Malfurion is the fraternal twin of Illidan Stormrage and, like his brother, grew up as the friend of Tyrande Whisperwind millennia before the Great Sundering. One day Malfurion came across several legends that referenced a reclusive demigod of the forests. Malfurion had always had great reverence for the natural world, although the night elves as a race had long since abandoned any interest in such matters. He shared the legends of Cenarius with Illidan and Tyrande. The three night elves decided that it would be an exciting adventure to search for the demigod, though in truth they no more believed in Cenarius than the rest of their people did.
It wasn't long before scattered plants and animals of Azeroth brought tidings of these night elves to Cenarius. Surprised and intrigued, Cenarius located the night elves and looked into their hearts. He saw great promise in Malfurion, a promise that made up Cenarius' mind.
The laughing trio was shocked into silence when Cenarius stepped out of a shadowed thicket. He introduced himself and offered to teach them the druidic arts. They accepted eagerly. Malfurion proved a quick and talented student, but his brother was clumsy and quickly grew impatient. For her part, Tyrande was already a novice in the Sisterhood of Elune and so had dedicated herself to the goddess above all others. Malfurion alone would go on to become a druid.
Invasion of the Burning Legion
Malfurion made significant progress in his studies before he was assailed by a disturbing vision: the Highborne were abusing the Well of Eternity's magics. The vision gave him the strong conviction that Queen Azshara and her high-ranking spellcasters would bring about a catastrophe unless someone intervened. The night elf brought his concerns to Cenarius, who was greatly worried.
Even so, the night elves realized what was happening too late. Demons poured out of the royal palace and began to slaughter everything in their path. The War of the Ancients had begun.
Illidan was quickly given increased responsibilities due to his mastery of arcane magic. Even so he seemed increasingly moody and discontent as the war progressed. One day he abruptly left the night elf host and allied himself with the Burning Legion. He would later rejoin the night elf defenders, claiming that double-crossing the Legion had been his plan all along. Still, Malfurion and many other night elves would forever afterward doubt his loyalties.
In the meantime, Cenarius taught Malfurion all he could of the druidic arts and then departed to seek out the other demigods of Azeroth. He argued that they had a responsibility to save Azeroth from the Legion, but the demigods were unaccustomed to the idea of working together. As a result, it took no little persuasion from Cenarius before they finally rode to the battlefront.
A Father's Sacrifice
The leader of the night elf army, Captain Jarod Shadowsong, readily accepted the demigods' offer of assistance, and the tide of battle seemed to shift. Reacting to the new and powerful threat, the vast demonic army refocused its attacks, and soon the mighty demigods were overwhelmed. Cenarius was badly wounded by the time Malorne charged up and drove back his son's attackers with a few sweeps of his massive antlers.
The night elves scrambled into action, pulling the unconscious Cenarius to safety. Malorne easily held the demons off for a time. Then Archimonde came forth and engaged the giant stag in single combat, ultimately snapping Malorne's neck. Malfurion was furious and grieved; he called roots out of the ground to attack the demon lord. As the plants tightened their stranglehold on the demon's massive form, Archimonde was forced to teleport away in order to escape.
Ysera's dragonflight helped Cenarius enter the Emerald Dream, where the green dragons ministered to his injuries. In the meantime, the night elves kept fighting. Malfurion played a key role in closing the portal that the Highborne had opened over the Well of Eternity, thereby thwarting Sargeras, the dark titan, in his attempt to enter Azeroth.
The Well's magics had been badly abused during the war, and the portal's closure proved too great a strain. The Well imploded, triggering the Great Sundering. Ancient Kalimdor split apart into several landmasses, and a new ocean was born. Its cold waters chased the surviving night elves and their allies all the way to Mount Hyjal before finally subsiding.
The weary refugees rested and tended to their wounds. Only Illidan set out immediately to scout the area, and he promptly located a lake and transformed it into a second Well of Eternity. A small group of night elves caught him in the act, and he attacked them. Fortunately Malfurion arrived only moments later and captured his brother.
Illidan predicted that one day the demons would return to Azeroth, and he claimed that arcane magic was the only effective tool against them. Yet Malfurion feared that Illidan's so-called altruism actually masked his true motive: Illidan hungered for magic and gave little thought to the cost. Jarod left Illidan's punishment to Malfurion, who felt it would be the height of folly to leave Illidan free to continue his reckless pursuit of power. Thus, with Cenarius' help, Malfurion sealed Illidan within a vast underground barrow prison, there to remain chained and powerless until the end of time.
Seclusion of the Night Elves
The dragons learned of the second Well and grew a massive tree atop it in order to keep its power from being abused. This World Tree prevented the Well from becoming any stronger, and it gave the night elves a number of gifts, including continued immortality. It also linked the Well to the Emerald Dream, whose tempering influence were intended to protect the Well's powers from being abused, and prevent the Well from growing any more powerful.
With the war over, Tyrande and Malfurion reached an understanding. Their deep love for one another gave them solace throughout the long process of restoring order to the devastated night elf populace. Tyrande, now high priestess of Elune and Malfurion's mate, implemented sweeping changes throughout night elf society. She organized a new all-female army, the Sentinels, and decreed that it would be directed by the Sisterhood of Elune. Nobility and sorcery were now considered the relics of a decadent and shameful past.
Nevertheless, the Highborne refused to give up practicing arcane magic. After discussing the matter at length, Tyrande and Malfurion made the difficult decision to exile their defiant kin. In the wake of the Highborne's departure, the remaining night elves deliberately withdrew from the rest of the world. A veil of mist descended upon their entire continent, shrouding its presence from passing sailors.
Meanwhile, Cenarius went to dwell nearby in the Moonglade of Mount Hyjal, and Malfurion continued to study under the demigod's tutelage. A number of night elf men joined Malfurion in studying the druidic arts, many of them former members of the Moon Guard. Malfurion began teaching them, and he eventually established the Cenarion Circle, Azeroth's druidic organization. He was soon given the rank of archdruid due to his great knowledge and power, and the group chose him to be their leader. The druids spent much of their time walking the wilds of Azeroth, meditating in the Emerald Dream, and trying to heal the damage that the war had caused.
New Races Arrive in Kalimdor
Time passed, and a new race had arrived on Azeroth: the orcs, who originated on the planet Draenor. Under the influence of demons, the orcs had changed from a peaceful shamanic society into the bloodthirsty Horde. They waged war upon the humans of the Eastern Kingdoms and killed countless other creatures during the First and Second Wars. Yet Cenarius and the night elves did not emerge from their seclusion, for they knew nothing of any events that occurred outside Kalimdor.
The Second War ended badly for the orcs, and the Horde was shattered. Just before the Third War, a new orc warchief emerged: Thrall, who reformed the Horde and led his people across the sea to establish their own homeland on Kalimdor. This new Horde had no desire for further warfare; the orcs simply wanted to leave the human lands behind and find a place to call their own.
A Demigod Slain
The orcs did not receive a warm welcome on Kalimdor. The night elves dispatched a number of scouts posthaste, and the scouts returned with frightening stories of the orcs' past atrocities during the First and Second Wars. In the meantime, the orcs chopped down a great many trees in Kalimdor, clearly intending to establish a settlement. Cenarius became certain that the orcs had returned to their warlike ways. He called an army of treants out of the forests, and he led the night elves and the treants against a large group of the orcish intruders.
The newborn Horde would surely have been crushed, save for the fact that several agents of the Burning Legion had recently arrived on Azeroth. The Legion had not forgotten the might of Cenarius, and they were determined to see him defeated. At the dreadlord Tichondrius' suggestion, the pit lord Mannoroth spilled his blood into a pool of water, and the resulting corruption was soon detected by the Horde's troll witch doctors.
Led by Grom Hellscream, the orcs drank of the pool's tainted waters and reveled in the return of their demon-granted power. Overcome with supernatural hate and rage, Grom and his warriors succeeded in killing Cenarius. With the demigod dead, they went on to corrupt the ancient forests.
Awakening of the Druids
Lady Jaina Proudmoore helped Thrall bring Grom back to his senses, and Grom killed Mannoroth, freeing the orcs from their demonic curse. Nonetheless, the damage had been done, and the corruption was spreading. The Legion began invading the forests in greater numbers, and soon Tyrande and her Sentinels encountered the marauding demons.
The return of the Burning Legion was the night elves' worst fear. Tyrande and her warriors knew they would need all the help they could get to defeat the demonic army. The women fought their way to the Horn of Cenarius, and Tyrande used it to wake Malfurion from hibernation. He had been walking the Dream for a thousand years.
Malfurion and Tyrande entered the barrow dens in search of further druids who needed awakening. In the process, they happened upon the door to Illidan's prison. Tyrande said that surely Illidan's long imprisonment had been more than adequate punishment for his past deeds. Moreover, she argued that Illidan's abilities were being wasted in prison when he could be helping fight the Burning Legion, as he had so long ago.
Rise of a Dark Power
Although Malfurion tried to dissuade her, Tyrande entered the prison and freed Illidan. Unhappy with her decision but unable to stop her, Malfurion went on to wake the rest of the sleeping druids, and then he met up with Tyrande. She told him that Illidan had agreed to help fight the Legion. With deep misgivings, Malfurion followed her to the forests of Felwood, where she had left his twin.
Illidan had not been idle in Tyrande's absence. He had stolen a magical artifact that the Legion had been using to corrupt Felwood: the Skull of Gul'dan. Rather than simply destroy the skull, Illidan had consumed its power, which instantly transformed him into a demon. He had then used his newfound might to destroy the dreadlord Tichondrius.
When Malfurion and Tyrande arrived, Illidan explained that the forests would heal now that the skull had been destroyed. The demon's weak attempt at self-justification did not deceive either of the horrified night elves. Malfurion, who still bore the responsibility of determining Illidan's punishment, disavowed all kinship with the demon and sentenced him to exile from all night elf lands.
The Battle of Mount Hyjal
Journeying to Mount Hyjal, the night elves joined forces with Jaina Proudmoore's army and Thrall's Horde. Together the three armies delayed the demon lord Archimonde long enough for Malfurion and the other druids to lay a trap. When Archimonde at last reached the tree and the Well of Eternity it protected, the druids empowered the World Tree with the night elves' immortality and the energies of countless night elf spirits.
The tree gave off a massive burst of energy that killed Archimonde instantly. Without their commander, the Burning Legion forces remaining on Azeroth crumbled under the combined might of the Horde, human, and night elf armies.
Pursuit of Justice
The night elves' sacrifice had saved Azeroth, but it had left them mortal. Nevertheless, Warden Maiev Shadowsong remained determined to recapture her former prisoner, Illidan, or die trying. She took most of the other Watchers with her on her quest, and the group pursued Illidan into the Tomb of Sargeras.
The vengeful demon had not forgotten his former jailors. Having acquired the Eye of Sargeras, he turned its destructive power on the tomb's stone walls. The Watchers were trapped in one section of the tomb, with seawater beginning to flood the area. Only Maiev managed to escape and make it back to her base camp. She sent a messenger to Malfurion to ask for help and warn him about Illidan's activities.
Malfurion and Tyrande both came to Maiev's rescue, and then Malfurion left the two women alone so that he could commune with the troubled land. He was angry and bewildered to find that Illidan and a group of naga were channeling a spell that was tearing Northrend apart. Emerging from the forest, he went to warn the other night elves of this calamitous news.
To Malfurion's anguish, Maiev said that Tyrande had been killed while escorting Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider and his blood elves to safety. She added that Tyrande wouldn't have been in this dangerous situation in the first place if not for Illidan. The reminder filled Malfurion with fury, and he, Maiev, and the blood elves tracked down Illidan and put an end to his dangerous spell.
It was then that Malfurion learned two crucial facts. First, Illidan had been trying to defeat a shared enemy: the Lich King. Second, Maiev had lied. Tyrande was likely still alive and, if so, surely in desperate need of aid.
Illidan volunteered to find and rescue Tyrande. After some argument, Malfurion conceded that the naga would be far quicker to reach Tyrande, given the fact that she had been swept down the River Arevass. Then too, it was obvious that despite having become a demon, Illidan still loved Tyrande.
When Illidan returned from his mission with Tyrande alive and well, Malfurion was overjoyed. Illidan had caused a great deal of destruction and suffering, but his rescue of Tyrande made it impossible for Malfurion to return his brother to prison or sentence him to death. Hence, Malfurion chose to let Illidan go free, though Malfurion warned the demon never to threaten the night elves again.
Illidan opened a portal to Outland, and Maiev arrived just as Illidan departed. Without hesitation, Maiev and her ragged band of followers entered the portal as well. Malfurion was left to pray that in her fanatical pursuit of Illidan, Maiev would not cause more havoc than the demon himself.
A New World Tree
Claiming that the night elves' immortality could be restored, Archdruid Fandral Staghelm recently proposed growing a second World Tree, though the dragons had refused to assist in the process. Malfurion flatly refused; he argued that without the blessing of the dragonflights, the tree would be an abomination.
When Malfurion fell into a mysterious coma, Fandral became the new leader of the druids. His first act was to persuade the rest of the Cenarion Circle to grow the second World Tree, which they named Teldrassil. Contrary to Fandral's hopes, though, the new World Tree has not restored the night elves' immortality.
Dream Without End
The cause of Malfurion's condition has yet to be determined. Tyrande was the one who discovered his comatose body in his barrow den in the Moonglade. Deeply concerned, she sent for the Cenarion Circle and for several other Sisters of Elune. The druids informed her that Malfurion was last known to be meditating, and that there was no sign that intruders had violated the Moonglade.
Upon further investigation, the druids remained baffled. Malfurion's dreamform had somehow become separated from his body. The Cenarion Circle has repeatedly tried and failed to call his spirit back to his physical form. The Circle has also attempted to contact him in the Emerald Dream to no avail. At last the druids appealed to Ysera, but even she could not find Malfurion. It seems clear that he is lost in the Emerald Dream.
The Sisters of Elune could not lend any further information about Malfurion's condition or a possible remedy for it. They could only determine that his body was perfectly healthy. All they have been able to do for him is place enchantments on his body to keep it in good health while he is comatose.
The Cenarion Circle has decided that it would be best to leave Malfurion's body where it was found, in his barrow den in the Moonglade. The general consensus is that Malfurion's spirit has the best chance of locating his body if the body is not moved. Also, of course, the Moonglade is somewhat more conducive to druidic magic than a large city like Darnassus.
As ruler of the night elves, Tyrande spends most of her time in Darnassus. Nevertheless, she secretly visits the Moonglade from time to time in order to check on Malfurion. The Cenarion Circle and several priestesses of Elune are tending to his body, but his condition has shown no signs of improvement. For the most part Malfurion's mysterious ailment has been kept a secret, except for the highest-ranking members of the Sisters of Elune and of the Cenarion Circle. Nevertheless, there has been a great deal of speculation regarding his noticeable absence from the public eye.