BackstoryTwelve Turns ago, Galen Weyr was founded by Jenni, rider of brown female Beth, O'ma, rider of bronze Condarith, and G'iles, rider of black Asteroth, along with nearly a full Wing of riders all formerly of Moon Lake Weyr. Jenni had been Junior Weyrwoman to Srinia and gold Kavinath for nearly six Turns before becoming dissatisfied with the leadership and deciding to strike out on her own. In her free time, she took to disappearing in order to scout the Southern Continent for a location sufficiently distanced from the rest of Pern that seemed suitable to her.
Upon finding the site of what is now Galen Weyr, she began to take other riders into her confidence, beginning with O'ma, who had often allied with her in the past. Eventually their group came to include blackrider G'iles, the Weyrleader at the time, who was sharply disturbed by the behavior of Srinia and agreed to go along with the break-away group. Together the three of them began to organize and oversee the construction of their place and the influx of interested Holders and Craftspeople who were keen on starting anew themselves.
The actual leave-taking happened suddenly and rather sooner than anyone had planned on. G'iles had called for a ground drill for the whole Weyr--something well within his rights as Weyrleader--but Srinia chose to use it as an excuse to flaunt her authority and defy G'iles as much as she could without outright disobeying. G'iles can be patient, but his temper is formidable when roused, and he was already stressed out and angry with her. He announced that he had had enough and was leaving--Moon Lake's T'taron was well able to step back in as Weyrleader--and anyone going with him had better come. Jenni and O'ma could do nothing but go, taking with them all to whom O'ma and G'iles had already spoken. Many who might have also come were left behind in the rush.
The Turn that followed was particularly hard for the Wing of riders who did go along. A Wing is considered the smallest group of riders that can fight Thread, and they had all they could do to oversee the building sites and the people in them. They had gotten along fine without draconic protection before, being in the south, but "Dragonmen must fly." The main living space of Galen was not yet finished, and neither were the Hatching Grounds. It was fortunate that they didn't get any very bad storms, being near the coast as they were. Even so, as a result of the stress but even moreso the lack of proper Hatching sands, Beth lost the clutch she had concieved prior to leaving Moon Lake. It was a dangerous time for morale, but the group was well-chosen and held together.
Now the Weyr itself and several Holds are finished and prospering, but there is still a vast, virtually untouched area to explore--and there is still the menace of Thread.
TopographyGalen Weyr is situated at the mouth of the river in the great bight east of Landing and Jordan and west of Ierne Island and Cibola. The river has been dubbed Roanoke by the settlers. It runs down from the mountains to the south--the Southern Barrier Range, for lack of another moniker--and runs fairly straight from south to north in its course. Because the distance between the Southern Barrier Range and the sea is comparatively short in the bight, the land alters quite noticably between settlements along the river as the elevation drops to sea level.
Around Galen Weyr, the land is mostly flat, grassy coastal plain with the only cliffs being those near the shoreline, where unstable land once fell into the sea. There may be some swampy areas, but so far none have been documented and most of the area is well-drained and good for agriculture.
As one progresses south, the land becomes more hilly with some sharp, up-thrusting rocky areas standing testament to the proximity of the mountains. This is a region of rolling green hills covered in vast stretches of forest, some trees more typical of Southern Weyr in the more northerly area, some more like the deciduous varieties of the north as one gets nearer to the mountains. This area is known as the piedmont.
Farthest south are the mountains. The soil is rocky and not much good for growing, though the Miners have scouted some good quality ores in the area. The peaks are rather impressive, being tall and snow-capped for most of the Turn. The trees that manage to grow here are hardy cold-tolerant types reminicient of the High Reaches.
ClimateThe expanse between the Southern Barrier Range and the sea is one of those places on Pern in which the climate varries noticably over a relatively small stretch of land. The mountains, the river, the sea, elevation, and latitude each affect the climate in any given region. A great part of the region is protected by mountains, with the Eastern Barrier Range to the west, the Western Barrier Range to the east, and, of course, the Southern Barrier Range to the south; so the settlers are well-protected from most very cold or harsh weather. (Needless to say, geography lessons get confusing. Southern Hold and Weyr are generally regarded as egocentric and mildly arrogant.)
Generally, the climate here can be said to be warm and wet with seasonal variations. There are no distinct wet and dry seasons, though the average rainfall is greatest in summer and least in autumn. The coast and mountains get the most rain while the piedmont is drier on the average. Winter-type precipitation occurs once or twice a Turn in the coastal region and more often in the foothills, while weather in the mountains is overall colder and wetter.
The Weyr- Weyrwoman: Jenni, brown female Beth
- Weyrleader: J'dan, bronze Vaensnth
- Weyr Insignia: On a field of celadon green, long, waving Grass in black.
- Weyr Colors: Celadon, dark green, brown, and dark blue.
- Tithing Holds: Cape, Galen, Piedmont, and Roanoke Holds all trade with each other and the Weyr. The region is self-sustaining in most things.
Galen Weyr is situated on the east side of the bay where the Roanoke River empties into the sea. The cliff face that flanks the bay does contain a cave system which was hollowed out by water long ago and expanded to service the Weyr, but it is not adequate to hold an entire population. It does hold one large cavern that serves as Hatching Grounds and a network of rooms that have been converted into a Lower Caverns area. There are three large caves at or near ground level that are Weyrwomen's quarters, but only one--the Senior Weyrwoman's--is directly connected to the Hatching Cavern. The cliff also holds weyrs enough for the Weyrleader and a few other high-ranking riders; a records room; and a council area.
The entrance to the Lower Caverns is large and actually at ground level, but the first thing one encounters when entering are broad stairs that lead up to a large foyer. Directly across from the entrance, there is a relatively straight, wide tunnel that leads steadily up through the cliff and eventually opens well above sea level on the other side, at the base of the hill that backs the cliff. To either side of the exit are candidate dormitories and weyrling barracks. If you are coming out of the tunnel, the barracks are on the left while the candidate dorms are to the right. If you are facing the tunnel, this is reversed. Directly before it is the Bowl, which is simply a wide, nearly-circular space which has been cleared of trees; for beyond the cliff and the hill there is a forest. The trees shelter the rest of the Weyr's inhabitants. Individual weyrs are connected by paths that continually have to be cleared of growth and debris, and all trails eventually lead back to the Bowl.
The watch ridge, which also holds "talking" drums, is above the point where the shoreline curves abruptly eastward. It is the highest point of the entire cliff and commands a wide view of the surrounding area. To the north is the ocean, and one can make out the first islands in the western chain. Due south, the river rolls away toward the Southern Barrier Range. Those with the keenest eyes might be able to make out the patchwork pasture- and farmland of Galen Hold on the east bank. To the west, parts of Cape Hold are clearly visible across the bay. To the east, one can see the whole Weyr laid out before them, then green as far as the eye can see.
Principle HoldsThere are four main Holds that may help to support Galen Weyr if the Weyr finds itself in straits. They are:
Cape Hold- Lord Holder: Lord Tiljim
- Hold Insignia: Per Fess, pale yellow, sky blue, and magenta, with an orange half Roundel centered in the pale yellow.
- Hold Colors: Pale yellow, sky blue, and magenta.
- Chief Crafts: Fisher/Seacraft, Healercraft, and Dolphineers.
- Chief Exports: Fish and fish products; dolphin knowledge; fire-lizard eggs.
Cape Hold proper is situated in a break in the cliffs that run along the west side of Roanoke River, across the bay from Galen Weyr. It faces northeast. Half of it is delved into the low bluffs there, half is built without. The land there slopes down abruptly to sea-level, flattening out with plenty of room for building along the coast. The Hold's primary Craft depots are located there, including a large port--in actuality a Seahold with shipping and construction yards, warehouses, and the Fisher- and SeaCrafthalls. The DolphinCrafthall is further to the west to avoid the traffic in Cape Port. Cape Hold has a Healer Hall, which is located in the westerly part of the gap so as to be between the Dolphin Hall and the Hold. Cape's Healer Hall keeps in close contact with the Dolphineers and offers a course in Dolphin Diagnostics.
Lord Tiljim himself is a seaman forced to divide his time between the Seahold and the main Hold (of course, he volunteered for the job, so he can't really complain), taking an interest in dolphins on the side. He speaks regularly to the leader of the resident pod and finds the creatures fascinating. At 43 Turns of age, he is a lively, active man with a wit to match. He doesn't set much store by formality; however, when he says "jump," he expects his people to reply, in unison, "How high?" Generally speaking, they do so with smiles and alacrity. Tiljim is not espoused, but he is looking. "I need someone to look after the main Hold for me," he jokes.
Cape Hold's waters are home to a dolphin pod of respectable size. The pod leader is called Bela. They respond quickly to the Dolphin Hall's bell, Cape SeaHold's bell, or a dragon's bugle and are always happy to keep up their end of the dolphin-human pact.
Galen Hold- Lady Holder: Lady Jessik
- Hold Insignia: Per Bend Dexter, light cerulean blue, dark green, and dark brown.
- Hold Colors: Light cerulean blue, dark green, dark brown.
- Chief Crafts: Beast-, Tanner-, and Farmercrafts.
- Chief Exports: Animals and animal products; cotton; and food crops.
Galen Hold is located directly south of the Weyr, on the west bank of the Roanoke River. This far upriver, the steep cliffs characterizing the river mouth have fallen away to gently sloping bluffs. The river has worn the land down layer by layer over the Turns, exposing bare rock. The Hold proper is built partially into the bluffs and partially out of them. The main entrance faces slightly south-west. The gather square is in the river valley, somewhat north of the Hold.
Galen Hold is the largest of the four attached to Galen Weyr with good reason: it is responsible for feeding the entire Roanoke River area. From their fields and pastures comes the bulk of grains, vegetables, meats, and dairy products consumed by the Weyr and the other three Holds, particularly remote Roanoke Hold. The people of Galen reflect this responsibility with a serious work ethic and deep pride, both of which are encouraged by the Lady Holder.
Lady Jessik is a smiling, oval-faced, pink-cheeked woman, 39 Turns old. Her hands are rough, her skin is brown, and her long tiger's-eye braid is often frayed at the end. Her fondest wish as a girl was to ride a gold dragon, but she was never Searched and she has no regrets. She is good friends with Weyrwoman Jenni and very happy to have a career with a large Hold. She knows all the ins and outs of a working farmhold and puts her kindly nature and firm sense of justice to good use alongside her managerial instinct.
Piedmont Hold- Lord Holder: Lord Ianof
- Hold Insignia: A field divided per Bend Sinister by a wavy Fret, dark green, white, and light brown.
- Hold Colors: Dark green, white, light brown.
- Chief Crafts: Wood- and Papercrafts.
- Chief Exports: Cured woods; furniture; paper; fruits and wine; runners.
Piedmont Hold is located near that major tributary to Roanoke River known as Glenive, in the big bend about twenty-four miles upstream from the joining. Piedmont is easily one of the most interesting of Galen's four Holds. Unlike the others, it is built totally independant of any natural landform, adopting and expanding on the style of Cove Hold to the west. The Hold faces east. Its walls, erected around an expansive central courtyard, are built of rock quarried from the surrounding land and whitewashed for a clean, bright finish. The roof is covered with the same creamy orange tiles used in Cove. The overall effect (for those who can recognize it) is that of a Spanish hacienda. The south wing is devoted to the stabling of Lord Ianof's finest runnerbeasts.
Ianof is a compact, brown-colored man with a slight air of exuberant bluster. On the other hand, he is well-spoken and not to be taken lightly. He makes a point of understanding his Woodcraft-oriented holders. In his spare time, he is a runner enthusiast and breeder. In his younger days he jockeyed for his home hold, but now, at 57, he must content himself with the experience from the sidelines. Piedmont currently supports a small, hardy, native breed for route-riding, an imported heavy draft breed for hauling, and a small population of racers used in communication and sport. Ianof's current breeding program hopes to produce a beast stout enough to pull large loads of wood over the rocky terrain, slight enough to be comfortably ridden, and sure-footed either way. (If he's lucky, he'll end up with something like the Irish Draught.)
Roanoke Hold- Lord Holder: Lord Tacel
- Lady Holder: Lady Okary
- Hold Insignia: Centered on a field Quartered in dark red and golden yellow, per Fess a black Fret.
- Hold Colors: Black, dark red, golden yellow or gold.
- Chief Crafts: Miner- and Smithcrafts.
- Chief Exports: Ice; firestone; blackrock; ores and metal tools; some few gems and semi-precious stones.
Roanoke Hold is located in the mountains just below the source of the Roanoke River. The Hold faces northwest, but otherwise it is the most "proper" of the lot: it is built into the stone of the mountains and its windows are shuttered with iron. Granted, this has more to do with practicality than tradition, but there it is. In fact, Roanoke sees the least amount of Threadfall in the region and has far less to lose than the other Holds since it works mostly in stone and ore. (On the other hand, one cothold lower on the slopes specializes in the small, sweet but tart apples that grow there and is notorious for a rather dangerous scrumpy.) The architecture of the Hold proper has more to do with defense against the elements than defense against Thread.
Roanoke is the smallest of the four Holds, supporting a population about one-third the size of Galen's. Roanoke's working contingent is comprised overwhelmingly of Miner- and Smithcrafters, whose pride is staked on hardiness, productivity, and self-sufficiency in their remote, mountainous Hold. The fact that they must be largely dependent on Galen Hold for food fires a friendly rivalry between them, with Roanoke proclaiming that size doesn't make Galen better, and "where would all you farmers be without our metal tools, or ice on a hot day, eh?" (Lady Jessik tolerates this, but won't suffer her own proud people to take matters out of hand.)
Lord Tacel is the oldest of the Roanoke River Holders. Aged 59 Turns, he acquired his mastery in the Minecraft well before Galen Weyr started advertising for potential Holders. Tacel, then 47, saw an opportunity in the Southern Barrier Range and used his seniority to ensure that he was the one chosen to start Camp Roanoke. When it was proven as a Mine, he gained the title "Lord" and went on to develop the Hold. At about the same time, he espoused the young Lady Okary, who had been waiting in the High Reaches for his achievement. The two seem an odd pair at a glance: Tacel, average-sized with graying carroty hair and blue eyes, fit, but no longer brawny as he was in his youth; and Okary, 21 Turns his junior, but a tall and handsome woman with fair skin and dark hair and eyes. However, they get along famously and have two daughters (Oka, age 6; and Kata, 1), and two sons (Takary, 10; Lyrak, 5; and Karel, 1). Their attempts to conceive a fourth child resulted in twins and they consider their line secure.
All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyright ©
Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2001, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.
This page last updated 9.03.06 by Nerissa.