All the Weyrs of Pern

Free All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

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Authors: Anne McCaffrey
Tags: Fiction
lost nothing of his usual impudence in the presence of Aivas. But then the son of F’lar and Lessa took nothing very seriously except his dragon, Golanth. Mirrim followed close on T’gellan’s heels; the two from the Eastern Weyr were never far apart since they had declared themselves weyrmates. Mirrim had certainly bloomed and relaxed in the warmth of his preference, Menolly reflected.
    “I didn’t see you here earlier,” Mirrim said in an aside to Menolly while waiting for her burden to be assessed by Aivas.
    “Oh, I arrived here late last night with the Records of this Pass,” Menolly replied. “Then Lessa grabbed me for some drudgery.” She extended her strong hands, her callused fingers still showing water-wrinkles.
    Mirrim rolled her eyes. “I’m just as glad we got in on the fetch-and-carry end of things. Let’s compare notes later, huh? I’d better go,” she added with a smug grin, “T’gellan’s waving at me.” She hefted the carton over to Aivas’s screen.
    When Aivas had delivered a verdict and the riders had left, Sebell gestured for the Craftmasters to come in and be introduced. Again they were all courteously, if briefly, addressed, and Aivas issued the request to see their craft Records. When they had left, Menolly slipped over to Sebell.
    “How on earth will Aivas find time to look at so many Records?” she asked, whispering in his ear.
    “He doesn’t need sleep, only power,” Sebell replied. “If we can supply that when the solar panels falter, he’ll go on all day and night. You don’t sleep, do you, Aivas?”
    “This facility operates as long as it has sufficient power to do so. Sleep is a human requirement.”
    Sebell winked at Menolly.
    “And you have none?” she demanded, jamming her fists into her belt as she faced the screen squarely.
    “This facility is programmed to give optimum use at human convenience.”
    “Do I hear a tinge of apology in your tone, Aivas?” she asked.
    “This facility is programmed not to give offense.”
    Menolly had to chuckle. Later she realized that that was when she began to accept Aivas as an individual entity and not as an awesome relic of her ancestors’ contrivance.
    “Menolly?” the Masterharper called from the far end of the corridor, which was, for the first time, empty of importunate visitors. “Is Sebell there with you?”
    Sebell moved to where he could be seen.
    “Take over from him, will you, Menolly?” Robinton asked. “We’ve got enough here for a conference.”
    Sebell put his hand on Menolly’s upper arm, giving it a reassuring squeeze. “You saw how I conducted the encounters,” he said. “If anyone else shows up, just introduce them.”
    “That didn’t work last night when Piemur tried it,” Menolly said.
    Sebell grinned, squeezing her arm again. “Master Robinton and F’lar worked out a necessary alteration in the protocol.”
    “Another new word?”
    “Aivas’s for convention or courtesy.” He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “You won’t be missing anything in the conference, you know.”
    “I do, and I’m relieved not to have to sit through another one,” she called after him as he hurried down the hall to Master Robinton. Sebell knew how she hated formal ceremonies. Or would they now be called protocols? She smiled to herself, then realized that she was alone with Aivas.
    “Aivas, would you be able to give me an example of ancestral music?”
    “Vocal, instrumental, orchestral?”
    “Vocal,” Menolly replied without hesitation, promising herself that she would hear the other categories, too, when there was a chance.
    “Classical, ancient, or modern; contemporary folk or popular; with or without instrumental accompaniment?”
    “Anything, while we’ve got a free moment.”
    “Anything is too vague a category. Specify.”
    “Vocal, popular, with instruments.”
    “This was recorded at the Landing celebration.” And suddenly the room was filled with music. Menolly immediately

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