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Old Feb 5 2009, 12:11 PM   #1
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Default Question on dragon gestation?

Hi. I'm new here, so please forgive me if this question has already been asked! I DID check the first few pages of threads.

I'm working on a story and trying to figure out the gestation period of dragons - the amount of time between mating and clutching. And then how long between clutching and hatching, but that's less important. I thought the answer might be in Dragonflight or Moreta, but the timelines are rather vague.

Help?

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Old Feb 5 2009, 03:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

The formula I've always used is three months from flight to clutching, and five weeks from clutching to hatching. But I'm sure others use different formulas, or vary it a little for individual queens.
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Old Feb 6 2009, 11:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

Yes, that is correct. In the books, there's a Teaching Ballad that states it.

Rise in glory,
Bronze and gold.
Dive entwined,
Enhance the Hold.

Count three months and more
And five heated weeks,
A day of glory and
In a month who seeks?
A strand of silver
In the sky...
With heat, all quickens
And all times fly.

So three months after the mating flight until clutching, and then five weeks until they hatch. I'm not sure exactly what the one month stands for... maybe a month BEFORE hatching when the dragons go on search? Kind of awkward saying that after the day of glory, though...
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Old Feb 7 2009, 05:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

I'd have taken that to imply that the dragonets are flying thread 1 month after hatching which seems a little premature.
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Old Feb 7 2009, 08:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

Thank you! I'd forgotten about that teaching ballad.

That sort of throws a wrench in my plot. (I have a renegade weyrwoman whose queen recently mated, and who just found out she's pregnant. I was going to have her send the child back in time fifteen years so she can show up in time for the hatching and possibly Impress the new queen. But in the eggs would have been laid and hatched well before the human baby's birth. HMM...)
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Old Feb 8 2009, 02:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

She could already have been pregnant before the flight... that wouldn't show for a couple of months, would it?
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Old Feb 8 2009, 03:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

I thought of that, but if she's fighting Thread (this is set during the Ninth pass) she'd be popping in and out of between, and that can't be good for the baby. This is Kylara, actually. I'm working on an AU where the mating fight was averted.
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Old Feb 8 2009, 03:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

You could set up a nice little predestination paradox... the teenage child Impresses before she's born so she can be sent back in time in order to grow up.... so Kylara ends up doing it because she knows it's already happened.


::goes off to deal with headache::
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Old Feb 8 2009, 06:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

Heinlein found that, when dealing with time paradoxes, there are problems grammatically with verb tenses: basically we'd need to invent new ones.

Future-past-imperfect anyone?
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Old Feb 8 2009, 08:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

I have enough problems with regular verb tenses I would hate to try and work out future-past stuff.
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Old Feb 8 2009, 10:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

Quote:
I thought of that, but if she's fighting Thread (this is set during the Ninth pass) she'd be popping in and out of between, and that can't be good for the baby. This is Kylara, actually. I'm working on an AU where the mating fight was averted.
No, it shouldn't be a problem. According to canon - in the story "The Second Weyr" from CoP, greenriders who are pregnant and don't wish to abort fly with the queens' wing, because there is very little between maneuvering, so it's fairly safe. The queens mostly just have to intercept Thread here and there - they're mostly not ducking between every thirty seconds, like the fighting wings are.
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Old Feb 9 2009, 04:36 AM   #12
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

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Originally Posted by Thistlerose View Post
Thank you! I'd forgotten about that teaching ballad.

That sort of throws a wrench in my plot. (I have a renegade weyrwoman whose queen recently mated, and who just found out she's pregnant. I was going to have her send the child back in time fifteen years so she can show up in time for the hatching and possibly Impress the new queen. But in the eggs would have been laid and hatched well before the human baby's birth. HMM...)
Well she could Bill and Ted it. Decide to plan it that way, and see a mid teen show up dropped off by a dragonrider, not searched or anything. She sends the baby back not long after birth to prevent a paradox from occurring. Think Jaxom and the Queen egg. Best make it twenty years though, so there's a minimal amount of double timing it.
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Old Feb 10 2009, 09:01 AM   #13
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

I think the issue with that Ghost, is that the fetus/teen girl would be doubled in time for a period, which causes problems.
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Old Feb 11 2009, 11:27 PM   #14
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I have enough problems with regular verb tenses I would hate to try and work out future-past stuff.
So do I Maw!

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Could that part of mean anything to watching for the begining of Threadfall? Just a twig of thought here!
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Old Feb 12 2009, 12:50 PM   #15
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

I think it may refer to the increase in flights and clutch sizes as the Pass approaches.
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Old Feb 12 2009, 05:27 PM   #16
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

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I'd have taken that to imply that the dragonets are flying thread 1 month after hatching which seems a little premature.
Definitely not, since it's a year before they are allowed to fly at all, let alone fight Thread.
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Old Feb 13 2009, 10:00 PM   #17
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No, it shouldn't be a problem. According to canon - in the story "The Second Weyr" from CoP, greenriders who are pregnant and don't wish to abort fly with the queens' wing, because there is very little between maneuvering, so it's fairly safe. The queens mostly just have to intercept Thread here and there - they're mostly not ducking between every thirty seconds, like the fighting wings are.
Yes, this.

The queen's wing really doesn't go between quite as much, so Kylara could fight Thread and be pregnant. AND, considering how very sexual she is, it fits quite well.
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Old Feb 13 2009, 11:09 PM   #18
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Yes, this.

The queen's wing really doesn't go between quite as much, so Kylara could fight Thread and be pregnant. AND, considering how very sexual she is, it fits quite well.
Of course, canonically Ms. Zero Personality self-aborted "the little brats" using lengthy jaunts between.

I'm a healer by both temperament and inclination, so Kylara's "self-abortions" royally piss me off. They weren't a threat to anything but her damned figure, and for the selfish prick to....

Hey, maybe motherhood will end up maturing the bitch -- about bloody time!

I'd like to cast an pseudo-Irish curse on AU Kylara though: "May your pregnancy be twenty-five times more painful than Lady Eve's were, Lilith-spawn!"

Hey, don't look at me like that! That curse is far too forgiving if you ask me -- she's a bloody murderess -- but anything more would be considered cruel and unusual.

I save my vindictive side for special cases; Kylara simply happens to be one of them.

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Old Feb 14 2009, 02:07 AM   #19
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

Not just her figure, but the time, discomfort and pain involved in carrying to term and birthing an unwanted baby... and there may not have been a wet nurse available, either.

Not saying I think it's right, just saying the inconvenience went much further than her figure after it was over.

If they'd had the pill on Pern, she'd have been on it, for sure.
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Old Feb 14 2009, 04:37 AM   #20
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IIRC, she had five kids before she learned the trick of self aborting. First in DF, So her being a mother did not up maturity. Not with Weyr fostering practices.
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Old Feb 14 2009, 12:09 PM   #21
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

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I'm a healer by both temperament and inclination, so Kylara's "self-abortions" royally piss me off. They weren't a threat to anything but her damned figure, and for the selfish prick to....
I suspect you're going to find that you just kicked over an anthill. I'm no fan of Kylara, but her choosing not to bear any more children after having had five is not a point on which I'd criticize her.

With the likely limited availability and effacacy of birth control on Pern, prevention of unwanted pregnancies was not always going to be possible. And with Kylara already having had five children, any societal obligation she had to add to the Weyr's population was well met.

Her choosing to induce miscarriages so as not to have any more children is her right, in my opinion. Women are not just breeding machines. Pregnancy and childbirth are not a walk in the park nor risk-free -- and with the more primitive medical techniques available on Pern it's a much riskier proposition there than here.

So no, I won't be judging Kylara on the basis of her choosing not to bear any more children.
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Old Feb 14 2009, 12:58 PM   #22
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Of course, canonically Ms. Zero Personality self-aborted "the little brats" using lengthy jaunts between.

I'm a healer by both temperament and inclination, so Kylara's "self-abortions" royally piss me off. They weren't a threat to anything but her damned figure, and for the selfish prick to....

Hey, maybe motherhood will end up maturing the bitch -- about bloody time!

I'd like to cast an pseudo-Irish curse on AU Kylara though: "May your pregnancy be twenty-five times more painful than Lady Eve's were, Lilith-spawn!"

Hey, don't look at me like that! That curse is far too forgiving if you ask me -- she's a bloody murderess -- but anything more would be considered cruel and unusual.

I save my vindictive side for special cases; Kylara simply happens to be one of them.
Where do you see that she self-aborts? There is nothing that says she is self-aborting, just that a 'lengthy jaunt between' keeps her from having children.

This 'lengthy jaunt' could be the day after the night before. It could be during the time of month that the female's eggs are the most fertile.

Miscarriages can be painful. I highly doubt that Kylara would want to go through the pain of a self-induced miscarriage.

No, I think that Kylara's 'lengthy jaunts' are more of a preventative maintenance than active abortion.

...Plus, if she's already had five kids, what is wrong with not wanting to carry more babies to term. Pregnancy is nine months of your life where you are effectively grounded - because there is recovery time after. At least six months. Personally, if I had already had five kids, and didn't want any more, I would do the same thing. Five is plenty, thankyouverymuch.

I also don't feel that this forum is the place for your political views.
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Old Feb 14 2009, 08:27 PM   #23
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...Plus, if she's already had five kids, what is wrong with not wanting to carry more babies to term. Pregnancy is nine months of your life where you are effectively grounded - because there is recovery time after. At least six months. Personally, if I had already had five kids, and didn't want any more, I would do the same thing. Five is plenty, thankyouverymuch.
That's something I didn't remember. Then again, it's been a few months since I picked up a Pernverse book, so that's hardly surprising.

I'm not saying I don't believe you guys, but that would have changed my opinion if I'd remembered.

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I also don't feel that this forum is the place for your political views.
This "political view" is rather common, Shalyn. At least I have the decency to allow for exceptions.

I guess it's time I kept my word....
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Of course, if that whole uber-openness thing isn't exactly welcome here... please let me know, and I'll do my best to keep myself in check. *shrug*
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Old Feb 15 2009, 12:16 AM   #24
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

I personally like the original fate for Kylara- she lives but she lost her mind! its like the ultimate death penalty, and only the strong can over come it! Secondly- any one else want to Cas***** Meroon! I did!
And she was aborting, because Lessa talked about the holder girls never wanting to abort even though they are crowded and it made her think of the only son she was able to have and was jealous of Kylara having 5 and having more to abort.
least thats the impression I got.
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Old Feb 15 2009, 03:13 AM   #25
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I don't think there's any doubt that Kylara was aborting.

I would think she might not do it every "morning after", but if she missed a period would make a point of it.
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Old Feb 15 2009, 11:13 AM   #26
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This "political view" is rather common, Shalyn. At least I have the decency to allow for exceptions.
The way you were ranting on that topic, I missed your disclaimer.

So, even though you have now succeeded in calling me inflexible, I will apologize for missing that sentence.
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Old Feb 15 2009, 11:16 AM   #27
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I don't think there's any doubt that Kylara was aborting.

I would think she might not do it every "morning after", but if she missed a period would make a point of it.
And I never really took it that way. For some reason, I felt that she used between as birth control, not birth termination.

Everyone reads it differently.
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Old Feb 19 2009, 11:32 PM   #28
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And I never really took it that way. For some reason, I felt that she used between as birth control, not birth termination.

Everyone reads it differently.
Under the circumstances, it's the same thing. If she's not pregnant, the hop between does nothing whatsoever. If she is pregnant it terminates the pregnancy.

Going between doesn't kill sperm. Going between causes miscarriages. You can't have a miscarriage without being pregnant. Ergo, it is, in fact, "birth termination" as you put it. Kylara is aborting through between-induced miscarriage.
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Old Feb 19 2009, 11:53 PM   #29
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Yes, that is correct. In the books, there's a Teaching Ballad that states it.

Rise in glory,
Bronze and gold.
Dive entwined,
Enhance the Hold.

Count three months and more
And five heated weeks,
A day of glory and
In a month who seeks?
A strand of silver
In the sky...
With heat, all quickens
And all times fly.

So three months after the mating flight until clutching, and then five weeks until they hatch. I'm not sure exactly what the one month stands for... maybe a month BEFORE hatching when the dragons go on search? Kind of awkward saying that after the day of glory, though...
Using this set of verse, I'd interpret it as follows:

"Count three months and more"

At least 12 weeks will pass between flight and clutch. Every queen's biology being a little different, it might not be precisely 12 weeks, but it won't be less.

"And five heated weeks,
a day of glory
and in a month who seeks?"

It will be no more than five weeks from clutch to hatching. Hatching could occur as little as four weeks from clutching.

"A strand of silver
In the sky...
With heat all quickens
and all times fly."

Expect shorter gestation during a Pass, a period when, incidentally, Hatching Ground sands are hotter, probably due to increased flux in Pern's mantle due to the gravitational effects of the Red Star's passage through the inner system (which also causes the periodic reappearance of certain volcanoes).

So, on average, you're looking at 17 weeks from flight to hatching.

There is another interpretation.

If a queen acts entirely normally after a flight, and then proceeds to the hatching grounds for a period before clutching, then what you would have is:

12 weeks from flight to the queen sequestering herself on the sands;
5 weeks on the sands until clutching;
4 weeks from clutching until hatching

This would make an average gestation of 21 weeks from flight to hatching.

This would be extremely awkward. With three breeding queens in a Weyr and a little less than 52 weeks in the Pernese year, you're not going to be able to accommodate a clutch by each queen each Turn on a 21 week cycle. You're only going to get in about 2.5. With a 17 week cycle, you can squeeze in one mating flight per queen with no overlaps.

Technically, you only need to account for time on the sands, which would be either 5 weeks or 9 weeks, but seeing that each of the four illustrated Weyrs has five queens' Weyrs, you run a much bigger risk of an overlap with a 9 week period on the sands than a 5 week period. You have 10 windows of opportunity with a 5 week period, versus 5 with a 9 week period.

I can't recall mention of more than one queen brooding on the same Hatching Ground, and given how nasty some can be about their eggs, I don't think you would see two on the Grounds at the same time. And an overlap in time on the Grounds implies a potential overlap in the time of the Flight and the potential for disaster inherent in that.

Personally, I'd go with the 17 week gestation. Much more flexible.

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Old Feb 20 2009, 12:12 AM   #30
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I suspect you're going to find that you just kicked over an anthill. I'm no fan of Kylara, but her choosing not to bear any more children after having had five is not a point on which I'd criticize her.

With the likely limited availability and effacacy of birth control on Pern, prevention of unwanted pregnancies was not always going to be possible. And with Kylara already having had five children, any societal obligation she had to add to the Weyr's population was well met.

Her choosing to induce miscarriages so as not to have any more children is her right, in my opinion. Women are not just breeding machines. Pregnancy and childbirth are not a walk in the park nor risk-free -- and with the more primitive medical techniques available on Pern it's a much riskier proposition there than here.

So no, I won't be judging Kylara on the basis of her choosing not to bear any more children.
Of course, all this casual miscarrying is rather unrealistic. No miscarriage--even a spontaneous and early one--is without some risk to the mother (something my wife and I have way too much experience with). This is another one of "those things people don't really think about" with Pern as they blithely talk of quick jaunts between.

Into the same category, we can lump all the blithe assumptions of profligate anal sex amongst male dragon-riders. Which completely ignores the state of sanitation on Pern, not to mention the physiological effects of constant very cold trips to altitude while sitting with a dragon's neck ridge just there. In reality, most dragon riders probably suffer from hemorrhoids, and pressure in that region isn't real great for the prostate either... Flying six hours on a hard, flat ejection seat is uncomfortable enough; if that seat had a three-four inch ridge down the middle...talk about a P.I.T.A....

Of course, recklessly courting the hazards of miscarriage would fit with Kylara's fairly irredeemable character.

As for the proverbial pain in the rear, I've never understood why dragon riders never adopted the saddle.

Last edited by ElectricDragon; Feb 20 2009 at 12:14 AM. Reason: typo
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Old Feb 21 2009, 08:38 AM   #31
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

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Of course, all this casual miscarrying is rather unrealistic. No miscarriage--even a spontaneous and early one--is without some risk to the mother (something my wife and I have way too much experience with). This is another one of "those things people don't really think about" with Pern as they blithely talk of quick jaunts between.
A bit of a stretch on this theory, but...it could just be coincidence. Even though it sometimes seems that way, a woman isn't going to get pregnant *every* time she has sex. So, maybe with Kylara's 'quick jaunts between', she actually thinks that she's bucking the system, but in reality she's not pregnant. If her jaunts happen to be when her period is late, maybe that's just it - her period is late.

Or, maybe the excessive betweening at the early stages - when the sperm meets the egg - causes the combination to just not 'take'.

For female green riders, maybe the excessive betweening does something to the womb, making it harder to get pregnant.

Like I said, a stretch, but a much more palatable reasoning than having riders force painful miscarriages every couple of months.

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Into the same category, we can lump all the blithe assumptions of profligate anal sex amongst male dragon-riders. Which completely ignores the state of sanitation on Pern, not to mention the physiological effects of constant very cold trips to altitude while sitting with a dragon's neck ridge just there. In reality, most dragon riders probably suffer from hemorrhoids, and pressure in that region isn't real great for the prostate either... Flying six hours on a hard, flat ejection seat is uncomfortable enough; if that seat had a three-four inch ridge down the middle...talk about a P.I.T.A....

Of course, recklessly courting the hazards of miscarriage would fit with Kylara's fairly irredeemable character.

As for the proverbial pain in the rear, I've never understood why dragon riders never adopted the saddle.
Another stretch point from me.

They do talk about riding 'gear', as well as merely riding 'straps'. Maybe there is a type of small saddle-like thing that straddles the ridges, to give a rider something to keep the ridge from hurting them.

Actually, I think that where the rider (and passengers) sit isn't ridged, but there is the spine which could still be painful. Not sure - I've never ridden a horse bareback, so don't know how comfortable/uncomfortable that could be.

It would make more sense - and maybe they don't want to call it a saddle to keep it separate from a horse-equivalent.

Yes. Stretching.
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Old Feb 21 2009, 09:22 AM   #32
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

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A bit of a stretch on this theory, but...it could just be coincidence. Even though it sometimes seems that way, a woman isn't going to get pregnant *every* time she has sex. So, maybe with Kylara's 'quick jaunts between', she actually thinks that she's bucking the system, but in reality she's not pregnant. If her jaunts happen to be when her period is late, maybe that's just it - her period is late.

Or, maybe the excessive betweening at the early stages - when the sperm meets the egg - causes the combination to just not 'take'.

For female green riders, maybe the excessive betweening does something to the womb, making it harder to get pregnant.

Like I said, a stretch, but a much more palatable reasoning than having riders force painful miscarriages every couple of months.



Another stretch point from me.

They do talk about riding 'gear', as well as merely riding 'straps'. Maybe there is a type of small saddle-like thing that straddles the ridges, to give a rider something to keep the ridge from hurting them.

Actually, I think that where the rider (and passengers) sit isn't ridged, but there is the spine which could still be painful. Not sure - I've never ridden a horse bareback, so don't know how comfortable/uncomfortable that could be.

It would make more sense - and maybe they don't want to call it a saddle to keep it separate from a horse-equivalent.

Yes. Stretching.
I think it is pretty clearly implied that between induces spontaneous abortions (i.e. miscarriages). But like you said, a woman doesn't get pregnant every time she has sex, even if she is ovulating. And not every dragon-riding woman wants to terminate a pregnancy. So I doubt a "short hop between" is being executed with all that much frequency...unless you happen to be a promiscuous slut named Kylara who also happens to be inordinately fertile for her indiscriminate tastes. Beyond the likes of her, I doubt it's done very often, although in the way of things it is known as both a hazard and an option.

As for "riding gear" implying the existence of a saddle, all of the cannon descriptions of the equipment neglect to ever even hint at such a contrivance and definitely imply "saddling up" between the last--smaller--ridges before the back, at the base of the neck. Riding gear just tends to be a collective terms for the straps, and for the protective garments.

Riding bareback on a horse only goes so far as an example as a horse never attains a significant altitude and is therefor not in the same temperature and pressure regime. And three-dimensional aerial maneuvers are arguably a bit more demanding on the rider-mount interface...

You ought to be feeling quite limber and refreshed after all that stretching, however, so it was in a good cause.
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Old Feb 21 2009, 11:52 AM   #33
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

If I remember correctly somebody (P'tero?) has to use a tied on cushion for a bit because of injury. Much is made of this because they are normally bareback (in equestrian terms)
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Old Feb 22 2009, 10:35 AM   #34
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

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I can't recall mention of more than one queen brooding on the same Hatching Ground, and given how nasty some can be about their eggs, I don't think you would see two on the Grounds at the same time.
It's only mention in "The Second Weyr", where it seems there were times that three queens had to share the sands together. None of the queens were happy about it (some more upset than others), but there were no battles like happen with simultaneous flights.
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Old Feb 22 2009, 07:17 PM   #35
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

It also states in one of the first books that the dragons ridge seemed to be made just perfectly for the rider. I have always believed that the lower neck ridges flatten out some, where the riders butt would fit...and that the way the neck ridges are made keeps the rider secure on the neck of the dragon. Riding straps are mentioned, but I have never thought they were much more than some place to hold on with your hands...like the reins of a horse, and a place to secure the bags of firestone [or anthing else a rider would need to carry] with special straps on either side to attach them with.
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Old Feb 22 2009, 07:44 PM   #36
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Default Re: Question on dragon gestation?

More than once the straps are referred to as safety straps, and riders are described as unstrapping, or having extra rings for other riders. Especially in the ninth pass dragons are too big to just count on holding on with your legs. And in a high-speed bank the ridges wouldn't save you.

Reins on a horse are for control. Only total n00bs or very bad riders balance off them. Dragons don't have reins because they're not being directed by rider aids.
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