Know Your Lore: Tyrande Whisperwind
She was born in Suramar over ten thousand years ago.
She grew to adulthood never expecting to be more than a simple priestess of Elune, the moon goddess of the Kaldorei. Her childhood friends the Stormrage brothers both sought unusual paths, but Tyrande was content to be what and who she was. A servant of Elune, a devotee at the Temple in Suramar, this was enough for her.
From these humble origins rose the single most important person in Night Elf society today. High Priest of Elune, ultimate authority over the Sentinel Army, personal head of the Night Elven people for the long millennia of the pact with the Aspects, Tyrande Whisperwind in many ways embodies her people and their ways.
Only the goddess may deny her anything.
Before the War
It’s fair to say that Tyrande grew up with two boys who would change the face of the world. As a child she routinely bested them at their activities — hunting, exploring, the typical games of a Night Elf child at that time and place. Of her companions, one would grow to destroy the continent of Kalimdor as it then existed, sending more than half of the territory the Night Elves of their time knew to the bottom of the ocean. The other would defy reason and his own people to preserve the same magic that nearly destroyed them in the first place. But Tyrande neither hungered for Arcane Magic nor sought the paths of the Druid — even encountering and acknowledging the power and wisdom of Cenarius, the demigod could shake her resolve. Tyrande sought to serve the goddess Elune, and serve her she did.
When asked by the High Priestess of that time, Dejahna, why she sought to be a priestess, Tyrande answered “Because I wish to protect others. Especially the ones I love.” And Tyrande would over the years display a fierce heart, one that could love like a firestorm — and like a firestorm it could rage out over the land. Tyrande would do nothing by halves.
The War and her Ascension
It was Tyrande who encountered the orc Broxigar and the guard captain Jarod Shaodwsong, when said captain went to the Temple to find a priestess to heal the Orc’s injuries. Thus was she drawn into the events of what would be called The War of the Ancients, and in time pass from a simple priestess to head of the Sisterhood of Elune itself.
As the war progressed and the situation grew more and more dire, High Priestess Dejahna led staunch support to Lord Kurtalos Ravencrest and his Kaldorei Resistance — the Sisterhood of Elune lending its aid in the absence of the Highborne (many of who in truth served Azshara and her monstrous plans, but such was unknown at the time) in order to keep the demons of the Legion at bay. It was fulfilling this role that cost Dejahna her life. The High Priestess was speared by a demon and her magic was drained by a felhound, and for all her skill and connection to Elune, she couldn’t heal so drained.
Before Dejahna died, however, she appointed her replacement. Tyrande had shown her strength in channeling Elune’s light, her skill as a huntress (the girl who routinely bested the Stormrage brothers had grown into a woman capable of besting many others) and her inherent ferocity. Tyrande had grown up quiet and gentle, and those characteristics remained, but when roused to anger that protective heart of hers would drive her ever onward. She reluctantly assumed the role of High Priestess and led the Sisterhood against the Legion, and in time even against their own Queen and her mad plan to destroy the world under a tide of demons.
After the War
Tyrande had gradually grown closer to Malfurion Stormrage, the quieter and more reserved of the Stormrage brothers, much to Illidan’s displeasure. Illidan’s erratic behavior and need to prove himself to Tyrande may have had the opposite effect — while she sought to aid him with his addiction to Arcane Magic it was Malfurion she ultimately chose. Thus they fought together during the War, and it was Tyrande who first sensed that the flow of demons at Azshara’s command had to be stopped if Azeroth was to survive.
While Malfurion attempted to breach the palace directly, Tyrande took a band of Sentinels and stealthily entered, engaging and destroying many of Azshara’s guard but losing many of their own in the process. Tyrande herself was nearly killed. The sight of this filled Malfurion with such fury that he engaged Azshara directly and in the process of their battle the magic that allowed the Legion access to Azeroth collapsed, imploding the Well of Eternity and destroying much of the world as the Kaldorei knew it.
Both Malfurion and Tyrande survived the Well of Eternity’s collapse, and both were horrified by Illidan’s actions atop Mount Hyjal in recreating the Well and potentially leading to another invasion. But Tyrande soon found herself consumed by other duties. The Aspects made a pact with the Night Elves — the World Tree Nordrassil was planted atop the Well, and by its boughs and the blessings of the Ancients would the Night Elves find themselves blessed with agelessness, but in return the Druids would be expected to roam the Emerald Dream (left in chaos by the collapse of the Well of Eternity) and help balance it.
This left Tyrande without the mate she’d chosen for extended periods of time as he performed his duty to Ysera and the Dream, and so, the labor of organizing a new Night Elf society fell squarely on her shoulders.
The Sisters and their Priestess
For thousands of years Tyrande led the Night Elves, only seeing her beloved in times of tumult or crisis, forced to endure alone, ageless, as the years rolled by.With the ultimate banishment of those who would become the High Elves, Night Elven society knew only the magic of Druid or Priest, and it was the Sisters of Elune who wielded temporal power as well as magical. Tyrande created an army from her loyal Sentinels and bestowed command on her trusted adopted daughter Shandris Feathermoon.
Things only started to change for the Night Elves when the Scourge and the Burning Legion found Azeroth again, ultimately breaching Kalimdor in turn.In the face of this threatened return of the Scourge, Tyrande alone (and in complete opposition to her love Malfurion) stormed the Barrow Den prison which held Illidan Stormrage and released him after ten thousand years to battle the Legion once again. Tyrande’s aggressive attitudes during the war meant she was slow to trust the Humans and Orcs, but she chose ultimately to ally with them against the Legion. It didn’t come easily to her — as she put it to Malfurion, ‘They are mongrels and nothing more! They are responsible for Cenarius’ death! I will be damned before I stand with them.’ But in the end there was no choice — take the aid of the outlanders or die.
In the process destroying Nordrassil and ending the pact with the Dragon Aspects. The animosity towards the Orcs for the death of Cenarius ultimately led Tyrande to choose to join the Alliance, and helped set Azeroth on its current course. After the defeat of the Nightmare Lord and the restoration of Malfurion, Tyrande finally was able to wed her chosen, but life on Azeroth has become no more peaceful and the threat of the Legion looms on the horizon once again.
When it comes, Tyrande will be ready for it. She lived through the Legion invasion of ancient Kalimdor, saw the horrific price the world paid to survive, and knows the cost better than most. She knows her duty and her oath to Elune, and will protect her people.
It’s why she became a priestess in the first place.
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