After the deaths of Eventine and his older son Arion, Ander Elessedil is left as the last surviving member of the royal family and becomes the de facto King of the Elves. He drinks heavily in the aftermath of his brother and father's deaths, intending to abdicate the throne to Kael at their funeral.
The Druid Allanon confronts Ander, incensed that he would give up his responsibility and destiny. Ander insists that Kael, who fought fearlessly alongside Eventine in the last War of the Races, is far better suited to lead the Elves in wartime than he is, but Allanon reveals that Kael hid within the city of Arborlon while Eventine and Shea Ohmsford did the hard work of defeating the Warlock Lord.
It is only after his conversation with Allanon and memories of his family members dying with honor that Ander changes his mind while giving his eulogy at the funeral, vowing to fight for the Elves as their king, and to battle bravely in the name of the Four Lands.
Kael, who had already been making preparations to ascend to the throne, is left publicly humiliated by Ander's sudden reversal. Although Ander apologizes, he points out that he is the one who has witnessed the evil that is about to descend on the Elves. He asks Kael to help him by using her influence on the High Council to maintain unity. Kael is not satisfied, telling Ander that he is not a true king but merely "what's left".
At Ander's urging, Diana Tilton, Commander of the Black Watch, travels to Gnome territory to meet with Slanter and convince the Gnomes to join the Elves in the battle against the Demons. Kael uses the opportunity of the Commander's absence to take command of the Black Watch, using their might to stage a bloodless coup and have Ander thrown in prison.
Diana returns to Arborlon with Slanter, who frees Ander from prison. Together with Allanon, the Commander, and a cadre of Gnomes, Ander presents the new alliance to the High Council as they are preparing for battle under Kael's lead. The Black Watch, upon seeing the work Ander has done to bring in significant reinforcements against the Demons, quickly apologizes to the King and falls back in line under his rule and under Diana's command. Kael's coup is over almost as quickly as it had begun, and once back in charge, Ander declares that the only way to win the war is to buy Amberle Elessedil enough time so that she can revive the Ellcrys and restore the Forbidding.
Changes made for the TV AdaptationEdit
- Kael is a woman in the TV series and a man in The Elfstones of Shannara.
- Although Kael does have a military background, she is a member of the Elven High Council in the TV series. In Elfstones, Kael is the commander of the Elven army.
- Kael is presumably still alive after her coup fails and Ander retakes control; in Elfstones, Kael is killed during a nighttime assault by Demons.
Kael Pindanon was killed during a midnight assault by Demons at Baen Draw. After his death, Ander Elessedil selected Stee Jans, the leader of the Border Legion's Free Corps, to assume the position of commander.