|“||"We are all of Erdas, united."||”|
–Book Quote, (from Chapter 15: Glue)
Heart of the Land is the fifth book in the Fall of the Beasts series, and the twelfth book overall. It is the beginning of the third and final arc of Spirit Animals, and it is written by Sarah Prineas. Rollan and Essix are depicted on the cover, with Essix holding the Heart of the Land.
Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan are young heroes who stopped an unstoppable monster. They are Greencloaks–guardians chosen from every nation in Erdas–and together with their powerful spirit animals, they fight to protect their world.
But in the ashes of this destruction, there are some who ask: Are the Greencloaks to blame? The young heroes are shocked to find themselves on trial, judged by a council of the world's leaders. Then the unthinkable happens. The council is attacked from within–by Greencloaks–and an important leader lies slain.
In the blink of an eye, Erdas’s saviors become wanted fugitives. Someone is trying to frame them as traitors, but why? As the four friends race to uncover this mystery, only one thing is clear . . .
The war is far from over.
The Heroes of Erdas are late for their meeting at The Citadel because Jhi got sick eating a lot of bamboo. They are stopped at the entrance by Oathbound guards, one of whom is Brunhild the Merry. After Brunhild questions the Four, they insist that they’re with the Greencloak contingent and also saved the world twice. She commands the Oathbound to attack nonetheless and the young Greencloaks defend themselves. Brunhild presumptuously releases her stone viper, but it is nowhere to be seen. The four defeat the Oathbound. Suddenly, Princess Song arrives and calls off the guards. Brunhild says that spirit animals must be in passive state for them to enter, so Conor and Abeke go inside after calling back their spirit animals, while Meilin and Rollan stay outside and try to convince Essix to go into passive state. Meanwhile, Princess Song tries to get them all separate rooms in their country's separate wings, but Abeke insists that they have a room together.
In their room, Conor takes a nap that comes with another nightmare of The Wyrm. Abeke reassures him once he wakes up, and he calms down. He asks her about her feelings about Shane, which she describes as 'complicated'. Then, Rollan and Meilin enter into the room, and are none too happy about the condition of it.
Meilin meets Princess Song again and they eat spiced buns and hot tea. She grabs buns for her friends, and soon after, the emperor walks in. She drops one of the buns accidentally as she genuflects before him. After he leaves, she grabs it and goes back to her room, and Meilin hands each of her friends a spiced bun. Rollan is very suspicious of his bun, as it was very gritty. 
They go to the meeting they were called for and realize that it is more of a trial than conference, seeing as there is no Greencloak flag or any seats on their side of the table. The Emperor of Zhong accuses the Greencloaks of causing damage when they were under the Wyrm’s control, but only the Ambassador of Stetriol takes their side. They suggest breaking up the Greencloaks.
Suddenly, six Greencloaks (whom Olvan confirms to be new recruits) burst in and attack. They kill the emperor, wound the Ambassador and a few others, and leave. The Oathbound start to arrest the Greencloaks in the room. Lenori and the rest of the Greencloaks are arrested, while Olvan and the Four escape. Olvan gives them a stone called the Heart of the Land and tells them to “reveal it”. He is then bitten by Brunhild's stone viper and becomes petrified, but not before giving the Four directions out of the Citadel, which they fail at remembering.
Just then, a woman appears. Her name is Anka, and she leads them through a camouflaged door and out of the Citadel. They run and rest and run again, but during the break, Anka tells them what the Heart is and what to do with it. It was from Amaya, and gives power to the wielder. There are three more amulets, each wielded by four heroes from the past.
The relentless Oathbound track them throughout the days, hardly giving them a break. For three days and three nights they travelled but they finally stop for a short dinner, where they decide to head for the Heart of the Land. Suddenly, Conor wakes up and tells them that the Oathbound are coming. The group gets themselves trapped in spiderwebs and caught by Wikam the Just.
Meanwhile, in the new Redcloak base; a tower on a remote beach on the southern end of Eura that looks like a torch, Stead summons Worthy and puts him to a task to follow the Four. According to Yumaris, he must help them find a rock from Amaya, a circle from Zhong, a claw from Eura, and another thing from Nilo. At first, he is hesitant, but after being convinced, Worthy agrees to the task.
The Greencloaks escape from the spiderweb with the help of their spirit animals and run for it. After being creeped out by the spiders, Meilin advises Rollan to think of them as mice. They board a ship to Amaya. In their cabin, Rollan scares Meilin by tickling the back of her neck and tricking her into thinking it’s a spider, exposing her fear. During the ride, Conor has a Wyrm-related dream. Abeke leans over and kisses his forehead, and that’s the last time he dreams of the Wyrm.
In Amaya, Abeke catches Worthy following them, and the Greencloaks let him join them after some arguing. They have a short spat about if they should or should not put their cloaks away. Worthy interrupts with a comment about how Tarik's old cloak–which is Rollan's current cloak–is basically in rags, infuriating Rollan. Abeke, Conor, and Meilin bury their cloaks into a shallow hole. Rollan puts his cloak at the bottom of one of their supply bags.
Rollan and and Conor go shopping in Concorba. They meant at first to go to Monte's shop, but find out that it was shut down when he was taken away by the Oathbound. An older man tells them this, but finds them suspicious and goes to report them. They buy supplies before going to the school that Aidana opened up. A student named Ngozi tells the two to sit down or they'll be in trouble, as Aidana is a tough teacher. Another student, Sora, disagrees, saying that Aidana is a wonderful teacher. Aidana turns around, and gets mock-mad at her son. They hug, and all too soon, their reunion is cut short as a child, Jean-Luc, says that the Oathbound are at the door. The two Greencloaks escape and are immediately ambushed, and their only weapon is Rollan's short dagger and their spirit animals. Worthy–who had been following them–jumps in the fight after hiding their supplies in a nearby ally. Aidana and the three previously mentioned students help them, too. Turns out, Aidana's school not only teaches math and reading, but also fighting with spirit animals. They escape, grab the supplies, and head back to camp. After the skirmish, Rollan and Conor are more friendly towards Worthy.
At the camp, Meilin had been teaching Anka fighting forms when the boys return. Hearing a noise, Abeke nocks an arrow, then puts it down after realizing it was only Conor, Rollan, and Worthy. Meilin goes straight to Rollan, retying the cloth over his wound after giving him some panda spit. They head out again, traveling hard, barely sleeping, and not kindling any fires. Whenever Essix cries a warning, Anka hides them all. They end up hiding under a shelf of rock where Abeke tells them that they are the glue that holds Erdas together. Rollan jokes about how they’re stuck with each other, trying to lighten a heavy moment.
Rollan and Meilin walk towards a waterfall he saw, away from the camp. Worthy calls them Reilin before they depart, and they both blush profusely. When they get to the waterfall, they talk briefly about the war and dreading the possibility of fighting one another. Then, Meilin leans closer, and they share a kiss. It’s cut short by the sounds of battle. They head back to camp, and realize that the Oathbound have ambushed them. They retreat, and run. Rollan grabs the bag with Tarik’s cloak and see through Essix's eyes and finds that the Oathbound did not pursue them becuase they’re searching for the Heart of the Land in the supply bags they left behind. He also discovers that they’re being hunted by an entire army.
Meanwhile, Princess Song is trying to be Empress-like, making Brunhild immensely uncomfortable, ignoring her until she called her by 'Your Majesty', instead of 'Your Highness'. She goes back to the council room. Her father’s blood has soaked into the wood of the table. They start arguing about what to do with the Greencloaks, but the leaders quickly grow too angry to continue and walk out of the meeting. Princess Song goes to Olvan’s cell and tries to probe him for information, but he’s petrified and unable to move.
Worthy complains about being hungry. Conor tells them of his dream of being on a tower, when big wave hits him. Anka thinks it could be the tall, pillar-like island in the distance: the Heart of the Land. The Four scale the cliff in a storm while Anka and Worthy guard the sandy bridge to the island. While climbing, Rollan falls but is saved by Tarik's cloak as it snags on a rock. Once they are on the flat part on the top of the island, Rollan activates something by placing the Heart of the Land into a Gila monster-shaped stone. Kikimi, a spirit, materializes and speaks to Rollan, who’s the only one that can hear her because he’s from her homeland, Amaya. She was the summoner of the Gila monster, and she reveals the Heart. The stone reveals it’s true appearance; an amber rock on a chain with a Gila monster shape inside. Kikimi fades and they look over the edge of the cliff to see the army of Oathbound.
They climb back down the cliffside to meet a losing battle. Anka is hiding behind Worthy, who’s holding his own until the sand beneath him turns to quicksand and sucks him up. Meilin goes to help him, but she gets sucked up by the quicksand, too. Rollan comes to help, having realized that the Gila monster has power over the earth and uses the amulet to spit them out of the sand and take the Oathbound off of their feet.
Meanwhile, Abeke tries to kill Wikam, but he continuously shirks her arrows. Conor and Briggan try to fight, but they’re overwhelmed. Anka uses her basic fighting skills to attack them. Rollan is attacked by a hummingbird and attacked by the Oathbound. They shove him over, and he loses grip on the Heart, but Essix quickly snatches it. Somebody puts him in a headlock, but Anka rescues him. They are almost forced to surrender when Worthy yowls for reinforcements. About twelve Redcloaks come, and Rollan makes a tunnel for him, the other Greencloaks, and Worthy to crawl into. The tunnel collapses behind them as the way is burrowed before them. Meilin feels a soft and furry rope touch her cheek twice, so she grabs it and yanks. Worthy yowls, and Meilin has a sneaking suspicion of what it could be.
The ground spits them out somewhere, and they all get up. Worthy suddenly feels the pain from four wounds at once, and thinks he is dying of relatively shallow cuts. Jhi gives him healing from panda spit, and he feels better. The other five talk about what happened at the top of the cliff while Anka and Worthy were guarding the small sand bridge. Finally, Worthy gets up, puts on a spare mask, and tells them about the Wildcat’s Claw, a legendary sword from Eura. The book ends with Worthy's tail being revealed to the rest of the group, surprising them all.
- Sora, Ngozi, and Jean-Luc first appear in Chapter 13 : Ambush. These characters were made by the Spirit Animals community via polls on the Scholastic Spirit Animals forums.
- On the cover, Heart of the Land is the only book so far that shows Essix with a speckled belly.
- Scholastic E-Book Catalog
- Heart of the Land, pg 20
- Heart of the Land, pg 27
- Heart of the Land, pg 41
- Heart of the Land, pg 35
- Heart of the Land, pg 43
- Heart of the Land, pg 58
- Heart of the Land, pg 185