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The Dragons of Pernopia

The Harper and Healer Halls reccommend this set-up for those who wish to expand the range of dragon and fire lizard colors in their Weyrs:

Legend has it that sometime after the supposed "last" Pass of the rogue planet, or Red Star, a genetic virus swept through the fire lizards of the Southern Continent. As hard as the healers tried, they couldn't prevent this discoloring disease from spreading to the fire lizards' close cousins, the dragons. Queens began to produce odd colors like scarlet and silver. There seemed to be nothing inherently wrong with these new colors, and they were strong as the original five and so survived. These are the only colors officially recognized by the Halls.

NOTE: If you want to use the text on these pages, you may, but PLEASE give credit where credit is due. If you don't, you run the risk of raising a Harper's wrath!

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 an exception at forty-five meters). They are the traditional mothers of the Weyrs, and produce the largest clutches. They only Impress hetero- or bisexual female humans. The rider of the oldest Queen in a Weyr 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 often includes 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 has been the privilege of bronze riders, and so it remains. Bronzes only Impress hetero- or bisexual 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 leadership and a certain amount of cunning.

"Black" dragons can be male or female, but the females are the only genuine blacks. The males are actually considered bronzes, for bronze metal, when exposed to oxygen over time, darkens and turns black. The only reason the males are considered mutations is because they are fairly rare. In all other respects they are equivalent and equal to their lighter-colored brethren, although blacks are said to grow up to forty meters in length. Like bronzes, they Impress hetero- or bisexual males only, chew firestone, may fly a gold dragon, and aspire to be Weyrleaders.

The females really are oddities, as no one can suss out what they are a variation on. A common thought is that they are simply female bronzes. They rank below the golds and bronzes, but slightly above the silvers. They can produce clutches, but not so large as a gold's, and they are usually barren from chewing firestone anyway. They may grow to the size of a small gold, and are typically flown by bronze or brown males, sometimes copper. The black females Impress hetero- or bisexual females only. They tend to be somewhat high-strung and feisty, but have the intelligence of any bronze with an added feminine depth.

The silver females are products of the virus and thought to be small golds without the proper pigmentation. However, even if they don't chew firestone they may not be fertile. It really depends on the Weyr and the dragon. Some silvers lay only very small clutches; some lay one or two and stop; others have the full capacity of golds, though this is rare; and still others are completely barren. If they chew firestone, they fly as Wingseconds and occasionally -leaders in the middle ranks. If not, they join the Queens in the lower Wings. In size, they are larger than browns but smaller than bronzes, reaching at most thirty-six meters. They Impress girls only regardless of sexual preference and can be flown by any color copper on up, but they are usually mated by browns. They have the wisdom, patience, and stamina that dignify browns, and they can be somewhat enigmatic and playful, too. Silvers have a better time with abstract logic than most dragons, but they donít think forward or retain knowledge any better.

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 golds instead of silvers! Stolid and reliable, browns genrally have Wingsecond positions in the upper and middle fighting ranks. They Impress males and seem to favor those with heterosexual preferences, though this is not a rule. On extremely rare occasions they will even Impress girls. Of the five traditional colors, browns are the "smart ones." Their thought, while limited to the present and immediate future, is logical, sensible, insightful, and wise. This is 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.

Copper dragons are perhaps the strangest of the mutants. They are hermaphroditic and decide their sex based on the gender (NOT the biological sex) of their rider after Impression. Very rarely, there will be a copper who does not choose and remains asexual like an albino. For the purpose of placement in a Wing, they are treated as males. Copper males grow to be about the size of browns (twenty-eight to thiry-two meters), and the females slightly larger (up to thirty-six). The females usually chew firestone and fly with the fighting Wings, but some choose to join the Queen's Wing. Fertile females clutch only rarely and are flown by grays, copper males, browns, and sometimes bronzes and black males. They can be Wingseconds in a fighting pattern and sometimes -Leaders in the middle ranks. Coppers are inquisitive and witty, sensitive, and fun. A copper of either sex loves a good laugh. Their minds work like live wires: The right connection sets off sparks of thoughts and ideas. On the other side of the mark is dark humor and biting sarcasm, but this is rare. For the most part, coppers are the beloved jesters of the Weyr.

More colors

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.