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Garth

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Garth is a character in The Heritage of Shannara tetralogy. He was a deaf-mute Rover known for his tracking and survival skills. He was tasked by Alleyne Elessedil and her Wing Rider husband with the care and training of their daughter, Wren Elessedil.

BiographyEdit

Wren's ChildhoodEdit

Eowen Cerise, the seer and close friend to Ellenroh Elessedil, the Queen of the Elves, prophesied that both Ellenroh's daughter Alleyne and her baby would die if they did not leave the island of Morrowindl before the baby was born. She further foresaw that Alleyne could never return to Arborlon, but that if the baby survived she would one day come back to save the Elves.

After Wren was born, her mother, knowing from the prophecy that Wren would one day return to Arborlon and knowing the dangers that existed on Morrowindl, wanted to make sure Wren was raised and trained by someone who would teach her to be strong and to withstand and survive any threat. Alleyne was also determined to return to Arborlon with her husband in spite of the prophecy, and she did not want to risk Wren's life in the attempt.

Before their attempted return to Arborlon, Alleyne and her husband went specifically to the Rovers, the most tough and hardy people in the Westland, to seek out someone who could train their daughter the way they wanted. They were directed to Garth, a tracker and survivalist renowned for his skills.

The two Elves made an agreement with Garth that Wren would be raised as Wren Ohmsford. She was to spend her first five years in Shady Vale, raised by her distant cousins in the Ohmsford family. After that she was to be taken to the Rovers and to be given to Garth to be raised and trained. She was to be told nothing of her past life except that she was the child of a Rover and of an Ohmsford, and that she must always keep close with her the bag of painted blue rocks she was given by her parents.

After the arrangements were made, Alleyne and her husband attempted to fly back to Arborlon. Their Roc was taken down and they were killed just short of the city gates. Eowen Cerise later revealed to Wren that she knew Alleyne would attempt a return and that it would fail.

Garth remained faithful to the charge given to him by the Elven princess, and he raised Wren to be a tough and skilled fighter, tracker, and survivalist. Because he is deaf and mute, Wren also learned sign language. Through the years Garth told Wren her nothing about her past aside from what her parents had allowed him to tell her. Although it was never articulated in such terms, Garth became Wren's de facto father, and Wren his daughter.

Allanon's ChargeEdit

After Wren starts receiving dreams from the shade of the Druid Allanon, Cogline comes for her and tells her to travel to the Hadeshorn. Garth travels with her to the lake, where Allanon gives her the task of restoring the Elves to the Four Lands.

When Wren decides to take up the quest, Garth agrees to go with her. He is there with her every step of the way, protecting her, fighting by her side, and giving her advice as they travel to Grimpen Ward, to Wing Hove, and finally to Morrowindl.

As Wren makes progress in her journey and uncovers more information about the Elves and about herself, including the knowledge that the painted blue rocks passed down to her are the actual Elfstones of legend, she starts to press Garth for more information about her background. However, the Rover continues to tell her only what he had been told to tell her. The only extra information he gives to her is that which she can see for herself: that she looks far more Elven than the other Ohmsfords, meaning that her parents are both Elves. Even when Wren reaches Arborlon and is told about her background by her grandmother, Queen Ellenroh, he remains silent about what he knows.

After Ellenroh encloses the Elves and the city of Arborlon in the Loden for safekeeping, it is tasked to her, Wren, Garth, and six others to transport the Elves out of Morrowindl and back to the Westland. The company of nine is soon reduced to just five but are only a few days away from the relative safety of Morrowindl's shores when Gavilan Elessedil kills Dal, a member of the Home Guard, and runs off with the Loden. It is left to Wren, Garth, and Triss, Captain of the Home Guard, to recover the Loden from the lair of the Wisteron, the most terrifying of Morrowindl's Shadowen, where Gavilan's corpse and the Loden are found.

The trio successfully recover the Loden and Wren manages to kill the Wisteron with the Elfstones. However, during the battle Garth was hit directly by the Wisteron's poison. Garth struggles with his injuries for the next day or so, slipping into a feverish state, but he recovers slightly, enough to be lucid and insist that he needs to speak with Wren privately.

Garth starts by telling Wren that he had always known everything about her past: he had always known who her parents were, he had always known she might one day seek out the Elves, and he had met her parents directly. The only part of her past that he hadn't known about were the Elfstones; like Wren, he'd believed that they were just painted blue rocks.

While Wren is still reeling from this admission and implications it holds for her past, Garth signs to her that the Wisteron's poison has begun turning him into a Shadowen and that the only way to save him from that fate was for Wren to kill him at once. Wren is shocked and horrified, but he manages to convince her to carry out his request, even placing his hands over hers as they clutched the knife handle.

Garth: There is no more time left to us. What we've had has been good. I do not regret a moment of it. I am proud of you, Wren. You are my strength, my wisdom, my skill, my experience, my life, everything I am, the best of me. And still your own person, distinct in every way. You are what you were meant to be—a Rover girl become Queen of the Elves. I can't give you anything more. It is a good time to say good-bye.

After the deed is done, Wren is left traumatized, grieving, and at the point of collapse, but with the help of Triss and her animal friends Stresa and Faun she makes it to the shores of Morrowindl, where the remaining members of the company are carried off the island by the Wing Rider Tiger Ty aboard his Roc, Spirit.

LegacyEdit

Although Garth does not live to see Wren make it off the island, she manages to do so because of his help, guidance, and protection, not just during their quest to find and return the Elves but also over the course of all their years together. Back in the Four Lands, Wren restores Arborlon to its rightful place in the Westland and becomes Queen of the Elves, leading the Elven people as they resist attack after attack by both the Federation and the Shadowen, and becoming one of the Elves' greatest rulers.

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