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Old May 24 2014, 10:04 PM   #1
Kim
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Default Watch whers

Is it ever stated anywhere in canon where the watch whers are bred and/or how they're parceled out?
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Old May 24 2014, 10:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Watch whers

That would be interesting to know. I don't recall that Anne ever did, but Todd's books I think, mention a breeding colony somewhere
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Old May 25 2014, 12:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: Watch whers

At least some of Todd's books revolve around the fact that whers don't breed well and have already fallen down to one queen. I think the main wher in the first one is supposed to be a bit more special for having come from a queen clutch rather than a green clutch.
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Old May 25 2014, 05:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: Watch whers

I haven't read Todd's work. Are watch whers treated better than they were in Anne's books? In the first scene with Lessa, it referred to clipped wings. That sounds pretty damn painful, and the poor thing begging for release was just, well, pathetic.
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Old May 25 2014, 09:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: Watch whers

in Todd's books the watch whers fly thread at night and they can "speak" to the dragons.
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Old May 25 2014, 09:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: Watch whers

That certainly beats a life of being chained up.
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Old May 25 2014, 05:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: Watch whers

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in Todd's books the watch whers fly thread at night and they can "speak" to the dragons.
They can go "between" too, can't they? Do I recall a watchwher going "between" to rescue someone trapped behind an underground mud fall?

And I don't think clipping wings harms a critter does it? Oh! I'm thinking of feathered flying critters. Hmm. Perhaps the tip of the wing is like our finger nails with no feeling in them so they can be clipped to prevent flying???

I also thought whers had tiny undeveloped wings and could not fly anyway? Anne's whers anyway. Todd does his own thing
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Old May 25 2014, 05:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: Watch whers

Whers have always been able to speak to dragons, but Todd gives them a bunch of expanded powers. (Though honestly, if you buy that whers are uplifted from firelizards and dragons fly with TK, why not have the ability to between and fly? Whers are just smart enough to know they're not really 'flying'.)
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Old May 26 2014, 06:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Watch whers

I always interpreted the "clipped wings" phrase in Dragonflight just to be another way of saying that watch-whers couldn't fly like dragons could, not that they literally clipped a portion of the wings off. Now, in Moreta it mentions that there was a legend that watch-whers had been used as a last-ditch Thread defense in early Holds and the character (Capiam, I believe) couldn't imagine how, but the general impression I get from Dragonsdawn is that the watch-whers had much smaller wings proportionally, so it seems reasonable to assume that by F'lar's time they're called clipped wings.
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Old May 27 2014, 02:25 AM   #10
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Default Re: Watch whers

Whers were an experiment gone wrong when Kitti Pink developed dragons, were they not? Who know which way they could have gone? But Todd and Anne have totally different characteristics for whers. And how are suitable ones chosen to be watch-whers?
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Old May 27 2014, 11:35 AM   #11
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Default Re: Watch whers

Todd's books are much more sympathetic to the watch-whers and make them much more special, but not in a way that works relative to the other books, as far as I'm concerned.
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Old May 27 2014, 01:04 PM   #12
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Default Re: Watch whers

Kit Ping's dragons were fine, but she died in the middle of the project. Wind Blossom later produced one batch with 6 healthy dragons surviving, and another batch with 4 whers and no other survivors. It was assumed the whers were a genetic failure, but Wind Blossom kept them "for experimentation", and later admitted they were intentional, based on Eridani policies for double redundancy (dragons, whers and grubs in this case).

There was a mention of wild whers in DragonFlight. Probably some whers escaped at some point (e.g. if a wher-breeder died leaving a batch of eggs that didn't get Impressed), and were a known hazard.

No doubt most people assumed that whers were a native species that had been tamed to produce watch-whers.
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Old May 27 2014, 02:46 PM   #13
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Later admitted - was that in one of Todd's, then?
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Old May 28 2014, 12:48 PM   #14
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Later admitted - was that in one of Todd's, then?
Yes --- in Dragon's Blood.
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Old May 29 2014, 02:13 AM   #15
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Default Re: Watch whers

As I recall, Dragon's Fire is the book that dealt with the watch wher hold/nest/weyr being down to one spot. Though it's been quite awhile since I've read it. Yes, the powers were expanded a bit but it made watch whers sooooo much more interesting!
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Old May 29 2014, 12:10 PM   #16
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Default Re: Watch whers

The thing is, watch-whers were something of a luxury item (or status symbol) in the Pernese economy, being kept mostly by the major Holds and wealthier minor Holds and Craft-halls. Their main task was to watch out for intruders at night, and they probably lived for several decades. Smaller holds probably couldn't afford to feed them, let alone pay the up-front price.

During the first Pass, whers were probably used mainly for exploring caves and detecting gas in mines. Once the main deposits of useful ores and coal had been mapped, fewer whers would be needed for exploring and more for night-watch duties. Canines, being easier to train, would be preferred for regular guard-dog duties, so very few wher-breeders would be needed, other than to maintain a viable gene-pool. If the Wher-hold in DragonFire was down to its last gold wher, and was in fact the only remaining wher-breeding hold, they were definitely in trouble (unless they borrowed bronzes from the Holds for breeding from time to time).

As to how they got down to only one Wher-hold, I'm guessing some of those Pernese plagues killed off the other wher-breeders and their helpers, allowing their whers and hatchlings to go feral. Any wild bronzes would join a tame gold's breeding flight and could help maintain genetic diversity.
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Old May 29 2014, 03:27 PM   #17
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Default Re: Watch whers

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They can go "between" too, can't they? Do I recall a watchwher going "between" to rescue someone trapped behind an underground mud fall?

And I don't think clipping wings harms a critter does it? Oh! I'm thinking of feathered flying critters. Hmm. Perhaps the tip of the wing is like our finger nails with no feeling in them so they can be clipped to prevent flying???

I also thought whers had tiny undeveloped wings and could not fly anyway? Anne's whers anyway. Todd does his own thing
If the actually pinioned them, it'll hurt initially. When you pinion a bird, which is usually done with zoo specimens to minimize handling (you'd need to keep doing trims like pet birds get every molt), you cut off the farthest wing joint. It's bone, and it's removed by a vet under anesthesia. But once it heals, it doesn't hurt any more, it just prevents flight. I agree that the "clipped wings" is more that they have stubby, malformed wings than that whers actually get pinioned.
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Old May 30 2014, 09:13 PM   #18
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Default Re: Watch whers

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Originally Posted by Eriflor View Post
The thing is, watch-whers were something of a luxury item (or status symbol) in the Pernese economy, being kept mostly by the major Holds and wealthier minor Holds and Craft-halls. Their main task was to watch out for intruders at night, and they probably lived for several decades. Smaller holds probably couldn't afford to feed them, let alone pay the up-front price.

During the first Pass, whers were probably used mainly for exploring caves and detecting gas in mines. Once the main deposits of useful ores and coal had been mapped, fewer whers would be needed for exploring and more for night-watch duties. Canines, being easier to train, would be preferred for regular guard-dog duties, so very few wher-breeders would be needed, other than to maintain a viable gene-pool. If the Wher-hold in DragonFire was down to its last gold wher, and was in fact the only remaining wher-breeding hold, they were definitely in trouble (unless they borrowed bronzes from the Holds for breeding from time to time).

As to how they got down to only one Wher-hold, I'm guessing some of those Pernese plagues killed off the other wher-breeders and their helpers, allowing their whers and hatchlings to go feral. Any wild bronzes would join a tame gold's breeding flight and could help maintain genetic diversity.
1. I think the greens and blues continue to be used in place of pit-ponies, which makes sense if whers also exhibit dragon-like TK. The ability to haul more ore up-and-out than a pony might make the cost-offset of the meat worth it. Especially given how valuable mining is to the Pernese economy. I think it's likely that whers remain a valuable species for that reason, even if you don't care for Todd's thoughts on the matter.

2. The last queen-wherhandler in one of Todd's books opines that the decline in queen whers has more to do with the quality of candidates presented, with the queen whers evidently requiring women with a similarly high psychic ability as their dragon cousins. Without suitable candidates to put to the egg, the queen whers either don't hatch, suicide, or go feral. Since the green whers are fertile, and whers in general undervalued, it became difficult for wher handlers to keep the metallic line going when the greens will look to either gender and produce suitable beasts for pit work.

3. But since green whers breed, I think it unlikely that the entire species was in much danger. How would you keep your pit-whers from going into heat and then laying?
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Old Jun 11 2014, 06:24 PM   #19
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Default Re: Watch whers

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3. But since green whers breed, I think it unlikely that the entire species was in much danger. How would you keep your pit-whers from going into heat and then laying?
Haven't read Todd's books, but it seems reasonable that if you had an all-green operation going, maybe the absence of males would inhibit them from rising, to save resources better used for when a male is actually available.

Then they could just bring a male in to stud and it'd cause the greens to go into heat.

This is 100% speculation though.
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Old Jun 11 2014, 11:27 PM   #20
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Default Re: Watch whers

Or the heat/run spends itself and you've only had to pen the wher in for a few days. I wonder if they would then lay dud eggs, or if, like the dragons they wouldn't lay at all.

Cynically, I also suppose it's possible that the Pernese spay/neuter them. (Although I think it unlikely, since they don't retain much surgical ability.) That said, I'm of the opinion that 'clipped' wings literally means that they slice/dock the tips of their wings off in some way. As a species, we have a miserable history of how we treat our "stock animals".

If there's a way to spay/neuter, they probably just let the whers do their run to get it over with, much like getting a gelding to cover your mare for a few days.

Your theory would explain why we only see male whers as watch-whers.
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Old Jul 30 2015, 06:08 PM   #21
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Default Re: Watch whers

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Or the heat/run spends itself and you've only had to pen the wher in for a few days. I wonder if they would then lay dud eggs, or if, like the dragons they wouldn't lay at all.

Cynically, I also suppose it's possible that the Pernese spay/neuter them. (Although I think it unlikely, since they don't retain much surgical ability.) That said, I'm of the opinion that 'clipped' wings literally means that they slice/dock the tips of their wings off in some way. As a species, we have a miserable history of how we treat our "stock animals".

If there's a way to spay/neuter, they probably just let the whers do their run to get it over with, much like getting a gelding to cover your mare for a few days.

Your theory would explain why we only see male whers as watch-whers.
Turns out that whers fly at night to mate (Dragonsfire), and not all watch-whers are male, nor all mine whers female. Dask, the mine wher from the beginning of Dragons Kin, was a brown, I think. And in Dragonsblood, Benden's watch-wher was female. So was the wher Wind Blossom saw chained up guarding a sea hold.

Wind Blossom also mentions that the whers weren't a "mistake", but she couldn't perfect them either. According to Todd's answering of a fan question, she let everyone THINK they were a mistake so they wouldn't mess with anymore genetics when there were other things that needed more attention at the time.
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Old Aug 1 2015, 10:18 PM   #22
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Default Re: Watch whers

Dragons' Fire, was the mating flight, Dragon's Kin/Fire hatching, Kisk who used Nuella image to save them, that Kindan described
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