The Keeper's Peace [Darkover series]
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by Patricia Duffy Novak
Category: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Description: Ari didn't know his true parentage or why his foster mother insisted on sending him to Hali Tower. Neither did anyone at Hali--until he arrived there.
eBook Publisher: Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, 1991 Leroni of Darkover
eBookwise Release Date: November 2008
23 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [30 KB]
Reading time: 15-21 min.
"Like her story "Clingfire" in DOMAINS OF DARKOVER, this story uses characters from STORMQUEEN. And it's very much worth reading."--Marion Zimmer Bradley, author of the Darkover novels
Mira Lanart, the oldest matrix worker in Hali, felt the growing impatience of the boy in the visitors' room and gently signaled Coryn that it was past time that he released his hold of the circle. The night's work was well done, and the others needed rest.
The Keeper's irritated reply rippled along the link, Are we to bend ourselves to the will of this upstart Ridenow brat? But he let his hold of the circle slip slightly, acknowledging, at the same time, that her second concern had merit: his matrix workers were tiring.
He is Arielle's son, too, Mira replied, not caring who else besides Coryn picked up her thoughts. We who were her friends should be kind to him for her sake. Coryn said nothing. She had not expected him to answer.
She watched Coryn wave a strong but slender hand, breaking the link. His face, despite the hash of long-healed scars, the legacy of a matrix accident, was a mask of perfect Hastur arrogance beneath flame-colored hair; hair that was only just beginning to be touched by silver. It was a face Mira knew well; she had been a veteran matrix worker when Coryn first appeared on the doorstep of Hali.
Still without speaking, Coryn left the room. He no longer dined with his circle, but took his nourishment alone. With sadness, Mira watched him go. Just once could he not be one of them, could he not be the laughing boy she remembered from so long ago? She looked away from Coryn's retreating form. She supposed that dream was impossible.
With little enthusiasm or appetite, she forced herself to take some of the sticky fruit and nut candy and swallowed it dutifully. Even monitoring required energy, and at her age, she must be careful to replenish what she used.
When she had finished eating, she stepped out of the room and traveled down the stairs and through the long halls, finally reaching the visitors' room. She stepped through the force-field and saw, for the first time, Arielle's son.
What she saw nearly froze her heart. There was nothing at all of Arielle about the boy, and certainly he was no Ridenow. She would know that face anywhere. Eyes, hair, the arrogant tilt of chin. So very like! Renata should have warned them, should not have sent him here like this. Then she felt the boy's awareness of her own shock and she quickly barricaded her thoughts. "I am Mira Lanart," she said. "I knew your mother when she was here."
The boy stepped forward, a shy smile on his lips. "The Lady Renata told me of you. She said you were kind."
Mira smiled back. Perhaps not so very like, she thought. The boy lacks the arrogance and careless charm. There is something of Arielle in him after all. Aloud she said, "We welcome you to Hali, little brother. We have heard well of you from your foster-mother. She is certain you will make a Keeper."
Ari sighed. "Pardon me, Lady Mira. But I have no desire to remain in the Tower. Perhaps in a year or two the Lady Renata will rethink her position and recall me to Aldaran."
Mira tilted her head. "Ah, then. Perhaps she will." Quietly, beneath tight barriers, she came close to cursing Renata, who had sent the boy to Hali without telling him his true bloodlines. She forced herself to smile. "But come. You have traveled long and must be weary."
Again the shyness, the hesitation. No, not like Coryn at all. Not in any way that matters. Mira gently took his arm and led him through the barrier, toward the apartments they had prepared for him.