Year of the Unicorn - Were Rider Powers
#1
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#2
Some WERE-POWERS & Talents:

Weres can set wards of protection and are supreme as fighters. Year of the Unicorn P.176, "The beasts you have seen are not the only shapes we may take upon occasions, only those which are the most familar." "I do not know what shape they will...." "... multitude of shapes, ever changing--" "... a scaled dragon...." "... any figure in that weaving of dissolving and reassembling forms." "... web of changing forms... company of man-like beings, concentrating upon holding the socery screen they had wrought." p.181. "I am a Were-- and so against the true course of nature. My kind may not ride in the deep dark, but we go overshadowed through our lives." p.173 Weres have "war socery". "The Riders will rouse what they may to front us." p.167. "For if I summon them thus, then I must be prepared to meet them with full power power and array--" p.176. "Herrel I had seen appealing to forces and powers for my healing while the Werefires blazed about me and I lay covered with a blanket of flowers." p.208. "His sword was a live thing, and from that blade those things flinched and cringed." (spirit sword) p.211. It too, was green. A spear of light might have been forged into that splinter shaft." "By the bone of death, the power of silver, the force of our desire--" p.105. "By the Ash, the Maul, the Blade that rusteth never, by the Clear Moon, the Light of Neave, the blood I have shed to He whose semblance I wear." p.155. "By the virtue of the Bane-bloom, and the Lash of Gorth, the Candles of the Weres-- come you back! ... an imperative call.... I opened my eyes. Light... but of green flames." P.155-156. The Weres have "... the key to gate..." of "another world". The Wereriders were able to open a gate to the Other World, but Gillan and Herrel fought and returned to their bodies. p.175. "Like draws like. He raised his hand and lined a symbol in the air between us. Green it was as if traced in the fainest curl of mist, and then became blue which was gray in its dying." p.102. "... we fastened our wills on this.... He has his battle and I had mine..., yet we must fight it singly." p.218. "I do not know now what I am, for we have been a journey like to change any living thing. But of these towers I am not.... So we shall go to see that which we are-- for that we must learn." p.223. "Powers we have which those of other races do not use." p.73. Weres can cast illusions. "Illusions they dealt in-- but illusions can be common or very complex. And the opening of the gate allowed them to draw upon sources of energy which had ben dammed from their use for a long time." p.103."And his (Herrel) touch built illusion. We stood not in a steep walled, dark cut, but in a place of springtime. Small pale flowers...." p.92. "The longer I looked and willed, so more did the enchantment fade and dim." "And their faces were rapt, bemused, those of mortals caught in a web of glamourie." p.49, 50-53, Year..Unicorn.

"The weave spell" p.54 and "hinder-cord" "A spell laid to slow and perhaps lame a horse." p.85. "Herrel rode... now and then he held high his head, his nostrils expanding as if he would scent something in the air which might be odor of danger." p.70 (in man shape). "Herrel was uneasy.... His testing of the winds increased. And I saw that others of the Riders moved restlessly about, their pacing almost being of animals scenting a danger yet afar." p.71.

"By what fear of sorcery he wrought.... But those upright flames nearest him bent horizontally and over them he sept me with him." p.221. Green was that light... the Were flames I had seen before...." p.220. "They are well served--. The bird was small rusty brown,.... In this much it watches our path." "And here in Arvon, they bend much to their will. From this hour on we ride in danger. I know not what they may send against us." p.162, Year..Unicorn. p.107. "... that the Riders might, with their bedazzlement also alter time at their pleasure." p.62. "... where a green line crawled across the floor." p.66. "... he moved his hands in the air, at the same time uttering words in a tongue I did not understand." p.65.

"Harl, say the Seven words while it rest in your-- fingers. Words-- or sounds-- so sharp they hurt ears, rang into one's skull-- words of alien power." p.78. "... your thought of me that you broke that geas, Herrel! Remember that. For never have I heard of a man breaking a geas set in earnest spell." "Through their clouds of sorcery, ill meant have we broken thus far. You have not failed in battle or you would not have continued to ride woth the Pack." p.162.

"The Riders are without the law, ...." p.168. "... we will not let our breed die. Thus we take brides among men...."Halfblood is not always as great as full-blood." "True. But, my lady, you forget that we do have powers and arts. Not all the changes we can make are to confuse the eye only." Does this mean they can alter nature to make the halfbreeds into full-bloods Weres?

Elys said of the Wereriders, "They are strong--" p.81. "There is Power there.... There is no sense of ill, but neither is there any force that is frendly, or beneficial. It is just-- Power." p.81, Gryphon in Glory. "No rather my energy was steadily sapped, my will itself weakened with every step I fought to gain." "Then it was as if a strong force swept me up, a storm of wind pushed me away, heavy at my back."... guarded refuge-- the wood was a sanctuary...." p.65. Even wearing the crystal griffon, Joison's gryphon globe was unable to help her pentrate thru the Wereriders defensive wards and barriers into their spell-warded lands (p.64-65). "The land is closed...." "It will open to their (Weres) desires only."

Elys said that after Joison told her that ".... there was a barrier." p.81. "... a star was outlined in red-brown. The center of that was a mass of runes and symbols...." "... when one viewed it directly they came to life, wriggled, coiled...." p.74. A... Herrel leaned forward to sweep out an arm. As if he had loose the latch of a door a mass of branches lifted, swung to one side...." "Stone formed the wall, of the first story, burt rising above that were set.... The strangest thing was that these logs were not dead.... Rather branches jutted here and there bore living leaves." p.71.

On p.72, it says "there were full twenty banners" for each Were and 23 weres rode into Arvon, so none died during the war in the Dales against the Alizons. They must be invincible in battle. The Weres were able to place "safeguards". "...four peeled wands" each with a different animal fur or bird feather and the horses do not stray past them." p.69. P.63, "I realized I could not move fast nor could I touch any of those hoofprints with my boots. Rather without any volition, I wa zigzaging back and forth just to avoid that."

On p.6. The Jargoon Pard, while Herrel was waiting for Gillan to give birth to Kethan, he sensed a storm, of power: "Because of his own nature, he was alert to forces that were not of Arvon of men, but Arvon of Power. Perhaps, now that Power was about to manifest itself in some fashion that was a threat to all below." "Now his lips shaped words but he did not utter them aloud. His hand rose form his belt to make a small sign in the air." P.9, "But Pergvin saw that the man=s eyes were closed and his lips moved to shape words, which he could not, or dared not, voice aloud." Normal horses and dogs would go crazy with fear/terror and flee, if Kethan approached them in man form. p.28. Weres can cast love spells. p.28-29. Herrel was a palm-reader. p.114. Herrel=s sword, AAlong its blade ran tiny wavering of light, steeling blue.@ AThe wavering lines upon the sword blade flashed brighter. They ran, they dripped in tiny, flashing gobblets from the point of the blade.@ p.145, Pard. AAnd there is Weretime and spelltime..." which governs Weres. Weres can forread "... through the stars.". "The wind time and the star times-- which are times of the Great Lords and the Voices@ p.170, Pard. AFor if he were no Voice, yet that he govern Powers of his own was something I well knew@ (of Herrel) p.171. Herrel seemed able to read Kethan's mind.

Kethan was unable to do any of this in your last book. Why not?
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#3
Quote:By the Ash, the Maul, the Blade that rusteth never, by the Clear Moon, the Light of Neave, the blood I have shed to He whose semblance I wear." p.155.

Not that I want to derail the topic, but I wonder if that last part doesn't hint toward the origin of the Were-riders. Were they like Sylvya, somehow connected to Adepts who had transformed themselves into otherworldly creatures like Landisl and the "Sky Ones" -- who apparently made lesser creatures more like themselves?

Loskeetha and the Moss-wives comes to mind, as they seemed to resemble here. And I think Kemoc tells the reader that Orsya's people were also made to serve some great Adept in ancient times.

I cannot think of other examples off the top of my head, but it just makes me wonder if the Were-riders don't owe their existence to ancient Adepts who adopted specific animal shapes.
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#4
My memory is that the Weres are a "created" people. From one of the books where the story is mostly about the turning, but just mentions the Weres who have "come to fight alongside of us" [Or some quote similar to that, though this could be from one of the short stories in Tales of the WW.]
Irene
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#5
Jack, you may also find the novella Were-Wrath interesting. Besides the original chapbook, it was re-printed in Wizards' Worlds and The SFWA Grand Masters: Volume 2. The description of Farne's belt and it's role in his transformation as well as his sword are very similar to Kethan's belt and Herrel's sword. Also his gray furred cat companion Grimclaw is similar to Uta from Zarsthor's Bane & The Warding of the Witch World.

Reading between the lines, the places Thra mentions: Lanfort, Laniat, Greer sound a lot like High Hallack as Thra describes them and the "northern lands" and their political strife sounds a bit like Arvon and it's clans. The way Lanfort is destroyed sounds like the work of the Hounds of Alizon during the Invasion of High Hallack. Since Arvon was sealed off from the world during that period, this area may be in a more hospitable area of the Waste where the Were-Riders must have lived at one point after being exiled. Or, if the short-story Rite of Failure is cannon, one could speculate that Farne may have descended from Aurek & Derora.

Oh, and Josian's name is spelled with an "a", not two "o"s.
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#6
There is no question in my mind that the Weres were a created race by one of the Adepts who was looking for servants and followers. The adept is long dead or gone, but his followers remain and have been on there own for at least a few thousand years.

Why else are all the Were Riders males and only a few? Why did they so desparately need Dale brides and asked the Dale Lords that in return for fighting the invasion of Alizons and they were willing to fight years for wives.

"the blood I have shed to He whose semblance I wear" that you quote seems to indicate that there a higher Lord of Power he was pleading to in whose form and likeness he wore.
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#7
It seems to me that the were-power only manifests itself in male heirs, so they constantly had to find brides among human (or near-human) groups.
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#8
As far as we know, the only official "heirs" to the were-power are Herrel, Kethan and Farne (if Were-Wrath is set in the Witch World). All the rest of the were-riders (before Year of the Unicorn) are the originals who were created by an ancient adept. There are three other Tales of the Witch World stories which feature other "heirs" but they were not written by Andre.

Tales of the Witch World 1- "Were-Hunter" has Glenda, a young woman from Earth enter a gate into the Witch World where her antique cat ring turns out to be magic and transforms her into a were. She meets Harwin, the son of Harl & Kildas. This is probably set after The Jargoon Pard as Harwin seems a bit older than Kethan and he is Harl & Kildas's third child.

Tales of the Witch World 2- "Rite of Failure" features Aurek, the son of the were-rider shaman, Huran. This is set not long after the Were-Riders were banished from Arvon. He's about Herrel's age. (His mother isn't mentioned.) He nearly fails his rite of passage to become the next shaman, loosing his hand in the battle but falls in love with Derora, the daughter of an adept, who loves him in return. It's mentioned that Aurek and Herrel are the only children of were-riders at that point.

Tales of the Witch World 3- "Were-Flight" introduces the daughter of one of the were-riders. Herwydin gets separated from the rest of the pack while fighting the Hounds in the south of High Hallack. In the fens he meets a Daleswoman, Tirath. They fall in love, he dies fighting the Hounds but she's pregnant and has a daughter, Khemrys. Tirath dies when Khemrys is 11. When Khemrys turns 16 she discovers she's a were. She meets Harlyn who seems to be the son one of the Were-Riders but his mother doesn't seem to be a Daleswoman from her description.

The last story shows that the were-power can be passed on to the daughter of one of the were-riders. If it's considered canon, then yes, it is possible to have female were-riders.
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#9
Andre's canonical issues are among the most complex in science fiction and fantasy, I think. She supposedly reviewed and edited all the stories in the anthologies published during her lifetime. It was also my understanding she would pass stories back to authors for revision.

So how much collaboration went into each story is probably impossible to measure. I am sure with some stories she functioned more as an editor and with others she functioned more as a co-author.
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#10
I don't think that Andre Norton worried about us trying to follow the genetics involved in the Were Riders. I believe that Andre Norton worried about a story being interesting and well written.

If you are going "canonical" on us, I wouldn't include the TALES short stories. If you want a wider interpretation....

Well, the ability to shape change seemed to have been given to the original Weres, all male, created by an adept. I am not sure that any mention was given to there being women in their clan. The first mention of any women was the birth of Herrel to a woman of the [Redmantle?] Clan. The bargain struck with the warriors was that the Were would fight alongside of Koris, and the borderers, and in exchange there would be brides. This being done so that the race would not die. This needed if the gate would not open to let them back to their own lands. So there would be a new group of half breeds born to the Were riders.

Now, whether or not there were ever any girls born to the Weres before the turning, we don't really know. When asked about this kind of quandry by a reader, Andre would have probably replied, [paraphrasing here] "I don't know either, why don't you write it and then we both will know." So a short story might be written, giving the writers view of what would happen if a daughter was born, and if that daughter might transform. And another story was written about what would happen if a person came through a gate with a ring, and with that came the ability to transform. These were probably both the answer to "what would happen" questions.
Irene
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#11
I think Ibycus mentioned there were other half-breed children to Kethan at some point. He said something like a new race was emerging from the 13 Dales-bride marriages. That would be quite an interesting topic to explore literarily.

I mean, the Witch World was changing by this time, growing away from intermittent and continual warfare. The nations were coming together gradually to accept each other and cooperate better. The Warding of Witch World shows the process has begun, though I am sure it would take centuries more to continue.

So what do you do with the various breeds and races that were created to be warriors? They would have as much right to live as anyone, would they not?
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#12
There'll always be needs for teacher & protector roles: guide, guard, guardian, mentor, patroller, cop, arbitrator, mediator, negotiator. With wilderness & ruins to explore & protect, bandits to hunt down, etc., there'd be no lack of vital things to do.

Jerrie
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