A novella by Meredith Ann Pierce.

Publishing History

Timeline Notes

  1. p131. Sif's mother Zara arrived on Ulys 10 years ago. Alys born in the Year of the Salamander. Sif is was born 3 years earlier than Alys and is 8 (which makes Alys 5 at this point.)
  2. p142. Alys is 10.
  3. p143. 'Then came the night I was nearly 11; Sif must have been about 14'
  4. p149. Castle Van in debt 3 years later
  5. p151. Lord Olsan died - Alys 14.
  6. p154. Alys 17
  7. p190. "there is something stirring about the isle of Gorm… Some evil thing."

Timeline Analysis

Year Name Sif's Age Alys' Age Event
(Year of the ???) - - Zara arrives on Ulys and plants rampion garden
(Year of the ???) - -
(Year of the ???) - -
(Year of the Serpent King) 0 - Sif born
(Year of the Ringed Dove) 1 -
(Year of the Bicorn) 2 -
Year of the Salamander 3 0 Alys born
(Year of the Sea Serpent) 4 1
(Year of the Pronghorn) 5 2
(Year of the Kestral) 6 3 Zara takes Sif, tries to escape Ulys over the reef and dies when boat crashes. Sif adopted by Sul sometime after.
(Year of the Pard) 7 4
(Year of the Yellow Dwarf) 8 5 Alys meets Sif for the first time
(Year of the Mandrake) 9 6
(Year of the Spitting Toad) 10 7
(Year of the Winged Bull) 11 8
(Year of the Horned Worm) 12 9
(Year of the Raven) 13 10
(Year of the Night Hound) 14 11 Sif leaves Ulys for High Hallack
(Year of the Cameoleopard) 15 12 Sif spends a year with Sulcar/sees Estcarp, Karsten & Alizon?
(Year of the Crowned Swan) 16 13 Alys betrothed to Lord Olsan. Sif spends another year with Sulcar/sees Estcarp, Karsten & Alizon, leaves before Kolder take Gorm?
(Year of the Moss Wife) 17 14 Castle Van in debt. Sul dies of "an apoplexy". Lord Olsan dies. Sif in High Hallack, hears mocking songs about Alys's father desperate to find a husband for his daughter
(Year of the Fire Troll) 18 15 Sif visits Arvon, then lands in Vellas islands
(Year of the Leopard) 19 16 Sif in Vellas
(Year of the Sword Smith) 20 17 Sif returns to Ulys to rescue Alys


  1. This story ends with Alys 17 years old, (which means Sif is 20) so this story ends 17 years after the Year of the Salamander.
  2. Sif left the isle of Ulys when she was 14 and spent the next 6 years traveling, first to High Hallack, then Estcarp, Karsten & Alizon and after 2 years with the Sulcar she returned to High Hallack. She then went to Arvon and got swept farther north by a storm to the tiny islands of Vellas where she settled before returning to Ulys. So probably when she was around 17 yrs old, she leaves the eastern continent shortly before the Kolder take Gorm (Which takes place before Simon Tregarth enters the Witch World.) That means the taking of Gorm is about 13 years after the Year of the Salamander. This may mean an adjustment to Elys' & Elyn's ages (see: Dragon Scale Silver).
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