The Young Jer-ok-ta

                                                    Mike Kaluta

Legend of Jer’ok-ta

The tales of Jer'ok, sometimes known as Lord of Two Worlds, have been transliterated from the Tae by a Terran confederal whose identity is held secret by order of the Confederation.  It is known, however, that this Terran was once thought lost in the Gemini System while in Confederation service.  It is believed contact was then made with a high-ranking officer of the Gemini Galactic Service, Diyalan Command.  In the course of subsequent years a companionship is said to have endured between those representatives of the Terran and Gemini systems.  As a result, numerous tales from the legend of Jer'ok have been brought to the Terran audience.

            The authenticated tales of Jer'ok are narrated in a style quaintly archaic to the modern Terran ear, presumably because transliterated as directly as the two languages permit.  For any who remain unfamiliar with the newest member of the Confederation, Gemini is a binary solar system associated with the Lagoon Nebula.  There are three Class M planets, all inhabited by varieties of humankind (Homo sapiens transolari).  Humankind are indigenous to both Chimur and Ares and were introduced centuries ago on Ashtar.  Any standard encyclopedia of galactic history will provide additional data for the interested reader.

            Jer'ok-ta of the Aranda remains a shadowy figure in Gemini literature.  If, as some assert, Jer'ok is the pseudonym of an actual personage, his true identity has never been revealed.  His historicity remains in doubt among serious scholars, both of Gemini and elsewhere in the Galaxy.

            To date the full legend of Jer'ok-ta has not been compiled, and no chronology of the salient events of his life has been reliably established.  There is some suspicion that many exploits of lesser heroes may be mistakenly attributed to the Jer'ok canon.  Nevertheless, there is some consensus among scholars:  Jer'ok was born of noble Chimurian parents somehow marooned on Ashtar's largest continent.  Some students claim his father was Tuathan and perhaps even of the house of the High King.  The infant Jer'ok was orphaned on Ashtar.  There are hints of murder and even treason by a member of the family in the deaths of then-Lord and Lady "Charwick".

            Jer'ok's own first twenty years (Gemini Standard) are shrouded in mystery.  Again according to scholarly consensus, he was fostered by a band of Aranda, the pro-hominid "hunterfolk" (Pseudohomo sylvati, tentative) whose existence is well documented and whose paleoanthropological significance has become the recent subject of many popular works of varying quality.

            Whatever may have occurred during Jer'ok's infancy and youth, all the versions of the legend bring him to Chimur in the company of Guy Locke, an officer in the Diyalan Command of Gemini's Fleet.  Through the efforts of this Locke, whose historicity has been tentatively established, Jer'ok eventually succeeded to the venerable Charwick barony of Tuatha.  His marriage to the Arene, Amber Laxton, connects the Jer'ok legend with that of the folk-hero, Blane Laxton, said to be the father of Amber.  Laxton is known to have met his death on Ashtar, aptly known in popular parlance as the Primeval Planet.  The sole known issue of the marriage of Jer'ok and Amber is best known as Blane or sometimes Garel, something of a legendary figure himself.

            Jer'ok's "civilized" alter ego is known in the legend as Leede Southerly, Lord Charwick.  Some claim he was belatedly named a prince of the Hua, at once indicative of his high birth and of his profound alienation from humankind.  In the tradition of the ancient heroes of classical Terran literature, Jer'ok's great and unique strengths and his fatal flaw stem from the same source:  the shadowy events of his formative years.

            At least according to tradition, Jer'ok frequently served the high king on sensitive missions for which his unique personality was ideally suited.  Unfortunately, that personality also caused more than one estrangement with the throne of Chimur.  There are numerous references to prolonged disappearances.  There are even hints of treason, not for the first time in his lineage.

            It is universally held that Jer'ok once stood trial for his life, apparently as a result of some betrayal, possibly by Amber but more likely by Locke or the high king himself.  The government of Chimur is notably reticent when approached with even the most serious enquiries attempting to verify or refute the existence of any actual peer who might be associated with the Jer'ok legend.

            Eventually Jer'ok disappeared into the unexplored jungles of Ashtar.  Tradition holds that he may still live, an immortal, but certain of the recognized scholars hold that he was sacrificed to the gods of Dalon.  (See DALON subtitle under ASHTAR entries in standard encyclopedias of the Gemini System.)  There is even less agreement on the fate of Amber.

            Real or legend, the ultimate fate of Jer'ok-ta cannot now be definitely established, in part because of the lack of any acceptable chronology placing him in Gemini history.  Until such time as heretofore-undiscovered manuscripts are revealed and authenticated, the numerous gaps in the legend – or life – of Jer'ok must remain unfilled except through the questionable contributions of the more trivial popular works of romantic fiction.  In one sense these gaps and, indeed, the ultimate fate of the principals are incidental to the legend of Jer'ok-ta, for the true essence of the legend lies in the strength of this feral man's character and in the bond of love that unites this latter-day Wild Man with his true "mate."

Synopses of Series

Book I.  Ashtar:  The Legend of Jer'ok-ta (1996)

TheAdmiral and the Terran are introduced. The Admiral commences the legend of Jer'ok which the Terran transliterates from Gemini Tae to "archaic" English. Jer'ok (Leede Southerly [the younger]) and Amber are introduced and the story of the former's origins is told. Jer'ok and Amber are finally united in marriage, but not before Jer'ok is driven by the extremity of his circumstances as neither pro-hominid nor humankind to the rape of Reyn, High Shamana of Dalon. 

Book II. Chimur: Jer'ok-ta, Lord Charwick (1997)

Unable to tolerate the constraints imposed upon Chimurian nobility, Jer'ok returns to Ashtar, where he passes through stages of humankind (and his own) evolution from a prohominid stage. A son is born to Jer'ok and Amber, and Jer'ok apparently resolves his own ambivalent persona by establishing homes on both Chimur and Ashtar. Amber accepts the compromise of Leede/Jer'ok and accepts a life embracing both of his worlds.

 Book III. Jer'ok in the Valley of Mithos (1980s version currently being mildly revised and serialized in the quarterly Edgar Rice Burroughs Amateur Press Association [“ERBAPA”])

The Diyalan Admiral and the unidentified Terran meet on Terra to continue the legend of Jer'ok. Beyond establishing further the depth of the relationship between Jer'ok and Amber as they search Ashtar for their lost son, the overall (concealed) series plot is little advanced, but this book is an interesting variation on an old and common theme found in the genre inspiring the series, notably in novels comic strip/book versions: The hero is confronted with a woman of the royalty in an anachronistic culture who has designs on him. This time the designs are not the predictable ones, Amber is the center of a parallel plot line and Jer'ok learns something about his own limitations.

Book IV. Jer'ok in Exile (Original mildly revised and serialized in ERBAPA, 2009-2010)

Jer'ok sustains amnesia in unconconscious rejection of his humankind heritage. Among other events, he encounters Reyn yet again and is sorely tempted by her before leaving for something ineffable missing in his life and his relationship with the high shamana. Amber ultimately is able to restore him to his former life as Leede Southerly as well as Jer'ok, but the division in persona is now firmly established.

 

Book V. Jer'ok of the Chimurian Sea (Fully plotted and partially drafted)

Jer'ok is persuaded by Amber and Guy to accept a mission for the high king to open the first inter-species communication with Chimur's cetacean species, the Farfara. Jer'ok's rapport with the creatures reinforces his own ambivalence about his Tuathan heritage, and he narrowly avoids charges of treason before partially succeeding in his mission without betrayal of his cetacean "brothers," but not without discovering more of his own nature and enduring a personal tragedy and consequent estrangement with the high king.

 

Book VI. Destiny of Jer'ok-ta (1997 revision)

Following a series of events leading to a betrayal by Guy Locke, who must balance loyalty to the Rune Silentio and the high king against his friendship/love for Jer'ok and Amber, Jer'ok as Leede Southerly is tried for and convicted of treason but escapes to be reunited with Amber. Rejecting his humankind heritage, he and Amber abandon their Ashtarian plantation to head deeper into the jungle. They are thus unaware that Locke has secured a pardon for Leede Southerly/Jer'ok.

 

Book VII. Untitled
(In concept with partial outline only)

Book VIII. Untitled
(In concept, partial outline only)


Book IX. Untitled
(In concept only;  too many "spoilers" to be revealed in a synopsis)


Book X. Untitled
(In concept only; too many "spoilers" to be revealed in a synopsis)