Think again, Christina. A generation is not the average lifetime of an individual but the average reproduction period. This would have been 20 to max. 30 years.
My bad - I misremembered that quote :D His exact words are;
"You've been here the span of five humans lives?"
and she said mere moments before;
"Perith was the first one I know. He had a son, and that son had a son. And from that man's son came Marish, the village elder who cares for me now."
So we have to count Marish as a full 60s, since he's an elder by the time Windkin and Wavecatcher run into his village.
But there's more! :D
Wavelet recounts how she came into her own plantshaping powers;
"After the battle, he (Perith) brought me here and raised me along with his other children. [...] But one day, when Perith's son was an old man, I found that I could make plants grow and bear fruit with a touch. Since that day, the village has called me Good Spirit of Plenty."
Now *that* takes me a step closer to figure out where everyone fits in the timeline! Let's see... Perith's child was an old man when her powers manifested. So that makes at least 60 years if he was born about the same time as her. But when she says "Perith was the first I've known. He had a son", it makes me think she was at least old enough to remember when Perith's child was born (Perith seemed quite young when he ran into her - I can easily imagine him being twenty-odd, though his sharp features make him appear older). So... if he sired his "son" (she speaks of other children too, but I think she means it metaphorically - as in that he was the human leader and raised her with the children *of the tribe*), say, twenty year after he found her - and she'd still be a pip, since the Tumble, Puffer and Moonmirror while older than Sunstream are considered to be children still - that'd make her around 80 when her powers manifested.
Now, of course, there will be earlier and later bloomers - Korafay's magic abilities became obvious mere hours after her birth (although one can argue that might have something to do with her father being so special, as well as with the closeness of a piece of the Palace). But I'm assuming it's fairly normal for a WaveDancer magic user, at roughly 100 years old, to get a first brush with their magic.
Wavelet looks like she's barely hit her teens in the flashback - so, considering she could be anything from 60 to 80, it makes sense that at 100 a WaveDancer could be considered a "youth", and a young adult at 200. (We'll have to see how fast Korafay develops in the 40 years of the Prologue, though she seems to have a head start in just about everything, so it wouldn't surprise me one bit if she looked older than her age. After all, her father would be a mere pip by WaveDancers standard, but his soul is much older and akin to a High One's so...)
What this tells me;
- Zephyr and his band can indeed be 200 when they left Crest Point - they're certainly adults, but "young" by tribes standard, and it would make perfect sense that the young generations sail off to look for a new, safer home - while the elders linger back, uncertain and disapproving. My bet is that Zephyr & co were young pips when Coral died, and Snakeskin was born later - that could be a few years or more or less a century.
- Redcrest was at least 100 by the time of Coral's death - as the one that took her to the sea was his FIRST boat. Maybe even 150/ish - I guess even for a magic user it'd take some training to go from first woodshaping attempts to the creation of a fleet of boats; I doubt he could do that overnight. If he was an average-late bloomer, he might have even been 200 which would make it plausible for Strand to be the long-haired elf pushing Coral's boat in the water.
- Darshek, Brill and Krill were all at the very least 100 years - or older - because they all looked grown up, and Darshek himself is later shown shaping the tip of a spear in stone. I believe Redcrest is slightly older than them (but not by far), and Strand may very well be the same age as them.
So a birth order and timeline would go roughly like this;
* Several centuries before OQ ("Wolfrider!"-era or earlier)
- The WaveDancers elders are born. There's no way to know who was born before who or just how many years before SABM, however the birth order should be roughly like this; Coral
are born (and again there's no telling who is older, although Salt is said to be the eldest living WaveDancer in "Turning Tide"
and "The Discovery"
). Some time later, Spray
, and possibly Pirn
are born (these three are lifemated to elders, but they might in fact have been younger than their partners). Then, some more time passes and Haze
* At least 100+ years before OQ
is born to an adult Coral
(at least 100+). Skimmer
and a third healer
(who lived to see Coral die, helped Snakeskin
to create a protective coral barrier around Crest Point and died some undetermined time later) are also born within this time, because 100 years later there are "three healers" at Crest Point
and two of them, at the very least, are Skimmer (the Broken One was said to be the "only one failure" she knew
) and Reef (Reef might have been an early bloomer - he looked very youthful in his flashback - so I'm pinning him down as being born 80/70 years before his run-in with Winnowill). Toward the end spectrum of these 100 years - the WaveDancers settle at Crest Point, from which Reef came when he met Winnowill
* Short after SABM #8
(possibly not even 100 years old at the time) runs into Winnowill
and is turned into the Broken One
* During the 9.000 years after Disappearance(KOTBW)
- The only elf whose birth we can pin down with some certainty is Skimback
, since he wasn't alive when Reef ran into Winnowill (he speaks of Reef's incident with the words; "The tale goes that he swam off alone...")
. My guess is that he was born within the first 1000 years the tribe spent at Crest Point (he does act in a big-brotherly way toward Snakeskin
, like he's older and wiser) and then there were a good 8000 years worth of stagnation - think Blue Mountain - before the tribe was blessed by "new spawnings"
. Failing that, he could be born in the last 1000 years of the disappearances, like Brill
and the others.
* About 9400 years after Disappearance
and (possibly) Zephyr
and maybe No-Ripple and Stormsong (if it's No-Ripple and Farbright looking over an injured male elf that Skimmer is healing in Surge's flashback - otherwise No-Ripple and Stormsong's births could have happened much further down the line, and the two elves in the panel might be Spine's parents... or No-Ripple's)
are born (might account for Crest Point having been the WaveDancers home "since only a few spawnings"
- a WaveDancer term for births, maybe? - when Coral died). Pirn dies
of unknown reasons - other than illness and killed by humans, because the WD still didn't know men at that time - when Darshek is just a baby
* About 9450 years after Disappearance
- Redcrest's plantshaping powers manifest
when he's already an elder (Wavecatcher calls him "old Redcrest")
. Compared to an average bloomer like Wavelet and early bloomers like Korafay
and (possibly) Reef
, he verges more toward Ahdri's end of the spectrum.
* About 9500 years after Disappearance
- Humans find Crest Point. Coral is killed
, and Haze and Farbright die
shortly after her funeral (all three of them were said to be "the first" elves killed by humans, so they probably died within very close distance. We know that Coral was the very first because an elf who looks like Haze and may be him is seen pushing her lifeless body in the waters - Farbright might as well be one of the shadows standing back at the funeral
. By this time, Darshek, Brill - and Krill, since they're twins -
as well as someone who looks an awful lot like either Zephyr or Strand
are all seen as adults.) Wavecatcher
are all born within 20 years or so before or after this event (Wavecatcher claims that Zephyr and the others knew little of the ocean beyond Crest Point
, indicating they were all born after the tribe settled there to begin with). Sandsparkle
, and Strand
if that's not him pushing Coral
's boat, are born some undetermined time after this (if the two shadows standing at Coral's funeral are Longfin and Shadowcrest
, it is very possible that she was already pregnant when Coral died).
* Between 9550-9886 years after Disappearance
- The third healer living at Crest Point when Reef
ran into Winnowill
dies of unknown causes (we know for certain that he helped Snakeskin grow the coral barrier around Crest Point
, and Skimmer was said to be the tribe's "only mature healer" when she died
, which appears to indicate that he predeceased her. An alternative might be that though ancient, his powers were nowhere near as great as hers, in which case he might have been killed in the same storm season as Skimmer
* Less than 9600 years after Disappearance
dies of unknown reasons, when Sandsparkle is only a pipling
* About 9700 years after Disappearance
- Zephyr's band leaves Crest Point to look for a new home
. Within a short amount of time (probably not even 10 years) they hit upon the shores of Cavernsong. Wavelet is born
, but the colony is wiped out by war-faring humans
shortly thereafter. The infant is found and rescued by Perith
. Wavecatcher wakes up among the corpses and takes up wandering
. Around the same time, at Crest Point, Foam
(who is "too young to remember" Zephyr's band taking off
) - and possibly Kroosh
- are born.
* About 9820 years after Disappearance
- Wavelet discovers she's a plantshaper.
Perith's son is an old man by this time, and his grand-son likely a grown up man.
* About 9950 years after Disappearance
- Ardan Djarum
is born the bastard son of Grohmul Djun
and an unknown mother.
* About 9982-9977 years after Disappearance
are born (we know from Brill's words that they are physically "older than Sunstream", who is "two eights and two" in The Discovery
). Stormsong probably dies
when his son is very young or during the three years of No-Ripple's pregnancy. Around this time, Kahram
is born from Ardan Djarum
and a loveless wife he married, presumably a short time after Ellia
* About 9994 years after Disappearance
- Puffer is born
* 9999 years after Disappearance
- First Skimmer
, and then Drift and Fairshell are slain (one year before the events in "Turning Tide" and "WaveDancers") by human whalers
, including Kahram since the ship that killed Skimmer had the same insignia of the one his father would sail on a year later. Surge
kills the humans, but leaves the tribe with his lifemate's body immediately thereafter and Snakeskin
becomes the new chief.
* 10.000 years after Disappearance (KOTBW#8-9)
- "Turning Tide"
, the WaveDancers storyline
and the lost chapters
take place, roughly around the same time as the Palace reappears. To date there are only nineteen elves (Salt
, the Broken One
) living at Crest Point. All the other WaveDancers died at some point of others - and many of the Crest Point elves, at the very least, were killed by humans (according to Sunstream's statement that there have been many wrongs done to the WaveDancers by war-faring humans). Wavecatcher's story was originally meant to take place at the same time as the "main" storyline, but it's been probably ret-conned to happen at a later time.
* 7 years later (SHARDS/NB)
- Wavecatcher meets Yun
, the first elf he comes across in near 300 years
(roughly the span of five human lives since the destruction of Cavernsong, which is how long Wavelet was the Good Spirit of Plenty in the village of the people). He waits for her to return through eight-and-four floodings
(I'm calculating 4 or 5 flooding - great floods, like in a monsoon? - per year, making it about three years he spent waitin). The Shards (in Djunsland) and the Door War (in the Forevergreen) take place.
* 3 year later (DISC/WD partd about Wavecatcher)
- "The Discovery"
takes place (one year after the end of "Searcher and the Sword"
while in wrapstuff (about ten years after "Turning Tide" and the events of the "WaveDancers" storyline). The Palace visits the WaveDancers, and Surge
meets his end in the destruction of Crest Point. Now led by Snakeskin
, the WaveDancer set out to look for a new home. In the Forevergreen, Wavecatcher
and together they run into Wavelet
, who is iving in the Village of People - but it's unknown what becomes of them.
* 3 years later (EQFQ)
- Korafay is born
in Final Quest Special. Windkin
, having since returned in the forsaken Sun VIllage, is found and rescued by Leetah
The timeline then realigns and jumps ahead of 20-odd years (+ the time between Bee's and Ruffel's death, + the time between Ruffel's death and Sunstream's return to the Palace. Sometimes during this time, Angrif captures his half-brother Ardan Djarum (who was still bent on destroying the sea demons) and tortures him into insanity, after killing his own father (so depending on when the Djun's death takes place, we can roughly know for how long Ardan was kept captive. Wonder what did he do between the end of the "WaveDancers" story arc and his capture, though? His clothes and the background still suggest that he was a shipmaster, though with how intent he was on destroying the WaveDancers, there ought to be far more losses than just Sandsparkle's baby. Maybe he was imprisoned by the mutineers of his own ship?)
So most of the current tribe, including Redcrest, would be born within the last 1000 to 2000 years of the Disappearance, whereas the elders like Surge, Salt, Spray and Reef are immensely older. I'm not certain if the third Crest Point healer alive before the 10.000 years was Skimback... I'll have to check if there's any mention of his age or line where he's called "young" - in which case he's probably born much after (Krill is called "the young huntress", and she'd be only 600, if my timeline holds).
If Skimback wasn't alive at that time, the third healer might have been one of his ancestor - perhaps one of his very own ancestors.
The ones I listed as born during the first 9.000 years of the Disappearance could really have been born before too... impossible to say with any certainty.
And this still gives me no clue as to how old No-Ripple would be... though I guess somewhere within the last 1.000 end of the spectrum, like all her tribemates. I just don't know where to place her :D
The only thing to clarify is whatever Spine meant when he said that Crest Point had been their home for just a few spawnings when Coral died. I thought he could mean new Recognitions, but even if we're to assume that the ones I placed as "born within the 9.000 years gap" were actually born much earlier - Brill & Krill, Redcrest, Darshek, Wavecatcher, Strand, Gull, Zephyr, Glimmer and Sandspinner (and No-Ripple, possibly) don't really strike me as "few" (no, okay, they *are* few in 10.000 years - but immortal elf don't usually breed with that much frequency, do they? Weren't Rayek and Leetah the first children in a really long time in the Sun Village?)
My guess is that a "spawning" is something to do with the tides or the fish... something that occurs very sporadically within such a large time span.
Either that, or it's an inconsistency and we're to go with rule #2 ;-)
EDIT: Quick last-minute correction - I had originally put Tumble and Moonmirror at 10-15 years from Turning Tide, but since it's only one year before Discovery, that wouldn't make the "older than Sunstream". I changed it to reflect it; 25-30 years (Tumble, Moonmirror) and 19/20 for Puffer - who would only be a little older than Sunstream himself. I know Puffer seems much younger than 20 in Turning Tide, but it's the only logical explanation I can find to Brill's words in Discovery.