Of the Shaping of Ulm's Heir

~ A Novelette in the Witch World Saga by Andre Norton


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Synopsis ~

Lord Ulric of Ulmsdale dismisses his first wife for not bearing a healthy child. He weds The Lady Tephana from the north and she to bears a child not of this realm.

 

Write-up from a fan ~

Lord Ulric has divorced his first wife, the Lady Elva, in order to take a second wife who could bear him the male heir he so desperately desires.  When the Lady Elva leaves Ulm Keep for the Abbey at Norsdale, she leaves behind her First Chamberwoman, Ylas, because the Lady has foreseen tragedy in the future, which Ylas with the aid of the goddess Gunnar can avert.  Lord Ulric's new wife, Lady Tephana, comes from a family considered to have tainted blood due to dealings with the Old Ones.  She brought with her her own chamberwoman, Maug, whom made most of the Ulmskeep people uneasy because of an aura of blackness that hung about her.  A month after their marriage, Tephana told Ulric she wished to make a pilgrimage to a shire of Gunnora, to pray for the successful birth of a male heir.  He grants this readily, but when the party sets out from the Keep, they don't go towards Gunnora's shrine.  Curious, Ylas sets out to follow them, but takes a shortcut which causes her to lose their trail.  When she arrives at the shrine, they aren't there and never do show up.  Ylas comes away from the shrine with her hands invisibly gloved in a protection against The Dark, and uses it when Tephana requires her to make a birthing cloth for the expected son. Despite this, the baby is born with cloven hooves instead of feet, and Tephana rejects him.  However, Ulric accepts the child and raises him as his heir. ~~ The beginnings of Lord Kerovan, whose further adventures are chronicled in the Gryphon series. ~ SL

 

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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • Tales of the Witch World (1987) Edited by Andre Norton, Published by TOR, HC, 0-312-94475-6, $15.95, 343pg ~ cover by Victoria Poyser

 

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