Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest was the initial commander of the night elf army that fought the first invasion of the Burning Legion.
The Nature of Nobility
The Ravencrest clan was a noble one, but it was not of the Highborne caste. On the contrary, Kur'talos, like most of the night elf populace, regarded the Highborne with suspicion and dislike.
He was a levelheaded man, a skilled warrior, and an inspiring leader on the battlefield. It was a matter of both honor and practicality for him to fight alongside his soldiers: his presence inspired others to greater feats of courage and skill. Even so, Kur'talos had many of the ancient night elves' prejudices against other races. He rejected any suggestion of asking the earthen or tauren for help. Furthermore, he considered dragons extremely powerful, but he believed they would simply devour any mortal envoys. He therefore refused to permit any night elves to appeal to the dragons for assistance in fighting the Legion.
Kur'talos was deeply loyal to Queen Azshara and could not believe she had been involved in the Burning Legion's arrival on Azeroth. Indeed, he led the night elf forces against the demons into battle time and again, shouting the queen's name as a rallying cry.
Ironically it was Azshara who eventually ordered her second-in-command, Captain Varo'then, to eliminate Kur'talos. Having given her loyalty to Sargeras, ruler of the Legion, Azshara was irritated by the night elf army's continued opposition to the Legion, which divided the Legion's forces and delayed Sargeras from successfully entering Azeroth.
Eager to please his queen, Varo'then dispatched a soldier to the battlefront. The orc Broxigar spotted the assassin and tried to warn Kur'talos, but his warning came too late. The assassin stabbed Kur'talos through the back of the neck before attempting to flee. Broxigar swiftly caught up to the assassin and slew him in turn.
Lord Desdel Stareye, who had been Kur'talos' second-in-command, succeeded Kur'talos as commander of the night elf defenders.