I was introduced to this book at the same time as The Elenium, in the early 2000s.

The sister had a large stutter at the beginning of the book. Brother is a lumberjack or something similar, has a lame knee and a finger that was cut and has healed with the excess skin folded over the nub. Sister's stutter came from an experience in some powerful magical area, a swamp of some sort? Happened before the events in the book.

At some point the brother went out for wood or work, sister is summoned via a horse to learn magic while brother searches for her. The sister's teacher is very old and she teaches the sister many things about magic. There is a temporal difference because while it takes the brother about a week to find her, she has been studying for years. This is evidenced by the loss of the sister's stutter.

The witch heals the brother's knee, says she can't heal the finger the same way but alluded that it could be done? The witch dies of old age shortly thereafter, and has the sister draw in her dying breath. This imparts the sister with a large amount of power.

The siblings don't go back to their cabin in the woods. Instead they go to a city.

UNKNOWN/HAZY aspects. Sister's magic is yellow? I think magic has color groupings. Sister has a friend. Maybe the friend also knows magic? Maybe the friend was also an apprentice to the witch (at the same time even?), or maybe they just met in the city.

  • Being summoned by a horse to learn magic is somewhat reminiscent of Mercedes Lackey's "Arrows" trilogy and other Valdemar books, but I have only read a few and have not yet found one which quite matches your story description....."Arrows of the Queen" has Talia, who I think had run away from home(?) being chosen by a Companion (mystical horse with special powers) to train to be a Herald, which is a sort of a guard with special powers and abilities. But no witch and no crippled brother as far as I remember....
    – Basya
    Jun 23 at 10:29
  • Definitely not any of the Valdemar books I read, although I never got to all of them. Doesn't really feel like one either - valdemar has no time warps, and the Companions would take you to the city, not to some lone magic user in the woods. Passing magic power through breath isn't a feature of the Valdemaran magic system either. Jun 23 at 13:02
  • @ArcanistLupus - that is why I made it a comment, and not an answer. Just noticed now though, Talia does sometimes stutter. The Arrows trilogy does have a female main character who is chosen by a 'horse', but yes, taken to the city, no lone magic user in the woods, and no passing magic by breath. She didn't live with brother in the woods either. I mentioned it though, as sometimes, in story-id questions, the questioner misremembers details or conflates two books. There are also a lot of Valdemar books that I have not read, though they appear to have primarily male protagonists...
    – Basya
    Jun 23 at 14:16


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