High Reaches Hold is one of the Major Holds in the Northern Continent. Occupies the High Reaches peninsula on the northwest of Northern Continent's. It bordered on the east Crom Hold, on the south-east Nabol Hold and on the south Tillek Hold. High Reaches Weyr fights Threadfall over High Reaches 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)
High Reaches Hold is windy and bleak, though it is saved from the worst weather by a neighboring ocean current, even if that current is cold. The traveling gulf stream, which makes its way around the entire northern hemisphere of the great ocean of Pern, begins its southward journey just north of High Reaches.
High Reaches merits the dubious distinction of having spawned Fax. Fax was a younger son of a cadet branch of the Blood, born in the last decades before the Ninth Pass. He considered the main bloodline too effeminate, too dilute, and began to take over where and when he could. With his host of dissatisfied jolly boys, he slew the Lord Holder and his family. Numb with shock, no one put up a fight or otherwise tried to stop him. A Holder had only a ceremonial guard on hand, not a standing army. The family was defenseless. In any case, he had blocked off their every escape route. In his own twisted way he was a top military strategist.
Every move in his conquest was unspeakable by civilized standards. To keep his actions secret, he sequestered the Hold harpers and refused to allow itinerant singers to enter the Hold. Harpers were in a precarious position in Fax's day. It was still twenty Turns before the end of the Long Interval, and their duty was to teach Hold children what they owed to dragons and dragonriders, whom most holders would as soon have forgotten as useless parasites. Because they served as a reminder of the Weyr, harpers themselves were often considered useless parasites. It was actually the tradition of immunity that kept a harper safe much of the time. Their Craft was still needed after the 250 Turns since Thread should have fallen, because the harpers were the best communication system the Holds had.
Once he was in complete control of the Hold, Fax released the High Reaches harpers but left them so terrified that they could not tell anyone else what was going on. He took pleasure in his knowledge that whoever they did manage to tell would not believe them, since what he was doing had never happened in all of the history of Pern.
After conquering High Reaches, he married Gemma of Crom, adding that Hold to his territory. He conquered Nabol in much the same way as his home Hold and murdered the Holders of three lesser holds. His host of strongarm men, now swelled to an army, knocked holders about as they pleased. Fax's final acquisition was Ruatha. He craved it because it was rich and had the finest bloodstock of runnerbeasts on Pern. He had the runnerbeasts moved from Ruatha after Lord Holder Micawl's family was dead—all but Lessa of Ruatha, who was warned of the impending invasion and fled to the Watch-wher's den for safety.
When Fax was killed, his army was quickly disbanded and went back to being hunters, fishermen, and farmers. There is no doubt that a strong arm can be useful in settling a brawl, but a force such as Fax commanded went against everything the people of Pern believed in. Having the autonomous Holds united under a tyrant was precisely what the colonists had set out to avoid when they came to Pern in the first place.
Since Fax's death, High Reaches Hold has been in the capable hands of Lord Holder Bargen. Because of the extremely cold weather, the folk in High Reaches learn survival techniques early and drill their children until they follow the rules without thinking.
The Hold is burrowed deep into the mountain, with only a few shuttered windows overlooking the rows of cotholds that line the river road. But for a few smaller holds, High Reaches is well isolated on its westward-jutting peninsula. Its Weavercrafthall is unusually skilled. The weavers shear the llamas that High Reaches uses as pack animals; the hair is woven into an unusually fine and soft, warm cloth. Lord Lytol of Ruatha spent many Turns here as a Master-weaver between the time he left the Weyr after his dragon's death and when he moved to Ruatha to care for the infant Lord Jaxom. High Reaches has several minor Crafthalls, including a glass-smith's shop, which, besides the usual custom necessary for a Hold's operation, does quite a good business in bottles and jugs.
Fortified wines are a popular drink here, more so than in Holds farther south. Fruit brandies such as pear, apple, and blackberry are prepared against the long, cold season. High Reaches imports a lot of spices for preserving meat and fish, and for mulling wines.
The knitters in High Reaches practice the art of felting, a Craft they share with Southern Boll, though anyone can tell the difference between holder-made and Craft-made goods. As a rule, High Reaches holders use their skill for gloves, sweaters, heavy skirts, and trousers to go under weatherproof hide. The tropical Weavercraft puts its skill to lighter work, such as felt hats and decorative slippers for ladies. Felting obscures the careful knit stitches of the heavy fleece sweaters, but renders the fabric much warmer and less likely to catch hook or barb casually. Being less permeable, felted knits also last longer. In order that a High Reaches “gansie,” or sea-mans sweater, can be easily distinguished, the knitters use the old star-and-egg Fair Isle pattern brought from Earth by the colonists. The sweaters are often brilliantly colored, predominantly made in tan and blue, the Hold colors, but banded with bright gold and red dyes made from lichen for greater visibility.
High Reaches is also well-known for its skill at shipbuilding, second only to Tillek Hold. The holders bend timbers and dress wood in the waters north of the Hold and ship numbered and measured lengths of seasoned wood from the flat oval caverns under the Hold intended for assembly elsewhere. During much of the year, the bay is scoured clean of sand and weed by the icy northern waters, leaving it deep and clear, safe for any ship that comes so far north.
Minor Holds and Crafthalls
- Balen Hold
- Fire Hold
- Keogh Hold — beholden to Crom Hold in Second Interval, and possibly as late as Sixth Pass; beholden to High Reaches Hold by Ninth Pass.
- Lewis Hold
- Murfy Hold
- Ogren Hold
- Pars Hold
- Riverbend Hold
High Reaches Hold is also home to at least one minor hold whose name is not known.
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- Other holders:
Towards the end of the First Interval there is something about it being cold something about the central Heating going out.
- Other holders:
- Dynast: Lord Faroguy and Lady Evelene, Lord Fax and Lady Gemma, Lord Bargen.
- Other holders: Journeyman Harper Robinton, Gifflen, Hosbon.
|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|