Category: Character Profiles (page 3 of 4)

Javan Gives Up

Javan hung his head as he walked out of the locker room following the final game of his freshman football season.  Two plays.  He only got in one football game to run two plays all season.  He didn’t even get to show off his arm since the coach had him hand the ball off both times. 

How was he supposed to impress Julianne if he couldn’t play or throw the ball when he did get his chance?

How was he supposed to believe in himself if he never had a chance to test his talents?

He had worked twice as hard as Gavin in every practice all season, but the coach didn’t seem to notice.  He kept letting Gavin lead the offense as the quarterback no matter how lazy he was or how many mistakes he made.

Javan couldn’t go through another season like this.  Although he loved the game and wanted to be a great quarterback, his dream had proven hopeless.  He was never going to be the best, and he was never going to win Julianne.

This goal had consumed him for years.  He thought he had found the one thing he could be great at.  He thought he had discovered the one place he could belong.

But he wasn’t a great quarterback, and he didn’t belong on the football team.  He didn’t belong anywhere.

Javan pushed his way through the gym doors and into the cold night air.  Unfortunately Gavin and several other players—along with Julianne—were standing in a circle right outside the door.  Javan tried to pass them without being seen, but his plan failed.

“Yo, Javan,” Gavin yelled, “great job watching me from the sidelines all year.  Maybe you’ll actually get to play when I move up to varsity next year, but you’re so puny I doubt that will ever happen.”

While the guys all laughed, Julianne playfully slapped Gavin’s arm.  “That’s mean.”

Gavin shrugged and smiled.  “It’s true.”

Although his blood was boiling, Javan bit his lip and walked away.  Fighting with Gavin right now wouldn’t solve anything; destroying him on the football field was all the revenge Javan needed.  That was the only way he would be able to shut Gavin up.

So much for giving up on football.  He may never win Julianne, but he was going to do whatever it took to be a better quarterback than Gavin.

What he didn’t know was that he would never have that opportunity.  Because before the next season began, he would find himself in another dimension on a quest to collect dragons. fffffff

Javan’s First Football Game

With his helmet in his hands, shoulder pads on his shoulders and the number ten on his back, Javan paced the sidelines behind his teammates on the junior varsity football squad.  The band played in the stands.  Cheerleaders jumped around and yelled on the track.  The sun hadn’t yet set, but the stadium lights were on anyway.

Not many fans watched from the bleachers, so spotting Julianne had been easy.  He wanted to make sure she saw him.  In his spiffy white uniform.  On the team.  Looking buff with all his pads.

He had tortured himself to make the team.  All the running and conditioning and strength training in the heat of the late summer sun had turned his body into one giant bruise. 

He had been one of half a dozen guys to tryout for the role of quarterback.  All of his competitors had played football before.  The only experience Javan had was the private throwing practices he had put himself through at home. 

His practice had paid off.  He beat everyone out.  Except Gavin.  Now Gavin was on the field running the first offensive play of the game, and Javan was riding the bench as the back-up quarterback.  How was that supposed to impress Julianne?  He needed to get in the game.  He needed her to see him play.

Surely he would get his chance.  He could throw with more accuracy than Gavin and knew how to run the plays better.  Gavin could outrun him, though.  And outtalk him.  His charismatic, outgoing personality won him more points than his athletic prowess.  It also didn’t hurt that his father was the principal of the school.

As time ticked away, so did Javan’s chances of getting in the game.  Javan would stand by the coach at the end of every defensive possession, but the coach kept sending Gavin out to the field with every offensive possession.  Gavin botched about as many plays as he completed, but that didn’t seem to earn Gavin any bench time.

With two minutes to go and his team up by a touchdown, Javan finally spoke up as the other team punted.  “Coach, can I play this last possession?”

“Not this time, Javan,” the coach said without even looking at him.  “The game’s too close.  We’re going to let Gavin finish this one.”

“Get used to the sidelines,” Gavin whispered in his ear.  “This is where you’re going to live all season.”  He patted Javan’s shoulder and took the field.

Javan sighed and looked back at Julianne.  She was smiling, and her eyes were locked on the quarterback in the game.

If he was ever going to get her attention, he was going to have to beat out Gavin as the starting quarterback.  It wouldn’t be an easy task, but Javan loved a good challenge. e

Javan Makes His Move

Something was wrong with his tongue.  It felt heavy.  And thick.  It was swelling inside his mouth, making it impossible for him to talk.

His ears were also popping, making it impossible for him to hear his own thoughts.

If he tried to stand, he felt sure his wobbly legs wouldn’t support him. 

So he sat there.  Alone.  In his corner of the cafeteria.  With his lunch untouched as he watched Julianne laugh and giggle with her friends across the room.

The dance was a week and a half away.  If he didn’t ask her to go with him today, somebody else was going to beat him to it.

At times like this, he wished he had friends to talk to.  Talking to guys might help calm his nerves and boost his confidence enough to get up and ask Julianne what he needed to ask her.

He had practiced plenty of times with his horse Storm.  He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and recalled his simple approach.  All he had to say was, “Julianne, will you go to the dance with me next week?”

That’s it.  No fancy introduction.  No long speech about how much he liked her.  Just a simple question asked with calm confidence.

Only he didn’t feel calm or confident.  What if she said no?  What if she laughed at him?  What if she told him he was an idiot for thinking she would want to do anything with him?

He glanced at his watch.  Lunch was almost over.  Any second now, she and her friends would be getting up to throw their trash away.  That’s when he planned to step in.  He had to get to her while her friends were walking away so that they wouldn’t all be staring at him when he talked to her.

Her dark-headed friend Persia scooted her chair back and stood up.  The other four girls Julianne sat with followed Persia’s lead.

“You’ve got to take a chance, Javan,” he mumbled to himself.  “It’s now or never.”

Javan wobbled across the room on his shaky legs.  He was two tables away from Julianne when Gavin pushed his chair right in front of her.  “Yo, Julianne.  How about you and me go to the dance together next week?”

Javan balled his hands into fists and held his breath while he waited for her answer.  He wanted her to say no, but why would she deny an invitation from the most popular jock in school?

She smiled and blushed and replied, “Nobody else has asked yet, so sure, Gavin.  I’ll go with you.”

“Cool.  I’ll text ya later.”

“Cool.”

Javan hung his head and returned to his seat.  Had he gotten to her thirty seconds sooner, she might have said yes to him.  But now he would never know.

If he couldn’t win her heart in the cafeteria, he would have to do so on the football field by beating Gavin out for the role of starting quarterback when high school started in the fall. t

Javan’s New Obsession

“She talked to me today, Storm,” Javan said to his horse as he hobbled into the barn.  “She knows my name and everything.  I thought playing football would get her attention, but it turns out all I needed to break my leg.”

Storm snorted, and Javan laughed.  “I guess I do have you to thank.  Had you not thrown me off of you, I never would have broken my leg, and she never would have asked about my cast.”

The black horse kicked his front legs in the air and spun around in his stall.

“What’s that?” Javan asked.  “You want me to take you for a ride so you can break my other leg?”

Storm glared at him. 

“Okay.  So that’s not what you’re thinking.  You do want to go for a ride, though, right?”

Storm shook his head and stomped his feet.

“I guess you haven’t gotten much exercise since I broke my leg.”  Javan rubbed the horse’s neck.  “To be fair, neither have I thanks to this cast.  I had to watch football practice from the stands today.  Gavin might be taller and stronger than me, but he’s stupid and slow and doesn’t throw with much accuracy.  I’d be a much better quarterback than him.  I just can’t prove it until next season.”

He couldn’t even practice throwing as long as half his right leg was covered up by a heavy cast.  Unless…

Javan looked at the bag of footballs sitting in the corner, then at Storm.  What if Storm could be his legs until he got his cast off?  Besides, how much fun would it be combining his two favorite things:  riding his horse and throwing footballs?

Within fifteen minutes, Javan was in his practice field and discovered that throwing footballs from atop Storm was way more fun than he had imagined.  He felt like a giant from the back of the beast, and being able to throw at his scarecrow targets from above them rather than parallel to them made him feel powerful.

Only throwing at stationary targets from a stationary horse wasn’t enough of a challenge.  After a few days of practice, he was hitting every target he aimed at every single time.  He wanted his targets to move like actual receivers on a football team, but that wasn’t an option for his scarecrows.  So he decided to see how fast he could ride Storm and still hit his targets.

Mastering his ability to hit whatever target he aimed at while riding a sprinting horse became his new obsession.  Even after he got his cast off, he couldn’t wait to get home from school, snag his footballs and hop on Storm.

They would ride through the field and into the mountains.  He would throw at the scarecrows.  Then trees.  Then branches.  Then leaves.  He would try to ride faster and hit a smaller target every time out.

When the snow began falling in the winter and slowed Storm’s ability to run, Javan used the environment to his advantage.  Being able to throw with accuracy in the cold became the new challenge, but he was ready for the warmth of spring when the snow finally began to melt.

He was also ready to talk to Julianne again.  Other than exchanging nods and waves in passing in the hallway, they hadn’t spoken since that first day of school.  But now eighth grade was almost over, and their last dance of their junior high career was approaching.

So this time he would start the conversation, and this time he was going to ask her to go to the spring dance with him.

Javan and Julianne’s First Conversation

The first day of eighth grade was off to a miserable start.  Javan had spent the morning clunking around the halls with a cast on his right leg.  Fortunately he didn’t have to deal with crutches, but wearing a boot on his cast and lugging his heavy leg around was exhausting.

None of his classmates had asked him about his leg, and only one of his teachers had noticed.  Javan didn’t mind.  He preferred keeping to himself and was used to being ignored.

What bothered Javan was the fact that Julianne wasn’t in any of his morning classes.  He had yet to even catch a glimpse of her.  That concerned him.  Was she sick?  Had she transferred to another school?  Had she moved away? 

He breathed a sigh of relief when he walked into the cafeteria and saw her giggling with some of her friends at the table for the popular kids.  Her eyes sparkled when she laughed, and she looked more beautiful than ever.

As was his custom, Javan found an uninhabited table in the corner, sat down and began eating the lunch he brought from home.  His leg started throbbing, so he propped it up on one of the empty chairs across from him.  That’s when he noticed Julianne walking his way.

Surely she wasn’t coming to talk to him.  They had never even spoken before.  Maybe someone more interesting than him was behind him, and that’s why she was headed in his direction. 

He glanced back.  All he saw was a window.

“Hey,” she said, in that smooth, friendly voice of hers.  “You’re Javan, right?”

Javan almost choked on his peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  She knew his name?  He was too shocked to talk, so he just nodded.

“I saw you limping around, and I wondering what happened to your leg.”

“I…umm.”  Javan swallowed his half-chewed bite and coughed to clear his throat.  “I…ah…I broke it.”

She smiled.  “The cast kinda gave that away.  How did you break it?”

“Oh.  Well, I was riding my horse.  A snake spooked him.  He tossed me off.  My leg broke on the landing.”

“Ouch!”

“Yeah.”  He sat up a little straighter.  She liked athletes, and this was his chance to tell her he was almost an athlete.  “I was gonna play football this year, but I broke it the day before tryouts.”

“What a bummer!  I would have come to see you play.”

“Really?”

“Sure!  I love playing sports, and I love watching sports.”

“So…umm…if I make the high school team next year, you’ll come watch the games?”

“You bet.”

“Cool.”

“Don’t go breaking any more bones before tryouts next year.”

“I won’t.”

“Well, I gotta go.  See ya around.”

“Bye.”

Javan took a deep breath and smiled.  It turns out that eighth grade was off to a great start after all.  00000

Javan Focuses on Football

By the end of seventh grade, Javan had failed in every athletic quest he had embarked on to get Julianne’s attention.  She simply didn’t talk to smart, quiet guys like Javan.  She was more interested in dumb jocks like that idiot Gavin.

Gavin was tall and muscular and played football.  So Javan was going to learn how to play football, too.

The only position Javan had any interest in learning was quarterback.  Every other position required too much running or kicking or physical contact.  He was just a stick of a guy.  Trying to tackle anyone would be an exercise in futility.

He was smart enough to be able to understand the strategy involved in football plays and strong enough to be able to throw a football a long way with incredible accuracy.  He knew he could become a great quarterback, and if he became a great quarterback, Julianne would finally want to talk to him.

Javan therefore spent his summer days between seventh and eighth grade studying films of football games and throwing at targets he had set up in the field where he used to practice soccer.

The day before tryouts for his middle school team, he took a ride through the mountains on Storm.  He shared with his horse how excited he was about the opportunity to play and throw the football at real people rather than just targets.  Javan was so caught up in his vision that he wasn’t paying attention to the trail.  And didn’t notice the snake slithering his way.

Storm did, though.  It spooked the horse, causing him to rear up and toss the unsuspecting Javan to the ground.  His felt his right shinbone snap the instant it collided with a tree root.  The physical pain wasn’t nearly as devastating as the emotional pain.

He wouldn’t be able to play football this year and would have to wait til high school to win Julianne’s heart. fff

Javan’s Struggle With Sports

Soccer.  Basketball.  Baseball.  Fall.  Winter.  Spring.   Three sports.  Three seasons.  Three chances to get on a team so Julianne would notice him.

But he only had one summer to learn how to play all three sports.

So he spent that summer between sixth and seventh grade teaching himself how to play each of the sports.  He asked his foster parents to get him the equipment he needed to practice, but that was all the help he asked for.  He didn’t want to look like an idiot in front of anyone else and preferred to learn the skills on his own with books and YouTube videos.

Every morning, he would ride his horse Storm out to the field by the stream and practice kicking the soccer ball around.

Every afternoon, he would practice pitching to a target he set up in the barn.

Every evening, he would practice shooting baskets at the goal behind the house.

He would always eat meals with his foster folks and whatever foster kids were living at the ranch at the time.  He also went to church every Sunday, but meals and church were the only social outlets he had all summer.  When he wasn’t eating or in church, he was talking to Storm or practicing sports.

The practice didn’t pay off, however. 

Once seventh grade started, he got cut from the soccer team because he had no endurance.

He got cut from the basketball team because he couldn’t shoot with a defender in his face and had no clue how to play defense himself.

He got cut from the baseball team because he couldn’t catch or hit.

He could throw with the best of them, though, and that gave him an idea for the one sport he should focus on in order to get Julianne’s attention.

Javan’s First Crush

Javan dreaded his first day of sixth grade.  He was going to be surrounded by…people.  He preferred the company of the animals at the ranch.  He understood them.  They understood him.  People were too complicated to understand.

He didn’t know why his foster mother was making him switch from homeschool to actual school.  He always got his school work done and was acing every single subject.  His reward for working hard and making good grades should be to keep learning from home.

But no.  Mama Sandra said he needed “socialization.”  Whatever.  He got plenty of socialization at the ranch.  He just socialized with the animals rather than people. 

So he made it his mission to show her that socialization wasn’t necessary.  In school, he sat quietly in the classroom and only talked when the teacher called on him.  At lunch, he sat by himself and didn’t bother even trying to make friends.

All he wanted to do was get back to the ranch and ride his horse Storm.  Until the spring.  When Julianne transferred in from California. 

With her long, wavy blonde hair, bright blue eyes and perfectly tanned skin, she was the most beautiful girl Javan had ever seen.  She was also slender and athletic, and only seemed to pay attention boys who were also athletic.

Javan found this athletic thing to be problematic.  He knew how to tame wild horses, but he knew nothing about sports. 

If he was ever going to get Julianne’s attention, he was going to have to learn.  So that’s precisely what he set out to do once school ended and summer break began.

Javan and His Scary Eyes

The first time Javan stepped into a preschool classroom at age three, his bright green eyes sparkled at the sight of the colorful rug on the floor, the mural of a forest on one wall and the hodgepodge of numbers and letters and pictures of faraway places on another.  This was a place of learning, fun and adventure!

What thrilled him even more was the chance to meet kids his own age.  All the kids at the ranch were older than him and never wanted to play.  That was okay since he had plenty of animals to play with at the ranch, but he was excited about hanging with people his size who could talk back to him.

His excitement evaporated the second a boy pointed at him and yelled, “Your eyes are scary!  You better stay away from me.”

The other kids around him turned to stare at Javan.

“What’s wrong with your eyes?”

“Why do your eyes glow green?”

“Your eyes are creepy!”

 Javan had never thought anything was wrong with his eyes before, but now he didn’t want anyone else to see them ever again.  He kept his hand over his eyes the rest of the day.  When he got home, he found a pair of his foster dad’s sunglasses and wore them everywhere.  All the time.  For a week.

The only way his foster mother could coax him to take the glasses off was to get him colored contact lenses.  His eyes have remained a boring brown ever since…until he entered the Land of Zandador where the true color of his “scary eyes” would prove he was the answer to the prophecy. 

To find out more about Javan, Zandador and the prophecy, check out The Dragon Collector.

Javan: The First Few Years

Javan was born with a thick head of jet black hair and stunning emerald eyes on the night of July 13 in the Zandadorian year 4184 to Dartez and Esmeralda.  But Dartez was not around to meet his son; he had been banished to The Land of No Return by the King Omri when the King found out about his illegal marriage to Esmeralda and her illegal pregnancy.

Esmeralda only had the chance to hold him for a few moments.  She was living in the castle as a slave of the King the night she gave birth.  All illegal children were to be turned over to the King to become his property and serve as a lifetime soldier in his army, so she faked his death.  Dartez’s father Ravier and great-grandfather Kenton stole the very live child away and hid him on earth.

His hiding place on earth was the Rickman Family Ranch in Montana.  It was a working ranch for foster kids, and the infant Javan was left on the doorstep with a note claiming his parents would one day return for him.

He was thus never eligible for adoption, and the foster parents Tim and Sandra raised him as their own.

Aside from his emerald eyes, the thing that set Javan apart from every other child was the bond he seemed to share with the animals.  Before he even learned to crawl, he would climb onto the back of the black Labrador and ride the dog around laughing and giggling while in complete control of the animal.

He continued to ride the dog around for fun until he was just over a year old.  He hadn’t yet learned to walk, but that didn’t stop him from riding the dog up to a pony, climbing onto her back and riding bareback around the ranch.  

He was content riding ponies until age five when he encountered Storm, a wild colt no one could tame. Despite his young age, he made it his mission to tame the wild animal.  And succeeded.

Such was the start of the boy who would one day ride dragons. 0

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