The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

Places of Witch World ~ High Hallack


High Hallack is the sixth country introduced in the [Witch World] series and is one of the most widely chronicled. It first features in Year of the Unicorn.

Capitol: None. Each Dale has a Keep where the Lord resides.

Government: Each of the Dales of High Hallack has it's own Lord who rules from his Keep. Each Dale may have a number of small villages with a mayor who is responsible to the Lord. Until the invasion by the Hounds of Alizon, there was no formal central government. During the war an alliance of three (originally four) powerful Lords led by Lord Imgry organized the Dalesmen and finally drove the Hounds from High Hallack. After the war, it is unknown if this alliance was continued or eventually dissolved. Also present in the Dales are abbeys of the Dames who are led by an Abbess and council of Dames. The abbeys are autonomous refuges for women who are drawn to the veneration of the sacred Flame.

Geography: High Hallack is a country of many rolling hills and dales. There are a number of craggy areas as well as rivers that tend to run far inland. Most of the land tends to be very fertile.

Surrounding Areas: The Waste which forms the western and part of the northern border of High Hallack is a massive, mostly uncharted land littered with the remnants of Old Ones.1 Much of the Waste appears devastated by powerful magic. Many strange and twisted creatures roam the Waste such as the Winged Ones (Varks) and ThasThe Waste was also a temporary home for the exiled Were-Riders. Possibly in the north-west just inside the Waste is the small country of Greer. To the north lies Arvon, a country surrounded by a magic barrier that, unless one is admitted, the person may wander through the land without seeing any signs of occupation. Also to the north near the coast in the mountains which form the border of Arvon is Quayth. Further north west off the coast are some tiny island nations. (see: Isle of Illusion & Rampion) In the south, the Sorn Fen is a region populated by a fey and magical people who are known to reward acts of great kindness. Far to the east across the sea are the distant countries of GormEstcarpKarsten, the Tor Marsh and of course the home of the invading Hounds: Alizon. Somewhere (probably about a third of the way to Estcarp though maps mark it closer) is the island of the Kolder.
Since the Dales are covered in multiple books over the course of years, the Dales and places within the Dales are mentioned below in publishing order. It should be kept in mind that some Dales and places are mentioned in several books.

Year of the Unicorn  2

Dales Mentioned
Dimdale (north past Arm of Sparn)
Falthingdale (west)
Harrowdale (north-west)
Hockerdale (north-west after Harrowdale)

Places Mentioned
Norstead Abby (in Norsdale)
Fast Ridge (can be seen from the bell tower of the abbey – may be to the south – there are Dales between)
Falcon Fist (to the east of Norsdale)
The Waste is to the north, past Arm of Sparn, Dimsdale, Gasterbrook, and Gorge of Ravenswell
Croffkeep (a mountain fort) - Croffkeep can be reached from Norstead Abby in winter by the night of the second day if there is a forced march.
The Throat of the Hawk can be reached from Norstead Abbey by forced march in winter within three days’ time.

The Crystal Gryphon  3

Dales Mentioned
Ulmsdale – in the north; Gryphon is its symbol: when Kerovan leaves Imgry’s camp it takes him about five days to ride to the dale, but he has to take a long, slow way: Ulmsdale is destroyed by the Power, flooded with the sea. It is northwest of Ithdale.
Paltendale – lies further northwest of Ulmsdale
Ithdale – famous for its fresh water pearls in its streams; Broken Sword of Harb is its symbol
Rishdale – ruled by Elvan. It is an upper dale that gets rich on wool. Serpent is its symbol.
Uppsdale – neighbors Ulmsdale ruled by Gyrerd and Annet of Langsdale. Formerly ruled by Savron4
Fyndale – neighbors Ulmsdale (has a fair)
Flathingdale – neighbors Ulmsdale and is ruled by Wintof5
Vastdale – has the port of Jorby (not a neighbor of Ulmsdale but is close-by): it falls during the war
Norsdale – five days’ ride west of Ithdale

Places Mentioned
Ulmsport – port belonging to Ulmsdale
Ulmsdale Keep – two days ride away from the edge of the dale where Kerovan was raised
Shrine of Gunnora
Shrine of Galkur – a day’s ride away from the Shrine of Gunnora
Ithkrypt – it takes ten days to go there from Ulmsdale; it is in Ithdale. There is a river that leads inland to it.
Trevamper – a town set at the meeting of highway and river where all the merchants of the north show their wares on occasion. Even Sulcar travel inland to trade there.
Moon Well – in the western portion of Ithdale. Under the full moon it is said to give good luck if a pin is dropped in and a spell-rhyme is canted. Its waters can be used for scrying. A plant with wide dark green leaves veined with white grows at the lip. The leaves when pinched give off a pleasant aroma.
Cape of Black Winds – Ulmsport is past this
Calder – one of the rivers the Alizonders were advancing on
Giant’s Fist – on the crag on the southern edge of Ulm’s dale. Under it is a smoothly flat platform with a gryphon deeply carved in it. There is a passage to Ulmskeep under it, and the passage also leads to a sea cave.
In a south-eastern portion of Ithdale there is a woods with a place of the Old Ones in it. It has glowing white pavement with a star design and herbs.
Isle Keep – near Ithdale there is a Keep on an island.6
The Road of the Old Ones – one end is half a day’s ride from Riwell’s cottage. It runs strait west, and then makes a wide curve to the north. From there they can view mountains to the north and the land is more hospitable. It takes about two days to ride, but has a dead end.7


Spell of the Witch World  8

Dragon Scale Silver

Dales Mentioned
Vestdale – where Wark and Jurby are located9
Haverdale – where Pell is from and Jervon took service
Dorn10 – in the path of the first inward thrust. The keep was taken in five days. Haverdale is close by (within about three day's ride).
Edale - Where Coombe Frome is.

Places Mentioned
Wark – has a small, reef-guarded bay
Jurby Port – a larger port in Vestdale where taxes for the year are collected
A Place of Power lies in the hills above Wark11
Ford of Ingra – where, three days before they reached the inland dale the people of Wark inhabited, Jervon and Pell stood rear guard with others of Haverdale. Only Jervon and Pell survived, and Pell later died.
Inisheer – somewhere there was a last muster
Trevamper – a town south of the Ford of Ingra12
Keep of Coomb Frome – kept as a garrison but was once Edale’s lord’s house.13
House of Kantha Twice Born – overrun by the Hounds within the last year.14 Kantha had the Old Learning.
Spiral Pillar Web – This was a trap of the Dark before being destroyed. The Old One in it would summon a lord of Edale from the Keep into her lair, leaving an empty husk.15

Dream Smith

Dales Mentioned
Ithondale - ruled by lord Vescys

Places Mentioned
Fos Tern – “one might as well try to empty Fos Tern with a kitchen ladle!”
Ghyll – lies at the river fork in Ithondale; westernmost holding of Lord Vescys
Twyford – where Bronson the smith travels twice a year with his wares
Sym and Boldre – far from Ghyll
Shrine of the Old One Talann high in the northern craigs.

Amber Out of Quayth

Dales Mentioned
Uppsdale – leaving it at dawn they reach the southern edge by noon and the outer rim of Fyndale by night
Fyndale – where annual fairs were held until the War and again after
Langsdale – Annet is the daughter of Urien of Langsdale16
Marchpoint - When Gyrerd, Annet, and Ysmay reach the edge of Fyndale they camp with the Lord of Marchpoint, his lady, and his daughter Dairine. (p.108)17

Places Mentioned
Ladies of the Shrine ruled by Abbess Grathulda
Ulmsport – where merchants would gather for great fairs.
Moycroft – a ruin abandoned during the War due to lack of manpower where Ysme, Hylle and company spend the first night from Uppsdale as they go north to Quayth.18
Silent Wood - By the third day of travel, Ysme, Hylle and company start to travel through a strange, silent woods19 They travel through it for a day. By the end of the next they camp in hills. There are an unknown amount of days that pass after the hill camp until midmorning one day when they get a sea wind. On a ledge by the sea where there are three stone chairs. Shortly after they turn inland from them they reach Quayth.
Quayth – north; it is a large holding with four towers at its corners – two round, one square (which has the gate), and one angular (star-shaped)20.

Legacy from Sorn Fen  21

Dales Mentioned

Places Mentioned
Klavenport – located on the Sea of Autumn Mists. It is a Gate Keep.
Sea of Autumn Mists – where Klavenport is located; somewhere to the south.
Sorn Fen – to the southwest of Klavenport
Inn of the Forks – A road running north and south met there. It was Abandoned sometime before the Battle of Falcon Cut, some five or more winters back. Caleb restores it with the power of the ring and Higbold destroys it again with that same power. It is about a day’s walk away from Sorn Fen.

Years Mentioned
None: It seems to take place immediately after the Invader’s War so this story probably takes place either at the end of the Year of the Hornet and through the Year of the Unicorn or during the Year of the Unicorn and through the Year of the Red Boar.

The Toads of Grimmerdale  22

Dales Mentioned
Landendale - Where Hertha had been sent two years before for safety and riding from it was raped by a Dalesman.
Trewsdale - ruled by Kuno, brother to Hertha. It escaped the Hounds, though a small, beaten group had stumbled in and had been defeated by Kuno.
Nordendale - Along the path Hertha is facing from Gunnora's Shrine.23
Grimmerdale - Past Nordendale.
Corrierdale - Wiped out by the Hounds of Alizon. The heir to it is drinking himself away at the inn in Grimmerdale.

Places Mentioned
Hola's Hold - in Landendale
Thunderer's Alter - where, if Hertha died from a failed abortion attempt her brother Kuno could pretend to be pious and say it was Fate.
Mulma's Needle and Wyvern's Wing - two landmarks Hertha uses on her journey to Gunnora's Shrine.
Gunnora's Shrine - This seems to be more or less a day's walk east away from Hola's Hold. It's among the heights and on an ancient road that also leads to the Circle of Toads.
Circle of Toads - In Grimmerdale. It is a place of ill repute.
Komm High - a marketplace for wool traders, though at the time of the story the market is no longer held.

Years Mentioned
"This was the last of the Year of the Hornet, next lay the Year of the Unicorn" (p.152)

Changeling  24

Dales Mentioned

Places Mentioned

Years Mentioned
None: It was just about to turn from the year of the Hornet in the previous story, so this must be the Year of the Unicorn.

Horn Crown  25

Dales Mentioned

Places Mentioned

Years Mentioned

Silver May Tarnish  26

Dales Mentioned

Places Mentioned

Years Mentioned


Special Places:27

  • Norsdale the dale on the northwestern border of High Hallack. (see: Year of the Unicorn, mentioned in The Crystal Gryphon)
  • Norstead Abbey, an abbey of the Dames where many women and children took refuge from the invasion of the Hounds of Alizon. (see: Year of the UnicornThe Crystal GryphonGryphon in GloryThe Toads of Grimmerdale, & Changeling)
  • Falthingdale, a mostly unoccupied forested dale west of Norsdale. (see: Year of the Unicorn)
  • Dimdale, a mostly unoccupied dale north of Norsdale. The Arm of Sparn separates Norsdale from Dimdale. Casterbrook is in the north of Dimdale and the Gorge of Ravenswell is north of that on the border of the Waste. (see: Year of the Unicorn)
  • Fartherdale, a tiny north-western dale overlooked by the Hounds of Alizon. It's Lord died in the war. (see: Ully the Piper)
  • Coombe Brackett, a tiny village in Fartherdale where Ully is from. High Ridge Garth is a holding near Coombe Brackett. (see: Ully the Piper)
  • Ulmsdale, a northern coastal dale flooded during the Invasion. (see: The Crystal Gryphon)
  • Ulmsport, the port city of Ulsmdale also flooded during the Invasion. Beyond the cape of Black Winds, north of "Jorby". Nearby is the Giant's Fist, a beacon craig. (see: The Crystal Gryphon)
  • Paltendale, a dale north-west of Ulmsdale possibly the northern most dale of High Hallack where Kerovan's mother came from. Rumors of "Old Ones" blood running through their bloodline. (see: The Crystal Gryphon)
  • Ithdale, the dale where Joisan was born. Founded by Harb of the Broken Sword. (see: The Crystal Gryphon)
  • Ithkrypt, the keep where where Joisan grew up, now a ruins, destroyed during the Invasion. (see: The Crystal Gryphon)
  • Trevamper, a trading town near the Ford of Ingra. (see: The Crystal Gryphon & Dragon Scale Silver)
  • Rishdale, an "Upper Dale" near Ulmsdale known for it's wool trade, a serpent is it's House Badge. Joisan's cousin (her father's half-sister's daughter) Yngilda was to be married to Lord Elvan of Rishdale. (see: The Crystal Gryphon)
  • Flathingdale, a northern dale ruled by Lord Wintof. (see: The Crystal Gryphon)
  • Vestdale, an eastern coastal dale. (see: Dragon Scale Silver. Spelled Vastdale in The Crystal Gryphon)
  • Wark, a fishing village in Vestdale where Elys & Elyn grew up. (see: Dragon Scale Silver)
  • Jurby, a town in Vestdale where the tax from Wark was delivered to the Lord of Vesdale Keep. (see: Dragon Scale Silver. Spelled Jorby in The Crystal Gryphon)
  • Haverdale, an inland dale where Jervon was Master of Horse. (see: Dragon Scale Silver)
  • Dorn, a Keep neighbouring Haverdale (dale unmentioned). (see: Dragon Scale Silver)
  • Ford of Ingra, the location of a great battle against the Hounds (location unmentioned). (see: Dragon Scale Silver)
  • Edale, a western dale that escaped notice of the Hounds, where the Keep of Coomb Frome and the town of Inisheer are located. Also nearby is the House of Kantha Twice Born, an abbey of the Dames. (see: Dragon Scale Silver)
  • Coomb Frome, the original Keep of Edale, is infamous for Ingaret's Curse, where Elyn is Lord with his wife the Lady Brunissende. (see: Dragon Scale Silver)
  • Gastendale, a dale where the Lord (Myric) was wiped out by the Hounds (or assassinated) at the beginning of the Invasion. (see: Dragon Scale Silver)
  • Uppsdale is famous for it's amber and home to Lord Gyrerd. (see: Amber Out of Quayth also mentioned as a neighbouring dale to Ulmsdale in The Crystal Gryphon.)
  • Langsdale is home to Lord Urian who's daughter married Lord Gyrerd. (see: Amber Out of Quayth)
  • Fyndale a northern dale where a great fair is held in late summer. (see: Amber Out of Quayth also mentioned in The Crystal Gryphon.)
  • Grimmerdale infamous for it's circle of Toads. (see: The Toads of GrimmerdaleChangeling & La Verdad: The Magic Sword)
  • Lethendale where Hertha becomes Lady of Lord Trystan. (see: Changeling)
  • Shrine of Gunnora. (see: The Toads of GrimmerdaleChangeling & La Verdad: The Magic Sword)
  • The Inn of the Forks is a burned out inn at the intersection of two major roads just north of Sorn Fen. (see: Legacy from Sorn Fen)
  • The ruins of Eggarsdale, former home of Lord Marbon & Dwed, is on the western border of High Hallack, near the Waste. (see: Zarsthor's Bane)
  • Itsford, a town in Eggarsdale where Dwed is from. (see: Zarsthor's Bane)
  • The ruins of Moorachdale, former home of Brixia of the House of Trogus, is somewhere in the south. (see: Zarsthor's Bane)
  • The Pass of Ungo, location of one of the final battles against the Hounds of Alizon. Lord Jartar was slain and Lord Marbon received a serious head wound there. (see: Zarsthor's Bane)
  • Domnudale, a costal dale where it's rumoured there is a curse of a sea serpent.
  • Seakeep & Ravenfield [aka the new Eyrie of the Falconers] are located on the northern coast of High Hallack. (see: Seakeep & Falcon Hope)
  • Erondale is near Paltendale and was founded by a cadet branch of that house.(see: Silver May Tarnish)
  • Honeycoombe Dale (previously Landale) is a tiny hidden dale famous for it's honey. (see: Silver May Tarnish)
  • Merrowdale is two days wagons-ride from Honeycoombe. Both Dales are in the south. (see: Silver May Tarnish)
  • The new Sulcar port settlement of Osberic is located in the south on the coast of High Hallack. (see: Dream Pirates' Jewel)

1. Though it often gets represented as a desert, in Year of the Unicorn the area of the Waste that Gillan and the others pass through does not look much different than the Dales, but there is a foreboding presence. It is also mentioned in other books that bits of the Waste are habitable and not simply a desert.
2. Published 1965
3. Published January 1st 1972
4. In Amber Out of Quayth he is mentioned as having died as did his son Ewald. Presumably Gyrerd is another son of Savron's since he inherited the dale and Annet calls Ysmay 'sister' (p.106). He is mentioned in Wolfhead as one of the three lords of the north.
5. He is mentioned in Wolfhead as one of the three lords of the north.
6. The lake empties into a shallow stream. There are two draw bridges leading to it. One is still usable while the other has its end melted into a glassy slag that is painful to Kerovan’s touch. It has no windows on the bridge level but does have some on the next. The walls meet the water and there are two towers where part of the draw bridge is controlled. The inner court has a garden and a couple of trees.
7. By around noon of the first day they reach a point of rest, though they need to seek shelter a little further down the road which is a room with a partial roof. While in the shelter Kerovan has a vision of those withdrawing down the road. After turning north they come to an arched bridge that spans a stream of some size. They camp beside the running water for the night. By noon of the next day, they reach the foothills of the mountains. The road narrows and twists among the sharp ridges. There are faces and runes carved into the walls. Noon finds them in a narrow vale where they rest under the chin of a face. The carvings grow more complex until they see the Great Star. Shortly after there is a last turn in the Road and it ends at a flat surface of rock surrounded by two pillars. It is there that Kerovan finds the Crystal Gryphon.
8. Published April 1972
9. It's probable these are simply a one letter misspell of Vastdale and Jorby.
10. There is a lord of Dorn, so it's likely either part of an unnamed Dale or is a shortened form of Dorndale. The story implies that the lord of Dorn is either Jervon's grandfather or related through marriage.
11. It has walls about shoulder high and has a five-pointed star space within. At the center there was a star-shaped stone alter. Within the points of the star lay sand of red, blue, silver, green, and gold which is never disturbed. Outside the walls are the remains of an herb garden.
12. Also mentioned in The Crystal Gryphon
13. It is probably two or three day's ride from the Ford of Ingra since the cup goes from being 1/3 black at the Ford to having only two finger's width of clear left when Elys looks at it again there.
14. Either close to the beginning of the Year of the Gryphon or the end of the year before since it's now fall.
15. When leaving at dawn from Coomb Frome there is a day and a night of travel.
16. Since Gyrerd rode home from the south with her, Lansdale is presumably somewhere south of Uppsdale, though its exact distance is not stated.
17. Presumably the full name is Marchpointdale and the last bit is cut off much like how Seakeep's is.
18. They are presumably still in Uppsdale's territory. They are still in tilled lands by the second day of travel. They travel more north than west and angle towards the sea.
19. Tall, old trees with feathery lichens of green, rust, white and blood red and a hushed sense of someone watching. The path twists and turns but remains wide enough to accommodate a wagon.
20. This configuration would make the inner courtyard look like a diamond.
21. Originally published in 1972 and republished as part of Lore of the Witch World in 1980.
22. First published in 1973 and republished as part of Lore of the Witch World in 1980.
23. The lord and his heir had fallen at Ruther's Pass two years ago. Hertha arrives there on the afternoon of the same day she leaves Gunnora's Shrine. It "had once been a regular halt for herdsmen with wool from mountain sheep on their way to the market at Komm High"p.156
24Lore of the Witch World 1980. Though Sword of Unbelief was originally published before this story (in 1977) and republished as part of the Lore of the Witch World anthology in 1980, it takes place completely in the Waste.
25. Published July 7th 1981. While both Zarsthor's Bane and Gryphon in Glory precede this book in terms of publication, the vast majority of those two books takes place in the Waste rather than in the Dales. Similarly Gryphon's Eyrie takes place completely within Arvon. So while they are all generally considered part of the High Hallack cycle, they are not included here.
26. Published October 31st 2006. While Songsmith precedes this book in terms of publication, that book takes place in Estcarp, Escore, and Arvon.
27GURPS: Witch World, the following Dales are listed:

Ulsmdale Ulmsdale

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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