Hazel was the second of two children born to her parents. Right from the start, she was the polar opposite of her older brother, Thorn The Squirrel. Whilst Hazel was quiet, shy and submissive, Thorn was loud, brash and argumentative. As the years passed, the two siblings became more and more different, and drifted further and further apart, until, one day, a full blown battle erupted between them. Thorn nearly killed his sister, and in a flurry of anger, fuelled by astonishment at what he’d nearly done, Thorn took off. Unfortunately, the fight failed to reconcile his feelings towards Hazel, and over the time he’s been away, a combination of gambling, twisted logic and unwise associates have only made him more bitter towards his sister.
Young Hazel was a fairly normal child, though she displayed a fondness for nature even from the beginning. She always loved being outdoors, and more than once, she’d come home with a tame, young or wounded animal and beg her parents to let her keep it. Rearing their two chalk-and-cheese children proved to be a considerable challenge for Ash and Heather, and it was as a consequence of Thorn’s actions that Hazel developed her hatred of urban areas.
Life Changing ExperiencesEdit
The family had taken a trip to Station Square. The weather was pleasant, the children were 7 and 5 respectively, and a market was being held in the central plaza, in front of the station. Thorn, mischievous and naughty even at that age, snuck away from his parents and caused a commotion in a nearby stall by being caught shoplifting by the stall vender. Anxious to rectify the situation, Heather and Ash hurried over to retrieve their son and apologise to the vender. In the haste and commotion, and with Hazel’s attention distracted by feeding the pigeons pieces of her sandwiches, the young squirrel girl got temporarily separated from her family. Exhausting her supply of bread and peanut butter, Hazel turned to her father to ask for more, only to find he wasn’t there. Panic immediately set in, and Hazel stirred herself up into a frenzy with worry. Thinking she had lost her parents and was now alone, Hazel desperately searched for them, but her fear of strangers and the unfamiliar environment, coupled with her youth, led her round in circles until she quickly gave up, sat down in the street and cried.
Barely more than 5 or 8 minutes had passed before Ash hurried back to the spot he’d left his daughter and heard her crying a few feet off, but to Hazel, those minutes felt like hours. Though 10 years have passed since that event, urban areas still conjure up in her mind feelings of abandonment and isolation, and she tends to avoid the cityscape as much as possible. In addition, and perhaps as a result, as the cities grow and change over the years, Hazel is extremely unfamiliar with urban areas, and, as such, tends to get lost, only increasing her negative feelings. Interestingly to note, she still suffers from a certain degree of separation anxiety and loneliness, though these feelings tend to be directed more towards friends than family, as she chose to move out on her own terms. To clarify, Hazel is only ok with isolation if she chooses it and can control it, but if others leave her, feelings from her childhood experience in Station Square tend to re-emerge.
An experience later in her life gave rising to her phobic reaction to being caged; alone in Maple Forest at the age of 11, with only a beginner's knowledge of survival skills and tracking ability, the squirrel stumbled into a poacher's trap. The device was much like the cages used to catch foxes, badgers and rats in our world; a wire mesh with a diagonal panel inside held up by a trip wire so the cage is open at one end. Once the animal gets in, the panel snaps shut and the animal is trapped. Stupid, you may say. I say naive, and add into the equation the excellent camouflage arranged to hide said trap, and Hazel's less than average height, and you have a situation that results in the young girl remaining trapped and frightened for almost 4 hours before help arrived.
And arrive it did, though not in the form of her parents this time. Although her father had been frantically searching for her, a passing otter was actually the one to hear her cries and come to her aid. Only just a year older than her, the otter, a purple male, came to her aid without delay. After she'd calmed down a bit and the otter had destroyed the cage, Hazel thanked him and they began to talk. Link, as the otter was called, was something of a tinkerer; he loved to experiment with different devices, and though he had no ability at inventing things himself, he was quite proficient with a screwdriver, hence his speed at releasing Hazel from her cage.
Link's father was an engineer, and Link was happily following in his pawsteps. Hazel was impressed with Link's bravery, and indebted to him for his rescue, and the two became fast friends. Their friendship has endured down to this day.
Before Thorn left home, Hazel would often go for walks by herself, mostly to get away from Thorn’s presence at home. It was on one of these walks that she discovered Maple Forest, and fell in love with the peaceful quiet of nature. Gradually, she spent more and more time there, observing the forest creatures and their ways. Hazel bought herself books about plants and animals, and taught herself about the natural world.
Hazel’s quiet gentleness did not go unnoticed. The animals of the forest quickly learnt to recognise her, and grew to trust her. One day she found a small mouse caught in a hunter’s trap. Her heart went out to the petrified creature, so she freed it and took it back with her to an abandoned tree house she found and claimed in the forest. Over the next few days, Hazel treated the mouse’s wounds with plant remedies she had learnt from her books.
Saving the mouse proved to be a turning point in Hazel’s life. The hunter’s trap made her realise that the forest and its life needed protection from greedy and thoughtless people. She also realised that she had come to think of the forest as a second home, and she was never happier or more at peace than when she was in the forest. So, when Thorn took off after the fight, Hazel moved into Maple Forest, using her self-taught knowledge to slowly repair her broken body. The trust she had earned from the forest animals brought her companionship and comfort during her rehabilitation, and she has made it her mission to protect the land and it’s creatures from those who wish them harm.
Brothers and SistersEdit
As for the relationship between Hazel and Thorn; there’s no love lost there. Thorn views his sister as a pathetic goody-goody, a weak, frail, pathetic creature who’s marred his life from the moment she entered it. Hazel views her brother as a violent, thoughtless oaf who’s only concern in life is his own welfare, and who’ll trample on anyone else just to achieve his own desires. It’s safe to say, if they met again, there’s likely to be another battle, one that their parents won’t be around to break up. What Thorn doesn’t know is Hazel has been training and honing her body in the forest so that, when that day comes, she’ll be able to hold her own in the fight…
Hazel’s personality reflects the forest. All life is precious to her, and should never be taken for granted. She spends much of her time inside her own head, and, as such, displays a quiet, philosophical outlook to most subjects. She’s highly sensitive when it comes to the natural world, and is therefore very intune with the animals and environment around her.
Hazel can be rather on the shy side, keeping to herself and preferring the company of plants and animals over people. What she really needs are close friends to help her inner beauty shine out, but her early experiences with her brother, Thorn, have left her introverted, finding it difficult to open up to others. Her quiet, cautious approach, coupled with some books on kinesics she picked up, mean she has become very good at reading the body language of others, and she can often see past their facades to the real person underneath. Hazel prefers to observe people from the shadows, remaining hidden in the foliage, rather then engage them in conversation or combat. Her life in the forest has made her wise, yet solitary, mysterious, yet loving.
Hazel is particularly strong in her silence. If she sets her mind on something, like the deep rooted mighty oak, she can rarely be shaken from her course. The wind moving through the trees has a particularly effective calming influence on her, but she can also be remarkably stubborn. Again, her forest life has left her rather naïve to everything else, and she is significantly detached from the rest of the world. In addition, her sensitive nature means she takes everything to heart, and even minor failings leave her discouraged and self critical.
- Grass green close-lying soft fur covering her body
- Smooth, peach skinned muzzle and inner ears. Triangular indentations in the deepest visible parts of the ears.
- Hazel brown irises, black pupils and glassy white sclera. Her eyes are large and kind, with 2 thick black lashes protruding from the upper, outer corners of each eye.
- Small, sharp, brown nose with no visible nostrils
- Tall, triangular ears with two short tufts of fur on the points of each ear.
- Long, bushy tail that curls up her back, ending in 3 curved tufts pointing out horizontally and slightly downwards.
- Long, slightly wavy fur cascading from her head, down her back and ending in six long-ish tufts at her waist.
- Lithe, slim build. A little on the small side for her age (Tikal and Blaze are both 3'1", and they're a year younger than Hazel), but that's more due to her species of small mammal than anything else. In addition, she's very light for her age (Blaze & Tikal's weights are estimated at 52.8 to 68.8 lbs) but that again is due to her species, as well as her shorter stature, than any nutrtional or growth deficiency.
- White gloves with white cuffs, and a thick, wooden bangle on each wrist, between the glove and cuff
- Brown sandals, with two straps going across each foot, one strap around the ankle and a top strap going over the top of the foot, attached to the ankle strap and the front of the sole.
- Orange, single shouldered (over her right side) dress, with two tight brown bands around the waist. The hem of the dress ends in 6 short spikes, 2 at the front, 2 at the back and one on each side. The resulting effect looks something like the petals of a flower, only facing downwards.
- Brown skin tight leggings that end just above the knee.
The Cirsuimenian InvasionEdit
WARNING: Possible Spoilers follow. All details of the Cirsuimenian Invasion are subject to change.
Hazel joined the Sonic Family when the Cirsuimenian army invaded Maple Forest, under the influence of Thorn. A group of soldiers found her and attacked her, beating her to within an inch of her life. Zora's timely intervention was the only thing that saved the squirrel's life. After theorising that her brother might be able to help heal the girl's wounds, Zora carried her back to the Hotel in Station Square, where she spent most of the invasion in bed recovering from her injuries.
Life after the InvasionEdit
- “Violence isn’t the answer: it only makes the problem worse.”
- “Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.”
- “I…I’ll try.”
- “It’s ok, little one. You’re safe with me.”
- “I’ll look after him. Don’t worry.”
- “I don’t believe you have to be violent to make a change.”
- “Fight? But why would I want to harm another living being?”
- “Hey! Leave that tree alone! How would you feel if someone came along and started carving their initials in you?!”
- “The city…the lights…the noise…it’s horrible! How can you live here?”
- "A weed is only a flower growing in the wrong place."
- Hazel has a British accent. In fact, her birthplace, Rainy Island, is a direct cultural reference to England.
- Hazel’s favourite season is Autumn: she adores the colours and the falling leaves.
- Her theme song is ‘Born to Try’, by Delta Goodrem
- Hazel is great at navigating across natural terrain, but hopeless in man-made establishments, esp. cities. She quickly becomes lost when alone in a town.
- Hazel’s species was inspired by the portrayal of squirrels in Brian Jacques’ series of novels, ‘Redwall’
- Her personality is inspired by the ‘earth/plant’ elemental type. In fact, as Sonic’s theme is ‘wind', Hazel’s theme is ‘nature’.
- Her name, ‘Hazel’, ties in to her eye colour, but also references her love of nature and plants
- The term ‘squirrel’ literally means ‘shadow tailed’. I find this meaning ties in well with her personality; shy, mysterious and hidden.
- Hazel was created in 2003 to be Emerald Haze's main Sonic character. Since then, she has gone through various design and personality changes, as Emerald Haze has grown, but she has always been, and will always be, a green squirrel girl
- Hazel's favourite colours are greens, browns and oranges - the colours of the forest
- Her favourite drink is rain water
- Hazel is a vegetarian and a naturalist
- Due to her social isolation, Hazel's speech patterns are somewhat different to the norm, and can sound strange to those unfamiliar with her. In particular, she tends not to run words together. For example, istead of saying 'don't', she's more likely to say 'do not'.