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In Gate of Ivrel, the first of the Morgaine novels by C. J. Cherryh, Vanye releases Morgaine from one of the secondary gates in chapter 1. However, just before that, as he approaches the Witchfires, he seems to experience the same events twice:

... and the sun was sinking quickly toward dark, with another bank of cloud rolling in off the ridge of the mountains at his back.

He dared look up between the pillars that crowned the conical hill called Morgaine's Tomb, and the declining sun shimmered there like a butterfly caught in a web, all torn and fluttering.

Vanye shoots a hart nearby, which dashes up toward the pillars and vanishes, as if it had never been shot. Then comes the deja vu and:

The sun was sinking quickly toward dark, with another bank of cloud rolling in off the ridge of the mountains, shadowing most of the sky at his back.

He looked up between the pillars that crowned the conical hill called Morgaine's Tomb, and the declining sun shimmered there like a puddle of gold just disturbed by a plunging stone.

The whole episode is quite eerie and certainly suggestive of some kind of time travel. However, I get the sense that something specific is going on that I am not comprehending; somehow, the skipping Vanye seems to be doing through time is connected with the reemergence of Morgaine from her tomb immediately afterward.

So, is there a concrete explanation of what Vanye is experiencing in this early episode? Or is it merely supposed to set the tone?

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That's some really good observation! (I just re-read Gate of Ivrel a couple of weeks ago, and I remember noticing the bit about the wounded deer's tracks vanishing, but not the repetition of "the sun was sinking quickly toward the dark...")

All I can really think of is that it's perhaps an oblique indication of how using the Gates screws up time and space: the deer plunges into the Gate, triggering the re-emergence of Morgaine, and that Gate activation causes a local ripple or hiccup in time.

(We don't see anything like this happen when the Gates are used in the other three books of the trilogy, but perhaps that's because those uses are connected with straightforward travel to Gates on other worlds, rather than using a Gate to travel locally in time.)

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