Paxon Leah is a character in The Defenders of Shannara trilogy. He is the older brother of Chrysallin Leah and holds the position of High Druid's Blade. Although his last name is Leah, he is also the great-grandson of Railing Ohmsford, making him a member of the legendary House of Shannara.
Paxon's father died when Paxon was ten, and he grew up with his mother Zeatha and sister Chrys.
Although legend had it that Paxon was descended from the royals and warriors who once ruled the Highlands of Leah, Paxon is neither a prince nor a warrior. He oversees his family's small business shipping goods via airship freighters, and he is barely able to hold his family together. Immersed in the struggles of daily life, Paxon doesn't even have the time to realize how much he longs to leave his home in Leah and take control of his future.
Quest to Rescue ChrysallinEdit
When Paxon's younger sister Chrys is abducted by a stranger, he discovers that her kidnapper is the Southland sorcerer named Arcannen. When Arcannen flees Leah for Wayford, Paxon races to Chrys's rescue with the only weapon he can find, an antique sword that had always hung above the fireplace. He tracks the sorcerer to his compound and battles him to get Chrys back.
During the duel against Arcannen, Paxon is stunned to discover that his sword is in fact the Sword of Leah, the weapon imbued with magic by the Druid Allanon centuries ago. Paxon is able to overpower the sorcerer and take Chrys back, but Arcannen manages to escape.
The use of magic in the battle between Paxon and sorcerer catches the attention of the Druid Order, and Paxon is summoned to Paranor by Aphenglow Elessedil, Ard Rhys of the Druids. Aphenglow, knowing that Paxon is a descendant of the Ohmsfords as well as the Leahs, urge Paxon to stay at Paranor and train to become the High Druid's Blade, a warrior in service to the Ard Rhys and the Druid Order, one who has sworn to protect them from the evils that stalk the Four Lands.
Paxon is taken aback by the offer but realizes that it could be the path to a different future, one of his own making. He decides to stay in Paranor to train and serve the Druids for three years. His new life quickly becomes one of training and learning with the Druids Sebec and Oost Mondara, and one of danger and adventure as he travels the Four Lands with the Druid Starks, protecting him on their missions.
However, Arcannen is still at large and he abducts Chrysallin once more. Paxon and Starks go after him in Wayford, where Grehling Cara, the fourteen-year-old son of Wayford's airfield manager, and Leofur Rai, Grehling's former nanny, have already been working to free Chrysallin from Mischa, a witch who was torturing Chrysallin under Arcannen's orders. Paxon kills a creature of magic sent by Mischa to pursue Chrysallin, and a traumatized Chrysallin kills Mischa herself using the wishsong. Arcannen gets away, but not before killing Starks using the Stiehl.
Chrysallin is catatonic after using the wishsong, and back at Paranor everyone realizes that she has been tortured mentally, brainwashed into thinking that Aphenglow is responsible for her torture, all as part of an attempt by Arcannen to use Chrysallin to kill the Ard Rhys.
Accompanied by Leofur, Paxon returns to Wayford, ostensibly to find some clues that might help bring Chrysallin out of her traumatized state, but also to avenge Starks' death by killing Arcannen. In Wayford Leofur gains easy access to Arcannen's home and Paxon and Arcannen battle. Arcannen, realizing he is about to be overpowered, offers to give Paxon a potion that will cure Chrysallin of the effects of her torture if Paxon will let him go. Although deeply conflicted, Paxon realizes that healing his sister is more important than gaining revenge, so he agrees to the exchange.
Paxon, who had been developing feelings for Leofur, is shocked and dismayed by her ability to gain access to Arcannen's heavily guarded home, and he assumes that she must have been his lover. She corrects him by saying that in fact, her ability to gain access is due to the fact that she is his daughter.
Back in Paranor, Paxon administers the potion to Chrysallin, who comes out of her catatonic state fully healed, not even able to remember what had been done to her. He speaks to Aphenglow about how hard it had been for him to have to choose between the chance of maybe saving Chrysallin with a potion and the chance to avenge Starks by killing Arcannen.
Shortly afterward, Aphenglow travels out of Paranor in her personal airship with Paxon, her young assistant Sebec, and several of the Trolls serving as Druid Guards. When they reach the Streleheim Plains, Aphenglow announces that Sebec is the traitor within the Druid Order who has been passing information and artifacts of magic to Arcannen, and she has the guards execute him.
Both the Ard Rhys and Paxon are distraught over their betrayal at the hands of someone whom they'd assumed was a friend. On the way back to Paranor, Aphenglow tells Paxon that his life as protector of the Druids will be no different, that it will be filled with disappointments and deceptions that will bring sadness, and that it will be filled with hard choices like the one he made to spare Arcannen's life.
Despite the warning, Paxon insists that he wants to stay at Paranor, making Aphenglow smile.
Quest to Rescue ReynEdit
After Paxon has been serving as the Blade of the Ard Rhys for five years, time and age have caught up to Aphenglow and she prepares to die. Paxon and Isaturin, Aphenglow's successor, travel with her to the Hadeshorn, where they watch the shade of Allanon bear her away into the lake. Paxon has barely had time to mourn when he is required to undertake a new quest.
Reyn Frosch is working as a tavern singer in the Southland village of Portlow when he meets Arcannen. Disturbed by the fact that Arcannen knows he possesses magic, Reyn avoids the man initially. During a break between sets, Reyn is targeted outside the tavern by the Fortren brothers, Yancel and Borry, who resent him for what they see as Reyn's ability to manipulate others and to turn men soft and emotional with his cleverness and talent. They smash Reyn's elleryn and attack Reyn himself, at which point he screams, unleashing his magic. Yancel and Borry are killed almost instantly and Reyn goes catatonic.
The use of the magic alerts the Druids at Paranor. One in particular, Avelene, notices that the signal caused by the magic seems to be identical to the signal detected five years earlier when Paxon's sister Chrysallin used the wishsong in Wayford to defend herself. As the new Ard Rhys, Isaturin sends Avelene and Paxon into the Southland to investigate.
When Reyn awakens, the tavern owner Gammon offers to shelter him for a time and sneak him out of the village, but Reyn insists on leaving as soon as possible. However, Arcannen reappears and urges Reyn to stay in the village for a couple more days while he takes care of some business, promising to take Reyn away with him and to teach him about his magic and how to control it.
Gammon is suspicious and urges Reyn not to trust Arcannen, but Reyn lingers in Portlow. When Paxon and Avelene find Gammon during their search for Reyn, Gammon is equally suspicious of them and lies, saying that Reyn has already left the village. He then goes back into the tavern to warn Reyn and to urge him to flee. Paxon catches Reyn leaving out the back entrance of the tavern and attempts to talk to him, but a burst of magic fire from behind Reyn frightens him into running away. Paxon loses Reyn, and he finds Avelene trapped in a magical container created by Arcannen. He is forced to suspend his pursuit of Reyn and take Avelene back to Paranor, where Isaturin and other Druids manage to free her from the prison. Avelene is physically unharmed but left deeply traumatized.
Once Avelene has recovered somewhat from her ordeal, she is eager to get back to the search for Arcannen and Reyn, but Paxon is worried about her mental condition and ability to do her job, which causes her to bristle. After airing their concerns, they head after Arcannen and follow him to the ruins of the coastal fortress community of Arbrox, where the Federation military unit known as the Red Slash had recently killed every single person except for Arcannen himself. There Arcannen, with the assistance of a teenaged girl named Lariana, are trying to help Reyn master the wishsong so that he can help Arcannen exact revenge on the Red Slash for what had happened.
However Dallen Usurient, the commander of the Red Slash, has also followed Arcannen to Arbrox, bringing with him a small company of violent criminals and chained beasts to exterminate the sorcerer once and for all. Lariana, Reyn, and Arcannen are forced to defend themselves against the company: Arcannen disappears from the fight early, Reyn uses the illusory powers of the wishsong to confuse the beasts into attacking Mallich, the creatures' trainer, and Lariana uses a flash rip to kill the Hammer, an executioner from the Federation prisons. Paxon and Avelene arrive in time to see Usurient shoot Arcannen with a flash rip and to see Reyn use the wishsong when he and Lariana are attacked by the serial killer Bael Etris.
This unexpected use of the wishsong leaves Reyn catatonic, and Bael Etris recovers quickly enough to knock out Lariana and capture Reyn. Paxon and Avelene confront the killer, who insists that Arcannen isn't dead and that what was shot down was merely an image of the sorcerer. He is proven correct when a huge explosion occurs, after which Reyn has gone missing and Bael Etris is left impaled on a steel rod. Paxon, Avelene, and Lariana team up to go after Arcannen and Reyn.
Knowing that Reyn possesses the Ohmsford's trademark magic and that he can account for all of Railing Ohmsford's descendants, Paxon realizes that Reyn must be a descendant of Railing's twin brother Redden. While not explicitly stated, it becomes clear that Redden's use of the Crimson Elfstones against Demons in the Forbidding and against the Ilse Witch must have infused his blood with the Elfstones' magic and passed it down to his descendants, just as the use of the Blue Elfstones had similarly affected Wil Ohmsford's blood and resulted in the inheritance of the wishsong in Wil's descendants. In Redden's case, however, the magic of the Crimson Elfstones was passed down in combination with the magic of the wishsong, which was already in his blood, meaning that Reyn inherited a completely new kind of magic in his version of wishsong.
Lariana leads Paxon and Avelene to the Southland city of Sterne, where Arcannen had taken Reyn, but makes use of illusions to lose them inside an abandoned building so that she can return to Arcannen and Reyn alone. Paxon and Avelene, eventually manage to get free of Lariana's ruse, but they then get thrown into prison by Usurient, further delaying their pursuit of Arcannen and Reyn.
Arcannen challenges Usurient and the entire Red Slash unit to meet him at the Horn of Honor, a monument to fallen soldiers that sits in the Federation burial grounds out on a bluff above the city. He goes to the bluff with only Reyn and Lariana accompanying him.
Usurient, confident of victory, speaks tauntingly at Arcannen, but he is cut short when Reyn, under Arcannen's orders and with Lariana's emotional support, uses the wishsong to immobilize him and all five hundred of the soldiers of the Red Slash. Faced with a completely motionless unit of soldiers, Arcannen tortures Usurient briefly before setting him on fire, and then methodically setting row after row of soldiers on fire.
As the carnage unfolds, Reyn is horrified and begins losing his grip on his magic. Paxon and Avelene, who managed to get free of the Federation prisons, arrive to help, but Reyn is as afraid of falling into the hands of the Druids as he is of Arcannen and he flees, astonishing Lariana by calling on Arcannen to help them.
Arcannen faces Paxon and Avelene, and Paxon takes the brunt of the sorcerer's initial attack before Avelene comes in with her own magic. As they duel, Reyn and Lariana are seen running to the edge of the bluff, and those soldiers who had not yet been set on fire and were now released from the magic of the wishsong turned on the young couple, firing projectiles at them until they both collapsed.
The deaths of the young couple distract Arcannen, Avelene, and Paxon, but Arcannen recovers first and strikes a mortal blow against Avelene. Paxon goes after Arcannen in a rage, using his sword to deflect the sorcerer's attacks, and just as in their last battle five years ago, Arcannen wears out and decides to flee, leaving Paxon alone with Avelene, who dies in the Highlander's arms.
Paxon is left emotionally bereft and sickened by all he has seen in his time as the Ard Rhys's Blade. In addition to the betrayal by his friend Sebec and the deaths of Aphenglow Elessedil and Starks, he had witnessed Avelene's death and Arcannen's exploitation of Reyn to kill Usurient and all five hundred soldiers of the Red Slash.
Paxon requests to Isaturin that he be allowed some time away from Paranor. Knowing that the remains of Lariana and Reyn were never found at the Horn of Honor, he spends time looking for Reyn and months later finds him alive and well in the Westland village of Backing Fell, living with Lariana and paying penance for the deaths at the Horn of Honor by using his wishsong to heal people.
While Paxon is heartened to find Reyn safe and alive, neither Reyn nor Lariana is happy to see him, and Paxon is disturbed by how mentally broken and how dependent on Lariana Reyn seems to be after the massacre at Sterne. He leaves Reyn without bothering to tell him of his heritage as the descendant of Redden Ohmsford, and without mentioning that he and Paxon are in fact cousins.
Paxon travels back to the home of Leofur Rai, where he sees her for the first time in years. He apologizes to her for avoiding her, confesses that he is lost without her, and declares that he loves her. She takes him in, declaring they will need time to work everything out.
Quest to Defeat ArcannenEdit
After living with Leofur for a time in Wayford, the pair commit to being life partners. They return to Paranor, where Paxon resumes his duties as Blade of the Ard Rhys, and Leofur is allowed by the Druids to pursue whatever course of studies she wishes. As Paxon is often away from Paranor due to his duties as the Blade, Leofur becomes good friends with Chrysallin.
On one such trip away from Paranor, Paxon accompanies a Druid peace delegation on an ill-fated mission to meet and negotiate with the Federation in Arishaig, serving as part of the Druid Guard. When the Federation peace delegation is attacked and killed by a Sleath, Isaturin and the warrior Druid Miriya use their magic to defend the Druids but the Sleath is able to penetrate their shields easily. In all the commotion Paxon is unable to get close enough to the beast to confront it with the Sword of Leah. It is only through the attempts of the Druid seer Karlin Ryl to communicate with the monster that it ends up vanishing, breaking into pieces and seemingly passing through Karlin's body as it disappears.
Paxon is almost immediately convinced that Arcannen is responsible for the Sleath and its slaughter, but the fact that the monster did not kill any Druids and the way the creature responded to Karlin's magic and passed through her as it vanished convinces the Commander of the Federation's Ministerial Watch, Fero Darz, that the Druids are the murderers. He attempts to stop the Druid delegation from leaving, but their magic prevents him from doing so.
After the Druids escape Arishaig in a stolen airship, the ship crashes in a storm south of the Battlemound Lowlands. As the surviving Druids continue their escape on foot over the flatlands, Miriya confides in Paxon and tells him that Karlin, her life partner, is behaving strangely, avoiding Miriya and refusing to speak. Paxon attempts to speak to Karlin himself but also gets nowhere.
While pursuing the Druids on foot, Fero Darz stumbles into a Druid-created mist and is captured by Paxon. Paxon strips the Commander of his weapons and keeps him close, hoping to convince him that the Druids are not responsible for the slaughter of the Federation peace delegation. Although unwilling to admit to it completely, Darz does express that he has doubts when Paxon confronts him.
Paxon leads Darz and the surviving members of the Druid company towards the Lower Anar, hoping to get the party to Culhaven where they will be able to find transport back to Paranor. When they are almost to the Anar, Karlin falls into a trance, caught in the thrall of a vision. Although she struggles to speak, she manages to proclaim that the airship has crashed and that everyone has died. Paxon initially thinks Karlin is referring to their own crash, but she clarifies and says that the entire company of soldiers aboard the large Federation cruiser that had been pursuing them had been wiped out in a crash. On the heels of this stunning announcement, Karlin turns to Paxon and begs him for his help.
As the party makes their way to the Anar, a large wall of mist and an impassable stand of odd-looking, moving trees appears. Wary of the danger ahead but realizing the need to find transport as soon as possible, the party presses on through the trees.
While passing through the trees, the old Druid Consloe slips and makes contact with one of them, awakening the trees and causing them to lash out with countless grasping tentacles and roots. Consloe is captured almost immediately and dragged below ground by the roots. Paxon, Isaturin, and Miriya are quickly surrounded on all sides by the trees' attacks which separate them from Karlin, Fero Darz, and the remainder of the Druid Guard.
Suddenly Karlin screams and the Sleath reappears out of her body. It rushes at the trees, doing enough damage that the trees eventually have to direct all their attention to subduing the Sleath and the party are able to make a break for it. The trees manage to kill the monster, but the party is safely away by the time they've done so.
Karlin, who had collapsed after the Sleath left her body, ends up dying quickly, leaving Miriya distraught. Isaturin says nothing in condolences to Miriya, and when pressed to do so by Paxon, he outright refuses. Miriya vows to avenge Karlin's death by finding and killing Arcannen, and Paxon agrees to help her.
Unwilling to face the prospect of more of the monstrous trees, the party changes course and heads into the Wolfsktaag Mountains to get to the Anar. Deep in the mountains, a dragon emerges and kills the remainder of the Druid Guard as the party is attempting to cross a ledge connecting one cliff edge to another in order to get down the other side of the mountain. Paxon draws the Sword of Leah and the sudden light from the blade blinds the monster, causing it to lose its footing. It slams into Paxon and Miriya and takes them with it as it falls off the ledge. Left alone with Fero Darz, Isaturin grabs the Commander and throws him off the ledge before making his way off the mountain by himself.
Paxon and Miriya's fall is broken by a tree growing on the side of the cliff, and Paxon witnesses Fero Darz falling to his death. Paxon wakes Miriya and slowly they climb up back to the ledge, making their way across and down the mountain. They walk all night and morning and are found at the edge of the forest by a kind Dwarf named Trond Ulkend, who takes them back to his village where they are given time to recover and a small airship to take them back to Paranor. They inquire after Isaturin, but no news of the Ard Rhys has reaches the Dwarves.
On their way back Paxon realizes how strange it is that Fero Darz fell off the mountain after the threat of the dragon had passed, and how no one had seen Isaturin despite him being the only one to not fall off the ledge. He also calls to mind Isaturin's callousness after Karlin's death, and how odd it was that the Ard Rhys had seemed content to let Paxon take the lead in bring the Druids home to Paranor safely.
Paxon voices his suspicions to Miriya, adding that whoever was controlling the Sleath had to have been present at the time of its attacks, and that Arcannen had once disguised himself as Isaturin in an attempt to bring blame down the Druids when he had killed the Federation Minister of Security Against Magic, Fashton Caeil. Paxon and Miriya realize that Isaturin must be captured or dead, that Arcannen must have been posing as Isaturin since at least the time of the Sleath's first appearance, and that the sorcerer was probably headed to Paranor posing as the Ard Rhys.
Paxon and Miriya arrive at Paranor to find it surrounded by Federation warships, looking for answers to the deaths of their peace delegation. They land on the outskirts of Paranor and are immediately pursued by Federation troops. Miriya manages to find one of the secret underground passages into Paranor and they make it inside the Druid's Keep safely. Inside, they run into Oost Mondara, who tells them that Isaturin had returned, that Chrysallin had gone missing the day the Federation's peace delegation was murder, and that Leofur had left Paranor with the manager of the stables in search of Chrysallin.
Paxon is distraught at Chrysallin and Leofur's disappearances but forces himself to focus on the task at hand. He and Miriya explain their suspicions to Oost and the three head to the chamber where the Druids' most important artifacts of magic are kept, which is where Oost was headed in search of Isaturin before he ran into Paxon and Miriya. There in the chambers they find the body of Keratrix, the Ard Rhys's personal assistant. His neck had been broken and it was clear that parts of the chamber had been raided.
Paxon, Miriya, and Oost race to where the Druid airships are kept to find Arcannen, still in the form of Isaturin, boarding one of the ships. Upon seeing Paxon and Miriya, the false Ard Rhys halts their advance with a wall of magic fire and flees in the ship. Paxon and Miriya follow closely after him, with Miriya using her magic to keep track of the sorcerer. The pair tracks Arcannen all the way to the ruins of Kern, where Arcannen sets down his airship and makes his stand.
Paxon and Miriya hunt for Arcannen within the ruins, barely avoiding traps and always several steps behind the sorcerer as they hunt cautiously. They realize that continuing on without changing tactics would cause them to eventually lose Arcannen, so they decide that one of them should rush into battle against the sorcerer and the other one should try to come around the sorcerer from behind while he is engaged.
Miriya rushes in and attacks the sorcerer, but Arcannen puts up a magical wall which separates Paxon from Miriya and delays him just long enough that he is unable to help her. Arcannen kills Miriya and throws her into a pit, and as he flees Paxon chases after him up a flight of stairs and injures himself when the stairway collapses and Arcannen hits him with his magic while Paxon is stunned and defenseless. Paxon gets up and attacks Arcannen with the Sword of Leah, but because of his injuries and the fact that he is still weak from his journey out of the Southland and into the Anar, he is unable to call on much magic from the sword and Arcannen deflects his attack easily.
Paxon is saved when Miriya, who had not been killed, just badly injured, comes up from behind Arcannen and stabs the sorcerer through the chest with a steel rod. As the sorcerer dies, Paxon cuts off his head. The two recover the Druid artifacts stolen by Arcannen and head back to Paranor, where a Druid delegation presents the Federation warships with Arcannen's head and Paxon and Miriya's explanation of events. Although they are not completely convinced, the Federation forces are appeased enough by the explanation and the gift of Arcannen's head to stand down and leave Paranor.
Chrysallin and Leofur arrive back at Paranor the next day, after Leofur and the stable manager, Imric Cort, successfully rescued Chrysallin from Melis, the Murk Witch. Although Paxon is eager to see Leofur, she refuses almost all visitors for the next few days, only receiving Chrysallin once. She eventually calls Paxon to her, confessing that she and Imric are in love with each other and that she is leaving both Paxon and Paranor. She acknowledges and expresses appreciation for Paxon's love and consideration, but asserts that apart from the time he had come looking for her in Wayford, Paxon had never actually needed her. She adds that because of her mental connection to Imric, by which she is able to prevent Imric from losing himself in his shape-shifting abilities, Imric literally needs her in a way that Paxon never could. Paxon declares he will wait for Leofur to come back, but Leofur tells him not to bother. She leaves Paranor without telling him of her intention to go live with Imric in the Westland.
Paxon is left bereft and in pain over the end of his relationship, and shuts himself away in his room. Miriya, who is still badly injured and who is already rumored to be in consideration for the job of Ard Rhys, makes her way into Paxon's quarters and forces him to eat and talk to her. They drink and grieve over their lost loves, and are still talking the next day when the sun rises.
Paxon is described as having long, reddish hair, tanned skin, startling blue eyes, and chiseled, sharp features. He has the beginnings of a beard and tends to look rough and shaggy. As the Ard Rhys's Blade his normal outfit consists of lightweight forest clothing, leather belt and boots, and a black and silver cloak that indicates members of the Druid Guard.
Although his great-grandfather Railing Ohmsford was the son of an Elf, Paxon apparently has no outward signs of his Elven heritage in his appearance.