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Summary of The Heritage of Hastur

Regis Hastur is the grand-son of Danvan Hastur, Regent of the Comyn. He is now fifteen and at the beginning of story, he is coming back from the Nevarsin monastery. After three years spent studying with the cristoforos at Saint-Valentine-of-the-Snows, Regis is back in Thendara in order to serve as a Cadet in the Comyn Guard. This is the traditional duty of a Comyn heir, but Regis feels reluctant to obey to his grand-father. As Regis' father, Rafael, died before his birth, and as his mother didn't survive him longer, Regis was educated by his grand-father. He feels manipulated by this powerful man.
Just before arriving to Thendara, Regis meets Kennard Alton. Kennard is one of the most important Comyn Lords, and he is coming from Armida to Thendara for the Comyn Council. He is traveling with his two sons, Lew and Marius, and with his protégé, Danilo Syrtis. Danilo is approximately as old as Regis and Kennard wants him to serve as a Cadet. Dyan, Lord of Ardais, is also traveling with the Alton family.

Regis used to be a close friend of Lew when they were young. Just after their arrival in the Comyn Castle, they spend a few moment together. Lew uses his powerful alton gift to test Regis' laran. In spite of his feeling, Regis has the laran potential, but it is totally blocked. During his youth, Regis was so violently terrified by its own feelings that his mind deliberately blocked his laran. Regis feels useless and does not accept its heritage. He does not want to bear Comyn duties. He wants to travel through space. After arguing with his grand-father, Regis agrees to delay its departure for three years: he will spend this time as a Cadet in the Comyn Guard.

The day after Regis' arrival is the beginning of the new Cadet season. Kennard Alton is the Commander of the Guard. But in the morning of this first day, he falls down the stairs and breaks a couple of ribs. He orders to his son Lew to replace him. Lew's mother, Elaine Montray, was half-terran. Her wedding with Kennard was therefore not officially acknowledged by the Comyn Council: during his youth, Lew was a bastard. Kennard had the Council recognized Lew by testing him with the Alton Gift. If Lew had not had the Alton gift himself, he would have died. Since this test, Lew has been superficially accepted, but he feels still rejected. As Regis, Lew doesn't know which world he really belongs to. Kennard think having Lew assume the command will help to have him fully accepted by other Comyn lords.
Kennard has planned to name Dyan Ardais as cadet-master. But Dyan is well known to be a sadistic homosexual: persistent rumors accuse him of ill-treatment on a young Cadet during the previous season. Lew decides not to obey to his father and name the old Domenic di Asturien as temporary cadet-master. During the roll-call, Regis does not answer to its cadet name, "cadet Hastur". During this humiliating scene, Regis understand that being a Hastur won't make easier his stay in the Guard. In this evening, Lew has a quite rough debate about Dyan with his father. For political reasons, Kennard decides to maintain Dyan as cadet-master.

During his first days in the Guard, Regis does not suffer physically from the bad accommodation conditions. He is accustomed to Nevarsin where accommodation is worse. But he feels alone and begins to talk to Danilo Syrtis: they become friends. We learn that the Danilo's Brother was Regis father's personal guard. They were blown to bits at the same instant by contrebande weapons. A quite strange thing is that Regis' laran seems to wake up as he gets closer to Danilo.
Regis feels all the more alone as he practices fencing with Dyan because he is a really good swordsman. Many cadets think this is a favor, explained by Regis' birth. But in fact Dyan is so sadistic that fencing with wooden swords turns into receiving a hiding.

Some days later, Kennard takes back his Commander work and asks Lew to spent a few months in the hills in order to improve the fire-detection devices. Lew comes back to Thendara before midsummer. Just on his arrival, Kennard asks him to form an honor guard needed for a meeting between the Comyn council and the terran authorities about a very serious problem. Regis belongs to the guard. The council accuses the Terrans of non respecting the Compact: they sell modern weapons to Aldaran people. But for the terran Legate, Lord Kermiac of Aldaran is the true ruler in the Hellers: if he doesn't want to apply the Compact, the Terrans don't have to restrict themselves in this area. At the end of the meeting, no agreement is found: the Comyn will send an emissary to Kermiac, in order to urge him to apply the Compact. Kennard seems to be a good candidate as his wife Elaine was Kermiac's niece.

During the Festival Night (the Darkover summer solstice holiday), Lew meets a young and beautiful girl, Linnea Storn-Lanart. The meeting is planned by Kennard who wants Lew to marry Linnea: a Comyn Lord must have children as fast as possible in order to make sure that his laran gift won't be lost for Darkover. But Lew feels manipulated by the Comyn as a stallion might be. He feels more and more Terran and begins to wonder if Darkover is really well governed.
The next day, Danilo is expelled from the Comyn Guard : he has drawn a knife to Dyan Ardais. Lew understands that Dyan was strongly attracted by Danilo. But as a cristoforo, Danilo cannot have accepted a homosexual relationship. Dyan used his laran to heckle the boy who finally try to protect himself with his knife. Lew is all the more scandalized by Dyan's attitude as he has just discovered that Danilo has wakened Regis' laran. Danilo is therefore a catalyst telepath. Lew thought that this very important and rare gift has disappeared. He has a new debate with his father about Dyan. Kennard does not want to believe that Dyan did such a terrible thing. Danilo comes back to his father's home, full of hate toward the Comyn, including his ex-friend Regis. Lew leaves Thendara for Caer Donn in order to meet Aldaran (he takes the place of his father who is to ill to travel).

At the end of the guard season, Regis has become Dyan's friend. He decides to spend a few days at his sister Javanne's home, Edelweiss. On his way to Edelweiss, Regis stops to visit Danilo (who lives now in Syrtis). After a quite difficult beginning, the young men understand each other. Danilo relates his problems with Dyan: this criminal has used his laran to heckle Danilo. Regis swear to make the Comyn acknowledge the truth, so that Danilo honor can be restored. Regis and Danilo take the bredin oath: Danilo becomes Regis' paxman. Regis leaves Danilo and continues his trip to Edelweiss.

Meanwhile Lew has reached Caer Donn. Lew discovers an astonishing city, half-Terran, half-Darkovan, exactly as he feels. The Aldaran do not apply the Compact and they reject the Comyn rule. Lew meets his great-uncle Lord Kermiac of Aldaran (in fact the uncle-in-law of his father Kennard) and his "cousin", Beltran, Kermiac's son. He meets also Kermiac's foster-children and wards, Rafe, Thyra and Marjorie, Felicia's children (Felicia was Kermiac's wife foster-sister). Lew makes also Robert Raymond Kadarin's acquaintance. This strange fellow tells Lew the true Darkover story: the planet has been colonized by Terrans and therefore all Darkovans are also Terrans. During this talk, Lew understands that his father has concealed to him the truth about Darkover settlement. Kennard was aware of the truth because of his stay on Terra. Lew is a bit furious against his father and find therefore Beltran's project very appealing. Beltran wants to show to Terran that Darkovan psi powers do really work, in order to give to Darkover an important role in the terran empire. In order achieve his goal, Beltran needs to cooperate with a lot of telepaths: he will have to oppose the Comyn who control nearly all Darkovan telepaths with the tower system. Lew is all the more interested by the project that he is falling in love with the beautiful Marjorie. He tells therefore to Beltran the story of Danilo, the catalyst telepath, who might help them as he hates now the Comyn.

Regis has finally reached his sister's home, at Edelweiss, where he experiences his first attack of threshold sickness. Despite this attack, he returns quickly to Thendara in order to tell Danilo's true story. As soon as he has related Dyan's crime to his grandfather Danvan Hastur and to Kennard Alton, Regis has another severe threshold sickness attack. During this time, Lew and Marjorie spend some enjoyable days. Lew is training the would be laran circle, which is composed of himself, Marjorie, Thyra, Kadarin and Rafe. Beltran who has not a strong laran remains outside of the circle acting as a psi monitor. Kadarin has obtained from the old Desideria Storn the powerful Sharra matrix, goddess of the forge-folk. Based on Lew advice, Marjorie is chosen to be the Keeper of the new circle.

Regis is escorted to Neskaya tower, where he will learn to use his laran, by Javanne's husband, Gabriel. They have to go before to Syrtis in order to bring to Danilo a message from Danvan Hastur himself. On their arrival, they learn that Danilo has been kidnaped by men using a helicopter: they must come from Aldaran. Gabriel goes back to Thendara in order to notify Kennard about the kidnaping and he sends Regis to Edelweiss. Despite a new threshold sickness attack, Regis cannot bare to stay in Edelweiss without trying to help his dear friend Danilo. As a Comyn heir, he must have an heir himself before doing something dangerous: he decides therefore to adopt as a nedestro son Mikhail, one of his sister's children. After the adoption oath, he leaves Edelweiss and heads alone for Caer Donn. During this time, Lew is improving the strength and bounds of the circle. Kadarin and Thyra are extremely strong telepaths, far stronger than Lew, and Marjorie is "fantastically talented". Finally, the circle try and lift a helicopter with the Sharra matrix. This work but they fill manipulated by this strange matrix, which seems to be alive and evil. Thyra attracts the old Lord Kermiac in the circle against his will: this experience nearly kills him. Lew begins to fear Sharra's destruction power. After this unpleasant experience, Danilo arrives in Caer Donn and Lew has to use all his talent to calm him down and to make him forgive his kidnaping. Nevertheless, he doesn't want to join the circle without the authorization of his lord, Regis.

After an exhausting journey and a lot of threshold sickness attacks, Regis finally arrives in Caer Donn. Kermiac welcomes him as an honored guest, and tries this way to repair Beltran's mistakes. Relationships between the circle members are really strained and Lew begins to wonder about his own feelings: he craves for making love with Marjorie, despite his very strong laran training, which should suppress this sort of thoughts. Marjorie must remain strictly chaste as long as she acts as the Keeper of the circle. In fact laran activity itself should suppress any sexual potential, making men temporarily impotent: this is not the case when the circle works with Sharra's matrix. Lew begins to fear the power of the Goddess. Regis himself feels her threatening presence.

The day after Regis' arrival, Kermiac dies: he has not survived the shock of his forced contact with Sharra's matrix. The strain between members of Sharra's circle is very high. Beltran explains his plan to Regis, who thinks to an even more challenging goal: he wants to unite all Darkovan telepaths in order to show how powerful the planet can be. But as soon as he begins to talk about the Comyn involvement in his plan, Beltran goes raving mad. He orders Danilo to work with them. Danilo refuses. Lew tries to calm everybody. He now understands Sharra's power and purpose: the matrix is a deadly weapon which corrupts the soul of people who try to work with it. Lew wants to break the circle and to give back Sharra to the forgefolk. Confronted to what they consider as a treachery, Beltran and Kadarin turn mad. They jail Regis, Danilo, Marjorie and Lew. But before jailing Lew, Kadarin takes his matrix, which nearly kills Lew. He remains unconscious for three days. Marjorie wakes him up in the evening of the third day. She was in charge of his matrix and can give it back to him. She has physiced the guards with soporific and the four prisoners can try and escape from Caer Donn. Danilo and Regis will head for Thendara whereas Marjorie and Lew decide to go to Arilinn in order to warn the Comyn about Beltran's plans. During their trip in the wild mountains, Lew and Marjorie share "a bed, a meal and a fireside" which acknowledges a legal marriage. Unfortunately, a heavy storm prevents them to resume their trip. Lew tries to reach his father trough his matrix, but he discovers with dread that his matrix is blanked out by Sharra's matrix. He is almost controlled by the Goddess.

Regis and Danilo are slowly going closer to Thendara. They don't feel tracked by the Aldaran, but Regis has a lot of threshold sickness attacks. Moreover, he understands that he has fallen in love with his friend Danilo and he tries to conceal this love: he thinks that Danilo might compare his love to Dyan's lust. During a very strong attack, Regis gets very close to death. But Danilo saves him and Regis decides to tell him the truth about his feelings. Danilo admits this love and on his side, Regis admits his laran.

Lew and Marjorie are still unable to move because of the storm. In fact it is controlled by Thyra herself and after two or three days, an Aldaran helicopter comes to catch the fugitives. Kadarin hits Lew and forces him to take a strong drug. After that, Lew remembers only a long nightmare full of fire and destruction. During this time, on their way back to Thendara, Danilo and Regis meet Dyan and Kennard, and explain to them Beltran's betrayal. Kennard chooses to try and reach Caer Donn in order to help his son.

Lew wakes up a morning and feels no more drugged. He has been disfigured by Kadarin's ill-treatment. Marjorie joins him and explains what they have done with the Sharra's matrix with the help of Lew himself, drugged: they have destroyed Caer Donn with Sharra's fire. And Kadarin plans to destroy the Terran spaceport. Lew and Marjorie would like to commit suicide but Lew understands quickly that in order to stop Kadarin, they must sacrifice themselves while sending back Sharra behind the gateway they have opened. The circle starts its work, but Kennard his mentally there and is trying to help his sun. Lew concentrates Sharra's fire and send it directly toward the Goddess. He reaches his goal and finally manages to teleport Marjorie and himself directly in the Arilinn tower. The fire of Sharra has burned Lew's hand, turning it into a shapeless stump. It has struck inward through Marjorie's body. Callina, Arilinn's Keeper, cannot save her. Marjorie dies: "then her eyes blazed into mine, golden, triumphant, proud. She smiled, whispered my name, rested her head peacefully on Callina's breast and closed her eyes."

After Sharra's awakening, the terran Legate understands the real purpose of the Compact. He ratifies a treaty with the Comyn Council: terrans will enforce the Compact everywhere on Darkover. Radioactive markers will be used in order to trace terran weapons. After the signature, a Comyn council takes place. Regis officially takes the Comyn Oath and introduces his nedestro son Mikhail to the Council. Dyan admits that Danilo wasn't guilty when he was expelled from the Guard: he chooses Danilo as heir of the Ardais domain. Kennard tells to the Council that "the Sharra matrix can neither be monitored nor destroyed". He will take it offworld with Lew. Lew has nearly gone mad, but he might recover from his mind injuries, helped by Regis' love.

copyright 96-99 Fabrice Rossi (

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