|“||My life's work has been and will continue to be the restoration of the name Longtreader to its former place. A name synonymous with Kingsbuck.||”|
Wilfred was born the younger brother of Garten Longtreader, and he and his brother Whittle grew up to serve under Garten in the Council of Seven Ambassadors. Unfortunately, Wilfred and Whittle both failed to discern Garten's forthcoming treachery, to which Wilfred bore painful witness. Having accompanied Jupiter Goodson on a journey, Wilfred was sent to Lookout Point only to be mobbed and restrained by Garten's thugs. Bound and gagged, he was forced to watch and listen as Jupiter was set upon, captured, and ultimately murdered by the forces of Morbin Blackhawk and Garten.
Having escaped captivity, Wilfred regrouped with the king's faithful council in the aftermath of his death. He became the traveling companion, protector, and guardian of Smalden Joveson, the king's son and chosen heir. Unfortunately, Wilfred and other loyal members of the Longtreader family fell under suspicion due to their association with Garten.
As a result, Whittle and Sween Longtreader, with whom Wilfred was very close, were forced to take their daughter Heather into hiding at Nick Hollow. Wilfred, meanwhile, bore the burden of slander, and may have suffered even greater personal tragedy. When asked later if he had a wife and children by blood, he would lament:
|“||I don't have any family like that. Not anymore.||”|
— Wilfred to Picket Longtreader, The Green Ember, p. 110
Nearly thirteen yeas after the death of King Jupiter, Wilfred and Smalls were forced to leave First Warren due to its deteriorating situation and the hostility of Winslow Joveson. They traveled north of Nick Hollow, and remained there for an unknown stretch of time for unknown reasons.
However, upon heading south again, they were alerted to a potential danger to Wilfred's family in Nick Hollow, and quickly traveled to reach them. Sadly, they arrived just in time to see Whittle, Sween, and baby Jacks taken away by wolves under the command of Redeye Garlackson.
Wilfred and Smalls managed to locate Heather and her brother Picket, saving them from Redeye and another wolf. Unable to accompany an unconscious Heather and the younger bucks into Seven Mounds, Wilfred made his way around the outside to a stream emerging from the Seventh Mound.
He was eventually contacted by Picket, who informed him of Heather's revival and Smalls falling unconscious and the close pursuit of Redeye Garlackson's allies. Having found an anchor with a chain, Picket passed it through to Wilfred so that it could be used to break down a dam preventing their escape.
Using a boat also found by Picket in the Seventh Mound, the four made their way down the Whitmer River, with Wilfred suggesting that all four of them travel to Cloud Mountain. Smalls was initially opposed to the idea, but the conversation was cut short by Picket waking up. Unaware that Heather had been listening in, Wilfred gave them some details of his history and that of Natalia in general, though he admitted he couldn't tell them everything. The group intended to stop at Decker's Landing, but upon finding it in flames with wolves nearby abandoned the boat and traveled to the Savory Den.
Wilfred's party received a mixed reception from the inhabitants, particularly at the news of Tommy Decker's death. However, they were welcomed into Cloud Mountain by Lord Rake, whom Wilfred spoke to with surprise at the presence of Helmer. Wilfred, Smalls, and Rake were later forced to come to the black rabbit's aid when the training devices of Helmer's tree threatened to kill him. They were able to rescue Helmer, but Wilfred was none too pleased with the other rabbit due to Smalls nearly dying in his place.
In communications with the various secret citadels, Wilfred attempted to unify them, but found his relation and resemblance to Garten a great obstacle. Eventually he joined Lord Rake in initiating Heather and Picket at Lighthall, where Wilfred disclosed the tragic history of their uncle's involvement in King Jupiter's death. He was forced to reveal the reason for the hostility they had suffered from some other rabbits as well.
As a Citadel Congress was called at Cloud Mountain, the situation grew to the point where he feared he would have to evacuate Smalls and his brother's children.
After talking with Lord Ramnor of Halfwind Citadel, Wilfred agreed to be put on trial in hopes of helping the Cause move past its divisions; however, both Lord Rake and Helmer refused to allow it. Wilfred and his family later attended the assembly of Cloud Mountain's inhabitants and the visiting citadel forces, after talking over their unfair treatment.
After the energizing gathering, Wilfred and Picket practiced some swordplay before being interrupted by Heather, who had learned Smalls' true identity. The Attack on Cloud Mountain then took place, and Wilfred quickly set off in search of Smalls. He was angered to learn that his ward might have departed with the untrustworthy Kyle, who proved to have collaborated with the wolves in arranging the attack.
Wilfred joined Helmer in leading a countercharge against the retreating wolves, only for Heather to arrive with word of Smalls' journey to Jupiter's Crossing. Wilfred quickly began traveling there and gathering reinforcements, trusting Heather to do the same and Helmer to reach Lord Rake for support. The large force arrived just in time to witness Picket saving Smalls and killing Redeye Garlackson, and then charged in to chase off the wolves seeking to avenge their captain. Smalls, now revealed as heir to the throne, was quick to acknowledge Wilfred's role in keeping him safe through the years after his father's death. Wilfred later joined Smalls and the other lords and captains in counsel, expressing great happiness with his niece and nephew.
Lund mentioned to Jo Shanks that Wilfred was at Cloud Mountain, prompting shock that he hadn't been arrested. Searching for Smalls, Wilfred later came out onto Cloud Mountain's plateau while Captain Frye was drilling his force of soldiers from Halfwind Citadel. Frye was quick to accuse Wilfred of being in league with Garten and aiding in his treachery, which Wilfred denied while admitting he felt he should have discovered his brother's duplicity. He implored Frye to turn his anger towards the true enemy, only to find himself surrounded by Halfwind soldiers. Fortunately, Smalls arrived and led Wilfred away to a meeting of the citadel lords before things became violent.
|“||To bear the flame means more than only holding on to the fire kindled in the Green Ember's rising. It means to bear the fatal flames of the enemy, to bear up under the scorching heat of these hateful days.||”|
— Wilfred to Picket, Ember Falls, p. 211
Personality and traitsEdit
Wilfred is a kind, good-natured rabbit, loving towards his family and unfailingly loyal towards his king and country. This love has not blinded him to the faults in those he loves, and in the case of Picket he is quick to offer needed reproof and counsel. After such correction, he is always quick to express his love and to encourage the miscreant to become better than they have been. Though devoted to his family, his loyalty to Smalls was his highest priority. Despite this, he also recognized Smalls' imperfections, though he did not let the mistakes of others diminish his opinion of them.
Regrettably, though Wilfred recognized he was not directly responsible for the death of King Jupiter, he did blame himself for failing to detect Garten's treachery. As such, he felt that he deserved the scorn of other rabbits, though he did not believe the same of his niece and nephew. He also took no comfort from Rake's attempts to alleviate his sense of guilt. Despite the shame upon his family name and hostility of others, Wilfred worked diligently to unify the Cause against Morbin Blackhawk. He was also determined to see the name of Longtreader rid of the stain Garten's treason had placed upon it in the eyes of many.
Though patient, Wilfred would contend with aggressive opponents when needed, refuting Captain Frye's slanderous comments and making his own remarks on the captain's oral hygiene. He was also grateful for Heather's compliments for his efforts, and impressed by her youthful wisdom.
Wilfred is a capable fighter, fearlessly facing off with the likes of Redeye Garlackson despite suffering injury. He possesses great strength and endurance, seen by his ability to carry the nearly full-grown Picket on his back with little apparent effort. Wilfred was also one of the few to survive and escape the ambush in the Shade Hills, a testament to his fortitude, though he was left badly wounded. He is skilled in both fighting with and throwing a sword, demonstrating the latter in executing what Heather termed "a perfect throw" to save Smalls. Wilfred is also a capable medic, and can imitate the call of a whippoorwill, though he admits that his is slightly too fast.
- The name "Wilfred" is of Old English origin and means "desiring peace."