The Elfstones of Shannara is a fantasy novel by Terry Brooks, the first sequel to The Sword of Shannara and the second book in The Original Shannara Trilogy. It provides the history of the Elves, which was only hinted at in the preceding story, and follows Wil Ohmsford, grandson of Shea (the hero of the first book) and inheritor of the Elfstones.
History of the Elves
Before the dawn of mankind was the age of Faerie, an era from which many powerful spirits (such as the King of the Silver River) came. The Elves, extremely long-lived and possessing great magic, created the Elfstones. However, as a necessary balance to the light, darkness was also created in the beginning of time; from this darkness the Demons were born. After years of conflict between the light and the dark, the Elves summoned their greatest magic and created the Forbidding, a spell that imprisoned the Demons beyond the confines of the world. They also created the Ellcrys, a beautiful silver tree with crimson leaves to maintain the Forbidding. Unfortunately, this drained nearly all the strength of the Elves, leaving them with very little magic. Most of the creatures of Faerie died out in this period of waning magic; yet the Elves survived, though diminished in splendor. In time, they came to resemble more and more the human race that had recently evolved, both in strength and longevity. Afraid of the rapidly multiplying humans, Elves went into hiding, remaining one with nature, ever guarding the Ellcrys. Even when mankind nearly destroyed the world in the Great Wars, the Elves lived on, spending their last remaining magic to save the Ellcrys. In the aftermath of the destruction, as mankind split into four distinct races, the Elves took that opportunity to come out from hiding. Indeed, most believed that the Elves were just another offshoot of mankind, like the Dwarves, Gnomes and Trolls. The Elves emerged as leaders in the new world; it was the Elf Galaphile who summoned the first Druid council at Paranor.
The magical Ellcrys tree is dying, thus weakening the spell that holds the Forbidding. The Ellcrys spoke to the Chosen (her caretakers), telling them of a rebirth, a process which enables a new Ellcrys to be reborn, a process that can only be done at the fountain of the Bloodfire. The Chosen then informs Prince Ander Elessedil and King Eventine Elessedil of the matter. However, there were none who knows of the location of the Bloodfire, which lies within Safehold. A Demon, Dagda Mor, escapes from the waning Forbidding, bringing with it the Reaper and the Changeling. The Dagda Mor then sends the Reaper to kill the Chosen. Eventine is at a loss, for only the Chosen can make the rebirth of the Ellcrys happen. Allanon appears, going to Paranor to find the location of Safehold, and bring Amberle Elessedil, granddaughter of Eventine and the last of the Chosen back to Arborlon, city of the Elves. Allanon is ambushed by the Dagda Mor and a handful of other Demons. He retreats to Storlock. Allanon then goes to Havenstead with Wil Ohmsford who is a Healer, grandson of Shea Ohmsford, descendant of the House of Shannara and bearer of the Elfstones, to find Amberle. Amberle agrees to return to Arborlon.
Allanon, Amberle and Wil are ambushed by Demon wolves, and flee to the Rainbow Lake. There, Allanon decides to delay the Demons while Wil and Amberle are transported by the King of the Silver River to safety. The duo continues to flee from the Demons and manages to regroup with Allanon. They return to Arborlon. Amberle receives a seed from the Ellcrys and prepares to go to Safehold with Wil and six Elven Hunters and the Captain of the Home Guard, Crispin. Journeying to the Elven outpost at Drey Wood, the group finds the entire patrol at the outpost dead, killed by the Reaper. They managed to escape, but two of their Elven guards are killed. The party then goes to Matted Brakes where another two of their group are killed by the creatures in the Brakes. The remaining group of five finds themselves at Pykon after escaping from the Brakes. The Reaper tracks them once again and kills the final two Elven hunters. Wil, Amberle, and Crispin run into a fortress inside of the Pykon. Wil and Amberle finally lose the Reaper, but Crispin is lost as well.
The duo meets the young Wing Rider Perk, who agrees to take them into the Wilderun on his Roc, Genewen. Meanwhile, Allanon and the Elves are at war with the Demons. The Elven army takes their position in Halys Cut and Worl Run. In the ensuing battle, the Demons drove back the Elven army and injures King Eventine. Ander's brother, Arion Elessedil is killed as well. Defeated, the Elven force retreats to Arborlon. In the process, they lose their commander, Kael Pindanon. Shortly after their return to Arborlon, the Dwarf and Troll armies join them.
Amberle and Wil travel to the Hollows, domain of The Witch Sisters, but find out that the Elfstones have been stolen by Cephelo, a Rover. Wil leaves Amberle and pursues Cephelo. Eretria, daughter of Cephelo, helps Wil to locate Cephelo only to find him killed by the Reaper. Wil regains the Elfstones and travels back to the rim of the Hollows with Eretia. He finds Amberle missing. Hebel appears and agrees to track Amberle for Wil. Together with Hebel's dog, Drifter, they track Amberle to Malleroh's tower. Mallenroh keeps the Elfstones for herself and locks them up.
Wil, Eretia, Hebel, and Drifter escape with Amberle, the Elfstones, and Mallenroh's servant, Wisp; who brings them to the Bloodfire. Amberle absorbs both the Bloodfire and the seed of the Ellcrys. The Reaper attacks them and kills Wisp, but Wil destroys the Demon using the Elfstones. Wil calls Perk who brings Wil, Amberle and Eretia back to Arborlon.
Back at Arborlon, the Demons break through the last of the Elven city's defenses. Allanon defeats the Dagda Mor. The Demons try to reach the dead Ellcrys to destroy her, but are held back by the army. Wil and Amberle arrive just before the Demons break through the army. Amberle touches the dead Ellcrys and is transformed into the new Ellcrys. The Demons are once again locked into the Forbidding.
Characters in "The Elfstones of Shannara"
- Amberle Elessedil
- Ander Elessedil
- Dagda Mor
- Eventine Elessedil
- Stee Jans
- Wil Ohmsford
- Arion Elessedil
- Artaq (horse)
- Dancer (Roc)
- Drifter (dog)
- Ehlron Tay
- Emer Chios
- Flick Ohmsford
- Genewen (roc)
- Kael Pindanon
- King of the Silver River
- Manx (dog)
- Spitter (horse)
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