For more than 30 years, Andre Norton's fabulous Witch World saga has thrilled millions. Now comes a new trilogy that reveals long hidden secrets of the mysterious Witch World.
For time beyond memory, the fire-eyed Keplian horses have lured riders to their death, sating the blood lust of the Dark Tower. All Witch World knows that the hunted, hated beasts serve Evil-all except one young woman.
Fleeing her home after her beloved grandfather dies, the orphaned Navajo-Apache girl Eleeri follows an ancient and magical trail to Witch World. When she discovers the Keplian mare Tharna and her newborn colt in the hands of men eager to destroy them, Eleeri fights for their freedom. Running for their lives, psychic Eleeri and telepathic Tharna bond. And in a hidden canyon,they discover the awesome truth:
The Keplians were created to serve light, and to ride with humans
"From first to last an Andre Norton story will show the virtues of clear construction, a high degree of narrative control, protagonists whose qualities allow easy reader identification and a universe fundamentally responsive to virtue, good will and spunk."
-The Science Fiction Encyclopedia
"Witch World is one of fantasy's most beloved and enduring creations."
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July 01, 1995
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Excerpt from The Key of the Keplian by Lyn McConchie
The old man was dying. Once, she had thought he would live forever. Now she was older and knew that all things died in their time. This was his. His eyes met hers calmly and she knew then that he would tell her what to do.
He studied her as she crouched beside him. She was too thin for beauty but in his eyes she was not only beautiful, she was beloved: the daughter of his son's daughter and his only living descendant. The coming of another race had been hard on his people. Too many had died from diseases they had never known as free-rangers. Others had taken as starving coyotes to the firewater offered all too often.
Disease had slain his son, ill fortune the boy's daughter and her man, leaving this one alone. Other blood had mingled with that of the Nemunuh over the generations: his own mother had been half Navajo, the daughter of a white man by his Indian wife. His eyes watched the girl. Eleeri he had named her, from the ancient tongue used only by those of power. There were few of those nowadays; in too many lines the gift had faltered and died. But in the child it had come again, flowering into the true horse-gift and into ties with other life.
The girl watched him, sorrow in the huge gray eyes. Her long black hair hung past her thin shoulder and she brushed the shining strands back with an impatient hand. As her hand lifted, powerful tendons stood out in the hollow of a wrist. The slenderness was a disguise; here was one who was all wire and whipcord. Long, long ago, women had been warriors and accepted so by the Nemunuh. Far Traveler had trained his great-granddaughter well. In these degenerate days none of the young men could match her in bow or knife skill. Nor could any, man or woman, match her with horse or hunt. He smiled up at her, then spoke, his voice weak but clear.
"I named you Eleeri. Now you must prove my naming."
The child was puzzled. That her name meant "Walker by Strange Roads" she had always known. But what road was she to walk? The old man smiled at the wrinkled brow.
"Go into the high hills, find there the beginning of the road of the gone-before ones. That you shall walk, leaving fear behind you. Walk as a warrior. As the last of my line shall you go forth with all I can give you." A jerk of his head indicated a small heap in the darkened corner of the room. "At sunhigh let you go with the light, and Ka-dih bless you." He sighed softly. "Would that you could ride, but I sold the last horse. Nor can you wait too long. The woman who calls on us will come today. You must be well gone before she arrives."
Eleeri shivered. She must indeed. It had been only her great-grandfather who had saved her six years ago. She remembered the brutalities of her aunt and uncle. Her father had not disdained the Indian blood of the bride he had taken, but his sister and the rancher she had wed had been far otherwise. When Far Traveler died, by white man's law she would fall back into their hands, being not quite sixteen. If there was a way to flee, she would take it.
A road of the gone-before ones? Her heart leaped. Many were the stories of those ancient people; even in the school she attended the truth was known. Some of it, at least. She had read there of the Anasazi, the books reinforcing the old tales Far Traveler had first heard from his mother. But that there was a road she had never known.
Black eyes twinkled in her great-grandfather's seamed face. A face like a map of the hills and gullies of his land. Brown as the dust, yet alive as the land itself.
"Bring me my parfleche." She brought the tanned deerskin war bag and waited. From it he drew out a piece of white deerskin tanned and scraped to perfect suppleness. He spread it on the bed and she gazed down. His hand lifted, wavering a little.
"Here . . . " his fingers touched, "here is our land. Follow the stream high into the hills.