Lessa woke, cold.

Not the cold of Benden's winter - that was kept well at bay by the nest of furs in which she and her weyrmate slept - but a deeper cold, a cold that felt more akin to the darkness of between than anything natural. The chill in her heart became one of great foreboding, and even before the dragons started keening she was reaching out across the bed towards F'lar. There was a fear that had been growing in silent denial in the back of her mind over countless unnoticed moments throughout the past decade of Thread-free skies, and for the briefest of instants it threatened to consume her. But then she touched Ramoth's grieving mind, and Mnementh's... and that fear was gone at once, because F'lar was awake and already half way out of bed, the furs flung aside onto the floor.

"Who is it?" he askd. "Mnementh doesn't know."

He was running a hand through his hair in exasperation, Lessa knew, not that there was light enough to see him do it even had her eyes been open. "Nor Ramoth," she answered, her mind reaching deeper, further, out to all the Weyrs of Pern. Each and every one, and every dragon within them, all were united in grief. The Weyrholds in the South, the Watchdragons still stationed in the Holds and Crafthalls, the Starcraft dragons, the Messengers, the Healer-bearers... every dragon on Pern grieved as one, but for whom?

Lessa concentrated harder, and like the infinitely scattered stars sparkling in the depths of night, her straining mind touched a multitude of firelizards, their small and generous hearts adding to the throbbing refrain. Master Menolly will need to write another ballad, she thought to herself. And still, the dragons keened. Lessa's soul ached with it, but she could make sense of it now. A woman, as old and white-haired as herself. Eyes of green, with a Harper's heart.

She was no-one Lessa knew, no matter how much it seemed that it should be otherwise.

"I don't know," she whispered, knowing full well the truth that there wasn't a single soul on Pern who did. "But she was well loved, and more than worthy of the dragons' respect."

And that, too, was undeniably the truth.


Anne Inez McCaffrey
1.4.1926-21.11.2011
Rest In Peace