It is a great honor to be a Keeper of Arilinn and lead a circle of magic-workers, but the price can be higher than you ever dreamed.
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The pain had started.
Hilary was aware of it even in her sleep, but, knowing that her body needed at least another two hours' rest, she tried to ignore it. But the gnawing discomfort deep in her body would not be ignored; after an hour she gave up the futile attempt and threw on a robe, slipping silently down the stairs to the still-room to make herself a cup of golden-flower tea. She knew from experience that it would numb the cramping pain, at least a little. It might also, she thought, settling back into her bed, make her sleepy. At least that was what the other women said. Somehow it never seemed to work that way with Hilary. It only made her arms numb and her head feel fuzzy, and the room seemed unbearably warm as things swam in and out of focus. The effects of the tea wore off all too quickly, and the heavy cramping pains, contractions, Leonie called them, became worse and worse, moving up from her abdomen to her stomach to her heart, so that she felt constricted and aching, struggling for breath.
She had only to call, she knew, and someone would come. But in a Tower filled with telepaths, help would be there when she absolutely needed it ... and she didn't want to disturb anybody unless she had to.
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VAI DOM: Marion Zimmer Bradley writes that this short story "comes first in this collection [...] because it is, chronologically, the earliest in recorded Darkovan history, coming only a few generations after Darkover Landfall." A combination of drunkenness, powerful laran, and fighting the native Darkover bird-like creatures, the Ya-men, causes a blood debt between the childhood friends Darriel di Asturien and Robard Macrae. THE KEEPER'S PRICE: Tells the heart aching story of Callista Lanart making her decision to be Keeper of Arilinn, and not fully understanding the price she will have to pay to avoid the increasingly deadly crisis that Hilary endures for the sake of the Tower. THE HAWKMASTER'S SON: (2 of 4 of the Dyan Ardais Short Story Series) Another great story with Rafael Hastur and Rafe Syrtis, when they were cadets in the Thendara City Guard. However, Dyan Gabriel, the Regent of Ardais, will not stand for a commoner such as Rafe raising his status through a marriage that goes against the Comyn's authority. BLOOD WILL TELL: The second chapter of book one (pages 39 to 57) of 'Sharra's Exile' was previously published in a slightly different form as a short story: 'Blood Will Tell' in 'The Keeper's Price'. This is a sequel to 'The Heritage of Hastur'. This novel is a complete rewrite of 'The Sword of Aldones'. This short story takes place after 'Destined for the Tower' in 'Towers of Darkover'. It's a fantastic tale, (and one of my favorites), of how the damaged Lewis Alton met up with Dio Ridenow of Serrais on the pleasure planet Vainwal.