Songs of Gianfar Peaks, Poems by Ludo Merit


Gianfar Peaks is a location and a role-playing group in Second Life. We have Anne McCaffrey’s permission for our variations from canon, which were designed to make Second Life roleplay enjoyable in Pern. Ludo has been singing in Gianfar Peaks for several years.

In Second Life, unlike PernMUSH and other text based Pern roleplay, we don’t let the riders play their dragons, but have dragon characters. We thought that not allowing them to communicate with anyone but other dragons and their riders was too limiting so we invented dragons that talk. In order to let people visit us from other places in SL without having to sign up with us first, we invented ‘The Rift,’ a place on Gianfar that brings people from strange places. So I wrote a song to explain those two non-canon aspects of our roleplay. It has been useful for teaching Gianfar to new players, proving that song is the best teacher.


Dragons Fly

Tune: Nelly Bly

Gianfar began role-play just before the Ninth Pass. Naturally most people thought Thread would not fall again, but in the ancient records Harper Apprentice Ludo found evidence of another skipped Pass. She wrote a warning song and we had fun arguing about it… until Thread fell.

I am Ludo Merit, Harper Wordmaster of Gianfar Peaks. Before the Ninth Pass began, I wrote this song to warn us. The Lord Holder, Lady Varian, said it was a lullaby for littles. Methinks she regrets her words now.

Dragons fly, dragons fly, graceful as can be.
They fly above the mountains and they fly above the sea.
Dragons fare from Hold to Weyr, from Weyr to Dolphin Hall,
And when from far we see the Star, they’ll fly to fight the Fall.

Hey, dragons, ho, dragons, harken to my call.
The records said that you were bred to save our land from Fall.

We need not fear that Thread is near, that’s what some folk say.
They say the drill we practice is just a form of play.
It’s been so long that only song remains to tell us how.
What all should know to fight the foe we must remember now!

Hey, dragons, ho, dragons, harken to my call.
The records said that you were bred to save our land from Fall.

Some folk cry that Harpers lie, that Thread is just a tale
Of dragon wing that Harpers sing while we enjoy our ale.
Alas, alack, just one skipped Pass explains four hundred Turns.
That’s why I say there’ll come a day when Thread both falls and burns.

Hey, dragons, ho, dragons, harken to my call.
The records say that soon you may fly forth to fight the Fall.

I can’t deny the reason why we’re eager to forget,
For Weyr and bowl demand a toll that barely can be met.
Our numbers grow and well we know that fertile land does not,
And that’s why Thread is often said to be a Harper plot.

Hey, dragons, ho, dragons, harken to my call.
The records say that soon you may fly forth to fight the Fall.

I’ve burrowed through old scrolls and new, I’ve added up the sums.
A Pass is due, and we will rue the day when that Thread comes
Unless we’re wise and realize that we must start to plan.
I sing this song, some think I’m wrong, I’m doing all I can.

Hey, dragons, ho, dragons, harken to my call.
The records say that soon you may fly forth to fight the Fall.
Hey, dragons, ho, riders, Hold and Craft folk all.
The Star is due. Are each of you, now ready for the Fall?


Dragons Can Talk

I am Ludo Merit, Harper Wordsmith of Gianfar Peaks, an isolated island on Pern. We are isolated by choice. We hope the folk of the mainland will not discover us.

This song, called ‘Dragons Can Talk,’ was written by Master Harper Harald, Gianfar’s first Master Harper. He wrote it as a teaching song to help us remember why we stay on our tiny island and avoid contact with the Pern mainland.

Ludo hums a bit as she tunes her lute.

No one remembers why this song refers to a flower and a cat.

Ludo begins with two chords, sub-dominant and tonic.

They said the flower was not the cat, that her dragons could not fly.
They said she shouldn’t make dragons talk but they would not tell her why.
She urged the dragons to keep the secret. Our kin were very sly,
And when the earth moved and all moved North, we moved to…

Gianfar, far from the Northern Continent, mountainous and lone,
Where we could live with our dragon partners and make the land our own.
We did not fear our dragon friends would be enemies when grown.
Dragons can talk, dragons can talk, dragons can talk!

Ludo plays an up-and-down arpeggio.

We made our plans long before the Exodus, longing to be free.
The youngest dragons were lost Between and a ship was lost at sea,
Or so they thought, for the Crossing chaos gave us our privacy.
The land we settled was wild and strange, we knew that…

The mainland never would understand the peculiar thing we saw:
A place that called folk from other worlds that obeyed some other law.
Instead of fearing, we offered them hospitality and awe.
Dragons can talk, dragons can talk, dragons can talk!

Ludo repeats the last phrase on her lute.

Some strangers joined us to swell our numbers and help us stay alive.
Some went to Southern and brought us salvage we needed to survive.
The sea of strangeness holds pearls of wisdom so we have learned to dive.
The sober folk of the North would fear our waters.

Ludo plays and sings more slowly.

So flower wisdom has taught us that we must keep our secrets well.
A few befriend us, and dragons know, but the dragons will not tell.
We teach our children to love the strange, but we teach them this as well,
North is afraid of what we have made, of dragons that talk!


Gold Wink

Tune: Yellow Bird

Most teen-agers on Pern dream of becoming dragon riders, and Ludo was no exception. This song was based on an incident at a MUSH hatching when a gold queen winked at me. The significance has been changed to exercise poetic license.

I’m Ludo Merit, Harper Wordmaster of Gianfar Peaks. When I decided to apply to Harper Hall I wrote this song to explain myself.

Queen had flown, I went to the Weyr to see, to be known, just hoping that they’d Search me.
I had played around with each career I found,
Fished and swam and sailed, Carved and sawed and nailed,
Scratched a dragon’s eye, wished that I could fly –
I didn’t know what I’d be.

Clutch was laid, I sneaked on the Sands to see,
Unafraid, I wanted an egg for me.
Gold queen standing by stared me in the eye
So I gave a sigh, oh how I longed to fly!
Then I backed away, wishing that I could stay –
That’s when the queen winked at me!

The Dragon Queen had quite an impressive size.
The Dragon Queen just captured me with her eyes.
This queen’s eyes were blue, that was how I knew
That I need not fear teeth and claws so near.
Still I stood in awe wond’ring what I saw.
Why had the queen winked at me?

I stood fast, my body and mind were numb.
Minutes passed; the dragon began to hum.
Still her eyes were blue. It was a tune I knew
So I hummed along, such a silly song.
She never said a word but suddenly I heard –
The song she hummed was my own.

Golden Queen just shook her gigantic head.
She never spoke but still I knew what she said:
“Harper, go away. I won’t let you stay.
You don’t need a wing. You were meant to sing.”
That was when I knew just what I would do,
Because the queen winked at me.


Heroes of the Weed

Tune: Wearer of the Green

Last millennium, Simile was my character on PernMUSH, text-based Pern roleplay online. When I started playing Ludo I decided to make Simile my mother and married her to another of my PernMUSH characters.

This next song is Heroes of the Weed, written by my mother Simile, when she was an apprentice. Gianfar Hold asked the Harpers to write songs encouraging people to volunteer for the numbweed harvest. The Apprentice Master passed the assignment on to the apprentices. My mother was the only one who could think of anything good to say about the numbweed harvest. When she sang it for the Hold, people laughed so hard that she thought she had failed.

She left before she could see them lining up to volunteer to harvest numbweed.

Oh bring your spoons and kettles, all, and to my voice pay heed.
Step forth in answer to the call for heroes of the weed.
Though you pay a very heavy price, the healers have the need,
And some things can be very nice for heroes of the weed.

Yes, the stench of boiling numbweed on the first and second day
will invade your eyes and nose and steal your appetite away,
But the odor of your fertile foe will soon become your friend.
You’ll thank it every evening when your toil is at an end.

You will gather ’round your campfire – they won’t have you in the Hall,
But surely after two days you won’t smell yourself at all,
And the food they serve to tempt you can be very, very nice,
With onions and with garlic and with lots of tasty spice.

All the wine will taste like Benden, for your palate will be numb,
But the wine will be too mild for you, so have a swig of rum!
When your lass, or else your laddie has a glass, or maybe two,
You’ll find your amour will be much friendlier to you.

When your fragrant toil is over, there’s a horrid aftermath.
You’ll get a runner curry brush and have to take a bath.
You’ll use up all the sweetsand as you scrub with might and pain.
They’ll hold their noses in disgust and make you bathe again.

Though they all will still avoid you for a day or three or four,
They’ll be grateful for the numbweed when their wounds are red and sore,
And the friends you make in numbweed time will be your friends indeed,
For all of you have stirred the slime – you’re heroes of the weed.



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