In week 6 of the Chain Writing Game we were introduced to Jadir in the story “The Wall”. We met him when he was challenged by friends during a night of drinking to go outside the wall which just wasn’t done. Who was he before he climbed over the wall and entered his destiny? Here is Jadir’s story, the Foundling.
The Adjani people have called the lands along the river their home for thousands of years. Although it is many days journey between each Adjani village, the people can trace their ancestry back to the original people who settled in the area just beyond the Wall of the Stone people.
There are many reasons that cause an Adjani man to uproot his family and move up or down the river to settle a new village. In the summer of his twenty-seventh year, Stebon, son of Jadno began to resent his father’s old-fashioned ways. Stebon had modern ideas about farming the land and irrigation. Jadno would not listen to these ideas and used gathering times to turn the other villagers against Stebon’s crazy ideas. Stebon finally had enough. During the winter and the period of the spring rains, Stebon and his mate, Keesha, planned their move up river. He built a cart large enough to hold their meager belongings with room to spare for his mate, their first-born daughter and their newborn son. A triceratops that Stebon raised from infancy would be their pack animal.
With the spring rains behind them, Stebon and his family set out on their journey. From stories told by travelers that visit their village each summer, Stebon knew that it would take about thirty moons to reach the area near the Wall and another thirty moons to reach the last of the Adjani villages. Stebon and Keesha planned to settle their new village about ten moons beyond the last Adjani village.
As the summer progressed, the little family became accustom to the nomadic life. Although they would often stop in Adjani villages along the way, it was never for more than one night. Having only ever heard stories about the great Wall, Stebon was amazed when it came into view during their journey up river. They stopped for one night to visit with the people of the original village but were on their way early the next day.
A few days later, when Stebon was breaking down their camp from the previous night, he heard a loud screeching sound. Turning too late, a Terror Bird (Phorusrhacos longissimus), grabbed him by the neck killing him instantly.
Nearby, three-year-old Kaleesi was picking up a large colorful egg that was among many in a ground nest. Having witnessed what happened to her mate, Keesha ran as fast as she could to save her daughter but the Terror Bird was too fast and both mother and daughter perished. The Terror Bird, with a goal to protect her nest began pushing the cart. As the cart rolled down towards the river, a basket holding the swaddled baby boy was tossed into the river. Made from river reeds, the basket could float and it began to move down river in the current.
Too young to be afraid, the boy looked up at the blue sky and pointed his stubby finger when he saw pterodactyls flying overhead. He giggled and cooed as his basket boat floated along. The river near the Wall began to narrow. There were fallen trees along the banks and the basket became caught on the branches of one of the trees and his journey down river ended.
Once a year, when the Terror Birds moved up river to lay their eggs, the men of the Stone people went outside the wall to hunt for game and to fish in the river. It was a time of celebration called Harvesti because it was the end of the hunger period.
Jodnar was glad to be among this year’s fishermen. His mate of four years cried daily and he did not know how to comfort her. Jodnar and Musica were the only couple of their age without any children. Twice now, the joy of finding herself with child would turn to despair when she lost the child within months. Coming outside the wall would allow him to clear his head and give Musica time to recover.
Jodnar and his brother, Robi gathered their nets and other gear and walked to the river. The sun was warm on their faces and sparkled off the water. The fishing was very good this year. After a few hours, the brothers stopped to eat a midday meal. Taking in their surroundings as they ate, Robi pointed to a fallen tree on the riverbank.
“I think something is caught on that tree’s branches,” said Robi.
The brothers rose and approached the tree. They discovered that it was a basket and worked together to free it. All of a sudden, the basket began to cry. Looking inside, Jodnar found a baby boy with the most amazing tear filled blue eyes. Jodnar took the baby from the basket and cradled him in his arms. All thoughts of fishing left his mind. The foundling would fill the hole in his life with Musica. Jodnar and Robi brought the baby to the entrance of the Wall and consulted with the elders. Robi was sent to get Musica. When she saw the baby, her smile lit up her face. When the elders formally designated the baby their son, the couple was overjoyed.
When Harvesti was finished for the year and all the men returned from outside the wall, a date was set for the new baby’s name day. In a sacred ceremony, Jodnar and Musica named their son, Jadir.
To the villagers, Jadir had a normal childhood but the family kept some secrets because they just couldn’t explain what they witnessed. If one minute, the toddler Jadir was petting a bunny on the floor and the next minute, the bunny was petting him, Musica had no explanation. She also couldn’t explain why they needed to patch the walls of their dwelling so often after Jadir focused his blue eyes on a spider crawling up the wall.
Jadir grew to manhood and one drunken night in his twentieth year, his friends challenged him to climb over the wall and the rest is history.