Much of the time before the Sundering is lost to myth and legend, and little remains of the great elven cities in Kalimdor but naga-infested ruins. The one shining example of an intact elven city is Eldre’thalas, known today as the Dire Maul. The city itself is overrun by the Gorodunni ogre tribe and would be largely abandoned to the races of Azeroth were it not for two key features – the Shen’dralar Library, contained in the northwest part of the city, and the Dire Maul Arena where the ogres allow gladiatorial games run by the Steamwheedle Cartel.
The city itself is broken into four major districts. Upon entering the city proper, guests will find themselves in the Arena district, dominated by the arena itself. To the east is the Market District, a large collection of closed malls and open-air bazaars that were once flourishing marketplaces and amazing gardens. This area is largely overrun by plants, though satyrs and grell-demons also call the district home. To the west is the main housing district, now haunted by the ghosts of the elves who once called the city home – even the ogres dare not venture into this area. Its secrets are buried deep in the heart of the area, for Queen Azshara herself used Eldre’thalas to hold some of her most prized magical items and knowledge. Finally, to the north lies the noble district and the ancient palace grounds, the inaccessible seat of ogre power in Feralas. There was a southern temple district to the city as well, but this has fallen into ruin.
Aside from the ogres and goblins, there is one more influential group in Eldre’thalas, an ancient group of Kel’dorei spellcasters who call themselves the Shen’dralar. Many of these elves are living ancients, some having lived since the War of the Ancients. How they came to be and what they do are of vital interest to House Llyrandor and the Tuar’annwn, for their leader is Prince Tortheldrin, the brother of the founder of House Llyrandor, Rhuobhe.
Rhuobhe and his younger brother Tortheldrin led the tribes around Feralas and into the southern parts of what is now Desolace. Their family had founded the city of Eldre’thalas, which was known for the Temple of Isildien dedicated to the worship of Elune. Rhuobhe was the older and greater of the two brothers, a powerful mage who traveled the lands doing good works for the common people. His influence was strong enough that he was eventually called to Azshara’s court where he faithfully served his queen. When his brother came of age, he too joined Rhuobhe at court, but Tortheldrin quickly became one of Azshara’s favorites and possibly was a lover to the queen.
The two brothers gained great influence for their lands during the early years of Azshara’s reign. The lush forests of Feralas became one of her favorite vacation destinations, and Eldre’thalas grew in size and influence. As the queen turned to more powerful magics, she entrusted the brothers to guard some of Azeroth’s most powerful magical items, and shortly afterward she created a library within the city, dedicated to the practical application of all things from magic to farming.
The brothers enjoyed a comfortable rule, with Tortheldrin often ruling in his brother Rhuobhe’s place while Rhuobhe traveled the lands. Rhuobhe led his people to victory against the united furbolg tribes to the north (the texts are unclear, perhaps this is a reference to Ashenvale?) but made an affable peace with the nature-loving creatures. For this he earned the cognomen of “Llyrandor” or “The Falcon who Holds the Rose” for his quick victory followed by a fair and lasting peace. Not to see her favorite outdone, Azshara awarded Tortheldrin the name “Shen’dral” or “The One who Watches” for his protection of her treasures.
It was here that the seeds of discontent were sown. Tortheldrin had the love of the queen but his brother Rhuobhe had the love of the people. To gain the peoples’ love, Tortheldrin build the Arena and often fought as a champion in the gladiatorial games there. Rhuobhe spent more and more time at the High Court, enjoying the company of Azshara’s highborne and some say losing his love for the the people who loved him so dearly.
All their rivalry changed, though, when the war began. Some say in the early days Rhuobhe and Tortheldrin, Highborne nobles themselves, fought on the side of Azshara before they were enlightened by the priestesses of Elune. From that point on they were fierce defenders of the common people, magic and sword cutting down both Highborne and later Demon who dared to attack Eldre’thalas. The secrets Azshara kept there were used as terrible weapons against those who opposed the will of Cenarius and Elune, and soon the brothers found themselves marching in the armies of Malfarious himself.
When the war ended, Rhuobhe travelled north to Mount Hyjal while Tortheldrin again took up watch over his brother’s lands.
More to come!