J'Dano

J'dano(deceased)


Vital statistics:
Birthplace: Fort Weyr
Died at age 28 (suicide)
Sex: male
Height and weight: 6', 180 lbs.
Former position: bronze Zhanth's rider, Stormriders Wing, Fort Weyr
Parents:
Mother Jessa, masterharper (voice), Ista Hold
Father N'danti, blue Sath's rider, Sundivers Wingsecond, Fort Weyr
Siblings (not all shown; see family tree for more):
Elder foster-brother C'ket (Culluket), green Landrith's rider, Starstrike Wing, Fort Weyr
Elder foster-sister Riganone, journeyman weaver, Ista Hold
Foster-brother Kuhal, resident, High Reaches Weyr
Younger half-sister T'ressa (Toressa), brown Soroth's rider, Alicorn Wing, Ista Weyr
Younger half-brother N'ben (Naben), green Trelith's rider, Stormriders Wing, Fort Weyr
Younger half-sister Messane, senior journeyman harper, Ista Hold
Offspring (raised maternally):
Daughter Vindanea out of Galatea, green Zaireth's rider, Fort Weyr
Son Jedric out of Ricci, green Syinth's dragonhealer, Benden Weyr
Son Janthro out of Th'ea, green Selketh's rider, Fort Weyr
Daughter Ardano out of Arien, gold Katrineth's rider, Fort Weyr
Dependents:
Bronze dragon Zhanth
Fire-lizard blue Logan and Traj, brown Rafe, and bronze Pooh
Descriptions of J'dano, Zhanth, and fire-lizards


Background information
Within a month after her arrival at Fort Weyr, Journeyman Harper Jessa accepted the advances of a young blue rider named N'danti, and gave birth nine months later to a son, Jedano. She raised the boy herself, as her duties allowed, with a younger half-sister, Toressa, whom Jessa bore after having been caught by circumstance in a mating flight's aftermath. When the Hall transferred her to Ista Hold after five Turns at Fort, however, the harper left her children behind and settled into her new post and married life with Meniat, a Hold resident.

Thus set adrift, Jedano and Toressa landed amid the host produced and raised by two Weyr residents, Thagdal and Nontusvel, and were soon lost in a flood of foster-siblings. Unlike her half-brother, the outgoing and relentlessly confident Toressa evinced no sign of missing their birth-mother; also unlike him, she received next to no attention from her father, T'rul, bronze Kenorth's rider. N'danti, on the other hand, watched his son closely throughout childhood: having Impressed his Sath at the age of thirteen, the man firmly expected no less from his firstborn child. Under that paternal scrutiny, Jedano muddled through early life as best he could, supported by Toressa, his half-brother Naben (another mating-flight child raised dotingly alone by his mother, G'bea, green Cymmeth's rider), and foster-brothers Culluket and Kuhal.

Adolescence brought its share of changes to the circle of youths. Culluket apprenticed at Fort's Healer Hall the Turn before a Searchrider swept Toressa to Ista Weyr, where she Impressed brown Soroth. Having lost two stalwarts so closely together, and having already seen his own thirteenth Turn come and go without so much as a Search, Jedano felt the noose of N'danti's observation tighten with disappointment and disapproval. After T'ressa's Impression, the unhappy lad began spending more time in visits to his mother's growing family at Ista and in errands run for Fort Weyrwoman Arien, who showed an aloof sort of interest in him, although nothing substantial enough to relieve his father's looming pressure.

Finally, in his seventeenth Turn, Jedano accepted a Search (performed by Weyrsecond Akira's blue Yolinth) to Stand for gold Ashtoreth and brown Khyranth's clutch. As a Candidate with strict constraints on his time, he could escape his father's interrogations and lectures more easily; new friends and Naben's presence in the group of hopefuls further buoyed his spirits. When the grand day came, he entered the Hatching Grounds with some confidence, some pride … and exited with a creeling dragonet, perilous from awkward motion and hot-eyed intention, hued a rich browny-bronze with umber underpinning and gold limning: Zhanth.

The shock of Impressing did not dim J'dano's cognizance of his father's absence at the event, since N'danti had put his sweepriding duties ahead of watching his sons on the sands. N'ben, who had found little green Trelith there, accepted the rebuff with equanimity, but his older half-brother never forgot or forgave. Fortunately, weyrling training absorbed the time that might have otherwise been spent nursing the ulcerous wound, whose hurt faded after two successive tragedies at the Weyr. The first — the deaths of Weyrleader B'ndor; his bronze, Ashvath; his weyrmate, Aali; and their unborn child — directly affected him through Zhanth's youthfully immediate terror of Ashvath's agony and through his friendship with Ista's Griffon Wingleader Kyrie, who had been none too happy with B'ndor's defection to Fort and took his death even harder.

The second terrible event struck closer to J'dano's heart. Although forbidden to Stand (Arien had caught him after the execution of a harmful prank in the Lower Caverns), the weyrling's foster-brother Kuhal dropped onto the sands during the Hatching of Katrineth and Ashvath's clutch, and kicked open an ignored little egg as had Jaxom of lore. Unlike Jaxom's Ruth, however, K'hal's bronze Fiannth died moments after Impression, leaving the youth dragonless, mindless, and bereft but for the intervention of Cloud, a High Reaches green rider whom J'dano and Kuhal had met during the Hatching. When Cloud and her Milieth returned to the Reaches with the gaggle of unlucky girls who had been presented to the clutch's gold egg, they included Kuhal in the trip. In his new home, with support from healers, Cloud, and J'dano, the young man slowly recovered his health and sanity and, not entirely to his foster-brother's surprise, found a strong, quiet love for the High Reaches rider, although nothing like the unity he had tasted and then irrevocably lost on Fort's sands.

J'dano and Zhanth graduated into a full fighting wing, Stormriders, not long after the Hatching and a visit from T'ressa, who planted herself back in her brother's life before spending some time examining the new weyrlings, including their foster-brother C'ket and his baleful green Landrith. With a new weyr, knot, and set of duties added to his nineteen Turns, J'dano settled into the routines of Weyr life. Zhanth did as well, discovering an aesthetic sense that led him to disparage the mural his rider had painted in their weyr (and, as it was of Ruatha, to disdain the Hold, too) as well as exercising his right as male and bronze to chase the greens of the Weyr, catching N'ben's Trelith in her maiden flight, without undue fanfare or emotional fuss made by the riders involved. J'dano continued his visits to Ista Hold and Weyr and to High Reaches Weyr and attempted to come to terms with his recently promoted father, a confrontation that served only to estrange the pair, perhaps permanently.

On a visit to High Reaches, a haughty Weyr steeped in the self-absorbing vapors of Tradition and Bloodline, J'dano learned Kuhal's reason for being allowed to stay there: Fiannth's loss had triggered an ability to hear dragons, and the Weyrleaders had decided that this talent, if heritable, compensated for the expatriate's being Fortian (and therefore weaker in the Blood). Kuhal and Cloud had one son already, Paul, and another child on the way when J'dano's next visit intersected with the first mating flight of the Fortian queen of Katrineth and Ashvath's clutch, given to revitalize the proud but declining Reaches: Mercy's Amadanth. Zhanth and Nodonnth, the brown Impressed by Mercy's twin sister, Rosmar, gave chase among several others, but it was the besotted Avalanche Wingleader B'ryan's pale bronze Grenfelth who caught the wildfire queen. The younger bronze's turn would come soon enough, however, when Katrineth rose in the Fort Weyrleadership flight five days later and fell to its end entwined with Zhanth.

As Weyrleader, J'dano now had battles on every front: against the suspicion and distrust fostered in older riders by his mere twenty Turns, against the duties at which he floundered, and against the rank which threatened to cut him off from people who had known him before. Arien and Akira helped him find his feet with the duties, and his siblings (a host of their own, thanks to N'danti's and Jessa's separate efforts) and friends rallied around him, but he never quite overcame the obstacle of youth to win widespread respect from the Weyr he ostensibly led. He fell ill from nervous exhaustion partway through his term, and his recovery was not aided by a surprise visit from Kyrie which turned into a surprise mating flight led by her green Moiraith which trapped the riders in the Weyrleader's weyr. After N'ran's bronze Rilaeth won, J'dano escaped the inevitable consummation with help from hapless witnesses Arien and Galatea, whose own green rose not long after the Weyrleader recovered. Zhanth caught Zaireth and, via his rider, fulfilled his promise to her, his solemnly labelled 'lifemate,' to give her rider a baby of her very own.

Babies of another sort met the world when Katrineth and Zhanth's clutch, including new gold Rosalth, Hatched. With the weyrlings Impressed, Arien executed her decision to step down as Weyrwoman after Turns of devoted service; she would retain the rank only until the next queen dragon rose — in this case, Ashtoreth, who mated with bronze Varianth and thus made Ariana and Ch'rron the new Fort Weyrleaders. J'dano and Zhanth missed the flight themselves, having been at Ista Hold to celebrate Jessa's ascension to master-rank, but arrived in time for a more private party with Arien on Katrineth's — now Ashtoreth's — ledge where the former Weyrleaders burned the knots of their binding rank, sealing the end of their professional relationship and the start of a more tentative friendship.

Freed, J'dano slipped with no small relief back into a rider's normal life, returning to hobbies of whittling wood, cooking, and dabbling in music with Zhanth proudly (indeed, smugly) maintaining his status as one of the randiest bronzes at Fort Weyr. Soon after a public spat with his friend Troy, blue Aikanth's rider, about his and his dragon's sexual habits, J'dano ended an agreeably no-strings relationship of several months with the fey and reckless Rosmar. The bronze rider began spending more time alone or with close friends and more time outside the Weyr than ever, missing the birth of his and Galatea's daughter, Vindanea, as it occurred on the same day as the arrival of Cloud and Kuhal's third child: a daughter to follow her sister Wind, named Denali after the Fortian rider in attendance. Galatea assured J'dano that he need feel no pressure to be a devoted father, so while he left son Jedric entirely in the busy hands of his mother Ricci, a Benden Weyr dragonhealer whose green Syinth Zhanth caught in her first flight, J'dano did spend what time he could with little Vinnie (and, later, with Th'ea's son Janthro, another mating-flight child whose parentage was confused by the fact that his mother had slept with Stormriders Wingsecond R'ban the night before her Selketh rose).

Despite this tie of blood — and that of his dragon's, after Zhanth matched and mated with Katrineth an unprecedented (for her) second time — the rider toyed with the idea of transferring to another Weyr, even going so far as to request permission for such a move from Weyrwoman Ariana, who refused him, but later acceded on pains of his being publicly ridiculed as a dilettante. He changed his mind, thanks to familial and friendly intervention, and settled into a more sanguine mindset unruffled by his dragon's failures in Ashtoreth's next flight (for Leadership, won by M'ryn's brown Khyranth) and daughter Rosalth's first (won by a clutch-sib, Lysalla's brown Khalith). In fact, not only did the man find an outlet for positive action in his life via his new position as second first to Stormriders Wingleader M'ryn then to Akira when she took over the wing, but he reached a comfortable agreement with Arien in the milieu of personal relationships. The word weyrmate, however, was quite happily dismissed, for they were merely 'practicing' — together.

This practice had its moments, too. J'dano commissioned from half-brother and aspiring journeyman smith Credan a Turnday present for Arien's fortieth: a golden torc whose dragon-clawed knobs clasped nigh-black rubies. The woman accepted it with no small pleasure and appreciation (for all the gifter's worries) and was wearing it, in fact, on the foggy dawn when Katrineth decided to throw a glowy gauntlet, aided and abetted by her glowery rider, before the worthy males of the Weyr. Browns and bronzes pursued the queen out of the mist-wraithed Bowl, but it was Zhanth who met and matched the challenge, torcing her as his rider had hers — and himself as well, for the claims to possession ran both ways, every way, and J'dano himself rallied to answer them as soon as the new clutch Hatched.

Having received reluctant permission from Akira to resign as wingsecond, he burned that knot atop the Star Stones with Arien and dragons as solemn witnesses and thus closed the circle opened by the Turns-earlier knot-burning on the Weyrwoman's ledge. The humans, though, were still practicing: J'dano's confession of those three little words that mean so much, and Arien's reciprocating acceptance, did not mean assigning labels to their relationship. They preferred to continue trying to get, and keep, things right.

In the meantime, the Weyr moved on around them. Ariana's Ashtoreth suffered a freak accident that effectively grounded her for life at the South's Eastern Weyr; junior weyrwoman Toria stepped up as senior, with young A'var and his bronze Caervath confirmed by flight as Weyrleader. And one of J'dano's fellow Stormriders, Dorothea, was caught in mating-flight aftermath with M'arc, her suave and implacable enemy since Candidacy. When both blue Tijanth and brown Duath failed in a green's flight, their riders succumbed to the moment's frustrated passion, throwing into turmoil both M'arc's relationship with weyrmate Elizabeth, green Bredeth's twice-Impressed mate, and Dorothea herself, since she was carrying M'arc's child, unwillingly.

Both her Tijanth and J'dano counselled her to keep it, but the former Ruathan was determined to end the pregnancy. She sought out Arien in a healer's capacity, for an abortifacient stolen the next day by Elizabeth, when Dorothea was riding sweeps. The green rider, covetous of a baby and outraged that the other woman would so casually discard an obviously precious gift, had decided that Dorothea did not deserve the infant, and so sifted the drug into that night's meal in the hopes of inducing a miscarriage. Instead, half a dozen riders fell ill with presumed food poisoning; all but Dorothea recovered within a few days, leaving the blue rider languishing in the infirmary under Arien's own watchful eye.

The healer finally emerged one afternoon shortly thereafter, when Dorothea had fallen asleep and Duath and Bredeth were returning with their riders from a romantic getaway, to report on the patient's condition to a curious crowd and a concerned J'dano. Reassured, the bronze rider called his dragon down from sunbathing on the Rim for an errand's quick flight — at the same time Tijanth leapt off his ledge directly beneath to go to his rider, who had awakened from her sleep with contraction pains. Startled, both dragons disappeared between, but only Tijanth returned. Zhanth had vanished a thought before visualizing his return and so was lost forever.

Down in the living cavern, J'dano knew it first, although the distraught blue's bugling and the other dragons' keens quickly notified the other humans, including shocked and horrified Elizabeth, of the loss. Unlike her or Kuhal, however, the bereft rider could not and would not live so alone; and so Arien and Katrineth, by request and out of love, took him and left him between. They landed amid muted confusion (efficiently organized by M'arc, who came late to the scene, but took immediate charge) that included whispers about Dorothea suspecting the cause of her miscarriage, the abortifacient stolen, and Bredeth seen at Tijanth's empty weyr.

For a time, however, there were no answers, nor any immediate plans to pursue them, while the Weyr's lives continued. Sixteen days after the deaths, Katrineth rose in a shock-delayed mating flight; she glided to its end with B'nal's Byzanth (his second time with her, having first caught when J'dano and Zhanth were trapped by circumstance across the continent in Nerat, in the flight before that misty dawn rising). Her rider began to meet the world with sorrow and a thinned appearance, and a greater measure of lucidity than during the period of oblique madness that preceded the flight, as twenty-two eggs (plus seventeen from Rosalth and new Weyrleader Ch'rron's Varianth) hardened in the Hatching Grounds.

The double clutch Hatched safely, freeing Arien from sandsbound existence, freeing her to bear the child who had ridden her grief-starved body: J'dano's last, a daughter that his partner of six Turns named Ardano. In the wake of the birth came slow word of a resolution of sort to the dilemma of Elizabeth. The green rider was confronted on Hatching Day by Cloud, who drew from twin sources of outrage and anger — as foster-brother Kuhal's weyrmate and as High Reaches wingleader in all but name — to blast the miscreant for the tragedy she had caused. Elizabeth denied nothing, accepted all; Cloud saw it and realized that the former Reaches weyrwoman had punished herself (and would continue to do so) far worse than could any other retribution, especially with M'arc's long-sought child growing inside her, like a terrible, living reproach for the havoc she had sown, through J'dano's relationships, across Pern.

… And with that last thread tied and snipped, this history ends.


Character trivia
Zhanth's original and integral inspiration was Marc Remillard — Abaddon, the Destroyer, the Angel of the Abyss — from Julian May's Pliocene Exile and Galactic Milieu novels.
Almost all of J'dano's fire-lizards came from real-life inspirations:
Traj: Duke men's basketball player Trajan Langdon (a.k.a. the Alaskan Assassin)
Pooh: Winnie the Pooh (thanks, Ki!)
Logan: Originally desced as Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits) from NYPD Blue; retooled as Chris Noth's character of this name on Law & Order … but any hot-tempered police detective would do.
J'dano's theme song was "Deacon Blues" by Steely Dan. Parts of Tom Cochrane's "Wildest Dreams" spoke to his and Arien's relationship, although not entirely or exclusively.

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