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Master Harper

Merelan was a Master at Harper Hall, specializing as a Mastersinger. She was the wife of Mastercomposer Petiron and the mother of Robinton, who later became Masterharper of Pern.


Merelan was born in a hold near Pierie Hold in Southern Boll. Since she had such an astounding vocal range, Petiron often wrote music with her voice in mind.

After a long and difficult labor, she gave birth to their only son Robinton. Due to the difficulty of the birth, Merelan was warned against having more children. Though encouraged to foster, she was forbidden by Petiron, who was jealous of the time she spent with Robinton. Merelan was often concerned about Petiron's lack of attention toward Robinton.

Merelan often performed difficult cantatas, which noticeably wore her down. A cough she developed became a chest cold, which lingered. To allow Merelan to take a temporary break from performing, Ginia asked Merelan to convince Petiron to allow her to take a basic instruction post in Southern Boll; and, on the way, they could stop at Pierie Hold so Merelan could visit with her family and friends. The six-month assignment brought great improvement to Merelan's health. However, upon returning to Harper Hall, Petiron was often cross with his son due to the young boy's antics. Merelan had to work hard to keep them apart. When Merelan began to recognize her son's natural talent with music, she sought out Master Washell to assist with early training. After Robinton got injured by other children while defending a Watch-wher, Merelan gave him his first lesson in hand-to-hand combat, and showed him how best to head-butt an assailant.

Merelan later began teaching Halanna, Lord Holder Halibran's daughter of Ista, in singing. Unable to teach Halanna due to the girl's attitude, Merelan asked Petiron to take over. Later, she was secretly happy when Petiron expressed his own difficulties with Halanna.

Several years later, after a fight with Petiron over Robinton, Merelan accepted a post at Benden Hold to teach music, taking Robinton with her; but, when they returned to Harper Hall, Robinton and Petiron's relationship did not improve. Instead, the Masters of the Hall decided to ensure that Robinton would not be forced to deal with his father's perfectionism.

After Robinton became an apprentice and moved into the apprentice dormitory, Merelan's life became slightly easier. She continued to teach Robinton in singing. However, Merelan's health problems began to return, as she fainted after several demanding performances. Things improved after Robinton accepted a post at Benden Hold. Later, she arranged to be present when Robinton was made a journeyman - weeping with joy. And, after Robinton was bethrothed to Kasia, she came to his Robinton's espousal. At the time, it was noted how tired Merelan was. After Kasia died, Merelan sang the final farewell.

After Robinton returned to Harper Hall and was then assigned to various posts around the country, Merelan's health began to fail. One morning, after being awakened before dawn, both Petiron and Merelan were in attendance when Merelan died. Merelan's death devastated both Robinton and Petiron. Petiron never composed again.

Appearance, personality and traits

Merelan was a patient woman who was able to deal with her husband's ego. As a MasterSinger, she was considered the only person capable of performing Petiron's more difficult works. She had a great memory and a talent for training voices. She found ways to help young Robinton grow into his musical talent. She also enjoyed teaching basic teaching ballads, and was shocked upon discovering that some did not like harpers. However, after her difficult delivery of Robinton and the strain of her duties as MasterSinger, her health remained frail.