Holding or Crafting.. the other options
Holders and Crafters are the people who make sure that Pern keeps going between Passes and that it doesn`t just all collapse around our ears - in fact the people who dragonriders are meant to protect.
Basically farmers. A Hold is a building with land attached... it`s their responsibility to get men to work it, keep greenery from paths (you have greenery on your paths, you`re just ASKING for trouble from Thread) and keep it economically viable - that sorta thing.
They must also put up with Harpers on their land - it is a basic law of Pern that EVERY man, woman and child in the land has a right to be taught to read and write by a Harper.
Lord Holders are a bit different - they own land too, but they also oversee all the Holders in the particular part they are responsible for. If a Holder isn`t keeping to the laws of the Charter, or needs help, it is their responsibility to make sure it is sorted. A Lord Holder has equal position to a Weyrleader - and vice versa.
Specialised people who work in Crafts They are based in Halls where they learn their professions. Each Craft has one Master who oversees everything and decides promotions, and below that there are three ranks: apprentice, journeyman,and master.
Apprentices are taken on from age 12 onwards, then if and when they are good enough move on to be journey men (ages vary according to craft) then if they are really good move on to be masters - this hardly ever happens before they are at least 40, becoming a master takes WORK.
The two most well known Crafts are the Healers and the Harpers.
The Healers are the doctors of Pern. Working with numbweed (a local anesthetic), fellis (a sort of general anesthetic - knocks you right out!) and what herbs they have they will try and help the best the can.
Remember though, this is not twentieth century Earth, this is Pern - they aren`t real big on technology! Operations are dodgy to say the least... they just don`t have all that much KNOWLEDGE any more. They do however have enough that if you are Threadscored you will be VERY grateful to them.
The Harpers are the teachers, historians and lawyers of Pern, as well as the entertainers. Using the Teaching Ballads they pass down the history of Pern, and what rights people have under the Charter. They are also the peace keepers of Pern - if there if a quarrel between a Weyr and a Hold, or two Weyrs or a Hold and a Craft Hall or anything like that it will be the Master Harper who decides who is in the right.
Of course they are also entertainers and composers, and will keep people happy at a Gather, a hand-fasting or a party.
Other, less well-known Crafts are the Smiths, the Herdsmen, the Architects, the Weavers, the Miners... there are dozens of them ;-)
If you can think of a profession that is not dependent on technology, then most likely there will be a Craft Hall for it somewhere.
All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyrightę Anne McCaffrey 1967,2005, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.
The Dragonriders of Pern« is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.