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Renunciates of Darkover
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Welcome to the house, sit down by the fire and have a cup of jako, it will help you to forget the cold from outside. I know your ride here has been long, let me tell you a story while you rest for a while. Do you know where you are, who we are and where we come from?

You have found the Renunciates, a group of women built on love, care and respect for each other, connected by the belief in the right of a woman to determine her own future. The Guild was created from two groups of women, the Avarra's Priestesses and the Sisterhood of the Sword, at the time of Varzil the Good. The first ones were healer priestesses trained in laran and the second were a guild of fighters and mercenaries in the times of the Hundred Kingdoms and the Wars of Hastur.

It all started in Thendara and it was a secret movement for about 200 years, up from when the Renunciates started to act openly and more Guildhouses were opened all over Darkover, like Neskaya, Dalereuth, Temora or Arilinn.

You may wonder why the Renunciates have a reason to exist. Well, they are an opposition to the male dominated society in Darkover. I am sure you have heard about the situation of women in the Dry Towns, where they carry metal bracelets on their wrists connected by a long chain that goes through a metal ring joined to the belt to show they are a possession of their men.

You may think things are different in the Domains. That's what people who live there think. Men consider themselves benevolent with their wives when they compare themselves to the Dry Towners. What the women in the Domains don't realize are the invisible chains they carry living under their men's authority.

Renunciates are a group of women who have react against these chains, don't accept the restrictions imposed to the women in Darkover and have chosen another way of life.

Let me tell you something more about the women you have met. We are a group of women who live following the Oath of the Free Amazons, according to a Charta kept at Nervasin. This Oath implies renouncing men's protection and dependence, and promising to take our own decisions and accept their outcomes. All the women bound by the Oath are a family and know that we can always count on each other and no sister would do anything to hurt another, as the Oath says "as my mother, my sister or my daughter, born of one blood with me".

A Renunciate who takes her oath must spend half a year in a Guild House learning the Guild's habits and getting rid of the bad habits they have been taught since childhood. During the first months of the housebond time she has to learn to behave honoring herself and the Guild. A Renunciate must learn to defend herself from any attack, with and without a knife and to avoid a fight if possible, while she takes care of her chores in the house, in the kitchen, the stables, the garden or wherever she is required.

You can find all kind of jobs among the women in the Guild, there are bakers, midwifes, soldiers, mercenaries, journey organizers, translators, hunters, smiths, trackers, healers... according to the Charta a Renunciate can have an honest job and must give part of her income to the Guild. We renounce to our family and home, but we will always have a family and a home. If you are sick, cannot work or are in a foreign city, you know you can count on a Guild House or call on any Renunciate and they will help you.

I have told you about the Guild in Darkover, but if you want to know about the Renunciates nowadays you should have a look at the rest of the website, don't worry, we will take care of your horse until you leave, have a good time among us.

by gabi n'ha Virginia