Liaden Wiki

M. Jela Granthor's Guard, Generalist. Paladin-Keeper of The Tree. Founder of Clan Korval, along with Cantra yos'Phelium and Tor An yos'Galan


Sigil, Flaren Cha’menthi, “I Dare”

Flaran Cha’menthi, I Dare (Jela’s Motto)

  • An augmented super-soldier of the M Series model (details on Yxtrang page)
  • Human, "designed with human care" and not vat-born like the Xs ("even if his genes had been selected, and cultivated, and arranged, he was arguably as human as anyone who didn't bear a Batch tattoo on both arms" [1]
  • One of the last M Series models of enhanced soldiers, who were phased out to the "so-called X strain."[2]
  • During infancy he was assigned to Granthor's Guard creche, after surviving an enemy attack on the lab at Finthir that killed every fetus in his cohort, except him. The Quartermaster thought him extraordinarily "lucky" to be alive.[3]
    • Rool Tiazan also thought Jela extremely lucky, telling Cantra: "Between the two of you, the luck moves so swiftly that the nothing short of gravitational." [4]
    • see The Luck
  • Not as tall as Cantra, or the new X-soldiers. "Broad shoulders and slim waist, both set off something fine by the leathers. Black hair, cropped; black eyes, bland. His face was brown, symmetrical, and a bit leaner than the shoulders predicted, with a firm mouth and strong brows...a gene-tailored series biologic."[5]
  • Jela is all things heroic, dutiful, intelligent, kind, etc. Likeable, too, with an incredible memory.
  • He has dark skin, dark eyes, superior strength, broad shoulders (mentioned several times), which compensates for the fact that he is shorter than Cantra yos'Phelium, his eventual lover.
  • A "Generalist" who studies various topics, thinking broadly yet intensely.
    • "It was a wonderful thing to be a Generalist, Jela thought...with his horde of beguiling and related facts, and his valuable skill at putting those facts together in intriguing and uncannily correct ways"[6]
  • With his generalist mind he intuitively leaps to a connection and makes rapid decisions, as when he first met Tor An yos'Galan[7] (similar to the hunches his descendant Val Con the Seventh gets)
  • A master pilot, the best Cantra has ever met. "She owned that Jela had called the problem on Faldaiza Yard accurately...He was also the devil’s own pilot -- as good as the best she’d ever seen."[8] (Jela thought Cantra the better pilot). [9]


Excerpt Crystal Soldier, the sheriekas

Jela battled the great enemy sheriekas /Iloheen all his life, and died in the line of duty. [10]

  • Rescued and adopted The Tree (a sentient Ssussdriad) from its dying planet. [11], [12] Pledged to protect the small Ssussdriad, the last of its kind, a species that somewhat successfully resisted the sheriekas for many years.[13]
  • Took up a dangerous top-secret mission for Commander Ro Gayda, which included delivering a huge ship (Salkithin) to the military garrison at Old Solcintra[2]
  • Eventually co-piloted Spiral Dance, the courier ship that Cantra's "mother" won through captain's challenge. "Not that Garen had ever actually come out and said she'd killed a sherieka's agent and took their ship."[14]
  • Held the rank of Wingleader[2] and Captain-Wingleader
  • Promoted to captain when he entered secret detached duty for Commander Ro Gayda, upon passing rigorous training. His trainers called him "Captain M" —-- the Quartermaster's joke, but it kept his identity secret[15]
  • Employs a ceramic whip in battle, called "shib"[16] that can even sever fingers.[17]


  • Cantra yos'Phelium - Jela's pilot, lover, and the mother of his son, Val Con[19]
  • Val Con (the First)-- son of Jela and Cantra. The first of seven to be named Val Con. He grew up to become the 2nd Delm Korval.[20]).
  • Clan Korval: Jela is the direct ancestor of Line yos'Phelium clan members through Cantra and their son Val Con, and ancestor to Line yos’Galan through marriages. Jela died in battle before the founding of Clan Korval, but he brought the founding members of the clan (Cantra and Tor An) together and gave them their purpose -- to guard the Tree -- so he is officially recognized as the clan's Founder. (See Timeline)
  • Tor An yos'Galan - helps Jela free Liad dea'Syl from Osabei Tower on Landomist.[21] He becomes kin to Jela posthumously, through Jela's mate Cantra, when Clan Korval is formed
  • The Tree: Jela finds a lone young ssussdriad -- the last survivor -- valiantly holding its home world, which was attacked by Sheriekas. Jela adopts Tree and promises to keep it safe.[11] Tree travels with Jela for "half dozen years" [22] until Jela's death, speaking to Jela telepathically in pictures, sending images of the future [21] [22] [23]. It creates uniquely enriched seed-pods that are chemically enhanced for the intended recipient[24]
  • The "vegetable"[25] Jela adopted endures. The Tree is named Jelaza Kazone, which means Jela's dream, promise, fulfillment, contract.[26] The self-aware Ssussdriad is perhaps a thousand years old and towers over Korval's clan-house, which is also named Jelaza Kazone. Tree's saplings are guarded in stasis boxes and -- when given to trusted allies -- planted on other worlds, including Lytaxin and Surebleak.[26]


  • Commander Ro Gayda, the woman (human?) who promoted Jela to captain and assigned him to special detached duty. One of the Consolidated Commanders who opposed High Command's decision to abandon the Rim/ Arm.[2], [15] She may have died, as presaged, but this is not certain [4]
  • Rool Tiazan -- Rool is the red-headed dramliza who, with his Gray Lady (a dramliza healer), helped Jela and Cantra escape in Gimlins [16]. They pledged themselves to serve Jela's Ssussdriad (The Tree)[4] and allied together to free Professor Liad dea'Syl, in order to escape the crystallizing universe [27]
  • Captain Wellik - a good friend, an X strain soldier, commanded the garrison at Solcintra.[28]. Jela to Tor An yos'Galan: "I know you have no love of soldiers, especially the X strains, but I personally vouch for Wellik."[21] Wellik created Jela's honor unit, with Y Vachik. [29]
  • Dulsey - ex-Batcher, a clone, Jela helps her to reach The Uncle.[30]
  • Liad dea'Syl - scholar of spatial math, Jela frees him from Osabei Tower. Liad has the equation that makes it possible to escape the Sheriekas in the Great Migration.[21]
  • Commandant Harrib at Scohecan Garrison. "...a slender man, with sandy hair going thin...not a Series soldier." Harrib has a lie-detector chair carved from stonewood. Runs a tight ship, despite dwindling supplies, with two M series soldiers guarding the gate, and a rambunctious but respectful young X. Like Jela and the Consolidated Commanders, he disagrees with High Command's decision to pull out of the Rim and set up Temp Headquarters further inside. He implicitly warns Jela to watch his back from treacherous High Command.[31]

Jela’s Soldier Lore[]

Jela was a soldier-generalist, pilot, wing-leader, captain, secret-agent, scholar, etc. Captain Wellik commanded Jela’s honorary unit to rear-guard Quick Passage (formerly Jela’s own Salkithin) and the other ships throughout the migration. [32]

A legend sprung up around Jela, for his unit loved him something fierce.

“Nothing would do except they show off every cranny and cubby of proud Salkithin, talking twelve qwint to a flan about Jela. Happened this particular crew’d been Jela’s own from when Salkithin had been put to sleep, six Common Years ago and a bit. It were a mixed crew— three X Strains, two Ms, a Y and Ilneri, who was, as far as Cantra could make it, a natural human— and they all had something to tell about the “little Captain.” [33]

Today, an Yxtrang unit honors Jela. The unit was founded by Captain Wellik in old Solcintra.

"The commander has given Jela's troop a special unit designation."[29]

Nelirikk Explorer trained in Jela's honorary unit. That unit employs Jela's ceramic whip, dubbed "shib-Jela" in his honor.

Nelirikk knows stories and songs about "Little Jela's" amazing feats [26] His campy legends of Jela-lore may allude to Jela's singlehanded fight against Recon[11] and/or Jela joyfully fighting X-soldiers at the soldier's bar, One Days Battle:

"How do you dare, little soldier?"[14]

Jela gave his life buying time for Cantra, Little Tree, and others to escape the Great Enemy. In his will, he bequeathed to Cantra his troop transport ship Salkithin, mothballed at the Garrison on Old Solcintra. [9] She asked her young co-pilot, Tor An yos'Galan, to rename it. He suggested Quick Passage [34] and it became the Flagship of the Migration. Since then, every flagship of Tree & Dragon Trading Clan has been named Passage. See list at Passage Flagships, see also Clan Korval#Korval Ships)

Jela's Theories[]

  • Trees are warriors who ultimately resisted the Sheriekas.[11] Jela told Cantra, "That tree is more soldier than I'll ever be. It held a planet against the sheriekas, all by himself, when it wasn't any thicker than my first-finger here." [5]
    • "He should take a piece for cloning, plant them throughout the Arm" [35]
  • Yxtrang: M Series soldiers should not have been phased out: "If there were more Ms and less Xs, it might be that the military wouldn't be quite so easy with those orders to pull back and cede the Rim and the mid-Arm to the Sheriekas" [7]
  • Singing: On Jela's first survey team he had been among Singers who fought the enemy with song: "As long as there is life in the Spiral Arm, especially intelligent, organized life, the Sheriekas will not easily reach their goal," Song-woman had told him. At the time he had laughed at their belief that they were fighting some space-borne invader by standing there singing, singing to the light and long into the night. In the morning there had been three fewer of the singers, and word eventually came down from the frontier that three shereikas world-eaters had simply vanished from tracking –- gone, poof! [35] (see also Naratha’s Voices)
  • Timonium. A power source. Jela speculates on the nature of isotopic timonium, and theorizes that "unique isotopic timonium" exists, timonium born at the same time, from the same cosmic explosion. (So it can talk to each other, being genetically identical, by some mystical means?) Jela reasons that timonium explains "the pattern behind many of the other patterns" observed in the Rim (the reason for specific planets being targeted). "The Sheriekas" he murmured. "They use timonium as if it were the commonest of metals."[36]
  • Timonium is also found in new universe. It was mined at Surebleak (see Moon on the Hills)
  • Timonium did not spring fully-formed from the author's imagination. According to wiki, it is a hypothetical "stable transuranic isotope" (meaning it is radioactive, with an atomic number beyond uranium. It should be unstable, like all radioactive metals. It should decay. But maybe in Liaden reality, it doesn't decay, and as a result, has other unique properties)
    • Sharon Lee's commented at Baen's Bar. [37] Sharon and Steve once lived in Maryland. Steve wrote for the local newspaper, in a small-town named Timonium! Sharon posted: "and in that tiny town in Maryland, Timonium, there lived, many years ago, a college professor named Compton Crook, who taught biology, I believe, at what was then Towson State College. In his free time, he wrote, and saw published, science fiction. It being beneath the dignity of Towson State College at that point to have one of its faculty known to be a sci-fi author, he was required, on pain of losing his job, to take a pen-name. So he became Stephen Tall, author of a novel, and many short stories, a number of them having to do with the adventures attending the good ship Stardust, whose mighty engines were powered by. . . Timonium.


  1. Crystal Soldier, ch 1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Crystal Soldier, ch 5
  3. Crystal Soldier, ch 29
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Crystal Soldier, ch 31
  5. 5.0 5.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 2
  6. Crystal Soldier, ch 15
  7. 7.0 7.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 11
  8. Crystal Soldier, ch 13
  9. 9.0 9.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 25
  10. 10.0 10.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 19
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Crystal Soldier, ch 3
  12. Crystal Soldier, ch 4
  13. Crystal Soldier, chapters 1-4
  14. 14.0 14.1 Crystal Soldier, ch 17
  15. 15.0 15.1 Crystal Soldier, ch 7
  16. 16.0 16.1 Crystal Soldier, ch 30
  17. Crystal Soldier, ch 25
  18. Crystal Dragon, ch 5
  19. Crystal Dragon, ch 22
  20. Scout's Progress, ch 5, prologue
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Crystal Dragon, ch 15
  22. 22.0 22.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 20
  23. Dragon in Exile epilogue
  24. Crystal Dragon, ch 16
  25. Crystal Dragon, ch 31
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Plan B
  27. Crystal Soldier, ch 32
  28. Crystal Dragon, ch 23
  29. 29.0 29.1 Crystal Dragon, ch 33
  30. Crystal Soldier, ch 24
  31. Crystal Soldier, ch 20
  32. Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon
  33. Crystal Dragon ch 27 Solcintra
  34. Crystal Dragon, ch 30
  35. 35.0 35.1 Crystal Soldier, ch 2
  36. Crystal Soldier, ch 6