Tuesday, December 20, 2016
As Marion Zimmer Bradley explained it, the humans and Earth animals and plants on Darkover were brought to the planet in a colonizing expedition. The colonizers were people who wanted to live a "back to the land" or neo-medieval lifestyle, and most of them were of Scottish, Irish, or otherwise Celtic ancestry. There were not very many, no more than a few thousand it seems, as well as the crew of the ship who were not of the same genetic ancestry. Some disaster happened which destroyed their ship and their colonizing resources, forcing the voyagers to live a far more primitive life than they had expected. It took hundreds of years for them to re-invent an effective technology, and this was based not on silicon and metal but on Psi powers, which were a Celtic endowment increased by both inbreeding and secret liaisons with compatible empowered humanoid aliens, the Chieri.
Two thousand years later (there is no "canonical" timeline of Darkover) an expedition coming from Earth - a high-technology supermodern space empire Earth - re-discovers Darkover. Despite resistance from the Darkovan humans, the Earthlings re-colonize Darkover and build a spaceport as well as industrial and residential developments.
The story I'm illustrating here takes place in the re-colonization era. An arrogant Catholic priest arrives at the spaceport, intending to research how much the old settlers remember of the Faith. Ultimately the priest plans to return them to the true teaching and practice of the religion. In this scene he literally bumps into his assigned acolyte and assistant and goes right by him, not recognizing him as a helper sent for him. Later in the story the priest has to help in a life-threatening crisis which changes his attitude for the better.
Black ink on illustration board, 8 1/2" x 11", spring 1983.