By Marion Zimmer Bradley

A Darkover sequence quantity, through the writer of The Mists of Avalon, provides 4 challengers to the planet's sacred traditions--ruling caste member Damon, his betrothed, Earthman Andrew, and Andrew's betrothed, a Keeper of the Sacred Tower. initially in paperback.

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Damon suspected that he simply missed Ellemir’s cheerful company. He was sullen and peevish, and made Dezi’s life a burden. Callista devoted herself to her father, bringing her harp and singing him ballads and songs, playing cards and games with him, sitting for hours beside him, her needlework in her lap, listening patiently to his endless long tales of past campaigns and battles from the years when he had commanded the Guardsmen. One morning Damon came downstairs late to find the hall filled with men, mostly those who worked, in better weather, in the outlying fields and pastures.

He exclaimed, drawing them up the steps at his side. “You’ve been long enough about your wooing, Damon. I knew last year that you wanted her; why did it take a war to bring you to the point of asking her hand? ” He turned his head from side to side, kissing both of them, then broke away and turned to Callista. “And for you a lover insistent enough to win you from the Tower! ” But his voice was suddenly gentle, and when Callista presented him to Andrew, he bowed. For all the exuberant noise and boyish laughter, he had the manners of a prince.

It was quickly apparent, as the festivities began, that the real purpose of this celebration was for the nearby neighbors to meet and judge Dom Esteban’s sons-in-law. Damon, of course, was known by name and reputation to all of them: a Ridenow of Serrais, an officer in the Guards. Andrew, however, was pleasantly surprised at how he was welcomed and accepted, how little attention he attracted. He suspected—and later knew he was right—that in general whatever a Comyn lord did was assumed to be beyond question.

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