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Old Dec 15 2009, 03:12 AM   #1
Almaron
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Default Oldtimers in the South

While searching for clues regarding Weyr capacities, I found something of interest in DD. Piemur calculates that "248 Oldtimers and their women" were banished to Southern. We already know in DQ that all but 14 of High Reaches went, and only 20 riders from Fort went, so we can assume that High Reaches Weyr held about 242 riders under T'kul. This may seem odd, but I read here on an older post that the smaller dragon count could have been caused by their queens laying less, as they came from the beginning of the Eighth Interval.

EDIT: Numbers are off - R'mart mentions 10 from Telgar leaving in DQ.

Anyway, the thing I wanted to talk about here was stuff regarding what happened in Southern, including what happened to T'ron, T'kul & Mardra. The accounts are a bit odd, and vary from each book. We know that they spent nearly 7 1/2 years before D'ram arrived and sorted things out. Here's the conclusions I came to after checking the stories regarding them.

In DD, Piemur states that in the first turn south, 17 riders submitted to Benden and returned north. About 40 died of old age/sickness, and nearly the same amount went between that turn (The Oldtimers' third year south, according to Sariel's timeline). Presumably, the sickness was Firehead, judging by Sharra's backstory. That leaves something around 140-150 riders south. Confusingly, WD states in the intro that only seventy went with them, presumably a mistake. But, considering the downward spiral of the Oldtimers, one could assume that seventy might have been the amount of them left by the time of T'kul's death (Presumably mostly Greens, judging by T'kul's claim in WD).

Now, Weyr Leadership. Four queens and their riders went Southern; Mardra, Merika & and two others (Possibly High Reaches Queens?). Mardra's Loranth must have been the oldest, for she is Senior Weyrwoman. Who was Weyrleader is confusing. T'kul appears to be in charge when they arrive, presumably due to T'ron being wounded, and DD states that he is still in charge by this point. Toric's thoughts in ROP also hint that T'kul and Mardra lead Southern. However, later on in ROP, Toric mentions that "following T'ron's death", T'kul claimed to be Weyrleader, and started one final foolish attempt, that of kidnapping Ramoth's egg. Possibly, T'kul flew Mardra's queen once to keep his position (before DD), and T'ron later regained his post (IIRC, it says in one of the books that T'ron weakened a bit following the duel, so this could explain why nothing of interest happens in Southern for those years).

Presumably, Mardra's queen stopped rising, and T'ron kept his post as Weyrleader. Meanwhile, the Oldtimer dragons slowly died out (An older post, again, suggested they might be weaker due to fighting more thread than most riders, i.e. Eighth Pass and then leaping straight to the Ninth with little break time), and T'ron presumably passed in the beginning of the final year. T'kul, losing hope, attempted to repopulate the Weyr by stealing an egg (Something which Mardra was unaware of, as Loranth was apparently the only dragon "weyred" at Southern when the bronzes started timing), and finally died attempting to murder F'lar. Mardra was left as Weyrwoman, until D'ram went to set things straight. Mardra appears to not be around in the later books, so it is possible she died during the first half of ATWOP.

Anyone have anything else that could give clues towards events in the south or what happened to characters like Mardra or Merika?

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Old Dec 15 2009, 03:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: Oldtimers in the South

Concerning Weyrleadership. I think it was always T'ron and Mardra from Fort who were the leaders but that in the beginning T'kul was acting as Weyrleader. Then, after T'ron's death, he officially took over.

As for the Oldtimers fighting more Thread: no. It's stated that they did not and didn't even bother at times. A thing that horrified other dragonriders. This was possible as Southern was well protected by grubs.

The rest of your observations require more thought and reseach but are very interesting.
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Old Dec 15 2009, 03:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Oldtimers in the South

Quote:
Concerning Weyrleadership. I think it was always T'ron and Mardra from Fort who were the leaders but that in the beginning T'kul was acting as Weyrleader. Then, after T'ron's death, he officially took over.
I thought that too, but T'ron is listed in DD as being a rider, while T'kul is Weyrleader, and this takes place a good three years after their initial banishment. Of course, it could just be a misprint.
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Old Dec 15 2009, 03:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Oldtimers in the South

Probably another Anne-omoly.
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Old Dec 15 2009, 04:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Oldtimers in the South

I concur pretty well with Hans! Certainly you raise many interesting points, some of which I've thought of before and others I haven't.

I've always been surprised by the detail that there were no more greens by the time of White Dragon and the theft of the egg, as it seems so improbable given that in a normal Weyr roughly half the dragons are greens. That's rather a disproportionate death rate, which can only be partially explained by the few riders from High Reaches that didn't go all being green, plus those that changed their minds also being green. (Hmm, perhaps if we postulate some serious homophobia on the part of T'kul, it could account for his greenriders deserting him en masse like that, and otherwise being more prone to early death for psychological reasons. Entirely outside of canon, but an interesting thought.)

As for the Weyrleadership, I think it was a very informal thing at best, which helps cover the apparent discrepancies. For a couple of reasons, it really didn't matter who was officially in charge of their Weyr:
  • They weren't allowed to be on the Weyrleader council (or in meetings of Weyrleaders, Lord Holders, and Craftmasters). Basically no official political status for the leaders
  • No Threadfall fighting so no leader needed to fight it

All it really mattered formally for was for Toric to have someone in particular to deal with as necessary, and if it changed weekly whether that was T'ron or T'kul, Mardra or Merika, who did he have to complain to? I suspect on different matters it was whichever of them cared the most about an issue and appointed his/herself in charge of it, that was the leader of the moment.

I'm positive they dropped the normal determining factor for the Weyrleadership, the rider of the bronze that flies the senior queen. They just had no reason to keep things formally determined like that, and it would let them sidestep the issue of determining who the senior queen was in the first place.

Otherwise it's more a question of the day to day running of the Weyr, which could well have been done more by consensus as well as the Lower Caverns staff that went with simply going about their jobs as they felt it best be done without oversight. I imagine there were issues/problems, and everyone once in a while one of the former Weyrleaders/Weyrwomen would throw a stink and things would change a bit. Their tithing demands on Toric, which were known to be high, were likely a result of Weyr mismanagement.



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Originally Posted by Almaron View Post
I thought that too, but T'ron is listed in DD as being a rider, while T'kul is Weyrleader, and this takes place a good three years after their initial banishment. Of course, it could just be a misprint.
By DD do you mean the Dragondex, and if so from which book? It would be interesting to compare what is written in the different Dragondexes (though if memory serves there's very little change between them for DF, DQ, and WD, because the dragondex was written after the first two and used for reprints of all three). But I think it's dangerous to draw conclusions from the scant info contained from them, rather than looking at all the data provided in the stories themselves.
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Old Dec 15 2009, 06:40 AM   #6
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Default Re: Oldtimers in the South

It looks like DD means Dragondrums.
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Old Jan 1 2010, 05:32 AM   #7
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2cent Re: Oldtimers in the South

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Originally Posted by calenlily View Post
It looks like DD means Dragondrums.
Just recall something about 10 riders from Teglar Weyr, older ones, something the WingSecond said about feeding usless informaton to the Weyrling.
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Old Jan 27 2010, 01:36 AM   #8
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2cent Re: Oldtimers in the South

I was looking over RoP and T'ron had died and T'kul when to Ista's Jr Queen Open Flight,and died in WD and Mardra was only queen rider spoken of when D'ram came to take over Weyrleadership.
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Old Jan 27 2010, 11:19 AM   #9
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Default Re: Oldtimers in the South

I don't think they could have been High Reaches queens, or not both. Pilgra, who is still there after the swap, is IRRC an Oldtimer and she becomes senior after Prideth and Wirenth die. Possibly one HR, one Fort queen went Merika and Mardra?
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Old Dec 9 2011, 07:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Oldtimers in the South

Been going over some old notes again...

ROP makes it sound like all the other Queens have died, because when the Oldtimers are practising timing for their failed bid to steal Ramoth's egg, Mardra alone is at the Weyr. However, in WD, T'kul mentions that the "queens" have stopped rising, suggesting at least another queen survives alongside Loranth. D'ram states Merika would not have tolerated competition, so unless she and her dragon was off bathing or something, she would have been dead by this point. It could be that one of the "Junior" queenriders didn't mind helping, as they had a pretty weak chance of becoming Weyrwoman, so bringing a new queen in wouldn't affect their status too much.

DQ seems to suggest the two queens who went south with Mardra and Merika were from High Reaches, due to them being grouped with Merika. In addition to this, we know that just about all of High Reaches Weyr went to Southern, leaving behind Pilgra, whose queen was hatched in the Ninth Pass. Compare that with the twenty two riders leaving from Fort (counting T'ron and Mardra), plus we know Margatta remained to become Weyrwoman; it suggests High Reaches was really the only Weyr wanting to stick to the old ways, thus it makes sense that the two queens came from there.

ROP suggests that the Oldtimers let themselves go once they came south; after four years, T'kul is potbellied and stringy, while Mardra is a "raddled, browsy old woman, constantly wine-sotted". D'ram later apologises for the tithes that Southern Weyr demanded of the nearby hold. Could it be that some of the Oldtimers took a leaf out of Jora's book and indulged themselves to death with wine and food?

The ten dragonriders who left Telgar were described as being older ones, so it could be that the majority of the Southern Oldtimers were old riders too stuck in their ways to change. All the Oldtimer bronzes of Southern Weyr were dead by ATWOP; G'lanar is mentioned as being the last, so we know B'zon died at some point.
In addition to this, the DLG implies that upon becoming Weyrleader D'ram waited for the bulk of the Oldtimers to die before bringing in a new queen, although ROP shows him bringing in new riders immediately.

In the end, this suggests to me that the bulk of the Southern Oldtimers were dead by the events of ROP; certainly Mardra is not mentioned after 15PP, and as a weyrwoman she'd still have held some rank, so she could have died between then and 17PP by which point K'van is Weyrleader.
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