Aphenglow Elessedil, or Aphen Elessedil for short, is a character in The Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy. She is a Druid, the older sister of Arlingfant Elessedil, and the granddaughter of the Elven King, Emperowen Elessedil.
Quest for the Missing ElfstonesEdit
Aphen is the one who discovers Aleia Omarosian's diary, triggering the search for the missing Elfstones. She did not undertake the journey herself as she had to stay behind at Paranor in case of an attack on the Druid's Keep.
The Federation, led by their Prime Minister Drust Chazhul, launched an assault while she was there, but the magic that wards Paranor saved them from the airships. The Federation was determined in its assault and Paranor was betrayed from the inside by a man from Varfleet who had saved Bombax from lizards, which had been the Federation's plan all along. The Federation took Paranor but were all killed by the destructive magic of the Druid's Keep, which Aphenglow unleashed as the Druids and their allies fled Paranor.
Quest to Save the EllcrysEdit
Aphen then traveled west to Arborlon to discover that the Ellcrys was dying and that the tree had chosen her younger sister Arlingfant Elessedil to be reborn as the new Ellcrys. After much deliberation, Arling was persuaded to take up the cause and the sisters went on a quest for the Bloodfire so that Arling could immerse the seed of the Ellcrys in it.
Along with Arling and a bodyguard named Cymrian, Aphen leaves Arborlon. They were near the Wilderun when the Federation, operating under the orders of the Prime Minister and sorceress Edinja Orle, attacked their airship.
Arling was the most injured by the airship's crash and she was knocked unconscious, allowing her to be hidden away in the woods as Aphen and Cymrian fought off the Federation soldiers and the creatures that were hunting them. While unconscious, she was found by an old, poor couple who stole the Ellcrys seed from her and sold her to the Federation. She was taken to Edinja Orle who kept her in her tower in the Southland city of Arishaig, where Aphenglow and Cymrian went in search of her.
Aphen and Cymrian arrive in the city just before the Demons break out of the Forbidding and invade. Arling endures being drugged by Edinja into telling her the truth and seeing the horrors of the sorceress's experimentations on men in the depths of her tower before managing to escape and find Aphen and Cymrian. However, they are confronted by Edinja, who had allowed Arling to escape in order to be able to speak to both sisters. Edinja articulates that despite her other aims, she recognizes the importance of restoring the Ellcrys, and she offers the trio air transport to get out of Arishaig and away from the Demons.
Aphen, Arling, and Cymrian successfully recover the Ellcrys seed from the old couple who had sold Arling to the Federation and find the Bloodfire in Safehold. At this point, Arling has realized the importance of their quest and the overwhelming need for her to save the world. Although she is still frightened, she realizes she has the power to save countless lives, and she begins to embrace her destiny.
Edinja, who had been tracking the trio, finds them in Safehold and takes Arling hostage after Arling has immersed the seed in the Bloodfire. Edinja's aim is to bring Arling back to Arborlon herself and reap the praise and glory associated with helping to save the world from Demons.
A battle ensues and the trio manages to kill Edinja's moor cat and the sorceress herself, but Cymrian is mortally wounded by Edinja and passes away. The sisters flee the Wilderun in Edinja's flier.
Aphen and Arling arrive in Arborlon just as the battle is beginning between the Elves and the Demons at the mouth of the Valley of Rhenn. Just after Grianne Ohmsford kills Tael Riverine and makes herself Queen of the Forbidding, Arling transforms into the new Ellcrys, banishing all the Demons, including their new Queen.
Aphen is deeply hit by the loss of her sister and considers staying in Arborlon and giving up the Druid life, but she is reminded by her fellow Druid Seersha to be her true self and to live her life doing what is authentic to her, as Arling would have wanted. Aphen returns to Paranor with Seersha and Oriantha, succeeding Khyber Elessedil as the Ard Rhys of the fourth Druid Order.
Aphenglow leads the Druid Order as Ard Rhys for 150 years, her longevity enabled by use of the Druid Sleep. During her time as Ard Rhys she brokered a peace that, while tenuous, lasted for more than a century between the Federation and the other governments of the Four Lands. She also resisted efforts of the Elven nation to reclaim the crimson Elfstones, insisting that the Druid edict on the collection and preservation of magic superseded any nationalistic claims on magic.
By the time of her death Aphenglow had made the Druids more relevant and acceptable in the eyes of the Races. After Grianne and Khyber, she is the third woman from the House of Shannara to serve as Ard Rhys. Her successor was the Elven Druid Isaturin, whom she had specifically chosen before her death to succeed her.
Aphen is described as tall, lean, blonde, and blue-eyed, like her great-uncle Ellich Elessedil.