The Elves of Cintra is the second novel in Terry Brooks's fantasy trilogy entitled Genesis of Shannara, which bridges the events of Brooks' Word/Void trilogy with his Shannara series. It takes place in an apocalyptic world around the year 2100 and immediately follows the novel Armageddon's Children. It details events during the Great Wars, a historical conflict referenced frequently in the Shannara books. It is followed by The Gypsy Morph.
Picking up where Armageddon's Children ends, Knight of the Word Logan Tom races to save Hawk and Tessa from being thrown to their deaths from atop Safeco Field. He's too late but learns that a brilliant white light enveloped Hawk and Tessa as they fell, apparently saved by an unknown magic. Logan Tom doesn't know where they have gone, but sees the invasion force preparing to land at Seattle's waterfront. Meanwhile, the Ghosts head toward the agreed upon rendezvous point and Logan Tom goes to find them.
While evacuating the city, the Ghosts (minus Panther and Sparrow) encounter a group of mutated children on the freeway (presumably I-5). The leader of the mutants, a boy, threatens them with a solar-powered stun gun, demanding that the Ghosts give him their supplies. During the standoff, the mutant leader is startled and accidentally fires the gun, killing the seriously ill Squirrel with the stun gun. In a rage, Bear rushes the mutant and cudgels him, rendering the mutant unconscious. The other mutants run away when they see their leader fall. Logan Tom then appears with Panther and Sparrow, whom Logan had saved from Croaks on his way to the freeway. Logan and the Ghosts ride his solar-powered Lightning S-150 All-Terrain Vehicle down the freeway as they see a battle start on the waterfront between the invading demon army and the defenders of Safeco Field. During the confrontation with the mutants, Owl is the only one that seems to have realized that their dog, Cheney, has gone missing.
Hawk awakens to find himself in a garden, something which he has only seen in books, yet somehow is familiar to him. An old man appears and tells him that Tessa is still sleeping. He identifies himself by saying that the Elves in Faerie time used to call him the King of the Silver River. As they walk through the garden, the old man tells Hawk about the latter's origins and reveals that it was his magic that saved Hawk at the Safeco field. Finally, the old man tells Hawk that his purpose is to save the human race and that he will lead several thousand Humans, Elves, and others to the Promised Land. As Hawk falls asleep next to Tessa, the old man reveals that Hawk will awake back in his own world, accompanied by Tessa and Cheney, and that several weeks will have passed.
Back in the Elven city of Arborlon, Kirisin and Erisha are caught in the library by Culph, the King's historian. Rather than becoming upset with them, Culph offers to help them find the Elfstones. Culph tells them that the seeking Elfstones were buried with Pancea Rolt Cruer, an Elven Queen who possessed powerful magic. However, a search of the graveyard at Ashenell proves fruitless. Knight of the Word Angel Perez and the tatterdemalion Ailie arrive in the Cintra shortly afterward, escorted by a group of Elven Trackers that they intercepted. Among the Trackers is Simralin, Kirisin's sister. Angel and Ailie are given an audience with the High Council and the King. Culph lead Kirisin and Erisha through an underground tunnel that connects the Belloruus family home with the Council Chambers so that they can eavesdrop on the meeting. Angel and Ailie tell the Council that they have been sent by the Word to help them evacuate the Cintra and travel to a safer place. When they evacuate they must bring the Ellcrys with them. Angel has been tasked with helping the Elves to find the Loden Elfstone, but is dismayed to learn that the Elves retain almost no knowledge of the Elfstones. Ailie then says that the Ellcrys has already warned some among their number.
The Council is astounded to hear all this: the King confirms that Kirisin told him of the Ellcrys's warning, but didn't inform the Council. The King remains skeptical but orders a more extensive search of the histories and they will reconvene in two days. Kirisin, Erisha, Simralin, Angel, and Ailie meet later that night to share information on the Elfstones and theorize as to why the King won't help them when Ailie makes a startling revelation: at the Council meeting, the tatterdemalion sensed the presence of a demon. At the same time, the demon Delloreen, who has followed Angel all the way from southern California, enters the Cintra. To her surprise, she finds a fellow demon disguised as an elf. The two become allies with the demon in disguise taking command.
The following day, Culph sneaks a message to Kirisin and Erisha that Cruer's maiden name was Gotrin and may be buried in a different part of the graveyard than where they were searching. That night, Kirisin, Erisha, Simralin, Angel, and Ailie travel to the graveyard and discover a tomb hidden deep beneath the ground. Ailie keeps watch at the graveyard's entrance, while the rest enter the tomb. In the tomb, they encounter the shade of Queen Gotrin, who is extremely angry with the living for allowing Elven magic to fade. She almost kills them all before extracting a promise from Kirisin: after leading the Elves to safety, Kirisin must persuade the Elves to rediscover their magic and to begin using it again. She says that Kirisin has magic that he is currently unaware of and that what he must do, he must do alone. She gives Kirisin the Elfstones and disappears.
When they leave the tomb, Ailie has been killed and Delloreen proceeds to attack them, killing Erisha. Simralin stabs Delloreen in the eye with an Elven blade and Delloreen flees. The Elven Home Guard have somehow been alerted to their presence and they barely escape the graveyard. They take refuge at the home of a Tracker named Tragen with whom Simralin has become romantically involved. Tragen tells them that Culph has been killed. They decide they must flee the city and seek the Loden alone: If the King is the demon, he will take the Elfstones and have them killed. If he isn't, the demon will use his demonstrated influence over the King along with the death of his daughter to arrange for them to be killed and to acquire the Elfstones. Once clear of the city, Kirisin uses the Elfstones to show the location of the Loden: Syrring Rise (current day Mt. Rainier). Evading both Elven Hunters and the two demons, they make their way north.
Meanwhile, the Lady of the Word has come to Logan Tom and told him to head south to the banks of the Columbia River where Hawk will meet them and that he will already have many followers. He is told that another Knight of the Word will bring the Elves and their magic, which will become the magic of humankind's future. She tasks him with protecting them all, no matter the cost. As he and the Ghosts travel south, the Weatherman succumbs to plague, and they pick up two new companions: Catalya or "Cat", a Lizard, and her cat, Rabbit. They also have a run-in with killer robots at Oronyx Experimental Robotics Systems. They are, however, eventually ambushed by representatives of Krilka Koos near Longview. In exchange for the children's safety, Logan agrees to go with them to meet Krilka. Krilka turns out to be the rogue Knight of the Word mentioned in Armageddon's Children and gives Logan an ultimatum: join Krilka's army as second-in-command or fight him to the death. Refusing to join, Logan is forced to fight a fellow Knight of the Word as part of a gladiatorial contest in full view of Krilka's army. Logan Tom narrowly wins, but refuses to kill Krilka. Krilka vows to hunt down Logan and the Ghosts and kill them all. He then plunges a poison dart ("Viper-prick") into Logan's leg. Delirious, Logan shoots fire from his staff at the crowd, causing them to panic and flee. Cat and Panther, who have subdued Krilka's guards back at the road, come in search of Logan and witnesses the end of his contest with Krilka. They gather Logan up and take him back to the Lightning S-150.
Kirisin, Simralin, and Angel Perez continue north until they reach the Columbia River where a now-blind, ex-Elven Tracker named Larkis Quill lives. He ferries them across the Columbia on his boat as all the bridges across the Columbia are now controlled by heavily-armed militias that exact tolls on any who wish to cross. During the crossing, Angel thinks for a moment that she sees a boy, a girl, and a very large dog on a bluff on the side of the river they just left. She can't be sure because of all the fog. The three leave Larkis and travel by hot air balloon to Syrring Rise, noticing that of the three balloons that were hidden by the Elves, one is missing. After equipping themselves with mountain climbing equipment at an Elven cabin, they begin the ascent to the ice caves revealed by the Elfstones. During the snowy climb, Angel senses Delloreen's presence and stays behind. Angel confronts Delloreen who was hiding between some boulders. During the ensuing fight, Angel blinds Delloreen by clawing out Delloreen's one remaining eye. Finally, Delloreen is killed, but not before savagely injuring Angel who then passes out.
Kirisin and Simralin continue to the ice caves unaware that Angel sensed a demon. They find a life-sized statue of a dragon and Kirisin senses that the Loden is inside and that only those wielding the seeking Elfstones may enter. Kirisin then enters the dragon's mouth and, after proceeding down a long, winding passage, uses the Elfstones to undo the magic protecting the Loden. Upon seizing the Loden, he is transported back to the dragon's mouth where he finds an unconscious Simralin and Culph standing over her. Culph is the demon, having faked his own death. He reveals how he lied when he told the King that using the Loden would result in his daughter's death and so he should wait until Erisha grew too old to be among the Chosen and the Ellcrys chose another. He then killed Erisha to force them to flee and seek the Loden alone. Rather than deal with the Elves as they have with Men (which took too long a time and the Elves could rediscover their magic in the meantime), the demons would rather imprison Arborlon and the Ellcrys inside the Loden. They need an Elf to wield the Loden; that Elf is Kirisin. During his explanation, Culph has been using two silver rings on a silver cord to cast a spell on Kirisin that will make him Culph's willing servant. Just then, Simralin reaches up and plunges her knife through Culph's leg. During Culph's explanation, he also let slip that Elfstones can be used as weapons. Kirisin turns the seeking Elfstones on Culph, engulfing him in a blue fire that causes him to disintegrate.
Elsewhere, Hawk, Tess, and Cheney awake to find themselves at the edge of a bluff on the Columbia River. Hawk sees Angel and her companions on a boat crossing the Columbia. They head upstream and encounter the survivors of the Anaheim Complex that Angel had told to head north before leaving with Ailie. The survivors are now led by Helen Rice, who is skeptical that Hawk was sent to guide them to safety. Hawk asks to prove himself by transporting them safely across a bridge held by a militia that had refused them passage. Helen agrees to give him one chance. Hawk, Helen, and their companions approach the bridge whereupon Hawk touches what's left of the plant life. Within minutes, the vines and grasses have erupted from the ground, ensnaring the bridge and everything and everybody upon it. The militia is subdued without a shot fired. The survivors cross the bridge, take control of the barricades, and then release the militia on the Oregon side. An army led by Findo Gask is now approaching up the coast on the Oregon side of the bridge, but Hawk tells them to wait until he returns with the Ghosts. He also instructs them to take in others who come this way. Several hundred miles to the south, Findo Gask has sensed the gypsy morph once again using his abilities and goes to see "the Klee," a monstrous demon. Findo Gask tells the Klee to find the gypsy morph and kill him.
The novel ends with a very short chapter: After receiving medical care that saves his life from the poison dart, Logan Tom has fallen into a coma that has lasted for two days. The Ghosts have since restarted their journey south and now see in the distance what appears to be "a boy, a girl, and a burly, butt-ugly dog" in the distance. At Syrring Rise, at sunset, Angel Perez awakes face down on the ice and snow. Cold and covered in blood, she struggles to her feet and begins to climb up the mountain once more, whispering, "Hold on Kirisin, Simralin. I'm coming."
Characters in The Elves of Cintra
The books tends to follow three separate storylines: Logan Tom's travel south, Angel Perez's travel north, and Hawk's storyline. The characters are organized by the storyline to which they belong.
Logan Tom's storyline
- Logan Tom, Knight of the Word
- Owl (Margaret), a member of the Ghosts, confined to a wheelchair
- Candle (Sarah), a member of the Ghosts, can sense when danger approaches
- Panther, a member of the Ghosts
- Bear, a member of the Ghosts
- River, a member of the Ghosts
- Fixit, a member of the Ghosts, good at fixing things
- Chalk, a member of the Ghosts
- Sparrow, a member of the Ghosts
- Squirrel, a member of the Ghosts
- River, a member of the Ghosts
- The Weatherman, River's mad, homeless grandfather
- Catalya/Cat, a Lizard, helps Logan acquire plague medicines in Tacoma in return for taking her with them
- Rabbit, Catalya's cat, hops around like a rabbit
- Krilka Koos, rogue Knight of the Word
- The Senator, the mutant leader of those not living in the compounds in Tacoma
- The Lady, voice of the Word
- Meike, girl living in the Seattle compound
- John Ross, Knight of the Word
Angel Perez's storyline
- Angel Perez, Knight of the Word
- Ailie, a tatterdemalion sent by the Word, average lifespan of tatterdemalions is 30 days
- Kirisin Belloruus, an Elf, a member of the Chosen, nephew of the King
- Simralin Belloruus, an Elf, Kirisin's older sister, Elven Tracker
- Erisha Belloruus, the Elven King's daughter and another Chosen
- Culph, the Elven King's historian, a demon in disguise
- Delloreen, a demon hunting Angel Perez
- Larkan Quill, a now-blind Elf, former Elven Tracker
- Tragen, an Elven Tracker, romantically involved with Simralin
- Arissen Belloruus, King of the Elves
- Basselin, Prime Minister of the Elven High Council
- Ordanna Frae, member of the High Council
- Biat, another Chosen
- Ruslan, an Elf under Simralin's command
- Que'rue, an Elf under Simralin's command
- Praxia, a female Elf under Simralin's command
- Pancea Rolt Cruer, an Elf queen buried with the Elf stones
- Hawk, leader of the Ghosts tribe and a gypsy morph
- Tessa, former member of Safeco Field compound and Hawk's girlfriend
- Cheney, Hawk's dog
- King of the Silver River, responsible for Hawk's appearances and disappearances in the outside world
- Helen Rice, leader of the survivors of the Anaheim compound
- Nest Freemark, a deceased warrior for the Word, and Hawk's mother
- Findo Gask, the demon commander of a Void army
- The Klee, a demon under Findo Gask