Dragon Scale Silver

A novella by Andre Norton. Followed by Sword of Unbelief & Gryphon in Glory

Publishing History

Timeline Notes1

  1. p7. 1 The Coming of the Far Strangers
  2. p9. 'For this was in the Year of the Salamander, before the great war of the invaders, and High Hallack was at peace, with law within it's borders, especially along the coast where the settlements dated from the early days.'2
  3. p10. "We come from overseas," she [Almondia] continued. "But there is ill doing there, the hounds of war cry. There came a time when we must choose between death and flight." Almondia goes on to further describe their journey overseas.3
  4. p11. 'Omund made no report [of Almondia & Truan] to the Lord at Vestdale, and, since they had delivered the year's tax at Jurby, the Lord's men had no reason to visit Wark."4
  5. p13. 'There came a night in the first of autumn when she arose before the moon was to be seen.' (Almondia creates the dragon scale silver goblet and becomes pregnant with the twins almost a year after they arrived in High Hallack.)
  6. p16. 'But Truan became more than ever a part of the village. He went with Omund to Jurby for the year's tax and trading venture than for many years previous. Winter came and people stirred not far from their homes, except at Yule eve when they had the Year's End Feast, the the women tossing ivy, the men holly on to the fires to bring luck for the Year of the Sea Serpent now beginning. Summer came after an early spring and there were babies in the village…'
  7. p17. Elyn and Elys. 'Thus were they named, and they grew well. But within four days after their coming the Lady Almondia closed her eyes and did not wake again.'
  8. p18. 2 Cup Spell
  9. p18. 'They came from Estcarp, though my father said nothing of their life there.' 'Aufrica believed she had set aside much of her power when she fled her native land with my father, the reason for that I was never to learn. But my mother was witch-born, sorceress trained…'
  10. p21. 'For in the Year of the Fire Troll the invaders came to High Hallack.' Elyn and Elys 14 or 15? Truan joins the forces at Vestdale, 'But he swore a binding oath that he would send for Elyn later…'
  11. p22-23. 'The Year of the Fire Troll passed, as we yet dwelt safe in our small clift pocket, we of Wark. But Omund made no year-end voyage to Jurby, for a small band of hard-used folk came over the hills to tell us Jurby had fallen to the enemy in a single night of red wrack and ravage. And that Vestdale Keep was now besieged.' Elyn: "There is bred in me that which I must answer, for a year I have been trapped here. Yet I was promise bound".5
  12. p24. 'That was an ill winter.' In the spring the people of Wark travel inland to escape the Hounds.
  13. p25. 'There were no longer named years for us, just the passing of seasons. In the third summer we found refuge at last.' 'We found a way into a small upland dale which had never been settled or visited…'6 'It was midsummer of our second year in that pocket of earth…' Elys meets Jervon.
  14. p28. 'Three days ago Haverdale stood rearguard at the Ford of Ingra.'
  15. p29. 3 Tarnished Silver
  16. p30. Jervon: "In the spring of this Year of the Gryphon they met with the Were-Riders of the wastes and those will fight hereafter with us."7 'Jervon, though he had appeared strong and ready to fight, took a fever from his ill-tended wound, and lay with wandering wits and burning flesh for some days.' 'The long summer became fall and still Jervon worked to restore skill to his hand.'
  17. p37. Elys discovers Elyn is in trouble using the dragon scale silver cup. "So—south and west I must go. And soon, or, as I had warned Jervon, the snow would come to close the passes and there would be no traveling at all."
  18. p40. 4 Coomb Frome
  19. p43. Jervon: "…the Four Lords come out of the north… So there was the confederation and they made the pact with the Were-Riders… perhaps there would be an overrule of the Four -no, Three-for Skirkar is dead and he leaves no son to raise hold banner."8
  20. p48. Elys and Jervon arrive at Coomb Frome and meet Elyn's wife, Lady Brunissende.
  21. p51. 5 The Curse of Ingaret
  22. p60. 6 Field of Stone
  23. p71. 7 Silver Bright
  24. p71. Elys and Jervon destroy Ingaret's Curse and save Elyn.
  25. p81. Elys and Jervon leave Coomb Frome and begin their travels.

Timeline Analysis

Year Since the Betrayal Year Name Event
Year of the Salamander Almondia & Truan reach High Hallack near the beginning of the year. Almondia creates dragon scale silver cup and conceives the twins (autumn)
Year of the Sea Serpent 9 months later Elys & Elyn born (summer)9
Year of the Fire Troll Invasion of High Hallack, Truan joins the war (spring), Elys & Elyn about 14 or 15
Year of the Leopard Elyn joins the war, Elys and the people of Wark travel inland (spring)
Sword Smith? (possible "2nd summer"? after leaving Wark)
Raven? 'Third summer' Elys and the people of Wark settle in a small upland dale; Battle of Ford of Ingra approx 3 years after Year of the Fire Troll.
Night Hound? First summer since settling
Year of the Gryphon Elys meets Jervon in the second summer since finding the inland dale. Later this year they save Elyn's life and begin their travels


Whether or not there is one or more years between that of the Salamander and that of the Sea Serpent is a bit hard to tell. The story doesn't tell us when Almondia & Truan actually arrived, just that it's sometime after the year's tax was paid, which seems to be at or near the end of the year. It's possible they washed up in Wark in winter, just after the beginning of the Year of the Salamander. If there is a long journey to Jurby or Vestdale Keep for the people of Wark, they may simply have decided to wait until spring to deliver the news of the wrecked ship and it's survivors. This would keep their arrival in the Year of the Salamander. Two months or so after paying the year's tax could still make it a recent event. This would keep the Year of the Salamander next to the Year of the Sea Serpent without an unnamed year in-between.

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