Dragonriders of Pern is the copyrighted property of Anne and Todd McCaffrey.
I earn nothing but enjoyment from this bit of fan fiction, paid with reviews.
Thank you, Lady and Lord McCaffrey, for allowing us to play with your creation!
A BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF MARA'S STORY:
Eleven days prior to the beginning of this story, Mara had been a dock worker of thirty-one turns at Keroon Harbor working for her father. She dressed as a man and had the build of a man, being quite tall and quite muscular beneath her bulk.
She, like her mother, has always heard dragons as they flew over, wherever her family was living at the time. Also like her mother, she could hear people's thoughts, but had carefully shielded herself from the onslaught. She and her mother, though, often 'talked' to each other when she was young.
When her mother died in childbirth (Mara was six turns at the time), Mara wound up taking care of her two younger brothers. As her father was rather despotic and extremely controlling, she was not allowed any help from other women, but was helped by a dragon whose rider had some knowledge of caring for children. Mara never knew who the rider was, and being very young at the time, didn't even think to ask the dragon's name.
Over the intervening turns, she became known to the dragons, always willing to talk to them as they flew over, if they weren't too busy. Some dragons even told their riders about her. At the age of ten, she was searched by F'lar and a blue rider, neither aware of her extreme youth. As she was caring for her younger brothers, though, she refused search. F'lar, being rather desperate for riders, offered to take her brothers to the Weyr as well. His payment for such a kind offer was a punch to the face from Mara's father. The search riders left without a new candidate.
Twenty-five turns later, Mara still lived with, worked for, and took care of her father, still honoring her mother's dying request. On a Gather day at Keroon Harbor, her father, liking his ale and wine far too much, and feeling that Mara ate too much of his drinking allowance, sold her to a rather enterprising, but immoral drunk. Her new 'owner' then sold her to an assortment of drunken men in an abandoned beast hold. She had been knocked unconscious, but during a semi-lucid and extremely desperate moment called to all the dragons of Pern for help.
Four bronze riders from Benden Weyr were sitting in a small eating establishment at the Gather when the call went out.
Bronze rider G'raden, originally from a small hold in Keroon, was a giant of a man with a temper to match. He had been injured sometime in his youth, and still spoke in broken sentences unless he was extremely comfortable or reciting an often told tale. Thirty turns earlier, at the age of ten, he impressed bronze Normond. Normond had originally been Normonth, but when his 'perfect' lifemate bit his tongue announcing his name, he immediately changed his name to Normond. (Say both names and notice where your tongue is.)
Bronze riders and Wingleaders G'regg and B'nor had been G'raden's best friends for over thirty turns and even impressed Arlith and Parneth at the same large hatching where G'raden impressed Normond.
Bronze rider T'men was a recent transferee from Ista Weyr. Fifteen turns earlier, at the age of eighteen, Tarlamen was an apprentice Harper, rumored to be about to ascend to the rank of Journeyman Harper. While attending a hatching at Ista Weyr with other apprentices, he unexpectedly impressed Reyuth, and his life was turned upside down. He had planned since childhood to follow in his parents footsteps in Harper Hall, and found teaching to be his special talent and interest.
The four Benden bronze riders stormed the dilapidated beast hold, at Normond's direction, and cleared out the waiting 'customers'. G'raden flew the big unconscious and brutalized woman to Benden Weyr 'where she belongs' he declared.
Weyrwoman Lessa took a special interest in Mara due to her calling all the dragons on Pern, something Mara didn't remember, but reluctantly admitted she may well have done unintentionally. Lessa and F'lar quickly learned of her ability to hear people as well, and they learned to think to each other, something Lessa said could be very useful, but should not be used needlessly. Mara's simple, but optimistic outlook on life in general also interested Lessa and they became friends.
It was also discovered that Mara had never been allowed any form of education. Even her limited language skills were learned mostly by conversing with dragons. T'men was asked to first assess her learning abilities and then to tutor her. Lessa wanted Mara's help (and her special abilities) at the Weyr, but preferred educated help. T'men found her to be a very quick study, 'like a large very dry sponge in the middle of the Igen desert at high sun in midsummer', and began her training with earnest enthusiasm.
G'raden also took an interest in Mara, as she was so sweet and kind, and didn't seem the least bit bothered by his speech problems. As a matter of fact, she had such a calming effect on him that his problem was barely noticeable in her presence.
Mara also took an interest in G'raden. Not only had he rescued her from a near fatal situation in Keroon, he had brought her to Benden Weyr! Due to his rather scary appearance, she had instinctively listened to some of his thoughts, and found him to be a kind, gentle, caring man. She also recognized the intelligence hidden by his speech problem.
Between classes with T'men and time spent with G'raden, Mara 'earned her keep' by assisting Weyrlingmaster L'ret. Due to her still recuperating status, she did very light drudge work, read L'ret's class transcripts, and assisted weyrlings in interpreting what they were feeling from their dragons. It had been learned earlier that Mara, with a simple touch, could feel anything a dragon felt.
T'men still maintained contact with Harper Hall through his longtime friend and current Masterharper, Sebell. The Masterharper visited Benden Weyr to meet and assess Mara himself. After an afternoon of playful testing, he asked if she would be willing to help with a 'special assignment'. She later met Master Harper Mekelroy, who also tested her and agreed that she, with her special talents, could be an asset to the assignment. Harpers posing as common drudges were infiltrating Ista Weyr to determine the source of numerous severe grievances.
As Harper Hall had been requested by an anonymous bronze rider to help with an upcoming hatching, Mara accompanied Pokey (Mekelroy's mute drudge persona) and another partially trained Harper, Brendeen, to Ista Weyr to provide needed extra drudges with dragon experience. The threesome was treated poorly their first night in the Weyr, lodged in a small storeroom with a dragon sewage trench down the center.
Ista's hatching occurred the next day. Pokey, Brendeen, and Mara were assigned to chop meat in the kitchen during the disastrous hatching. Ista Weyr, under pressure from Lord Holder Toric of Southern Hold, had selected mostly candidates from his many children, nieces and nephews, very few of whom might have ever been legitimately searched. Several dragonets went between on finding no suitable riders, or after being kept from and even taken from their chosen lifemates.
Four dragonets found their way, with their sire, Barnath's help, into the kitchen. The little queen, Saraneth, chose Brendeen, Keroon Lord Holder Kashman's daughter. One little green chose Pokey, but he refused impression, resulting in a loss of consciousness when the little green went between. Another green, Mynth, impressed Calloreen, a recently orphaned drudge with only eleven turns. And little brown Klamath chose Mara.
Weyrleader G'dened, at the insistence of Ista Weyr's queen dragon Caylith, asked F'lar and Lessa to train Saraneth and Brendeen. He also asked that they take Klamath and Mara and Mynth and Calloreen; Ista Weyr simply wasn't prepared to train these unusual pairs, having no female green riders or female brown riders.
This story begins as the weyrlings and their dragons are being transported on dragonback from Ista Weyr to their new home at Benden Weyr.
I've seperated this from Mara's Story to avoid the daunting epic novel it wants to become.
As a youngster, I wouldn't even open a book that was 'too big'. Series, however, were a different matter entirely.
Very little has changed from the chapters originally posted in 'Mara's Story'.
Any complaints can be logged at www . whatever . com. ;)