Registered at MLK: October 31st, 2011, 12:30 am.
Character Overview: Ed & Shenzi hook up for some ungodly reason & have this utterly insane but very smart daughter that just runs around the Pridelands muttering gibberish & grows up to be a sort of hyena version of Rafiki.
Personality: Personality a cross between your typical mad wandering visionary/prophet/shaman and a spacey Luna Lovegood sort.
Description: Appearence: TLK hyena greys, hair a snarled mass of knots, bits of leaves & grass perpetually hanging from her...just completely unkempt and strung out.
A mother is never given for her in-story and she is classed as "Motherless" by peers---a bottom tier social caste like an Untouchable because in Hyena society all rank decends from the mother. And not only does Tafauti *not* have a known female parent to vouch for her, she also is regarded/known to be Ed's daughter, who in my TLK-verse is an unmigrated Clan-born male--meaning that by self-respecting hyena standards no one with an ounce of status or even class would breed with, so while Ed is certainly always pleased to re-realize he's got a cub the odd times he rediscovers/remembers he has one, it is not really any kind of help. Concensus is, no wonder the cub is a little Motherless...(what? ;3 I'm sure hyenas would have a little fun with it!). Her name comes from the other cubs in the communal den.
Being removed from central society such a huge degree, the remarkably acute Tafauti develops some qualities quite rare in a hyena: an ounce of perceptive intellegence that eventually deepens into flashes of true insight, and a thinking nature. The distance also accentuates and aggravates her doubtful genetic bequest however, and the cub, while amiable and functional, is also undeniably off and irretrievably strange, swinging anywhere from idiosyncratic and flakey to ineffable and downright bizarre and growing increasingly unhinged with age.
Age-wise Tafauti is a relative contemporary a few seasons older than Simba, and spends her childhood in the Elephant Graveyard "excursioning" into the Pridelands like all of her kind as she gets old enough like trade school. She is as happy as the next hyena at rumors of Scar's coup to move in there permanently, and is roughly 16 months hyena age (equivalent to around 12-13 in human years,) when Mufasa is assassinated and the Clan uproots to the Pridelands. At first expansively optimistic at the change in circumstances, she grows increasingly disenchanted as she ages into her teens, the hopeful illusion of a brighter and more stable progressive future fading as ever more prey-seeking hyenas stream into the Pridelands to the join the Elephant Graveyard Clan in their spiffy & well-fed new digs. Her place and security within the Clan gets pushed even farther to the outer margins with the influx of new blood.
In the lions she sees an inkling of a kinder life and slouches on the edges of it, but not always, or ever, really, on their good side. She is not a blameless character; in particular as an adolescent she sees in Nala & the other Pride children for the first time in her life someone younger, smaller, and more disenfranchised than herself that she has power over and plagues the poor cub(s) whenever their paths cross. Indeed, typical of her species she is positively rude to *all* lions at feeding times, gloating like her clanmates over the lioness' hard won kills becoming hyena feasts. But it was quiet where the big cats kept to themselves, and even more fascinating, there hobbled through them occassionally, if one got sick or injured, a gnarled, rickety old mandrill--an outsider, a peculiar interloper who kept his own counsel like herself. Only...wise.
As Tafauti reaches young adulthood she wanders ever farther from the core life of the Clan and takes to meandering the Pridelands and outlying vicinity, the disheveled hyena eventually haunting Rafiki's tree as somewhere to drift to. Neither is particularly pleased at first--Rafiki having his least favorite, most detestable brand of predator parking itself at his door, and Tafauti sulkily grudging the shaman her own interest and want of learning and a role model--so she doesn't show up with any regularity and never stays, but in time a conditional and cautious groundwork of association is laid down.
Of course when the way of life a creature has known for all of it's adult life is threatened, despite an interest in the other side and respect for individual members and philosophies, despite the rightness or wrongness of your lifestyle, fighting for your own life-bonds and familiarities overrides extenuating circumstances and when Simba returns, Tafauti is no exception, throwing her lot in with the Clan during the melee against the lions. After the fight and the fire however, the bloated conglomerate of hyenas that the Elephant Graveyard Clan had become in it's Pridelands heyday dissolves into smaller clans in the weeks that follow, many departing. More fractured than ever by the fierce battle, raging inferno, and desolate ash of recent events, and overwrought by the lean seasons leading into them, the final thread unravels (perhaps in more ways than one,) and Tafauti steps out of the weave and weft of the Elephant Graveyard Clan.
She isn't meant to be a particularly melancholy character despite how that all sounds, though, just a complex one. Weird, in both the modern "dizzy"/"wacko" meaning and the archaic "uncanny"/"eeire" meaning of the word. What I play with her in my head is anything from...either just this flaky oddball nutcase irking the hell out of Zazu & psyching out Nala & Co; or more substantially, inexplicably showing up wandering during Simba's reign: A thinking, feeling character, not without a dicey/chancy edge if for no other reason than sheer instability/fevered delirium/muttering lunacy and prone to divulging often barely coherent truths (and perhaps incomplete ones, maybe even sometimes intentionally so,) along with basic herbal cures, who in the end is empathetic with a concept of decency if not always able to handle that.
And yes, I used "weft" in a sentence. It was glorious.
....Because I actually had someone ask me questions, it's more Storytime with CGW!
Where does she go after the Elephant Graveyard clan dissipates?
Does she have more run-ins with Rafiki?
Does she have any involvement with Zira's pride?
I know that eventually Simba does grant her a dispensation to pass through the Pridelands freely, (after several tense, indecipherable run-ins with each trying to figure the other out,) since she does know Rafiki and he vouches for her (relative) harmlessness. Even with Simba's grant it's still understandably a very uneasy truce with the Pride, though--especially since it was all well & good for Simba to grant it, when it was the rest of the pride lionesses that actually lived through the hyena occupation!--so Tafauti mostly chooses to circulate/wander between the Pridelands and other nearby areas like the meerkat colony's savannah & desert edge, the Outlands within reason, and the remoter portions of her childhood home in the Elephant Graveyard.
As for Rafiki, yeah, I mean, Simba's final battle puts a wall back up there for sure. But he's also the closest thing Tafauti ever had to a mentor, so I'm sure their paths do cross again. See, as long as the hyenas had occupied the Pridelands Rafiki didn't want to give ANY hyena anymore potential influence than they already had in Scar's kingdom, and Tafauti *was* a pretty bitter/conflicted thing when she first showed up at his tree and had some growing she needed to do yet. It wasn't so much that he was prejudiced against Tafauti herself, though, as much as the times, and she did manage to pick up some snatches of wisdom and folk remedies from him with a tacit sort of tolerance verging on guidance. I see Rafiki putting in a good word for her to Simba afterwards (see above) to be like finally an acknowledgement, and the start of an extended probationary testing of her dedication over time to a shaman's path once the hyenas are routed out of power.
And re: Zira....well, truth be told I kinda cringe putting any hyena in her line of fire, no matter how you turn it it just never turns out well for the hyena D: I'm sure there's been times Tafauti's come into the borders of the Outlands (especially because I don't really know where Rafiki's tree is, I know its on a kind of deserty verge, but it is it the verge of the Outlands? Are the Outlands on a total different part of the map than the tree? Am I thinking about this all way too much?) but she's also savy enough to avoid hotly dangerous situations. Especially in that Zira must've spent some time in the Pride when Scar was king to have been so crazy about him, so chances are the hyenas that were living around the Pridelands at that time would have a pretty good grasp on Zira's character: Creepy Stalker Dangerous Obsessive Fangirl. I could venture a very tentative guess that she could feasibly have interacted a bit with various Outlanders during Scar's rule, though.
Also, RE: The Ship--
Don't ask, I don't really think they're a ship. While I do really seriously believe Ed is clan-born, (I think that's the basis of him laughing his ass off at Banzai paying his dues,)he's just as likely to be a relative of Shenzi's. So as far as the OC goes just say she's revenge for Banzai messing something up big time and move on, lol.
So......RE: Tafauti & Nala
Yes, Tafauti picks on, pranks, and bullies Zazu, Nala, and the other sub-canon Pride cubs, having been an urchin most her childhood. She does eventually grow out of it and makes it up to Nala by adulthood, though, or Nala never would have let Simba let her be in the Pridelands no matter how much assurance Rafiki could put forward.
I'm always really leary of injecting OCs too visibly into canon events, so I'm leaving this as a footnote/appendix:
Nala, as a young adult under the latter part of Scar's reign, simply notices that Tafauti wanders a lot and puts on a lot of mileage, which a questioning lioness like Nala would, and confronts her about what she knows about the territory beyond the Pridelands, in the early stages of gathering information for her eventual escape.
By this age of their lives, Tafauti is already in contact/understanding with Rafiki and it makes total, UTTER sense that the baboon would see the possibility in the situation. So Tafauti tells Nala what she knows of the borders of the Pridelands--nothing more but nothing less either knowing it a way to settle their past and make her amends--then leaves the rest up to Nala, whatever she does with the information however long after.
It establishes enough of a truce between the two that her presence is (unhappily, but still) tolerated in the Pridelands later once Simba's reign is more established.
(I need to do an updated one one of these days, all I have is sketch from 2006. Will come back to that.)
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