The Wake of Quel'Thalas
“Our kingdom, forever golden, where our sons and our sons’ sons may challenge the limits of arcana without fear of persecution. The kaldorei shall soon regret our banishment; while their great forests burn, we shall thrive!”
A change had occurred amongst the elves while on their journey,
and they were doomed to watch in horror as it slowly overcame them. As they grew ever farther from Hyjal and the Well of Eternity, Dath’remar and his followers became stunted. Their bodies became shorter and less nimble, and their skin lost its violet hue. The feelings of hunger and tiredness returned to them, and worst of all, they realized they’d become addicted to the whims of arcane magic.
Their withdrawal had made the elves’ exodus especially grueling. As his people arrived in their new home, Dath’remar wasted no time in revealing the secret he’d kept since their journey began: in his possession, he held three vials from the first Well of Eternity. He’d stolen them from the kaldorei in the days before their banishment. With their power, he declared they’d rebuild the well and create an empire—one to rival the elves’ of ten thousand years before.
The sun set as the newly-pronounced high elves arrived on an island off of Quel’thalas’ northern coast, where the land’s dozens of ley lines converged in a nexus of arcane energy. In its center laid tranquil pool amidst a hollow glade, arranged just so, where the hanging sun reflected off the waters’ surface in a brilliant aura of light.
Without hesitation, Dath’remar dumped his vials’ contents in the pool.
In an instant, the elves felt revitalized. Though it was no Well of Eternity and it lacked the dragons’ blessings, their new source of power, the Sunwell, fed the magical addiction they’d been battling for for so long.
Its creation marked the beginning of a new age. No longer would they regard Elune, goddess of the moon, but the sun—in all of its glorious radiance—and themselves.
The first to witness their newfound power were the trolls. These cannibalistic, savage, beast-worshiping fiends had their own name for the elves’ land: Zul’Aman, and it was their most sacred holy ground. Their two peoples’ had skirmished all throughout the elves’ journey, and the trolls often prevailed. The elves, hardly able enough to walk on account of their withdrawal, were helpless to the their merciless whims.
And now, the quel’dorei were out for vengeance. They led a campaign of fire across their new kingdom, decimating troll villages and wiping out their occupants without regard. The trolls, whose regenerative powers had little effect against elven fire, were pushed over the mountains and onto Quel’thalas’ farthest coast.
The trolls’ threat settled, the elves turned to their next dilemma: “how might we defend our home, from our own world and from others?”
Their solution was twofold.
First, that they would create a magical barrier around their kingdom. The elves were forced to admit fault in the use of arcana; it had attracted the demons and drawn them into Azeroth and had the potential to do so again. To combat this, they crated a shield called Ban’dinoriel, or ‘the Gatekeeper’, that, with the Sunwell’s power, would suppress the elves’ latent magical energies and the magic of anyone who knew not how to circumvent its effects. What’s more, it could coalesce at any point, creating a nigh-impenetrable wall between the kingdom and any invaders.
But Ban’dinoriel had its flaws. Many magi were requisite to realize its full potential, and dozens of Runestones had to be established and maintained to project its effect across their entire kingdom. So to ensure their safety, the elves decided that a massive, magical gate should be erected in Thalassian Pass—the valley that all travelers must pass to enter their kingdom. As Quel’thalas’ borders were quite mountainous, this should’ve proven enough to stymie the flow of invaders.
Behind its impregnable defenses, the high elves’ society grew quickly and flourished—as did it fragment. Factions emerged, and on either’s ends were the most outspoken critics of the other.
Those who adored a life of decadence found themselves in the Thalassian capital of Silvermoon, where towering spires of polished white stone watched across the sea and over Sunwell Plateau, the great temple they’d built to house the Sunwell. Life in Silvermoon was one without scarcity; magic answered every beck and call, and no task was too menial to necessitate arcana’s aid. There they studied the limits of arcana without fear of repercussion, and they achieved some of the greatest feats of arcane mastery the world had ever seen.
The ruling parties of Silvermoon were some of the arcane’s most avid practitioners. What’s called a magocracy, the kingdom’s rulers were comprised of its most gifted magi—called magisters. They formed a senate, the Convocation of Silvermoon, and under the watchful eyes of their king, Dath’remar Sunstrider, they acted as the kingdom’s foremost legislative body. Its head took the title of Grand Magister—second only to the king—and was held by the kingdom’s most powerful magi.
While its headquarters were housed in Silvermoon, the Farstriders—a guild of elven rangers—found itself at odds with the city-dwellers’ hedonistic lifestyle. Led by a Ranger-general, this order had been established to protect the kingdom’s frontiers and drive off troll outriders. Its rangers practiced little magic, and in fact, thought little of it—suggesting that true strength should come from skill and your own capabilities.
Followers of these beliefs resided not in the cities, but in hamlets and quaint thatch cottages. Those who actually knew arcana believed its power should see no abuse, and preferred to lead quiet, agrarian lifestyles.
The most extreme of arcana’s critics were the Tenders, druids who chose to join the high elves in their exodus only out of loyalty to Dath’remar. Though few in number, they endeavored to make their voices heard—much to the magisters’ annoyance. The Tenders had their place, however, and were responsible for Quel’thalas’ immaculate beauty. Thousands of years they’d spent, shaping every bough of every tree and fostering the growth of one of Azeroth’s most diverse ecosystems.
Outside of the elves’ political spectrum, the humans’ faith of the Holy Light took root in elven culture. Though it never grew so mighty and never enraptured the minds of many elves, it remained a persistent counterpoint to the majority’s indulgence of arcane power. Followers of the light were wielders of the divine, and they commanded its power by following the Church’s core virtues: respect, tenacity, and compassion. Its most avid practitioners went on to join the Order of the Silver Hand, a human knighthood of paladins who were sworn to uphold the sanctity of good and law.
To keep the disparate factions in line, the Silvermoon Guardians came into service. Loyal only to the king, these warriors came from every background and served but one goal: to maintain peace in Quel’thalas. Down city streets and across the countryside, they rode to break disputes and foster common ground between the increasingly volatile factions.
And for thousands of years, they succeeded.