Sighing Lake. Elric left his enchanted cloak to cover her body and Conan brought back her body to his father.

Comments: Created by Roy Thomas, Barry Smith and Frank Giacoia.

Why did a Tiger-like woman had a Zebra-like name?
    I think it's like zephyr, a type of wind.

    Zephra confirmed that she lived for eons, so it is impossible to know where and exactly when she was born.

    Conan accused Zukala of having sent her daughter in front the death (and so he did), and Zukala replied that if Conan had not fought him and caused his loss of powers, he personally would have confronted Terhali. This could mean that the potential magic powers of Zephra was stronger than Zukala's powers in those years? Maybe--since she was the daughter of Zukala the God as stated years later in Conan the Barbarian#242--she can be considered a Demi-Goddess. However this could also mean that Zukala the God preferred to save his powers for his future plans and actually sacrificed his daughter.

    In the original version of Conan the Barbarian#5 drawn by Barry Smith, Zephra died. Roy Thomas changed the final because he needed Zephra in the cross-over with Elric of Melniboné.

    Conan remembered his past encounters with Zephra in Conan the Barbarian I#241 and Savage Sword of Conan#190.

Profile by Spidermay

Zephra has no known connections to:

Conan the Barbarian I#5, p14, pan4 (Zephra in transformation)
Conan the Barbarian I#14, p4, pan6 (Zephra, head shot)
Conan the Barbarian I#15, p16, pan1 (Zephra and Terhali)

Other appearances 
Conan the Barbarian I#14 (February, 1972) {Edizione Italiana: Gli Albi dei Super-Eroi#30 Editoriale Corno}
Conan the Barbarian I#15 (March, 1972) {Edizione Italiana: Gli Albi dei Super-Eroi#30 Editoriale Corno}

Last updated: 09/15/05

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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