In The Elfstones of Shannara, the defense of Arborlon against Demons breaking through the Forbidding is one of the central plotlines. Arborlon is not visited again until The Elf Queen of Shannara, where it is discovered that the Elves moved the entire city and the Elven nation from the Four Lands to Morrowindl, an island off the west coast of the Blue Divide using an Elfstone known as the Loden.
Arborlon is the only large Elven community that Brooks has described in detail, but there is another one in the Westland known as Wing Hove. These Elves consider themselves a separate people from the Elves of Arborlon, although their ancestors originated from Arborlon.
Arborlon in the WestlandEdit
In The Elfstones of Shannara, Arborlon is described in great detail. It is situated atop a flat towering rock known as the Carolan, which rises steeply from the east shore of the Rill Song, a Westland river. Arborlon is high above the surrounding land, although it is within a dense area of forest as well. The city proper, where the palace is located, is on the east side of the Carolan, with the Gardens of Life and other isolated cottages to the west. The entire area, including the Gardens of Life, are known as Arborlon, however. The Carolan provides a measure of security to Arborlon, serving as the city's boundaries on the east, north, and south. The entrances to Arborlon are to the west and the east, with impassible mountains to the north and south. On the west side of the Carolan, there is the Elfitch, a series of seven stone ramps and iron gates which lead from the top of the Carolan to the base of the bluff at the east bank of the Rill Song. On the east side there are smaller stairways which lead down to the Valley of Rhenn to the east of Arborlon.
Arborlon on MorrowindlEdit
Arborlon was moved to Morrowindl, an island about 200 miles across off the coast of the Westland in the Blue Divide, about 100 years before the events of the Heritage of Shannara tetralogy. The Loden was used to remove the entire city of Arborlon, including the Gardens of Life and other trees and vegetation, from the Carolan. Arborlon sits on a bluff similar to the Carolan on Morrowindl.
When Morrowindl began to become dangerous due to the spawning of many dangerous creatures around the island, the Keel was constructed around Arborlon. It is a large stone wall, constructed by hand, but maintained by the magic of the Ruhk Staff and the Loden. The Keel has three sets of gates leading out of the city, one main gate and two smaller ones. There is also a dry moat just inside the city walls. There are dozens of places where the moat is bridged to provide access to the top of the wall of the Keel. In The Elf Queen of Shannara, Wren Elessedil successfully transports Arborlon out of Morrowindl and places it back in its prior location in the Westland, atop the Carolan.
Before the Great WarsEdit
In Armageddon's Children, the first book of the Genesis of Shannara trilogy, Arborlon is located deep in the woods of Oregon. The descriptions of Arborlon match its initial descriptions in Elfstones, showing how the city itself remained largely unchanged in the millenia that separate the two books. In The Gypsy Morph the Loden is used to remove and carry Arborlon from Oregon to an area near Spokane, Washington by a young Elf named Kirisin Belloruus.
During the Great WarsEdit
In its new location near Spokane, Arborlon is protected from the nuclear holocaust of the Great Wars by Hawk, the Gypsy Morph. Hawk used the last of his magic to encircle and protect Arborlon and the other survivors. As the landscape of the Earth went through tremendous upheaval, changing into what would become the Four Lands, Arborlon remained intact and protected.