Gate of Ivrel is a 1976 science fiction novel written by C. J. Cherryh and was her first published work. It is the first of four books composing the Morgaine Stories, chronicling the deeds of Morgaine, a woman consumed by a mission of the utmost importance, and her chance-met companion, Nhi Vanye i Chya.
It is tenuously set in her Union-Alliance universe, but has little in common with other works in that milieu.
The backward land of Andur-Kursh is split into many cantons, each with ambitious clans vying for power. The loyalty of a warrior of the nobility is given to one's clan. Vanye is one of them, if only the barely tolerated bastard son of the ruler of one of these cantons, the result of a mere night's amusement by a Nhi lord with a captive from an enemy clan, the Chya.
One day, he is brought before his father, after killing one legitimate half-brother and maiming the other with his sword, in a baiting that had gone awry. After turning down honorable suicide, he is made ilin, an exiled, clanless warrior akin to the Japanese ronin.
Hunted by his half-brothers' vengeful maternal clan, Vanye is forced to enter Morgaine's vale, a place anyone less desperate would have shunned. By chance, he releases Morgaine, a beautiful woman of distinctive appearance, from the Gate there. Vanye recognizes her as a legend from the past. It is winter and Vanye is weary, cold and hungry. So when Morgaine provides food and shelter, he accepts them. Only then does he remember that she, alone of all women, has been given lord-right; she can and does claim a year of service from him in return for accepting her hospitality.