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Information on all those that live in the Holds of Pern. From the lowliest drudge to the Lord Holder himself, here is the outline of Hold structure.


Lord Holder: The man who rules an entire Hold. He outranks every single individual that resides in the boundaries of his Hold, minus only those crafters who have taken residence there. He can command on whim, and if he is not a just Holder, he will usually take advantage of his power. It is up to him to oversee the workings of his Hold, from the trading to the cultivation of land and the growth of amount of stock. He also oversees the financial matters concerning his Hold. The equalvalent of a King on Earth.

Lady Holder: The title of Lady Holder can mean one of two things: either she is married to a Lord Holder, or she rules a Hold on her own, husbandless. The wife of a Lord Holder oversees all the domestic issues concerening the Hold, from the workings of the kitchens to the care of the Hold itself. She works closely with the Headwoman to assure that there is plenty of food in the Hold's stock, and that clothes, Hold furnishings, and the like are in good condition and in plenty. She is also over the punishment of disobediant drudges, though that matter is often taken in hand by the Headwoman. A husbandless Lady Holder usually ignores such menial tasks and focuses on what would have been the Lord Holder's job, and allows the domestic responsibilities to fall to her Headwoman. The equalvalent of a queen on Earth.

Headwoman:  She is selected by the Lady Holder, and supervises the general domestic machinery of the Hold.  Among her duties are the care of the young and old; the supervision of food collection, storage, and preparation; Hold maintenance; and nursing, supervised by the Hold's healer. She answers directly to the Lady Holder. (one per Hold)

Stewards:  They make sure that the Headwoman's orders are carried out to the T.  They organize supplies, oversee repairs and replacement to furniture, rugs, tapestries, clothing, sleeping furs, boots, and provide hide for the repair of the harness for the plows.  They also oversee the inventory of the Hold. From foodstuffs to medicines to the Wine and Beer brewed by the Hold, they keep and give the Headwoman a report at the end of each sevenday.  They are the extra hands, eyes and ears that the Headwoman needs.  The Stewards oversee the work done by the drudges.  They also watch over the work being done in the fields and stables.  (As many as the Lord Holder, Lady Holder and Headwoman deem needed.)

Hold Guards:  They are the police force that watches over those within a hold as well as the minor holds and cotholds beholden to the main Hold.  They make rounds checking on the people beholden to the Lord Holder.  For the most part they are a minor peace keeping force, dealing only with small crimes, but on occasion the a Lord Holder has turned them into his own private army.  Overseen by the Captain of the Gaurd, he answers to the Lord Holder.

Head Cook:  Oversees the day to day meal prep for the Hold.  He or She also oversees the prep work behind any special occasion, including the feast held after hatching.  Assigns duties to his/her assistants.  The head cook is appointed by the Lady Holder.  (One per Hold.) 

Head Cook's Assistants:  Just as the name suggestes, this are the people that get their hands dirty so to speak.  They, under the direction of the head cook, prepare the meals for the Hold.  They cut, chop, and gather all the things nesserary in the making of a meal. (As many as the Lady Holder, Headwoman and HeadCook deem needed.)

Butcher:  Oversees the slaughter and cleaning of herdbeasts and wherries.  Keeps the cool rooms of the Hold stocked.  (As many as the Lady Holder and Headwoman deem needed...Usually one and then his/her assistants)

Healer:  The man or woman, usually a journeyman, assigned to the Hold to aid and over see the major medical emergencies to the smallest splinter or bruse.  They administer medicines when needed and work in concert with the Lady Holder and Headwoman in the gathering of medicinal herbs.  They also oversee all nursing done by the Headwoman and those that she assigns to the task. They answer to the Healer Hall and the Masterhealer. (One or two per Hold)
Tanner:  They turn raw hides into a usuable product, supplying the Hold with leather for shoes and anything else imaginable.

Smith:  From their forge comes all the metal tools, blades, and hardware that the Hold needs.  In their spare time they are known to try out new inventions.

Herder:  Cares for the Hold's livestock. 
Weaver:  Makes the cloth used by the Hold.
Seamstress/Tailor:  Not everyone in the Hold can handle a needle nor do they like too.  Those who lack the time can bring their garments to the Seamstress or Tailor to have them repaired or they can commission new ones to be made. (As many as the Hold can support. Usually one and his/her assistants.)
Laundress:  Oversees the care of the Hold's laundry. (as Headwoman deem needed.)
Nurse aka Nanny:  Takes care of the  Holdbrats that are still too young to be assigned chores.  Nursing mothes stop by to feed babes that have not yet been weaned. 
Drudges:  The untrained majority.  They make up the main workforce.  Usually lacking in any particular skill, they do the more menial type tasks that most would rather avoid.
Holdbrats:  The children and foster childern of the Hold, including the Lord and Lady Holder's own. 

Aunties/Uncles:  Those that are entering into their twilight years.  Well respected by the younger folk, they willing give advice.  Usually cared for by the daughters of a Hold.

Minor Holders, Cotholders, and their families: The ones who own smaller holds in the area of a Hold, they commonly run small farms or have a speciality to offer the Lord Holder, such as tending stock. They answer to the Lord and Lady Holder. Usually, the Lord Holder will grant a hold to someone who has done him a service, for rarely can anyone afford to buy a hold, and even then it would be on the Holder's whim to even sell. Note the capitalization of 'Hold' indicates the entirety of a prominent Hold, such as Keroon, and the word hold with a lowercase 'h' indicates the smaller farms situated in a main Hold. The equalvalent of a minor lord on Earth, beneath a King's rule. 

All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyright ŠAnne McCaffrey 1999- 2004, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.

The Dragonriders of PernŽ is Reg U.S. Pat & Tm. Office, by Anne McCaffrey, and may not be used or reproduced without permission of the author.