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Among the druids, Malfurion is the greatest, making him one of the most powerful beings in Azeroth. He is the twin brother of Illidan Stormrage, and the beloved of Tyrande Whisperwind. Malfurion started the practice of druidism among the night elves under the tutelage of the demigod Cenarius. Following the conclusion of the War of the Ancients, he became the Archdruid of the night elves. He first appeared in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos ("Eternity's End") and subsequently appeared in The Frozen Throne ("Terror of the Tides") and the War of the Ancients trilogy. Often he is called shan'do, which means "honored teacher". However, some close friends occasionally tend to call him "Furion" or "Mal", the shortened versions of Malfurion.
Malfurion is the wise and peaceful leader of the night elf druids. He has a fatherly air about him, and takes great pleasure in guiding people to discover insights about themselves and the environment around them. He prefers not to solve problems directly for individuals, or to give completely thorough answers, but rather provide useful hints and advice so that others may achieve discovery on their own.
He is grateful to the orc and human armies for their assistance against the Burning Legion and welcomes visitors of those races with open arms. He also holds great respect for tauren and dwarves. However, Malfurion considers high elves and goblins extremely distasteful, and will expel them from Ashenvale whenever he encounters them. Horde and Alliance politics hold little interest for Malfurion as, in his mind, the needs of his people and their environment transcend what he considers to be petty rivalries between the other races.
Visitors who display a proper respect for the natural environment and its inhabitants will be greeted warmly by Malfurion and his druids. They welcome outsiders for short periods of time with offers of shelter and sustenance. However, Ashenvale is the sacred home of the night elves,and Malfurion does not appreciate or tolerate prolonged visits by members of the other races. Emissaries and adventurers are occasionally welcome, but settlers and those who attempt to wrest profit from the land are expelled immediately.S&L 52-53
"Stalwart," "wise" and "righteous" are the words that best describe Shan'do Stormrage. He is set in his path of safeguarding his beloved forests and the sanctity of life on Azeroth. Malfurion's burden is a hard one to shoulder; he must safeguard both the forests of Kalimdor and the Emerald Dream, a nearly impossible task. Malfurion must sometimes be reminded that others may help him shoulder the burden — Cenarius was his teacher and the other Druids and Ancients are more than willing to aid their Shan'do. The one thing Malfurion loves above nature and life is Tyrande, his beloved — to live without her is not to live at all.
Malfurion was the most dedicated of Cenarius' disciples. In the ancient world before the Great Sundering, Malfurion was a respected scholar loyal to his beloved Queen Azshara. He was among the first to notice the distance Azshara and her followers were keeping from their people, and he began to suspect that the powers granted by the Well of Eternity were not as pure as all had believed. Though he could not possibly fathom what was soon to come, Malfurion knew that the Kaldorei would be forever changed.
Azshara and her Highborne were interested in the Well and ordered them to find as much as possible about the well. As time passed, the Highborne learned how to draw power from the Well and manipulate its energies. Finally, Azshara's reckless use of magic drew the attention of Sargeras, Enemy of All Life and Lord of the Burning Legion. By opening a portal in Azshara's palace, Azshara's Highborne sorcerers, led by the High Lord Counselor Xavius, let hordes of demons into Kalimdor, including the Legion's commanders, Archimonde, Mannoroth and Hakkar the Houndmaster, and they ran rampant among the lands, striking down all who opposed them. The night elves desperately fought them back, but too many were falling to lend them aid. The Burning Legion was winning. The Highborne also managed to cast a bigger portal over the Well of Eternity to start the summoning of Sargeras.
But from the ranks of the desperate Kaldorei rose Malfurion Stormrage. Convincing his twin brother, Illidan, to forsake the use of magic, Malfurion and his love, Tyrande Whisperwind, High Priestess of Elune, quickly went to seek out the demigod Cenarius, in the hopes that he might have reprieve for their beleaguered people.
Even with the help of Cenarius and Alexstrasza the Dragon Queen, Malfurion knew that his people could not stand up to the constant barrage of demonic invaders. Believing the Well of Eternity to be their gateway, Malfurion decided that it must be destroyed. Knowing that its destruction would render them mortal and without any magic, the night elves reluctantly agreed to storm Azshara's stronghold and bring an end to the invasion.
However, Illidan, spurred by his addiction to magic and his frustrated love for Tyrande, refused to give up his power, and left their resistance to warn the Highborne. Knowing that Illidan would quickly reach them, Malfurion attacked immediately to retain some surprise.
Azshara and her Highborne were prepared for them, and her chaotic magics ripped Furion's forces to shreds. But it was the sight of Tyrande falling to the hands of Azshara's former Highborne, now transformed into satyrs that gave Malfurion the strength for one final strike.
Azshara's battle with Malfurion threw the portal out of its magical alignment, and the vortex grew unstable. Malfurion cast a spell to create a gigantic gale that would rip all the demons from the ground and send them on a one-way trip into the Well and to the Twisting Nether. The Well of Eternity then started to collapse on itself, pulling land, Azshara's palace and the ruined city of Zin-Azshari into itself. Although Sargeras knew that the portal was closing, he tried to do the unthinkable - step into the portal to recreate it and enter Azeroth. The portal finally collapsed and trapped Sargeras in it. The Well of Eternity exploded in a catastrophic eruption that left the world sundered forever.
However, Malfurion survived. Constructing crude rafts and sailing to what would become Kalimdor, Malfurion, Tyrande, and Cenarius agreed to lead their peoples to a new home.
To their horror, however, a lake atop Mount Hyjal had become fouled by the magical energies of the Well of Eternity, which they had hoped was gone forever. Illidan, who had sought to preserve the arcane magic he was addicted to, had taken seven vials of the Well's waters and poured three of them into the lake, creating a new Well of Eternity. Knowing that Illidan's addiction to magic would always be a threat to the safety of the world, Malfurion imprisoned his brother in the caverns below Hyjal; the Barrow Deeps. However, with the Sundering still fresh in their minds, Malfurion and the night elves dared not attempt to destroy the new Well.
Seeking the counsel of the Aspects, Malfurion requested the presence of Alexstrasza, Ysera, and Nozdormu, returned from their hiding places, and they were shocked to hear of the new Well. All of them suspected that the Burning Legion would sniff out its energies once again and find Azeroth a second time.
Malfurion agreed, and they all decided to safeguard this Well. To this end, they created the World Tree, Nordrassil, which they pledged to use to protect the Well of Eternity and the night elves themselves. Alexstrasza, the Life-Binder, grew the tree herself from an enchanted acorn of G'Hanir. Nozdormu, the Timeless, placed an enchantment upon the tree: for as long at it stood, the night elves would never die of old age or sickness. Ysera, the Dreamer, linked Nordrassil to the Emerald Dream. Through the tree, she would slowly rebuild the world. However, to maintain the Emerald Dream, she needed consciousnesses to roam its eternal pathways. To sustain it, all the druids agreed to sleep for centuries at a time, despite the years they would lose, and be linked to the Emerald Dream forever.
Malfurion and Tyrande helped their people rebuild their society amongst the forests of Ashenvale surrounding Hyjal. Cenarius taught them the ways of the wood, and Malfurion grew considerably in power as he learned the art of the druid, and he became a great Archdruid, first among his people.
Though he dearly wished to remain with Tyrande, Malfurion and his druid kindred slept peacefully for many years until they were awakened by an attack by Dath'Remar and the Highborne survivors. He was quickly routed, but the druids refused to destroy them with so many lives already lost, so Malfurion decided that the Highborne were to be exiled. Dath’remar and his followers would later become the high elves. Though it pained his heart beyond belief, Malfurion left Tyrande to rejoin the Emerald Dream, settling into his long sleep in Furion's Barrow Den on the Moonglade Island.
After Tyrande battled through the three enchanted keepers of the grove: Lightning Protector, Fire Protector and Ice Protector she reached the Horn of Cenarius. Malfurion was awakened to the sound of the Horn of Cenarius. He could sense the corruption and decay of his land, even in the Emerald Dream, and when he awoke, he summoned treants from the forest to dispose of the undead invaders who were closing on his Furion's Barrow Den.
Tyrande, responsible for his awakening, told him that Archimonde had returned to Kalimdor, and he had brought the Burning Legion with him. Malfurion immediately knew what the warlock was after; he would assail Mount Hyjal, and attempt to drain the mystical energies of Nordrassil. Their mission was clear: they had to awaken the druids and stop Archimonde.
When Malfurion saw the outlander races battling the undead, he thought that perhaps they would make good allies in the coming conflict. But Tyrande immediately rejected the idea, stating that they had killed Cenarius, and deserved whatever fate the undead had in store for them.
This savage nature became more prevalent as they attempted to awaken the Druids of the Talon, sleeping in Druid of the Talon's Barrow Dens in Winterspring. Tyrande found a group of furbolgs, whom she had tried to help in Ashenvale, and who were now corrupted by the darkening shadow. Tyrande's forces killed them all. They fought their way through the undead, with orcs and humans fighting them at every turn, until they reached the Barrow-Dens, where Malfurion sounded the Horn of Cenarius. The Druids of the Talon awoke, and pledged to help Malfurion awaken the Druids of the Claw in the Barrow Deeps of Hyjal.
Upon entering the mountainous caverns, Malfurion and Tyrande discovered gigantic spiders and other creatures, vastly mutated by the evil corruption, even within the sanctity of Hyjal. Soon, they came upon a doorway that led to the halls which held Furion's treacherous brother, Illidan. Despite Furion's protests, Tyrande entered the prison to free Illidan. Malfurion continued on, and found that the Druids of the Claw had forgotten themselves, and had embraced their feral bear forms as opposed to their night elven forms. The druids' minds were now identical to those of bears, making them impossible to reason with. But with the Horn of Cenarius, Malfurion broke them free of this state. Grateful to have their minds restored, the Druids of the Claw agreed to participate in the fight against the Legion.
Meanwhile, Tyrande had released Illidan, hoping that he could also make a significant contribution in the war effort. Still, after all these years, Malfurion refused to trust Illidan for his betrayal. Illidan pointedly reminded Malfurion that they fought the demons together once, but Malfurion was adamant; he would have nothing to do with this.
Illidan took a force of night elves into the corrupted forests of Felwood, and began to battle Tichondrius. Tyrande and Malfurion immediately rushed to reinforce Illidan, but when they arrived, Illidan was already victorious, and in the form of a monstrous demon. Illidan had claimed the powers of the Skull of Gul'dan for his own in order to gain the power to slay Tichondrius. Malfurion and Tyrande both could not believe Illidan's dire choice, and Malfurion banished him from the forests forever. Illidan did not bother to argue with his brother, and left of his own accord.
That night, Malfurion received a vision. A great raven came to him and told him to bring Tyrande to the base of Mount Hyjal. Curious, he did as was instructed, and they met Jaina and Thrall, the leaders of the outlander forces in Kalimdor.
Tyrande rebuked them and was about to battle them when suddenly, the raven appeared, and revealed himself to be Medivh, the Last Guardian of Tirisfal. Medivh convinced the night elves to join forces with the outlanders in a last ditch effort to stop Archimonde's relentless assault towards the world tree. Tyrande reluctantly agreed.
From "The Sacrifice" at Hyjal's summit, where the World Tree and the Well of Eternity rested, Malfurion formed a plan of attack. The defenders quickly built fortifications all the way up the mountain, and prepared for Archimonde's ascent. Malfurion knew what had to be done; in order for Archimonde to be defeated, he had to unleash the powers of the world tree upon the mighty demon lord.
Archimonde, aided by three of his most powerful remaining lieutenants (the lich Rage Winterchill, Azgalor, successor of Mannoroth, and Anetheron, successor of Tichondrius) laid siege to Hyjal, ripping through Jaina and Thrall's bases. Finally, he came to Tyrande's last stronghold, and in turn, tore it to shreds, blew open the enchanted gates, and made his way to the World Tree. Tyrande and Malfurion watched as he approached, heedless of the Ancestral Guardians who had gathered during the battle, at the base of the World Tree. Archimonde's victory over the desperate defenders had made him overconfident, and he was completely unaware of the trap they had set for him.
When Archimonde reached the Tree, Malfurion sounded the Horn of Cenarius. The thousands of Ancestral Guardians, roused by nature herself, stirred from the trees and attacked Archimonde, detonating in an explosion so large it unmade Archimonde and incinerated the forests atop Hyjal, shattering the world tree and ending the night elves' immortality.
While checking on Nordrassil one day, Malfurion and Tyrande were unexpectedly met by a runner from Maiev the Warden, pleading for assistance against Illidan. The former demon hunter had resurfaced and recruited a race of amphibious snake-people known as naga to aid him in his plans, which had come to include the attempted slaughter of Shadowsong and her troops. Malfurion immediately left with Tyrande to assist them.
Malfurion brought mountain giants with him to aid in the battle, and they battled through hordes of naga to reach Maiev. When they did, she was upset with Tyrande since the priestess had killed many of Maiev's Watcher guards when she freed Illidan. Malfurion stopped the argument between the two women before it got out of control and advised them to set aside their personal feud until Illidan was dealt with. They battled fiercely against the naga, until they finally confronted Illidan when he captured Tyrande. But he let her go with a warning not to go after him, and fled before they could apprehend him. They followed him across the sea, and landed on the shores of Lordaeron.
Troubled by the corruption of the forests, Malfurion retreated into the woods to commune with the forest spirits, but commanded Maiev and Tyrande to forget their differences for the time being in his absence during their search for Illidan.
As he went into the woods, Malfurion felt the pain of the earth, and was met by benevolent spirits of the forest who granted him a vision of Northrend, which was crumbling apart due to Illidan's reckless magics with the Eye of Sargeras. Malfurion feared for the world and resolved to stop his brother.
But when he found Maiev, he could not see Tyrande. Maiev sadly reported that Tyrande had fallen in battle. Infuriated, Malfurion led his forces against Illidan's naga, and with the help of Maiev and her new ally, Kael'thas, they defeated Illidan's forces and captured him. Malfurion accused Illidan of causing Tyrande's death, but Kael chimed in, saying that it was premature to assume her dead, and that she had only been swept down a river. Realizing that he had been deceived, Malfurion entangled Maiev and left to look for Tyrande, with Illidan volunteering his naga to scour the river.
When they found Tyrande, she and a small contingent of Sentinels were desperately battling the undead. Illidan fought to get to her through the river with his naga while Malfurion fended off the undead attackers. Finally, they pushed through the undead forces and Illidan rescued Tyrande.
When Illidan brought Tyrande back to Malfurion, he was grateful. He decided that Illidan had earned his freedom, but Malfurion warned his brother that if he ever disturbed the night elves again, he would not be so forgiving. Illidan agreed to those terms, and opened a mystic portal.
As he retreated, Maiev caught up with them, and furiously chastised Malfurion and Tyrande for allowing Illidan to leave. In a rage, she and her Watchers followed Illidan into his portal. Tyrande tried to stop her, but Malfurion let her go, knowing that nothing they could say would change her mind.
With a heavy sigh, Malfurion and Tyrande left to return to their own realm and people, for there was still work to be done.