The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Four Sorcerers ~ Elwher, Metaldragon, Indagare & Lotsawatts

 


The Jargoon Pard - part 2

 3rd Novel in the [Witch World: High Hallack Series] by Andre Norton

 

 

 

[Bibliography Page]

[Coulson's Index]

See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey]

[Back to Contents]

[Expanded Reading Order]

[Read it Here]

[Updated: 09/21/2019]

 

Edition Used for Analysis:

(1983) Published by Ballantine Del Rey, PB, 0-345-31192-2, $2.50, 224pg ~ cover by Laurence Schwinger

 

Synopsis:

Following the custom of the Four Clans of Arvon, the Lady Heroise (sister to Lord Erach of the House of Car Do Prawn) will be the mother of the Heir to the House and Lordship.  When it comes time for her to give birth, she and her Wise Woman nurse Ursilla travel to the Shrine of Gunnora.  There they encounter a man waiting outside in the stable while his lady gives birth.  Heroise is certain she will bear the child who is the Heir to Car Do Prawn, but when the babe is born--it's a girl.  However, the other mother has just given birth to a son, so Ursilla casts a spell of sleep and forgetfulness on the mother and her midwife, then switches babies.  Kethan, as Heroise names him, grows up as the Heir, but is unsatisfactory to Lord Erach, as he cannot hunt, since horses and dogs seem to fear and abhor him.  Before he can be confirmed as Heir, there comes a trader in gems and other luxuries.  Kethan is drawn to a belt of fur with the buckle formed by a jargoon carved in the shape of a snarling cat's mask.   With malice aforethought, Lady Eldris (Heroise and Erach's mother, who favors Erach's children) gives Kethan the belt as a betrothal gift--he's supposed to marry his cousin and thereby secure the inheritance.  However, when he puts the belt on, he is transformed into the pard of the buckle's likeness.  Hunted away from the Keep, he encounters, and is saved by, his true father, unbeknownst to both of them.  Ursilla and Heroise realizing their plan has failed, hatch another plot to summon the girl child and somehow ensure that Kethan is made into the true child of Heroise, thereby giving Heroise the power and rulership she desires.  But Gillan and Herrel, and the girl they had raised as their own, pit their Powers against Ursilla in an ancient place of ceremony and win out over the evil she tried to raise. ~ SL

 

Timeline Points: Continued from WW: Books - Jargoon Pard, The - part 1

(First bullet point is actually # 60)

  1. p74-75. 'On the eve of the first full moon, I rode the last wain back from the final field, my bones aching as if I had never known any rest for my body.'
  2. p75. 'I noted that, though our head reaper had woven the last stalks into the rude likeness of the Harvest Maid and the men toasted her in the cider sent to the field, yet they did so without joy, but as if this, too, was a duty that must be followed. Nor did the Keep stand cheering as our wain trundled in, though a semblance of the proper ceremonies existed in that those of the Keep had turned out to see us come into the courtyard. And my uncle gave the signal for a second toasting to the Maid.'
  3. p79-80. Hulda: "I reckon there are eyes enough on our young Lady [Thaney]. She has sulked for days and her temper rises with the sun and does not set with it. Yesterday she threw her mirror at Berthed and cracked it side to side—" "That was when Malkin was on the stairs so long. I say she is one of the ears you spoke of" "If she can hear through door and wall, her ears are far better than most. She is so old I wonder that she can still creeps round." "Have you ever thought that Malkin might be—different?" "She serves the Wise Woman, but no other. I heard old Dame Xenia once say that Malkin came with the Wise Woman [Ursilla] and that, even in the days that are longer ago than any of us are now old, Malkin looked the same, like a worn old shadow barely able to creep about. You know she never comes into our solar, nor has she ever spoken, that I heard tell of, unless someone asks her some direct question. There is a strangeness about those eyes of hers, too." "Though she [Malkin] keeps them most times cast down in a way that veils them from anyone who looks upon her, yet, I tell you, when she goes into the dark, she never takes up candle or lamp to light her way, but walks straightly as if dark still be light to her."
  4. p83-84. Kethan transformes for the second time and is seen in pard form by Maughus and Thaney.
  5. p85. Of the Wild Hunt and My Flight Therefrom
  6. p86. '—a shape-changer had no good name among those of the Clans. Such a one was alien, one with the forest people, the halfling bloods that the wholly human never quite trusted.'
  7. p86. 'Dared I leap from the window, find a place to hide until moonset? That much lore I had learned from the Chronicles—that the full moon largely controlled such changes.'
  8. p91-92. 'The strip of woodland, while narrow, ran far to the north, reaching into the hill region usually avoided by the Clan people. That it had other inhabitants, I well knew, and some of them could be summoned by my hunters to give news of my going. Others were such as I had no wish to meet either as a beast or man.'
  9. p92-93. 'There was a flash of wings in the air over me. Then the same wings were buffeting my head, my shoulders. Pain lanced my body, as a great hawk used beak and talons on my back just above my loins. I threw myself down to roll upon the ground, beat up at the bird still so shaken by the sudden attack that I did not know how to counter successfully. Though I lashed out, squalling as any infuriated cat might, the hawk had achieved its purpose. I watched it rise, my last frenzied leap falling far short as the bird spiralled upward. In its talons hung the belt, swinging limply, its buckle still clasped, but the hide of its making clawed and torn into.'
  10. p93. 'The bird could not have been trained for such a purpose. No—the creature was either one of the unknown and to be feared aliens of the forest—or— A sudden through made me growl. Ursilla? I had no idea of the width of the Wise Woman's knowledge. But I had a hearty respect for what she might do. That she might accomplish such an act as this could not be denied. Now I was not even sure that the bird had been a true hawk. It was well known that those dealing with the Power could summon divers strange servants. While such an act had never occurred in the past when I had lived with Ursilla, I dared not judge this to be outside her range of talent. If Ursilla had the belt!'
  11. p94. 'Also, those in the woodlands who had friendship with the Clan people would certainly be alerted to give knowledge if they saw me. I knew that a pard was a best seldom if ever found this far north—being more truly native to the southwest Waste.'
  12. p96. 'There was more than one Wise Woman in Arvon. And there were others too—the Voices—the many who had mastery of one part of the Power or another. There were those right here in the forest who might be tricked or wheedled into sharing some part of their knowledge.'
  13. p97. Of the Maid in the Forest and the Star Tower
  14. p101. 'At last I crouched behind a fallen tree, gazing out into a glade where the moon shone clearly upon a pillar of glistening, flashing quartz—gemlike with life-fire beneath its light. For life of a sort coiled and flowed within its length, moving with the constant play of some imprisoned flame. At the column foot, encircling it, grew a mass of plants, each one crowned with a single silver-white flower, which opened their petals as if they thirsted for the same light. They gave forth a subtle perfume as fresh as any springtime breeze, though this was the autumn season.'
  15. p101-102. 'From behind the pillar of cold flame came the singer. She rested against one hip a wide, flat basket into which she dropped bloom heads she snapped from among the flowers. And as she made her choice she changed. In the moonlight her body was as white and fair as the harvest she was culling. Her only garment was a belt about her slender waist, from which depended a short fringe of skirt giving forth soft tinklings at her every move. This fringe was fashioned of silvery disks strung on fine chains, a number spaced on each chain. Between her small, young breasts hung the symbol of the horned moon, appearing carved of the same flaming crystal as the pillar about which she paced. Her long, dark hair was fastened at the nape of her neck with a band of silver, but strands brushed behind her fringed skirt, so long were the locks.' (Aylinn)
  16. p104-105. 'The forest structure was not round nor square, the two most common forms of towers, but five-pointed, like a large representation of the floor-painted star I had seen in Ursilla's private chamber. Between each of the points was set a slender pole, reaching as high as some narrow windows that were visible in the second and third stories. The rods or poles gleamed with a faint light that surrounded the Tower itself with a haze. I guessed they might be some form of protection perhaps more effective than any know to the Clans. The stone of the Tower itself under its radiance had a glisten quite unlike the rough look of normal blocks, and was a dull blue-green. There was also a glow of light in several of the windows that I could see as I crept around the outer rim of the clearing to view the Tower from all sides. That this was the home of my Moon Witch I did not doubt. Nor did I believe she lived there alone.'
  17. p105. 'The Tower had a single entrance to the north, a small door nigh indistinguishable from the wall, set in one of the crevices between the points.'
  18. p106-107. 'Some men speak ignorantly of White Magic and Black, meaning that which is wrought for the benefit of mankind and that of the Great Shadow, which ever threatens him. But those well into the Mysteries do not speak so—rather they aver that Magic is divided otherwise, and each part has both a dark and a light side. There is Red Magic that deals with the health of the body, physical strength, the art of war also. Secondly comes Orange Magic, which is a matter of self-confidence and strong desire. Yellow is the Magic of the mind, needing logic and philosophy, that which the Thaumaturgists most dealt in. Green is the hue not only of Nature's growing things and fertility, but also of beauty and the creating of beauty through man's own efforts. Blue summons the emotions, the worship of whatever gods men believe in, prophecy. Indigo is concerned with the weather, with storms and the foretelling by stars. Purple is a force that is drawn upon warily, for it carries the seeds of lust, hate, fear, power—and it is far too easily misused. Violet is pure power among the spirits, and few, even of the Voices, can claim to harness it. While Brown is the Magic of the woods and glades, of the animal world. Those of the woodlands about which I knew aught were learned in the Green and Brown. And of all Magics, these are the closest to the earth, the less easily misused. However, no one with the talent ever draws upon one magic alone, but mingles this spell with that, seeking to draw the innate energy of what is most inclined to the result the sorcerer desires. All can be misused, thus coming under the Shadow. But he or she who chooses that path reaches for a Power that may recoil eleven-fold upon them if they have a stronger desire than they have talent.'
  19. p108. Of How I Dreamed and of What Ill Followed
  20. p108-111. Kethan's spirit is drawn into the 'Shadow world' by Ursilla.
  21. p111-112. 'But, as my senses returned, I saw the woman who stood on one of the paths radiating out from the points of the Star Tower, those that divided the herb garden into sections. Memory returned slowly. I raised my head, knew that I was still a pard, caught in the beast trap. Something had saved me from Ursilla, for the moment—that I understood. I gazed wonderingly up at the woman, sure that my escape was her doing. She was not my Moon Girl, though she was as slender of body. And her face was youthful, save for her eyes, which carried years of full wisdom mirrored in them. Though she was plainly a woman, yet she wore breeches, a jerkin, both of green to blend with the plants knee-high around her. Her hair was tightly plaited, the braids wound about her head to form a soft crown of dark brown in which there was a tinge of ruddy light. Also, her skin was an even brown, as if her life was spent much in the open.' [This is Gillan.] 'I recognized a wand of Power, yet this was unlike the rune-engraved one that Ursilla kept in her most private box, for it was not carved of bone with mystic words inlaid in black and red. Instead, the woman's rod more resembled a freshly peeled branch, straight, unknotted. At the tip, turned toward me, was a single outstretched leaf, shaped like a spearpoint, of a very bright green.'
  22. p115. 'My unplanned wandering had brought me back, I saw, to the small glade where the pillar and the moonflowers stood. In the sunlight, the latter were tightly closed, showing only gray-green buds and a few badly withered, dead flower heads, while the pillar itself lacked the core of fire that had blazed hight during the night.' 'I touched nose to the pillar. It was stone, not crystal—dead stone. Nothing lingered here any longer to feed my hope.'
  23. p117-118. Something of the dark drives Kethan and other forest animals to flee before it.
  24. p119. Of the Snow Cat and What Chanced in the Haunted Ruin
  25. p119. Kethan is caught in a giant web.
  26. p120. 'My fighting against the web had tethered me to a tall standing rock. This, I now saw in the light of day, bore deeply incised carvings, which were so old and timeworn that it was difficult to distinguish any real pattern from their curves and lines. A second such pillar reared some feet away, and it was between the two that the web had been anchored.' 'Just as I had known that the Star Tower held no evil within its protective barriers, in fact, could be refuse of sort against the Shadow, here was that reversed. From the pillar beside me came an emanation of cold, of a deadly chill to turn a man's heart and mind into frozen ice.'
  27. p121. 'The two pillars between which I was prisoner were backed by a tumble of rocks. No—not rocks! They were, in spite of the erosion of time, too carefully shaped. There had once been a building there—the pillars mounting guard before it. Now that ancient blocks had fallen in upon each other in a heap. No grass had rooted about them, though the cracks were filled with a bleached looking earth. In fact, there was no vegetation within a wide area about the ruin. And in the middle of the rock pile gaped a dark hole.' 'Out of the hole, moved by stiff jerks, came a segmented leg. Upheld at the end of that a claw stretched wide enough to perhaps tear the throat out of my pard body. And, though the leg was covered by a hard encasing substance not unlike that of an insect carapace, yet at each joint of the segments there sprouted a tuft of course gray-white hair.'
  28. p122. 'The hole, the longer I stared into it, was not entirely black. There were small yellow points of light, very dim—but still there. I counted eight set in two rows. Eyes!' 'Then out of the hole came once more the leg—or arm—and then a second such! Beyond those only the eyes were visible, the rest of the creature lying deeper within the den.' [A giant spider creature similar to those found on the Isle of Usturt?]
  29. p122-125. A snow cat seals the web weaver in it's ruin with a loose stone building block, frees Kethan from the web and speaks mind to mind. [This is Herrel.]
  30. p126. 'I could see the rider now. There was only one within sight. He rode clad in mail, an ornate battle helm on his head. Mounted on that was what appeared to be alice-size eagle, its wings half upraised as if prepared for flight. The horse he bestrode was not akin to those of the Clan fold, but plainly of the same blood as the ones I had seen pastured by the Star Tower, the hide dappled, the legs longer than normal.' [This is likely the Wereriders Harl.]
  31. p128. Kethan's 'Moon Witch' appears riding one of the Wereriders horses. She puts a crystal globe with a sprig of glowing vegetation around his neck that turns him back into a man.
  32. p129. 'I had a blurred impression of a dark head bent over me, a thin face, well browned by sun and weather, above which the hair peaked sharply. His was a secret face, one to keep thoughts and words locked well within. Like the Tower woman, one might have judged the stranger in the flowering of youth, but the eyes, yellow as any cat's, were old—weary and old.'
  33. p130. Of Those in The Tower and How I Chose Danger
  34. p131. Herrel: "We must discover who he [Kethan] is, from whence he comes. I do not believe from the Gray Towers. Yet what other Werestrain walks this land? And he is not of the Shadow."
  35. p132. Kethan: "I am son to the Lady Heroise, his sister." "That is a clear human line," the man continued. "How came you then under the Were spell? Was it laid upon you?"
  36. p133. Aylinn: "There is a pied hawk in the air. It has four times circled the garden. I do not think it hunts—but rather watches." Gillan: "The wounds you bear, Clansman. They were scored by a hawk's talons. What enemy have you?" "One only with the Power—the Wise Woman, Ursilla."
  37. p134. Herrel: "Put forth your hand!" When I had done so, he cupped his under mine, raising my palm closer to study the lines that met and crossed there. I saw again his faint change of expression. "It is not the belt that wrought your change. That only provided a key to open the door."
  38. p137. Herrel: "I have a question concerning this Ibycus, the trader. You felt nothing in him of the Dark?" I shook my head. "Rather, he seemed otherwise. Almost I wondered if he was some messenger or scout for the Voices." "The Voices, now there is a thought that bears shifting. Perhaps there approaches a time when once more we of Arvon must choose sides. Short indeed has been our peace."
  39. p139. Aylinn: "…there is another key besides the belt. We cannot tell it to you, that is the geas—the command to be fulfilled—that enwraps it. If you can learn that secret, then you shall be far greater than you believe. Now—I may say no more, by the Power I hold in my small portion. I only trust that you shall find your key!"
  40. p141. Of the Discovery I Made and How I Planned to Put It into Use
  41. p141-146. Kethan searches first within his pard nature than with the help of the pard searches within his memories to find the key to unlocking his abilities.
  42. p146-147. Harl passes Kethan again on his way to the Star Tower.
  43. p147. 'Under the waning moon, on top of the rocks, I began my struggle. Just as I had fought to regain memory, now I turned within my mind to the building of the conception of Kethan as he was—a man! More and more detailed grew that picture. Finally, I held it finished and firm. So Kethan was! Truly this was like forcing a key to try in the lock of a stubborn door. Then— The night wind was cold about my bare body, which now was not provided with a coat of fur. I stood, throwing my arms high toward the moon, so exultant in my triumph that I could have shouted aloud.'
  44. p148. 'Thus began my self-schooling. I lay in hiding during the day, but, at night, as the moon lessened, I would turn my key—and the power to stand as Kethan grew each time I marshalled it to my service. I believed that with the coming of complete dark of the moon I could be ready to attempt Car Do Prawn.'
  45. p149. 'Dimly, as if it had been voiced a year ago, I remembered the talk of a muster of forces at the Keep of our High Lord, the coming together of the Redmantle Clan. I had not counted the days I had spent in the forest—the day of summons might have already arrived.'
  46. p151-152. Kethan enters the keep and is confronted by Ursilla.
  47. p153. Of How I Was Prisoner to Ursilla and My Mother Foretold My Future
  48. p155. Ursilla: "You shall do as I bid. My messenger, who left his marks across your loins, did very well. I hold the belt."
  49. p157. Ursilla entraps Kethan in her pentacle.
  50. p160. 'I knew them for her [Heroise's] greatest treasure for such aided in foretelling. They were not generally used among our people. It was said that they were not of the Power of Arvon at all, but one of the tools that those who had opened Other World Gates in the past had drawn through for service here. They were seldom put into use as there were few learned in reading any meaning they had to tell. That my mother could do so was her great pride. At Garth Howel, this much talent had she shown, rather confounding those who had instructed her in the mysteries, for she was not otherwise greatly endowed.'
  51. p160-162. The Tarot reading.
  52. p163. 'I would not have been so impressed had I not been struck by the answer she had read from the Magician, that which had puzzled her so. Master of skill and wisdom—I was very far from that. There were such—one heard tales of them—the Voices, others, some of the Dark, some of the Light. But they dwelt apart and one might not see one in a long lifetime—nor even meet another human who had seen one!'
  53. p165. Of How the Three From the Star Tower Took an Interest in My Fate
  54. p166-167. 'First, I studied the candles burning on the star points. That they in some manner controlled the barrier imprisoning me was a thought that grew steadier. Their flame was orange-red. Those colors mixed, related to physical strength of the body and self-confidence. Yes, those were the Magics Ursilla could well draw upon. What stood against them?' 'Against the red of the body stood—yellow of mind? No—that was not what I searched for now, since yellow employed logic in which I had no learning or skill. What, then, opposed Thaumaturgy—solid learning? Theurgy, which was of the emotions, faith and belief—Blue! Now what would confront that orange shade of self-confidence—overwhelming belief in one's own Powers? Again I sought— Within the world of nature, man did not create aught but his own image. Or did he? He who dwelt with beauty did so humbly, knowing that he was but the tool, not the true maker. He could foster beauty—cherish it. But that which new from his own efforts—never was it as wonderful as it had seemed before he brought it into being. Therefore, he was always the seeker, never a fulfilled believer who had accomplished the full sum of what he had wished to do. Green was the Magic of that seeking, lying in all things sprouting from the earth. Blue and green.'
  55. p167. Kethan spirit travels. 'This was not the room I had known! There as no bed—nothing as I remembered it. Instead, on the walls were looped strings of shining disks, winking with some inner light of their own. Three people stood within a circle formed of a chain of the same disks, a circle that was broken in five places by a tall standing, bright silver candlestick in which burned a green candle. The flames that showed therefrom were blue and green, even as the walls about.' [Herrel, Gillan, & Aylinn]
  56. p167-172. The three from the Star Tower help feed Power to Kethan to help him change a candle flame to green-blue to free him from the pentacle.
  57. p172. 'Arvon has its secret tongues, those born of the Power through many ages. I judged that most of the library Ursilla had collected was of very old lore.'
  58. p173-174. 'In the light of the candles the Lady Eldris stood there, staring at the scene before her as one looks upon some nightmare come out of the night into the day. She raised her right hand and made one of the Power-averting gestures that are common among those without the talent. Sometimes, if backed by a well-endowed amulet, they are effective against the weaker manifestations of the Shadow.'
  59. p174. Ursilla: "I know why you wrought so, my Lady. But what is done by the Power can be undone. Kethan shall be Kethan again. And in that hour, look to your own safety, Lady. Often a broken spell will recoil upon the head of him or her who had the laying of it, even if not through their own use of Power but through their employment of others who can do so. Would you, yourself, care to run the forest on four feet—furred—with perhaps a hunt up against you?" She had moved toward the Lady Eldris and now she thrust her face very close to that of my grandam.
  60. p176. Of How I Chose Not the Beast's Way and of the Secret of Ursilla
  61. p180. Ursilla takes Kethan deep beneath Car Do Prawn. 'Then, when I had begun to believe that the steps would bring us to the fabled Earth Center from which all life was said to stream long again, they ended in a passageway.' 'It was far older than Car Do Prawn itself, I was now sure, perhaps dating back to the First Age of Arvon before the warring of the Lost Lords. That would put such an age on it as few men could reckon.'
  62. p181-182 'Ursilla's wand moved in her hand, back and forth, swinging from left to right. Now a brilliant fire shot from its point and touched something ahead that answered with a glow. Then there was an answering glow to the left, one to the right—an island of light lay before us. So we came into a circle of radiance. For circle it was. Tall monoliths of rock formed the place. Each was carven into the likeness of a seated or enthroned being. Straightly their bodies sat on blocks of stone, facing inward—save that they had no faces! Where features might have been wrought, there was naught but an oval globe. Globe, I say, because they were not stone; rather some other substance behind which light moved and wove patterns. From the globes the light of the place spread. Awakened by the beams of Ursilla's wand, it lapped from one figure to the next, until all showed blind but brilliant countenances. Above the globes were ornate headdresses, each varying in detail from the next. Their bodies were human in shape, but muffled in cloaks so that details were hidden. Each had stretched forth a hand (I say hand, yet the appendage was more like unto a claw so slender were the "fingers"). And the hand held objects, again each differing. Here was a ball incised with patterns, there a wand not too unlike those of the Wise Women, again there as a flower, with petals widespread. But the one that Ursilla faced had in its hand a man—small as a child's plaything, drooping limply as if dead, or perhaps not yet called to life. The sight of the carved human struck through my dull acceptance of the place, disturbed whatever spell of lethargy had been laid upon me. For it suggested that men were but the playthings of the forces these faceless ones represented, and that hint of slavery aroused protest in me. In the very center of the circle ws a brazier wrought also of the stone.'
  63. p183. 'Not of the Shadow, not of the Power—what then composed the force lingering here? Something so old and elemental that it was beyond the boundaries of good and evil, existing first in a time when neither of them had been born to eternally war in the lands and hearts of men.' 'To one glowing globe, then to the next I raised my eyes, only to look quickly away again. The light patterns, forming and dissolving, the colors changing from one hue to the next with hypnotic speed—one might be caught and held by such.'
  64. p183-184. Ursilla: "My Power guided me here many seasons ago. Then I searched out the most ancient of our rune rolls to read the riddle of this place. Before we were here—and we are old beyond the numbering of our years—others dwelt in Arvon. They served their own forces, wrought with Power such as we cannot imagine. Their time passed but they left behind them wells of their forces, strained and weakened, perhaps, but still greater than aught even the Voices or the Shadow can summon in the here and now."
  65. p184-185. 'To venture into the dark was useless, I knew that as well as if she had told me so. This place would hold me until her spells permitted my going. Nor did I, at that moment, dare to try to separate man from beast. There was here too much the taint of the Older Things that I mistrusted as I had nothing before in my life.'
  66. p186. Heroise: "He [Maughus] had sword to slay Kethan on sight, as one dealing with the Shadow, and has sent a messenger to Car Do Yelt where there is said to be one favored by the Voices, urging him to come and cleanse the Keep."
  67. p188. Of How Ursilla Read the Smoke Runes and Sent Me to Do Her Bidding
  68. p192. 'Dark was the cavern, a velvety black that even a moonless night might not achieve. And it was very large, for though I ran hard, my paws spring dust as I went, still there seemed no end to this journeying. At last I came to what seemed the far end of the place, and there I slowed a little as I blundered blindly onto a ramp way that led upward. this time there was no stairway, only a series of ramps, each a fraction steeper than the one behind.'
  69. p193. 'Around me, shutting off much of the view, were rounded mounds. From the sides of some of them protruded worn blocks of worked stone. I might be in some very old and forgotten temple or Keep. I turned my head to survey the door through which I had come. It was a dark hole in one of the mounds, with nothing to mark it of any importance.'
  70. p194. 'The thinnest sickle of the new moon arose. Seeing it gave me knowledge that we must have spent far longer time in the cavern than I had judged.'
  71. p197. Herrel: "We have forehead through the water, through the stars, through the fire. Destiny is somehow entangled for us and you with us. We cannot right the scales until we face this sorceress of Car Do Prawn, that is the reading. There is ax time, and there is sword time. They are the times of human man. There is wind time and Star times—which are the times of the Great Lords and the Voices. And there is Wartime and spell time—these last twain call and govern us."
  72. p197. Gillan: "Earth and Air, Fire and Water. By the Dawn of the East, by the Moon White of the South, the Twilight of the West, the Black Midnight of the North, by yew, hawthorn, rowan, buy the Law of Knowledge, the Law of Names, the Law of True Falsehoods, the Law of Balance—so do we move."
  73. p197. Aylinn: "The moon is thin but it lives. It waxes, and so does that which arms me."
  74. p200. Of How the Lady Heroise Told the Truth and I Confronted Ursilla
  75. p201. 'Then—a dim glow moved beside me. Something not unlike the haze that enwreathed the Star Tower. It came from the disks that made her brief kilt, from the horned moon on her breast.' "There exists a great force here," she said then. "it awakens all that is in tune with Power." 'In her other hand she swung forward her flower-studded wand. I saw that each of the flowers, widely open, produced a wan circle of light. "Even though Mother Moon reaches not into the earth, yet her Power is fed here. Long ago there must have walked some in this way who knew the moon calls and used them."
  76. p201-202. Aylinn: "When I was still so young a child that my speech was not plain, I saw beyond the barriers of men. My mother, reading the fire and the water, knew that I had in me talent, and one that differed from her own. However, that is not a fact to be amazed at. For my mother is a Witch of the Green Way and my father once was a Wereriders. My mother, knowing that I would be a worker of force, took me to the Fane of Neave. Those who serve there weighed my talent and said that I would be a Moon Drawer. Thus, when I was somewhat older, I went to join those of Lanark. There I learned much. From my mother and my father still more when I returned to Reeth. For long ago there was Moon Magic at Reeth and the stirrings of it were still alive when my mother and father discovered the Tower and took it for their dwelling."
  77. p202. Aylinn: "My mother, was a Bride of the Dales. Have you not heard that tale Kethan? It is so famous a one that songsmiths have already worked it into the Chronicles."
  78. p202-203. 'The Wereriders had been among those exiled form Arvon when the struggle of the Elder Lords came to an end. Far were they sentenced to wander, and to be homeless, until there were certain changes in the star readings. Then they might ask to return. South to the Dales they had gone. Later, when there had come a war of men against men—long before I was born—they had made a pact with the men of the Dales, the ones who had taken over our deserted lands. They served beside the Dalesmen, driving the invaders of High Hallack to the sea, or slaying them. In exchange for their services, the Wereriders had stated a price, that when the war was done and High Hallack victorious, they would receive from the Dales Lords maids to be their brides. Thus in the Year of the Unicorn, thirteen such maids were brought to the border of The Waste. They chose among the Wereriders and so came into Arvon and to the Gray Towers. But that there had been a Witch among them—that part of the tale was new to me.'
  79. p203. Aylinn: "So he and my mother found Reeth—or rather they were told of Reeth. Thus the Star Tower came to be our abiding place. Of Reeth we have made a place where the Green and the Brown Magic are entwined, to stand as a stronghold against the creep of the Shadow. But now Arvon is again troubled. There is talk of Gates about to open, exiles to return. Not all of them are like the Riders, willing to accept peace. Lately the Riders themselves have sent messengers to my father, saying the day comes when they shall be summoned to defend their lands. Not yet has he answered them fully. I think in him kin-ties pull one way, his old anger another."
  80. p204. Aylinn: "My name—it is Aylinn, my mother is Gillan, my father Herrel."
  81. p205. 'At last we reached the floor. I turned left, to head out into the centre of the cavern, for it was my belief that the circle of globe-faced figures must form the center. Far ahead there was a faint speck of light in that direction.'
  82. p208. Heroise: "Do you think I know not our Clan blood? We have no talent beyond the lesser. This is one possessing Power!" Ursilla: "You did not ask concerning the father. Did you know his blood-kin?" Heroise: "No! What did you then summon to my bed? What have I bred?" Ursilla: "Seemingly better than you thought, my Lady. As for the breed of your mate—you did not care. It was the child who mattered." Maughus: "So—that is what you wrought!" he spat at the two before him. "Now it comes clear to me. You went to Gunnora to bear your heir, my Lady. There all your charms failed you, for you bore a daughter instead of a son! Where got you then this Shadow-bred mongrel?"
  83. p209. Kethan transforms without the belt again.
  84. p210-211. Ursilla compels Kethan to kill Aylinn and begins to burn the belt in the brazier causing him pain.
  85. p212. Of Sorcery Wrought and Unwrought and How We Learn Our Destiny
  86. p212-213. 'Then, in spite of my torture, I saw the belt begin to writhe in Ursilla's hold, even as a living thing might fight for freedom. With a mighty jerk, it tore loose from her fingers and moved through the air. A hand arose, caught it.' 'The belt lay in the hands of her whom Aylinn had named Gillan and Green Witch.'
  87. p213. Gillan: "Those summoned— Did you believe, Wise Woman, you might call on of kin, without others also coming?" "Kin!" Ursilla was recovering from the shock that confrontation had caused her. She threw back her head, a cackle of hideous laughter loud in this place. "Claim you this one"—she pointed to Aylinn—"as kin? You and your furred lord did not have the fashioning of her! If you would see the child you truly bore—look to this fool!"
  88. p213-214. Gillan returns the belt to Kethan. 'I made haste to fasten about me the singed belt but, as my fingers caressed it, I could not now discover any signs of fire damage upon it.'
  89. p214. Gillan: "Did you think, Wise Woman, That one could pass through the truth of Neave's own Fane and not learn even what sorcery strives to hide? This is our child by the will of those far greater than we ever hope to know—"
  90. p215. 'We were together in a circle of fire, fire that burned not orange and red, but with hues a deeper, deadly color—the purple of the Shadow. We could not retreat farther, for our backs were against the rigid knees of the seated figure, about which the purple wall of shifting fire crept closer.'
  91. p216. 'It was not the figure that held the limp man-toy, for which I was dimly grateful. In its claw hand was a half-open flower. Now I saw Aylinn put forth her own hand to run fingertips across the stone petals, even as she might touch one of her moonflowers.'
  92. p217. 'One of the Gates of legend? Aylin's head turned against my shoulder as that thought slipped into my mind. I read the wonder in her eyes. We, who were born after the great struggle between the Powers of Arvon, knew only through legends what had occurred in the dim years of long ago. We had Chronicles that spoke often of the Gates and what could be summoned through them. (It was far harder to expel such aliens back through the uncanny openings in the skin of our world.) But of the nature of the Gates themselves, or the keys that opened them, or where they might be situated, that knowledge was never made plain in the tales. Such was forbidden, shunned by all who dwelt in the Power—unless the Shadow now meddles in some way; for a check upon these of the Greater Dark was ever hard to keep. It was well within reason, I believed, that this place could mark one Gate. And, if Ursilla, in her madness, threw it open—'
  93. p223-224. 'There stood another, beyond the circle of the seated ones. Now he came briskly into the waning light. As he passed the place where some of the purple flames danced fitfully, he waved his hand. They disappeared.' Kethan: "Ibycus—" 'Now he turned his head to look upon Gillan, and, behind her, Herrel, who once more stood a man. I saw them both suddenly make the same gesture of respect, one I had seen used only from Keep Lord to a messenger of the Voices. "You think we may have played some ill tricks, Lady?" Ibycus asked Gillan. She hesitated. "I think rather there was meant to be a meaning to all of this that the players in your act did not know." "you are entirely right. Ursilla would provide her tool, the Lady Heroise, with an heir—for her own purposes. Her efforts in that direction evoked the knowledge of one to whom is entrusted the duty of keeping the balance of power here in Arvon. Thus they made use of her ambition in order to temper those who are to stand firm in times to come. With you, Lady Gillan, Aylinn became the person she was meant to be. In Car Do Prawn, had Ursilla not played her own game, this maid would never have learned the depth and height of her own powers. While Kethan"—now he smiled at me—"was tested as a sword is tested by a smith, proving that he had the strength desired. And the last venture—within this you four have woven well a pattern that will hold—"
  94. p224. 'Herrel spoke as Ibycus paused. "I read in your words hints beyond hints, Messenger. Do we now venture once more into battle?" "So much we can read, but that foreknowledge is limited. Your Werekin, with their Dale brides, have forged a new race. These two"—he gestured to Aylinn and then to me—"are also too e counted of that heritage. We have been informed that this is of importance, the why for will come to be discovered in time. Now—" He stood with his hands on his hips as his eyes studies each of us in turn. "This is no place for those of Arvon. Old and old it is, and best forgotten. Out—" With his forefinger he pointed swiftly to Maughus, to the Lady Eldris, to Heroise. And—they were gone! Us, he did not so indicate separately. But a wave of a hand included us four together. There was a breath of cold and darkness, then— We stood with the sun of midmorning warm upon us. The other three watched me with an inner warmth, greater than any sun glow could ever be. "Welcome home, Kethan!" said my father, as Aylinn drew me forward to walk down the door path of the garden.'

 

Sorcerer's Notes:

Year Since the Betrayal

Year Name

Event

 

Year of the Red Boar

Aylinn & Kethan born, 15 years before Year of the Werewolf, sometime after Year of the Unicorn

1049

Year of the Kobold

The Turning

1050

   

1051

Year of the Horned Hunter

 

1052

Year of the Lamia

 
 

Year of the Chimera

 
 

Year of the Harpy

 
 

Year of the Orc

 
 

Year of the Werewolf

Aylinn & Kethan reach 15?

 

Year of the Horned Cat

follows Year of the Werewolf

 


The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Falcon Law


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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ April, 2019

Copyright ~ Elwher, Metaldragon, Indagare & Lotsawatts
Online Rights - Andre-Norton-Books.com

Duplication of this collection (in whole or in part) for profit of any kind NOT permitted.