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Ok so I'm desperately trying to find the author/title of a fantasy book or perhaps a short story I read maybe a decade ago.

It focused on a female character who was "other" compared to normal people but she wasn't that rare- they were like a higher evolved human/somewhat magical perhaps. They seemed to be mainly noble/wealthy/of higher birth.

Their major feature that defined them from others was a 6th finger on each hand; the females had them amputated very early in life, and they were not allowed to partner/mate with males of the same ilk. They were encouraged to have other female companions - can't remember if they were allowed to marry non "other" makes.

The story focused on this one female who had not had her 6th fingers removed. She meets a male of her kind who she has a very strong reaction too; they exchange blood which activates immense power in them both. Turns out the females are the most powerful and especially when stimulated by blood exchange/sexual contact with a male?

I can't seem to remember anything else and I can't for the life of me find it anywhere!!

Anyone have any ideas???

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3 Answers 3

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Could this be (one of) the Darkover novels by Marion Zimmer Bradley?

A key race featured in the books are the Chieri who (normally) have six fingers.

Chieri are a non-human race native to Darkover. At time of Darkover Landfall they are a dying race, that traveled the stars and settled back to Darkover.

They are tall and willowy, with pale skin, silvery grey or golden eyes and long silky golden or white hair. They possess six fingers on their hands and are humanoid enough to reproduce with humans. They usually appear androgynous or sexless but are actually hermaphrodites, they change orientation depending on the need. When in their natural state it is known as emmasca, usually when they find a mate one must be male or female and this will cause a shifting of the other to be the opposite so mating and procreation can occur.

Darkover Wiki: Chieri

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  • Just saw this. I don't think so. Some of the Comyn (I think especially Aillard) have six fingers, and they are human, not chieri. But they do not have them removed; it is just accepted. But both men and women had six fingers. And people with six fingers married like anyone else. And nothing about the blood exchange activating power.
    – Basya
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 7:19
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After a torturous search for something similar, I have to ask - is it The Last T'En by Cory Daniells?

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Can you please describe this work and explain how it matches the question so the OP can recognize it?
    – DavidW
    Commented Jul 17 at 17:35
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Working off of Owlissa's answer, it looks like it might be Rowena Cory Daniells's Besieged, first book of The Outcast Chronicles.

For nearly 300 years the mystics have lived alongside the true-men, who barely tolerate them, until...

King Charald is cursed with a half-blood mystic son. Sorne is raised to be a weapon against the mystics. Desperate to win his father’s respect, Sorne steals power to trigger visions. Unaware King Charald plans their downfall, the mystics are consumed by rivalry. although physically stronger, the males’ gifts are weaker than the females. Imoshen, the only female mystic to be raised by males, wants to end the feud. But the males resent her power and, even within her own sisterhood Imoshen’s enemies believe she is addicted to the male gifts.

Sorne tries, but cannot win the respect of true-men. When he has a vision of half-bloods in danger he has to ask himself where his loyalty lies.

Convinced he can destroy the mystics, King Charald plans to lay siege to their island city. Will Imoshen win the trust of the mystic leaders and, if she does, will she believe the visions of a half-blood?

From this review:

If you enjoy stories laced with political scheming, you'll love Besieged. The world of The Outcast Chronicles contains two races, the true-men or Mieren and the T'En or Wyrds. There are many more true-men than T'En, mostly because the latter rarely breed true. Instead they bear the half-blood Malaunje, marked by mulberry eyes and six fingers and toes and copper hair. The T'En possess powerful mental gifts and the ability to interact with the empyrean plane and if necessary to battle its horrific monsters. These abilities, their difference in appearance and their longevity, the T'En are both feared and despised by the true-men and have largely retreated to their island stronghold called the Celestial City.

It looks like this series is set in the same world as The Last T'en by Cory Daniells (apparently an earlier pen name), as a "distant prequel" (despite the heroine of The Last T'en being born in this book. It could also be that you're looking for the 2nd or 3rd book of that trilogy, where Imoshen bears a cross-breed child.

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