Oh god why is it happening to me?
About 200 years ago, AIVAS’ rediscovery changed the face of Pern forever. The Red Star’s course was averted, and Thread vanished forever. Land once considered too dangerous to colonize was reclaimed. No longer limited by what dragons could fly during Threadfall, vastly expanded tracts of forest and farmland allowed for a population explosion and the slow but inevitable sprawl of urban centers all over Pern. Rediscovered knowledge led to the rise of new crafts, and the improvement of old ones. New advances in dragonhealing, as well as a newfound respect for the value of “sport” dragons, meant that dud eggs containing white dragons could now be identified and carefully opened, and whites joined the ranks of their siblings to become the sixth recognized dragon color. Most importantly, dragonriders rediscovered the secret of time travel.
It was the heyday of the riders. They limited themselves to short jumps - a few days to a few months, rarely more than a year, as the longer the jump the less likely that the rider would ever return alive. Nonetheless, the dragonriders boasted that their newfound ability to ‘time it’ would become the answer to all Pern’s troubles. Whenever disaster threatened, a rider could simply slip back into the past and explain the situation, giving the Pernese enough time to evacuate and minimize damage. It was the ultimate early warning system.
And then, sixty-one years ago, an ominous occurrence. A greenrider appeared above Benden Weyr, her dragon torn nearly to ribbons and the rider incoherent with terror. They passed away in the infirmary before delivering their message. Months passed. A few more riders appeared, all in similar condition. They babbled incoherently, nightmare stories about shadows and the end of the world. Some could no longer hear their dragons. Benden braced itself... for what, they had no idea.
But there was no defending against the first arrival of the Deep Ones. Sixty years ago, Benden Weyr was decimated in a single day: all the queens were killed, along with over two-thirds of the rider population, by a single impossibly huge creature that emerged from between
. More, smaller but no less deadly, arrived soon after. Many of the survivors attempted to leap between
, either into the past or to other weyrs - most did not make it. For the Deep Ones were not Thread, and the dark of between
offered no safety from them.
Nearly a Turn passed. After no repeat of the Benden Massacre, weyrs began to relax their guard. Then the attacks began again - less deadly and concentrated this time, just randomly picking off dragons from one weyr, then another. The dragonriders fought back, but the tactics they once used during Threadfall had woefully little effect. All trips between
, especially the longer timing trips, were outlawed as it became clear that these creatures were actually coming FROM between
, following the dragonriders back to their homeworld.
The panicked struggle went on for thirteen years. Then, forty-six years ago, an accidental discovery: the Dusk, another dimension akin to between
, but one where dragons and riders could survive indefinitely. More importantly, it was a battleground on which the Deep Ones (as the monsters were by then called) could be fought. At first, it was thought that only the small and agile greenpairs could survive the jump, but slowly blues and browns learned the secret as well. The restriction on trips between
was lifted, although timing it was still strictly forbidden under pain of death.
At this time, M’ska and Descanth of Igen, the greenpair who made the initial discovery, began to gather supporters and allies from among the people of Igen Weyr. Mostly young riders and crafters, those who were dissatisfied with the state of Pern, or simply disillusioned with the Weyr’s ability to fight the Deep Ones. Together, they envisioned a new kind of Weyr, one redesigned from the ground up. With the support of allies across Pern, their vision became a reality on one of the small islands to the far west: Nightwatch Weyr was born.
No Weyr would transfer one of their precious queens to Nightwatch; by this time, most of the Weyrs on Pern had only one or two queens to begin with. For the first two years, Nightwatch sustained itself solely on volunteers from other weyrs. Then, a fluke accident: green Ellibreth, who had never chewed Firestone, rose in Flight and was caught. She laid a small clutch: only three eggs, but three eggs that hatched into a green, a blue, and a brown. It was discovered that greens, in the complete absence of a gold and without chewing firestone, could clutch viable eggs: Kitti Ping’s final safeguard in the event of total gold extinction. They were small clutches, and not all survived, but there were more than enough greens to make the numbers add up.
Honshu and Monaco Weyrholds fell fourteen years ago, with no SOS or even indications of an attack. One year ago, Telgar was besieged, and the riders razed their own weyr rather than let it be overrun. Nightwatch, small but strong, thrives - the rest of Pern does not fare so well.