- A detailed description of the Hold, established, the surrounding countryside, the economy and the other (on the basis of the The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern)
Bitra was named for Avril Bitra, an original colonist and the groups only experienced and qualified astrogator. She is believed to have been heroically martyred for the sake of the colonists of Pern when she single-handedly piloted a small ship with faulty controls head-on into the wandering planet, the colonists' name for the Red Star.
The original founders of Bitra left Benden Hold because of disagreements they had over Bitra's role in the foundation of Pern. Their view was that Admiral Benden and Governor Boll stood by to let Pern fall to the terrible menace while only Bitra and her colleagues tried to save it. Bitra was called the champion of the lost cause, who was failed not by her skills but by a sabotaged starship. In the end, despite the opposition, the Hold was named as a memorial to Avril Bitra.
Bitra was beholden to Benden Weyr and is responsible for tithing a third of the Weyr's support. During Intervals, most notably the recent Long Interval of 450 Turns, Bitra and Lemos Holds, urged by the powerful Lord Holder of Benden Hold, remained loyal to the Weyr. Situated as it is, nestled in its mountain valley in the far northeast corner of the Northern Continent, Bitra is the closest major Hold to the Weyr except for Benden Hold itself, ensuring that it has a constant reminder of its debt to dragonkind.
Bitra has a reputation among those who like to gamble for having the highest concentration of card manipulators and sharpers of Hold or Weyr on Pern. If anybody is looking for a cutthroat game of dragon poker or poly-dice, Bitra is the best place to look. With one another, Bitrans play mah-jongg and other games at which it is difficult or impossible to cheat, but outsiders are fair game for all Bitra s skills.
To be fair, they have also kept alive many other games of skill and strategy brought to Pern by the Ancient Timers, although a stranger had better make sure he knows all the rules before play begins. Tarok, chess, pinochle, chase board games, backgammon, go, and a hundred others are mentioned in the copious records kept by generations of Bitran Lord Holders.
Minor Holds and Crafthalls
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Not mentioned in the books.
Bitra Hold was a Major Hold by the late First Interval. Around this time, Lord Holder Chalkin — a particularly infamous man who used sneaky contracts to his advantage — announced his belief that Thread did not exist, and that he would not waste time preparing his Holders for it. Supposedly, this belief was fueled by the thought that preparing for Thread would lessen his potential gambling wins. When many inhabitants of Bitra attempted to flee during a cold winter, Chalkin set up border guards to halt them and to confiscate their lands if they did leave. This resulted in would-be Bitran refugees being imprisoned in wooden pens during the worst of the winter, and several women being raped by the border guards. Eventually, Benden Weyr — already covertly watching Chalkin's actions — discovered these crimes and staged a rescue. Not long afterwards, Chalkin was impeached by the other Lords Holder, and banished the the Eastern Ring Islands. He was succeeded by his uncle Vergerin, who promptly got to work repairing the damage that Bitra had suffered under Chalkin's rule. It's not known whether Bitra's present line of Lord Holders stems from Vergerin or Chalkin, but Vergerin had no children at this point in time, and did entertain the possibility of naming one of Chalkin's children as his successor provided their nature improved.
- Dynast: Lord Kinver, Lord Chalkin and Lady Nadona, Lord Vergerin.
- Other holders: Chaldon, Luccha, Lonada, Briskin, Issony, Iantine, Morinst.
In the middle of the Second Interval, Bitra was stricken by a plague. Many years later, in the late Second Interval, this same plague would resurface.
During the Pandemic of the Sixth Pass, Bitra largely escaped sickness, although there were several «isolated cases».
- Other holders:
In the early Ninth Pass, Bitra was one of the regions targeted by Lady Holdless Thella, along with Telgar, Lemos, Igen and Keroon Holds. Eventually, the Lord Holders became alerted to her actions after a botched attempt on Kadross Hold in Lemos.
Several years later, when groups of Abominators began staging attacks on various holdings to destroy AIVAS-introduced technologies, Benden Weyrwoman Lessa briefly suspected that inhabitants of Bitra could be linked to the attacks, but hoped that it wasn't true.
|Northern||Benden • Bitra • Crom • Fort • High Reaches • Igen • Ista • Keroon • Lemos • Nabol • Nerat • Ruatha • Southern Boll • Telgar • Tillek|
|Southern||Southern • Cove • Landing • Paradise River • Rubicon River|
|Minor Holds • Stakes • Weyrs • Crafts and Halls|