The Druids are an order of historians, philosophers, magic wielders, teachers, and researchers in the Shannara universe. They are headquartered in Paranor, the Druids' Keep that sits in the center of the Four Lands.
The Order of the Druids
A small number of survivors were determined to keep the knowledge of the Old World safe. The result was the First Council at Paranor, and thus the Druids were born. However, the Druids found that, over the millennium after the holocaust, crucial pieces of knowledge of the old sciences had been lost, and without the pieces crucial to their understanding, the Druids were unable to restore science to benefit the Races as they had wished. Nonetheless, many continued to study science, convinced that one day it would be used again.
Druid magic, like most of the magic that originates in the Four Lands, is elemental. It draws from the earth, air, fire and water in various forms. Its power is enhanced or weakened by the strength of the user. Some users would find more success with talismans like the Sword of Shannara or the Elfstones than others. Sometimes the magic of a talisman or an external source links with the magic innate in a user, causing various results. Unlike science, magic is uncertain, and the results of its application are not always predictable.
Druid magic allows the Druids to leave their bodies, in invisible spirit form, a form of astral projection, which allows the user to travel freely, unobserved with limited physical interaction. Another, separate Druid magic is based on the magic of illusion. They are able to use magic to blend in with their surroundings like a chameleon, to trick or elude enemies.
Every Druid also has a powerful sixth sense that reveals itself in visions, hunches, and premonitions. They also have the ability to locate individuals anywhere in the Four Lands.
Druids can place themselves in a form of suspended animation known as the Druid Sleep. During this time they are rejuvenated and their lives prolonged, but the Druid Sleep cannot sustain one forever. Towards the end of a Druid's life, the sleep becomes less and less effective, until the Druid's life ends in this world. There has been no limit stated as to the length of time one can remain in the Druid Sleep, but if it is used recklessly complications can result. For example, overuse led to senility in the former Druid Cogline The Druid Sleep also causes sterility in men; the same thing might happen to women as well.
Paranor is the fortress that has been used by the Druids since they first created the Druid Council. It is described as having a keep and a surrounding wall. Geothermal energy powers and heats the keep. It is riddled with secret passages that interconnect the entire fortress; these have been used by friend and foe alike. The fortress also contains the hidden library that houses the Druid Histories; it also contains vaults that have held a variety of artifacts including the Sword of Shannara. But the Keep's most important feature is the Druid Well. It is the source of the Druids' potent magical powers, and a last defense against invaders. If the fortress is taken, it removes Paranor from the Four Lands, killing all inside whether they possess magic or not. This can only be undone using the power of the Black Elfstone, and even then only at tremendous cost to the user.
History of the Druids
The First Druid Council
One thousand years after the Great Wars, an Elf named Galaphile gathered learned men and women from all the races—those who preserved the skills and knowledge of the Old World. He called them together to the Druids' Keep to form the First Druid Council, whose goal was to bring peace and order to the land. They gathered together all the information they could on the arts, sciences, and history of the Old World, attempting to understand what had brought about such a terrible apocalypse so that they might learn from those mistakes. As time progressed, the Order flourished and Galaphile's plan seemed to be working, but eventually several of the more powerful Druids of the Council came to believe that it was their destiny to shape the future of the Races, and this faction left Paranor to form their own group. They were led by a very powerful Druid called Brona, an archaic Gnome term for "Master" (although Brona himself was of the Race of Man and not a Gnome). He took with him the Ildatch, a book of unparalleled evil that would subvert the ones who read it, transforming them into its minions. He and his followers disappeared for some time afterwards, and were forgotten.
The First War of the Races
One hundred and fifty years later, a sector of the race of Men rose up and rebelled against the teachings of the Council, proclaiming that their leader's teachings would lead to a betterment of Mankind, furthering their pride and making them the dominant race of The Four Lands. They were led by the ex-Druid Brona. The rebellion soon widened into what became known as the First War of the Races. Eventually the combined power of the Druids and the other allied races crushed the revolt, and the surviving Men fled to the Southland to lick their wounds and rebuild their shattered lives.
The Second Druid Council
For unknown reasons, a new Druid Council was formed, the Second. The majority of these Druids felt a policy of non-interference in the affairs of the races was best, and decided to pursue their own interests, studying their histories and the old sciences. Several hundred years later, the Druid Bremen, an outcast druid who chose to study magic instead of science, returned from decades of travel warning that Brona was about to return, that he was assembling an army, and that his first target would be Paranor.
The Fall of Paranor
Main article: The First King of Shannara Soon after Bremen left, a huge army of Trolls emerged from the Charnal Mountains and took control of the entire Northland, and Brona's creatures laid siege to Paranor. The Druids were betrayed from within by three of their number who were won over by Brona's promises of power. They opened one of the side doors to the keep and Brona's forces swarmed in, and set about slaying the Druids, despite the best efforts of Caerid Lock and his Druid Guard. The three traitors met with their master and were transformed into monsters that would stay at Paranor to await Bremen. Brona immediately began searching for the Druid Histories, the books that contained the knowledge of the Old World, that were hidden within the vault situated inside the library. However, Kahle Rese, the librarian and friend of Bremen, had used a magic powder to hide the Histories before being killed, and Brona was unable to find them. He had the Druids walled away alive, but abandoned the Keep because of the Druid Well's protective magic.
Surviving Druids of Brona's Attack
- Bremen — Human, banished by Druid Council for practicing use of magic, returned several days before fall of Paranor, left before attack, helped forge the Sword of Shannara, chose Allanon as his successor, died three years after Second War of the Races
- Tay Trefenwyd — Elf, follower of Bremen, elementalist, went with Bremen before fall of Paranor, went to Arborlon to ask for help in finding the Black Elfstone, led the company along with Jerle Shannara to recover the stone, died after using the Black Elfstone to save surviving members of his company, and was buried somewhere in Arborlon
- Risca — Dwarf, follower of Bremen, last warrior Druid, away from Paranor during attack, helped lead Dwarf defense of the Eastland along with Geften and Raybur, led surviving Dwarves to help the Elves at the Battle of the Rhenn, died during end of battle because of wounds, buried in Meade Gardens in Culhaven
- Mareth — Human, Druid Apprentice/Healer, empathic, daughter of a Skull Bearer, away from Paranor during its fall, travelled with Bremen, went with Kinson Ravenlock to search for Dwarves, married Kinson after the Battle of the Rhenn, vowed to never used powers again except to heal, lived at trading post that later became the city of Kern
- Cogline — Human, outcast Druid, survivor of First War of the Races, lived in Darkin Reach, gave Bremen alloy mix for Sword of Shannara, survived for another 800 years.
The Second War of the Races
The surviving Druids, led by Bremen, began a war effort, helping the races fight the Warlock Lord and his army of Trolls and Gnomes. Bremen himself crept back into Paranor and recovered the Eilt Druin, the talisman that would become part of the Sword of Shannara. Later, passing through the destroyed city of Varfleet, he came across the twelve year old Allanon, and befriended him, believing he had found his successor. When the Sword was forged, Bremen took it to the newly-crowned Elven King Jerle Shannara. He and the other Druids joined with Jerle Shannara's army at the Valley of Rhenn to face the Warlock Lord's army. He and Allanon saved each others lives several times in the battle that followed. Bremen watched as Jerle Shannara destroyed the Warlock Lord's physical body, but failed to destroy his spirit, which fled to recover itself.
The Last of the Druids
Three years later, Bremen died, leaving Allanon as his successor and last of the Druids. Risca and Tay Trefenwyd had both died during the War, and Mareth had sworn to never again use her powers. Allanon returned to Paranor and vanished from history.
The Third War of the Races
500 years later, Brona and his minions had finally regained their former power, and with them came Allanon once more. Seeking to finish what Bremen started, he sought out the aid of Shea Ohmsford, the only one who could wield the Sword of Shannara as he was the last descendant of Jerle Shannara. Allanon joined the quest for the Sword, conversing with the Shade of Bremen at the Hadeshorn. After numerous battles, including fighting a Skull Bearer at Paranor, Allanon aided Shea as he confronted Brona. After one last conversation with Shea, Allanon disappears to sleep.
The War of the Forbidding
When the Demons escaped the Forbidding, Allanon reappeared to aid in the battle against them. Offering his services to the Ellcrys, he set about organizing the defeat of the enemy. First, he recruited Wil Ohmsford and Amberle Elessedil to seek out the Bloodfire so the Ellcrys could be restored. Then, he gave his aid against the Demon forces, particularly by obtaining a staff of Ellcrys wood to weaken the Demons. Allanon battled the Demons throughout the conflict, and brought down the Dagda Mor. However, he gave more of himself than he intended, and aged rapidly from his use of magic. After saying his goodbyes to Wil Ohmsford and Ander Elessedil, he disappeared once more to recover.
The Passing of an Age
When Allanon once again returned, he came this time to Wil Ohmsford's daughter, Brin. He told her the Ildatch, the book of dark magic that had given the Warlock Lord his power, had been found, and that she must destroy it. He, Brin and Rone Leah travelled to the Hadeshorn where the spirit of Bremen revealed to Allanon several horrible truths, which he kept secret from his companions. Allanon then imbued the Sword of Leah with the powers of the Hadeshorn, to allow Rone to cut through or deflect any magic that would harm Brin. Almost immediately after doing so they were ambushed by a Mord Wraith, a servant of the Ildatch, and Allanon was saved only by his instincts and the new powers of the Sword of Leah. The Druid destroyed the Wraith. They then travelled to Paranor to drive the Mord Wraiths from the Druid's Keep. To do so, Allanon was forced to activate a magic placed on Paranor before it was even built, and he sent the Keep into the spiritual world where it and the Druid Histories would remain hidden and beyond reach until a future Druid could bring them back. When they reached the Chard Rush, they were stopped by a Jachyra, a fearsome creature from before the time of the Ellcrys. Allanon faced the monster and eventually destroyed it, but he himself was mortally wounded doing so. After naming Brin the bearer of his charge, he was carried into the waters by the shade of Bremen, telling her to return here when her task was done. When Brin returned, Allanon's shade told her that Bremen had foretold his death at the Hadeshorn, and although Allanon had tried to avoid it, when he saw the Jachyra he knew his time had indeed come. He told Brin that the magic would not be needed for many generations to come, but one day the magic would be needed once more, and that the Ohmsfords would have to be ready. With that, he disappeared and came to rest in the Hadeshorn.
300 years later, Allanon's shade summoned the scions of the Shannara family to him and charged them with different tasks to save the Four Lands from the Shadowen. One of the gathered individuals was Brin's descendant, Walker Boh. Allanon charged him with returning Paranor and the Druids. Walker, however, didn't want to become a Druid and initially refused his charge. But Walker happened to be a friend of Cogline, and Cogline's influence and his own curiosity eventually convinced Walker to go through with his charge. With help, Walker recovered the Black Elfstone and managed to find a way into Paranor. There, he used the elfstone to absorb the spirits, and powers, of all the previous Druids and return Paranor to the Four Lands. His charge complete, Walker became the first of the new Druids and fought in the Shadowen War.
Third Druid Council
Walker took on the task of restoring the Druid order after the Shadowen were destroyed. To do so, he needed to build a new Druid Council that would aid the people of the Four Lands. Sadly, he died before this could be accomplished. But his successor, Grianne Ohmsford, succeeded in restoring the Druid order. With the Druids restored, Grianne took the title of High Druid and officially established the third Druid council.
Grianne's order was dedicated to preserving the Four Lands. Unfortunately, Grianne's past as the Ilse Witch resulted in her being seen as untrustworthy by many in the Four Lands. Meanwhile, there were a number of Druids who wanted to usurp Grianne. Following a destructive war in which the Druids were divided, Grianne dissolved the Druid Council and stepped down as High Druid. However, she left three Druids at Paranor to once again restore the Druids, but to wait until it was the right time to do so.