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Ta'zhen

Kayla Kavanaugh (a.k.a. Ta'zhen, Èẓět’ǔ) (she/her)

Ta'zhen has been a controversial figure in Stenza society ever since she was taken up by Saeh'han to study under him, learning about Stenza culture, language, and the way of the fight. While she kept her head down people around her debated, to her face and behind her back, about the merit of her claim to Stenza civilian status and later, citizenship. Debate reached the highest levels, especially after she survived her ordeal on Desolation to T'zu-Crae's rage. Soon she is dragged into the politics of the Nine Systems in a desperate bid for survival.

Physical Description

General Physical Condition

Ta'zhen stands just under five feet tall, marking her immediately as visually distinct from the rest of the Stenza, save children. She is very toned, and missing her right arm, using a gel prosthetic to replace it. Her body is covered in scars, some older than she willingly lets on.

Body Features

Ta'zhen is most notable among Stenza for her remarkably short height and for her body temperature (normal for a human but extremely high for a Stenza).

Facial Features

Ta'zhen has one small scar on each cheek, one from her human life and one from her Stenza life (earned during her Citizenship Trial). By coincidence they sit in nearly identical places under her eyes.

Apparel & Accessories

The insulating mesh is Ta'zhen's second skin, over which she wears, depending on the situation, either battle armor or civilian wear, very frequently pink in color (such as her shirt).   Although she only wears them with her Ceremonial Uniform, she is the proud owner of a pair of mandibles extracted from a large Azorian insect. The mandibles reach from her waist to the floor when she is standing, and so are balanced on her shoulder blades when she wears them.

Specialized Equipment

Following her citizenship trial, Ta'zhen was outfitted with a medical gel prosthesis, which in its current iteration is outfitted with circuitry capable of operating a personal communication device, scanning objects of Stenza manufacture, and accessing data.

Mental characteristics

Personal history

Kayla Kavanaugh was born in Esterholt, Ohio, in the year 1996, to Martha Kavanaugh and a man she barely ever knew. Martha would take several other husbands throughout Kayla's lifetime, and other men she never married. (Martha's relationship history follows a pattern Ta'zhen would later describe as "meet guy in bar, give him tragic line about how bad her last boyfriend was, extract pity sex, coerce into whirlwind relationship, have violent breakup, meet new guy in bar by the end of the week".)   Kayla was born with her thalassophobia, as far as she later knows, but when she was four and psyching herself up to jump into the backyard pool with her stepfather, Martha pushed her in out of impatience, nearly killing her. The incident did nothing to cure the phobia and surely worsened it. Martha was assaulted that night, and Kayla pleaded with the officers not to take her stepfather, to no avail.   She moved through school mostly uneventfully until the eighth grade. Science teacher Nat Atrella noticed her bad mood one day and talked about it with her after class. He learned that Martha was beginning to lie about family members. He filed this away for later use, but as the science fair was coming up, he decided to teach her how to use a polygraph machine, so she could learn about lying while talking to townspeople about their military service to assess the machine's reliability.   During the preparations for the fair, Martha assaulted Kayla with a stapler in an attempt to get her to abandon her project.   The night she returned from the state competition, in second place, she met Saeh'han. Exhausted, and initially thinking this was yet another plan of her mother's, Kayla grabbed a desk chair and let loose. Saeh'han, once subdued, expressed admiration for her courage. Kayla asked to learn how to fight, and thus began her training.   It went for months, primarily taking place in an unused barn on the property of a local farmer (with his permission). Then, just a few days before the start of ninth grade, Saeh'han took Kayla to Mudewei, where Creyth offered her protection under the cultural rules of hospitality. There, she spent several years learning the language, the customs, the rituals, and further honing her combat skills. Finally, she was set for her citizenship trial, due to take place on a rocky hell planet known as Desolation, where the water is filled with flesh-eating bacteria and the air can be toxic.   She was sent with a granola bar and a canteen full of (exceptionally cold) water. During a brief fight with one of the robots she had accidentally activated, some Desolation water splashed on her right arm. She was forced to use half her water supply to kill the bacteria, and then to spend the rest of her stay with a dying arm.   To the shock of everyone, and perhaps most of all T'zu-Crae, she returned alive. Saeh'han removed her arm and designed its gel replacement. She took a new name as a citizen of the Stenza empire: Ta'zhen (a name version of the Stenza word for "tiny", which T'zim-Sha had called her before her ordeal). She was fully adopted into the Clan of the Lost and joined their military unit (she perceived this as something of a civic duty).   Her first tour was spent on Azor, and lasted just under a year. While there, among many other things, her effort to save T'zim-Sha's life resulted in their entrapment behind enemy lines. Their two-week escape back to the Stenza line involved hiding in caves and supplementing rations with the native enormous bugs. It also included sharing secrets: Ta'zhen spoke about the time her mother tried to kill her with a stapler, and T'zim-Sha mentioned the death of his entire clan (she noted his victory in this matter). They swore each other to secrecy in these matters following their return to their line.   She then spent year outside of Mundeen, the capital of Muxter, after requesting a transfer away from duty on Albar. The human(-looking) cost and the near constant noise got to her finally, and she retired out of the military to learn a trade as a ship's mechanic and technician. Though she was attached to a drop ship and knew the troops sent to the surface of planets, this was a much more peaceful existence for her.   She and T'zim-Sha remained exceptionally close until the night of his challenge, and his disappearance. Saeh'han went to recover the body, but found the destroyed gathering coil instead. With her close friend missing and presumed dead, she requested time off to get her thoughts together. T'zu-Crae suggested Earth, but it became too good to be true.

Gender Identity

Ta'zhen identifies as female, as signified by a feminine name per the grammar of Mudeweian Stenza, but her travel and other experiences have caused her to see gender norms and identities as mutable and subject to change across cultures and between decades.

Sexuality

Lesbian

Education

Ta'zhen dropped out just after finishing the eighth grade, after spending several months covering lost ground in combat training and basic weapon use with Saeh'han. She continued along this track once landing on Mudewei under the heading of "student", along with learning the local language and customs. In a three-year crash course (covering what a Stenza child would learn over the course of roughly twenty years), she became fluent in Mudeweian Stenza, became competent at the use of Stenza technology, developed foundational understanding of their scientific principles, and grew immensely as a fighter.

Employment

Ta'zhen joined the military under the banner of the Clan of the Lost because at the time she thought that was what one does. While her deeds on Azor earned her a promotion to Third Officer and a life-long bond with T'zim-Sha, following being stationed at Mundeen she transferred out into civilian work. She was hired on as a Ship's Technician aboard the Annihilator, where she found a form of mental peace working with her hands, and furthered her studies. She has since learned two more languages, along with a better understanding for the inner workings of a Stenza engine and the accompanying subspace drives.

Accomplishments & Achievements

She attained citizenship through her ordeal on Desolation, which cost her both her right arm and most of her ability to perceive herself as human outside of very basic biological facts. Her citizenship has also afforded her the opportunity of military service where, through clever use of pattern recognition, not attracting undue attention, and an escapade behind enemy lines on Azor with T'zim-Sha (then First Officer ), she rose to the rank of Third Officer. Ta'zhen was content with this, having observed the First and Second officers routinely challenge each other and decided that she wasn't cut out for it. However, these antics left her with much of the responsibility for coordinating troop movement and maximizing enemy casualties while minimizing their own.

Failures & Embarrassments

The item for which she feels most guilt is the knowledge that somewhere, someone is in stasis because she refused to go quietly into that good night (and, consequently, that she is the reason T'zu-Crae is the current leader of the Stenza empire, rather than Saeh'han, who was originally sent to capture her). It follows, then, that she is responsible for the current situation and has thus gotten involved with T'zim-Sha's challenge effort in an attempt to fix things.

Intellectual Characteristics

Exceptionally blunt, but she absorbs almost everything. She has learned several languages for a few different purposes (access to spy data in the case of Sandibari, out of boredom in the case of Muxteran, and because of a faulty translator chip in the case of Mudeweian Stenza ). She also comprehends the concepts behind Stenza space travel, subspace, weaponry, and robotics, though she cannot tell you the math behind them. She can assemble for you a subspace drive, for example, but be unable to tell you how to calculate subspatial coordinates.

Morality & Philosophy

She has a very strong belief in the Stenza idea of merit or personal achievement, including the idea that if you can demonstrably not attain a position on your own, you do not deserve it. However, she is also prone to almost self-deleterious patterns of protecting other people, including T'zim-Sha (to the point of questioning herself on if she has done the right thing or not).

Personality Characteristics

Savvies & Ineptitudes

Ta'zhen has been able to pick up Mudeweian Stenza and the principles of use for many forms of Stenza technology very quickly, as well as veritably absorbing cultural concepts like a sponge.   On the other hand, she is terrible with pure mathematics, as well as certain forms of applied mathematics, considering them too abstract to work with.

Likes & Dislikes

Ta'zhen took to pups almost immediately upon being introduced to them, to the point she could not resist the urge to coo over them (when she first learned the "no baby-talk" rule). As a consequence, she is very accepting when they decide to pile on top of her for sleep, and has found this a very useful sleep aid over the years.

Virtues & Personality perks

Ta'zhen maintains a cool exterior and head in the face of nearly any crisis. This does not keep her from expressing emotions, nor from becoming overwhelmed by them, but does allow her to manage circumstances as they arise.   Additionally, she places a high value on children and childcare, a value seeded by her past and crystalized and given words by her interaction with Stenza culture. It factors into her assessment of others, and her interactions with children and their parents or caretakers. When it comes to her siblings, she feels a sense of duty toward them, especially the youngest of them.

Vices & Personality flaws

Ta'zhen's method of dealing with deep and complicated emotional questions is to physically relocate herself with a shadow of a hope that these problems will go away.   She also maintains an interesting relationship with the value and concept of a life (including if it is acceptable to kill someone). While this code was adopted from more traditionalist aspects of Stenza society and is seen as a virtue within that context it causes her problems outside that context.

Personality Quirks

Ta'zhen has a tendency to flick her middle finger with her thumb (on her left hand) if particularly nervous. She also has a "thinking face" as described by Erin Kavanaugh which consists of staring at nothing in particular while her eyes dart around in a noticeable fashion.

Hygiene

Due to the fact that without the insulating mesh she risks freezing to death, Ta'zhen only bathes when she has access to hot water. Periods between this can range up to a few weeks.

Social

Contacts & Relations

Family Ties

Cornelius Kavanaugh   Martha Kavanaugh   Patrick Kavanaugh    Erin Kavanaugh   Alyssa Kavanaugh   Ryan Kavanaugh    Elle Kavanaugh   Jake Kavanaugh

Religious Views

She has adopted the Stenza religion, which views the stars in the sky as corporeal manifestations of numerous but by and large distant gods. Because these gods are not wont to meddle in the affairs of mortals and those two that do are widely viewed as all-benevolent (but not all-powerful), she believes it is safe to honor them (compared to the interesting interpretations of Christianity that come from some sides of her Earth-based family).

Speech

Ta'zhen has a tendency to say "scheiße" in place of its English variant, "shit".

Relationships

Ta'zhen

blood sister (Vital)

Towards T'zim-Sha

3
3

Frank


T'zim-Sha

blood brother (Vital)

Towards Ta'zhen

4
-2

Honest


History

Developed while behind enemy lines on Azor. In the three years since they have not had many opportunities to address the social requirements of their attachment; instead they spent that time planning for the next challenge for leader together. Ta'zhen was willing to overlook his dishonest practices, and in return he offered her a position close to him should he succeed. He disappeared, and immediately upon reappearing, she made arrangements to save his life.

Nicknames & Petnames

typically insults like "tiny" or "ignorant slut"

Relationship Reasoning

forged in fire

Shared Secrets

Ta'zhen knows that T'zim-Sha's entire clan died at the hands of Raida. T'zim-Sha knows just how many of Ta'zhen's numerous scars are from her old life.

Legal Status

considered siblings

Testho

lover (Important)

Towards Ta'zhen

5
5

Honest


Ta'zhen

lover (Important)

Towards Testho

4
4

Frank


History

Testho helps save Ta'zhen's life from an assassination attempt, and upon seeing who it is became fascinated. She had heard about, but never seen, the human, and wanted to know more. Ta'zhen, for her part, was struck by Testho and would happily start conversations with her. Over time, Testho became involved, at first through circumstance and then by choice, in Ta'zhen's attempt to overthrow the current regime.

Cornelius Kavanaugh

grandfather (Important)

Towards Ta'zhen

4
4

Frank


Ta'zhen

granddaughter (Vital)

Towards Cornelius Kavanaugh

4
3

Frank


History

Cort often babysat his granddaughter when she was younger, working to be a positive influence in Ta'zhen's life and generally being cool. He introduced her to Aliens, and would tell her stories about the sixties, from hippies and drugs to the Vietnam War itself. He believed it would do no one any good to shy away from the gory details, instead delivering them in as much of an age appropriate manner as he could manage. He blamed Ta'zhen's mother Alexis when Ta'zhen disappeared, and was soon after declared dead. Dumbstruck to see her again, he almost immediately welcomes her back.

Nicknames & Petnames

"Kiddo"/"Gramps"

Ta'zhen

mentee (Important)

Towards Saeh'han

4
4

Frank


Saeh'han

mentor (Important)

Towards Ta'zhen

4
4

Frank


Ta'zhen

sister

Towards Alyssa Kavanaugh

0
3

Alyssa Kavanaugh

sister

Towards Ta'zhen

5
3

Ta'zhen

sister

Towards Elle Kavanaugh

0
0

Elle Kavanaugh

sister

Towards Ta'zhen

0
0

Ta'zhen

sister

Towards Erin Kavanaugh

4
4

Erin Kavanaugh

sister

Towards Ta'zhen

4
4

Ta'zhen

daughter

Towards Martha Kavanaugh

-5
-5

Frank


Martha Kavanaugh

mother

Towards Ta'zhen

-5
4

Subversive


Ta'zhen

cousin

Towards Creyth

5
5

Creyth

clan elder

Towards Ta'zhen

4
4

Ta'zhen

romantic prospect

Towards Kyle Curakkis

-5
-5

Kyle Curakkis

loathsome boil

Towards Ta'zhen

5
5

Patrick Kavanaugh

brother

Towards Ta'zhen

0
0

Ta'zhen

sister

Towards Patrick Kavanaugh

0
0

Current Location
Species
Honorary & Occupational Titles
Third Officer
Previously Held Ranks & Titles
Year of Birth
2477 22 Years old
Circumstances of Birth
born on Earth, third child of seven
Birthplace
Esterholt, Ohio, Planet Earth
Parents (Adopting)
Spouses
Testho (lover)
Siblings
Alyssa Kavanaugh (sister)
Elle Kavanaugh (sister)
Erin Kavanaugh (sister)
Patrick Kavanaugh (brother)
Children
Current Residence
Gender
female
Eyes
ice blue
Hair
shaved
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
pale white
Height
4'11"
Weight
112 lbs
Aligned Organization
Other Affiliations
Known Languages
English, Mudeweian Stenza, Muxteran, understands Sandibar-Stenza

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Articles under Ta'zhen


  • 2477


    Birth
    Life, Birth

    More reading
    Ta'zhen
  • 2478

    2501


    The Purge of Muxter
    Military action

    Location
    Muxter
    More reading
    The Purge of Muxter
  • 2492


    The Girl Who Ran Away With ET
    Life, Milestone

    Ta'zhen, still named Kayla, disappears from her hometown, traveling with Saeh'han across the stars to his homeworld.

    Additional timelines
  • 2493

    2501


    The Siege of Mundeen
    Military action

    Location
    Mundeen
    More reading
    Siege of Mundeen
    Additional timelines
  • 2496

    Last Sunset

    Citizenship Trial
    Life, Milestone

    Ta'zhen is set on a seemingly impossible survival challenge to gain the right to call herself a Stenza

    Location
    Desolation
    More reading
    Desolation
  • 2496

    1 High Winter

    Stationed on Azor
    Life, Career

    Ta'zhen's first military assignment

    Location
    Azor
    More reading
    Azor
  • 2496

    37 High Winter
    2496

    52 High Winter

    Behind Enemy Lines
    Life, Relationship change

    Location
    Azor
    More reading
    T'zim-Sha
    Additional timelines
  • 2496

    52 High Winter

    Field Promotion to Third Officer
    Life, Career

    More reading
    Third Officer
  • 2497

    1 Long Night
    2497

    47 Breaking of the Flats

    Stationed at Mundeen
    Life, Career

    Location
    Muxter
    More reading
    Mundeen
    Additional timelines
  • 2497

    47 Breaking of the Flats

    Transfer to Ship's Technician
    Life, Identity

  • 2499

    24 Last Sunset

    Losing T'zim-Sha
    Life, Trauma/ Loss

    More reading
    T'zim-Sha
  • 2499

    31 Last Sunset

    The Return of T'zim-Sha
    Life, Supernatural

    A tear in space time returns T'zim-Sha from 3407 years in the future.

    More reading
    T'zim-Sha
  • 2499

    Long Night

    Meeting Testho
    Life, Relationship change

  • 2499

    4 Long Night

    T'zim-Sha's Trial
    Life, Publicity

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Comments

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23 Jan, 2021 00:06

What an interesting character. I feel so sorry for her that she had a bad start in life, but she seems to be in a better place now. I love that she has become at home as a Stenza citizen.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
23 Jan, 2021 22:24

My MC's a good bean, and definitely doing a lot better than she was.   Stenza culture did wonders for her self-esteem.