The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

Races of Witch World ~ Dalesfolk


The Dalesfolk are first introduced in Witch World. Their entry into the "Witch World"is covered in Horn Crown.

Appearance: Dalesfolk have blond to dark brown hair and green, blue, brown, or hazel eyes. They have pale skin that tans and becomes ruddy.1 Some Dalesfolk have mated with the Old Ones and have unusual features as a result.

Living Area(s): High Hallack

Life Span: The exact life span of the Dalesfolk is not given, but they seem to live about the same length of time as an Earth human.

Power: Some Dalesfolk seem to occasionally have Power on their own but generally they treat it with wariness and suspicion. Most Wise Women healers seem to have some form of it and a few of the Dames of the Flame, but in general, the Dames eschew all worldly things (including magic) in favor of contemplation and veneration of the Flame. The Bards and Sword Brothers mentioned in Horn Crown also seem to have some form of Power.2

Other: The people of Hallack came into the Witch World by a Gate of their own making and the Bards closed the Gate behind them once through. They have created many dales and are still recovering from the war brought to them by the Kolder and Alizonders. In Horn Crown it is mentioned that the Bards both opened and closed the Gate to Hallack, their home world, erasing the memory of why they made that transit. It is also mentioned that a group known as the Sword Brothers were Dalesmen with a touch of Sight. What happened to this group and the Bards in later years is undocumented. It seems the sacred Flame was passed from the Bards to the newly formed order of the Dames at some point before they died out.
How many Dales there are, exactly, isn't mentioned though they extend from the eastern coast of the sea to the edge of The Waste in the west & north, and as far south as Sorn Fen.

1. In Year of the Unicorn Gillan describes the differences: "I need only to look in the mirror within these walls to know that I was not of the breed of High Hallack. Whereas their womenkind were fair of skin, but with a fine color to their faces, their hair as yellow as the small flowers bordering the garden walks in spring, or brown as the wings of the sweet singing birds in the stream gullies, I was of a flesh which burned brown under the sun, but held no color in cheek. And the hair I learned to plait tightly around my head, was of a black as deep as a starless night." p.345 Annals of the Witch World
2. In both The Circle of Sleep and The Stillborn Heritage it seems that many of the Old Ones are being reborn in the children of the Dalesfolk. Kerovan himself seems to also be involved in this somehow. So it's possible that the Dales will become a more magical place over time.

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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