Last known leader: Warden Maiev Shadowsong
The Watchers were the jailors and marshals of night elf society until shortly after the Third War.
At first, volunteers from the Sisterhood of Elune made up the Watchers, and so the organization was composed solely of night elf women. As their duties were broadened, the Watchers accepted night elf women from other professions. A mixture of volunteerism and military promotions caused the organization's size to grow somewhat, although the Watchers remained a relatively small group. Illidan Stormrage killed almost all of the Watchers after the Third War, at which point the group ceased to exist.
History and Organization
Shortly after the Great Sundering, Malfurion Stormrage sentenced his brother Illidan to imprisonment for having created a second Well of Eternity. In inflicting this punishment, Malfurion hoped to prevent Illidan from continuing his reckless pursuit of arcane power. By this point in time, however, Illidan was already an extraordinarily powerful sorcerer, and Malfurion dared not leave his captive twin to be guarded by only one or two jailors.
One of the senior Sisters of Elune, Maiev Shadowsong, had already shown her competence in guarding Illidan before he was brought to trial. Malfurion accordingly asked Maiev to gather additional volunteers from the Sisters of Elune. Maiev obeyed, and Malfurion called this new group the Watchers, for he charged them with ensuring that Illidan never escaped the barrow prison. Maiev, as the Watchers' leader, would answer to the head of night elf government, High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind.
The Watchers were created specifically and exclusively to be Illidan's jailors, but as further threats came up, Tyrande broadened the Watchers' role to include guarding other prisoners. Maiev took grim pleasure in these added responsibilities. Watchers became jailors and marshals: they policed the barrow prisons and hunted down dangerous criminals.
Outside of the barrow prisons, members of the Watchers worked alone. These deadly women were not a militia, nor were they considered part of either the Sisterhood of Elune or the Sentinels. As the group's leader, Maiev was given the rank of warden, which she later awarded to a select few who had proven their exceptional fighting abilities, tracking skills, and tenacity.
During the Third War, Tyrande realized that Illidan had been incarcerated for over ten thousand years. She felt that he had more than paid his debt to society; furthermore, she felt that he would be a valuable ally against the Burning Legion. Thus, she led a band of soldiers into Illidan's prison. When Illidan's guards would not surrender their charge, Tyrande and the Sentinels fought and killed a number of Watchers. Once freed, Illidan stole and consumed the Skull of Gul'dan, and he was transformed into a demon.
Infuriated by Tyrande's actions, Maiev swore she would track Illidan down and put him back in prison. In light of the demon's undeniable might, Maiev took most of the Watchers with her on the hunt. They pursued Illidan across the sea to Lordaeron and thence to the Broken Isles. When he entered the Tomb of Sargeras, Maiev grew worried that he would retrieve a magical artifact and become significantly more difficult to recapture.
She and the other Watchers caught up with Illidan too late: he had already claimed the Eye of Sargeras. He used the Eye's power on the tomb's stone walls, trapping the Watchers in one section of the tomb while seawater flooded the area. Only Maiev was able to escape; her sisters in arms drowned. In one fell stroke, Illidan had all but wiped out the Watchers.
Maiev swore that she would have revenge, no matter the cost. She abandoned her duties and continued to hunt Illidan until she at last followed him to Outland. Her lengthy absence from Azeroth, together with Illidan's continued freedom, has led the night elves to presume her dead.