- This article is about the night elf organization. For the titan-forged beings, see titanic watcher. For other uses, see Watcher (disambiguation).
(see also #Inconsistencies)
|Formerly||Sira Moonwarden (temporarily)|
|Secondary leaders||Saynna Stormrunner|
Night elf |
Keeper of the grove
|Character classes||Warden, Huntress, Druid|
|Base of operations||Barrow Deeps, Vault of the Wardens|
|Theater of operations||Kalimdor, Broken Isles, Outland|
|Affiliation||Darnassus, The Wardens|
The Watchers are the jailers and marshals of night elf society. They guard the barrow-prisons of the night elves and hunt down dangerous criminals. Though their members came from a number of backgrounds, their original members were volunteers of the Sisterhood of Elune. A circular blade called an is the favored weapon of the Watchers, most famously wielded by Maiev Shadowsong, but can be seen even today on night elves such as the Barrow Deeps Watchers on Mount Hyjal. They can also wield typical glaives. The highest rank that can be bestowed on a Watcher is the one of Warden.
- 1 Membership
- 2 History
- 3 Sub-groups
- 4 Known members
- 5 Notes
- 6 Inconsistencies
- 7 Gallery
- 8 References
At first, volunteers from the Sisterhood of Elune made up the Watchers, and so the organization was composed solely of night elf women. As their duties were broadened, the Watchers accepted night elf women from other professions as well as men and druids, such as Sarius. A mixture of volunteerism and military promotions caused the organization's size to grow somewhat, although the Watchers remained a relatively small group.
While in Outland, the Watchers recruited hundreds of draenei and Broken to bolster their ranks in the fight against Illidan Stormrage. These recruits were trained to move silently in the forests like night elves, but were ultimately wiped out in the battle at the Hand of Gul'dan.
Aftermath of the War of the Ancients
Shortly after the Great Sundering, Malfurion Stormrage sentenced his brother Illidan to imprisonment for having created a second Well of Eternity. In inflicting this punishment, Malfurion hoped to prevent Illidan from continuing his reckless pursuit of arcane power. By this point in time, however, Illidan was already an extraordinarily powerful sorcerer, and Malfurion dared not leave his captive twin to be guarded by only one or two jailors. One of the senior Sisters of Elune, Maiev Shadowsong, had already shown her competence in guarding Illidan before he was brought to trial. Malfurion accordingly asked Maiev to gather additional volunteers from the Sisters of Elune. Maiev obeyed, and Malfurion called this new group the Watchers, for he charged them with ensuring that Illidan never escaped the barrow prison. Maiev, as the Watchers' leader, would answer to the head of night elf government, High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind.
The Watchers were created specifically and exclusively to be Illidan's jailors, but as further threats came up, Tyrande broadened the Watchers' role to include guarding other prisoners. Maiev took grim pleasure in these added responsibilities. Watchers became jailors and marshals: they policed the barrow prisons and hunted down dangerous criminals. Outside of the barrow prisons, members of the Watchers worked alone. These deadly women were not a militia, nor were they considered part of either the Sisterhood of Elune or the Sentinels. As the group's leader, Maiev was given the rank of warden, which she later awarded to a select few who had proven their exceptional fighting abilities, tracking skills, and tenacity.
During the Third War, Tyrande realized that Illidan had been incarcerated for over ten thousand years. She felt that he had more than paid his debt to society; furthermore, she felt that he would be a valuable ally against the Burning Legion. Thus, she led a band of soldiers into Illidan's prison. When Tyrande called on them to release Illidan, they openly defied her. They would not surrender their charge, Tyrande and the Sentinels fought and killed a number of Watchers. Once freed, Illidan stole and consumed the Skull of Gul'dan, and he was transformed into a demon.
Terror of the Tides
Infuriated by Tyrande's actions, Maiev swore she would track Illidan down and put him back in prison. In light of the demon's undeniable might, Maiev took most of the Watchers with her on the hunt. They pursued Illidan across Azshara where they came upon the devastated seaport town of Nendis, its denizens slaughtered and mutilated. After clashing with mur'gul, satyrs and demon-tainted beasts from the wilderness they came face to face with Illidan's monstrous new naga allies attempting to sink the ships docked in the harbor while their master sailed away. By defeating the naga they recovered enough vessels to follow the Betrayer to the Broken Isles.
Once they landed, the Watchers made camp in the jungles and in the ruins of the old Kaldorei cities lost during the War of the Ancients. They fought their way through the naga once more and pressed their hunt for Illidan into the depths of the Tomb of Sargeras. As they entered the Tomb, Maiev deciphered the Orcish runes left behind by Gul'dan and grew worried that Illidan would retrieve a magical artifact and become significantly more difficult to recapture. She and the other Watchers caught up with Illidan too late, having to battle the remains of the Stormreaver Clan as well as the tomb's own demonic guardians, undead and wild creatures, and the naga led by Lady Vashj: Illidan had already claimed the Eye of Sargeras. He used the Eye's power on the tomb's stone walls, trapping the Watchers in one section of the tomb while seawater flooded the area. Only Maiev was able to escape; her sisters in arms were buried alive, including her first lieutenant Naisha. Maiev would not forget her Watchers, swearing that she would avenge them all.
Fleeing from the collapsing Tomb, Maiev met with the Watchers camped outside. She warned them of Illidan's acquired artifact and urged them to retreat back to Kalimdor to enlist the aid of Malfurion Stormrage. Alas, Illidan had other plans and cornered the Watchers with his naga to halt their escape. A long and hard-fought battle ensued between the two armies as the Watchers stood their ground, entrusting a small party to escort a runner through the naga's lines and onto the shore where they could sail to sea.
Against the odds, the Watchers were able to hold back Illidan's attacks long enough for Malfurion and Tyrande Whisperwind to arrive with reinforcements. Though the presence of the High Priestess caused much displeasure to Maiev, they fought together and were able to win the day against the naga. Tyrande herself sought to stop Illidan, but he was able to flee once more, this time to the distant lands of Lordaeron.
Undeterred, Maiev led her Watchers to the Eastern Kingdoms where they reluctantly aided prince Kael'thas Sunstrider and his blood elves in crossing the undead-infested forest of Silverpine. Upon reaching the river Arevass, Tyrande stood behind to hold back an overwhelming force of undead, however, she fell in the waters of the stream below and despite the pleas of prince Kael, Maiev and her Watchers did not go to her rescue, believing they had a greater mission at hand.
The chase for Illidan eventually led them to the ruins of Dalaran, where the Betrayer had begun a mighty ritual using the Eye of Sargeras, such was its potency that it began to tear the roof of the world asunder. Maiev deceived Malfurion into believing Tyrande was torn apart by the undead in an effort to maintain his support to the Watchers. Along with the blood elves, the Watchers assaulted the ruins and interrupted the incantation wrought by Illidan's naga sorceresses. The magical instability that followed destroyed the Eye of Sargeras and left Illidan surrounded by the Watchers. Ensnared by Malfurion, Illidan could not flee as Maiev sentenced him to death. But before the killing blow could be given, prince Kael revealed that Tyrande was still alive. Outraged at this discovery, Malfurion ensnared Maiev instead and called her a betrayer while letting Illidan free on the accord that he would aid him in recovering Tyrande.
Discontent with the outcome faced in Dalaran and believing that justice still had to be done, Maiev led her Watchers to continue following Illidan while he saved Tyrande. When the Betrayer left Azeroth through a portal, Maiev and her Watchers charged inside after him. The gateway led them to the shattered world of Outland where they were, at long last, able to catch Illidan and bind him in an enchanted prison once more. His second incarceration was short-lived, however; during the transit back to their camp, the Watchers were assaulted by a joint force of blood elves and naga, led by Kael'thas and Lady Vashj, who took Illidan's prison and released him afterwards. The pursuit was not over.
The hunt continues in Outland
In spite of the losses suffered, the Watchers stayed true to their mission of bringing Illidan Stormrage to reckoning. By this time, Anyndra was Maiev's second-in-command and only thirty Watchers still marched with her. The following years proved Outland to be an unforgiving and hostile place, the Watchers suffered heavily from thirst and heat, and they were confronted by many perils which they only narrowly survived, such as fel reavers, and ravagers. Maiev, who had until then never doubted their commitment to the hunt, knew she had to keep a closer eye on her own Watchers and their wavering morale, though many of them remained stalwart regardless of their dire situation. Even as she considered a closer eye on her troops, Maiev herself was often consumed by deep ruminations on Illidan that led her to inadvertently risk exposure or walk her troops into traps, for which she cursed Illidan.
The Watchers initially ventured from Hellfire Peninsula to the boggy fenland of Zangarmarsh, seeking the Broken sage, Akama in an effort to gather allies against Illidan. While here they were met with new terrible living conditions, mainly the spores that saturated the very air and found their way everywhere on the Watchers, settling within their clothes and their armor. Phosphorescent fungi began to grow from their skin and only careful cleaning or healing magic could remove them. Huge stinging insects deposited brain-eating larvae within their bodies, which Maiev also blamed on Illidan after one stung and killed Kolea.
After finding Akama in the village of Orebor Harborage he refused to aid the Watchers directly, but he revealed to Maiev that Illidan was carrying the pit lord Magtheridon to Hellfire Citadel,  this prompted the Watchers to make haste back to Hellfire Peninsula where Maiev planned a suicide attack to assassinate Illidan in full view of his army. At the last minute, Maiev was lost in fantasies of beheading Illidan when Anyndra broke her ponderings and Sarius warned her that Illidan was looking in her direction. This led her to call off the attack and retreat in search of allies braver than Akama.
Leaving Hellfire behind, the Watchers traveled to Nagrand where they set up camp and began recruiting hundreds of draenei and Broken youths to their army by visiting town after town to convince the people of Outland of the danger posed by Illidan. Here they encountered the Kurenai, who invited them to Telaar. The town's leader, Arechron, allowed them to recruit in his village and told them of Shattrath, the Aldor and the naaru. From the Kurenai the Watchers recruited five scores of young fighters mounted on elekk, then they departed for Shattrath.
In Shattrath, they sought an audience with A'dal. They distrusted the blood elves in the city, Sarius pitied them, while Maiev wondered if they were spies for Kael'thas, refusing to collaborate with the Scryers, despite Voren'thal the Seer personally making himself available. In the end, they parted ways from A'dal after he told Maiev he had no aid to give, leading to the Watchers appealing to the Aldor instead, who likewise could not offer any help. During their stay, Akama informed the Watchers of the new generation of demon hunters Illidan was making and of Kael'thas' departure from Illidan's service. Feeling time was wearing thin, the Watchers prepared themselves for action.
The Watchers passed through Zangarmarsh once more, they attempted to sabotage the water-pumping engines of the Coilfang, but failed. They freed several Broken slaves held captive by the naga, but Maiev disregarded them as useless.
While the Watchers worked with Akama and the Ashtongue in secret, Illidan was able to discover the plot and manipulated Akama by tearing out a portion of his soul. Akama then contacted Maiev and planned a meeting at Orebor Harborage, telling her to ready her Watchers for fighting. Thinking that the time to act had finally come, the Watchers quickly rode to the village after a brief clash with ogres. Akama arrived late, but he delivered wonderful news of an opportunity to strike at Illidan during a moment of vulnerability at the Hand of Gul'dan where the Betrayer would attempt to open a new gateway. At the prospect that Illidan could flee from her grasp once again with a new portal, Maiev prepared her Watchers and made for Shadowmoon Valley at once, with assurances of support from the Ashtongue.
In Shadowmoon, the Watchers and the Ashtongue took furtive positions at the Hand of Gul'dan while the ritual was in process. When the order to strike was given, the Watchers and their allies outnumbered the Illidari and many of them quickly fell at the sudden onslaught. Then, Illidan gave a signal and portals began to open all around them, bringing massive reinforcements for the Illidari. Despite attempts to block the portals, the Watchers were quickly overrun and decimated to the last one standing, including Anyndra and Sarius. Only Maiev was spared to suffer capture at the hands of the Betrayer.
Three months later, Maiev was liberated from her cell by her own jailer, Akama. The following day, Maiev reached the pinnacle of the Black Temple and slew Illidan alongside Akama and the heroes. Her long hunt was finally over, all her promises of reckoning fulfilled, and her Watchers avenged. Though she would continue to be haunted by the deaths of her followers and a sense of hollowness.
Searching for something to live for following Illidan's death, Maiev left Outland and journeyed to Darnassus to rejoin her people. Despite her role in leaving Tyrande for dead during their venture into the Eastern Kingdoms, she was permitted to return to Darnassus to begin training a new generation of Watchers, all of whom are just as fearless and dangerous as the originals. When Malfurion and Tyrande allowed for the Highborne and the Worgen to live in Darnassus, Maiev was secretly outraged — despising the Highborne for their part in the War of the Ancients, and the other races of the Alliance for bringing the night elves into their affairs.
When the Highborne mage Thera'brin was assassinated and his corpse was found by the Watchers' training grounds, it seemed to be intended to impute the Watchers. Maiev offered her services to investigate the matter and bring the murderer to justice, to which Malfurion and Tyrande consented. In truth, however, she was secretly the one responsible for the Highborne killings. Maiev had planned to slaughter the Highborne and their leaders first, and then give Malfurion a slow rotting death. In her opinion, Malfurion was guilty of the same arrogance that his twin, Illidan, displayed. By believing that he knew what was best for the night elf people, she felt Malfurion condemned them by taking away their immortality. She also despised him for forgiving the Highborne and accepting them back into night elf society. It is suspected that the trauma caused by years of dedication to her duty, combined with the torture inflicted upon her when she was Illidan's prisoner had finally driven her mad.
Jarod Shadowsong later freed Malfurion and joined him in confronting Maiev and her Watchers. Jarod distracted Maiev while Malfurion was rescuing the Highborne, whom Maiev had captured in a deadly trap. Jarod subsequently drove Maiev off, unable to kill his own sister. The Highborne were safe, and most of the new Watchers were dead, though their mistress had vanished into the night. With Maiev gone, Tyrande decided to question the remaining Watchers and appoint a new leader from the innocent ones.
Warlords of Draenor
- Main article: The Wardens
The Watchers have a base in Azsuna on the Broken Isles, known as the Isle of the Watchers. It is here that the Vault of the Wardens is located, a prison for the most dangerous beings that the Wardens have encountered. With the help of Cordana, who allowed them access into the facility, the Legion assaulted the Vault and retrieved the corpse of Illidan Stormrage. Maiev was taken during the assault as well and brought to Black Rook Hold. The Wardens worked with the Illidari to find the , and with adventurers to kill the traitor Cordana, and many powerful individuals that had escaped the prison during the attack. Sira Moonwarden acted as their leader in Maiev's absence.
Battle for Azeroth
Maiev's wardens arrived in Stormwind City to meet with Tyrande Whisperwind and Anduin Wrynn. In the Battle for Darkshore, as well as the events leading up to it as Tyrande prepared the Night Warrior ritual, the Wardens joined the Alliance against the Horde. Sira Moonwarden (as well as at least one other Warden, Lyani Shadestalker) was killed and resurrected by the Forsaken, and joined their side.
Barrow Deeps Watchers
Barrow Deeps Watchers are night elven soldiers associated with the Guardians of Hyjal guarding several prisoners. They are located within the underground prison complex of Hyjal Barrow Dens in Mount Hyjal under the leadership of Captain Saynna Stormrunner. The Barrow Deeps Watchers fight with Twilight Assassins, who are trying to free Fandral Staghelm from his prison. They seem to be "lesser" wardens with less extreme armor components, and open-faced helms similar to Maiev Shadowsong's in-game model in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.
- Main article: Shadow Wardens
After the escape of Fandral Malfurion Stormrage talked to Captain Saynna Stormrunner. He knew that they took the loss of Fandral from their custody very seriously, so it didn't take much prodding to bring the Shadow Wardens to the Firelands to hunt the Druids of the Flame.
Despite their attire, neither the Barrow Deeps Watchers nor the Shadow Wardens were initially confirmed to be a part of the Watchers. However, many members of the Shadow Wardens were later seen on the alternate Draenor accompanying Archmage Khadgar in Alliance camps and later with Maiev Shadowsong on the Broken Isles.
|Califax||Guardian of Illidan's cell||Deceased||Barrow Deeps|
|Maiev Shadowsong||Leader (penultimate)||Alive||Various|
|Naisha||Lieutenant of Maiev||Deceased||Tomb of Sargeras|
|Anyndra||Second-in-command to Maiev||Deceased||Hand of Gul'dan|
|Sarius||Druid||Deceased||Hand of Gul'dan|
|Neva||Maiev’s best student||Deceased|
|Saynna Stormrunner||Captain, guards Fandral Staghelm||Alive||Hyjal Barrow Dens|
|Sira Moonwarden||Dark Warden, risen by the Val'kyr to serve Sylvanas||Active||Stormwind Stockades|
|Cordana Felsong||Former Warden of the Watchers||Deceased||Various|
- The statues named Owl of the Watchers give players useful buffs.
- In their Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos appearance, the Watchers used mystics, male spell-casting units, an exception in the night elven society at that time. Their ranks also included intelligent wildkin.
- The night elven guards Moonleaf, Leesa'oh, Jhang and Moonshade all bear the Watcher title, but are not associated with the Watchers.
At the end of Wolfheart, after Maiev betrayed Darnassus, Tyrande wanted to pick an innocent member of the Watchers to replace her and lead them, while Jarod Shadowsong was to lead a new security force composed from the members of the Sentinels. Later, the Ultimate Visual Guide stated that "Jarod now leads the Watchers, which act as a security force" and labeled him as "Leader of the Watchers". The updated Visual Guide changed the sentence to "Jarod now leads a security force of night elves", but kept his title, though it still is closer to Wolfheart's wording. It could be speculated that:
- Since the updated Visual Guide removed the bit about Jarod leading the Watchers, the inclusion of his "Leader of the Watchers" title was likely an oversight.
- Tyrande didn't choose a Watcher to lead them but chose Jarod instead.
- His title might refer to another group called the Watchers, but that is less likely.
However, these events seem to be completely ignored in later development. For unknown reasons, Maiev still seems to be considered leader of the Watchers in recent content despite her betrayal in Wolfheart.
- The audio-drama The Tomb of Sargeras states that Maiev was the leader of Cordana Felsong during Warlords of Draenor, despite the events of Wolfheart, and that she was "sent" to aid Khadgar. The Wardens on Draenor are openly affiliated with the other night elves as well as the Alliance, making this further confusing and unclear.
- Maiev is stated to be "leader of the Watchers" on the official Legion website.
- In Legion, Tyrande and Malfurion knew about Maiev on the Broken Isles.
- This controversy seems to have been largely rendered moot as of the Fourth War, as both Maiev and Jarod have openly joined with their kaldorei kin under the Alliance, presumably combining their forces in Darkshore against the Horde.
- In , Maiev and two Wardens appeared to take Illidan's body and the captured Illidari demon hunters to the Vault of the Wardens. However, according to the Illidan novel, every Watcher in Maiev's group had already been killed, and only Maiev survived to be taken prisoner.
- It could be speculated that there were other surviving Watchers that were not mentioned, or that more Watchers had come with the Azerothian forces of the Alliance and Horde and re-united with Maiev at the Black Temple
- As the audiodrama refers to Maiev's followers as the Watchers as well, it could be speculated that the Darnassus Watchers are The Wardens, but many details remain unclear.
- In , the wardens accompanying Maiev are using the new Legion model. In Cataclysm, wardens use an alternate, updated Legion model. In Legion, the wardens we see use the first model again.
- In Warcraft III: Reforged the mystics in the Barrow Deeps are inexplicably high elves. This is most likely an oversight caused by the Reforged update.
- ^ a b
- ^ Loreology on Twitter (archived page)
- ^ a b c d e The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Watchers
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 7
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 10
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 16
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 20
- ^ "Eternity's End: Brothers in Blood", Warcraft III. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 76
- ^ Rise of the Naga (WC3 NightElf)
- ^ The Broken Isles (WC3 NightElf)
- ^ The Tomb of Sargeras (WC3 NightElf)
- ^ Wrath of the Betrayer (WC3 NightElf)
- ^ Balancing the Scales (WC3 NightElf)
- ^ Shards of the Alliance (WC3 NightElf)
- ^ Malfurion's Vision (WC3 NightElf)
- ^ The Ruins of Dalaran (WC3 NightElf)
- ^ A Parting of Ways (WC3 NightElf)
- ^ The Search for Illidan (WC3 BloodElf)
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 2
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 3
- ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 4
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 15
- ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 28
- ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 31
- ^ Demon Hunter Cinematic#2
- ^ a b Wolfheart, chapter 29
- ^ The Tomb of Sargeras
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 93
- ^ World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide, Updated and Expanded, pg. 105
- ^ Warcraft Lore/Maiev Shadowsong