Vital statistics
Title Usurper
Gender Male
Era Eighth Interval
Affiliation High Reaches Hold
Crom Hold
Nabol Hold
Ruatha Hold
and many minor holds
Spouse Gemma and many others
Children Lord Jaxom and many more
First appearance Dragonflight

High Reaches Shield Crom Shield Nabol Shield Ruatha Shield

Fax, the self-styled «Lord of Seven Holds», was a greedy and ruthless man who set out to conquer the entire western coast of Pern's northern continent.


Early Life

Fax was the nephew of Faroguy, Lord Holder of High Reaches . When he was in his mid-twenties, Faroguy granted his nephew a hold in High Reaches, which Fax ran with brutal efficiency, demanding that they produce what he told them to produce. This heavy-handed style of management, combined by the fact that he would not allow Harpers into his holding, garnered the attention of a young Journeyman Harper named Robinton. While Robinton was harpering at High Reaches Hold, Fax was the undisputed wrestling and duelling champion, and often tried to get Robinton into his matches. Robinton refused, citing the need to keep a harper's hands undamaged so that they could play their instruments.

The Conquests Begin

Several Turns later, Faroguy died. But Farevene, Faroguy's designated successor, was not confirmed as Lord Holder of High Reaches; he had met his end at Fax's hands, and Fax now ruled High Reaches as its Lord Holder, a fact that was not recognized by the other Lord Holders, but nor was it challenged. It was not to be the last, either…

Fax next claimed Crom, killing Lord Lesselden and two of his eldest sons, and forcing his Lady to flee to Ruatha. Then two minor holds fell, the first inside the borders of Tillek; he was also believed to be behind the poisoning of Lord Melongel's runnerbeast, resulting in a serious injury that broke nearly every bone in the Tillek Lord Holder's body (he would die that winter to the fevers prevalent in that region). The second, Keogh Hold, he conquered through trickery: He visits the hold and asks how they managed to be so prosperous, making himself a friend of the hold. Next, he sent a man to learn from the holder or buys from their stock, making the holder prosperous. He then plants the seeds of doubt against the Harper Hall, revealing their «lies» and «exaggerations». Finally, he invites the holder to his Gathers, and offers to send men to guard his hold while he's away, before finally killing the holder and his family, and claiming his land.

After each hold conquest, there seemed to be a lull before he struck again. The fifth hold to fall was Nabol. This managed to get the attention of their neighbor, Telgar, whose Lord Holder Tarathel invited Fax to his Gather in order to show off his guard companies (guard companies intended to keep Fax's troops off his lands), and was surprised when Fax accepted. This proved to be a fateful decision; one of Fax's guard captains slew the Benden Weyrleader, F'lon and wounded MasterHarper Robinton, both of whom had also been present at Tarathel's invitation. These acts convinced Tarathel — and his successor, Larad — to be wary of Fax, believing he was capable of just about anything.

After another minor hold fell under his dominion, Fax's eyes turned to Ruatha. Master Robinton attempted to persuade Lord Kale of Ruatha of the possibility of Fax taking the Hold and its stock of runnerbeasts, but Kale was far too trusting; he sold his runners to Fax, providing more money for his hold. He did not realize the truth in Robinton's warnings until it was far too late; Fax's troops invaded Ruatha and slew Lord Kale and his entire family… with the exception of one.

The Fall of the Lord of Seven Holds

With seven holds under his dominion, four Lord Holders — Groghe of Fort, Sangel of Boll, Larad of Telgar and Oterel of Tillek, bolstered by armed apprentices and journeymen from the Harper Hall — confronted Fax in Ruatha. The «Lord of Seven Holds» snidely dismissed them and demanded they leave «his» lands. But his end would come soon, and from a surprising source.

Ruatha had refused to be as prosperous as Fax desired, and he wished to know why. At the same time, F'lar, a Wingleader of Benden Weyr, went on Search to find a rider for the unhatched queen dragon, and accompanied Fax on his inspection to Ruatha on a Search. When he arrived, Fax demanded a feast from the Warder he placed in charge of Ruatha while he ruled his holds from High Reaches. The meal was poorly prepared and even more poorly received; Fax stated that if Ruatha could not support itself or the visit of its «rightful overlord», he would renounce it. When his Ruathan bride, Gemma, went into labor, Fax declared he would renounce Ruatha in favor of her issue, if it was male and it survived — a promise that was heard and witnessed by dragonmen. That child was Jaxom, who had many great deeds ahead of him.

Once Jaxom was born, the source of the strange power revealed herself — Lessa, the last surviving child of Lord Kale, who had lived as a drudge during Fax's dominion. She declared that Ruatha now had a new Lord Holder. Fax attempted to renege on his promise, resulting in a confrontation with F'lar. Insulting the dragonriders, Fax entered into a deadly knife battle with the Benden dragonrider, who — despite some injury — slew the Lord of Seven Holds and ended his tyrannical reign over the innocents who had suffered because of it.

After Fax's demise, his conquered holds were reorganized and given new leaders. Lessa relinquished her Blood claim to Ruatha in favor of Jaxom and accompanied F'lar to Benden Weyr, where she would Impress Ramoth and later become Weyrwoman of Benden. Bargen, the younger son of Lord Faroguy, had hid in the abandoned High Reaches Weyr during Fax's reign, and was brought down to be confirmed as Lord Holder of High Reaches following Fax's death.

Conquered Holds

Fax conquered a total of seven Holds, major and minor, before he was overthrown.

Which Holds Were They?

The Renegades of Pern and The Masterharper of Pern both mention the «Seven Holds» conquered by Fax before his demise. Five (the four major Holds and Keogh Hold) remain constant in both sources, but the names of the two other minor Holds differ.

The Renegades of Pern gives this listing:

The Masterharper of Pern gives this listing:

Fax is also mentioned in this version as having invaded Ogren Hold and Lewis Hold some time after capturing Radharc Hold. Since these holds would already have been under his control as they were beholden to High Reaches (like Balen and Riverbend), it could be that they were against his rule.

Fax may have decided to count particularly prosperous minor holdings as a part of his «Seven Holds», and ignored the less productive minor holdings that fell under his control as a result of controlling the Major Hold.

Personality and traits

Fax was known to be ruthless, condescending and violent. He demanded perfection from all who served him. He also had a distrust bordering on outright hatred for harpers and dragonriders. His greed and his vanity eventually led to his downfall.


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