* This article is about the magical being from the Age of Faerie. For the second novel of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, see Tanequil.
The tanequil is an ancient, mysterious tree from the Age of Faerie. Like the Ellcrys, it too has properties related to the Forbidding. Pen Ohmsford seeks out the tanequil in order to save his aunt, the Ard Rhys Grianne Ohmsford, from eternal imprisonment with the Forbidding.
The tanequil is described as having bark colored a peculiar mix of mottled black and gray, while the leaves are a deep, dark green bordered in bright orange. The trunk is smooth to the touch, almost like skin or hide rather than wood.
The tanequil is actually divided into two parts: Father Tanequil is made up of the trunk, branches, and leaves, while Mother Tanequil consists of the extensive root system. Because Mother Tanequil is trapped below ground, Father Tanequil sends her young girls to entertain her and keep her company. Once caught in the thrall of the tree, the girls fall into a deep sleep and are embraced by the roots of Mother Tanequil. In exchange for keeping these young girls' bodies safe and nourished, their souls are able to roam free as aeriads, spirits of the air, and they serve as eyes and ears for Mother Tanequil as they roam and experience the world.
When the assassin Aphasia Wye fell into the roots of the tree, he was quickly crushed to death and killed by Mother Tanequil.
About a century after Pen had sought out the tanequil, his grandson Railing Ohmsford seeks out the tree in order to convince it to let Grianne Ohmsford, now an aeriad herself, go free. Although Grianne's aeriad spirit greets him and tells him she cannot help, Railing persists and goes directly to the tanequil. The tree initially warns him that he will not get exactly what he wants, but Railing persists and the tree releases Grianne. However, she is not returned whole, but as the malevolent Ilse Witch.