|“|| Suddenly fear gripped Fiona as Talenth bugled loudly in the dawn, her cry alerting the watch dragon, who echoed it and…|
Fiona was lost, stricken.
«The Weyrs», Fiona said aloud, tears streaming down her cheeks as panic, fear, and an unbearable sorrow tore through her, «they must be warned.» Her eyes went wide. «D’gan’s Kaloth is too confused by the sickness. D’gan—Telgar—they went to fight Thread but they’re lost. Lost between».
Shortly after Fiona's return to Fort Weyr, three Turns older and wiser, her queen, Talenth, is infected with the dreaded sickness that has consumed so many of Pern's precious fire-breathing dragons. Talenth's recovery and the recovery of all the other dragons of Pern is delivered by the unflagging efforts of Lorana and Kindan at Benden Weyr — but their one vital clue is only bought with the loss of all the dragons of Telgar Weyr.
Fiona is sent to relieve the distressed weyrfolk of the now-dragonless Weyr. When her queen, Talenth, rises to mate, Fiona finds herself not only Telgar's senior Weyrwoman but in the center of the dilemma that confronts all Pern — how can the one thousand fighting dragons do the job of three thousand? And, if they can't, how long will it be before all of Pern is consumed by Thread?
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Continuing on from Dragonheart, the story begins with Fiona and the others who stayed back in time at Igen Weyr for three Turns returning to Fort Weyr, where Fiona apologises to those who thought that they had been lost between. In the night, Fiona makes amends with Xhinna, who she realises is in love with her. Fiona tells Xhinna that she won't be her lover, but that they can still be friends.
The next day, Thread falls, and Fort Weyr rises to fight it along with Ista Weyr — nothing has changed while Fiona and the others were back in time; Pern is still stricken by the Dragon Plague, with more dragons dying every day. During the Fall, F'dan — who Fiona befriended at Igen Weyr — saves K'lior from being hit by a clump of Thread, only to be fatally wounded himself. Ridorth manages returns to Fort Weyr, where F'dan's body falls from his back; Fiona catches it, and prevents Ridorth from going between until she can bring F'dan's body to him. H'nez witnesses this and angrily berates her for honouring a dead blue when his own bronze is injured, and Cisca later talks with Fiona, telling her that she won't have her in the Weyr if she can't work with her.
Later, Fiona aids Tintoval in checking in on the injured, and later talk with Terin about the possibility of getting some children to help them with their work, and then get them to train the others. Terin later suggests they recruit Bekka, the daughter of blue rider S'ban and midwife Merika. Tintoval is impressed with Bekka, and gets her to help treat her father's ill dragon Serth. While doing this, they discuss the sickness, and S'ban — enforced by Serth — promises he will remain for Bekka — who now fully intends to become a healer — if Serth dies.
Not long afterwards, Serth does go between, but the others are prepared and wait with S'ban — now Seban — to restrain and comfort him. Cisca is furious when she finds out — she should have been informed — but quickly forgets this when Melirth rises to mate. Fiona is forced to take a reluctant Talenth to the abandoned Igen Weyr, where she goes over mating flight Records until they are able to return to help the others. Ultimately, K'lior's Rineth flies Melirth, meaning he remains Weyrleader.
That evening, during a discussion about recent Falls, it is revealed that Benden Weyr has sent weyrlings back in time to Igen Weyr, and also claims to have ten dragons who have recovered from the Dragon Plague. Early next morning, Fiona goes to Talenth, and both become stricken by fear, only to hear Lorana and D'gan's voices in their minds as D'gan mistakenly leads all of Telgar Weyr between. Fiona cries out, alerting K'lior and Cisca, who rouse the Weyr. Unexpectedly, Fiona feels the force of all the dragons grow within her, only for it to move to Cisca and then to someone at Benden Weyr, where it recovers a single dragon from between.
Afterwards, plans are made for Fiona to go to Telgar Weyr with T'mar and a Wing of dragons — Cisca also toys with sending Melirth's next queen to Igen Weyr. Fiona requests Terin and Xhinna accompany her, and Seban and Bekka ask to join her when she leaves.
At Telgar Weyr, Fiona discovers that the Fall D'gan had meant to fly was flown by High Reaches Weyr. After meeting with the riders who accompanied her — including H'nez, who previously requested a transfer, and is now senior wingleader by merit of being the first to Impress — Fiona soon meets with Norik, the Weyr Harper, and Shaneese, the headwoman, and begins making arrangements for the Weyr to be repopulated — while doing this, Fiona discovers a woman who was taken to Telgar Weyr against her will, and offers to return her to the Smithcrafthall.
When Terin meets Shaneese, she casually mentions Mother Karina — deceased by this point in time — and her cooking, prompting Shaneese to reveal she is a relative, and had been asked to keep three gifts from Tenniz for Fiona, Terin and Lorana. Terin's is a golden dragon brooch, which a note says is hers and no others, and Fiona's is a golden harp brooch — similar to the one she arranged for Kindan — and a message that things will turn out right.
Later, a ceremony is conducted for the lost riders of Telgar Weyr, where the riders from Fort Weyr pledge to take up their mantle, thus becoming Telgar Weyr. During the ceremony, the Weyrleaders of the other four Weyrs arrive to pay their honours to D'gan.
The next day, Fiona discovers to her horror that Talenth has the Dragon Plague. After figuring out how much time Talenth will have to live, Fiona is recruited by H'nez to visit the holders, as they need to make a good impression following Turns of bad treatment by D'gan — in addition to this, they need to get firestone — and Fiona travels to Crom Hold and Telgar Hold with Norik, Seban and Bekka to inform them of the recent events and the change in leadership. In the evening, Fiona ends up being comforted by Seban, and is later joined by Xhinna and her new friend Taria, along with the children of the Weyr — something Fiona arranged earlier.
The next day, the children are taken away by their parents, and Fiona goes to tend Talenth, who tells her she will be alright and that they'll have Turns together. Shaneese later comes to get Fiona, and shows her one of Telgar Weyr's «treasures»: Mekiar, the pottery master — and an ex-dragonrider. Mekiar teaches Fiona how to work with clay — which is able to keep his own mind busy for days — until the afternoon, at which point M'tal arrives at Telgar Weyr with Kindan — who briefly mistakes Fiona for her deceased elder sister Koriana — and Lorana, who has developed a cure for the Dragon Plague. Talenth and the other dragons are soon treated — which makes them all sleepy; prompting a rest before the next fall — with ichor from High Reaches Weyr junior queen Tolarth, who has accompanied the others, and Lorana is comforted by the others with the thought that although the cure came too late for some, all the remaining dragons will live because of her.
Lorana is taken to rest, and Kindan explains how they discovered the cure, and reveals that Tullea had taken Minith back in time to High Reaches Weyr to clutch a new generation of dragons who would be immune to the Dragon Plague. After some time discussing their next move, Lorana — who Fiona realises is pregnant with Kindan's child — talks with Fiona — who wonders if she could be the mystery rider who took her and the others to Igen Weyr — and Terin about her gift from Tenniz, which turns out the be a golden healer symbol brooch, and a note warning «The way forward is dark and long. A dragon gold is only the first price you'll pay for Pern». They discuss this, and Lorana requests they keep it a secret from Kindan; Fiona helps by swapping their brooches.
After the others discuss the Weyr's numbers — including how many dragons they can expect to die in Falls or be hatched from clutches — Jeila — Tolarth's rider — plans to remain at Telgar Weyr. At dinner, Mekiar predicts from Fiona's behaviour that Talenth will rise soon. In the night, Fiona finds herself alone in her bed — something she hates; sharing a bed with many people makes her feel like she has a big family — and goes to sleep with Talenth, only to find herself joined by Xhinna, Taria and the children, and much later, Lorana and Kindan.
The next day, Norik reveals his intention to trade his position as Weyr Harper with Kindan, as Telgar Weyr now holds too many sad memories for him. In addition to this, Sonia, Weyrwoman of High Reaches Weyr arranges to meet with the others, and Fiona takes her to meet with Mekiar and learn pottery when she arrives. Talenth later reports to Fiona on the activities of the others, and Fiona suddenly hears Lorana's response to her, shocking them both when they realise they can hear one another mentally.
Thread soon falls, with Benden, High Reaches and Telgar Weyrs rising to fight it. T'mar becomes injured during this, and returns to Telgar Weyr, only for his riding straps to break as Zirenth descends, causing him to fall. In an attempt to save him, Zirenth knocks T'mar's head against the Weyr walls, breaking his skull and knocking him unconcious. Fiona manages to catch T'mar, and manages to prevent Zirenth — who thinks T'mar is dead — from going between, before having T'mar taken to an empty queen weyr to recuperate. The next day, Talenth rises to mate, and is caught by Zirenth. In the aftermath, Fiona discovers herself in bed with Kindan, drawn into a link with Zirenth that was formed by Lorana — who reassures Fiona when she attempts to leave Kindan. As a result of this, the unconcious T'mar — who briefly roused during the flight — becomes Weyrleader, with Kindan fulfilling his duties for him.
Later on in the day, M'tal notices that Fiona still appears to be «muzzy-headed» — being familiar with it due to Tullea's behaviour — and they wonder if she and the others with the symptoms will travel back in time at some point in the future. Lorana arrives with Kindan, and reports that Caranth has flown Minith at Benden Weyr, leading to a discussion about her ability to hear all dragons — and in Lorana's case, feel them too. Before Fiona can ask them about her strange link with Lorana, Tolarth rises to mate, and Fiona ends up going with Mekiar to distract her mind by working with clay; lest she get drawn into the flight and arouse Talenth again, causing a fight between her and Tolarth.
The next day, Fiona discovers that T'mar briefly stirred and said the words «three times» — a reference to T'mar's method of teaching, and also to the fact that he and Fiona slept together three times towards the end of their days at Igen Weyr to prepare her for Talenth's first mating flight. Fiona wonders if this means three mating flights will return him to consciousness, only for Talenth to summon her to T'mar's quarters, where he is tossing from side to side. Fiona soon realises what is happening and has Zirenth taken back in time to Fort Weyr; another mating flight is taking place there — Melirth has risen again, something that can happen, especially if multiple flights happen on a single day — and T'mar is reacting to Zirenth joining the flight. Later, Fiona worries that she may be stealing Kindan from Lorana, only for Lorana to arrive and tell her that «it's not poaching if you share». Not long afterwards, T'mar wakes, and Fiona explains to him that he'll have to make do with a woman who loves two men; he states it's her job as Weyrwoman.
Fiona then travels to Fort Weyr where she ends up talking with Merika about relationships, before going to find headwoman Ellor to borrow Tintoval so she can check on T'mar. Tintoval then asks Fiona to take her to the Healer Hall, so they can get others who can treat him to get a taste of Weyr life. At the Healer Hall, Tintoval gets three journeymen, Birentir, Cerra and Lindorm to accompany them, and Fiona talks with MasterHealer Betrony about taking on Bekka — and Seban — as healer apprentices, which he accepts.
Returning to Telgar Weyr, Fiona takes the journeymen to tend T'mar but sends Birentir away when he is dismissive towards her and T'mar. Bekka joins the others in tending to T'mar, ultimately concluding that he's fine, but should rest for a month or six sevendays before returning to his duties. After telling Bekka and Seban that they are to go to the Harper Hall, Fiona goes and finds Birentir, soon realising from Tintoval's words that he had a family — and a daughter like Fiona — who died in the Plague, hence his odd behaviour towards her. She requests he stay at Telgar Weyr as their healer — instead of remaining at the Harper Hall and causing Bekka and Seban grief.
Fiona — accompanied by Lorana and Kindan then takes Tintoval back to Fort Weyr — and talks about her relationship with Kindan and Lorana with K'lior and Cisca — and later Bekka and Seban to the Healer Hall, where Zist talks with Kindan, and Fiona talks with Neesa, asking her advice on what to do with Kindan and Lorana; Neesa's advice is for her to follow her heart; only Fiona will know for certain if she and Lorana loving Kindan can or can't be done.
Some time later, Lorana reveals Bidenth at Ista Weyr is rising; since they have few bronzes, M'tal joins the mating flight, becoming Weyrleader in the process. Despite her initial anger at his supposed abandoning of Salina, Fiona soon recognises the similarity to her own situation. Afterwards, Lorana and Kindan travel on Zirenth to bring Salina to Ista Weyr, and also to take the ancient artefacts they made the cure to the Dragon Plague with to Tillek Hold, Emorra and Wind Blossom's last requests being that the artefacts be «returned to the sea». Fiona accompanies them, and with the aid of Disaller of Tillek Hold, they construct a raft which they place the artefacts on and place out at sea — using the same bell used by Wind Blossom to attract the dolphins. In time, it is overturned by dolphins, who arrive with a mysterious group of sea creatures known as «The Deep Ones» — Lorana notes that she can almost hear them, stating they are like dragons, but different. Afterwards, Kindan, Lorana and Fiona travel to High Reaches Weyr, where they spend time in the Records Room.
On another day, Telgar Weyr prepares for the arrival of a large number of dragonriders, crafters and holders for a meeting in the Council Room. Over the course of the meeting, Verilan reveals that calculations made from analysing the old Records show that with their present numbers, the dragons will steadily die out; the queens won't lay enough to replace those lost in Fall, and while a similar situation occured in the First Pass, their ancestors had machines to help them out; the closest thing they have are the agenothree throwers Fiona commissioned from the Smithcrafthall while at Igen Weyr. While discussing alternate ways to fight Thread, M'tal suggests sending dragons back in time to fly Falls.
The next day, three Wings are sent to aid Telgar Weyr — one of which is led by J'lantir, another by C'tov. Fiona talks with Lorana about their relationship, Lorana telling her she will be glad to know that Fiona could be a surrogate mother to her child if anything happened to her. Later, as they prepare for the upcoming Fall, Fiona rejects T'mar's proposal that Kindan and Lorana fly Zirenth for him; instead, they decide to have him on reserve, and also to have Lorana report directly to Fiona through their strange link. They conduct a drill afterwards — where Kindan and Lorana end up feeding Zirenth firestone anyway.
Afterwards, since the next Fall will be a Night Fall, Lorana and Kindan travel to the Wherhold to recruit Nuella and the watch-whers — accompanied by Fiona. While there, Zenor and Fiona suggest that Nuella ride on Zirenth with Lorana and Kindan, so that Lorana can talk to her, and Kindan protect them both from getting hurt.
When Telgar Weyr rises to fight Thread, J'lantir and Lolanth are killed by Thread, forcing H'nez to take over. Afterwards, Kindan seeks out Fiona — while Lorana checks on T'mar, still confined to his bed — and the two make love «three times». The next day, T'mar's protests lead to him being allowed to leave his bed, but he is restricted to his quarters. When Kindan and Lorana leave with Nuella on Zirenth to fight Thread, T'mar makes love to Fiona to demonstrate his regained strength.
During the next three days — before the next Fall — Kindan becomes more distant. After talking with the others about recent losses in the Falls caused by inexperience with watch-whers and people ignoring Lorana's instructions, T'mar talks with Fiona about Kindan, stating he is taking out his anger on her as she is a reminder of his failings, and is afraid to love her.
Two months later, a completely recovered T'mar and H'nez — in a relationship with the pregnant Jeila — discuss when they should start going between times to fight Thread, and decide to start practising — they also note that Kindan and Lorana have worked well with other dragons, such as Winurth, but that substitute riders would only work if there were more injured riders than dragons, which there aren't. Kindan makes up with Fiona while they test this, and after seeing their incredible exhaustion afterwards, she states they should only attempt it as a last resort.
As Thread begins to Fall every three days, Fiona arranges a group to tend to Lorana — who feels the death of every dragon, and is finding it harder to cope, although Fiona notes their link is keeping up her own spirits. Talenth also becomes plagued by distressing dreams, and states something doesn't feel right.
At Ista Weyr, M'tal prepares to fight Thread over Igen, only for the Wings to be scattered by bad turbulence affecting the Fall. M'tal is suddenly saved from Thread by a dragonrider who he recognises as B'nik due to his Weyrleader jacket. The same dragonrider protects several other members of his Wing, and after the Fall, M'tal travels to Benden Weyr to thank B'nik, who has no idea what he's talking about. M'tal sadly concludes this means they've been forced to time it at some point in the future.
At Telgar Weyr, Bekka and Seban return as healer apprentices. After noting that Fiona is worrying too much about Lorana's pregnancy, Bekka tells Fiona to spend time with T'mar. Despite this, she wakes in the night, certain that something horrible will happen, and this stays with her.
Not long afterwards, Talenth clutches early, laying twenty-one eggs — but no queen egg. After seeing this, T'mar reveals his fears that the cure for the Dragon Plague has affected the clutch, causing Talenth to lay a lighter number of eggs early. Noting that Talenth was ill shortly before clutching, Fiona suggests they wait and see how the other clutches turn out. The next day, Minith and Tolarth clutch, both laying twenty-two eggs — with a queen egg each. Fiona and T'mar relay their concerns to Kindan, who wonders if it was a response to the cure engineered by Wind Blossom, intentionally causing the queens to lay early so they could breed again quickly and repopulate the population faster. After this, Fiona tells the others she plans to have the youngsters sleep in the Hatching Grounds with the eggs, and that she plans to have Xhinna attend as a Candidate, but not necessarily for the queen egg. Lorana later reports that Melirth and Bidenth have also laid twenty-two eggs — with a queen egg each — and the others reveal their concerns to her, which horrifies Lorana — worse, Tullea arrives the next day and accuses Lorana of creating a way for others to suffer her agony.
At a later date, M'tal prepares to fight Thread at Keroon, only for Gaminth to state that something feels wrong. Not long afterwards, they are blown around by the wind, and M'tal is killed as Thread falls directly on him. Ista Weyr's three Wings quickly fall apart, but Lorana hears their cry for help and calls T'mar back from a drill so that he can time it back to Keroon and aid the surviving dragonriders. Fiona finds Shaneese has already prepared firestone, claiming to have been told to do so by Fiona herself an hour earlier, so Fiona gets Talenth to take her back in time so she can give those instructions to Shaneese. The next day, Fiona ends up talking with Shaneese about her relationship with T'mar; when Fiona discovers that Shaneese is in love with T'mar, she tells her she thinks they'd make a good pair, and to go and find out, as Fiona sees nothing wrong with sharing.
A few days later, at the next Fall — over Crom — T'mar's Wings are overwhelmed by too much Thread falling too fast. Before T'mar can call for help, a Wing led by the Benden Weyrleader — recognisable by his jacket — comes to their aid. However, despite T'mar's efforts to warn him of the danger, the Benden Weyrleader is engulfed by Thread. After the Fall, T'mar sorrowfully travels to Benden Weyr to inform Tullea, only for him to discover B'nik alive and well. They both come to realise that B'nik must have timed it at a later date, and will soon die.
Some time later, at Telgar Weyr, T'mar concludes they have no other choice when fighting Thread than to time it back, fighting the same Falls twice. He decides his Wing will do it, since those with the «muzzy-headedness» appear to cope better with the stress of timing it. However, this Fall becomes marred when one rider, B'len, witnesses his future self dying, and is forced to say his goodbyes to the others at Telgar Weyr before they time it back. In the night, Fiona comforts a tearful T'mar, and demonstrates to him the next morning that there's always things to live for.
The next day, after hearing that another queen has clutched, T'mar decides to make Kindan Weyrlingmaster, and Lorana notes that he could end up Impressing on the Hatching Ground. In the evening, Kindan massages Lorana, and Fiona goes to calm T'mar, who had been considering timing it with the full Weyr, by reminding him that neither of them will stop trying.
The next day, Talenth's eggs begin to hatch — with the Candidates still sleeping on the Hatching Grounds — and Taria — who had been at odds with Xhinna as both feared the other would Impress a queen and leave them alone — Impresses a green; Coranth. Talenth becomes alarmed when seeing one egg failing to hatch, and breaks the shell with her fangs, before Fiona takes over. Fiona then calls Xhinna over to help, where she ends up Impressing the blue Tazith — despite her protests that females don't Impress blues.
Afterwards, Fiona tells Lorana that she'll stay with her — Kindan, who failed to Impress, will be too tired with his duties to help her rest — and T'mar will tend to her sore back. They go to see T'mar, who has examined the eggshells from Talenth's hatching and found them unusually thick; they wonder if this was either a precaution engineered by Wind Blossom, or whether it was inadvertantly caused by Talenth.
After discussing their tactics for the next Fall, Fiona gets Kindan to stay with Lorana — allegedly so Xhinna gets a chance to prove herself — and goes to T'mar, the two making love so that Fiona will have something to remember him by if he dies. Afterwards, she tells him to make more time for Shaneese, and two days later, Shaneese approaches T'mar and the two end up arranging a time to spend together. Kindan later finds Fiona waiting for him in the Hatching Grounds, and convinces him to make love to her, before sending him to Lorana — who concludes Fiona is fearful of losing everything, so is trying to grab what she can: children from T'mar and Kindan.
After the next Fall, Fiona and Terin — who were tending to the injured — decide to have a bath, and are joined by Lorana. Terin brings up the topic of the gifts they received from Tenniz, and what they could mean; Terin assumed Lorana's message meant she would receive another queen, but Lorana thinks otherwise, and Fiona tells the others that she thinks her own prophecy has come true — although she doesn't quite believe it.
At a later breakfast, the others discuss some of their options; Kindan reveals to the others the existence of the vial that can turn a watch-wher into a dragon, and F'jian briefly suggests sending weyrlings forward in time to age up, but T'mar thinks that would be too risky. While discussing this, the old Teaching Ballad regarding Hatchings is brought up; Fiona wonders if the final cryptic line «And in a month, who seeks?» could refer to the earliest age a dragon can go between.
In the evening, joins Fiona in sleeping on the Hatching Grounds with the other Candidates — many more girls have shown up following Xhinna's Impression of a blue. The next day, Tolarth's eggs begin hatching, and Terin Impresses the queen, Kurinth. Kindan decides against putting on Candidate robes and doesn't Impress, but in the aftermath Lorana and Bekka note that he could stand again when the queens next clutch, which should be around the same time Lorana gives birth.
The next morning, Tullea — whose relationship with B'nik has improved now that she fears his death — arrives at Telgar Weyr, and begs Lorana to do something to save B'nik, telling her to call of Minith if she needs to travel somewhere to do it. Lorana can't think of anything to do, but decides to travel to Benden Weyr — although pregnant, she is still able to travel between as long as the journey is short and she's wrapped up warm — to check on Ketan, Benden Weyr's healer and former dragonrider, who is constantly drinking to dull his depression. Despite Fiona, Lorana and Kindan's efforts to comfort Ketan, they fail to lift him from his misery, and return to Telgar Weyr, Lorana being affected by this — although Tullea remains confident she will find a way to save B'nik.
Eleven days later, B'nik and D'vin suffer injuries while fighting Thread over Bitra, prompting Lorana to send Jeila and Birentir to help at Benden Weyr, and Fiona to help at High Reaches Weyr. While there, Fiona talks with Sonia about her fears that something bad will happen to Lorana, and ends up staying the night at High Reaches Weyr, before returning to Telgar Weyr, where she ends up joining the sweepriders heading to Bitra to deal with burrows — wrapped up in heavy wher-hide to keep her warm. T'mar initially tries to stop her from destroying the Thread burrows, but allows her to when Bitra Hold sends no aid.
Fiona eventually tires of the work and discards her jacket, but forgets to put it on again when returning to Telgar Weyr; and she contracts a fever. During her illness, Fiona has a nightmare where she fears losing a baby. Fiona recovers after four days, and is pleased when she returns to the Dining Cavern and finds that the Telgar Weyrfolk were concerned for her; they have accepted her as their Weyrwoman. Later, Lorana falls into a motherly mood, and Kindan and Fiona end up sharing her bed, allowing them to comfort her when she relives in a nightmare her waking alongside her family, dead of the Plague. Not long afterwards, Telgar and High Reaches Weyr fight Thread; the Fall is an easy one, and many dragonriders get drunk in the «festivities» afterwards.
The next day, Fiona tends to the hungover T'mar, before checking in on Terin — angry with F'jian's behaviour the night before — and Lorana, who is going over Records in the hopes of finding information on timing it; Fiona knows there isn't any, because it's too dangerous. Lorana fears that Tullea will go between if B'nik dies, and knows her junior weyrwoman isn't ready to take over from her. At dinner, Fiona talks with T'mar about re-arranging the layout of the lower weyrs — under D'gan, the Weyrleaders and Weyrwomans quarters were shifted to the other side of the Hatching Grounds — and later in the evening, they discuss whether they could send weyrlings back in time; Igen Weyr has been used by all the other Weyrs already, and the Southern Continent poses the risk of re-infection from fire lizards.
The next morning, Fiona wakes and finds a crying Terin sweeping her weyr — gained as a part of Fiona's proposed re-arranging. Fiona finds that F'jian's drinking was out of fear that he'd die, or that everyone else would around him, and she sends her to tell F'jian that his actions are hurting her. Lorana arrives not long afterwards, and muses that the dust in the air from Terin's sweeping sparkles almost gold or bronze. She suddenly requests that Fiona take her to Benden Weyr — early, before the others go to fight Thread, and she does, before sending Fiona back, saying she'll return on Minith.
After Fiona leaves, Lorana approaches the drunken Ketan again, and reminds him of the last thing Drith said to him; he had to go while he still could, and tells Ketan that he could be with Drith again, and could save three lives. Ketan soon comprehends Lorana's meaning — he and a past Drith flew the Falls disguised as B'nik, and died in his place — and travels with Lorana back in time. While doing this, Lorana travels to High Reaches Weyr and retrieves the vial for turning watch-whers into dragons — hidden there after their trip to Tillek Hold — and takes it with her to the Wherhold, where she gives it to Nuella, while Ketan — now K'tan — and Drith disguise themselves with gold-flecked mud from the nearby river, before leading a Wing made up of volunteers from Ista Weyr.
Finally, Lorana travels alone to Fort Weyr to say her good-byes to Fiona and Kindan, arriving at the evening after Fiona's Impression of Talenth — revealing she was the mystery rider there. Lorana at last understands what she must do, and goes between on Minith.
At Telgar Weyr after the Fall, Fiona realises she can't find Lorana. B'nik and Tullea arrive not long afterwards, Tullea having been told that Ketan stole B'nik's jacket, which he needs to fight Thread in. After B'nik reveals they went to High Reaches Weyr, Kindan bitterly concludes that Lorana gave up hope, went to retrieve the vial for Nuella, and then suicided on Minith. Fiona argues otherwise, and realises to her horror what Lorana's gift from Tenniz referred to, and where Lorana is; she has gone ahead in time to get aid, and in doing so has given up her baby. Fiona finally states that they will be here with love for her when she returns.