Chapter 10 Dragonsblood Chapter 12

Second Interval 200 - Third Pass 1 (507-508 AL)

D'gan orders that no fire-lizards be permitted anywhere near the Weyr. L'rat is concerned that without the fire-lizards, the holds would be unable to communicate with the Weyr.

Fifteen dragons had already died, three of them so sick that they couldn't even go between. He refuses to allow any communication with the other weyrs about the disease, unless it's to share the cure. He does not want the other weyrs to know that they have suffered from the plague. He orders K'rem to isolate the sick dragons.

M'tal grimly observes the Red Star bracketed by the Eye Rock, indicating the imminent return of Thread. A mere fortnight had passed since Breth's death, and already twelve more dragons had died, and 18 were ill. Kindan reports that it was even worse at Ista.

C'rion, M'tal, K'tan, Kindan and Lorana held a hasty meeting, agreeing to banish the fire-lizards from the Weyrs and to communicate via telepathy as much as possible.

Tullea was now Weyrwoman, but did not attend the observation of the Red Star. It was widely expected that B'nik would become the next Weyrleader when her Minith rose to mate.

M'tal and K'tan leave the Star Rocks, Kindan choosing to remain a little longer, and walk down. K'tan tells him that he'd be waiting in the Records Room. Kindan contemplates the marvelous abilities of the original colonists, in making the Weyrs and in creating the dragons. He wondered if they could've come up with a cure, and melancholically reflects on the tragedy that just 500 Turns after their creation, the Dragons may have been doomed.

He walks to the Records Room, meeting K'tan, who was looking through the Records. He has found nothing, other than noting that the holders and crafters tend to get sick much more often than weryfolk. Lorana enters the room, and suggests checking the Harper Hall records, or perhaps Fort Weyr's records, as they'er the oldest Weyr.

The next day, M'tal sends watch riders out to every Hold to look for sings of Thread. He tells them to be wary of fire-lizards, but also to report any signs.

M'tal muses that Tullea hadn't been the same since High Reaches had closed themselves off. K'tan wonders if she'd had a lover there, and also if they might've guessed about the disease. M'tal doesn't believe they did, they were just "always a bit odd". K'tan returns to the records.

Harper Jofri reports the apparent extinction of the fire-lizards to MasterHarper Zist and Lord Holder Bemin of Fort. Nonala, the voicemaster at the Harper Hall, added that some people thought the dragonriders were jealous and bothered by the fire-lizards.

As they're talking, a drum message comes in about dead dragons at Ista, Benden, and Telgar, including Benden's queen.

Bemin pledges to assist the Weyrs however he can.

The next day, Kindan tells Lorana in the Records Room that Fort Weyr had reported black dust. Kindan continues, telling her that M'tal said to expect Thread to fall from the shore, over the Weyr, and on to Bitra nine days later.

Nine days later, the Weyr waits expectantly for its first Threadfall.

The alert goes out that Thread was falling. M'tal gathers his wingleaders and prepares to meet it. K'tan reported 31 dragons with the illness, via his dragon, to M'tal, mixed in with the wings. The wings assemble into position, and go between, 358 dragons.

The Weyr meets its first Threadfall, in disaster. Three dragons failed to emerge from between at the start, throwing the wings into disorder. W'ren spots Thread first.

The initial disarray is worsened, as one after another, dragons are injured, going between, and not all of them returning. The disarray further increases injury, in turn increasin the number of dragons lost, in a vicious cycle. After the Fall is over, he orders L'tor to send out sweepriders, knowing that some Thread had gotten through the flight into the grounds of Upper Bitra, among the great forests there.

They return to the Weyr.

Lorana was placed in charge of preparing medicines and bandages for injured dragons and riders by Mikkala, headwoman of Benden, with Kiyary helping. Lorana hears the cries of dragons wounded in Threadfall, the pain coming through to her, though dulled, and "leaking" over to Arith. Lorana apologizes to Arith for disturbing her sleep. Arith tells her there's no need to apologize, that it's a gift that she can hear the dragons as they hear each other.

C'len and his Minerth are lost between. Lorana attempts to reach the dragon between to bring her back, and is herself nearly lost until Arith calls her back. Salina arrives with Kindan, who is trying his best to cheer her up. Lorana whispers to Kindan that it's probably not the best thing for her, and Kindan replies that he can't leave her by herself. Suddenly a badly scored dragon appears falling from the sky, hitting the ground hard. Lorana rushes to the dragon, attempting to do the best she can. The rider was also badly wounded, and expired. The dragon lept into the air and went between forever. The next few hours were a blur of injured dragons, and some going between.

Finally, after many hours, she takes a meal break with Kindan. Tullea enters, having not done anything to help the injured dragons, and immediately orders food. Tilara, the woman who had served Kindan and Lorana, tells her she's busy, adding under her breath, "I'm helping those who helped the Weyr".

M'tal enters, approaching Tullea, and asks her what the casualty figures were. Tullea replies that she doesn't know, and tells her to ask Lorana. M'tal reminds her that she is now the Weyrwoman, and as such, it is her duty to keep track of such data.

K'tan reports 45 dragons lost between, 23 with injuries requiring at least a month recuperation, and another 37 with minor injuries, able to fly again within the sevenday. M'tal is stunned by the severity. Four dragonriders were left dragonless. M'tal joins them at the table, Salina later joins them, and learns of the casualty figures. She asks Lorana if she could feel each dragon lost, she replies that she could, but that she and Arith were tough. She asks M'tal when the next Threadfall is, he tells her not for another three days. Telgar Weyr had fought Thread over Igen Weyr that day. Lorana reports that they had not done well, many dragons went between.

At Telgar Weyr, V'gin reports to D'gan that 54 dragons were severely wounded, requiring more than six moths to to heal, and another 83 were lightly wounded, this in addition to the seventy lost between.

At Ista Weyr, C'rion witnesses yet another dragon going between, Valorth, T'lerin - now Telerin's - dragon. J'lantir offers to console him. C'rion suggests getting Giren. J'lantir disagrees, pointing out that Telerin had comforted Giren when his dragon went between, and that he might blame him therefore. J'lantir reports that Gatrial, the Weyrhealer, had suicided after the death of his dragon.

Dalia reports that the total number of dragons lost was now 36, and another 30 were sick.

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