Eleanor Synopses by Jon Smith
Eleanor, a jewellery store clerk, is the victim of a fatal shooting. At the point of her death, she is contacted by a voice in her mind claiming to be a man called Conlan. He offers her a second chance at another life on the understanding that she must leave behind everything and everyone that she knows. Eleanor accepts the deal and loses consciousness as her soul is guided through a portal. She wakes up in a forest on a medieval-like world called Mydren where she is greeted by Conlan, no longer a voice in her head but a human being.
At Conlan’s insistence they leave the forest on horseback immediately. As they mount Rand, Conlan’s horse, and begin the journey Eleanor discovers a mark on the inside of her wrist. Conlan tells her that it represents the Element of Earth and that this is a new body that has been created for her. They head towards the mountains to join the other members of what Conlan refers to as “The Five” and after a day’s journey make camp for the night.
Eleanor awakes the following morning to find that Conlan and Rand have gone. Alarmed, she sets out to find them again, attempting to follow Rand’s hoof prints and manages to find him stabled in a nearby village called Bremen but there is no sign of Conlan. She eventually finds him locked in a jail cell where he tells her that the village has acquired an Enforcer – a deadly warrior with magical powers over the elements. Accused of stealing Rand by the town’s Protectors – members of the corrupt army charged with law enforcement in Mydren – he was sentenced to a public flogging. Eleanor hatches a plan to rescue him which she successfully executes and they escape from Bremen on Rand with the Protectors chasing them.
As they head up into the mountains Conlan purposefully leads them into a dead-end where their pursuers catch them and prepare to kill them both, however all but one of the Protectors are ambushed and killed by the remaining members of The Five; Will, Amelia and Freddie. Conlan prepares to kill the final Protector as he will reveal their location to his allies, but allows him to flee after Eleanor pleads for his life.
As they travel to their cave hideout, Eleanor finds out that she, Amelia, Freddie and Will were created by Conlan and that they each draw energy from one of the elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water with Conlan acting as the fifth element that binds them together through a connection that they have never successfully been able to use. As she is able to draw energy from the Earth, she finds that she possesses enhanced abilities over the human norm and Freddie explains to her that they are banned from existing under the laws of the Lords of Mydren, the rulers of the land she now inhabits.
Conlan tells her that she is the Avatar of Earth and gives a part of the history of Mydren. Alaric, the first King, created Avatars to help control the naturally occurring elemental magic in Mydren. His bloodline and a succession of Avatars ruled fairly and justly over the land until they were betrayed. Following a series of long wars, the Lords of Mydren managed to seize power and through propaganda made people believe that Avatars were evil and should be feared. Anyone showing any form of magical talent is now ruthlessly murdered or enslaved. Conlan wishes to use the Avatars to calm down the elements who are getting restless, wanting to let their power loose on the unprepared populace.
Freddie, the Avatar of Fire, begins to lose control of the elemental energy he possesses and Eleanor accidentally makes a connection with him, communicating telepathically and helping him to lower his energy levels. Over time, Eleanor begins to learn to control her own energy and direct it in the form of energy strings. She settles into her new home, learning to track animals, use a sword and helps Freddie to control his energy levels by reaching out an energy string to him to smother his own levels when they get too high.
Conlan insists that they try to get the connection that should exist between them working correctly. In their first attempt, Eleanor finds that she cannot connect to Conlan due to a shield around his energy. She accidentally injures Conlan and almost kills Will due to their lack of knowledge about the process. This incident alienates her from the rest of the group and she further angers Amelia and Conlan when an attempt to help Freddie control his dangerously high energy levels by siphoning it away into the Earth goes awry.
Isolated and unhappy, Eleanor spends much of her time away from the others, trying to understand her new powers. By experiment she discovers methods of controlling her abilities and directing them in destructive ways. After a further incident almost brings Freddie and Conlan to harm, she is angrily confronted by Amelia. Although this ultimately leads to reconciliation between most of the group, Amelia still openly mistrusts her. She teaches what she knows to Freddie and Will and convinces Conlan that they need to know more about the Avatars. They decide to consult the man who taught Conlan everything he knows about them – his grandfather. Conlan and Eleanor leave the others and set off to find him in the city of Baydon.
Eleanor discovers that Conlan last saw his grandfather when he was eight, after which Conlan was taken away from Gregor by his father – one of the Lords of Mydren. Eleanor and Conlan make contact with Gregor and Eleanor discovers that Gregor too has a shield around his energy. Gregor provides them with a book containing details about Talismans, instruments of power used by the original five Avatars. As they leave, Eleanor tests the energy of the people in the street around her, confirming that they all have shields.
While still travelling, Eleanor deduces from Gregor’s book that Conlan is a direct descendant of Alaric, the first king. Conlan confirms this and also tells her that he knows the whereabouts of the Wand, one of the Talismans – it is with a tribe of warlike outlaw Elves, one of whom, Trey, helped Conlan making his first Avatar – Will. Trey then tried to kill Conlan after Will was created to try and assume control of the Avatar’s power. Will fought Trey off and made him flee.
Eleanor finally admits to herself that she has feelings for Conlan but does not act upon them in case they are not reciprocated. While she sleeps that evening she dreams of a dragon attacking her by a waterfall and realises that there is a picture of the waterfall in Gregor’s book. Hidden in the picture is an outline of a dragon and a chalice – one of the Talismans. She shows the picture to Conlan who knows where the waterfall is located and agrees that they should recover both the Wand and the Chalice.
As they near home Eleanor falls ill, her energy levels vastly reduced. She collapses and awakens back in their cave. Amelia apologises to her for her past behaviour and tries to help by giving Eleanor some of her energy. Eleanor theorises that the dragon she keeps seeing in her dreams is somehow draining her energy and Will offers to stay in her sleeping mind to confirm it and defend her if possible. Eleanor accepts the offer and wakes the following day to find that Will has spoken with the dragon. She learns that its soul was imprisoned many years ago by a former Avatar of Earth and that it has stopped attacking her on the condition that once the Five have their connection working, they will find a way to free it.
Eleanor studies the book further and finds that there is music playing unstoppably in her mind. Before she can investigate, Freddie contacts her to tell them that the Protectors have now located their home and they must leave. Conlan identifies the music in her head as a Dwarfish song and she realises that the Dwarves are asking her to find them.
The travel further into the mountains in an attempt to locate the Dwarfs and Eleanor locates them using her abilities. The party are greeted by Remic, a Dwarf who takes them to a council chamber. Conlan requests that the Dwarves return the Diamond, the Talisman of Earth. He is told that only Eleanor can claim the Talisman and that to do so, she must pass a test. Eleanor successfully completes her trail and gains the Diamond. In doing so, she wins the loyalty of Remic, the Dwarves’ warlord, and Cander, a member of Dwarf nobility, effectively giving her access to the resources of the entire Dwarf nation.
The Five set off to find the Elves and Eleanor discovers the Diamond acts as a storehouse for Earth energy. They head for a town called Drent, near the desert where the Elves live as nomads. They find themselves lodgings and Amelia and Eleanor slip away to buy gifts for their companions. On their return, Conlan is not pleased that they left without his permission and argues with Eleanor, physically threatening her. Will intervenes and Conlan and Eleanor partially reconcile. They head into the desert and Eleanor devises a plan to capture an Elf patrol which succeeds and they are led into the camp by their prisoners. As they enter the camp they are attacked by Trey and Eleanor is knocked unconscious, waking in a tent. Will is accused of erasing all of Trey’s memories of the daughter he lost when Trey attacked him after Will’s creation and demands either Will’s death or Conlan’s first born child as recompense. After talking it over with Eleanor, Conlan extremely reluctantly decides to hand over the first child he may have in the future. In return for the Wand, Conlan offers the Elves a chance to fight with him when the time is right, swearing that if he is made King he will return freedom and the protection of law to the Elves, an offer they accept.
After leaving Drent the party travels through dangerous territory to locate the dragon, ultimately finding it in a hidden cave behind a waterfall, now a corpse preserved in crystal that contains its soul. The Chalice is nearby, but upon removing it, they are attacked by a group of humanoid amphibians and only escape when Will allows their leader to read his mind and memories.
Upon leaving the cave, the group are attacked by unknown assailants and Amelia is seriously injured. Although the Five successfully defend themselves, Freddie kills their attackers before anything can be learned about their identities and orders. Will, devastated by the prospect of losing Amelia, demands that Conlan take them to Nethrus where his brother Jarrick lives, a wealthy and sadistic criminal who has access to a talented healer. On the journey, Eleanor learns that Jarrick hates Conlan and will likely want to torture him – or worse – in exchange for his healers’ services. Although the deal is struck and Conlan is taken away, Eleanor threatens Jarrick, destroying one of his beloved garden statues and killing one of his henchmen using her abilities. She renegotiates the deal and Conlan is no longer to be tortured despite being jailed away from them the others. Jarrick cultivates a friendship with Eleanor in order to get information from her which he uses to torment Conlan, leading him to believe that she has betrayed him.
Amelia recovers and on the day that they are due to leave, Conlan is released, only to find that Jarrick has poisoned Rand in order to hurt Conlan further. Conlan is forced to humanely destroy his beloved horse, Conlan’s pain causes Eleanor to lose all control over her energy and abilities. Merging with the elemental force of Earth, she kills Jarrick and many of his henchmen, causing an earthquake that devastates Nethrus, killing many innocent people and only regains control due to Conlan’s pleading for her to stop.
They leave what remains of Nethrus with Eleanor miserable and guilt-ridden over her actions. She tries to talk to Conlan but he initially shuts her out, an act that creates a great deal of tension within the group. By studying a cryptic poem, she deduces that another of the Talismans, the Sword is in located in the southern savannahs of Mydren. Eleanor and Conlan finally reconcile and he tells her that the population of that region are called the People of the Horse and the party begins their journey to find them.
While travelling they are attacked and sedated by two men with tattooed faces and awaken to find themselves in a tent belonging to a man called Merl, an acquaintance of Conlan’s since he was a small child. Merl tells them that he was sent by Gregor after hearing about Nethrus and that he fought off and killed their attackers. Eleanor and Conlan both trust Merl, although Freddie is openly doubtful about him. Merl joins their party and they travel further into the savannah.
A night-time raid by the People of the Horse results in their capture and they are taken to the fortress where their captors live. After they arrive, Conlan tells Merl about Gregor’s book and Merl reveals that he knows the whereabouts of the final Talisman; it is on display in the lobby of the Central Tower, the main headquarters of the Lords of Mydren. Merl reveals that he may know how to sneak it out, but will need to send a message to a contact. Following an interview with Laurice, the leader, Conlan and Eleanor discover that there is political unrest within the tribe and that someone is trying to claim Laurice’s position through subterfuge. Laurice also confirms that the tattooed men who initially attacked them were members of her tribe although she does not know the reasons behind the ambush. Eleanor devises a plan to expose the traitor which works perfectly, utilising all their powers in an attack that rescues Laurice from danger and secures her position. She promises an alliance with Conlan and supplies him with both the Sword and a horse to replace Rand.
Merl, Freddie and Conlan travel to a nearby town called Termont where Merl successfully sends a message to his contact, a man called Arran. After they return, the entire party leaves for a city called Katadep to meet Arran and collect the Crown. They leave most of their equipment with an ally and follow Merl who leads them into an ambush – Arran is an Enforcer and has brought others with him who incapacitate Will, Amelia and Freddie by draining their energy, causing them to collapse. Arran and Merl attack Conlan, knocking him unconscious; Eleanor manages to kill Merl but is ultimately drained of her energy too.
When Eleanor wakes, she finds that they are prisoners of Daratus, Conlan’s father. Daratus taunts Conlan with the Crown and then has them locked in a cell, telling them that he will torture them slowly to death and leaves them overnight to await their fate. Periodically, Arran drains them of their recovering energy to make sure that they cannot fight. Eleanor finally understands why some people do not have shields and uses the knowledge to destroy Conlan’s shield, finally enabling the connection between the Five.
They try to form a plan to escape and Eleanor realises that she can use the Diamond’s storehouse of energy to return everyone’s energy levels to normal. Before they leave Conlan confesses that he loves Eleanor and the two share a kiss. Conlan leads the escape and Eleanor incapacitates Arran by draining his energy but refuses to kill him as she realises that he is as much Daratus’ victim as they are and that there is something significant about him. They proceed with their escape, disabling the Protectors along the way. Arran tries to prevent them from leaving and Conlan attacks him. Eleanor offers Arran the option of joining them before he loses consciousness, but then has to leave with the rest of the Five before the Protectors regroup. The Five successfully escape from Katadep into the surrounding countryside, recovering their equipment and Talismans as they leave.
The Five travel for over a week to try and shake off any pursuers, finally making camp when they feel safe. Eleanor and Conlan talk about their relationship and make love. They are interrupted by Freddie calling for them and run to his aid to find six Protectors and Arran have found them; Eleanor had unconsciously given Arran their location through her dreams. They wish to join Conlan and help bring down the Lords. Arran has stolen the Crown from Daratus and gives it to Conlan, completing the Talismans. Arran requests that Conlan make Daratus pay and Conlan promises that he will have his revenge. As the book ends, Eleanor muses that they may not have an army but they do have a good beginning.