The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts


 A Novelette in the [Witch World Saga] by Andre Norton

~ Sequel of "The Toads of Grimmerdale"


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:
[Lore of the Witch World] (1980) Published by DAW, PB, 0-879-97560-1, 978-0-879-97560-9, No.400 #UJ1560, $1.95 ~ cover by Michael Whelan


Hertha's daughter, Elfanor, is born, but with the mark of the Toads upon her face.  Hertha knows then that the Toads had not relinquished their hold upon her, with the release of Trystan, whom she had promised to deliver to them as retribution for her rape, thinking he was the guilty party.  The Dames of Lithendale have given her sanctuary until the baby was born, now they seem to turn away from her, even while continuing to give her sanctuary.  She decides that to free Elfanor from the curse, she must ride back to Grimmerdale and seal the Toad's site.  The way is long, but not hard, until the final day, when she discovers that to seal the Toads, she must move boulders onto the paths into the standing stones.  In the meantime, Trystan, after having made good his Lordship over Nordendale (which had been left without leadership during the war with Alizon), has come as promised to make her his Lady and take her to his Keep.  Given an ambiguous report by the Dames of Lithendale, he follows her in time to help her move the last big boulder, which is too large for her strength, and has fallen into a gully beside the path it is supposed to seal.  With the closing of all ways in, the mark of the Toad's curse falls away from Elfanor. ~ SL

Timeline Points:

  1. p196. 'Lithendale, though no fortress for defense, rather an abiding place for the Dames who gave refuge to all, still held something of grim darkness in this early spring. Snow lay in ragged, mid-edged patches upon the ground, and the courtyards showed a gloss of damp upon worn stones.' Hertha gives birth to her child.
  2. p198. Hertha: "This is my daughter, Elfanor…"
  3. p200. 'As days passed Hertha never spoke again of what she might do.' 'Sudden winds came out of the south. The earth dried after the last of the snow's burden soaked into it. Spring was coming early.' 'At the fourth week she asked for formal audience with the abbess, her plans made.' (This is probably the Month of the Hawk in the Year of the Unicorn.)
  4. p202. Hertha: "Lady, I imperiled myself so months ago." (see: The Toads of Grimmerdale)
  5. p206. Hertha leaves the abbey. 'On the fourth day her road branched, one part turning south.'
  6. p207. '…early evening…' Hertha arrives at Gunnora's Shrine.
  7. p210. Hertha leaves the Shrine the next morning.
  8. p211. 'After a full day's travel she slept but fitfully…' 'The second day had no sun…' 'Twilight came early…' Hertha reaches Grimmerdale.
  9. p212. 'That night she did not sleep…' Dawn- Hertha prepares to seal the circle of the Toads with three blue stones.
  10. p215. Trystan arrives to help find the third stone.
  11. p211. The final stone is placed and the circle sealed just before sunset. Elfanor's curse is lifted.


Sorcerer's Notes:
Roughly 3 months after The Toads of Grimmerdale, early spring. This suggests Hertha was only pregnant for 6 months at the most, as she was only pregnant for 3 months in The Toads of Grimmerdale. It's possible the interference of the Toads accelerated her pregnancy, strangely, no-one comments that Elfanor is premature here, just that she is a "Changeling".

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Gryphon's Eyrie

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ April, 2019

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