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I would like people to explore the possibilities. After suffering declining health for years, Bradley died at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley on September 25, , four days after suffering a debilitating heart attack. Her ashes were later scattered at Glastonbury Tor in Somerset, England. In , Bradley was accused of sexual abuse by her daughter, Moira Greyland, who stated that she was molested from the age of 3 to I thought that my mother's fans would be angry with me for saying anything against someone who had championed women's rights and made so many of them feel differently about themselves and their lives.

I didn't want to hurt anyone she had helped, so I just kept my mouth shut. Greyland also claimed that she was not the only victim and that she was one of the people who reported her father, Walter H. Breen, for child molestation for which he received multiple convictions. By her own admission Bradley was aware of her husband's behavior although she chose not to report him.

In response to these allegations, on July 2, Victor Gollancz Ltd, the publisher of Bradley's digital backlist, announced that it will donate all income from the sales of Bradley's e-books to the charity Save the Children. Since the allegations were made public two of Bradley's children, Moira Greyland and Mark Greyland, have spoken at length about their experiences and a number of famous science fiction authors have publicly condemned Bradley.

Among the first was John Scalzi, who within a day of the allegations being made public, described the allegations as "horrific". Hugo Award winner Jim C. Hines wrote "All of which makes the revelations about Marion Zimmer Bradley protecting a known child rapist and molesting her own daughter and others even more tragic.

Diana L. Bradley stated that when she was a child she enjoyed reading adventure fantasy authors such as Henry Kuttner, Edmond Hamilton, C. Moore, and Leigh Brackett, especially when they wrote about "the glint of strange suns on worlds that never were and never would be". Her first novel and much of her subsequent work show their influence strongly.

At 17, she wrote her first novel The Forest House , her retelling of Norma ; it was published after her death. Bradley made her first sale as an adjunct to an amateur fiction contest in Amazing Stories in with the short story "Outpost". Her first professional publication was a short story "Women Only", which appeared in the second and final issue of Vortex Science Fiction in Her first published novel-length work was Falcons of Narabedla , first published in the May issue of Other Worlds.

Early in her career, writing as Morgan Ives, Miriam Gardner, John Dexter, and Lee Chapman, Bradley produced several works outside the speculative fiction genre, including gay and lesbian pulp fiction novels; I Am a Lesbian was published in Though relatively tame by today's standards, her novels were considered pornographic when published, and for a long time she refused to disclose the titles she wrote under these pseudonyms. Her novel The Planet Savers introduced the planet of Darkover, which became the setting of a popular series by Bradley and other authors.

The Darkover milieu is a science fantasy fictional world, with science fiction as well as fantasy overtones, as Darkover is a lost human colony where psi powers developed to an unusual degree, and work like magic, while technology has regressed to a more-or-less medieval stage. Bradley wrote many Darkover novels by herself, but in her later years collaborated with other authors for publication; her literary collaborators have continued the series since her death. Bradley took an active role in science fiction and fantasy fandom, promoting interaction with professional authors and publishers and making several important contributions to the subculture.

In her teens she wrote letters to the pulp magazines of the time, such as the above-mentioned Amazing Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories. Bradley contributed to several other fanzines, including The Gorgon and The Nekromantikon. In the s, as part of the contemporary wave of enthusiasm for J. Tolkien's fictional world of Middle-earth, she wrote two short fanfic stories about Arwen and published them in chapbook format.

One story, "The Jewel of Arwen" originally published in a different form in the fanzine I Palantir 2, August , appeared in her professional anthology The Best of Marion Zimmer Bradley , but was dropped from later reprints. She continued to contribute to different sci-fi and fantasy fanzines and magazines throughout her career. In , Bradley became a co-founder of the Society for Creative Anachronism and is credited with coining the name of that group. For many years, Bradley actively encouraged Darkover fan fiction. She encouraged submissions from unpublished authors and reprinted some of it in commercial Darkover anthologies.

This ended after a dispute with a fan over an unpublished Darkover novel of Bradley's that had similarities to one of the fan's stories. As a result, the novel remained unpublished and Bradley demanded the cessation of all Darkover fan fiction. Bradley was the editor of the long-running Sword and Sorceress anthology series, which encouraged submissions of fantasy stories featuring original and non-traditional heroines from young and upcoming authors. Although she particularly encouraged young female authors, she was not averse to including stories from men in her anthologies.

Mercedes Lackey was one of many authors who first appeared in the anthologies. Bradley also maintained a large family of writers at her home in Berkeley, California. Bradley was editing the final Sword and Sorceress manuscript until the week of her death. While the women manage to free the heavily pregnant Melora and her twelve-year-old daughter Jaelle, Melora dies giving birth to a son, leaving Jaelle in the care of Rohana. Jaelle rejects the Comyn life, rather choosing to stay with the Renunciates. The section ends with the Jaelle's request of her new foster-mother, Kindra: "Foster-mother, will you cut my hair?

Twelve years later, Terran agent Magda Lorne assumes Renunciate disguise under the direction of Rohana, in order to save her ex-husband, Peter Haldane, from kidnappers who believe he is Rohana's son. Just as Rohana's journey to rescue Melora was prompted by her male kin's refusal to jeopardize the Domains' political relationship with the Dry Towns, Magda's Terran employers refuse to rescue Peter for similar reasons. Magda travels alone, hoping to escape notice.

She comes across a group of genuine Renunciates led by the now-adult Jaelle. Magda's deceit is uncovered, and she is forced to take the Renunciate oath, the traditional punishment for a woman who takes the guise of a Renunciate without actually being one. Magda agrees to enter Nevarsin Guild House to begin training as a Renunciate, but secretly intends to escape and continue with the original rescue plan.

Shortly after parting from the other Renunciates, Magda and Jaelle are attacked by bandits. Jaelle is seriously injured. Magda must choose whether to abandon Jaelle and hold true to her responsibility to her ex-husband, or to uphold her oath to the Renunciates and to the injured Jaelle. Magda chooses to do both, taking Jaelle with her into the mountains, rescuing Peter, and then traveling with both to the Ardais estate.

Magda's conflict and eventual decision to abide by her oath to Jaelle and to the Renunciates echoes Rohana's earlier inner conflict in choosing whether to leave her life for the Renunciates or to continue in her life as Comyn nobility. Rohana chooses to continue as a noblewoman, but uses her position as head of a domain for good, taking her epileptic husband's place in the Comyn council and running her estate. Magda eventually chooses to pursue the life of a Renunciate. Jaelle, Magda and Peter shelter for the winter at the mountain estate of Ardais, with Rohana, her husband and children.

Peter meets the aggressive and intimidating Kyril Ardais, his doppelganger twin, the man the bandits has intended to kidnap. Jaelle learns that Rohana has chosen to remain a traditional Comyn woman to protect her children from her husband's enraged outbursts, and protect her epileptic husband from himself. Her experiences with the Renunciates have freed her, even if she has chosen a traditional path.

Jaelle chooses to become freemate to Peter, and questions both her choice to become a Renunciate at a young age, along with the decision to ignore her developing laran. In the spring, Jaelle, Magda, and Peter return to Thendara, where Jaelle must face her responsibility as an heir to a Comyn domain with powerful and untrained laran. Magda must decide whether to honors her oath to the Renunciates and to her now-dear friend Jaelle, or returns to the Terran zone to continue her work as translator and agent.

Jaelle seeks a third choice, choosing to live with Peter as freemates in the Terran zone in Thendara, undertaking Magda's role as translator. Magda chooses to comply with her Renunciate oath, agreeing to train at Thendara Guildhouse. Leonie tells him that she wishes to persuade Callista Lanart to return to Arilinn Tower and replace her as Keeper. The next day, a joint wedding is held — Ellemir is joined to Damon and Callista to Andrew in freemate marriage. Andrew recalls that Leonie has warned him that Callista was trained in the old ways of Keepers, and may not be able to consummate their relationship for a long time.

Desiderio Leynier, a nedestro relation Dom Alton's illegitimate son , creates trouble at the wedding feast. Guardsmen who have been caught in a blizzard are brought to Armida. When it becomes clear that some of the men will lose their feet to frostbite, Damon, working with Andrew and Dezi, uses his laran powers to restore their circulation.

The experience causes Damon to feel that laran-based healing should be available to all Darkovans, not restricted to the cloistered residents of the Towers. He reflects that it is commonly believed that this would bring back the Ages of Chaos. They become telepathically aware of the lovemaking of Damon and Ellemir. Andrew is overwhelmed the experiences of the past day and walks out into the courtyard to think. He is overcome by a compulsion to leave Armida, and wanders out into the snow. Damon realizes that Dezi has overpowered Andrew telepathically and driven him away.

Damon strips Dezi of his matrix. Damon decides to attempt timesearch — to contact Keepers in other times via the Overworld. He meets the legendary Varzil the Good of Neskaya. Dom Esteban has premonitions of evil menacing his son, Domenic. That night, Callista wakes from a dream in which Domenic has come to harm.

A guardsman arrives at Armina to inform Dom Esteban that Domenic has died during sword practice. Callista believes that he has been murdered.

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He designates Damon Ridenow as Regent of Alton. He dies as a result. Damon realizes that their actions constitute an unofficial matrix circle — a forbidden tower. Leonie Hastur informs him that she will bring charges in council regarding his illegal matrix work. The two couples confront the council. Callista and Andrew finally consummate their marriage. At dawn, they enter into the Overworld and build their tower. After a prolonged battle with Arilinn, Damon asks for a truce.

He tells Leonie that they have rediscovered the old way of working, where a Keeper need not be a cloistered virgin. He realizes that Leonie herself was trained in the old ways the illegal neutering of a Comyn woman , and mourns for her loss. The two couples return to Armida. In childhood, Dorilys is discovered to have weather-related laran, causing storms and lightning with her childish temper tantrums. Allart Hastur leaves Nevarsin Monastery, where he has lived for six years, learning to live with a form of laran that causes him to experience premonitions of multiple futures.

He meets Cassandra Aillard, the woman his family intends him to marry. He believes that any children they might conceive will cause her death. To avoid this fate, they become celibate tower workers at Hali. Scathfell wishes ensure that his son Darren marries Dorilys, who is now eleven. At the handfasting, Darren judges her to be much older than he has been told, and attempts to force her into sexual relations. Scathfell swears vengeance. Dorilys' half-brother Donal is sent to acquire assistance from Hali Tower for Dorilys. Donal Delleray also arrives, asking assistance for Dorilys.

Allart and Renata accompany Donal back to Aldaran. After working with Dorilys for a day, Renata warns Aldaran that while Donal has weather-related laran, Dorilys has the gift in a lethal form. She also asserts that Dorilys has already used her ability three times to kill someone she feared. Renata attempts to teach Dorilys control, over both her behavior and her laran abilities. She, Allart, Donal and Dorilys use gliders to reach the fire watch tower. Dorilys explains that she can see the past, present and future of the fire; that Donal has the same ability with storms.

Renata learns that Dorilys has the ability to draw power from the magnetic fields of planet. To circumvent demands made by his brother, Lord Aldaran betroths his daughter, Dorilys to her half-brother, Donal. Donal, who has fallen in love with Renata, objects, but cannot alter his foster-father's will. Donal and Dorilys are married on Midwinter Night. Allart uses his gift of seeing multiple futures, but is overcome by visions of death and destruction. He teleports his wife, Cassandra, from Hali Tower, for her protection.

He is warned by workers at Hali that Damon-Rafael, his brother, will march on Aldaran, to claim Cassandra for himself. About a week later, Rakhal of Scathfell, who has joined forces with Damon-Rafael Hastur, demands that Aldaran give over Dorilys to be married to one of Scathfell's sons.

When Aldaran refuses, the castle is besieged with laran-based weapons, including clingfire. Dorilys is able to avert the attack. After several more attacks, Lord Aldaran decides to use Dorilys' powers at full force against the attacking army, despite the warnings of Allart and the others. Allart's brother Damon-Rafael sends word demanding that Allart hand over Cassandra. After attempting to reason with his brother, Allart telepathically shows him the future he will bring to Darkover if he steals Cassandra and crowns himself king.

Rather than be the cause of such a future, Damon-Rafael kills himself. At the feast following the victory, Dorilys realizes that Donal does not love her; rather he is in love with Renata. Acting out of temper, she blasts Donal, killing him instantly. Renata gets Dorilys under control and drugs her.

Renata seeks Donal in the Overworld, but instead meets Dorilys as she might have been, self-controlled and emotionally mature. Dorilys tells Renata she must never again awaken, that her power is too dangerous. Renata leaves the Overworld and creates a force field around Dorilys. Her body is interred at Hali. The novel was substantially rewritten, expanded, and republished under the same title in ; Bradley's short story "To Keep the Oath" was included in this edition and all subsequent reprintings.

The expanded rewrite retains the basic plot structure but is more closely connected to several other Darkover books, especially The Forbidden Tower. It also changes the identity of one of Kerwin's parents, although the later book Exile's Song uses his textually original parentage as background information. Paul Harrell, a Terran convict, finds that he has been teleported to an unfamiliar world called Darkover by an aggressive warlord named Bard di Asturien.

In Castle Asturias, Carlina Asturien prepares for her handfasting ceremony. She tells her nurse that she would rather be a priestess of Avarra, serving the poor and sick. Instead, she is handfasted to Bard di Asturien, for political reasons, though the official wedding is planned for more than a year later. Bard's character — hot tempered, self-centered, misogynist, lacking in empathy — is revealed.

At the midwinter night festival, Bard gets drunk and tries to force himself on Carlina. Geremy Hastur intervenes, and Bard stabs him with a poisoned Dry Towner dagger that he claimed from the battlefield. Hastur survives, but is lamed for life. Bard is judged guilty and sent into exile for seven years. Bard returns to his father's home to say goodbye before he goes into exile as a mercenary. He meets Melisendra MacAran, who is fostered with his father's family. He uses his laran to force himself on her, but blames Carlina for his actions.

As Bard leaves the territory, Beltran and Geremy confront him, and Bard kills Beltran in a sword fight. He learns that King Adrin has died, and that his widow has returned with her infant son to her own kin. Geremy Hastur now claims the right to hold Castle Asturias and its lands.

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Bard's father, Rafael, asks Bard to return and support his claim to Asturias. He also learns that Melisendra has borne him a son, Erlend. Bard arrives at his father's home. The following day, Geremy Hastur's envoy arrives to request a truce so their armies may join together to repel an attack from Serrais. The truce is accepted. Bard marches his small army towards Castle Asturias, only to discover that the army of Serrais stands in his way.

In battle, Serrais is defeated. Bard meets with Geremy and demands to know Carlina's whereabouts, indicating that he continues to view her as his wife. He fails to retrieve her from the Island of Silence, where she has joined the priestesses of Avarra. Varzil asks Rafael di Asturien to sign on to The Compact, which forbids the use of laran weapons. Varzil also hints that the era of hundreds of autonomous kingdoms must come to an end if Darkover wants peace.

In the end, Rafael di Asturien and Bard clearly oppose it. Bard explains the basics of Darkover to Harrell, now called Paolo Harryl. He is passed off at court as a nedestro relation. Bard gives Melisendra to Paul, which backfires when they fall in love. Bard discovers that Paul is immune to laran-based illusions and decides to use him to retrieve Carlina from the Island of Silence.

Paul succeeds in kidnapping her, and returns her to Bard. Bard rapes her, justifying his actions with the claim that they are married which they aren't. Carlina uses her laran to overwhelm Bard with the empathy he lacks, making him feel the humiliation and fear of all of the women he has used.

Emotionally wrecked, he asks Paul to take over as Lord General. He admits that he is better knowing the truth about himself and about what he has done to those around him. He explains that Bard is a pivot around which history flows, and that Bard's acceptance of The Compact will help unify Darkover. Melisendra helps Carlina recover from her ordeal. Carlina realizes that the Priestesses of Avarra can work with the Sisterhood of the Sword to aid those unable to travel to the Island of Silence.

It's hinted that these two groups will eventually evolve into the Order of Renunciates. Castle Asturias is attacked. Carlina, Melisendra and others escape. Rafael di Asturien and his son, Alaric, die when a staircase collapses, and with them, the only legitimate claimant to the Asturias throne. Paul Harrell is crowned king, having been mistaken for Bard. He marries Melisendra. The real Bard returns to the castle with Varzil the Good. The tower workers join Carlina in nursing the wounded. Bard and Paul straighten out their mistaken identity problem, Bard claiming that Paul was acting as his proxy.

Geremy Hastur arrives, offering an alliance between Hastur and di Asturien. He reports that all of the Towers have now sworn neutrality, and that their stockpiles of laran weapons will be destroyed. The alliance must now hold Aldaran to his side of the Karadin River, since he has refused to sign The Compact. Aldaran attacks with clingfire, destroying the rest of the castle. Paul and Bard work to get the survivors out of the castle. Bard comes to realize that he must release Carlina in order to marry Melora, whom he truly loves. Despite numerous attempts, Terran medics were not able to restore Lew's hand.

However, he is slowly recovering his mental and emotional control. Regis Hastur is now 18 years old and has recently completed his training in the Guard and is attending sessions of the Cortes. His paxman, Danilo Syrtis, heir to the Ardais Domain, has spent the previous winter doing so in the Hellers. The young men meet in Thendara and spend the evening in a tavern, debating the future of Darkover. Lew and Kennard arrive on Vainwal. They meet Diotima Ridenow, who is on holiday with two of her brothers, Lerrys and Geremy. The first meeting between Dio and Lew is awkward, but they eventually fall in love.

Dio reveals that she is pregnant, gives birth prematurely and the baby dies. She has a nervous breakdown, and Lerrys, Dio's brother, decides to take his sister away from Vainwal and from Lew. Lew, believing that Dio has rejected him, decides not to follow. Kennard dies before they can return. In his last living instant, he sends a strong telepathic order, with the full Alton gift, to Lew: "You must go back to Darkover, fight for your brother's rights and for the honor of Alton and the Domain.

Lew Alton arrives in the Crystal chamber to claim the Alton domain. The mentally unstable Prince Derik announces that he has arranged a marriage agreement between Keeper Callina Aillard and Lord Beltran Aldaran, in an attempt to reunite the Aldaran Domain to the Comyn. Callina does not want to marry Beltran, but the older isolationist members of the Council especially Danvan and Dyan believe that reuniting the Comyn will help them repel Terran colonialism. Callina asks Regis to persuade Lew Alton to bring the Sharra matrix into the Comyn Tower and place it under the safeguard of the ancient keeper, Ashara Alton.

Just before Regis' departure, he learns that Beltran has started his journey to Thendara at the head of a massive army. Lew goes to the Comyn Tower to visit Callina, hoping to discover how to destroy the Sharra matrix. During their discussion, Callina tells Lew that she is afraid of Ashara and that the Council is trying to pressure her into the marriage with Beltran. Lew and Callina realize that they have very strong feelings for each other. Regis discusses the political situation with his paxman, Danilo, and Dyan Ardais.

Dyan wants to resolve the Alton succession by having Lew abdicate in favor of a mysterious Alton child that he knows about see Exile's Song. Moreover, Dyan wants to ally with Beltran so that the Council can threaten the Terrans with the Sharra matrix, forcing them to leave Darkover. Regis arrives at the Crystal Chamber for the start of Council.

Danvan Hastur calls in Beltran Aldaran to represent the seventh domain. Lew tries to convince the Council that Beltran is dangerous. Callina asks Beltran if he has sworn allegiance to the Compact, the most sacred of Comyn laws. He says that he will accept the Compact once he has been accepted in the Comyn and he plans to give his Terran weapons to his promised wife, Callina, as a wedding gift. Suddenly, a giant fire form of Sharra appears in the Council. Beltran and several other Comyn lords flee the room. Lew learns that Sharra's illusion was created by Regis as a warning, despite the telepathic dampers.

Lew is plagued with thoughts of Sharra and finally goes to Callina in the Aillard apartments, where he also finds Linnell and Regis. Callina asks Lew to meet with Ashara. Ashara explains that Sharra is a goddess and the matrix is a door through which she can reach our world. The only weapon that will defeat her is the Sword of Aldones, a weapon kept in the rhu fead, the holy Chapel at Hali.

To reach the sword, Callina and Lew must penetrate the defensive spells, which require a person who is of Comyn blood and was not reared on Darkover. Ashara explains that a Cherilly duplicate or unrelated twin might be able to defeat the defenses. Callina and Lew use a giant matrix screen to teleport to Darkover a Terran named Kathie Marshall, the young nurse that took care of Dio on Vainwal, who is the identical double of Linnell. He threatens to send the spaceforce police to Thendara if the Comyn fail to turn over Kadarin. In a strong telepathic rapport with Dyan Ardais, Regis destroys all of the weapons.

Through this experience, Regis learns that Dyan has the Alton gift.


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In Comyn Castle, Regis meets Lew, and learns of the existence of Lew's daughter, Marja, a six-year-old child who is already laran-aware. Lew leaves Marja in the care an Alton retainer, and goes to find Callina. During the Festival ball, Lew sees Dio. They quarrel about Dio's departure from Vainwal, and Lew discovers that Lerrys lied to both of them in order to separate them. Just before the moonlight dance, Lew sees a strange man dressed as a harlequin.

Danvan Hastur celebrates the marriage between Callina and Beltran. At the end of the dance that closes the handfasting, Lew suddenly recognizes Kadarin. Thyra and Kadaran attempt to compel Lew to join them, but Regis uses his newly emerged laran abilities to rescue Lew. The Sharra matrix kills Linnell. Kadarin and Thyra use the matrix to teleport out of the Comyn Castle. Guardsman Gabriel Lanart-Alton arrests Beltran. Regis discovers that Prince Derik has died as a result of Sharra. Regis is now Heir of the Domains. Regis seeks Dyan's assistance, and finds him in the Aldaran apartments, having a discussion with Beltran.

Dyan reveals his plans: he wants to use Sharra against the Terrans to expel them from Darkover. Regis flees the Aldaran apartments to avoid revealing that Dyan, himself, has the Alton gift and can therefore operate Sharra. Lew, Kathie and Callina retrieve the Sword of Aldones from the rhu fead. They are attacked by Kadarin and Thyra waiting. Kadarin's attack is repelled by the sword, but Thyra attacks and wounds Lew. He heals Lew instantaneously. Lawton arrests Kadarin and Thyra, but they escape. With Callina's help, Regis tries to cleanse Lew's matrix but fails; the bond with Sharra is too strong.

Dyan arrives and frees Lew from Sharra. Regis strikes the Sharra matrix with the Sword of Aldones. Kadarin and Thyra disappear with Sharra, but this action results in the accidental death of Dyan Ardais and Callina Aillard. Lew realizes that Callina was almost entirely possessed by Ashara, and was willing to marry Beltran in order to escape Ashara's domination. Regis' hair has turned completely white. After the death of so many Comyn, Darkover needs to change: it is going to become a full member of the Terran Empire.

Lew goes into voluntary exile with his wife Dio and their daughter Marja. He is going to be the first representative from Darkover to the Imperial Senate. She uses this gift to train hawks and horses. He gives her prized hawk, Preciosa, to her brother, who has no gift. He also refuses her requests for an education. When Romilly learns that her father intends to marry her off to a three-times widower, Garris of Scathfell, she realizes that leaving home is her only option.

Dressed as a boy, she escapes with a horse from the stables.

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Calling herself Rumal, she heads towards Nevarsin. Her hawk, Preciosa, appears in the sky, and provides her with a freshly killed bird, the first meal she has had in several days. Her fire attracts a company of men, headed by Dom Carlo and Dom Orain, who have three sick sentry birds that need care. They, too, are headed to Nevarsin, and Romilly takes over the care of their birds.

Romilly reveals that she is a cristoforo. Dom Carlo claims to be a kinsman of the deposed king, Carolin, and is fleeing his cousin, Rakhal, who has taken the throne by force. At Nevarsin, the company enters the cristoforo monastery of St. Valentine of the Snows. Romilly warns Orain. Orain and Carlo believe themselves betrayed, and leave the monastery, taking Caryl Hastur as a hostage.

At an inn in Caer Donn, Orain makes a pass at Romilly, believing her to be a boy, and is shocked to discover that she is a girl. He takes her to the hostel of the Sisterhood of the Sword where his cousin, Jandria, lives. He also asks Jandria to take charge of Caryl Hastur. Romilly becomes a member of the Sisterhood. Romilly returns to Jandria with medical supplies.

At Serrais, Romilly is assigned to train horses, among them a black stallion whom she names Sunstar. Several days later, the two armies engage in battle. Carolin learns that Lyondri is holding Orain and threatening to kill him. Romilly decides that she must enter Tramontana tower for laran training. Magda Lorne tenders her resignation from Terran service to her supervisor, Cholayna Ares, saying that she has taken an oath to spend six months in the Guildhouse of the Reuniciates at Thendera. Cholayna tries to talk her out of resigning, and Magda agrees to detached duty. She quickly discovers that her new husband, Peter Haldane, despite being raised on Darkover, has typically Terran sexist attitudes towards women.

Jaelle is asked by the legate, Russell Montray, if she can help one of his agents pass as a native. Magda meets with Mother Lauria at the guildhouse and learns the rules under which she will be living for the next six months. An injured woman named Keitha knocks at the door and asks to take the oath. Several days later, Magda, Doria and Keitha undergo a consciousness-raising session with her future sisters regarding her motives for joining the Renunciates. She experiences a vision of the Goddess Avarra. Jaelle meets with Kadarin, a Terran operative, to assist him in preping for a trip to the Dry Towns.

Peter, ever ambitious, ignores her. Jaelle realizes that Peter does not consider her an equal partner in the marriage, and that in many respects, she has broken her Renunciate oath by marrying him. In the Guildhouse, Bryna gives birth to a boy. Camilla tells Magda the story of how she came to be a Renunciate. When the Reunciates refuse, a fight ensues. Magda kills one of the mercenaries and comes close to killing the second, when Camilla stops her. Her failure to follow Darkovan codes of conduct get her in trouble.

Magda continues to struggle with the expectations of her Renunciate sisters. Cholayna asks Jaelle to intercede with the Guildhouse to allow some of the Reuniciates to work in the spaceport. After a private meeting with Mother Lauria, Jaelle joins the house meeting, which is a combination disciplinary hearing and consciousness-raising session. Afterwards, Jaelle mentions one guild member who is away on Sisterhood business, explaining that this organization is a remnant of one of the original groups that founded the Renunciates.

A diplomatic function is arranged between Danvan Hastur and a group of Terran officials. Russell Montray and Alessandro Li manage to offend their Darkovan hosts over the issue of airspace and local control. Rohana notes that Jaelle is pregnant with a daughter, and that this daughter will be the heir to the Aillard domain, which passes through female hands.

She explains that Jaelle has no choice; it is the law of the Comyn. A fire breaks out on Alton lands. A number of Renunciates volunteer to help fight the fire, including Magda. Carr recognizes Magda as an Intelligence operative, but does not give her away. Magda realizes that Ridenow and Carr treat those around them as equals, unlike the other Comyn nobility she has met.

Despite Magda, Peter and others explaining the breach of etiquette this could cause, they are insistent. Magda realizes that Carr must be warned. As Carr is leaving, Montray makes a scene, betraying his incompetence. Magda resigns, in part because she realizes her skills will never be fully valued because she is female. Jaelle tells Peter that their marriage was a mistake, that she wants to divorce.

When he cannot persuade her to change her mind, he hurls insults at her. Their discussion is interrupted by a loudspeaker page. As she decides to leave the Terran zone entirely, she learns that Alessandro Li has undertaken a journey to the Kilghard Hills without an escort. She determines to follow him, but Peter threatens to have the Terran authorities lock her up on the grounds that she is pregnant. Frightened, she throws him to the floor, and leaves believing that she has killed him.

Jaelle rides into the Kilghard Hills after Li. Jaelle and Magda ponder their failures — as married women, as Renunciates. Several days later, she miscarries. Magda hallucinates a mystical conversation that she does not fully understand. Later she perceives telepathic contact with Andrew Carr. Shortly thereafter, they are rescued. Alessandro Li is also rescued and persuaded to advocate for the removal of Russell Montray, in favor of a competent legate. He agrees to make no trouble for Carr.

Li agrees to arrange her divorce. Magda has another hallucination of mystical voices, who identify themselves as the Dark Sisterhood, working for the long-term survival of Darkover. Magda Lorne learns from her supervisor, Cholayna Ares, that a Terran operative, Alexis Anders, has survived a plane crash in the Hellers a week earlier. Five days later, she appeared at the spaceport with amnesia.

Later, in retelling the story to Camilla at the Guildhouse, Magda recalls her three previous experiences with mystical visions of the Dark Sisterhood, and crows, which seem to be their avatars. Camilla tells Magda that the Sisterhood is a secret society; that she and Jaelle were both invited to join, but refused.

Rafaella undertakes a travel commission from Alexis Anders, but leaves a note behind for Jaelle. Magda tells Cholayna that Alexis has taken the expedition under false pretenses. The expedition takes them high into the Hellers, through treacherous terrain. Magda goes into the Overworld to ask the advice of the Forbidden Tower, but is confronted by an ancient crone who repeatedly warns her to turn back. Magda refuses. The Terran women suffer frostbite and altitude sickness, but continue despite their troubles.

After about a week, they continue on their way, crossing the Kadarin River, and arrive at the city of Nevarsin. An arrogant leronis, who calls herself Acquilara, greets them with a great deal of self-importance and bluster. The women are suspicious of her and decide to leave the city. High in the Hellers, they meet Kyntha, who explains that they have arrived at the holy house of the goddess, Avarra, and offers to care for their injuries. Cholayna takes more than a week to recover. Marisela, a sister from the Thendara guildhouse, known to also be a member of the sisterhood, arrives, having followed their entire journey.

She explains that she serves the sisterhood, but is not one of them. The group continues on in their journey, now seeking in earnest the mysterious city of the sisterhood. The others fall unconscious and awake in a cave. Alexa Anders arrives, apparently under the control of Acquilara. She speaks abusively to all of those who have been attempting her rescue. Magda refuses to help. Magda and the others attempt an escape, but are recaptured. Magda has a vision of Kyntha, who tells her not to hate her captures, that it gives Acquilara entry into their minds.

Again, they attempt to escape and find themselves in an all out fight. Jaelle attacks Acquilara, and in the fight, both fall over a cliff and are killed. Alexis is wounded, and also dies. Kyntha now asks each of them what they seek. Camilla and Magda choose to enter the city of the sisterhood, while the others return to Thendara.

Having lost his son and heir in a battle with the men of Storn, Rascard, Duke of Hammerfell, marries the much younger Erminie Leynier. The couple's union produces two sons, Alastair, the heir to Hammerfell, and his twin, Conn. When the children are about 18 months old, Storn attacks with clingfire. Erminie escapes with Alastair and her dog Jewel, while a servant, Markos, who is carrying Conn, is separated from her in the confusion.

Eighteen years later, finds Erminie as Second Technician at Thendara. At a social event, Alastair meets his cousin, Floria Elhalyn, whom he has not seen since he was a child. In the remote mountains, Markos has raised Conn. He is living a Robin Hood-like existence, supporting the causes of the common folk who have been abused by Lord Storn. He presents himself to Valentine Hastur, who initially mistakes him for Alastair. Hastur arranges to reunite the family. Like Hastur, Conn finds little of worth about his brother. Alastair insists on riding to the mountains and leading a small army against Storn.

A fire breaks out on the Storn lands, and somewhat against his will, Alastair joins the fire brigade. He realizes that he is attracted to Lenisa of Storn, the granddaughter of Lord Storn, despite being more or less engaged to Floria Elhalyn. While fighting the fire, Alastair is injured.

Conn perceives this through the laran connection to his brother. A party sets out for the mountains. Alastair is taken to Storn Castle to recover from his burns. Lord Storn expresses a desire to see ended the feud between Storn and Hammerfell. Lord Storn tells Alastair that the land is played out, only good for pasturing sheep, but discovers that his soldiers have been burning out his tenants, rather than gently persuading them to leave. He explains to Conn what he has previously explained to Alastair, and suggests that the time for feuding is over.

Erminie agrees to marry Valentine Hastur. The keeper, Fiora, discovers that she has amazing but undisciplined laran powers. After observing the weather patterns and geography of the planet from space, a shuttle attempts to land. It crashes in the mountains during a snowstorm and is rescued by men from Aldaran. At Aldaran Castle, they are greeted by Kermiac of Aldaran, who can speak to Elizabeth because she is a telepath.

Elizabeth explains that they are an expedition from the stars looking for descendants of the Lost Ships. Leonie Hastur perceives a threat coming to Darkover from one of the moons. She uses her laran to link to one of the minds on the Terran ship and listen to the crew conversations, though she does not understand all of what she hears. She reports to Keeper Fiora that strangers are lost in a storm near Aldaran. Leonie contacts her twin telepathically, and tells Lorill to go to Aldaran.

After several days, Elizabeth tells Commander MacAran that Darkover should be considered a closed world, since otherwise, Darkover will simply be plundered. The others disagree. Leonie is sent to Arilinn for more advanced training. She establishes a telepathic link with one of the Terrans, Ysaye Barnett, and they converse frequently.

Ysaye introduces Leonie to Terran music. Elizabeth and Ysaye are deliberately exposed to kireseth pollen by a Ryan Evans, a crew member who means them harm. Evans is killed. Ysaye is severely injured and eventually dies. Lorill Hastur reports to the Comyn Council his recommendation that they should have no contact with the Terrans. She hires two children to guide them to Music Street in Thendara. Her conversation with the children ignites long-forgotten memories of the five years she lived on Darkover as a child. Several days after their arrival, Ivor dies in his sleep and is buried on Darkover.

After the funeral, Marguerida is approached by Captain Rafe Scott, who tries to explain how they are related, but discovers that she knows nothing of her own family history. At Rafe's suggestion, Marguerida hires Rafaella n'ha Liriel, a Renunciate guide, to assist her in her folk music gathering project. They successfully gather many songs, but Marguerida's dreams begin to be troubled by long-repressed memories of her childhood on Darkover. Marguerida becomes ill and the pair take shelter at the Ardais estate.

Istvana becomes aware of a presence in Marguerida's mind that occasionally controls her. With Istvana and Marilla's assistance, Marguerida confronts the presence, which turns out to be the will of a long-dead Keeper, Ashara Alton. Marguerida recognizes a keystone, a visual representation of Ashara's hold on her, and takes hold of it. She is able to dislodge the keystone with the unexpected assistance of Mikhail Lanart-Hastur, another house guest whom she barely knows. The experience leaves a "shadow matrix" in her right hand — the blue glowing outlines of the keystone that function as a matrix.

Having broken the "tower of mirrors," Marguerida begins to recover.

He demands that she decamp to the Alton estate, Armida, and finds himself on the losing end of a very loud fight. In the end, Marguerida hears her father's voice telling her that it will be alright if she goes to Armida. Before she leaves for Armida, Marguerida has an unexpected conversation with Mikhail. He tells her that his parents want to marry her off to one of his brothers and asks her to promise that she won't allow this. She turns down both of them.

At Armida, she finds her aunt and uncle, Javanne and Gabriel Lanart-Hastur, to be conservative, and they are shocked by her unconventional life and opinions. However, Liriel's twin, Ariel, is so unnerved by Marguerida that she and her family abruptly leave Armina, inadvertently causing a carriage accident that leaves one of her sons mortally injured. Ariel blames Marguerida.

He informs his relations that Dio, his wife, is ill and has remained behind in Thendara. He also explains that he has resigned as Darkover's representative to the Terran Federation Senate, and has been replaced by Herm Aldaran. Another loud argument with Javanne ensues. During the night, Donal Alar, a young boy, attempts to frighten Marguerida as a prank. She unintentionally uses Command Voice -- a trait of the Alton telepathic gift -- on him and send his spirit into the Overworld. Marguerida, Lew, Mikhail, Jeff, and others undertake the journey back to Thendara so that Marguerida can see her dying step-mother, Diotima.

In telepathic discussions with Mikhail, Marguerida admits that she needs to remain on Darkover and gain control of her new laran abilities. Mikhail explains the unspoken objection everyone has to their relationship — that a marriage between Mikhail and Marguerida would concentrate too much power, both political and laran, in a single couple.

During the trip, she points to the ruin of Hali Tower and asks what it is. It becomes clear that she sees the tower as it originally stood, while everyone else sees the ruins, foreshadowing events in The Shadow Matrix. The traveling party arrives at Comyn Castle. Marguerida discovers that her months of experiences on Darkover have left her more comfortable in the castle than she was the first time. Regis calls a meeting in the Crystal Chamber of whats left of the Comyn.

He further explains that the Elhalyn line has essentially gone extinct, leaving no one to inherit the Elhalyn kingship. These two problems leave Darkover vulnerable to Terran predation. Regis determines to reconstituting the Comyn Council to replace the Telepathic Council.

Marguerida admits to her father that the only man on Darkover she would willingly marry is the one forbidden to her. She and Mikhail quietly agree to make the marriage happen. Mikhail Lanart-Hastur is sent to the isolated Elhalyn estate to check on Priscilla Elhayln and her children. With the assistance of his tower-trained sister, Liriel, he is able to free the children from Emelda, though Priscilla dies in the process. Throughout his journey, he is accompanied by a crow. Marguerida Alton undertakes the study of matrix science at Arilinn Tower, though she does not get along well with the keeper or her fellow students.

Mikhail and his sister, Liriel, arrive at Comyn Castle with the five Elhalyn children. He describes to his uncle, Regis, his experiences at Elhalyn, explaining that none of the three boys are suitable to serve in the traditional role of Elhalyn king. They ride to the ruins of Hali Tower, and upon entering, find themselves in the distant past. The only resident of Hali Tower is its keeper, Amalie El Haliene, who tells them that the legendary laranzu, Varzil the Good, is living, but in hiding. Mikhail and Marguerida realize that he has sent for them, and determine to find him, despite the dangers.

At small lake cottage, they encounter the elderly Varzil the Good. Varzil says that he must pass his matrix ring to Mikhail, which requires the couple be united in marriage, so they can join their powers together. It becomes clear that Varzil intends to send the ring back to their present time, to protect it from capture by the powerful leronis, Ashara Alton see Exile's Song for a more complete explanation. Having managed the ring-swap, Varzil vanishes, stranding Mikhail and Marguerida in the Ages of Chaos.

After a month or more, they return to Hali Tower, and traverse time into their own present. They are rescued by Lew Alton, and returned to Thendara. His unexpected solution is accepted. They agree this means nothing good for Darkover. He particularly notices a red-haired girl named Illona Rider. Nico realizes that the two Terran agents are disguised as Travelers. Nico telepathically contacts his grandfather, Lew, and informs him of what he has overheard. Lew advises Nico to remain where he is, and sends Herm Aldaran, along with a few Renunciates, to join him. They shadow the Travelers, and Nico cultivates a friendship with Illona.

At a small village, the Travelers perform a seditious puppet show, causing a riot. Several people are killed. Nico learns from Illona that a man named Mathias, who has recently joined their troupe, is trying to stir up resentment against the Comyn with his plays. Nico realizes that Mathias has been quite successful in his propaganda efforts.

It becomes clear that Lyle Belfontaine, the ambitious Terran station chief, intends to take military action against the Comyn during the funeral procession. The Comyn make the trip to the rhu fead to inter Regis, leaving Lew Alton and a complement of guardsmen behind in Comyn Castle.

At a small village, Nico, Illona, and Herm join the funeral procession. Working in a circle, they cause the Terran soldiers to flee by amplifying the personal fears each man holds in his mind. They capture Belfontaine and return him to the spaceport. A separate Terran force attacks the funeral procession on the Old North Road. Mikhail and Marguerida use their ability to join matrixes to protect the Comyn from the attackers. Among the attackers is Francisco Ridenow, who has turned traitor.

He is repelled, but not killed. Lew and Marguerida join forces to make the surviving Terrans forget the nature of the battle that is, that it was fought with laran rather than physical weapons. Several months later, the Terrans abandon the spaceport and Darkover. A larenzu, Rumail Deslucido, arrives at Verdanta Castle, to make an alliance between Verdanta and his brother, Damian Deslucido, the ambitious king of Ambervale and Linn. Rumail tests each of the children for laran, then arranges a proxy marriage between the youngest daughter, Kristlin who dies about a year later.

He sends the youngest son, Coryn, to Tramontana Tower. At Tramontana, Coryn learns to control his laran, and to put aside his differences with the rival Storn family. Rumail Deslucido and his brother King Damian scheme to control more of the minor kingdoms of the Hellers, hoping eventually to challenge the Hasturs of the lowlands. Rumail reveals his laran ability — lying under truthspell and twisting the minds of others to do the same.

Eventually, Rumail is dismissed from Neskaya Tower for immoral or illegal use of laran. Taniquel Hastur-Acosta experiences a premonition of danger moments before Deslucido attacks Acosta Castle. The castle falls, but Taniquel escapes. In the forest, she meets Coryn, who gives her some of his supplies. After several days, they separate — she bound for Thendara and he for Neskaya. A month or so later, minor nobles from the Acosta region arrive to request Hastur protection from Deslucido.

Taniquel agrees to ride at the head of the army in the name of her unborn son. Damian Deslucido requests that the Comyn Council return Taniquel to his control. Taniquel tells her uncle what she has observed Deslucido says she was allowed to sit vigil with her late husband, but in reality, she was locked in her room. Ultimately, King Rafael believes her and supports her claim.

It is clear that Deslucido will declare war on Hastur. Aran, a matrix worker at Tramontana, informs Coryn that war is coming, and that the two towers must cease contact. Coryn urges his Neskaya colleagues to refuse to make laran weapons, such as clingfire. Belisar deserts his dying men. They gather local men to join the fight. Damian Deslucido learns that Verdanta Castle has been freed by Hastur. He marches out to meet the Hastur army. Taniquel, as regent queen of Acosta, joins the Hastur forces. They come under laran attack from Tramontana Tower, which Rumail now controls, but are able to throw off the veil of confusion.

Taniquel ventures into the Overworld to organizes a counterattack by Hali and Neskaya Towers. Neskaya and Tramontana attack each other in the Overworld. Rumail believes that a post-hypnotic suggestion he has implanted in Coryn years earlier will prevent Coryn from acting against him. Coryn is able to overcome Rumail, and Tramontana tower crumbles.

Oh no, there's been an error

Neskaya begins to crumble also. In battle, Taniquel takes Belisar Deslucido prisoner. She demands to know if he, also, has the ability to lie under truthspell. He confirms that he does. She learns that his father, Damian, has also been captured. Taniquel recommends to King Rafael that both be executed to wipe out the laran trait for lying under truthspell. After an audience with both men, Rafael comes to agree with Taniquel, and has them hung. Taniquel learns that contact with Neskaya has been lost. She and her men ride to Neskaya and learn that the tower has collapsed.

The surviving tower workers tell her that Coryn is trapped in the Overworld. Taniquel enters the Overworld in an attempt to free Coryn. She encounters what's left of Rumail Deslucido, and he tries to kill her, but fails. She finds Coryn but learns that he cannot leave the Overworld with his laran intact. She asks him to choose, and he chooses to return to the world with her. Taniquel returns to Acosta, as regent for her infant son, with Coryn at her side as consort and paxman. A ragged man, apparently Rumail Deslucido, arrives in a small village along the Kadarin River, with vengeance on his mind.

Rumail Deslucido, a bitter, corrupt and defeated laranzu, tells his twisted story to his only son, Eduin MacEarn see The Fall of Neskaya. He has sent each of his sons to kill the Hasturs, and each has died in the attempt. Now it is Eduin's turn. He charges Eduin with the duty to enter Arilinn Tower and befriend all, but to secretly kill any Hasturs he can.

Varzil Ridenow presents himself for admission to Arilinn Tower, but is turned away because he does not have his father's permission. Though his father, Dom Felix, is initially furious, events work in Varzil's favor and his father eventually relents. At midwinter, Carolin returns to court. Eduin and Varzil accompany him, meeting many of Carolin's extended family. Varzil becomes aware of the Byzantine nature of court politics. Carolin, Varzil, and Orain ride to Lake Hali.

Get PDF Death in Thendara (Darkover)

When Varzil attempts to wade in the cloud-lake, he perceives a matrix circle working with a large artificial matrix alive with non-human energy. He realizes that he is seeing a circle operating in the distant past and concludes that he is seeing the destruction of Hail Tower by Aldaran. Carolin drags his friend out of Hali Lake and takes him to the current Hali Tower for medical treatment. Carolin experiences a seizure, which Varzil believes but cannot prove was caused by Eduin.

On a ride to Blue Lake, Carolin and Varzil discuss the idea of a pact among all of the Hundred Kingdoms and the Towers, banning laran weapons. Varzil averts an attack on Carolin with a trap matrix weapon.