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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
Dragonriders of Pern series was created by Ann McCaffrey in 1967 and spans 24+ books published by Ballantine Books, Atheneum Books, Bantam Books, and Del Rey Books.  Any recognizable content in this story is from Ann McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Gigi McCaffrey or their representatives or inheritors.  Original content provided by author of this FanFiction story without monetary compensation.

To the Weyr - 3. Family Matters

Three days had passed since the incident. Jevikel had been waiting for a summons from his father, but so far, his part in it had been ignored. Kemi looked more miserable than ever. He couldn’t get close enough to talk in private, so there was nothing he could do to make her feel any better. It was still six months until the wedding, anyway. They had plenty of time.

Over the next few days, he came face to face with his father several times and still nothing was said. His mother must have told Vikkel what he’d done, or if she hadn’t someone else would have done. Perhaps he realised he’d gone too far this time?

With Rosh and Col gone, he and Berrand had been promoted to their task of providing fodder for the animals, while two of the girls carried water. A few times, Kemi was sent out, giving them a brief chance to talk.

‘That was terrible,’ was the first thing she said.

There was no need to ask what she referred to. ‘I know.’

‘I heard you helped them. That was brave.’

‘Someone needed to. They could have died.’

‘Let’s hope they made it somewhere better than here.’ She poured water into the trough. ‘I mean, it’s not as if they were stealing, or doing any harm to anyone…’

Berrand carried a load of hay past on a pitchfork. ‘Give us a hand with this.’


Kemi waited until he was out of earshot before hissing. ‘I was serious about running away, you know. Talk again, soon.’

He nodded. She was determined, that was certain. He still wasn’t quite sure how she was going to achieve her goal, though. She wasn’t being watched quite as much as just after the betrothal, but she was never sent to work far from the Hold. If only she was a boy, sent to tend the beasts in the high pastures, it would be so much easier to slip away and not be missed. But if she was a boy, she wouldn’t be in this situation.

The weather steadily improved and the herdbeasts began to give birth. Another few sevendays and they’d be sent up to the mountains, to feed on the new grass and herbs. For now, though, they were let out onto the lower fields as it would still be snowy on the heights. The lads took turns to keep an eye on them. Wild wherries nested nearby and it wasn’t unknown for larger ones to grab a newborn. Jevikel had just passed over the responsibility to Lengiorl and was walking back towards the Hold when he noticed a wagon standing in the yard. As he came closer, he saw it was loaded with trunks and household items. The driver was helping a woman down. She, in turn, lifted down one young girl, then another. A boy clambered from his perch on top of the load, pausing to look around him.

Jevikel was intrigued. No one had mentioned any visitors were due to arrive. For a moment, he wondered if it might be Feldin paying a visit to Kemi, but the boy looked too young to be his sister’s betrothed and that wouldn’t explain all the goods piled on the wagon. As he reached the main gate, his father strode from the barn. From the look on his face, he hadn’t expected any guests, either.

As he climbed over the gate, he surreptitiously watched the unfolding drama. For drama it certainly was. Vikkel stopped short of the woman. Jevikel was too far away to hear any words, but he could tell by the stiff postures of both that they were far from overjoyed to see each other. So, who was she? Why had she come here?

The two girls stayed close to her, while the boy hung back as if not wanting to be noticed. It was probably what he’d do himself, given the uncertain reception. He slowed down for that very reason, so that by the time he reached the yard, his father was escorting the unknown woman towards the Hold door, leaving the three youngsters standing beside the cart.

He carried on as if nothing had happened, strolling up towards the Hold himself, only pausing to wash the dirt from his hands at a nearby trough. The pair of runner beasts hitched to the wagon tossed their heads, bits jingling. The driver stood to one side as if uncertain whether to begin unloading.

Jevikel wasn’t sure what he would see inside. As his eyes adjusted, he noticed several of the women, sleeves rolled up, peering out from the cheese room doorway.

Then Kemi pulled him aside. ‘Did you see it?’ she hissed.

‘I saw the cart. That woman talking with father. Who is she?’

‘Some of the older folk recognised her. She’s Merida.’

The name rang a bell. He frowned. ‘Who?’

‘Our aunt. The one who…’ she dropped her voice still further. ‘Ran away with the man she loved.’

‘Ah.’ It all began to fall into place. ‘Still don’t understand why she’s here.’

‘Me neither. But I’m sure we’ll find out.’

Jevikel had only taken the first couple of sips from the mug of klah he’d filled from the kettle on the hearth when the door to his father’s room opened and Vikkel emerged. ‘Jevikel,’ he called.

It was the first time his father had talked to him directly since the incident.

‘Set to and unload that cart.’

He put down his mug. ‘Where’s it need to go?’

‘The goods can go in the back storeroom. Clothes you can put in the women’s chamber for now.’

He took a last swig of klah before going back outside. On his way over, he took a good look at his cousins, while they were distracted. The two younger girls stood to one side of the cart. One of them seemed as if she might be about to cry. The boy was attempting to console her. He looked a similar age to Jevikel, although he was a hand or so shorter. All three of them appeared well fed. Not plump, just well rounded in that way of folk who’d always had as much to eat as they wanted. Their clothes were dirty from travel, but good quality. Wherever they’d come from, he bet it was a lot more comfortable than Pinnacle Hold.

‘We’ll be unloading all this,’ he told the driver, once he was in hearing range.

The man nodded, before beginning to untie the ropes holding everything secure on top of the wagon.

‘Mind yourselves.’ He dropped the first couple of boxes to the ground none too gently.

‘Be careful with those,’ the boy said. He had a different accent than anyone here, or in the valleys. Sharper, more precise.

Jevikel picked up one of the boxes. It was heavy, but nothing he couldn’t manage. The other boy just watched. ‘You better bring some stuff as well,’ he said.

The boy glared at him. His eyes were dark brown, the colour of strong klah. ‘That’s your job, not mine.’

Who did he think he was? ‘Everyone at Pinnacle has to work. And as it looks like you’ll be staying, that’s you, too.’

More goods landed on the muddy cobbles. Reluctantly, the boy picked up a couple of bags, struggling with the weight.

‘What’s in this one?’ Jevikel asked, hefting the box onto his shoulder.

‘I don’t know. Things from the house, probably.’ He sounded haughty, as if used to giving orders rather than taking them. He’d soon get that knocked out of him.

‘Right. Follow me.’ It would be best to take everything to the storeroom, if he didn’t know what was what. His aunt could sort them out later. Although, maybe she wouldn’t be here for long. Vikkel wouldn’t want extra mouths to feed, family or not. The girls were too young to do any heavy work and the boy didn’t seem as if he’d be much use either.

‘Slow down. It’s dark in here.’

What a whiner he was. ‘You’ll get used to it.’ Jevikel opened the door to the storeroom, which was even darker, not having any glow baskets inside yet. He dumped the box down, then went to fetch one from the corridor. The greenish-yellow light illuminated rough walls. ‘See better now?’

He placed the bags carefully, looking around. ‘You live in a cave?’

‘This is a storeroom, stupid.’ The other rooms were similar, though, apart from the main hall, where the walls were covered by hangings.

‘I’m not stupid. And you’re rude, herder boy.’

Jevikel laughed. ‘You’ll be herding in a sevenday or so, if father lets you stay.’

For a moment, he looked puzzled, then Jevikel saw understanding dawn on his face. ‘Your father’s the Holder?’

‘That’s right. Which makes us cousins. Like I said, everyone works here. Now, come on. We’ve got lots more to bring inside.’

‘Isn’t anyone else going to help?’

‘Your mother, maybe, when father’s finished with her. Everyone else is busy.’ Jevikel pushed his way past and back into the corridor. Something about the boy irritated him, like when pieces of hay got down the back of your shirt and made you itch.

The driver was still throwing things down. Mostly boxes and bundles, but there were also some pieces of furniture; good quality stuff, by the look of it. Jevikel made a quick assessment and decided the boxes should go first. They could be stacked atop each other, taking up less space.

‘You!’ he addressed his cousin. ‘Get that one.’ He pointed at the item.

‘There’s no call for shouting. And I’ve got a name.’

‘What is it, then?’ Not that he cared, or anything.

‘Kadin. Yours?’


‘It suits you. Sounds abrupt and prickly.’

Jevikel picked up the next box. ‘Less talk, more work.’ It sounded like the sort of thing his father would say. All of a sudden, he despised himself. Neither Kadin nor his sisters had asked to be here. Something bad must have happened for their mother - who had run away from all this - to come back, bringing her family.

By the time they’d been to and fro four times, the driver had unloaded everything, leaving a heap in the centre of the yard. He carefully guided his wagon around it and waved a cheery goodbye, obviously eager to get back to Valley Narrows before nightfall.

Kadin’s face was red. He wiped sweat from his brow with a grubby sleeve.

‘Kadin,’ one of the girls said. ‘We’re thirsty. And it’s cold out here.’

He rummaged through the pile and came up with a flask. ‘Here you are. Not much left, though. Can’t they go inside?’ he asked Jevikel.

Jevikel glanced back at the Hold door. His father had just left them out here. It wasn’t the way guests should be treated, no matter how unwelcome and the girls were very young. ‘If they carry some of the smaller bits and pieces, then I don’t see why not.’ At least he could show them he wasn’t just some rough herder who didn’t know how to behave.

Seeing such small children struggling with awkward items brought some of the older women over. They soon sat the girls down and made sure they were fed and fussed over while he and Kadin carried on bringing larger items into the Hold.

Jevikel was tired. He’d spent most of the day on his feet and had been looking forward to relaxing when he returned, if it hadn’t been for the unexpected arrivals. He and Kadin carried one of the chairs through together; it wasn’t heavy, but it was too awkward to manage alone. When they’d set it down in the storeroom, he sat gratefully in its upholstered comfort. ‘Let’s grab a quick break where no one can see,’ he said.

Kadin perched on a footstool. He looked about ready to collapse.

Jevikel didn’t reckon he was used to this sort of work at all. ‘Not much more,’ he said, trying to be cheerful about it.

‘I can’t believe we moved all this.’ Kadin waved an arm at the stacked up goods.

‘It’s amazing what you can do when there’s no alternative.’ He needed klah. But if he went to the hearth to pour one, he bet that would be the exact moment father returned to the main room and caught him slacking. Once they’d finished, then he’d be able to have a proper rest. Food, too.

‘Is this how it always is?’


‘It feels like everyone’s on edge, waiting for something bad to happen.’

He’d summed it up well for someone who’d only spent half an afternoon at Pinnacle. ‘Sometimes it’s better. When my father’s in a good mood, for example.’

‘Mother said he’d have to take us in.’ Kadin looked down at the rough floor under his boots. ‘We didn’t have anywhere else to go…’

Jevikel wondered why. They must have been living in a Hold somewhere. He’d heard of folk being made Holdless, but only if they’d committed some crime. Whatever Merida or her husband had done, the children didn’t deserve to be punished. And where was her husband, anyway? ‘What happened?’ he asked.

Kadin shook his head. ‘That’s for mother to tell, not me.’

It would come out sooner or later. It wasn’t often new people arrived at Pinnacle. The other women would get the story out of Merida soon enough. If it proved scandalous, it might become a topic of conversation for a long while. At least it would stop them talking about Rosh and Col.

He got to his feet, not much less refreshed than when he’d sat down. ‘Best get on.’

‘I don’t know if I can get up again. My arms hurt. And my legs. Everything, really.’

‘You’ll hurt a lot more if my father takes a stick to you for laziness. Come on.’ How must it feel, to end up somewhere you didn’t really want to be, among strangers? He felt slightly more sympathetic to Kadin’s situation than he had earlier. Mind you, it didn’t change the fact his cousin was whiny.

They carried on, walking more slowly than before, but then there was a stroke of luck. There were only a few more items - less than ten, Jevikel estimated - to bring in when some of the men returned from the fields. It wasn’t too hard to persuade them to take one bundle each and finally, everything was inside the store room. Jevikel had made sure the softer bundles were stacked to one side, assuming they were most likely to contain clothing. He led Kadin back to the main room and poured klah for them both. Kadin went to sit with his sisters, while Gatri came over and slid onto the bench next to him.

‘Do you know what’s going on?’ she asked.

‘No more than you do.’ He glanced toward the closed door. They’d been in there a long time.

Gatri flicked her eyes toward Kadin. ‘He’s not a bad looking lad,’ she said, with a speculative tone.

Jevikel shrugged. It wasn’t something he was supposed to notice, so he didn’t comment. But she was right. Kadin might be annoying and stuck-up but he was definitely easy on the eye. ‘Don’t get your hopes up. They might not be here long.’

‘He can’t turn his own sister away.’

Jevikel wasn’t so sure. Although, Vikkel could have simply ordered her off his land as soon as she arrived, rather than getting all of her goods unloaded. ‘We’ll have to wait and see.’

It was shortly before dinner was served that Vikkel, Jemina and Merida joined everyone else in the main hall. Merida looked as if she had been crying a fair amount; her eyes red rimmed and her nose a matching shade. Most of Pinnacle Hold’s occupants had returned by then. Those who were out working when Merida arrived had been filled in on the scant details by those who’d seen it happen, or got it second hand from others. Jevikel sat with the other young folk, as always. Kadin and his sisters were at the end of the same table. Kadin had to stop the two girls from getting up and running to their mother.

Vikkel looked around the room. An uneasy silence descended. ‘Some of you may remember my sister, Merida,’ he said, his voice low, but carrying around the chamber. ‘She’s decided to return to us and we agreed that we could not turn away kin, no matter the circumstances of her leaving.’

Beside him, Jemina nodded, backing her husband’s decisions, as always.

‘So, for the time being at least, she will be making her home here, at Pinnacle Hold. And, like everyone at Pinnacle, she will have to earn her keep. As from tomorrow, she will be helping in the cheese room.’ He gave a small smile. ‘Hopefully, she will have remembered what to do, even though she’s been away for some time. Her children will also be expected to work, at whatever tasks are suitable for their age.’

Jevikel looked around. Some of the older folk were mumbling their agreement. He sensed a certain satisfaction, in his father’s tone - and that smile, as if he was pleased with himself - and in their faces. They would not let Merida forget she had returned in disgrace.

After they’d eaten, and during the brief time they had enough light, Jevikel sat playing dice with Berrand and Lengiorl until his father came over.

‘Come with me,’ he said.

He’d been winning, too, but he knew better than to dawdle. Vikkel led the way to his study. The door was already ajar. Being summoned there was rarely pleasant. Maybe he was finally going to pay for helping the two lads?

Vikkel closed the door and the chatter from the main room became muted. Jevikel stood, trying not to act as nervous as he felt.

‘I’m putting you in charge of teaching your cousin what he needs to know,’ his father said shortly. ‘You seemed able to get him working this afternoon.’

Was that it? He relaxed slightly. ‘Yes, father.’

‘Did he say anything about why they turned up here?’

‘No. He said that was for his mother to tell.’

His father gave that smile again. ‘My dear sister said he wanted to be a scribe, or a harper. We’ve no use for any of that here. Make sure he knows that.’

‘Yes, father.’ Maybe if Kadin could play, he might be able to entertain folk in the evenings? Jevikel remembered the long ago Harper’s visit and how fine the music had been. He knew better than to suggest it outright, though.

‘I was planning on sending you up to the mountains this spring with the pregnant beasts, now you’re strong enough to be useful. You can take him along and work as a pair. Best way for him to learn. Everyone needs to realise that just because Merida’s my sister, she and her brood won’t get any special treatment.’

‘Yes, father.’ Jevikel felt sorry for Kadin again. ‘Where’s he going to sleep?’

‘Same room as the rest of you. There’s a couple of spare beds now, aren’t there?’

Jevikel nodded.

‘Good. Now, get on with it.’

He was dismissed. Back outside, he rejoined the others.

‘What was that about?’ Berrand asked. ‘Trouble.’

‘No. My cousin. He’ll be in with us.’ Jemina was already ordering folk to cover the glows. Everyone at Pinnacle retired early and rose early. Jevikel longed for the lighter evenings, when they could sit outdoors for a while longer. It wasn’t much fun sitting in the dark when you couldn’t see well enough to play any sort of games.

Kadin came over, carrying blankets and a pillow. ‘Where is it we sleep?’

‘You?’ Lengiorl laughed. ‘In the barn with the animals.’ It was typical of his style of teasing.

‘Berrand joined in. ‘Yeah. We don’t have no more room in here.’

Jevikel stopped him as he turned away. ‘They’re just messing around. I’ll show you our room.’ He led Kadin down the corridor, pulling aside the curtain. ‘There’s a couple of spare pallets over on the right. Pick whichever one you want. If you can find your clothes out of that lot we brought in, they can stay in here, too.’


Jevikel left him there and went back to the main room.

‘Spoilsport,’ Lengiorl grumbled. ‘Thought we’d have a bit of fun, there.’

‘Yeah, well, father’s put me in charge of him. Got to teach him an’ all. If he makes any mistakes, I’ll be for it.’

Lengiorl nodded. ‘Fair enough. Wouldn’t want to be in your boots though.’

Jevikel pointed at his feet. ‘I don’t want to be in these boots either. They pinch my toes.’ It lightened the mood.

Later, when they all went to bed, Jevikel cast an eye over to Kadin. He had turned his back on everyone and pulled the blanket over his head. Although he couldn’t be sure, Jevikel had a feeling his cousin might be crying.

©1967-2022 Ann McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Gigi McCaffrey; All Rights Reserved; Copyright © 2022 Mawgrim; All Rights Reserved.
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New chapters will be posted each Thursday.

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
Dragonriders of Pern series was created by Ann McCaffrey in 1967 and spans 24+ books published by Ballantine Books, Atheneum Books, Bantam Books, and Del Rey Books.  Any recognizable content in this story is from Ann McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Gigi McCaffrey or their representatives or inheritors.  Original content provided by author of this FanFiction story without monetary compensation.

Story Discussion Topic

It is with great sadness I must announce the death of Mawgrim, Promising Author on GA. He had been in declining health for some time and passed away on Christmas Day. Mawgrim worked for decades as a cinema projectionist before his retirement and was able to use this breadth of knowledge to his stories set in cinemas. He also gave us stories with his take on the World of Pern with its dragon riders. He will be greatly missed and our condolences go out to his friends, family, and his husband.
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Not exactly sure where the author is leading us, however, I remember from one of his other stories, where a pair of lads were rescued by some dragonriders during a thread fall.

Here's something I don't understand: why are people so homophobic?  I'm nearly 70 and I just don't get it.

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Well dear Author , spun quite the curve ball there, did not expect this chapter at all! Mark of experience I guess to keep your reader guessing.  Most enjoyable and atmospheric! Thanks again !

Edited by Darryl62
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9 hours ago, CincyKris said:

I would say there is not just a lack of joy, there is a black hole of joy!  On the good side, we meet Jevikel's future mate.  I fear he is in for a rude awakening.

Kadin has had quite an easy life so far, living in a relatively civilized environment and getting some education.

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8 hours ago, drsawzall said:

Vikkel is about to learn the harshest management lesson of them all, sadly...it will be a lesson that most likely won't stick!!

Sadly, I think you're right there.

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Kadin was lucky to get assigned to one of the only kind persons in the Hold. And Jevikel is lucky to meet someone who can broaden his knowledge of Pern. Of course, it may take a while before they realise. ;) 

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Any port in a storm? Although I could imagine much better places to be than there. There must have been no choice.

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It's actually pretty easy to understand why society is against homosexuality. All you really need to do is to think about the reasons used in the past and who actually controlled the various societies.

But let's just look at Pern itself and how things evolved.

The original colonists were a very egalitarian bunch. They were also very dependent upon their technology, regardless of their motivation to be less inured to that same technology. Once they moved to the seemingly safer areas of the northern continent, their tech began to break down. Without the related infrastructure, some of which was undoubtedly left in the south, there was no way to fix the tech. The more this happens, the further these peoples slide back into a pre-industrial society. Not having access to the necessary means to make paper (assuming anyone actually knew how to do this), records kept become scarce and labor intensive. They are quickly reduced to a wholly agrarian society. Major landlords (Holders) and minor holders.

Imagine if all of our tech suddenly quit working. How long do you really think our current civilization would last? How would that happen, you might ask? Google Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). In specific, look for the Carrington Event and what it did to our 1859 technology. Then think about what such an event would do to us today.

While Pern did not have a CME, it does have 50 years of Thread (a Pass). Then a normal Interval (200 years on average). Repeatedly. Never enough time to rebuild technology to a sustainable level, since most tech died (through attrition) in the first Pass.

Side Note: Personally, I think Anne went too far in not keeping at least some of the simpler surgical techniques alive, but here we are.

I can readily see two things that would rapidly evolve:

The first imperative that quickly develops is to breed (the ultimate survival trait). To populate the planet. Hence any behavior that would impede breeding (homosexuality), quickly becomes taboo. All too easy to see why homophobia is so much stronger outside of the Weyrs.

The second imperative would be the absolute and complete authority that Holders have over anyone on their Hold. Small holders to a lessor extent, only because they are duty bound to their Holder. A real variation of a feudal society.

So, given what we know about Pern, Anne McCaffrey setup a very logical world and the types of society that evolved after 2500 years of human occupation.

Edited by Ordu378
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In her later books, Anne made it clear there was a taboo against surgery (presumably because techniques are so primitive and anaesthetic non existent. Jaxom  was only delivered by Caesarean because his mother was already dead.

I've read about Carrington Events before. Luckily, in 1859, there wasn't much to disrupt, but if the same thing happened today the results would be devastating. 

The need to breed and keep population levels high is definitely an imperative on Pern, particularly as with the decline of modern medicine there would be higher child mortality, not to mention various plagues killing off adults. That was one of the main reasons girls were stopped from standing to Impress green dragons as going between often leads to miscarriages. Kitti Ping's original intention was for female dragons to bond with women, but when they were denied this, the green dragons began to Impress to boys, rather than die.

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