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Old Feb 12 2013, 08:08 PM   #1
razor4466
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Default Between times and places

Ok. This question has probably been posted and answered already and maybe I'm just being to nitpicky but it occurs to me that with the ability to go between times so natural for dragons, why wouldn't it have been discovered prior to Lessa "discovering"it? I have just started reading the books again I am reminded that newly impressed dragons and riders are trained to go between with precise references to use. The question I have is when they are being trained to precisely remember their reference points, they are seeing them at a precise time. So, you would think that all dragons would just automatically transport right back to that exact time that they had reference to. As is so often mentioned and questioned, "how do you get sometime that hasn't happened yet?"How do they go from place to place? When they project the reference point thay want to get to, it has to be one that is remembered so it seems that all the dragons would just always go back in time to the place and time they remember. I know, I know, paradoxes ands all are just way to confusing to try and solve all the vagaries but damn my head hurts from trying to figure some of these questions out. I'm not sure if I've posed this well enough but I hope you all can understand what I'm trying to ask.
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Old Feb 13 2013, 02:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Between times and places

I get you; I've wondered about this myself. I think I have a vague idea of how it works...describing it is the hard part.

We know that a dragon can hypothetically go between to any location or point in time, provided that they can of course gain an image to that time/place. Ergo, every time a dragon goes between, they are choosing one of countless times that could exist. Since a dragon almost always ends up remaining in the present time, going between must involve taking the shortest possible route to find the time/place that matches* the image they were given - remember, timing it takes longer than regular travels between.

Timing it then ends up happening when their options are pruned by using too much detail - the position of the stars/sun/Red Star, the growth or condition of the plants, etc - which forces the dragon to either move forwards or back in time to find a time that matches the image they've been given.

*Or rather, mostly matches; as I've said, it's all about finding the location that matches the image as closely as possible. Remember, accidents while travelling between are only caused by failing to envision a destination - as with Moreta and Holth - or by not properly envisioning where the dragon will emerge from between - as with D'lin and Aseth, who wound up inside Benden Weyr instead of above it.
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Old Feb 13 2013, 04:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: Between times and places

I imagine it's for several reasons. The first is because a dragon will instinctively maintain her place in time, unless she specifically tries to arrive else-when. The second is because weyrlings are TAUGHT not to make it too precise.

How detailed can you make a visual? How certain are you that you're remembering it exactly? Is that rock placed exactly where you think it is? If not, bye bye!

Dragonth may have been the dragon on watch the first time you went between out of your Weyr, but he's not always going to be perched on the star-stones, is he? And even if you know he'll still be on watch when you come back, will he be in the exact same spot as before? Wings furled? Head raised? Curled up fast asleep in the sun? Get it wrong, and once again...bye bye!

PRECISION WILL KILL YOU. If I were a weyrlingmaster, that's the single most important thing I'd want a weyrling to understand before making that first jump between

It's not precision that dragons and riders need. It's accuracy. They're often confused, but in truth they're two separate, very different things. An accurate image of the skyline of a Hold or Weyr, a pattern of fires on the heights, the shape of the landscape -- these are the things you need to have an accurate visualisation of. But the details -- the precision with which you create your visual -- those are subject to the fallibility of memory, the vagaries of weather, the unpredictability of other live beings. Those are what you DON'T want to include. You need something to guide your dragon, to focus her sense of place. More than that isn't just redundant information, it's outright dangerous.

Of course, these things are what you DO need if you want to time it and survive the experience. But timing is inherently dangerous, and you don't want to do it by accident. You're meddling with powers you cannot possibly comprehend... [5 points for the quote ]


As for riders getting to places they've never been before: Weyrlings start with straight flights, building up distance and stamina gradually. They learn their reference points piecemeal. When they're experienced enough at going between, they can take a visual of an unknown spot from another dragon, or the rider can be transported on another dragon to see it for himself, or they can work from accurate sketches, or a combination of all of the above.


I've thought about this a lot while writing Regicide. If you want my thoughts on this subject in greater depth, you'll get them in there, later this year.
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Old Feb 13 2013, 11:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: Between times and places

I agree with both of those, and my first thought on seeing the question is that it is always an exception to go between times. Staying in the present seems to be the natural "default setting".
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Old Feb 14 2013, 11:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Between times and places

"You're meddling with powers you cannot possibly comprehend"

The German bloke in that Indiana Jones movie? The Last Crusade

Even now I hear that chilling music in the background
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Old Feb 14 2013, 12:07 PM   #6
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Indy, yes, German, no. Half points to Hans!
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Old Feb 14 2013, 12:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: Between times and places

Good ol' Marcus Brody sure can tell when those German fellas are in over their heads! Even if he did get lost in his own museum once.
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Old Feb 14 2013, 11:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Between times and places

It actually appears to have been forgotten, and rediscovered several times in Pern's history. The Weyrleaders of the Second Pass clearly know about it, even if it's not apparent from the First Pass books that the original 18 learn their dragons can cheat that way. (Maybe they never needed to learn it; it's self-evident if you have a basic education in physics.)

And obviously, in Moreta, the Weyrleaders clearly try to restrict the knowledge to gold and bronzeriders - but they are also just as aware that their chromatic riders occasionally cotton on to it for themselves.

I suspect that it's actually pretty easy to so vague up your image that your dragon forgets she's supposed to be observing the timezones. And thus even though the average rider isn't supposed to learn timing it, the minute the cleverer ones figure out you can't go from Benden morning to Fort morning without something hinky having happened...
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Old Feb 15 2013, 02:46 AM   #9
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Default Re: Between times and places

Quote:
Originally Posted by skywaterblue View Post
I suspect that it's actually pretty easy to so vague up your image that your dragon forgets she's supposed to be observing the timezones. And thus even though the average rider isn't supposed to learn timing it, the minute the cleverer ones figure out you can't go from Benden morning to Fort morning without something hinky having happened...
Marking a timezone specifically enough for a dragon to time it rather than going between places alone would be really quite difficult to get right. You'd need to know the precise difference in longitude and latitude, and apply both those things to where the sun should be in the other place's sky, assuming that the sun isn't behind clouds right now (or rather right then) over there in the other location. LOCAL solar noon at your destination is the easiest one to get right, because you know where the meridian is, and the date and latitude will tell you how high up in the sky on that meridian to put the sun. For the rest of the year, the sun rises and sets in very different locations around the horizon, and the angle of its path is also seasonally determined.

I'd worry about getting it right, and astronomy is my day job. Sure, I could figure out exact coordinates quickly enough, but translating those to a correct visual would be appallingly difficult, given that my visual would be concentrated on the landscape beneath me while the sun would be somewhere up above, and humans are very, VERY bad at getting sizes and positions of the moon and sun right when they're sitting in a big, blank, empty blue sky.
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Old Feb 15 2013, 02:28 PM   #10
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Default Re: Between times and places

It might be customary to check the weather with the watch-dragon at your destination before going between, to avoid getting blown into the side of the Weyr by an unexpected cross-wind. If so, you'd also get a visual from the watch-dragon.

(Not that I've ever heard of such a custom.)

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Old Feb 15 2013, 09:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: Between times and places

All true, and yet the most common example of timing it we see in the books are riders factoring in the timezones and then 'shaving time off' by say, sleeping in at Benden and teleporting to Landing at Landing morning. Which is pretty much exactly how the couple in Moreta are implied to have learned it: shaving time off the timezone differential so they can see each other more often.
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Old Feb 17 2013, 03:22 PM   #12
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2cent Re: Between times and places

I also recall the blue wyerling in Moreta, who just about end up in the stone face, while bring her another tank, making sure you have the room while both taking off and landing.

Also a watch dragon was used to get to the right time for the High Reaches bronze rider, a blue was that day's watch rider.
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