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the Towers

General

Towers are the traditional place for the practice of laran. Within their walls, potential telepaths are officially "tested" in order to determine their psi abilities. Afterwards, the telepaths are instructed in matrix mechanics (in the time of Regis Hastur). Finally, nearly every significant use of laran takes place in the Towers for security reasons, as the Towers are protected by force fields (The Heritage of Hastur, p. 199).

The practice of laran is costly in human terms: it is extremely draining and, above all, very dangerous. During the Ages of Chaos a huge number of weapons were made within the Towers. Then, after the adoption of the Compact, the knowledge of laran-based weaponry was gradually lost, turning what had become a quasi-science into something akin to sorcery. The practice of laran was surrounded by legends and customs, which for the most part were based on real dangers, but to a large extent these dangers were greatly exagerrated. By the time of The Forbidden Tower, the Towers completely dominated the practice of laran. After this period, the Towers were still omnipotent, but they had lost some of their mystical character. The study and exercise of laran became more scientific. In the time of Regis Hastur, there was no longer any distinction made between the Comyn who chose to serve in the Towers and others. Indeed, a term of service in a Tower lasted for only three years at a time, and there had to be three years between terms, which encouraged (among the Comyn, at least) the spread of the understanding of laran (The Heritage of Hastur, p. 30).

The Activities of the Towers

The Towers engaged in numerous activities:
  • testing potential telepaths (who were, as general rule, Comyn)
  • developing young telepaths:
  • minimal training for all those who possessed laran, so that they would not pose a threat to themselves or others
  • advanced training for those who possessed an important Gift, and for those who worked in the Towers
  • working the relays (a unique method of rapid communication mediated by telepaths)
During the Ages of Chaos, the Towers were involved in many more activities, in particular the manufacture of weapons.

A List of Towers

The novels are not very precise about the location of the Towers. In the time of Regis Hastur, there were nine functioning Towers (op. cit., p.  182), but there were not enough telepaths for all nine to operate at full capacity. In op. cit. Lew Alton names five Towers which were still completely functional (op. cit., p. 304):
  • Arilinn: this is the most prestigious Tower and certainly the oldest, in which Lew and Kennard Alton served.
  • Hali
  • Neskaya
  • Corandolis
  • Dalereuth

The actual location of the Towers is a tricky matter. [There is very little information on this topic in The Heritage of Hastur, and so very little here...]


copyright 96-99 Fabrice Rossi (rossi@fr.darkover.org)
Translated by Michael J. Haas, from towers.fr.html

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