Member No.: 5
Joined: 25-December 11
Hundreds of years have passed since the days of the ninth pass when heroes, who have now passed into legend, guided by the super computer AIVAS, shifted the course of the Red Star which had so long threatened the people of Pern. From those final days of the final pass, an era of peace and prosperity has taken over the planet, the likes of which had never been seen before. The Healers Hall gained much from the Knowledge provided by the Ancients' DataBanks, but all the Crafts found much of use. As the turns passed, the Holders colonised the Southern Continent.
But what of the dragonriding folk? Where was their place in this new world order now that their one true task was over with forever?
Clutches began to dwindle in size; slowly at first, and then faster and faster. Those few dragon who did hatch were smaller. Without the careful controls of the past, inbreeding ran rampant, and more and more eggs failed to hatch each time. With every hatching, fewer and fewer candidates were searched and fewer and fewer of those who were became weyrlings.
Now, centuries after the threat of the Red Star has passed, human kind no longer knows of dragons except in harpers' tales. Instead, they know the Ferals, large dangerous beasts more akin to an unbonded wher than the dragons they once came from. The Watchwhers themselves are almost extinct, with only a few small, isolated groups existing in the highest nothern mountain ranges. Their roles as the guardians of the Hold have gone to a new kind of beast, a flightless draconic creature of size equal to that of a runner beast. Known as Dragonkin, they and their bonded are the closest thing the Pernese have to the riders of old.
For most, everything seems perfect. At least until one hears tell of a most strange phenomenon. All across Pern, teens and young adults are disappearing without a trace, seeming to vanish into thin air between one day and the next, not a single thing left behind to tell of where they went. The Holds exist in a state of quiet panic, always wondering in the back of their minds: who will be taken next? and how might it be stopped?
What those left behind do not know is that before their disappearance, each of these young men and women were approached by a stranger, a person whose companion was a creature like none alive had ever before seen: a true dragon, towering taller than any dragonkin, and speaking directly into their minds. They are told a tale of brilliant men who foresaw that one day danger would once again come to Pern from the skies, a planet defenseless without dragons to protect it. They are told tales of impression, and candidacy and weyrlinghood; of a secret place where the last of the dragons survive. They are told of a clutch on the sands, awaiting those brave men and women who would stand before it, willing to bond and join the ranks of the last of the dragon riders.
In the turns of the 2650's, when Dragonkind seemed on the brink of extinction, those few riders who remained slipped away from the rest of the world. In a mountain range deep in the unexplored depths of the Southern Continent, they made their home, prepared to live in peace and preparation should the Red Star ever return.
Their home became known, to those who knew of it, as Alaula Weyr, named after Alaula, rider of Gold Mtakteth, one of the last True Riders to wander Pern. In a valley on the edge of a great desert, the Golden queen lay a clutch bigger than any seen in many turns. 12 Eggs, including one with the distinctive golden shell of a new Queen. When the day came, twelve holder children walked off the sands as riders of True dragons, including Iskierka, who was rider to the new Queen, Hakatimath.
As the turns passed, inbreeding resulted in the introduction of new colours to the traditional spectrum. Silvers and Reds, Bones and Opals; dragons who were once thought to be nothing more than sports, now finding a permanent place among the ranks. The Hold grew and changed, becoming more and more like a Weyrhold, until the day came when they started calling themselves a Weyr.
Time passed, and these few dragons and riders watched the skies, waiting for sign that their ancestors were right. Finally they saw something: a new star, a Red Star, appeared in the skies, slowly growing brighter and brighter. Danger was headed their way; the Weyr became a hive of activity as they prepared to protect Pern as best they could with their small numbers. As if their bodies knew what was to come, the dragons began to produce larger clutches.
However, by the time of Turn 2856, the last Weyr was still struggling. The red star grew ever closer and they had only a few riders with but a single gold, supported by two Silver females and two reds. And then disaster struck. Some five months after Golden Iaiemath's latest clutch hatched, the Weyr was hit by a devastating earthquake. The riders and weyrfolk who could escape, did so, scattering to the winds as their home was ripped apart around them. When the rubble settled and the dust cleared, Alaula was destroyed. The hatching grounds had caved in as had the weyrling barracks. The candidate barrack were gone, and many of the lower tunnels now ended in drop-offs or dead ends. Senior Queen Iaiemath and her mate, Silver Dortumath, were among the dead.
As the survivors camped outside the remains of their home, despair settled upon many even as those who had fled, began to trickle back into their number. Then, some two months after the quake, L'roy, aged rider of brown Xavieth, gathered up those around him, and revealed to them an ancient plan. Over seventy turns ago, a far-sighted Weyrleader had started a special project. It was called 'The Sanctuary Plan.' Deep in the jungles of the remote Western Continent, a second Weyr had been built in preparation for the day when more space would be needed to house the dragons who would protect Pern.
Thus it was that the survivors of Alaula, moved to this new place, which was named Sanctuary Weyr.