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Jeff Kerwin grew up in the Spaceman?s Orphanage on Cottman IV, until he was forced to travel to Earth. When he wasn?t able to imitate their lost Earth son Jefferson Andrew Kerwin, he joined the Terran Space Service to make his way back home to Darkover. Around his neck he wears a blue stone. He?s had it for as long as he can remember, but he has no idea that it?s a matrix stone. Not only that, but that it use to belong to his mother, a leronis, the Keeper of Arilinn after the late Leonie Hastur.
With his red hair not hidden under a hood in the Trade City, he is mistaken for one of the Comyn. There are those who don?t agree with what decisions the Comyn has made for the people of Darkover. Some do want the Terran technology. A stone gets chunked at Kerwin?s head, by an unknown pitcher.
Because his Terran father thought ahead to give his son the best of both worlds, Kerwin has citizenship into the Empire. He hopefully and desperately tries to hunt down any records regarding his Darkovan parents. There isn?t any record of him ever being in the orphanage. The computers only give him the same repeated message, ?subject not found?, in all of his searches. He begins to feel as if he?s gone crazy; because he knows for sure that he was there and can?t prove it to himself, or maybe more importantly to anyone else.
Realizing that he will not be accepted as a Terran, and faced with a deportation order, Jeff abandons his Earth heritage, and searches for his answers in the Arilinn Tower. Unaware of the powerful intimacy between the members of the circle and the strong untapped empath laran he possesses, he finds himself reacting as a Terran boyfriend would, not like a Darkovan Tower technician should. Sleeping with Neyrissa is unlike any woman Jeff has ever been with before. When she comforts Auster with her laran the hatred between the two men explodes.
Being in Arilinn Tower, he not only learns about laran and psi powers and how to use his laran, he is taught how to use the matrix stone given to him by his mother. (I?d love to tell you who his mother is, but that would be a spoiler. It was an enjoyable surprise for me.)
There are only a few towers operating out of the once many from the Ages of Chaos, and none of them have a complete working matrix circle that Arilinn Tower now possesses with Jeff?s membership. With the tempting ease of the Terran technology exchange that the Darkovans want, it is a struggle for the Comyn and the Towers to retain the integrity of the Darkovan way of life, rather than becoming another Empire satellite state. To their credit, Arilinn Tower succeeds with finding the desperately needed metals (for industry and commerce), buying them some more time. Unfortunately, they soon discover that someone is compromising their efforts, from the inside. Jeff?s suspicions are on Auster Ridenow. Jeff and Auster have been at odds since they met. Jeff now fed up with not fitting in with either of his home planets and in addition to the misunderstood loss of Neyrissa?s intimacy, confronts Auster with a challenge to prove his innocence. Unknowing to Kerwin, Auster has a trap matrix set up to ensnare Jeff and prove his innocence instead!
To touch a Keeper is a powerful taboo that still remains, but since the Forbidden Tower changes are happening. The training required at a young age isn?t truly necessary anymore. Because of Damon?s efforts, anyone willing can be taught to use their laran and the matrix stones. The tower?s Keepers can be replenished from the general population. With this controversy and when Jeff?s feelings are reciprocated by Elorie Ardais, the Keeper of Arilinn, they both leave the Tower and circle. However, they don?t leave with the other members of their circle?s happiness for the couple. They don?t understand that Elorie can be both a Keeper and a lover.
Jeff Kerwin learns that he will never be accepted for either is father?s Terran heritage or his mother?s Darkovan heritage. He attempts to make a new life for himself with Elorie, who still retains her powerful laran.
It will be interesting to find out how this arrangement will affect the Towers and their Keepers in the near future. A result of the death of Leonie Hastur will be the end to Keepers that the Towers once possessed. Also, the greedy and irresponsible Empire is one step closer to getting their hands on the matrix stones. At this point in history, it seems that the Terrans and Darkovan will not reunite into the same civilization as they once were when the lost ship crash landed on Darkover, the planet of ?The Bloody Sun?.
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