The night elves worship a being called Elune, pictured above. Elune is praised up and down throughout all existing night elven history. But there were two other races that also acknowledged and followed Elune -- the tauren and the earthen. The earthen were the stony beings that eventually transformed into the troggs ... and the dwarves. Somewhere way, way back down the line in dwarven ancestry, these guys honored Elune because of her connection to Cenarius and the earth.
Elune herself has never been seen directly, though she is described by the night elves as a luminous being that is difficult to make out. Glimpses of long, pale hair and alabaster skin are described along with a platinum circlet on her brow. The official Warcraft Encyclopedia describes her as follows:
Elune is described as being a mother of the world, dedicated to peace and protecting life in all forms. Elune doesn't agree with violence but offers unconditional love to all who choose to follow her, regardless of their beliefs or actions. She has often been associated with the larger of Azeroth's two moons, possibly due to the tales of her luminous appearance. Elune has supposedly existed longer than any of the Azerothian races and was originally associated with living in the waters of the Well of Eternity. Legends imply that the night elves were formed in Elune's image and actually originated from Elune.Elune has never been observed in physical form on Azeroth. Indeed, she is as much a collection of ideals as she is a personality in her own right. A powerful and spiritual deity, she is fundamentally an incorporeal being. Nevertheless, she is often depicted as a beautiful night elf woman crowned with a simple platinum circlet and surrounded by dazzling luminescence. Artists also traditionally portray her with long, white hair, alabaster skin, and eyes of pure moonlight.
On the other hand, we've got the troll legends that suggest something entirely different, that there was a rogue group of trolls that broke off from the great Amani Empire and forged their way into the heart of Kalimdor, discovering the Well of Eternity and changing into "beings of immense power." These legends, suggesting that the night elves were originally trolls, are fiercely denied by night elves. What if both suggestions are correct? What if these ancient trolls stumbled across the Well of Eternity and discovered E'lune, a naaru who observed these primitive creatures and somehow transformed them into something more, a reflection of the peace, tolerance and healing that E'lune wished to spread across all living things on Azeroth?
The physical similarities are definitely there. But let's go over some basics that we've learned, and try to piece them all together:
- Elune is stated as being so blindingly luminous that it is difficult to describe exactly what she looks like.
- Elune is a godlike deity that wishes to spread peace, prosperity and healing to all living creatures of Azeroth.
- Elune supposedly created the night elves in her own image.
- Elune is apparently capable of granting her followers powers that are eerily similar to those of the Light-following humans and dwarves, the healing magic of the priesthood.
- Elune is not, however, apparently capable of granting the powers of the paladin, as there are no night elf paladins out there.
The night elves were not alone with this whole "transformation" thing -- the draenei we play in game bear little resemblance to the eredar they originated from. And there are some similarities between the night elves and draenei that ought to be blatantly obvious -- their eyes, the glowing eyes that indicate they've been blessed by the naaru. Perhaps the evolutionary differences between the trolls and elves are a result of naaru intervention, and the uniquely glowing eyes that the night elves possess are marks of the Light of the naaru E'lune, the only part of her "image" she could bestow. Also, take a look at that artwork of Elune at the top, from so long ago -- particularly the design of her crown. Now take a closer look at the glowing sigil on the draenei's head in the picture above. There are some startling similarities for you. Between that and the shared philosophies of the naaru and Elune, there isn't really a lot of proof to indicate Elune isn't a naaru -- but there's a heck of a lot out there to suggest that she is.
But this is about the tauren, and tauren paladins and priests. The tauren believe in the Earthmother, the deity of the earth and all spirits of living creatures that walk upon it. The Earthmother's body is the land; her children are the plants and animals that walk upon it. This is why the tauren hold such great reverence for the land; the land is the Earthmother and should be treated with utmost dignity and respect, for it is where all things on Azeroth originated.
In tauren mythology, the tales speak of the eyes of the Earthmother: Mu'sha, the embodiment of the moon, and An'she, the embodiment of the sun. In the tale Sorrow of the Earthmother, it describes her grief at seeing her children, the Shu'halo, fall under the sway of "dark whispers from deep beneath the world." Unable to bear to watch their fall from grace, the Earthmother "tore out her eyes and set them spinning across the endless, starry skies." Thus Mu'sha became the moon, and An'she the sun.
Also in tauren mythology is the story of Cenarius' birth: Mu'sha, while chasing her brother across the sky, caught sight of a great white stag named Apa'ro (or Malorne to the night elves) who'd leapt into the heavens and could not free himself. Mu'sha fell in love with the stag and made a bargain with him -- she would set him free from the stars if he would love her and end her loneliness. The two had a child as a result of this bargain named Cenarius -- and he would walk the starry path between the waking world and the kingdom of the heavens.
If we step back from the flowery speech of the tale and look at this from a purely analytical standpoint, and with the view that Elune is indeed a naaru and capable of altering beings into a "purified" form like the draenei, there's an explanation for this. E'lune the naaru caught sight of Malorne and saw a creature that was dedicated to protecting the small planet that she was trying to cultivate peace and good will upon. A creature that was directly responsible for the creation and nurturing of life and nature in the world. Rather than simply alter Malorne, she had him create a son, and then imbued that son with the appearance of her other children, the night elves. Once blessed, Cenarius possessed both the powers over nature that his father had and the healing magic and connection to the Light that his mother had. From this strange conglomeration of natural powers and healing powers of the Light, the healing, shapeshifting, natural magic of the druids was born.
But what of An'she, the sun? After An Injured Colleague, Tahu Sagewind and Aponi Brightmane have a conversation about the nature of balance, noting the night elves' pretty much exclusive worship of Elune, or Mu'sha. Tahu states that the druidic arts of the tauren have come from the night elves version of Mu'sha, and that perhaps the tauren, in studying exclusively the ways and beliefs that the night elves held for Mu'sha, have overlooked a key aspect of balance within themselves. Tahu implies that Mu'sha is only one of the Earthmother's eyes, but the other eye, An'she ... is nowhere to be found.
If Elune is a naaru, and granted the night elves the powers of healing and the priesthood, then why aren't the night elves practicing the Light in the same fashion as their human and dwarven counterparts? Perhaps because Elune had a direct hand in transforming the night elves into the creatures they are today. In addition, keep in mind that while night elves are able to be priests, the only magic the tauren have learned from the night elves is the druidic magic of Cenarius, Elune's son. Using this train of thought, the reason the tauren never learned the powers of the priesthood like the night elves is because Elune didn't take a direct hand in teaching the tauren anything.
It is well known that the tauren don't really worship Elune directly, rather they think of her fondly as the mother of Cenarius and the eye of the Earthmother they devote their lives to. The magic of nature and the spirits of the earth is what the tauren practice almost exclusively. As Elune already has her pet project, the night elves, it is possible she simply never sought to grant or teach the tauren in the same way as the night elves she had such a deep connection with.
But that still leaves An'she. Where did An'she, the right eye of the Earthmother go to, and why has he never been an overbearing presence in tauren society? If E'lune is a naaru, then An'she by all right should be a naaru too -- the missing naaru whose presence hasn't really been felt by the tauren or night elves. Where'd he go, and what has he been up to that's kept him from working directly with E'lune?
Oh, hi guys. I'm sorry, I almost forgot about you way back on page one. What if the early humans and dwarves were somehow contacted by An'she and had a nice conversation about the connection between the universe and the self, and how that connection should be cultivated? Maybe it didn't sink in quite at first, and An'she was reluctant to take E'lune's direct approach to helping the world. So he whispered, quietly and repeatedly, into the minds of those creatures until they finally "got it," so to speak, and started practicing what he'd been preaching for endless years. Satisfied that they understood, he then granted them some of that same power that the naaru had granted to the draenei.
In Warcraft II, paladins like Turalyon were depicted with glowing eyes -- the glow of the Holy Light. That depiction has since disappeared, but various armor sets bring back the glow, giving the humans and dwarves an oddly familiar look that we've seen with both the draenei and the night elves. That glow that indicates maybe they've been touched by the Light -- the Light of the naaru -- and granted powers they were never meant to have.
From a time-line standpoint, the flight of the draenei from Argus took place 21,000 years ago. The earliest recorded parts of Azeroth history are from the trolls, who were around approximately 16,000 years ago. Somewhere after that, and prior to the Sundering, a section of trolls broke off and sought out something that called to them in the heart of Kalimdor, a glowing being of indescribable power.
Let's see what kind of story we can construct surrounding the naaru and how they came to Azeroth in the first place.