The Origin of Azen Zagenite
My name, Azen Zagenite, was something I came up with when I was around 10 to 11 years old. It doesn’t actually have any meaning in particular. It’s simply a name I made up for role-playing that I thought sounded really cool. But it’s also a name I grew very fond with. It is basically who I identify as and it was born from fun memories of being with friends.
Azen Zagenite is often mispronounced which is not surprising since it doesn’t exactly follow the typical American English rules. Azen is pronounced “ah” as in apple followed by a “zen”. Zagenite is two syllables, zage and nite. Zage is basically sage but with a “z” and nite is simply “night”. It never bothers me to hear different pronunciations for my name. I find it very interesting and entertaining in fact. It’s a small difference that shows how unique people and communities are. For instance, the Smashers in the rowdy Deadly Alliance crew from New York pronounced my name as Ayzen. And on the other side of the spectrum, Oro from Maryland’s Team Ben pronounced my name as Awzen. Zagenite was usually easier to get right, but sometimes people would pronounce it with three syllables like zag-en-ite or zaj-en-ite. The most hilarious case was when someone from my highschool pronounced it as za-ge-ni-te as if it was some kind of Japanese name.
When I was in the fifth grade I met a cool dude named Michael who was seated next to me in my homeroom class. We both liked to goof around and usually grew bored of the usual class activities so we became quick friends. He noticed I often doodled whenever there was free time and suggested we play simple games together like tic-tac-toe. It was a fun way to pass the time, but eventually I took it a step further. Since we were both fans of video games, I started creating “levels” on paper for him to play through while I acted as a dungeon master of sorts. At the time I was heavily inspired by the diverse and complex map designs from the Doom games so that was the kind of maps I usually drew. I made each map in a different theme and even included the usual keys, guns, and health pickups.
I also created a few traditional RPG dungeons for my friend to play. They were short and simple, but still had a few bosses throughout. All the levels I constructed needed to be beatable within one or two class periods after all. I made up random names for all the bosses and this one particular angelic demon enemy turned out to be Azen. I really liked its simplicity and how it easily rolled off the tongue. It sounded super cool to me, but I didn’t officially claim it for myself until summer came around.
When Michael and I hung out together after school, aside from video games, we often played outside. We liked to create random scenarios then role-play as the main characters. That’s when I started to use Azen as my character. He usually liked to play as the villain so I played as the protagonist, but we also worked together against a common enemy at times. We had many exciting adventures all over our area from the many playgrounds and courts with the help of our bikes as transportation. We lived in a military base so our parents were fine with us exploring outside night or day.
In the next school year I was able to meet Keith a.k.a. Anden in one of my classes. We got seated together and he was very friendly and talkative to me. We hit it off pretty quickly especially after bumping into each other in recess. It was fortunate that we had the same recess period since my class schedule had changed and we no longer shared a class together. We soon found out we coincidentally both lived in the same base so we started hanging out together after school too. Though I suppose that isn’t too surprising since most of the kids from the base went to the same school anyway. Our role-playing adventures outside and inside now grew to three.
I grew to really love my new name. I found it way cooler than my legal name which is pretty bland and common. I enjoyed being called Azen whenever we went in character. I soon felt I needed to have a last name to go along with my first name. I tried to come up with something fitting, but I couldn’t think of anything for a while. At the time I had been addicted to a really fun RPG called Star Ocean 2. It was the first kind of its genre that I’ve played that had an action-based battle system instead of a turn-based one so it caught my interest instantly.
Star Ocean 2 had a pretty cool crafting system and one day I was just looking up the names of the items in the dictionary out of curiosity. I wanted to know if the item names were based on reality in some way. It was interesting to me to find out the origins of some of the names and perhaps it would help inspire me as well. When I was checking out the minerals from the game, I came across the sage’s stone which was one of the higher level crafting items. However, when I checked the dictionary what I found was sagenite. It was definitely the one it was referring to since it was also a mineral of some sort. Something about it clicked with me, it was cool sounding and not overly complicated like orichalcum or damascus. I also really liked the -nite suffix in general too. To add some spice to the name to make it a bit more unique I simply replaced the “s” with a “z” thus Zagenite was created.
So with my randomly thought up first name and Star Ocean 2 inspired last name, my name was finally complete. I eventually started to prefer being called Azen by my friends and even introduced myself as Azen to others. I feel connected to it much more than my legal name. There were a few Smashers before who have asked if they can call me Chris and each time I denied them they were saddened. I don’t mean to cause any offense though. I’m fine with random adults, teachers, co-workers or whatnot calling me by my legal name because those are people I don’t feel any connection to. I don’t plan on deepening my relationship with them under normal circumstances since they feel like NPCs to me. However, Smashers, gamers, friends and potential friends, or any cool people are free to call me by the name I identify with, my real name: Azen Zagenite.