The Jargoon Pard

A novel by Andre Norton. Sequel to Year of the Unicorn. Followed by The Warding of the Witch World.

Publishing History

Paperback, Del Rey, 224pp, ISBN: 0 345 31192 2, 1974
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Timeline Notes

  1. p13. Of Gunorra's Shrine and What Chanced There in the Year of the Red Boar
  2. p13. 'Many are the chronicles of Arvon, for that is a land old beyond the imaginings of men, even though those men may be born of the Elder Races and, therefore, long in their own lives.' (The Old Race is one.)
  3. p13. 'For in a land where the Power is known and used, then marvels do follow after, as the long-fleeced sheep of the Dales follow close upon the piping of their shepherd. (This could be a reference to the Dales of High Hallack but from the way it's described in Year of the Unicorn, Arvon also has dales.)
  4. p13-14. 'There is much in Arvon pertaining to the Seven Lords and those who ruled before them that is lost, though their judging still lies active in the land.' (The rulers of Arvon.)
  5. p14. 'Who was Gunnora? Was she once a Wise Woman of such stature in the land that after her passing some spoke of her as never having been flesh, but spirit alone? If so—that part of the truth is long befogged. But that Gunnora's influence remains, that all womankind knows, to take heart in. For she is the one whose sign is a sheaf of ripe grain bound together with fruit of the vine ready for the plucking. It is Gunnora's amulet each maid wears, upon which she lays her hand at the moment that she conceives, and that she will hold tightly when the time of childbirth is upon her. To Gunnora's shrine came those for whom doubtful runes have been cast, that in her sanctuary they may be cured of barrenness, or else have an easier time of childbearing. And that she has power within the matter of healing, all will testify.' (Religion in Arvon.)
  6. p14. 'Thus, at Gunnora's shrine, begins the chronicle of Kethan—or if I speak less like a songsmith and more in the common tongue of the land—my own story.' (The narrator names himself.)
  7. p14. 'It was the custom of the Four Clans—Redmantle, Goldmantle, Bluemantle and Silvermantle—that inheritance follows the old ways. Thus a man's son does not succeed him in leadership, no, rather the son of his full sister does bear a boy child. For it be the blood of the women of the Clan that is reckoned the truest by descent.' (Arvon culture.)
  8. p14-15. 'In the House of the Car Do Prawn, she who would provide the heir was the Lady Heroise. Though her brother, the House Lord, Erach, had wed early, having already a son, Maughus, and a daughter, Thaney (yet an infant in her cradle), Heroise showed no inclination to take any man to her chamber. She was a woman fiercely proud, with a small talent for the Power. As a young maid she had studied with the Wise Women of Garth Howel, bringing one of their number, Ursilla, with her to Car Do Prawn when summoned to return. The idea was firm in her mind that she should, in time, bear a son to take the chieftain's chair. To the shaping of that son, mind and body, she must bend every care, so that when the day arrived that he was shield-raised by the men-at-arms, and his name shouted to the four corners of the Great Hall, it would be her will that would govern all his actions.' (Important characters, places, and customs in Arvon.)
  9. p15. 'Who was the father of the child she carried in the early spring of the Year of the Red Boar no one could name. It was accepted as her right to chose such in temporary alliance only, if that was her wish. Stories were whispered behind hands that her mate was of Ursilla's providing, but it was best not to inquire too deeply into his beginnings lest that be uncovered which would make the coming heir less—or perhaps—more than human.' 'In the Month of the Snowbird, the Lady Heroise and her women, together with Ursilla, travelled to Gunnora's shrine, for the Wise Woman, Ursilla, had cast a foretelling that troubled her.' 'Thus by easy stages, for ragged sweeps of snow still lay upon the ground (though the hint of coming spring was in the air at midday at least), they came to the shrine.' [Kethan & Aylinn were born in the Month of the Snowbird in the Year of the Red Boar.]
  10. p15. 'Gunnora has no priestesses nor shrine attendants. Those who seek her out come into a Presence that they may sense but never see.'
  11. p15-16. 'But in the stabling, a little distance from the shrine, were two horses, while in the outer court a man paced like a great caged cat up and back, up and back, since he dared not enter the inner chamber, which was Gunnora's alone.' (This is Herrel, see: Year of the Unicorn but this is not revealed until much later.)
  12. p15. 'There was a languorous scent upon the air, as if all the flowers of late summer bloomed in abundance, and it seemed to the Lady Heroise that she drifted among the beds of a great garden. She knew pain, but that was a far-off thing, which had no tie with her body and meant nothing. Rather in her now worked a great joy, such as in her cold and devious mind she had never known before.'
  13. p15. 'Nor was she aware that in a neighbouring chamber of the shrine rested another woman and with her one of the Wise Women from the neighboring village. She, too, dreamed joyfully, awaiting a child to fill her arms as love for it already filled her heart.' (This is Gillan, see Year of the Unicorn but this also is not revealed until much later.)
  14. p15-16. 'Nor were either aware of the storm that gathered, though the man [Herrel], who paced and waited, went to the outer doorway and stared at the black massing of clouds overhead, regarded the clouds anxiously and shivered. It seemed to him that, though he know all the humors of nature well and through many years, the brooding stillness under the dark roof now stretched over the land was not quite like anything he had seen before. Because of his own nature, he was alert to forces that were not of the Arvon of men, but the Arvon of Power. Perhaps now that Power was about to manifest itself in some fashion that was a threat to all below.'
  15. p16. 'His [Herrel's] hands went to his belt, and he ran his fingertips questioningly along it, as if he sought something there that was no longer his to find.' 'His clothing was plain, a brown sleeveless jerkin over a shirt of forest green. His cloak lay behind within the court. On his feet, the boots of a horseman were dull brown, the breeches above them green. Yet there was that about him which said he was no field man, nor even chief of some small and unimportant holding, such as his garb suggested. His dark hair was thick and grew in a peak upon his forehead, and his eyes were strange in his weather-browned face—for they were a tawny yellow, like unto the eyes of some great cat. Anyone glancing at him once might well turn to look again, drawn by his air of authority, as if here stood one who answered only to his own will.'
  16. p17. 'There were elements of strangeness about these two mounts now prepared to defend their own quarters against any invasion. They were dappled gray and black, the markings not well defined, but so intermingled that perhaps in the wooded countryside, their shading would produce cover to confuse any who searched for them. Longer of leg than most were they, also, and slimmer of body.' 'narrow heads' (Were-rider horses.)
  17. p17-18. 'Pergvin had served the Lady Eldris in years gone by, she who had borne the Lord Erach and his sister Heroise. Deep in him memory stirred, yet it was a memory that he would not share with any here. If what he half suspected might indeed be true, what a child chance of fate had brought this meeting at this day and hour? He wanted mightily to confront the stranger, call him a certain name, see if he made answer. Only there had been an oath sworn in the past after an exiled one went out of the Gates of Car Do Prawn never to return.'
  18. p18. 'Cadoc, the commander' (The head of Lady Heroise's retinue.)
  19. p18. 'Again the stranger's [Herrel's] fingers dropped to his belt, slipping back and forth, searching. He wore a short sword, but the weapon—closer to a forester's all-purpose tool and clearly no battle arm—was tight sheathed.'
  20. p21-22. Her [Ursilla's] hand rose and fell, as with the tip of her finger, she drew signs and symbols on the surface of that barrier. Some of them flared red for an instant, as if a spark of hearth fire glowed in them. Others Heroise could not follow for the swiftness of those gestures. While she signed so, Ursilla chanted, her voice rising and falling as she recited words, spoke Names. Still never was it louder than a whisper. Yet it carried to Heroise's ears through the rumble of the storm. At the sound of one or two of those Names, she shivered and shrank, yet she did not protest.'
  21. p22-23. 'She [Heroise] peered down into his face where eyes dark-lashed were tightly closed, one small fist pressed against his mouth. He had dark hair. She pulled away the cloth to inspect the small body critically. Yes, he was properly fashioned, with no mark upon him that could afterward be raised to question his identity. "He is Kethan," she said swiftly, as if she feared someone to dispute her naming and her owning. "He is my true son, heir to Car Do Prawn, so do I swear before the Power."'
  22. p23. "She is Aylinn, my true daughter and that of my Lord."
  23. p24. 'As he [Herrel] hurried to his wife, he heard a stirring in the other chamber, but it held no interest. Nor did he even watch when, in the morn of the following day, those from Car Do Prawn rose away, their mistress in her horse litter, her son in her arms. For the three left behind, there was also a faring out some time later. They turned their faces northward to the wilds of the forest, which to them meant home.' (Reeth is in the forest north of the Shrine of Gunnora.)
  24. p25. Of the Heirship of Kethan and Life in Car Do Prawn
  25. p25-26. 'Car Do Prawn is not the greatest of the Keeps that gave allegiance to the Redmantle Overlord, nor the richest. But what it olds within its boundaries is satisfying to look upon. There are orchards of cherry and apple, from which come not only fruit in due season, but also cider, a cherry cordial for which we have no small fame in Arvon. There are also fields of grain, always yielding abundantly at Harvest tide. And there are flocks of sheep and a goodly herd of cattle. Centermost in this smiling and fruitful country sits the Keep itself, and about that a small village. The village lies open under the sun, it's cottages possessing sharply gabled roofs, the eaves of which are carved with fanciful shapes. Their walls are all of a light gray stone, the roofs of slate, while those carvings are entwined with runes painted green and gold. But the Keep itself, while of the same stone, has no lightsome embellishments. There is always about the Towers a seeming of shadow. It might be that some invisible cloud keeps it so. Within the walls, even in the depths of summer, there abides a chill that none save I ever seemed to note. There I had often the sense that things moved along its very old corridors, in the corners of its shadowed rooms, which had little in common with the ways of mankind.'
  26. p26. 'Until I reached the age of six, I lived in the Ladies' Tower, where my only companion in age was the Lady Thaney, she who was Lord Erach's daughter and my elder by a year. It had been told me early that our destinies were designed to be one, that when we came to a suitable age, we would be wedded, thus fast locking together the House fate; though at the time this meant little or nothing to me, or perhaps to her. Thaney was tall for her age, and very knowing, also somewhat sly.'
  27. p27. 'With her brother Maughus, the matter was far different. He was some six years my elder and dwelt in the Youths' Tower, coming only at intervals to visit his grandam, the Lady Eldris, his mother having died of a fever shortly after Thaney's birth. I say his grandam, though by decent, I was also a grandson.'
  28. p.27-28 ''Whether in the past there had been any clash of wills between her and the Lady Eldris, decided in my mother's favour, I never knew. However, when Lord Erach was absent, it was the Lady Heroise who held Manor Court in the Great Hall and gave the orders. At such times she had me ever beside her, seated on a small stool a little behind the Lord's great chair, which had the red mantle of our clan draped across it's back, listening to what judgements she would give. Afterward, she would explain to me the way of this or that decision, whether dictated by custom, or the product of her own reasoning. That she longed to occupy the seat permanently, I learned by instinct while I was yet a small child. It was as if the qualities that were adjudged by the world to be those of a man had been embodied in her woman's flesh, so she chafed against our customs, decreeing the narrow limits of her own life. In one thing alone she was free, and that was the use of the Power.' 'The Lady Heroise lacked the temperament to school her own desires and emotions for any further training in the Other Ways than she had learned in her youth.'
  29. p28-29. 'But, even as my mother enforced upon me her form of training, so did the Wise Woman [Ursilla] concern herself equally with my affairs. Though that part of the Power which is wielded by a sorceress is not the same as that which a Warlock or Wizard may summon, still she gave me what learning she deemed useful…'
  30. p29-30. 'Arvon itself, I discovered, had not always dreamed away time in this ease of golden days that now seemed endless. In the past (the addition of years was obscure since it seemed that those who wrote the accounts were never interested in reckoning up any strict numbering of seasons), there had been a great struggle that had nigh destroyed all ordered life. Before that period of chaos, our present domain had not been bordered by the mountains to the south and east, but had spread beyond, reaching east to the legendary sea, also south into territories long since forgotten. However, those of Arvon had always had the talent in lesser and greater degrees, and our Lords and rulers were often also masters of Power. They began to experiment with the force of life itself, creating creatures to serve them—or, in mistaken experiments, ones to slay their enemies horribly. Ambition as strong as that which moved my mother worked in them, so that they strove to outdo each other to establish only their wills across the land. They awakened much that should never have been allowed life—opened Gates into strange and fearful other dimensions. Then they warred, ravishing much of the land. Many of the forces they had unleashed were plagues destroying even some of the Power itself. The disputatious Lords withdrew as their numbers grew less, returning here to the home—heart of their own country. Some came quickly, alarmed and dismayed by manifestations that they could not control. Others lingered as long as they might, their roots planted so deeply in their own holdings that they could hardly face what seemed to them to be exile. Of these latter, a few never came back to Arvon. Perhaps in the Dale land to the south, where another species of man now lives, they or their descendants still had a shadow life.1 But none here knew if that were so. For, after the last withdrawal, the ways outward from Arvon were spell-sealed, no one venturing forth again. Still not all who had retreated were content with their escape from the results of folly. They continued to challenge their fellows, until the day when the Seven Lords rose in wrath and might, and there was a final, terrible confrontation between the ones who chose the path of struggle and those who wanted only peace and perhaps forgetfulness. Many of the Great Ones who had used the Power to their own wills were thereafter either exiled beyond Gates that led to other dimensions and times or extinguished when their will force was utterly reft away. Then their followers also went into exile under certain bonds of time.'2
  31. p30-31. 'When I came upon that story in the Chronicles, I asked of Ursilla whether any of the wanderers had ever returned. I do no know why that was of importance to me, save that my imagination was struck by the though of myself being so sent out of Arvon to wander hopelessly in an alien world. "Some have." She made me a short answer. "But those are the lesser. The Great Ones will not. It is of no matter now, Kethan. Nor should such concern you, boy. Be glad you have been born into this time and place."'3
  32. p31. 'What did change was that I reached the age when, by custom, I must go out into the Youths' Tower and there begin the tutorage that would make me a warrior (though for some long years there had been no war except some raiding at intervals from the wold men of the hills). The night before the event, Ursilla and Heroise took me into the inner chamber, which was Ursilla's own shrine, if shrine might be the term given it.' (Kethan 6 years old)
  33. p37. Of the Trader Ibycus and the Jargoon Belt He Brought
  34. p40. "He was a son of the House," Pergvin said reluctantly, "Or rather a halfling son—" "It was in the long ago when the Lady Eldris was but a young maid. There was a love-spell laid upon her and she answered it—"
  35. p41-42. Pergvin: "Yes, the Lady Eldris went as she was called. But it was not a man of our Clans who laid the spell upon her. Those were the days of the Last Struggle, and there was a gathering of the Clans and others who were then our allies to determine defences and ploys against the Dark Lord of Ragaard the Less. Since all who answered the summons needs must leave their Keeps but lightly defended if they were to join such a gathering, there were ladies then who rode in amor and led levies from their own lands. While at the Fortress of the Redmantle, the Lady Eldris was seen and desired by one of the Wereriders—a lord among them. It was he who laid the spell that brought her to his bed. But his spell did not last, and no real liking came of their meeting on her part. So that in time she returned to her own people bringing with her their young son— It is said that when she left, her Warlord and his Clan were elsewhere, for they were always in the midst of the bitterest fighting, they being what they were born to be. And, by the time he got note of her going, it was too late for him to claim her again. Her brother, Lord Kardis (he who fell some years later at the Battle of Thos), gave back freely her Clan right and laid it also on her son. However, as the boy grew older he showed the blood of his father the stronger. At last he went to Gray Towers where he could find cup-fellows and shield-companions of his own kind. Then later, when the Seven Lords won peace, those of the Werefolk were sent into exile, for their blood is ever hot and they take not easily to a world without war. It was only a few short seasons ago they returned to Arvon from far wandering. But I do not think that any old sorrow binds the Lady Eldris. She later took the Lord Erach's father to husband and bore both him and your Lady Mother. Thus perhaps time faded all that lay behind. But it is true that her elder son did dwell here in his early youth, and that those weapons were his." (Herrel)
  36. p42. 'There are many strange folk in Arvon. We are not all of one kind or nature. Some are very different indeed when we compare them to ourselves. Of that number not a few are dangerous enough so that those of the Clans avoid them and their territories. There are those totally unlike us as to body and mind, others that mingle within their natures both that which is like unto us and that which is strange beyond our understanding, a third kind that are both different and enemies to our ways. Yet it is not any physical difference alone that raises barriers between one sort and another, but rather spirits that cannot meet. I have seen the forest people come freely to our sowing feasts, our Harvest festivals. These we welcome, though they are closer to the plant world than to ours. Also I have seen some with the outward seeming of the Clansmen from whom I shrank as if from a blast of winter's strongest cold. A Wererider, like the forest people, possesses a mixture of inheritance, being sometimes man, sometimes animal. I had come across divers references to such shape-changes in the Chronicles Ursilla had supplied, but at the time I had had little interest in them.'
  37. p43-44. 'I had passed from boyhood into the time of young manhood when we had an extremely plentiful harvest that overjoyed us all. Yet that was also the Year of the Were-wolf, which was an ill sign in every way and which in a measure we dreaded. By rights, this season should have celebrated my wedding to Thaney. Only, under such a sign, Ursula decided—and Heroise, in spite of her desire to further her plans, backed her—no such uniting could prosper. Thus it was decreed that with the coming of the new year—which lay under the sign of the Horned Cat, a powerful one but such as promised better, the wedding would take place.' (Kethan 14-15?)
  38. p44. 'Of Thaney, I had seen little since she was gone early to Garth Howell, where the Wise Women gathered, there to learn such sorceries as those of healing and the protection of house and home.'
  39. p44. 'Maughus was much away also, acting as messenger for his father in various meetings of the Clan or Clans—for all four of the Great Clans were astir. Avon itself had passed into a period of unrest which crept upon the land subtly enough. The very names of the years, as they passed, showed that the balance of the Power was a little troubled. For we had behind us such as the Years of the Lamia, the Chimera, the Harpy and the Orc. There were signs that the golden peace of my childhood was fading, though the why of this puzzled all who thought about the matter. And there were embassies sent to the Voices, asking for readings on the future. That this grew cloudier they admitted. Still there was no menace that was openly discernible, upon which men could set their eyes and say—this is what troubles us so.' (The name of years leading up to the Year of the Were-wolf.)
  40. p44. Pergvin: "It is like the sea tides, this flow and ebb of the Power. When too much of it fills the land, then there is trouble and restlessness." "It begins so always, too—with the land bearing in great abundance, as if we were being warned to fill up all storage places in preparation for a siege. While in us there gathers an uneasiness of spirit, as if there were a whispering in our ears, urging us to action we do not want to take. So the Shadow comes—as the sea tides—yet not so often—"
  41. p45. Pergvin: "My Lord, how many years of life think you stretch behind me?" 'When I had been young enough to first come under his tutoring, I had thought him old. But, as my own years mounted up, I had guessed him to be of middle life. Age in the people of Arvon was hard to count until they reached near the end of a long, long span of years. Men could die of certain sicknesses, or baneful curses, and in battle. However, natural death and the lessening of visor, held off a long time from us. "I do not know," I answered truthfully. "I was one of those who took the Road of Memory through the Waste in the Dales," he said slowly. "The Great Time of Trouble, I knew, and what followed it. Yes, I saw the sea, for I was born within sound of its never-ceasing waves." 'The same awe that I held for Ursilla touched me now. It was as if some hero from the Chronicles had stepped from the parchment rolls to front me. That Pergvin could remember the Exile from the South was such a marvel.'
  42. p46. 'He was not a tall man, the trader, who introduced himself as one Ibycus (a name that had a new ring, not akin to any we knew). However, though he lacked inches perhaps, he did not lack presence. His manner was easy with all the polish of a high House, the air of command upon him as surely as it rested on my uncle. The longer I watched him, the less I believed he was one of our own folk. In spite of his youthful appearance (for in his outward seeming he might as well court not many more years than did Maughus who had not yet returned from his last mission), Ibycus gave a deeper impression of not only age, but of wisdom well controlled. I was led to wonder if he were not perhaps more than a trader, perhaps some one of the Wise Ones using his present employment as a useful cloak.'
  43. p48. 'It was a belt made of golden fur, so sleek and gleaming that, even among the riches heaped about it, the fur retained a brilliance, or so it seemed to me. The clasp was a single large gem—yellow-brown in shade—the like of which I had never seen. The gem had been wrought into the likeness of a cat's head. Still, studying the buckle much closer, I saw that the cat was not intended to resemble a small, tamed one, but perhaps one that was akin to the dreaded hunter of the heights, the snow cat—more deadly a fighter than any other beast we knew.' "A goodly piece of workmanship, my Lord. The clasp—it is a jargoon, a stone that is of the more common sort. But it has been most cunningly cut by one who knows the art well." "The skin—ah, that is of the pard. One sees them seldom nowadays. They are as fearsome hunters as their cousins of the snow—although somewhat smaller."
  44. p50. Of the Gift of the Lady Eldris and the Coming of the First Full Moon Thereafter
  45. p51. 'The Youths' Tower was the northernmost of the Keep and the window faced that direction. I could make out dimly the fields and orchards that stretched outward—the village lay southward. Beyond, the forest began, a wood wall between us and the high hills, which held so much that instinct taught us to avoid. For the forces of Arvon that wrought disaster in the past had, in the last reckoning, fled back into the hills and forests. Barriers of the unseen Power, as strong as the concentrated will of the Wise Ones and the Seven Lords had been able to set, restrained them there. No man knew now if any of those we considered the enemy still lingered, or whether they had opened other gates between worlds, those that they knew so well to manipulate, leaving Arvon. Some of their servants, the lesser ones, were still a menace. But it was part of the nature of those that they were tied to certain portions of the land and did not often stray from their accustomed "runs." Thus, for the main part, they could be avoided. And, of those, some were in a way an added defence to our own northward direction.'
  46. p51-52. "The Dales! I remembered what Pergvin had told me—that he as one who had taken the Road of Memory, the Road of Sorrows, followed by the exiles who had withdrawn during the dark days into Arvon. Those who dwelt there now were not of our race, being lesser, in that they had not the Power, barbarians only a few generations away from utter chaos. They were short-lived, too, seeming to last but a day or so of our time before they matured, then died of that age, which had set a deadly finger upon them from their birth. We had naught to do with them.'
  47. p53. Ibycus: "Lord?" He put his head a little to one side, his eyes very bright as he surveyed me. I might be now some trade object he had to value. "I am a trader, not the master of a Keep." 'Something within me was stubbornly certain that, while he might not be the master of any holding within Arvon, neither was he trader only.'
  48. p56-59. 'Three days later, came the day of my birth anniversary.' Lady Eldris gives Kethan the belt as a gift for his betrothal to his cousin Thaney.
  49. p61. Of the Warning from Ursilla and the Cloud over Arvon
  50. p66. Heroise: "The belt is cursed." "It is a thing of the Wererace. Ursilla knew it for that when first she saw it."
  51. p67. Heroise: "Ursilla scented Power in him [Ibycus]. He can only be one of those set to stir up mischief and strife. In other days there were such, traveling among our people, striving to influence them this way or that. Ursilla has read the stars. They are not well positioned for Car Do Prawn, perhaps even for this land."
  52. p67. Heroise: "A shape-changer is always vulnerable. Unless he is a trained Were, he has no control over such changes. Do you think that any within Car Do Prawn would accept your lordship if they knew that was your failing? It was tried here once before. There was an heir true born before Erach, of a different father. He was half Were, and when that was known, his mother, all within these walls, exiled him. You are not even half Were. Wear the cursed belt and you will not be able to control shape-changing. One moment a man—the next an animal! Do you think Thaney—any maid would wed with you? You would be hunted out from these walls. And—the longer you cling to that thing of horror—the deeper will become its hold on you! Give it to me!"
  53. p70. 'Cadoc, who was his [Erach's] Commander and Marshal, Hergil, a quiet, older man whose passion was the keeping of the records and who was reputed to know much of those who practiced the Were Power, were there. Hergil had been on a month-long absence from the Keep. But so unobtrusive a person was he that one did not miss his presence much. Neither did he speak often. But, need any reference be made to some event of the past, and it was to Hergil one applied for confirmation.'
  54. p71. "It is true then"—Erach spoke heavily, as if whatever news he must make plain to the rest of us was not of a favourable kind—"that there will be a muster of forces. We stand with The High Lord Aidan as does Bluemantle and Gold." "But Silver?" pressed Cadoc, as my uncle lapsed into silence. "No man knows. There has been coming and going between the Keeps of the western marches and the Inner Lands."
  55. p71. "Silver ever had a liking for alliance with the Voices of the Heights," Hergil commented. "It was they who held the Hawk's Claw for night half a year in the days before we took the Road of Memory out of the Dales. Their blood is half of the Oldest Ones under the moon." "But who meddles?" demanded Maughus suddenly. "I have been messenger to some twenty Keeps. I have ventured clear to the Whiteflow. Everywhere men are uneasy. They have taken now to riding armed when abroad. Yet there is no reported foray of the Wild Ones from the Higher Land, no war horn has sounded."
  56. p71-72. 'We do not know," his father [Erach] replied then. "Yet such is our heritage that we can sense a storm ahead. It is said that the Voices read the star charts and so can foretell. If this they have done now, they have sent forth no warnings. It may well be that one of the Gates shall open and some terror long ago expelled through it return, strengthened and armed, to confront us."
  57. p72. '"There is this," Hergil said in his quiet voice. Low though his tone was, we all turned our eyes to him. "There had been a great warring throughout our world. The Dales4 have battled ruthless invaders5 and, after a long term of years, driven them forth again. Overseas those of our cousinhood6 have also been embroiled in a struggle that has left them near beaten into the ground. This war they won, but in the winning, they made such an effort with the Power that for generations they will not be able to summon much to their service again.7 Thus our element of defence has been drained bit by bit, both from the new peoples who are not of our blood and from those who are like unto us. Who knows if such a draining has not weakened the safeguards of our world so that those beyond a Gate, or Gates, sense—or know—that this be the hour to move again?"
  58. p73. Of Maughus's Plot and the Opening of My Own Eyes
  59. p74. 'The days, then the weeks passed, and time came once more to the full moon. Our labor were slackening. The greater part of all our land could produce in the way of food was now well stored. The had had perfect weather for that garnering—no days of rain—not even the overhang of a threatening cloud. Almost we could believe that the Power itself was extending this favour to us.'8
  60. 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.'
  61. 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.'
  62. 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."
  63. p83-84. Kethan transformes for the second time and is seen in pard form by Maughus and Thaney.
  64. p85. Of the Wild Hunt and My Flight Therefrom
  65. 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.'
  66. 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.'
  67. 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.'
  68. 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.'
  69. 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!'
  70. 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.'
  71. 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.'
  72. p97. Of the Maid in the Forest and the Star Tower
  73. 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.'
  74. 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)
  75. 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.'
  76. 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.'
  77. 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.'
  78. p108. Of How I Dreamed and of What Ill Followed
  79. p108-111. Kethan's spirit is drawn into the 'Shadow world' by Ursilla.
  80. 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.'
  81. 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.'
  82. p117-118. Something of the dark drives Kethan and other forest animals to flee before it.
  83. p119. Of the Snow Cat and What Chanced in the Haunted Ruin
  84. p119. Kethan is caught in a giant web.
  85. 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.'
  86. 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.'
  87. 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?]
  88. 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.]
  89. 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 Wererider Harl.]
  90. p128. Kethan's 'Moon Witch' appears riding one of the Wererider horses. She puts a crystal globe with a sprig of glowing vegetation around his neck that turns him back into a man.
  91. 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.'
  92. p130. Of Those in The Tower and How I Chose Danger
  93. 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."
  94. 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?"
  95. 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."
  96. 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."
  97. 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."
  98. 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!"
  99. p141. Of the Discovery I Made and How I Planned to Put It into Use
  100. 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.
  101. p146-147. Harl passes Kethan again on his way to the Star Tower.
  102. 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.'
  103. 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.'
  104. 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.'
  105. p151-152. Kethan enters the keep and is confronted by Ursilla.
  106. p153. Of How I Was Prisoner to Ursilla and My Mother Foretold My Future
  107. p155. Ursilla: "You shall do as I bid. My messenger, who left his marks across your loins, did very well. I hold the belt."
  108. p157. Ursilla entraps Kethan in her pentacle.
  109. 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.'
  110. p160-162. The Tarot reading.
  111. 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!'
  112. p165. Of How the Three From the Star Tower Took an Interest in My Fate
  113. 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.'
  114. 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]
  115. 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.
  116. 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.'
  117. 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.'
  118. 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.
  119. p176. Of How I Chose Not the Beast's Way and of the Secret of Ursilla
  120. 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.'
  121. 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.'
  122. 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.'
  123. 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."
  124. 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.'
  125. 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."
  126. p188. Of How Ursilla Read the Smoke Runes and Sent Me to Do Her Bidding
  127. 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.'
  128. 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.'
  129. 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.'
  130. 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."
  131. 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."
  132. p197. Aylinn: "The moon is thin but it lives. It waxes, and so does that which arms me."
  133. p200. Of How the Lady Heroise Told the Truth and I Confronted Ursilla
  134. 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."
  135. 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 Wererider. 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."
  136. 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."
  137. 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.'
  138. 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."
  139. p204. Aylinn: "My name—it is Aylinn, my mother is Gillan, my father Herrel."
  140. 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.'
  141. 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?"
  142. p209. Kethan transforms without the belt again.
  143. p210-211. Ursilla compels Kethan to kill Aylinn and begins to burn the belt in the brazier causing him pain.
  144. p212. Of Sorcery Wrought and Unwrought and How We Learn Our Destiny
  145. 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.'
  146. 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!"
  147. 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.'
  148. 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—"
  149. 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.'
  150. 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.'
  151. 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—'
  152. 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—"
  153. 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.'

Analysis

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
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