I do not own Dragonriders of Pern. It all belongs to Anne McCaffrey.

Chapter 1

Teri's eyelids fluttered open and shallow breaths burned in her throat.


She coughed weakly and gasped, pain from her bruised ribs paralyzing her momentarily. Her heartbeat thudded in her ears and millions of hot needles stabbed her skin as the blood stirred in her veins. Only pain and darkness registered in her sluggish mind, feeling slowly returning to her body.

It was so cold. Teri's hands burned from the frigid air. Her clothes stuck to her skin, wet and clammy. The chill had sunk deep into her muscles; her legs wouldn't obey what her mind told them to do. A knot of pain throbbed in her left temple and her eyes slid shut, weighed down with fatigue. Wetness trickled down her face, dripped into her mouth. The metallic tang of blood stained her tongue. She moved feebly, but something lay over her, pinning her down. Everything was silent. The only noises were the wind moaning through tree branches and her own harsh breathing.

What happened?

There had been voices. Screams, she remembered that, and the sound of the runnerbeasts' hooves. Wren's shriek as he launched off her shoulder into the air. Panicked footsteps rushing past, and hands pushing her roughly to the ground.

Aren's hands. She remembered his shouts, voice thin with fear, but nothing more after.

Where is he? He had tried to protect her, but what had happened to him?

"Aren." Her voice barely made it past her chapped lips, a broken whisper on the frosty air.

There was a shout and heavy footsteps ran towards her. Teri cried out and threw an arm over her face, fear overwhelming the memories emerging in her foggy mind.

Help me!