Wren Elessedil is a character in The Heritage of Shannara tetralogy. She was raised as Wren Ohmsford and is charged by the shade of the Druid Allanon to find and restore the disappeared Elves back to the Four Lands.
Eowen Cerise, the seer and close friend to Ellenroh Elessedil, the Queen of the Elves, prophesied that both Ellenroh's daughter Alleyne and her baby would die if they did not leave the island of Morrowindl before the baby was born. She further foresaw that Alleyne could never return to Arborlon, but that if the baby survived she would one day come back to save the Elves.
After Wren was born, her mother, knowing from the prophecy that Wren would one day return to Arborlon and knowing the dangers that existed on Morrowindl, wanted to make sure Wren was raised and trained by someone who would teach her to be strong and to withstand and survive any threat. Alleyne was also determined to return to Arborlon with her husband in spite of the prophecy, and she did not want to risk Wren's life in the attempt.
Before their attempted return to Arborlon, Alleyne and her husband went specifically to the Rovers, the most tough and hardy people in the Westland, to seek out someone who could train their daughter the way they wanted. They were directed to Garth, a tracker and survivalist renowned for his skills.
The two Elves made an agreement with Garth that Wren would be raised as Wren Ohmsford. She was to spend her first five years in Shady Vale, raised by her distant cousins in the Ohmsford family. After that she was to be taken to the Rovers and to be given to Garth to be raised and trained. She was to be told nothing of her past life except that she was the child of a Rover and of an Ohmsford, and that she must always keep close with her the bag of painted blue rocks she was given by her parents.
After the arrangements were made, Alleyne and her Wing Rider husband attempted to fly back to Arborlon. Their Roc was taken down and they were killed just short of the city gates. Eowen later revealed to Wren that she knew Alleyne would attempt a return and that it would fail.
Garth remained faithful to the charge given to him by the Elven princess, and he raised Wren to be a tough and skilled fighter, tracker, and survivalist. Because he is deaf and mute, Wren also learned sign language. Through the years Garth told Wren her nothing about her past aside from what her parents had allowed him to tell her. Although it was never articulated in such terms, Garth became Wren's de facto father, and Wren his daughter.
After Wren starts receiving dreams from the shade of the Druid Allanon, Cogline comes for her and tells her to travel to the Hadeshorn. Garth travels with her to the lake, where she reunites with her cousins Walker Boh, Par Ohmsford, and Coll Ohmsford. Allanon orders Walker to restore Paranor and the Druid Order, and tells Par to recover the Sword of Shannara. He gives Wren the task of restoring the vanished Elves to the Four Lands.
Despite being initially skeptical, Wren starts asking around about the whereabouts of the Elves, and at about the same time she and Garth start being tracked by an unknown presence. Wren and Garth travel to Grimpen Ward, home of a seer called the Addershag, who exclaims that Wren is an Elf who possesses magic and tells her to go travel south to Wing Hove and light a large fire for three days and three nights at the edge of the Blue Divide.
When the fire is lit, the unknown presence that had been tracking them reveals itself to them: it is a Shadowen. The monster attacks them both, and they are in danger of being killed when the painted blue rocks that Wren had been given by her parents reveals themselves to be the actual Elfstones of legend. She destroys the Shadowen, and shortly afterwards the Wing Rider Tiger Ty appears and questions her about her signal fire.
Tiger Ty reveals that the Elves were indeed still alive, living on the island of Morrowindl out in the Blue Divide. The Sky Elves live on other, smaller islands out in the ocean as well. The Wing Rider takes Wren and Garth to the island and promises to circle the island once a week to take them home.
On Morrowindl Wren makes her way through dangerous wilderness, encountering help along the way from Stresa, a Splinterscat, and Faun, a Tree Squeak. She and Garth finally find Arborlon, where she meets her grandmother, Queen Ellenroh, and her cousin, Gavilan Elessedil.
As Wren makes progress in her journey and uncovers more information about the Elves and about herself, she starts to press Garth for more information about her background. However, the Rover continues to tell her only what he had been told to tell her. The only extra information he gives to her is that which she can see for herself: that she looks far more Elven than the other Ohmsfords, meaning that her parents are both Elves. Even when Wren reaches Arborlon and is told about her background by the Queen, he remains silent about what he knows. Wren learns Ellenroh's mother was an Elf descended from an Ohmsford, which meant that the Elessedil and Ohmsford bloodlines had merged, and that Wren was a distant cousin to Par, Coll, and Walker Boh.
Journey Out of MorrowindlEdit
After Ellenroh encloses the Elves and the city of Arborlon in the Loden for safekeeping, it is tasked to her, Wren, Garth, and six others to transport the Elves out of Morrowindl and back to the Westland. The company of nine is soon reduced to seven after the deaths of Aurin Striate and Cort, a member of the Home Guard, and they are further demoralized when Ellenroh comes down with a vicious fever that quickly drains her energy. Ellenroh soon dies of the fever, handing the Loden and the Ruhk Staff to Wren and proclaiming her as the new Queen just before she dies.
With Ellenroh's death, Eowen Cerise is left broken and devastated, in part because she had long ago had a vision that when Ellenroh died, she would die shortly afterward. However, her close friend's passing releases her from the obligation to be silent about the origins of Morrowindl's demons, which Ellenroh had been reluctant to reveal to Wren despite Wren's questioning. Eowen explains to Wren the history of Morrowindl:
The Elves had moved out of the Four Lands and to the gorgeous island paradise in Morrowindl, and there they had begun experimenting with the old earth magic that Elves had once used during the Age of Faerie. Soon, the Elves began manipulating life forms and creating new species. While the first few experiments with the magic were modest and had benign results, such as with the Splinterscats, attempts to create clones of the Elves themselves to patrol and protect the island from outside threats backfired spectacularly.
The cloned Elves began changing, becoming corrupted and killing things indiscriminately across the island. They began craving the very magic they were formed out of, and they began killing the other creatures of magic made by the Elves. They also began siphoning magic from the island itself, which irreversibly altered the island from a vibrant, living paradise into a variety of deadly, hellish landscapes.
As Queen, Ellenroh went out into battle with the Elven army on repeated occasions to defeat these demons, but their creations were so strong that they could not defeat them, and because the demons had siphoned away all of the island's innate magic there was none left for the Elves to tap into. While they had the magic of the Loden, they could not afford to expend it on anything other than maintaining the magic wall surrounding Arborlon called the Keel. Eventually, Ellenroh had to call all the remaining Elves living outside Arborlon into the city proper, where they could be protected behind the Keel.
Eowen finishes her explanation to Wren by revealing that the Elves didn't just leave the sickness in the Four Lands only to create an even greater sickness on Morrowindl: they also were the ones who created the sickness in the Four Lands to begin with. The very earth magic the Elves were experimenting with on Morrowindl and which led to the appearance of demons was exactly the type of magic that turned experimenting Elves into the very first Shadowen.
Wren is shocked by the news that the Elves, as the traditional caretakers of the land, could have so utterly ruined Morrowindl and also birthed the Shadowen into the Four Lands. Despite Wren's feelings, Eowen pleads with her to forgive Ellenroh for not being truthful with her, and to forgive the Elves.
Later, as they are traversing the Blackledge, the remaining members of the party carrying the Loden and Arborlon out of Morrowindl are forced to travel through Drakul country. Still grieving for Ellenroh and mentally vulnerable, Eowen is led astray by the Drakuls, who prey on people's minds and are particularly attracted to the seer due to her innate magic, and she is separated from the party and lost. When Wren goes looking for her, she finds Eowen surrounded by Drakuls who are feeding on her body fluids. Eowen looks up and hisses, her eyes red and her teeth turned into fangs. Seeing that Eowen has become a Drakul herself, Wren kills her and the feeding Drakuls using the Elfstones, fulfilling yet another of Eowen's visions.
The remaining five members of the party are only a few days away from the relative safety of Morrowindl's shores when Gavilan kills Dal, a member of the Home Guard, and runs off with the Loden. It is left to Wren, Garth, and Triss, Captain of the Home Guard, to recover the Loden from the lair of the Wisteron, the most terrifying of Morrowindl's Shadowen, where Gavilan's corpse and the Loden are found.
The trio successfully recover the Loden and Wren manages to kill the Wisteron with the Elfstones. However, during the battle Garth was hit directly by the Wisteron's poison. Garth struggles with his injuries for the next day or so, slipping into a feverish state, but he recovers slightly, enough to be lucid and insist that he needs to speak with Wren privately.
Garth starts by telling Wren that he had always known everything about her past: he had always known who her parents were, he had always known she might one day seek out the Elves, and he had met her parents directly. The only part of her past that he hadn't known about were the Elfstones; like Wren, he'd believed that they were just painted blue rocks.
While Wren is still reeling from this admission and implications it holds for her past, Garth signs to her that the Wisteron's poison has begun turning him into a Shadowen and that the only way to save him from that fate was for Wren to kill him at once. Wren is shocked and horrified, but he manages to convince her to carry out his request, even placing his hands over hers as they clutched the knife handle.
Garth: There is no more time left to us. What we've had has been good. I do not regret a moment of it. I am proud of you, Wren. You are my strength, my wisdom, my skill, my experience, my life, everything I am, the best of me. And still your own person, distinct in every way. You are what you were meant to be—a Rover girl become Queen of the Elves. I can't give you anything more. It is a good time to say good-bye.
After the deed is done, Wren is left traumatized, grieving, and at the point of collapse, but with the help of Triss, Stresa, and Faun she makes it to the shores of Morrowindl, where the remaining members of the company are carried off the island by Tiger Ty aboard his Roc, Spirit.
Armed with the knowledge given to her by Eowen, Wren decides that the Elves must be given another chance, that they should be the ones to make things right and heal the Four Lands, and that if they are returned to the Four Lands they will be returned on her own terms.
Back in the Four Lands, Wren restores Arborlon to its rightful place in the Westland and is proclaimed Queen of the Elves.
War Against the ShadowenEdit
With the Elves now back in the Four Lands, they become a prime target for elimination by the Federation and the Shadowen. Wren is captured by a pair of Shadowen masquerading as Free-born messengers, the boy Tib Arne and Gloon, his War Shrike, but she escapes with the help of Morgan Leah.
With Tiger Ty's help, Wren returns to the Elves and leads them as their Queen in resisting attack after attack from the Federation and the Shadowen. During the conflict, Wren even led a number of Creepers into a trap in the Matted Brakes that led to their destruction. Reinforcements in the form of the Free-born resistance movement and Trolls from the Northland arrived to aid the Elves, and the Federation army was defeated. Although the Federation army had later regrouped and was preparing to attack again, the destruction of the Shadowen by Par and Coll forced them to retreat, resulting in a permanent victory for the Elves and their allies.
After the Shadowen are defeated, Wren renews the Elves' commitment to their traditional stewardship of the land and its well-being. She also creates an alliance between the Land Elves and Sky Elves. She would eventually become known as one of the greatest rulers of the Elven people. Centuries after her death, her bloodline would produce such heroic Elves as the Druids Ahren Elessedil, Khyber Elessedil, and Aphenglow Elessedil, as well as Arlingfant Elessedil, a member of the Chosen.
One perhaps unintended consequence of Wren's determination that the Elves disavow the use of magic after the blunders and mistakes that birthed the Shadowen and destroyed Morrowindl is that decades and centuries after her time, the Elves have become a people who are deeply distrustful of magic and those who use it, to the point where the Druids Ahren Elessedil, Khyber Elessedil, and Aphenglow Elessedil, all of whom are descended from Wren, were treated as outcasts by their families and even considered traitors. The Elf Sarys Starleigh, who married Kierst Ohmsford, was distraught when she realized her twin sons Railing and Redden Ohmsford had inherited the magic of the wishsong, and she tried to prevent Khyber from recruiting her sons and their magic for a quest to locate the fabled missing Elfstones.
Wren is described as being small and slender, but also wiry, tough, and confident from her years of training with Garth. She has curly, ash blonde hair that she keeps fairly short, restless hazel eyes, and skin deeply tanned from her outdoor life. She looks almost exactly like her mother Alleyne, who had the same color hair and eyes, and she closely resembles her grandmother Ellenroh as well, although Ellenroh's eyes are blue.