- This article is about the night elf organization. For the titan-forged beings, see titanic watcher. For other uses, see Watcher (disambiguation).
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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. A mixture of volunteerism and military promotions caused the organization's size to grow somewhat, although the Watchers remained a relatively small group. Illidan Stormrage killed almost all of the Watchers after the Third War, at which point the group ceased to exist.
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.
Hunt for Illidan
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 the sea to Lordaeron and thence to the Broken Isles. When he entered the Tomb of Sargeras, Maiev grew worried that he would retrieve a magical artifact and become significantly more difficult to recapture. She and the other Watchers caught up with Illidan too late: he 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 drowned. In one fell stroke, Illidan had all but wiped out the Watchers. Maiev swore that she would have revenge, no matter the cost. She abandoned her duties and continued to hunt Illidan until she, at last, followed him to Outland.
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 to Stormwind City to met with Tyrande Whisperwind and Anduin Wrynn. In the Battle for Darkshore, the wardens joined the Alliance against the Horde. Sira Moonwarden 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||Unknown, guarded Illidan||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||Deceased||Hand of Gul'dan|
|Neva||Maiev’s best student||Deceased|
|Saynna Stormrunner||Captain, guards Fandral Staghelm||Alive||Hyjal Barrow Dens|
- 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.
- 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.
- In , Maiev appeared to take Illidan's body and the captured Illidari demon hunters to Vault of the Wardens. However, according to the Illidan novel, Maiev's group of Watchers had already been killed, and only Maiev had been taken prisoner.
- It could be speculated that there were other watcher survivors that were not mentioned, or that 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.
- ^ a b
- ^ Loreology on Twitter (archived page)
- ^ a b c d e f The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Watchers
- ^ "Eternity's End: Brothers in Blood", Warcraft III. Blizzard Entertainment.
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 76
- ^ 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