Southern Hold is one of the Major Holds in the Southern Continent. The exact boundaries are not indicated on the maps. It does not border other Holds. Southern Weyr fights Threadfall over Southern Hold.


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)

This province overlaps the ancient stakeholds of Cathay, Macedonia, Delta, and part of Dorado. The area that is now inhabited as Southern Hold was established by F'nor of Benden going back between times to ten years before the beginning of the Ninth Pass.

The Hold Cavern is along the eastern face of the sea cliff that shelters the harbor. Everyone in the Southern Continent learns to swim. Otherwise, it is impossible to stay cool unless one remains inside all the time.

The Hold has a sheer white stone face that is somewhat imposing from below. Those inside the caves can easily see approaching ships from a great distance. The Halfway Lookout is at the hairpin bend of the steep path leading up from the beach to the caverns.

Southerners live outside more than their counterparts do. The forested plateau above the cavern is thick with cotholds. Giant local native trees out of which harpers could easily cut a full-sized message drum are similar to Earth sequoias. The boles are formed of many triangular stems fused together into one massive trunk. They are inimical to fire but tend to rot out into hollow shells of trees, still with healthy leaves growing on the branches high above the forest floor. Bamboo grasses grow so swiftly that in the afternoon a kitchen auntie has to cut down stalks she planted in the morning, or they will be too tough to eat at dinner.

The tropical rain forest was invaded by wind-borne kernels from the maturing forests planted by the original settlers at Boca settlement, so there are as many Earth and Centauri plants as there are native Pernese flora on the high, flat plateau.

The Hold was established by the healers and Weyr support staff who accompanied the riders from Benden and the seaholders from Ista. Even after abandoning the project to raise more dragons in doubled time, ten Turns before the Ninth Pass began, the Southern Hold continued. Riders who were badly injured riding against Thread were usually sent to the healers at Southern to recuperate. After the duel between F'lar and T'ron, the Oldtimer dragonriders who did not wish to follow Benden's lead were exiled to the Southern Weyr.

A young Holder with a large family and a great deal of ambition, Toric of Ista took Hold in Southern over the turns. At first he was friendly to the Benden Weyrleaders, sneaking new holders in and information out, right under the Oldtimers' noses. But as he explored farther into the new continent and observed its size and richness, his character changed from one of bluff heartiness to one of closer cunning and greed. He demanded to be confirmed in his Holding of land bounded by the sea to the Western Barrier Range south of Drake's Lake, and ranging from the Great Bay in the west to the Black Rock River in the east, with more than a hundred families looking to him.

The Benden Weyrleaders had in the meantime learned the true extent of the continent and allowed Toric to think that he was duping them, all the while securing for themselves a larger, more lush expanse of the land than he had. Toric was confirmed as Lord Holder before he learned the truth about Southern's size.

Southern Hold broke many of the accepted traditions of the North. For example, instead of the rainbow sails that most Sea Holds use to declare their port of origin, Southern Sails are uninterrupted spans of bright red. Southern imports wine and cloth and exports pelts, craft items, medicinal plants, and fruit. Plants in Southern grow bigger and healthier than any in the North.

As the Oldtimers decline and Benden's influence allows more and more holders to go south, more small holds are being established in Lord Toric's Hold. The new holders tend to be more independent because there is less need to rely upon dragonriders. The land is fully grubbed, and Toric only accepts men and women with sense and daring into the Hold. They have to be willing to fend for themselves, even in the most pressing emergencies, since the Oldtimers fly Threadfall only infrequently. Toric employed the traders to enlist younger sons of the Blood, who would otherwise be landless when their older brothers took Hold on the death of their Fathers.

Since it is easier to exist Holdless, southerners can explore and establish new Holds even during a Pass. More Holds have been built near the Great Delta south of the main hold and on the island to the east. Independent hunters and trappers live in the jungle, bringing back any unusual animals they can catch or kill, and pelts to sell or trade at Gathers. The beastcrafters have a difficult task determining what are sports and what are natural animals among the peculiar beasts found in the jungle.

Toric was excited by the reports of some strange ruins of a mine near the new Delta holding. The shafts piqued his curiosity because the beams used to shore them up appeared to be made of a substance harder than stone or metal, but light and showing no signs of rust.

He has been trying to get a Masterminer to investigate the ruins for him. Not just anyone will do. Toric wants a tamable or black-mailable man who will give him the findings without reporting them back to the Master-miner in the North. His demands that any discoveries of Ancient Timer artifacts be shared by all appears to apply only to others. Toric argues that Southern is his jurisdiction, but every miner he has approached has argued back that all matters having to do with mines are in Nicat's province. He fears that Nicat will bring the matter up in full Council before he has had a chance to learn all he can about the ruins.

Moreover, under the jungle vegetation in the land south of the Island Hold, there are numerous buildings, left over from ancient settlements that are smooth and melted together as if they had been formed of one piece. Something cut the stones perfectly square. Toric believes that they date from the Ancient days, but he will not reveal their discovery until he finds out how they were made. All explorers report privately to him, and he makes it worth their while to keep the news under wraps.

Farther south of his Hold, there are traces of other Ancient settlements. Most of the metal implements brought back are so badly corroded that no one can tell what they were, but there is the occasional find of a curious tool wrapped against the tropical weather in a clear envelope. Toric considers these artifacts of the Ancient Timers his reward for patience and good management of his Hold, and refuses to share them.

Toric was angry when Jaxom and Lessa uncovered the Plateau and the Ship Meadow, feeling that he should have reached those sites first.

Minor Holds and Crafthalls

Southern Hold is known to have at least twenty four minor holds beholden to it, and at least three Mineholds including the Karachi Camp. Southern Hold may also be home to the Plasticcrafthall.



The Hold was unofficially begun when F'nor went between times to allow Ramoth's first clutch to mature in order to have enough dragons to fight Thread. Eventually this venture would return forward in time. One young holder, Toric, had gone with the initial expedition, and would remain in the South, building a small hold. Toric would continue to grow his hold, enticing people with the promise of land. Following the exile of the Oldtimers to the Southern Continent, Toric would continue to grow his hold in secret, exploring the surrounding land, and smuggling in people ans supplies.

As a result of Toric's effort, Southern Hold would eventually be recognized as a Major Hold with Toric as Lord Holder. The boundaries of his hold were confirmed. While Toric would believe that he had gotten a major portion of the continent, he eventually realized that he had been duped by the Benden Weyrleaders, who knew the continent's true size. Toric would make efforts to enlarge his holding, though most were unsuccessful, and he would eventually receive a formal rebuke.

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