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Characters / The Defenders of Shannara

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Paxon Leah

A descendant of the House of Leah, Paxon is forced to take up the Sword of Leah when Arcannen kidnaps his sister. This brings him to the attention of High Druid Aphenglow Elessedil, who dragoons him into accepting the title of High Druid's Blade. Now protector and champion of the Druid's of Paranor, Paxon has yet to figure out what he thinks of his new role in life.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He's highly protective of his little sister, Chrys, and first uses the Sword of Leah to protect her from Arcannen.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: It was Arcannen's attack on Paxon's family that forced him to become a hero.
  • The Champion: As High Druid's Blade, Paxon represents the Druid Order, and fights on behalf of the Ard Rhys.
  • Cool Sword: The Sword of Leah is back, and this time, both it and its wielder are central to the story.
    • Amulet of Dependency: Paxon, like all the Leahs before him, runs the risk of becoming hooked on the magic of the Sword.
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    • Ancestral Weapon: The Leahs may not be kings anymore, but the Sword still belongs to them.
    • Antimagic: Which is why Paxon's a candidate for the job in the first place. The Sword of Leah cuts and parries magic as though it were any other weapon.
    • Black Swords Are Better: The black blade is still intact.
  • Failure Knight: This has been the House of Leah's trademark for a long time. In Paxon's case it's the failures to save Ianthe, keep his sister safe, and save Starks that haunt him.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The Sword of Leah won't work for anybody other than a member of the Leah family. This is why both the Druids and Arcannen reach out to Paxon.
  • The Protagonist: The first Leah to be the main character of the story, serving as the viewpoint character of High Druid's Blade.
  • Protagonist Title: High Druid's Blade is named for him.
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  • Sword Fight: Takes on Arcannen in a sword fight at the conclusion of High Druid's Blade.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Starts the story as a fairly tough kid with some informal training. Becomes a devastating fighter who can easily kill creatures of dark magic.
  • Warrior Prince: A descendant of kings, even if the Leahs do not officially hold the position anymore.

Aphenglow Elessedil

A scion of the Elessedil family, who once ruled the Westland Elves, Aphenglow was one of the few survivors of Khyber Elessedil's journey into the Forbidding. Seven years before the series began, Aphenglow emerged from decades spent in the Druid Sleep and took up the position of Ard Rhys—High Druid at Paranor. Since then, she's been trying to make the Druid Order more accepted, and has worked hard to both protect the people's of the Four Lands, and forge a working relationship with The Federation.


For tropes relating to her as a trainee see The Dark Legacy Of Shannara.

  • The Archmage: She's the Ard Rhys, leader of the Druid Order, and one of the most powerful magic users in the world.
  • Big Good: As the head of the Druid Order, Aphenglow is in charge of a veritable army of do-gooders.
  • Good Is Not Soft: As evidenced when she learns that one of her trusted subordinates has betrayed her to Arcannen, resulting in the deaths of two other members of the Order. She has him executed, despite his protests that he had no choice.
  • Lady of War: Aphenglow's one of those rare older women who maintain their looks and femininity into their later years. She's also High Druid of Paranor, and can easily manhandle most adversaries.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Like Khyber Elessedil before her, Aphenglow has turned into a frightening old lady.

Chrysallin "Chrys" Leah

Paxon's younger sister, Chrys is a wild fifteen year old girl with a gambling addiction and a knack for getting herself into trouble.

  • Broken Bird: Chrys was a cheerful, devil-may-care girl at the start of the novel. By the time Mischa is done with her, she's an emotionally shattered wreck.
  • Distressed Damsel: For most of The High Druid's Blade, wherein she's held captive by Arcannen and Mischa.
  • Glass Cannon: In common with most wishsong users. Chrys has immense power at her disposal, but still has the stamina of a teenage girl.
  • In the Blood: Courtesy of her family's frequent intermarriages with the Ohmsfords, she ends up manifesting the wishsong, to everyone's surprise.
  • Reality Warper: The wishsong alters reality to fit the whim of its user.


A fourteen year old boy who works at the airship port in Wayford. He finds out about what Arcannen and Mischa have done to Chrys and breaks her out of the prison Arcannen is keeping her in.

Leofur Rai

Grehling's former caregiver, Leofur has been a part of the Wayford underworld since she was born. Grehling persuades her to help him rescue Chrysallin, leading her into an alliance with Paxon Leah.

  • Action Girl: Leofur's a fighter and armed with her flash-rip, there's not much she can't handle.
  • Badass Normal: Leofur has no magic of her own, which doesn't stop her from beating up Mischa, or taking potshots at a dark magic monster.
  • Daddy Issues: Her relationship with her father, Arcannen, is unhappy to say the least.
  • The Gunslinger: Carries a flash-rip, an experimental gun powered by the same crystals that run the setting's airships. It carries six charges, and one shot is enough to blast a ten foot monster clear across a room.
  • UST: Seems to have some with Paxon, though they've yet to even figure out if they're friends.


A corrupt sorcerer and crime lord with connections in the Federation government, Arcannen aims to seize control of the Southland, and eradicate the Druid Order. To that end, he tries to obtain as much magic as he can, with the Sword of Leah in particular catching his eye.

  • Archnemesis Dad: To Leofur.
  • Archenemy: Considers himself to be Ard Rhys Aphenglow Elessedil's nemesis.
  • The Big Bad: Of Defenders as a whole. His attempt at subverting the Druid Order to his own purposes is what drives the overall narrative of an otherwise loosely connected trilogy.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Arcannen is the main villain, but in The High Druid's Blade he's very careful of Mischa, who is an ally, not a subordinate.
  • The Don: He's an underworld gang boss as well as an Evil Sorcerer.
  • Evil Sorcerer: A thoroughly venal man, who nevertheless has considerable dark magic at his disposal.
  • The Heavy: Arcannen sets the whole plot of the entire trilogy in motion, and drives it in person.
  • Manipulative Bastard: His entire plan revolves around having Mischa destroy Chrys' emotional state, so that she can be transformed into a weapon against the Ard Rhys.
  • Never My Fault: Blames Starks for "making" him kill him.
  • Sword Fight: Summons a sword made of magic and engages Paxon Leah in a duel at the end of High Druid's Blade.
  • Villains Never Lie: According to Leofur he doesn't lie because he considers it to be beneath him.


A sadistic old woman who has an uneasy alliance with Arcannen, Mischa acts as his torturer and second-in-command.

  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Arcannen is the one who is actually moving the plot, but he treads very lightly around Mischa, whose power he is only too aware of.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Pretends to be an old cleaning woman, and befriends Chrys while torturing her with illusions.
  • Evil Old Folks: Mischa's a very old woman, but no less cruel for it.
  • Master of Illusion: This is what makes Mischa as dangerous as she is. She can torment her victims with illusions of torture, but never has to end it, because there's no actual risk. It also lets her create false images through which to do the interrogating, enabling her to continue playing the role of confidante to the victim.
  • Sadist: Enjoys having power over other people, and using that power to make them suffer.
  • Torture Technician: Her role in Arcannen's organization.
  • Wicked Witch: A fairly archetypal one in appearance and personality.

Alternative Title(s): The High Druids Blade


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