|A Gift of Dragons|
A Gift Of Dragons is a collection of four short stories, written by Anne McCaffrey, published in 2002.
The Smallest Dragonboy
(Also found in the book, Get off the Unicorn) about Keevan, a boy who is a candidate for Ramoth's latest clutch in Benden Weyr. Keevan is shorter than the other candidates, and is teased about this by Beterli, a boy who has stood for eight Impressions and has not been chosen. Keevan works hard but his size downgrades his abilities to most. When he overhears some of the senior dragonriders talking about dropping some of the younger candidates from the Impression, Keevan automatically thinks he will be dropped. The next day, when shoveling coal, Keevan gets in a fight with Beterli, who says he will be dropped. Keevan is badly injured and is assured by Lessa that he will have other Hatchings. When the Hatching occurs, Keevan manages to find his way to the Ground and Impresses a bronze dragon named Heth. K'van and Heth later become weyrleader of Southern Weyr.
The Girl who Heard Dragons
(Part of the novel Renegades of Pern) tells the tale of Aramina, a holdless girl who is pursued by Lady Holdless Thella for her ability to hear dragons. She is continually chased, and is rescued by K'van and Heth after being held hostage . Later, Aramina meets Jayge Lilcamp, a trader, and goes with him to the Southern Continent, where they discover and become holders of Paradise River Hold.
Runner of Pern
About a runner (messenger) called Tenna, who is new to the craft but is good at the job. One night she is running on the "trace" (paths marked by moss that are reserved for runners only) when a rider on a runnerbeast coming unexpectedly from the opposite direction forces her off the narrow path. Tenna falls into a stickleberry bush, and gets a lot of potentially poisonous spines in her body. She manages to get to a runner station, where she recovers from the fall. After telling the manager about the incident, she gains a name: Haligon, the older of Lord Groghe's two sons. Haligon had used the traces before when he shouldn't have. Tenna goes to a Gather at Fort Hold, where her friends point Haligon out to her in a crowd, she identifies him by his stance (arrogant and haughty). Deciding to repay her fall in kind, she punches the man, and he falls into a pile of dung. It turns out later that the boy she hit was Haligon's brother Horon. Haligon himself seeks Tenna out and apologizes to her. They like each other and end up dance partners for the evening. In future books, the two have a steady relationship.
Ever the Twain
About a pair of twins, Neru and Nian, who are inseparable. Neru dreams of being a dragonrider, Nian is more practical. The two live at a hold on Ista Island. One day, when dragons come to Search, they identify Nian as a good candidate for the queen, but she will not go without Neru. The dragons take them both on Search, along with Nian's friend Orla and another boy called Chaum. At the Weyr, Orla tells Nian that another girl, named Robina, has been promised the queen. The twins work in the infirmary for a day, but on Impression, the queen dragon hatches and Nian Impresses her and learns her name is Quinth. The two of them manage to break the egg Neru is next to, revealing a bronze dragon named Larinth, who Neru impresses. Later, in the weyrlings' barracks, N'ru tells Nian that he was upset that she was chosen on Search and he was taken along as a mere afterthought. Nian tells him that she never wanted his dream, she wanted him to be happy. They contemplate the fact that Nian and Quinth would probably be transferred to another Weyr. Quinth assures them that they will always be held together by their dragons, and that they would never be alone.