Chapter eleven of the Elfstones of Shannara opens with danger. Wil is being hunted by a nameless, shapeless, evil. It is a creature made from his darkest nightmares. It…it is a nightmare. Oh.
But it’s also real. The demons have found them! Allanon wakes him up, and they an Amberle get ready to leave. While Wil and Allanon saddle the horses, Amberle deals with the children and gets dressed. She doesn’t pack a bag, probably because she survives solely off of beauty and stubborn fortitude.
After riding a ways, Allanon tells the teenagers (do we even know how old they are? I’m assuming they’re teenagers but Amberle has a “child’s face” and I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean) that the demons have them surrounded. Wil and Amberle are sharing Allanon’s horse, and he tells them that, if in doubt, to just let the horse steer. It’s a smart horse. It’ll get them through this.
Meanwhile, Allanon will be doing something mysterious and probably dangerous.
Before they can get to the relative safety of the river, the travelers are attacked by demon-wolves. Unlike real wolves, they’re absolutely huge, have weird people-shaped faces, and are interested in killing humans. Unlike real horses, neither of our adventurers’ mounts seem bothered. Wil and Amberle race the wolves and win, while Allanon faces them on his stoic steed and throws blue fire at them.
Then they’re galloping towards the river again, where hordes of demons are waiting to kill them! Wil and Amberle’s horse is still going strong, but Allanon’s horse goes down! The demons are gaining on them!
Wil was still trying to rein in the black when he caught sight of the crouching, dark forms that appeared abruptly from out of the night ahead of him — forms that were bent and twisted and covered with bristling gray hair. Demons! Wil felt his stomach tighten. It was a trap. They had been waiting here, waiting in case any managed to escape from the Demon-wolves at Havenstead. Now they were spread out all along the banks of the Silver River, closing as the horsemen approached.
Allanon tries to protect them with more of his magical blue fire while Wil and Amberle ride madly for the probably-deadly river. Then, before Wil can get his hands on the elfstones, just as the horse leaps into the water— everything vanishes. There is a bright white light, and time stops.
Come back next week to find out what the hell is going on, or start at the beginning. Is this strange adventure better or worse than the angst-filled love story in the TV version? Let us know what you think.