The story takes place shortly after the events of the short story "Indomitable" and three years after The Wishsong of Shannara. It tells the tale of Jair Ohmsford and Slanter's efforts to stop the Mwellrets who survived their encounter with Jair during his mission to destroy the last page of the Ildatch from restoring Paranor and plundering the magic and the Druid Histories within.
The story opens with Jair's encounter with the final surviving page of the Ildatch. After nearly being caught, Jair uses the wishsong to take on the form of Garet Jax and fights the Mwellret acolytes before destroying the parchment, and reluctantly returning to his own form.
This turns out to be nothing more than a recurring dream about the previous event and Jair is actually on his way to the Highlands of Leah to see his sister, Brin Ohmsford, who is now married to Rone Leah. Brin and Jair discuss the change in his ability to use the Wishsong, and Brin gets Jair to promise her that he will never use the Wishsong again. Jair then leaves, heading for Shady Vale and home.
When he camps for the night, the shade of Allanon appears and tells him that the surviving Mwellret acolytes have employed the Croton Witch to help them gain the dark powers they still desire. Allanon tells Jair that now they have been denied the Ildatch parchment, they seek to claim the druid's magic and have kidnapped Cogline and Kimber Boh in an attempt to force Cogline to use his druid powers to return Paranor to the world of men. He asks Jair for his help in stopping the Rets from succeeding. Once Jair agrees, the shade vanishes.
Having agreed to help Allanon, Jair turns from his journey home and travels to the gnome village of Quorin Abbas on the edge of the Wolfsktaag Mountains. There he finds Slanter and convinces him to help track the Mwellrets, though Slanter says he is only going to show Jair a passage through the Wolfsktaag. Instead Slanter leads all the way to the Hearthstone and Cogline's cottage, where Slanter and Jair find signs of a struggle. Reaching the cottage, they find the door smashed in, tracks of Mwellrets, a broken claw, and the moor cat Whisper, who surprises Slanter. Jair has the idea of getting Whisper to track Kimber.
Whisper leads Jair and Slanter through the passes below Toffer Ridge and to the Olden Moor before reaching a cave. Though Slanter is worried that they will just find werebeasts inside, they actually find Kimber, who has managed to escape the Rets and witch, but in doing so has broken her leg. She tells of her capture and how the Corton Witch has forced her grandfather to tell where the gates of Paranor are. She also tells about how she used the fire shard Cogline gave her to scare off the werebeasts that had come after her in the cave.
Jair and Slanter build a litter for Kimber and tie it behind Slanter's horse. They are dragging her home across the moor when they are attacked by werebeasts and Whisper is wounded before Kimber uses the Fire Shard to scare away the attackers once more. Returning to the cottage by the Hearthstone, Jair makes sure that Kimber will be alright, and promises to rescue her grandfather before the two exchange a kiss, causing Whisper to grumble jealously.
Leaving Kimber with Whisper, so they can both heal from their injuries, Jair and Slanter head back through the Wolfsktaag Mountains tracking the Rets who have kidnapped Cogline. While stopped to give their mounts rest and water, they are attacked by a Koden. Slanter is knocked unconscious and Jair is forced to use the Wishsong to once more transform into Garet Jax to defeat the beast. Slanter recovers just in time to see Jair kill the Koden and revert back to his own form, but after questioning him accepts Jair's explanation that he had imagined seeing Jax due to the bang on his head.
The pair pass through the Pass of Jade and cross the Raab Plains following the Rets all the way past Varfleet and to the Kennon Pass. They use the pass to travel through the Dragon's Teeth and enter the valley of the druids, reaching the plateau of stone on which the Druid's Keep had one sat just as the Witch and Rets are starting a mystic ritual. Though Jair wants to attack immediately, Slanter convinces him to wait for dark. As darkness falls, the Witch finishes her ritual and drags Cogline up onto the plateau to where the Keep once stood, now nothing by a massive hole in the rock itself. Using her control of him to make Cogline believe that she is in fact Allanon, the Corton Witch gets him to call on Galaphile to return the Keep.
As the magic swirls about Cogline and with the Rets attention fully on the old man, Jair disguises himself as a Ret using the Wishsong and sneaks into their group, approaching Cogline in an attempt to rescue him. The attempt fails however when the Corton Witch spots Jair and uses her own magic to strip him of the Wishsong's illusion. The Witch orders the Rets to capture Jair, but as they attempt to, Slander starts to fire his crossbow, killing several of them. Cogline's magic succeeds in summoning the Keep, which starts to descend from a vortex in the sky above them. One of the Rets throws an explosive vial at Slanter who vanishes in the explosion, leaving only his destroyed crossbow and ashes.
Alone, Jair faces off the Witch and her Rets. He uses the Wishsong to summon illusions of Werebeasts to attack, though the Rets quickly realise they are not a threat and attack again. He then uses the Wishsong to take the form of Garet Jax again and slaughters the Rets. With the Rets dead, the Witch and Jax fight until the spirit of Paranor intervenes. Un-noticed the Keep had been restored and the gates opened to release the power that guarded it. The power, in the form of a massive hand, grabbed the witch and destroyed her before coming after Jax. Jax grabs the old druid, and runs finding Slanter on the way, the gnome claiming to have been blinded by the flash. Jax tells him to run and they both flee the mists, barely escaping them. Jair returns himself to normal, and he and Slanter turn to discover that Paranor has once more vanished from the Four Lands.
Cogline, Jair, and Slanter return to the old man's cottage at the Hearthstone, and Jair tells Kimber that while he needs to go and sort out some things first, he will return. Cogline tells him that such promises are very important. As Slanter and Jair leave, Slanter mentions that perhaps his eyesight was not as bad as he had earlier claimed and that he had seen Garet Jax instead of Jair. Jair tells him that the magic makes people see things that are not real, but the story closes with him wondering about what would happen if he had to use the magic again and whether he would be able to return or if he would embrace the magic and the invincibility that he felt as Jax.