Risca is a character in First King of Shannara. He is one of the only Druids to survive the attack on Paranor by the Warlock Lord. A warrior Druid, he assisted Bremen in the defeat of the Warlock Lord in the Second War of the Races.
Risca was born and grew up in the Ravenshorn Mountains, son to parents who had lived their entire lives in the Eastland wilderness. His father was a scout and his mother was a trapper. His mother had seven brothers and sisters while his father had eight. Risca had been raised by all of his aunts and uncles at one point or another due to the close proximity in which they all lived to one another. He was taught to fight and hunt at an early age, and he discovered that he was better than most at fighting, being quick, agile, and strong beyond his years.
When he was only twelve, Risca killed a Koden that had attacked him. At thirteen he was the sole survivor of a company of twenty that was ambushed and killed by Gnomes. When he was fifteen, his mother was killed while out trapping, and he tracked down and killed those were responsible. When his father died in a hunting accident, he carried his father's body deep into the heart of Gnome country and buried it there. Half of his brothers and sisters were dead by that point in his life.
At the age of twenty Risca went to Culhaven to enter the service of the newly crowned King of the Dwarves, Raybur. Raybur sent Risca to Paranor to study with the Druids and become one of them, believing that that was the best way Risca could be of service to the Dwarves. Raybur knew and admired the Druid Bremen, and he asked Bremen to give Risca special consideration as a student. At Paranor, Risca became a staunch follower of Bremen and a practitioner of magic.
Risca became a warrior Druid, steeped in the lore of all the great battles fought since the new Races had emerged after the Great Wars. He became a master of all weapons and warfare in all its forms, and he was all the more dangerous due to his mastery of magic. For him, magic had just one purpose: to protect himself and his friends and to destroy his enemies. All other uses of magic did not interest him, and he practiced his skills with weapons daily with Caerid Lock and the Druid Guard.
As a member of the small group of Druids who practiced magic, Risca became good friends with the Elf Tay Trefenwyd, who studied elemental magic. They also shared a common belief in and trust of Bremen, despite Bremen's status as an outcast Druid.
Second War of the RacesEdit
When Bremen comes to warn the Druid Order about the threat of the Warlock Lord, Risca and Tay argue unsuccessfully that the Druids should listen to Bremen. Their attempts are unsuccessful, and they both decide to leave Paranor with Bremen and offer what support they can.
Risca travels south with Bremen to the Hadeshorn. After receiving four visions, Bremen asks Risca to depart and warn Raybur and the Dwarves that the Warlock Lord would attack them first, and to offer what support he can in keeping the magic of the Warlock Lord and Skull Bearers at bay. Risca would end up helping the Dwarves survive and delay the onslaught of the Warlock Lord's Northland army:
On his way to the Eastland, Risca comes upon the Northland army and he decides to dispatch the Warlock Lord himself. He enters the camp of the enemy and travels all the way to the center of the camp where the tent of the Warlock Lord is located. After pausing briefly to wonder at the lack of any guard around Brona's tent, Risca enters the tent and there realizes the power of the Warlock Lord, nearly meeting his death. Risca barely breaks the iron bands that are wrapping around him and flees, creating confusion and masquerading as a Gnome guard in order to make it out of the camp.
After arriving in the Eastland, Risca helps Raybur come up with a preemptive plan to slow down the Northland army in the Wolfsktaag Mountains. The Dwarves set up a defensive position in the Pass of Jade with the bulk of their forces, reserving a smaller holding party in the more easily defended Pass of Noose. They lure the Northland army into combat into the passes, where their superior numbers cannot be brought to bear as effectively. Risca helps considerably in the defense of the pass, and the Dwarves hold their ground for a few days. At one point, Risca creates a illusions of wraiths and creatures that terrorize the Gnomes and send them fleeing in fright.
Eventually the Dwarves are pushed out of both passes. With nowhere to run and both forces getting crushed in together, the Northlanders become eager for victory. At one point Risca is almost caught by a fierce band of Trolls and Gnomes, but he manages to break out from the attacks that are coming at the Dwarves from three sides. At the last minute, the Dwarves managed to slip away from the crush of the Northland army by retreating south from the passes on a route discovered eight years before by a tracker named Geften.
The Dwarves are forced to continue retreating through the Anar. Soon they reach the fortress of Stedden Keep north of the Cillidellan. However their numbers had thinned out and they are unable to man the Keep in the way they had hoped. Within a short time, the Northland armies are at the front gates, battering their way in.
Raybur orders the Dwarves to retreat, and turns back, intending to stand by himself in front of the gate to give his men time. However, Risca calls Raybur off and tells him to lead the retreat, saying that he would stand at the gate instead. Risca was very nearly surrounded and killed, but with his skill and his magic he was able to break free of the enemy and kill a great number of them. He was able to break free and flee out of the castle into the hills beyond.
After the Northland army leaves the Eastland, the Dwarves remain in hiding in the Anar, where Kinson Ravenlock and Mareth discover them. After they tell Risca of the Elves's need for help and Bremen's charge, Risca convinces Raybur and the Dwarves to march the rest of his army to the Westland and the Elves, in spite of the fact the Elves had not yet bothered to come to their aid because the assassination of the Elven royal family had paralyzed decision-making in Arborlon.
The army is about a day out from their destination when the final battle in the Second War of the Races happens, at night attack in the Valley of Rhenn. Risca is leading a scouting party of two hundred Dwarves along with Kinson and Mareth in search of a route around the Northland army, when they hear the battle cry of the Elves and the confusion in the Northland army's camp. It becomes clear that the Elves are attacking the Northland army and Risca makes the immediate decision to help the Elves with his small command.
As the Dwarves attacked the northeast end of the camp they were immediately set upon by Trolls, Gnomes, and creatures summoned by the Warlock Lord. The group was separated, with Kinson, Mareth and a small group of Dwarves one way, and Risca with the rest of the command another. Risca joins the fray with the Elves, trying to halt the escape of Brona's guard, but he fail. At some point during the conflict he is killed, presumably having succumbed to the multiple wounds he had taken. When his body is found, his face has an expression of surprise.
At the time of his death Risca was the last warrior Druid, until the third Druid Order is formed by Grianne Ohmsford many centuries later.
Risca is described as being all "brawn and heat." He is a bearded, bluff-faced Dwarf with tremendous shoulders and a broad, heavily muscled build. He is likened to a deeply rooted tree stump that nothing can dislodge.