A short story by Mercedes Lackey. A sequel to Year of the Unicorn.
Glenda was cast out of her aunt's house when she was eighteen and has been 'living' on her meager savings (and occasional windfalls from rummaging through trash) ever since. All she has left are the clothes she wears and a ring from her mother.1 One night, three days before eviction from her apartment, she is pursued by some young men in a gang. She hides in the backyard of a 'spook house' - a three story structure that is out of place in the city. It has a megalith structure in the form of a door frame with a stone bench in front of it. The yard is covered in sand that's only an inch deep. The guardian of the Gate allows Glenda to go through and she comes out somewhere in the Waste near the Dale Kildas2 came from.3
Once through the Gate she is still starving and tries to seek help from a man of the Dales who distrusts her. Her anger and frustration causes her to turn into a leopard.4 She manages to catch and eat a rabbit before realizing what happened. She spends the next several weeks hunting around the Dale, sometimes taking livestock. She learns why the Dalefolk avoid the forest she hides in when she encounters a circle of stones that glows with a sickly yellow color at night in the forest near the Dale.5
Though she has been learning to hunt, she still has to let leopard instinct take over to hunt effectively, which makes her uneasy so she seeks a way to become human again.6. She finds a way in a clearing with a pond and blueish-colored stone under the full moon.7 From that time on she is able to freely change forms, though it is painful and she worries if what she is doing is right.
Around midsummer things change when she has a dream involving being hunted by a strange man. The dream is so realistic that she actually goes to the village to see if the man is there. He is and the hunt begins, though the ending of it is better than she feared. Harwin is careful to reassure her and helps her understand things a bit better. At the end of the story she finally finds out how to transform with her clothes on and in peace, not pain. She and Harwin8 run in the night together.9
- Tales of the Witch World, Tor, 1987
- p. 198. Generation before - Overrun by invaders
- p. 200. Midsummer.10
- p. 209. Harwin is the third child of Kildas & Harl Wererider11
This probably takes place at least four or five years after The Jargoon Pard since Kethan is fourteen in Pard and Glenda is over eighteen (but it's never said by how much) and she estimates that Harwin is about the same age as her.