Originally posted by Thornbrake on June 19th, 2015

There are many wonderful examples of good fathering and paternal love to be found throughout the pages of ElfQuest. Here are twenty great dads (or dads-to-be) and memorable fatherhood moments from over the decades. (Click on each image to see a larger version.)

1. Cutter Accepts His Cubs for Who They Are (Original Quest #6)
The Wolfrider chief shone as a father when he demonstrated that for elves (and readers), rigid, stifling gender roles don’t exist. Here, Cutter acknowledges that his daughter Ember takes after her uber-masculine grandfather Bearclaw and will become chief of the tribe, while his mystic son Suntop will be something different. Cutter’s smile when his tow-headed boy says “I’ll be what I’ll be” is the perfect reaction of a father who loves and accepts his children for who they are, without judgment or condition.

2. Pike Pleads with Sust (Final Quest #2)
Sust can be a bit of a rapscallion, but his easy-going father Pike usually doesn’t bat an eye at it. That’s what makes this Final Quest scene all the more poignant. As Pike went off to face possible — even likely —  death to stand with Krim in her berserker rage against the human warlord Angrif Djun, his fatherly plea to Sust to remain behind and be safe, hit straight to the heart (both Sust’s and ours).

3. Tyldak Rescues Windkin (Siege at Blue Mountain #8)
The winged Glider Tyldak showed readers both low and high points over the course of his long, long life. Surrendering to a troubled Recognition with Dewshine, he fathered Windkin. Caring little for the mother, he didn’t help to raise his son (the Wolfriders did) or develop a relationship with him until millennia later. But when Blue Mountain crumbled and fell, he didn’t hesitate an instant to save the infant and return him to his mother.

4. Redlance Tells Tyleet a Story (Kings of the Broken Wheel #7)
You won’t find a more nurturing father than Redlance. Like the plants he magically shapes, he raised his daughter Tyleet to think and act from a place of love, empathy and forgiveness. It’s a testament to his positive influence that as a little girl Tyleet could give even Rayek the benefit of the doubt in this heartwarming scene where Redlance tells the story of Rayek’s abduction of the Palace, and with it, Cutter’s family.

5. Cutter Passes Wisdom to Ember (Wild Hunt)

When young Ember grew frustrated with the seemingly limitless propensity of humans to act out of fear, superstition, and hatred, her father Cutter illustrated — simply and brilliantly — for her why humans are just like any other animal, neither all good or all bad. Cutter might be named for his skills with a sword, but he also has his own brand of wisdom and he passed it on to the young chieftess.

6. Woodlock Gets Aggressive (Original Quest #6)
Woodlock was generally a mild elf, devoted to his lifemate Rainsong and their brood of cublings, Newstar, Wing and Mender. But when he felt his family was threatened, he could be uncharacteristically fierce. Once, in such a moment, he even came close to killing an innocent human child. Thankfully, his better instinct prevailed and he held himself back. We learned that his temporary bloodlust was simply born out of the heartfelt wish to protect his children and give them the best life possible.

7. Wing Worries About Serrin (Hidden Years #2)
Wing’s consternation during Kahvi’s attack on Sorrow’s End was rooted equally in his concern for his just-about-to-be-born daughter Serrin and his lifemate Behtia. Though not much is known about him, it seems a sure bet Wing inherited his devotion to his family from his father Woodlock.

8. Cutter Lets Suntop Go (Kings of the Broken Wheel #2)
Cutter loves his children deeply, and there’s no better evidence of it than his willingness to let Suntop go to the Sun Village to receive the magical training the lad desperately needs — even if it means sending his son far away. The Wolfriders know that love doesn’t mean possession, and as Cutter says, he just wants Suntop to be happy.

9. Strongbow Screams for Crescent (Wolfrider)
With the realization that his daughter Crescent has been violently murdered by superstitious humans, horror and desperation burst forth from Strongbow. Never again will he hold his little girl, train her in the art of archery, or teach her the Wolfriders’ Way. All of the silent archer’s fatherly love and loss is given voice in an anguished, heart-rending wail.

10. Picknose Regains His “Precious” (Kings of the Broken Wheel #9)

Say what you will about trolls, you can’t find fault in their family loyalty. Picknose might be generally selfish and cowardly, but when it comes to his precious Trinket, it’s clear he’d face the monster Madcoil itself if necessary to keep her safe and happy. The look on his face when he was finally reunited with his princess after Rayek stole her away in the Palace says it all.

11. One-Eye Lifts Scouter (Original Quest #11)
When the Gliders captured the Wolfriders, One-Eye was separated from his family and remained free outside of Blue Mountain. With Cutter’s help he made it back into the Glider stronghold. No caring parent wants to imagine being kept from his children; One-Eye’s joy at being reunited with his son Scouter is unbridled, and will put a smile on your face every time.

12. Rayek Grieves for his “Lost” Child (Siege at Blue Mountain #4)
Proud Rayek is all hard edges and isn’t prone to being overcome with sentimentality. Yet, even his heart was pierced with a profound sadness when he learned from Kahvi that he would not be the father he had hoped to be. Even though he sensed that Kahvi somehow lied to him, and he made some terrible choices as a result of that lie, he eventually got to meet his daughter Venka, and has become a better elf for it.

13. Bearclaw Regales His Son and Heir
As chief, Bearclaw gave his people a good, hard life. He took the same approach to fatherhood, and Cutter often bore the brunt of his father’s dominant-wolf attitude. Yet Bearclaw without question loved his son, and this early sketch of the two together perfectly captures Bearclaw the father at his best, regaling a teenage Cutter with tales of adventures and hard-won experience that could only come from living life to its fullest.

14. Sun-Toucher Comforts Young Leetah (Original Quest #8)

Leetah for the most part had a carefree childhood, surrounded by love and attention. Yet when faced with something far beyond her control – an eclipse of the Daystar – she was stricken with terror. Her wise father Sun-Toucher was there to wrap her in his arms and comfort her while gently explaining the astronomy behind the sudden blackening and disappearance of the Daystar. For Sun-Toucher, knowledge is the best antidote to fear.

15. Cutter’s Adult Children Can Lean on Him (Final Quest)
A good father knows there’s always room on his lap for his kids, no matter how old they get.

16. Shale Provides for Skywise (Hidden Years #5)
Even before his son was born, Shale was a devoted father, keeping his mate Eyes-High’s nest — set high in a tree as close to the sky as possible — well-provisioned for both mother and unborn child in the days leading up to Skywise’s tragic birth.

17. Treestump Breaks Down (Siege at Blue Mountain #4)
Confronting an enemy face to face, brawny Treestump is a powerful adversary who puts his mind to winning the fight in front of him. But the prospect of losing his daughter Dewshine to the machinations of Winnowill in distant Blue Mountain, with no way to protect her, was too much for this practical warrior. His fear and anxiety for his cub, long held within, poured forth in an emotional breakdown. We all wanted to give him a hug then, and luckily Clearbrook was there to do just that.

18. Sunstream Protects Korafay (Final Quest #Special)

Sunstream is not a warrior by nature. When faced with a challenge, he relies more on his intelligence and wit, rather than brute strength. But he’s no shrinking violet either, and when it comes to protecting his daughter Korafay, he can be as fierce as any Wolfrider. In his Wavedancer form, he even has built-in weapons — stinging, venomous barbs, which he puts to potent use.

19. Scouter Steps Up into Fatherhood (Original Quest #15)
Recognition is a purely biologocial “force of nature” to the elves. Nowhere does it guarantee an emotional connection between those it strikes — which makes it all the more touching that Scouter accepted the task of fatherhood for Dewshine’s cub though she had Recognized Tyldak. He proved to be a loving and protective father to his adoptive son Windkin, and later to his biological son Pool.

20. Skywise Learns Fatherly Hugs (Final Quest #5)
Skywise, the Wolfriders’ resident stargazer and copilot of the Palace of the High Ones, didn’t even know he had a daughter until she was grown well into adulthood. Now that he and Yun live together in the Holt, even he from time to time can’t help but let his paternal instincts, normally overshadowed by his rakish nature and his ever-present wanderlust, express themselves in a bit of physical affection.

Bonus: A post dedicated to ElfQuest’s fathers wouldn’t be complete without including co-creator Richard Pini. Richard has been a father figure to many of us, calling us to use our noggins to think from a higher place, giving us a boot to the butt when we need it, and even sharing (inflicting?) his not-to-be-beaten puns with (upon?) us. Thanks for being there for us all, Richard!

(Artwork by MaRge-KinSon on DeviantArt.)