I read this set of stories in the 80's. What I recall is this:

A planet where the ruling caste was made up of humanoid women. These women would, as almost pubescent girls, go out into the wilderness with only a spear and attempt to kill an animal in a life or death struggle. When it happened, they would burst open a DNA packet in themselves that caused them to rapidly mature, their skin to become bronze colored, and give them some kinds of other "powers", I think over fire. They were called "Bahronas", I think. The population of this planet was primitive, but they were in contact with an advanced humanoid species, I think of actual homo-sapiens, who were there observing and advising them. The advanced species wasn't allowed to intervene, just advise and watch.

The main character was a castaway boy, crash landed on their planet and stranded. He became friendly with the ruling family of Bahronas and entered their confidence. We find out through the course of the story that he's been genetically engineered and is not a normal boy. At some point, the advanced species notices him and explains that he is a clone of a famous explorer and a spy, and they explain that they won't do anything in front of him.

The central part of the story is something of a blur, but, the final part of the story is told in a dramatically different style and shifts to a planet populated by catlike creatures who live in boughs of silk scarves, some of which sing. THey are recording devices which play back the songs. On this planet, there is another silk scarf, a white one, which doesn't play a song at all. The cat creatures are greatly disturbed by it when they hear it's message, which they don't understand. The narrator then goes on to say that it's a spoken word recording, made by the explorer which the boy was a clone of, explaining that he is captured and held hostage on the planet which makes the scarves, and forced to help make them (I think.)

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The Daughters of the Sunstone trilogy by Sydney J Van Scyoc. A review of the first book (Darkchild) summarizes the setting, and mentions the barohnas:

The planet Brakrath was settled accidentally during EarthExodus, by a starship strayed far off course; it's barely able to support human life, so its involuntary settlers had to adapt. Brakrath has harsh winters, and left to itself most of its solar energy is spread too thin to support much in the way of crops. Most of the people live in the mountain valleys; only their culture and that of the redmane guardians (women who follow the herds of horselike, intelligent redmanes native to the planet, with whom they can communicate) is shown in this book, although humans have spread to other areas of Brakrath and have different societies, shown later in the series. The valleyfolk, who have mutated slightly from the human 'norm' over centuries, are able to hibernate through the worst of the winters, but they'd still be hard put to it to survive if it weren't for another series of mutations among the redmane guardians' daughters, which produced the barohnas.

And a Google Book search reveals a mention of singing scarves.

  • Thank you so much! I'm going to order it right away! Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 20:02

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