"Black Mermaid Productions™ created the original WaveDancers. A proposal was sent to Warp Graphics for an Elfquest "what if" story in June 1992. The story revolved around a colony of sea-dwelling elves and the package contained many character sketches and character profiles, including a number of "mer-elf" characters. The concept of "mer-elves" had never appeared in any of the previous ElfQuest work, and tailed elves made their first published appearance in WaveDancers #1 (December, 1993)."
The Original Wavedancers was a limited-run, 6 issue series that ran in 1992. Copyright conflicts between WARP Graphics and Black Mermaid Productions ultimately ended with the series being cancelled, and the story being retconned out as The Broken One's dream
Amid the chaos of the Palace's crashlanding, five High Ones flee from the scene. Ausra, Desh, Livian, Sima and an unknown companion gradually make their way toward the ocean, in the process discovering the injured Preserver, No-Wing, and taking it along with them. They eventually reach the shoreline and begin to create the first colony.
Within the second generation, the Children of Recognition begin to disappear. The first taken is Shardon, the son of Ailsa and brother of Tentus. Later Illora, the daughter of Tilaweed and Hyfus, is also taken -- an abduction that causes an extreme rift between the couple afterwards. Four more are taken, and they call the abductor the Cursemaker. Gradually the holt begins to breed without Recognition, unwilling to lose more of their children.
Ausra, despairing of the situation, passes the Crown onto her daughter Neama. With her, she takes her narwhal and her magic, leaving them without a flesh-shaper or a healer. Tentus becomes depressed, retreating to his caves, and when Neama dies, Brom is left to lead a struggling colony. When he Recognizes his lifemate, Ailsa, they hide the news from the populace; when she dies in childbirth, only he and Kirith are there to witness it. He hides the newborn Raenafel deep within the colony's coves, and with Kirith, raises her in secrecy. By hiding her away, he hopes to avoid her abduction.
As a child, Barmek discovers Raenafel in the coves, and what occurs is an early Recognition. Raenafel is sent away for her safety, while Brom explains to the colony that his daughter had not died at birth, but instead would one day return with the knowledge of the High Ones and take on the Crown. This begins spreading a new hope through the Colony.
Brom becomes obsessed with finding the Cursemaker, and eventually ends up discovering the truth. He confronts the Cursemaker in the coves and is killed in the process. Hyfus is forced to take on the Crown several years before the series starts.
Synopses of the series can be read on the official BMP website. These include an issue-by-issue description of what happened in the initial series, as well as what would have occurred in the future issues.
As their children have been stolen for years, Recognition is seen as a curse by the Wavedancers, something to be avoided at all cost. Through unknown means, given that they have no healers, the Wavedancers have been managing to produce children outside of Recognition for several generations. Children that are born of Recognition are hidden away, as is the case with Raenafel, until they reach an age where they can no longer be abducted.
With the disappearance of Ausra, the chance for flesh-changing was lost; elves born after this point were unable to have a fish-like tail and had to settle for two legs. The few elves who had chosen to have themselves flesh-shaped before Ausra's disappearance are given a special status amongst the holt. Up until the arrival of Raenafel, Tilaweed, Hyfus, Kirith and Tentus are viewed as rare and exotic, as it is assumed the tailed elves will disappear entirely after their deaths.
Leadership is passed down through the blood. If a descendent of Ausra is not available, then the most competent member takes the role; however, when the true heir returns, they are expected to step down. Heirs must go through a series of tests, which are never detailed, before they will be accepted as the new Crown of the Wavedancers.
Wavedancers have descriptive names during their childhood (Shoresprout, Inkbottom) which then change to true names (Kadva, Raenafel) during their adulthood.
Like the Wolfriders, the Wavedancers denote leaddership through blood. Whenever the new heir comes of age, they hold a festival that spans two months. This includes the Big Swim, a tribal race through the surface waters and a massive feast called the Moonfeast.
Part of the festivals include a ritual retelling of the Wavedancers' origins, starting with the arrival of the High Ones on Abode and ending with Ausra's decision to flesh-shape her peers and descendents.
Barmek was the son of Kirith and Rhialdor, and the brother of Jormek. Barmek was curious and stubborn to a fault, traits that led him on a search to find the true Raenafel after an impostor appeared. He was Recognized to Raenafel.
Jormek was the son of Kirith and Rhialdor, and the brother of Barmek. He was self-absorbed and arrogant, physically oriented but not adverse to manipulation. He was a popular lovemate in the colony, but he fell for Winnowill, even trying to follow her after she was exposed. Toward the end of the series, he would have ended up lifemating with Sleia and having a tail flesh-shaped.
Kirith was the midwife of the Wavedancers, though she held no healing abilities. She was the lifemate of Rhialdor and mother of Barmek and Jormek. She helped raise Raenafel in secret, and was blinded by Winnowill.
Rhialdor was the lifemate of Kirith and the father of Barmek and Jormek. He was a pacifist, serving as comic relief for the colony, and served as both weaver and tailor.
Shoseabee was in a three-mating with Lazik and Kadva, with whom she had Sleia and Inkbottom respectively. She was frivolous and easily led, and one of the storytellers.
Lazik was the lovemate of Shoseabee, and with her, the father of Sleia. He was naive but good-natured and easily led, and he served as the colony's herbalist in place of a healer. He supplied the plants for Rhialdor's weaving.
Kadva was the lifemate of Shoseabee, and with her, the father of Inkbottom. Little was known about his personallity.
Sleia was quiet, willful, stubborn, and easily a match for Barmek, her on-and-off lovemate. She was the daughter of Lazik and Shoseabee and the half-sister of Inkbottom. After Barmek Recognized Raenafel, she would have ended up becoming lifemates with Jormak and having a tail flesh-shaped.
Inkbottom was the young son of Shoseabee and Kadva. He was quiet and cautious, generally willing to let his best friend Shoresprout take the lead in their adventures. He would have eventually developed strong magic.
Shoresprout was the young daughter of Burdekin and Zadori, and was nothing like her parents: she was loud, boisterious and a leader, dragging Inkbottom along on all of their adventures.
Burdekin was the lovemate of Zadori and father of Burdekin. Fun-loving and playful, he was as easily led as many of the other Wavedancers. He was one of the story-tellers.
Zadori was the daughter of Maron, the lovemate of Zadori and the mother of Shoresprout. She was a traditionalist, not given to forward thinking, and quite young. She was one of the storytellers.
Irralee was the younger sister of Paffa and one of the youngest elves in the colony - she is still considered a 'squirt' by many, alongside Inkbottom and Shoresprout. She was unique in Elfquest, being the only elf to have hetereochromia (two different-colored eyes). She was fascinated by Sydor, and eventually would have Recognized him.
Paffa was the lifemate of Maron and the older brother of Irralee. He was one of the few risk-takers of the Wavedancers, willing to do what was neccessary for the greater good. He had a good sense of humor but was overprotective of his sister and mate.
Maron was the lifemate of Paffa, the father of Zadori, and the grandfather of Shoresprout. He was cheerful, playful and adventurous, and was the headstoryteller in the colony.
Korillia was the child of two Firstborn, and was by far the tallest member of the colony at 6'0". Her mother was caught in a patch off bad magic while pregnant, which resulted in Korillia's octopus-like lower half and her sterility. Korillia was tempermental and quick to voice her opinions, and served as the colony's primary cook.
Tentus was the son of Ailsa and Desh, and the half-brother of Neama. He was bitter over his mother's abandonment of the colony, and lived alone, choosing to isolate himself from the colony. Tentus served as the colony's historian, shaping the coral to create statues of each Wavedancer and write their story, and had strong rockshaping and sending abilities as well. Whenever the Cursemaker came near, he would have debilitating nightmares.
Shardon was the son of Neama, half-brother of Brom and the first child of Recognition to be born into the colony. Subsequently, he was the first to be abducted, and of the children, only he and Illora survived. They would later be rescued, but Shardon would choose to retain his half-Conehead shape and features.
Illora was the daughter of Tilaweed and Hyfus, one of the abducted Children of Recognition that were raised by Sydor. Of them, only she and Shardon survived. When they were rescued in a later series, she would've had her features flesh-shaped back into an elfin form, unwilling to stay the half-Conehead creature he was.
Hyfus was the estranged lifemate of Tilaweed and the father of Illora. He was proud and noble, willing to try new ideas with the colony, and was the temporary Crown after Brom died.
Tilaweed was the estranged lifemate of Hyfus, and the mother of Illora. She was quiet and melanchony, unwilling to discuss the past and determined to avoid Hyfus - and subsequently, avoid reminders of her abducted daughter.
Desh High One, founder of the colony, father of Tentus.
Livian High One, founder of the colony.
Neama Half-sister of Tentus, daughter of Ausra and mother of Brom. Former Crown, died of a wound that festered.
Sima High One, founder of the colony.