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This article is about the Nighthold and its story. For the raid, see Nighthold (instance).
HordeThe Nighthold

Suramar Cinematic Nighthold.png


Capital; Palace





The Nighthold stands as a testament to the achievements of the nightborne civilization. It is the largest structure in the Broken Isles, and among the grandest in all of Azeroth. Centered around the Nightwell, the fount of arcane power that has sustained Suramar for centuries, these grounds were built as a haven from the worries of the world.[1] This is the palace from which Grand Magistrix Elisande runs the city of Suramar. She has brokered a deal with the Burning Legion to allow them to use a portion of the Nightwell energy.[2]

Following the end of the third invasion of the Burning Legion, the Nightborne joined the Horde. Pandaren monk trainers are teaching new recruits the ways of the monk in the Nighthold, and portals were opened there to the various capitals of the Horde.


Concept art of the Nighthold.

The capital of the Suramar City the Nighthold was where an elite elite group of Highborne sorcerers led Elisande in service to Queen Azshara acted, often in secret, to secure their queen's position and expand her influence throughout Old Kalimdor.[3]

The Highborne wielding the Pillars of Creation.

In particular, one of the concerns which most drew the attention of Elisande and her Highborne was the accumulation of artifacts of power. They excelled at hunting down and securing these relics, which were usually stored in the Vault of Antiquities in Suramar City. One of their greatest finds came in the form of the primordial artifacts known as the Pillars of Creation. In ages past, these items had been used to shape and order the world of Azeroth by its ancient keepers, and represented immense and ancient power.[4]

The War of the Ancients brought with it a great deal of change, both for the night elf race and Elisande's Highborne. Through a desire for greater power, Queen Azshara and the Highborne in the capital of Zin-Azshari allied themselves with the demon lord Sargeras and his Burning Legion. Having aided in the creation of a portal for the Legion to reach Azeroth, the queen and her retainers watched as the demons began spread across the kaldorei nation, destroying all they encountered.[5]

Initially loyal to their queen the Highborne of Suramar aided the war effort, however in time they would become increasingly troubled as the Legion's continued. Eventually, Elisande discovered that the Legion planned to create a large gateway to the Twisting Nether within Suramar itself. Elisande was horrified at this development; if the portal were opened, innumerable demon reinforcements would spill into Azeroth and quickly overwhelm the Kaldorei Resistance that was attempting to withstand the Legion's onslaught. It was Elisande's belief that the gateway would also destroy the city and its inhabitants in the process, and resolved to act.

Along with her group of Highborne, Elisande formulated a plan to sabotage the Legion's plans, thereby preserving Suramar. They severed all ties with the other Highborne outside the city, and moved to close the portal. Elisande and her party made use of the Pillars of Creation for their unchecked power, and launched an attack on the Temple of Elune, where the gateway was located. The Highborne began channeling their spell to shut the portal just as it began opening. Weaving a great spell, they succeeding in both closing and sealing the monstrous gateway, placing upon it impenetrable seals.[6]

Despite their perilous actions thwart the demons' plans, Elisande's Highborne were unwilling to join the continuing resistance to the invasion. Instead, they utilized the power of the Eye of Aman'thul, one of the Pillars, to create a font of boundless arcane power known as the Nightwell. This new source of power supplanted the elves' need for the Well of Eternity, and gave the sorcerers potent protection. Using the Nightwell, Elisande led the Highborne of Suramar in creating a massive shield that encompassed much of the city.[7] The shield sealed Suramar off from the remainder of the world and would eventually protect the city from the Great Sundering that marked the end of the War of the Ancients.

Their reliance on the Nightwell's energies gradually transformed Elisande, as well as those within Suramar, into a new race now altogether distinct from their night elven heritage: the Nightborne. The Nighthold would serve as their capital and the home of the Nightwell.

Over the centuries the proximity to the Eye of Aman'thul ensured that the essence of titanic power would dwell within the inhabitants of the Nighthold.[8]


When the Burning Legion commenced its third invasion of Azeroth, it emerged on the Broken Isles and quickly made contact with the nearby nightborne civilization in Suramar City. Since the War of the Ancients, the nightborne, under the leadership of Grand Magistrix Elisande, had maintained an arcane shield around their city, cutting them off from the remainder of the world for over 10,000 years. The principle source of energy for this shield was the Nightwell, a font of immense power that soon drew the attention of the invading demons. The orc warlock Gul'dan, responsible for the Legion's arrival, approached the Grrand Magistrix and her closest advisors with an offer: if they would allow the Burning Legion access to the city and, more importantly, the Nightwell, then the nightborne people would be spared and welcomed as allies by the Legion.[9]

Believing that the Legion's victory would be inevitable and wishing to save her people Elisande agreed with Gul'dan's and sided with the demons. While Elisande and her forces joined the Legion, dissidents led by First Arcanist Thalyssra would oppose the move and presumably slain. Gul'dan, Tichondrius, Krosus and many other demons would soon enter the Nighthold and work with Elisande to maintain the Legion's grip on the city. However with them unaware of Thalyssra's survival she was able work from the shadows and form a resistance movement against Elisande's regime.

With the aid of adventurers, the Kirin Tor of Dalaran, Blood Elves of Quel'thalas and the Night Elves of Darnassus the Nightfallen declared open rebellion and marched against the Nighthold.[10][11] In response Elisande using her time magic froze the army, though Khadgar was able to liberate the adventurer, Tyrande, and Liadrin.[12]

Thrown off balance by the scale of Elisande's power but determined to not give up, the Nightfallen continued their operations and discovered another way to enter the Nighthold from which to strike against Elisande. The invading force pushed its way through the Nighthold's subterranean underground, destroying the Chronomatic Anomaly and thus freeing their time-trapped forces outside the fortress. Soon, the assault began on the main courtyard itself; there, they defeated Spellblade Aluriel, the Captain of Elisande's Guard, and her forces before advancing into the other wings. The demonic garrison, including Tichondrius and Krosus, as well as the nightborne defenders were eventually overwhelmed by the attack. Many of Elisande's top lieutenants and supporters such as Star Augur Etraeus and High Botanist Tel'arn were slain, as the insurgents converged on the Nightspire.

Within the inner reaches of the palace, the Nightfallen champions finally came face-to-face with Elisande herself, who now marshaled all her powers to annihilate the invaders. Despite her efforts, she was subsequently killed. Following this, an echo of the Grand Magistrix spoke to the rebels, expressing disbelief at their continued success and resolving to aid them in the final battle against Gul'dan. With this, they confronted the warlock atop the Nightspire and ultimately thwarted his scheme after a significant battle, which resulted in Gul'dan's demise.

The new regime

The new nightborne crest.

The deaths of Grand Magistrix Elisande and Gul'dan within the Nighthold would decisively bring an end to the civil war in Suramar. The Burning Legion, its plans dashed, was driven from the region and turned its attention to other areas of its unfolding invasion. With this, the nightborne would finally gain their independence and freedom from the demon occupation.

Shortly after the victory in the Nighthold, Thalyssra returned to the palace to deal with the urgent question of what to do with the Nightwell. Accompanied by Oculeth and Valtrois, the First Arcanist would discover that the font of power was unstable, and dying without the Eye of Aman'thul.

Valtrois would suggest stabilizing the Nightwell, allowing the nightborne to harness its powers once more though they were no longer addicted to them. Ultimately, however, Thalyssra decided to allow the font to die, arguing that the Nightwell belonged in Suramar's troubled past, and that the future and destiny of the nightborne now lay instead with Azeroth. Witnessing the decision, Lady Liadrin and Tyrande Whisperwind were satisfied by the outcome.

In the wake of the devastation wrought by the conflict, Thalyssra and the Nightfallen established a new government over Suramar City from the Nighthold. The Dusk Lily of the rebellion would become the insignia of the now-liberated nightborne race, marking a new chapter in Suramar's history.

Following the end of the third invasion of the Burning Legion, the Nightborne joined the Horde. Pandaren monk trainers are teaching new recruits the ways of the monk in the Nighthold, and portals were opened there to the various capitals of the Horde.

Inhabitants (Legion takeover)

Current inhabitants (Nightfallen takeover)

Notes & trivia

  • This location was called Palace of Suramar in the original announcement.[13]



Patch changes