The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

The Scent of Magic

A Novella in the [Witch World Saga] by Juanita Coulson


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


While searching for a lost houndling, Little Clever One, young Joa, a Vupsall girl with the gift of mind-scent, tumbles into a cave with runes around its entrance. She awakens the imprinted spirits of Aisili, a Vupsall sorceress and Kotyan, a witch of the Old Race from their pictures on the cave walls. They show her a vision of a group of Vupsall Slave takers approaching the valley where her people are encamped, led by a pale warlock, reeking of evil magic. They explain to Joa that she has the Gift and needs to be trained but she does not wish to believe and tries to convince herself she is only dreaming. She returns the pup to a grateful houndmaster Desst, but she is punished by the first wife Naschellu for neglecting her duties. The punishment turns savage as Naschellu is manipulated by the Slave taker warlock's magics. Joa's gravidly pregnant sister Omithi tries to intervene but Naschellu grabs a brand from the fire with the intent to kill them with it. The other women rush to restrain her but they would be too late so the spirits of Aisili and Kotyan fill Joa with magic, freezing the first wife long enough for the women to restrain her. The spirits reveal to Joa that the warlock seeks to enslave the Vupsall to become his army to take over Escore. Joa and the spirits reveal to Desst the enemy. He unleashes the hounds and summons the men to take up spears. The spirits guide Joa with the power to counter the warlock's magic, direct the men, hounds, and even summon the animals of the forest and Vrangs to fight the Slave takers. When Desst attacks the warlock, Joa and the spirits pour power into the spear and it cuts through the evil magic defences, killing him. In the aftermath of the battle, Omithi gives birth to a healthy son, Desst takes up the responsibilities of his dead older brother Kynor with joy, and Joa accepts her fate to take up Power and become seeress of the tribe.

Timeline Points:

  1. Early spring p.58 and Joa is looking for a lost dog (Little Clever One). She calls to a vrang (p.59) and is aware of the Valley of the Green Silences. She has some form of Power and is nearing the beginnings of her estrus.  (13-15 yrs old?). (p.60)
  2. Joa and Little Clever One find a hidden cave, which is also a place of the Old Ones. (p.61)
  3. Joa meets Aisli, a Vupsall sorceress and Kotyan, a sorceress of the Old Race (p.64)
  4. She returns to camp and talks with Desst the houndmaster (he's about 20 and her widowed sister Omithi's brother-in-law. Omithi is Joa's older sister and is pregnant with Kynor's baby. Kynor is dead as are several other men of the village, however, Kynor's brother Desst wants to marry Omithi.)
  5. Evil magic is stirring in Escore so this is probably set after Three Against the Witch World.
  6. Since Hilarion and Kalthea aren't mentioned this is probably not after Sorceress of the Witch World.
  7. This is a different tribe from the one Kalthea encountered as there is no mention of Utta.
  8. This may actually take place around the same time as "Sorceress" where the raiders were also very aggressive. Possibly during the same spring when Kaththea returns from the machine world with Simon, Jaelithe, & Hilarion.

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Ware Hawk

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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