BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Terry Brookss The Measure of the Magic. Ancient Evil threatens the Elves: The ancient tree created by long-lost Elven magic, is dying. When Wil Ohmsford is summoned to guard the Amberle on a perilous quest to gather a new seed for a new tree, he is faced with the Reaper, the most fearsome of all Demons. And Wil is without power to control them....
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December 11, 1983
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Excerpt from The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
The night sky brightened faintly in the east with the approach of dawn as the Chosen entered the
Gardens of Life. Without, the Elven city of Arborlon lay sleeping, its people still wrapped in the
warmth and solitude of their beds. But for the Chosen, the day had already begun. Their trailing
white robes billowing slightly with a rush of summer
wind, they passed between the sentries of the Black Watch, who stood
rigid and aloof as such sentries had stood for centuries gone before the
arched, wrought-iron gateway inlaid with silver scroll and ivory chips.
They passed quickly, and only their soft voices and the crunch of their
sandaled feet on the gravel pathway disturbed the silence of the new day
as they slipped into the pine-shadowed dark beyond.
The Chosen were the caretakers of the Ellcrys, the strange and wondrous
tree that stood at the center of the Gardens--the tree, as the legends
told, that served as protector against a primordial evil that had very
nearly destroyed the Elves centuries ago, an evil that had been shut
away from the earth since before the dawn of the old race of Men. In all
the time that had followed, there had been Chosen to care for the
Ellcrys. Theirs was a tradition handed down through generations of
Elves, a tradition of service that the Elves regarded as both a coveted
honor and a solemn duty.
Yet there was little evidence of solemnity in the procession that passed
through the Gardens this morning. Two hundred and thirty days of the
year of their service had gone by, and youthful spirits could no longer
be easily subdued. The first sense of awe at the responsibility given
them had long since passed, and the Chosen of the Elves were now just
six young men on their way to perform a task they had performed each day
since the time of their choosing, a task grown old and familiar--the
greeting of the tree at the first touch of sunrise.
Only Lauren, youngest of this year's Chosen, was silent. He lagged
a bit behind the others as they walked, taking no part in their idle
chatter. His red head was bent in concentration, and there was a deep
frown on his face. So wrapped up in his thoughts was he that he was not
aware when the noise ahead ceased, nor of the steps that fell back
beside him, until a hand touched his arm. Then his troubled face jerked
up abruptly to find Jase regarding him.
"What's the matter, Lauren. Are you sick" Jase asked. Because
he was a few months older than the rest, Jase was the accepted leader of