Adel appears masculine, possessing a torso more akin to a well-built male. Her red hair is tied into a long plait and she wears a headpiece, a black skirt with frock, arm bands, and body armor (although this piece is often confused as being part of the multiple black tattoos that adorn her torso, creating the impression of her being topless). Her skin is white and her eyes are crimson. A set of tattoos delineate a mirror-image of wings on her back. In the fighting sequence the tattoo is replaced by an actual set of pinnae, or wings. Adel is at least four times the size of the average person.
Adel is said to be cruel, brutal, avaricious, power-hungry, and utterly ruthless. She has no morals and no sympathies and is the epitome of pure evil. None of her actions in the game show anything more than this.
You thought I would fall for that trick?
Sorceress Adel rose to power in Esthar during the time period between the destruction of the Centra Empire and the advent of the Sorceress War. How she became the ruler of Esthar is unknown, although Selphie Tilmitt mentions similarities between the rise of Edea Kramer and Adel in her diary. This would indicate Adel cooperated with the former head of Esthar before taking over the position forcefully, possibly through assassination.
Estharians rarely speak of her in more than hushed voices, indicating it was a rule of tyranny. Adel began what was to be known as the Sorceress War by pitting the forces of Esthar against Galbadia in a step towards world domination. Galbadia retaliated and instead of being conquered, expanded its own power and became a dominant nation in its own right.
Esthar discovered the Crystal Pillar that controls the periodic Lunar Cry. Realizing the destructive power she could harness by using the Lunar Cry as a weapon, Adel ordered a special compound that became known as the Lunatic Pandora built around the pillar. Lunatic Pandora served two purposes: it made the Crystal Pillar mobile, allowing Adel to choose the precise location of each Lunar Cry, and it amplified the pillar's frequency emanations, causing the "cries" prompted by the pillar from inside the Pandora to be even more destructive.
Since a sorceress must pass on her power to another upon death before she can rest, Adel intended to find a successor and ordered the mass kidnapping of young girls, planning to choose one with the most potential and raise her to become the next tyrant of Esthar. One target of particular interest was Ellone, the adopted daughter of Laguna Loire and Raine who had a unique ability to send another person's consciousness back in time. After Ellone had been kidnapped, Laguna, a former Galbadian soldier, stopped at nothing to rescue her.
While rescuing Ellone, Laguna joined the Estharian resistance against Adel's rule. Knowing that killing Adel would have her pass on her sorceress powers to someone else, the resistance came up with an alternative: containing her. Laguna enlisted the help of his friends, Kiros Seagill and Ward Zabac, as well as the scientific knowledge of Esthar's top scientist, Dr. Odine. Although initially loyal to Adel, Odine's ultimate desire was research, and so he built a cryo-containment device to bind the sorceress's powers and place her in suspended animation for the resistance. The resistance placed the device inside a building that would later become known as the Sorceress Memorial.
Resistance fighters took control of the Lunatic Pandora and sunk it deep into the ocean, both to draw out Adel and to lessen the impact of future Lunar Cries. When Adel came to investigate, resistance members told her they believed those responsible to be holding Ellone hostage inside the Memorial. When Adel entered the building she found a facsimile of Ellone resting within a container, Laguna following her close behind. Before Adel could retaliate, Laguna pushed her and Kiros and Ward remotely closed the container, binding her in thin golden cords and freezing her instantaneously. Releasing a gelatinous cooling and buffering agent, the device protected the frozen Adel from outside contact preventing any stimulus from awakening her.
The container, appropriately dubbed Adel's Tomb, was launched into space and brought to rest in orbit around the moon, causing the worldwide radio interference rendering most wireless technology useless for the next 17 years, until Sorceress Ultimecia possesses Rinoa Heartilly and reaches the Lunar Base, thus gaining access to Adel's Tomb. Rinoa deactivates the trap, freeing Adel, as Ultimecia's sorceress' knight, Seifer Almasy, starts a Lunar Cry from the salvaged Lunatic Pandora. As monsters fall from the moon, Adel's Tomb is caught up in the morass and brought down with them, falling into the Lunatic Pandora. Ultimecia leaves Rinoa's body to possess Adel's.
Squall Leonhart and his allies infiltrate Lunatic Pandora to save Ellone, whom Seifer has taken captive onboard. As Seifer's allies, Fujin and Raijin, betray him and release Ellone, Seifer kidnaps Rinoa and presents her to the possessed Adel, who junctions Rinoa to increase her powers. Adel loses to the SeeD and transfers her powers to Rinoa before dying.
Adel is fought at the start of disc 4 in the Lunatic Pandora. Rinoa has been junctioned onto her, forcing the player to be mindful about their choice of attack, as Rinoa needs to stay alive. Adel drains her life force to restore her own.
Adel appears in Final Fantasy Record Keeper.
Adel from Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade has a lightning-elemental card.
Adel, like many other names that have "Adel" in them, has a meaning related to "noble" for males (it is also the Dutch, German, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish word for nobility). It is a genderless name. The female meaning of the name Adel is "God is eternal."
In the Italian version she is called Adele.
- The French version of Final Fantasy VIII at times refers to Adel as "he".
- According to the Debug Menu, the FMV of Adel junctioning herself to Rinoa was going to be on disc 3, so it is likely Adel was going to be the final boss of disc 3 instead of Seifer, but her boss fight and FMV were moved to disc 4 likely due to lack of disc space. This would have kept with the pattern of ending each disc with a sorceress battle.
- Adel only speaks three lines throughout the entire game: "What is going on?" "Where?" and "You thought I would fall for that trick?" However, on Squall's visit to the Timber TV Station, several repeating phrases display on the screen, including "IAMALIVEHERE" (I am alive here), "IWILLNEVERLETYOUFORGETABOUTME" (I will never let you forget about me), and "BRINGMEBACKTHERE" (Bring me back there). These are undoubtedly the words of Adel, whose spacebound tomb causes the worldwide radio interference down on the planet.
- Prior to Adel, sorceresses seem to have an innate element or magic type they specialize in; in Edea's case it's ice, in Rinoa's case it is healing and resurrection, and in Ultimecia's case it's time and space. Adel does not have an obvious magic affinity; however, due to casting many non-elemental spells, Adel may simply be affiliated with energy and non-elemental spells in general.
- In discussing the plan to take advantage of time compression, Dr. Odine suggests Adel could overrule Ultimecia's consciousness when the latter attempts to control her.