Invitation to Chaos [Darkover series]
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by Joan Marie Verba
Category: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Description: Gwynn Alton hated his gift and the way it had been imposed on him. But when Thendara, the city he had designed and helped build, was threatened, he would do anything to save it, even combine the Alton Gift with the Hastur Gift of King Stefan.
eBook Publisher: Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, 1991 Leroni of Darkover
eBookwise Release Date: February 2007
27 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [37 KB]
Reading time: 19-27 min.
I felt as if I had just fought a battle. Comyn Council meetings were generally easy; Council Season was seen as more of a social occasion than a political one. No one expected any opposition to the proposal that the Keepers and workers in the Towers be allowed to sit and vote in council, but I was delighted to surprise them by objecting. It was an even bigger shock to them when the Domain of Alton split on the issue: me, the heir apparent to the Domain, in opposition, and my father, Lord Rafael Alton, just as strongly in favor. We argued to an impasse. The vote was delayed, which was a victory for me and a defeat for my father. I could almost hear the echoes in the now-empty Crystal Chamber. I sat back, put my feet up, and stared idly at the ceiling, savoring the moment.
"Admiring your handiwork?"
King Stefan Hastur reentered the chamber. Quickly, I put my feet down, but he motioned me to stay seated. With a smile, he walked to the Alton section and sat beside me.
I smiled back. Stefan and I were contemporaries. We were playmates as boys. I was fostered out for a year to Castle Hastur; he had been fostered out later to Armida.
"Quite a place you built," said Stefan. "If I had erected Thendara Castle, I think I might find a hill and gaze at it until I fainted from thirst."
I laughed. "That vain, I'm not. It just seemed to me that since all the Domain heads met here every year at the Thendara marketplace, we might as well make ourselves comfortable rather than camping out in the muck. Besides, it gave me something to do when I was penned up in that damned Tower."
"Ah," said Stefan, laying a finger to the side of his face. "So that's why you opposed the seating of the Tower Keepers in council--revenge."
"Revenge be damned," I said. "The telepath workers are getting too large for their clothes. I don't mind that they're organized so that they can do together what no telepath can do alone. But put them in Council and they'll begin to run Darkover, mark my words. They already want another Tower here at Thendara Castle, when I generously built them one as is. When my bones are moldering on the shores of Hali, that's when they'll add another Tower to this castle. I didn't build it for them; I built it so that they could serve us."
"You designed it, Gwynn. But they built it."
"They built it to my plan, and my specifications. I was in the Tower circle that erected it. They needed the power of my damned Alton Gift." I sat back. "That's all they're getting from me."