In The Now

UPDATE: Note that this précis of the “current” situation in Elfquest was published in the late 1990s!

Throughout over twenty years of comics, novels and anthologies, Elfquest has grown to incorporate a wide range of characters, spread over the entirety of the World of Two Moons, from past through future.

At this point in the saga, there are two main groupings within which the tales are told. One contains stories of the elves themselves at three periods of Abodean history: the prehistoric, the medieval, and the early modern. The other contains tales of The Rebels and Jink – who seek the elves who have mysteriously gone missing – sometime in Abode’s near future, when the indigenous humans have developed space travel and colonized their solar system.

After the Shards series reached its conclusion, the Djun’s kingdom apparently fell into revolution, though how the fragments of his empire have scattered remains a mystery. Many of the elves, including Cutter, chose to return to the original home of the Wolfriders at Goodtree’s Rest (from which they were originally burned out by humans) to found a new holt. Skywise and Suntop went with Timmain in the Palace of the High Ones, the now-immortal Wolfrider and Cutter’s enigmatic son assuming mastery of the firstcomers’ home. Two-Edge, Venka and Aroree left to search the World of Two Moons for the wandering Kahvi, while Ember and her half of the tribe, including her rival suitors Mender and Teir, remained in Djunsland to seek out and destroy those remaining twisted creatures left behind by Winnowill. Winnowill herself, slain by the Djun, remains as a malevolent, scheming spirit within Rayek, who, accompanied by his mentor Ekuar, has opted to roam the expanse of Abode. These are the centuries-spanning tales of Rogue’s Curse, set between the epochs of Ember’s Wild Hunt and of Jink and The Rebels’ FutureQuest tales.

The Shards series was a climactic episode for the Wolfrider tribe. Rayek, by kidnapping Cutter’s family some 10,000 years into their future, and instigating the great sleep of the Wolfriders who waited for the moment the travelers would “reappear,” effectively brought the entire tribe forward into a new age. The humans of Abode, hitherto scattered tribes, had settled and developed over time into civilizations. From the Hoan G’Tay Sho came the Hungt’sho of the Forevergreen; from the descendants, perhaps, of Little Patch’s folk and their neighbors, arose those towns and cities that would eventually find themselves under the iron fist of the Djun’s rule.

Into this new world were thrown the Wolfriders, whose existence alongside the expansion of human civilization always seemed destined for conflict. Before their assault on the Djun’s Citadel, Cutter made the decision to split the tribe: One half, the warriors, would be led by him to recover the Palace shards; the other half, led by his daughter Ember, would preserve the “Way” of the Wolfriders.

Cutter led the foray into the dark, brooding city of the Djun, slowly advancing upon the citadel to secure the Palace’s shards against the greed of the Djun and the machinations of Winnowill. At the same time, Ember’s tribe faced their own difficulties. A mysterious stranger named Teir had presented himself to them, and though he seemed friendly, he was deeply mistrusted by Skywise, Ember’s advisor. Teir’s strange powers of communion with animals attracted a horde of Winnowill’s mutated creatures to the Wolfriders. This part of the saga erupted into a battle between the elves and the remnants of Winnowill’s magic, fought both on the grasslands and within Teir’s beleaguered mind. Skywise wrestled with his own issues during this time. His advice had been rejected by Ember, his blood had been cleansed (making him immortal), and his increasing alienation from the tribe of his birth finally led him to the decision to follow the starsong over the wolfsong – a choice the consequences of which are yet to be told.

During those years, the Sun Folk had also found themselves subject to the encroachment of humanity as it spread across Abode. Their Sun Village abandoned, they returned to the Palace upon its reformation after Cutter and his warriors succeeded in recovering the shards. Windkin, Dart, and his cohort of Jack-Wolfriders, having left the Sun Village to explore the Forevergreen, became embroiled in the ascent to power of the Glider Door in the jungle temples of the Hungt’Sho. After this power-mad student of Winnowill was himself toppled, all but Jethel and Chot also joined with the other elves in the recovered Palace. Those two remained, and in the Fire-Eye stories we follow the adventures of Jethel in the small human town ruled by Ahnn-Li and his mistress, the Ahnessah.

The Go-Backs themselves lived untroubled by humans, it seems, secluded in the frozen mountains of the north. Their leader Kahvi had been a fleeting figure in their lives, running off, eventually returning, before disappearing again on some trophy hunt. They too went back to the Palace once more upon Cutter’s defeat of the Djun.

There are the WaveDancers, mer-elves at odds with an embittered human shipmaster who blames them for the death of his son at sea. Finally there are the future folk, shape-changing Jink and the youthful Rebels, whose stories are set in a time when the elves have disappeared and seem to be but legend, and when the human race faces a great new challenge in the form of the intrusive aliens called the “Neverending.”

And so the stories of Ember’s Wolfriders and Rayek’s Curse, of the WaveDancers, of the future folk, of Jethel in the Forevergreen – all continue in the ongoing series of Elfquest. The stories of Cutter’s Wolfriders, of Skywise’s adventures among the stars, and of Venka’s search for her mother wait for the telling.

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