Dragon Scale Silver

~ A Novella in the Witch World Saga by Andre Norton


Synopsis ~

From an old Amazon.com posting ~

A woman of witch-blood gives birth to the twins Elys and her brother Elyn, and does not long survive their entry into the world. The twins are raised by the Wise Woman, Aufrica and their father, who trains both Elys and Elyn in arms-play. The Dales are attacked by foreign invaders, and the twins' father rides off to war. Soon, Elyn follows him, but not before he has shared a drink with his twin sister in a special cup, fashioned by their deceased mother from dragon scale silver. If the cup loses its luster while he is off to war, Elys will know that her twin brother is in danger.


Write-up from a fan ~

A small boat is driven ashore by a storm to the village of Wark in the Dales of High Hallack.  The two passengers in it were out of Estcarp, fleeing from the war aboard a Sulcar ship that foundered in the storm. Aufrica, the village healer and wisewoman takes them in and helps to heal the man of his terrible head wound.  Almondia, the woman is witch-trained, though she had given it up when she fled with her husband, Truan.  One night she and Aufrica go to a place of the Old Ones in the hills above Wark, and there the Lady Almondia works magic that transforms a crudely carved wooden goblet into one of shining silver.  Sharing the wine in it with Truan, and making love to him, results in the birth of twins, boy and girl, Elyn and Elys.  However, the strain of the pregnancy and birth kills Almondia, leaving Truan and Aufrice to raise the children.  Truan treats Elys more as a boy than a girl, and teaches both children arms-play.  Aufrica teaches Elys what she can of the old powers.  When the children are grown, the war comes to High Hallack, and Truan and Elyn go off to war.  But not until Elyn persuades Elyn to share a cup of wine with her out of their mother's cup.  This goblet will then tell Elys if Elyn nears death, so she may rescue him.  He gets caught in a trap of the Evil, and Elys does rescue him. This is the beginnings of Elys and Jervon, who later become companions of Joisan and Kerovan in the Gryphon series. ~ SL


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • Spell of the Witch World (1972) Published by DAW, PB, 0-451-UQ100-1, $0.95, 159pg ~ cover by Jack Gaughan (Re-released in 2012)


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1992) Combined with"The Crystal Gryphon", "The Toads of Grimmerdale", "Year of the Unicorn", "Amber Out of Quayth" translation by T. Pronina and "Falcon Blood" translation by L. Deutsch ~ Published in Nizhny Novgorod, by Phlox, 5-871-98016-3, HC, 416pg ~ "Dragon Scale Silver" translation by W. Black ~ cover by V. Vasiliev ~ Russian title Год Единорога [Year of the Unicorn]
  • (1992) Combined with "Sargasso of Space" translation by S. Berezhkova and S. Vitina, "Postmarked the Stars", "Witch World", "Dream Smith" and "Amber Out of Quayth" translation by Yu Sokolova ~ Published by Alterpres, 5-874-98065-2, HC, 752pg ~ "Dragon Scale Silver" translation by translation by Yu Sokolova ~ cover by A. Stolin ~ Russian title Галактический почтовый [Postmarked the Stars]
  • (1992) Combined with "Witch World", "Dream Smith", "Amber Out of Quayth" translation by R.J. Sokolov and "The Toads of Grimmerdale" translation by C. Queen ~ Published in Moscow by Fey, 5-867-40009-3, HC, 426pg & 5-867-40017-4, HC, 382pg ~ "Dragon Scale Silver" translation by R.J. Sokolov ~ cover by N. Zubkov ~ Russian title Ведьмы из Эсткарпа [Witch Estcarp]


See Also: Write-up in The Sorcerer's Conspectus ~ WW: ss - Dragon Scale Silver