|Chapter 17||Dragonsblood||Chapter 19|
M'tal had flown Thread earlier in the day, without Lorana's assistance. They'd lost two dead, eight injured, three seriously, while Ista lost three dead and nine injured, leaving them only 34 fit to fly. B'nik had pledged that Ista would have Benden's assistance as logn as they were able to. M'tal approved of that pledge, and of B'nik in general.
K'tan enters and checks on Lorana. He leaves after talking with Salina and M'tal. He visits Kindan, and hears him playing the song he'd sung earlier, trying to remember the last verses. He suddenly remembers the end, but isn't quite sure what it means, only that it must mean something.
K'lior landed at Southern Boll to speak with Lord Holder Egremer after the Fall, confessing that he thought it was likely that some Thread fell through the wings. Egremer praises the dragons and their riders, forgiving of them, though concerned that they'd have to destroy some of their stands of timber, lost to Thread.
Cisca wakes K'lior in the morning, giving him the report from T'mar's sweep over Southern Boll. Five barrows, two well-established. 23 dragons had gone between, and several other dragons and riders were seriously injured. Cisca informs him that they had 75 dragons fit to fly.
Back at Southern Boll, three valleys had to be put to flames. Those valleys would be eroded heavily by rains, impovreshing the Hold for many Turns. K'lior apologized to Lord Egremer, who, while upset at the loss, was fair enough to know he couldn't blame K'lior. He asks K'lior if he could lend him a weyrling or two, to help scout out damage and haul supplies. K'lior tells him they had plenty of weyrlings, but not enough full-grown dragons. They needed time for the wounded to heal and for the Weyrlings to grow. Egremer tells K'lior not to worry about his request for weyrlings, if it would be too much of a bother. "Having them would only save us time". K'lior suddenly realizes how to solve the problem.
He rushes enthusiastically to Cisca to share his idea. They could time it to allow their weyrlings to grow and the injured riders to heal.
K'tan approaches M'tal and Salina at dinner in the evening, asking to speak with Salina about Drith. Salina sympathizes with him. K'tan leaves to go to Lorana. He sees Tullea there, demanding to know what she was doing there. Tullea leaves angrily after a brief confrontation. Someone had brought flowers, K'tan believed it was Salina. While there, Drith goes between. K'tan tries to stop him, and Lorana reaches between with him, trying to pull him back, to no avail. K'tan - now Ketan - was dragonless. He wished he could've followed his dragon, riding him between, and realized with a shock that Drith must've realized that too.
Lorana and Ketan became more determined then ever to end the plague