- "Im fifteen years old, and I look like Im blind and you and I are fighting for our lives and the whole valley could be overrun with Trolls at any moment. We have to do something with a man whos tried to kill us, but not something that would let him be killed. We dont have a home anymore because its too dangerous to go back to the one we had. We have to help Phryne, and we dont have any idea how to do that. We dont even know how to help ourselves. Were just running around in circles, trying to protect each other. Nothing makes sense."—Prue Liss
An entry in Terry Brooks' long-running Shannara series, the Legends of Shannara duologoy further bridges the gap between The Word and the Void and Shannara proper, picking up five hundred years after Hawk Freemark led the human and Elven survivors of The Great Wars into the valley.
In the time since Hawk's departure, a religous cult has grown up around his myth. These Children of the Hawk, led by Seraphic Skeal Elie, await his return, and frown on anything that might suggest their dogma is incorrect. In the meantime, in Arborlon, the Elf King's new wife schemes to take the throne for herself, and dispose of her stepdaughter, Phryne Amarantyne. All these separate schemes, however, are about to be thrown into disarray, for the magic that guards the valley is failing, and a vast Troll army, led by Taureq Siq, is about to descend upon the valley.
When Trackers Panterra Qu and Prue Liss discover this fact, few believe them. The last Knight of the Word, Sider Ament, is one of those that does. Taking Panterra and Prue at their word, Sider does his best to ready the valley for the coming of Taureq Siq, while at the same time, deciding that in the event of his death, Panterra will be his successor. But as Panterra and Prue, in alliance with Phryne try to prepare their respective countries for invasion, a worse threat still threatens—one of the demons from The Word and the Void is drawing near, and has his own plans for the end of everything. With events spiralling out of control, and alleigiances within and without the valley shifting wildy, Panterra, Prue, and Phryne are all going to have to grow up very fast if they hope to save their homeland.
The two books in the duology are:
- Bearers of the Black Staff
- The Measure of the Magic
The character sheet is here.
This series provides examples of:
- Armies Are Evil: Taureq Siq's army certainly is.
- The Big Bad: During the first book Taureq Siq, Skeal Elie, and Queen Isoeld all compete for the role. In the second book all three are superseded by the ragpicker, who uses all and sundry for his own ends.
- Coming-of-Age Story: The duology serves as one for Panterra, Prue, and Phryne alike, as all three come to grips with the responsibilities of adulthood.
- Continuity Nod: Arik claims to have come from an ancestral line of early trolls who were friends of Hawk Freemark. This is a reference to Panther and Cat from the Genesis novels, who were allies of Hawk who eventually mutated into trolls.
- Gambit Pileup: The first book saw one approaching, with Taureq Siq, Skeal Elie, and Queen Isoeld all competing for the title of Big Bad. The arrival of the ragpicker quickly solves this problem.
- The Heavy: Arik Siq who acts as his father's man on the spot for most of Bearers of the Black Staff, and whose machinations drive much of the plot.
- Kill All Humans: The ragpicker, like all demons, has this as his end game.
- Our Demons Are Different: The ragpicker is a small "d" demons from The Word and the Void, as opposed to one of the capital "D" Demons from The Elfstones of Shannara and its sequels. This means he's a former human who sold his soul to The Void in exchange for power and immortality, and that he desires nothing less than the extinction of all life.
- Path of Inspiration: Whether the Children of the Hawk were ever a force for good is unknown, but by the time of the duology they're a cult of xenophobes who maintain tyrannical control over the valley, and tolerate no dissent.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Honorary siblings and best friends Panterra and Prue are always together, and swear that they will never be separated, despite the fact that there is nothing romantic going on.
- Take Up My Sword: Panterra is convinced to do this by Sider Ament, who in turn had the responsibility thrust on him by his mentor.
- Ultimate Evil: The Void is still around and still plays this role, though its much more in the background.
- Unwitting Pawn: Panterra and Prue are played by Arik Siq in the first novel; everybody gets used by the ragpicker in the second.