THE MAZE

What Is It?

The Maze is a great cave system nestled in the interior of the southern continent and serves as home to hundreds of the holdless as well as a stopover point for the occasional transient traveler. Because The Maze is rumor to most and fact to far fewer, those who do know of its whereabouts tend to be either desperate or of dubious repute.

While there is no formal ruling class such as might be found in a Hold, The Maze has its own subtly defined "pecking order" based on strength or necessity. Those residents who have a needed skill -- a man with a feel for the soil for growing otherwise difficult-to-obtain foodstuffs, a woman with the healing touch -- are left alone by mutual consent, and woe be unto him who accosts them. Most other reins of power shift within the great complex, held by guile and occasionally fighting ability, although, strangely, more the former than the latter. For as lawless as The Maze may seem to outsiders, it is considered by those who know it to be a neutral zone; parties at violent odds with one another outside its boundaries may mingle with all apparent safety within them, a condition ensured by the residents themselves, for those who would break this unspoken rule are dealt with swiftly and with finality.

 
Geographic
Location:
(W3) The Maze is located in the center of the southern continent's Stony Waste. It can be reached by a number of trails, most of them difficult to find unless you know the way or are with someone who has been there before. Some of the ways are narrow and precipitous; others are just wide enough to take a wagon. All are watched over by the residents.  
Physical
Description:
The Maze is based loosely on the great cave system near Igen on the northern continent. It is equidistant between the Black Rock River to the west and the Big (or Paradise) River to the east, situated in what the riders of Thread's End Weyr would call Flight Sector W3, close to the W2 border. It is a sprawling complex, as can be seen from the map below, and huddles around a land-locked green valley, not large but sufficient to scrabble out small planting areas and even slightly larger formal fields. Even with grubbing, yields are small, but they are sufficient to offer a bit of variety to the meager population of the caves. Meat is provided by those residents who are up to the physical challenges of hunting in the inhospitable region, for wild beasts do inhabit the area of the Waste.  
Residents
you might see:
All the people listed below may be considered NPC/free and available for your use.
Hoela Holdless. Big, heavyset woman who takes in the stray children who wind up in the Maze, using them as her hands and feet. She's hard on them and makes them work, but she doesn't abuse them other than the occasional slap. Love doesn't enter into her relationship with them, though -- she's not a particularly nice person.
Parie Holdless. Lives in the Maze with Hoela (not related to her). She has about seven turns and talks a lot.
Fisch, Kashin, Roz More shiftless than holdless. These three are only sometimes in The Maze and can often be seen playing cards when they are. They're not above letting themselves be hired out to the occasional less-than-scrupulous holder for nefarious purposes. (No, they're not hired killers, but they'd have no qualms about stealing things or harrassing someone -- for a fee, of course.)
Tahn Tall (over 6'); light brown hair, light blue-grey eyes; very quiet. A loner who befriended Jenna. Has a reputation in some darker circles as being a killer, but he's not. Often does hunting for The Maze's communal cooking pot.
 
Created by: F'len  

Dragonriders of Pern: A Fantasy-Fiction Writing Club - www.dragonridersclub.com

The Dragonriders of PernŽ is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.