Lore: Night Elves

Guild Canon: The contents of this page are considered canon within Cobalt Company's "RP bubble". Guild canon may go beyond official WoW canon and is usually inspired by and extrapolated from it. However, guild canon will not contradict official canon.



Aging and Lifespan

Prior to the end of the Third War, the kaldorei were immortal. Barring violent death, they would go on living forever, immune to the effects of aging and disease.

Since sacrificing their immortality, it can be assumed that kaldorei lifespans are equivalent to other elf species without external sources prolonging them: roughly 2,500 to 3,000 years. During the time they spent as immortals, their lifespans were essentially "on pause". Therefore, even an 8,000-year-old kaldorei could conceivably still have another 2,500-3,000 years ahead of her.

As they did as immortals, kaldorei reach their age of maturity at about age 20, at which point their aging process nearly halts in time. Through the centuries and millennia they will gain more definition in their faces and bodies to take on a more mature appearance, but they will retain their youthful health and vigor.

Elven Fertility

As long-lived as the elven races are, it should quickly become obvious that they are nowhere near as fertile as most other races, or Azeroth would be overrun with elves. Unlike humans and many other species, aging and lifespan are not determining factors in elven fertility, nor do they have a monthly menstruation cycle.

Elven women become fertile when they are in a very specific emotional state of harmony, security, and stability. They are essentially wired not to bring children into a situation that their instincts tell them isn't suitable for rearing young in.

If an elven woman has achieved this state of blissful security and has intercourse that can lead to reproduction, hormones will release post-insemination that trigger fertility. This is not a guarantee that pregnancy will happen, by any means. Even in ideal circumstances, elves have very low birth rates.

Some of the conditions that help an elven woman achieve the state of harmony to become fertile (usually several of these would be true):

  • Sufficient or abundant resources (food, clothing, etc.)
  • A secure, comfortable home.
  • Economic prosperity.
  • A strong social and/or family support network.
  • Love (see Love: Alor & Shalan, below)
  • The desire to have children.
  • Peacetime (on Azeroth? Really?)
  • Societal/cultural stability (see Peacetime, above)

Note that the distinct lack of any of these can also serve to create a sense of instability, making fertility far less likely, even if other factors are true. E.g., A kaldorei woman in alor, with plenty of resources, who wants children might remain infertile in the midst of the Third War because she senses it is simply too dangerous and uncertain. However, after the war ends, she feels more comfortable, because the other factors are strong enough to balance out her unease over the other constant conflicts around Azeroth.

The elves themselves still do not entirely understand how or why this process works. At the very least, they have put together that pregnancy usually occurs in times of harmony and stability, but they have no notion of hormones or the more scientific principles behind it. The kaldorei, in particular, view it from a mystical perspective, and even use special fertility talismans to help a healthy pregnancy occur. To them, pregnancy is often a surprise and greatly celebrated as a blessing from Elune.


The Darnassian language — called Darnassae by the kaldorei themselves — is an ancient and complex tongue that has spawned several other languages, such as the high elven Thalassian, while remaining fairly constant itself over the last 10,000 years. For more details on Darnassian vocabulary, see Language Expanded.


From a foreigner's perspective, kaldorei surnames usually seem to be two words connected that indicate something about the elf or their family. A druid might have a surname like Bearmantle, while bowyer might carry a name like Featherbow. This pattern is not universal, nor is it an entirely accurate portrayal of how night elves get their names.

Many kaldorei surnames are family names that go back many generations. Whether or not a name is passed on to a new generation is a matter of choice, though. As community-oriented as kaldorei are, they also value the achievements of the individual. If a night elf wishes to stand on their own, they are not obligated to take the name of their parents. For that matter, spouses do not always share the same surname, though it is considered a sign of great devotion and respect to take the surname of one's mate. It should also be noted that the cultural imposes no shame in restoring one's original surname after a mated pairing is dissolved (see Love: Alor & Shalan below).

A child that chooses to go their own way may be without a surname for a time until they have acquired their own name, or they may simply choose another for themselves. There is no formal rite or ceremony to earning a surname. However, claiming a name that suggests a great deed without having the accomplishment to support it may earn one derision from other kaldorei.

Translating Surnames

Naturally, kaldorei surnames are originally in Darnassian. A name like "Staghelm" is a translation for the ease of understanding for Common-speakers. Most kaldorei surnames can be translated this way with little difficulty. Some prefer to retain their Darnassian names, either out of kaldorei pride, or due to an unfortunate or clumsy Common translation. An example of the latter would be the name Lazal'dris — "Sky Eye". Still other names might be place names, references to locations, making a translation cause the name to lose its meaning.

Other surnames are too nuanced for a direct translation, and it becomes preferable to retain the original Darnassian pronunciation. For example, a name like Anir'el could easily become "Stormleaf" in Common without losing much in the way of its true meaning. However, the name Alori'talei is a much more complex surname with a rich history and nuance that only a fluent speaker of Darnassian is likely to grasp. Attempting to translate it to Common would require a phrase along the lines of "From the Heart They Know the World". Needless to say, the Alori'talei family chooses to go by their original Darnassian name, even as long as tongue-twisting as the name is for non-kaldorei.


Night elf society is a curious blend of two major influences. In some ways, echoes of the Highborne can seen be seen rippling through kaldorei traditions and customs, particularly in their deeply embedded formality. But more prominently, and deliberately so, kaldorei culture is modeled largely on the ways of Nature. When the arcane and the decadence of grand cities failed them, the kaldorei followed the lead of the druids and looked to the natural world for inspiration on how to live. All of this under the guiding light of Elune, of course.

Over the millennia, the night elves have learn to build their communities within the forests, rather than constructing vast cities to live apart from them. They learn from the plants and animals how to live in harmony with everything around them. They take inspiration from nature in everything from art, to food, to sexuality, to martial arts.

The Duality of Elune

In the Church of the Holy Light there is a clear delineation between Light and Shadow. The latter calls upon questionable powers (some even are said to reach to the Void for their power) and is to be used with great caution. Unlike those who follow the Light, kaldorei do not place a stigma on shadows and darkness; in fact, it is quite the opposite. As a nocturnal people, the night elves embrace the dark; they vanish into the shadows as if they were shadows themselves. Most importantly to the kaldorei, it is in darkness that their goddess reveals herself to them.

Night Elf Shadow Priests

When it comes to night elf priests using Shadow powers, the guild canon interpretation is that these abilities are not derived from the Void or other unsavory sources, but rather from Elune's dark aspect. Just as magical healing is drawn from a priest's compassion and sympathy, Elune's shadows tap into their rage and malice. Unlike similar magic, this is not a corrupting force on the priest. While those dedicated to Elune's dark aspect tend to be grim and vengeful, this was usually the case before setting upon the path of the Night Warrior.

Kaldorei have difficulty understanding the perception other races have of light and darkness as opposites. To the night elves they are merely two aspects of reality — often the same manifestation of reality — and the clearest example of this is Elune herself. She is both light and darkness, frequently at the same time. For kaldorei, this is not a contradiction.

When Elune casts no light, however, she is known by another name: the Night Warrior. Though usually presented as a caring mother, like any mother she can become ruthlessly dangerous if her children are threatened. The Night Warrior is the manifestation of that pitiless, vengeful face of Elune.

Some priests of Elune dedicate themselves to the service of the Night Warrior. Like all kaldorei priests, they worship Elune in all her aspects, but their path is one that focuses on meting out Elune's justice. Their weapons in doing so are Elune's shadows, which can appear to outsiders very much like the Shadow powers used so fearfully by other priests. However, like all of a night elf priest's powers, these abilities come directly from Elune.

The Importance of Water


From the kaldorei's beginnings, the waters of the Well of Eternity sustained and empowered them, heavily influencing their culture and even their physiology and spirits. This continued with the moonwells and the second Well of Eternity. As a result, water became very important both literally and symbolically. There are many social customs and rituals surrounding water, including bathing, drinking, and the giving of water from one person to another.

The Concept of Thirst

Because water was so central in their lives, 'thirst' became a core concept in kaldorei culture and language. It represents not only literal desire for hydration, but also a general want for those things that sustains a person on a fundamental level: love, safety, nourishment, and so on.

It is for this reason that the Darnassian word del can be translated into Common to mean both 'thirst' and 'need'. But even this is often a clumsy interpretation. For a night elf, to be thirsty is both to crave and to require that which must be attained lest there be severe consequences; e.g. illness, devastating heartbreak, mortal danger, or even death.

A common farewell among kaldorei is del nah'dris, which essentially means "be careful". The literal translation is "thirsty be your eyes". In Common, this statement makes no sense at all. In Darnassian, however, a kaldorei would understand this to mean that the speaker is wishing someone's eyes to be eager and needful for that which they need most; in this case, alertness to danger.

Water Rituals

There are a variety of rituals involving water which are a part of kaldorei life. Some are regular and routine, while others are sacred and occasional.

Luvas'alith, or the "Gift of Water", is sacred to kaldorei. When one person gives water to another, it is symbolic of the creation of life itself, be that Elune giving life to the night elves, a mother giving birth, or water and soil nurturing new plant life. The gift of water does not need to be an elaborate ritual; even a simple handing over of a cup of water should be met with a bow of respect and an expression of gratitude. The most common Darnassian expression is simply, "Shaha lor'ma dula Luvas'alith" ("Thank you for the Gift of Water").

Sometimes a kaldorei might ask another to bring them water. This is a solemn request and indicates that the kaldorei is placing great trust in the person they ask it of. Whether the night elf truly needs water is irrelevant; the point is that they have given another the opportunity to earn their confidence and respect, and shown respect in doing so. Often, the requester will ask for water from a particular moonwell, especially in cases when some kind of contract or bond is being formed. They may or may not actually need moonwell water. This is done to give the act gravitas and draw Elune's eyes to it, so the covenant is forged under divine light and cause its breaking to displease the Moon Goddess.

Rite of Passage

While night elves reach physical maturity around age 20, they are not truly recognized as adults in kaldorei society until they have completed their kalan'thael, the "soul's journey". Some might pass this rite soon after they are physically grown. But night elves are not a hurried people; many do not complete the rite of passage until their first century or beyond. It varies greatly from one kaldorei to the next.

The kalan'thael is some significant feat achieved by the youth, signifying that they are capable of accepting the responsibilities and challenges every adult kaldorei must face. Usually, this is a task assigned by the priestesses of Elune. However, some elves have been given special honors if they accomplish something great on their own, and their kalan'thael is declared to be complete.

Once the challenge is overcome, the young kaldorei will come before the priestesses (or, in modern times, possibly male priests as well). Ideally, this occurs in the Temple of Elune or at least at a shrine, moonwell, or other holy site, but all that is truly required is that the rite take place at night in the presence of a priest. The supplicant then receives the Gift of Water, taken from a sacred moonwell. They drink the water as the priests incant a prayer to Elune. If the supplicant has chosen a new name, the priest will give it as they declare that the kalan of the child has passed into adulthood.

Facial Tattoos


Kaldorei women have an ancient tradition of marking their faces with special tattoos, called kalan'adala (soul's truth). These marks can be beautiful, enigmatic, and even fearsome. The tattoos are given as the final stage of the kalan'thael.

The tattoos are given by a priestess with special training. First the recipient is cleansed with sacred moonwell water. The ink is made from moonwell water and pigments from certain flowers to create specific colors, such as lotus for purple tattoos. The flowers are said to represent the recipient's purpose blooming within them. A needle of briarthorn is used to bear the ink to skin, said to represent the recipient bearing the charge they now carry. Bruiseweed is used to numb the pain. Occasionally a youth attempting to prove their strength may try to refuse the bruiseweed, but wiser kaldorei know that the world gifts them with the means to move beyond such unnecessary pain, and nothing is proven by choosing to dwell in it.

The kaldorei receiving the tattoo chooses the form the kalan'adala will take, but this choice is never made lightly. She will be advised by elders and given time for meditation and prayer before she declares her choice.

Sometimes the decision comes from a vision received from Elune or through deep, personal introspection. Others are based upon a significant event that impacted the kaldorei, often related to their kalan'thael. In some cases, a kaldorei woman has known for many years or even her whole life what her soul's truth is. Whatever the source, the choice is always profound and deeply personal.

Though uncommon, it is not unheard of for an eligible night elf woman to refuse the kalan'adala. Typically this is because she does not feel that her soul's truth has yet been revealed to her. This is not seen as a failing, but rather a sign of wisdom. At any later time that she feels that revelation has occurred, she may go to the Temple of Elune and receive her kalan'adala.

There are several common themes seen repeated in kalan'adala, and to the casual observer many of these tattoos might look identical. However, the finer details make each mark unique. Every line and curve is important. The color and hue and exact placement upon the face all mean something, and those meanings are always specific to the individual bearing the mark. Even kalan'adala seemingly of the same style might have drastically different meanings to different kaldorei. A druid might wear the symbol of wings due to a deep connection to Aviana and the Druids of the Talon, while a another woman with similar markings may bear them because they represent her free spirit and sense of adventure.

Despite gender roles becoming less strict in kaldorei society, kalan'adala remains a tradition reserved only for women. Whether this will change in the future remains to be seen.

Love: Alor & Shalan

Kaldorei have two distinct concepts of love, each with its own word in the Darnassian tongue. Alor is love much as humans understand it. This is a love that one might have for anybody one cares about: a friend, a sibling, a parent, even a romantic partner. It can be the platonic love of good friends, the bond of a brother and sister, or the heart-thumping passion of two young lovers. In most ways, alor translates suitably into Common for any reference to love.

Then there is the concept of shalan, which is something else entirely. The word shalan evolved from the phrase shu'falah'kalan, which roughly translates into Common as "souls eternally bound", but that does not begin to convey the strength of the bond involved in shalan. It goes far beyond a powerful love between two hearts. It is an intertwining of two souls that takes place in the present, and yet always was, and always will be. It transcends time and reaches across any distance, and it cannot, will not be denied, not even by those who find themselves in it.

Shorter-lived races (and occasionally even younger kaldorei) sometimes find night elves arrogant when they try to describe this feeling, believing that they are suggesting that the Children of the Stars can feel a love deeper and stronger than other races. This is a misunderstanding of shalan. It is not so much a stronger love than alor as it is a stronger bond…a literally unbreakable bond. Two souls in shalan are parts of a larger whole, forever together, even if worlds apart. So powerful is this connection that, once awakened, they can sometimes feel what they other is feeling, even sensing if their beloved is in danger or even whether they still live.

Alor can be just as powerful, passionate, and devoted as shalan. The key differences are that it is purely emotional, and it is impermanent — particularly for immortals for whom emotions can fade and new interests may come along. This "changing of seasons" is not generally thought of as heartless among kaldorei as it might be among humans, but rather a natural course of events. After several centuries or millennia, it is only natural to allow winter to settle on a relationship and make way for a spring of new possibilities. This is one way that kaldorei prevent stagnation from setting into their hearts. There is no risk of such stagnation with shalan, however. When two souls are destined, the draw to one another never fades, no matter what other emotions arise. It should also be noted that while many (if not most) kaldorei in shalan find contentment with their soul mates alone, by no means does it preclude them from feeling alor with others as well, as polyamory is all too common among the kaldorei.

Ishnu'melor: Fertility Blessing

As mentioned above, kaldorei do not have a complete understanding of their own fertility and reproduction. To them, it is as spiritual an event as it is a physical one. Many times, a pregnancy is an unexpected joy. But when a kaldorei makes the conscious choice to have a child, they will often seek Elune's blessing.

Night elves trying to conceive use a special talisman to invite the Moon Mother's blessing. It as called an ishnu'melor, literally translated as "blessing beacon" in Common. An ishnu'melor is a chain or cord, sanctified by a priestess of Elune, worn around a woman's waist that is typically adorned with beads and charms. Each ishnu'melor is unique and should be hand-crafted specifically for the person it is being given to. It is meant to draw Elune's attention to the woman in hopes that she might bless her with a child and protect both her and the baby throughout the pregnancy.

Ishnu'melor are often given as romantic gifts to a mate, signifying one's commitment to staying by their mate's side to sire and help raise a child. Some humans who have learned of this practice have compared them o the engagement rings exchanged by human couples. However, they hold a different kind of significance to kaldorei; ishnu'melor are seen first and foremost as a religious talisman. They are worn only when the woman is pregnant or hoping to conceive and are removed once the baby is born. Additionally, a woman might own more than one ishnu'melor, either having received them from multiple partners or from a single partner expressing their commitment to having another child. While not in use, ishnu'melor are kept safe in a special place in the woman's home.

Alaru'shinu: Beauty in Imperfection

Many kaldorei subscribe to a philosophy known as alaru'shinu, which literally means "beauty in imperfection". Their concept of imperfection is not a thing to be viewed negatively, however. In many ways, it is a rejection of what the Highborne tried to achieve and an embracing of the transience of nature. Unsurprisingly, alaru'shinu is especially common among druids.

For millennia, alaru'shinu taught that the kaldorei were the stewards of the natural order, and it was their duty to fully understand and appreciate the cycle of all things. A blooming flower might seem to be only briefly beautiful before it withers and returns to the earth. But a follower of alaru'shinu learns to see how its remains enrich the soil and fuel new seeds, encouraging new life. They see beyond the superficial to observe beauty in the cycle of life and death, and learn to derive joy from this truth. Once they come to this enlightened understanding, the kaldorei can recognize their responsibility as guardians of the cycle to ensure it always continues.

Ever since the destruction of Nordrassil, the kaldorei have become part of the cycle themselves. This has been a difficult transition for the night elves. But alaru'shinu has provided many with solace, helping them to find peace with becoming one with the cycle they have long protected. The teachings of the philosophy have begun to shift in recent years, encouraging a hopeful sense of wonder at the beauty that awaits the kaldorei on the other side of the veil of death.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License