Ten Minutes or So [Darkover series] [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Marion Zimmer Bradley
eBook Category: Fantasy/Science Fiction
eBook Description: Dyan Ardais is much more popular than I ever conceived when I first invented him. This story takes place in an alternate Darkover; I wondered what would have happened if Dyan had become acquainted with Regis before destroying himself in his eyes.--MZB
eBook Publisher: Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, Published: Towers of Darkover, 1993
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2007
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Dyan-Gabriel, Regent of Ardais, and cadet-master of the Castle Guard, sat behind a worm-eaten old desk in staff quarters below the Guard Hall. Behind him, his secretary was writing lists, and at the far end of the room, a giant youngster named Hjalmar was testing a nervous cadet for knowledge of weapons. Dyan glanced up at the boy, noticing sleek, shining curls, and a lithe, agile body, but he had no time for the awareness now. At some other time he might have noticed the cadet's name, made a few carefully casual inquiries, marked the youngster for some attention at another time; even spoken a friendly, casual, not-quite-seductive word or two, just to let the boy know that Dyan was ready and willing to take a friendly interest in him, and perhaps a bit more.
But at this moment he had no notice for anything outside the circle of his own misery. He crushed the letter in his hand, as if he could annihilate both the Father Master who had written him this unwelcome news, and the news itself. Amory, he thought in agony. My son. My only son, and I never even knew him.
He knew the very place, under the cliff, where it must have happened. The students and novices at Nevarsin were forbidden to go there, but it was secluded from casual observation, and so of course it was a favorite place for the half-grown boys to go for private talk, confidences, or simply to heal the effect of being closely watched twenty-eight hours a day; and what boy of fourteen had ever cared for danger? Amory Di Asturien, called Ardais since Dyan had had him legitimated at twelve, certainly had had no thought for danger, nor for the rockslide that had ended his life in a great smashing of stone.
I am Heir to Ardais. I am forty-two years old. I have no son; and I shall never have a son. At that time, fourteen years ago, I could still demand it of myself, now and then, to ignore or overcome my loathing, hatred, fear of women. Not now. I know myself better than that. Amory, Amory! And I never came to know him well, because after the brief flare of passion when he was conceived, I had no wish ever to see Sybella again. I left him in her care, until I sent him to Nevarsin.
If I had known him better, if I had kept him with me and brought him up as my son.... Dyan strangled back a sob, thinking that Amory might at this moment have been among the young cadets down in the first-year barracks-room.