Quel'Thalas is a lush forest region north of the Kingdom of Lordaeron (in some cases it is implied to be a separate continent). The map published in the Warcraft II manual shows several regions including Khaz Modan, Quel'Thalas, and Lordaeron, each sharing the same font size. Azeroth is shown with a larger font size. It once served as the traditional home of the high elves but was invaded and laid to waste by the death knight Arthas. Many of the High Elves were killed, including Sylvanas Windrunner, and those few that were not fled. The few survivors from the attack renamed their people Blood Elves, vowing vengeance against the Scourge for destroying their ancient culture.
Quel'Thalas serves as the starting location for the blood elves in the Burning Crusade expansion.
After being exiled by Malfurion Stormrage for refusing to give up magic, the surviving highborne, led by Dath'Remar, left Kalimdor behind them and challenged the storms of the Maelstrom. Their fleets wandered the wreckage of the world for many long years, until they eventually found land across the sea. Dath'Remar, who already had the name Sunstrider (or "he who walks the day"), sought out places of considerable ley power upon which to build a new homeland for his people. His fleet finally landed on the beaches of the kingdom men would later call Lordaeron. Forging inland, the high elves founded a settlement within the tranquil Tirisfal Glades. After a few years, many of them began to go mad. It was theorized that something evil slept beneath that particular part of the world, but the rumors were never proven to be true. The high elves packed up their encampment and moved northward towards another land rich with ley energies.
As the high elves crossed the rugged, mountainous lands of Lordaeron, their journey became more perilous. Since they were effectively cut off from the life-giving energies of the Well of Eternity, many of them fell ill from the frigid climate or died from starvation. The most disconcerting change, however, was the fact that they were no longer immortal or immune to the elements. They also shrank somewhat in height, and their skin lost its characteristic violet hue. Despite their hardships, they encountered many wondrous creatures that had never been seen in Kalimdor. They also found tribes of primitive humans who hunted throughout the ancient forestlands. However, the greatest threat they encountered were the voracious and cunning forest trolls of Zul'Aman. These moss-skinned trolls could regenerate lost limbs and heal grievous physical injuries, and they proved to be a barbaric race. The Amani empire stretched across most of northern Lordaeron, and the trolls fought hard to keep unwanted strangers from their borders. The elves developed a deep loathing for the vicious trolls and killed them on sight whenever they were encountered. After many long years, the high elves finally found a land that was reminiscent of the forests of Kalimdor. Deep within the northern woods of the continent, they founded the kingdom of Quel'Thalas ("High Kingdom" or "High Home") and vowed to create a mighty empire which would dwarf that of their kaldorei cousins. Unfortunately they soon learned that Quel'Thalas was founded upon an ancient troll city that the trolls still held to be sacred. Almost immediately, the trolls began to attack the elven settlements en masse.
The elves, unwilling to give up their new land, utilized the magics which they had gleaned from the Well of Eternity and kept the savage trolls at bay. Under Dath'Remar's leadership, they were able to defeat the Amani warbands that outnumbered them ten to one. Some elves, wary of the Kaldorei's ancient warnings, felt that their use of magic might possibly draw the attention of the banished Burning Legion. Therefore, they decided to mask their lands within a protective barrier which would still allow them to work their enchantments. They constructed a series of monolithic Runestones at various points around Quel'Thalas which marked the boundaries of the magic barrier. The Runestones not only masked the elves' magic from extra-dimensional threats, but helped to frighten away the superstitious troll warbands as well.
As time wore on, Quel'Thalas became a shining monument to the high elves' efforts and magical prowess. Its beauteous palaces were crafted in the same architectural style as the ancient halls of Kalimdor, yet they were interwoven with the natural topography of the land. Quel'Thalas had become the shining jewel that the elves had longed to create. The Convocation of Silvermoon was founded as the ruling power over Quel'Thalas, though the Sunstrider Dynasty maintained a modicum of political power. Comprised of seven of the greatest high elf lords, the Convocation worked to secure the safety of the elven lands and people. Surrounded by their protective barrier, the high elves remained unmoved by the old warnings of the Kaldorei and continued to use magic flagrantly in almost all aspects of their lives.
For nearly four thousand years the high elves lived peacefully within the secluded safety of their kingdom. Nevertheless, the vindictive trolls were not so easily defeated. They plotted and schemed in the depths of the forests and waited for the numbers of their warbands to grow. Finally, a mighty troll army charged out from the shadowy forests and once again laid siege to the shining spires of Quel'Thalas.
The Troll Wars
When the Amani returned, they struck back with a vengeance. The trolls besieged Quel'Thalas for many years, bringing the elven kingdom to its knees. In desperation, with defeat nearly imminent, the high elves turned to their southern neighbors: The human empire of Arathor.
The human tribes had recently been united under the rule of Thoradin, establishing their capital city of Strom (present day Stromgarde) in the highlands of southern Lordaeron. While they too suffered at the hands of the trolls, it was not until ambassadors from Quel'Thalas arrived that Thoradin realized how desperate the elves' situation was. The elves agreed to train one hundred men in the arts of magic in exchange for Thoradin pledging military aid. Thoradin, though distrustful of magic, agreed to send aid to the elves out of necessity - realizing that once Quel'Thalas had fallen, Arathor would be next. After the battle that forever broke the legions of Zul'Aman, the elves pledged an oath of loyalty and friendship to Thoradin and his bloodline.
The Second War
Nearly three thousand years later, shortly after the fall of the Kingdom of Azeroth, Anduin Lothar - the last blood descendant of King Thoradin - led his people across the Great Sea to Lordaeron, where he went before King Terenas and warned of the coming of the Orcish Horde. Terenas immediately called a council of the neighboring kings which led to the formation of the Alliance of Lordaeron. With Lothar named Supreme Commander, Terenas sent a missive to King Anasterian Sunstrider - himself a veteran of the Troll Wars millennia before - informing him of Lothar's lineage and the request for aid to the Alliance. At first, Anasterian reluctantly sent a token display of support in the form of a party led by Alleria Windrunner.
Not long afterwards, when Orgrim Doomhammer led the Horde's invasion of Quel'Thalas and began burning the edges of the Eversong Woods, it was discovered that the Horde was being aided by the elves' mortal enemies, the Amani, led by the cunning Zul'jin. Alleria brought the head of a freshly slain troll warrior to the Convocation of Silvermoon, throwing it at Anasterian's feet. This provoked an intense rage within the King of Quel'Thalas, and he immediately called for the mobilization of his armies to battle the Horde. The effort was led by Sylvanas Windrunner, Ranger-General of Silvermoon.
After the Second War ended, Anasterian withdrew his support from the Alliance. The official stance was that the humans' poor leadership resulted in the burning of Eversong Woods (even though Terenas reminded him of the many humans who gave their lives to protect Quel'Thalas); in addition, with Lothar dead and the Horde defeated, Anasterian believed that the debt to Thoradin and his descendants was repaid. With few exceptions - including the elven priests and sorceresses, as well as Anasterian's son and heir, Prince Kael'thas, a member of the Kirin Tor of Dalaran - the majority of the elven race shut themselves inside their enchanted kingdom.
The Fall of Quel'Thalas
Almost fifteen years later, the Plague of Undeath broke out in Lordaeron. Terenas' son Arthas, a paladin trained by Uther the Lightbringer himself, made efforts to stop the Plague from turning his beloved people into mindless undead raised to serve the Lich King, master of the Scourge. Instead, the whole chain of events appears to have been engineered by the Lich King himself to find a suitable host for his bodiless mind, and Arthas fell into despair and eventually madness. Travelling to Northrend, he forfeited his soul to the Lich King upon taking up the runeblade Frostmourne.
Now the greatest of the Lich King's death knights, Arthas travelled back to his homeland, murdered his father and all but obliterated the Kingdom of Lordaeron. Afterwards, he was tasked by Tichondrius, the leader of the Dreadlords and the Lich King's chief jailor, to resurrect the necromancer Kel'Thuzad - whom Arthas had killed not long before - so he could fulfill his appointed duty of summoning Archimonde into Azeroth. Tichondrius also told Arthas that there was only one suitable place to resurrect Kel'Thuzad - the mystic Sunwell, the source of the high elves' magic, deep inside Quel'Thalas.
To reach the Sunwell, Arthas needed an insider, someone who could allow him to bypass the magical defenses of Quel'Thalas; he found one in Dar'Khan Drathir, a member of the Convocation of Silvermoon. Dar'Khan, an egotistical and embittered man, believed he deserved more than he was receiving. Arthas preyed upon his ego, promising Dar'Khan untold power in exchange for his aid, and his loyalty. With the backing of his "Blessed Lord Arthas", Dar'Khan provided the Scourge with two powerful artifacts - the Stone of Light and the Stone of Flame - that had warding powers against the undead, allowing the Scourge armies to circumvent Quel'Thalas' formidable defenses. Thus, Arthas led the Scourge in a march of death up a path that today is known as the Dead Scar, across the Elrendar River into Eversong Woods, destroying one of the protective runestones on the edges of the forest.
The elves, in an attempt to stop the blight from spreading further into Eversong Woods, set the area around the destroyed runestone to the torch. But the armies of the Scourge pressed on, breaking through the Elfgates and through Silvermoon itself. Ranger General Sylvanas Windrunner led the defense as best she could, harassing Arthas at every opportunity, but she eventually fell to the power of Frostmourne. In a cruel gesture of dominance, Arthas took Sylvanas' lifeless body and ripped her spirit from it, creating the first banshee. Even the blade Quel'Delar, King Anasterian and the Convocation of Silvermoon were no match for Arthas' legions, slaughtered with their people by the relentless tide of the mindless undead.
With Silvermoon in ruins and the elves broken and scattered, Arthas fulfilled his task and submerged the corpse of Kel'Thuzad within the waters of the Sunwell, fouling the potent waters of Eternity; the necromancer returned to the world of the living as a sorcerous lich. Not long afterwards, the Sunwell itself exploded, cutting off the elves from their source of magic.
Betrayals and Second Chances
When word of Quel'Thalas' fall reached Dalaran, Prince Kael'thas - now the last of his bloodline and de jure leader of the high elves - returned to his homeland and gathered all the survivors he could. The elves rejoined the Alliance armies, where they called themselves blood elves in honor of their fallen. But the Alliance began to look down on their elven "comrades". The ethnocentric Grand Marshal Garithos, the leader of the Alliance remnant, often gave the blood elves tasks that either beneath their capabilities as warriors or - worse - suicidal. Later, while escorting a caravan through Silverpine Forest, Kael'thas met Tyrande Whisperwind and Maiev Shadowsong who offered to help Kael'thas in return for aid in tracking down the demon Illidan. Together, their forces successfully brought Kael's caravan to safety, however Tyrande herself was lost, swept downriver while fending off hordes of undead. Later, Kael was also forced to rely on the aid of Lady Vashj and her naga while attempting to cross a body of water to repair damaged Arcane Observatories in the ruins of Dalaran, and again while defeating numerous undead bases around Dalaran.
When Garithos discovered that Kael'thas had accepted aid from the naga, he sentenced them to death for treason. Kael and his comrades were once again rescued by Vashj and her naga, who took them to Illidan in the wastes of Outland. With the promise of as much magic as they required, Kael'thas pledged the loyalty of the blood elves to Illidan's cause. Settling in Outland with the rest of Illidan's forces, Kael'thas sent a magister named Rommath back to Quel'Thalas, with the promise that Kael'thas would one day return to lead the blood elves to paradise. Rommath joined up with Regent Lord Lor'themar Theron and Halduron Brightwing, who had been reclaiming Quel'thalas from the Scourge little by little. Rommath informed him of Kael'thas' command to prepare the blood elves for their journey into the "promised land" beyond the Dark Portal. To aid in that task, Rommath, alongside the Blood Elven magi, pushed nearly all the undead from Eversong Woods and used powerful magics to rebuild the eastern half of the ruined city of Silvermoon to serve as the blood elven capital on Azeroth.
With the Alliance viewing them as traitors, Quel'Thalas has turned to the Horde out of necessity. The Forsaken, in particular, are staunch supporters of the blood elves' membership in the Horde, as their queen, Sylvanas Windrunner, was Ranger General during the Scourge invasion and a good number of Forsaken were high elves who were killed in the war. Only one major obstacle preventing their becoming full members of the Horde remains: the Scourge that remain on the footsteps of Quel'Thalas, marching from their citadel of Deatholme at the southern terminus of the Dead Scar. There, the resurrected Dar'Khan Drathir directs the Scourge in Quel'Thalas; only his death would allow the blood elves to become equal and respected members of the Horde.
Zones in World of Warcraft
- Eversong Woods - Starting area for the blood elves (In the Burning Crusade)
- Ghostlands - Also known as the Blackened Woods (In the Burning Crusade)
- Isle of Quel'Danas, also known as the Sunwell Isle - location of the Sunwell; opened in Patch 2.4.0 (the RPG also states that it is the home of the dragonhawks of Quel'Danas).
- Zul'Aman - Home of the Amani forest trolls (In WoW it's an instance within Ghostlands, instead of its own zone).
- Silvermoon - more of super region including, Silvermoon City all the way to Sunwell Grove(Quel'Danas).
- Blackened Woods - More of a super region including all areas south of the Silvermoon region (Eversong Woods and Ghostlands).
- Greenwood Pass (WC3)
Quel'Thalas in World of WarcraftThis section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.
Quel'Thalas was opened in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, and is split into three main regions. To the north is the Isle of Quel'Danas, home to the dragonhawks and location of the mystical Sunwell. South of Quel'Danas, across a channel of the North Sea, is Eversong Woods, the blood elf starting zone and the location of their capital, Silvermoon City. To the south of Eversong, across the Elrendar River, is the Ghostlands. It is here that the primary base of the Scourge in Quel'Thalas, the fortress of Deatholme, is located - as is the city of Zul'Aman, the capital of Quel'Thalas' long-hated enemies, the Amani forest trolls.
All of Quel'Thalas is bisected by a path of Blight known as the Dead Scar. This was the path taken by Arthas from Lordaeron to the Sunwell in his quest to resurrect Kel'Thuzad, running from Deatholme all the way through the Ghostlands and Eversong Woods, coming to a stop midway through Quel'Danas at the gates of the Sunwell Plateau. The path is patrolled by remnants of the Scourge invasion of Quel'Thalas. All attempts by blood elf magisters to cure the blighted soil have failed, giving the blood elves more of an incentive to seek out the destiny promised them beyond the Dark Portal.
Quel'Thalas is connected to the old world via the Thalassian Pass in southern Ghostlands, which goes along the main road (blocked by debris prior to Burning Crusade) into Lordaeron, in the region now called the Eastern Plaguelands. The path between Ghostlands and EPL is separated by an instance portal; the areas in which the "instance" falls under are all three regions of Quel'Thalas, both islands of the Azuremyst Isles (where the draenei start out) and all of Outland.
There is also a zone of the "old world" officially named Quel'Thalas. It was the only glimpse of Quel'Thalas before the Burning Crusade expansion, and is still accessible in the game. See Northern Lordaeron and this subpage for more information and speculation about the zone.
Located near the peninsula of the unnamed zone is a tall white tower that is currently inaccessible that has a dock nearby.
If you know how to glitch under Stormwind then you can fly under the whole eastern kingdoms to this spot, so its not inaccessible.
- The blood elf starting area is Sunstrider Isle -- many thought the Scourge has destroyed most of their land, this is still a vital, healthy area -- as you can see from the screens. "We wanted a look that was the opposite of the night elf look," says Metzen, "Where the night elves live in eternal twilight, we wanted the high elves, at their best, to live in a place of eternal spring and vibrancy. Arthas has destroyed most of it, but some of it still lives on." Blizzard also wanted a different architectural vibe for the blood elves' land. "The night elves have a somewhat Nordic and Japanese architecture," says Metzen. "We wanted something more classical and magical this time."
- At this point Quel'Thalas is set to be composed of roughly three to five zones, including Eversong Forest, the starting zone (and also the location of the blood elf capital, Silvermoon City), the Ghostlands, which border the Eastern Plaguelands to the south, and the Sunwell Plateau, which won't be part of the initial expansion but will be a part of a live update down the line. Blizzard is also adding a high-level instanced area, Zul'Aman, home of the forest trolls, as incentive for players to take their old characters up into this new land.
- One key goal for Blizzard was to make sure that, for this new Horde race, there was enough variety in the zones to keep things interesting. "We wanted to mix things up more this time," says Rob Pardo, VP of game design, "We learned from Kalimdor that there was just too much of the same thing--too much desert, too much bleakness."
- One particularly distinctive feature of this area will be that Metzen jokingly calls the "Road o' Death," the trail that Arthas' army marched through in WarCraft III, which completely bisects the land all the way through, including Silvermoon City. "It's a constant reminder to the blood elves," says Metzen, "of just how much shit these guys have gone through."