The Sunwell is a fount of mystical power located in Quel'Thalas. It was created from a vial of water from the Well of Eternity. It empowered the high elves for approximately four thousand years, until Arthas used it to resurrect Kel'Thuzad as a lich. His resurrection tainted the Sunwell in the process, severing the high elves from their source of power. After Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider rushed to the aid of his homeland, he feared that the tainted Sunwell could cause a catastrophe if left untouched. As such, he had the corrupted Sunwell destroyed - an act that saved the high elves from becoming tainted by the dark energies pulsating from it, though resulted in a withdrawal-based lethargy for the elven race.
The Sunwell's remaining power then manifested itself as Anveena Teague, who was put under blood elven protection in Quel'Thalas. However, she and the sin'dorei would soon find themselves dealing with a monumental betrayal: Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider, twisted and defeated on Outland, returned to the ruins of the Sunwell he had contaminated and did the unthinkable: openly sided with the demonic Burning Legion, and sought to usher his new master Kil'jaeden into Azeroth through the fountain's mystical depths.
The Shattered Sun Offensive, supplemented by Horde and Alliance forces banding together, succeeded in both slaying the denounced prince and vanquishing his demonic master, once again protecting Azeroth from the Legion's Burning Crusade. In the aftermath of the battle, the draenei prophet Velen sanctified the legendary Sunwell using the power of the Holy Light.
With the Sunwell's rebirth, the Blood Knights—an order of blood elf paladins who once wielded the Light by force—have decided instead to embrace it and to forge a new identity as they lead their people into a more promising future.
The well's potent arcane magic fed and strengthened all of the high elves on Azeroth. Thus, the city of Silvermoon was established. The power of the high elves grew, and they cast an enchantment on the Eversong Woods that would keep them bathed in eternal springtime. Elven magi crafted monolithic Runestones along the borders of Quel'Thalas; these massive stones powered a magical shield intended to mask the elves' magic from extra-dimensional threats and protect the land from invasion. The hard-won peace of Quel'Thalas would endure for roughly four thousand years.
For millennia the mystical pool of energy fueled the potent magic of the exiled high elves. The Sunwell's inexhaustible power permeated the elves and infused them with a constant supply of arcane energy. For generations the high elves protected and cherished the well, benefiting from its powers even when outside the borders of their homeland.
During the Third War, the death knight Prince Arthas Menethil laid waste to Quel'Thalas, wiping out most of its population and reducing large tracts of the mighty kingdom to ash in his quest to reach the Sunwell.
As the undead armies closed in, a high elf named Dar'khan Drathir (who hoped to gain the favor of the Lich King) aided Arthas by lowering the shields surrounding the Sunwell. However, Dar'Khan's treachery resulted in an explosion that knocked him unconscious, and dissipated much of the Sunwell's power.
With the elven capital of Silvermoon lying in ruins, Arthas marched triumphantly to the Sunwell and tossed the bones of the fallen necromancer Kel'Thuzad into the radiant beam of light. With this act the sacred well was instantly corrupted. Knowing he had sealed the fate of the high elves, Arthas departed with the newly resurrected Kel'Thuzad to carry on in service of the Lich King. Many of the Scourge, however, remained behind to prey upon the few elves who had not yet fallen.
In the aftermath of the battle, the legendary King Anasterian lay dead along with the members of the Convocation of Silvermoon, the high elves' ruling body and the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, Sylvanas Windrunner. Lor'themar Theron, Sylvanas Windrunner's second–in–command, assumed temporary leadership and organized the remaining survivors to fight the undead, but it was the return of Prince Kael'thas - member of the Kirin Tor and first son of Anasterian - from Dalaran that brought the elves a fragment of renewed hope.
Kael'thas soon learned that the greatest danger to his people was posed not by the Scourge, but by the Sunwell itself. The corrupted powers of the well still permeated not only the elves, but all that they had built. Given enough time, the necromantic energies would kill the elves and spread an incurable poison throughout the surrounding land. Kael'thas painfully concluded that the Sunwell, the heart of their society, must be destroyed.
He executed a plan that would irrevocably change the fate of his people. With the aid of the most powerful remaining magi, accompanied by Lor'themar and a party of volunteer defenders, Kael'thas succeeded in destroying the Sunwell. However, though the Sunwell's energies had been dispersed, not all of its essence was lost. A wizard named Borel - in truth, one of the guises of the red dragon Korialstrasz - gathered what remained of the energies and hid them away in the guise of a young human girl, Anveena Teague.
In the aftermath of the Sunwell's destruction, Kael'thas declared that his people would be forever known as the sin'dorei, or blood elves, so they would never forget those who had fallen in defense of their homeland.
Although the Sunwell's threat was ended, Kael'thas could not have foreseen the effect its loss would have on his people. The elves suffered terribly from withdrawal, for many of them had been infused with the arcane energies of the well all their lives. Only in the absence of the Sunwell did the blood elves come to realize how addicted they had grown to its powers. Over time the elves grew ill, and the youngest and oldest among them died.
Thirsting for vengeance, Prince Kael'thas and the healthiest of his warriors immediately joined the campaign against the Scourge in Lordaeron while Lor'themar and a ranger named Halduron Brightwing remained behind to safeguard the land and seek a cure for their people. Kael'thas and his warriors followed the naga through the portal and into the shattered realm of Outland. There, the elves met the one being capable of putting an end to their painful hunger: the renegade demon Illidan Stormrage.
Most of Kael'thas' group chose to stay in Outland, but Rommath was sent back to carry a message of hope to those blood elves remaining in Quel'Thalas. Rommath accomplished his mission: relaying tales of a glorious promised land, spreading the teachings of Illidan (teachings which Rommath smoothly attributed to Prince Kael'thas), and planting the notion that Kael'thas might one day return to lead his people to paradise. Rommath remained in Quel'Thalas to help rebuild and await the prince's return.
The Sunwell Trilogy
Months later, the traitor Dar'Khan – now a powerful agent of the Scourge – returned to Quel'Thalas. There he battled the avatar of the Sunwell, Anveena, and a band of heroes with the aid of the blue dragon Kalecgos and others. She was able to defeat Dar'khan and release the Sunwell's energy, in the process restoring the grove once destroyed by the Scourge. Anveena decided to stay in the ruined city and begin the process of renewal with Kalecgos, protected by a magical shield and watched over by Lor'themar Theron. Anveena's identity as the avatar of the Sunwell's power was kept a closely guarded secret, known to only Lor'themar and his people.
The Sunwell restored
This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.
Following the defeat of Illidan in Outland, Kael'thas - bristling with power from his Manaforges in Netherstorm - finally returned to Quel'Thalas, promising final deliverance to his people. To this end he harnessed the mortal possessor of the Sunwell's energies, Anveena. However, the prince's exposure to fel energies had made him unstable, and he sought out a new master, a demon lord of the Burning Legion Kil'jaeden. Kael attempted to summon Kil'jaeden into Azeroth using the reignited Sunwell as a portal. This was prevented due to the actions of a group of heroes and Anveena herself who sacrificed her life to prevent Kil'jaedens full emergence into Azeroth. The battle with the Kil'jaeden once again left the Sunwell powerless. However Velen appeared shortly thereafter and uses the naaru M'uru's "spark" to reignite the Sunwell, explaining:
- "In time, the light and hope within will rebirth more than this mere fount of power. Mayhap, they will rebirth the soul of a nation."
This restores the Sunwell using the energies of M'uru, returning the blood elves' "fount of power." The Sunwell's new energies are derived from both the arcane and from M'uru's powers of the Light.
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
The Sunwell's current status is seen briefly during the quest to restore the fabled elven sword, Quel'Delar. Access to the Sunwell itself is policed by the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, Halduron Brightwing, who allows adventurers to enter once the spirit of Thalorien Dawnseeker - Quel'Delar's original wielder - offers his blessing. The Regent Lord of Quel'Thalas, Lor'themar Theron, and Grand Magister Rommath are seen within, along with Lady Liadrin and groups of blood elf pilgrims. In addition, several high elves have been allowed access to the sacred Sunwell; Auric Sunchaser seen as the high elf representative.
If the adventurer is not a sin'dorei, Quel'Delar is submerged into the Sunwell itself, and Lor'themar Theron thanks the adventurer for returning it to its "rightful owners." He attempts to claim it, though the blade hurls him back, to which Rommath and the Sunwell's Guardians immobilize the player and Auric, outing them as traitors. Auric is able to defuse the situation, however, and states that Quel'Delar chooses its own wielder. Rommath grudgingly calls the guards off, ordering the player to begone with the blade if it is not meant to be theirs.
If a blood elf delivers Quel'Delar to the Sunwell, things play out differently. Lor'themar simply observes it as it is submerged into the Sunwell, and both he and Rommath confirm its authenticity. Hailing the player as a hero and inspiration to the sin'dorei, Lor'themar, Rommath and Auric offer words of support. Rommath instructs the sin'dorei to deliver the blade to Archmage Aethas Sunreaver, and notes that the blood elves will always rise up to face any foe.
Little else is known about the Sunwell's current status, presumably due to Quel'Thalas not receiving an update following the Cataclysm expansion.
The Sunwell's protection
- During the Second War, the Sunwell itself proved a huge advantage to Silvermoon and Quel'Thalas. The Sunwell directly empowered its citizens, its great power tied to Quel'Thalas and her people, and ensured that none of the invading red dragons could so much as touch the capital. These defenses were only bypassed by Arthas, who had gained the loyalty of a great traitor in the upper echelons of Silvermoon, a turn of events which ultimately ended in the Sunwell's destruction. However, with the Sunwell restored, it is unclear as to whether Silvermoon once again possesses these great defenses.
- Patch 2.4.0 (2008-03-25): Added.