Sunwell

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For information on the in-game area, see Sunwell Plateau or Isle of Quel'Danas.
The Sunwell in its current state.
"We will have our glory again, and this will give it to us. So much power... The power of the Well of Eternity, transformed with our guidance into something greater yet!"
Dath'Remar Sunstrider

The Sunwell is a fount of mystical power located on the Isle of Quel'Danas. Originally comprised solely of arcane power, it is now a cradle of both arcane energies and Holy Light, and the power source of the blood elf Blood Knights.[1] It was originally created when the Highborne leader, Dath'Remar Sunstrider, used a stolen vial of water from the Well of Eternity at a nexus of arcane ley lines within the woodlands that would soon become known as the Kingdom of Quel'Thalas. Dath'Remar's followers named the Sunwell after their leader, in honor of his bold quest to reignite their culture; magic had been outlawed in the Highborne's ancestral homeland, and the Highborne, now calling themselves the high elves, embraced this cherished source of arcane power, going on to found a kingdom of their own. The Sunwell became the very heart of their culture, the kingdom of Quel'Thalas only made possible because of it.[2]

The Sunwell empowered the high elves for roughly seven thousand years to come. Its presence in their lives was comparable to eating or breathing.[2] In the Sunwell's light, Quel'Thalas grew mighty, becoming a beacon of power in the Eastern Kingdoms.[3] Yet, the boons it granted were not without a price: the high elves, constantly bathed in the Sunwell's power every moment of every day, became addicted to its energies.

The Sunwell was destroyed during the Scourge invasion of Quel'Thalas, when Prince Arthas Menethil invaded the kingdom, slew most of its population, and used the Sunwell to resurrect Kel'Thuzad as a lich. This ritual tainted the Sunwell's energies and threatened to kill the few elves who had survived the onslaught; in response, Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider, last of Dath'Remar's bloodline, rushed to the aid of his homeland and had the corrupted Sunwell destroyed. This act saved his people from destruction, but also cut the elves off from their source of power completely. Bereft of their beloved Sunwell, the elves, now calling themselves the blood elves, were left with an insatiable hunger for arcane magic.[4]

The Sunwell's remaining power manifested itself as Anveena Teague, who was put under blood elven protection in Quel'Thalas. However, Kael'thas, defeated on Outland and twisted by fel energies, returned to the ruins of the Sunwell and openly sided with the Burning Legion, seeking to usher his new master Kil'jaeden into Azeroth through the fountain's exhausted mystical depths.

The Shattered Sun Offensive, supplemented by Horde and Alliance forces banding together, succeeded in both slaying the denounced prince and vanquishing his demonic master, once again protecting Azeroth from the Legion's Burning Crusade. In the aftermath of the battle, the draenei prophet Velen sanctified the legendary Sunwell using the power of the Light. The Sunwell shone once again, now a fount of both arcane power and Holy Light. With the Sunwell's rebirth, the Blood Knights—an order of blood elf paladins who once wielded the Light by force—have decided instead to embrace it and to forge a new identity as they lead their people into a more promising future.[5]

History

Creation

Sunwell in World of Warcraft Manual, and Lands of Conflict.
Dath'Remar and the high elves creating Sunwell Plateau.

After many hard-fought battles, the Highborne exiles under the leadership of Dath'Remar Sunstrider arrived at the forested woodlands one day known as Quel'Thalas. Dath'Remar had long sought a suitable homeland for his people, practitioners of arcane magic abhorred by their brethren across the Great Sea. Unveiling a stolen vial of water from the Well of Eternity, Dath'Remar poured its contents into a lake situated at a convergence of powerful ley lines. A brilliant fount of energy tore through the skies of Azeroth, and Dath'Remar proclaimed that this new source of power would one day surpass its predecessor. The Sunwell was named after Dath'Remar, in honor of the Highborne leader's bold quest to reignite Highborne culture. Over time, the Highborne lost their characteristic kaldorei looks, and shunned the moon to embrace the sun. They would become known as the high elves, or quel'dorei, and the Sunwell became the heart of their culture.[3]

The well's potent arcane magic fed and strengthened the high elf people. It suffused them unceasingly; they were bathed in its power every moment of every day. The Sunwell had empowered the magi who built the kingdom, and enabled some of the elves' day-today spellcasting. Thus, the city of Silvermoon was established. The power of the high elves grew, and they cast an enchantment on the Eversong Woods that would keep them bathed in eternal springtime. Elven magi crafted monolithic Runestones along the borders of Quel'Thalas; these massive stones powered a magical shield intended to mask the elves' magic from extra-dimensional threats and protect the land from invasion. The hard-won peace of Quel'Thalas would endure for roughly four thousand years.

For millennia the mystical pool of energy fuelled the potent magic of the exiled high elves. The Sunwell's inexhaustible power permeated the elves and infused them with a constant supply of arcane energy. For generations the high elves protected and cherished the well, benefiting from its powers even when outside the borders of their homeland.

Role in Quel'Thalas

The Sunwell enabled many of the enchantments and indulgences used by the elven magi. Most notably, the Sunwell passively empowered Silvermoon City's great shield, Ban'dinoriel, an impenetrable barrier used to repel any would-be invaders. Neither Gul'dan nor Zul'jin could find the key to the shield's subversion, only treachery from within could undo it. While the elves generally lived in harmony with the creatures of the woodlands, the Sunwell ensured the pacifism of their artificial creations, such as mana wyrms.[6] Culturally, the Sunwell was the very center of Thalassian society.[2]

Second War

During the Second War, the orc warlock Gul'dan attempted to overcome the Sunwell's secrets. He and his acolytes were largely unsuccessful, and Silvermoon remained protected throughout the battle, which the fel-crazed orcs soon abandoned.

Third War

The Sunwell

During the Third War, the death knight Prince Arthas Menethil laid waste to Quel'Thalas, wiping out most of its population and reducing large tracts of the mighty kingdom to ash in his quest to reach the Sunwell. The Sunwell's mystical depths were a key compenent in the resurrection of the fallen necromancer Kel'Thuzad, who guided the prince toward his goal telepathically.

As the undead armies closed in, a high elf named Dar'khan Drathir (who hoped to gain the favor of the Lich King) aided Arthas by lowering the shields surrounding the Sunwell, killing key members of the Convocation of Silvermoon, and binding the well's energies using instructions from his undead masters. Dar'Khan, who had long coveted the Sunwell's energies, could not resist the urge to gorge upon them himself, despite Arthas forbidding it. Unfortunately for Dar'Khan, the energies he had ingested were soon corrupted, and the man he had sold his kingdom to repaid his treachery in kind.

With the elven capital of Silvermoon lying in ruins, Arthas marched triumphantly to the Sunwell and tossed the bones of the necromancer into the radiant beam of light. With this act the sacred well was instantly corrupted. Knowing he had sealed the fate of the high elves, Arthas departed with the newly resurrected Kel'Thuzad to carry on in service of the Lich King. Many of the Scourge, however, remained behind to prey upon the few elves who had not yet fallen.

In the aftermath of the battle, the legendary King Anasterian lay dead along with the members of the Convocation of Silvermoon, the high elves' ruling body (among them Grand Magister Belo'vir), and the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, Sylvanas Windrunner. Lor'themar Theron, Sylvanas Windrunner's second–in–command, assumed temporary leadership and organized the remaining survivors to fight the undead, but it was the return of Prince Kael'thas - member of the Kirin Tor and only son of Anasterian - from Dalaran that brought the elves a fragment of renewed hope.

Kael'thas soon learned that the greatest danger to his people was posed not by the Scourge remnants, but by the Sunwell itself. The corrupted powers of the well, tainted by Arthas' ritual, still permeated not only the elves, but all that they had built. Given enough time, the necromantic energies would kill the elves and cause a catastrophe. Kael'thas painfully concluded that the Sunwell, the heart of their society, must be destroyed.

The Sunwell before and after its corruption.

He executed a plan that would irrevocably change the fate of his people. With the aid of the most powerful remaining magi, accompanied by Lor'themar and a party of volunteer defenders, Kael'thas succeeded in destroying the Sunwell. After a three-way struggle between the elves, the Scourge remnants, and an armada of emboldened Amani trolls seizing an opportunity to secure the Sunwell for their own purposes, the elven magi detonated the Sunwell and escaped, leaving the udnead and trolls alike to perish in the ensuing blaze. However, though the Sunwell's energies had been dispersed, not all of its essence was lost. A wizard named Borel - in truth, one of the guises of the red dragon Korialstrasz - gathered what remained of the energies and hid them away in the guise of a young human girl, Anveena Teague.

The hole left by the Sunwell's destruction.

In the aftermath of the Sunwell's destruction, Kael'thas declared that his people would be forever known as the sin'dorei, or blood elves, so they would never forget those who had fallen in defense of their homeland.

Although the Sunwell's threat was ended, Kael'thas could not have foreseen the effect its loss would have on his people. The elves suffered terribly from withdrawal, for many of them had been infused with the arcane energies of the well all their lives. Only in the absence of the Sunwell did the blood elves come to realize how addicted they had grown to its powers. Over time the elves grew ill, weakened, and the youngest and oldest among them died.

Thirsting for vengeance, Prince Kael'thas and the healthiest of his warriors immediately joined the campaign against the Scourge in Lordaeron while Lor'themar and a ranger named Halduron Brightwing remained behind to safeguard the land and seek a cure for their people. Kael'thas and his warriors followed the naga through the portal and into the shattered realm of Outland. There, the elves met the one being capable of putting an end to their painful hunger: the renegade demon Illidan Stormrage.

Most of Kael'thas' group chose to stay in Outland, but Rommath was sent back to carry a message of hope to those blood elves remaining in Quel'Thalas. Rommath accomplished his mission: relaying tales of a glorious promised land, spreading the teachings of Illidan (teachings which Rommath smoothly attributed to Prince Kael'thas), and planting the notion that Kael'thas might one day return to lead his people to paradise. Rommath remained in Quel'Thalas to help rebuild and await the prince's return.

The Sunwell Trilogy

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Months later, the traitor Dar'Khan – now a powerful agent of the Scourge – returned to Quel'Thalas. There he battled the avatar of the Sunwell, Anveena, and a band of heroes with the aid of the blue dragon Kalecgos and others. She was able to defeat Dar'khan and release the Sunwell's energy, in the process restoring the grove once destroyed by the Scourge. Anveena decided to stay in the ruined city and begin the process of renewal with Kalecgos, protected by a magical shield and watched over by Lor'themar Theron. Anveena's identity as the avatar of the Sunwell's power was kept a closely guarded secret, known to only Lor'themar and his people.[7]

The Sunwell Restored

TBC This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.

The Sunwell during the attempt to summon Kil'jaeden; Anveena held in suspense above it.

Following the defeat of Illidan in Outland, Kael'thas - bristling with power from his Manaforges in Netherstorm - finally returned to Quel'Thalas. Seeking to summon the demon lord Kil'jaeden, Kael'thas captured the personification of the sunwell's power: Anveena. Kael attempted to summon Kil'jaeden into Azeroth using the reignited Sunwell as a portal. This was prevented by the actions of the Shattered Sun Offensive, a group of heroes charging into Sunwell Plateau and finally, the sacrifice of Anveena, who used her power to prevent Kil'jaeden's emergence.

The battle with Kil'jaeden once again left the Sunwell without power. However, Velen appeared shortly thereafter and used the "spark" of the naaru M'uru's to reignite the Sunwell. This restored the Sunwell using the energies of M'uru, the Sunwell's new energies being derived from both the arcane and from M'uru's powers of the Light.[4][1]

Current status

WotLK This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.

Lor'themar Theron claims Quel'Delar from the Sunwell.

The Sunwell's current status is seen briefly during the quest to restore the fabled elven sword, Quel'Delar. Access to the Sunwell itself is policed by the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, Halduron Brightwing, who allows adventurers to enter once the spirit of Thalorien Dawnseeker - Quel'Delar's original wielder - offers his blessing. The Regent Lord of Quel'Thalas, Lor'themar Theron, and Grand Magister Rommath are seen within, along with Lady Liadrin and groups of blood elf pilgrims. In addition, several high elves have been allowed access to the sacred Sunwell; Auric Sunchaser seen as the high elf representative.

If the adventurer is not a sin'dorei, Quel'Delar is submerged into the Sunwell itself, and Lor'themar Theron thanks the adventurer for returning it to its "rightful owners." He attempts to claim it, though the blade hurls him back, to which Rommath and the Sunwell's Guardians immobilize the player and Auric, outing them as traitors. Auric is able to defuse the situation, however, and states that Quel'Delar chooses its own wielder. Rommath calls the guards off, ordering the player to begone with the blade if it is not meant to be theirs.

If a blood elf delivers Quel'Delar to the Sunwell, things play out differently. Lor'themar simply observes it as it is submerged into the Sunwell, and both he and Rommath confirm its authenticity. Hailing the player as a hero and inspiration to the sin'dorei, Lor'themar, Rommath and Auric offer words of support. Rommath instructs the sin'dorei to deliver the blade to Archmage Aethas Sunreaver, and notes that the blood elves will always rise up to face any foe.[8]

Legion

Legion This section concerns content exclusive to Legion.

During preparations for the battle on the Broken Shore, a group of blood elf paladins use the power of the Sunwell to enchant their Horde allies' weapons with holy might. The priests of Netherlight Temple later retrieve a fragment of Light from the Sunwell, among other holy places on Azeroth.[9]

Notes

  • The Sunwell's power has no physical limits or boundaries. An elf bound to its energies would be so no matter how far away they went from it.[2] Its energies are available to be drawn upon from anywhere in the cosmos[10] and even alternate realities.
  • The Sunwell does not provide immortality.[11]
  • It was suggested in the Sunwell Trilogy that the Sunwell's creation was what transformed the Highborne into their high elf forms, almost instantaneously. Newer material suggests that the change was gradual, and apparent as early as their landing in Tirisfal Glades.[3]

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.

Before Kael left shattered Quel'Thalas, he managed to salvage the skull of his father, Anasterian, from the ruins of Quel'Thalas.[12] The skull is among the artifacts that the red and green dragonflights thought would be needed to restore the Sunwell.[13]

The red dragons believed that three crushed gems from Pandaria were one of the components needed to rejuvenate the Sunwell.[14]

Speculation

The Sunwell's protection

  • During the Second War, the Sunwell itself proved a huge advantage to Silvermoon and Quel'Thalas. The Sunwell directly empowered its citizens, its great power tied to Quel'Thalas and her people, and ensured that none of the invading red dragons could so much as touch the capital. These defenses were only bypassed by Arthas, who had gained the loyalty of a great traitor in the upper echelons of Silvermoon, a turn of events which ultimately ended in the Sunwell's destruction. However, with the Sunwell restored, it is unclear as to whether Silvermoon once again possesses these great defenses.

Patch changes

References