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Chapter 16 The MasterHarper of Pern Chapter 18

Covers the Turns 2LI430-431 (2487-2488 AL)

In the second month of the new Turn, Nip reports to Robinton that Fax has taken a fourth Hold, a minor one named Keogh.

Nip tells Robinton about Fax's pattern, of visiting a hold, complimenting them on their management, purchasing goods from them, and so on, gaining their confidence, then offering to take care of the Hold while they're off at his Gather. Then they don't return.

F'lon visits Robinton after Nemorth lays another clutch. F'lon tells him about how they succeeded in getting Nemorth relatively fit. F'lon tells Robinton that both his sons would be Candidates for the next clutch.

That same day, Robinton's cousin Rantou visits with his grandson Sebell, asking for him to be admitted to the Harper Hall. Robinton is impressed with Sebell's skill, and he is admitted. Rantou, at some point, had lost two of his fingers.

Sebell fits in quite well, and soon becomes Robinton's unofficial assistant.

That winter, Nemorth laid 24 eggs. C'gan comes to the Harper Hall to convey Robinton to the Weyr. C'gan tells Robinton that Fallarnon was well-grown, but Famanoran was still a bit young.

Robinton arrives at the Weyr, sitting next to F'lon. Jora by this time, has become considerably overweight. F'lon was rather nervous about his sons on the hatching grounds. The first to hatch was a bronze, and was Impressed by Fallarnon. The Bronze's name was Mnementh. The last dragonet was a brown, named Canth, who chose Famanoran. F'lon was ecstatic that both his sons had Impressed.

Upon returning, he sees a message from Nip, stating a concern that Nabol would be next.

By this time, Fax had acquired a fifth hold.

Lord Tarathel or Telgar invites all, including Fax, to a Gather, in large part, to show off his expanded guard in the hopes of deterring Fax from thoughts of conquering his hold. His guards had recently flushed out several groups of would-be scouts from Telgar lands. F'lon approved of his precautions.

F'lon, on Robinton's advice, approaches Larad, the son of Tarathel, in the hopes of convincing him of the necessity of preparing for Thread.

During the Gather, a lad wearing Fax's colors bumps into Larad. The boy demands an apology from Larad. F'lon insists that it is he who should apologize to Larad. The boy snidely remarks that he's with Fax. F'lon backhands him. Immediately, a heavyset man (his name is later given as Gifflen), also wearing Fax's colors, appears, claiming to be the young boy (Kepiru)'s older brother. He demands an apology from F'lon for striking his "younger brother". Robinton, witnessing this, quickly makes his way to them, attempting to mediate. The larger man picks a duel with F'lon, which he wins, killing F'lon (during the duel, he also injures Robinton's arm). R'gul, S'lel, and C'gan show up afterwards. R'gul appears almost relieved at F'lon's death, and hopeful of being the next Weyrleader. S'lel is distressed, while C'gan is weeping.

The guard is sentenced to exile in the islands in the Eastern Sea.

Fax appears, demanding that the guard be released. Several of Fax's men appear to back him up, threatening Tarathel. Robinton beseaches the crowd to defend their Holder, which they do, holding back Fax's men.

Nip throws a knife at the guard. Fax and his men are sent back to the border. Tarathel asks Robinton to be careful, to travel with guards.

On his way back to Harper Hall (without the convenience of dragons), he visits Ruatha. While talking to Kale, his youngest daughter, Lessa comes in. Robinton attempts, without success, to convince Kale to increase his guard, and learns, to his dismay, that Fax has been visiting, and buying runnerbeasts. He did convince Kale to set up border patrols.

Nip announces that he had found Bargen, hiding in High Reaches Weyr, and doing what he could to inconvenienec Fax.

Characters Introduced Edit

  • Gifflen
  • Kepiru
  • Macester - head of Robinton's escort.
  • Vendross - Tarathel's guard captain

Characters Appearing Edit

Characters Mentioned Edit