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Old Apr 23 2008, 02:29 AM   #1
Greenrider Dawna
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Default Pern Fanfic - Search

Disclaimer: I do not own Pern or its dragons. Anne McCaffrey does. I am simply playing in her world.

Search


G’ren, we have found her, Sereth announced as I was finishing up the midday meal in Ruatha Hold’s great dining hall where I was an honored guest. My brown dragon’s voice tingled through my mind, filling me with warmth.

You have? I glanced at my table companions. Lord Dalven, the widowed Lord Holder, sat directly across from me. He was a short, burly man with small icy eyes. He was joined by his eldest son Randel and daughter Catha. Both these offspring, in their late teens, had Dalven’s pale hair and eyes but were tall and slender, certainly taking after their mother or some other relative. Is it one of Lord Dalven’s children? I stiffened in anticipation to Sereth’s answer. Lord Dalven was adamant that at least one of his children be selected on Search. As of yet, there was no Candidate from Ruatha to stand at the Hatching of the gold queen Lilth’s latest clutch.

No. She just stepped outside onto the west terrace.

I turned to bluerider C’enen, who had joined me on this Search. His wide gray eyes held a distant look, revealing that he, too, was communicating with Prilith, his dragon. After a moment, he turned to me and nodded.

We excused ourselves from the table and hurried out onto the terrace that our dragons had indicated. They were perched on the heights of the nearby hills, their glossy hides reflecting the springtime sunlight, their jeweled eyes whirling with multiple hues. Both were crooning, a rich, musical sound. A girl that looked to be in her teens but was small enough to still be a child was staring up at them in wide-eyed fascination. She was wearing a dirty, ragged tunic and her long hair was a tousled mess.

“Her?” C’enen gasped in disbelief. “Impossible! She’s only a kitchen drudge.”

I felt a twinge of anger in my chest at his words. C’enen, having been weyrbred, had been instilled with certain expectations as to what kinds of people would make good Candidates. But I had been raised in a small, farming cothold with seven siblings. Father was a farmer and Mother had labored for a time as a drudge at Fort Hold before their espousal. True, she hadn’t been very intelligent but she worked hard to keep us all clothed and fed. She also had had a pleasant, albeit untrained, singing voice and often hummed as she went about her duties. I’d always had the greatest respect for her. She had died, giving birth to my youngest siblings, the twins Timbrin and Giselle. I was fostered out shortly after and eventually sent to the Healer Hall to begin my apprenticeship. Even as a child, I’d had a knack for healing and would often try to treat any injured or ill herdbeasts on our farm. It was at that Hall where I was discovered on the Search that led to my Impression to Sereth.

“That doesn’t matter, C’enen,” I said, struggling to keep the anger out of my voice. “It’s up to the dragons to decide, not us. My Sereth sees something in her that most humans can’t. It’s not our place to judge.”

“You’re right,” C’enen replied. “But we must inform Lord Dalven that we have selected a Candidate from his Hold.”

I turned toward the young drudge whose eyes reflected a glint of shock. “Well girl, it looks like you have been Searched,” I said, smiling. She probably wasn’t expecting that! I held out a hand to her. She stumbled awkwardly toward me and took it. Her small hand felt rough and callused. “I am G’ren, rider of brown Sereth and this is C’enen, blue Prilith’s rider.” C’enen nodded to her. “What is your name?”

“R-Remmi.” Her voice came out as a whispered gasp. I struggled to hide my amusement. Why were people so intimidated by us? True, we rode enormous dragons but we were simply human like everyone else. Although smeared with grime, Remmi had an attractive, delicate face with high cheekbones and large eyes. But there was something on her left cheek that was more than just dirt. It looked like a bruise.

“What happened to your cheek, Remmi?” I asked as C’enen raced away to get the Lord Holder.

Remmi turned her head. Her slight body stiffened. I struggled to stifle the anger that had been triggered by C’enen’s offhanded comment. There were places on Pern where the drudges were treated merely as work objects and often abused, yet no one ever seemed to care. Perhaps I was more sensitive to this issue than most since Mother had been one. A part of me wanted to thrash the person who had hit Remmi.

“It’s really nothing, sir.” Her tone was low, emotionless.

It is something, I wanted to say. Such treatment wouldn’t be tolerated at Ista Weyr! You deserve the same amount of respect as any other woman. “I’m a trained healer,” I said instead, studying the bruise. It had started to turn purple but, other than that, she seemed to be unharmed. “It doesn’t look like anything serious and should heal in a few days. Still, you could apply a bit of numbweed to it if it is sore.”

“So, you’ve found a Candidate.” I nearly started at the sound of Lord Dalven’s eager voice. He took great strides with his short legs. C’enen, who was practically Dalven’s height but much more slender, closely followed him. “Just one? Who is it?”

“Remmi,” I said, gently pulling her forward. She tensed noticeably as Lord Dalven briefly appraised her before he tossed his head back and laughed.

“Her? She looks like one of my drudges. I didn’t know that dragonriders played practical jokes on people. Who is it really? Please say Catha. My daughter talked about the upcoming Search to my Hold for several sevendays. I think she’d make an excellent Weyrwoman.”

I took a deep breath and was grateful when C’enen spoke. I was certain that I’d blurt out something I’d regret had I done so.

“My lord, the dragons have selected Remmi,” he said. “I questioned it myself but my Prilith insists that she is the one. The dragons are never wrong in these matters.”

Lord Dalven frowned and his face took on a burning red flush. “This is impossible! How can you choose this—this halfwit over my children?”

“She’s not a halfwit.” I could tell that my tone betrayed my anger but, at this point, I didn’t care. “The dragons have touched her mind and found her worthy of the Search. You must accept it.”

Lord Dalven breathed deeply as he glared at Remmi. I saw her stiffen.

No, I heard Sereth say, but he wasn’t speaking to me. His attention was focused on Remmi. She looked up toward him. Sereth was staring directly at her, his eyes whirling with gentle shades of blue and green. Our decision is final. You are the one we selected.

“Fine!” I fought to hide my amusement at Lord Dalven’s poorly concealed rage. “Take her. I can always find another drudge. They are easily replaceable.”

He turned on his heel. C’enen followed to offer whatever comfort he could. I turned my attention back to Remmi who was nervously twisting the hem of her tunic. Sereth and I would soon take her to Ista Weyr, where she would prepare for the Hatching. There was much to do to get her ready! She would first of all be handed over to the headwoman Felysa. I smiled. If there was one thing Felysa loved to do, it was fussing over the female Candidates and weyrlings, fixing their hair and adorning them with lovely dresses. She would have fun with Remmi, who could certainly use some much needed pampering! After Felysa was finished with her, she would have to learn what her duties as a weyrling would require should she Impress: how to bathe, feed and care for her dragon. She would also be invited onto the Hatching Ground with the other Candidates beforehand to get adjusted to the hot sands and acquaint herself with the eggs.

Remmi would also be able to meet the other Candidates. True, most were weyrbred but a few came from Holds, crafts, and cotholds. No one should give her a difficult time. And if any tried, I’ll be there to set them right. Still, Remmi was coming from a disadvantaged position. Even if she didn’t Impress, she couldn’t very well remain a drudge! There had to be other options for her.

“Can you read, Remmi?” I asked her.

She looked down. A bright flush touched her dirt and bruise-smeared cheeks, which were only slightly concealed by a curtain of matted hair. “No, sir. I never learned.”

“Well, that should change. Sereth and Prilith have seen something in you that others have obviously overlooked. Even if you don’t Impress, I will suggest that you stay on in the Weyr and attend lessons with the weyrbred children.” She blinked up at me as if she couldn’t believe what I was saying. “How old are you, Remmi?”

“Fourteen.” Her voice sounded dry, whispery.

“You are at an age where you should have already been apprenticed to a Craft or Hall if any innate skills you have had been discovered. What skills do you possess?”

Remmi swallowed and returned her gaze to the ground. “Not many. For twelve Turns, I traveled with my family and others, a group of holdless. I did a little cooking and gathering of herbs, nothing special, although I’d often tell stories around the campfires at night.”

She could cook and gather herbs. A cook or a healer? For some reason, I didn’t feel either of those crafts suited her. Still, the other thing she had said did capture my attention. Storytellers were rare on Pern, even at Harper Hall. “You told stories?”

“Yes, sir. I enjoyed doing that, making things up although now I just keep them in my head because I doubt anyone in the Hold would want to hear them.”

Perhaps she would make a good harper. But there were some criteria that came with that particular craft. “Can you sing? Have you ever played a musical instrument?”

Again, Remmi shook her head. “I’m not much of a singer, although my mother had had a beautiful voice.” Tears misted her eyes. “And I’ve never touched a musical instrument.”

I felt a sinking in my chest. Would Harper Hall take a potential storyteller without musical ability? Perhaps she could be taught.

Her talent is exceptional, said Sereth. I have been able to enter her mind. She used to tell the stories she made up to the other children of her camp. She could be taught to play a musical instrument at Harper Hall but her main talent lies in her imagination and ability to weave stories. However, much of her brilliance has been masked by extreme grief. She lost her entire family to fevers not more than two Turns ago and she was badly treated at Nabol, the Hold she originally ended up at, then escaped from. Still, I see much inner strength in her. She would not only make a wonderful storyteller but holds great potential as a dragonrider as well.

Thank you, Sereth, I answered, turning back to Remmi who was standing respectfully silent at my side. I placed a hand on her shoulder and locked my gaze with hers. Her vast eyes were a pale, bright green. “You do realize, once you come to the Weyr, you will be learning the basics with children much younger than yourself?” She swallowed and nodded. “It is important that you learn those. If you do Impress, you will have those lessons in addition to caring for your dragon, weyrling duties and training. Due to your late start, you will have to work harder than the others. Is that understood?”

“Yes. I am used to working hard, sir.” Her lips trembled into a slight smile, the first I’d seen from her.

“That’s good because much will be expected of you from now on. If you fail to Impress, I will suggest that you be sent to Harper Hall for training, if you so desire. That is, after you have been properly instructed in the basics. Sereth has informed me that you are an excellent storyteller and have a highly creative mind. You would be a great asset as a harper.”

“A harper?” Tears swelled in Remmi’s eyes. One escaped, trickling down the side of her nose. She blushed and wiped it away. I felt my own eyes burn. It was apparent that her talents had been badly overlooked.

I smiled and nodded. “Yes. You should—“

The Hatching! interrupted Sereth’s urgent voice. It’s starting! Both he and Prilith began to croon, a sound that echoed against the high walls of the Hold.

“Shards!” Frustrated, I kicked at the ground. How could this be? Remmi needed more time! She couldn’t attend a Hatching in her current state but there was nothing that could be done now. We’d get her to Ista as quickly as we could and hope that Felysa could do something with her before she stepped out onto the sands. Sereth flew down from the heights and alighted gracefully beyond the terrace. “The Hatching can’t be starting this early but Sereth informs me it has. It is days sooner than expected, which is unfortunate for you. I was hoping that you would have time to prepare for this event. Come on, Remmi. We must get you to Ista Weyr. Have you ever ridden dragonback before?”

“No.” A gleam of excitement mixed with melancholy touched her eyes. At least she wasn’t afraid, like so many people Sereth and I have transported had been. Yes, she would make a good dragonrider…

I hoisted her onto Sereth’s foreleg, helped her crawl up the side and secured her with the riding straps before I did likewise for myself. The familiar thrill of flight filled me as Sereth took to the air. Below I could see C’enen racing to climb aboard Prilith. He never missed a Hatching!

“In a few minutes we will be going between,” I said, almost expecting the usual gasp of terror. “It is frightening at first for everyone but don’t worry. Sereth and I know our coordinates. You will feel nothing for three seconds and then we will arrive at Ista.” Remmi merely nodded, her face set in anticipation. Moments later we were engulfed by that now-familiar chill nothingness. One, two, three, I slowly counted, just before we emerged in the warm springtime sunlight over Ista Weyr. The rich blue waters of the sea stretched far beyond.

Sereth landed in the vast bowl and I helped Remmi to dismount, then grabbed her hand and hurried her to the Weyr’s entrance. As we raced down the glow-lit passageway, the urgent thrumming of multiple dragons throbbed around us.

“Good luck to you, Remmi,” I whispered as I handed her over to Felysa, a short, round woman with graying hair pulled tightly back from her plump face. The girl was in good hands.

I then made my way to the rapidly filling stands that looked out onto the Hatching Ground. Sereth joined the other dragons on the ledge overlooking it, his crooning joining with theirs, filling the entire cavern with that eerie, wordless song. The white-robed Candidates were making their way toward the large rocking eggs that scattered the sands. The boys and girls walked smartly, picking up their bare feet. I smiled, recalling my own experience on the sands, my frustration over having to be out there barefoot suddenly overpowered by nerves and hope. I looked toward Sereth and smiled as a warm feeling filled me. Ever since that day, his mind has always been a part of mine.

Three girl Candidates formed a semi-circle around the queen egg that was guarded by Lilth, Ista’s great queen dragon. Audina, the Weyrwoman, sat in a stand above her. The woman’s angular face was set in lines of quiet dignity. I continued to search for Remmi. She would be the fourth girl, a Candidate for the queen egg.

I swallowed and my hands felt suddenly clammy. I almost laughed as I wiped my sweaty palms onto my wherhide trousers. I was as nervous as a Candidate!

Moments later, Remmi scurried onto the Hatching Grounds, hopping from foot to foot as she made her way toward the queen egg. Good. At least Felysa had instructed her as to where to go. Still, that knowledge did little to sooth the lump sitting in my stomach. Felysa obviously hadn’t had much time to do anything else with Remmi. Her hair was still unkempt, her face dirty. Frustration filled me. Candidates were supposed to be presentable! But had she taken more time to get ready, she might have missed the Hatching. Even her robe was too long and loose; she continued to trip on it in her haste.

Don’t worry, came Sereth’s soothing tone. I have a good feeling about that girl. She will Impress today.

Although I trusted Sereth with my life, I still found his encouraging words difficult to believe as I looked at the other female Candidates. Two, Brilla and Pedra, having been weyrbred, had been around dragons their entire lives. Wasn’t that an advantage? Jaya, a shy, plump girl had been an apprentice in the Weaver Craft Hall when she was Searched a few days ago. What chance did Remmi, a former holdless child and a drudge, have on the Hatching Grounds?

I swallowed back my doubts as the eggs began to rock more fiercely. A loud popping sound came from a mottled egg that was jagged with cracks. Moments later a gleaming bronze dragonet spilled out. A bronze! It was traditionally a good omen for a bronze to hatch first. Perhaps this would turn out to be an auspicious day!

The little creature unfurled its damp wings as it pushed its way through the crowd of hopeful boys. It stopped before Berayan, the son of Audina and Weyrleader R’nele, and gazed into his eyes.

As soon as I saw the boy’s eager smile and tears, I knew Impression had been made. “His name is Bareth!” he exclaimed in a trembling voice.

I felt tears spill onto my own cheeks as I remembered how I’d first looked into Sereth’s whirling, crystalline eyes and knew I’d found my lifelong companion.

My musings were interrupted as more eggs cracked, releasing their hatchlings. The boys scrambled everywhere, cheers going up from the watching crowd every time one Impressed. But silence filled the entire cavern as the shell of the queen egg finally broke, splitting down the middle with a loud cracking sound. The small dragonet awkwardly emerged, her slick hide gleaming a deep gold. My eyes immediately went to Remmi. She stood her ground but was jostled as the other girls pushed forward, hoping to catch the queen’s glowing, whirling eyes.

Please…choose Remmi! I thought, practically willing the little queen to make that choice. The gold dragonet wobbled toward her on unsteady legs. I felt a surge in my chest. Could it be…?

My anticipation was replaced by disappointment as the three other girls crowded in on her to get the dragon’s attention, unwittingly knocking Remmi aside. My hands clenched into fists as I saw her fall onto the sands. Jaya was bending over Remmi, about to try to help her up when she turned her head as if someone had called to her. She locked eyes with the queen. A flush of joy spread over her round face as she called, “Her name is Kayith!”

I struggled to be happy for Jaya. Between Jaya, Brilla and Pedra, Jaya was the best choice. She was kind but also a natural leader. Certainly she would eventually make a great Weyrwoman. But Remmi… My heart ached for her. I could feel her disappointment as if it were my own.

She didn’t get up but remained crumpled on the sands, her head bowed, her thick hair concealing her face. She didn’t have anyone and would need comforting.

As the mass of Candidates remaining on the sands stumbled about, hoping to capture the attention of the few remaining dragonets, mostly blues and greens, I began to make my way down the steps. I winced slightly as I reached the sands and felt their heat penetrate the soles of my boots.

I paused, wondering what I should say to Remmi. What could I say? I had Impressed at my first Hatching and had been too elated to focus on any comforting words given to the rejected Candidates. Still, I would keep my word. Remmi would remain here at the Weyr until she had learned enough to transfer to Harper Hall. This was something I was going to have to discuss with Master Harper Trevelin, who was here at the Hatching. Certainly I’d be able to introduce him to Remmi and explain what Sereth had seen in her. At least she wouldn’t have to remain a drudge. She should never have been one in the first place…

My thoughts were interrupted by the shrill cry of the last remaining dragonet, a green. Her sleek emerald hide shimmered with subtle golden highlights. Her eyes were whirling red as she knocked her way through the crowd of desperately anxious Candidates, looking up into one face, then another and still not seeing one she wanted.

My heart leaped as she spotted Remmi and clumsily hurried toward her. The girl didn’t see her; her head was still down, her eyes draped by hair. I wanted to call to her but the words locked in my throat. Let the dragon decide, said Sereth as my thoughts echoed that sentiment.

The little green butted her head against Remmi’s shoulder. “Leave me alone!” she snapped. I cringed at the harshness of her tone. The dragon’s eyes whirled red with distress.

Remmi, look up! I wanted to call and was relieved when she did. She pushed back her hair and stared up into the dragonet’s desperate eyes. A radiant smile broke across the girl’s face and tears spilled onto her cheeks. “I’m so sorry,” she said, her voice shaking with emotion. “Of course I do! I love you!” The dragonet’s eyes softened to a gentle blue as Remmi drew her into her arms.

I swallowed around my tight throat and felt the wetness of tears on my own face. I still couldn’t move. Memories of my own Impression to Sereth played through my mind.

See. We weren’t wrong about her, said Sereth.

“Then I shall get you something to eat,” I heard Remmi say as she climbed to her feet. With her eyes still streaming tears but her face wreathed by an elated smile, she started to help the unsteady green across the sands.

I hurried toward the pair. Since Remmi hadn’t attended any of the Candidate training, she would have to be guided on how to feed, bathe, and oil her new companion, starting now. I welcomed that task.

Remmi’s smile broadened even more when she saw me, an expression that made her beautiful despite the bruise and tear-smudged grime. “She says her name is Faylith!” she called, her voice trembling with a joy that echoed my own.

End

Last edited by Greenrider Dawna; Nov 17 2008 at 11:34 AM. Reason: Minor corrections.
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Old Apr 23 2008, 09:55 PM   #2
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You are welcome to post any comments in this thread.
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Old Apr 23 2008, 10:32 PM   #3
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I wondered, so I waited to see if it would be ok. I loved it. It really explored the drudge as dragonrider candidate idea. It was well done, and I'd love to see more of Remmi. I can see that she has a really interesting future ahead of her!
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Old Apr 24 2008, 01:49 AM   #4
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Thank you, Kevia! I am glad you enjoyed it. I have actually had a few ideas for Remmi's continuing story but so far they have just been glimmers without any cohesive plot. I guess I'll just have to wait and see where inspiration leads.
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Old Apr 30 2008, 01:05 PM   #5
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That was lovely!

The only specific thing that bothers me is that the dragon was able to get so much about her out of her mind - what kinds of stories she tells, who she tells them to, that that is her greatest talent... It's good to know, but a strange way to find out.

Oh, and also that if she fails, she will be sent to the Harper Hall... don't failed candidates usually get a choice as to whether they will stay on until the next Hatching? Maybe phrase it so that it is a choice, but letting her know that she could go to the Harper Hall.

If you decide to write more, you could ask a host to move the feedback posts to a separate thread so you can add it on here.
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Old Apr 30 2008, 10:09 PM   #6
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Brenda, thank you for your feedback!

I wasn't quite sure how to reveal this information about Remmi except through the dragon. I don't think it would have felt natural having it all come from her. I actually wrote an earlier version of this story that was told through Remmi's POV. I did feel that, perhaps in this instance, that particular scene worked better since Remmi couldn't hear the dragon's thoughts, just what G'ren told her afterward.

You are right about Candidates having a choice. I guess I was so caught up in G'ren's feeling that Harper Hall is a much better destiny than having her remain a drudge that I forgot about this!

Thanks again!!
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Old Jun 14 2008, 07:15 PM   #7
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Great story, somewhat bit like Lessa and Debra put together. I use the name for how to explan How I feel.
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Old Jun 15 2008, 08:29 PM   #8
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Thank you, Ginnystar! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
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Old Jun 18 2008, 03:57 PM   #9
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I'm speachless it's so beautiful. More please?
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Old Jun 18 2008, 10:29 PM   #10
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Thank you, R'na! I actually wrote two versions of this story. The other, told through Remmi's point of view, can be found here:

http://www.annemccaffreyfans.org/for...ad.php?t=18399
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Old Oct 7 2008, 09:09 PM   #11
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Dawna, this is a great story. I like how it's told from the Dragon Rider's POV.
I'd just read Remmie's POV, it'd fit perfectly with this one. Great work. :-)
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Old Oct 9 2008, 12:16 AM   #12
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Thank you, T Mynn Enz!
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Old Oct 10 2008, 12:56 AM   #13
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I had to re-read it, once more great story! LOL gone a bit too long. Oh well, that what happen when find some to read along the way. Able to take care of some things along my way too.
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Old Oct 14 2008, 11:47 PM   #14
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Thanks Ginny!
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Old Oct 15 2008, 12:06 AM   #15
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Any more coming soon?
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Old Oct 16 2008, 02:06 AM   #16
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Well, I actually did write out a brief outline the other day for a possible fic that takes place several Turns after "Search" and "A Pernese Cinderella." By this time Remmi is a dragonrider/harper who travels all over Pern to instruct children who don’t have access to a harper. I envision her as a supporting character in this particular story. The main character is a young teen, struggling to adjust to life in a new Hold. Her father had recently taken over as Lord Holder after her Uncle, the former Lord, was banished for criminal activity. The idea is still a nascent one and I haven't worked out all of the details.

I can't promise that I will write, let alone post, this anytime soon since my daily life keeps me very busy and I'm currently working on other projects. It will all depend on inspiration, I suppose.
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