When we last left our little would-be-could-be trolls or elves, they were settling quite nicely by the Well of Eternity. But what comes next in elven history? Why is Azeroth plagued with so many different elves? Is there some sort of vaccination one can take to prevent turning into one? Some of these questions to be answered…now.
The Kaldorei and the Quel’dorei
The night elves continued their development over time, working with the Well of Eternity and happily worshipping Elune. They created a truly massive capital city, built on the banks of the Well of Eternity – but the night elves soon found themselves diverging down two very different paths. There were the original kaldorei, who faithfully continued to worship Elune in all her glory, and then there were those elves that were more attentive to the Well than Elune. These elves were known as the Quel’dorei, translated to ‘noble children’, or simply ‘high elves’.
The night elves found themselves leaning more towards a druidic type of magic – the magic that comes from nature and all living things. The quel’dorei, on the other hand, were much more attracted to power – the arcane power of the Well of Eternity, and the majority of them settled in the capital city in order to be nearer to the source of their magic. Both the night elves and the quel’dorei would go on to expand their civilization across the continent of Kalimdor, crushing the Amani and Gurubashi empires in the process and striking fear and awe into the hearts of those who witnessed their prowess. The civilization was stronger than ever, despite the split between the two factions of elves, and the power and magic they manipulated seemed to grant them an almost immortal status. Elves lived longer, thrived longer, fought harder and won more battles than any other species on the planet. Indeed, it seemed as if there was little that could overcome them, their mastery of magic being that adept.
This led to their ultimate folly. For the Well of Eternity was tied to the Great Dark Beyond, and where there was the space between everything and nothing, there was the Burning Legion. More specifically, there was Sargeras, whose attention was called to the little world due to the sheer amount of magical power upon it.
The elves had many leaders over time, but the one most spoken of and most revered was Azshara. She was the most beautiful, the most lauded, and the most beloved monarch in night elf history – so much so that the capital city was renamed to Zin-Azshari, “Glory of Azshara”. Consider if you will the mythology surrounding Helen of Troy, the ‘face that launched a thousand ships’. Now put her in a position of power. That’s Azshara. Very little is known of where she came from or originated, but all stories surrounding her mention two things without fail – her stunning visage, and her golden eyes.
While all night elves and high elves had eyes of gleaming white, reminiscent of the moon, occasionally a child would be born with eyes of gold. These children, it was said, were to be meant for great destiny. It could be theorized that much of Azshara’s childhood was spent grooming and spoiling her, as her eyes marked her for something that was sure to be of benefit to all, and this is how she rose to power. Azshara’s beauty was matched only by her mind, and her prowess for the arcane arts – a master of manipulation, the arcane and sweet words, perhaps between her honeyed tongue and her mastery of spells, she managed to sweet talk her way to the top. Regardless, while her exterior was pleasing to the eye – pleasing enough for any male to gladly die for her no questions asked – her mind was much sharper, and focused on power.
Azshara was adored by all of the elves, but reserved her favor for the Highborne – the noble elite of elven society, some of the most powerful practitioners of magic. The Highborne were the most corrupt of the quel’dorei, hated among the rest of the elves for their power and mastery over the arcane and their determination to manipulate the Well for yet more power and prestige. Azshara on the other hand adored them, surrounding herself with them and urging them to continue to delve into the secrets of the Well of Eternity. The Highborne, willing to do anything for their beloved Azshara, eagerly obeyed.
Azshara’s high councilor was a quel’dorei by the name of Lord Xavius. Renowned for his prowess in political maneuverings and subterfuge, this elf had gone so far as to replace his own eyes with two magic black crystals, streaked with crimson. Xavius worshipped Azshara as much as any other elf, and eagerly oversaw the Highborne’s activities, wishing nothing more than to please his queen and gain her favor. Xavius had many faults, a lust for power being the first and foremost, but was ever seeking further ways to please his queen, and one day approached her with an idea sure to please her above all others.
Azshara, perfection in elven form, was perhaps too perfect for the world surrounding her. All bowed to her, save the world itself – and perhaps, the councilor suggested, the world should be shaped to bow to her. The Well of Eternity was certainly the highest form of power imaginable, and therefore it should be used as such – and the world should be cleansed of all imperfections, all impurity, that Azshara may at last rule a world as perfect as herself. The idea of course greatly appealed to the Queen, and she ordered the Highborne, under the supervision of Lord Xavius to work at once. The Highborne, spurred on by this great new task, worked ever more feverishly with the Well of Eternity towards this noble cause.
And Queen Azshara watched them all, pleased.
Sargeras and the Burning Legion
One other watched these proceedings – Sargeras, lord of the Burning Legion, watched the Highborne and the Well of Eternity with great interest. The power contained in the Well was limitless, and he began to crave for it for himself, knowing it could satiate his hunger for magic. Sargeras used the Well of Eternity and the portals and magics that the Highborne were working with to speak to Lord Xavius, introducing himself as a god sent to deliver Azeroth from all that was impure and imperfect. Xavius, overwhelmed by the might of the being that contacted him, immediately went to Azshara and told her of the god that had spoken to him, convincing her to come to the Well and speak to him herself. Azshara, disbelieving, approached cautiously and stared into the well – and her life was forever changed.
The Great One told them that he could help them with their task of cleansing the world, but to do so, he would need them to strengthen the portal over the Well. As it was, there was no way the small portal could withstand the coming of a god. Xavius and the Highborne worked harder than ever to strengthen the portal, but were unable to give it the power it needed to succeed. The Great One offered to send an emissary, one to guide them in the creation of the portal and assist them in bringing the Great One to them. Lord Xavius accepted, and through the portal stepped a skeletal knight bathed in pure flames, the skull crowned by two curling horns. He was accompanied by strange beasts the likes of which the elves had never seen – the size of horses, faces a peculiar blend of wolf and reptile, covered in scales and topped by two thrashing tentacles, each tipped by tiny sucker mouths that seemed to focus on the sorcerors. The knight introduced himself.
“I am the Houndsmaster…I am Hakkar…”
Hakkar was the master of the felhound, and he assisted the elves in their duties, summoning more and more of the hounds as well as the brutal beings known as felguards through the portal. But neither the councilor or the Queen could foresee what would happen next – interference from a different source altogether.
Stay tuned for more in the next entry, History of the Night Elves – Dragons, Druids and Demigods, Oh My!