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).
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