Lessa from "People of Pern" © 1988 Robin Wood. Used with Permission.
Vital statistics
Gender Female
Rank Weyrwoman
Dragon Ramoth
Era Eighth Interval
Ninth Pass
Affiliation Ruatha Hold
Benden Weyr
Spouse F'lar (Weyrmate)
Parent(s) Lord Kale
Lady Adessa
Children F'lessan
First appearance Dragonflight

Ruatha Shield Benden Weyr Shield

Lessa was the Weyrwoman of Benden Weyr during the Ninth Pass, and the last survivor of the Ruathan bloodline during the depredations of Fax, the self-styled «Lord of Seven Holds».


Early Life

Lessa is the youngest daughter of the leaders of Ruatha Hold, Lord Kale and Lady Adessa. She is extremely headstrong, and quite independent. Her father refered to her as being «stubborn at four [years old]», and took great pride in her. When Fax arrived, she was warned by a visitation from herself from the future, and hid in the watch-wher's den. Thus, she saved her own life, while the rest of the Ruathan bloodline was wiped out.

Life under Fax

After Fax destroyed her family, Lessa became a drudge in the hold that should have been her own. She arranged the demise of several stewards in her quest to win back her ancestral Hold. As for the first steward, she honestly regretted the necessity of his death, because he had been a fair man. The second had been a greedy, grasping man determined to squeeze Ruatha of all it produced so that some profit would drop into his pocket before sending it on to Lord Fax. It had been easy to create misunderstandings between the Ruathans and the second steward. From there, the quality had gone down hill until Ruatha was barely surviving.

Ten Turns after Fax's take-over of Ruatha, dragonriders came on Search for strong women to Impress to the new queen. Wingleader F'lar, of bronze Mnementh, led the twelve members of his wing which included his half-brother, F'nor. Fax permitted the Search, but was impatient with the riders' need for thoroughness. While the wing was at Ruatha Hold, Fax's First Lady Gemma went into labor. Fax claimed that he would renounce Ruatha in favor of Lady Gemma's child if it was male and survived. Seeing an opportunity to be rid of Fax, Lessa announces that the child had been born alive, and was male. Fax flew into a rage, and fell at the hands of F'lar. The child was in fact male, and alive, though he had been cut out of his now dead mother's womb. Because Lessa was chosen as a Candidate for the Hatching, she chose to give up her claim on Ruatha to Jaxom. Whilst leaving Ruatha, the watch-wher, who was emotionally, if not telepathically, attached to Lessa, attacked F'lar because it thought he and Mnementh were kidnapping her. However, mid-leap Lessa told it otherwise and the watch-wher broke its back in an attempt to stop its attack. The dragons gave the watch-wher a tribute only used at the death of a dragon, and Lessa went on to Benden Weyr.



From "Dragonriders of Pern" Boardgame © 1983 Robin Wood. Used with Permission.

Dragged onto the Hatching Sands by F'lar, Lessa was one of a dozen girls presented as queen candidates. Two girls were mauled by the hatchling queen, one was thrown aside by the queen, and the other, when the queen reached out a claw for support, she got scratched from around the ribs to her ankle. Lessa thought that girl could have moved aside, instead of staying as still as a statue. Lessa moved to put the golden head into her eyes, impression had been made. Impression is described as «She looked into those magnificently, expressive eyes and she was lost in the beautiful rainbow.» And from that moment on, Lessa was never alone again, for she had Ramoth.

Bringing the Five Lost Weyrs Forward

Lessa and F'lar realized the 200 or so dragons of Benden Weyr couldn't protect all of Pern. The other five Weyrs had disappeared 400 Turns ago. Lessa, against F'lar's orders, took her destination from an ancient Ruathan tapestry and went between and back in time four hundred Turns. She passed out when she reached her destination. Upon recovery, Lessa described the tapestry which led her to the proper time frame in the past. Mardra of Fort Weyr recognized this as a tapestry her father, Lord of Ruatha, had just commissioned. The five Weyrs were convinced by Lessa to come forward and save the Pern of the Ninth Pass. Before she left, Lessa commissioned the «Question Song» to be written to provide her future self with the necessary clues to go back in time for the other Weyrs. This adventure became "The Ballad of Lessa's Ride, " with strong parallels to «The Ballad of Moreta's Ride.»


Personality and traits

At first, Lessa is portrayed as an extremely unsociable, cynical and uptight personality, having known nothing but abuse and petty revenge in her time at Ruatha. In the course of the books, however, she grows into her broader role, becoming much more personable; developing a genuinely loving relationship with F'lar. Nevertheless, she is always notably short-tempered and occasionally uses her considerable psychic ability to influence the mood of others and affect their perceptions of things through the use of her ability to talk to all dragons.

Lessa was eleven when she went into hiding as a drudge at Ruatha. She left Ruatha for Benden Weyr ten passes later, and so is twenty-one at the hatching of her queen, Ramoth. Lessa spends the next three passes waiting for Ramoth to mature, in the meantime under the dull Weyrleadership of R'gul. During Lessa's twenty-fourth pass Ramoth mates with Mnementh, making F'lar both Weyrleader and Lessa's mate. It is shortly after these events, still in Lessa's twenty-fourth pass, that the Thread begins to fall--for the first time in four-hundred passes.

Lessa tends to wear her waist-length «thick, fine dark hair» in a practical and efficient braid. Her face is described as 'curiously beautiful', it is narrow, with high, prominent cheekbones, arched brows, and delicate, feminine features. She has grey eyes. Lessa is petite in stature and, after a decade of malnutrition under Fax, she remains slight of figure, although womanly in form. Evidently, her hands belie her noble ancestry, as--despite callouses, dirt and broken nails--they are notably «small, delicately boned» and even graceful. Once able to discard her guise as a drudge, Lessa stands with her shoulders back, head high, and her chin up.

Around the Weyr, Lessa wears an under-tunic, an over-tunic tied tight with a sash at the waist, a voluminous skirt reaching her ankles, and a pair of sandals. On special occasions, such as her First Impression and her ride before the assembled Pernese army, she wears a long, plain, sleeveless white shift-dress. For riding, she favors a fur-lined leather jacket, trousers and boots.


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