Note: This is no longer up to date. Peter has become P'ter, rider of the bronze Aisheth. The new chapters are in production! Watch this space ...
Peter was born and brought up on his father's small Cothold, located in the hills of the Bitra region. His dad had for some years developed a reputation for breeding top quality draft runners, albeit on a small scale. His success stemmed from his original stallion of quality bloodstock that he had scrimped and saved for all his young life. Now in adulthood, with a lovely wife and a series of sons and daughters, together with a reliable trade, he was content.
Peter however was not. He was the second oldest son of the family, a tall, stocky lad, prone to be plump for the duration of his childhood, but now starting to achieve the muscle tone of hard work. His main function at home was to be his fathers general bring, fetch and carry. He learnt well the upkeep of both the beasts and the property. His father being a hard, though kind man he soon learnt to knuckle down and get things done. He had good prospects at home though no real desire to stay. This attitude had been developing for a number of years.
When thinking back to try to pin down the start of his discontent he eventually recognised one sunny, summer Bitran day. Returning home from playing with the few friends he could find in the isolated region in which they lived, the five turn old lad could hear raised voices and his mother crying. Not entering due to his fear of the situation (his family almost never argued) he stood by the door out of sight and listened.
His was able to discern that his mother was upset by something that had happened to a member of the family, evidently a man because his parents always referred to him as a 'he'. He couldn't guess who it was, nor was a name mentioned. His mother apparently wanted to talk about it but his father wanted no such thing. A phrase that sticks in Peter's memory is his dad saying, "I'll have no further talk of him in this house. I never want the same to happen to any of mine!". At this point his father walked over to the door and slammed it shut, failing to see his son outside. At the closing of the door Peter ran, returning later when all had calmed down. Showing a surprising determination for one so young he managed to act out the evening fairly well and didn't say anything to upset his parents. His mother seemed to think that he may have had a fight with a friend or something similar because of his quiet demeanour that evening.
Over the course of the next few turns he gradually was able to discern more information, some from his older brother, though he claimed to know next to nothing about it. Mostly, however this information was gleaned from his mother on those rare days when his father was not around. And even then his mother was not very helpful, every thing she said was punctuated by a nervous look over her shoulder as though expecting her husband to be looming there. Peter could not understand it, his mother was not usually afraid of his father. They had a good marriage.
By the time he was thirteen he had a good idea of what had happened to this mysterious relation of his. An uncle, Peter still to this day does not know his name, was a dragonrider at Benden Weyr. There had been an accident while flying thread and his uncles dragon had been severely injured and had later died. Peter did not know the dragons colour, let alone name, nor did he know when the accident had happened though he guessed it was just before that time when he had overheard his parents at the age of five turns. He did not know why his father would have no talk of his brother, one of the elite few dragonriders of Pern. He had learnt from his mother that this was a paternal uncle. He knew that after his dragon had died something terrible had happened to his uncles personality, what, he did not know. Nor where his uncle was or even after eight turns whether he was still alive somewhere, goodness knows in what sad state. He was confused and his conscience bothered him about this mysterious man.
Peter has a very kind disposition, he can't stand to see anything hurt and will help anything and anybody regardless sometimes of risk to himself. He wanted to help this uncle - he couldn't. It was at this time, at the age of about thirteen turns that Peter made up his mind. He couldn't, he knew, help this relation of his. It was too late. He was disgusted with his parents stubborn silence. If therefore he could not change what had happened he became determined never to let this happen again. He vowed to himself to become a dragonhealer, a good one, so as to the best of his ability never let another rider go though the apparent hell that this uncle of his had. Also, and to him perhaps more importantly, never to have a family member shunned and his memory not brought to light ever again.
Once this vow had been made Peter found himself in some difficulty. His father was stunned, and not to happy to suddenly see his son decide to take off to some Weyr or other. He put his foot down, thinking that this was some early adolescent passing phase. However he was a kind man, and having taught his son to respect the wishes of others he felt he had to do the same. He promised that if Peter still felt the need to leave by the time he was fifteen, he could go, with his fathers blessing.
Over the next two turns Peter's desire turned to obsession. So shortly after his fifteenth turn had passed he made arrangements to leave. His family advised him not to go, but then, like most fifteen turn olds he thought he knew enough about what he was doing. It wasn't long before he would freely admit that he had been naive.
Shortly he found himself down at Bitra Hall, never being one to gamble he, luckily for him, was not enchanted by the idea of money for nothing, as advertised by certain of those around him. But it was at Bitra that something happened to the young Peter that gave him a companion for the long trials ahead.
As he was just passing through the Bitra Halls courtyards a small commotion was started when the news went round of an imminent Firelizard hatching. Peters family had never had a firelizard and so, having never witnessed such a thing before, Peter decided to hang on for a bit.
Shortly a large group of people had gathered about the nest site, Peter managed to work his way towards the front with his usual politeness. Intrigued by what he say he sat down and watched the eggs, never having realised before that you can actually see them move as the hatchlings start to struggle to leave the confines of the shell.
The first egg cracked and the first hatching, a small green, greeted the world with creels of hunger. Peter watched with interest as those around him started to offer all manner of foods, trying to tempt the hatchling to select them as a pet. Having just gone to watch, he suddenly found himself with a desire to be a pet himself, he would be, as far as he could remember, the only one of his immediate family to have impressed such a creature.
Rummaging about in his pouch he came upon the last of his sandwiches and weighed up the odds. His dinner ... or a firelizard. Judging that to be no real contest he started to break his meal up into manageable chunks, encouraged by a rider that had heard called Alania, they chatted a bit as the hatching continued.
However poor Peter had no luck, inexperienced as he was he just did not have the knack of knowing how to react to the hatchlings, until that is one particular lizard hatched from a egg that seemed to remind Peter of a huge hailstone, bluish white, with a strange luminescence. Out of this shell flopped a brown hatchling. looking very much like a walnut. Creamy brown body colouring with dark brown line wandering about the small things body, like creases.
This hatchling seemed to have trouble in making up his mind and wandered past Peter heading for a fish offered by another of those present, but, at the last moment he decided he liked a meat paste sandwich better. Before he knew it he had impressed a firelizard. Peter was astounded, also he had no idea how to care for his new found friend. Questions were asked of those around him and advice was freely offered. He particularly appreciated the advice of Maylia, a healer, who methodically told him all the things that he should know about this new life form entrusted to him.
Peter stayed the night at the hall, alternately dozing in a corner when the hatchling was asleep, or feeding it if it were awake. He decided on a name for the little brown - Mylar. As the night passed he also thought back onto his brief conversation with Alania, she had said that if he were looking to live in a weyr, to come to Ista and that she would vouch for him. He made up his mind head in that direction come the following day.
Peter, with Mylar always now on his shoulder continued on his way. Having no great idea of the distance involved he started to trek. Mylar had become much more to Peter in the recent weeks than just a firelizard, Mylar was a friend. In fact Mylar was the only companion Peter had as he struggled on with his journey. The flit always stuck close and would always seem to know what to do to keep his pet happy. Having worked - hard - for various lifts and having a few adventures, all unpleasant, he finally arrived at Ista island, completely broke and a little exhausted. His cheerful disposition had been worn thin and even Mylar had trouble keeping him from despair.
This was not helped when poor Peter couldn't find Alania anywhere. Enquires showed that she was away, and when not away she was busy. Having only his two feet to carry him he found it impossible to even catch up with this rider who was winging from place to place. Also he couldn't stand the heat, actually the heat was not too bad, it was the humidity that got him. He'd lived up to this point at a high elevation but now in these tropical climes he found sleep impossible. What was worse, the second day there while walking round morosely he came across the Ista weyrleader. Awed by the personage in front of him he clamed up and said next to nothing. Embarrassed by thatencounter and with his future possibly in tatters around him, Peter sat down at the edge of the bowl and sulked.
A rider took pity on this sad lump of humanity and offered him a ride, "To see a bit of Pern". Why he should want to do that Peter had no idea but, he jumped at the chance of getting away from this place that he found uncomfortable, not only because of the heat and humidity but also because he had felt terribly embarrassed by his recent encounter with the weyrleader. Accepting the offer Peter found himself for the first time a dragonback. Its not something he remembers all too well, too much was happening at once. They went between and while Peter was still recovering from his shock the great vista of a sandy bowl spread out below him. Peter would come to know this place as Igen, and home.
Peter was dropped in the Bowl, the rider promptly wandered off and disappeared while Peter was still gawking at the scenery. On looking around for someone to act as a guide he noticed that even the dragon was ignoring him, curling round for a doze. Peter stuck his hands in his pockets and looked about, and sighed. That movement of air in and out of his body caught his attention, though still hot, the air here was sweet, not clogged with the smells of assorted vegetation. He breathed deeply, delighted. There was not much scent of plantlife, rotting or otherwise because there simply wasn't much greenery around. Everything was sandy. Peter, with the humidity lifted from him immediately started to cheer up. He could see the weyr's entrance from where he was and headed in that direction. Passing a few resting dragons on the way, which he skirted with apprehension, he entered the tunnel leading to the living cavern.
And what a cavern, huge by any standards. Feeling a little lost he mooched around until a voice asked what brought him to Igen. He found out in due course that he was talking to Brooke, an Igen nanny. Two others joined the conversation, Siara and Macami. Before long Peter was feeling happier than he had for months. At least here he hadn't embarrassed himself - yet. A comment was made to the effect that, 'Why didn't he apply for residency here at Igen', and the more Peter thought about it, the more he could not see any reason not too. Peter, once again was happy. At least until he found himself called for by the rider and soon found himself transferred back to Ista.
It took him a couple of days to beg another lift to Igen and the rider that did so just dumped him in the bowl and went between from a few yards away in bad humour. Peter was not ruffled however, for he was happy. He was at Igen again. Walking as before into the living cavern, carrying all his worldly belongings with him in a small knapsack he once more met with his friends from the previous visit. Made again to feel welcome, and finding that he seemed to fit in with those around him, Peter was content. Being naive he was not overly concerned about the fact that he was broke, that he had nowhere to stay, that the weyr might not want him and other weighty concerns. People were once more being nice to him, so he was happy.
Peter had a long talk to the weyr historian, Macami. Telling her of his hopes and his delight at finding Igen. For some reason best known to herself Macami took pity in this lad who knew next to nothing about anything outside of his own small world and let him stay in the caravan that she had recently vacated.
Peter was by now ecstatic. Not only had he found friends, he had found a home too. He hadnt realised when he started out just how bad it was to be travelling. Now after a couple of months on the road he had finally found a home.
Eager to start on his dream to be a dragonhealer he was frustrated by not being able to start straight away. Any attempts to see anyone in authority were difficult. Also he had to be interviewed with regards to his residency, something that unnerved him. He was told to see one of two people. Winter, the headwoman, or Cortland, the steward. He was advised if at all possible not to see Cortland as he was what people called - difficult.
As luck worked out it was Cortland that Peter got to see. And he was just that, difficult. However strict Cortland was however Peter could not fail to see the similarity of approach between Cortland and his own father. Being reminded of home and supposing that beneath that grumpy exterior there was probably a kind heart like his dad's, Peter surprised himself by his audacity during the interview. Perhaps that helped him to be accepted as a resident. He walked out of Cortlands office a happy man. He had a knot to be proud of. He also had decided that he liked Cortland, despite the huge mans attitude and despite that others in the weyr might think he was potty.
As the days past, Peter started to get used to the routine as one of the weyr's handymen. He did not however forget his real reason for coming.
Time passed, Peter found life pleasant and not too hard. He still found the heat a little tough to cope with but without the humidity he got on all right. Having settled in and having met most of the principle residents and the weyrs leaders he still struggled to remain patient about his dragonhealing desires.
Peter settled into his routine. He would start early with any work outside the weyr before the sun got too high, then as the day warmed up he would move inside, pottering around where and as necessary. Always ready to lend a helping hand. Actively looking for things to fix, adjust, oil or otherwise maintain. He was in the habit of not stopping for a midday meal, the crush in the living cavern was not something he enjoyed, and so he normally would wait till around four oclock when the hubbub has died down. There, unless something particular came up, he would attempt to finish his working day.
Still thwarted in his attempts to enrol as a dragonhealer he couldnt help but be fascinated by these huge sentient creatures. Having slowly lost his fear of the dragons, seeing them regularly in passing, he started to talk to a few, never of course receiving a direct reply, but just happy to be acknowledged in some way, be it a friendly rumble or whatever. He has struck up a particular friendship with Ranth, a blue dragon that hes particularly taken with. He talks a bit with Ranth whenever he sees him and seems to get the idea that the dragon understands him, or at least, puts up with Peters attention in a friendly manner.
Then the big day arrived for Peter. Starting as a normal finish to his work Peter made his way to the living cavern for a bite to eat, as normal, upon seeing Macami he went over and was involved in conversation when a strange face appeared. Macami pointed out to Peter that this was Shandra, head of the Igen Dragonhealers and took him over.
After a very brief introduction Peter found himself a little lost. He had, obviously over the last few weeks pondered deeply as to what he might say when this moment occurred, but now, much to his dismay he could not recall any of it. Shandra did not seem particularly impressed by this large youth suddenly descending on a weyr with aspirations above his station. Peter, as usual when under pressure felt his determination rising within him. Hed be blowed if he was going to waste all the effort hed put into getting to the weyr by appearing stupid in front of Shandra. His jaw jutting out as it characteristically does when in this frame of mind, and he frankly asked for the chance of being taken on.
Shandra led the way outside where she was about to let Lemarath, her gold dragon, feed. A few questions were asked as Lemarath killed and ate some of the weyrs herdbeasts. Peter got the impression that not only were his answers to the question going to be important to his chances, but also his reaction to the rather bloody spectacle of a hungry dragon. Having been brought up as he was, he was used to blood and flesh though the sight of it being rendered apart at not too great a distance from where he was standing, complete with the screams of a dying beast did test his mettle.
Evidently he handled himself well enough because Shandra accepted him to be a dragonhealer and with no further ceremony left him and went of to tend to her dragon.
Peter stood around for a while, trying to absorb the import of what has just happened to him. His ambition of the last few turns had suddenly been put into motion. He walked back to the cavern and helped himself to a large glass of wine. It had been a hard day.
Having at last had his dream start to come true, Peter has thrown himself into his studies, asking all and sundry of for their ideas and impressions; the riders of their mental link with the dragons, the dragonhealers are questioned about draconic anatomy, the healers about herbs and medications that pertain to dragon treatment. A methodical learner, hes making progress, not too fast, but progress all the same.
During his time at the weyr he has found quite a few friends, one particularly in Macami. He had however always been puzzled by Macamis somewhat sad persona. Having resolved to find out something about it, and after asking a few discreet questions of Macami herself, he now has an inkling of her sad past, though by no means in any detail. In the process of finding this knowledge he has also discovered that Macami is becoming ever more important to him. One monumental evening, during a frank discussion with Macami he found out to his surprise and delight that Macami had found in him, a friend and companion, a man in whom she could trust. With this revelation Peter goes about his daily life happier than ever, his world becoming more complete with every passing day.
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