Aviana was a winged demigoddess and mistress of the Mother Tree, G'Hanir. She was believed to have been killed in the War of the Ancients but still appears to people of various races in current times.
Gift of Demigod status
Long ago, Aviana was a normal raven until she was chosen by Elune to deliver messages from the moon goddess to her son, the demigod Cenarius. Soon she was carrying messages among many of the powers of the ancient world; each power granted the raven new abilities required to carry out her duties until she eventually became an equal among them. ( )
Well of Eternity
As the kaldorei gathered at the Well of Eternity, Aviana took the form of a night elf and joined their studies of magic. When Queen Azshara built her temple and gathered together her chosen servants to revel in their arcane power, Aviana realized the corrupting influence of magic and returned to Elune’s side. ( )
War of the Ancients
During the War of the Ancients, Aviana would occasionally take mortal form and guide groups of endangered humans or night elves away from the doomguard. However, most of the time she flew high above the land gathering information for Cenarius on the movements of the Burning Legion. ( )
During this conflict Aviana was knocked from the sky. Rhonin witnessed her apparent "lifeless" body fall when a large group of demons attacked her. The doomguard surrounded her and pierced her body with their spears. As the blood spilled from her apparently dying body, the demons that came in contact with it became infested with its blessed powers and were purified. When Aviana was injured, her realm tree G'Hanir died. ( However, unbeknownst to Rhonin and the others, she had survived. She flew over the battleground and saw the body of )Agamaggan. The gigantic boar sprawled atop more than four score of the enormous doomguard that he had defeated before falling. She witnessed the death of Ursoc and Ursol to fel stalkers. She witnessed Malorne fighting alongside dryads, and stalled by satyrs. She contacted Cenarius to let him know the outcome of the battles. Cenarius then sent her to contact Elune, and to apologize that the battle was going the way it was. She knew that Elune would not be able to avert the coming battle, and flew towards the moon where Elune resides. ( )
She still acts as a messenger and spy for Elune. Aviana is known to many races including trolls, elves, tauren, and dwarves, often taking the form of those races to spy from within. The native races of Azeroth depict Aviana differently. The night elves see her as an enormous raven, taller than even the tallest tauren, but other races see her as a dove or an eagle, and she loves all such forms. Yet each race also knows her as one of its own kind, combined with scores of faces and roles — from a human wanderer or a quel’dorei sorcerer to a dwarven explorer or a troll priest. Even the night elves revere the Lady Raven as one who walked the path of magic yet was wise enough to turn away before being corrupted. Though she is the patron of those seeking knowledge, they understand that she carefully guards that which she knows lest she let slip the secrets of the gods themselves. Still, she has a fondness for mortals that leads her to protect and aid them whenever she feels able. ( )
In serving a wide array of masters, Aviana in turn developed a wide range of influence. Her primary role is that of messenger, carrying information from one god to another and, on occasion, from the gods to mortals. These messages, combined with her own studies and observations, have granted her an incredible wealth of knowledge that has also made her a patron of scholars. However, as she is reluctant to share her knowledge, those who pursue secrets and mysteries also follow her path. Her most ardent followers are those among the Druids of the Talon, who themselves transform into birds to gather battlefield intelligence and carry messages. ( )
She appears with a flutter of large wings, but nothing can be seen until a tall figure clad in black leather steps from the shadows. Perhaps it is her loose-fitting cloak or the shadows cast across her face by a broad-mouthed hood, that makes it difficult to make out her race. Yet it’s impossible to miss her sharp green eyes, peering out from the hood and cutting into the very centre of a person's being. ( )
Aviana prefers to keep her distance from combat, acting primarily as an observer or messenger. When drawn into battle, she will strike from a distance for as long as possible using her magic and her longbow before changing into raven form to charge and claw opponents while trying to make her way to freedom. ( )
In World of Warcraft
Relics of Aviana have been stored in sealed reliquaries in the Stormrage Barrow Dens in Moonglade. Clintar Dreamwalker, the current guardian of the relics, retrieves them for the fight against the forces invading the Emerald Dream.
In the War of the Ancients Trilogy by writer Richard A. Knaak, it is hinted that some night elves were altered and became forest guardians. Some fans speculate that these night elves may be the harpies. The death of Aviana during the War would have left them without their matriarch, and could explain their now brutal nature (although Aviana herself also hinted to having these streaks).
The relationship between Aviana and the dragons is also touched upon in the book. Aviana calls Krasus one of hers. She reacts to the name of Alexstraza in a motherly fashion. It is not clear if the dragons are descended from her or if she is commenting on the fact that dragons are creatures of the sky. G'Hanir was also where dragons would go to at the end of their life. ( )
Shadows & Light was published during the same period of time as the War of the Ancients trilogy and the same month as The Demon Soul in October 2004. It might be possible that Aviana died in the new timeline of the war. This is supported when Alexstrasza mentions that G'Hanir died with its mistress. ( On the other hand, Shadows & Light states that an Eternal may not truly be killed. Even if an Eternal was to die, they may be able to regenerate. ) ( It is also possible that it may simply have been a continuity mistake. )