The Wake of Quel'Thalas
A Barren World
“Brother, my people… can’t you see?! The demons will return, and without the Well of Eternity, we’ll be powerless to stop them!”
the elves’ empire had fallen. Those who’d survived the world’s sundering found themselves on a new Kalimdor, what was little more than a desolate island on the edge of the world. The well’s explosion had sent great ripples through Azeorth’s surface; where once there were sprawling prairies, were now vast ranges of craggy, unweathered mountains. Entire forests had been torn from the earth in an instant, and soon their trunks would make kindling for great fires to burn for hundreds of years.
“But at least the demons are no more.” Said the kaldorei with heavy hearts, gazing across what had become of their home. Weary as they were, they traversed the barren landscape and observed what remained. Many wept. Many more became embittered.
“Arcana is to blame,” said they. “It twists the mind and warps the soul, compels its users to nefarious ends! Were it not for our people’s corruption, our world would be spared!”
Dath’remar and his highborne followers, whose betrayal had led to the demons’ defeat, found themselves assailed to no end. Wherever the world had been scarred, they were to blame. Many months across lifeless wastelands, over mountains and around fathomless fissures, and every day their own people reminded them of their treasonous ways.
None dared to practice their arcane craft.
Despite their growing antipathy, the kaldorei pressed onward. They made for the peak of Mount Hyjal, where the Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage, first practitioner of druidism, swore that his people would find a way to restore life to their world. There, he claimed, life grew unfettered. Under the benevolent care of the wild gods, nature persisted without limit, unburdened by the restraints of the outside world. With the wild gods’ blessings, perhaps their world may flourish once more.
Those who’d never beheld Hyjal’s majesty found themselves in breathtaken. While the world around it had been stripped barren, Hyjal not only prevailed, but thrived. Trees tall enough to rake the heavens, whose trunks were wider than the greatest temples of Zin-Azshari backed the elves on either side as they scaled the mountain. The suspicious eyes of fae creatures watched from afar, ever vigilant of these strange pilgrims. Their prismatic hides glimmered under the cascades of light that managed to slip through Hyjal’s thick canopy, painting the woodland with a dizzying array of vibrant colors.
With the Archdruid’s guidance, the kaldorei found their way to the top.
Nestled within a grove on Hyjal’s peak, there swirled a radiant pool of cloudless water—but something was amiss. As Malfurion and his fellow druids went forth to draw from Hyjal’s power, they reeled backwards from shock. They’d found no force of nature was to be found In Hyjal’s sacred water; it’d been tainted, reeking with the foul stench of arcana.
“Impossible,” thought they.
Somehow, the kaldorei had come upon a second Well of Eternity.
Just moments before Malfurion became overcome with rage, a figure appeared from within the trees. He’d been hiding, watching from afar, and as he revealed himself… a disheveled grin spread across his lips. Who stood before the kaldorei was none other than Illidan Stormrage, brother of Maflurion, and the defiler of Hyjal’s sacred waters.
Already, the kaldorei considered Illidan untrustworthy. Jealousy had driven the young sorcerer to nefarious ends and, compelled to surpass his archdruid brother, he’d gone on to seek the power of demons. It’d turned him into a monster; luminous green demons’ blood flowed through his veins, and his violet skin had become an ashy gray. Tattoos in an indecipherable fel language ran all across his bare chest, whose mysterious powers inspired dark thoughts in the minds of any lingering eyes. Most haunting were his own eyes—or what remained of them. None had seen the sockets behind the black blindfold he wore, but an eerie green glow burned from where they should’ve been.
To his brothers and fellow kaldorei, he reasserted that his intentions were pure. He went on to remind them the he had, in fact, aided his people in destroying the Well of Eternity, and that he’d only dealt with the lord of demons to gain the power he’d needed to destroy them. What’s more, he’d preserved some of the well’s waters in a number of crystalline vials, that one day its power may be used to destroy the demons, whenever—not if ever—they return. The new well on Hyjal, then, was a gift. An act of Illidan’s good will.
It made no difference. The furious kaldorei seized Illidan and put him in chains, declaring that he’d be a prisoner until he passed on from their world. Calling upon the Wild Gods’ power, they buried him in a prison deep below Azeroth’s surface and created a new order, the Wardens, to guard and forever remain vigilant over the wayward sorcerer