Chapter Two: History, Culture, Society
The Kaldorei (lit. "Children of the stars) believe they were created (perhaps literally, perhaps simply taught) by their deity Elune, the Moon goddess, to defend the world from evil. They are one of the oldest surviving indigenous peoples of Azeroth (the others being the Trolls, and possibly Dwarves and Gnomes). They settled in prehistoric times near the Well of Eternity, at the heart of the supercontinent of Kalimdor. The Well transformed them, granting them immortality and magical powers. Over time, they developed an extensive, sophisticated and highly stratified civilisation, which expanded until they made contact with the Troll empires and, thanks to their superior magical powers, smashed them in war.
The upper caste of this civilisation was the Quel'dorei (lit. "Children of noble birth"), a magic-using aristocracy; in these times, "Kaldorei" came to mean the lower, non-magic-using caste. They ruled the society and controlled the military; the priesthood of Elune, at this time, played a respected but definitely secondary role. The rule of the hedonistic Quel'dorei was authoritarian and conservative; obedience and tradition were among the highest social values. However, some Kaldorei left their cities and went to explore the vast wildernesses of Kalimdor; a rare few were permitted to meet the demi-god Cenarius, and learn from him.
The last and best-loved Queen of the Kaldorei, Azshara, betrayed her people by misusing the powers of the Well of Eternity, having fallen prey to the addiction that has always plagued mortal users of Arcane power. She summoned the Burning Legion to Kalimdor, initiating the War of the Ancients, and attempted to open a portal to admit their leader, Sargeras. She was stopped at the last only by the destruction of the Well of Eternity, which sundered the landmass of Kalimdor into three pieces (Kalimdor, Northrend and the Eastern Kingdoms). This defining cataclysm devastated the Kaldorei, destroyed their civilisation and changed their society forever.
The Kaldorei under Tyrande
The Kaldorei reorganised into a far more nature-oriented, matriarchal society, under the leadership of Tyrande and the Sisterhood of Elune, with the advice and guidance of Malfurion and his disciples, the Druids. They settled the northern part of Kalimdor, around the feet of Mount Hyjal, at whose summit the traitor Illidan had created the new Well of Eternity, and the Dragons had planted the World Tree, Nordrassil, which sustained the Kaldorei in their immortality. The summit of Hyjal became a shrine, guarded by the Dragonflights, and the spiritual heart of Kaldorei society.
The Quel'dorei who had survived the war and the Sundering were permitted to remain among the Kaldorei, but forbidden from ever using their arcane powers on pain of death. The Kaldorei redefined themselves, believing that their mission as a race was to protect the Balance of nature, and to serve the Dragonflights that remained whole - most of all the Red and Green, but also the Bronze and Blue Dragonflights. They reorganised their economy around the traditional crafts of the Kaldorei, and abandoned agriculture, turning to hunting for meat, and gathering other resources from the wild forest with the aid of wisps, treants and their forest allies.
Three thousand years later, Dath'Remar led the Quel'dorei in a rebellion against Malfurion's prohibition of Arcane magic, unleashing a devastating magical storm on Ashenvale. Unwilling to order mass executions of the Quel'dorei, Malfurion pronounced their banishment; the Quel'dorei set sail for the Eastern Kingdoms, and had no contact with their Kaldorei kin for seven millennia. Some of the Quel'dorei, sickened by the treachery of Dath'Remar, remained in Kalimdor, turning away from their Quel'dorei heritage and integrating themselves among the Kaldorei. Since that time, the Kaldorei have had no nobles or aristocratic titles, and the use of arcane magic has remained a capital crime.
After this disaster, the Druids decided to enter the Emerald Dream, to aid Ysera in protecting and healing the Balance, and to re-establish the bond between Kaldorei and the natural world. The vast majority of Druids went to sleep in the Barrow Dens, emerging only from time to time over the next seven millennia, to tend to the needs of their physical bodies, or to fight in wars, such as the War of the Shifting Sands and the Battle of Mount Hyjal. In recent years, the Nightmare made it almost impossible for Druids to enter or leave the Emerald Dream; Malfurion and many others were trapped there, and those outside were unable to reach or aid them. The recent downfall of the traitor Fandral, and Malfurion's destruction of the Nightmare lord Xavius, freed these Druids from their Dream-prison, and restored Malfurion to his rightful place as leader of the Cenarion Circle.