Millennia before the Great Sundering, Tyrande Whisperwind grew up as the childhood friend of Malfurion and Illidan Stormrage. 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.
The laughing trio was shocked into silence when Cenarius stepped out of a shadowed thicket 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 glad to learn what she could from Cenarius. Nonetheless, she 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 and War
Malfurion made significant progress in his studies before he was assailed by a disturbing vision. He watched helplessly as the Highborne increasingly abused the Well of Eternity's magics. The vision gave him the strong conviction that Queen Azshara and her high-ranking spellcasters would cause 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 became increasingly moody and bitter when he realized that Malfurion was his unwitting rival for Tyrande's heart. The priestess had always known that she would choose one of the twins for her mate, but she was taken aback when Illidan suddenly accused her of having already made her choice: Malfurion. In time she would realize that Illidan had been right.
Prisoner of the Legion
As the war progressed, a group of satyrs led by Lord Xavius kidnapped the unconscious Tyrande from the battlefield and imprisoned her in the palace. The goddess Elune shielded Tyrande from harm, and so the demons were unable to torture the high priestess as they might have preferred. Mildly curious, Azshara and one of her handmaidens, Lady Vashj, paid Tyrande a visit. Perhaps Elune's obvious connection to Tyrande impressed the queen. For whatever reason, the queen idly offered to make Tyrande a handmaiden as well.
Tyrande politely refused and said that she was dedicated to Elune alone. The queen was annoyed and left shortly thereafter, but Vashj later returned and tried unsuccessfully to kill Tyrande. Vashj had become irrationally convinced that Tyrande was trying to replace Vashj in the queen's favor.
Flight From Zin-Azshari
Dath'Remar Sunstrider, too, visited Tyrande's prison cell, and he began confiding in her. A large group of Highborne had become discontent. The Legion had assumed sole control over the Well of Eternity, and the Highborne were made to work day and night, neglecting food and rest in favor of summoning further demons into Azeroth. Their bargain with Sargeras had not paid off, and they were beginning to think that it never would.
Hope filled Tyrande, and she encouraged Dath'Remar as much as she dared. One night he came to her cell and revealed that the rebel Highborne planned to flee the palace. He offered to free her if she would speak to the rest of the night elves on behalf of these Highborne, who knew all too well that their brethren would regard them as traitors.
She agreed, for she felt that Dath'Remar and the rest of the rebels deserved a second chance. During their flight from the city, she was snatched up into the sky by an attacking doomguard. Rather than die without a fight, she slew him in mid-air and plummeted toward the ground, resigned to her death. A spell unexpectedly softened her fall: Illidan had saved her life.
Illidan pulled Tyrande with him toward the Well of Eternity. He planned to cast a spell that would reverse the portal through which Sargeras was trying to reach Azeroth. Tyrande was not enthusiastic about the dangerous idea, but Illidan refused to listen to her concerns.
Malfurion and many other heroes soon arrived and combined their efforts with those of Tyrande and Illidan. Together the night elves and their allies managed to close the portal. Unfortunately 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 reckless Illidan created a second Well of Eternity atop Mount Hyjal. The leader of the night elf army, Captain Jarod Shadowsong, granted Malfurion the right to determine Illidan's punishment. Malfurion dared not leave his twin free to continue his pursuit of power at any cost, and so Malfurion sentenced his brother to imprisonment for all eternity.
Seclusion of the Night Elves
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. A number of night elf men joined Malfurion there and studied the druidic arts, many of them former members of the Moon Guard. Malfurion eventually established and led the Cenarion Circle, Azeroth's druidic organization. He and the rest of his small group spent much of their time walking the wilds of Azeroth, trying to heal the damage that the war had left behind, and meditating in the Emerald Dream.
New Races Arrive in Kalimdor
Time passed, and a new race 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 led an army of night elves and 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.
Tyrande and Malfurion 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 was saddened to realize that Malfurion's twin had been a prisoner for ten millennia. She said that surely his long imprisonment had been more than adequate punishment. Moreover, from a practical point of view, she felt Illidan's abilities were being wasted in prison when he could be helping fight the Burning Legion, as he had so long ago.
A Chance at Redemption
Malfurion tried to forbid Tyrande from freeing Illidan, but the decision was hers alone to make, as sole leader of the night elf government. Thus, she led a group of Sentinels into the prison. The Watchers would not surrender their prisoner without a fight, and so Tyrande and her soldiers slew the guards who barred the way to Illidan's cell. She told Illidan that his people needed him to help fight the Burning Legion again.
Illidan agreed to join the fight against the Legion. However, he was clearly bitter about his long imprisonment. He told Tyrande that he fought not out of any lingering loyalty toward their people, but for her sake alone.
Freed from his cell, he followed Tyrande upward into the corrupted forests of Felwood. Tyrande and her soldiers departed in search of Malfurion, who was awakening the last sleeping druids. She felt sure that once confronted with the reality of Illidan's freedom, she could convince her mate to give his twin another chance.
Rise of a Dark Power
Tyrande met up with Malfurion, who had awakened the rest of the sleeping druids. She told him that Illidan had agreed to help fight the Legion. With deep misgivings, Malfurion followed her to Felwood.
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 for 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.
Technically the Watchers, as agents of the night elf government, fell under Tyrande's authority, but Maiev had come to hate Tyrande for freeing Illidan and killing a number of Watchers in the process. In addition, Malfurion had been the one to sentence Illidan to imprisonment, and so Maiev sent a messenger to ask Malfurion for help and warn him about Illidan's activities.
Tyrande and Malfurion both came to Maiev's rescue, and then Malfurion left the two women alone so that he could commune with the troubled land. The women continued their search for Illidan and came across a band of blood elves led by Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider. Maiev demanded that the prince and his people help locate Illidan, but the prince pointed out that first he had to get his people to safety. Tyrande intervened and proposed that she and Maiev escort the blood elves over the River Arevass. In return, the blood elves could assist in the hunt for Illidan.
The prince agreed to Tyrande's proposal, but the Scourge attacked in force as the blood elves reached the river. Tyrande rode out onto the bridge and called on the wrath of Elune, hoping to stave off the undead attackers. For a time she succeeded, but then the bridge collapsed, and Tyrande was swept downriver. Later Tyrande would learn that Maiev never considered trying to rescue Tyrande. Instead, Maiev told Kael'thas that they needed to press on.
Malfurion emerged from the forest with the dire news that Illidan and a group of naga were channeling a spell that was tearing Northrend apart. To his anguish, Maiev took him aside and explained that Tyrande had been killed while escorting the 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.
The Scourge was harrying Tyrande and the small number of Sentinels who had jumped into the river after their mistress. Although the fight seemed hopeless, the women built a small camp and stood their ground. When Illidan and a group of naga appeared, Tyrande at first thought that he had come to kill her. What else, after all, could she expect of a demon?
Instead, Illidan and his warriors fought the undead alongside the Sentinels. The combined forces battled their way free of the Scourge and rejoined Malfurion and the other night elves. Tyrande and Malfurion were overjoyed. Illidan had caused a great deal of destruction and suffering, but his help in saving 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 he warned the demon never to threaten the night elves again.
Illidan opened a portal to Outland, and Maiev arrived just as Illidan departed. Tyrande tried to stop the angry warden, but it was no use. Without hesitation, Maiev and her ragged band of followers entered the portal as well.
Dream Without End
Not long ago, Tyrande discovered Malfurion's 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 cure. 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, for she knows that her duty to the night elf people must come before the wishes of her heart. 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.