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Soul Names


Maybe someone can set me straight on this.

I thought that Wolfriders were the ONLY ones who had soul names. It was an aspect of them having wolf blood, just like the facefur and the eventual death of old age.

The Go-Backs, if they do have Wolfrider ancestry, have ignored their magic and spiritual aspects for so long they couldn't find a soul name if they wanted to.

The Sun Villagers and Gliders use their "soul name" as a REAL name. Leetah is the equivilant of Tam.

This is what I'd always assumed. But people keep mentioning not knowing soul names of immortals, and it's confused me. What is a soul name?

(I'm sorry if this has already been discussed.)


The soulname is an expression of the totality of a sentient being. For the High Ones (who had no identifying physical features because they could mould their bodies like clay) it was a way to maintain individuality in the face of almost complete telempathy.

When the High Ones crashed and their descendants were forced to find ways to survive, those tribes that maintained a use of telempathy found it more worthwhile to protect their souls by using one name among the tribe while reserving the soulname for their own personal strength and for their lifemate (through Recognition).

Those tribes which did not need telempathy to that degree ended up using the soulname as a tribename and not making a distinction between the two.

Things get stickier with Blue Mountain and the Go-Backs. The Go-Backs are at least partially wolf-blooded which means that they have about half a soulname (like the Wolfriders for whom soulnames are truncated to a syllable). I would hazard a guess that since they don't tend to use telempathy that they use their soulnames as their real names and those names tend to be short and harsh (like their lives). In Blue Mountain the Gliders tend like their parents and grandparents to use their soulnames as their real names with a few notable exceptions. Winnowill, both Doors, Egg, and Brace (and I'm not going to get into Hatrack et al) all have what appear to be usenames. Egg is actually Aurek. I believe that this is an expression of the fundamental heresy of Blue Mountain. Instead of simply doing a job for untold millenia, like Orolin in the Palace, Aurek *became* his job, *became* Egg. He lost his Name in his Work.

In any case, I hope this explains the situation with those immortals who actually use usenames and not their soulnames like Suntop et al.

Mrs. Grizzley


Now I don't know which immortals do not use their soulnames as their real names.

Anyway I assume that all elves have soulnames. Except the Go-backs maybe -still thinks it is strange that they can deny their souls name :?

However the reason why the wolfriders hide their soulnames is because they have been threatened in some way by enemies ad revealing their soulname to would be very bad (just look at Winnowil and Dewshine).
So maybe the imortals you have heard of had some reason to hide their soulname.
The Sun Villagers have no reason to hide their soulnames so they use them as their real names.

But it is strange then that there is not a closer bond in the village. Because with the wolfriders everyone who has shared soulnames are very close emotionelly. Hmmm....


You know, we had a long discussion on this topic in the old forum, under the heading "Does Suntop have a soulname?" The conclusion reached there was that only the Wolfriders take the trouble to find out what their soulnames are, and then they use tribenames to hide the soulnames.

For the other tribes, it was thought that the names they use are more like our own names: more than a tribename, but less than a soulname. Does anyone remember the process of reasoning we followed? I can't seem to! :?


[quote:0b384951a1]I'm not going to get into Hatrack [/quote:0b384951a1]

Please do. that's the 2nd time I see Hatrack mentioned in these forums (fora??) and I don't know who sh/he is. :(


Quite fascinating otherwise, in sagas here and there from over the world, how knowing someone's "real" name made one have power over them.


But it is strange then that there is not a closer bond in the village. Because with the wolfriders everyone who has shared soulnames are very close emotionelly. Hmmm....

Aha, I remembered correctly that this was mentioned in Fire & Flight :)
*reads and sums up*

Leetah did ask Nightfall what a soul name was at one point. And later on, once she and Cutter actually spoke she said now that she finally had said it [Tam] outloud she *knew* what a soul name is and what it means. "All that you are is - Tam."

Leetah also said:
"Except for Savah, my people have all but forgotten how to send. Unlike you wolfriders we Sun Folk have not needed secret names to guard our inner most private secrets. But though your sending batters me with the force of a sandstorm.. I can no longer deny that you are part of me. The Bond is true!"

Erm yes, forgot my point there for a bit :p
So this should indicate they had forgotten what soulnames were, but once remembered, they did *know*?


Ah! All very good points. It appears that I was pretty close to the general theory with my original post; I just assumed that it was the wolfblood that made the Wolfriders special (not too farflung of an assumption! It usually is the wolfblood that makes them special) rather than the ability to send.


In any case, I hope this explains the situation with those immortals who actually use usenames and not their soulnames like Suntop et al.

Suntop is an immortal? Did his mother take his wolfblood, like she took Skywise's?


[quote:8b7b9289db]Suntop is an immortal? Did his mother take his wolfblood, like she took Skywise's?[/quote:8b7b9289db]

Suntop/Sunstream was actually born immortal. I believe in graphic novel Cry from beyond(#7), Leetah mentioned that when the twins were in here womb, Ember called for the wolf blood. and Sunstream called for something else.... or something to that effect.

Basically Ember got the wolfblood, and sunstream was born "pure-blooded"


Is THAT what that means? I always took that to mean the Ember was more wolfrider-y, while Suntop was more SunVillager-y... not that there actually genetic makeup was changed. Hmmmmm. For example, Tyleet is defintitely more like her father than her mother, but she still has her mother's blood. Is it said anywhere else that Suntop doesn't have wolfblood? If it doesn't, it's still up in the air -- in my mind, at least! :)


On the elfquest website it mentions it. If u look up the character bios, It says suntops is immortal.

and in the wolfriders guide to the world of elfquest it also states he is immortal.


Really? Damn. Oh well! I lose.... this time! Wink

Of course, the bios also classify Teir as a Go-Back, and the last time I checked, that was under contention. But I bet you are right.


Hey Shimmercat :D

Do you want Sunstream to have wolfblood?

When I first started reading Elfquests, and finished through Quests End, I was so sad that Sunstream was a mortal and would have to die, so I wrote a fan-fic where Leetah leaves cutter takes Sunstream and cleanses him of his wolfblood, and runs away with Rayek.....(yeah yeah i know never gonna happen)

But then after the Pinis told us he was immortal, i was happy as happy could be....

Oh yeah in all but blood, Sunstream also makes a comment about being Immortal. In the story "full circle" i believe he actually makes a couple of comments about being immortal.


::laughs:: Actually, I meant that I lost the argument, not that it's sad that Sunstream is immortal!

Although I don't think it is sad that the Wolfriders will eventually die of old age. I can't imagine actually WANTING to live forever; I'm just one of those people.

"In All But Blood?" It sounds familiar, but I may have missed that one. What happens?


Its the newest stories to be released. it has 3 stories, i think., Full Circle, Hearts Way, and i cant remember the name of the other one. Full circle is were suntop is renamed sunstream, hearts way is when the wolfriders were first in teh sunvillage and its about skywise and these 3 sunvillage maidens. The other story is about skywise and him dealing with losing his wolfblood.


Richard shared some interesting info about soul names on Facebook that I thought would be a good addition to this old thread (and also be a better way of saving it for future reference than Facebook).

The question Richard was responding to was about why Sunstream has a soul name if he doesn't have wolf blood.

RichardPini said: Sunstream has a soul name (and by the way, everyone, it's two words, not one) because Suntop had a soul name, and Suntop had a soul name because, immortal or not, he was born and raised a Wolfrider. His upbringing, his life lessons, his innermost mental and emotional makeup were shaped by the tribe of which he was a vital part. For the Wolfriders, the having of a soul name is fundamental to their life and survival, as they have lived and survived - in secret, with caution - for millennia. There was never a question that Suntop would have one. Also, for the record, only the Wolfriders have and use soul names.

To which I responded: Thanks for those tidbits, Richard! So it does seem like use of soul names is more of a cultural thing than it is a genetic one. Interesting. Not that I expect any further pinning of it down.

Richard then added this:

RichardPini said: David - You said, "Not that I expect any further pinning of it down."

You are wise beyond your years, grasshopper. Wendy and I are here to tell a story which, to us, is a beautiful butterfly. You can enjoy the butterfly as it soars and flits to and fro in the sunlight. Or, you can pin it to a board and dissect it to understand how every nerve fiber connects to every bit of muscle. If you do that, you may understand the literal mechanics of how it once flew. But it will be no less dead.

So now my wheels are turning...! !Venka


I think that people have an analog of the Soul Name. This full name in the passport. Knowing this name the enemy can strike blow at the biopower level. Simply we forgot this fact. But all the same on intuition or other reason some people use nicknames or pseudonyms. The small people use nicknames specially. The child, for example, according to the passport Sergey, and native call his San.


marinayurk said: I think that people have an analog of the Soul Name. This full name in the passport.

Or your social security number (in the United States). It gives you access to everything.

This is sort of an interesting business. If the soul name is cultural- then the personal quest to find it that most elves supposedly go on makes sense. It might be that you just meditate and get in touch with yourself, until you generate for yourself a word that encapsulates you and acts as a mental key to the deeper areas of your psyche.

But then, there's Cutter- who was born knowing his soul name. How is that possible if it's merely cultural? It seems a lot more organic than that. And the story about the recognition of Tanner has Tanner learning his lifemate's soul name before she learns it herself. When she does finally discover it, it's a personal revelation that unlocks who she really is. If the soul name were constructed by the character, the order of all that would be very different. There would be no soul name for Tanner to know before his lifemate conceived it. And she wouldn't have needed it to be complete.

The way it's been presented in the story, a soul name seems to be with a character from birth- and is organic and intrinsic to the essence and identity of the elf.

So what the heck is it?


If only Wolfriders have it- it's got to be a product of wolfblood mixing with elfblood.

Maybe... the coneheads (and most of their pure-blooded descendants) are very communal. They live collectively, and seem to have no problem sharing their inner selves in telepathic communion. But... remember Timmain's first mind-touch with Strongbow? He couldn't take it.

Maybe being mixed with a mortal creature that is native to the planet ... maybe that causes the Wolfriders to be born with a need for individuality and mental privacy. Maybe that's something the other elves just don't have?


Ahh, the soul name! I followed the discussion on FB as well.
It made me think more and finally realized my fascination of it was to know who you are.
The soul name would explane everything! Don't most Wolfriders struggle with who they are? Am I wolf or Elf. Does my soul sing the starsong or the wolfsong? They are made out of two worlds, unlike the immortal elfes who are made out of the world from which the High Ones came....
So, my guess is immortals don't need a soul name, because in a way they know who they are, they (I think) hear only the starsong. But the soul name explaines to the Wolfriders how they can hear both songs, together!
And maybe it explained to Leetah who Cutter really was. Not just a "half-breed-savage"......but much more!

So.... as for my fascination. I have been looking for who I am for a long time, still am in a way, since I am still learning every day, and I would love to have a name, private and only for me, to see who I am and what I could do with my life. But I am getting close in my search for my very own soul name!


People are stronger than elves. People have a big power and heavy responsibility. And full choice. Elves have no choice. You can change the name. Together with a name some aspects of your life, character will exchange. The elf has no right to change a soul name. Only nickname.
And if shower name is only at wolfriders, from where about this property know both Litah, and Winnowil? The name shower means it is property of elves, not wolves.


Euh...? They don't change their soul name, only the name others can call them......
And Richard himself said that soul names are a Wolfriderthing. Any elf born a Wolfrider has one. We don't know all their soul names, but that doesn't mean they don't have them. So in a way it has got something to do with their wolfblood....

Or am I not getting what you mean?


Eyeshigh said: Euh...? They don't change their soul name, only the name others can call them......

I think that's exactly what Marina is saying.

marinayurk said: The elf has no right to change a soul name. Only nickname.

They can't change their soulname, only their "nickname" ie, the name they are being called.

Something I can't help but Wonder is; what about Serrin, Bowki and Kimo?

Judging by the New Blood story with Serrin's and Dart's Recognition she doesn't have one, which makes sense because she was raised as a Sun Villager, despite having wolf blood. But does Kimo have one? Did Bowki have one? And one about the potential descendants of Bowki?


Do the Wavedancers have soul names at all? Their 'meaning-names' occur to me as tribe names, but they don't seem to have another name?


They do not. Soul names are used by Wolfriders only. Which kind of baffles me, but that's alright.


i personally will always enjoy the concept that the non-soul named elves, their names ARE their soul names. like if you take Rayek and make it so he was instead named Goldstare or something, if he recognized, he would still be Rayek.


Zinegirl said: Their 'meaning-names' occur to me as tribe names, but they don't seem to have another name?

Everyone has 'meaning-names' it's just only some of them that gets translated.

;;) : Healing Light

:-* : Healer's Gift

:| : Child of the Rocks

Suppose the reason only some of them gets translated is that it would be rather difficult to go "Hey, Child of the Rocks."


And Child of the Rocks or Rockkid isn't as intimidating.


Somehow I've read "Rayek on the Rocks" - and now I've a mind picture ... \m/


I like "rock kid"

Thoughts on soul names... What's the purpose of a soul name? Savah said it, right? To "protect" one's secret, innermost self during telepathic communion. The Wolfriders have this need. Other elves don't seem to.

What's different about Wolfriders? They are the only elves who are part wolf. And not just the only elves who are part wolf- but the only elves who are genetically mixed with any type of mortal creature born to the abode.

What do we know about wolves? They live in packs. But they are not telepathic. Coneheads were a collective, telepathic group with no boundaries between them. Other elves don't seem to have a problem with their mental boundaries either. The Gliders were willing to be linked together under Winnowil. The Wavedancers are like a school of fish- and they are all mentally linked. The Sunfolk would probably have done it if they could have sent earlier. And Sunstream's big ability is going to be to mentally link all his people- they've been working toward that for years now.

And it's kind of a bizarre goal, if you really think about it- isn't it?

Maybe the reason that Wolfriders have soul names is that the very small, mortal, animal part of them needs that mental barrier because wolves- although they are pack animals (like the elves) are individual creature with isolated, independent minds. Maybe this is an adaptation to allow the elves to be the telepathic aliens they are, but also preserve the isolated mind of the animals they also are. The animal's instinctive need for and expectation of that inner privacy. Maybe that's why the violation of it is so shocking- because it jars against the nature of what they are?


HOLY CRAP...reading your post made me realize, what if some of the trouble of Sunstream linking everyone is that the Wolfriders get linked up...if it goes into hive mind like the high ones, would their soul names risk being known (like Strongbow's fear when touching minds with Timmain)?


I've been thinking about the link less like...merging all elves into some sort of hive mind, and more like casting out mental telephone wires and making Sunstream into the ultimate switchboard. I could be TOTALLY wrong. The idea that the Wolfriders could be more vulnerable due to the link because of their soul names is REALLY intriguing...


... and the effect of the link on the wolfriders causes Cutter's terror in the teaser pic. Last not least the effect it has on himself ...

How much would Leetah be effected by this due to Recogniton with Cutter?


RedheadEmber said: Everyone has 'meaning-names' it's just only some of them that gets translated.

Oh yeah right I forgot :p


Hmm.. probably not. But... I wonder if Cutter would risk sharing what he hasn't wanted to share- what it means to lose "the way"?


So many new possibilities occurring..makes me even more excited to see what the Pini's are planning!


It's a bit ironic that soul names make the Wolfriders actually more vulnerable than "unprotected" normal elves. If Dewshine had have no soul name, Winnie would not have been able to abuse it