|The Royal House of Sunwhisper|
Coat of Arms
Our Lady Phoenix of Quel'Athillien; Grand Duchess
The high elves, or quel'dorei ("children of noble birth" in Darnassian and "high elves" in Thalassian), are a race descended from the Highborne night elves who left Kalimdor and settled in the Eastern Kingdoms, founding Quel'Thalas.
The high elves were once a significant force on the continent, but in recent times their numbers have been dramatically reduced, 90% of their race was slaughtered in the Third War. Following this, another 90% of the survivors changed their name to "blood elves" in remembrance of their fallen brethren, and no longer consider themselves high elven. Around 25,000 true high elves remain, most of whom cling to the Alliance trying to restore the glory of their once great people.
When the night elves adopted druidism, they outlawed the practice of arcane magic. The use of its dangerous powers was punishable by death. However, many Highborne loyalists of Queen Azshara survived the Sundering and grew restless. They suffered from magical withdrawal, and 7,300 years before the invasion of the Horde through the Dark Portal, they spoke against Malfurion Stormrage and the Druids.
Dath'Remar Sunstrider, the leader of this movement, 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 druids could not bring themselves to put so many of their kin to death, so they decided to exile the reckless Highborne from their lands. Sunstrider and his followers boarded a number of specially crafted ships and set sail upon the seas. By now the Highborne were glad to be rid of their conservative cousins and free to practice the arcane with impunity.
None knew what lay beyond the Maelstrom, but they eventually found the Eastern Kingdoms and formed their own magical realm. They abandoned the concepts of Elune and nocturnal activity, embracing the sun instead. They would soon become known as the high elves.
Sunstrider led the high elven fleets across the world for many long years. Their goal was to find places of considerable ley power for them to build their new homeland. After landing on the Lordaeron continent, they moved inland and formed a settlement in the Tirisfal Glades. After a few years, however, many were driven insane. The belief at the time was that something evil slept beneath the Glades, so the high elves abandoned the region and moved northwards.
Around this time, they had become completely severed from the life-giving energy of the Well of Eternity. This meant that they were vulnerable to the elements and had not received immortality from Nozdormu and the World Tree. They had shrunk in height and their skin had become a peach hue similar to most dwarves and humans. The high elves soon discovered primitive humans, but associated little with them. The forest trolls of Zul'Aman, under the Amani Empire, posed the greater threat to their society. The elves soon grew to hate the forest trolls and they fought each other whenever they met.
After many more years, the high elves discovered a land in the northern forests which suited them, and founded the kingdom of Quel'Thalas. Unfortunately, they would learn that Quel'Thalas was founded on a sacred and ancient troll city. The trolls began to attack the elven settlements en masse in retaliation. Although the Amani outnumbered them ten to one, the elves utilized magic to its fullest effect and defeated the trolls.
Some elves, wary of the kaldorei's warnings, created a protective barrier around Quel'Thalas which allowed them to continue their magic without attracting the Burning Legion's attention. To do this, they employed a series of monolithic Runestones.
|To sate their hunger for great magical power, the high elves created the Sunwell. It became the source of their power as the Well of Eternity had been in Kalimdor, although the Sunwell was much weaker, and the elves were forewarned of the dangers. As the high elves became more powerful, they cast an enchantment on the forests that bathed Quel'Thalas in eternal springtime, in defiance of the kingdom's location on the extreme north of the continent. From that point on, all high elves had access to the Sunwell's powers from anywhere on Azeroth. Over time, the high elves came to regard the Sunwell's waters as holy. Magic became part of their genes centuries before, but the Sunwell's unique energies became part of them acutely|
During the foundation of the Sunwell, it was raised by many that such a fount of power should have guardians - much like the Well of Eternity had once been guarded by the elite in order to protect its power. After years of having wandered and nearly starved to find such a "promised land," the High Elves were not about to allow their most precious gift to be squandered nor lost to them because of devious behaviors. Many of the noble houses at the time bickered amongst one another as to who would be given the sole responsibility of guardianship and why they felt their house was more inclined to do the job properly than any other house.
Dath'Remar could see his people tearing themselves apart in order to clamour for power and in order to ensure that his people did not suffer the plights that had befallen those who lived under Queen Azshara's reign, he had decided there would be five noble houses that would be given the task to guard the Sunwell and all of its glory: Dawnstrider, Sunshield, Sunreaver, D'Anthal and Sunwhisper. For these houses were the only ones who had not wished for the prestige and had many among them who were part of the priesthood.
In these families, the patriarch was given the responsibility of teaching their continued generations how to properly guard the Sunwell. This was the birth of the original Mage-Priest; a combination of magic usage from the Sunwell as well as strength from the Sun (their chosen deity at the time - before it was revamped to be "the Light"). Anadorin Sunwhisper was a magister of great power and even greater standing within the Court of Belore - the reigning court of nobles for Silvermoon City and all of Quel'Thalas at the time. His wife, X'anatel was one of the original Farstriders - men and women who pleged their allegiance to the land of Quel'Thalas and its continued prosperity. While the two of them had their allegiances to something other than the noble house Sunstrider, it made for a perfect beginning.
The First MatriarchEdit
The Dynasty itself did not truly begin until the birth of the first Sunwhisper on Quel'Thalas. Anadorin and X'anatel were blessed with a daughter within the first one hundred years of their coupling in their new home. Miandrin Sunwhisper was the first official child that would continue the challenging life-long journey of guarding the Sunwell's infamous waters.
During the time Anadorin had been a guardian of the Sunwell, there had been a heavy dispute over whether or not a person should be pure. An elf's purity was argued to determine loyalty and how they behaved. Many of the noble houses had been rumored to have various sons and daughters who had found themselves seeking pleasure and fulfillment in their lives by drinking, gambling until they were in debt, and causing trouble within the walls of Silvermoon City. These problems had become so that the city itself developed arcane constructs in order to maintain the peace. Essentially, Silvermoon City became a police-state and it was governed with an iron fist. While House Sunstrider maintained their regal status as the reigning household, their Court of Belore were viewed as their "senate" in almost every sense of the word. Trials were held before each patriarch of every noble house. Non-noble houses were permitted to attend trials but not permitted to speak.
Because of these trying times, there were a few who had argued that succeeding guardians of the Sunwell should be without passion or desire - trained to focus solely on their lifelong mission. The counter argument to this was that the households charged with such a task wouldn't flourish past one generation before the old arguments of who would secure the Sunwell's place would rise up again. With X'anatel having already given birth to the next generation of Sunwhisper guardians, Anadorin felt it necessary that he would not have his family line disassembled; even if it meant doing so for his beloved Quel'Thalas.
The next argument was the purity of the household bloodlines. If men and women guardians were far too busy philandering about and worrying about who they would mate with, it would detract from the mission at hand. Many houses were deemed "unfit" and "impure" to breed with guardians.
Anadorin's suggestion to the Court of Belore was to arrange marriages amongst guardians so that they would be able to continue keeping the households flourishing and the bloodlines would not be muddled. Anadorin's suggestion was taken and then made into a law: Guardians were to remain celibate until such a time that their mate would be chosen for them by the Court of Belore. Anadorin and X'anatel went on to have four more children: Silvius, Yerin, Galariel and Samanthiel. All of their children, save for Samanthiel, became Mage-Priests. Samanthiel detoured from her intended guardianship to become a Farstrider. At this time, Farstriders were seen as defects of the Court of Belore since they did not represent any one household and were sole keepers of Quel'Thalas' lands and beasts.
Guardians of the SunwellEdit
Governing Rules of the GuardianEdit
The rules that goverened how a guardian was to compose themselves were thusly:
- A guardian must always be in control of their abilities. They are never to concede to the will of their hunger and sate their lust for power by drinking directly from the well at any given time.
- A guardian must always spend time meditating when they are not on-watch. They must meditate on how to improve their skills in combat and consistently be learning to improve and sharpen their minds.
- A guardian must pledge themselves faithfully and eternally to Quel'Thalas and her outlying regions. Thirst for power must never be considered and a guardian must refuse any participation in direct political warfare.
- A guardian must remain celibate until such a time that they are exiled from their duties or the Court of Belore has appointed them a pre-destined mate.
- A guardian must remain vigilant to their task. Any threat - foreign or domestic - are to be handled with a swift execution. Any who approach the Well without prior consent from the Court of Belore are to be executed on-sight.
Status of NobilityEdit
Any guardian who was caught breaking any of these laws were either executed or exiled to the furthest reaches of Quel'Thalas - if they were even still allowed within the borders. The few who broke the rules were often "misplaced" or were conceived an accident by the local Amani trolls. Guardians were considered the highest form of nobility next to the reigning house Sunstrider and were given quarter to match their prestige.
After much deliberation, the reigning patriarch of the Sunwhisper had begun to refer to their lineage not as a simple bloodline but as an "eternal dynasty." Over ten thousand years of guardianship were prized and praised as the Sunwhispers and the other noble houses sought to train their children and their children's children as guardians of the well.
Breaking Bonds and BarriersEdit
For nearly three thousand years following the Troll Wars, Quel'Thalas remained at peace. The orcish Horde came through a portal from the world of Draenor and ignited the First War. Though the high elves helped to defend on a small level, the Kingdom of Stormwind fell. After the humans were defeated and fled north through Khaz Modan, the dwarves sent emissaries to meet with the high elves and humans to discuss the threat of the Horde. When the humans proposed an Alliance of their seven nations, the Wildhammer and Ironforge dwarves, the gnomes, and the high elves, the elves were honor-bound to join it due to their ancestral connection with the former Arathi tribe of humans, of whom Anduin Lothar was the last pure-blooded scion. Under Anasterian Sunstrider, they were the least enthusiastic of the Alliance and put forth only a token army.
Meanwhile, the Horde had brought ogres into Azeroth and allied with the goblins and forest trolls. They then turned their sights on the north, launching the Second War.
The orcs' northern campaign, in which the trolls were meant to take back their ancestral homes from the high elves, managed to burn down the borderlands of Quel'Thalas, slaughtering many high elves in the process and corrupting the Runestone at Caer Darrow. This enraged Silvermoon, which promptly pledged its full support to the war. The Horde eventually splintered under internal political pressure, and the Alliance charged southwards to crush it. The Second War was won.
In the aftermath, some high elves blamed the humans' poor leadership for the burning of their forests. King Terenas of Lordaeron reminded them that nothing of Quel'Thalas would have remained if not for the hundreds of humans that gave their lives to defend it, but nevertheless, the high elves largely abandoned the Alliance. Alleria Windrunner, sister to Sylvanas, and a cadre of her elven rangers remained loyal to Alliance High Command, but they were eventually lost on the other side of the Dark Portal. Her sister Vereesa also advocated continued support to the Alliance after the Grim Batol incident, but Anasterian was not swayed.
Years later, the Scourge came forth. Its commander, Arthas Menethil, obliterated the leading nation of Lordaeron and then turned their sights on Quel'Thalas. Their goal was to revive a human man named Kel'Thuzad, who could summon the demon-lord Archimonde into Azeroth. To do this, they required a source of considerable ley magic, and chose the Sunwell.
The high elves were still recovering from their grievous injuries at the hands of the Horde, but faced the Scourge in battle regardless. This time, there would be no human army to rescue them. The high elven army, lead by the Ranger General Sylvanas Windrunner, made counter attacks every time the scourge advanced. Despite their tactics and magic the elves were pushed back from the outer, to inner elf gates. Finally Arthas and his army, as well as new banshees, including Sylvanas, advanced on Silvermoon and crushed the defenders.
The Sunwell was used to resurrect Kel'Thuzad, and fouled with evil in the process. The Scourge then set about to commit genocide on a massive scale. Only about ten percent of the entire race survived. Some of them were lucky enough to be away from their home at the time (many were housed at Dalaran and others had already fled with Jaina), but the majority of them survived only by defending themselves or hiding.
The remaining elves throughout the continent were scattered, and clung to the Alliance for protection, until Kael'Thas began to organize them by reclaiming every last elf on the Eastern Continents. Some had already left with Jaina Proudmoore to form the city-state of Theramore in Kalimdor before the destruction of Quel'Thalas. These elves had mostly severed ties with Quel'Thalas prior to its fall, and keep the name of high elf to this day. They take two out of the seven seats on the ruling council that advises Lady Jaina and play a key role in the governing of the city-state. Occasionally, ships have come from Lordaeron bringing more of their people to the diverse city, although some have begun to migrate back to Quel'Thalas since the Alliance is incapable of healing their addiction and ending their agony. All high ranking high elves in the Alliance have ready access to arcane currents to feed upon, which keeps them from feeling the same level of agony as their brethren.
Also, a small unit of high elven rangers under the command of Ranger Captain Fellari Swiftarrow, and the zealous Scarlet Crusade, together battled against the undead. A large statue in honor of the capable elven leader has been erected in the Scarlet Monastery.
Some high elves live in the Hinterlands, and some high elves took refuge in Zul'Aman. Several bands of high elves, survivors from Quel'Thalas, fled south and now wander throughout the forest. Those who stay one step ahead of the trolls survive; those who do not are dead (and probably eaten by the cannibalistic trolls). Scourge patrols, hunting the elven refugees, also stalk through the land.