Darnassus is the capital city of the Night Elves of the Alliance. The high priestess, Tyrande Whisperwind, resides in the Temple of the Moon, surrounded by other sisters of Elune. In the Cenarion Enclave, the Arch Druid Fandral Staghelm leads the Cenarion Circle, often in direct opposition to his fellow druids in Moonglade and Tyrande herself.
Darnassus is the greatest city of the night elves, housing the leaders of both the druids and the faithful of Elune. It is carefully guarded by Sentinels, ancient protectors, and ancients of war. The city is formidable in spite of the peaceful natures of the night elves. In addition to the night elves, many guests and diplomats from elsewhere reside here, such as groups from the Explorer’s Guild and the Knights of the Silver Hand, as well as a few representatives of the Horde negotiating peace treaties. The population here is almost entirely elven, and most of the night elves are tolerant of others. However there is political strife between the druids and priests.
The atmosphere in the city is a quiet and somewhat melancholy one. It does not have the feeling of confinement that one feels in Stormwind or Ironforge, where the buildings are grouped close together. Darnassus is open to the sky, and the graceful bridges spanning the lake around which it is built set the buildings wide apart. The prime reason why the city’s population is so low is that it is isolated: Teldrassil is a small island away from the main mass of Azeroth, and the only way to gain access from another continent is to fly or sail to Rut’theran Village, a small settlement at the base of Teldrassil, and from there step into the glowing portal to the city proper. This is a good thing, though. It is the Elves capital, and should therefore be serene and quiet, holding the mystic and melancholic elements of the Night Elves.
Anyone, from a brand-new level one, to an aged level seventy, should feel safe in Darnassus–arguably it is the safest haven for the Alliance in the game. The defenses are sturdy to the point of excessiveness. Two towering Ancients stand guard at the inner entrance, and another waits within the city. The traditional level 60 sentinel guards are everywhere, of course, some standing still while others constantly patrolling the city, and elite hunters prowl the city on impressive catlike mounts. Of course, the most experienced and powerful players gather in capital cities, and trainers and quest givers are also ready to fight.
But the best defense the city has is its entrance. The only connection from Darnassus to the world outside Teldrassil is through the portal from Rut’theran, and thus any Horde attacks will have to come from that direction. If they overwhelm the defenses at Rut’theran Village, they will face the bottleneck of the portal. Not only are four guards surrounding it at all times, but the portal is located just next to the Darnassus Bank, one of the main hubs for Alliance activity in the city. Level 70s will be there ready and waiting, and everyone will know exactly where the enemy will come from, allowing newer players to switch off PvP or retreat, and more experienced ones to prepare for battle.
In the aftermath of the Third War, the night elves had to adjust to their mortal existence. Such an adjustment was far from easy, and there were many night elves who could not adjust to the prospects of aging, disease and frailty. Seeking to regain their immortality, a number of wayward druids conspired to plant a special tree that would reestablish a link between their spirits and the eternal world.
With Malfurion missing, Fandral Staghelm – the leader of those who wished to plant the new World Tree – became the new Arch-Druid. In no time at all, he and his fellow druids had forged ahead and planted the great tree, Teldrassil, off the stormy coasts of northern Kalimdor. Under their care, the tree sprouted up above the clouds. Among the twilight boughs of the colossal tree, the wondrous city of Darnassus took root. However, the tree was not consecrated with nature’s blessing and soon fell prey to the corruption of the Burning Legion. Now the wildlife and even the limbs of Teldrassil are tainted by a growing darkness.