Marri, my name is Marri. Or rather it's Margali, but some people find that hard to pronounce, so I go by Marri instead. I'm what you might call a child of two worlds. I lived on a planet known by all people of the Terran Empire as Cottman IV, but I've been unable to think of it as such. I know it as Darkover.
You might wonder then why I say a child of two worlds that's because I moved from my comfortable life on Darkover when I was seven years old. Then I moved around a bit, I'd lived on seven planets by the time I reached my twelfth birthday. Of course I have to really think about it to figure out when my birthday really is, because the names of months are different on different worlds, and we had a tenday system of twenty eight hour days on Darkover.
But wait you might say, that's seven worlds why would I call myself a child of two worlds then? Well it's quite simple, at age twelve we moved to Terra, and there we have stayed. I'm now sixteen years old. If I were still on Darkover I'd be considered an adult, but here on Terra I'm still a child.
My father passed away several months ago, and so my mother has decided she would like to go back to Darkover, to see her kinsmen again, and to be with her family, while she grieves. So I'll be coming with her. I don't remember much about my life back then, but I can speak several Darkovan languages easily. Caheunga and Casta are the ones I speak best, well besides Terran.
The red sun actually feels good on my eyes. And I realized I wouldn't have to wear those stupid sunglasses I had packed into my only bag I was allowed to bring. My mom declared it as such. We each brought one small light bag each, I could have brought more, I only the Terrans weren't so greedy. I brought a family picture, my sunglasses, a few favorite pieces of jewelry, a hairbrush, and a change of clothes. That was it. My mom brought even less, she brought some money, and our Terran identification.
That Terran identification? It think we could well have done without it, except that they checked it the second we stepped of that ship. But after that they didn't check it again until we were already on our way to the house my mom has possessed since her father died, leaving only her when she was my age. So she got everything her father had, even though it was very much against custom. My mom had been an only child, her father had been an only child, his father had been an only child, it went on for twelve or so generations. So the only other people who could have possibly inherited were rather far removed cousins. But I knew that by the laws of Darkover if my mother were to drop dead this second, I would get everything.
The house was as I remembered from childhood, it was well kept up and it was small But this house seemed as much home, if not more than the house we still owned on Terra. I supposed someday I would go back and live there, but I hoped it was a long time from now. I really like Darkover, and you are conditioned to everything you're ever going to get used to by the time you're ten, so I guess I was used to travelling, and to Darkovan customs, and that was all I was ever going to be used to. I even read once that your preference in men was set by the time you were seven. If that's true, then I guess I need a Darkovan man. And I like the customs of Darkover better than those of Terra, so I guessed I would most likely find a guy here more likely than me ever ending up with any of those five guys I dated on Terra.
"Marri!" That was my mother calling from downstairs. I had finished unpacking, I mean I didn't have that much stuff.
"Yeah mom?" I called back down as I made my way towards her voice downstairs.
"Someone's come to visit, they'd like to see their young kinswoman," My mother called back as I reached the bottom of the stairs.
"Yes mom?" I asked as I stepped into the formal sitting room.
"Oh," It was a woman sitting in one of the chairs who said this. She sounded quite dismayed. I looked at myself and could guess why. I was dressed in a short plaid skirt, and a red tank top. I had on tall red socks and black mary-janes. My hair was tied so I had a lot of it into a ponytail on the side of my head, and the rest of it just hung, wherever it could fit. My mom however was dressed for entertaining. She had on a nice Darkovan dress, and the soft indoor slippers that went with it. Her hair was pulled back with a cute clasp shaped like a butterfly, she had worn that clasp everyday of my life, it was almost as I her life depended on it. But I knew it was her decency, not her life on the line.
"Margali, this is your kinswoman. Her name is Ysabet," My mom said with a little bit of a warning to her voice.
"Hello kinswoman," I said politely. I had never heard of her, I was pretty sure the only family I had was my mom, and my dad's parents.
"Hello, I've mostly come, to test you," Ysabet said quietly. I was a little confused when she pulled a little blue gem on a chain out of a little pouch. But I sat down across from her anyway.
Ysabet looked into the gem and it started to glare with lights. It was really bright, and all those patterns made me feel nauseas, so I looked away. My kinswoman looked surprised and told me to look into it again. So I did. But this time I felt even worse. I fainted forward (which I only did when they forget to give me tablets to make me unconscious before they give me shots), and the last thing I hard before the rush of colors and lights which always accompanied passing out was Ysabet say "I can't believe it! We though the MacAran powers were dead!" Then it was gone and I was drowning in lashes of color, and light. But this time all the light was blue.
I came to about ten minutes later (I was never out for long). And there was a blue stone on a chain resting on my chest. Someone had laid me out on the couch, and that weird kinswoman of mine was gone. I picked up the stone and looked at it. It was full of blue lights and patterns but it wasn't making me sick. I watched it closer and closer until my mom suddenly cried out in alarm "Marri!" then I passed out again.