Elfstones are powerful, ancient talismans, originating in the Age of Faerie. They were mined by Trolls and given to the Elves to be made over into talismans. Because it was the Elves who infused them with their magic, only those with sufficient Elven blood can use them. The Stones are the most powerful extant forms of Elven magic.
Elfstones were generally created as sets of three: one stone for the heart, one for the mind, and one for the body. Their power is therefore dependent on the individual who wields them, a reflection of that person's combined strengths of heart, mind, and body. The mix of minerals and magic makes each set unique, and it took years to make a single set.
The magic of the stones will only work for an Elf or a person with sufficient Elven blood. Shea Ohmsford, who was half-Elf, used his Elfstones without trouble. However, his grandson Wil, who was only one-eighth Elf, struggled to use the Elfstones and found them to be unreliable. Because his Elven blood was so thin, the magic of the Elfstones would infect his blood to compensate whenever he used them. The consequences of this weren't realized until his children Brin and Jair were born with the wishsong, an innate magical ability.
Types of Elfstones
Each set of Elfstones came in different colors and were designed to do different things. There are five known sets of colored Elfstones, though the functions of the majority of them remain a mystery. However, all Elfstones have offensive capabilities that can defend the bearer against magic and creatures of magic:
- Blue Elfstones — Also known as the Seeking Stones, these allow the user to find any person, place, or thing he or she desires.
- Crimson Elfstones — Also known as the Draining Stones, these act as a high-powered, life-draining fiery weapon, capable of incinerating an enemy within moments. This comes at a cost to the user's life force. Since their rediscovery, these Elfstones have only ever been used in concert with the wishsong.
- Emerald Elfstones — Primary function unknown. The only known power of the White Elfstones is the ability to defend the bearer from other forms of magic or those who wield it.
- Saffron Elfstones — Primary function unknown. The only known power of the White Elfstones is the ability to defend the bearer from other forms of magic or those who wield it.
- White Elfstones — Primary function unknown. The only known power of the White Elfstones is the ability to defend the bearer from other forms of magic or those who wield it.
- Black Elfstone — A powerful magic that nothing can stand against, for it has the power to consume and negate all other magics. However, there is a price to be paid, as any magic that is negated is then transferred into the wielder of the stone, often with detrimental consequences.
- Loden — Made for the single purpose of sealing away the Ellcrys and the entire Elven city of Arborlon for security and safe transport. Unlike other Elfstones which drew its strength from an individual, the Loden drew its strength from the entire Elven nation. The Loden also was used to create a magic wall around Arborlon called the Keel.
History and Usage
During the Age of Faerie. the Darkling boy Charis stole four of the five existing sets of Elfstones from the Elves. He left his love, the Elven princess Aleia Omarosian, the blue Elfstones so that she could come and find him.
When Aleia became the first Ellcrys and initially created the Forbidding, the stolen Elfstones were transported to the alternate dimension along with Charis. As the creatures of the Forbidding had no use for as well as an innate fear of Elven magic, the stolen Elfstones were discarded with a cache of other talismans in a menacingly dark cavern that later became known as the Kroat Abyss. The Stones lay there for untold millenia largely undisturbed, though occasionally foragers in the Forbidding would happen upon the cache of talismans, including Weka Dart and his young niece, Tesla Dart.
While the stolen Elfstones lay lost and forgotten, the blue Elfstones were used by many individuals across the ages, and they have played a pivotal role in many struggles. For many centuries they were owned and wielded by the House of Shannara and House of Elessedil. They are currently carefully guarded at Arborlon by the Elven royal family.
The four sets of stolen Elfstones were eventually recovered by Redden Ohmsford, the shape-shifter Oriantha, and Tesla Dart during Tael Riverine's march on the Four Lands. Shortly after the small group discovered the ancient cache, they were found and attacked by a servant of the Straken Lord. Redden used the crimson Elfstones in a desperate attempt to save their lives. He used the wishsong in concert with the awesome power of the Elfstones to utterly destroy their pursuers. Redden then decided to keep the Elfstones on his person instead of stowing them away.
Unfortunately, when the Forbidding was restored by Arlingfant Elessedil, three of the recovered sets of Elfstones became lost again when Tesla Dart, who had been carrying them, was banished into the Forbidding. Only the crimson Elfstones, which Redden had been carrying, remained behind. Eventually, the Stones ended up in the possession of the Druids; despite pressure from the Elven nation to hand the Stones over to the Elves, the Druids insist that the their edict on the collection and preservation of magic supersedes any nationalistic claim to the talismans.
The Black Elfstone had since time immemorial been kept hidden in the fortress called Chew Magna until its recovery by Tay Trefenwyd around the time of the forging of the Sword of Shannara. It was recovered centuries later by Walker Boh from the Hall of Kings during his quest to restore the lost Druids of Paranor.
The Loden has seen, at most, two incarnations. The first was used to transport the Ellcrys from one place to another during the time of the Great Wars, and the second was used by the Elves during the reign of the to transport the city of Arborlon from the Westland to Morrowindl and back again. When Wren Elessedil made it back to the Westland and restored the city to its rightful place atop the Carolan, she intentionally drained the Elfstone of the remainder of its magic as a vow that the Elves would never leave their home again. When she was finished draining the Loden, it had become a useless common rock.
Changes Made for the TV Adaptation
- A Golden Elfstone was featured in The Shannara Chronicles. Worn by the royal family of Leah, the Golden Elfstone was part of the key to unlocking the entrance to Heaven's Well. It also protected its wearer from detection by the Warlock Lord.