Dane's father was a carpenter, a trade which had been common in his family for generations. In fact, his ancestors had been among the chief builders of Triscot, when it was founded in 771. Dane's mother was a spirit-talker and storyteller, who often entertained her children, as well as friends and parishioners, with stories from other worlds such as Earth, which she'd heard from spirits. Anastasia died in 893, when Dane was 14 and his sister was 8. Will died in 899, when Dane was 20 and his sister was 14.
It was shortly after Dane and Zola's father died that Dane opened a diner, which he called simply "Dane's Diner" (and most customers even more simply refer to it as "Dane's," owing perhaps to the sign on the roof, directly above the front door, which reads "Eat at Dane's"). He had been saving as much as he could of what little money he'd inherited from his mother six years earlier, as well as money he'd earned over the last few years doing odd jobs around town, including sometimes helping his father on construction jobs. He added to his savings with his inheritance from his father in 899, and used almost all his savings to open his diner. The establishment soon became popular with many of Triscot's lower and middle class citizens (though such terms wouldn't exist for a few more years yet), and even attracted a few upper class citizens (Darius Lonewander is known to have frequented the diner in his youth). For two years, it was just Dane and Zola working in the diner, as they made enough money to support themselves, but not to hire any employees. However, when Zola turned 16 in 901, she moved to Jump Village, pursuing various artistic jobs (such as singer, actress, storyteller, writer, as well as making and selling various handicrafts). When she left, Dane hired an assistant named Nero. The two of them would share all the cooking, cleaning, serving, and other duties, just as Dane and Zola had always done. In the years since then, business has steadily improved, so that now Dane employs Nero as a full-time cook, as well as employing a part-time dish washer and a couple of servers. However, Dane himself still engages in all of the duties, when necessary.
In 905 (the year after the surname law was passed), Dane visited his sister, prior to the census-takers arriving in Jump Village, so that the two of them could choose a surname they could both use. Dane had been giving this some thought over the preceding months, but he hadn't come up with much that he liked. He was leaning toward "Willson," which was the idea he'd had which he disliked the least. Though he wasn't sure it would even be available, as he figured there were likely other people out there whose fathers' name was Will, and might choose that before the census-takers got to him. When Zola heard this idea, she said it wasn't fair to add "son" to their father's name anyway, since the masculine term didn't apply to her. So Dane suggested Willschild, but they both thought that sounded silly. Moreover, Zola found the whole idea of naming themselves after their father to be unfair to their mother. Dane had always been closer to their father than Zola had been, while Zola had been closer to their mother. (Though they did both love both of their parents.) So, Dane suggested WillandAnaschild, though that sounded much sillier than Willschild. The two of them tried to think of something they might have in common, but they'd always had very different personalities and interests, and certainly their chosen careers were quite different. (This led them to briefly consider taking the name "Clash.") They had both enjoyed their mother's stories, but they couldn't agree on a favorite, so they soon gave up on choosing a name based on that. After considering any number of possible names based on any number of things, they finally realized the one thing the whole family had always enjoyed doing together was attending fairs, and particularly watching fairball games. So, they considered the name "Fairball;" though they weren't entirely happy with the name, at least it didn't cause an argument between them. However, when the census-takers finally showed up, they learned that the name was taken by a clan from Ship, apparently by descendants of the original creators of the sport in 566. Dane and Zola both agreed that that clan deserved the name more than they did. So, with little time to think up an alternative, they went back to the "child" idea, and mashed it up with "Fairball" to make the name "Fairchild" (which, luckily, had not been taken by anyone else).