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The Shen'dralar were an obscure and secretive faction of Highborne who used to dwell in The Athenaeum within Dire Maul, before they returned to the elven society and now can be seen in Darnassus, training night elven mages. They are a remnant of the quel'dorei who once populated Dire Maul, or Eldre'Thalas, as it was known in antiquity.
Not all the Highborne lived in Zin-Azshari, despite their obsession with the Well of Eternity. For a variety of political or personal reasons, certain members of the nobility opted to live outside the capital city. Moreover, not all night elves (or other races of Kalimdor) joined the main force of night elf defenders. Such holdouts were not necessarily resistant to the idea of joining their compatriots. Indeed, it seems likelier that these small pockets of resistance had heard nothing of the primary defending force and were unaware of the demonic invasion's massive scope.
The Shen'dralar were one of these holdout groups. These Highborne defended their city, Eldre'Thalas, as best they could during the war. As legend has it, it is said that the Ancient Goldrinn came to their aid to help them defend their city against the Burning Legion. After the Sundering, the Shen'dralar remained in the shattered city, which has since become known as Dire Maul. In the ensuing years, these Highborne continued to be isolated from the rest of night elf society, and so their subsequent dangerous actions went unnoticed by their distant kindred. They were never exiled from Kalimdor, nor have any Shen'dralar become high elves or blood elves.
The Shen'dralar were Queen Azshara's most revered arcanists. Within the walls of Eldre'Thalas the Queen's most important demands were processed - often in secret. After the destruction of the Well of Eternity and the subsequent lethargy that overcame the Highborne and lesser night elf sects, the Prince of Eldre'Thalas, Tortheldrin, began construction of pylons now littering the halls of the west wing. The Prince plotted to imprison a demon of immense power, Immol'thar behind a grand force field. The pylons would channel latent energies into the shield, keeping it operational. While imprisoned, Immol'thar would serve as a battery to the populace of Eldre'Thalas. The siphoned energies would sustain the Highborne's magic, allowing those within the walls of Eldre'Thalas to feed their endless and growing magical pangs.
Thousands of years passed and the power required to keep Immol'thar imprisoned while sustaining life within Eldre'Thalas began to shift. The cost to keep Immol'thar bound grew to overshadow the rate at which energy could be siphoned and distributed. The once net gain turned to loss. In response to this crisis, Prince Tortheldrin and his Shen'dralar loyalists began murdering their fellow Highborne, sacrificing their victims' life force to fuel the pylons in order to keep Immol'thar imprisoned and preserve their immortality. At least one Highborne, named Azj'Tordin, has escaped death at the hands of Prince Tortheldrin, but most have not been so lucky. Their spirits now wander the corridors and courtyards of Dire Maul. Unsurprisingly, Prince Tortheldrin guards jealously the secret of this arrangement, and those who meddle in his domain, such as the blood elf Kariel Winthalus, can expect a brutal end.
Had the demon broken free of its bonds, it would surely had destroyed what little is left of this once great bastion of arcana.
The Return of the Highborne
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
With Patch 3.2.2 Blizzard introduced a new Alliance quest near the portals in the Silver Enclave. Something urgent has made the Highborne leave the walls of Eldre’Thalas to seek audience with High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind.
A cautious return
- Archmage Mordent Evenshade says: Sentinel, I would speak with your High Priestess.
- Sentinel Stillbough says: You must wait for an audience.
- Archmage Mordent Evenshade says: Must I? I doubt Tyrande has more pressing business.
- Sentinel Stillbough says: You show some nerve coming to Teldrassil, Highborne. Your kind are unwelcome here. We have not forgotten the War of the Ancients or the minds behind it.
- Archmage Mordent Evenshade says: The lure of power is great. Mistakes were made.
- Sentinel Stillbough says: And we would not see those mistakes repeated. Return to your exile.
- Archmage Mordent Evenshade says: I will not return until I am heard. There is too much at stake. There is a change on the wind, and we cannot ignore it. I have traveled from the dust and ruin of the past to come to an accord. The time may soon come when the kal’dorei require the knowledge and skill we have to offer. I will wait, Sentinel... but I will have my audience.
- Archmage Mordent Evenshade looks over at the moonwell with a sigh.
- Sentinel Stillbough says: Take your gaze off the moonwell, exile. The power within is not yours to wield.
- Archmage Mordent Evenshade says: Calm yourself, Sentinel. I do not seek to use it. I am merely... remembering.
- Sentinel Stillbough says: Recalling your treachery?
- Archmage Mordent Evenshade says: Enough. I have been apart from this for centuries. The well within this temple may be a pale spectre of the Well of Eternity, but it still holds the same... beauty. Purity.
- Archmage Mordent Evenshade says: I had forgotten.
- Archmage Mordent Evenshade says: I do not believe admiration and wistful thoughs are against the societal norm.
- Sentinel Stillbough says: Watch yourself, Highborne.
- Archmage Mordent Evenshade says: You were the one who challenged me for merely looking. I still await my audience with Tyrande.
- Sentinel Stillbough says: In good time.
The following text appears in the gossip panel when you click on Archmage Mordent Evenshade <The Highborne>:
- I suppose I should not surprised at this cold reception. We have long been in hiding, and the separation from our brethren was necessary.
- That time, however, is done. Whether the residents of this young tree come to accept us or not, the Highborne are returning to light, and we will not turn our backs on what we are.
This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
After the implementation of night elf mages in the third expansion, we now encounter Shen'dralar who have returned to the elven society, training new mages. Because their expulsion from night elf society after the War of the Ancients was due to their use of arcane magic, the blood elves were outraged to hear that the kaldorei had welcomed the Highborne back and were tolerating the practice of arcane magic again. After witnessing the "rookie" mistakes made by the new kaldorei magi, however, the blood elves are anxiously awaiting whatever mess the kaldorei are going to put themselves in. What's more, some sin'dorei have been able to exploit the kaldorei's inexperience in order to rout Alliance forces, as seen in the "" quest series in Azshara.
A group of Shen'dralar, now known as House of Shen'dralar still dwells in the ruins of Dire Maul. Those who rejoined the night elven civilization are known simply as the Highborne.
The Shen'dalar faction also became unobtainable in Cataclysm, so that no longer requires exalted with them anymore and a new Feat of Strength - has been given to those who gained exalted with the faction before patch 4.0.1.
- Main article: Wolfheart
When the Highborne mage Thera'brin was assassinated and his corpse was found by the Watchers' training grounds, it seemed to be intended to impute the Watchers. Maiev offered her services to investigate the matter and bring the murderer to justice, to which Malfurion and Tyrande consented. In truth however, she was secretly the one responsible for the Highborne killings. Maiev despised Malfurion for forgiving the Highborne and accepting them back into night elf society. It is suspected that the trauma caused by years of dedication to her duty, combined with the torture inflicted upon her when she was Illidan's prisoner had finally driven her mad. Later on, Mordent Evenshade and his followers were called to a meeting with Maiev, who was examining the murders. However, it turned out to be a trap as the Highborne got trapped in Maiev´s magic trap. One of Mordent´s student, Var'dyn Skyseeker, got killed in the trap. Thanks to the efforts of Malfurion Stormrage and Jarod Shadowsong, the Highborne were freed, though Maiev escaped.
With the re-emergence of the Shen'dralar many points of speculation arose, many of which have been answered, while others are still open for interpretation:
- The Shen'dralar have sent representatives to the Kirin Tor making it likely they would have come into contact with both the High Elf Silver Covenant and the Blood Elf Sunreavers and might seek to forge some sort of political union with their descendants.
- The High Elf article states how they are searching for a new homeland in Kalimdor and have been looking in Northern Kalimdor due to the Moonwell’s to supply them with energy because of their magic addiction. Now that the Sunwell has been restored and they receive its power it is assumed they are no longer constrained by such considerations. The Shen'dralar city of Eldre’Thalas, or Dire Maul, could be an ideal location to build a new homeland and learn from their ancestors.
- For the High Elves it could be trumpeted as a return to their ancestral Highborne heritage and an end to their reliance on the younger races of the Alliance which the High Elves detest.
- The vast majority of High Elves are members of the Alliance of which the Night Elves are also apart of so the Highborne would still be in some form of union with the Night Elves if they came to some sort of union with the High Elves.
- Although there is one matter which might cause both Night Elves and High Elves to reject the Shen'dralar, but not so for the Blood Elves. The Shen'dralar’s power and immortality has been derived from the captured demon Immol’thar, using similar methods the Blood Elves used to feed their own magic addiction.
- We have yet to see but the Shen'dralar could rip Night Elf society apart, give the High Elves a new homeland or make the Blood Elves more dangerous.
As a faction
This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
Prior to the faction's removal in patch 4.0.1, players automatically became neutral with the Shen'dralar upon first meeting them. From there, it was possible to gain reputation with the Shen'dralar by turning in librams and class books, such as the for warriors and for rogues. Each libram and class book turned in nets +500 reputation points. Further, turning in librams rewarded characters with an augment for their head piece. While librams could be turned in repeatedly, class books could only be turned in once.
- Insane in the Membrane
In patch 3.1.0, a new Feat of Strength was added, which when exalted with the four Steamwheedle Cartel cities, honored with Bloodsail Buccaneers, and exalted with Ravenholdt, Darkmoon Faire, and Shen'dralar will give the player the title "<name> the Insane". Shend'dralar have now been removed as a request for this feat.
- Class Books
- - Warrior
- - Shaman
- - Rogue
- - Warlock
- - Priest
- - Mage
- - Druid
- - Hunter
- - Paladin
- - Warrior & Paladin (no longer obtainable with Patch 3.2.2)
- Patch 4.1.0 (2011-04-26): New Feat of Strength, added for players already exalted with the faction.
- Patch 4.0.3a (2010-11-23): Removed as a requirement for . It is no longer possible to gain rep with this faction.
- Patch 1.3.0 (2005-03-07): Added.