- This article is about the night elves' lore. For the playable race, see Night elf (playable).
|Faction/Affiliation||Darnassus, Alliance, Cenarion Circle, Highborne, Kirin Tor, Argent Crusade, Silver Hand, Knights of the Ebon Blade, Illidari, Twilight's Hammer, Forsaken, Horde|
Death knight, Demon hunter, Druid, Hunter, Mage, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Warrior
Saber cat |
|Area(s)||Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Broken Isles|
|Average height||7–8 feet (213 - 244 cm)|
- “Darkness covered us in the beginning, and we could not see. We cried for guidance and the moon shone down bright upon us. Her soft light not only illuminated the night for us but also gave comfort. Her light touched us from within, enabling us to see even when the moon was not visible...”
Night elves (or kaldorei, for "children of the stars" in Darnassian), are a powerful and mystical race whose origins extend back to ancient times, being one of the longest-lived and most ancient cultures in existence today. These then-immortal beings were among the first to study magic and let it loose throughout the world nearly ten thousand years before the First War. The founders of a magical and advanced civilization which at its peak spanned the breadth of ancient Kalimdor, the night elves came into a horrific conflict with the Burning Legion but achieved a Pyrrhic victory that ended in the Great Sundering, turning Kalimdor's landmass into the continents of the present age. The devastation wrought by the chain of events birthed in conceit caused a wholesale shift in direction. Until very recently, the night elves abandoned and completely outlawed the use of arcane magic, fearing its use would draw the Legion back to their world.
The main survivors of the Sundering crafted a radically different society centered around druidism, striving to live in harmony and co-existence with nature and its inhabitants, and essentially becoming "venerable guardians" of the natural world as well as the World Tree Nordrassil instead of ruling most of Azeroth as its foremost superpower, in addition reconnecting with the widespread worship of their moon goddess Elune, under the guidance of their leaders Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind. The night elves established their newest capital Darnassus in the boughs of the World Tree Teldrassil off the coasts of northwestern Kalimdor in recent times, where it stood as a living symbol of the night elves' rich culture and glorious history.
The far-reaching and ancient legacy of the night elves shaped them into a race of very self-sufficient and self-conscious individuals, who often display strong streaks of isolationism and eons of accumulated ancient wisdom. The night elves ended a long period of seclusion referred to as the Long Vigil in the aftermath of the Third War, standing with refugees from the Eastern Kingdoms during the Battle of Mount Hyjal. They then began to associate themselves with the Alliance, at least partly in response to the Horde's continued presence in Ashenvale.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Emergence of the night elves
- 1.2 Rise of the Kaldorei Empire
- 1.3 War of the Ancients
- 1.4 The Sundering
- 1.5 The Long Vigil
- 1.6 Rediscovery and the Third War
- 1.7 Post-Third War
- 1.8 Stormrage
- 1.9 Cataclysm
- 1.10 Mists of Pandaria
- 1.11 Warlords of Draenor
- 1.12 Legion
- 1.13 Battle for Azeroth
- 1.14 Shadowlands
- 2 Culture
- 2.1 Faith
- 2.2 Origins
- 2.3 Gender roles
- 2.4 Aging and lifespan
- 2.5 Reunification
- 2.6 Government
- 2.7 Flags and banners
- 2.8 Warfare
- 2.9 Interactions with the Alliance
- 2.10 Relations with other elven groups
- 2.11 Relations with the Horde races
- 2.12 Relationship with other races
- 2.13 Languages
- 2.14 Technology
- 2.15 Cuisine
- 2.16 Customs
- 2.17 Notes on culture
- 3 Appearance
- 4 Racial offshoots
- 5 Notable
- 6 Night elf factions and allies
- 7 In the RPG
- 8 In the TCG
- 9 Notes and trivia
- 10 Gallery
- 11 See also
- 12 References
Emergence of the night elves
Around 15,000 years ago a tribe of dark trolls unconcerned by the battles for land and power and longing for a peaceful connection to the world, came to settle near the translucent waters of the Well of Eternity, the prime source of all magic on the planet. Over time, the Well's cosmic power affected this nocturnal and independent tribe, suffusing their flesh and bones, elevating their forms to match their graceful spirits. They transformed into highly intelligent and virtually immortal beings. Their skin turned various shades of violet, and they grew stronger and taller in stature. The tribe gradually abandoned their ancient heritage and tradition. The mystics began worshiping the moon goddess Elune, who they believed slumbered within the fount's depth during daylight hours. The former trolls also discovered the name "Kalimdor" and other titan-forged words from communing with Elune and investigating strange artifacts scattered around the Well's periphery. They adopted the name kaldorei, which meant "children of the stars" in their native tongue.
The early night elf priests and seers studied the Well with an insatiable curiosity, driven to plumb its untold secrets and power. As their society grew, the night elves explored the breadth of Kalimdor and encountered its myriad denizens. The trees, flowers, and woodland creatures watched the night elves flourish, whispering news of them to the Wild Gods of Mount Hyjal. In time, the night elves' curiosity led them to meet and befriend a number of powerful entities, not the least of which was Cenarius, a mighty demigod of the primordial forestlands. The great-hearted Cenarius grew fond of the inquisitive night elves, claiming kinship with their race and spending a great deal of time teaching them about the natural world. Cenarius adored the night elves and believed they had the potential to become great caretakers of nature. He befriended the fledgling race and taught them about the natural world. It was Cenarius' hope that the night elves would strive to live in harmony with the wilds. Some night elves were so transformed by the teachings of the demigod that they never left his realm, choosing to remain by Cenarius' side as his defenders. These few would cease to be elves and became woodland guardians physically altered forever.
The tranquil kaldorei developed a strong empathy for the living forests of Kalimdor and reveled in the harmonious balance of nature. This grew alongside their curiosity of the Well and their continuous draw to its arcane essence. For many centuries, the night elves lived in harmony and balance with the world and their natural affinity for the arcane. They built a graceful society around the Well of Eternity and the capital of their small nation Elun'dris or "the Eye of Elune" sat on the shores of the font of power, where they continued uncovering the secrets of the Well and honing their ties with the surrounding woodlands and their myriad inhabitants. The only creatures that gave them pause were the ancient and powerful dragons. Though the great serpentine beasts were often reclusive, they did much to safeguard the known lands from potential threats. The night elves believed that the dragons held themselves to be the protectors of the world, and that they and their secrets were best left alone. Cenarius guided the night elves when necessary, pleased by the wisdom and benevolence that thrummed in their hearts.
Rise of the Kaldorei Empire
- “Long had the children of the stars dwelled upon the banks of the shimmering waters of the Eternal Well. To all was known that Elune, light of the eternal twilight, aspect and goddess of the moon, dwelt within its waters at such time that she rested from her works. Upon the shores of the Well did the children of the stars, favoured of Elune, build their homes, even as their gaze was trained ever skyward, into the moonlit night. Though there were many towns and places of habitation constructed upon the lakeshore, Ameth'Aran and Bashal'Aran were the foremost, having the touch of Azshara, the Kaldorei's beloved queen, in their creation. Her favored servitors, those of the highborne, she brought to the twin towns to reside...”
In time, many of the night elves yearned for a different life, drawn to the arcane, they became obsessed with unlocking the Well of Eternity's secrets. They rigorously studied the fount's arcane energies becoming learned sorcerers. They harnessed the powers of the arcane lake and constructed wondrous temples and roadways around it. Magic became an inseparable part of life as the night elves reveled in the power at their finger tips. Pushing the boundaries of their intellect became the driving force of their culture. It was during this era of unprecedented growth that Queen Azshara came to power. She was adored by night elves of every social standing, seemingly immune to the ire the lower castes developed against some of their Highborne nobles. The elves were so enamored with her that they renamed their wondrous capital Zin-Azshari, or "the Glory of Azshara". Sharing the priests' curiosity towards the Well of Eternity, Azshara pushed the educated Highborne to plumb its secrets and reveal its true purpose in the world. The Highborne buried themselves in their work and studied the Well ceaselessly.
Only the openly hostile troll nations drew the full attention of the elves. Despite their battles with the trolls, the night elves built up the mighty Kaldorei Empire that expanded rapidly across Kalimdor. Not since the Black Empire in ages past had a territory grown so vast in size and scope. The immense influence Azshara held over the world and its denizens eclipsed even Lei Shen's wildest dreams of power. Empowered by the Well and wielding fierce magics never before imagined by the trolls, the night elves soon threatened the two greatest empires on Azeroth: the Amani and Gurubashi.
The night elves systematically dismantled the troll's defenses and supply chains. Unable to counter the elves' destructive magics, the trolls buckled under the onslaught. The territories of the Gurubashi and Amani empires fragmented within only a few years. The elves however were not interested in conquest. In the eyes of Queen Azshara, the trolls were a minor nuisance, their battle lust a symptom of primitive and unenlightened minds. Ultimately, the queen struck an accord with the Zandalar tribe, which held immense influence over all other trolls. In exchange for ending troll incursions into night elf territory, the Zandalari would be allowed to keep the sacred Zandalar Mountains south of the Well of Eternity. Fully aware they stood no chance against their enemies' arcane powers, the trolls begrudgingly agreed. The night elves' shockingly quick victory and the trolls' shameful acquiescence fostered the trolls' deep resentment and eternal hatred toward night elves, lasting to this very day.
Yet, as the seemingly endless ages passed, the night elves' civilization expanded both territorially and culturally. Their temples, roads, and dwelling places stretched across the breadth of the dark continent. Azshara built an immense, wondrous palace on the Well's shore that housed her favored servitors within its bejeweled halls. There the most powerful nobles, whom she called the Quel'dorei or "Highborne", doted on her every command and believed themselves to be greater than the rest of their lower-caste brethren. The leaders of regions in the night elf empire were called prince/princess, such as Prince Tortheldrin of Eldre'Thalas, Prince Farondis of Azsuna, and Prince Toreth of Loreth'Aran.
They continued developing the ability to manipulate and control the Well's cosmic energies to great heights and power not wielded before, even today. Azshara believed the night elves so far had only tapped a small portion of its power. As their reckless experiments progressed, the Highborne found that they could wield the cosmic powers of the universe to either create or destroy with devastating effect at their leisure. Although they agreed that arcane magic was inherently dangerous if handled irresponsibly, Azshara and her Highborne began to practice their spellcraft with reckless abandon performing increasingly dangerous experiments causing waves of arcane energy cascading into the Twisting Nether.
Cenarius and many of the wizened night elf scholars warned that only calamity would result from such abuse. Cenarius had watched the night elf empire expand with growing unease. Year by year, he became increasingly frustrated with the hubris and thoughtless actions of the sorcerous Highborne. The majority of night elf society continued honoring the old ways of revering the wilds. The fact that these folk still lived in harmony with the land alongside their great magical advancement warmed Cenarius' heart, but he knew that they had no influence over Azshara and her arrogant followers whose regard for living in harmony lessened as their power and arrogance grew. As time passed, the night elves began eschewing diplomacy and largely ignored Azeroth's other cultures. Azshara's dogmatic beliefs regarding racial purity seeped into the night elves' psyche, creating an atmosphere rife with xenophobia. But, Azshara and her followers stubbornly continued to expand their burgeoning powers.
War of the Ancients
- Main article: War of the Ancients
Thus began the corruption of the elves. As their powers grew, a distinct change came over Azshara and the Highborne. The haughty, aloof upper class became increasingly callous and cruel towards their fellow night elves. A dark, brooding pall veiled Azshara's once entrancing beauty. She began to withdraw from her loving subjects and refused to interact with any but her trusted Highborne priests. The pandaren, long-time allies of the night elf people, saw this change overcoming the night elves and decided to sever all ties.
Before they left, the pandaren decided to offer the Highborne a gift, a chest of pandaren design, said to contain all the arcane magic they would ever need. The gift was accepted and taken down into a royal vault in the Temple of Zin-Malor in Eldarath. However, when the chest was opened, it was found to contain absolutely nothing. The pandaren's gift was actually a message of advice and wisdom to the Highborne: all the arcane magic they needed was nothing, or in other words, they did not need it at all. The chest and the message it represented continued to exist in the vault even 10,000 years later, but as history would record, the pandaren's wisdom fell on deaf ears.
Posing as a venerable god, Sargeras managed to contact Azshara. Sargeras convinced Azshara, and her most loyal assistant, the Lord Counselor Xavius, to open a gateway to Azeroth that this mighty "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 cosmos. 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, Tyrande Whisperwind, the high priestess of Elune, and Jarod Shadowsong 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 demigod Cenarius and his fellow Ancient Guardians, the Dragon Aspects, the Earthen, the ancients, the tauren and the furbolg 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.
- Main article: Nightborne
"The city of Suramar became the center of night elf worship and home to the Sisterhood of Elune. This order, composed of female night elves, dedicated itself to venerating the moon goddess. The sisterhood's priestesses had a hand in nearly all aspects of early night elf civilization, from acting as spiritual leaders to helping defend their burgeoning territories from outside threats."
In time the beautiful city of Suramar, jewel of the night elven empire would become its foremost center for magical research and cutting edge advancements surpassing that of the executive and legislative center of the Empire and rival city, Zin-Azshari. Suramar would host the fabled Nar'thalas Academy in Farondale on its most distinguished province of Azsuna, and would become the foremost center for magical learning, where night elves and even members of the fabled blue dragonflight would ponder together the mysteries of the cosmos and the arcane. Under the wise and strong influence of the sisterhood complexly and totally intertwined with the advanced arcane society, Suramar grew and prospered in excellence, knowledge and discipline alongside faith. The marvels of the arcane alongside the serenity and ethereal beauty of the prayers to Elune that would ascend from its numerous temples such as Falanaar, Faronaar and their headquarters of the Cathedral of Eternal Night. It is this region that would produce the heart of the night elven resistance to Queen Azshara and her new demonic allies. It started with the rebellion of Prince Farondis who on discovering the nature of the Queen's new allegiance, devised a bold plan to rid the world of the demons in one fell swoop by destroying the means they entered the world: the Well of Eternity.
He would have succeeded if he was not betrayed by a young noble Vandros too enamored with the Queen. Furious at this betrayal, in display of unparalleled power, Queen Azshara unleashed a spell of devastating proportions in retribution against the elves of Farondis' court that doomed the entire Suramar province of Azsuna to an eternal curse of unliving. Azshara meant this to serve as a warning against any dissenters and quell any ideas of rebellion amongst her subjects empire wide. However as the invading forces of the Legion marched across the hapless cities and territories around the world, the seeds of rebellion would blossom amongst the night elven population in the battle for their souls and the very survival of their world. The heart of rebellion was spearheaded in this region of the night elf empire and the fight would be picked up by Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest of Val'sharah, another province of Suramar. It is to his banner that many citizens of Suramar City and its provinces, including city folk like Malfurion and Illidan Stormrage, Tyrande Whisperwind who would become High Priestess of Elune during the conflict, Jarod Shadowsong and many others from Suramar City itself and surrounding regions would mount a resistance and march towards the capital of Zin-Azshari to stop the Legion and the Highborne of the palace who they at first believed were forcing the hand of the Queen against her will.
The Pillars of Creation
As battles raged across central Kalimdor, one group of Azshara's servants grew increasingly concerned for their own future. This small sect of Highborne sorcerers acted as an extension of the queen's will in the city. From their headquarters in Suramar, they engaged in covert activities aimed at securing Azshara's rule and strengthening the empire.
Of the many duties that these Highborne performed, they excelled at hunting down and acquiring artifacts of great power. Most of these relics were stored in the Vault of Antiquities in Suramar. Amongst them, an extraordinary set of relics that the ancient keepers had used to shape and order Azeroth in ages past. Though Suramar's elite Highborne had pledged their undying loyalty to Azshara, their views on the queen began to shift as the war dragged on. The group's leader, Grand Magistrix Elisande, feared that the Legion did not have the Highborne's best interests in mind. The monstrous demons had already destroyed much of the night elves' glorious empire and poisoned the surrounding land with their fel magics.
Elisande's distrust of the Legion only deepened when she discovered that demons were planning to transform Suramar into a new staging ground for the war. Legion agents had begun forming a gateway to the Twisting Nether within the city's most prominent structure, the Cathedral of Eternal Night. Once open, this portal would allow the Legion's reinforcements to storm into Azeroth and crush the night elf resistance on a second front.
Yet Elisande thought that such a portal would likely destroy Suramar and everyone who dwelt within. Thus the grand magistrix and her followers formed a plan to sabotage the Legion's efforts. They severed their ties with the other Highborne and moved to seal the demons' new portal. To do so, Elisande and her allies sought out the potent artifacts they had gathered over the years. In particular, they knew that the Pillars of Creation possessed the raw power that they would need to neutralize the Legion's portal.
With these artifacts in hand, Elisande and her Highborne led an assault against the demons in Suramar. Just as the Legion's new portal began roaring to life, the sorcerers channeled their magic through the Pillars of Creation. They wove a great spell that closed the howling gateway and locked it with a set of unbreakable seals.
Though they had thwarted the attempt to create a new portal, the rebellious Highborne had no plans to join the night elf resistance and continue fighting the Legion. Fearing calamity, Elisande and her followers worked to fortify their holdings in Suramar rather than push with the rest of the resistance to Zin-Azshari. They harnessed the Eye of Aman'Thul, one of the Pillars of Creation, to create an immense fount of arcane magic. Known as the Nightwell, this source of power would nourish the sorcerers and protect them from future threats. In the millennia to come, the fount would also change Elisande and her allies transforming them into a new race of night elves called the nightborne.
With so much power in flux, the Well of Eternity imploded in a magical cataclysm known as the Great Sundering, 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, its remains now separated by a massive ocean, 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, settling in the sacred glades around Mount Hyjal.
Illidan, Malfurion's twin brother, seeking to maintain arcane magic in the world even after the destruction of the well of eternity had also traveled to Hyjal. Here, he poured three vials filled with water from the original well of eternity into a lake, imbuing it with great power and turning it into a new well. When Illidan refused to give up his magical powers, he was captured by his brother and imprisoned within the Barrow Deeps under the watchful eye of Maiev Shadowsong.
Meanwhile, the night elves of Suramar were fully shielded from the effects of the Great Sundering due to the efforts of Elisande's group of Highborne. Elisande would come to lead the night elf society under a shield that would both serve as a refuge and prison. Cut off from all events outside, they apparently at first believed they were the only kaldorei survivors of the breaking of the world and under the eternal shroud of night and an artificial sky, these kaldorei would distinguish themselves as shal'dorei, continuing the legacy of the Kaldorei Empire under the shroud of eternal night produced by the Nightwell rather than the starlit night of before.
Far away from the center of events on Hyjal and the night elven society that would develop there, another group of Highborne dwelt in the city of Eldre'Thalas, which survived the War of the Ancients mostly intact. Although they took a long time to do it, the Highborne of House Shen'dralar who had processed the Queen's special projects rebelled against the Queen towards the end of the war when their city was besieged by the demons and it was clear the Highborne would not be exempt from their purge. The wolf god Goldrinn had fought bravely besides the city defenders and though he was ultimately slain, the Highborne were successful in defending their city. Far to the south of Mount Hyjal, the Shen'dralar did not draw the attention of the kaldorei. They powered their city by trapping a demon of immense power, Immol'thar, and used its energies to fuel their addiction and lifestyle in the absence of the power of the original well. However, despite their clever efforts, the imprisoned demon that they drew power from would come to require increasing amounts of power on its own until the net power gain became a loss. Subtly twisted by the demonic energies he was using, the Shen'dralar Prince would come to sacrifice his subjects to restore the net gain. This tug of war eventually drove this once bastion of arcana into ruin, with only a few survivors remaining, most of which were zealous supporters of the Prince.
For many years, the main night elven body atop Mount Hyjal worked tirelessly to restore what they could of their shattered ancient homeland. Leaving their broken temples, cities and roads to be overgrown, they largely chose to live on the land, out in the open or in barrow dens. They constructed very few new homes constantly on the move in patrols, although a small collection of structures were constructed amidst the verdant trees and shadowed hills at Hyjal's base called Nighthaven and served as the administrative centre from which the High Priestess Tyrande led. In time, the dragons that had survived the great Sundering came forth from their secret abodes. Alexstrasza the red, Ysera the green, and Nozdormu the bronze descended upon the druids' tranquil glades and surveyed the fruits of the night elves' labors. Malfurion, who had become an arch-druid of immense power, greeted the mighty Dragons and told them about the creation of the new Well of Eternity. The great Dragons were alarmed to hear the news and speculated that as long as the Well remained, the Legion might use it to find Azeroth once more.
Furion and the three dragons made a pact that the night elves would serve as guards of this new well. Alexstrasza brought an enchanted acorn, a remnant of G'hanir, and placed it in the well, where it grew into Nordrassil, the first world tree. This tree would serve as a means to regulate the power of the new Well masking its energies ingeniously from radiating out into the Twisting Nether to serve as another beacon for the Legion. The tree would also mask its power signature from would-be magic users in the hope of preventing any other society from learning arcane secrets and repeating the disastrous error of the elves. The tree would forever serve as a symbol of the connection between the arcane and nature, the night elves and the natural world, and would use the energies from the well to heal the world after the devastation of the Sundering. Partly in reward for their effort in repelling the Legion invasion, Nozdormu then blessed tree, so that, as long as the tree stood, the night elves would never age or fall prey to disease. Ysera also placed an enchantment upon the World Tree by linking the spirits of the night elves to her own realm, the ethereal dimension known as the Emerald Dream. The night elf druids, including Furion himself, were bound to the Dream through the World Tree. As part of the mystical pact, the druids agreed to sleep for centuries at a time so that their spirits could roam the infinite paths of Ysera's Dreamways and the spirits of the night elves. Though the druids were wary of losing so many years of their lives to hibernation, they agreed to uphold their bargain with Ysera.
The Long Vigil
Tyrande Whisperwind, high priestess of Elune, had become the leader of the night elf populace. For thousands of years, she led the night elves in their vigil. Much of this time was spent apart from her love, Malfurion Stormrage, who, alongside his fellow druids, upheld the balance of nature from within the Emerald Dream. However, whenever a crisis came, the druids would awaken.
One such crisis came from the remaining Highborne. The Highborne that had survived the Sundering and had settled alongside their night elf brethren initially tried to assimilate into the new druidic society, but over time they could not ignore the burning addiction to arcane magic their whole race suffered from. These Highborne, led by Dath'Remar, declared the druids cowards for refusing to wield the arcane. Malfurion and the druids warned the Highborne that any use of magic would be punishable by death. Yet, in an attempt to protest the druid's law, Dath'Remar and his followers unleashed a terrible magical storm upon Ashenvale. The night elves could not bring themselves to put so many of their kin to death, so they decided to exile the reckless Highborne from their lands. So the Highborne left Kalimdor, sailing across the sea to the other, newly-formed continent. Now calling themselves high elves, they established the nation of Quel'Thalas. In the wake of the group's departure, the remaining night elves deliberately withdrew from the rest of the world. A veil of mist descended upon their entire continent, shrouding its presence from passing sailors.
Another such incident was the War of the Satyr, a devastating war that exacted a heavy toll from the night elves. During this war, the night elves fought against the unified satyr forces of Kalimdor. In desperation, some of the night elf druids even started using the Pack Form, a dangerous druidic transformation that had been forbidden by Malfurion Stormrage. These druids would form the Druids of the Pack, who tried to use the mystical Scythe of Elune to gain control over their forms. However, this failed, and they became the first Worgen, before being sealed away in a pocket of the Emerald dream. Though losses amongst the night elves were great, the satyr eventually lost and they lost nearly all of their lands, being forced to survive as isolated sects.
During the next several millennia, the night elves were not left entirely isolated. Emmarel Shadewarden fought alongside the quel'dorei Talanas Windrunner, and Shandris Feathermoon collaborated with Ranger Captain Areiel several thousand years before current times.
During their long vigil, the biggest conflict the kaldorei fought on was probably the War of the Shifting Sands. In ancient times, the troll empires defeated the aqir, forcing a group of the latter to retreat into Ahn'Qiraj, an ancient Titan facility. Over the centuries, these aqir developed into the qiraji and came to serve C'Thun, the old god at the heart of the facility. The Silithid, another insect race related to the aqir, also came to serve C'Thun. The night elf forces, led by Fandral Staghelm and Shiromar, fought the armies of C'Thun, but retreated after the death of Valstann Staghelm, son of Fandral, and the loss of Southwind Village.
It wasn't until the night elves called for the aid of the dragonflights that the qiraji were driven back. Anachronos, Merithra, Caelestrasz and Arygos, children of the Dragon Aspects, led armies of dragons against the forces of C'Thun. Together, the night elf and dragon forces were able to force the insect armies back to the gates of Ahn'Qiraj. While the battle seemed to turn against them once more, Merithra, Caelestrasz and Arygos flew into the city to create the Scarab Wall, though they were captured as a result. The scarab wall was capable of containing the insectoid armies, trapping them in the city. To one day reopen the gates and truly beat the qiraji, Fandral Staghelm was given a scepter. However, enraged by the death of his son, Fandral shattered the scepter, forever damaging the bond between the night elves and the dragonflights.
Rediscovery and the Third War
- Main article: Third War
The night elves' isolated existence was shattered during the third war, when refugees from the Eastern Kingdoms arrived on the continent in large numbers. The orcs, newly fled from the Eastern Kingdoms and seeking resources, had sent the Warsong clan to Ashenvale, unaware of the area's inhabitants. The night elves took great offense to the orcish presence in their lands and attacked. While the orcs had some initial victories, that ended when Cenarius arrived, mistaking the orcs for demons and destroying most of their outposts. In desperation, the Warsong clan once more consumed demon blood, becoming powerful fel orcs and proceeded to kill Cenarius.
At the height of this conflict — known as the Third War — the Legion and its terrifying undead Scourge assaulted the night elves' lands. Tyrande rallied the night elf defenders and awoke Malfurion and his druids to combat the resurgent threat. For the vast majority of the third war, the night elves remained hostile to the allied Horde and Alliance Expedition. Only during the final battle, the Battle of Mount Hyjal, did the night elves join with the mortal races, standing to defend the world tree. In the end, even this alliance didn't manage to stop the invading demons, but it managed to delay them long enough for Malfurion Stormrage to complete a magic ritual. Archimonde, the leader of the demonic invasion, was torn apart by thousands of Wisps, finally being killed by the world tree itself.
Although victorious, the night elves suffered greatly from the battle with Archimonde at Mount Hyjal. Their beloved World Tree Nordrassil, created and blessed by the Dragon Aspects Alexstrasza, Ysera, and Nozdormu to grant the night elves immortality, had been sacrificed to elicit a massive blast of energy to slay Archimonde. With Nordrassil's destruction, so went the night elves' sole source of protection from aging, disease, and frailty.
Over time, Nordrassil slowly began to heal its wounds, but a number of druids led by Fandral Staghelm desired to create another World Tree that would restore the night elves' immortality. Malfurion warned against this act of self-interest, but when he suddenly fell into a coma, his spirit lost within the Dream, Fandral forged ahead with his plans unopposed, becoming the new leader of the druids. The second World Tree, Teldrassil, was planted off the northern coast of Kalimdor, and eventually it towered among the clouds. Within this tree, the night elves founded the great city of Darnassus. However, Teldrassil failed. Though it grew, it was corrupted, and the dragon aspects refused to bless this new tree.
After the Third War, the night elf nation also joined the Alliance, although the exact moment at which they joined is unknown. They were apparently motivated to do so by the continued logging operations of the Horde in Warsong Gulch. As a result of the Third War, corruption and madness had taken hold of many of the night elves' former lands and allies, severely weakening the strength of the night elf nation. As members of the Alliance, the night elves partook in multiple conflicts, most notably the Ahn'Qiraj War.
Not all night elves actively joined the Alliance, however, with the druids of the neutral Cenarion Circle and settled in the city of Nighthaven. Though individual druids still have roles in the night elf nation, the druids as an organization remain neutral to this day, even accepting and training members of the Horde. The Cenarion Circle joined in several conflicts, directing the united Alliance and Horde forces during the Ahn'Qiraj War, launching the Cenarion Expedition after the Opening of the Dark Portal and fighting on the front during the War Against the Nightmare. DEHTA, a radical group within the Cenarion Circle is also active in Northrend, seeking to stop the large-scale hunting of the native animals through violent means.
As the corruption of Teldrassil worsened, the Emerald Nightmare spread further and further. By the time the war against the Lich King ended, people throughout the world started slipping into comas, their spirits drawn into the Emerald Dream. It turns out that the nightmare was led by Xavius, an ancient Highborne noble and the first satyr, thought to have been forever sealed into a tree form during the War of the Ancients. Fandral Staghelm was also involved in this plot, having been responsible for Malfurion's coma, using , and the corruption of Teldrassil, having grafted a branch from Xavius' tree-body to Teldrassil.
With the aid of other druids and the Green dragonflight, the nightmare was defeated and most of its' corruption cleansed. In the aftermath, Ysera and Alexstrasza blessed Teldrassil, restoring nature's ancient bond with the night elves. Malfurion and Tyrande got married, now sharing rulership of the night elf nation.
Since the Shattering of the world, a group of Highborne known as the Shen'dralar successfully appealed to Tyrande Whisperwind to be allowed to make a return to kaldorei society. After the Sundering, the night elves had outlawed arcane magic on the pain of death. However, some time before the Cataclysm a Highborne archmage named Mordent Evenshade sought an audience with Tyrande and proposed to set aside long-standing differences and to combine resources, skills and numbers to prepare the wider night elven race for the challenges it faces. Despite the doubts of certain Sentinels, this proposal was accepted. The Shen'dralar were allowed a cautious return among their kaldorei brethren, with some young night elves being trained by them to become new night elven mages, and, conversely, some of the Highborne taking up the druidic arts or being initiated into Elune's priesthood, major societal changes that marked the first steps towards reconciliation between the Highborne and wider night elven society.
After an outbreak spread the worgen curse uncontrollably across the war torn nation of Gilneas, the Shattering also destroyed the reefs which protected this human kingdom from naval attacks, causing the Forsaken to launch an invasion. The night elves intervened, assisting the worgen in acquiring the Scythe of Elune, helping them to understand and deal with their transformation and holding back the Forsaken's assault, allowing the surviving Gilneans to escape to Teldrassil. After this, the kaldorei integrated the Gilnean Worgen into their culture; granting them asylum within Darnassus itself, allowing several female worgen warriors to join the Sentinel army and bringing Worgen druids into the Cenarion Circle.
Night elf territory was one of the main fronts during the Alliance-Horde war. The Shatterspear tribe of Jungle trolls joined the Horde and assaulted northern Darkshore, though the night elves were able to fend off the attack. Two separate Horde offensives were launched against Ashenvale, both stopped by the night elves with assistance from the rest of The Alliance, and, by the time Theramore was destroyed, the Horde had been fully driven from the forest. However, the night elves were not completely successful in their war efforts. Their assault on the new settlements of the Bilgewater Cartel in Azshara was held off, and a massive Horde-constructed bomb destroyed Thal'darah Grove in the Stonetalon Mountains.
Though Malfurion Stormrage had become the co-ruler of the night elves, his Cenarion Circle remained a neutral organization, intent on restoring balance following the cataclysm. Malfurion himself halted the slow collapse of Darkshore, with aid from Thessera the Green Dragon, Aroom the Wildkin and Elder Brownpaw the Furbolg. In Desolace and the Southern Barrens, members of the Cenarion Circle investigated the new out-of-control vegetation. In Felwood, a large portion of corrupted soil was cleansed to build Whisperwind Grove. Though most of the Cenarion Circle turned a blind eye to the goblin wood-cutting going on in the region, the Worgen of Talonbranch Glade refused, and broke away from the neutral organization to fight them. Malfurion's neutrality, in an attempt to unite the factions against the Cataclysm's devastation, would ironically have unfavorable consequences on its other fronts, when Leyara, whose daughter was slain by Horde invaders into Ashenvale, joined Fandral Staghelm and his Druids of the Flame after being overwhelmingly disillusioned by the Archdruid's apparent ongoing passivity.
However, the biggest contribution for the night elves following the cataclysm was at Mount Hyjal, where Ragnaros invaded to try and destroy Nordrassil and the Cenarion Circle, the Shadow Wardens and the Green Dragonflight united against him, forming the Guardians of Hyjal. The guardians were successful in fighting off the initial fire elemental invasion, resurrecting several of the Ancient Guardians. When the fire elementals invaded again, aided by Fandral Staghelm and his newly formed Druids of the Flame, the guardians were not only successful in fighting them off, but even managed to infiltrate the Firelands, killing Ragnaros and many of his lieutenants, including Staghelm, as well as constructing the Sentinel Tree to keep watch over the area.
Mists of Pandaria
To restore the immortality of the Night elves, Lorekeeper Vaeldrin was looking for the Pools of Youth, created by an ancient civilization that predated even Queen Azshara. Using a series of ancient magical scrolls, he opened a portal to the Krasarang Wilds. Tyrande Whisperwind, having had a vision of some sort of light, sent a group Sentinels, led by Vaeldrin's daughter, Lyalia, with him. However, the target of the spell had been warded using lost Mogu magic, imprisoning the expedition in a magic bubble that slowly drained their life. Luckily for the expedition, an Alliance adventurer freed them with the help of Kang Bramblestaff, and the freed expedition constructed a base camp to search for the pools.
However, it turns out that the pools do not grant their immortality freely. Instead, they are used to transfer life energies from one person to another. During one battle with the mogu, Lyalia is captured and killed. Vaeldrin, using some of the water from the pools, uses his own life energy to save her, resulting in his own death. Despite these setbacks, the expedition is not without achievements, helping the Pandaren fight off the Dojani mogu and aiding in the defense of Stoneplow. Later on, being one of the largest Alliance forces on the continent prior to Landfall, the night elves gained a strong presence at the Shrine of Seven Stars. Shortly after the Alliance lands on Pandaria, a powerful artifact called the was discovered. The night elves moved it to their capital for study and safekeeping. However, the city was infiltrated and the bell was stolen by the Horde.
During the Siege of Orgrimmar, Tyrande had mustered an army of her people in Ashenvale and began a slow march towards Orgrimmar. After the Alliance and Horde rebel armada landed at Bladefist Bay, Tyrande's forces appeared from the west and, using glaive throwers, managed to destroy the front gate of Orgrimmar. She and her Sentinels then distracted Garrosh's Kor'kron, allowing Alliance forces and Darkspear rebels to invade the city.
Warlords of Draenor
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Several Sentinel guards accompanied the Alliance into Shadowmoon Valley, guarding Starfall Outpost. They also had a small presence in Nagrand and in Stormshield on Ashran. If chosen, they can also guard the Lunarfall garrison. Naron Bloomthistle tended to Lunarfall's Herb Garden, and some night elves such as Yanas Seastrike also lent their expertise and talents to the Garrison Shipyard.
A contingent of wardens, including Cordana Felsong, was sent by Maiev Shadowsong to accompany and protect Archmage Khadgar on the alternate Draenor. Cordana was, however, corrupted by Gul'dan and joined the Burning Legion's side.
Various night elves that remained when the Burning Legion began launching their third attempt to take Azeroth, joined the class order halls to battle the demons.
Notably, Broll Bearmantle aided the rest of the Cenarion Circle and the Dreamweavers in Val'sharah; Shandris Feathermoon joined other elite rangers and hunters from around the world including Emmarel Shadewarden to substantially bolster the ranks of the Unseen Path in Highmountain; and Tarelvir of the Shen'dralar traveled to the Hall of the Guardian to assist the Tirisgarde. Several Grand Priestesses of Elune traveled to the Netherlight Temple to help other priests as well, including Delas Moonfang who later joined the ranks of the Knights of the Silver Hand with her uncle Nerus Moonfang, making them the only known active paladin night elves and the first to join the order. Overall, the night elves, as a race, had representatives in nine of the twelve Class Orders throughout the campaign.
Maiev Shadowsong herself freed the demon hunters from their long imprisonment, leading to their joining with the Alliance and the Horde; despite Malfurion's initial misgivings, Jace Darkweaver personally helped save King Anduin's life in Stormwind. The Wardens, holding a base off the coasts of Azsuna, played a crucial role fighting against the subsequent invasion, cooperating with the Illidari on several occasions, and Maiev even fought alongside the returned Illidan himself at the Tomb of Sargeras. She also reconciled with her brother Jarod Shadowsong in Val'sharah's Black Rook Hold where she was captured, and together the two confronted the shades of some of their old friends such as Desdel Stareye although they were unable to recognize them.
Elsewhere in Azsuna, the demon hunters, including Jace Darkweaver, Kor'vas Bloodthorn, and several others, also established Illidari Stand. The ten thousand night elves of the Court of Farondis, led by Prince Farondis in their ruined city of Nar'thalas, also resisted the Legion's invasion as well as the naga assaults sent by Queen Azshara, both of whom were interested in the . Kallistia Starlance and Olothil Starlance, night elf magi from Dalaran who were apparently born in Azsuna before the War of the Ancients, finally reunited with the spirits of their long-deceased parents after over ten thousand years.
Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage themselves returned to the Broken Isles, specifically the ancient lands of Val'sharah, a verdant region where Malfurion was originally born, and where he first received his druidic instruction from Cenarius long ago. Although captured by the Shade of Xavius, Malfurion would later aid adventurers and the Dreamweavers in cleansing the Emerald Dream from corruption, and rescue his old teacher Cenarius. After successfully defending the Temple of Elune from the forces of the Emerald Nightmare and mournfully slaying the corrupted Ysera, Tyrande and the other priestesses and druids witnessed Elune cleansing Ysera's spirit and creating a constellation in the sky, in the process purifying the Tears of Elune (one of the Pillars of Creation which the night elves had found and protected for thousands of years).
Tyrande, leading kaldorei forces, later returned to Suramar, the ancient and much-changed city where she and Malfurion grew up in thousands of years prior, allying with the likes of Vereesa Windrunner and Lady Liadrin, as well as First Arcanist Thalyssra. Despite her apparent mistrust for her estranged kin, remembering how the Highborne had stood behind Azshara in their ancient war, she nevertheless led the main charge against her former city's ruler, Elisande, who mocked the night elves as having disgraced their glorious past and becoming as savage as the trolls which stalked Kalimdor's forests. Eventually, Tyrande witnessed Thalyssra allowing the Nightwell to perish, expressing her hopes that the nightborne would find a way to survive without its assistance. After the Suramar campaign, she and Malfurion apparently journeyed back to Val'sharah, her to the Sisterhood's Temple, and Malfurion to his home village of Lorlathil, where they would later receive last messages of farewell and attempted reconciliation from Illidan.
The greatest eventual contribution of the kaldorei to the conflict would be ending the Burning Legion which they once helped usher in, with the Illidari repeatedly striking decisive victories against their forces from the Fel Hammer, and Illidan himself playing a critical role in helping defeat Kil'jaeden, and journeying to Argus and essentially sacrificing himself to forever imprison Sargeras at the Seat of the Pantheon.
Battle for Azeroth
War of the Thorns
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For more than ten thousand years, the night elves have been bound to nature, shaping their culture into what it is now. Modern night elf society was founded on the very grounds of protecting nature, signified by their connection to the world tree. As one of the longest living races in Azeroth, night elves tend to be slow to change. Slow to anger and slow to cool off, the night elves experience emotions as deeply, or perhaps more so, than the younger races. While generally slow to respond emotionally, their minds have seen much and tend to have a honed wit and sense of humor.
The night elves use the word "god" in plural ("Gods help us all"; "May the gods have mercy"), and the Temple of the Moon in Suramar had frescoes and murals depicting Elune and many other gods (actual gods, not demigods) shaping the world. This demonstrates that night elf religion is possibly polytheistic, but most of their religion is centered around Elune, the moon goddess. Her priests, the Sisters of Elune, are the leaders of the night elf military, and her high priestess Tyrande Whisperwind is the official head of the night elf nation, ruling from the Temple of the Moon in Darnassus. Moonwells are also deeply revered and commonly used by almost all segments of kaldorei society, primarily for their extraordinary healing and restorative properties. The night elves also worship their ancestors. This worship takes the form of offerings, traditionally rice cakes that are blessed in the Temple of the Moon. While Elune is a goddess of peace, she is not a pacifist. One of her aspects is the Night Warrior, who takes the valiant among the dead and sets them riding across the sky as stars. This is likely the origin of the name "kaldorei", as night elf ancestors are thus believed to become stars upon death.
The night elves, especially the druids, also have a close kinship with most of the Ancient Guardians, as all known living ancient guardians were last seen on Mount Hyjal. Cenarius is one of the most ancient allies of the night elves, with some night elves believing that he personally created the majestic hippogryphs as a gift to them. Aviana is the patron of the Druids of the Talon, while Ursoc and Ursol are the patrons of the Druids of the Claw. Malorne, Aessina and Tortolla are also allies, having assisted the Guardians of Hyjal in the protection of the world tree. Omen, while still corrupted, lies at the heart of the Moonglade.
The night elves also have close bonds with the Red, Green and Bronze Dragonflights. The great Dragon Aspects, Alexstrasza, Ysera and Nozdormu, were the ones to create and bless Nordrassil, where most of the night elf race made their home for thousands of years, and their combined blessings provided them with renewed strength and vitality, easy access to the Emerald Dream, and immortality until the end of the Third War. Two of them, Alexstrasza and Ysera, later blessed Teldrassil as well after attending Tyrande and Malfurion's wedding in Darnassus, protecting it from corruption forevermore, and the night elves have worked with the Aspects and their dragonflights on many occasions since. Ysera is particularly important and revered, as all druids assist her dragonflight in guarding the Emerald Dream, and even after her death at Tyrande Whisperwind's hands, she has expressed regret at her inability to aid the kaldorei when Teldrassil burned, and has resolved to aid Tyrande however possible. Most green dragons, including Ysera herself, to this day even generally prefer to take on the form of kaldorei, and they have allowed night elves to ride them as mounts into battle in the ancient past, as Ysera did with Malfurion Stormrage during the War of the Ancients, and as her dragonflight did with Prince Toreth and the Dragon Riders of Loreth'Aran.
The night elves revere the moonsabers because their shimmering coats symbolize the goddess of the moon, Elune, and they once believed that seeing the dawnsaber breed in the wild was an ill omen.
Wisps appear to be the deceased spirits of all kaldorei elves, with the night elves alone of all the known races becoming wisps instead of normal ghosts after their passing and at least some able to linger indefinitely in the mortal world, a possible result of their connections with Elune and Aessina, although some night elves have also gone to Ardenweald, and the exact process for their average afterlife remains unclear.
Long ago, a tribe of nocturnal humanoids came to live on the shores of the first Well of Eternity, and the Well's cosmic energies changed them into the night elves.
Certainly many trolls do believe that the humanoids who developed into the night elf race were trolls. The theory does have some credibility, for there is at least a superficial physical resemblance between trolls and night elves. Furthermore, the troll race dominated much of ancient Kalimdor several millennia before the night elves came into power.
Nevertheless, many night elves find this theory preposterous and abhorrent. They are quick to point out that the first night elves began their rise to power by defeating a number of nearby troll tribes. As a consequence, the trolls came to fear and respect the might of their new rivals. The troll theory of night elf ancestry may have been a direct result of this early conflict. The trolls hated the night elves—a sentiment that persists to this day—and may have wished to marginalize the night elf race and its accomplishments. Also, attributing the night elf race with a troll heritage likely helped the trolls come to terms with their own shocking defeat.
It was only after Cataclysm that Brann Bronzebeard had independent, reliable sources (namely the repaired Tribunal of Ages, the restored Watcher Freya, and the resurrected Cenarius himself) to explain the truth: that the night elves had evolved from a tribe of dark trolls who had found and come to live beside the Well of Eternity. Brann notes that this confirmation will be sure to ruffle some feathers.
Prior to the conclusion of the Third War, night elf society was sharply divided by gender, with the vast majority of men, including Malfurion himself, originally being spellcasters in ancient times, and then largely becoming druids. Most women serving as warriors, hunters, priestesses, or a combination thereof. These gender roles more or less defined the culture of the kaldorei for ten thousand years. Many years ago, the two genders were even forbidden to take the opposite role. When this was finally lifted, it was a tremendous and tumultuous societal change, with a pair of statues created to commemorate the first male priest and the first female druid. Even so, the gender divisions remain strong, and only at the end of the Third War were female night elf druids welcomed into the Cenarion Circle.
In the years since the end of the Third War, this overall gender division has eased considerably in favor of more practical concerns, and many factions have set aside the historical strictures on membership. More women have taken up the mantle of the druids, just as men have begun to choose either the path of priesthood or more widely the path of war and have affiliated with the Sentinels, although male priests and Sentinels remain relatively uncommon.
Aging and lifespan
- “Some members of the Alliance and the Horde thought that, because the kaldorei were long-lived, death was nothing to them. As if one could have "enough" of life—of joy, of laughter, of love, of ritual and wonder. Of simply being kaldorei. The answer, of course, was that one could not. And it made every battle, every blow, all that more important. Because in the end, even elves were not excluded from the odds of death. Each battle, each blow, that did not claim a soldier’s life was one closer to the inevitable one that would.”
Most night elves are, by the standards of other races, ancient. Because of their previous immortality, some night elves are more than ten thousand years old, which is older than the entirety of human and dwarven civilization put together. Though the immortality of the night elves has ended, much of its cultural impact remains, and some amongst the night elves sought a way to regain it, although others like Malfurion Stormrage and Jarod Shadowsong believe that it was perhaps for the best, and that it was time for their people to actually live and truly be a part of their world.
After the Cataclysm, both Malfurion and Jarod, alive during the War of the Ancients and with more than a thousand years age difference between each other, have been feeling minor, but increasingly consistent aches and pains due to aging, although this has not been mentioned elsewhere. Jarod's wife, also from the same era, passed away due to illness tied to aging. The night elves are now aging normally, rather than at an accelerated rate, and most still retain average lifespans of at least several thousand years comparable with their cousins, the high elves.
Before the War of the Ancients, magic was once as revered as Elune herself.
For thousands of years, arcane magic has been outlawed amongst the night elves, with its repeated use punishable by death. Even when the night elves joined the Alliance, they still avoided arcane magic. However, just before the Cataclysm, this changed. Archmage Mordent Evershade of the Shen'dralar traveled from Feralas to Darnassus, seeking an audience with Tyrande Whisperwind. Sensing a coming change (likely the Cataclysm), the archmage offered his wisdom and knowledge to the high priestess.
The night elves emerged from their 10,000-year long isolation in the forests of Northern Kalimdor to discover prolific use of magic without the use of the Well of Eternity, something unknown to them but made possible by the implosion of the Well that had dispersed magic from its concentration in the well to the atmosphere. This, along with the demons already returned and defeated, Tyrande Whisperwind, finding her people in desperate need of reinforcements and power beyond their current means to face the new challenges to their territories by their enemies and the Cataclysm, and the entire reason for the ban on the use of arcane magic which was to hide Azeroth from the Legion in the hopes of preventing a return), was no longer a necessity.
She and her husband Malfurion Stormrage accepted, lifting the millennia-long ban of the use of arcane magic for spell and on the Highborne, allowing several of the Shen'dralar to return to night elf society where they entered an alliance that would allow them to train night elves as mages. Although the restriction on magic finally ended, the rift between the people and the Highborne due to the actions the majority of the Highborne at the Queen's palace that led to the War of the Ancients would take longer. The humble Mordent understood that the gradual reintegration of magic to their society would be a slow process, something the couple likely appreciated. Under the agreement, the Highborne would become part of night elf society once more, but be allowed to maintain their own identity. However, the reunification has not been completely smooth.
- “There is every intention of the Highborne becoming a part of our society again, but such things cannot and will not happen overnight. This is a process that will have to play out over time...perhaps years. Patience is a virtue we must all nurture, Var'dyn. If we can, we will succeed. Mordent understands that.”
The millennia have not stripped the people's memories of the final days of the Great Sundering and the role of the Highborne. That has caused some difficulty with the re-integration, and some night elves have been hostile towards the returned Highborne. These few extremists, stirred up and led by Maiev Shadowsong, targeted and killed several of them in an attempt to purge night elf society of any remnants of the arcane, but her brother Jarod Shadowsong, although acknowledging that they had much to atone for, helped save their lives, and such actions were considered crimes against fellow Darnassian citizens. The new night elf mages have shown remarkable promise and made incredible strides in the short period of time they have re-embraced their arcane legacy. Such promise and desperate need forced new trainees to the front lines in the campaigns that immediately followed the Cataclysm, however despite their phenomenal progress were still very inexperienced, and was exploited by enemies of the night elves to devastating effect. Maiev Shadowsong has since apparently reconciled with Tyrande and Malfurion, as well as Jarod and Mordent Evenshade himself, implying that some night elves' views towards the Highborne have also changed.
The region of Suramar (known as the Broken Isles) is home to a number of night elven societies including the nightborne of Suramar City who've been in isolation for 10,000 years. In the wake of the third invasion of the Burning Legion, this region who rebuffed the Legion's first attempt 10,000 years ago, now served as the principal staging ground of its new and biggest invasion. Many of the surrounding regions have faced invasion armies of the Legion, most notable was the city of Suramar who had until that moment been isolated and secluded under their protective shield. The nightborne were strong armed by the Legion into bringing down their shield and forced to re-enter the affairs of the world as their allies or face destruction. This time their city was occupied by the Legion who planned to use its immense source of power, the Nightwell to finally achieve the victory that had twice eluded them. The kaldorei denizens of the region rose up in defense alongside the heroes of Azeroth, converging on the Broken Isles. Many ancient night elven orders and forces such as the Valewalkers or Keepers, the Moon Guard, the Court of Farondis have all combined their efforts with the nightborne resistance to end the occupation of the Legion, liberate the people of Suramar and ultimately the world, freeing the elves from their addiction to arcane magic and the Nightwell. Most recently, a kaldorei army led by High Priestess Tyrande joined forces with the Kirin Tor, high elven and blood elven allies to assist the nightborne resistance drive out the Legion overthrow its once brave leader. It is the first time all the divergent groups of elves have worked together.
- “Saurfang and Sylvanas had discussed strategy and tactics for days, and it had become clear that there were two huge, inescapable points of failure in their plan: Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind. The leaders of the night elves were powerful, dangerous, and perhaps even unbeatable on the field of battle. No matter how surprised the kaldorei would be by this attack, those two would be a terror for the Horde once the fighting began. They had lived for so long, and survived so much, that Saurfang had to consider the possibility that they could hold off the Horde long enough for the Alliance to send help. Ashenvale was their land, after all. They would rally nature itself to their cause.”
- — The Horde leaders discussing their greatest major obstacles to the conquest of Kalimdor in A Good War
For thousands of years, the Sisters of Elune held by far the most power; as one of a small handful of kaldorei organizations to survive the War of the Ancients, with membership based upon aptitude and not lineage, high priestess Tyrande Whisperwind reorganized the order to direct the Sentinels. She herself became the sole ruler of the night elf nation, remaining that way for thousands of years.
The Cenarion Circle, before his death 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, although this has significantly changed in recent years after the Third War and Malfurion Stormrage's awakening.
After Elune and her lover Malorne conceived Cenarius, he inherited a powerful blend of his mother's unconditional love for Azeroth's living beings, and his father's ancient ties to the Emerald Dream. The natural world is intimately connected to the moon goddess as a result, and over the past several millennia, the night elves have reflected this by arranging their society according to a harmonious balance between the druids and priestesses, which was embodied in the present age by the union of Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage, the latter of whom became co-ruler of the night elves as well as head of the Cenarion Circle he founded, the first change in official leadership in the past ten thousand years.
After the Third War and joining the Alliance, the night elves of Darnassus and Kalimdor have generally used a simple purple banner depicting Teldrassil under a crescent moon to represent their main political faction for nearly a decade, and their other factions and organizations have used a wide assortment of different flags and banners, although usually with similar lunar and nature-themed iconography. The older and traditional Icon of Wisdom, their racial icon used in the Third War, is far less frequently seen at night elf settlements and bases around Kalimdor.
However, after the Burning of Teldrassil, and around the time of Battle for Darkshore, most of the surviving night elves have formally adopted the ancient of the Kaldorei Empire, one of their civilization's ancestral banners, previously found in places such as the Crumbled Palace of Azsuna, the Black Rook Hold of the House of Ravencrest in Val'sharah, and in ancient settlements around Suramar City. This development is likely partly due to reconnection with the Shen'dralar and other previously isolated Highborne groups in recent years (which began reshaping their entire society by slowly introducing the arcane back into their life) - as well as the night elves, having lost most of their population at Teldrassil, actively fighting to preserve both the ancient legacy of their people, and the uncertain future of their entire race.
The night elves have openly displayed the Kaldorei Empire banner at the entrance of their new base of operations at Bashal'Aran in Darkshore after reclaiming it from the Horde, as well as on the walls and corridors of Ashenvale's Silverwing Hold in Warsong Gulch, removing Silverwing's previous flags and banners. A banner is located in the Caverns of Time during the most recent Warcraft's Anniversary celebrations, opposite the Forsaken flag's Icon of Torment, and several are prominently displayed in Stormwind itself, most notably in the Wizard's Sanctum near the permanent portal to Azsuna maintained by the Nar'thalas Magi. The remnants of the night elf military have even used the banner in some of their other fronts in the Fourth War beyond Kalimdor, such as at the Mangrove Shore.
By the time of the Great Sundering, military service for the night elves had become more a matter of bloodline than ability. Almost all high-ranking officers were nobles, and the night elves had lived in peace for so long that very few of those officers, however privileged and well educated, possessed even a basic knowledge of tactics. Joining the army, once a selfless choice to defend the night elf people, had been reduced to a status symbol. The War of the Ancients made the army's deterioration all too clear. After the night elves and their allies had achieved victory, High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind decreed sweeping changes throughout night elf society. As part of these changes, Tyrande disbanded the old army, comprised from the Kaldorei Resistance, most of whom had no desire for further battle, and after the kaldorei slowly expanded from Mount Hyjal to Ashenvale, she formally established the Sentinels. She forged the predominantly female Sentinels from the ranks of the Sisterhood of Elune, which had emerged relatively unscathed from the conflict. The Sentinels, composed of devout and highly trained warrior women, became the fledgling night elf nation's primary protectors and guardians, especially after Malfurion Stormrage and most of his druids isolated themselves in centuries of slumber in the Emerald Dream, and befriended the native creatures of Kalimdor as they patrolled the wilds and forests under Tyrande's leadership.
Although the night elves sacrificed their immortality, their homeland, and apparently "much of their power" at the end of the Third War, the night elf Sentinels are still considered great warriors, fighting with savagery and skill that amazed even the greatest of warriors. In the past, Sentinels cared little for melee combat, instead relying on their trusted bows and throwable three-tipped glaives, although melee weaponry seem to have become considerably more common in recent years. Swords, scimitars, daggers and the two-tipped glaives more commonly associated with demon hunters are seen only in isolated cases. The founder and current leader of the Sentinels, Tyrande Whisperwind and Shandris Feathermoon respectively, are themselves highly skilled rangers and archers who prefer the bow and arrow as their primary weapon before all others. In the Third War, Sentinels were composed of Shadowleaves, Moonhunters, Starseekers, and Nightblades, but these units have mostly not been mentioned since, implying they might have been re-organized or absorbed into the broader ranks of the night elf military after Darnassus was founded. The night elves have also used Sentinel spies and outrunners to infiltrate, scout or patrol unfriendly territories.
Supporting the Sentinels in battle are the druids, the Sisters of Elune, and the Watchers, all of whom bring powerful magic and resources to aid in battle. While affiliated with the Cenarion Circle, notable druids such as Broll Bearmantle, Master Thal'darah, Elerethe Renferal, Telaron Windflight, Gaivan Shadewalker, Talran of the Wild, Qiana Moonshadow, Janthes Shadeleaf, Thisalee Crow, Ferryn and their shan'do Malfurion Stormrage himself have all fought alongside their kaldorei kin against the Horde in recent years, acting in versatile roles ranging from scouts and warriors to guardians to healers, with most traditionally working separately from the Sentinels but cooperating well with them when in need, and several druids including Sentinel Amarassan even joining their ranks; most of the Alliance druids are predominantly night elf or trained by them. Priestesses of the Moon have also helped the night elves' military efforts, primarily in support and healing roles, but can also call upon Elune's power to actively defend themselves and others, such as in the Third War, Ashenvale and the War of the Thorns. In addition, huntresses are the elite cadre of the Sentinel military, and usually serve as mounted warriors on nightsabers, providing support to non-mounted Sentinels in battle. There also exist individual warrior trainers in Teldrassil such as Alyissia, Elanaria and Darnath Bladesinger, as well as individual male warriors such as Jarod Shadowsong and Valstann Staghelm, although it is unclear whether they are directly affiliated with the Sentinels.
Shandris Feathermoon leads the Sentinels from Feathermoon Stronghold in Feralas, and Su'ura Swiftarrow leads the Silverwing Sentinels, a specialized sub-group, in repelling ongoing Horde incursions into Ashenvale, most notably seen in Warsong Gulch. The Darnassian City Guard was previously responsible for the protection of their capital in Teldrassil and surrounding lands, but suffered massive losses in the War of the Thorns. Together, these different groups collectively comprised the Darnassian Army.
Aside from being agile and nimble in combat and able to avoid attacks with greater ease than most, night elves are generally resistant to nature magic and blessed by Elune's power during the night and day; their druids and rogues are able to move more quickly than those of other races when stealthed. They can also frequently slip into the shadows to hide themselves from enemies, and their spirits move and travel far more quickly than ordinary ones.
Other forces and allies
- “Many craven races have tempted our wrath over the centuries. None have survived!”
Night elf technology is apparently somewhat limited, and the only commonly employed technological war equipment seems to be the Glaive Thrower, a powerful long-range vehicle capable of cutting through reinforced armor, as seen throughout night elf territory. Rather than rely on technology in battle for the most part, the night elves instead bring their natural allies. Amongst these various allies are owls, sabers, hippogryphs, dryads, keepers of the Grove, nymphs, treants, chimaeras, faerie dragons, mountain giants and ancients. Furbolg, wildkin, green dragons and storm crows are also allies of the night elves, but don't appear to be integrated in their armies. The night elves even befriended a bog beast, Rethiel the Greenwarden, who is tended to by some of their druids, including Ferilon Leafborn, at the Greenwarden's Grove in the Wetlands.
Wisps can also be found among the crews of night elven boats, as well as used to gather wood resources and repair broken structures. The night elves summoned wisps at Mount Hyjal to successfully destroy demons on several occasions, and Malfurion summoned thousands of them to hold off the Horde in their invasion of Ashenvale and Darkshore. Moonwells are used to create blessings that offer protection against fire, and are used to bless . They are widely revered as shrines to Elune, their mystical powers respected and widely utilized by the Sentinels, druids, and the Highborne alike, for their extraordinary restorative and healing as well as other properties.
The Gilneans today are among the closest allies of the night elves, several even joining the Cenarion Circle and the Sentinels due to the kaldorei's assistance, and were alone among the Alliance nations who directly aided them in the Battle for Darkshore, with King Genn Greymane and his family remaining personally close friends of Tyrande and Malfurion to this day. The draenei, whose arrival the night elves first noticed, are their closest neighbors geographically, and their Prophet Velen was honored and held in the highest esteem by the night elf rulers. They have also recently sent paladins and other forces to assist them in places such as Battlescar Valley and Forest Song, with several ambassadors such as Emissary Valustraa found in Darnassus itself before its destruction.
The Watchers, especially the wardens led by Maiev Shadowsong, have fulfilled their duties as the marshals and jailors of night elf society for millennia, and also played a part in bolstering night elf forces in recent times. They were known to have historically kept Kalimdor's greatest threats in their Vault of the Wardens off the coast of Azsuna. While they apparently were relatively non-aligned and were open to Horde assistance during the Cataclysm events of Mount Hyjal as well as in the Broken Isles, they have also openly aided the other Darnassian elves and the Alliance on alternate Draenor and in the Battle for Darkshore, where Maiev herself served as the Alliance commander, aided by her brother Jarod Shadowsong, and led the kaldorei to successfully reclaim Darkshore.
Some of the Highborne Shen'dralar magi, such as the Archmage Mordent Evenshade, as well as their students have become fairly integrated into the kaldorei military as of the Fourth War, and have aided the Alliance operations in Kalimdor, especially in Feralas, the Stonetalon Mountains, Ashenvale and Azshara in recent times, as well as in Kul Tiras and Zandalar as part of other Alliance groups such as the 7th Legion. Some of them, such as Lorekeeper Amberwind and Estulan, have even helped established new outposts, such as the Darnassian Base Camp in Azshara and the Tower of Estulan in Feralas. Most recently, Highborne night elves such as Sarvonis and Ralara contributed immensely to the night elves' initial efforts in holding off the Horde advances in the War of the Thorns, enabling other night elf magi to portal some of Teldrassil's civilian population to safety in Stormwind and saving their people from extinction; several night elf magi were found at the Battle for Lordaeron; and Lieutenant Golras and Mordent Evenshade himself helped lead the Alliance effort against the Horde in Darkshore. Kaldorei magi also openly contributed their efforts to the Alliance-Horde war as well as the War in Draenor and the war on the Broken Isles, and during the Fourth War, several Nar'thalas Magi traveled to Stormwind's Wizard's Sanctum, providing a portal to the Crumbled Palace of the Court of Farondis.
Rogues such as Illiyana Moonblaze, although part of night elf society for years, have long been traditionally mistrusted by some segments of formal night elf society as little more than pirates, and were not officially integrated into the Sentinels or other parts of their military for a long while, although the Cataclysm's upheaval also gave them opportunities to become "trusted fighters of the Alliance". Illiyana herself was personally responsible for rescuing Commander Su'ura Swiftarrow during the events of the Ashenvale war, and some night elf rogues have joined Stormwind's SI:7, most notably Rell Nightwind, who accompanied the small, elite force sent by King Varian Wrynn to secure Pandaria and successfully rescue Anduin Wrynn.
Pandaren visitors such as Laoxi and Lanfen, Brewer of Fine Teas also taught the Darnassian elves the ways of the monk after the Tushui Pandaren joined the Alliance, and were apparently welcomed openly by the night elves into Teldrassil. Several night elf monks including Orrindis Raindrinker and Gwynlan Rainglow joined their brethren in their campaign to alternate Draenor, Sylara Steelsong aided the Order of the Broken Temple as its Windwalker monk champion, and at least one female kaldorei monk joined the rest of the night elf military in opposing the Horde's invasion of Ashenvale in the War of the Thorns, notably nearly knocking Varok Saurfang unconscious with a single blow to the temple in their brief struggle.
Despite the Alliance's reluctant acceptance of both groups, both death knights and demon hunters are apparently quite rare in the formal night elf military, with their backgrounds being largely anathema to night elf culture. However, in at least one instance, several night elf death knights, including Sylalleas Frostwind, Arebia Wintercall, Lleanya Mourningsong and Raevyn Sorrowblade, associated themselves with the Alliance and journeyed with their military forces to alternate Draenor. While Tyrande and Malfurion acknowledged Jace Darkweaver's presence in Stormwind and refrained from openly objecting to Anduin's acceptance of their formerly estranged kin in his city, the Illidari night elves have yet to significantly aid their kin in their military operations against the Horde, although several death knights and demon hunters, including Caladon Leechblade, Nylaria the Haunted, and Raize Shadespear, have recently aided the Alliance in Arathi Basin.
Members of the Sentinel Army can be proficient in a wide variety of skills, from nightsaber and hippogryph riding to the use of siege weaponry. As such, the army is able to fill many unique roles on the battlefield. Primary examples of these include:
- Archers compose the first rank of the Sentinel army. These night elves are expert marksmen and use the concealing forests of Kalimdor to their advantage. Their lightning-quick ambushes are legendary, for few warriors can match the proud archers' speed and cunning. These are the basic sentinel type, and have formed a key part of kaldorei armies since the days of the War of the Ancients.
- Huntresses are the elite cadre of the Sentinel army. Drawing their strength from the moon goddess, Elune, these warrior women ride the feral nightsaber panthers into battle. Huntresses are strong and swift, and merciless to those who would defile the sanctity of the forests. Huntresses also have a close bond with the owls of the forest. These owls relay information and spy for the Sentinel army. They are the mounted warrior version of sentinels, and often act as heavy shock troops.
- Hippogryph riders provide aerial support in battle, as well as scouting and reconnaissance. Hippogryph-mounted sentinels usually act as airborne archers, and form an effective mobile rapid-response unit.
- Glaive throwers serve as the main siege weapon of the Sentinels, and can be operated by a single individual. Hurling imposing metal glaives across large distances, they can be used to punch through even the toughest of fortifications. Glaive throwers can also be turned to the skies as an effective anti-air deterrent.
Conflict with the Horde
Though many within the kaldorei still felt bitter about the role orcs played in Cenarius's death, hostilities were apparently not renewed until the Horde continued their lumbering operations in Warsong Gulch. These Warsong incursions into Ashenvale renewed the night elves' animosity towards the orcs and have therefore functioned as the catalyst for their participation in the Alliance's military endeavors. Despite this, diplomatic relations with fellow druid tauren and their respect for Warchief Thrall tempered the night elves' wrath.
To avoid an all-out war, the night elves even allowed open trade with the Horde until the Wrathgate incident strained their trust, consequently leading to a withdrawal of all trade contracts as well as the barring of all Horde members from Ashenvale. When the orcish territory of Durotar suffered from a terrible drought, the orcs' new warchief, Garrosh Hellscream, son of Grom Hellscream, launched an invasion of the night elven lands in Ashenvale to sustain his people, leading to a devastating back-and-forth conflict over sovereign land and resources in the Ashenvale war. The conflict between the orcs and the kaldorei since then escalated so fiercely into open warfare that it even began to involve several of the ancients and the Children of Cenarius.
Interactions with the Alliance
In the past, there appeared to be some culture clashes between the night elves and the other races of the Alliance. Some kaldorei expressed thinly veiled contempt for the other cultures or mortals of the world. Traditionalists within night elven society, notably former Archdruid Fandral Staghelm and Warden Maiev Shadowsong, showed open antagonism or contempt for what they consider to be "lesser races" and "outlanders". The shadowy nature and the wild conservative ways of the night elves have also led to awkward or strained interactions between the kaldorei and other races. For example, the night elves seem to be uncomfortable with the Alliance's obnoxious use of technology while the Alliance view the night elves' primal form of warfare and lifestyle as somewhat primitive.
Even so, Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind see merit in maintaining ties with the younger races within the Alliance, for they have shown resilience in the face of terrible adversity and have even earned the favor of Elune and Wild Gods such as Goldrinn. As a result, the night elves have positioned themselves as a peculiar mixture of observers, teachers and arbiters; watching silently from the sidelines and stepping in without warning to 'correct' any dangerous mistakes or 'naive' courses of action. In addition, the younger cultures do seem to possess one quality the kaldorei have been missing for quite some time: the enthusiasm of youth. Adventure and exotic locales have renewed their appeal to many night elves, and the kaldorei again have more than a few who brave leaving Teldrassil and Ashenvale to seek out intrigue in the far-off lands their people have not set foot on for ten thousand years. With the recent loss of their immortality, the mortal races of the Alliance have also shared their experience with the night elves on how to cope with death, frailty, and sickness.
In line with Malfurion's stance on the races of the Alliance, druids such as Talar Oaktalon advocate living in harmony with all life and the interconnectivity of all living things. Thus the druids have encouraged the sharing of ideas and the lending of mutual aid. Indeed, the kaldorei have become increasingly involved in many Alliance affairs that focus on the protection and restoration of Azeroth's natural world. In the Plaguelands, the night elves have made it their mission to cleanse and restore life to the land, whereas the other races focus primarily on eradicating the lingering Scourge. In Northrend, kaldorei can be seen empowering the wildlife in the very heartland of the Lich King's seat of power. In Thousand Needles, there was an instance of night elf sentinels temporarily joining forces with tauren refugees to rout the marauding Grimtotem tribe. Most notably, after the human kingdom of Gilneas was jolted back into the outside world in the Cataclysm's wake, the Forsaken launched an invasion of its lands. The kaldorei, being well aware of the druidic origins of the curse afflicting the Gilneans, lent their aid to the besieged kingdom and granted the worgen asylum within Teldrassil's borders.
Some night elves would even join other Alliance organizations over the years, with Rell Nightwind joining his fellow rogues in SI:7, and Elise Starseeker participating in the dwarven-majority Explorer's League. Pained served as Jaina Proudmoore's personal bodyguard for years after the Battle of Mount Hyjal. The Highborne themselves would come to offer their services in Stormwind, Ironforge, the Exodar, and Dalaran. Lynore Windstryke, a rogue and former leader of the Might of Kalimdor, and Thaumaturge Moonspire, a night elf mage, also became commanders in the 7th Legion, fighting in Northrend and Pandaria respectively.
Relations with other elven groups
High elves and other Highborne groups
In the past, a particularly lingering grudge existed between the kaldorei and their Thalassian descendants, night elves generally viewed the high elves and blood elves with disgust, suspicion, or outright hostility. After some high elves rejoined the Alliance following the Third War, the night elves saw it as their duty to warn their new allies about the Highborne's part in bringing about the War of the Ancients figured heavily in the night elves' retelling of high elf history.
However, the high elves and the night elves collaborated on several occasions in the past during the Long Vigil, with Emmarel Shadewarden and her forces helping the high elves fight off an Amani troll incursion, and Shandris Feathermoon fighting "side by side" with Ranger Captain Areiel two or three thousand years ago.
There are also indications that relations have improved at least somewhat in recent years, due to their mutual long-term associations with the Alliance, as well as possibly the return of the Shen'dralar Highborne kin to kaldorei society, which essentially ended the reason which caused the rift between Malfurion and Dath'Remar in the first place. Tyrande herself accepted the Shen'dralar's return, having also acknowledged the high elves' contributions to the Battle of Mount Hyjal after she and Malfurion encountered Kael'thas Sunstrider, the last descendant of the Highborne mage who freed her during the War of the Ancients long ago.
Although some of the Shen'dralar were aware that Dath'Remar Sunstrider had departed Kalimdor and intended to follow his people to the Eastern Kingdoms, there have been limited interactions between the Shen'dralar and the quel'dorei today, with Daros Moonlance traveling from Feralas to the Silver Enclave, Archmage Aranhir Starsinger and the high elf Enchanter Nalthanis having a cordial relationship, and the Lorekeeper Lydros not objecting to Kariel Winthalus's presence in Eldre'Thalas, despite Prince Tortheldrin incinerating the latter. The Highborne's current relationship with the blood elves is more hostile due to the faction war, with Lorekeeper Amberwind and her students apparently killed on the orders of Andorel Sunsworn, but Malynea Skyreaver acknowledged their role in the War of the Ancients and expressed concern regarding their return.
First Mate Wavesinger was second-in-command of The Bravery, a ship which sailed to Rut'theran Village, and Arcanist Dulial was also briefly allowed into Darnassus itself. Vereesa Windrunner allowed Moonbell into the Silver Covenant and Muran Fairden, a night elf druid, into the Silver Enclave, and she and her half-elven children were invited as guests to Tyrande and Malfurion's wedding in Darnassus, her husband Rhonin having helped them win the War of the Ancients. She and her rangers would later work with Shandris and her Sentinels in an attempt to hunt down Thalen Songweaver before the destruction of Theramore, as well as further working together as fellow leaders and hunters in the Unseen Path. Tyrande's night elves and Vereesa Windrunner's high elves shared the same camp in Suramar and were apparently able to cooperate fairly well without significant tension.
Alleria Windrunner portaled herself to An'daroth while seeking out Magister Umbric to recruit the void elves, and the Burning of Teldrassil caused her to openly express regret at not having killed her sister Sylvanas the last time they met. Both she and Umbric cooperated quite well on several occasions with Shandris Feathermoon (who previously went as far as travel to alternate Draenor as the Cowled Ranger seeking news of Alleria's whereabouts) in the subsequent military campaign of the Fourth War.
The night elves ghosts of the Court of Farondis, led by Prince Farondis himself, still reside today in Azsuna on the Broken Isles. Several Nar'thalas magi traveled to Stormwind to provide portal services to Azsuna's Crumbled Palace for Alliance players, apparently affiliating themselves with their Darnassian kin.
Initially, the night elves and blood elves had joined forces in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, and Tyrande, Malfurion, and even Maiev worked cordially with Kael'thas Sunstrider and his troops, who treated their older brethren with respect despite their peoples' past conflict. Tyrande grieved for the deaths of Kael's brethren, encouraging the blood elf prince not to allow vengeance to poison his heart, and to instead focus on leading his people into a brighter future. However, when Kael'thas Sunstrider allied with Illidan Stormrage who was still then regarded as a traitor and the mysterious serpentine naga later fleeing to Outland and believed to be in league with the Legion. Relationships soured and the night elves warned the Alliance about the blood elves' past. The last of the good overtures vanished when the night elves sent an espionage and quasi-military expedition to Quel'thalas, a move that was deemed hostile and answered with force by the blood elves. This was the first recorded killings between the two groups, escalating the negative aspects of their relations to open and violent conflict.
Since then, the night elves and blood elves have clashed in several confrontations under the banner of the Alliance and Horde, in particular the Horde invasion of Azshara, Ashenvale and Desolace shortly after the Cataclysm. Years later, to aid the Nightfallen rebellion within Suramar, Khadgar called on the kaldorei and sin'dorei to assist their long-estranged brethren. Although they now faced a common enemy, some of the elven groups remained bitterly divided over historical, racial, and cultural differences. Lady Liadrin insisted that while her scouting was useful, Tyrande knew little of the type of open warfare which was needed to besiege her former city, deeming only her Blood Knights capable of withstanding Elisande's forces, and later told Thalyssra that the blood elves were "scorned" by Tyrande, arguing that her people fought to save their world while the kaldorei "slept in dens or hid in trees".
Illidan Stormrage and Kael'thas Sunstrider were formerly close allies in Outland, with Illidan accepting his blood elves as the only other race he trained as demon hunters. Although Kael'thas became disillusioned by Illidan later, most of his blood elves who trained with Illidan remained loyal to his cause, with Kayn Sunfury becoming one of his closest and most loyal followers even after Kael'thas's death, even openly opposing Altruis the Sufferer when the latter criticized Illidan's decisions.
Malfurion Stormrage was notably surprised by Lorash's willingness to join the other Horde races invading Ashenvale, calling him a "brother", arguing that their invasion was senseless, that the night elves and their Highborne kin once lived together and died for one another, both in the War of the Ancients and during the war in the Broken Isles, and pointing out that despite the years of conflict between their factions, the kaldorei had never invaded Quel'Thalas, nor dreamed of doing so (as far as he was aware). Lorash retorted that the kaldorei had not aided their exiled brethren during their long ordeal in the Eastern Kingdoms, nor in their centuries of warfare against the trolls and most recently against the Lich King and the Scourge during the high elf genocide in the Third War.
- “I must admit, when I first learned of the Horde, I was skeptical that we should share common ground. I thought our kin from Kalimdor would make obvious allies. But their arrogance and mistrust soon proved otherwise....It would seem "Elune's wisdom" guided her away from the bond we once shared. So be it.”
The kaldorei's relationship with the nightborne, already tense after Tyrande and her people apparently distanced themselves from Thalyssra and her brethren after the liberation of Suramar, has also likely worsened despite Thalyssra's initial hopes to rekindle their ancient bonds of kinship, especially after the nightborne joined the Horde around the time of the Burning of Teldrassil and continuing to openly participate in operations against the Alliance during the Fourth War.
Elisande accused her former subject Tyrande (who once lived as a priestess inside her city) and her kaldorei of cloaking themselves in "false piety" and becoming as savage as the trolls, abandoning their ancient customs and traditions, and Thalyssra also accused the night elves of harboring unwarranted "arrogance and mistrust" towards the nightborne of Suramar. The kaldorei in turn apparently found little reason to sympathize with a group which seemingly abandoned the Kaldorei Resistance, and largely aligned themselves once again with the Legion, their ancient enemies, with Tyrande raising the possibility of Thalyssra herself becoming the next Queen Azshara. Shandris Feathermoon cooperated with Thalyssra in Nazjatar, the remnants of their ancient capital, although she also expressed displeasure at Suramar having isolated themselves from the rest of the kaldorei during the War of the Ancients.
Relations with the Horde races
- “Our people have a connection with the night elves that the other races of the Horde do not. We are both followers of the teachings of Cenarius. We even have a joint sanctuary, the Moonglade, where we meet in peace and converse, sharing what knowledge and wisdom we have obtained. While I understand that they are angry with the Horde, I do not think that all bonds will be severed. I think the druids would be good ambassadors for reopening discussions.”
Of all the Horde races, the night elves share the closest and most friendly relationship with the tauren by far. Although some of the more traditional night elves such as Desdel Stareye were initially mistrusting of them (and most other races), some of the tauren including Huln Highmountain, fought alongside them in the War of the Ancients, and were eagerly welcomed by Jarod Shadowsong as reinforcements. They were the first non-kaldorei race to be welcomed into the Cenarion Circle and the Moonglade, with Hamuul Runetotem developing a particularly close bond with Malfurion Stormrage, whom he sought out and learned the teachings of Cenarius from, as well as other prominent Archdruids such as Broll Bearmantle and Elerethe Renferal. While Fandral Staghelm was displeased at the idea of the tauren becoming druids, eventually even he slowly developed an outwardly courteous and cooperative relationship with Hamuul, who is given access to Darnassus itself. The tauren would help the kaldorei repel the Legion once again in the Third War after Medivh convinced the Alliance and Horde to ally with the night elves.
Despite the faction war, the tauren and night elves have even jointly established Cenarion Expedition outposts in Northrend as well as other worlds such as Outland, and their two races seemed to have very rarely come into direct conflict, at least before the Cataclysm, after which tauren warriors were seen invading Ashenvale. The Disciples of Naralex, include tauren druids such as Nalpak, Muyani, and Muyoh, the latter of which risked his life to save his teacher Naralex from the Emerald Nightmare after the night elves and tauren attempted to regrow the Barrens. Scholar Runethorn considered Sage Korolusk her associate in Feralas, and they simultaneously attempted to uncover knowledge of the whereabouts of Kariel Winthalus in Dire Maul. As an apprentice to Master Thal'darah, Galena Stormspear was seemingly the only tauren permitted at Thal'darah Overlook, an Alliance settlement. The Sentinels permitted Loh'atu to share Talrendis Point with them, and the tauren subsequently aided them in cleansing Azshara of Highborne spirits and satyrs. The tauren even revere Elune as Mu'sha, as one of the Earth Mother's eyes, with Hamuul heavily influenced by Moonglade's elven teachings, although eventually they would extend their reverence to An'she as well, seeking balance between the Moon and the Sun.
Their opinions and viewpoints were not completely without tension or disagreement, however. The tauren shaman Braug Dimspirit acknowledged the goblins' negative impact on the environment, but argued that the Forsaken and the orcs were not the only ones to blame for the misfortunes found throughout Kalimdor and Lordaeron, while the tauren druid Gart Mistrunner insisted that the kaldorei's pride limited their sight, despite the common bond the two races shared via druidism.
Baine Bloodhoof, noting he trusted "that this one chosen by a friend of my people will act will honor toward all", was able to convince the Horde members of the resistance against the Emerald Nightmare to accept Varian Wrynn's leadership after Malfurion Stormrage declared that Varian would lead them. The failed meeting between Hamuul and Elerethe in Ashenvale to help establish trade links between their peoples shortly before the Cataclysm, which the Twilight's Hammer disguised as Horde members killed nearly a dozen total druids from their respective races, also likely strained night elf-tauren relations at least temporarily, and led to an enraged Cairne Bloodhoof challenging Garrosh Hellscream to a mak'gora after he discovered that the Cenarion Circle druids were slaughtered, leading to his death at the hands of the latter. However, Malfurion, Hamuul (who helped save him from the Nightmare) and other members are seen cooperating without significant tension at Mount Hyjal, and this ruse was apparently discovered by Malfurion and others eventually. The druids Anren Shadowseeker and Tholo Whitehoof are apparently extremely devoted best friends who unhesitantly fight with each other at Hyjal. Even despite their tensions elsewhere in Kalimdor, night elves cooperate with the tauren at Freewind Post against the Grimtotem.
Sometimes, such bonds continued to transcend even the faction war, and tauren and night elves alike have openly gone against their commanding officers in the face of unprovoked aggression. For example, High Chieftain Cliffwalker opposed Overlord Krom'gar's aggression against the kaldorei druids of Thal'darah Grove, whom Krom'gar accused of harboring a secret Alliance weapon, resulting in the deaths of his wife and son as well as the tauren of Cliffwalker Post. Not long after this incident, the night elf druid Lintharel, who believed the divisions between their factions were false ones, likewise defied her human commander Marco Heller by saving her friend Nita, almost losing her own life in the process. In Pandaria, Lorekeeper Vaeldrin and Sunwalker Dezco fought together against the mogu Groundbreaker Brojai and afterwards refused to fight each other, and Tyrande and Baine faced off against each other in the Trial of Garrosh Hellscream, with Tyrande notably displaying great reluctance to harm Baine's reputation during the course of the trial.
Thunder Bluff Shaman and Thunderous Braves were seen fighting against the night elves in Darkshore during the War of the Thorns. Even during and after the Fourth War, not all bonds were discarded, with Anren and Tholo continuing to fight with each other at Hyjal. Tiala Whitemane, still guarding the World Tree along with the other druids, was apparently able to negotiate safe passage for Thrall, Baine, and Calia Menethil, when they sought a meeting with Tyrande, Malfurion, and the night elves at Nordrassil, implying the kaldorei have not broken all ties with their Cenarion Circle members at least.
While the night elves of Kalimdor apparently distanced themselves from their tauren neighbors following the Sundering, even refraining from intervening on their behalf against the centaur, the night elf hunters who later left Mount Hyjal and returned to the Broken Isles after the War of the Ancients to establish the Unseen Path worked extensively once again with the Highmountain tauren, even establishing their primary base Trueshot Lodge in their territory after the Highmountain offered them their friendship and support. The late Huln Highmountain recently reaffirmed his friendship with Jarod Shadowsong, remembering Shandris Feathermoon and aiding her in her attempt to save Tyrande Whisperwind by seeking out other Night Warriors throughout the Shadowlands, and his relentless efforts ultimately resulted in Tyrande being saved from Elune's forbidden power.
Other Horde races
The night elves' most long-lasting hostile relationship seems to be with the orcs, their primary rivals in Kalimdor, with hostilities between their two peoples beginning even prior to their joining the Alliance, dating back to their first clashes in Ashenvale even during the Third War, where the newly arrived Horde races attempted to harvest lumber for their necessities, unaware of the kaldorei's presence and objections. Their continuing disputes over the region's land and abundant resources, culminating in the Warsong Gulch, appear to have been one of the primary reasons the night elves opted to formally join the ranks of the Alliance, and worsened further after the kaldorei broke all trade ties with the Horde, and Garrosh Hellscream became the new Warchief and escalated the hostilities in Ashenvale into open war, as well as into other regions such as the Stonetalon Mountains. A notable exception is Tyrande and Malfurion's very close friendship with Broxigar, the first orc the night elves would ever encounter, during the War of the Ancients, with Tyrande personally vouching for his entry into Suramar's Temple of the Moon and healing him with her powers, and still recalling him as "Brox" even millennia later after meeting his niece Thura. Tyrande also later acknowledged Varok Saurfang as his brother, seemingly regarding the latter as an honorable warrior.
The materialistic and highly technologically advanced goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel, with their blatant disregard for nature and wildlife, both of which the night elves long regarded as sacred, are likely the second-most hostile Horde race with the night elves. Their presence in Azshara, the remnants of their ancient capital, and their significant contributions to Garrosh's war machine in Ashenvale and other night elf lands in Kalimdor, further contributed to their enmity, although Tyrande has allowed the goblins the use of Azshara's lumber in return for the Horde withdrawing from Ashenvale.
The Darkspear trolls were formerly of the ancient Gurubashi Empire which attempted to challenge the ancient kaldorei, but their modern-day interactions, aside from the usual faction conflicts by association, appear to be relatively limited, although Tyrande openly aided Vol'jin in the Siege of Orgrimmar.
The Forsaken likewise have a limited presence in Kalimdor even after joining the Horde, and their contacts with the night elves seem to be about as limited as those of the trolls, although their cultures have nearly opposite values, and the night elves were mentioned as having "little use for the abominations that were the Forsaken" despite their deep respect for life.
They clashed primarily in Ashenvale, where the Forsaken claimed an ancient kaldorei ruin as their outpost at Bathran's Haunt, with the Forsaken mage Sarilus Foulborne filling Mystral Lake with tainted water elementals, the ancient Bathran being killed by the Forsaken who sought to harvest his resources for their schemes, and the Forsaken managing to murder or drive insane all the druids of Dor'Danil Barrow Den after experimenting upon their spirits while they slumbered. The Forsaken apparently sought to spread lethal disease throughout the land of the night elves, creating potent poisons to use against the people of Ashenvale.
The War of the Thorns in which Sylvanas Windrunner destroyed most of Teldrassil's population, and the subsequent Fourth War, in which the two races fought the Battle for Darkshore to control the region, seems to have all but destroyed the Forsaken-night elf relationship, especially given the use of the Blight in their sacred lands, including their moonwells. Even Calia Menethil, due to her undead nature, was not spared Tyrande Whisperwind's rage, despite the fact that she was not part of the Horde during the conflict.
Despite the bulk of their forces being deployed to Darkshore, the night elves clashed once again with their former Zandalari neighbors during the Battle of Dazar'alor, with an entire battalion of kaldorei troops joining the Alliance to act as a necessary diversion in order to help besiege the ancient troll capital (some openly vowing to punish Zuldazar for aiding Sylvanas and the Horde), and although they would suffer considerable casualties, their efforts helped lead to a major Alliance victory.
Relationship with other races
Most of the night elves appeared to have all but forgotten about their pandaren neighbors, with even Elloric's parents only vaguely recalling "a strange, furry folk that lived far to the south" of their ancient homeland before the Sundering.
Before the kaldorei were addicted to arcane magic, the pandaren were a close ally to the night elves, possibly due to their shared enmity with the troll empires. Some of them even lived with the night elves and witnessed the power of the Well of Eternity, yet after the night elves became obsessed with the Well, and after Emperor Shaohao had a vision of the Legion invading Azeroth, the pandaren decided to sever their ties and used the Mists to separate their land from the rest of Kalimdor, forming Pandaria.
Before they left, the pandaren decided to offer the Highborne a gift, a chest of pandaren design, said to contain all the arcane magic they would ever need. The gift was accepted and taken down into a royal vault in the Temple of Zin-Malor in Eldarath. However, when the chest was opened, it was found to contain absolutely nothing. The pandaren's gift was actually a message of advice and wisdom to the Highborne - all the arcane magic they needed was nothing, or, in other words, they did not really need it at all. The chest and the message it represented continued to exist in the vault even 10,000 years later, but as history would record, the pandaren's wisdom fell on deaf ears.
The induction of the Tushui Pandaren into the Alliance, and the presence of kaldorei forces in Pandaria, such as the Shrine of Seven Stars, seems to have rekindled a measure of friendship between the two ancient civilizations, with several trainers, Laoxi and Lanfen, Brewer of Fine Teas, being welcomed into their capital Darnassus itself, teaching the kaldorei the harmonious ways of the monk.
- “Tor ilisar'thera'nal!”
- — An ancient Darnassian war cry for "Let our enemies beware!"
The primary language of the night elves is Darnassian. Due to ideological differences between the night elves and their distant kin a linguist must take great care in drawing comparisons between Darnassian and its two cousin languages (Nazja and Thalassian), because the night elves find such comparisons offensive.
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- Sample male names: Caynrus, Oso, Caelyb, Bretander, Darnall, Mardrack, Hammon, Heralath, Fyldren, Jarod
- Sample female names: Haidene, Elerethe, Saynna, Elyssa, Naisha, Faeyrin, Keldara, Sarinei, Raene, Ferlynn, Ysiel
- Sample last names: Winterdew, Blackforest, Skyshadow, Raincaller, Trueshot, Featherbow, Lightmane, Bluewater, Darkheart, Rapidstrike
Like humans, elves are often addressed by just their first name, or with their rank/position and their last name. However, there are a number of elves that use single names and don't fit this pattern.
- Sample single names: Pained, Moonshadow, Treesong, Nightbloom
Compared to their peers in the Alliance, the night elves are rather limited in their use of technology. Instead, they rely on their magic and the benefits of the natural world. That doesn't mean the night elves are primitives, however. Traditional night elf architecture shows that the elves are quite skilled at building and stonecraft, and traditional night elf weapons include the metal glaives. In battle, the night elves also deploy simple mechanical weaponry, most notably Glaive Throwers.
The night elves' lifestyle is not necessarily against technology, however, but rather one where technology is not the goal. Apparently, night elf Sentinels have even shown themselves capable of using guns, but still seem to prefer their bows and throwing glaives.
Highborne used memory crystals created by ancient sorcery to store stories, music, history, and even memories.
One of the night elves' most important basic ingredients is rice flour, with most families keeping at least one basket of rice in their houses. Wild ricecakes are made in the north of Kalimdor according to a traditional night elf recipe. The most well-known night elf recipe is kimchi, made of fermented vegetables and sold by vendors throughout night elf territory. To ferment these vegetables, night elves bury pots with vegetables. Spice bread is also common, eaten almost every day. Pine nut bread is an ancient kaldorei staple; as the night elves of Darnassus revere nature, it is no wonder that their signature bread features ingredients foraged from the forests of Kalimdor: wild hive honey, pine nuts, and mixed herbs. Additionally, it is often formed into the shape of a leaf to honor Teldrassil, the World Tree. Passed down from the night elves' forebears, this ancient recipe makes for a scrumptious accompaniment to pastas and stews.
Ribs, spider kabobs, sweet potatoes, lunar pears, moonberries, eyes of Elune, (seemingly an apple, grown by the moonwell and harvested by kaldorei), sunfruit Darnassian bleu cheese, baby octopi (sometimes eaten while still alive), herring, clams, and whitefish are also known to be part of night elf cuisine. Bean soup is a popular dish among the night elves.
While nowhere near the partaking of libations that the dwarves are known for, the night elves are familiar with alcohol. Even in ancient times, the kaldorei made Darnassian wine, distilled from ginger and which was mixed and/or stored in amphorae. In the Broken Isles, the vintage continues to be produced by the nightborne. Moonberry juice is another kaldorei beverage. Starfire espresso is a rather common caffeinated beverage that can help you sober up from an alcoholic beverage. Cenarion spirits is an alcoholic beverage, presumably a spirit liquor from its name, another alcoholic beverage named , though it is traditionally sold around the Lunar Festival.
Vegetarianism is known to the night elves and apparently practiced by some. Malfurion Stormrage himself is a hunter, telling Varian Wrynn that the hunt is an essential part of nature, that the druids did not condemn the wolf or bear for their part in it, and if those who hunted took what they needed and respected where that bounty came from, there is no real contradiction in their beliefs.
- Night elf burial is done naturally, returning the deceased to nature. Disturbing the remains of those who have fallen is gravely looked down upon, but sometimes viewed as necessary based on circumstances.
- When a night elf's mount perishes, it is custom for the rider to keep one of the saber's great fangs as a token of remembrance.
- Night elf children are given an owl feather on their first birthday as a token of good luck.
- Prior to the proliferation of druidism, most night elves slept during much of the day when their link to the Well of Eternity was at its weakest.
Notes on culture
- Bracers of Kinship are symbols of a sacred bond of friendship, trust and love amongst night elves.
- Superstitious elves believed tarot cards could reveal the future.
- The night elves harbor a deep respect for life. They do not torture prisoners, nor do they take delight in unnecessary casualties.
- The night elves were primarily nocturnal, and are apparently stronger at night. They also maintain a friendly and symbiotic relationship with most animals in their lands, and are generally able to co-exist peacefully with them, regarding them as their "wild kin" and respectfully addressing them with names such as "brother bear". They are used to hunting in the nighttime hours, and apparently have enhanced vision and hearing during the night.
Ever since night elves made first contact with the Alliance races, there's been a long-standing debate as to whether they had any relation to trolls. Responses from either of the two races reside on opposite ends of the spectrum. Night elves will flat-out deny any sort of ancestral ties to their historical mortal enemy. On the other hand, tribes like the Zandalari and the Darkspear may begrudgingly admit that at one time the kaldorei were indeed their kin.
Proof of a common ancestral link was discovered by Brann Bronzebeard, the famous dwarven archaeologist. He confirmed night elves descended from none other than the fabled dark trolls of Kalimdor. Refer back to the early beginnings of the Kaldorei, and you will notice their physical forms resemble very little of the exotic beings seen in modern times.
As a tribe, the dark trolls were nomadic in nature. A sect of these nomads settled on the shores of a vast lake known today as the Well of Eternity. The waters of this fount were profoundly magical in nature. As they remained exposed to the Well's energy for long periods of time, the appearance of the dark troll settlers eventually transformed.
Dark trolls were darker in complexion compared to most other trolls. Their skin was a deep violet with complimenting black or dark blue hair. They stood upright with lean, corded muscles; bearing tattoos which covered their faces and bodies. As they changed, their slenderness became accentuated. Hands and feet evolved into more fingers and toes. Ears that were once large and wide became longer, thinner and more tapered. Even in their eyes, a curious silver glow emerged which mirrored the light of their loa goddess, Elune. With the dark trolls' new form came a new name for themselves: kaldorei. This is the form we are familiar with today.
Where dark trolls had mainly dark violet skin, the skin tones of night elves fall into a broad range of the purple spectrum. Colors may vary from the darkest orchid to the faintest pink. Some individuals may even appear various hues of cerulean or bear a pale milky, opalescent shade of white. In rare cases, you may come across a night elf with a ruddy, almost rouge-like skin.
Hair color has also extended into more variants over the dual tones attributed to dark trolls earlier in this section. Starting out with sapphire or even obsidian hair, night elf hair has sprouted into a panorama of azures and violet; followed closely by greens and even silver that boarder on white. Autumnal tinctures such as red, amber, blonde and brown were, for a time, common colors; though this striking feature was found primarily among the Highborne ruling class. Hairstyles among night elves are similar to those of the Quel'dorei and Sin'dorei, albeit a bit more wildly and free-flowing. Unlike most of their elven cousins, Kaldorei men often have thick, elaborate beards and bushy eyebrows.
Over the past fifteen millennia, a tall stature and long, tapered ears have become favored traits in all bloodlines. While the reasoning for this may be a lost tradition to celebrate their identity as night elves, their exotic appearance has had a tendency to be initially greeted with admiration, fear or mockery by other races. Much time has passed since the Third War when night elves first met the Alliance, however. The presence of night elves, especially of the young adventuring variety, has become more commonplace in cities like Stormwind.
For the average Kaldorei, peak physical health is one aspect of achieving overall personal harmony. Individuals can spend centuries sculpting their form to perfection for both aesthetic appeal and battle prowess. Through generations of this practice night elves have developed a slender, athletic frame that carries them with each graceful stride.
Night elves are natural warriors built for deadly combat, and their dense musculature packs a punch with the heft they throw behind it. If weight and height ratios are similar to humans, we can expect an average kaldorei female to weigh about 200 lbs and a male roughly 250 lbs. Male Kaldorei are sinewy, with broad chests and shoulders, indicative of the strength within both their minds and bodies. Female night elves are lithe and curvaceous, yet still muscular and strong.
The average height for a female night elf is around 6'9" tall while the average height of a male is approximately 7'3" tall. A full-grown Kaldorei under 6'5" is nearly unheard of, and would be considered unnatural, or even an abomination by some.
Females will tend to bear facial tattoos that frame their eyes. The style of the tattoos usually have deep meaning to them. Males may have tattoos on their chests, and uncommonly around their eyes like Malfurion Stormrage.
Like other elves, most night elves are generally slim, athletic and graceful, and have large pointed ears which tend to be greeted with admiration or mockery by other races, and have unusually acute senses, able to see clearly even in low-light conditions.
Their perpetually glowing eyes are the result of their race's ancient connections to the Well of Eternity, which "caused the night elves' eyes to glow with a silver or golden radiance" not unlike how most draenei's eyes are glowing to signify their connection with the naaru and the Light, making their vision "preternaturally sensitive to light and motion". Contrary to what a casual observer might believe, night elf eyes still have pupils, just as the eyes of many other humanoid races do. These pupils can be difficult to discern, particularly under certain lighting or from certain angles. When a night elf dies, the glow fades from their eyes.
Although in-game models show female night elves with glowing silver eyes, while the male's eyes have an amber glow to them, the two eye colors are not exclusive to gender, and golden eyes are starting to become more common. While not noticeable while the mouth is closed, when speaking to a night elf one can often spot the long canines they possess.
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".
Before the Sundering, golden eyes were extremely rare among the night elves. Golden eyes thus came to be regarded as a sign of future greatness. Night elves born with them were recruited into the Moon Guard. Both Queen Azshara and Illidan had these unusual eyes. Unfortunately, the falsehood of this widespread belief was only to become clear after these two infamous individuals had reached their dark fates.
In truth, golden eyes were a sign of strong druidic potential. Little wonder that pre-Sundering night elves, with their emphasis on the arcane, did not understand the significance of these unusual eyes. Simply having this potential did not guarantee that the potential would be sensed or understood, much less wielded with skill and compassion. Despite his golden eyes, Illidan struggled with the druidic arts, though he, like Malfurion, was tutored by Cenarius.
Innate druidic power does not necessarily lead to becoming a druid, and lacking that innate power does not preclude becoming a druid. Indeed, Malfurion was born with eyes that glowed silver, but he studied druidism, and his wholehearted dedication gave him a power and skill far beyond most druids. As he continued to use druidic magic, his eyes acquired the golden incandescence that had once been so coveted by other night elves.
Golden eyes quickly became far more common. After the Sundering, night elves abandoned their former obsession with bloodlines, and so the number of night elves born with golden eyes increased significantly. In addition, the night elves resolved to be more respectful of Azeroth, and a number of night elf men followed in Malfurion's footsteps; these new druids eventually also had golden eyes.
Traditionally night elf women served their people as warriors, hunters, and protectors. Many spellcasting vocations, on the other hand, were generally considered the realm of night elf men. Only since the devastating casualties of the Third War have these conventional gender roles been set aside. Because druids only recently opened their ranks to women, golden eyes remain somewhat more prevalent among night elf men than their female counterparts.
The symmetrical markings worn by many night elf females do have some meaning. They choose their facial markings sometime after adulthood, and they can mark an earlier rite of passage. Though they don't necessarily have to, some night elves feel they should. It is not yet clear what the rite of passage consists of or whether the act of tattooing itself is the rite of passage.
Seen as an extremely rare gift of nature and a sign of future greatness, a night elf may be born with antlers. They begin as small stumps on the young one's head, growing larger as the night elf matures into adulthood.
- High elf / Blood elf
Altered night elf druids
The following were once kaldorei, but have been transformed into other races through magical means.
|History||Ancient times||War of the Ancients||Long Vigil||Darnassus|
|Ruler||Official||Queen Azshara||Queen Azshara||High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind||High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind||High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind||High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind & Arch-Druid Malfurion Stormrage|
|Unofficial||Kur'talos Ravencrest||Desdel Stareye||Jarod Shadowsong||Arch-Druid Malfurion Stormrage||Arch-Druid Fandral Staghelm|
Night elf factions and allies
Throughout the extensive history of the night elves, they have garnered support from many different kinds of creatures on Kalimdor, and in addition to the recently allied worgen of Gilneas are:
- Wintersaber Trainers
- Druid organizations
- Court of Farondis
- Moon Guard
- Allies of nature
In the RPG
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.
After the events of the Battle of Mount Hyjal, the night elves severed all ties with the Horde in response to Cenarius' death at the hands of the orcish champion Grom Hellscream, maintaining a tentative relation with the Alliance alone. Directly afterward, many sentinels, druids and warriors of the kaldorei began a great wild hunt of orcs across Kalimdor as a retaliation for Cenarius' murder.
Realizing they needed help to survive in this new world and to oppose the Horde, which chose their continent as its new home, the night elves reluctantly joined the Alliance. Commerce began between Theramore and the night elves, as the two cultures shared values and ideas. The night elves remained withdrawn, however. There are still many places considered too sacred for dwarves or humans to venture into, and only when they’re drunk do they really loosen up around other Alliance races.
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.
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.
Night elf names always have a special meaning. First names derive from an elven word or the name of a famous hero having a totemic or ancestral connection. Surnames are indicative of the family line and often date back millennia.
- Male names: Ilthilior, Mellitharn, Khardona, Andissiel, Mardant, Tanavar
- Female names: Keina, Deliantha, Meridia, Freja, Alannaria, Nevarial
- Last names: Moonblade, Glaivestorm, Proudstrider, Oakwalker, Nightwing, Staghorn
Art of war
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 mighty glaives (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 elf males are very tall, range between 6'6" (198 cm) and 7'6" (229 cm), with broad shoulders and a lithely muscular torso whereas females are far more slender. The men are typically of a slim-waisted yet firm, muscular build including long, muscular arms and large hands. The women are quite different, standing between 6'2" (188 cm) and 7' 2" (218 cm) in height.
Night elves are imposing in stature, males being on average 7 feet tall. Male kaldorei are very muscular, with broad chests and shoulders, indicative of the strength that lies within both their minds and bodies. Female night elves are lithe and curvaceous, yet still muscular and strong. The race's prominent eyebrows, long pointed ears and natural aspects imply a feral grace. Skin tones range from pale white to blue or even ruddy red, and their hair ranges in color from bright white to woodland green to lustrous black.
In the TCG
While there are examples of elves with golden eyes, certain night elven druids have been seen with glowing green eyes, usually while casting or under the influence of a druidic spell. Glowing green eyes have also been seen on a night elf warrior however, so the color may be a natural occurrence.
Notes and trivia
- Several items introduced in the Legion expansion used to spell kaldorei as "kal'dorei". Most of these were corrected in patch 7.2.0, though some errors like the on-use text for the remain.
- According to Medivh, the kaldorei sometimes captured the nascent humans and used them to build their empire.
- The night elves were created early on in the development of Warcraft III when the developers were arguing over whether to make dwarves and elves their own standalone playable factions. They could never get the majority of the team to agree to make elves a standalone race until one developer suggested "dark elves". The team was enticed by the idea but since they didn't want to do a traditional dark elf race based on the drow from Dungeons & Dragons, they instead took the best of wood elves and dark elves and combined them into a single race, which became the night elves. However, the night elves remained heavily based on the drow in early development, at one point being envisioned as jungle-like insect riders. The gender divisions (warrior and ruler women and magically-inclined men), darker-hued skins, and a very powerful goddess are the only elements of this that survive. According to Samwise Didier, many developers within Blizzard were initially skeptical toward the night elves since "people were used to the Legolas types, the elves that are your typical elves – blondish, brownish hair, while we were going blues and greens and purple". It took a good picture to help sell the concept, with Didier adding that "if you have a good picture, you can sell almost anything. If we had a bad picture for it, we probably would have just had wood elves".
- The night elves were actually referenced several times in Warcraft lore long before their unveiling as the fourth race in Reign of Chaos. There is a reference to the night elves in Day of the Dragon, and the dark elves mentioned in the same book could be night elves. In The Last Guardian (published before the unveiling of the night elves), Medivh actually narrates the story of the kaldorei, the Well of Eternity and the War of the Ancients to Khadgar, as a warning against magocratic arrogance.
- The male night elf's dance is based on Michael Jackson's Billie Jean.
- Alizée's dance from "J'en Ai Marre" was the influence for the night elf female dance. This led to Blizzard joking about it by writing in an in-game book that some night elf females are rumored to dance on mailboxes and stripping to pay for their nightsaber training.
- One of the male jokes is "Who wants to live forever". This is a Queen song written for the movie Highlander, in which the last immortal being of good must battle an equal force of evil for "The Prize" — ironically, mortality — which is what the night elves receive in the destruction of Nordrassil.
- Prior to Cataclysm, night elves were the only race that could front flip. Post-Cataclysm, the worgen have learnt to front flip.
- The night elves appear to be almost the exact opposite of the blood elves and differ in somewhat ironic ways: while the night elves' beliefs are linked to the moon, the blood elves' beliefs are linked to the sun.
- The night elves's eyebrows clip with nearly every hat in-game. This is because only hair is changed upon wearing a hat and the face remains the same. The same applies for blood elves and high elves.
- Female night elves are voiced by Debi Mae West. The voice actor for the night elf men is not yet known.
- Night Elves are a conglomerate of various East Asian peoples, Greek and Roman architectural motifs, Celtic mythos, and Neopaganism.
- The architecture of the night elves, according to an interview with Chris Metzen, draws its influences from both Nordic and Japanese building styles. Metzen specifically based elements of the night elves' architecture on the city of Asgard from Marvel Comics (in turn based on the realm of the same name from Norse mythology) as depicted in Walter Simonson's run on The Mighty Thor.
- Japanese architecture particularly that of Shinto and Japanese Buddhist tradition, e.g. pagoda of Yakushi-ji and Torii gates around moonwells.
- Byzantine architecture and Ancient Greek architecture via domes and large single interior, use of Doric columns
- Cabbage Kimchi and Radish Kimchi is Korean Kimchi.
- Cenarius as "Lord of the Forest" with a green beard, and Malfurion as his student, as well as their relation to the stag wild god Malorne, resemble Green Man and Cernunnos motifs.
- For Elune-specific inspirations, see Elune#Notes and trivia.
- Night elven Lunar Festival is based on Chinese New Year, which is the Lunar New Year, and feature many in-game elements of real-world traditions. Omen is also a figure from Chinese mythology. See Omen#Notes and trivia.
- Tyrande's transformation upon becoming the Night Warrior into a woman dressed in white seeking vengeance resembles many Banshee and White Lady myths.
- World of Warcraft
- Warcraft III
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos box art.
Eternity's End campaign menu background.
Terror of the Tides campaign menu background.
Night elf assassin concept art.
Night elf archer in Warcraft III: Reforged.
- Fourth War
Night Elf Sentinels attacking orcish invaders
Night elf archer with the Alliance at the Battle for Lordaeron
Night elf archer on the right at the Battle for Lordaeron
Malfurion, Tyrande and other night elves in Darkshore
Kaldorei forces at the Battle for Darkshore
World of Warcraft box art.
Night elf from BlizzCon 2005 Warcraft key art.
Night elves moments before the Sundering in Warbringers: Azshara.
A night elf on the Legends Volume 2 cover.
- Flags and Banners
Ancient Kaldorei Empire
- Fan arts
- ^ Game Informer #308: Reforging Real-time Strategy, pg. 53
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Darnassian
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual#Night Elf History
- ^ Night Elf - Race
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: The Magazine Volume 2 Issue 1
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Night Elves
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 93
- ^ a b c The Well of Eternity, chapter 4
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 95
- ^ Troll Compendium/Early Troll Civilization
- ^ The Kaldorei and the Well of Eternity
- ^ 
- ^ a b Pearl of Pandaria
- ^ a b War of the Ancients Trilogy
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 94
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 103, 104
- ^ Mount Hyjal and Illidan's Gift
- ^ Original lore had Malfurion making the decision, later stated at  that Tyrande, as the head of the government, did it.
- ^ The World Tree and the Emerald Dream
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Cenarius
- ^ Curse of the Worgen
- ^ a b c War of the Shifting Sands
- ^ a b Warcraft III campaigns: The Invasion of Kalimdor and Eternity's End
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Game Manual
- ^ a b The events of the Teldrassil quests
- ^ a b The events of the Silithus quests
- ^ The events of the Zangarmarsh,Terokkar Forest and Blade's Edge Mountains quests
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j Stormrage
- ^ The events of the Borean Tundra quests
- ^ Sentinel Stillbough
- ^ World of Warcraft: Cataclysm - Class combinations (JPG). Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved on 2010-01-31.
- ^ The events from the Worgen starting experience
- ^ The Howling Oak
- ^ Adella, Silvia and Tambre
- ^ Selyria Groenveld
- ^ a b The events of the Darkshore storyline
- ^ a b c d e f g h i Wolfheart
- ^ The events of the Ashenvale storyline
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War
- ^ The events of the Azshara storyline
- ^ The events of the Stonetalon Mountains storyline
- ^ The events of the Desolace storyline
- ^ The events of the Southern Barrens storyline
- ^ The events of the Felwood storyline
- ^ The events of the Mount Hyjal quests
- ^ a b c The events of the Krasarang Wilds storyline
- ^ The guards at the shrine are either night elf, or one of the night elves' natural allies.
- ^ The Tomb of Sargeras
- ^ World of Warcraft Battle Chest Guide, pg. 153
- ^ The Well of Eternity, chapter 8
- ^ Dialogue with Choluna
- ^ a b The events of the Mount Hyjal storyline
- ^ The events of the Lunar Festival
- ^ Mount Journal entry for
- ^ Mount Journal entry for
- ^ Red-Tailed Chipmunk
- ^ Eternity's End (WC3 NightElf)
- ^ a b c d e The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Sentinels
- ^ a b c The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Cenarion Circle
- ^ Strom was founded 2,800 years before the First War, the awakening of the dwarves was 2,500 years before the First War. Night elf culture dates back to before the War of the Ancients, 10,000 years ago
- ^ Wolfheart, pg. 28, 89
- ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter
- ^ The Old Wizard's Almanac
- ^ Archmage Evershade's dialogue
- ^ Wolfheart, pg. 43
- ^ , and
- ^ Battle for Darkshore
- ^ a b c Elegy
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 114
- ^ a b The Spirits of Ashenvale
- ^ Seen primarily in Warcraft III, supported by the night elf guards using the same weapons.
- ^ Sentinel Leader
- ^ Sentinel Spy
- ^ Tortured Sentinel
- ^ Sentinel Infiltrator
- ^ Feralas Sentinel
- ^ Lunar Festival Sentinel
- ^ Erina Willowborn
- ^ a b Warcraft III available units
- ^ The events of the Feralas storyline
- ^ a b
- ^ A Good War pg. 45-46: "She jumped at him so boldly that he did not have time to react. Her heel slammed just above his armor into his bare temple. Saurfang staggered back, bright stars in his vision. Only sheer will kept him conscious. She came after him again, her fists a blur. She is unarmed! But the pain in his head suggested that wasn’t quite true, was it? A monk’s hands and feet were weapons in their own right."
- ^ Gathering Thunder!: Thrall citing the war with night elves for lumber as reason for their animosity in the Theramore Summit.
- ^ The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm
- ^ a b
- ^ Lord of His Pack
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/High Elves and Blood Elves
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/High Elves
- ^ Shards of the Alliance (WC3 NightElf)
- ^ A Good War
- ^ <
- ^ Stormrage, pg. 319
- ^ Elerethe Renferal (tactics)
- ^ a b War Crimes
- ^ Ashenvale storyline
- ^ Garrosh Hellscream (tactics)#Leader dialogue
- ^ 
- ^ The Emperor's Burden - Part 8
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Darnassian
- ^ World of Warcraft Battle Chest Guide, pg. 152
- ^ A sampling of names taken from World of Warcraft and the Trading Card Game. All used names belong to characters whose names are not references or jokes.
- ^ The stone buildings in Darnassus
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: The Official Cookbook
- ^ Fruits growing near the Moonwell in Malfurion's Breach
- ^ a b War Crimes, chapter 3
- ^ Daana Leafwhisper#Quotes
- ^ Elegy, pg. 55
- ^ Mount Journal entry for
- ^ Knaak, Richard A.. "Two", The Demon Soul, 40 (ebook). ISBN 978-0-7434-7120-6.
- ^ Elegy, pg. 27
- ^ a b Before the Storm
- ^ Height#Playable races
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 14: "[The dead Sentinels'] blood looked black in the pale blue light, and the glow had fled their eyes, leaving them dark pools of shadow."
- ^ Chris G. Robinson on Twitter (2014-05-13)
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 10
- ^ War Crimes, chapter 15
- ^ Legion Zone Overview: Suramar
- ^ Elegy, pg. 7
- ^ Kosak on Twitter
- ^ Elegy, pg. 20
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Comic, Issue 4: Balancing the Scales (comic)
- ^ Broll Bearmantle
- ^ a b c d e f g h World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 38-39.
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 125
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 71
- ^ Rob Baxter and Luke Johnson. World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, Core Rules 2nd Edition, pg. 39. Sword & Sorcery Studios, 2005.
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 174
- ^ http://us.battle.net/wow/en/media/artwork/trading-card-game/series6?view=tcg-series6-030
- ^ http://us.battle.net/wow/en/media/artwork/trading-card-game/series2?view=tcg-series2-014
- ^ http://media.blizzard.com/wow/media/artwork/trading-card-game/series7/tcg-series7-071-large.jpg
- ^ , Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ , Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ , Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ , Official TCG Artwork.
- ^ Kal'dorei Light Globe
- ^ Pendant of the Kal'dorei
- ^ Blessed Kal'dorei Banner
- ^ The Last Guardian, pg. 150
- ^ ZDNet: GamesSpot: PC Previews: Warcraft III Q&A. GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2001-02-05.
- ^ The Art of Warcraft, pg. 58
- ^ Game Informer #308: Reforging Real-time Strategy, pg. 57
- ^ Dustin Bailey 2019-05-16. It was a “really hard sell” at Blizzard to get Night Elves into Warcraft. PCGamesN. Retrieved on 2019-05-17.
- ^ Day of the Dragon, pg. 160
- ^ The Comic Volume 1, pg. 3 - 4 — Chasing Thunder: A foreword by Chris Metzen