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Old Apr 29 2008, 10:09 PM   #1
D. M. Domini
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Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

I was looking at the other adult topics, mainly the dragonrider sexuality one, and this one just occurred to me...if a green dragon flies, and bronzes, browns, and blues are all potentially interested in her, exactly how much of the weyr gets caught up in at least the preliminary lust of the flight?

Would a male dragon that isn't weyrmated ever just feel "not in the mood" to fly?

Would a dragon with a preferred mate not fly, if he was present in a weyr when a green launches herself on a mating flight?

How much "choice" does the dragon have to fly or not fly, assuming that he is present in the weyr and has not been taken elsewhere before the flight to remove his involvement?

I just have this...this absurd image of one female flying, and the entire male portion of the weyr getting involved in at least the early stages of the flight, before dropping out to let the main contenders finish it off. That's...a really, really big orgy.

I am tempted to write a humerous fic about a holder girl who's in the weyr for some mundane reason when a particularly sexy green that all the bronzes/browns/blues drool after rises. Like, a green with an incredible sex appeal. And the poor holder girl gets a rather interesting eyefull and .

(Note: I've never really done any research into how greens fly, so I might be missing some canon that will answer these questions here readily, particularly if it's in any of the books written post-All The Weyrs of Pern. I've always paid more attention to the Harpers.)
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Old Apr 29 2008, 10:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

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Originally Posted by Portalvast Magus View Post
I was looking at the other adult topics, mainly the dragonrider sexuality one, and this one just occurred to me...if a green dragon flies, and bronzes, browns, and blues are all potentially interested in her, exactly how much of the weyr gets caught up in at least the preliminary lust of the flight?

Would a male dragon that isn't weyrmated ever just feel "not in the mood" to fly?

Would a dragon with a preferred mate not fly, if he was present in a weyr when a green launches herself on a mating flight?

How much "choice" does the dragon have to fly or not fly, assuming that he is present in the weyr and has not been taken elsewhere before the flight to remove his involvement?

I just have this...this absurd image of one female flying, and the entire male portion of the weyr getting involved in at least the early stages of the flight, before dropping out to let the main contenders finish it off. That's...a really, really big orgy.

I am tempted to write a humerous fic about a holder girl who's in the weyr for some mundane reason when a particularly sexy green that all the bronzes/browns/blues drool after rises. Like, a green with an incredible sex appeal. And the poor holder girl gets a rather interesting eyefull and .

(Note: I've never really done any research into how greens fly, so I might be missing some canon that will answer these questions here readily, particularly if it's in any of the books written post-All The Weyrs of Pern. I've always paid more attention to the Harpers.)
There's a scene in WD where a green rises. The event does not set off a stampede. Instead there appear to be something like a handful or double handful of pairs that are interested in the event. Those dragons launch after the green, and the riders rapidly repair to a room set aside at Fort Weyr for such purposes.

Jaxom and Ruth are present for training, and the Weyrlingmaster's reaction is instructive. The Weyrlingmaster and his dragon show no interest in the flight, although the Weyrlingmaster acts as if it will be and/or produce a headache. His primary concerns are 1) Is Ruth interested in the flight? and 2) Distracting the Weyrlings from the proceedings.

It is established elsewhere that one wants to stay celibate from hatching until first flight for one's dragon (Ref: DF, DE; other volumes?), although this is contradicted in DQ with the whole Brekke/F'nor issue. It seems this practice is for the good of the dragon, although given the age of many at Impression, it may also just be for the maturity of the riders, or both. So the desire to distract the Weyrlings seems a reasonable issue, but all that seems necessary is "distraction." So obviously this can't be too incredibly overpowering.

Similarly, the only people making for the room set aside for the proceedings are the involved riders. There doesn't appear to be any stampede of other interested parties, or any spontaneous couplings going on. So again, this doesn't seem to be incredibly overpowering. It seems more a matter of being already inclined and using it as a stimulus. So a couple that's late abed when the green goes up, but are otherwise uninvolved in the flight, might feel inclined to some extra-curricular activity. As a quick nuzzle in a back corridor or out in a field might go a bit farther (as in the whole bit about innocent Holder lads and girls out doing the weeding).

Why so little response? There are a few of possibilities.

1) As anyone who has watched Friends knows, yes, porn can get boring and the people in the Weyr may be jaded and bored by it all to the point that it just doesn't really get them going unless their own dragon is involved.

2) Another is that these people and dragons are tired, especially during a Pass; they may simply not have the energy to be interested in every flight.

3) We really don't know all that much about what turns a dragon on. We know bronzes like golds, but then we discover in SoP that bronze Golanth prefers greens because he thinks the golds are arrogant and stuck-up. So there is obviously some component of dragon interest involved and presumably not every dragon has the same tastes and drives. You rather get the impression that Golanth might be happy with greens as readily as golds (which he has also flown) but Mnementh will be damned before he settles for less than the best. We also know that Ramoth holds a similar opinion regarding bronzes and we have similar inputs from Torene's queen and Wirenth as well. So, until the dragons put out a "Weyr-hotties" calendar showing off some nice turn of the tail, and one of them writes "The Joy of Dragon Sex" we're probably going to be a bit in the dark on that issue.

4) There are other duties and activities for riders, and many may simply be out of the Weyr when a particular flight occurs. Given that golds and greens seem to be set off partly by sunlight and heat, sunny warm days would also be good days for other activities like hunting that would take many out of the Weyr.

5) Rider choice also seems to play a part, certainly with the bronzes. The riders that want the Weyrleadership are certainly capable of conveying that desire to their mounts and egging on their natural inclination to pursue the golds. There's nothing to prevent anything similar from taking place in the lower ranks.

6) Tradition and courtesy may be another factor. As some become weyrmates, it may be a de facto practice to make oneself scarce as a flight is coming up for the benefit of the weyrmate's dragon. One could always indulge when the flight is of a female dragon and rider that are less committed.

7) Physical preparedness also appears to be an issue. Bronzes apparently blood kills before a queen rises, often before the queen even awakens, and they wait for her move. A bronze that gorged the night before might not be able, ready or willing to rise. A bronze that arrives late, might not have time to blood a kill and gain sufficient energy to keep up with the queen. IIRC, R'gul and cronies tried to keep F'lar away from Ramoth's first flight. Lessa managed to recall them and Mnementh had apparently eaten recently enough (and was big and strong enough) that he was ready and able to fly Ramoth, or he blooded briefly on his return. I don't recall which. Another factor in physical readiness is injury and exhaustion. Flights immediately after Falls might not be heavily attended, and certainly scored and injured dragons won't rise.

The most heavily attended flights would seem to be of the senior queen. As the typical Weyr will have about 15 bronzes and 3 golds, the event could be a bit of a mob-scene (and is) when the Weyrleadership is at stake. However, the bronzes (and even ambitious browns) will fly the junior golds as well. Some of the junior golds form attachments to some of the bronzes. And some of the bronze riders are either too old, too young, or uninterested in competing for the Weyrleadership. So they may only fly junior golds, or not fly at all. So it seems likely that only about a dozen bronzes might compete for the senior queen, and maybe as little as half that many for the juniors.

It would be a serious and impractical PITA for flights to provoke mass launches in pursuit. If greens do, indeed, rise 3-4 times each Turn, you'd be looking at 600 green flights each Turn, or about two per day. Having the whole Weyr go flocking off twice a day, and having everyone go sex-mad for the duration would pretty much bring all productive activity to a crashing halt. That clearly doesn't happen.

Although it would make a silly and amusing (and probably inappropriate for general consumption) fan-fic to write.

And suddenly Monty Python and the Holy Grail leaps to mind: scenes of the Weyr resembling the perils of Castle Anthrax, and someone suggesting they go to Benden Weyr, but the leader dismisses the idea saying it's a very silly place and you can never get anything done there...
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Old Apr 29 2008, 11:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

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Although it would make a silly and amusing (and probably inappropriate for general consumption) fan-fic to write.

And suddenly Monty Python and the Holy Grail leaps to mind: scenes of the Weyr resembling the perils of Castle Anthrax, and someone suggesting they go to Benden Weyr, but the leader dismisses the idea saying it's a very silly place and you can never get anything done there...

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Old Apr 30 2008, 10:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

Can't believe I forgot this. There's another factor that's going to impact which and how many dragons launch after a rising green or gold: incest.

Either the dragons recognize or instinctively avoid the hazard, or their human partners take appropriate measures and remove their dragons from potential mating flights with dams, sires, siblings and offspring.

This puts a very mundane spin on Mnementh's continued domination of Ramoth's mating flights. Any other bronze big enough to fly her has probably been sired by him on her...and likely exported to other Weyrs. So any bronzes received in their stead would probably be Oldtimer derived and smaller than Mnementh, and unable to keep up with him and Ramoth. And interestingly, where to the bronzes populating the southern Weyrs later in the Pass primarily come from? Those massive clutches of Ramoth and Mnementh and all those bronze offspring.

As obsessed as the Pernese are with runner bloodlines and their own bloodlines, I can't imagine they'd be neglectful of dragon bloodlines.
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Old May 1 2008, 02:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

There's a good point. Remember Sorka, and how she recorded dragon genealogies as diligently and carefully as possible? That makes me wonder: As the dragon population grew, would something like that have become too difficult to continue?
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Old May 1 2008, 06:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

Here's another factor that hasn't been touched on - the rider. Look at how Tai's flights were monopolised by het male riders...

Overall, the greens rise so often that the chasers have to be narrowed down to the pairs who have a specific attraction to either the rising dragon or the rider, and those males who just happen to be feeling horny and energetic enough at the time. Unlike with golds, there'll be another flight in a few days time, after all.
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Old May 1 2008, 11:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

I think it also a matter of choice. Some time the dragon & rider decide for what ever reason not to go after the green. Can you imagain what would happen if Mnemeth even thought about going after any other dragon. Ramoth would have a fit. Rather it is accepted in the weyr's or not. I am sure that there are other pairs that are just as tightly bonded.
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Old May 2 2008, 07:20 PM   #8
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

Personally, I want to see the "Weyr Hotties" calendar when it comes out! With one thing though, as a female, I'd kind of prefer that it included the males, too. . . Canth is definitely a looker, Mnementh doesn't do too bad either, and the view is decidedly NOT BAD around Ruth. "Hey, Canth, how's it going, you big sexy guy?" *wink*


All kidding aside, in either DF or DQ, there's a scene where that humming that usually heralds a mating flight starts, and both F'lar and F'nor (and maybe some other riders) are in the Benden Records room, and they both kind of start when they hear the humming, but then shrug it off, saying something like, "Some green's getting herself chased again." As I recall, the humming really turned out to be for Ramoth laying her first clutch (that would be in Dragonflight then), which I always wondered how come Lessa wasn't aware of that, but that's another issue altogether.

My point is that since greens rise so often, it is really not that big of a deal anymore. It is just something you get used to, living in Weyr.

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Old May 3 2008, 07:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

F'lar and Lessa are together when Ramoth turns out to be laying her eggs.
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Old May 8 2008, 06:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

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Can't believe I forgot this. There's another factor that's going to impact which and how many dragons launch after a rising green or gold: incest.

Either the dragons recognize or instinctively avoid the hazard, or their human partners take appropriate measures and remove their dragons from potential mating flights with dams, sires, siblings and offspring.
I don't think incest is an issue. Sibling dragons often mate. Mnementh is Ramoth's half-brother: they have the same dam (Nemorth).
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Old May 8 2008, 07:36 PM   #11
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

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I don't think incest is an issue. Sibling dragons often mate. Mnementh is Ramoth's half-brother: they have the same dam (Nemorth).
I'm not positive on that: Mnementh may be the product of Ramoth's grandmother. IIRC, F'lar and F'nor had already Impressed before F'lon was killed, and Jora and Nemorth came later. Have to look in MHoP if I get a chance.

Also, Benden's bloodlines were a bit of a problem during the Second Long Interval since the other five Weyrs were gone. Practices that sprang up when Benden was the only Weyr, and there was often only one queen can't be taken as indicative of "normal" circumstances. It's evident in the second, third and sixth Pass books, and even in the later ninth Pass books that there's a fair amount of transferring golds and bronzes between Weyrs. And I believe there was particular attention paid to dragon bloodlines by Sorka in DD or one of the CoP: FF stories.

Perhaps part of the reason Benden's numbers declined was an effort to avoid unhealthfully close pairings, and possible an aversion on the part of some dragons for flying those that were too close of kin.

Even if Ramoth and Mnementh are as close as half-siblings, it's not like the pairing has been free of genetic aberrations.
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Old May 8 2008, 09:48 PM   #12
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

I sent Todd a letter on his site on this because I had noticed the inbreeding. He said it doesn't matter with dragons becuase of PNA (mentioned in Dragonsblood). It's on his site under letters. And it makes sense. Starting with only 18 dragons with 17 max making it to adulthood, even the most careful breeding would eventually result in inbreeding. And as I remember it from MhoP Mnemeth and Canth were of Nemorth's clutch, just like Ramoth.
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Old May 9 2008, 12:39 AM   #13
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

And remember, no one objected to the thought of Ramoth being flown by Hath, her sire. (Lessa's objection was to R'gul as Weyrleader!) Though Benden is in a unique situation--one queen at a time, except the brief overlap of Jora and whassername in MHOP, for as long as anyone can remember, with no other Weyrs as sources of new blood. At the end of the Eighth Pass, when Lessa took the other Weyrs forward, Benden hit a genetic bottleneck.
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Old May 9 2008, 02:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

Regarding incest, what would happen if F'lessan's Golanth wanted to fly Ramoth? We've established that there is no problem on the dragon side, but for humans it is. I realize that dragonriders lack sexual taboos, but does that extend to incest?
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Old May 9 2008, 08:59 AM   #15
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

I believe that F'lessan's Golanth would be sent away before Ramoth took flight, just as other queens are sent away.


Dragon inbreeding goes back much further than Ramoth and Mnementh being half-siblings...

Queen Feyrith and bronze Chendith produce Nemorth, Hath, and Simanith.

After Feyrith dies, Chendith flies daughter Nemorth.

Later on Nemorth is flown by her full brother Simanith, producing Mnementh and Canth.

Later Nemorth is flown by other full brother Hath, producing Ramoth.


And those are just the crosses we know about. As Anareth said, the genetics of Benden dragons were bottled up once Lessa took the other Weyrs forward. That's 400 years of potential inbreeding. Granted the inbreeding may have hit it's most critical point at the end of the Interval when Benden consistantly only had one gold dragon (before that time we don't know what the norm was).

Ramoth, Mnementh, and Canth are all larger than the original design that Kitti built in to the dragon's DNA, and all are the result of inbreeding. That doesn't mean the inbreeding necessarily caused the increased size, but I do think it did in this case. The effects of inbreeding aren't always negative.
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Old May 9 2008, 01:27 PM   #16
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

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Regarding incest, what would happen if F'lessan's Golanth wanted to fly Ramoth? We've established that there is no problem on the dragon side, but for humans it is. I realize that dragonriders lack sexual taboos, but does that extend to incest?
In "Ever the Twain" wasn't there a discussion about sending one of the twins to another weyr because of mating considerations?
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Old May 9 2008, 01:56 PM   #17
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

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In "Ever the Twain" wasn't there a discussion about sending one of the twins to another weyr because of mating considerations?
More because of the human taboos than draconic ones in that case!

[Otherwise they'd be separating queens from every bronze in the same clutch, which would be really quite ridiculous...]
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Old May 9 2008, 02:05 PM   #18
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

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More because of the human taboos than draconic ones in that case!

[Otherwise they'd be separating queens from every bronze in the same clutch, which would be really quite ridiculous...]

Yeah, that's what I meant. The problem was for the twins, not the dragons. I thought that was what M'chai was referring to in the post I quoted.
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Old May 9 2008, 10:55 PM   #19
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

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I believe that F'lessan's Golanth would be sent away before Ramoth took flight, just as other queens are sent away.


Dragon inbreeding goes back much further than Ramoth and Mnementh being half-siblings...

Queen Feyrith and bronze Chendith produce Nemorth, Hath, and Simanith.

After Feyrith dies, Chendith flies daughter Nemorth.

Later on Nemorth is flown by her full brother Simanith, producing Mnementh and Canth.

Later Nemorth is flown by other full brother Hath, producing Ramoth.


And those are just the crosses we know about. As Anareth said, the genetics of Benden dragons were bottled up once Lessa took the other Weyrs forward. That's 400 years of potential inbreeding. Granted the inbreeding may have hit it's most critical point at the end of the Interval when Benden consistantly only had one gold dragon (before that time we don't know what the norm was).

Ramoth, Mnementh, and Canth are all larger than the original design that Kitti built in to the dragon's DNA, and all are the result of inbreeding. That doesn't mean the inbreeding necessarily caused the increased size, but I do think it did in this case. The effects of inbreeding aren't always negative.
Okay. I'd thought Mnementh and Canth were from Feyrith's clutches.
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Old May 9 2008, 11:06 PM   #20
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

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I sent Todd a letter on his site on this because I had noticed the inbreeding. He said it doesn't matter with dragons becuase of PNA (mentioned in Dragonsblood). It's on his site under letters. And it makes sense. Starting with only 18 dragons with 17 max making it to adulthood, even the most careful breeding would eventually result in inbreeding. And as I remember it from MhoP Mnemeth and Canth were of Nemorth's clutch, just like Ramoth.
If you read up on some of the theories of human origin that investigate various types of DNA transmission, IIRC, the original human breeding stock is believed to have been about 18 individuals (at least whose DNA has survived down to this point). Can't find the reference right now. I thought I saw it in an article on "Mitochondrial Eve" but I was wrong.
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Old May 11 2008, 10:12 PM   #21
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

The notion that separating queens and bronzes appropriately to prevent the consanguinity of dragons and riders is hardly ridiculous. Referencing Moreta, the title character was transferred from Ista to Fort. Other riders have been transferred between Weyrs. Dragon bloodlines were a preoccupation of the earliest riders. While we haven't seen attention given this detail in the canon, its absence doesn't mean it does not take place to some degree. Prior to DB, no attention was paid to dragon illnesses. Prior to DF, no attention was paid to certain things that were fairly obvious about firestone, but never previously detailed.

I can easily see the Weyrleader spending his time tediously going through information about Threadfall in moldering records, and the Weyrwoman spending her time tediously going through infomration about dragon bloodlines.

Frankly, much about Weyr management, leadership, and dragon mating is a blank slate at this stage. We've seen very few mating flights, and we've had very little exposure to the day-to-day routine of a fighting Weyr. We look in on the Weyrs during crises, as these supply the drama around which the stories revolve. So we see F'lar and Lessa searching for ways to predict Threadfall, and clues to the lost Weyrs. But what did the weyrleaders of the 4th, 5th, or 7th Passes concern themselves with? What did the leaders during the intervals occupy their time doing?

Frankly, the idea that every single bronze in the Weyr rises after every gold verges on the ridiculous. Between issues of age, health, the ambition of the riders, the issues of attraction between dragons, the issues of attraction between riders, consanguinity of both riders and dragons and the good of the Weyr, I can see the weyrleaders carefully arranging who is around for what mating flights, and also seeing to who gets transferred between Weyrs.

I've also found ridiculous the notion that every Flight is a surprise. I found the portrayal of M'hall refreshing. Apparently, alone of 2500 years of dragonriders on Pern, this colossal super-genius figured out how to use a calendar and his own eyes to keep track of when queens would rise. Give me a break! This information would probably be up on a chalk board (an amazingly useful low-tech invention that just doesn't seem to appear on Pern) in the weyrleaders' quarters. Another chalk-board would probably be in the Lower Caverns carrying the "plan of the day" for the Weyr, including various duty assignments. Seeing that certain bronze parties stayed out of the Weyr during a certain gold's "time of the year" would not be difficult to accomplish.

With a strength of 360 for a Weyr, we're probably talking about a whopping 18 bronzes and 3 golds to juggle. Having been a squadron schedules officer juggling a similar number of aviators' flight time needs, training requirements, special requests, crew preferences, mission requirements, aircraft maintenance status, etc... this is hardly an insurmountable task. In fact, running the Weyr's Plan of the Day and schedule would probably be the major routine duty of the weyrleaders, and would likely also involve wingleaders and possibly wingseconds. I could easily envision each Weyr having a cavern that was an "ops office" with several or many chalk-boards tracking duties, assignments, etc... routinely manned by wingleaders and wingseconds in rotation, and daily reviewed and approved by the Weyrleader and Weyrwoman. Most military organizations have a tradition of "8 o'clock reports" and you might find that the weyrleaders appear in that office at a specified time(s) daily. Frankly, the Headwoman would probably also appear at that meeting.

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Old May 12 2008, 06:20 PM   #22
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

I would like to point out that a queen's FIRST flight might very well be unexpected!
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Old May 12 2008, 07:36 PM   #23
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I would like to point out that a queen's FIRST flight might very well be unexpected!
Not really. There ought to be a wealth of experience in any normal Weyr with two or three other queen riders to clue the newbie in. Lessa a gets a pass because she was the only queen rider. Kylara should be shot because she had more than enough experience. Brekke deserves a swift kick in the rear for determinedly ignoring the matter.

Unfortunately, these three constitute roughly 50% of our looks at mating flights.

Torene's case is better. She was definitely clued in, but at the point of impact was distracted by all the activity of standing up Benden Weyr. She, however, adapted to the moment more than admirably because she had been clued in.
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Old May 13 2008, 10:01 AM   #24
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If you read up on some of the theories of human origin that investigate various types of DNA transmission, IIRC, the original human breeding stock is believed to have been about 18 individuals (at least whose DNA has survived down to this point). Can't find the reference right now. I thought I saw it in an article on "Mitochondrial Eve" but I was wrong.
No, not really. It's a classic misconception. Everyone on the planet currently can be linked to at least one of a small number of different mitochondrial lines, but those specific women certainly weren't the only women on the planet, nor did they necessarily live at the same place or point in time - it's just natural convergence back to the so-called mitochondrial eve, who herself was but one member of a much larger population.

ME is our most recent COMMON ancestor through the pure matrilineal line- NOT our ONLY ancestor! Other women alive at the same time as ME have their genetic material as part of the current population - the only difference is that it descended to us through a male offspring at at least one generation (and more typically about 50% of them, naturally!), and thus while the male will pass her genes on to his sons, he won't pass his mother's mitochondria on to any further descendents.
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Old May 15 2008, 11:02 AM   #25
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As has been shown, incest isn't an issue with dragons. Nor do I imagine it to be a huge problem for riders if it happened. I would imagine that any people as familiar with livestock as the Pernese would be aware of the consequences of extended inbreeding, but even that wouldn't be a problem for dragonriders, who could always abort if they happened to get pregnant.

Another issue we often forget is that weyrbrats are generally not raised by their parents, and don't think of their biological parents as such. F'lar is the Weyrleader to F'lessan first, the man who happened to slip the juice into the Weyrwoman at the right moment to create him second, and only very remotely a parent. Children who are raised together tend to think of each other as siblings and thus taboo even if they're unrelated (has been proven in various Kibbutzim in Israel, where the collectively raised kids generally find partners elsewhere), whereas biological siblings who have been raised separately have been known to fall in love with each other when they meet.
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Old May 17 2008, 11:00 PM   #26
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As has been shown, incest isn't an issue with dragons. Nor do I imagine it to be a huge problem for riders if it happened. I would imagine that any people as familiar with livestock as the Pernese would be aware of the consequences of extended inbreeding, but even that wouldn't be a problem for dragonriders, who could always abort if they happened to get pregnant.

Another issue we often forget is that weyrbrats are generally not raised by their parents, and don't think of their biological parents as such. F'lar is the Weyrleader to F'lessan first, the man who happened to slip the juice into the Weyrwoman at the right moment to create him second, and only very remotely a parent. Children who are raised together tend to think of each other as siblings and thus taboo even if they're unrelated (has been proven in various Kibbutzim in Israel, where the collectively raised kids generally find partners elsewhere), whereas biological siblings who have been raised separately have been known to fall in love with each other when they meet.
Moreta specifically cites consanguinity amongst weyrfolk as an abiding concern, so we can dismiss the idea that they're okay with incestuous relationships amongst humans (with the possible exception of Benden's second long interval circumstances imposing a situation vis a vis the single queen rider).

The idea that the societal prohibitions against incestuous relationships are just quaint and archaic artificialities is questionable at best. As has been said of stereotypes, they exist because frequently they are more-or-less true for the majority. (You can say it's a stereotype that the Irish gather in pubs and tend to sing, and you can drag out examples of Irishmen that don't, but at the same time if you look at Irish society as a whole and say American society, you'll find far fewer Americans gathering at the pub, or singing in public.) The same can be said of various traditions, taboos and societal viewpoints. The prohibition against incest developed from the observation of the very obvious negative impacts apparent in offspring. Some of these were immediate and obvious in the form of debilitating or fatal defects. Others manifested more subtly over time from inbreeding. And it is one of the prohibitions in human society that carries across most cultural lines.

That close relations raised separately from each other and without knowledge of each other can establish intimate relationships is no surprise. We have examples of such unintentional circumstances going back at least as far as the story of Oedipus. Also, that non-related persons raised together might consider intimate relations tantamount to incestuous is also well-known. The common denominator is that when the true situation is known, it is almost universally rejected by third parties. It is also frequently disturbing at the least and often devastating to the parties involved when they learn the truth.

It is not instinct, per se, that leads people to reject incest. It is a learned behavior, but a very, very deeply ingrained one in most developed societies and it exists for important and valid reasons. Noting that some societies' standards of incest differ should not be lifted out of context of the nature of those societies, and I'll say again that most developed societies reject incestuous relationships. Cloaking that rejection in religious and/or legally judgmental terms might--and that qualification can also be debated--be a quaint or archaic and arbitrary thing, but that doesn't render the incestuous relationship at all advisable in light of the factual consequences.

Holding up abortion as a panacea rendering incest obsolete as a concept is problematic at best. The idea of employing abortion as a birth control measure akin to contraception is a keg of religious, political and social nitro-glycerin that is its own topic of debate and not entirely appropriate to this discussion, so I'll table it. In the specific context of Pern, and of a "short hop between" it still does not solve the problem.

Incest does not appear to be an acceptable practice amongst the vast majority of Pernese society. While the Weyrs are different due to the demands of the linkage with the dragons, the people populating those Weyrs are still members of the larger society and subject to its prevailing views, traditions, taboos, etc... and they bring them with them to the Weyr (ref: Brekke). Also, we have the evidence of breaking up the twins that Impressed to prevent consanguinity as proof that the Weyrs do not view the situation as desirable. If the "short hop between" made this a moot point, such countermeasures would be unnecessary.

But let's say the "short hop between" was viewed as a sufficient measure. Would it work? The answer is "no." The Pernese do not have access to pregnancy tests and/or genetic testing to determine who sired the female rider's child, and if the Weyr's sexual practices are as liberal, and as frequent as some postulate, the female rider could have had enough partners recently that it would be impossible to know the sire for certain. If the woman keeps the child, all of the known horrors of incest remain valid. So does the female rider arbitrarily abort the child? In theory this is possible, but the idea has a grave flaw. What if the female rider wants the/a child? What if the sire wants the/a child? Uh-oh. What are the psychological consequences going to be for that rider to abort a pregnancy? It might not sit well with her. Or the father, but we'll set that aside as it gets into another unnecessary side-line topic.

In fact, not every woman who has an abortion (either deliberate or spontaneous by miscarriage) rides out the experience free of emotional consequence. One can counter that by saying that some women have multiple abortions with no emotional ill-effect whatsoever, which is also true. It also indicates that the emotional charge is not always a matter of collateral societal views. It is perfectly possible for a woman who is part of a society accepting of abortion and a family and social circle accepting of the practice, to be deeply troubled by the act and its consequences. Call it maternal instinct if you will, or a chemical reaction, or a twist of her own mind, but such reactions are real nonetheless and not to be taken lightly.

Part of what must be remembered about Pern is that the society has regressed on a number of levels, and one of those is the liberalization of female roles and sexual practices. Lacking reliable contraceptives, old imperatives and restrictions regarding female roles and sexual practices have reemerged, and while female dragonriders (and those Holders or Crafters who might be able to importune them for a "short hop between") may have the outlet of abortion available, its not a universal thing. Nor is it likely to be universally or even widely approved in a society as intent on bloodlines; inheritance of property and title; and that has reduced women to chattel in some contexts. If Pernese society were less aware of bloodlines, you might get a situation like that of Egyptian royalty marrying incestuously to keep the property and titles in the family, but there is no evidence of that on Pern. The Pernese are, on the contrary, very aware of spreading the genetic stock with fostering playing a part in that effort.

We should also keep in mind that the amount of difference between Pernese society in general and the Weyrs is probably over-stated. The less informed Holders and Crafters may believe all sorts of outlandish things about the Weyr and what takes place there, but when they're allowed in to see (ref: F'lar opening Hatchings to spectators and families) what actually takes place, most of these ideas are banished outright. The Weyrs may be removed from Pernese society to a degree, and may have been particularly so during the one-Weyr period of Benden, but they are still part of that society and its larger mores.
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Old May 20 2008, 11:14 AM   #27
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

I'm not saying that the incest taboo has completely disappeared in the Weyrs, just that the taboo may be slightly less strong there than in the rest of Pern. The Weyrs are rather pragmatic in their attitudes to sex (as long as it's in conjunction with dragons) and the most successful riders realize that quickly. That doesn't mean that a dragonriding father wouldn't make himself scarce if his daughter's dragon was about to rise, although that risk is rather small due to the golds' lamentable tendency to choose only the holdbred. They'd save lots of trouble, especially regarding differences in sexual mores, if they chose weyrbrats instead. I'm less certain that a brown rider would get himself out of the Weyr if his greenriding son's dragon was about to rise to mate, if his dragon hadn't mated in a long time.
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Old May 20 2008, 10:13 PM   #28
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I'm not saying that the incest taboo has completely disappeared in the Weyrs, just that the taboo may be slightly less strong there than in the rest of Pern. The Weyrs are rather pragmatic in their attitudes to sex (as long as it's in conjunction with dragons) and the most successful riders realize that quickly. That doesn't mean that a dragonriding father wouldn't make himself scarce if his daughter's dragon was about to rise, although that risk is rather small due to the golds' lamentable tendency to choose only the holdbred. They'd save lots of trouble, especially regarding differences in sexual mores, if they chose weyrbrats instead. I'm less certain that a brown rider would get himself out of the Weyr if his greenriding son's dragon was about to rise to mate, if his dragon hadn't mated in a long time.
Given the reference in Moreta, I'd say the Weyr isn't any more sanguine about an incestuous pairing than the rest of Pern or present-day Earth. While the Weyrs are pragmatic about sexual matters, the Pernese are fully aware of heredity, and the Weyrs are still Pernese. They're going to avoid consanguinity.

The tendency of golds to (supposedly) prefer the hold-bred is not lamentable. It's very good for making sure that new blood continually comes into the Weyrs and that the Weyrs are not too isolated from larger Pernese society.

"Dragon rapture" is massively overstated. A brown rider ought to have no problem getting his dragon out of the Weyr to avoid an awkward pairing. It's not like there isn't going to be another green rising in a couple of days. Also, we have the reference in White Dragon, where a Flight goes up and no one is incapacitated in any way. The non-involved look on it as a nuisance. The involved are fully capable of repairing calmly and quickly to appropriate quarters. No one is so out of it that they are unable to function. Additonally, queen riders are constantly scrambling their dragons out of the Weyr as another queen waxes for a Flight without being overwhelmed.

Even Lessa and F'lar come out of it during Ramoth and Mnementh's first Flight. F'lar specifically makes reference to "failing to control" his dragon-stoked emotions or words to that effect, with the distinct implication that he's fully capable of doing so. Too many of the very few mating flight scenes we have are from the perspective of a gold rider on her dragon's first Flight, and too many of those riders are virgins or nearly so. It's entirely possible that they have simply not learned control yet. If dragon rapture were as overwhelming as it is made out to be, the Weyrs would never get anything done as every rising green would reduce the Weyr to a scene out of Larry Flint's most fevered dreams.
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Old May 21 2008, 03:23 AM   #29
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The tendency of golds to (supposedly) prefer the hold-bred is not lamentable. It's very good for making sure that new blood continually comes into the Weyrs and that the Weyrs are not too isolated from larger Pernese society.
I seriously doubt that holdbred queenriders have a major influence on the Weyr's gene-pool. Even Kylara didn't have enough kids to manage that!

If you want to widen the genepool, look at the behaviour of riders in general - Mirrim is a far more appropriate example. There are a hell of a lot more male riders with the potential for getting bastards foisted back on the Weyr than there are queenriders carrying a large number of babies to term.
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Old May 27 2008, 11:32 AM   #30
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*snip*
Even if Ramoth and Mnementh are as close as half-siblings, it's not like the pairing has been free of genetic aberrations.
That is why dead eggs are gotten rid of quickly, and how Ruth, though an aberration, still lived.

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I believe that F'lessan's Golanth would be sent away before Ramoth took flight, just as other queens are sent away.
*snip*
Ramoth, Mnementh, and Canth are all larger than the original design that Kitti built in to the dragon's DNA, and all are the result of inbreeding. That doesn't mean the inbreeding necessarily caused the increased size, but I do think it did in this case. The effects of inbreeding aren't always negative.
For some it wasn't an exact science to guess when a gold would rise - dragon health and rider 'appetites' also influenced when a flight would occur. It becaome a 'rule' to send other queens away from the weyr when most golds of the second and third generation were the same age and would rise close to one another. Golds do get real possessive of their dragons . . .

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I would like to point out that a queen's FIRST flight might very well be unexpected!
The sest way to tell if one is getting close - the interest of the male dragons . . .

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*snip*
ME is our most recent COMMON ancestor through the pure matrilineal line- NOT our ONLY ancestor! Other women alive at the same time as ME have their genetic material as part of the current population - the only difference is that it descended to us through a male offspring at at least one generation (and more typically about 50% of them, naturally!), and thus while the male will pass her genes on to his sons, he won't pass his mother's mitochondria on to any further descendents.
Like the puzzle for Christians: Who was Cain's wife? (and that, my friends, is a pickle barrel that we really don't want to open - I'm content to say for my answer, "God knows" and leave it lay. )

There were 18 original dragons. It wasn't really incest they didn't want - they really wanted diversification. Each dragon was manufactured to carry on and fulfill their DNA - to grow larger and have the stamina to fight Thread. As each new generation of dragons was coming up, they wanted the greatest number of genetic combinations they could get. Why allow two closely related dragons to make the same combinations, possibly, already in existence?
The trading of bronzes when the oldtimers were exiled wasn't just to give the re-established weyrs fresh blood, but political reasons. At other times, it was in the interest in not letting one set of DNA tie itself up into knots and strangle a weyr.
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Old Jun 22 2008, 10:36 PM   #31
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There's a good point. Remember Sorka, and how she recorded dragon genealogies as diligently and carefully as possible? That makes me wonder: As the dragon population grew, would something like that have become too difficult to continue?
In the CvP: Second Wyer: M'hall dragon bronze Brianth, sire too many of the queens so he was ground during queens flights. Brianth said that if he wanted to twine necks with a green there are a few that would.

And had to shadow Paul Benden to get a look at Torene and her new gold without getting himself in hot water with the Wyerleaders. Untill his dragon used a updraft to mate and become Benden Wyerleader.
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Old Jun 23 2008, 12:49 AM   #32
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There's a good point. Remember Sorka, and how she recorded dragon genealogies as diligently and carefully as possible? That makes me wonder: As the dragon population grew, would something like that have become too difficult to continue?
It really shouldn't have been. Queens don't mate that often, and the total dragon population isn't that large -- smaller still if you only track records of the ones that breed: queens, bronzes, and a handful of browns in the early years.

When you have Runel with the eidetic memory tracking horse breeding records back to the second crossing, and consider that the population of horses must be many times greater than dragons, you have to conclude that it's not an impossible thing to track.
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Old Jun 23 2008, 02:37 AM   #33
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Regarding incest, what would happen if F'lessan's Golanth wanted to fly Ramoth? We've established that there is no problem on the dragon side, but for humans it is. I realize that dragonriders lack sexual taboos, but does that extend to incest?
He would probably be sent away, more to avoid consanguinity on both sides of the pairing. But there are listed examples( ref kylara in DQ" It's not like there is anything immoral in Clutching your father or flying your mother..." or something to that effect.}
Doesn't SoP have mentionan arrangement between t'gellan, mirrim and their weyrwoman?
T'gellan is a weyleader, and Mirrim is his mate, But he also has his weyrwoman, too.
That would handily solve the problem both of involved mates and human inbreeding. I believe there is also some sort of reference in Dragonseye when debera asks about the blue riders' homosexual tendencies and how it impacts greens' flights.
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Old Jul 9 2008, 07:03 PM   #34
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

I would argue that T'gellan's arrangement is of necessity. He wants to be Weyrleader. Only way to that is to have Monarth fly Talina's Arwith. Also, Kylara's comment was to me a reference to the dragon side of things. Dragons don't seem to be affected by inbreeding. Humans definitely are. It also seems to me that riders of male dragons are capable of controlling which flights their dragons participate in as long as their dragons participate in a flight every once in a while. Otherwise boys as young as thirteen would be involved in mating flights if their dragons wanted to. I don't see that happening. So inbreeding wouldn't be a problem for humans because there are several countermeasures so that your dragon doesn't fly a dragon whose ridden by a family member.
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Old Jul 9 2008, 11:25 PM   #35
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There's a good point. Remember Sorka, and how she recorded dragon genealogies as diligently and carefully as possible? That makes me wonder: As the dragon population grew, would something like that have become too difficult to continue?
That is did happen just before the story CoP: First Fall: The Second Wyer a year before.

Also why M'hall bronze was grounded during queen mating flights. Untill the end of that short story when he become Wyerleader of Benden Wyer
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Old Jul 12 2008, 06:24 PM   #36
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That is did happen just before the story CoP: First Fall: The Second Wyer a year before.

Also why M'hall bronze was grounded during queen mating flights. Untill the end of that short story when he become Wyerleader of Benden Wyer
That's what Multi-Facets is talking about. The point is, did Sorka's practice of tracking bloodlines continue once there were multiple Weyrs, or did it become too complicated with so many dragons?
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Old Jul 13 2008, 11:22 AM   #37
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I would think that it would become too complicated with so many dragons, especially as there is no mention of it in later Passes, and there is apparently no ill effect in later Passes of dragons inbreeding.
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Old Jul 13 2008, 02:19 PM   #38
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But remember very few of those dragons actually breed, BlueRider! At maximum there might be 20-30 golds, and perhaps 5 to 10 times as many bronzes. Even with the shortness of dragon generations, that's not too much to keep track of -- not when some humans spend their life memorizing hundreds of years of runnerbeast breeding -- a much larger breeding population!
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Old Jul 14 2008, 11:56 AM   #39
Blue Rider 16
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

Point. However even if they still keep track of breeding, there doesn't seem to be any intervention in dragon inbreeding in later Passes, which points to one of a few scenarios: a)They keep track of breeding without intervening
b)They discovered dragons were not adversely affected by inbreeding and so stopped monitoring and/or intervening
c)They don't keep track of breeding because someone crucial died without passing on that it was customary or too many Records were destroyed and/or deteriorated so they could no longer keep an accurate track on dragon breeding.
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Old Jul 14 2008, 12:55 PM   #40
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Default Re: Adult topic: When a green flies, how many other dragons try to catch her?

You're right that it's not clear whether they do still keep track, or what if anything is done with that information -- I had just wanted to make the point that they absolutely could track it if desired.

We do know that as late as the 6th Pass that golds were occasionally moved from Weyr to Weyr, as Moreta's Orlith was hatched at Ista and after a number of Turns there was transferred to Fort. Whether this was done to out-cross breeding lines, or just to even out the number of queens between the two Weyrs isn't specified (that I recall).

I feel as if there are also times when the transfer of bronzes between Weyr occurs or is alluded to, presumably for breeding as well, though I can't recall a specific example.

Certainly if records are still being kept upon it, the oldest of records concerning dragon bloodlines have been lost. My reasoning for this is that Faranth is remembered as the original queen, mother of all modern dragons, with no mention of the many other golds who were her contemporaries.
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