Benden Hold was one of the Major Holds on the Northern Continent. It was bordered on the west by Bitra Hold, on the southwest by Keroon Hold and on the south by Nerat Hold. Benden Weyr fought Threadfall over Benden Hold.


A detailed description of the Hold (copied from The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern) established the surrounding countryside, the economy and other relevant features.

The inviting eastern sweep of the mountainside drew the founders of Benden Hold to this valley from the Weyr and the abandoned stakes of Thessaly and Roma in the year 22 after Landing. They found that there was an impressive warren running through the cliffs that needed little additional excavation to create a large and well-proportioned Hold.

The stonecutters were brought in to smooth out the walls and to create partitions and steps between chambers. The roadway between the Hold and the Weyr was slagged down on three sides at bedrock level and the trench filled in with layers of flagstone, then broken rock, then gravel, making it self-draining and easily maintained.

Benden's face is far less forbidding than that of Fort Hold, with a smaller main entrance. The Hold was built to house about seven hundred people initially, but some of the less accessible caverns were redesignated as storerooms. Benden now has a population between five and six hundred, and serves as the central hub for eight to ten thousand more in smaller holds around it and over the chain of mountains along the coast.

Benden Hold supports itself by demanding that holders spend a certain amount of time working in the Hold fields or caverns, unless they supply food directly to Hold stores. The Crafthalls tithe time or craft-works in exchange for support from the Hold. During an Intervals, this form of taxation is not strictly enforced. Benden's fields are fertile, and the Hold can trade for what it needs. Toward the beginning of a Pass, however, there is a scramble among holders and crafters to get the Lord Holder well disposed toward them so that they will get preferred accommodation in the Hold during Threadfall.

Benden was one of only three Holds that remained loyal to its Weyr during the Second Long Interval, as Lord Raid continued the Tradition without questioning or understanding. He coerced Bitra and Lemos, the other major settlements beholden to the Weyr, into following his lead. In the Council of Lords before the attack on Benden Weyr, Raid also managed to sway Nerat to his side.

Benden has carefully guarded treasured patterns for patchwork, which it uses for clothing as well as for quilts. Ornate sleeveless padded vests in patchwork worn over shirts are a trademark of the fashionable Bendenite. Embroidery is a skill many take up to pass the long evenings.

Benden cultivates nut trees in specially protected orchards on the slope below the Hold. The soil is rich enough and has sufficient drainage to raise the walnuts for which Benden is known, and also almonds and hazelnuts. Wedgenuts (Brazil nuts) and pecans come from Nerat. Benden raises a lot of tubers, which make a fine-grained bread when the holders want a change from breads made of wheat flour.

The Bakecraft in Benden makes sweet breads for which they are justly renowned. The Winecraft trades grape yeast with them for baked goods. Journeymen bring in quite a few marks at Gathers for their fmgerroot loaf, soda-rising bread with raisins, citrus cake frosted with soft, sweetened cheese, and crumbly nut bread. Another delicacy is a puffy oil pastry with layers of nuts and sweetening.

The Hold raises its own Klah trees. Everyone but infants drinks klah. Children frequently mix theirs with sweetening and milk until they get used to the pungent infusion. Beer is always available, but the wines are kept locked up, and the Steward keeps the key. Ordinary wines are available in the evenings, but the good wines are kept for special occasions.

Minor Holds and Crafthalls

  • Brum Hold
  • Greystones Hold
  • Valley Hold
  • Unnamed Mountain Sheephold where Iantine was born and raised. He recalled the boiled sweets, the fruity kind that were so common in Nerat and that the Benden Trader Group passed out by the handful.

Benden Hold was also home to the Vintnercraft which made Benden Wine.


First Pass / First Interval

Benden Hold was one of the most important holds on Pern and the largest of the Northern Continent's east coast. It was founded by stakeholders from Thessaly and Roma, in particular Rene Mallibeau, who may have been the root of the line of Benden's Lord Holders. It was named for Admiral Paul Benden, one of the original Pern colony leaders.

Upon arrival, the founders of Benden Hold found that there already existed an impressive warren of caves running through the cliffs. Because of this, there was little need for the great stonecutters to be used. Some of the less accessible caves were turned into storerooms, giving the Hold an impressive capacity to support itself.

First Interval / Second Pass

Second Interval / Third Pass

Sixth Pass

  • Dynast: Lord Shadder.
  • Other holders:

Eighth Interval / Ninth Pass

Additional Information

  • Benden Bloodline — Mallibeau Bloodline (pre First Pass-Ninth Pass). Sorry, this Bloodline is being worked on and is currently not available on

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