|Chronological and political information|
"Grateful? There's an empty word for me, Lady Nightstalker. Have you anything to eat? I'm famished."
Elva was a baby girl whose guardian, Greta, asked Eragon to bless her. Saphira touched her brow, leaving a silver star upon her forehead in the form of the Gedwëy ignasia. However, Eragon mistakenly cursed her instead of blessing her, by messing up his verb conjugation and using the word for "shield", as opposed to "shielded" by in the Ancient Language replacing the "-rö" suffix with an "-r". The complete spell Eragon used was, "Atra guliä un ilian tauthr ono un atra ono waíse skölir fra rauthr", which translates to "May luck and happiness follow you and may you be a shield from misfortune".
As a consequence, Elva aged rapidly, having the appearance of a four-year-old in a matter of weeks, and she spoke in the voice of a grown woman. She is described as having piercing violet eyes and dark hair. She was doomed to "shield" others within a certain physical range of proximity from any pain or suffering. She could foresee when a person was about to be damaged, and was compelled to do anything in her power to prevent. If she resisted, there were "consequences." The "consequences" included vomiting, and her taking on the other person's suffering.
Elva was assigned to be Nasuada's bodyguard after saving Nasuada from an assassination attempt by the Black Hand. Nasuada also had the herbalist-witch Angela watch over Elva for her. Angela also extracts a promise from Eragon that he will do all in his power to take his blessing-turned-curse off of Elva.
In Brisingr, Eragon tried to remove his curse from her; he failed, but still cast a spell that changed her need to help others in pain or danger, and she could decide of her own free-will if she wanted to ignore it.
Following Eragon's failure, Elva dismissed her caretaker, Greta, and stated that she would be beholden to no one. Angela stated that she would have to "spend the next ten years teaching the girl how to behave." She had cast a spell that prevented Elva's ability from having any effect on her the moment she first met her, but she refused to teach it to anyone else. Elva stated that she was now ambivalent toward Eragon, but regarding Saphira, she stated "I am and shall always remain your faithful servant," no small thing, seeing as Eragon and Saphira are directly bonded.
During the battle with the Laughing Dead, Angela stated that Elva was "not very coherent" and that she was going to put her to sleep until the violence was at an end, showing that Elva still had much work to do if she wished to master her ability. In Ellesméra, when Eragon spoke of Elva, Oromis stated that even though Eragon had not succeeded in removing the whole of the spell, he had fulfilled his obligation.
In Inheritance, Elva stayed with the Varden in their war against the Empire. When Eragon went to capture Dras-Leona, he asked her to come with him as protection but she refused. Afterwards, Eragon scolded her for her decision as she could have prevented Wyrden's death. Regretting her mistake Elva helped to the fight Imperial soldiers who were attempting to capture Nasuada. At Urû'baen, Elva, along with Eragon, Saphira, Arya and the other elves confronted Galbatorix but her gift was rendered useless by a spell preventing her from speaking. After the fall of Galbatorix, Eragon learned the Name of Names and offered to remove the curse he had put upon her but she refused, saying that it was already part of who she was and that if she didn't have it, she would just be an outcast, whereas if she did have the curse, she would be an outcast with a helpful talent.
Elva's parents are unknown, it is presumed that they died not long after her birth, assuming her father was even still alive at that time.
Elva was completely omitted from the film even though she plays a very important role in the story. She does, however, appear in a deleted scene.