Youngest son of Dom Esteban Lanart's sister, Camilla Ridenow.
Fostered in the Kilghard Hills, he had three older sisters and five older brothers (the oldest being Lorenz, Lord Serrais),but he was the only one with much laran— he had the full Ridenow Gift. As a boy, he served in the Cadet Guards.
Damon was the sworn bredu of Coryn Lanart. One middle finger was crooked from a blow from Coryn's wooden practice sword. Beginning at age 17, he served for a few years in Arilinn Tower, only to be dismissed by Keeper Leonie Hastur as too sensitive, with the comment that had he been born female, he would have been a Keeper. This pretext of Leonie's turned out to have concealed a very different reason. After he left Arilinn, Damon reluctantly returned to the Guards, becoming successively cadetmaster, hospital officer, and supply officer.
Literate, nea-rsighted, right-handed in a lefthanded world, "little more than medium height, a thin pale man with the fire-red hair of a Comyn lord . . . the look of an indoor man, a scholar," he abandoned the military life, only to be forced back into it during the Catmen's War. Damon's double cousin, Ellemir Lanart summoned him to Armida after her twin sister Callista had been kidnapped. During the war, Damon had to use his matrix for healing Guardsmen. After a catman wound left Dom Esteban Lanart paraplegic, Damon carried Esteban's matrix sword into Corresanti caves (Esteban controlling the sword by the Alton Gift), destroying the Great Cat and freeing Callista, with the help of the Terran Andrew Carr.
The next winter, Damon again had to use his matrix as Keeper in an impromptu circle (later called the "Forbidden Tower") to heal 14 frostbitten field workers. He took Desiderio Leynier's matrix after the latter had used his Alton Gift to induce Andrew Carr to flee into a blizzard. To learn how to heal Callista, he undertook the ancient Keeper's task of Timesearch, there meeting his ancestor Varzil the Good, who hailed him as tenerezu (Keeper). After Desiderio killed Domenic Lanart-Alton by stealing his matrix, Damon took it away, only to have his Keepership challenged by Leonie as illegal. As Keeper, he successfully defeated Arilinn Tower in an astral battle lasting 15 minutes. (The duration of the battle grew with the telling as the years went by. Damon's daughter, Dorilys (Cleindori) said she had heard that the battle lasted the entire night.)