Are you 18 or over?: Yup
Source work and author: Original Character
Door: The Hunger Games
Character Journal name: http://crazypants.insanejournal.com
Character Name: Kitane Zmaj, formerly Anya Katzev
Character Age: 21
Character Played By: Ksenia Solo
Character History and Personality: Born the second child to Dmitri and Natalya Katzev, Anya was both a blessing and a worry. Croatia, and particularly their home of Zadar in the Dalmatian region was embroiled in the Croatian War of Independence. Her family, already struggling to keep their eldest son, Petar, fed and safe had a second mouth to worry about and a second child to protect.
Though she has no memory of it, her earliest years were spent moving from house to house, hiding in cellars, attics, of their friends and neighbors while their beautiful city was attacked. About the same time that she was becoming curious about the world outside, peace was struck and the city began to rebuild. It was nearly impossible to keep Anya inside after that. At first it was only the front yard (or the small strip of grass that accounted for the front yard), then the park across the street, then the family up the street, and the family down the street.
At five, her family welcomed another girl. Anya wanted nothing to do with her and could, as often as not, be found outside sleeping beneath the tree in the backyard as she could be in her own bed.
By the time she was six, she nearly ran her family ragged keeping up with her. Her parents were far too busy with the baby, Jelena to pay much attention. While their mother stayed at home, her father was often out working, struggling to pay for their growing family. Anya on the other hand, quickly learned where she wasn't allowed to go, which neighbors she could visit, which would give her sweet treats or who would scream if she appeared outside of their home. Though often yelled at by her parents for running out when she shouldn't have, it never stopped her and she became the neighborhood's charge to watch if she made it free from her parents.
Deemed unruly by her parents, it was her older brother, Petar, that took up the slack. Worried that his sister would run into trouble sooner than later, he began teaching her how to fight. Nothing extensive, but he wanted to ensure that she knew how to throw a punch, how and where to kick on a guy, whatever it took to get free before she could run away. She already knew how to run, and more often than not, they ended up wrestling on the ground outside. Each time she got free of him was a victory and for a very short time, she was happy with her family life.
Until the neighbors began to complain that Petar was too rough with her, that they were getting too old to play like that any longer. More often than not, she ended up locked outside of the house with Petar inside, at the beck and call of their mother. It only took twice for Anya to completely understand the message and she began spending more time away from home, some nights not even returning to sleep in the backyard. Instead she slept by the sea, sometimes under a pier, sometimes on the sand with the sound of the waves in her ears.
Where she spent her nights was always questionable, but during the day, instead of going to school, she would do errands and chores for those families that would offer her food in exchange for work. The less she had to return home, the better and she quickly learned who would give her dinner, or breakfast, in return for delivering some package or some piece of news, or would give her old, hand-me-down clothes in return for sweeping the house or dusting.
For all that she was unruly with her parents, when it came to taking care of herself, she worked hard and did a good job. It was on one of her deliveries that she had to visit one of the beautiful houses on her little island. Inside was a girl only two years older than herself, named Visnja.
Visnja was her opposite in almost every way. She was pampered and rarely left the house unless accompanied by a member of her household. She had tutors and lessons and all the things that Anya did not miss, but she liked visiting with the other girl anyway. It didn't take long for the unusual friendship to take hold, helped by Visnja's insistence that she had always wanted a little sister and that Anya could fill that vacancy in her life.
It wasn't long before they were both sharing what they knew. Visnja would dress her up and take her to all the rich places, the museums and the churches. And when they could escape Visnja's household, or her captors as Anya liked to call them, they visited all the places she knew. The wharf where the fisherman brought the catch of the day, the shop with the best sweets, but never to the darker parts of Zadar, those neighborhoods that traded in both drugs and sex.
Anya knew those neighborhoods well and avoided them whenever she could. There were things she would do to eat and things she would not, and there was the line. Besides, the cook at Visnja's was all too happy to make her sample everything in a test of her palate. Her trips home became few, especially as her family welcomed a new baby boy into the fold, Zlatan. She had missed the birth of a third daughter, and her mother was pregnant with yet another child.
It was the last time she would return home until she was 14. Her home now was too small for her, the children too loud, and her parents too poor to pay to feed all the hungry mouths. It was better for her to stay away, and so she did.
The streets were a better home to her and she loved them. She loved the people that she knew, the fishermen that had taught her how to fish so she could fill her belly, the shop owners that would leave breads and rolls and sausages for her when she came to see if they had any work for her to do. She was better than the scamps that they had to pay for an uncertain job; all that knew her knew that Anya would do it and with haste.
At 13, one of the shop owners finally paid her a velebitska degenija (a coin worth 50 lipas, or half a kuna). With little use for money -- everything she wanted she found -- she kept the coin in her sock, as a good luck charm. Besides, she bartered for all the things she needed and as much as she enjoyed the lovely things that Visnja had, she knew that on the streets they would be gone in hours, either stolen or ruined.
The only thing she needed were the clothes on her back and the food in her belly. Her showers were taken in the sea, save for the times when Visnja shoved her in the bath and made her smell like a flower.
It was after one such bath that Anya joined Visnja at one of her father's parties. It was filled with bureaucrats and businessmen, none of which Anya had any interest in. Only one of them, some seedy businessman that invested heavily with the company that Visnja's father ran, took an interest in her.
The next morning, Visnja's parents took her home, where she saw the man again. His was a promise of lies and she knew it the moment they began to fall from his tongue. He ran a modeling agency in New York, he was going to put her on the cover of magazines, she would want for nothing, but the look in his eyes. Anya knew that look, she'd seen it on a hundred faces worn by men as they went into the neighborhoods filled with whores.
In turn, he would give them 500 kuna for her (a sum equivalent to 83 dollars) and they would see her next time on the cover of some magazine. Or that's what he told them. She asked for the plane tickets instead. Barely able to read, she understood that there were two and what the destination was. So be it. If her parents were going to sell her, she'd at least make it to America and she would make her own fate there.
Her parents asked for a day to think about it and as soon as he was gone, so was she. If this was to be her last night in her beloved Zadar, she would spend it at the places she loved so much. The sea was saved for last but before she went there, she went to see Visnja one last time. She said nothing about it to her friend, only shared girlish whispers with her until she fell asleep.
Though she had never stolen from Visnja before, that night she took one of her father's knives. It was small, ornate, and sharp. She wanted something to remember her friend by. She tucked it into her pocket and left. That was the last night she spent by the sea, her island filling her senses.
In the morning she returned to her outraged parents who agreed all too readily to the older man's promises. She would be taken care of, she'd be famous, they could see her any time they liked on the cover of a magazine. Anya hated him with every word that spilt out of his lying mouth. With no belongings, not even a picture, Anya was handed over to him and her own fate.
That day he was almost polite, taking her out to eat for lunch, sight seeing in the afternoon before dinner. She ate until she thought her gut would burst and only then did he take her back to the hotel he was staying at.
Barely inside the door, he reached for her, saying something about how he wanted to sample the wares before letting her go. All Anya could hear was her heartbeat as she dragged the knife out of her pocket, intending to foolishly threaten him with it. He was already advancing on her, moving too fast for either of them to stop when the knife sank into his gut. It was hard to say who was more shocked: he or she, but she couldn't let go. As he sank to his knees, the knife she had chosen because it was so very sharp carved him open.
She ran to the bathroom as he lay dying. While it had never been her intent to kill him, sooner, rather than later, he was dead and she was alone. If this was her chance to change her fate, it had to be now.
Several hours later, and after she had cleaned herself up extensively, she left the hotel with his wallet, the tickets, her fake passport, and the knife. Her clothes were still wet as she cast the knife into the sea. Using his money, she took a bus to the airport and from there, she learned that there were not two tickets, but only one. The first would take her to London Heathrow, the second to New York. Anya didn't hesitate.
It wasn't until she arrived in the Big Apple, bleary eyed and without sleep, that she realized it was her birthday. She was 14.
In New York, she finally ditched the man's wallet after taking every bit of cash from it. Credit cards were worthless to her and while the benefits of money still escaped her, she realized that here it might have some value and kept it. The wallet, and everything else, went into a garbage bin.
Undaunted by her ignorance of their language, she left the airport for streets she didn't know. These ones were far different than her own, they had new things to watch for, and though the city was close to the water, it wasn't like the sea that she had known. Not to mention the horrendous amount of noise. With no love for the Big Apple, she began walking south, hitchhiking when she could, on foot when she couldn't.
Her travels brought a rudimentary knowledge of the language. What she couldn't express in words though, she began to express in a form of charades. It wasn't perfect, but as her vocabulary grew, things became easier. Anya also learned that in the cities people tended to be rude, while those in the country might be initially suspicious of her, they were far more willing to barter for things like dinner in exchange for chores.
Her travels took her through Pennsylvania (where she milked her first cow in exchange for lunch), Maryland (where she learned how to plant vegetables), Virginia, North Carolina (where she tried tobacco and nearly ended up choking on it), South Carolina that had beaches like she remembered, but she finally ended up in Atlanta, Georgia nearly a year later.
By then she had enough command of the English language to express what she wanted and what she was willing to do. Atlanta wasn't her city, but it was there that she finally visited her first homeless shelter. She visited it periodically between odds and ends jobs that she picked up and grew close to the woman running it, Therese.
Perhaps it was her age, or something she did, but one day she met with Immigration Officials at the shelter. They had a Croatian translator there and instead of explaining her story in her halting English, she was finally able to tell what happened. Of course, she never mentioned what happened to the man that had bought her, only that she had escaped from him.
A few months later, the investigation of her case concluded, she had her T Visa and she was no longer Anya Katzev, but Kitane Zmei. She'd requested the name change so that no one from her former life could find her. Her parents had sold her and she had no desire to find them again, nor for the man's compatriots, if he had any, to find her.
It was the way she wanted things. Now legally within the borders, Therese began to help her more. Her halting English became better and she finally learned how to read. She was stubborn when it came to money, but she learned that too, carefully doling out coins and paper dollars in correct amounts. Kitane still hoarded her money though, and she still had the coin in her sock. With all the lessons also came something else, as Therese made sure she attended biweekly sessions with a psychiatrist.
Then, like she had shown up, one day she just stopped coming back. She went where her feet wanted to go and her feet wanted to go west. Ever the wanderer, she spent a year drifting from Georgia to Nevada, zigzagging across the states, stopping to pick up this job here or to go playing there. In Oklahoma, she learned how to line dance and though she had no appreciation for the music, she greatly enjoyed moving.
She never stayed in one place for long though, and on the cusp of her 18th birthday, her feet finally made it to Las Vegas. It was bright, too bright, but she liked it here. She liked the glam and the glitz of it. It might not have been Anya's type of city, landlocked and loud, but Kitane thought she could grow to love it.
She was right. Within a few weeks, she had a real job, working a tattoo parlor answering phones. It wasn't glamorous, but she liked it and most of all, she liked meeting the people. One of the artists, Nicki, let her crash over at her place. One day on their way home, they came across a grungy looking cat. Both women decided to bring him home, clean him up, and christened him Viserion.
Kitane didn't know where the name came from, but a voice in the back of her mind whispered it to her. She liked it and the name stuck.
Her life settled down and for the first time since she'd lived in Zadar, she was staying put. A few months after she moved in with Nicki, she moved back out again. As appreciative as she was for what the other woman had done for her, she still missed sleeping under the night sky.
She still came back to shower before work, but her nights were her own. Though she usually stayed away from the bad parts of town and generally avoided trouble, sometimes it still managed to find her. One fight later, as she was running from her would be attackers, she ran quite literally into a gentleman by the name of Theo Winters. He offered her a place to get cleaned up and she accepted, albeit suspicious of him.
That was in early April of last year. Since then she has started spending more time at his penthouse in Turnberry Place, coming and going as it suits her. She's even managed to talk Theo into letting Viserion move in with her.
She moved in, she fell in love, and things started to go wrong. Theo was still the consummate gentleman, but things weren't right between them. Whatever it was, it spread until April of 2013 when she left again, this time with Viserion and Stark, an American Alsatian puppy. She hasn't had a journal in months, but she knew exactly what it was when it reappeared on the doorstep of the shop for her.
In September, she followed the urging of the girl in her head and left Las Vegas entirely. Au revoir Vegas. She went west again, to San Francisco and hooked up with the happies again. They traveled north, she moved on, used the money in the account that Theo kept for her to stay warm throughout the winter. She learned how to ski, how to snowboard, fell in with groups of people that came north to enjoy the snow, and fell out again when they moved on.
She drifted south and sat on the edge of the Grand Canyon to stare up at the night sky. She danced for the moon and when the urge came to return to Las Vegas, to see Aubrey and Mingmei and her friends again, she followed where her feet led her.
Journal/Key: Kitane's journal is an iPhone 5. She still needs Siri to spell for her sometimes and spell check is a wonderful thing. Her key is a glowstick.
External Door items: Viserion (the cat) and Stark (the dog). She has a considerable bank account courtesy of Theo that comes with her.
Might as well be family: Aubrey hauterois, Mingmei crimsonstar, and [Open].
Assface: Those people that might randomly end up insulted by her (or maybe not so randomly).
Magic hair: People she likes, but not quite as much as she likes Aubrey and Mingmei.
Petar: The older brother she adored.
Visnja: The girl that was once her best friend.
Happy Toes: Other dancers.