|Title||The Heart of the Land, Forest Lord|
|Race(s)||Half-Stag Demigod (Ancient guardian)|
|Character class||Demigod, Keeper of the Grove, Druid|
|Affiliation||Forests of Kalimdor and Cenarion Circle|
|Occupation||Lord of the Forest, Supreme Druid, Defender of the Emerald Dream, druidic demigod of the Groves, Lord of the Groves|
|Location|| - Emerald Dream (spirit)
Gates of Sothann, Sanctuary of Malorne, Mount Hyjal, Firelands
|Relative(s)||(Mother), (Father), (adoptive mother), "the centaur", , , (sons), (grandson), (granddaughter), "the dryad" (Daughter), numerous Centaur and Half-Stag descendants|
|Student(s)||Malfurion Stormrage (thero'shan), Xarantaur|
Birth and Children
As the son of Elune, goddess of the moon, and the demigod Malorne, Cenarius inherited a deep connection to the world of Azeroth and its creatures. The tauren have a myth that purportedly relates the story of Cenarius' conception. Elune birthed Cenarius, but gave him up to Malorne because Cenarius was more a creature of the mortal world and could not be with her. When Cenarius' birth sent a ripple through the Emerald Dream, Ysera took an immediate interest in him. Guiding him into the Dream, she taught him much of its secrets and became a foster mother of sorts to him. In fact, the affectionate understanding that she and Cenarius shared has led many of Azeroth's elder races to mistake the pair for mother and son. Malorne, who had relations with both Elune and Ysera, knew that he could not properly care for his son, but Ysera's love was so great for Malorne that she took Cenarius as her own. Cenarius grew to love the lush forests of Ysera's verdant realm. He could often be found treading its infinite dreamways, either watching over Azeroth and its creatures, or simply hoping for all that they might yet become.
The demigod grew into a powerful and cunning being, the union of the heavens and the earth. He has many powers over nature, which he inherited from his father Malorne. He fathered many children. His daughters are known as the fey dryads and his sons as the wise Keepers of the Grove, or simply "keepers", including Keeper Remulos, Ordanus, and Zaetar. According to one night elf legend, the centaur were Cenarius' bastard children, and according to Brann Bronzebeard, the magnataur have also a connection to Cenarius. Cenarius claims kinship with the night elves as well, but has never said in what way.
The tauren believe that Cenarius' earliest known association with mortal races was with the tauren, to whom he first taught the ways of druidism. For countless ages, before the dawn of recorded history, they aided him in protecting the balance of the natural world. Nethaera suggests that, while taurens believe that they were the first to discover druidism, this is the belief of tauren mythology and is currently held by most tauren as being untrue. This belief does explain the opposing viewpoints of tauren and night elf druids.
The Night Elves
When the night elves first developed around the Well of Eternity, their curiosity led them to meet and befriend a number of powerful entities, including Cenarius. The demigod became fond of the night elves, and he spent a great deal of time teaching them about the natural world. Under his guidance, the night elves developed a strong empathy for the living forests of ancient Kalimdor and reveled in the harmonious balance of nature. Over time, however, the night elves were increasingly drawn to the cosmic energies of the Well. Furthermore, the rapid growth of the night elf civilization led inevitably to the creation of new buildings and roads. Large tracts of forest vanished. Tranquil woodlands turned into sprawling cities, and great trees were warped and twisted into shapes that would better serve as night elf dwellings. The night elves were losing touch with nature.
The number of night elves pursuing their studies with the demigod dwindled, and Cenarius was grieved to realize that all his work had been for naught. Reluctantly he departed night elf lands. He resolved that he would respect their choice, however much he disagreed with it. From that point forward, Cenarius retreated into the wilds of the world and avoided most sentient races until they came to doubt his very existence.
The First Druid
Millennias later, Malfurion Stormrage came across several legends that referenced the mysterious Cenarius. Malfurion had always had great reverence for the natural world, although the night elves as a race had long since abandoned any interest in such matters. He shared these legends with his twin brother, Illidan Stormrage, and their mutual friend, Tyrande Whisperwind. The three night elves decided that it would be an exciting adventure to search for Cenarius, though in truth they no more believed in the demigod than the rest of their people did. It wasn't long before scattered plants and animals of Azeroth brought tidings of these three night elves to Cenarius. Surprised and intrigued, Cenarius located the night elves and looked into their hearts. He saw great promise in Malfurion, a promise that made up Cenarius' mind.
The laughing trio was shocked into silence when Cenarius stepped out of a shadowed thicket. He introduced himself and offered to teach them the druidic arts. They accepted eagerly. Malfurion proved a quick and talented student, but his brother was clumsy and quickly grew impatient. For her part, Tyrande was already a novice in the Sisterhood of Elune and so had dedicated herself to the goddess above all others. Cenarius knew that Malfurion alone would go on to become a druid.
Invasion of the Burning Legion
Malfurion made significant progress in his studies before he was assailed by a disturbing vision. He watched helplessly as the Highborne inside the palace abused the Well of Eternity's magics. The vision gave him the strong conviction that Queen Azshara and her high-ranking spellcasters would cause a catastrophe unless someone intervened. Malfurion brought his concerns to Cenarius, who was greatly worried. Even so, the night elves realized what was happening too late. Demons poured out of the royal palace and began to slaughter everything in their path. The War of the Ancients had begun. As the crisis unfolded, Cenarius taught Malfurion all he could and then sought out the other demigods of Azeroth. They were unaccustomed to the idea of working together; as a result, it took no little persuasion from Cenarius before they finally agreed on a course of action. They rode to the battlefront and found that the war was well underway. Quickly Cenarius assessed the situation and then led the other demigods to the leader of the night elf army, Captain Jarod Shadowsong. The astonished captain readily accepted the demigods' offer of assistance, and the tide of battle seemed to shift.
Reacting to the new and powerful threat, the vast demonic army refocused its attacks on the demigods, who were soon overwhelmed. Cenarius was badly wounded and completely surrounded by the time Malorne charged up and drove back his son's attackers with a few sweeps of his massive antlers. The night elves scrambled into action, pulling the unconscious Cenarius to safety. Malorne easily held the demons off for a time. Then Archimonde came forth and engaged the giant stag in single combat, ultimately snapping Malorne's neck. Malfurion was furious and grieved; he called roots out of the ground to attack the demon lord. As the plants tightened their stranglehold on the demon's massive form, Archimonde was forced to teleport away in order to escape.
Ysera was sad to learn of Malorne's death, and her dragonflight carefully helped Cenarius enter the Emerald Dream, where the green dragons ministered to his injuries. Despite his sorrow and the lingering effects of his wounds, Cenarius emerged from the Dream not long after the Great Sundering, for he could feel the land cry out for healing. To his horror, he discovered that Illidan Stormrage had created a second Well of Eternity. Jarod Shadowsong left Illidan's punishment to Malfurion, who felt it would be the height of folly to leave Illidan free to continue his reckless pursuit of power. Thus, with Cenarius' help, Malfurion sealed Illidan within a vast underground barrow prison, there to remain chained and powerless until the end of time.
Curse of the Worgen
When Malfurion discovered the lupine Pack Form, the blind rage of Goldrinn overwhelmed him and he attacked Cenarius. Cenarius sealed Malfurion away underneath Daral'nir within the Emerald Dream where his rage was calmed. Malfurion then banned all druids from using the Pack Form.
Later, when Ralaar Fangfire and the Druids of the Scythe became the first worgen, Malfurion asked Cenarius for advice on how to handle the fallen druids. Cenarius responded that Malfurion was a shan'do himself now, and couldn't always ask Cenarius for answers. With Cenarius' blessing, Malfurion and a number of other druids met in Moonglade and established the Cenarion Circle to face Alpha Prime.
Seclusion of the Night Elves
Tyrande Whisperwind, now high priestess of Elune, implemented sweeping changes throughout night elf society. She organized a new all-female army, the Sentinels, and decreed that it would be directed by the Sisterhood of Elune. Nobility and sorcery were now considered the relics of a decadent and shameful past. Nevertheless, a group of Highborne under Dath'Remar Sunstrider refused to give up practicing arcane magic. After discussing the matter at length, Tyrande and Malfurion made the difficult decision to exile their defiant kin. In the wake of the group's departure, the remaining night elves deliberately withdrew from the rest of the world. A veil of mist descended upon their entire continent, shrouding its presence from passing sailors.
Meanwhile, Cenarius remained nearby in the Moonglade of Mount Hyjal. His male offspring, the keepers of the grove, kept close watch on the night elves and regularly helped the Sentinels maintain peace in the land. Even Cenarius' shy female descendants, the dryads, appeared in the open with increasing frequency. Cenarius taught the night elves the ways of the forest, and druidism became widespread among the males. Following the druids' entrance into the Emerald Dream Cenarius helped Tyrande and the Sentinels during the Long Vigil. He and his children, the Keepers of the Grove and their dryad sisters, helped to patrol the woodlands from the Moonglade.
New Races Arrive in Kalimdor
Time passed, and a new race arrived on Azeroth: the orcs, who originated on the planet Draenor. Under the influence of demons, the orcs had changed from a peaceful shamanic society into the bloodthirsty Horde. They waged war upon the humans of the Eastern Kingdoms and killed countless other creatures during the First and Second Wars. Cenarius and the night elves did not emerge from their seclusion to intervene, for they knew nothing of any events that occurred outside Kalimdor. The Second War ended badly for the orcs, and the Horde was shattered. Just before the Third War, a new orc warchief emerged: Thrall, who reformed the Horde and led his people across the sea to establish their own homeland on Kalimdor. This new Horde had no desire for further warfare. The orcs simply wanted to leave the human lands behind and find a place to call their own.
A Demigod Slain
The orcs did not receive a warm welcome on Kalimdor. Despite no longer having warlocks in their ranks, the orcs of Thrall's Horde still carried within them the unmistakable mark of the Burning Legion upon their very souls. Cenarius, as a being so attuned to nature that he can sense the slightest corruption, assumed that the orcs in Ashenvale were scouts of the Legion. Cenarius became certain that the orcs had returned to their warlike ways. He led a group of night elves and treants against a large group of the orcish intruders. This, ironically, sent the Warsong clan back into the service of Mannoroth and lead to the reestablishment of their connection to the potent fel magics that first bound them to the Legion. Led by Grom Hellscream, the orcs drank of a pool's tainted waters and reveled in the return of their demon-granted power. Overcome with supernatural hate and rage, Grom and his warriors retaliated against Cenarius and his allies. Ultimately the orcs succeeded in killing the demigod. Mannoroth appeared before Hellscream and his troops moments later and enslaved them, since by drinking his blood they had made themselves susceptible to his control once again. The night elves and many other creatures, including Ysera, mourned Cenarius' tragic death. The death of Cenarius at the hands of the orcs, demon-tainted or not, enraged the night elves, cementing their view of the savage, green-skinned (although red-skinned at that moment) creatures as their enemies. When Malfurion considered the possibility of allying with Jaina's and Thrall's forces, observing that they fought against the undead as well, Tyrande vehemently rejected the idea and cited the fact Cenarius had been killed by them as proof that they were the enemy.
Spirit within the Emerald Dream
Cenarius's spirit returned to the Emerald Dream after his defeat, and within it, he was able to sense the events of the Battle of Mount Hyjal. Cenarius saw the orcs defend Nordrassil hand-in-hand with the night elves and humans, and developed a growing respect for them. Cenarius saw that, despite their fel taint, they were allies against the Legion and defenders of the land (noting Garrosh’s father’s victory over his former enslaver in particular), so when both he and the Horde returned to Hyjal to defend the World Tree once again, Cenarius saw the orcs and their allies in a new light.
World of Warcraft
A clue to Cenarius' activities came from a conversation his son Remulos had with the spirit of Malfurion when players completed a particular quest. It explained that Cenarius was helping Malfurion fight against the Nightmare that was disrupting the Emerald Dream, causing the corruption of The Four Dragons among other things.
This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
Cenarius returned with Malfurion Stormrage in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm to fight the forces of the returned Firelord, Ragnaros, in Mount Hyjal. He assists in defeating Ragnaros at the end of the Hyjal storyline along with an adventurer, Malfurion and Hamuul.
Assault on the Molten Front
In Hyjal, Cenarius starts the following quests:
The giant creature’s body resembles a cross between the lower portion of an elk and the upper torso of male night elf. Standing perfectly motionless on four heavily muscled legs, the creature exudes an air of serene confidence. Its body glows with a soothing green light that strangely contrasts with the stern look on its face.
War of the Ancients
- "You have done what few others could do, and in doing so, you almost lost yourself forever."
- "The night elves grow more arrogant. They take what does not belong to them and trespass where they are not wanted. It is their assumption that everything falls under their domination. Although they did not quite intrude upon my realm, I chose to make them do so in order to teach them a lesson in humility and manners."
- "Who dares defile this ancient land? Who dares the wrath of Cenarius and the Night Elves?"
- "Let battle be joined!"
- "Now, my warriors, cleanse these brutes from the wilds! I will watch over you from the forest."
- "You cannot defeat me, I am the heart of the land!"
- "I defeated your kind in ages past and I shall do so again!" (mistaken orcs for demons)
- "Demon Spawned Wretches, you will all die!"
- Cenarius: The demons did their job well. You creatures are as reckless and bloodthirsty as they ever were!
- Grom Hellscream: We orcs are free, demigod!
- Cenarius: Is that what you call yourself? Despite what you may believe, you are no better than the malignant bile that flows through your veins.
- Grom Hellscream: Damn you! RAGH!
- Natures enemies, must be defeated.
- We are the guardians of the land.
Statistics of Cenarius at Level 10 from Warcraft III
|Entangling Roots||Force of Nature||Thorns Aura||Tranquility|
|Cenarius's abilities in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.|
|Unlike other Keepers of the Grove, he had five abilities.|
- 4000 HP (+340% more than a regular Keeper of the Grove)
- 1000 MP (+59% more than a regular Keeper of the Grove)
- 111-167 chaos melee damage (+193% more than a regular Keeper of the Grove)
- 4 divine armor (-34% less than a regular Keeper of the Grove, but divine armor only takes damage from chaos attacks)
- 53 Strength (+66% more than a regular Keeper of the Grove)
- 20 Agility (-29% less than a regular Keeper of the Grove)
- 63 Intelligence Primary Attribute (+50% more than a regular Keeper of the Grove)
- Entangling Roots (DoT and incapacitate)
- Force of Nature (summons Treants from trees)
- Thorns Aura (enemy melee units attacking units with this buff receive a percent of their attack damage back to them)
- Tranquility (AoE heal around caster)
- Cyclone (incapacitates target) (not present with regular Keepers of the Grove)
- The name Cenarius could have possibly come from the word "Centaurus", Latin for Centaur. This would be quite fitting, given his anatomy and his connection with the Warcraft centaurs.
- Alternatively, Cenarius could also be based upon Cernunnos, a Celtic god of nature, woodlands, fertility, and the hunt, who was often depicted with antlers, similar to Cenarius. Cernunnos is also worshiped by neo-Druids, and was worshiped by ancient Druids.
- Patch 4.2.0 (2011-06-28): Added at the Sanctuary of Malorne and against Ragnaros on Heroic.
- Patch 4.0.3a (2010-11-23): Added.
- ^ Arthaus. Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 44. ISBN 9781588460714.
- ^ Arthaus. Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 152. ISBN 9781588460714.
- ^ Blizzard lore posts#Cenarius.27_Mother
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Cenarius
- ^ Knaak, Richard A.. The Well of Eternity, 47. ISBN 978-0-7434-8902-7.
- ^ a b Ask CDev #3
- ^ Quest:The Nightmare Manifests#NPC text during the event
- ^ "Your successes in Hyjal will ultimately lead you to the assembly of the Ancients, who have set a plan in motion to bring a powerful ally and demigod back into this realm."
- ^ Arthaus. Shadows & Light, 78. ISBN 9781588469731.
- ^ Though the game states that "divine armor only takes damage from chaos attacks", standard attacks do manage to inflict a small amount of damage to Cenarius (damage reduced to 2% before applying reductions from armor). The Bladestorm ability does not have its damage reduced by divine armor, but it is on a somewhat long cooldown. Thus, it is possible to kill Cenarius without drinking from the corrupted Fountain of Life, by hitting him with a tremendous number of standard attacks quickly enough to exceed his high rate of regeneration. (One way to do this is by luring him into attacking a massive number of towers.) However, killing him this way does not allow you to diverge from the storyline; the level simply ends in victory and the cut scenes go on as if you did in fact drink from the fountain.