Eretria is a main character in The Shannara Chronicles, based on the character of the same name in The Elfstones of Shannara. She is a Rover and the adopted daughter of Cephalo, the leader of their caravan of Rovers.
Not much is known about Eretria's early life. She does have a few vague memories of her biological mother, but she was in the dark regarding the circumstances that led to her mother's death until Cogline revealed she and her mother were descendants of a sect called Armageddon's Children, people who are part-Man and part-demon and who are therefore susceptible to being corrupted and controlled by dark forces.
Eretria and her mother were constantly hunted by those who sensed their magic, and her mother was ultimately killed by a demon who sought Eretria. Before her mother died, she gave Eretria to Cogline to raise, who promised to keep Eretria safe after her mother convinced him that Eretria was just as able to be a force for good as she was for evil. Cogline was Eretria's guardian until she was somehow separated from him and sold to her first owner.
Eretria has said that she has no idea who her parents are or what circumstances led to her being bought by an unknown owner early in her life. She was then later sold to Cephalo for unknown reasons. She told Wil Ohmsford that she spent her days learning how to steal and her nights fending off Cephalo's men.
Quest to Save the Ellcrys
When Wil Ohmsford set off from Shady Vale for Storlock, Eretria saved him from being killed by a Troll. Her intentions were not altruistic: she was on her first solo thieving assignment on Cephalo's orders and was desperate to prove herself to him. She took Wil back to an abandoned house, put him to sleep with drugged wine, and stole his Elfstones, not knowing what they were but correctly assuming that they were valuable. She later encountered the runaway Elven princess Amberle Elessedil, who managed to avoid being drugged the same way as Wil and escaped with Eretria's horse and some of her stolen goods, though she did leave a silver cuff with the royal seal on it in exchange before she left, claiming that Eretria got the better end of the deal.
Cephalo was displeased upon hearing that Eretria had come up somewhat short on her first solo assignment, but he was mollified when she presented him with the Elfstones, which he recognized for what they truly were. Later, when Eretria had once again stumbled upon Wil and Amberle and brought them back to Cephalo at their Rover camp, he ordered Eretria to fight Amberle to the death in order to provoke Wil into unlocking the stones' power. Eretria balked at this order, as she believed only in killing to survive, not for sport, ultimately deciding to free Amberle, stating that if she was going to kill the Elven princess, it would be on her own terms.
However, Amberle refused to escape without Wil and briefly took Eretria hostage before confronting Cephalo. The confrontation would have failed without the distraction of a Fury flying into the Rover encampment. After Wil successfully fought off the Fury and was knocked unconscious, Cephalo confronted Amberle, who happened to be holding the Elfstones, and started choking her. It was only the timely intervention by the Druid Allanon that stopped him from killing her, knocking Cephalo out so that Wil and Amberle could escape with him.
Later, Cephalo led his Rovers to Arborlon and ordered Eretria to sneak into the Elven palace to steal back the Elfstones, though Eretria demanded her freedom in exchange for the successful mission. Eretria sneaked into the palace and easily seduced Wil once again, causing him to lower his guard when she spoke of her wish to be free from Cephalo and to start a new life. After the two had sex, she waited until Wil was asleep before snatching the Elfstones and preparing to sneak out the way she came. However, she was spotted by Amberle as she attempted to leave the palace and was eventually apprehended by Commander Tilton, who accused her of attempting to assassinate Amberle. Eretria insisted that she was many things, but she was not a murderer, and was completely shocked by the charges, not knowing that the Changeling, who had been spying on the Elves in the palace on the orders of the Dagda Mor, had taken on Eretria's form before attempting to kill the princess, which is what led to Eretria being imprisoned in the palace's dungeon.
When Wil insisted that Eretria was being framed, Allanon, Amberle and the rest of the Elves realized that it was actually the Changeling that had tried to kill Amberle, leading Eretria to be freed, though only provisionally, since she was still guilty of breaking into the palace and attempting to rob Wil. Eretria and the Elves eventually make a deal, with Eretria being offered her freedom in exchange for being used as bait to draw out the Changeling. Unfortunately, this plan ultimately failed due to the Changeling overhearing the plan under the guise of a member of the Elven guard. Later, due to visions received by both Amberle and Bandon that showed that Eretria was present in Safehold with Amberle and Will, Allanon insisted that the two take Eretria with them on their journey to the Bloodfire. Still distrustful of Eretria, Amberle reluctantly agreed, though she insisted that Eretria remain shackled, forcing her to walk with her wrists bound together and attached to one of the horses at the rear of their traveling party.
When Cephalo spotted Eretria in the woods being dragged behind the Elven group in chains, he and his caravan of Rovers came to her rescue, capturing Amberle and once again stealing the Elfstones in the process. Because Eretria had technically fulfilled their deal, Cephalo granted Eretria her freedom and gave her some money to start her new life. However, before she left, Amberle insisted that her father, King Eventine Elessedil, would pay her 20x what Cephalo was offering her, but when Cephalo approached, she pretended as though she hadn't heard Amberle and left. When she overheard Cephalo talking about how he planned to rape Amberle before selling her off, Eretria returned and incapacitated Cephalo before asking if Amberle truly meant what she said about the payment. When Amberle assured her that the King would pay her handsomely for her safe return, Eretria agreed to her terms and decided to bring Cephalo along with them as their hostage to ensure that he couldn't lead a hunt for them. She also returned the Elfstones to Wil before the group set off once again to find Safehold.
The party traveled from Drey Wood over the Rock Spur before briefly stopping to discuss what they would do next upon learning that a powerful snowstorm was approaching. They ultimately took Cephalo's suggestion of going through the old fortress of Pykon to save themselves a longer journey around the storm. Within the Pykon, the group was greeted by Remo, the fortress' caretaker, and Mags, his half-Elf, half-human daughter, before the women were shown to the bathroom to clean up from their journey. In the large bathtub, Eretria confessed to Amberle that she is not only attracted to men before she moves closer to Amberle with a seductive expression, but the princess rejects her advances. Eretria turns away, her feelings clearly hurt by Amberle's rebuff, but she forgot about these feelings after Amberle noticed the strange tattoo on Eretria's left shoulder. Eretria admitted she had no idea what it meant, and believing that it was a mark from her original owner to keep track of them since she'd had it for as long as she could remember.
Later, Eretria, Amberle, Wil, Crispin, and Cephalo were all drugged by Remo at dinner before being shackled by their wrists from the ceiling. Eretria sighed in disbelief and horror when Amberle made the mistake of identifying herself as King Eventine Elessedil's daughter and ordering him to let them go, and was somewhat hurt when she ran in to rescue her, only to find that Wil already had and that he and Amberle were passionately kissing. When the Reaper arrived at the Pykon and killed Crispin, Amberle's royal guard, the remaining members of the party fled the fortress.
Cephalo and Eretria crossed a rope line that bridged a gorge between the Pykon and safe ground, but when Eretria saw that Cephalo planned to cut the line to prevent the others from crossing under the guise of protecting them from the Reaper, Eretria prepared to cross the line again to go back for Wil and Amberle. When Cephalo argued that they would never trust her, Eretria replied, "So be it," before crossing back to save her companions. When the three were about to cross back, Wil failed at killing the Reaper with the Elfstones, causing Cephalo to mutter an apology to Eretria, who he claimed deserved better, before successfully cutting the line and causing Eretria, Amberle, and Will to plummet into the gorge below.
When Amberle and Eretria regained consciousness, they found themselves laying in a river, each with multiple injuries from their fall. Moments later, they found that they had been separated by Wil and became worried about what had become of him. After traveling through the woods, Eretria realized that there were Elf Hunters nearby and immediately insisted that they needed to avoid them. However, as the Elf Hunters got closer to where the girls were hiding, Eretria and Amberle found to their horror that they had fallen through a trap door into what appeared to be a basement where a high school dance was held in the Age of Man, prior to the Great Wars. As the two traverse this ancient underground building, they slowly began to develop a friendship bond through conversation, both about themselves and their history, as well as their shared feelings for Wil. Eretria helped Amberle treat a painful-looking gash on her arm from her fall into the rocky river, and they both suggested that perhaps the Elves and humans were not worth saving from the Demons.
However, just as the two spotted an old newspaper article and public transit map, which contained an image that Amberle recognized from her vision of the Bloodfire, they were caught by the Elf Hunter Zora. To Amberle's surprise, Eretria recognized Zora, and it quickly became apparent that the two were previously lovers, with Zora insinuating that Eretria had abandoned her in the night, which is what led her to become an Elf Hunter who made a great deal of money by selling the severed ears of Elves to the Trolls, who used them for medicinal purposes.
Amberle and Eretria were ultimately saved from Zora when Wil arrived on the back of Genewen, a Roc who was flown by the Wing Rider Perk. However, just as Wil and Perk had begun lifting Amberle and Eretria out of the building to safety, Zora shot Eretria with an arrow, causing her to fall back into the school as she clutched the bleeding wound on her side.
An unconscious Eretria was taken to a human settlement, where Zora planned to sell the map to Safehold and some other items to the leader of the settlement, a human called Tye. However, Tye refused to buy anything unless Eretria was included in the sale, and though Zora was initially unwilling to do so, she ultimately agreed after Tye promised to pay double for her. Eretria was horrified and assumed that he planned to make her his slave, but Tye surprised her by healing her infected wound and offering to send a search party out to find Amberle in and Will. While Tye showed her around, Eretria discovered that the settlement, called Utopia, consisted of people who aimed to preserve and recover the ways of humans before the Great Wars, during the time known as the Age of Man. The people of Utopia owned guns, movie projectors, and other objects from humanity's past. Eretria quickly became enamored by Tye, who claimed she would be able to find the freedom she desired in Utopia. However, Hebel, a man with a damaged face and a blinded eye from a terrible accident, warned her not to trust Tye. Hebel also told her, "Your body is the vessel. Your blood is the key" before insisting that she not let Amberle and Will leave without her.
Led to the Utopia by Cephalo, Wil and Amberle entered the community and attempted to free Eretria, since the two believed her to have been taken as a slave just as Eretria initially believed as well. The two were met with resistance when Eretria, who had been influenced by Tye and become fond of the idea that she could live by her own rules, revealed that she no longer wanted to be ordered around by either of them. When the residents found out that Wil and Amberle have Elven blood, they were tied to wooden stakes out in the woods, where they also found Cephalo being sentenced to the same fate after being caught trying to escape. It was then revealed that the three were going to be sacrifices for the nearby Trolls as part of an agreement Utopia made with the creatures; so long as Utopia periodically left them Elves (and sometimes humans) on which to feed, the Trolls would leave the members of the settlement alone.
Fortunately for them, Eretria shot a Troll with a gun she stole from Tye before the creature could kill Wil before then freeing the captives. Tye became furious, as Eretria had just doomed them all by essentially breaking the peace agreement between Utopia and the Trolls, and started shooting at the freed captives. When Cephalo was mortally wounded, he begged Eretria to give him her pistol so he could slow the Trolls down and buy them some time, urging Eretria to go be the hero she was meant to be and insisting that she was the best thing he ever did. Cephalo then died in his fight against the Trolls, allowing Wil, Amberle, and Eretria the time needed to run to safety. The trio come out of a forest to look upon the ruins of San Francisco, where Safehold is to be found.
When the three came out of the forest, they found themselves looking upon the ruins of what used to be San Francisco, California, where they found an old sign that indicated that they had finally arrived at Safehold. The threesome then descended into the underground tunnels of Safehold, traversing the maze with torches and successfully avoiding sleeping Trolls along the way by crawling across using the overhead pipes. When they got to the end of the hall with the sleeping trolls, they were shocked to find a design painted on the wall that almost exactly matched Eretria's tattoo. She mentioned feeling a sense of familiarity with the place before she suddenly groaned and grabbed her left shoulder, where her tattoo was expanding down the length of her left arm with a wave of powerful magic, causing dark lines to grow and sear themselves into her skin.
They all realized that the lines almost looked like that of a map, and Eretria explained that the magic at work has given her an understanding of where they needed to go. Euphoric from the magical rush, she asked Wil if this feeling was the same as what he felt when he used his Elfstones, as she felt invincible; however, Wil snarkily replied that using the Elfstones made him feel as though he had been set on fire and beaten with a shovel. Following Eretria's mystical sense of direction, the trio headed into the ruins of an ancient church, where they then encountered Mallenroh and Morag, two women who identified themselves as the guardians of the Bloodfire.
The guardians quickly began to taunt each of the trio in turn, doing their best to cast doubts in each of their minds so that they would be turned against each other rather than complete their mission. The two women were almost successful, as they first managed to get Eretria to believe that neither Amberle nor Wil trusted her, and that Amberle got everything that she wanted, including Wil. Amberle fought back against Eretria, claiming that, as a Rover, all she knew what to do was take, forcing Wil to jump between them to try to break up the fight. In the struggle, Wil accidentally sliced Eretria's right palm with his knife, which snapped both women out of their furious trances. Everyone in the room is stunned speechless when Eretria's blood began to rise from her hand and toward a cloudy glass sculpture near them, and the guardians suddenly identified Eretria as "a child of the Armageddon."
This led the Rover girl to recall and echo Hebel's words, realizing that her blood was the key to unlocking the Bloodfire. She stood to her feet and extended her shaking, bleeding right hand over the sculpture as an invisible force slammed her hand over the sharp tip at the top, impaling her hand and causing her blood to run down the entire sculpture and coat it red. The Bloodfire then erupted out of the earth, much to everyone's shock, but especially Mallenroh and Morag. realizes that her blood is the key to unlocking the Bloodfire. When the women recognized Amberle as the bearer of the Ellcrys seed and tried to stop her, Wil killed them easily with the Elfstones just as Amberle waked into the Bloodfire. Just then, Eretria lost consciousness from the blood loss and collapsed onto the floor, leaving Will alone and frantic.
Not knowing what else to do, Wil cradled Eretria's lifeless body in his arms as he wept. After some time had passed, Wil suddenly got an idea and took out the Elfstones, which glowed blue in his hands before he clutched them tightly in his fist and closed his eyes. When he opened them, he saw they were sparkling with bright light and placed his closed fist near Eretria's heart, healing her and bringing her back to life. When she awoke with a gasp, Wil embraced her tightly and informed her that the stones brought her back to him, but when she asked about Amberle, Wil was forced to admit that she disappeared into the fire. Eretria wasted no time standing to her feet and once again impaling her hand on the sculpture to bring back the Bloodfire long enough to bring Amberle back. Once she returned, Eretria and Wil rushed toward Amberle and gave her a large, tight group hug.
With Amberle's solemn news that the last leaf had fallen from the Ellcrys, the trio set out to leave the Safehold and return to Arborlon to restore the tree and send the Demons back to the Forbidding. However, the Trolls they had found sleeping when they had arrived had since awakened, and they chased the trio down a corridor, where they were cornered by a locked gate. Amberle and Wil managed to get it open, but when they waited for Eretria to follow them out, they were horrified to see that she had closed and locked the gate with herself still inside. Despite their protests that they weren't leaving without her, Eretria insisted that she intended to stay behind and buy them some time to get away and demanded that they use it. She reminded Amberle that they all had their role to play, and this was hers, before she gave Wil a kiss and once again told them to run. He promised that he would come back for her and reluctantly left with Amberle, leaving Eretria to pull out her knives to take on the Trolls herself.
After the battle against the Demons was won and Amberle became the new Ellcrys, Wil set off to make good on his promise to Eretria that he would rescue her, even though Allanon had said that he had no idea if she had survived.
In Safehold, the Trolls dragged Eretria into a room where she fell onto her knees. She watched in horror as one of the Trolls removed their mask, and once she saw the man's face, her eyes widened in shock and she gasped, "It's you."
Working for Cogline
The man in the mask turned out to be Cogline, a man interested in science who also knew "old Druid tricks." He had promised Eretria's mother long ago that he would always protect her daughter. A year after Cogline found Eretria in Safehold, the Rover girl is living in the ruins of San Francisco, scavenging Old World technology for Cogline with her girlfriend Lyria, and wondering why Wil and Amberle have not come looking for her.
Lyria and Eretria are out on a job together when they are found and chased after by Trolls. Eretria manages to kill two of the Trolls and lures one of her pursuers out to the ruins of the Golden Gate Bridge, where she lures him into a booby-trapped car placed at the edge of a gaping hole in the bridge, making him fall down the hole of the bridge, plunging into the water. However, her victory is short lived as another pursuer comes at her from behind, knocking her into the water. While under the waters of the bay, she sees a vision of Amberle, who tells her that a new darkness is coming. The fate of the world depends on her finding Wil.
Eretria wakes up in one of San Francisco's old buildings, where she is being tended to by Lyria. Lyria says that she doesn't know how Eretria survived her fall of the bridge, but says that Eretria kept saying "Amberle" while she was unconscious. Despite Lyria telling her to rest, Eretria goes to speak to Cogline, who urges her to let go of Wil and Amberle. It becomes clear that Eretria does not know that Amberle has become the Ellcrys, and that she believes that Wil and Amberle are living happily in Arborlon.
Later, Lyria asks Eretria about Amberle and Wil. She asks if Amberle was her lover, which Eretria denies. When Lyria asks if Eretria loves Wil, Eretria says that she doesn't anymore, and says that it's Lyria who has her heart now. She says that she hopes Lyria will open up to her more instead of being so mysterious about herself. They share a kiss, but Eretria's words make Lyria feel guilty, and she reveals a secret to her girlfriend: Cogline has been lying to Eretria. According to Lyria, Cogline told everyone in his group except for Eretria that people may be looking for her, and he ordered his people to prevent anyone from ever finding Eretria.
Some time later, some people came to Cogline and said that "the Eretria problem" had been taken care of. Lyria, who witnessed this, said they gave Cogline an item as proof that the problem had been taken care of, and that although she didn't see what that item was, Cogline must still be holding onto it.
Lyria and Eretria go search Cogline’s belongings, and eventually Eretria finds Wil's stone pendant. They are caught by Cogline, who reveals to Eretria that Wil searched for her for months and that he prevented Wil from finding Eretria because a scion of Shannara would only end up hurting her. He points out that he had promised Eretria's mother that he would guard her with his life, but Eretria counters by saying that wasn't his choice to make.
Quest to Find Wil
Eretria and Lyria leave Cogline and his people and head out to Arborlon. They are caught by Rovers while traversing Rover territory.
Upon the aftermath of their capture, Lyria and Eretria are held captive by a band of Rovers but are saved by Garet Jax, who kills all the Rovers. Unfortunately Garet’s efforts were not altruistic: He reveals that there’s a bounty for Lyria and that he’s there to collect. When Eretria puts up a fight, Garet knocks her out easily. Concerned for Eretria's wellbeing, Lyria stops him and agrees to go with him quietly if he leaves an unconscious Eretria alone.
Eretria manages to track them to the town of Leah. A disguised Eretria breaks into the Leah bordello and manages to find Garet, putting a knife to him. She asks after Lyria, but he overpowers her easily. However, when Garet realizes that the Rover girl is in love with Lyria, he tells her who Lyria really is and where she can be found. Lyria is revelaved to be the escaped princess of Leah.
An angry Eretria finds Lyria in her quarters and confronts her, asking her why she lied to Eretria. Lyria says she told Eretria only the truth, and that she hated the person she used to be, but Eretria is unmoved and questions whether their relationship was even real. Lyria insists that the person she was with Eretria is her true self, and says that her mother, Queen Tamlin, brought her back to marry Ander. Lyria goes on to explain that Tamlin hates the Elves so the marriage must be for a strategic maneuver of some sort.
Before Lyria can say more, palace guards enter Lyria's quarters and seize Eretria. The Rover girl is brought before Tamlin, who says that Lyria has thing for feisty brunettes, both male and female. The Queen claims that Lyria was only feeding Eretria lines, and that her daughter goes through lovers like outfits. Tamlin offers Eretria a bag of diamonds if she leaves Leah for good. Eretria refuses, but Tamlin warns that she’ll be killed if she does not accept.
Lyria enters Ander and Catania's quarters to alert them to Eretria's presence in the palace. Ander and Catania find Eretria and Ander orders the palace guards trying to take away the Rover girl to tell Tamlin that Eretria is under his protection. He calls Eretria a hero in the War of the the Forbidding.
Eretria tells the King that she had received a message from Amberle that Wil Ohmsford was in danger, prompting Ander to tell Eretria that Amberle had become the Ellcrys. Ander takes Eretria to Allanon, and she tells him that the Ellcrys had told her in a vision that Wil was in danger. Allanon asserts that while he had hoped to spare Wil from further conflict, if the Ellcrys was sending warning then they all had to look for Wil. Allanon also said that Bandon was looking for Wil since Wil was the only person who could stop the Warlock Lord.
The mention of Bandon causes Catania to ask what her former lover has to do with everything, but Allanon demurs, promising to explain later. The Druid insists that Ander, Eretria, Catania, and the rest of the Elven delegation to Leah has to leave to find Wil in Shady Vale. He reveals that he knows Wil is there because he can sense the Stones' presence.
Lyria catches up to Eretria as the Rover girl prepares to leave with the Elves. The Princess of of Leah insists that Tamlin is lying and that although she had run off with lovers before, her feelings for Eretria were different and genuine. Eretria challenges Lyria to prove it by leaving Leah with her, but Lyria refuses, arguing that Tamlin would find them and kill Eretria. Eretria turns and leaves Lyria, telling Catania that there’s nothing left for her in Leah.
Eretria and Catania arrive at the stables, where Allanon is already in the stables of the palace waiting for the others when General Riga arrives and confronts him. Riga tells Allanon that ever since he was a boy, he had dreamed of meeting a Druid, and that he avidly read their histories and studied their texts. Allanon gives Riga once chance to surrender but the general ignores him, and when Allanon strikes him with his magic, the Druid is shocked to see that his powers don't affect Riga at all.
Riga, completely unharmed and unfazed by Allanon's magic, is able to easily knock the Druid out. He places a conjure collar around the unconscious man's neck in order to suppress his magic, and then orders his men to take the Druid to Graymark.
Eretria and Catania watch as the men leave, unable to prevent them from taking Allanon after seeing how they handled the Druid. Catania tells Eretria that she doesn'y know where Graymark was, but that the men who have captured Allanon are part of the Crimson. Eretria urges Catania to find Ander and tell him that he must send out a patrol to bring back Allanon. In the meantime, the Rover girl will leave to find Wil before Bandon does.
Changes made for the TV Adaptation
- Eretria is bisexual in the TV series: She flirted with Amberle, had a relationship with a female Elf Hunter named Zora, and currently has a girlfriend (Lyria). Conversely, in The Elfstones of Shannara, Eretria was only interested in Wil and barely interacted with Amberle.
- Eretria is regularly abused, beaten, and mistreated by her "father" Cephalo and his band of Rovers, and is required 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.
- Eretria is pale-skinned in the TV series, whereas in Elfstones she is regularly described as having "dusky" skin, in line with the original depiction of Rovers which were largely based on stereotypes of Romani people.
- In the TV series, Eretria is key to unlocking the Bloodfire, with her blood literally unleashing the flames; conversely, in Elfstones, she plays no role in the discovery of the Bloodfire, which Amberle finds with her senses alone. However, She does join Wil in fighting against the Reaper in Safehold, keeping Amberle safe during her time inside the Bloodfire.
Eretria is the 'daughter' of the Rover leader Cephelo. Given the Rover practice of trading and even selling women and children amongst themselves, Eretria is not Cephelo's blood daughter. Eretria's role within the Rover community is not well defined, but she appears to have little responsibility and enjoys unusual freedom due to Cephelo's position as leader of the family. She is a very capable woman, both physically and mentally, showing aptitude in horsemanship, knife fighting and seduction.
Not much is known Eretria's life prior to the start of the series, as the only thing about her past life that is stated in The Elfstones of Shannara is that she is the adopted daughter of Cephelo, a Rover. It is stated that her real father sold her to him, as he already had several pretty daughters, and Rovers often sell their wives or children for financial benefit.
Quest to Save the Ellcrys
- See the book summary of The Elfstones of Shannara, as Eretria is involved in almost every key moment of Wil Ohmsford's journey.
Eretria appears as a minor character in The Wishsong of Shannara. She is now Wil Ohmsford's wife and has had two children by him-- Jair and Brin. Wil Ohmsford has trained her as a healer and in The Wishsong of Shannara they both travel to other cities in the Southland every year and heal where they are needed.