Jaga

Character type: Goriously Remorseless Bastard
Rank: Candidate
Age: 22
Gender: Male
Sexual Preference: Driver’s Seat

Appearance

Jaga is the sort of man you’d be hard pressed to describe. Not much about him is particularly distinctive, but it isn’t because he’s plain— Jaga is handsome. Remarkably, strikingly handsome… and that’s all people remember. His features are well carved and symmetrical— his nose admirably straight, his jaw solid, his chin strong— and it all comes together to construct a strapping figure that is distinctive only for being good looking. His hair, not quite brown and not quite blond — you might venture to call it dirty blond — is similarly indistinctive, just long enough to ruffle up fetchingly if he chooses to. His one distinctive feature in its own right is his eyes. He has those blue eyes that tend to draw attention, that vibrant clear ocean blue which he can’t appreciate himself, having never really seen such a thing until very recently. It’s a gaze that can freeze or burn depending on his expression and accompanying mannerisms. He’s learned how to widen them into an innocent, earnest expression when he chooses to, but his natural look is far more narrowed, cagey.

He’s a well-built man, not hulking, but just a little taller than average with muscles built up the hard way over a solid frame. He’s a little leaner than what comes most naturally to his body because food isn’t exactly plentiful or particularly nutritious in his world, but he won’t actually know any different until a steady diet at the Weyr helps him fill out to ideal proportions. He’s powerful, with a solid grip and scarred, calloused hands that give him away as a laborer if not actually Holdless.

Personality

Jaga's Holdless life has taught him two main things.

The first is that life is short and generally awful. People are cruel, people are selfish – yes, looking out for your own family at the expense of other people is selfish, too, even if it is a necessary selfishness – nobody does anything for free, and everyone is poised waiting for you to fall or weaken, waiting to take what's yours and make it their own. And why shouldn't they? That's the way it is. He may harbor a lot of resentment towards holders and crafters who treated himself and his family like dirt, but he can at least acknowledge that, in their shoes, he would have probably done the same. It's all about protecting what's yours, and taking what you need. The only difference between people is whether they choose to sit back and protect, content with whatever hand life has dealt them, or whether they're a taker, hungry and stalking for more. Jaga is definitely a taker. Restlessness and discontent have marked his every choice since he was twelve turns old, and he spends his life constantly prowling for more, better, scenting the air for opportunity and salivating with each step as he locates and closes in on his prey. Ambition, even within his Holdless world, circulates in his veins along with his life's blood. If he must be born to the refuse pit of Pern, then he'll build it into a trash pile and become Lord of the Heap. If a kindly old greenrider (he hears they're bottom-queers, so it's only natural that he fuck one over with a con) decides he's somehow dragonrider material, then he's going to leap on that chance like a wild feline on a fresh carcass, and Impress the shiniest possible dragons and enjoy the good life and become Weyrleader of all the Weyrs. What's that you say? Dragonriding isn't a free ride, it's hard work? Well of course it is — everything is, do you really think that's going to stop him or change his mind? Nothing about his life has been easy, and it's made him a harder, stronger person, which he would argue is exactly the type of person who should be riding about atop a giant fire-breathing predator, if it's oh-so-difficult to do. If he's managed to survive this long in the life he's lead, what does he have to fear from Thread with a dragon on his side?

The other thing that his life has taught him is that if you shouldn't hold back from using every tool in your arsenal. Because of his circumstances, he's more aware than most not only of the fact that he's attractive, but of the effect his attractiveness has on people. He's learned to use his looks as a weapon, and he isn't at all ashamed to do so. If people are really stupid enough to be swayed by a little change in clothes, a little change in body language, wide innocent eyes and just the right manner of speaking, well, that's their fault for being idiots, isn't it? He's seen first-hand how people respond differently to the same person based on how they perceive that person – whether he seems like a filthy Holdless or an earnest farmer-boy – and it has given him a certain understanding of what makes people tick. He's keenly observant, knows how to read all the little cues that tell all the stories that surround him every day. Sometimes it's something as simple as noting the name of a small cothold he's passing through so that he can drop the name later on to make a believable cover story. Other times, it might be noticing the way dragonriders tend to put their hands on their beasts when standing by them, and inferring from that that complimenting the dragon might make a more-favorable-than-he-originally-thought impression to the rider. There are a million stories to read, and Jaga reads them all… though he doesn't really have any appreciation for any of them. They are merely information, tools for him to use, and he doesn't really have enough empathy for other people to connect any of these stories with actual feelings of his own.

He isn't cold, though. He's hot-blooded, forever tense and poised beneath the surface, like a beast always ready to fight to maintain his territory, but like that same beast, he isn't really concerned for his prey. Beasts don't fight for love or for causes, they fight for survival, disconnected from concern or compassion. He has plenty of feelings of his own – anger, jealousy, greed, happiness, grief and even (rarely) friendship and loyalty – he just doesn't really bother to attribute feelings to other people. As a result, he doesn't care what people think of him beyond what he can get from them. He'll play whatever part he needs to in order to make them like him so he can achieve his goals, but once that's done he'll walk away without a care for the impression he's left behind. Good Ol' Farmboy Jaga is a mask he slips almost effortlessly in an out of, and he doesn't care that the people who trust it might feel betrayed when the beast behind it has finally been fed.

The one thing that separates him from the beast, in fact, is not the mask, but the fact that his savagery has intent, and if he doesn't feel compassion for those around him, he certainly feels disdain and even a certain amount of spitefulness. He's not really a primal creature because he's more than a taker, he's a user, and the thrill of proving himself smarter and stronger and better than someone else is almost as satisfying as the prize itself.

History

Birthdate: A time some time ago, a while back, then —— (431.03.17, though he doesn’t much keep track)
Birthplace: A wagon, by a road, in a place, on Pern

Jaga was born into a trader family. Not the kind with centuries of upstanding business and reputation behind them, no — the other kind, the rag-tag bunches of genuine Holdless who give the legitimate traders a bad name. There’s a thriving trade for caravans such as Jaga’s, despite what the craftsmen and Lord Holders might have to say about it publicly. They’re one of the few alternatives when it comes to moving goods across the continent and because the goods they sell are often ill-gotten and not entirely Craft-approved, they can sell them at discounted rates. At the same time, though, no one really welcomes their presence. They’re Holdless, not Traders, not really — everyone knows they lie, cheat, and steal, that they’re Holdless for a reason, that they can’t be trusted and that blood will tell. As soon as they sell you what you want, they should move right along and stink up someone else’s hold.

Jaga himself was Holdless only because his mother was… and her parents before her, and theirs before them. Somewhere far back down the line, someone did something awful enough to get himself banished, but the stories that have been passed down vary wildly and may or may not even hold a grain of truth anymore. His father was no one in particular; the story goes that a handsome but rough young Holdless fellow rode along with them to Keroon one summer, and was long gone before Valla even realized she was pregnant. The name he gave them may not even have been his real one, and anyway, and what did it matter? Jaga was hardly the first bastard to make his debut in the back of his family’s green and yellow wagons.

His mother was a particularly wholesome-looking young woman, pretty-faced with big blue eyes, and Jaga was a shiningly adorable baby, so it was no wonder the caravan found a niche for them before Jaga could even walk. Whenever the caravan was in need — whenever they were looking for a safe place to circle up the wagons for a few days, or needed supplies or parts, or time to fix a broken axle, or any time they needed to set the local holders at ease — they just shined up Valla and Jaga, and sent them up to the hold to ask, or even just to stand in the background while negotiations were going on, looking innocent and a little bit hungry. It was one of the advantages to having women and children around, anyway — the holders were almost invariably more likely to trust, or at least have sympathy, for a poor young thing and her innocent baby, and they certainly felt less threatened than they might have if approached instead by a couple of grizzly trail-worn Holdless men.

With this start, it’s no wonder Jaga became a natural at it. By the time he was half-grown, he’d learned all the advantages his looks could give him, and he knew all the tricks. Even the awkwardness of puberty didn’t stop him. He had grown into a wily young thing, adept at using everything in his arsenal, and quick to learn and adapt as any animal in the wild must. If he couldn’t pass as a cute little kid anymore, then he could just go for fresh-faced boy-next-door! Just a wholesome farmer’s lad from the other side of the mountain, you know — why nossir, I’m old Baran’s other boy, that’s me! Yessir, it has been a long time and I sure have grown! Oh no, I couldn’t impose on ya like that… well okay, if’n you insist!

But all his contact with holders also taught him the uglier side of things. His con didn’t always work. And even when it did, sometimes it didn’t help anyone but him. He saw the way people looked at himself and his family, the things they said, the way they took advantage whenever they could. He knew what it was like to be denied medicine for their ill, or denied a place to sleep during a storm, or forced to move on through the night, exhausted from the day’s travel, because a farmer wouldn’t let them circle up on his property. As he grew stronger and smarter and more sly with each passing day, he also grew angrier. Why should they keep begging from Holders to survive? Why not take up raiding, like some of the other Holdless did? Why not stand up and be proud, why not take what the world owed them for centuries of abuse? He was hardly the only youngster among his clan who had pushed against the Boss and grandpas of the family, and they weren’t likely to change anytime soon. Ever opportunistic, Jaga packed his meager belongings and left them to hook up with a band of young angry bucks much like himself, trying to start up their own band of glorious bastards who would take what they wanted because they were stronger and bolder and were no longer content with being hungry and poor.

That band only lasted a few months, but there was another where that one came from. And another, more stable gang after that. Jaga grew strong and mean as he reached manhood, willing to fight for what he wanted and for his reputation, quick to use his looks to get his way with the holders without the baggage of a slow caravan of family weighing him down. His new family was more raw, able to pull their own weight because nothing less was acceptable, and the bonds he forged with them were bonds of blood and brotherhood, with the potential to last forever but more often constrained to the sad reality of paranoia and dissolution. In between bands, and jobs, he spent his time living as much of a good life as a Holdless bandit possibly could — fleecing Holders into trusting him, letting him do odd jobs or sleep in their barns or even eat at their dinner tables, and then relishing the day when he left them minus their silverware and their daughter’s (or son’s!) innocence.

His most recent band was relatively successful, hitting up a trader caravan passing through Keroon and taking in a pretty good haul… unfortunately, the group had already been on shaky terms and was suffering a period of uncertain leadership, and the greedy arguments that swept through the band in the wake of their wealth was enough to break things up. Things were always dangerous after a successful attack, anyway, and Jaga decided it was best to just lay low and bide his time until he could find another group to hook up with. He made his way down to Nerat very carefully, mindful of Threadfall, feeding various holders some sob story about how he was supposed to join his father at Nerat Hold proper but had been robbed of almost all his goods along the way, and eventually found himself a nice place to lay low for a while — one of Nerat’s many orchards, full to bursting during picking season, with a holder keen to hire on some temporary labor to get those crops in. It was coincidence that Ista Weyr came on Search a few days after Jaga arrived, and he went down with the other folk who seemed more-or-less of age, thinking it was a great lark. The dragon was not lying when she said he had potential as a candidate, but Jaga probably lied a great deal when he gave the Searchrider his details. After all, he was old enough not to require permission from a parent, so why would they bother to check?

Besides, he seemed like such a nice young man!

Relationships

Family

Unknown, handsome-ass deadbeat dad
Valla, wholesome lookin’ mom
A whole bunch of scummy illegitimate traders

Friends

Ghauvry, maybe, by situation and default
Kirje, maybe, by situation and default and tits

Lovers

Potentially anyone

Enemies

Potentially everyone

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