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The Farstriders are an elite group of blood elf rangers active in Quel'Thalas. They are led by the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, Halduron Brightwing, who succeeded Sylvanas Windrunner after the Third War. The Farstriders are based in Silvermoon City, but they have several camps and lodges scattered all across Quel'Thalas. They are considered part of the blood elf government.
- 1 History
- 2 Organization
- 3 Beliefs and practices
- 4 Farstrider relations
- 5 Ranks
- 6 Player Farstriders
- 7 Uniform and equipment
- 8 Relation to dark rangers
- 9 Other Farstriders
- 10 Members
- 11 In the RPG
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 External links
The Farstriders were initially comprised of little more than a group of high elven rangers, who loosely fought together during the Troll Wars to keep Quel'Thalas safe. Of them, Talanas Windrunner was the greatest.
At some point, Lor'themar Theron served as a lieutenant and during a patrol, his three-men group was captured by Zul'jin who killed the two rangers and briefly tortured Lor'themar. Several archers had also accompanied Magister Dar'Khan Drathir, Priestess Liadrin, and apprentice Galell to investigate a malfunctioning Runestone, but they were ambushed by forest trolls as well. The archers were killed and the others were taken prisoner.
Roughly 500 years ago, a group of similarly dedicated fighters formed and officially took on the name "Farstriders." Their mandate was, originally, to protect Quel'Thalas far beyond its actual borders and look after high elf interests all over Azeroth, and while the Farstriders still see their mission as a broad one, this ambitious goal narrowed over time; today, the Farstriders rarely range beyond Quel'Thalas. The commander of the Farstriders was given a unique, historic title: Ranger-General of Silvermoon.
At the outset of the Second War, the Farstriders were led by Ranger-General Lireesa Windrunner, who was killed in one of the first attacks on Quel'Thalas by the fel-crazed orcs and their Amani allies. She was succeeded by her second eldest daughter, Sylvanas Windrunner. As the forces of the Amani and the Old Horde encroached upon northern Eversong, the Farstriders sortied to push back the invaders. Notable Farstrider commanders such as Sylvanas' second-in-command, Lor'themar Theron, the ranger-captain Alleria Windrunner, and their comrade Halduron Brightwing were part of the conflict, and the Farstriders were instrumental in holding off the Amani until the Horde's subdued red dragon allies began to lay waste to the forests. When the Farstriders and the Alliance forces had succeeded in driving off the invaders, Alleria and Lor'themar led their rangers to Lordaeron to relieve the human capital. Sylvanas remained behind to help secure Quel'Thalas, and it was Halduron and his platoon of rangers, assisted by some of Silvermoon's priests and priestesses, who defeated and apprehended the troll chieftain, Zul'jin, amidst the burning woodlands. The rangers, many of whom had lost loved ones in their many conflicts with the trolls, tortured the leader of their ancient enemy extensively. Halduron had hoped to keep Zul'jin alive long enough to be brought back to Silvermoon, but an Amani war party was able to cause a damaging enough diversion for their leader to escape the elves' grasp.
While Quel'Thalas was a part of the Alliance, Sylvanas inducted an unlikely apprentice into the Farstriders' ranks - the human ranger, Nathanos Marris. Sylvanas took what was considered an inordinate amount of pride in her talented human disciple, as noted by several of her comrades, and a number of the other Farstriders did not take kindly to the presence of a human in their ranks. Quel'Thalas' scion Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider himself demanded Sylvanas dismiss him from the ranger corps, though Sylvanas persisted in his training. Regardless, Nathanos proved himself a valuable ally and was the first and last human to achieve the rank of Ranger Lord and be trained with the Farstriders.
Some time after the conflict was over, Anasterian cited poor leadership on the humans' end that led to unnecessary violence in the elven homeland as an excuse to withdraw his kingdom from the Alliance. Thus, the nation of Quel'Thalas and the Farstriders went back into their isolation from the wider world. The Farstriders saw little action during this time; the odd Amani war-party aside, Quel'Thalas enjoyed a peaceful end to the Second War.
The Farstriders were the high elves' first line of defense during the Scourge invasion of Quel'Thalas. They were the first to learn of the fall of Lordaeron, wrought on by the twisted Prince Arthas and his undead hordes. Farstrider scouts informed Ranger-General Sylvanas of the approaching death knight, and Sylvanas led a raid of rangers herself to meet him. After mocking the Ranger-General's attempts to convince him to turn back, Arthas strode on towards the elfgates, and the Farstriders dispersed to put a stop to him before the Scourge's unholy trail of destruction could spread further into the elven kingdom.
Firstly, the Farstriders rained a hail of arrows down upon the invaders, while a contingent drew their blades and targeted the mortal members of the Cult of the Damned. Against the Farstriders' superior abilities, the living members of the cult proved little match, though their corpses were swiftly reanimated and any elves that fell followed suit. Before long, Ranger-General Sylvanas gave the order to retreat, the undead Scourge fast approaching the elfgates and cutting its way through the rangers. Sylvanas came to realize that they could not win this battle, but held out hope that the Magisters on Quel'Danas could still turn the battle around, if they knew what was coming. Farstrider scouts were sent north inform them, but Arthas had them swiftly murdered at every turn.
The Ranger-General made numerous efforts to halt the Scourge advance, including destroying the main passage leading to Elrendar and keeping the Key of Three Moons out of Arthas' grasp. However, these attempts proved mostly futile: Arthas supplemented the destroyed bridge with his shambling, mindless servants, and a traitor named Dar'Khan Drathir ensured that Arthas knew exactly where to find his much-coveted key.
Sylvanas herself fell before Silvermoon after single combat with the scion of Lordaeron, and the Farstriders fought a desperate battle for survival without her leadership. Lor'themar Theron and his rangers were patrolling near Zul'Aman around the time of the invasion, and rushed to check on the hidden mooncrystals after catching signs of an invasion. They joined with Halduron Brightwing's ranger company and rushed north to Silvermoon, and the Sunwell.
When the battle was over, Ranger Lord Lor'themar Theron became the acting high elven leader, and the Farstriders were instrumental in keeping the survivors of the Scourge onslaught safe. Upon their arrival at Silvermoon, Lor'themar and the remaining Farstriders had gathered together all the survivors they could find. They established a defensible position within Silvermoon and fought back the wandering dead that maintained a vigil in the area. The next day, the Farstriders struck out and made sweeping perimeter searches of Eversong, seeking out survivors they had missed or those trying to reach the city, and leading them to safety.
After learning of the devastation of Quel'Thalas, Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider returned to his homeland. He renamed the survivors "blood elves" in honor of their fallen brethren, and commanded Lor'themar to safeguard the elven homeland from the Scourge remnants, while he took 15% of the blood elven people to join the Alliance resistance. With Sylvanas' demise, a void was left, and the Farstriders elected Halduron Brightwing as their new ranger-general, as he was both a talented leader and a skilled ranger.
Lor'themar and Halduron led the Farstriders in doing battle with the Scourge all over Quel'Thalas, with varying success. They picked up the track of the great traitor Dar'Khan Drathir himself, and launched an ambush on him; however, they were met with a raid of high elven skeletons blocking their path, and the traitor eluded justice. Lor'themar, Halduron, and their rangers later captured and interrogated Kalecgos and his companions, but joined forces with the blue dragon's party upon discerning their good intentions. The rangers aided Kalecgos in battling Dar'Khan on Quel'Danas.
The blood elves had made little progress with reclaiming the kingdom, the Scourge still inhabiting it in strong numbers. Nevertheless, the Farstriders continued their battle against the undead, and were eventually relieved by Grand Magister Rommath and his magisters, who quickly went about using the radical new teachings advocated by Illidan Stormrage (ostensibly Kael'thas) to expel the invaders and reclaim much of Quel'Thalas with stunning efficiency. Silvermoon City itself was rebuilt "almost overnight," and the blood elves' fortune was beginning to look far better.
However, the teachings Rommath brought back to Quel'Thalas caused some friction within the Farstriders: Renthar Hawkspear and his rangers openly opposed them, an act that led the newly-named Regent Lord of Quel'Thalas Lor'themar Theron to banish them south.
Quel'Thalas also looked to finding allies around this time, and the Farstriders were initially of a dubious mind regarding their alliance with the Horde. They also opposed the creation of the Blood Knight order.
The Farstriders were perhaps the most unaffected by the pangs of magic addiction and withdrawal and felt a much lesser hunger for the arcane than some of their brethren. The cause of this was unknown.
This section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.
Today the Farstriders do not usually range far from home. Instead, they fight to reclaim and control the southern section of Quel'Thalas, which has been heavily afflicted by the plague: the southernmost areas have fallen into Scourge possession. The Farstriders are also fighting to hold onto Eversong Woods, which is being threatened by the Amani trolls of Zul'Aman, to the east of Quel'Thalas.
The Farstriders hold the Ghostlands via their numerous holdings throughout Eversong Woods with the unlikely assistance of the Forsaken; primarily concerned with dealing with the Amani trolls still holding out within Quel'Thalas from the Farstrider Retreat. They would also take the fight into the Ghostlands, from their main base in the Farstrider Enclave. Halduron and a Farstrider platoon joined with the Blood Knights in dealing with Dar'Khan's first reappearance in the Ghostlands. Although Farstriders and Magisters rarely see eye-to-eye, they had a very common goal when it came to seeing the great traitor Dar'Khan Drathir, now an undead servant of the Lich King, dead.
After the dramatic events surrounding the treacherous Prince Kael'thas and the Burning Legion, the Sunwell has been restored to its people. Around this time, a number of the Sunfury forces returned home to serve their people, and the Farstriders have been less stretched with protecting Quel'Thalas' borders as a result.
This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.
The Farstriders and Darkspear tribe form an alliance against the new troll empire brewing in Zul'Aman, and a regiment of Farstrider Troll hunters can be found on its outskirts. With most of the Farstriders away on duty, Halduron calls upon support from an unlikely source -- Vereesa Windrunner and her own rangers, who travel to Quel'Thalas to assist their homeland against the Amani threat.
Mists of Pandaria
This section concerns content related to Mists of Pandaria.
A Farstrider regiment is deployed to Pandaria roughly two months after the continent's discovery. Accompanying Lor'themar Theron, the Farstriders (as well as Blood Knight divisions) serve as bodyguards to Regent Lord Theron, and as a protective measure for the Reliquary. Ranger Orestes is tasked with tracking down and capturing a mogu warlord alongside Blood Knight Aenea, and Farstriders are seen subduing the captured mogu with chains after the deed is done.
Following Grand Magister Rommath's assault on Dalaran to rescue the Sunreavers, Lor'themar orders Halduron to assemble the Farstriders, noting that the time had finally come for the sin'dorei to take their future into their own hands. Halduron and his Farstrider rangers then assisted Lor'themar and the Sunreaver Onslaught against the Zandalari and mogu forces.
Warlords of Draenor
This section concerns content related to Warlords of Draenor.
This section concerns content related to Legion.
Halduron leads the Farstriders to Trueshot Lodge; many named Farstriders, some familiar, can be found in and around the camp. The Farstriders were responsible for uncovering the whereabouts of their old comrade Alleria Windrunner, after torturing a demon into giving up information on Niskara, a Legion world inhabited by the Inquisitor demons. Joining forces with Vereesa Windrunner, they returned to the Broken Shore to plan a rescue. Ranger Orestes lost his life in the attempt.
When the Unseen Path's new leader is inaugurated, Halduron vows that the Farstriders will fight at their side.
The Farstriders is a small but highly skilled group of rangers. The organization can trace its roots back to the Troll Wars when a loosely affiliated band of high elf warriors occasionally worked together to defend Quel'Thalas.
Over time the Farstriders' focus has evolved. Today the Farstriders do not usually range far from home. Instead, they are trying to reclaim the southern section of Quel'Thalas, which has been heavily afflicted by the plague: the southernmost areas have fallen into Scourge possession. The Farstriders are also fighting to hold onto Eversong Woods, which is being threatened by the Amani trolls of Zul'Aman, to the east of Quel'Thalas.
Although Halduron Brightwing is the blood elves' military commander, the Farstriders as an organization have never been a formal military, and are considered separate from Silvermoon's standing army. However, this is contradicted during a conversation between Halduron Brightwing and an envoy sent by Lor'themar Theron, during Patch 4.1 of the Cataclysm expansion, where Halduron Brightwing argues the point that as the official military commander of Quel'Thalas, he has the right to call upon the aid of whoever he wishes (in reference to him seeking the aid of Vereesa Windrunner.)
Beliefs and practices
The Farstriders have long been considered valiant and honorable elves who regarded the law with deep respect and faith. Indeed, they have long been considered the epitome of selfless dedication.
Since the Scourge's bloody rampage through Quel'Thalas, the Farstriders have lost some of their optimism. Even so, they are nobly maintaining their role as protectors of blood elf society. Perhaps due to their ties to the land, these rangers tend to be spiritually, mentally, and physically healthier than many other blood elves.
They see their mission as a broad one: to seek out and eradicate evil. Their primary focus is on Quel'Thalas itself, but they also occasionally venture abroad, carrying out surgical strikes where they feel their efforts will have the greatest effect.
While many of their brethren focus on magical supremacy and the wonders of the arcane, the Farstriders retain some of their forebears' connection to nature, feeling at home in the forests and finding allies in the wilderness - while Silvermoon has many political divisions, in nature the Farstriders find allies that do not know deceit. Intimately bound to the wildlands, the Farstriders are experts at their craft and know the forests of Quel'Thalas like no others, outclassing even their ancient enemy the Amani in terms of woodsmanship and stealth.
The Farstriders are not opposed to torture, sometimes practicing it with a brutality that unsettles fellow elves. They famously employed it on Zul'jin, beating him ruthlessly and gouging out his eye to take vengeance for the lives his campaigns had claimed, and have also made use of it on captured demons for the purpose of interrogation.
Though initially icy in relation to their prospective alliance with the Horde, the Farstriders seem capable of putting racial prejudice aside when needed -- gladly working with the Darkspear tribe -- and Halduron Brightwing himself seems highly respectful to his Horde allies; the ranger-general is noted as displaying few of the haughty prejudices the elves are known for.
Their feud with the Blood Knights is well known. Due to the knights' method of wielding the Light, the Farstriders looked down upon the Blood Knights, considering them to be immoral, and hoped they would see the light. In turn, the Blood Knights considered the Farstriders afraid of grasping true power.
The Farstriders also seem at odds with several of the Magisters. This is perhaps fuelled by the various allusions given to Grand Magister Rommath and Halduron Brightwing not seeing eye-to-eye on many matters.
The comments of Silvermoon City Guardians indicate their cold feelings towards the Farstriders.
The Farstriders have a ranking system by title, and it appears to possess a fairly straightforward command hierarchy.
- Ranger-General - also referred to as "Ranger-General of Quel'Thalas". The leader of the Farstriders and Quel'Thalas' military commander.
- Ranger Lord - a high ranking title granted to rangers of incredible prowess. The Thalassian term for this rank is Alar'annalas.
- Ranger Captain - a position of high authority in the Farstriders.
- Captain - a rank of authority.
- Lieutenant - a rank of authority.
- Farstrider - a number of rangers simply bear the title of "Farstrider" itself.
- Ranger - an entry-level rank.
Promotion to Ranger Lord, or Alar'annalas, is often done in a formal public ceremony. The ranger-general drapes the new ranger lord in a Fora'nal cloth, symbolizing their progression and imparts encouraging words. The head of state may even pay their respects.
This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.
In the same way player blood elf paladins were considered part of the Blood Knights through their class quests, player blood elf hunters were considered part of the Farstriders, but received comparatively few quests to emphasize this affiliation.
Uniform and equipment
Unsurprisingly, the Farstriders tend to use mostly blood elven crafted designs for their outfits, and usually wield bows, crossbows, swords or polearms. Unlike the Blood Knights, they do not usually display any particular preference for their color code, and are typically seen in varying attire. Halduron himself sports a mostly blue outfit; however, standard Farstrider attire (pictured right) is often green.
Relation to dark rangers
The dark rangers of the Forsaken were once high elven Farstriders, who fell during the Scourge invasion of Quel'Thalas. After Sylvanas Windrunner regained her body, she raised Dark Ranger Velonara. She did so probably with the others as well.
Sylvanas was horrified to see that the natural world no longer responded to her. As such, she began to dabble in necromancy and combined the expert skills she had gleamed from her days as a Farstrider with the dark power open to her via necromancy. As such, the dark rangers were born.
Visually, the dark rangers do not appear to have forgotten their roots. Their outfits are a darker take on the typical Farstrider uniform, and Sylvanas herself sports the exact same outfit she had worn in life - albeit with a darker and more aggressive twist.
Though the term 'Farstrider' refers to the blood elven organization, remnants of the original ranger corps that did not become sin'dorei can be found outside of Quel'Thalas. Quel'Lithien Lodge was where the banished rangers under Renthar Hawkspear took up residence, though they were later turned into Wretched.
- For other rangers that might be Farstriders, see Elven ranger#Blood elf.
- Silvermoon Farstrider
- Farstrider Scout
- Farstrider Troll-Hunter
- Sunreaver Ranger
- Farstrider (Kun-Lai Summit)
- Farstrider Ranger
In the RPG
Although every Farstrider is a ranger, a rare few do take on roguish pursuits. The organization can trace its roots back to the Troll Wars, when a loosely affiliated band of high elf warriors occasionally worked together to defend Quel'Thalas. Roughly five hundred years ago, a group of similarly dedicated fighters formed and officially took on the name "Farstriders". Their mandate was to protect Quel'Thalas far beyond its actual borders and look after high elf interests all over Azeroth. The commander of the Farstriders was given a unique title: Ranger-General of Silvermoon.
Over time the Farstriders' focus has evolved. Once, Farstriders traveled far and wide. These days, most stay within Quel'thalas's borders, maintaining the peace and fighting off the Scourge and Zul'Aman. While the occasional band ventures into the Eastern Plaguelands or Hinterlands, they don't go far from home anymore.
Farstriders are all blood elves. Furthermore, everyone is a ranger of some sort. While the rare Farstrider may focus on roguish pursuits, the faction is entirely combat-related, and even their rogues are deadly with a bow. Or without, for that matter. Joining the Farstriders is no mean task. You must go through an extensive trial period, testing your archery skills as well as your survival and stealth skills. No Farstrider is truly a greenhorn, though. To become a Farstrider, a character must have excellent stealth and survival skills and at least some training as a ranger. A newly inducted ranger receives extensive training in guerilla tactics, as well as lessons in anatomy. Senior members are killing machines. They can put an arrow through a goblin's heart at 500 paces and not even break a sweat. Most senior Farstriders have killed more beasts than any soldier in the blood elf military. They make Defias assassins look like babies.
Blood elves are known for their grudges. Of all the blood elves, Farstriders carried a deep resentment towards the Horde. They went out of their way to slay trolls, even those of the Horde. They hate the undead as well, they didn't like the fact that the Horde let the Forsaken into their ranks. They have had little experience with tauren, and don't have much quarrel with them but see them as bestial brutes. Despite the fact that blood elves and undead do not get well together, Sylvanas offered assistance to the blood elves despite the feelings of the Farstriders, leading to the blood elves joining the Horde.
Farstrider military tactics
Farstriders use similar tactics to other elven regiments, preferring bows. A good Farstrider is never seen in battle. The blood elf rangers prefer to hide among camouflage and in trees, sniping with their longbows.
Farstriders are independent of Silvermoon's military forces. Rather, Farstriders are structured more like a mercenary group. While individual Farstriders bear military designations, the bands are independent. Most Farstrider bands include from 3 to 5 members and answer only to the ranger-general.
Farstriders prefer guerilla tactics to frontal assaults. They always attack from cover, using trees and rocks to cover their traces while sniping at enemies. A Farstrider band splits up just before the attack, surrounding the enemy forces. Once in position, the lead ranger gives a birdcall to ready the others. Then all rangers bombard their enemies with arrows. They hamper fleeing targets with spells such as entangle. When discovered, a ranger retreats to a more strategic location and renews his assault. The Farstriders hunt and exterminate any enemies that escape the spells and arrows. Farstriders are quick, expert and ruthless.
High elven rangers
The few high elves who join the Farstriders often succumb to blood elf ways and declare themselves sin'dorei. Thus, all Farstriders are blood elf rangers.
As such, the high elves no longer possess an official Farstrider organization, though a small number of high elven rangers are still seen in residence at their elven lodges. Farstrider Lodge in Loch Modan, an Alliance territory, has since become a dwarven hunting lodge since the conversion from quel'dorei to sin'dorei, and some exiled rangers (now Wretched) once made the Quel'Lithien Lodge their home away from home.
Night elven Farstriders
Farstriders is also a name given to a small night elf organization based in Ashenvale. They were the only unified night elf presence dwelling in Ashenvale, before the Third War, as a reclusive group of rangers. The Farstriders use the terrain and other inhabitants to train in their specialized skills. They hold a difference of opinion regarding strangers in Ashenvale. Some believe that their duty is to welcome and protect travelers, as long as they show no threat to the forest. Others see any strangers as unwelcome interlopers who must be “escorted” to the southern border. Still, whatever their opinion on Ashenvale, the Farstriders bow to the wishes of the ancients and the sentinels. They lived in the Farstrider Camp. Outraged Farstriders prevented orcs that mined Goldcrease Mine from taking the gold.
- The Farstriders were largely unaffected by the addiction to magic that manifested after the destruction of the Sunwell. The exact reason for this is unknown, but is perhaps due to their outdoorsy lifestyle, or because the rangers practice little-to-no magic compared to the rest of their brethren.
- Most young high elves had a 'I wanna be a Farstrider' phase, which they had left by the time they were taken as apprentices.
- In Warcraft III, the forces opposing the Scourge in Quel'Thalas were named Elven Ranger Corps and Elven Defenders. The names haven't been used anywhere else and in a subsequent lore detailing the Scourge invasion like Arthas: Rise of the Lich King and Blood of the Highborne, Sylvanas' forces were referred to only as the Farstriders.
- ^ a b c d e f g The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Farstriders
- ^ a b Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Alliance Ground Units, Elven Ranger
- ^ Tales of the Hunt
- ^ Blood of the Highborne, chapter 1
- ^ a b c d e f g h i Blood of the Highborne
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 271
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 275
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 266 - 274
- ^ The Sunwell Trilogy
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Blood Elves
- ^ a b In the Shadow of the Sun
- ^ a b Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 147
- ^ The Burning Crusade Townhall/History of the Blood Elves
- ^ a b
- ^ Tides of Darkness, pg. 211
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg 144
- ^ Blood of the Highborne - "With this Fora'nal I appoint you Alar'annalas, ranger lord of the Farstriders. The good people of our kingdom may rest easy, knowing that you will always be here to guard and protect them, to defend them against any threat." She finished with "Belono sil'aru, belore'dorei," which meant, "Shoulder your burdens well, child of the sun."
- ^ Dark Ranger Velonara#Quotes
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 41
- ^ Quest for Pandaria Part 4, pg 9-10, 13-14
- ^ a b Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 154. ISBN 9781588464460.
- ^ Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 153. ISBN 9781588464460.
- ^ Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 178. ISBN 9781588464460.
- ^ Dark Factions, pg. 154
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 77 - 78
- ^ Arthaus. Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 186-187. ISBN 9781588460714.
- ^ Ros'eleth