Kur”talos Ravencrest †
|Dreamweavers, Cenarion Circle, Wild Gods, Rooksguard, Emerald Nightmare|
|Northwestern Broken Isles|
“There was once a place on Azeroth where nature was in perfect balance, a place so peaceful it might have been mistaken for the Emerald Dream. Druids sought enlightenment among the vibrant forests of Val”sharah for millennia, but now the region has fallen under the gaze of evil. A nightmare is spreading unchecked, and none are immune to its corruption.” — The Art of World of Warcraft: Legion, pg. 67
Val”sharah (sometimes spelled as Val”Sharah<1><2> and pronounced “VAHL-shaw-raw”) is a region in the northwestern area of the Broken Isles. It is covered by a thick forest, and is the cradle of night elven druidic culture. It is home to the World Tree Shaladrassil. The zone is currently contested by Xavius and his satyrs attempting to spread the corruption of the Emerald Nightmare.
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1 History2 Geography
Originally, this ancient forest lay within the great and undivided realm of Kalimdor. It was best known as the home to the demigod Cenarius, the Lord of the Forest. It was within this region that Cenarius taught the night elves the way of druidism, with Malfurion Stormrage, who was born in Lorlathil, becoming the first druid under his tutelage.<3> Val”sharah can thus be regarded as the birthplace of druidism.<4>
Soon, the region became the pinnacle of druidism on Azeroth.<3> Its forests were specifically molded by druids to be a reflection of the Emerald Dream – no more than an echo, but as close to the Dream as the real world could ever be.<5> The forest was considered to be sacred by the druids,<4> and was populated by night elves, the children of Cenarius (dryads and keepers of the grove), as well as furbolgs, moonkin and others. The elves considered these races their allies.<6>
At some point thousands of years ago, the World Tree Shaladrassil was planted here. Over the ages, it grew, towering over the area and pushing its roots deep into the land. It became the protector of the region.<7> The druid base of Shala”nir was established at the base of the tree.<8>
Apart from civilian settlements, the region also became the home to one of the most famous night elven fortresses – Black Rook Hold. This mighty but somber keep was chiseled into the solid rock by the House of Ravencrest over multiple generations. It was a well-guarded and mostly impenetrable fortress. Relying on their military might, the Ravencrests rose steadily within the elven society, eventually being considered second to the royal house only. <9><10> The region was also home to the elven martial city of Kal”delar.<11>
War of the Ancients
The region saw heavy fighting during the War of the Ancients. It was within the forests of Val”sharah that the Wild God Ashamane fought a delaying battle against the Burning Legion forces bound for Suramar. Although she was able to kill the annihilan general Ronokon, the being”s self-destruction immolated Ashamane and burned a crater into the forest. The Wild God”s actions brought a precious time for the city of Suramar, allowing them to raise a protective shield. She thus saved countless lives. The elves eventually erected a great shrine at the place of Ashamane”s sacrifice.<12><13>
The War of the Ancients also saw a demonic attack on Black Rook Hold. Lord Kur”talos Ravencrest and Illidan Stormrage led the Moon Guard in the defense of the fortress. They eventually succeeded, albeit only at the price of Illidan sacrificing the lives of the other Moon Guard members to absorb their energy. Famous combatants in the battle included Broxigar the Red, Jarod Shadowsong, and Rhonin.<14>
The Legion also tried, and failed, to destroy the Temple of Elune located within the Crescent Vale.<15> The war ended with the Great Sundering, which blasted Kalimdor into pieces. Val”sharah broke off from the mainland and mostly survived as part of the isle group known as the Broken Isles, along with Azsuna, Suramar, and others. Suramar City cut itself off from the surrounding land behind a protective barrier, further isolating Val”sharah from the outside world. In essence, the ancient forest was forgotten by the outside world with the exception of druids.<3> After the war, the surviving satyrs of the forest were assembled together and placed into a deep hibernation under the roots of Shaladrassil.<16>
Even after its isolation, Val”sharah has remained central to druidic culture. The main druidic organization is the order of the Dreamweavers (also called the Druids of Val”sharah), who have protected the Emerald Dream since time immemorial.<17> Many of its members are ancient enough to remember Shaladrassil taking root.
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<18> After the Great Sundering, they trained under Cenarius”s tutelage, and acquired unparalleled knowledge in the ways of the druids.<19> Their main base of operation is the Dreamgrove, which is directly linked to the Emerald Dreamway, a portion of the Dream that serves as a travel hub to key locations across Azeroth. The location is protected by ancient magic, creating a sanctuary here. The leader of the Dreamweavers is archdruid Rensar Greathoof.<19>
Val”sharah is also the home of several of the strongest druidic individuals alive. The demi-god Cenarius, the Lord of the Forest, lives within the Grove of Cenarius.<5> Elothir, ancient of lore, resides with his acolytes in the ancient grove of Thas”talah.<20> A group of druids live within the Moonclaw Vale, charged with the protection of Val”sharah.<21> The Druids of the Claw make their home in Steelclaw Vale, dedicating themselves to observing the Emerald Dream.<22> The Druids of the Fin patrol Emerald Bay.<23> The Ashen druids guard the legacy of Ashamane in the Mistvale.<24><25> There are several barrow dens located here, including the Sleeper”s Barrow in Steelclaw Vale and the Tel”Andu Barrow Den within the Dreamgrove.
The druids had several key artifacts in their possession. The Ashen guarded the Fangs of Ashamane within their shrine.<13><12> Meanwhile a branch of G”Hanir, the ancient Mother Tree, was kept in a shrine beneath the roots of Shaladrassil called the Circle of Spirits.<26><27> Malorne”s Idol, a gift by the Wild God herself, was held at the shrine called Malorne”s Refuge.<28><29>
The Sisterhood of Elune is also represented within the region. Their main base of operation is the Temple of Elune within the Crescent Vale, which predates the War of the Ancients.<15> This location also served as the hiding place for the Tears of Elune, an artifact that is part of the group of relics known as the Pillars of Creation.<30>
The night elves have several villages scattered throughout the area. These include the travel hub of Lorlathil, Ash”theran, Lightsong, Shadowfen, the enclave of Shala”nir<31><32> and others. Several other sentient races also inhabit the forest, including the Cenarius”s children, furbolg, moonkin, harpies and grell. Recently a new village, Bradensbrook, was founded on the west coast by uncorrupted humans from Gilneas.
<33> Val”sharah has a very vivid fauna and flora.