As Wil and Mareth flee Storlock and head to Shady Vale, the Mord Wraiths find them and give chase. They jump into a lake and lose the Wraiths by swimming their way to a hidden grotto where Wil used to hide as a child.
Wil wants to find his uncle Flick and then head to Arishaig to seek asylum with the Federation, but Mareth points out that Wraiths don’t have any regard for human laws and that Wil won’t last long if he just runs. Wil counters that she sounds like Allanon, and that maybe she is his daughter. When he asks who her mother is, she reveals it was Pyria Elessedil.
According to Mareth, by the time Pyria realized she was pregnant, Allanon had already disappeared. Mareth wasn’t told that she was Allanon’s daughter until her magical powers manifested. However, as she pressed her mother for more information, Pyria would just get angrier. The distance kept growing between them until finally Mareth left home for good. She had not spoken to her mother in years when Pyria was killed by a Fury.
Mareth reveals that she searched for Wil so that she could find Allanon through him. He refuses to help, but relents when Mareth points out that she saved his life twice.
Lyria and Eretria are held captive by a band of Rovers but are saved by Garet Jax, who kills all the Rovers. Unfortunately Garet’s efforts were not altruistic: He reveals that there’s a bounty for Lyria and that he’s there to collect.
Eretria tries to stop Garet but he knocks her out easily. Lyria stops him and agrees to go with him quietly if he leaves Eretria alone.
Ander and Slanter ride out to Allanon’s Druid cave to meet, as it is safer there than in Arborlon. Allanon tells Ander what had happened to him at Skull Mountain, and also that Bandon and his followers are trying to resurrect the Warlock Lord.
Ander protests, saying that Allanon and Shea Ohmsford had defeated the Warlock Lord, but Allanon reveals that the Warlock Lord took steps to ensure his death might not be final. To that end, his followers retained his head, his heart, and his sword. Shea and Allanon obtained the blade and the head, but the Warlock Lord’s followers took the heart, while Bandon now had possession of Warlock Sword.
Ander is angry, pointing out that Bandon only needs one more piece to resurrect the dark Druid: the head. He also asserts that the whole situation only confirms the Crimson’s hatred of magic. When Ander presses Allanon about the Warlock Lord’s head, Allanon promises that the head is well hidden but warns the king not to underestimate Bandon.
Allanon tells Ander that he must keep his kingdom from falling apart, but Ander says that that’s easier said than done, as the Elves are still living in camps and many aren’t really pleased to have him as their king. Allanon tells him to go get support from the other Races, because the Crimson will stop at nothing in their quest to eradicate magic and because Ander cannot face the Crimson or the Warlock Lord alone. Ander mentions that Queen Tamlin of Leah has offered an alliance.
Mareth and Wil get to know each other as they head to Shady Vale. When Mareth makes an illusion of Wil, he asks who taught her and she says she was born with the magic. Wil questions how Allanon could be her father when the Druid's magic is learned and hers is innate, but she says it’s just a mystery. She counters by asking Wil why he won’t accept his legacy and who he is. When Wil says that he’s just an ordinary guy, Mareth challenges him, telling him to throw out the Elfstones if he wants to be ordinary. She also reveals that she can tell that he’s abusing the magic, based on the marks on his arms.
Tamlin greets Ander and the Elven delegation in the Palace of Leah, saying that the last time she saw Ander he was seventeen and passed out drunk. She says that there will be a feast for the guests that night.
Garet Jax brings his captive back to Tamlin, revealing that Lyria is Tamlin’s daughter. Tamlin is pleased and offers Jax a permanent position, but the bounty hunter declines, claiming to prefer the life of a free agent. He also declines Tamlin’s invite to feast, saying he’ll be at the royal bordello instead.
Valcaa tells Riga that Wil was spotted at Storlock and that Allanon was in Leah. Riga orders Valcaa to send out a patrol to retrieve Wil. As for Allanon, Riga says he and Valcaa will handle him themselves.
In Shady Vale, Mareth and Wil find Flick in the ruins of a dwelling, injured and weak. After they tend to his wounds, Wil recommends that they go south to Arishaig, but like Mareth, Flick refuses, saying that it’s necessary to stand up to the Crimson. When Mareth adds that the monsters need to be dealt with as well, Flick asks about them. From Mareth’s description, he recognizes them to be Mord Wraiths, servants of the Warlock Lord. Wil protests, saying that his father defeated the Warlock Lord, but Flick counters that that’s not whole story, adding that he should know because he had been there.
In Leah, Lyria confronts Tamlin, saying that she will not be changed. At the feast, Tamlin introduces Lyria to Ander, who seems to be taken by her beauty. Tamlin announces to the crowd that although Leah refused to help the Elves when the Demons came, the reality was that they wouldn’t be alive it if wasn’t for the Elves. She praises Ander for forging a new alliance.
Later, Tamlin and Ander talk. They both agree that Eventine Elessedil isolated the Elves. Tamlin urges Ander to act against the Crimson, which the other races dismiss as an Elven problem. When Ander says that the Crimson attacks humans and Elves alike, she points out that the other Races need convincing. To that end she proposes a true alliance between their kingdoms, by way of a marriage that will bring two Races together. Tamlin says that Lyria must be on throne in Arborlon if the Elves want to receive her assistance and secure their future.
In bordello, a disguised Eretria finds Garet and puts a knife to him. She asks after Lyria, but he overpowers her easily. However, when Garet realizes that the Rover girl is in love with Lyria, he tells her who Lyria really is and where she can be found.
An angry Eretria finds Lyria in her quarters and confronts her, asking her why she lied to Eretria. Lyria says she told Eretria only the truth, and that she hated the person she used to be, but Eretria is unmoved and questions whether their relationship was even real. Lyria insists that the person she was with Eretria is her true self, and says that her mother, Queen Tamlin, brought her back to marry Ander. Lyria goes on to explain that Tamlin hates the Elves so the marriage must be for a strategic maneuver of some sort.
Before Lyria can say more, palace guards enter Lyria's quarters and seize Eretria. The Rover girl is brought before Tamlin, who says that Lyria has thing for feisty brunettes, both male and female. The Queen claims that Lyria was only feeding Eretria lines, and that her daughter goes through lovers like outfits. Tamlin offers Eretria a bag of diamonds if she leaves Leah for good. Eretria refuses, but Tamlin warns that she’ll be killed if she does not accept.
In Storlock, soldiers with the Crimson are beating the Stor elder when Bandon arrives and saves him before he is killed. However, Bandon then invades the Gnome's mind to get information on Wil's whereabouts and learns that Wil's uncle Flick lives in Shady Vale.
Bandon doesn’t kill the elder after taking the information he wanted, saying that his fight isn't with the Stor elder. However, he warns the Gnome to prepare for war to come, as once Warlock Lord returns no one will be safe.
Back in the Vale, Flick tells Wil and he and Shea and were loyal brothers and that he couldn’t let Shea go fight the Warlock Lord alone. When Wil asks why he was never told the truth about his father, Flick says that when Shea disappeared after the Third War of the Races he asked Flick to raise Wil as a normal boy and to tell him nothing about magic, in order to keep him safe. Flick points out that he is telling the truth now because he is unable to protect Wil anymore.
Flick goes on to say that Wil clearly shares the same calling as Shea, and that he was wrong to tell Wil to throw out the Elfstones. He reveals that it wasn't the Elfstones that drove Shea mad and drove him to his death; rather, it was the fact that Shea was denying his purpose and wallowing in regret.
In their quarters at the Palace of Leah, Ander and Catania discuss the future. When Catania says that she knows about Tamlin’s terms for an alliance, Ander reassures her, saying that he refuses to spend his life in a loveless marriage. However, Catania pointed out that the alliance had to be formed for the continued survival of the Elves, and that she and Ander needed to make sure that they gave their lives to making the world better, just as King Eventine, Arion, and Amberle had done.
During this discussion, Lyria enters Ander and Catania's quarters to alert them to Eretria's presence in the palace. Ander and Catania find Eretria and Ander orders the palace guards trying to take away the Rover girl to tell Tamlin that Eretria is under his protection. He calls Eretria a hero in the War of the the Forbidding.
Eretria tells the King that she had received a message from Amberle that Wil Ohmsford was in danger, prompting Ander to tell Eretria that Amberle had become the Ellcrys.
Ander takes Eretria to Allanon, and she tells him that the Ellcrys had told her in a vision that Wil was in danger. Allanon asserts that while he had hoped to spare Wil from further conflict, if the Ellcrys was sending warning then they all had to look for Wil. Allanon also said that Bandon was looking for Wil since Wil was the only person who could stop the Warlock Lord.
The mention of Bandon causes Catania to ask what her former lover has to do with everything, but Allanon demurs, promising to explain later. The Druid insists that Ander, Eretria, Catania, and the rest of the Elven delegation to Leah has to leave to find Wil in Shady Vale. He reveals that he knows Wil is there because he can sense the Stones' presence.
Lyria catches up to Eretria as the Rover girl prepares to leave with the Elves. The Princess of of Leah insists that Tamlin is lying and that although she had run off with lovers before, her feelings for Eretria were different and genuine. Eretria challenges Lyria to prove it by leaving Leah with her, but Lyria refuses, arguing that Tamlin would find them and kill Eretria. Eretria turns and leaves Lyria, telling Catania that there’s nothing left for her in Leah.
Allanon is already in the stables of the palace waiting for the others when General Riga arrives and confronts him. Riga tells Allanon that ever since he was a boy, he had dreamed of meeting a Druid, and that he avidly read their histories and studied their texts. Allanon gives Riga once chance to surrender but the general ignores him, and when Allanon strikes him with his magic, the Druid is shocked to see that his powers don't affect Riga at all.
Riga, completely unharmed and unfazed by Allanon's magic, is able to easily knock the Druid out. He places a conjure collar around the unconscious man's neck in order to suppress his magic, and then orders his men to take the Druid to Graymark.
Eretria and Catania, who happened to be in the stable as all this was occurring, watch as the men leave. Catania tells Eretria that she didn't know where Graymark was, but that the men who had captured Allanon were part of the Crimson. Eretria urges Catania to find Ander and tell him that he must send out a patrol to bring back Allanon. In the meantime, the Rover girl would leave to find Wil before Bandon does.
Catania runs back to her quarters to find Ander, only to find Edain there. Edain says that Ander is meeting with the Queen of Leah to finalize their alliance.
Catania urges Edain to go find Ander and stop the meeting, saying that Allanon had been taken and that he had to have been set up since the Crimson was waiting for him at the stables. Edain grabs Catania, preventing her from running away, and asks her who else knows about what happened. Catania barely has time to register her confusion at Edain's behavior before the man viciously stabs her to death.
Mareth and Flick hear the Mord Wraiths approaching in the form of plumes of smoke, and they awaken Wil, who had been sleeping. The trio flees, with Flick saying that the monsters cannot be defeated while in their incorporeal form.
However, Mareth takes this as a challenge and decides to stand her ground, telling Wil and Flick to run and that she will buy them more time. The men flee into a barn as the Wraiths approach and Mareth uses her illusions to trick them. However, the Red Wraith manages to find Wil, and it materializes in the barn. Wil attacks the Wraith, causing it to vanish.
However, Bandon enters the barn and the Wraith rematerializes. When Wil asks what Bandon wants from him, Bandon says he merely wants justice for magic users who are being hunted by the Crimson, or who are being abused or exploited by people like Allanon. Wil argues that Allanon tried to help Bandon, but the other man counters by bringing up Amberle. He says that Allanon used her, and that the Druid lied to both him and Wil.
Flick urges Wil not to listen, but Bandon reads Wil’s mind and learns that Wil still blames the Druid for Amberle’s death. He tries to convince Wil that the Warlock Lord can teach him to reach his full potential and possibly even bring Amberle back.
Wil isn't convinced and raises the Elfstones threateningly. However, Bandon easily restrains both him and Flick, immobilizing them and pinning Wil up against the wall with his magic. Bandon tells Wil that he appreciates him for being nice to him when no else was, but he adds that he nevertheless needs any information Wil might have on location of the Warlock Lord's skull. He starts digging into Wil's mind again.
However, Bandon can’t find the information and he probes harder into Wil's head, making the Valeman bleed from his nose and ears. Seeing this, Flick tells Bandon to stop and reveals that he was with Allanon and Shea when they hid the skull, causing Bandon to dig into his mind instead.
Bandon then realizes that the scion of Shannara who knew of the location of the Warlock Lord's skull was not Wil but his father Shea, and that the skull was hidden away in Paranor, the Druid's Keep. Flick scoffs, saying that the skull is locked in a magical safe which can’t be opened, but Bandon points out that a Druid and a Shannara together can open it. He orders Wil to find Allanon and to bring him to the Druid's Keep if he wants to rescue Flick. When Wil asks why Bandon is doing what he's doing, Bandon asserts that it is because everything is Allanon’s fault and because Wil loves Flick.
The Wraith seizes Flick and Wil tries to fight, but Bandon repels his magic easily. He leaves with the Wraith and Flick, telling Wil that he has three days to bring Allanon to Paranor if he wants his uncle to live.