Summary of Winds of Darkover
by Laura Lulli
Daniel Barron is a young but qualified radio-technician, who has been working on Darkover for five years, when he is degraded for causing a terrible accident at Thendara spaceport. The slaughter was avoided only thanks to the great skill of the pilot. But Vice Co-ordinator Mallinson doesn't know that the accident wasn't Daniel's fault: in fact the young man has been suffering from splitting of personality. He suddenly happens to find himself in a castle between the far Darkover mountains, and the castle was attacked; he sees himself wearing a strange bird-like dress...and the experiences have more than a touch of reality.
When Dan presents himself to the Vice Co-ordinator to learn his destiny, he is sure he will be sent on a far and inhospitable planet, but Mallinson proposes to Dan a mission among the Darkovans, as Noble Valdir Alton asked for a man skilled in constructing binoculars, and optical instruments. Dan would refuse the mission, but the alternative would be exile from Darkover, so he decides to accept.
One more time, during the talk, Barron undergoes the same experience, and a beautiful red-haired girl, bound with golden chains and wrapped with fire appears to him.
In the meanwhile Storn Castle, fell in the hands of Brynat The Slashed, a bandit from the Barren Lands. The family of the Storn of Storn Castle was imprisoned: young Edric lies in the dungeons, Melitta was shut in her room, Allira was forced to marry Brynat and Loran Storn, eldest brother and head of the family, lies in the tower of the castle, wrapped in a plumed dress and protected by a magical laran shield. Brynat can't kill him, and Loran is the only obstacle that keeps the bandit from having the complete possess of the Castle.
Loran is blind, but he has a great laran, so that he can reach his sister Melitta's mind; he tells the brave girl to go to Carthon, where she will find someone to help her.
Melitta climbs the walls of Storn castle and reaches Allira's room; she explains her timid sister Loran's project, she comforts her and she flees through a secret passage.
In the meanwhile Dan Barron meets his new Darkovan colleagues, Gwinn, Colryn and Lerrys, who came to take him to the place where he will have to work, and he finds the first cultural misunderstanding: his wearing sandals and smoking cigarettes point him out as an ombredin...but Lerrys defends him, telling everyone that Dan is a chaireth, a stranger, under the protection of Alton family; he even change his knife with Dan, a great sign of respect among Darkovans.
Dan is puzzled by the long horseback travel, and splitting of personality is becoming more and more frequent, but a new surprise is waiting for him at Armida: Valdir Alton set in action a telepathic damper and discovers Dan's psi powers. Furthermore, Lerrys, that is the son of Darkover Co-ordinator, Wade Montray, saw Sharra in Dan's mind...
During the trip to the fireguard station, Barron's absence periods get longer and longer, and he hardly complete his mission, that is teaching optical techniques to improve fire defence in Darkover mountains, before the mysterious Darkovan mind completely subdues him.
The Darkovan man is Loran Storn, and he saves the Alton company from the Ghost Wind, which has started to blow, before stealing a horse and fleeing towards Carthon, where Melitta is waiting for him.
When he gets to Carthon, Dan/Loran ask an audience to the Voice Of The Prince, asking help to regain his Castle, and he presents himself as Loran Storn. But his blonde hair and terranan face are going to have him discovered, and only the lucky presence of his sister Melitta saves him. The girl, which was treated like a shameless woman, for her wearing manlike clothes and being without chains, explains to Kerstal, the Voice Of The Prince, that among the Hellers there's the tradition of splitting the role of the head of the family in two people: the real Loran is blind and invalid man, and rules his properties at home, while the blonde man standing beside her, which is a nedestro brother of Loran, represents him around the feud.
Alone with the stranger that talks to her like Loran would, Melitta understand finally what Loran did, but he explains to her that this is the only way to regain the Castle. Kerstal let them know that there won't be any help, so the brothers leave Carthon and go to Aldaran, to ask Kermiac's help.
At Aldaran they see many terranan, wearing forbidden weapons and meet a young and competent leronis, Desiria Leynier, that tells them she was instructed by Kermiac himself. Desiria explains them that at Aldaran experiments are made with very big matrixes, such as Sharra is, and also tells them that if Sharra's cult is still alive among Forge People, this would be the perfect solution to regain Storn Castle. In the plan, Loran, who is falling in love with Desiria, will be the power pole, and the young leronis will be the teneresteis.
But during the flight to Storn, Desiria sets in action a telepathic damper to drive the plane, and Loran loses the control of Dan's mind. The terranan regains the control of his body and gets very angry with Loran, but as he sees how Melitta is beautiful and brave, he decides to help her first. Moreover, he suffers from an attack of threshold sickness and Melitta is the only person able to help him: the two of them fall in love with each other.
The day after Sharra defeats Brynat and his bandits, and the Castle is regained; in the meanwhile Larry and Valdir reached Storn and everything is settled: Sharra's matrix is committed to Desiria, and she will marry Loran, and Loran won't be punished for what he did. In fact he went blind and invalid again, and this is a terrible punishment indeed: the rule wasn't only made to protect victims... Dan is released from his mission so that he can finally choose to stay on Darkover with Melitta: he found a new world to love....
source file (Last modification: Wed Apr 21 17:21:45 1999)