- This article is about the nightfallen as a race. For the reputation faction, see The Nightfallen. For The Nightfallen's emissary quest, see . For the armed conflict over Suramar City, see Nightfallen rebellion.
The nightfallen are outcast nightborne elves that have been cut off from the nourishment of the Nightwell due to being exiled from Suramar City and have begun to wither into a state of withdrawal. Further
Over the millennia, in order to survive a food shortage crisis, the nightborne developed a method to adapt the energy of the Nightwell into an ingestible form called Arcwine. The populace of the city were thus saved and the arcane source became a direct source of sustenance. Fate would deal a cruel blow as the energies of the Nightwell were addictive, and elves unable to retrieve Arcwine nourishment would begin to starve and regress.
Without this magical sustenance they began regressing into a weakened state known as nightfallen, as is expected of anyone starving. However, instead of dying of starvation after the standard period of time passed, the nightfallen would then enter a fully mindless state, and become creatures completely driven by instinct and their individual self lost — a fate called withered, that is considered worse than death. Death follows if the creature cannot find magical sustenance.
The descent into withered is not immediate, and can take up to 50 days. When hungering, nightfallen stand with a hunched posture, clutching at themselves at they uncontrollably tremble from withdrawal. They also have a habit of scratching their jawline. Nightfallen are mostly in full control of their faculties and find feeding on others for magical sustenance deplorable. Withered nightfallen however are attracted to magical sources and will attempt to draw mana from anything, this includes magical shields, ley lines, items of power, and other living beings.
Nightfallen that have not entered the withered stage can fully recover back to nightborne if they regain access to Arcwine; nightfallen who have eaten an arcan'dor fruit have their dependency on the Nightwell cured, and also eventually recover into healthy nightborne. However, once they cross the withered threshold, there is no known return to sanity. The nightborne are as yet unable to revert withered to what they once were.
While appearing similar at first glance, withered is a very different state to that of Wretched for blood elves. The main difference is that becoming withered is due to a failure to feed on the Nightwell's energies, it is due to withdrawal, while blood elves become wretched due to a reckless abuse of arcane magic. Furthermore, withered are mindless, feral creatures, while wretched still have full control of their mental abilities.