The Turn is now 1756, just one turn before the start of the seventh pass of the Red Star. Pern currently lies in the wake of deadly plagues which decimated the population. Holds and Weyrs support only a third of the normal population. Non vital crafts are abandoned. Women of hold, hall, and weyr are needed in raising children. Fears of further illness are whispered about and strangers are no longer welcome. It is a dark time on Pern. A dark time that calls for the strong willed. Are you strong enough to help rebuild Pern?
Our stories begin about 200 turns after Moreta's heroic tale. Other plagues have ravished the lands, the most recent and horrendous ending 15 turns ago. Pern's population is only a third of what it once was. Frightened of more illness, the remaining population shut themselves up in their safe dwellings. Strangers are met with coldness. Holds make do with what they can produce, trading as little as possible. There is a gap in the generations, as plague has taken most of the people between the ages of 30 and 50. It is not uncommon for people to be raised as orphans.
Women are busy raising the future of Pern. They enjoy a respected status as mothers. While they are not banned from crafts, they are most certainly discouraged. After all, a woman's duty is to produce more Pernese for the future. A girl may begin to study a craft, but she is expected to take a mate around her 18th turn. Arranged marriages are not unheard of. If she is lucky, she may continue her studies after producing and raising several children. Women are also presented as candidates only if there is a gold egg present. This has resulted in a handful of women impressing greens. These greenriders are oddities in the weyr and freaks to the common folk. With Thread to fall soon, every dragon is needed to combat the deadly menace, even the green's with female riders. There is no 'coddling' for the female rider of a fighting dragon. Goldriders face a different life. They and their dragons are precious and fertile. They enjoy the respect from all, but no chances may be taken with their safety. Each Weyr boasts only one or two of these badly needed couples. As a result, they are very rarely seen away from the Weyr.
Soon, Thread will fall. It is a race for the people to be able to meet this threat. All are expected to sacrifice everything, including happiness and freedom, to meet Pern's long time nemeses.
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