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Half moorfolk and half human, and unable to shape-shift or disappear at will, Moql threatens the safety of the Band. So the Folk banish her and send her to live among humans as a changeling. Named Saaski by the couple for whose real baby she was swapped, she grows up taunted and feared by the villagers for being different, and is comfortable only on the moor, playing strange music on her bagpipes.
As Saaski grows up, memories from her forgotten past with the Folks slowly emerge. But so do emotions from her human side, and she begins to realize the terrible wrong the Folk have done to the humans she calls Da and Mumma. She is determined to restore their child to them, even if it means a dangerous return to the world that has already rejected her once.
fathers came near them. Instead, she slid a few sidewise questions here and there into Anwara’s overexcited chatter, and got the answers she dreaded. Yes, Yanno had been standing quite close to the baby; yes, wearing his belt with the iron buckle—“like every other day, Mother, what a question.” And yes, the saltbox was full; the salter had come through only yesterday. Was she needing a handful? When Anwara had gone her way—heading for the village well, where she could be sure of finding a few
asked, putting his flute away. “I’ve some cheese in me pouch—and yon’s a moorberry bush. I’ll pick us some in me cap.” Saaski sprang up to help; when the cap was full of berries she produced her own midday bite—two of Anwara’s flat loaves—from her apron pocket, and swapped Tam one for a chunk of his tough yellow cheese. They returned to their stones and sat companionably eating, Tam telling one of his tales about the King’s Town, which she never knew whether to believe or not. She was half
why shouldn’t she act so?” Tam said staunchly. “ ’Cause they’ve all started takin’ it out on her, that’s why!” she retorted. “Turn up their noses, like, when she bids ’em good morning. And—they say things.” “What things?” Tam was scowling. “Ask her how is it I’m feared of rowan—and yellow flowers and such. ‘Oh, it’s powerful odd, it is!’ ” she mimicked, “ ‘Contrarious!’ What’s so contrarious,” Saaski burst out, “about runnin’ shy of poisons?” Tam was silent a moment. “Most folks don’t think
chanter, she scanned the little room for a safe spot, a clean spot. There was none. Untying her shawl-covered bundle, she took out her spare petticoat, wrapped it around the bag and drones, and set them carefully in a corner. The chanter she tucked into her bundle. “Now, hark to what I tell you,” she commanded. Her voice shook a little, but she fixed her father with a steady gaze. “Here’s what’s gonna happen.” A few minutes later she left the hut, watched but not hindered by the dog, who stood,
hand, thrust between the old leather curtains at the cart’s rear, waving. Old Bess waved back until the cart crested the hill and she could no longer look into the rising sun. 24 As the years passed over Torskaal, the villagers almost forgot the changeling who had once lived there, pretending to be a child. Old Bess did not, but she kept her thoughts and memories to herself. Her grandchild Leoran grew and bloomed, and spun the smoothest thread and wove the tightest cloth of any child along