The night elves, or kaldorei ("Children of the Stars" in their native tongue of Darnassian), have a long and fascinating history. Native to the western continent of Kalimdor, the night elves ended a long period of seclusion at the end of the Third War and became members of the Alliance.
The kaldorei were an ancient and reclusive race born during the waking of the world. Their ancient heritage has shaped them into a devoted warrior race, with a reverence for nature and animistic mystical forces. The kaldorei are practical but superstitious, and often a paradox. They are a people possessed with a deep spiritual passion and a desire to find solace. In the time before, the kaldorei were immortal. Their powerful magic was recklessly unleashed by the Highborne, who believed they were superior to other kaldorei and dominated the arcane with unmatched skill. This careless use of magic may have allowed the Burning Legion to invade the world, and finally led to a catastrophic battle known as the War of the Ancients. This battle changed the face of Azeroth for all time, and resulted in the creation of the continents of the world, tearing the land apart and forming the vast nexus of energy at the center of the ocean known as the Maelstrom. The night elves are honorable to a fault, and they are a just and sometimes compassionate people. Still, they do not trust many of the lesser races of the world, whom they see as foolish and too short-lived to recall the mistakes they made in the past. Many of the night elves consider it their duty to ensure the safety and balance of the world. Because of this perceived air of superiority, many of the younger races mistrust the night elves, if not for their shadowy magic then for their aloof and judging demeanor.
At the beginning of the world, now known as Azeroth, the god-like titans created a magical well — dubbed the Well of Eternity by the kaldorei or night elves. Over time it became the source of their power, wisdom, and immortality. This immense source of mystical energy shone like a beacon throughout the Twisting Nether, eventually claiming the attention of Sargeras, the dark titan, Destroyer of Worlds, as he sought to claim its power as his own.
War of the AncientsEditThus began the corruption of the elves. Posing as a venerable god, Sargeras managed to contact the most powerful of all the elves, Azshara. Sargeras convinced Azshara, and her most loyal assistant, the Lord Counselor Xavius, to open a gateway to Azeroth that this almighty "god" might come forth and bless their whole race (meanwhile eradicating all races deemed "unworthy"). In their insolence, those born to nobility, the Highborne, sought to use and control this source of unimaginable power and unspeakable evil; and for their pride, they were consumed by the magic they so eagerly wished to wield.
As the portal into the mortal world grew larger, Sargeras sent ever more numerous "emissaries" to aid with the portal and bring the word of their god from the beyond. These demons were members of Sargeras's immortal army, known as the Burning Legion, and they had put to the flame countless worlds throughout the void. As the portal grew close to its completion to allow the dark titan entry to Azeroth, a small band of kaldorei led by Malfurion Stormrage, the first druid, realized the threat posed to their entire world by this nameless evil and the now-crazed Azshara. Realizing his seemingly imminent victory could be threatened by these few elves, Sargeras commanded that his Legion make war upon Azeroth and destroy the unworthy, which included the entirety of the kaldorei race.
As war raged across the young world, many protectors of the world emerged to aid the young Malfurion Stormrage in closing this portal to the Twisting Nether and the malevolence which now stood poised to destroy them all. The demi-god Cenarius, the ancients, and the powerful dragonflights clashed head on with the advancing legion. Having learned much about the power and beauty of nature from his shan'do, Cenarius, Malfurion was able to disrupt the nearly completed portal spell and close his world off from the invincible Sargeras.
With so much power in flux, the Well of Eternity imploded in a magical cataclysm, sending untold numbers to their doom. Many kaldorei were dragged to the bottom of the sea, only to be twisted and transformed into the sea serpents now known as the vile naga. The catastrophe tore the continent apart into three sections, and left a permanent storm known as the Maelstrom where the well once stood. With the majority of the Highborne dead, the kaldorei turned away from their arcane legacy and began a new culture focusing on attunement with nature and their surroundings.
The surviving Highborne tried to assimilate into the new druidic society, but over time they could not ignore the burning addiction to magic their whole race suffered from. The Highborne (now calling themselves high elves), led by Dath'Remar, left Kalimdor, sailing across the sea to the other, newly-formed continent. Here, they established the nation of Quel'Thalas.
The night elves, as they now called themselves, settled into their new culture, living as closely to the land and its inhabitants as possible. In time, they were granted a chance to continue as immortals when the World Tree, Nordrassil, was planted on Mount Hyjal with the remaining essence of the Well of Eternity. Having established a future for their people, the druids slumbered, communing with the dragon Aspect, Ysera in the Emerald Dream. The druids were bound to the Dream through the Nordrassil and slept for centuries at a time, only to be awoken during times of great need. For untold ages, their civilization flourished, forgotten by the centuries.
Rediscovery and the Third WarEdit
The Third War led to the rediscovery of the continent of Kalimdor and the night elf race. The orcs, newly fled from Azeroth and seeking resources for their armies, began a lumber project against which the night elves took great offense. This led to many skirmishes between the Warsong Clan of the orcs and the night elf Sentinel force. Eventually, the orcs and the night elves suspended their enmity and fought alongside each other, along with the humans and dwarves of the Alliance, against the demonic forces of Archimonde, a colossal lieutenant of the Burning Legion.
TodayEditThe night elves are now trying to rebuild what was lost after the battle with Archimonde at Mount Hyjal. In destroying Nordrassil to prevent the return of the Burning Legion, the night elves made the ultimate sacrifice: that of their immortality. They have founded the city of Darnassus on the ill-planned and unblessed new World Tree of Teldrassil, and are trying to reclaim the forest’s inhabitants from the madness spread by demonic corruption of the Third War. In the absence of Malfurion Stormrage, the night elves are led by Tyrande Whisperwind and Arch-Druid Fandral Staghelm. Though they are now aware that there are allies outside the boundaries of their woods, one should not walk lightly in their lands. After all the sacrifices they have endured to keep their lands free of destruction or bondage, the night elves are not fond of strangers. Many have found arrows in their chest before they even knew danger lurked about them. It is currently unknown when the night elves joined the Alliance, but they may have just kept their alliance made in the Third War.
Night elves are imposing in stature, males being on average 7 feet tall, but capable of ranging anywhere between 6'6" and 7'6", and the women standing between 6'2" and 7'2" in height. The race's prominent eyebrows, long pointed ears and natural aspects imply a feral grace. Skin tones range from pale white to blue, or various shades of purple, and their hair ranges in colour from bright white to woodland green, to deep indigo. Male kaldorei are very muscular, with broad chests and shoulders, indicative of the strength that lies within both their minds and bodies. The men are typically of a slim-waisted yet firm, muscular build including long, muscular arms and large hands. Unlike most other elves, night elf men often have thick beards and bushy eyebrows. However, the women are quite different. Female night elves are lithe and curvaceous, yet still muscular and strong. For the most part, they are suited to quick and deadly combat.
While gathering lumber from Ashenvale for Thrall's war effort, Grom Hellscream, unaware of the night elves' identity, remarked that they looked "like elves, but they're far too tall, and far more savage".
Among night elves, silver-coloured eyes are the traditional, and most common varient, with amber eyes being less so. Among the class-obsessed night elves who lived prior to the War of the Ancients, amber eyes were rare, and thus viewed as a sign of underlying greatness. Queen Azshara and Illidan Stormrage, both extremely powerful sorcerers, had amber eyes. However, it was later revealed that the golden eye colour, was atually a sign of inherent druidic potential. The night elves became vastly more egalitarian since the War's end, abandoning their former obsession with bloodlines, and thus, amber eyes are now far more common. In addition, druidism spread throughout night elven society, and many night elves develop amber eyes after birth if they practice the art.
Though amber eyes are a sign that the individual has a natural ability for druidic magic, it does not mean that all amber-eyed night elves become druids, or that silver-eyed night elves are unable. Malfurion Stormrage himself was born with silver eyes, and developed amber eyes only after studying druid magic. His own brother, though born with amber eyes, lacked the patience to succeed in the art.
CultureEditThe night elves are a people who have dedicated their individual lives, as well as the very organization of their entire society, in the pursuit of the protection of the natural world. They are at one with the subtle ebb and flow of the Kalimdor forests they call home. The druids of their people spent ages walking in a spectral realm guarded by the great Green Dragon - Ysera the Dreamer, known as the Emerald Dream. The night elves were once immortal but after the Third War, they gave up their immortal nature to defeat Archimonde and were forced to fully rejoin the world and fight for its survival. Though the night elves venerate and honor many creatures, Moon Goddess Elune is honored above all others.
Prior to the conclusion of the Third War, night elf society was sharply divided by gender, with the vast majority of men being druids and most women serving as warriors, priestesses, or a combination thereof. These gender roles more or less defined the culture of the kaldorei for ten thousand years. In the years since the end of the Third War, this gender division appears to have eased in favor of more practical concerns, setting aside its historical strictures on membership. Women have taken up the mantle of the druids, just as men have begun to choose the path of war and have affiliated with the Sentinels. Although before the Third War there were women night elf druids they weren't let to affiliate the Cenarion Circle.
The night elves worship the Ancients, who are nature deities attuned to the forest and the hunt. Elune the moon goddess and Malorne the Waywatcher are the most prominent figures of worship. While Cenarius has died, and the night elves will never forgive the orcs for this, his children live on and gain power each passing year. The night elves venerate the children of Cenarius as he was venerated, and perhaps one day these children of the slain demigod will aid the night elves in repaying the orcs for the transgressions of the past.
Night elves primarily speak Darnassian and Common. The night elves once worked with orcs to halt the Burning Legion, and now they retain knowledge of the race's language for tactical reasons.
The Sisters of Elune hold by far the most power; as one of a small handful of kaldorei organizations to survive the War of the Ancients, and the only one to be based upon aptitude and not lineage, they were largely responsible for the establishment of the new government after the War's conclusion. Among their early actions were to reorganize the old, class-based army into the Sentinel pattern used today, and to adjust the order's charter to include public service. The head of the Sisters would be the sole head of the night elf government.
The Cenarion Circle, then still under the direction of Cenarius himself, took no active part in governmental affairs, as their numbers included druids from several other species. Though Archdruid Stormrage did take part in the government on occasion, the druids typically remained aloof.
Though Tyrande is still the undisputed leader of the government, the Sisters are not the only players on the field; power in the night elf government today is set largely across three groups: the Sisters of Elune, the night elf faction of the Cenarion Circle, and the Sentinels. In particular, Archdruid Staghelm believes himself to be a much more capable leader than Tyrande, and a silent power struggle has erupted between the two leaders. Only the highest of the Sisters and druids are aware of the battle that could tear kaldorei society apart.
Night elves rely on their magic and the benefits of the natural world around them to maintain their society. Their magic is druidic in nature and flows straight from the natural world. They use this magic and their affinity for nature to shape the trees and stone and make friends with the animals around them. It is with these skills rather than engineering, steam power, or metalcraft that they survive.While they cultivate a relatively low-tech society, when compared to those of the dwarves or gnomes, they seem to have been able to create some relatively simple mechanical weaponry, such as the large glaive thrower, a mechanical siege weapon, which they developed during their period of isolation from other races. Though the night elves obviously have metallurgical skills (the aforementioned glaives don't forge themselves), there appears to be no forge present in Darnassus or on Teldrassil.
As the city of Darnassus exemplifies, the night elves are skilled at building and stonecraft. These skills probably date from before the War of the Ancients, when the kaldorei were more "traditional" in terms of technology. It should be noted that their lifestyle is not "anti-technology," but rather one where technology is not the goal.
The Art of WarEdit
Rather than drawing from the chaotic and darker side of magic, theirs is pulled from Azeroth itself. Stone, root, flora and fauna all are avenues through which their magic travels. Druids are able to change into animal forms, snare their foes with roots or harden their skin like tree bark.
Their warriors are not to be taken lightly either. The night elves are among the most deadly adversaries to be found anywhere, due to a combination of their proficient skill with a bow, their stunning agility, and the ability to melt away into the shadows of the night. Few use common weapons such as swords, most preferring the moonglaives (triple-bladed swords) they have grown accustomed to. War panthers, hippogryphs and even the mighty chimaeras and mountain giants have all been known to aid the night elves in battle.
For ten thousand years, all night elven war and "foreign policy" has been based solely on the safety of Ashenvale Forest and Mount Hyjal from outside incursion. The Sentinels, hidden safely among Ashenvale's leafy trees, effectively sealed off the region from unwanted interference for ten millennia. The Sentinel's method of deterrence was successful until the invasion of the Legion-endorsed Scourge; at which point the night elves were forced to awaken the Druids and accept aid from the Alliance and the Horde.
Night elven society has changed since the battle of Mount Hyjal, and the Sentinels now function in an entirely different manner. As the Burning Legion threat has been averted, at least for now, the night elves are no longer considered in a state of war. However, many Sentinels and druids have begun to hunt down and kill Warsong Orcs, as a result of their operations in Ashenvale, and the death of Cenarius.
Night Elves On The Sha'tarEdit
- Azretha Moonpaw
- Azruhda Moonstrike
- Cerice Swiftwind
- Fierse Starblade
- Fingon Wolfsgrace
- Heleane Rivergreen
- Illayne Shatterstar
- Ishaye Daeavia
- Iyokus Shatterstar
- Kayandre Shadowfen
- Kouta Tayen
- Myrion Starblade
- Nandor Evenshade
- Nhaera Darkenbough
- Nirra Duskleaf
- Sekanai Ashecroft
- Tyrialia Nightwhisper