The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts


 A Novella in the [Witch World Saga] by A. C. Crispin


See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey] [Coulson's Index]

[Expanded Reading Order] [Bibliography Page] [Read it Here[Return to Contents]


Edition Used for Analysis:
[Tales of the Witch World 3] (1989) Published by TOR, PB, 0-812-54757-8, 978-0-812-54757-3, $3.95, 343pg ~ cover by Victoria Poyser


Branwyn Stormgerd did NOT want to become a Witch of Estcarp. She has a farm and animals to take care of that she will not abandon. Determined to be rid of any troubling potential Gift, she decides to travel through the pouring rain from her farm outside Ravensmere to the village tavern, find a man, and bed it away. Easier said than done, she's confronted with a group of drunken louts. After one cup of mulled wine, she is ready to leave when a handsome horse trader of the Old Race sits to chat with her. Finding Lorin comely and pleasant, she suggests he could come with her back to the farm. He asks "how much" which horrifies and insults her into storming out. She is NOT a whore! This is witnessed by an uncouth oaf who accosts her on the way to the stables. Her ox saves her, butting the attempted rapist across the alley, knocking the man unconscious. Lorin had followed with the intent to intervene and apologize for his earlier insult, curious about why she was really there. She says it's a long story, decides to let him come along and they ride her ox back to her farm. While drying out by the fire, they chat and learn they have much in common. He grew up in a village called Torview, on a farm too. When he asks why she was at the tavern, Branwyn explains a Witch came through Ravensmere 3 days ago on Search and detected the Gift in her in spite of her dark red auburn hair, green eyes, and round face from her father's Sulcar blood. The Witches are still depleted from the toll of the Turning which happened 30 years ago. Learning the reason she chose him he refuses and argues that Jaelithe still has her power after marrying Simon Tregarth and bearing children and that it was the trauma of rape that made Witches lose their power. When she asks how he knows, he confesses that the Gift runs in his family, his sisters were taken to become Witches and, in spite of being a man, he has the Gift himself- which bedding did not get rid of. In spite of his earlier objection, they find comfort in each others arms and he stays the night. In the morning he is gone and with a heavy heart Branwyn works to ready the farm to be turned over to Squire Barkas on her departure. Taking a moment to comfort her faithful ox who senses something is wrong, she realizes her cattle goad is rowan wood which has special properties to protect one from the Power. When the Witch arrives, Branwyn tells her she's lain with a man and no longer has the Gift. The Witch does not believe her and makes Branwyn touch her jewel. Branwyn clutches the rowan goad in her other hand, prays the jewel does not glow, and the light in it fades. Her joy is dashed when the Witch thinks it a great feat of Power for her to extinguish the glow in her Jewel. Then Lorin rides up with the horses he purchased at the faire and she rushes into his embrace. He professes his love and proposes marriage in front of the Witch and her retinue. In shock, he recognizes the Witch as his sister Betha. They argue and she reveals that their sister Jennis did not survive Witch training. He begs her not to take Branwyn and Betha reluctantly agrees if he promises to look after their parents as she cannot. As their home in Torview is only a few days journey away from Ravensmere, he gratefully agrees. Once she rides off, Lorin teases Branwyn how he'll explain to his parents (and future children!) how they met…

Timeline Points:

  1. p82. Branwyn aged 10 eight years ago.
  2. p84. Lorin not much over 30.
  3. p92. The Turning (see: Three Against the Witch World) happened when Lorin was a babe in cradle.

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Gate of the Kittens

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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

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