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The Goldrider's Guide

Guides to Pern

Most people think that being a goldrider is the epitome of being a dragonrider. To be quite honest, I give that standard to the greens. But being a goldrider is special in its own right; yep, you get all the responsibility. Since golds are the fewest in number and the only egg-producing females (and thus the key to the continuation of the species), they are very important. Their riders also play a key role in the running of the Weyr. Let's take a look at this in more detail.

Gold Dragons
Gold dragons are the largest of all the draconic species. Golds in the 10th Pass are roughly the same size as Ramoth during the 9th Pass, or a 757 jet. Like all dragons, they are covered in a thick hide that is not covered in scales but in coarse hair. Gold dragons can range in shade from billiant platinum blonde to deep reds and oranges.

Golds mature slower sexually than greens do. They usually rise to mate around 2 Turns (greens are closer to 1 Turn). They always blood their kills for the energy the blood provides and many times need to be forced not to swallow the meat to keep her light. It is the responsibility of the rider to make sure that her gold bloods only. Once the gold is in the air, the bronzes give chase in an acrobatic aerial race. The gold's object is to go as long as possible without being caught to ensure that only the bronze with the greatest strength and endurance will catch her. It is also important that she is high in the air to ensure a large clutch. Dragons mate in mid-air, plummeting towards the earth. Just before they hit the ground, they separate and glide to safety. They only have the time during the fall for the bronze to impregnate the gold. A short fall usually results in a small clutch, and vice versa. For further information on the subject, please refer to the Dragon Mating Flight Guide.

A gold usually Clutches her eggs X sevendays after her mating flight. She then maintains a vigilence on the Sands near her eggs (some people say they leave to feed, others say they fast) and are very protective, often not letting anyone on the Sands besides their rider. The eggs are mottled in color, almost like dyed Easter eggs. They are smooth, and while the color of the dragonet cannot be guaranteed by any physical characteristic of the eggs, gold and bronze eggs tend to be the largest, sometimes even with a metallic sheen to them, but not always. After the eggs Hatch, a gold's interactions with her young tend to be limited as they bond mostly with the Chosens.

Golds participate in Threadfall, with the WW leading the Queen's wing. It is widely believed that firestone renders female dragons sterile, so no one goes near a gold with firestone or even clothes that smell of firestone. Instead, goldriders are armed with flamethrowers and sweep below the main wings to catch any Thread that gets through.

Weyrwomen & their Duties

Goldriders have many duties throughout the Weyr. They are leaders of the Weyr since no dragon will disobey a gold. They need to command respect and be able to handle responsibility. They are often delegated tasks by their Sr. Weyrwoman ranging from hidework to managing particular aspects of the Weyr, to relations with Holds and Halls. And of course, all weyrwomen are in the "limelight", to they have to be ready to deal with other riders coming to ask their advice or seek their help. Usually how much a goldrider has to do is dependent upon how many ww there are and the effectiveness of the HeadWomen (who is usually their right-hand woman). A goldrider always has to put the Weyr and her dragon ahead of any and all personal considerations.

During her gold's flight, a weyrwoman has the very important job of keeping her gold safe. She must keep her gold from consuming any meat before the flight as it weighs the gold down. She has to maintain her control over her gold and keep her only drinking the energy-giving blood. Once the gold is in the air, the weyrwoman must keep her gold going for as long as possible, offering encouragement and support. Many times, the rider's choice does affect the gold's, but not always. Once the gold is caught by a bronze (and the rare brown), then it is the rider's duty to keep her gold from going b*tween.

A goldrider often sleeps on the Sands with her gold once the eggs are Clutched. Of course, this is a personal decision, but many riders choose to spend as much time as possible with their dragon and her eggs. They are also responsible for keeping the golds calm when the Candidates come around to touch the eggs and again when the Hatching is about to begin.

There are plenty of other duties, obligations and responsibilities that goldriders have. They can vary from Weyr to Weyr, but if you can think of any important ones that aren't listed, let me know and I'll be happy to put them up.

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