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"The crystal is the window through which my mind and voice can reach you. You will never be free of me. Never …"
Shadow Lord, speaking to Lief through the crystal.[1]

The crystal
General information
Owned by

Drumm (formerly)
Prandine (formerly)
Fallow (formerly)

Created by

The Shadow Lord or his servants

In possession of

Drumm (formerly)
Prandine (formerly)
Fallow (formerly)
Lief (formerly)




To create a magical link between the Shadow Lord and its servants, allowing communication

Chronological information
First appearance

Return to Del

Last appearance

Dragon's Nest

The crystal was a magical device of thick, curved glass set into a small, ordinary-looking wooden table,[2] originally used by palace spies, mainly Ols, to communicate with the Shadow Lord. It had been kept in a room on the third floor of the palace for hundreds of years,[2] which was sealed-off on the orders of Lief when he had become king.[3]

After the defeat of the Shadow Lord, Lief tried to seal it away, however the Shadow Lord only began to use it to speak in the mind of King Lief, to torment him and break him down psychologically. The Shadow Lord extended his power to Captain Barda and Jasmine too, although they only felt a bad feeling, but he threatened to move on to the citizens of Del soon. Eventually, on the night of one Full Moon Meeting's day, Lief managed to destroy the crystal it with the help of the Belt of Deltora, the fire of Adin's forge and the spirits and thoughts of the people of Del as well as the spirits of the dead. As the crystal died, it spit out snatches of conversations between the Enemy and his palace spies, including one about the Four Sisters, and the companions found the rolled-up fragment of a map to the Four Sisters in one of the table's legs afterwards.[1]

It is implied, by the words spoken by Faith—an appartion created by the Shadow Lord to lure Jasmine to the Shadowlands—that the Shadow Lord may have a crystal of his own in the Shadowlands, however the means he used to transmit his voice, mind and visuals of himself to the crystal in the palace is not known. It is possible that the Shadow Lord simply uses his magical power transmit and not any external magical instrument made by it or anyone else.[3]


Installing the crystal[]

The Shadow Lord had the crystal placed inside the palace in Del sometime before the rule of King Lucan, in a room on the third floor.[3][2] It used the crystal frequently to communicate with its servants in Deltora, remain up to date on events in the country, and the progress of its many plans.[3][1]

Placement of the Four Sisters[]

Once the Four Sisters were in place, the Shadow Lord contacted through the crystal Drumm, the chief advisor of the then king, Lucan, to tell him that the creatures were in place, and asked Drumm if he had hidden his fragment of Doran's Map to the Four Sisters as the Shadow Lord had ordered.

Hiding the fragment of Doran's map[]

The first fragment of Doran's map had been hidden inside one leg of the crystal's table by Drumm,[1] so that it might be found by a future monarch of Deltora and set in motion the release of the grey tide.[4]

Endon's coronation[]

On the day of King Endon's coronation, following the coronation ceremony Endon's chief advisor, an Ol named Prandine, had a conversation through the crystal with the Shadow Lord in which he reported about the coronation and the fact that the Belt of Deltora had been placed back in its respectful place in the tallest tower of the palace, waiting for the Shadow Lord to use it as he saw fit.[1]

Return to Del[]

Communicating with Fallow[]

Lief saw the crystal when he used water from the Dreaming Spring to spy on Fallow. Here he witnessed the spy's meeting with the Shadow Lord through the crystal, which were preceded by the crystal thumping and throbbing as the Enemy called Fallow from the crystal. Even through the crystal, the Shadow Lord was able to sense that Lief's conscience was in the room, probing the room with his very mind somehow.[2]

Cavern of The Fear[]

Atempts at destroying the crystal[]

At one point, the Shadow Lord began talking in Lief's mind through the crystal, insulting him, tormenting him and trying to make him despair. Lief tried many times to destroy the crystal after being crowned as king of Deltora, but every time he was met with failure. He discovered that the Belt of Deltora was not powerful enough to aid in its destruction, and realised that it because it was a thing of sorcery, made by the Shadow Lord, it could only be destroyed by something just as powerful.[1] He had the room with the crystal sealed off from public access with brick and mortar.[3]

The Shadow Lord tricking Jasmine[]

Later, while wandering the halls of the palace, Jasmine found herself drawn to the crystal when she had heard about Lief's Toran bride. The mortar barring the sealed-off room easily fell away when she chipped at it, exposing the room. Thumping sounds were emanating from the crystal as the Shadow Lord called from it. Looking into the crystal, Jasmine saw a young girl who identified herself as Faith—her younger sister, trapped in the Shadowlands. This prompted Jasmine to travel there and rescue her.

However, Faith was never a real person, but an illusion made by the Shadow Lord. It knew that, should Jasmine travel to the Shadowlands, Lief would follow. Faith said to Jasmine that their mother, before she died, told the girl that she had to reach the crystal and call Jasmine, and that she would be in great danger if she was discovered using it, implying the Shadow Lord might own his own crystal which he uses to transmit to the one in the palace, but whether this is true is not known.[3]

Dragon's Nest[]

Destruction of the crystal[]

At one point rumours had begun spreading in Del that the Shadow Lord spoke in the mind of Lief, as well as rumours that the Shadow Lord remained in the palace, in a sealed-off room above the stairs.

On the last day of one month, just before the monthly Full Moon Meeting, Lief saw another potential way to destroy the crystal, through the use of the thoughts and faith of the people of Del. He decided that he would finally tell the people of the crystal at the end of the meeting. Throughout the day and the meeting, yhe Shadow Lord spoke to Lief through the crystal on the night of the Full Moon Meeting. It tormented him and threatened to spread its sinister voice to the minds of his citizens as well, as his strength grew. A woman, Iris, asked about the rumours of the crystal at the end of the meeting, giving Lief the perfect way to start telling of it. He told the people that he had thought of a new way of destroying the crystal and asked the people to go home that night, stay awake throughout it and as often as they could, send him their thoughts.

After the meeting, Lief had a battalion of guards carry the crystal to Adin's ancient forge, where Doom was busy stoking the fires, in a last ditch effort to destroy it. Jasmine was also present for the attempt at the crystal's destruction.

As they neared the fires of the forge, the Shadow Lord caused the crystal to be too heavy for the guards to lift or carry, and Captain Barda himself took hold of it and helped his men, managing to heave it up next to the forge. It had however become so unbearably heavy that it was impossible to lift. The Shadow Lord, through the crystal, then sent a whirlwind of pain into Lief's mind which doubled the king over. He blindly felt for the Belt of Deltora and touched the Topaz, which, with its strengthening from the full moon, cleared his mind. As he arose, Lief saw tha Topaz had also called upon the spirits of the people of Del sending him their thoughts, like they had promised, as well as the spirits of dead people from the past, including his own father. The people's faith added to Lief's strength, and he managed tto lift the crystal up and onto the burning coals of the forge all by himself. First it was twisting like a living thing and grey spirals edged with scarlet were swirling on its rippling surface, while in its centre was a hollow, whispering darkness. After Barda had ordered the palace guards to leave the forge and they fled, the crystal cracked from corner to corner with a hideous, grinding sound, and red sparks flew upwards from its core, and a terrible howling filled the air. Barda, Jasmine and Lief were thrown back and their hair were flying about their faces as if blown by a fierce, hot wind. Even Doom dropped the bellows from his hands and clapped them over his ears, grimacing in agony. Very slowly, the howling died to a moaning hum, then the crystal began to cloud and soften as the glass started to melt.

Doom rose the heat of of the forge once more and the crystal made a sharpo cracking noise, and then the humming abbruptly changed to a low buzz rising and falling as if hundreds of flies were trapped inside the crystal. As the crystal died, a a thick, dull grey liquid was released from the crystal's crack, bubbling horribly and oozing across the glass surface, and the liquid began to play back a spoken through the crystal between the Shadow Lord and Prandine, about King Endon's coronation and the locking away of the Belt of Deltora. After the conversation had been played out. In the conversation the Shadow Lord insults Endon, causing Lief to furiously smash the blacksmith's hammer down on the crystal with all his strength, where its head had sunk deep into its softened glass, which bent instead of breaking. Grey ooze ran into the hot coals, sizzling and burning. Lief prepared to swing the hammer again but stopped as Doom told him to let the fire do its work. The crystal's buzzing was patchy and coming in short, harsh bursts then, and a red, feeble light flickered deep within it. Lief and Jasmine realised then that the crystal were spitting out snatches of conversations meant to have been locked up inside it forever, and Jasmine realised that the buzzing were voices. Barda had no wish to hear any more of the evil conversations and leaned over the melting glass, spitting on it with hatred. He then took Doom's place at the bellows and rose the heat further casuing tee crystal to lose its form and colour. A faint clicking sound came from deep within the clouded glass, the red light flickered dimly and a final conversation was played back—the Shadow Lord's discussion with Drumm about the Four Sisters and them having been placed in Deltora. Then the crystal's glass began to boil and the red light finally went out.

It was long after midnight when the crystal had finally died. The twisted lump of melted glass that remained of it was cooled and smashed to powder which was trodden underfoot by the companions and Doom.

The last conversation the crystal played back, about the Four Sisters, became part of the driving force that lead Lief, Barda and Jasmine on the quest for the Four Sisters and the creatures' destruction.

Following the destruction of the crystal, Lief, Barda and Jasmine wondered where Drumm might have hid his fragment of the map to the Four Sisters and began searching the wooden table frame. Jasmine, with her extremely sharp eyes, eventually found a piece had been cut away from the inside of one of the table's legs and replaced, and using one of her daggers, she pried it open and found the first fragment of the map inside.[1]


The crystal was made of thick, curved glass[2] set into centre of a small, ordinary wooden table frame, making up the top surface of the table.[2][1]

The crystal was covered by a black cloth and the walls and floor of the room were window-less, smooth, hard white and gleaming with magical harsh light that had no source of origin. The crystal was clear coloured. The glass rippled like water, and when the crystal was activated the ripples would grow smokey, rimmed with red,[2] and begin to to swirl.[3] Whenver the Shadow Lord showed himself through the crystal, he would appear like a core of hollow darkness deep in the centre of the grey and red smoke.[2][3] The crystal was able to visually show the person speaking on the other end, in real time, though one would sometimes have to strain their eyes to see the the person's face in the core of darkness.[3] When the Shadow Lord used the crystal to communicate to his spies, the core of darkness in the glass was able to grow larger, like the pupil of a giant eye widening.[2]

Function and abilities[]

The crystal served as a means of direct communication between the Shadow Lord and its spies in Deltora. Through it, one may communicate audibly and visually showing the face of the person, just as two people are able to talk to one another through a window, however it also allowed the Shadow Lord to access the mind of anyone close by, as shown with both Lief, Jasmine and Barda. It could also create a feeling of despair and sorrow to weaken those around it.[1]

The crystal could not be destroyed by conventional means, and could defend itself with minor sorcery when threatened. These abilities included creating a sense of dread in anyone near the crystal, and increasing its own weight to the point where seven grown men could not lift it. King Lief was only able to destroy the crystal with fire and the thoughts and trust of the people of Del.[1]

Whenever the Shadow Lord called through the crystal, a thumping, throbbing sound, like a heartbeat, would emanate vibratingly from it, vibrating through everything. When Lief visited Fallow in spirit form through the use of the Dreaming Water, he found it unbearable and it even made his teeth clatter.[2] Jasmine also heard and felt the thumps when she found the sealed room on the third floor holding the crystal the next year.[3]

The crystal was made to lock any conversations conducted through it inside and never release them, but when King Lief, Captain Barda and Doom managed to cause it to crack on the fires of Del's forge, it began to buzz with the voices of centuries of use, perhaps a millenium, and at least two long snatches of conversations—one between Prandine and the Shadow Lord and one between Drumm and the Shadow Lord—escaped from it when it started bubbling and oozing a dull, grey liquid, before it finally died completely.[1]


Anime Claw Table

The anime's replacement of the crystal.

  • The crystal does not appear in the anime. Instead, Fallow's means of communicating with the Shadow Lord happens through a gigantic clawed hand made of stone reaching for the sky, located somewhere inside the palace behind a great red door. Above it, the Shadow Lord's glowing red eyes appear when it speaks. This is despite the crystal appearing in the last book of the first series, Return to Del.
    The Crystal Behind Door Include Hall

    The door leading to the anime's "crystal", as seen in Episode 47: The Seven Tribes.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Rodda, Emily. Dragon's Nest. Scholastic Australia. November 1, 2003.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Rodda, Emily. Return to Del. Scholastic Australia. November 1, 2001.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Rodda, Emily. Cavern of The Fear. Scholastic Australia. February 1, 2002.
  4. Rodda, Emily. The Sister of the South. Scholastic Australia. October 1, 2004.

See also[]