MAH POSTS! THEY IS OVAH 1000!
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Joined: 11-April 08
Life on Pern as presented in the novels resembles a pre-industrial society (think almost dark ages) with lords, holds, harpers (musicians, entertainers, and teachers), and dragons, with the occasional examples of higher technology (like flamethrowers, telegraph, chemical fertilizers, and powerful microscopes and telescopes).
Pernese people are described as belonging to four basic groups: Weyrfolk (including Dragonriders) who live in the Weyrs, the Holders who live in the Holds (cities, towns and farms), the crafters who live in Crafthalls (or are assigned to work their crafts in certain Holds), and the Holdless who have no permanent home (including traders, displaced Holders, and brigands).
One of the main threats to Pernese civilization in the series is Thread, which is described as a mycorrhizoid spore that periodically rains down on the planet due to the orbit of the Red Star. The Red Star is set out to be a rogue planet in the Rukbat system. The Red Star, characterized as a "Sedna-class inner Oort cloud object", has a 250 Turn (or Pernese year) elliptic orbit around its sun. Thread can reach the planet Pern for about 50 Turns while the Red Star is at perihelion. Thread is described in this series as an agent that consumes organic material at a voracious rate, including crops, animals, and any humans in its path.
The Pernese use intelligent firebreathing dragons and their riders to fight Thread. The riders have a telepathic bond with their dragons, formed by Impression at the dragon's hatching. Impression is a concept from the Dragonriders of Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey. In Pernese terms, the word Impress is the joining of minds. This happens when a fire-lizard, Wher, or dragon is hatched from its egg. On the moment of hatching, it seeks out and finds the one with whom it wants to bond. For fire-lizards and Whers it is quite often the person closest to them who has food and offers it to the newborn and is almost a reflexive, instinctive thing.
When a fire-lizard or wher Impresses, it can give its trainer or owner impressions about what it is feeling, and it has the ability to project its thoughts to a limited extent.
However, for a Pernese dragon, this is not only a choice but a necessity. Impression goes far deeper for a dragon. It has been said that a dragon is incomplete without its lifemate, and cannot survive if it does not find one. There have even been cases when a newly-hatched dragon cannot find a suitable match and goes between.
The emotions, thoughts, desires, wants and needs of both dragon and human are known to each other. The dragon knows his or her name, and so tells it to the human counterpart, and would be surprised to learn the human did not know its name at birth. For a dragon and a human, Impression is more than merely the melding of two minds together. They literally become one being with two bodies, their souls intertwined to the extent that there is no way for them to tell where dragon begins and human ends. Thus, it surpasses the familiar concept of telepathy.
Pern was colonized by humans who settled in the Southern Continent, a forest, mineral rich land that was easily farmed.
For several hundred years, everything went fine... Until Thread fell, decimating the people, the land, and basically everything it touched.
The humans fled to the barren, rocky north where the Thread had a harder time getting a foothold since most everything is made of rock. This made living harder, since farming was difficult to do, and the people had to live in caves.
A scientist, using techniques learned from an alien race, used Dragonets (a native lifeform) to try and increase intelligence and empathy, getting Firelizards, which could Impress to humans, if but basically.
Eventually Dragons were created, large creatures that could breathe fire using a phosphine bearing rock. These Dragons and their Riders flew to the skies, burning Thread and helping to save the lands.
The dragons are laid in clutches of eggs. Queen dragons are Gold, they are the largest, and only females Impress them. The Queen's rider becomes the leader of the Weyr, or the place where the dragons and their riders live, after her first Mating Flight, if there are no older queens about.
The bronze dragon who mates with the Queen, his rider becomes the Weyrleader, which means the male leader of the Weyr. The female is the Weyrwoman. They rule jointly.
Impression is what occurs when a Candidate, or young boy or girl abour 12-17 turns (pernese years0 old, is on the sands when a dragon hatches. The dragons choose their riders. Once the dragon has chosen, they both feel a strong, unbreakable love for each other that endures through all. They two do not even fight. Once they are a Bonded Pair, they can speak telepathically. They also, to a degree, feel each others' pain and emotion.
((Information is gained from various sources including Wikipedia. So praise be the mighty wiki!))