Nothing is known of Cephelo's early life, aside from the fact that years ago he bought Eretria and raised her as his daughter.
The Shannara Chronicles
When Eretria comes up short on her first solo thieving assignment, Cephalo is displeased but mollified when she presents him with the Elfstones. Later, when Eretria brings Wil Ohmsford and Amberle Elessedil to Cephalo, he orders Eretria to fight Amberle to the death in order to provoke Wil into unlocking the stones' power. After that effort proves unsuccessful in part due to the distraction of a Fury flying into the Rover encampment, Cephalo confronts Amberle, who happens to be holding the Elfstones, and starts choking her. It's only Allanon's intervention that stops him from killing the Elf.
Cephalo leads a group of Rovers to Arborlon and orders Eretria to sneak into the Elven palace to steal the Elfstones from Wil. When he then spots Eretria being dragged along in chains in the woods, he comes for her, taking the stones and capturing Amberle. Cephalo finally grants Eretria freedom and gives her some money as they had discussed, but she comes back and incapacitates him when she realizes that he intends to rape Amberle before selling her off. She also brings Cephalo along with their group to ensure that he won't be able to lead a hunt for them elsewhere.
For this reason Cephalo ends up accompanying the Elven quest for the Bloodfire to Drey Wood, over the Rock Spur, and through the old fortress of Pykon. During a battle against the Reaper, Cephalo cut the rope line that bridged a gorge between the Pykon and safe ground, causing Wil, Amberle, and Eretria to plummet to the bottom.
Cephalo reappears when Wil and Amberle, who are looking for Eretria, find him caught in a trap set by Trolls. He promises to take them to where Eretria was taken if they free him. Although Wil isn't keen on doing so, Amberle frees him and Cephalo takes them to a community of Humans called Utopia before fleeing. It later becomes apparent that he stole the pouch Wil was using to keep the Elfstones.
However, Cephalo is caught by people from Utopia and tied to stakes along with Wil and Amberle as one of their periodic sacrifices for nearby Trolls—part of an agreement made between Utopia and the surrounding Troll communities to ensure Utopia's safety. He tries to bargain for his freedom using the Elfstones, but Wil had anticipated him and had replaced the stones in his pouch with blue gaming dice that Amberle had found in the ruins of an ancient school.
When Eretria shoots a Troll who is about to kill Wil, the pact between the Trolls and the residents of Utopia is effectively broken. As Eretria frees her friends and Cephelo the residents arrive, angry and desperate. They open fire and Cephalo is fatally struck. He urges Wil, Amberle, and Eretria to flee while he covers for them, and he apologizes for cutting the rope line back at Pykon. He tells Eretria that she was the best thing he ever did, and he urges her to go and save the world. As the trio flees Cephalo goes down fighting, just before the Trolls descend on the remaining residents of Utopia.
Changes made for the TV Adaptation
- Cephalo regularly abuses, beats, and mistreats his "daughter" Eretria and he forces her to do his bidding in order to earn her eventual freedom. In Elfstones, Eretria is still the bought/adopted daughter of Cephelo, but as daughter of the family's leader she has quite a lot of freedom and is not subject to the extreme abuse at the hands of her own father that is seen in the TV series.
- Cephalo is prone to moments of very violent behavior; in contrast, the Cephelo in Elfstones is characterized more by his thieving nature and his general charm and deception, though he can be violent as well.
- Cephalo dies while fighting off Trolls in Utopia; in Elfstones, Cephelo is killed by the Reaper while attempting to protect himself and his caravan with the Elfstones, which he had stolen from Wil. Because he had no Elven blood and because the Stones were not freely given, he was not able to call upon their power.
Nothing is known of Cephelo's early life, aside from the fact that years ago he bought Eretria from a poor family and raised her as his daughter.
Wil Ohmsford and Amberle Elessedil first meet Cephelo on their way to Arborlon from Havenstead. Cephelo soon discovers the Elfstones Wil is carrying, and although he treats Wil and Amberle well he refuses to let them leave his caravan unless Wil gives him the Elfstones. When Cephelo's band of Rovers is threatened by a Demon, Wil uses the Elfstones to save them all, and Cephelo grudgingly lets him and Amberle go.
Wil and Amberle later run into Cephelo and his caravan in the Wilderun, where Cephelo insists they spend time and stay with him. Despite Wil and Amberle's misgivings, they do so, and are surprised when Cephelo ends up letting them go in the morning.
When Wil later discovers that the Elfstones in his pouch were replaced with common rocks, he realizes that Cephelo had stolen the Elfstones, despite Wil's protests that they only work for those with Elven blood and only for those to whom they are freely given.
Wil rushes back to Cephelo's caravan, running into Eretria along the way. Eretria knew Cephelo had stolen the Elfstones, but she didn't tell Wil because she was angry with the Valeman for refusing to take her along with him and Amberle on their quest. However, she had changed her mind about telling Wil and was traveling after him to let him know when he ran into her.
Chasing after Wil saved Eretria's life: together they went back to Cephelo's caravan, only to find the entire company of Rovers dead, killed by the Reaper. They came upon Cephelo's body and found that he was clutching the Elfstones in one hand. He had apparently tried, unsuccessfully, to protect himself and his caravan with their magic.