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Summary of Sharra's Exile

Prologue

Lew and Kennard Alton have already spent two years on Earth since Sharra's awakening (see The Heritage of Hastur). Despite numerous attempts, Terran medics were not able to restore Lew's hand: Sharra has likely modified Lew's DNA. But with the help of the constant monitoring of his father, Lew is recovering his mind control and escaping Sharra's domination.

Book one

Lew and Kennard have been away from Darkover for three years now. No Comyn had any contact with them during those years. Regis Hastur is now 18 years old and has just finished his training has a Guard. He learns now how to rule a domain by attending sessions of the Cortes. His lover, Danilo Syrtis, is being prepared to rule the Ardais Domain and spent the previous winter doing so in the Hellers. Danilo is now the adopted Heir of Dyan Ardais who is no more trying to abuse him.
The young men meet in Thendara the day before the new Council season. They spend the evening in a tavern and have a rough debate about Darkover future (during which we learn that Danilo's father is dead). They meet Lerrys Ridenow and his two close friends, Rakhal (Rafe) Scott and Marius Alton. Dyan Ardais comes also into the tavern with his new minion, Merryl Lindir-Aillard, the half-brother of Callina Aillard (Merryl his going to replace her for the Council). Merryl provokes Marius about his Terran blood and the debate had surely turn into a fight without the intervention of Gabriel Lanart Hastur (who is in charge of the Guard during Kennard's absence). Regis and Danilo finally end the evening with Dyan who informs them that he just had a son with Marilla Lindir (Merryl's twin sister). Danylo will be in charge of the child. Dyan congratulates also Regis about the son from him Crystal di Asturien is going to give birth to.

Lew and Kennard have been away from Darkover for five years now. As they arrive on Vainwal (a pleasure planet), they meet by chance Diotima Ridenow, who is there on "holidays" with two of her brothers, Lerrys and Geremy. The first meeting between Dio and Lew is a bit rough, but Kennard is eager to meet Darkovan people and invite the Ridenow to dine. After the dinner, Lew and Dio dance together and both feel very attracted by each other. The day after, they hunt together, using hawks and riding horses. They finally fall in love and despite her young age (about 16) Dio is courageous enough to bear a full telephatic contact with Lew, understanding and sharing this way the suffering he is enduring since Marjorie's death.

Lew lives since one year on Vainwal with Dio. He had never been happy again since his departure from Darkover, but Dio has managed to heal him and at least to make him more an more human. Moreover, she keeps Lew away from his father: they have been to close to each other during their five years of exile.
Dio discovers that she is pregnant, by accident. Lew and her decide to keep the child. At the beginning of the pregnancy, everything goes well. Kennard convinces Lew and Dio of the importance of an official wedding. So they finally marry. Kennard asks also to Lew to monitor Dio and the fetus (he is now to old to do that himself). Dio finally confesses Lew that she deliberately wanted the child because her brother Lerrys threatened her to bring her back to Darkover (and space travel is not allowed for pregnant women).
The strange result of a medical examination eggs Lew on to try and monitor Dio, but during this attempt he is nearly caught again by Sharra. Forty days before Dio's time, Kennard receives a message from Dyan Ardais: he must go back to Darkover otherwise the Comyn Council will give the Alton Domain to Gabriel Lanart. Of course, Kennard asks to Lew to come with him. But Dio gives birth prematurely to a still-born monster (a consequence of Lew's DNA problems). Lew sees the monster (for legal purposes) but he does not manage to keep its image out of his mind when he visits Dio. When she reaches this image, she has a nervous breakdown and medics send Lew away from the hospital. He spends some time with Empire administration in order to make legal arrangement for the cremation of the monster body. During this time, Lerrys comes to the hospital and takes his sister away from Vainwal. Lew decides not to follow them. Shortly after, Kennard dies and sends during his last living instant 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."

Book two

Regis is waked up by Marius Alton very early. Marius asks Regis for a favor: his close friend Rafe Scott stays with him in the Alton house in Thendara and he seems to suffer from a telepathic sickness related to Sharra. Regis feels anxious because he has just dreamed about Sharra. He goes therefore to the Alton house and manages to reach Rafe. They three young men begin to wonder about the return of Lew or Kennard: one of them might have brought back the Sharra's matrix. This is all the more dangerous as Kadarin and Thyra are alive (as told by Rafe). Regis feels uneasy as the return of the Alton might be a consequence of the warning he gave to Dyan: the Council thinks about giving the Alton domain to Gabriel Lanart.
The first day of the sixth Council season after the Alton departure happens shortly after these events. Prince Derik who has still not been crowned seems to be influenced by Merryl. The Council proposes to give the Alton Domain to Gabriel Lanart. But two challengers appears: Marius Alton and Jeff Kerwin Jr (aka Damon Lanart-Aillard). The situation is going more and more confuse as Derik announces that the Aldaran Domain is going to be reunited to the Comyn by means of the wedding he has arranged between Callina Aillard and Beltran Aldaran. In order to add more confusion to this situation, Lew Alton arrives suddenly in the Crystal chamber.

The Council is recessed for half an hour. Lew uses this time to dress in Darkovan clothes and to announce Kennard's death to his family (Marius, Jeff and Gabriel). Dyan himself is deeply hurt by this death. When the Council resumes, Danvan Hastur asks to the Council to delay the choice of the Alton Lord for seven days. The Council must now consider the problem of Callina wedding. Of course Callina does not want to marry to Beltran. But the older and most influent members of the Council (especially Danvan and Dyan) think that this marriage could be a good method to reunite the Comyn in order to face Terran colonialism. In fact, only the youngest members of the Council such as Danilo, Regis and of course Lew seem to remember Sharra's awakening and Beltran responsibility in these events.

Anyway, Derik has already invited Beltran for the Festival Night.
After the end of the Council, Regis has a debate with his grandfather Danvan about the relationship between the Terran Empire and Darkover. Danvan seems to be a bit narrow minded and wants to avoid any terran "contamination" of the Darkovan population. Regis seems far more open minded. Anyway, the situation caused by Derik stupid acts is going to be difficult to solve: a simple cancellation of the wedding might lead to a war between the Comyn and Aldaran. As the discussion is going on, Javanne and Gabriel rejoin Regis and Danvan for dinner. Despite Danvan wishes, Gabriel does not want to challenge Lew for the Alton Domain. During the evening, Sharra tries to enslave Javanne. But Regis manages to free her, acting based on an intuitive and ancestral knowledge of Sharra's true nature: Comyn's hereditary enemy.

After the Council, Lew goes with Marius and Jeff to the Alton House in Thendara. Rafe finds out some raivannin for Lew which enables him to silent the voice of his father in his head (constantly repeating his final order "go back to Darkover, fight for your brother's rights"). Lerrys Ridenow comes to order Lew to divorce from Dio, arguing that she does not want to see him anymore.
We learn on the next morning that Marius has spent one summer in Caer Donn, with Beltran. Marius thinks that he has the Aldaran gift, but he was not tested. On this morning, Lew goes to the Terran HQ in order to divorce from Dio. He meets the new Terran Legate, Dan Lawton who asks him to rejoin the Terran side in the Comyn Council. Lew tells Lawton the story of Sharra's awakening and learns from him that Kadarin is sought for by Terran forces. He has been seen a few days ago in Thendara.
On his way back home, Lew encounters Dyan who asks him also to rejoin his side in the Council, against the Ridenow who want tighter relationship with the Terran. But the debate between them is quite rough and Lew offends Dyan deeply: he reminds him that he is not a matrix technician.

Regis Hastur visits with Callina Aillard in the Comyn Tower (situated in the Comyn Castle). Callina tries to understand how Regis was able to rescue Javanne from Sharra. Regis must have a quite uncommon laran, related to a natural keeper ability, also related to the Hastur gift (the ability to work with other matrixes without the complex training of a normal keeper). Callina asks Regis to convince Lew to bring the Sharra's matrix in the Comyn Tower, under the safe guard of Ashara. Just before Regis departure, we learn that Beltran has started his journey to Thendara escorted by an army.
Regis encounters Lew on the way to the Alton town-house. During their talk, Sharra appears to them as a telepathic image. The two men start running toward the town-house. When they reach it, they have to face a robber team. The group leaded by Kadarin has set fire to the house and manages to flee, taking away the Sharra's matrix and leaving the dead body of Marius.

Lew has been wounded during the fight and Jeff heals him. After that, Gabriel has Marius' body carried to the chapel in the Comyn castle. Marius is buried two days later in Hali. A small procession goes there: Gabriel, Lew, Linnell, Jeff, Andres and rather surprisingly Lerrys Ridenow. Regis and Dyan rejoin them in order to pay homage to Marius. During the ride back to Thendara, Regis tell to Lew the story of a strange rumor among the Guards about an Alton child. Gabriel and Lew have no idea about who could have fathered such a child.
Back in Thendara, Lew goes to the Comyn Tower in order to visit Callina. He is looking for a way to destroy Sharra and would like to meet Ashara. Callina has a kind of absence: for a very brief moment, she looks remote and stony. Ashara will perhaps see Lew. Callina tells Lew about her fears: she is afraid by Ashara and moreover, the Council is trying to make her accept her wedding with Beltran, in order to save the peace. Lew and Callina understand at this moment that they have very strong feelings for each other.

Regis and Danilo have just spent the night together. Danvan Hastur disapproves this union and behaves toward Regis as if he were a child. Regis leaves his grandfather rather angry and joins Danilo and Dyan for breakfast. They talk about the political situation: Dyan would like to solve the Alton succession. He wants Lew to give up the Domain to the mysterious Alton child. Moreover, Dyan wants to ally with Beltran in order to use Sharra to threaten the Terran: he wants them out of Darkover. It seems now obvious that Merryl Lindir-Aillard, Dyan's minion, has used his influence on Derik in order to have Callina marry Beltran.
Regis leaves Dyan with some fear and anger. On the threshold of the Crystal Chamber, he meets Lerrys Ridenow. They have a quite rough debate: Lerrys thinks he Council is directly responsible of Marius' death. After this talk, the Council begins: there is no challenge against Lew. Lerrys makes short talk in which he urges the Council to make Darkover a full member of the Terran Empire and to give more democracy to Darkovans. He gets expelled from the Council. After this strong intervention, a Di Asturien lesser noble wants the Council to discuss about the wedding between Derik and Linnell. He finds that this sort of inbreeding is dangerous for the Comyn. But Danvan rejects his demand. Finally Danvan calls Beltran Aldaran for the seventh domain, which starts immediately Lew's indignation.

Lew tries to convince the Council that Beltran is dangerous. He says that there is a blood feud between Beltran and him, forgiving that blood feud is not allowed among Comyn. Callina asks to Beltran if he has sworn allegiance to the Compact. He plans to do so as soon as he will be accepted in the Comyn and he plans also to give his terran weapons to his promised wife, Callina herself. Callina resigns herself to marry with Beltran in order to avoid war between Aldaran and the Comyn. The handfasting will be held at Festival Night. Suddenly, a giant fire form of Sharra appears in the Council: Beltran and several other Comyn lords fly away from the room. After the disappearing of Sharra's illusion, Danvan declares the Council Session closed for the current year.
Lew remains alone with Regis in the room. In fact, Sharra's illusion was created by Regis himself, despite the telepathic dampers. Regis must have a very very strong laran, that he doesn't fully understand. Lew goes back to the Alton apartment in the Comyn Castle, but he feels restless. He cannot refrain thinking to Sharra and he finally decides to go and see Callina in her Aillard apartment. Linnell is there with Callina and Regis. Callina asks Lew to follow her to the Comyn tower to see Ashara. Ashara knows about the Sharra matrix. She explains to Callina and Lew that Sharra is a goddess and the matrix is a door through which she can reach our world. The only way to defeat her is to use the Sword of Aldones, a holy weapon kept in the rhu fead, the holy Chapel at Hali. But in order to get the sword, Callina and Lew need to find someone who is of Comyn blood and was not reared on Darkover, in order to avoid traps that protect the rhu fead. After the meeting with Ashara, Callina and Lew use one of the giant screens built during the ages of chaos in order to teleport people. They bring back to Darkover the perfect twin (the Cherilly twin) of Linnell, the young nurse that took care of Dio on Vainwal.

On the morning of the Festival, Regis goes to the Terran headquarters in order to meet up with Rafe Scott. On his arrival, Regis has a discussion with Dan Lawton, the Terran Legate. Lawton wants to capture Kadarin and threatens Regis with sending the Spaceforce in Thendara if the Comyn do not manage to catch Kadarin. After this, Regis speaks to Rafe and frees his matrix. Rafe wants to meet up with Lew in the Comyn Castle and Regis will try to arrange a meeting. On his way back to the Castle, Regis stops to see Beltran offering his Terran weapons to Callina. In a strong telepathic relationship with Dyan Ardais, Regis manages to destroy all the weapons. He discovers this way that Dyan has the Alton gift.
In the Alton apartment of the Comyn Castle, Regis meets Lew. They are soon rejoined by Rafe. He conducts them to the Aillard where they see for the first time the young Marja, daughter of Lew and Thyra. Marja was conceived during the captivity of Lew in Caer Donn, when he was drugged. The 6 years old child seems to already have a wakened laran.

Lew leaves Marja in Andres's care and goes to seek Callina. They spend a few moments with Linnell's twin, Kathie Marshall. She is still very tensed and close to madness. In order to protect her, Lew put a sort of barrier around her mind.
During the Festival ball, Lew dances with Kathie who seems to calm down. After this dance, Lew meets again Callina. She is dressed in a black gown which looks like the night flecked with stars. In fact, she is dressed as the legendary Camilla, and this is a quite direct insult to Beltran. Lew has a rather rough debate with Callina because she seems to resign to marry Beltran. Lew meets finally Dio. They quarrel about Dio's departure from Vainwal. We learn that Lerrys lied to her and to Lew in order to separate them. Moreover, Dio is jealous of Callina: she understands that Lew is in love with both of them. But they managed to stop quarreling in order to join a group dance. The ball keeps going on. Derik seems completely drunk. Just before the moonlight dance (a dance for pledged couples), Lew sees a strange man dressed as a harlequin. But he forgets him while dancing with Dio. He has after this dance a talk with Linnell: Derik is not drunk but ill. He cannot drink any alcoholic beverage and it seems that someone put deliberately alcohol in a fruit tasting drink so as to have Derik to drink it. Anyway, Merryl has taken him away from the Ball.
After that, Danvan Hastur celebrates the marriage between Callina and Beltran. During the dance that closes the handfasting, Lew suddenly recognizes the woman who is dancing with the harlequin: Thyra herself! The harlequin is in fact Kadarin. At the end of the dance, they use Sharra in order to have Lew with them again, but Regis uses his new born gift in order to rescue Lew. Sharra attacks then Linnell and manages to kill her. She also teleports Kadarin and Thyra out of the Comyn Castle.

Book three

As Gabriel arrests Beltran, Regis goes to seek Prince Derik: the young man is also dead. His shields were weakened by the drinks and he couldn't resist Sharra. Regis is now King of the Domains.
On the next day, Terran forces begin to seek Kadarin in Thendara. Unfortunately, this is not easily accepted by Darkovan and Regis writes a personal message for the Legate Lawton so that he withdraws his men. He goes to look for Dyan: Regis thinks he might be a good messenger. He finally discovers him in the Aldaran apartment, where he is having a discussion with Beltran. Dyan reveals his plans: he wants to use Sharra against the Terran, in order to eject them out of Darkover. But in order to do that he needs someone with the Alton gift: Sharra cannot be operated without this gift. Regis almost flies away from the Aldaran apartment in order to avoid revealing to them that Dyan himself has the Alton gift.

Lew spends the night after Sharra's attack with Dio who heals him and tells him that Lerrys has flown away from Darkover. On the next day, he prepares to go to the rhu fead with Kathie and Callina: they need to get the Sword of Aldones, the only weapon able to defeat Sharra. Dio and Regis would like to help them, but Lew refuses arguing this might be to dangerous. They go out of the Comyn Castle through a secret exit starting from the Alton apartment and they ride to the Hali lake. They enter the rhu fead (Kathie is under Lew domination when they go through the Veil). Inside, Kathie is able to reach the Sword of Aldones, a matrix shaped as a sword. But when they exit from the rhu fead, they find Kadarin and Thyra waiting for them. Kadarin tries to get the Sword but he is repelled by it. Thyra turns mad as she thinks to Marja: she strikes Lew with her dagger. He is grievously wounded.

Dio and Regis are going back to the Comyn Castle when they receive a telephatic scream from Marja. When they arrive in the Alton apartment, they find Andres's body: he has been killed by Beltran when he tried to protect Marja. Shortly after, Regis is reached by Dyan thoughts: he is now aware of his gift and has chosen to serve Sharra. But before doing so, he managed to hide Marja in an unknown place, out of reach from Beltran. Just after that, Regis learns from Danvan that Dan Lawton is looking for him. Regis and Dio go to the Terran Headquarter and Regis authorizes Lawton to send a helicopter to Hali in order to rescue Lew, Callina and Kathie. When the helicopter comes back, Lew is almost dead, but Regis gets the Sword of Aldones and turns himself into Hastur: he heals Lew instantaneously.

Lawton puts in jail Kadarin and Thyra. After that, Regis tries, with the help of Callina, to clean Lew's matrix but he can't: the bound with Sharra seems too strong. Just after this failed attempt, Lawton comes to tell them Thyra has disappeared and suddenly Lew is teleported on the forecourt of the Comyn Castle. The final battle between Hastur and Sharra begins. Regis and Callina are on one side with the Sword of Aldones and Thyra and Kadarin are on the other side with Sharra. Lew is teared between them. But Dyan arrives and frees Lew from Sharra. The battle goes on and Regis manages to strike Sharra with the Sword of Aldones. Kadarin and Thyra disappear with Sharra. After the fight, Dyan dead body lies on the ground of the forecourt: if he had chosen to join Sharra, she would have defeated them. Callina is also dead and Lew finally understands that she was more or less possessed by Ashara before. Regis' hair have turned white.

Epilogue

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 exile with his wife Dio and his daughter Marja: he is going to be the first representative from Darkover to the Imperial Senate.


copyright 96-99 Fabrice Rossi (rossi@fr.darkover.org)

source file (Last modification: Wed Apr 21 17:21:45 1999)