|“|| West of Tillek, east of Benden|
Halfway around the world.
Far lands, strange lands,
Large lands, Great Islands.
Even though Lorana cured the plague that was killing the dragons of Pern, sacrificing her queen dragon in the process, the effects of the disease were so devastating that there are no longer enough dragons available to fight the fall of deadly Thread. And as the situation grows more dire, a pregnant Lorana decides that she must take drastic steps in the quest for help.
Meanwhile, back at Telgar Weyr, Weyrwoman Fiona, herself pregnant, and the harper Kindan must somehow keep morale from fading altogether in the face of the steadily mounting losses of dragons and their riders. But time weighs heavily against them — until Lorana finds a way to use time itself in their favor.
It's a plan fraught with risk, however. For attempting time travel means tampering with the natural laws of the universe, which could drastically alter history — and destiny — forever. Or so it has always been thought. But Lorana discovers that if the laws of time can't be broken without consequences, it may still be possible to bend them. To ensure the future of Pern, she's willing to take the fateful chance — even if it demands another, even greater, sacrifice.
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Continuing on from the events of Dragongirl, Lorana times it between to the Third Interval on Minith, the queen dragon of Tullea, planning to bring the dragons of that time back to aid the weakened Weyrs of the Third Pass. However, she arrives to find Benden Weyr empty, and an aged Tullea alone in it, who forces her to return to the Third Pass. Unknown to Lorana, this is a ruse — the inhabitants of Benden Weyr were hiding at another location, with Tullea remaining behind to ensure Lorana would journey to where she would be needed next.
Lorana and Minith arrive at the Red Butte in the Second Interval, back when Igen Weyr was secretly being by the weyrlings of the Third Pass, and find Tenniz awaiting his death, which he has foreseen. Lorana waits with Tenniz, and the two talk, Tenniz giving Lorana advice about concealing information about the future so as not to affect things, and cryptically suggesting her next move before he passes away in his sleep.
In the Third Pass at Telgar Weyr, the inhabitants prepare for upcoming Threadfalls, training the weyrlings in flight tactics. Fiona claims to have been visited by Lorana, but the others believe she is merely having strange dreams as a result of her pregnancy. To keep an eye on her, Jeriz, the son of Tenniz, is placed in her care.
Meanwhile, F'jian begins acting oddly and is notably more tired than usual — moreso than the weyrlings, who are acting similarly to those who once lived twice in the same time. His weyrmate Terin witnesses him repeatedly leaving the Weyr at night with another woman. When confronted with this, he swears his loyalty to Terin, but does not reveal the nature of his acts, claiming he cannot «break time». Despite being taken out of active duty, F'jian perishes soon afterwards saving T'mar during a fall. At the same time, Jeila, a junior queenrider, suffers a miscarriage after falling from her queen's ledge.
In the Second Interval, Lorana and Minith travel to meet the Igen traders, convincing Azeez and Mother Karina to be prepared for the arrival of the weyrlings. The traders are willing to help, as they believe Lorana to be a «Beacon», an important figure in their mythos. Lorana and Minith then follow Tenniz' words, which leads them to the skies below the Dawn Sisters. From this vantage point, Lorana sees the Far Western Continent, and travels there with Minith, before timing it forward to Fort Weyr, having realised she was the figure who took a young Fiona and the weyrlings to Igen Weyr.
At Telgar Weyr, Fiona again claims to have seen Lorana — older, with visible Threadscoring on her face. Terin claims to have been comforted by F'jian himself, although he is gone when the others come to find him, leaving them to wonder if his strange behaviour was the result of him timing it forwards. Meanwhile, Jeriz seeks out Jeila, and requests her help in bringing his mother and sister to the Weyr — to fulfill one of his father's visions of the future and thus aid Lorana.
A Council is called at Telgar Weyr to discuss how the various Weyrs are going to remedy the lack of dragons and whether they can combat Thread in another way — such as with Whers fitted with protective eyegear. Abruptly, Minith appears in the weyr bowl, riderless. The others take this as evidence that Lorana has perished.
The following day, all five Weyrs find their weyrlings missing. Fiona, prompted by Tenniz' daughter Jirana repeating her father's phrases, identifies Lorana's vantage point below the Dawn Sisters, and guesses Lorana travelled to the Far Western Continent. Prompted by this, Fiona leaps through time to meet her older self and find out what time to travel to — three years back.
At the Far Western Continent, Lorana meets up with Fiona and the other Weyr inhabitants — including the missing weyrlings — who have established a temporary camp. Plans are made for a longer-lasting settlement — dubbed Eastern Weyr by the weyrlings — ultimately constructed from old ships carried ashore by dragons, and fed via secret trade with the Northern Continent. Two threats soon become clear on the island: vicious tunnel snakes and ancient creatures they dub «Mrreows» — although over time they come to the conclusion that the Mrreows are less of a threat as they actively seek out tunnel snakes to kill.
As time goes on, Fiona gives birth to twins, Tiona and Kimar, with Shaneese later giving birth to Shanar. The queens of the Weyr and several young greens are nearly ready to rise, and a decision is made — prompted by a mysterious message from the future — to not feed the greens firestone, so that they can lay clutches.
Not long after a green flight, Talenth and Kurinth rise at the same time, prompting quick action. Lorana — and several queens from the present time — guide Talenth and several bronzes to the Red Butte. F'jian arrives, and his Ladirth flies Kurinth.
The next day, Lorana leaps through time to bring the queen dragons back for the mating flight. In addition to this, she goes into the past, taking Tenniz forward in time so he can meet his daughter, and retrieving F'jian from his weyr so he can attend the flight — revealing she was the mystery woman he was with.
When the time comes for the dragons to clutch — resulting in a colossal two hundred and fifty three eggs laid — a large number of candidates are hastily chosen from across Pern and flown to the hatching. However, they discover to their horror that the majority of the eggs have been devoured by the tunnel snakes. A mad rush ensues to save the remaining eggs, and avoid the Mrreows who attack the tunnel snakes. In the end, only twenty three dragonets survive.
It is decided to take the older riders — now healed — back to Telgar Weyr, and leave Xhinna behind to watch the growth of the weyrlings. While travelling Between, Fiona becomes distracted by the echoing voice of D'gan, lost Between turns back along with the entirety of Telgar Weyr. In an attempt to save her children — travelling with her — she leaps from Talenth's back and sends her queen on.
Talenth returns to Lorana, who attempts to free Fiona but finds her trapped Between with the old riders of Telgar Weyr. She quickly recruits the help of Pern's queen riders, reasoning that they were unable to rescue D'gan earlier as they were meant to save him at this point in time. Lorana's theory is correct, and D'gan and the riders are brought out of Between, but not Fiona. The others believe she must be lost, but Lorana soon comes to the conclusion that Fiona is alive, and was rescued at an earlier point in time. Leaping Between, Lorana succeeds in rescuing Fiona.
Many years later, F'jian arrives in the Third Interval, guided by Lorana so that he could see his and Terin's children before he died. He says his farewells to an elderly Terin and C'tov, before the two go Between forever, and Lorana returns F'jian to his time.
- According to Todd McCaffrey, Dragon's Time and Sky Dragons were originally planned as being part of the same book which was to be called «Dragonrider».