"'I wanted to be one of them [the Jewels], to be allowed to really dance - you know, in their performances. But puberty was cruel to me.'
On the contrary, Ivan thought puberty had been very generous to her.
―Tej's dancing abilities[src]

Akuti Tejaswini Jyoti ghem Estif Arqua, informally Tej, later Lady Tej Vorpatril, was a daughter of Baron Shiv and Baronne Udine of the Jacksonian House Cordonah.


Ivan Vorpatril met Tej on Komarr (at the beginning of Captain Vorpatril's Alliance) when undercover ImpSec operative Byerly Vorrutyer (who did not know her true identity) asked Ivan to check on her, because her life may have been in danger.

Tej and her companion Rish, who were on the run from bounty hunters at the behest of House Prestene, mistook Ivan for a kidnapper or assassin and tied him to a chair until they could decide what to do with him. When actual kidnappers showed up later, Ivan assisted the ladies in their escape, and granted them refuge in his flat to hide. Then when Byerly arrived to warn that immigration officials were coming to arrest Tej and Rish, Ivan quickly convinced Tej to marry him, and hired Rish to attend her, making their presence on Komarr legal. He then arranged transport to Barrayar when his assignment on Komarr ended.

The original deal was a temporary wedding to provide legal protection, until a way could be found to send Tej and Rish to Escobar to meet their brother Amiri. Matters became complicated when Count Falco refused to grant them a divorce, ruling that they had no grounds for it, neither having any valid complaint against the other. Then Tej's family showed up, which complicated matters further. During her family's eventful stay on Barrayar, Tej and Ivan independently came to realize that neither was looking forward to her departure.

When her family eventually left for Jackson's Whole to retake their House, Tej remained with Ivan. She then accompanied him when he was assigned to the consulate on Ylla.

Personality and traitsEdit

Tej had no ambition for leadership in a Jacksonian house and preferred a quiet life. She had an excellent ear for languages and accents, easily able to detect an underlying Komarran accent and to plunge into learning three languages at once; she considered it a game. Wormhole jumps made her physically ill. She was very attractive, with tumbling black hair, cinnamon-brown skin, bright eyes, a "decided nose" and "determined chin". She used her own terms for people, like "Ivan Xav", "the Gregor" and "the Coz".

She was also the sole unmodified child of the family, save being gene-cleaned.


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