The ancient and reclusive night elves have played a pivotal role in shaping Azeroth’s fate throughout its history. More than ten thousand years ago, their heroics during the War of the Ancients helped stave off the demonic Burning Legion’s first invasion. When the scattered remnants of the Legion on Azeroth rallied together with the vile satyrs centuries later, the night elves again rose to meet the threat. The ensuing War of the Satyr exacted a heavy toll from the night elves, but ultimately they vanquished the forces that had set out to wreak havoc on their world.
The Legion’s emergence, however, had forever changed night elven society. The night elves had resolved to shun the practice of arcane magic because its reckless use had attracted the Legion to Azeroth. They cultivated a peaceful, naturalistic existence along the slopes of Mount Hyjal under the leadership of Tyrande Whisperwind. For many long years, Tyrande oversaw night elven governance, ever vigilant for signs of further demonic incursions. 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.
The night elves’ tranquil existence was shattered again when the Burning Legion launched a new invasion of Azeroth. At the height of this conflict—known as the Third War—the Legion and its terrifying undead Scourge assaulted the night elves’ lands. After awakening Malfurion and his druids from their slumber in the Dream, Tyrande gathered the other night elves, and they fought alongside the Horde and the Alliance to defeat the demon lord Archimonde and his minions at the summit of Mount Hyjal.
Although victorious, the night elves suffered greatly from the battle. Their beloved World Tree Nordrassil, created and blessed by the Dragon Aspects Alexstrasza, Ysera, and Nozdormu to grant the night elves immortality, had given off a massive blast of energy to slay Archimonde. To facilitate this colossal explosion, the night elves had chosen to forever sacrifice their 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. The second World Tree, Teldrassil, was planted off the northern coast of Kalimdor, and eventually it towered among the clouds.
Unlike Nordrassil, this new World Tree was not blessed by the Dragon Aspects, and thus it did not restore the night elves’ immortality. Rather, Teldrassil became tainted due to the Emerald Nightmare, a dark malady that had taken root within the Dream. In addition, it was learned that Malfurion’s dire ailment had been caused by this shadowy force. When he was finally awakened from his comatose state, Malfurion set about cleansing Teldrassil of its corruption, and he led efforts to contain the sinister Nightmare.
These momentous events have raised spirits throughout night elven society. Even so, this valiant race now faces many new challenges. Recent Horde attacks have seized night elven lands in Ashenvale, while areas along Kalimdor’s western coast have been decimated by the catastrophic upheavals unleashed in the wake of the Cataclysm. Still struggling to cope with the loss of their immortality, the night elves must prepare to stand against any threat as Azeroth itself breaks apart at the seams.