The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

Witch World

1st Novel in the [Witch World: Estcarp Series] by Andre Norton

witch world 1963 f 197 

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:

(1963) Published by ACE, PB, #89702 1974 $0.95 222pg ~ cover by J.H. Breslow 


Witch World starts out with disgraced Ex-Us Army colonel on the run from underworld assassins. He meets an old man who has the reputation of providing an escape for desperate people on the run. The old man takes him to an old house and has him sit in a stone chair beneath a stone arch. At dawn he sees a gate open in the arch and he lands on a grassy stretch of moors. He is definitely not on Earth any more, but where is he?
He hears a hunting horn and rescues a young woman from a pack of hounds and hunters on horseback. She takes him to her home country Estcarp which is ruled by a council of virginal Witches (Women of Power). Estcarp is at war with the Kolder, and alien race bent on domination and world rule. Simon enlists in Estcarp's army and meets Koris whose home Gorm is held by the Kolder. We meet the Sulcars, master traders and warrior sailors, the race of misogynistic Falconers who with their telepathic falcons sometimes hire out marines on sulcar ships. Estcarp is beset from the west by the Kolder and threatened from the South by the Duchy of Karsten and from the north by the cruel hound-masters of Alizon. Simon has many puzzles to solve--he has seen Magic, Science, hi-tech and low-tech all mixed together. Also Simon himself is an enigma to the Witches when they discover that he possesses a similar magic to their own. How can that be? Who and What are the Kolder and can they be defeated?

Timeline Points:

  2. p5. '…tall, thin man…' (Simon Tregarth)
  3. p6. '…finely trained body.' 'Or perhaps the cut of the still presentable suit protected from the damp by he coat he shed, his faint but unmistakable natural arrogance—the mark left upon a man who has commanded his kind and been readily obeyed…' 'A long face, fine-drawn, with lines at the corners of the eyes, and deeper set brackets at the lips, a brown face, well-weathered, but in it's way an ageless face. It had looked much the same at twenty-five, it would continue to look so at sixty.' (Simon Tregarth)
  4. p7. 'The man standing politely at his table might be a broker, a corporation lawyer, a doctor. He had a professional air designed to inspire confidence in his fellows. But he was not what Simon had expected at all, he was too respectable, too polite and correct to be—death!' (Dr. Jorge Petronius)
  5. p7. Petronius: "Colonel Simon Tregarth, I believe?" Simon: "Simon Tregarth, but not 'Colonel'," he corrected, "As you well know."
  6. p7. 'It did not occur to him to doubt the identification offered by this small man watching him narrowly now through the curiously thick lenses, supported by such heavy and broad black plastic frames that Petronius appeared to wear the half-mask of eighteenth century disguise.' (description of Petronius)1
  7. p9. Simon: "After my activities of the past seven years you apply that label to me?" Petronius: "Simon Tregarth, of Cornish descent. Enlisted in the U.S. Army on March tenth, 1939. Promoted on the field from sergeant to lieutenant, and climbed to rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Served in the occupation forces until stripped of his commission and imprisoned for— For what, Colonel? Ah, yes, for flagrant black market dealing. Only, most unfortunately the brave colonel did not know he had been drawn into a criminal deal until too late. That was the point, was it not, Tregarth, which put you on the other side of the law? Since you had been given the name you thought you might as well play the game. Since Berlin you have been busy in quite a few dubious exploits, until you were unwise enough to cross Hanson." (It's been seven years since his court-martial in Berlin. In Web of the Witch World it's revealed that he was in prison for a year.)2
  8. p9. Simon: "Where are we going—to the docks?" Petronius: "We head downtown, but not to the harbour. My clients travel, but not by sea, air, or land."
  9. p10. Simon: "Matacham, Pennsylvania…" (Where Simon grew up.) "My grandparents were Cornish." Petronius: "Your family was of the pure blood, and Cornwall is old, so very old."
  10. p10. Petronius: "You see here an anachronism, Tregarth. This is a late seventeenth century farmhouse in the heart of a twentieth century city. Because its title is in doubt, it exists, a very substantial ghost of the past to haunt the present."3
  11. p13. 'The doctor stared down at the two plump hands resting on his knees.' (further description of Petronius)
  12. p14. 'The rain had stopped, but it was still dark in the square box of yard behind the old house.' 'Three gray stones formed an arch which topped Simon's head by a few scant inches. And before that lay a fourth stone, as unpolished, unshaped and angular as the others. Beyond that arch was a wooden fence, high, unpainted, rotted with age, grimed with city dirt, and a foot or two of sour slum soil, nothing else.' 'But the doctor had taken his stand to one side of the clock on the ground. He indicated it with a forefinger. "The Siege Perilous. If you will just take your seat there, Colonel—it is almost time."'
  13. p14-15. 'A grin, without humour, to underline his own folly, twisted Simon's thin-lipped mouth, as he straddled the stone and then stood for an instant partly under that arch before he sat down. There was a rounded depression to fit his hips. Curiously, with a sense of foreboding, he put out his hands. Yes, there were two other, smaller hollows to hold his palms, as Petronius had promised.' 'There was a swirling within the stone arch, a melting. Simon looked out across a stretch of moorland which lay under a gray dawn sky. A fresh wind laden with a strange, invigorating scent fingered his hair.' (The Siege Perilous)
  14. p15. 'II. MOOR HUNT'
  15. p15. 'Two rough pillars of reddish rock stood there, between them no city yard but a stretch of the same grey-green moor running on and on into a wall of fog.' (The other side of Simon's Gate into the Witch World)
  16. p16. 'She sprinted, her long legs holding to the steady, dogged pace…' 'Against the grayish-green of the vegetation her slim ivory body, hardly concealed by the tatters which were her only covering, seemed to be spotlighted by the wan light of the dawn. With an impatient gesture she pushed back strands of her long black hair, ran her hands across her face.' (Jaelithe)
  18. p26. 'The close-cropped hair was very fair, silver-white almost. He had a boldly hooked nose between wide cheekbones, an odd combination.' '…shining green eyes…' (Description of the man from Alizon.)
  19. p27-28. 'His mount was tall, heavy through the barrel as if the animal had been selected to carry weight. But the figure in the high peaked saddle was so short of statue Simon thought him a young boy—until he swung to earth. In the light of the fire his body glistened, and points of glitter sparkled on helm, belt, throat and wrist. Short he was, but his breadth of shoulder made that lack of height the more apparent, for his arms and chest were those intended for a man a third again his size.' 'He tugged impatiently as he walked forward, freeing his face from its half veiling. And Simon saw that he had not been wrong in his first guess after all. The hawk-helmeted warrior was young. Young, yes, but also tough.' (description of Koris)
  20. p29. 'Estcarp was more than the river plain; it was a series of forts, stubborn defensive holds along a road marking a frontier. Forts where they had changed horses, had fed, and then swept on again, driven by some need for haste Simon had not understood. And at last it was a city of round towers, green-grey as the soil in which they were rooted under the pale sun of a new day, towers to guard, a wall to encircle, and then other buildings of a tall, proud-walking race with dark eyes and hair as black as his own, a race with the carriage of rulers and an odd weight of years upon them.'
  21. p30. 'The Guardsmen in the frontier posts were all of the same mold, tall, dark aloof in manner.'
  22. p30-31. 'Freed of his armor Koris was even more of a physical oddity. His too-wide shoulders, those dangling, over-long arms overweighed the rest of him. He was not tall and his narrow waist, his slender legs were doubly small in contrast to the upper part of his body. But set on those shoulders was the head of the man Koris might have been had nature not played such a cruel trick. Under a thick cap of wheat-yellow hair was the face of a boy who had only recently come to manhood, but also the face of one who had had no pleasure in that development. Strikingly handsome, apart from those shoulders, jarring with them, the head of a hero partnered to the body of an ape!' 'He gestured with a grace foreign to his long arm to a nearby chest, indicating a pile of clothing there.'
  23. p32. 'Simon weighed the automatic in his hand. The Estcarpian officer [Koris] appeared to be indifferent as to whether this stranger went armed or not. At length Tregarth slipped it into his belt above his lean and now empty middle, and signed that he was ready to go.'
  24. p33. 'There were two women waiting for him—the first he had seen within the pile of the keep. But he had to look a second time to recognize in the one standing, her right hand on the back of a tall chair which held her companion, the woman who had fled before the hunters of Alizon. That hair which had hung in lank soaked strings about her then was coiled rather severely into a silver net, and she was covered primly from throat to ankle by a robe of a similar misty colour. Her only ornament was an oval of the same cloudy crystal such as she had worn then in a wrist band, but this hung from a chain so that the stone rested between the small mounds of her breasts.' "Simon Tregarth!" 'It was the seated woman who summoned him, so his eyes passed to her, and he found that he could not take them away again. She had the same triangular face, the same seeking eyes, the same black coils of netted hair. But the power which emanated from her was like a blow. He could not have told her age, in some ways she might have seen the first stones of Estcarp laid on upon another. But to him she seemed ageless.' (The Guardian)
  26. p36-38. The story of Hilder, Lord Defender of Gorm, his taking of a Tor wife4 and the birth of his son Koris. "And in time when Hilder took a second wife, Orna, the well-dowered daughter of a far-sailing sea master, Gorm again whispered and hoped. So they were only too willing to accept the second son Uryan, who, it was plain to see, had not a drop of suspect outland blood in the veins of his straight young body. In time Hilder died.' 'For it was Orna who brought black ruin to Gorm when she secretly summoned the fleet of Kolder to back her rule.' 'The death day of Hilder, was followed by a night of red terror. And only one of Koris' superhuman strength could have broken the net cast for him. Then there was only death, for when the Kolder came to Gorm, Gorm ceased to be.'
  27. p38. 'Tunston, senior under officer who kept the forces of Escarp to the mark.'
  28. p38. '…and more than just the island of Gorm, for within the year stark towers had risen in another place on the coast and a city called Yle had risen into being.' 'This Yle lay like a spreading stain of foulness between Estcarp and their one strong ally to the west—the sea wanderers of Sulcarkeep. These fighter-traders who knew wild places and different lands had built their stronghold by Estcarp favor on a finger of land which pointed into the sea, their road to encircle the world.'
  29. p38-39. 'That finger which ended with Sulcarkeep on its tip formed one arm to encircle a wide bay, so that across the expanse of water the city of the traders faced—although many miles lay between them—Aliz, the main port of Alizon. In the confines of the bay itself was cupped the island of Gorm. And on that Koris carefully made the dot to signify Sippar, the main city. Strangely enough Yle did not lie on the bayside section of the shorline, facing the open sea. Then there was a sweep of broken line southward, extending well into the Duchy of Karsten, all rock cliff with no safe anchorage for any ship. The bay of Gorm had been of old Estcarp's best outlet to the western ocean.' 'With Yle to the south and Gorm to the north, parties from each Kolder post could easily slice in two a peninsula road without greatly bestirring themselves.'
  30. p40-41. 'Simon had been content to wait, to learn. He had set himself to school with the patience he had so painfully learned in the past seven years, knowing that until he mastered the skills which meant life or death here he could not hope for independence.' 'As a marksman with the dart guns he could match the best in the hold and come off a shade the winner. Wrestling and unarmed combat to which he brought the tricks of Judo had given him a reputation with the men now reaching to the border forts. But in sword use he was still hardly better than the gawky recruits with only boy-down to be scrubbed from their cheeks.'
  31. p41. 'The Guardian who ruled the keep and Estcarp beyond, the woman without a name who had questioned him on his first coming, presided. And behind her chair stood that witch who had fled before the hounds of Alizon. (Jaelithe) There were five more of the covenanted ones, ageless—in a way sexless—but all keen-eyed and watchful.'
  32. p41-42. 'Yet facing them now was a man who tended to dwarf his surrounding. In any other company he might well have dominated the scene. The men of Estcarp were lean and tall, but this was a bronze bull of a man beside whom they were boys not yet come to their full growth. The armor plate which hooped his chest could have furnished close to two shields for the Guard, his shoulders and arms were a match for Koris' but the rest of his body was in keeping. His chin was shaven, but on his upper lip a moustache bristled, stretching out across his weathered cheeks. And eyebrows furnished a second bar of hair on the upper part of his face. The helm on his head was surmounted with the skillfully modeled head of a bear, its muzzle wrinkled in a warning snarl. And a huge bearhide, tanned and lined with saffron yellow cloth, formed his cloak, gold-clawed forepaws clasped together under his square chin.' (Magnis Osberic)
  33. p43. "But this I (Jaelithe) know: our (hers & Simon's) two strands of life stuff have been caught up together by the Hand of the Over Guardian." (The closest mention of a religion/goddess of Estcarp.)
  34. p44. 'V. DEMON BATTLE'
  35. p44. 'Although the Sulcarmen did not ride with the same ease as the Guard, they clung grimly to saddles which seemed too small for their bulk—Magnis Osberic not being unique in his stature—and kept up, riding with the fixed purpose of men to whom time itself was a threatening enemy.'
  36. p45. Jaelithe: "We have a portion of the sea in our veins, we of Estcarp. That is why Sulcar blood can mingle with ours, as it has ofttimes."
  37. p46. Simon: 'How had he known—how did he know they were advancing into danger? He had had traces of such foreknowledge in the past—as on the night he had met Petronius—but never had it been so sharp and clear, with a strength which increased as he rode.'
  38. p46-50. The fight with the Kolder mind-broken men from Gorm.
  39. p46. 'Their helms were head-enveloping and visored, giving them the unearthly look of beaked birds of prey.' (the helmets of the Kolder controlled men)
  40. p48. 'The toe of his boot met the back of the Kolder's round helmet…' 'busy with the buckles of his helm.' (Kolder helmets are round and have buckles and straps) 'The hawk crown helmet of Koris cut between Simon and that face…' (Koris's helmet)
  41. p49. 'Eyes as green-blue as the Captain's, (Koris) in a face as regularly handsome, opened, but they did not focus on the man who called, or the other two bending over him.' (man from Gorm, brain-altered by Kolder)
  42. p50. 'And beneath each of those beak helms they saw the same pale faces with heads of cropped blond hair, those features which argued they were akin to Koris.' (men from Gorm)
  43. p52-53. Osberic: "Master Tregarth, the Peace of the Highways may hold for our blood within Escarp, and to a measure within Alizon and Karsten—providing we clink gold in the hearing of the right ears." "Sulcarkeep was built in my great-grandfather's day to provide all our race with a safe port in time of storm—storm of war as well as storm of wind and wave."
  44. p53. Osberic: "'Tis tongued about that the Duke is to wed. But there is a necklet of Samian fashioning lying in a chest down there intended for the white neck of Aldis. It would appear that Yvian may put the bracelet on some other's wrist, but he intends not to wear it on his own."
  45. p54. 'VI. FOG DOOM'
  46. p61. 'Simon was elbowed to one side as he saw Magnis' face, as red as its tawny bristle of mustache, loom up…'
  47. p63-64. The fall of Sulcarkeep.
  49. p65. Loyse. 'Her hands, long fingered, narrow of palm, pressed flat against the stone…' 'To be Fulk's daughter one must grow an inner casing of ice and iron which no blow to the flesh, no taunt to the spirit could crack. And she had been intent upon that fashioning of an interior citadel for more than half the years of her short life.'
  50. p66 'For Verlaine was not Fulk's by blood, but by his one and only marriage with her mother, and only as long as Loyse lived could he continue to hold it and its rich rights of pillage and wreckage, ashore and afield. There were kinsmen of her mother's in Karsten who would be quick enough to claim lordship here were she to die. But, had Fulk sired a son by any of the willing—and unwilling—women he had brought to the huge bed in the lord's chamber, then he could have claimed more than just his own life tenancy for the male heir under the new laws of the Duke. By the old customs mother-right was for inheritance; now one took a father's holding, and only in cases where there was no male heir did the old law prevail.5
  51. p66-67. 'She was small, but that was the only feminine characteristic she shared with the blowsy women who satisfied her father's men, or with the richer fare he kept for his own enjoyment. Her body was as straight and slender as a boy's with only shadow curves to hint she was not a lad. The hair which lay in braids across her shoulders, and then fell below waist level, was thick enough. But it was lank and of so pale a yellow that except in direct sunlight it was white as a beldame's, while lashes and brows of the same colourless tint made her face seem strangely blank and without intelligence. The skin pulled tightly across the fine bones of her face and chest was smooth and also lacking in any real colour. Even the line of her lips was of the palest rose. She was a bleached thing, grown in the dark, but a vitality within her was as strong as the supple blade a wise swordsman chooses over the heavier hacking weapon of the inexperienced.' (Loyse)
  52. p67. 'If Loyse was the colorless creature of the dark, Fulk was lord of sun and flamboyant light. His good body was beginning to show traces of his rough living, but he was still more than handsome, his red-gold head carried with the arrogance of a prince, his well-cut features only a little blurred.'
  53. p69. Fulk: "Karsten's herald rode in this morning with an offer of ax marriage for you."6
  54. p70. Fulk: "The Duke, for all his might, was a rider of mercenaries before he set his seal on Karsten, and I doubt if he can rightly name his dam, let alone his sire. He crushed those of the lords who tried to face him down. But that was a good half-score of years ago…"7
  55. p70. Fulk: "And I was no blank shield, but the younger son of Farthom in the northern hills."
  56. p75. 'II. SEA WRACK'
  57. p78-79. 'Hunold was a comrade from Yvian's old mercenary days. He had a reputation as a soldier which reached even into such a backwater as Verlaine. Oddly enough his appearance did not match either his occupation, nor his reputation. Were Loyse hd expected to see a man such as her father's seneschal—though perhaps slicked over with some polish—she found herself fronting a silk clad, drawling, languid courtier, who might never have felt the weight of mail on his back. His rounded chin, long lashed eyes, smooth cheeks, gave him a deceptive youth, as well as the seeming of untried softness. And Loyse, trying to match the man to the things she had heard concerning him, wondered and was a little afraid.'
  58. p79. 'Siric, who represented the Temple of Fortune, who tomorrow would say the words while her hands rested on the war ax, thus making her as much Yvian's as if he clasped her in truth, was old. He had a red face and there was a swelling blue vein in the middle of his low forehead. As he listened or spoke in a soft bumble, he munched continually on small sweetmeats from a comfit box his servant kept ever in reach, and his yellow priest's robe strained over a paunch of notable dimensions.'8
  59. p79. 'The Lord Duarte was of the old nobility. But in turn he did not suit his role very well. Small and thin, with a twitching tic which pulled at his lower lip, the harassed air of a man constrained to some task he loathed, he spoke only when an answer was demanded of him. And alone of the three he paid some attention to Loyse. She discovered him watching her broodingly, but there as nothing in his manner which hinted of pity or promise of aid. It was rather that she was the symbol of trouble he would like to sweep from his path.'
  60. p81. The seamstress: "I was one of Estcarp, woman of the sea coast. Now do you understand? Yes, I had the Power—until it was rift from me in the hall below us here, while men laughed and cheered the deed. For the gift is ours—sealed to our women—only while our bodies remain inviolate. To Verlaine I was a female body and no more. So I lost what made me live and breathe—I lost myself."
  61. p84. 'III. CAPTIVE WITCH'
  62. p85. Lord Commander Hunold: "This, Reverend Voice…" (The proper form of address for Siric.)
  63. p87-88. 'Only the Lord Duarte remained quiet, his eyes bent upon the hands resting on his knees as he built and felled towers with his fingers. A slow, red-brown flush spread up his thin cheeks beneath the close-clipped old man's beard.
  64. 'This was his (Siric's) part of the venture and for once that young, ice-eyed upstart of a soldier (Hunold) could have no leading role. Far more fit and proper for Lord Duarte of the oldest noble line in Karsten to bear the ax and stand proxy for their overlord.'
  65. p88. '…the Temple Brotherhood…' (The Temple of Fortune seems to be a patriarchal religion.)
  66. p91. 'His (Hunold's) fox face with a fox brush of hair was as vivid as Fulk's for virile coloring.'
  67. p94. 'IV. THE INNER WAYS'
  68. p98. "Call me Briant, a mercenary of blank shield," Loyse supplied, having prepared for that days ago.
  69. p100. Jaelithe: "I cannot control forces greater than my own! This place is old, also it is apart from human kind and from the powers we know. Gods were worshiped here once, such gods as altars have not been raised to these thousand years. And there is a residue of their old magic rising!" The strange shrine deep beneath Verlaine.
  70. p103. 'But on the other hand Kars was the center of the southern lands…" (The capitol city of Karsten.)
  72. p105. "Jivin," Koris supplied a name, "an excellent riding master." (one of the survivors)
  73. p106. Koris: "Tunston!" 'Dimly Simon was glad of that. He had developed, during his short period of life with the Guard in Escarp, a very hearty respect for that under officer. (one of the survivors)
  74. p108-109. 'His parchment skin was dark, smooth, as if the artistry of the embalmer had turned it to sleek wood. The features of the half hidden face were marked by great force and vigor, with a sweeping beak of a nose dominating all the rest. His chin was small, sharply pointed, and the closed eyes were deep set. It was like seeing a humanoid creature whose far distant ancestors had been not primates but avian. To add to this illusion his clothing, under its film of dust, was of some material which resembled feathers. A belt bound his slim waist and resting across both arms of his chair ws an ax of such length of haft and size that Simon almost doubted the sleeper could ever have lifted it. His hair had grown to a peak-crest, and binding it into an upright plume, was a gem-set circlet.' "Volt!" Jivin's cry was close to a scream.
  75. p109-110. "Volt of the Ax, Volt who throws thunders—Volt who is now a boogy to frighten children out of naughtiness! Estcarp is old, her knowledge comes from the days before man wrote his history, or whispered his legends. But Volt is older than Estcarp! He is of those who came before man, as man is today. And his kind died before man armed himself with stick and stone to strike back at the beasts. Only Volt lived on and knew the first men and they knew him—and his ax! For Volt in his loneliness took pity on man and with his ax hewed for them a path to follow to knowledge and lordship before he, too, went from among them. In some places they remember Volt with thanksgiving, though they fear him for being what they could not understand. And in other places they hate with a great hate, for the wisdom of Volt warred against their deep desires. So do we remember Volt with prayers and with cursings, and he is both god and demon. Yet now we four can perceive that he was a living creature, and so in that akin to ourselves. Though perhaps one with other gifts according to the nature of his race."
  76. p110-111. Koris takes up the ax of Volt: 'For the seated man, or man-like figure, appeared to nod once, twice as if agreeing to Koris' exultant promises. Then that body, which had seemed so solid only seconds before, changed in front of their eyes, falling in upon itself.' (Volt's body)
  77. p113. 'II. FALCON'S EYRIE'
  78. p114. Koris to the Falconers: "By the Oath of Sword and Shield, Blood and Bread, I ask of you now the shelter given when two war not upon each other, but live commonly by the raised blade!"
  79. p115. Simon: "Who are the Falconers?" Koris: "As Volt, they are legend and history, but not so ancient. In the beginning they were mercenaries, come overseas in Sulcar ships from a land where they lost their holdings because of a barbarian invasion. For a space they served with the traders as caravan guards and marines. Sometimes they still hire out when in their first youth. But the majority did not care for the sea; they had a hunger for mountains eating into them, since they were heights born. So they came to the Guardian at Escarp city and suggested a pact, offering to protect the southern border of the land in return for the right to settle in the mountains."
  80. p115. Koris: "Have you not dwelt long enough yet in Estcarp, Simon, not to know that it is a matriarchate? For the Power which has held it safe lies not in the swords of its men, but in the hands of its women. And the holder of Power are in truth all women."
  81. p116. Koris: "On the other hand the Falconers have strange customs of their own, which are as dear to them as the mores of Estcarp are to the witches. They are a fighting order of males alone. Twice a year picked young men are sent to their separate villages of women, there to sire a new generation, as stallions are put out to pasture with the mares. But of affection, or liking, of equality between male and female, there is none recognized among the Falconers. And they do not admit that a woman exists save for the bearing of sons." "However they were granted leave to pass in peace through the country with what supplies they needed, to seek a holding beyond the boundaries of Estcarp the witches would wish them well and no raise swords against them. So it has been for a hundred years or more."
  82. p116. Koris: "Thus they (Falconers) were to Estcarp savages whose corrupt way of life revolted the civilized, and the Guardian swore that were they to settle within the country with the consent of the witches the Power would be affronted and depart."9
  83. p117. Jivin: "For as you know, the Power departs from a witch if she becomes truly a woman. Therefore they are doubly jealous of their strength, having given up a part of their life to hold it."
  84. p118. "Nalin, of the outer heights," "The Lord of Wings opens the Eyrie to the Captain of Estcarp." (Leader of the Falconer scouting group.)
  85. p119. Falconer scout: "It was on Sulcar ships that we came out of blood, death and fire overseas, Guardsman! Sulcar has first claim upon us since that day."
  86. p122. 'But this was a part of the cliffs, of the mountain. He could only believe that the makers had chanced upon a peak where there were a series of caves which had been enlarged and worked. For the Eyrie was not a castle, but a mountain itself converted into a fort.'
  87. p123. 'III. A WITCH IN KARS'
  88. p123. 'They had been five days at the Eyrie and it was Koris' intention to ride north soon…'
  89. p123-124. 'In the lower reaches of the strange fortress smiths toiled the night through and armorers wrought cunningly, while a handful of technicians worked on those tiny beads strung on the hawk jesses through which a high circling bird reported and recorded for his master. The secret of those was the most guarded of their nation, and Simon had only a hint that it was based on some mechanical contrivance. Tregarth had been often brought up short in his estimation of these peoples by just some curious quirk such as this. Men who fought with sword and shield should not also produce intricate communication devices. Such odd leaps and gaps in knowledge and equipment was baffling. He could far more readily accept the "magic" of the witches than the eyes and ears, and when necessary, voices which were falcon borne.'
  90. p127. 'The Duchy had once been a territory sparsely held by a race akin to the ancient blood of Estcarp. And now and then a proud-held dark head, a pale face with cleanly cut features, reminded Simon of the men of the north.' "The curse of the Power finished them here," Koris observed when Simon commented on this. "The curse?" The Captain shrugged. "It goes back to the nature of the Power. Those who use it do not breed. And so each year the women who will wed and bear grow fewer. A marriageable maid of Estcarp may chose among ten men, soon among twenty. Also there are childless homes in plenty. So it was here. Thus when the sturdier barbarians came overseas and settled along the coast they were not actively opposed. More and more land came to their hands. The old stock withdrew to the backlands. Then warlords arose among the newcomers in the course of time. So we have the Dukes, and this Duke last of all—who was a common man of a hired shield company and climbed by his wits and the strength of his sword arm to complete rule." Simon: "And so will it go with Estcarp also?" Koris: "Perhaps. Only there was a mingling of blood with the Sulcarman, who, alone, it seems, can mate with Estcarp and have fruit of it. Thus in the north there was a stirring of the old blood and a renewing of vigor."
  91. p128. Koris: "Simon; does this town we approach beckon you? It is Garth-holm on the river, and beyond it lies only Kars."
  92. p129. 'There were two days of lazy current gliding on the river. As it neared sunset on the second, and the walls and towers of Kars stood out boldly not too far ahead, Simon's hands went to his head.'
  93. p131. 'A young man stood in that crevice between wood and brick. He was much shorter than Simon, less in inches even than Koris, and light of limb. The upper part of his face was overhung with the visor of a battle helm, and he wore mail without the badge of any lord.' (Loyse in disguise as "Briant")
  94. p132 'IV. LOVE POTION'
  95. p132. Jaelithe: "Neither of you have yet asked what we do in Kars, though you have been a night and part of a day under this roof."
  96. p133. 'Stripped of the mail and helm he had worn at their first meeting, he was a slender, almost frail youngster, far too young to be well-schooled in the use of the weapons he bore. Yet there was a firm set to his mouth and chin, a steady purpose in his eyes which argued that the woman from Escarp had perhaps chosen wisely in her recruiting after all.' (Loyse disguised as "Briant")
  97. p135-136. Jaelithe: "But this much is also true: for the past six months galleys have come to an island lying off the sea-mouth of Kars' river and prisoners from Karsten are transferred to those ships. Some are from the prisons of the Duke, other men are swept up on the streets and docs, friendless men, or ones not to be missed. Such dealings cannot be kept secret forever. A whisper here, a sentence there—piece by piece we have gathered it. Men sold to the Kolder for Kolder purposes. And if thus it happens in Karsten, why not in Alizon? Now I can better understand why my mission there failed and how I was so speedily uncovered. If the Kolder have certain powers—as we believe that they do—they could stalk me or any such as me, as the hounds hunted us by scent on the moors."
  98. p140. 'The words were harsh, but the voice in which they were spoken surrounded that briskness with layers of velvet. Such a voice could well twist a man to her will through hearing it alone. And the Duke's mistress had the form, not of the tavern wench to which the witch and compared her, over-ripe and full-curved, but of a young girl not fully awakened to her own potentialities, with small high breasts modestly covered, yet perfectly revealed by the fabric of her robe. A woman of contradictions—wanton and cool at one and the same time. Simon, studying her, could well understand how she had managed to hold sway over a proved lecher as long and successfully as she had.' (description of Lady Aldis)
  99. p142. 'V. THREE TIMES HORNED'
  100. p146. The Estcarp embassy is blown up. "Yvian has ordered the three times horning for all of Estcarp or of the old blood! He is like a man gone mad!" Vortgin, a man of the Old Race from Karsten joins them.
  101. p152. 'VI. FALSE HAWK'
  102. p159-160. 'In the Eyrie he had been intrigued by the communication devices which the true falcons bore. A machine so delicate and so advanced in technical ability was out of place in the feudal fortress of its users. And what of the artificial lighting and heating systems of Estcarp, or the buildings of the Sulcarkeep, of that energy source Osberic had blown up to finish the port? Were all these vestiges of an earlier civilization which had vanished leaving only traces of its inventions behind? Or—were they grafts upon this world from some other source?' 'Koris had spoken of Volt's non-human race preceding mankind here. Were these remnants of theirs? He wanted a chance to examine the wreckage of the false hawk, to try and assess from it if he could the type of mind, or training, which could create such an object.'
  104. p164. 'Aliens! As always that puzzle of inequality of skills continued to plague him. Questioning of his refugees told him that the energy machines which they had always known had come from "overseas" ages past: "overseas", energy machines brought by the Sulcar traders, adapted by the old race for heat and light, the Falconers also from "Overseas" with their amazing communicators borne by their hawks. And the source of the Kolder was also "overseas"—a vague term—a common source for all?'
  105. p164. 'Ingvald, the Karstenians lieutenant' (of the Old Race, joined Simon in protecting the border)
  106. p165. Ingvald: "We are not—were not—blood brother of the coastwise people. They drove us inland when they came from the sea. But for ten generations we have been at peace with them, each going our way and not troubling the other. We of the old race are not inclined to war and there was no reason for this sudden attack upon us.' (How long the settlers from overseas had been in Karsten.)10
  107. p166. Ingvald: "A bird or an animal can sense that kind of alien quicker than even one who has the Power. And those like now to the men of Gorm would find both bird and beast against them." (Kolder converted men.)
  108. p167. 'TheFalconers were an inbred race with a dominate physical type—reddish hair and brown-yellow eyes like their feathered servants.'
  109. p168. Caluf: "I will swear it on the Stone of Engis if you wish, Captain." (A significant stone of power to the Old Race of Estcarp/Karsten?)
  110. p169. 'Once, in prison, he had had time to explore the depths within himself. And the paths he had hewn had been bleak, freezing him into a remoteness of spirit which had never thawed since that day. The give and take of barracks life, of companionship in field service he could assume as a cover, but nothing ate below that cover—or he had not allowed it to.'
  111. P171. Simon is knocked unconscious by mechanical falcon and captured while spying on Kolder held beach.
  112. p171. 'II. TRIBUTE TO GORM'
  113. p175. Prisoner from Karsten: "…for which may the Rats of Nore forever gnaw him night and day…" (A Karsten curse)
  114. p176. 'Words which were no words, only a confused sound made by a highpitched voice—carrying with them the snap of imperative order.' (The Kolder)
  115. p177. 'The tall thin figure stood with his back to Simon, working over the first man in line. Since a gray robe, belted in at the waist covered all of his, her, or its body, and a cap of the same stuff hid the head, Simon had no idea of race or type of creature who busied himself with quiet efficiency there.'
  116. p178. 'This was a man, at least in face, very like a great many other men Simon had known. He had rather flat features with a wide expanse of cheekbone on either side of a nose too close to bridgeless, and his chin was too small and narrow to match the width of the upper half of his face. But he was no alien demon to the eye, whatever he might house within his domed skull.'
  117. p181. 'III. GRAY FANE'
  118. p183. 'And seated between each two of such machines with their backs towards him, their attention all for the devices they tended, were others wearing the gray robes and caps. A little apart was a second table, or outsized desk, with three more of the Kolder. The center one of this trio wore a metal cap on his head from which wires and spider-thread cables ran to a board behind him. His face was without expression, his eyes were closed. However he was not asleep for, from time to time, his fingers moved with swift flicks of the tips across a panel of buttons and levers set in the surface before him.'
  119. p183-184. "He gazed at Simon, his flat face with its over-spread of upper features, displaying first impatience then the growing realization that Simon was not one of his own kind.'
  120. p184-185. 'What came was no physical attack, but a blow of force, unseen, not to be defined by the untutored outworlder. But a blow which held Simon pinned breathless to the wall unable to move.' (Simon pinned by Kolder forcefield)
  121. p190. 'IV. CITY OF DEAD MEN'
  122. p192-193. 'He guessed that if he tried any of those doors he would find them barred against him, while within would like only the dead. Had they perished soon after Gorm had welcomed Kolder to further the ambitions of Orna and her son? Or had that death come sometime later, during the years since Koris had fled to Estcarp and the island had been cut off from humankind?' (This suggests it's been more than 2 years since the Kolder took Gorm.)
  123. p193. 'There were ships there, ships battered by storms, some driven half ashore, their rigging a rotting tangle, their sides scored and smashed in, some half water-logged, with only their upper diecks above the surface of the harbor. None of these had sailed for months, or years!'
  124. p193-194. 'If he could find a manageable small craft and take to sea, Simon would have to take the longer route eastward down the bottle-shaped bay to the mouth of the River Es and so to Estcarp.'
  125. p194. Simon passes through the barrier around Gorm, experiencing an assault on his senses. 'Before dawn Simon was picked up by a costal patrol boat from the Es, and by that time he had recovered his wits, though his mind felt as bruised as his boat. Riding relays of swift mounts he went on to Estcarp city.'
  126. p195. 'So he held those hands which were cool and dry in his, and he mentally pictured the gray robe, the odd face where the lower half did not match the upper, the metal cap, and the impression of power and then of bafflement which had been mirrored on those features when Simon had fought back.' (Simon pictures the Kolder for a witch.)
  127. p199. "Sandar of Alizon." (The name of the ruler of Alizon.)
  128. p199. 'V. GAME OF POWER'
  129. p200. 'Those eyes did open and he [Simon] stared into their dark pupils…' The witches and Simon force the metal capped Kolder to turn off the barrier around Gorm.
  130. p208. 'VI. THE CLEANSING OF GORM'
  131. p209-210. 'Then there were no more eyes, just a weird fog-streaked window into another place-perhaps another time. Between pillars burst a company of men, gray robed, riding in machines strange to him. They were firing behind them as they came, unmistakably some remnant of a broken force on the run and hardly pressed. In a narrow column they struggled on, and with them he endured desperation and such a cold fury as he had not known existed as an emotion to wrack mind and heart. The Gate—once through the gate—then would they have the time: time to rebuild, to take, to be what they had the will and force to be. A broken empire and a ravaged world lay behind them—before them a fresh world for the taking.' (A bit of the history of the Kolder.)
  132. p210. 'Tunston stooped and tried to pull the cap from the head which rolled limply on the gray-robed shoulders. They were all a little daunted when it became apparent that that cap was no cap at all, but seemingly a permanent part of the body it crowned.'
  133. p211. Guardsman from Estcarp: "Here is such a man as I have never seen before. Look at the color of his skin, his hair; he is not from these lands!" 'The unfortunate Kolder slave lay on his back as if in sleep. But his skin, totally exposed for a draggle of rag about his hips, was a red-brown, and his hair was tightly curled to his scalp.' (This sounds a bit like a Vars man from Varn. see: Port of Dead Ships)
  134. p216. Jaelithe: "Let this storehouse of strange knowledge be sealed and let the rest of Gorm be cleansed for a garrison, until such time as we can decide the future of what lies here." She smiled at the young officer. "I leave it in your command, Lord Defender of Gorm."
  136. p218. Koris: "I swore by Nornan that I would not return here." (Possibly the god of the people of Gorm?)
  137. p221. "Simon, my name is Jaelithe." 'As Koris' ax lay on the table, so she had left her jewel behind her when she had moved apart with Simon.'

1. The Buddy Holly style glasses suggests a late-1950s setting.
2. The Allied occupation of Germany lasted from 1945-1955. Since Simon joined the army in 1939 (minimum age 18, though teens would lie about their age to join sooner) and rose through the ranks until he reached the status of Colonel (by 1953 you had to have a minimum of 16 yrs of service to reach Colonel, though during WWII men could rise through the ranks rather quickly), his court-martial probably took place near the end of the occupation. This takes place 7 years after that placing this story around 1959-1962 at the latest. That would make his age somewhere in his early 40s. In doing further research, I found an interesting account of investigation into black market dealings of the U.S. Military personnel in Germany in 1946. It was a large enough scandal that it reached the American newspapers and possibly inspired Simon's background.
3. The city is never named but earlier they mention docks and a harbour "downtown" (Simon wondering if that's where they're headed), implying this is a costal city. A farmhouse that old would probably only exist on the east coast so this may be set in New York City itself or one of it's suburbs.
4. See: Tor Marsh and Torfolk
5. This "old custom/law" is common to the Old Race in Arvon (as described in The Jargoon Pard) and would be the custom in Estcarp (And Escore) though it's not specifically mentioned. This change in custom may hint the people of Karsten originally came from High Hallack where lands and titles pass from father to son.
6. Ax marriages are common in High Hallack. Another possible clue the younger race of Karsten came from there.
7. A score is 20 years, half of that is 10 years ago.
8. This appears to be the main religion of Karsten, unique to the people of it's Dutchy.
9. A possible hint that the "Over Guardian" might be the maiden goddess Dians? See: Horn Crown
10. If a generation is roughly 20 years, that means they arrived in Karsten about 200 years ago.


The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Neither Rest Nor Refuge

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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