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Author Topic: Info Hold Life Overview  (Read 849 times)

Offline Southern Records

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Hold Life Overview
« on: January 25, 2017, 03:53:51 PM »
An Overview of Holder Life

On Pern, Holds are the great counterpoint to Weyrs. Occupied by those who haven’t been Searched or haven’t bonded to dragons, these places were the primary bastions of what was considered “typical” Pernese culture. Most of the planet’s population fell under the jurisdiction of a Hold, whether they lived directly in one of the major Holds—such as Fort, Tillek, Ruatha, et cetera—or one of the hundreds of small cotholds that were within their purview.

People from all walks of life call themselves Holders—including trained Crafters who had elected to live in a Hold or been assigned to one; unskilled laborers and farmers; wherhandlers; merchants; those with trades not formally organized in a Hall; peacekeepers; and drudges. Their society is structured largely feudally and focused on the agrarian, with owners of cotholds paying service to the Lord Holder of the major Hold that claimed regional allegiance. Unlike those who live in a Weyr, they are typically organized into more discrete family units, and bloodlines are far more important to Holders than they are to Weyrfolk or Crafters.

Pre-Southern Winds Holds & the 9th Pass
For thousands of years, Hold life remained largely unchanged. Those who counted themselves among this populace worked the lands, made goods, traded, and traveled freely during Intervals—and paid their due tithes to the Weyr that would then protect them during Threadfall. They were also very much a political population, each Hold trying to economically and socially get a foothold over the others, as well as going through periods (predictably during Intervals) when they saw the dragonriders more as parasites than a necessary facet of Pernese life. Despite the natural push and pull of differing interests, however, things remained largely peaceful, and Holds did not keep standing armies.

Despite prospering best when Thread wasn’t falling, Holds were still constructed with Threadfall in mind. Major Holds were typically carved into the sides of mountains—or at least hills—and cotholds were typically built of stone or likewise hollowed out of volcanic rock.

At the start of the 9th Pass, all the major Holds served as bustling hubs of activity, and had prospered without fear of Thread. While still strained under the new threat at the start, things continued functionally and even well for a time. After the ill-fated attempt to adjust the orbit of the Red Star, however, more and more Holds fell under the pressures of the Catastrophe. Particularly as Pern’s dragonriders began to lose their footholds in defending the planet, some Holder ways of life became less viable and began to disappear altogether. The mark falling out of use only compounded this collapse.

With this dissolution of stability, Hold life grew very bad during the 9th Pass. Food and resources became particularly scarce, and much of their existence became a struggle for survival. Between constant Threadfall, lack of proper nutrition, the failure of the Pernese economy, and the growing tensions of so many refugees packed into smaller and smaller spaces, fights and ruthlessness became increasingly common. Conditions were particularly bad for unskilled laborers, drudges, and those whose livelihoods had become impossible to maintain. Theft, starvation, and violence very much became facts of life. This gave rise to the existence of gangs, and some of the Holds’ former peacekeepers ended up as little more than thugs.

Holders at Southern Winds
The population of Pern having been decimated, everyone regardless of background—Holder, Crafter, and Weyrfolk—now lives crammed together in Southern Winds Weyr:  much to the dismay of the Holders and like-minded Crafters. This is unfamiliar for all, since the survivors were still divided between Fort Weyr and Hold up until three turns ago. As such, the political and ideological differences between the disparate factions serves to widen the increasing divide between Weyr and Hold ways of life.

In the current structure, Holders have found themselves much disenfranchised. Fort’s former Lord Holder, Maeron, is not formally recognized by the Weyrleadership anymore, and neither are any of his appointed advisors and staff, like the Steward and Headwoman. Their peacekeepers have also been told to stand down from their posts, as everyone now lives under the martial law of the Weyrleader, ‘Seconds, and Weyrwomen. Overall, this has left the Holders feeling cast aside and without a place. As they see it, their contributions to Pern are regularly dismissed or devalued.

If anything, this has only made them cling to their traditions more tightly. Holders at Southern Winds range from indifferent to appalled at how the Weyrfolk live—including their clan-like, blurred family structures; the communal raising of children; and the polyamorous and often queer relationships among dragonriders and non-rider weyrfolk alike. Almost all of them agree, however, that they need to establish their own settlement in order to preserve their culture. That they can only do this upon the approval of the dragonriders chafes the pride of many.

Former Gangmembers, butchers, wher fighters, whores, etc : Those that were involved in the illicit activities at Fort Hold will find themselves largely displaced and their businesses broken at Southern Winds. The Weyr doesn't tolerate brothels, wher fighting, wher butchery, gangs, or Gambling Dens. So much of their businesses have been dismantled and broken. Trying to start up business or gangs in the weyr is going to be next to impossible with the uptight Riders and their rules, but now that the Mine Hall has been constructed there are far too many Holders eyeing it with new possibilities.

Craft Hall Relations
Many of the Crafters suffered right alongside the Holders in Fort. However, it should be noted that the Healer and Harper Hall have always been relatively well off and taken care of by the Weyr. They did not experience the nasty side of survival at Fort Hold that a lot of the Holders and Crafters did unless they were a Healer or Harper stationed there, and even they they were able to retreat to the relative safety of the Weyr.

Additional Reading:
+ Factions of SWW

Walks of Life in the Hold
Holders are just as diverse as Weyrfolk and Crafters in terms of what they may do for a living. Some possible jobs for Holders are listed below, and may be periodically updated.

Spoiler for Job Descriptions:
Butchers & Leatherworkers - Desperate times called for a new source of food and leather - the wher. These butchers are opportunistic, often cruel people bonded to a Gold wher who then 'sell out' her clutch, usually reserving at least half to raise in clustered pens for butchering purposes. The other half are 'sold' for favors, goods, services, or the protection of the Peace Keepers from thugs. One might consider them an underground, unrecognized Craft Hall, as most butchers will work together to preserve their 'station' in the Hold rather than fight among themselves. Over the Turns, these people have perfected the cuts of whermeat and the tanning of their hide.

Construction Workers & Miners - Unlike those who belong to Mine Hall, these people don’t know much about how to properly excavate tunnels, recognize ore types, or much else. They’re little more than glorified diggers and hard laborers who work to build out Hold tunnels and keep them clear of tunnel snakes and spinners.

Drudges - These make up the lowest rung of Hold society, and are often the sort that became members of various gangs during the 9th Pass. In typical, honest Hold life, drudges are those who handle the dirtiest and most undesirable jobs that require no real training or skill. While there are entire lines of families that are members of this group, many of them also tend to be orphaned Holder children with no other family, unmarried but “sullied” women, and those with no marketable talents. It’s safe to say that most drudges can’t read.

Farmers - By and large, the Hold farmers are just simple folk who know how to tend crops, till land, and maybe care for some of the herdbeasts that provide the Hold with food. For most of them, their knowledge does not extend any higher than that; however, there are those among them from the fallen Beast- and Farmcraft Halls that organize the others and work to preserve Pern’s agricultural practices.

Fishermen - Similarly to the farmers, most of the Hold’s fishermen do not belong to the Fisher Hall. They’re simply people who have learned how to make and mend nets, pilot small boats, catch fish, and clean them for eating. It’s a dirty job and not well-respected, but necessary for Fort Hold’s survival due to its proximity to a river.

Gambling Den Owners - Though the mark is no longer used as currency, it's quite popular in gambling dens. Marks are used as 'chips' to bet during dice games, cards, wher fights, and boxing matches. Though the Mark itself has no value, they are used to exchange for food, goods, services, and whores. Whatever a particular Den might offer. Owners often employ either former Peace Keepers or Drudge thugs to keep order in their den. These people are not respected members of their community, but they are often ignored unless they do something extremely drastic. After all, they're providing escape and entertainment. There are no large, prolific gambling dens in the Weyr, but that doesn't mean such illicit activities aren't starting to pick up again in the deep tunnels beyond the watchful eye of the Riders.

Gang Members - Gangs in the Hold can range from loosely-bound hordes of orphaned and opportunistic children to more formally organized groups devoted to gambling, crime, and intimidating those weaker than them. The latter often include peacekeepers or former peacekeepers who have now become little more than thugs. Regardless of the type of group, the Hold’s gangs tend to be extremely territorial, violent, and insular.

General Laborers - In reality, there is naught but a very thin line separating this group from the drudges. However, those who would fall into this category fight tooth and nail to make sure they stay in it. Many of them, while not having a formally recognized Craft or trade among the Hold, fill in niche roles that are still deemed valuable. They just have less training than those traditionally considered “skilled”.

Kitchen Staff - While most may largely specialize in one type of cooking or food work over another, those employed in feeding the Holders are lumped into one group. They answer directly to the Headwoman, who usually rules the kitchens with an iron fist and who manages rationing and inventory.

Peacekeepers - In the past, the Peacekeepers were well-respected members of Holder society, functioning as both guards, social leaders, and dispensers of justice. Almost always bonded to a watchwhwer, these individuals are some of the few Holdfolk who know how to fight with both fists and blade. While some managed to retain their honor and integrity during the Pass, the majority of them are now little more than thugs or enforcers for the gangs and gamblers—particularly since the Weyrleadership does not recognize their authority. Nevertheless, Holders at Southern Winds may still look to them for guidance and to arbitrate disagreements.

Skilled Tradespeople - Oftentimes, these people are those whose Crafthall fell during the Pass or who never had a truly organized Hall:  such as Foresters, Brewers and Vinters, and Glass-smiths. However, it can also include those who, while having learned a trade, did not learn it through sanctioned Crafthall methods and were never formally apprenticed. As such, they come from a wide range of backgrounds, industries, and skillsets.

Wher Fighters - Wher fighters made a living being useful to Gambling Den Owners. They came from all walks of life - Peacekeeper, Farmer, Fisher, or a Laboror. Anyone who had gotten their hands on a wher and wanted to enter it into the fights being hosted in the Dens. The fights are brutal, though not usually to the death, and a good fighter will often be 'sponsored' by a Den to draw in more entertainment, more bets. Bad fighters or frequent losers will find themselves struggling to make ends meat and some have, invariably, sold their wher to the Butchers because of debt owed to the Dens and it was the only way to pay them off.

Whores - Even more so than the drudges and gang members, these are the individuals that most “respectable” Holders like to pretend don’t exist. Most of those who took up this trade were orphans or widows with no other family, or those who were deemed not suitable for marriage. While marks had fallen out of use on wider Pern, they were still sometimes traded to these individuals for their services, which could then be exchanged with the gangs and gambling dens for goods or favors. Especially since same-sex relations are frowned on in the Hold, many whores would have had regular clients of their own gender.

Gambling, Wherfighting, and Crime
During the 9th Pass, the Holders had it rough. To channel a lot of their aggression, to find some joy in life, or to survive, a number of illicit activities sprang up. Though the mark had diminished in value entirely, opportunists started up gambling dens and wher fights were held beyond the watchful eye of the Peacekeepers (or they were bribed in some manner to look the other way). This was an outlet, an escape from the darkness that had become the Holder's life. Often times, the mark was used to represent some other form of debt or payment. Food, services, goods, and et cetera, were traded for these gambling marks in the dens, then used to bet on wher fights, dice games, cards, or even boxing matches.

Gangs were established among the drudges and lower Holders to fight for survival, to serve as 'guards' for the gambling dens, or to fight off Peacekeepers. Some gangs preyed upon their fellow Holders, stealing what they needed for survival. Peacekeepers were brutal in dealing with anyone suspected of being apart of these 'gangs' and wher maulings were not uncommon punishments if an offender was caught.

Credited to SirAlahn for use on SWW, credited to SanctifiedSavage for use on SWW, credited to Aster for use on SWW
« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 01:58:03 PM by Southern Records »
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