However the expedition failed badly and Kael and the Elfstones went missing, presumably lost at sea. The Queen spent the last five years of her life in mourning, slowly wasting away as one rescue effort after another failed and all were finally abandoned. She was succeeded by her other son Allardon Elessedil, who had not expected to become king.
About twenty-five years later, the Wing Rider Hunter Predd finds and returns a broken and nearly dead Kael to the Four Lands, along with a cryptic map that had been found on Kael's person. Kael was incoherent, with his tongue and eyes removed and his mind broken. Hunter Predd found him as a castaway floating in the Blue Divide, and he flew the Elven Prince aboard his Roc Obsidian to a Healer in Bracken Clell. Predd then left Kael to rest in Bracken Clell and flew to Arborlon to tell Allardon about his brother's rescue.
Allardon requests that Hunter take Kael's map to the Druid Walker Boh in the hope that he might discuss with the Elf King any usable translation of the writings and symbols on the map. Hunter accepts the King's charge after the King promises him that in reward for his efforts, he would bestow upon the Sky Elves possession of an island just below and west of the Irrybis Mountains that Wing Riders had long coveted.
Unfortunately for Kael, while he was being kept in Bracken Clell he was found by the Ilse Witch. She scanned his mind for information and then killed him by stealing his breath with a kiss.
After speaking to Hunter Predd and being shown the map, Walker follows him back to Arborlon and meets the Elven King in the Gardens of Life. Allardon, who wants to know what happened to Kael and wants to retrieve the lost Elfstones for the Elves, asks Walker to undertake a quest following the route shown on Kael's map to achieve both those goals. Walker for his part is certain that the map will lead to a powerful magic that will enable him to finally rebuild the Druid Order.
Allardon and Walker strike an agreement: a voyage was to be undertaken with Walker as leader. The purpose of the voyage was to follow the route described on the map carried by the Druid, a copy of which was held by the King's scribe at the palace. Among other things, a search for the missing Elfstones was to be undertaken.
As a reward for going on this quest, Allardon would give Walker everything he had denied him twenty-three years earlier. Walker would finally receive the Elves' support for an independent Druid Council, one that would be free to study, explore, and develop all forms of magic. The Council would answer to no one nation or people or ruler, but only to its own conscience and the dictates of the order. The Council would also share its findings equally with all people, when and if those findings could be implemented peacefully and for the betterment of all Races.
While Walker does not survive the expedition, the journey he undertook following the same path Kael took on his doomed quest ultimately sets in motion the founding of the Third Druid Order by Walker's heir, Grianne Ohmsford.