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The Dragons of Pern

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The female gold or Queen dragons are the largest of all the colors, growing to sizes of thirty-eight to forty-two meters long (Ramoth was closer to forty-five meters). They are the traditional mothers of the Weyrs, and produce the largest clutches. They only Impress female humans: the rider of the oldest Queen is the Weyrwoman, and the rider of her mate is Weyrleader. Golds do NOT chew firestone. Tradition says it renders the females sterile and unable to reproduce; the Harper Hall has since learned that they are unable to produce flame at all. The remaining AIVAS Records tell of Faranth's first unsuccessful attempt. They join in the fight against Thread with the help of flamethrowers. A wing of Queens will typically be found on the lower levels of a fighting pattern, though a few renegade Weyrwomen have lead Threadfall in the upper levels (and nearly gotten themselves and their beasts killed doing it). A gold clutch can be anywhere from twelve to sixty eggs, and usually includes at least one queen egg. Golds are highly intelligent, though limited by the same lack of short-term memory and forethought as the other dragons. They do have a slight tendency toward vanity and ego, but no dragon but another Queen will disobey a gold.

The male bronze dragons are the second largest, fastest, and strongest next to the Queens, growing to between thirty-five to thirty-eight meters, and are typically the only ones able to catch them in a mating flight. For thousands of years the position of Weyrleader was the privilege of bronze riders, and so it remains. Bronzes only Impress male candidates. Again because of their size and endurance the bronzes are the first picked to be Wingleaders and -seconds in a fighting pattern, and fly the middle and upper ranks. They, like all males, chew firestone. Bronzes are smart--they have to be. They must be clever and wily to avoid Thread as well as to catch golds in flight. A bronze's strength is in tactical thought and a certain amount of cunning.

Browns are middle-ranking males of middle size, speed, dexterity, and everything else, though perhaps they are stockier than the lean bronzes and lithe coppers, and grow from thirty to thirty-five meters in length. Of the males, browns have the highest endurance next to bronzes, but aren't as fast and powerful: otherwise they would be flying Queens instead of greens! Canth was an exeption to this rule. Stolid and reliable, browns genrally have Wingsecond position in the upper and middle fighting ranks. They only Impress males. Of the five colors, browns are the "smart ones." Their thought, while limited to the present and immediate future, is logical, sensible, insightful, and wise. Not to say that they can't loosen up and have a good time like any of the others. If you must have a dragon in a time of crisis, choose a brown. He won't lose his head.

The blue males are the "workhorses" of the species. They are stout and hardy, having higher endurance than their smaller sisters, and ranging between twenty-five to thirty meters. Blues generally Impress males only, but have been known to choose girls when boys are in short supply. They fly greens. They form the ranks of the Fighting Wings. Blues are steadfast and loyal. If you must trust a dragonpair, trust a blue first. They don't betray and will stop at nothing to do what is right. One wonderful example of a blue-pair is C'gan and Tagath.

The most numerous of all dragon colors are the green females, who number the same as all the other colors put together. They are the best Threadfighters as well, being extremely dextrous and maneuverable in the air. Unfotunately, they haven't the endurance of their larger siblings and so have to alternate with other greens and scarlets. Otherwise, they make up the majority of the Wings. They may Impress female or male humans, but females are preferred and encouraged, as they have a better time coping with the greens' drives. The greens are able to clutch, but are prevented from doing so by chewing firestone. If they were allowed to clutch, the Weyrs would be up to their eyeballs in little green females before one could blink. They are flown by any male who cares to chase them, but generally they mate with blues and browns. Greens are unpredictable and volatile, especially when near to rising. They think with their feelings and passions, displaying a 'point A to point B' thought process. Their emotions, however, run deep. If they like someone, they REALLY like that someone. If they dislike someone, let him beware. Greens make everyone's life more interesting.

White dragons are a very rare fluke: a throw-back to the original dragons genetically engineered by Kitty Ping Yung. In fact, there has been only one. Ruth grew to twenty meters, only the size of a small modern green. His rider, Lord Jaxom, takes special care not to overwork him. Rather than lacking pigmentation, however, Ruth is more of a translucent pastel blend of all the dragon colors together. He is asexual and does not rise to mate. Ruth is especially unique in one big way: He possesses foresight and memory. He can think ahead and plan, and he remembers much of things past. He also boasts that he always knows "when" he is. Ruth is about the most human creature you're likely to encounter on Pern, and that says it all.

All text and artwork on this page copyright Eleanor R. (Neshomeh); referencing The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern, Second Edition.

All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyright
Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2001, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.