Elfquest is the creation of Wendy and Richard Pini. It is a long-running and award-winning series of independent fantasy comics and graphic novels (and some spin-off novels and games). This is a synopsis of the entire Elfquest saga as it has been revealed so far, to tie all of the various Elfquest stories together into a continuous whole, and for a quick reference of the major events throughout the saga.
Here is a portrait of some key characters. Click here for more characters.
Here is a shorter synopsis of the core Elfquest saga, for those who don't want to go into the detail of each separate section. (This section is 7,000 words; the other sections total 38,000+ words.)
Arrival of the High Ones on Abode
A race of immortal humanoid beings with strong psychic (magical) powers abandon their dead homeworld to explore the universe, using their powers to control their space vessels and shapeshifting to adapt to the different planets they visit. They bring the last surviving species, trolls and preservers, with them on their vessels.
The beings on one vessel shape-shift into elven form and make their vessel look like a palace in order to relate to the medieval humans living on a two-mooned planet they want to visit (later named Abode). But as their vessel begins to land, the trolls, who no longer want to serve them, cause the vessel to go off-course in time and land in the paleolithic period of the planet. Their magic is much weaker on that planet, and many of the elves (later called the High Ones) are slaughtered by the primitive humans and many more die in the unfamiliar environment. The trolls run away. Unable to return to the palace vessel, permanently trapped in elfin bodies and separated in the chaos, several distinct elfin groups form over the millennia. Some powers are retained, including telepathy (“sending”), tree-shaping, rock-shaping, healing, fire-starting, spectral projection, and gliding (a limited form of flying).
In one group of newly scattered elves, an elf named Timmain shape-shifts into a wolf to hunt for food. She remains in wolf form, mates with a native wolf and bears a child who is half-elf and half-wolf: Timmorn Yellow-Eyes. After bringing Timmorn to the elves to raise him, Timmain disappears.
Timmorn brings the wolf pack and the elf tribe together, sires elf children who have wolf and elf genes, and thus begins the forest-dwelling tribe known as Wolfriders: ferocious hunter/warriors who are closely allied with wolves. The Wolfriders are the main characters in the Elfquest saga. Timmorn's direct descendants serve as chiefs of the tribe over the centuries. Over time, the Wolfriders move around to many different forest homes, and away from the now-frozen lands surrounding the Palace. At one point a group of Wolfriders breaks away from the others and becomes the "Go-Backs," a tribe which tries to find and reclaim the Palace of the High Ones.
Fire and Flight
The Wolfriders have many conflicts over the millenia with nomadic tribal humans who believe that their god wants them to kill the elf "demons." In the worst conflict, the humans are prompted by their fanatical shaman to burn down their entire forest in an attempt to wipe out the Wolfriders. The Wolfrider's chief at this time is Cutter, their eleventh chief, who is only in his twenties (Wolfriders live for hundreds of years). Cutter is the central figure in Elfquest.
The Wolfriders seek refuge with a group of trolls who live underground, and ask the trolls to guide them through their tunnels to a new forest home. The resentful trolls, however, trick them and lead them to an opening onto a desert instead, and then cause a cave-in behind them so that they are trapped. They have no choice but to go out into the desert. They travel the desert for a grueling three days before they discover an oasis village of dark-skinned elves. Cutter "recognizes" the elf maiden Leetah, who is the healer of the Sun Village. Recognition is the only way that elves can reproduce; it draws two genetically compatible elves together with an irresistible need to mate and an instant soul-level connection. Leetah is repulsed by the "barbaric" Cutter (she can see the wolf in his soul) and resists the recognition. Her jealous lovemate Rayek challenges Cutter for the right to "woo" her. He loses, and leaves the Sun Village. As Leetah gets to know Cutter and the Wolfriders better, she decides to accept the recognition, and she and Cutter become lifemates. They bear twins, a "wolfish" girl Ember and a "mystical" boy Suntop, and eventually come to love each other deeply.
The Forbidden Grove
Six years later, a small human family discovers the Sun Village, and Cutter concludes that no place is safe from humans. He decides to go on a quest to find more groups of elves for strength in numbers. He is accompanied only by his best friend Skywise and their two wolves. They return to their burned down forest home (called "The Holt.") They are captured by three trolls, and learn from the troll Picknose that Cutter's sword New Moon contains a key to "treasure." After escaping from the trolls, Cutter is bitten by a rabid squirrel and during a fevered hallucination he stumbles into a camp of two lone humans, who are kind and heal him, much to the elves' surprise. The female is from a human tribe who worships "bird spirits" who look similar to Cutter and Skywise but taller. This is their first clue to the existence of other elves, and the humans point the way to the "bird spirit" dwelling. To get there they enter an ancient forest which is filled with cocoons of all sizes. They come across an enormous cocoon and Cutter quickly opens it after thinking that he smells his family; it is in fact Leetah and the twins.
She tells them that after they left, Savah (the Sun Village "shaman") had a vision of an "evil" which she imparted to Suntop before her spirit permanently left her body, and she told Suntop to find Cutter and warn him. The Wolfriders who accompanied Leetah and the twins got separated when they shot down a large bird and were subsequently attacked by what looked like elves riding giant birds, and Cutter's family escaped into the woods. After Leetah explains all this to Cutter and Skywise, they are greeted by a small, winged humanoid being, and discover that the cocoons are made by these creatures, who are preservers who have lived in that forest for centuries to "preserve" food for the elves they used to live with. They set out to find the scattered Wolfriders, accompanied by one preserver named Petalwing.
Captives of Blue Mountain
As they come to the base of Blue Mountain, where the "bird spirits" live, they find some Wolfriders as well as the human tribe of spirit-worshipers, who give them entry into Blue Mountain. Inside, they have a brief scuffle with some of the mountain elves, who call themselves Gliders, are very tall (like Savah) and can "glide" through the air. The Glider named Winnowill is cruel, and has been torturing the Wolfrider (Strongbow) who shot down the fledgling, but she is overpowered and brings Cutter before Lord Voll, the official leader of the Gliders, who is a firstborn of the High Ones. Voll agrees to release Strongbow in exchange for meeting Cutter's children, since the Gliders stopped recognizing centuries ago and have been "festering" in the mountain, immortal and childless.
Voll then offers to let them stay as guests, but Winnowill fears that they will rekindle Voll's ancient dream to find the Palace of the High Ones. To try to force them to leave, she has some Gliders attack the Wolfriders, and kidnaps Suntop. Suntop discovers that she is the evil one who captured Savah's spirit, and he sends his spirit out through Winnowill to try to find Savah. Strongbow wounds her in the chase to rescue Suntop, and she is weakened enough that Savah and Suntop's spirits go free. Leetah manages to corner Winnowill and attempts to heal her body and her twisted mind, but Winnowill chooses instead to jump off a tall ledge to escape. She calls out to her half-elf half-troll son Two-Edge to help her.
After Winnowill's disappearance, Voll is told of her cruelty, and he meets Petalwing. He reveals that the Preservers (whom Winnowill had sent away long ago) know how to get to the Palace of the High Ones, and he invites the Wolfriders to come with him to find it. They decide not to, however, weary of questing. Voll traps Cutter and his family by offering to give them a ride on the giant birds but then not setting them down, forcing all the Wolfriders to follow on their wolves as Voll leads them toward the Palace. Voll shares a vision of the Palace with all of them, which makes them eager to find it despite their anger. They come to an arctic land and they can all sense the Palace's aura. But suddenly Voll and his bird are killed in flight by a huge spear shot from the ground. The Gliders all fly away with Voll's body, and the Wolfriders are left in the snow, where they are attacked by warrior trolls. They fight a savage battle, during which One-Eye is killed and Cutter is badly hurt. When hope seems lost, elves riding reindeer come to their aid and fend off the trolls.
These new elves are the Go-Backs, who under their chieftess Kahvi have been trying to recover the Palace but are at war with the trolls who live in the mountain range between them and the Palace. Leetah heals Cutter with aid from an elf who turns out to be Rayek. Two-Edge appears to Cutter and tells him that he can lead the elves straight into the heart of the troll kingdom, where they can defeat the trolls and finally get to the Palace. The elves agree to try this, and on the way, they free three wild wolves who then accompany them. They also come upon the trolls who used to live underneath the Holt, who are now slaves of the troll king Guttlekraw.
The elves help free them, and Cutter offers their leader Picknose all the "treasure" his sword holds the key to, in exchange for help in the battle against Guttlekraw's trolls. But the treasure turns out to be elf armor that Two-Edge, a master smith, has forged. Two-Edge tries unsuccessfully to separate the elves from Picknose's trolls; he has been orchestrating this battle between the races so that he can align himself with whichever race wins it. The battle ensues in the throne room. Guttlekraw and his trolls are afraid that if the elves regain the palace they will rule over the trolls as they did in the High One's time. Guttlekraw is killed and his army defeated, Picknose declares himself the new king, and the elves' passage to the palace of the High Ones is now open.
Once the elves and some of the trolls go inside the Palace, one of the three wild wolves that had been freed from the troll pit starts acting strangely, and suddenly transforms into Timmain, the High One. Timmain realizes that almost 10,000 years have passed since she first shape-changed into a wolf. She tells them the Palace is the resting place for the spirits of all dead elves. Cutter asks her if she can explain to them the story of the High Ones and where they originally came from, which none of the elves know. Timmain takes them to a room which holds what she calls the Scroll of Colors, a magical spinning scroll which acts as a sort of movie screen, displaying to them the entire history of the High Ones while she narrates. She concludes by saying that the Wolfriders have a special significance because they alone “share blood with beasts born of this world. It was my gift to my son. He was the first of us to have the right to call the land his own. If you choose, Wolfriders, you too have that right—and none can take it from you.”
After hearing the story, the elves and trolls have mixed reactions. The Wolfriders decide to settle in a new forest holt in the Forbidden Grove. The Go-Backs decide to stay where they are, as do the trolls, who can now live in peace with the Go-Backs. Rayek decides to live with Timmain and Ekuar in the Palace to try to find a way to make it fly again.
Siege at Blue Mountain
Three years have passed since the elves reclaimed the Palace of the High Ones. The Wolfriders live secretly in the "Forbidden Grove," home of the Preservers. Winnowill is now Lord of the Gliders in nearby Blue Mountain and the Wolfriders know they must stay hidden from her. Winnowill keeps all except the Chosen Eight in a deep sleep and uses their power to control the Great Egg (a magical sculpture in Blue Mountain very similar to the Scroll of Colors). She wants the Preservers to wrap the Gliders up so they can sleep eternally and she can more easily harness their power for the Egg, and dispatches the Chosen Eight to find the Preservers. Skywise allows Aroree, one of the Chosen Eight (and his one-time lover), into the Wolfriders' hidden Holt when she says she wants to escape from Winnowill and live with the Wolfriders. But when Aroree sees Windkin, the gliding baby of Tyldak (a Glider) and Dewshine (a Wolfrider), she kidnaps him to give to Winnowill in exchange for her freedom. Dewshine infiltrates Blue Mountain to rescue her cub, but Winnowill knows Dewshine's soul name and controls her with it. Aroree escapes Blue Mountain and tells the Wolfriders of Dewshine and Windkin's fate.
During all this, Cutter has been on his way to Blue Mountain with his human friends, planning to elicit the aid of the humans who worship the Gliders in overthrowing Winnowill. Skywise finds him and confesses his mistake. They go to Blue Mountain to try to rescue Dewshine and Windkin.
In the Frozen Mountains near the Palace of the High Ones, the Go-Back chief Kahvi gives birth to Rayek's child Venka but hides her from Rayek, wanting to protect Venka from his domineering nature. Rayek has been living in the Palace and decides to visit the Gliders to ask for their help in getting the Palace to fly again. He gets sidetracked into the Forbidden Grove, where he convinces the Wolfriders (under Treestump while Cutter is away) that he and other elves who have power against Winnowill would be able to subdue her together, and they go to Blue Mountain to try. However, Winnowill easily manipulates Rayek and then sends him in a magical sleep to join the other sleeping Gliders.
Winnowill orders the human tribe that worships the Gliders to find and destroy the forest-dwelling "demonic" elves. Dart, a young Wolfrider who has been in the Sun Village to train hunters, has been sent back to the Holt by Savah, who senses that the Wolfriders are in danger, and arrives with his hunters just in time to help the Wolfriders defeat the humans. Not all the humans believe that the Wolfriders are "demons," and one young human, Geoki, befriends Dart.
The Wolfriders go to Blue Mountain and join the elves and humans already there in to trying to overthrow Winnowill. But once inside, Blue Mountain starts transforming into a huge floating mountain-sized egg. Winnowill plans to take the egg-ship into space; with its magic she will first kill all elves with 'tainted' wolf blood, then gather all the other elves to the ship and keep them sleeping forever in Preserver cocoons to control the ship. The elves, however, are able to subdue Winnowill and free Windkin. Petalwing has wrapped the weak Winnowill in wrapstuff, and Tyldak grabs her cocooned body and flies off with it.
Everyone except the sleeping Gliders makes it safely outside before the Egg-ship collapses, killing the Gliders. One of the Chosen Eight survived and begins attacking everyone outside. Before being killed he manages to kill Dart and Geoki. Even in death their hands are clasped and will not come apart; Leetah is able to bring them back to life. The human tribe who had worshipped the Gliders vows to be friends with elves and sets off to look for a new place to live, taking Door (a Glider who was rescued from the mountain) with them to care for him and honor him as the last living Glider.
Rayek departs to guide the Gliders' spirits to the Palace where the spirits of dead elves are meant to go. He also hopes that the Gliders' combined power will be enough to make the Palace fly again. The other elves return to the Forbidden Grove and celebrate their freedom from the threat of Winnowill. Tyldak drops Winnowill off on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean and leaves her there after freeing her from the Preserver's cocoon.
Kings of the Broken Wheel
Rayek returns to the Palace of the High Ones with the spirits of the dead Gliders inside of him, giving him almost unlimited magical power. He sees the Go-Backs fighting with the trolls, and feeling disgusted with them, uses the power to attack them all, not realizing that he could have killed his baby daughter (whom he doesn't know exists) when he destroys the Go-Back's lodge. He creates a huge chasm between the Go-Backs and the Palace, saying that they are "not worthy" of it.
When the Gliders' spirits enter the Palace it regains the ability to fly, and Rayek flies it to the Forbidden Grove, the forest holt of the Wolfriders. Cutter's young son Suntop has recently been hearing a strange continual mental cry for help inside his mind, and Rayek offers to use the Palace to travel to its source. Everyone in the Forbidden Grove—elves, trolls, wolves and Preservers—decide to first travel to the desert sun village of Sorrow's End where old friends and kin are reunited. Most of the elves decide to stay in the Sun Village, while some decide to join the Palace quest.
Rayek then flies the Palace to a land far to the west, across the ocean, which is presumably the source of the cry, but they find that no one has ever lived there. The High One Timmain realizes that the cry is actually the cry of the High Ones during their accidental landing on the planet, and the place where Rayek has taken the Palace is actually the place where the High Ones first intended to land before they were thrown off-course. Rayek then wants to take the Palace far forward in time to meet the High Ones as they are descending, so that he can prevent the accident which caused them to land in the wrong place and the wrong time. The others are all against this, because it would mean that all elves, trolls and Preservers who are not in the Palace at the time of its merger with the original Palace will have never existed and will in essence be wiped out. Cutter decides that he will have to kill Rayek if Rayek does not change his mind about this plan.
However, the evil elf Winnowill is dwelling in the ocean nearby, and sends to Rayek, encouraging him to carry out his plan immediately, saying that she will be waiting for him eons into the future. Rayek decides to do this without anyone's consent. With him in the Palace are Leetah, Suntop, Ember, Skywise, Ekuar and Picknose's daughter Trinket—but all the other elves and trolls are outside the Palace when he causes it to travel to a distant future time, and they watch in shock and horror as it disappears. Expecting at any moment that their lives will suddenly be snuffed out, they make a home for themselves in the nearby forest.
The Glider Aroree and the Go-Back chief Kahvi (and her baby daughter Venka) travel together to try to find the Wolfriders and Rayek. The meet Tyldak, who has been searching for Winnowill, and after the baby Venka blocks Winnowill's sending powers from dragging them into the ocean to their deaths, they find and decide to stay with the Wolfriders, who are now living in the forest below where Rayek had originally taken the Palace.
As hundreds of years pass, Cutter and the Wolfriders keep to the Way. Clearbrook and Treestump become lifemates. Redlance and Nightfall have a daughter named Tyleet, and the children Venka and Tyleet grow up together. Venka guards the elves' holt from the prying sendings of Winnowill who is trying to find them. Cutter's grief over the loss of his lifemate, children and best friend never lessens. He keeps track of the passing of time by cutting marks into a tree, essentially abandoning the “now” of wolf-thought. When Cutter's wolf-friend dies, the immortal wolf-High One Timmain becomes his new wolf-friend.
Far into the future, Rayek and the Palace appear as a mountainous crag on top of a high cliff overlooking a medieval human city. Ekuar can tell that the rock there is about 10,000 years older than it was; the mortal Wolfriders could not have lived that long. Rayek finds Winnowill living in the ocean nearby. He brings the Palace to her and they prepare to gather all of the surviving immortal 'pure-blooded' elves to the Palace before it reunites with its original self when it appears in the sky at dawn. Rayek manages to magically stun Winnowill with the hope that Leetah can finish healing her. But Winnowill awakens and uses her water-moving magic to forcibly fling Rayek, Leetah and Skywise into the wall of the Palace. They begin to drown, but are saved by three elves who have just arrived on the scene: Venka, Zhantee and Aroree. Rayek realizes immediately that Venka is his daughter. They go after Winnowill, who plans to flood the Palace with water and kill everyone inside it (Cutter's children, Ekuar, and Picknose's daughter Trinket). Rayek and Venka render Winnowill unconscious and leave her on the ocean floor as her gills would keep her from surviving in the open air of the Palace.
To Rayek's great surprise, he finds all the Wolfriders and other elves and trolls gathered outside the the Palace. Cutter had decided to turn his back on “The Way” and be preserved outside of time in a Preservers' cocoon so that he would live to see his family again. The Wolfriders, not wanting to stay without their chief, had agreed to do the same. All of their wrapped bodies were faithfully guarded by Picknose and his large troll family for the thousands of years it took for Rayek to reappear with the Palace. Rayek begs them to all come inside the Palace so they will survive the merging. But they all refuse to choose survival while all the other elves and trolls on the planet are wiped out. Venka tells Rayek that she has the power to stop him from carrying out his plan, but appeals to his conscience to make the right decision. Realizing that by carrying out his plan he will wipe out every living elf there is (since none of them are now in the Palace with him as he had planned), Rayek does not go through with it. They all watch as the original vessel of the High Ones appears in the sky and then quickly vanishes.
The newly united elves make their home in the nearby forest again. The medieval humans in the area are no longer superstitious and regard the elves, whom they have never seen in person, as 'forest folk' rather than spirits. Suntop plans to go back to the Sun Village to be taught by Savah, and Rayek and Venka begin a mission to help Winnowill heal.
Recently awakened from their 10,000-year sleep, Cutter and his tribe are happily reunited with Leetah, Skywise, Ember, Suntop, and Ekuar (and not so happily reunited with Rayek). The Wolfriders still live in what they call “Thorny Mountain Holt,” with the Palace hidden in the ocean nearby and Rayek living in the Palace with Ekuar. A deeply depressed and powerless Rayek keeps to the Palace and reflects on everything he did, especially the mistakes he made. In his loss of confidence he has also lost his magical powers at least temporarily. Only his growing relationship with Venka, the daughter he never knew he had, allows him to take the first steps toward “awakening," accomplished largely through the stalking and killing of a buck. Yet most of the other Wolfriders, still despising him for what he did to Cutter, refuse to share his kill.
Six years later, Rayek has regained his magic powers and is able to make the Palace rise up out of the ocean and fly again. Leetah, Suntop, Venka and Shen Shen decide to travel to the Sun Village. Ember, now a teenager, very much wants to go with them, but Cutter does not want to lose his entire family to the Palace again and forbids her to go. However, as the Palace is getting ready to depart, Ember rides her wolf Choplicker straight into the Palace entrance just before it takes off and before Cutter can stop her. She meets Mender, the healer son of Wolfriders who had stayed in the Sun Village, and they become lovemates. Suntop stays in the Sun Village to get more magical training from Savah. Leetah, Ember, Mender, Venka, Dewshine and Scouter travel in the Palace back to the Thorny Mountain Holt.
A couple of years later, Cutter is still suffering greatly from what Rayek did, and needs a fight to start the healing process, so in an arena provided by the trolls, Rayek allows Cutter to beat him up, after which Cutter and Rayek are at least able to meet one another on neutral ground.
Winnowill manages to free herself from her watery prison in the Palace, and attempts to fly off with it. But Venka and Rayek stop her, and in the battle for control the Palace crashes into the mountains and disintegrates into innumerable crystal shards in human territory. The crash is witnessed by humans, whose leader, Grohmul Djun, tells them to collect the magic shards. Winnowill shape-shifts to look human, and ingratiates herself as "Venovel" with the Djun in an attempt to access the Palace's Scroll of Colors which he has put in his library.
Cutter decides to take a band of elves to recover the shards from the Djun's Citadel. His daughter Ember leads the rest of the tribe in a search of a new holt. Cutter and his warriors enter the human city through the trolls' underground tunnels, and two of the trolls join them in the hope of finding treasure. Rayek, Venka, Aroree and an elf with shielding powers named Zhantee manage to get to the Scroll of Colors but are thwarted by Winnowill and the Djun, and Venka gets lost in the Citadel. While the rest are trying to enter the Citadel, the Djun has Winnowill transform a pack of dogs into monsters he calls Peace Hounds, to keep his people subdued and also to try to find and kill the infiltrating elves.
In the Citadel, Rayek searches for Venka, who is being tended by Two-Edge. The elf-troll is falling in love with the elf maiden and shows off his work to her, including the horrible “birds,” machines used for public executions of 'rebels'--one of which a young human woman named Shuna witnesses. Shuna is so disgusted that she starts recruiting people to fight the Djun. A Hound scents her rebelliousness, but some elves are nearby and destroy the Hound and rescue Shuna. The elves and Shuna begin to kill more Hounds, emboldening the humans to rebel against the oppressive Djun, and the Djun orders Shuna's capture.
Two-Edge decides to help the elves regain the palace and destroy the Djun. He telepathically contacts Cutter, and the elves converge on the Citadel. The Djun has captured Shuna and is about to execute her, but the elves rescue her. The elf Zhantee is killed, but his spirit reveals to Cutter that only Timmain can turn the shards back into the Palace. Cutter sends Aroree on a mission to find Ember's group of elves and bring Timmain (who went with Ember in her wolf form) back to the human city.
In the Citadel, Winnowill subdues Rayek and enters his mind with the intent of learning how to reconstruct the Palace. While Rayek and Winnowill engage in a spirit-battle, Venka watches over them. Cutter's group makes their way toward Venka, guided by her sending. They have to pass through the throne room, where the Djun and his guards attack them. Two-Edge steps in and shuts the door on the guards, while the preservers wrap the Djun in wrapstuff. The elves, trolls and Shuna make their way to the shard chamber where Rayek lies near death while Winnowill's spirit torments his. Mender begins to heal Rayek, releasing his spirit from Winnowill's grasp, while Venka and Strongbow prevent her spirit from returning to its body.
Shuna finds that she cannot kill the Djun while he is helpless in preserver webbing. She runs to find Cutter and warn him that the Djun and his guards are on their way to the shards room. When they enter the room, Rayek renders the humans unconscious with one blast of magic power. Ekuar, Skywise, Aroree and Timmain suddenly appear through a tunneled hole in the floor, along with the other half of the scroll. They set the scroll up and Timmain starts to shape-shift back into an elf to help them restore the palace, but as she does so, Winnowill's spirit returns to its body and Winnowill and Timmain begin a magical battle. The humans start to wake, and Ekuar traps them with rock covering their hands and feet, but the Djun escapes his trap and makes to attack Venka. Two-Edge saves Venka and mortally wounds the Djun.
Winnowill, realizing that Timmain is stronger and will overcome her, decides to let herself die so that her spirit can be free to control the shards. She lets the Djun kill her, but as her spirit flies from its body, Rayek captures it in his own mind and holds it there. Timmain completes her shape-shift and the elves restore the palace with their combined magic powers. Torn from the Citadel, the shards form a cocoon-vessel around the elves, the trolls and Shuna, and the Citadel begins to collapse while the fires from the humans' revolt rage all around it.
The Palace Restored
The cocoon-vessel (which was the palace's original form) flies into the night sky, guided by Timmain. She restores it to a palace-like shape and flies it to where Ember's group of elves is located; Skywise has told Cutter that they need help. Ember's group of Wolfriders has been staying at a place called Howling Rock, where they met a lone elf named Teir who is able to magically commune with animals, and he and Ember became romantically involved. But at Howling Rock the elves are contending with mutated creatures that had been formed when Winnowill remotely invaded Teir's mind to use his magical power to control animals. Winnowill had created the monsters with the mission of killing all wolf-blooded elves. Leetah is able to free and heal Teir. Then the Palace of the The High-Ones materialises, and Ember leaves with the rest of the Wolfriders but Teir stays behind so as not to endanger them by attracting Winnowill's monsters to them telepathically.
The Palace then picks up the elves in the Sun Village and in the Forevergreen forest. During the time of the Shards war, the Sun Village was attacked by humans, and the villagers all went to live underground, except for a few elves (including Suntop, Dart and Windkin) who traveled to the Forevergreen forest to see if it could be a new home. This forest is where the ancient human tribe who had worshipped the Gliders had ended up living after leaving Blue Mountain, along with the Glider named Door, who became a tyrannical leader of these humans. In a confrontation between them and the Sun Village elves, Door burned down the forest.
Cutter's elves, Ember's elves, the Sun Village elves and the Forevergreen elves are all now gathered in the Palace (along with the two trolls and the human Shuna). Rayek realizes he can no longer be 'master of the Palace' now that he must use all his strength to keep Winnowill's spirit entrapped inside himself. That honor now falls to Timmain, Suntop and Skywise. They join minds and send out a call to all known elves, so that any elves who wish to can join them in the Palace.
The Palace then flies to the Frozen Mountains, where they find a new generation of Go-Backs. Venka, Two-Edge, Aroree and the Go-Backs decide to go on a search for Venka's mother Kahvi and the Glider Tyldak, who had been traveling together during the 10,000 year wait and whose whereabouts are unknown.
Ember wishes to return to Howling Rock to continue tracking down whatever of Winnowill's twisted magical creatures may still be lurking there or in the Djun's former city. Her lovemate Mender the healer decides to go with her, as do the two trolls Flam and Drub, and some of the other elves: Scouter, Dewshine, Tyleet, Pike, Krim, and Yun.
Rayek decides to venture off on his own, his life's only purpose now being to keep Winnowill's malevolent spirit from escaping his body. Despite everything, he still loves Winnowill. Ekuar alone accompanies him out of the palace.
The Palace then takes a short journey into space, to Skywise's immense delight and Cutter's horror. The human Shuna is overwhelmed by all of the elves and their immense power, and stays hidden in a corner, until Leetah and Tyleet find her and comfort her. Cutter and Leetah invite Shuna to live with them, and Shuna readily agrees to do so.
Cutter, Leetah, Shuna and the Wolfriders return in the Palace to the now-regrown forest which had been the Wolfriders' home for centuries but that the humans had burned down shortly after the death of Cutter's father Bearclaw. They plan to rebuild the Holt there on top of the remains of the ancient Father Tree, of which Redlance carries one seed, and return to living by the Way and the “now” of wolf thought. The Palace will stay hidden (disguised) there till it is needed again. Suntop, Skywise, Timmain and the Sun Villagers all plan to live in the Palace, at least for the time being. When Cutter's son Suntop destroys a pool of bad magic in the forest that was preventing a new Father Tree from growing, Cutter gives Suntop a new name: Sunstream.
Sunstream has been wrapped in a Preserver cocoon for three years, absorbing magical power so he can fulfill his dream of being able to Send to any elves anywhere in the world and connect them all to each other. Timmain has been training the Sun Folk in how to control and use the Palace's magic.
Far away from the Holt dwells a tribe of sea elves called the Wavedancers, who live on a coral reef called Crest Point. Within his cocoon, Sunstream's spirit often leaves his body (astral projection), and in one of these times, he encounters the spirit of a Wavedancer named Brill, whose spirit often leaves her body unbidden when she is asleep. Their two spirits spend much time together and fall in love, and suddenly Recognize each other. Sunstream leaves his cocoon, much taller than when he went into it.
Cutter's elves fly the Palace to Crest Point. One of the Wavedancers, Surge, is very fearful that Sunstream's elves will capture them in the Palace, because of a Wavedancer called the Broken One who had been tortured by Winnowill who rambles about being captured in a "pah-lass." Surge uses his water magic to prevent all but four of the Wavedancers from entering the Palace when it arrives. After Sunstream and Brill go off by themselves, Surge manages to drag Cutter into the ocean. Cutter is saved from drowning by the spirit of Zhantee who shields him in the water. The Wavedancer chief Snakeskin confronts his father Surge and they battle under the water, and Surge accidentally destroys the coral reef when he comes to his senses and redirects a water current that would have killed Snakeskin. Snakeskin tries to rescue Cutter and the Broken One but is hit by falling coral rock. Surge rescues them but is killed in the process.
Over the next few days, the Broken One is restored to his original elfin body as his old self, Reef. The Wavedancers grieve for Surge and the loss of their coral reef home. Snakeskin is able to commune with Surge's spirit and they are reconciled. Sunstream has his body temporarily re-shaped to be able to breathe underwater while he spends time with Brill. He and Brill ultimately decide to live apart but commune and visit each other through the Palace. The Wavedancers depart to seek a new sea home. The human Shuna accepts a marriage proposal from her friend Ikopek, who had fallen in love with her when she first visited his human tribe. The elves celebrate all the new unions and alliances in the Holt.
Ember and her band of Wolfriders manage to stamp out all of Winnowill's monsters, then search for a permanent forest holt, still separate from the other Wolfriders. Ember's time as chief holds several challenges. For many seasons she chafes in the shadow of her legendary father Cutter. She even confronts challenge from within her small band, and nearly dies as a result. But she is beloved by the tribe, and Teir's and her love for each other grows deeper. The tribe's main challenge is Angrif Djun, the human son of warlord Grohmul Djun, who nurtures a deep and festering hatred of the "elf-demons" and even sacrifices his own sister in his attempt to destroy them. His most subtle ploy involves a human bounty hunter named Lehrigen, whose tracking skills rival the elves' own, but this backfires when Lehrigen and Ember each discover the other to be worthy of honor and respect, and go their separate ways peacefully. After this, the tribe moves far away from the Djun clan and establishes a mountain forest holt that they are able to live in peacefully for three decades.
The story continues in The Final Quest, currently in publication!
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