An advanced space-faring species becomes stranded on a primeval planet
The elves of Elfquest are not strictly speaking the creatures of folklore known as ‘elves’, but are actually the descendants of highly advanced humanoid alien beings, known as the High Ones.
The original planet of the High Ones’ race (far far distant from the planet upon which the Elfquest story takes place) is being used up by overpopulation, and so the High Ones leave that planet using advanced technology to find new planets on which to live, and also to explore the larger universe. Generations later, some return to their original homeworld and stay there to help ease it through the last of its life. While doing so, they awaken their latent psychic/magical powers, and over time they develop those powers to the point of being able to send their spirits out of their bodies, and becoming immortal. At this point they could have chosen to abandon the physical world altogether and exist only as spirits, but instead they choose to remain attached to their bodies and to the physical world.
Eventually they decide to leave the now-dead planet to once again explore the larger universe, and they journey into space in many different space-vessels controlled entirely by their psychic powers. They take with them the two last surviving animal species of their homeworld, a bug-like species and an ape-like species, which both eventually evolve through the close contact with the High Ones on the vessels into immortal creatures: Preservers and Trolls. The High Ones are able to adapt to any planet by shape-shifting, and explore many new planets in this way.
After journeying to many different worlds over a huge span of time, the High Ones in one of the vessels desire to find and reunite with other High Ones, their 'fellow wanderers.' They eventually discover some possible signs of other High Ones on a two-mooned planet, on which humans live. They decide to explore this planet, called Abode, during the planet’s medieval time period. These High Ones assume the form of beings called ‘elves’ that they have seen depicted in the human’s medieval art and architecture, to make themselves more relatable to the humans. They also change the shape of their vessel to look like a beautiful palace similar to the structures created by the humans.
However, the trolls by this time have become resentful of being servants to the High Ones. They rebel during the vessel’s descent and cause a mishap which disrupts the controls of their vessel and causes the High Ones to make a disastrous forced landing far earlier in time, in the paleolithic period. When they land, the High Ones find that their psychic powers are greatly weakened on Abode. The High Ones’ inability to communicate quickly with the pre-historic, cave-dwelling humans, as well as their inability to rely on their magic, causes a catastrophic misunderstanding that brings on a massacre of the High Ones and drives the survivors away from their palace-shaped “spaceship.”
Many of the High Ones are slaughtered by the humans who see the palace-vessel land, and many more die in the unfamiliar environment. Now permanently trapped in elfin bodies and separated in the chaos, several different elfin tribes are begun over the next millennia by the scattered High Ones on Abode and their descendants.
Some magical powers are retained in some descendents of the High Ones on Abode. These include telepathy (“sending”), tree-shaping, rock-shaping, healing, fire-starting, spectral projection, and gliding (a limited form of flying).
Go to the next section