Soul-name facts (parents; when child knows; etc.)
All wolfriders have a "soul-name". This name is almost invariably kept secret by them; all wolfriders have descriptive spoken names, which can change over time, that are used for most interactions.
The soul-name is not consciously chosen. During pregnancy, the mother becomes aware of her unborn child's soul-name approximately 3 months before birth. Typically, she shares this with the child's father. But the child itself is not always consciously aware of his/her soul-name for several years -- certainly, not until they have grown up enough to have a conscious sense of self, and to need the protection of the soul-name when they begin sending. (See below.) Some children require extended, concentrated meditation in order to discover their own soul-name.
For an adult, the soul-name is a key to the most intimate parts of their soul/spirit. It is not shared with others lightly. Recognition causes the two elves involved to automatically know each other's soul-names. This intimacy produces a life-long bond between the two, and this sometimes (but not always) leads to a life-mating.
While the sharing of a soul-name confers a deep *knowing* between two elves, it does not necessarily confer perfect understanding of each other. (Consider examples from canon: Leetah and Cutter did not initially understand each other, and only after some time arrived at deeper love and lifemating; Dewshine and Tyldak know each other deeply, but repell each other; it doesn't prevent even Cutter and Skywise, in the OQ, from going through a period of misunderstanding and disappointment in each other.)
Outside of Recognition, voluntary sharing of the soul-name with another is very rare. While parents know a child's soul-name, it is not usual for the child not to know the soul-names of either of his/her parents. It is NOT typically shared merely to express a great degree of love or devotion. Those who possess the soul-name of another are as careful to avoid revealing it to others as they are careful to guard their own. It is a strong taboo amongst wolfriders to avoid openly revealing someone else's soul-name, and it is also a strong taboo that those who do possess another's soul-name do not it against them in any way.
The bond of sharing a soul-name also results in the two elves being able to receive, involuntarily, feedback about things that happen to the other elf. Usually this is limited to things that affect the other elf very strongly and that cause a "loud" emotional or physical reaction (great pain; great fear; great joy). The echo of these feelings may transcend the distance barrier common to normal sending communications (see below). Even if the elf is unconscious, the use of their soul-name in sending will result in at least a responsive echo from them. The only thing that can silence this response is death.
In relation to this, those who share soul-names through Recognition are usually able to know/feel when the other elf has died. This knowing/feeling may be accompanied by an echo of the method of dying; it may also, subsequently, involve a strong feeling of brief visitation by the dead elf's spirit. The only things that can interfere with this are unusual circumstances involving psychic interference/distraction (for example: that Bearclaw did not know for sure Joyleaf had died after Madcoil's attack, but had to try sending to her to confirm it, may have been due to the loud black-sending interference that accompanied the attack.)
Some, but not all of these effects may be true of voluntary soul-name sharing (i.e. soul-siblings) or parental knowledge of a child's soul-name. Soul-siblings and parents are not guaranteed to become aware of things affecting the other half of the bond at great distances, or even of knowing of their death.
Wolf-bonding (universal); Animal-bonding/control (not universal)
Wolf-bonding (and wolf-sending, which is a simplified form of sending that elves use to communicate with their wolf-friends, and that the wolves may sometimes use to communicate in return) is also a universal talent amongst wolfriders. Again, some members of the tribe are stronger in this talent, while some are weaker. There are also variations in strength amongst the wolves.
Animal-bonding and control, however (i.e. forming wolf-friend-like bonds with animals other than wolves; or being able to influence other animals' behavior), is a specialized magical talent that is not currently found amongst the River Twine tribe.
Other magic (not universal)
In addition to sending, the wolfriders have the capacity for other types of "magic"; but unlike sending, these talents are *not* universal. They appear to be inheritable in family lines, but not all children of a magic-user will actually manifest the talent (though they may be a "carrier", passing it on to future generations). Talent levels vary by individual.
These types of magic include: healing; plantshaping; rockshaping; gliding (actually, properly, "lifting", since the users of this talent may lift things other than themselves).
Other types of magic have been known amongst pureblooded elves, but have not yet appeared amongst the River Twine tribe, and thus, may never: spirit "going out" (a very strong form of sending), black-sending, magic-sense; soul-snaring; fireshaping (and firestarting); watershaping; shield-projecting; animal-bonding/control (except for wolf-bonding); flesh-shaping (normal healing powers are a form of flesh-shaping, but a great deal more power is required to produce a Tyldak, for example); shape-changing or self-shaping.
Each type of magic that an elf can possess glows a different color. It is important to note that in RTH canon, this glow is only visible to the elves. Animals, humans, and trolls cannot see it. The colors by type of magic are as follows:
Healing - Yellow/Golden
Plantshaping - Green
Rockshaping - Pink
Gliding/Lifting - Purple