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by Soo Novi on August 16, 2008, 06:00:00 PM

Wind Blossom's followers selected the future Gianfar as their home nearly two years before the evacuation, and - possibly with the help of AIVAS - managed to divert some of the supplies intended for the Catherine Caves to their own use, and acquire tiny quantities of fuel. These supplies were carefully stashed in caves on the west side of the island.

When the evacuation - the Second Crossing - was planned, nearly all of the future Gianfarians managed to be assigned to the same ships, the lead ship being the *Gianfar* (a word meaning 'dragon', and the name of a star). They were assigned cargo to carry and succeeded in being assigned the spare hull shielding for the *Buenos Aries* and the *Bahrain*, this being the cargo least likely to be missed by the Northern Continent colonists.

The *Gianfar* set sail with the hull shielding, the six hatched Wind Blossom dragons that could not yet fly, a clutch of twenty-seven Wind Blossom eggs (including one Queen egg), and almost all of her supporters. Faking a problem with the ship, the *Gianfar* delayed its passage and placed itself in the path of a small tropical storm. On the fringes of the storm, the last of the communications equipment was destroyed, and the exiles were cut off from the colony. Their plan was to navigate with the help of the dolphins who had, for reasons of their own, decided to accompany the ship.

Unfortunately, the strength of the storm had been badly miscalculated - the study of weather patterns in the deep seas at the time of the Red Star having received very little attention. An accident left the *Gianfar* without steering for several hours, and, once control was reestablished, the ship was deep within a typhoon, manned by an inexperienced crew, and with most of the humans on board (including all the riders and many of the crew) very seasick. The dolphins tried to stay with the ship for some time, but eventually the captain (name?) - the founder of the Gianfar bloodline - persuaded them to seek shelter at depth, as there was no aid they could give the humans.

Most of the dragons were incapacitated and confused by their riders' sickness, but one - green Gyoreth - retained enough sense to communicate. On hearing the captain's suspicions that the *Gianfar* had been blown into an area of reefs and shoals, Gyoreth took to the air and flew through the storm without her rider. For over six hours, she charted their course through the storm, even helping to turn the ship - sometimes dragging it - as the winds whistled around her and tried to break her wings.  An unimaginable feat for a young green with supposedly limited endurance.

Finally, the storm passed, and Gyoreth slumped to the deck, exhausted, as the first dolphin broke the surface to whistle to the captain. The *Gianfar* was badly off course, and would be very late making landfall. The ship only had supplies for the relatively short crossing from Landing to the northern continent; fortunately (for their rations), it would be some time before many of the passengers or crew felt like eating.


The *Gianfar* finally made landfall a scant twelve hours before the next Threadfall was due over the island. Unfortunately, the cove in which it had been intended to moor the ship had been filled in with avalanche debris, and the storage caves nearby had caved in.

Smythe, the ship's engineer-cum-carpenter, had an idea, which the captain agreed to after some debate. The *Gianfar* - the exiles' last link with the mainland - was run aground on the (now) rocky shore by the caves, and the colonists set to work to unpack the ship's holds, digging for the disregarded shielding being used as ballast. Smythe, carried by Gyoreth and her rider, set out with a small stonecutter for a ledge high on the mountain, where he cut several chunks of stone, which were ferried down to the beach by the dragons. There, he crudely fashioned a dome from the clear anodized carboplex of the unbreakable shields and the rocks he had cut.

With only an hour before Threadfall, Smythe went back up the mountain and cut firestone from a small seam. It was at this point that he discovered an anomaly within a fault in the rock, and called for one of Pern's few physicists to examine it. Unable to conclude what the bright white line of fire was, Smythe and the physicist barely made it back to the Dome before the leading edge of thread fall touched the island.

Huddled inside the transparent shields, around the precious eggs in the centre, the colonists watched as Thread poured across the landscape - and slid off the shield. The wooden hull of the *Gianfar* was consumed in seconds, to the captain's great dismay.

Equipped with firestone for barely half an hour's fighting, the six dragons attempted to defend the grassland in the valley from Threadfall. They were partially successful, but this was their first Fall; Gyoreth, exhausted and not having fed in days, made a mistake and her rider was badly scored. He died shortly after Fall, and Gyoreth suicided, mourned by all.

Fortunately for the colonists, the plain had been drenched with water by the storm (which had hit the island only hours before the *Gianfar* made landfall), so those patches of Thread which did make it through did not survive long.

The Hold

The colonists, working at the captain's direction, cleared the cave-ins to the storage caves, and discovered that most of the squirrelled-away cargo was still there, intact. (Although some caves remained blocked for centuries or even millenia - the colonists did not map the caves when they first began pilfering 'their share of' equipment from the mainlanders.) The caves were enlarged, and made into the first Hold on Gianfar.

At the first Convention held after the colonists moved in - the first Gather, if you will - the colonists decided that Captain Birell would be their first Administrator, and named the island Gianfar, after the valiant vessel that had carried them to the island. (In later years, both his son and his grandson proved also to be able administrators and fine leaders, and so the tradition of primogeniture was born on Gianfar, independent of the mainland.) The captain, much moved, proposed that the exiles adopt a symbol for the island's administration, one that would be different from the admin symbol seen on cargo & official documents brought with the colony. He suggested a green dragon in flight, in memory of Gyoreth, and this proposal was met with universal acclaim.

The Rift

The 'white line' seen by Smythe and his new wife, the physicist, continued to intrigue the Gianfarians, despite a lack of tools or instruments with which to examine it. The white line was seen rarely, but it soon became apparent that objects could both disappear into and fall out of the Rift, as it became known. The cavern around it was hollowed out. Smythe himself established a mine in the highlands, to ensure a supply of firestone for the dragons, in the process becoming Gianfar's first Mastersmith and Masterminer; but he was often to be found in the Rift cave, studying the anomaly.

When the new-hatched dragons of Wind Blossom's last work were full-grown, and about to move to the newly built Shaula Weyr (much to the colony's relief), one dragon, a green, mentioned to her rider in passing that she would miss hearing the voices out of the Rift, and had hoped they might use the coordinates from it one day. Further questioning led to the discovery of the draconic capability for interdimensional flight through, or when near, the Rift. Unfortunately, it was discovered too late that using the Rift in this way enlarged & stabilized it, which led to visitors from other worlds making their way to Gianfar, some accidentally, some less so. Most were curious or friendly, but some were hostile. Fortunately, few weapons and little equipment brought through the Rift would work in Gianfar, for reasons that are still unclear.  These visitors often brought strange stories of things unimaginable to the Gianfarians.

The Dome

It was observed that the Rift reacted badly to wind & water. As the cavern was open to the elements above, it was decided to move the Dome - now on land needed for Gianfar's first library and equipment storage (which later became the Harper Hall) to roof the cave. Smythe refashioned his crude construction into the much more elegant Dome we see today.

The Welcome Area

During the first Long Interval, a young Lord Holder, Kennet, took office. Seeing the overcrowding in the original Hold - and desirous of being remembered for something other than 'he grew crops' - he began the excavations that later became the Upper Hold. He also refashioned the Rift Cave into the Welcome Area, placing in it items intended to inform visitors about Pern in general and Gianfar in particular. These two projects took most of his (long) life, but the Family moved into the new apartments many years before his death. It was noticed that, faced with information about this world into which they had stumbled, visitors became much less likely to be belligerent, and the Weyr was asked for aid far less frequently in consequence.

The Upper Hold is, to this day, known as 'New Hold' or 'Kennet's Folly'. The original Family apartments are located behind the balcony over the lower Hold entrance, overlooking the beach where the *Gianfar* was grounded & lost to Thread, and where the Dome once stood, protecting the people and the eggs. It is thought that Kennet deliberately placed the balcony in New Hold so that it once again overlooked the Dome.

The Dome regained a floor, and the Cavern a roof. The last surviving telescope was placed in the roof of the Dome as an additional reminder of the Red Star's coming. The Dome is now a memorial to those who had lost their lives establishing Gianfar and protecting its secrets - but it's possible that only the Family and the Harpers remember that now.

Lessa's Ride

When Lessa & Ramoth reached T'ron, the dragons of Gianfar soon knew about it. The riders debated long and hard about whether to join the flight forward, but ultimately the Weyrleaders decided against it. Shaula has another duty, she told the assembled riders; the other Weyrs fight only Thread, but we must also guard against anything that comes through the Rift. The Weyrleaders of the day being wise, their decision was final. However, Shaula has monitored the Long Flight, and ensures that the Lost Weyrs are undisturbed when they camp. It is for this reason that Shaula Weyr is certain of Thread's return as they wait for the coming of Ramoth and the searching of Lessa, although neither the Harpers nor the Hold are aware of the Ride, despite their excellent spy networks in the North. It is possible that the Weyr leadership propose to inform the Masters and the Lord Holder only when the Red Star returns.  Shaula Weyr waits, and prepares.
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