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
The origin of a tribe of forest elves who are bonded with wolves
A female member of one group of the stranded High Ones, named Timmain, is able to retain her shape-shifting ability. To adapt to the harsh environment on the World of Two Moons, she shape-shifts into a wolf in order to hunt and bring food to her fellow elves so they will not starve, as the area around where the Palace landed becomes colder and colder during an Ice Age. She sinks very deeply into her wolf-form, very rarely changing back into an elf. In her wolf form, she eventually mates with a native wolf and bears a child who is half-elf and half-wolf: a stronger, more adapted offspring known as Timmorn Yellow-Eyes. After bringing the young Timmorn to the elves to raise him, Timmain disappears (HY 6-7, EQ 12).
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 who serve as mounts, hunting partners, and friends. As one story’s introduction says, “the bond is never one of master to beast of burden, but rather of brother to brother.” Over time, the Wolfriders move around to many different forest homes, and away from the now-frozen lands surrounding the Palace.
The Wolfriders are the main characters in the Elfquest saga. The Wolfriders have some basic psychic powers like telepathy, healing and plant manipulation. The descendants of Timmorn are no longer immortal because of the wolf blood they have inherited, but they are not aware of their mortality, because they can still live for many hundreds of years, and their harsh environment makes it unlikely that any of them would die of old age. Their wolf blood also makes it possible for them to have a limited telepathic communication with their ‘wolf-friends.’
The Wolfriders’ telepathic ability, and their great reliance on it rather than talking (because it is quieter and therefore safer during hunts or in dangerous situations), creates a need for each elf to have a ‘soul name:’ a private name that protects his soul from being telepathically invaded or violated by another. A Wolfrider is born with a soul name, and only those closest to him will ever know his soul name.
Due to a built-in genetic effect from their telepathic abilities, a male and female elf (any elves, not just Wolfriders) sometimes “Recognize,” a kind of psionic matchmaking effect that compels genetically compatible elves to mate in hopes of breeding strong children. Elves do not generally bear offspring outside of Recognition, although it does happen on rare occasions. Elves born outside Recognition are sometimes considered ‘inferior’ to those who were born as a result of Recognition. Recognition also often results in a lifelong pair-bonding between the Recognized elves known as “lifemating” if the elves are compatible with one another in temperament. When two Wolfriders Recognize, their soul names are involuntarily exchanged.
Timmorn bears children both in and outside of Recognition with many of the “pure-blooded" elves. He eventually takes his leave of the tribe as he wrestles internally with the two halves of himself: elf and wolf. In the end, he chooses to live in the “Now” of wolf thought, and is never seen by the Wolfriders again. His daughter Rahnee the She-Wolf (whose mother is Valloa who is also called Murrel) takes over the chieftainship after Timmorn disappears (BOTC 1).
After Rahnee dies, her son and youngest child Prey-Pacer (whose father is Zarhan Fastfire) becomes chief. Prey-Pacer bears a son outside of Recognition, named Swift-Spear, to his chosen lifemate Softfoot. Later, he bears a daughter Skyfire through Recognition to Wreath. Prey-Pacer chooses Swift-Spear, not Skyfire, as his successor to the chieftainship of the Wolfriders, to the dismay of some in the tribe who see Skyfire as more worthy of the chieftainship because she is a product of Recognition and therefore genetically superior (TS 4).
Go to the next section
Taken from the Elfquest.com Timeline
About 10,000 years before the Grand Quest, Savah and her family found the Sun Village at Sorrow’s End. Lord Voll and the Gliders move to Blue Mountain. Other elves disperse to other parts of the world of two moons.
Guttlekraw becomes king of the trolls. Ekuar and his rock-shaper companions Osek and Mekda find the Palace and are enslaved by Guttlekraw. Ice forces Guttlekraw and the rest of the trolls to move south, under the future Holt of the Wolfriders. Greymung rebels against Guttlekraw. Osek escapes through the Tunnel of Golden Light during the battle. Guttlekraw and his trolls return north. Greymung sends an unnamed troll off to search for rock-shapers. At the same time, Winnowill leaves Blue Mountain, comes across the troll, seduces him and gives birth to Two-Edge. She later kills the troll.
In Sorrow's End, about 600 years before the Grand Quest, Rayek is born to Jarrah and Ingen. Leetah is born to Suntoucher (Anatim) and Toorah twelve years later.
Go to the next section
Elfquest art copyright 2019 Warp Graphics, Inc. Elfquest, its logos, characters, situations, all related indicia, and their distinctive likenesses are trademarks of Warp Graphics, Inc. All rights reserved.