The Tel’dorei are elves of Azeroth, different from their cousins as much as the quel’dorei are to the kaldorei. Separate, and individual from their cousins, they have developed their own magics, culture and lives that infrequently intersect with others.
The Tel’dorei historically travelled the northern regions of Eastern Kingdoms, keeping together in small clans or caravans, they moved along decades-long trade routes through the mountains and valleys of Lordaeron and Quel’thalas. This went on from their earliest days as a group, until just a decade before the Fall of Silvermoon. Their culture formed around this concept of movement-- of home being adaptive, and ever changing.
Nomadic, occult, and often maligned by those whose lands they travelled through, they are known primarily for their natural and shadow magics, their insular communities, and their ability to weave a strange branch of soothsaying virtually unheard of elsewhere in Azeroth.
The Tel’dorei are a nomadic offshoot of the Highborn. They come from individuals amongst the Highborn that were neither arcane aligned or noble, nor were they able to follow the call of the druids for their own reasons or personal alignments. Though they left with their Highborn kin after the War of the Ancients in exile, they separated from the main group in early days of their trek north. Stopping and staying in Tirisfal while the others continued to Quel’thalas, they broke off from the elves that would later become the High elves and then the Blood elves.
After realizing they could not, as a people, survive the long term effects of the Tirisfal, the group who were now a distinct form of elf followed their long-departed north into Quel’thalas. The passage was not hard, however, as they discovered that they had missed the establishment of a nation proper, having missed the early and important days of Thalassian statehood. The best portions of the land were given and gifted to others long before the coming of the Tel’dorei.
Rather than supplant themselves before the lords of the new Quel’thalas, the errant children of the Highborn instead chose to continue the life they had known-- of wandering, and living off the meagre land, which were far more bountiful under the care of the Quel’dorei.
Choosing not to fight or beg for a place in the world of the high elves, the nomads took a new way and a new name.
Calling themselves the Children of the Earth, or Tel’dorei, they chose a different path once more. Instead of becoming beholden to one land or another, they chose to instead travel all lands as free as they could, bowing to no king or queen but only to those they could call kin.
With this, they parted ways, becoming the two tribes and many clans of today.
Origins of the TribesEdit
Though there is next to no way to prove the actual origin of the tel’dorei disparate elements, most accounts can be simplified thusly:
There was a scarcity in resources in the earliest days for all the bounty of Quel’thalas, especially for those who claimed no home or lord to provide for their needs. The Tel’dorei’s powers were weak compared to their highly magical kin, and so they lacked the raw ability to forge their way with arcane and rich magics. This caused dissent amongst the newly-christened Tel’dorei, as there was no single option that suited the disparate ideals.
In order to give those ideals and freedoms the chance they had agreed upon, and to cover the most ground in their search for resources and a way to survive, the Tel’dorei split into two groups. One searched to the east, and the other to the west. They agreed to meet in a decade, to determine if there was a place for all of them.
When the group reconvened at the predetermined time, those of the west had faced trial and tribulation-- they came empty handed. There had been no place for them in the world of Lordaeron or the west coast of Quel’thalas.
The other, however, returned with gifts that were unknown to their number before. Those who travelled east now had command of the elements, speaking and dealing with them and working as one for greater purpose. In this they were blessed-- Earthblessed (or Tel’shan).
When their western kin asked for these blessings to be granted to them as well, they were denied; the Earthblessed told them they had not been chosen as worthy and so withheld their gifts. They would care for their powerless and unblessed kin, but they would not share their magics-- or the newfound power they held over those of the west.
Bitter by the betrayal of their blood and unwilling to kneel to any other king or queen, even if they were of their kin, those of the west turned their backs on the Earthblessed and swore to return with more power than their cousins could dream of.
And they did.
The Bloodblessed (or Sin’shan) slowly returned without pomp or ceremony, with greater powers than those of the elements-- a command of branch and beast, that overwhelmed that of their cousins. With their smugness came a rift between the two tribes, and the two parted, only to meet every fifty years for caravan carnivales.
As time went on, the tribes emerged into distinct clans, based around families and preferred magics. Though no one is quite certain why, there is always a balance between them; there are always an equal number of clans, one in each tribe, parallel to its sibling in the other.
There is some speculation that the Tel’dorei are an offshoot of the very same group of elves that were disloyal to Azshara and became cursed as harpies; their magics, matriarchal lineages and culture of nomadic travel seem to give some credence to this. However, with some harpies having come from those loyal to Aviana and losing their way, there is no definitive way to confirm whether harpies and the Tel’dorei share more than aesthetic and similar magics.
The magics of the Tel’dorei are based on deals, however they can also be broken along several lines; those of the tribes, those of gender and those of purpose. Though all Tel’dorei draw from similar sources-- magics of nature, elements, blood, shadow and hybrids of any of the four-- all have unique ways of incorporating them into their day to day lives, and which is often reflected in their culture.
There is power in potential-- this is the idea behind the magics of the Tel’dorei. Just as a match can promise to be a fire, or flour, water and salt be promise of bread, so the magic of the Tel’dorei is formed in what might be. Tel’dorei make deals in every magic they do-- small deals, like that of the man who summons fire to cook his meal and in return cooks for those around him, to greater ones-- like marrying maligned magics for the promise of a favor, unnamed but infinite in potential.
The deals of the Tel’dorei began much more humbly than the magics of the Highborn or even the High elves, but have grown over generations. Each deal completed allows for more power to be granted-- by the individual, but also by the family and the race. The beings that the Tel’dorei deal with are eternal: the elements, and the beatspirits do not forget. So long as they are appeased, they can offer more and more magics to the Tel’dorei. In turn, this is how the Tel’dorei interact with others. It has impacted every action of their life, that everything is paid for with something else.
Though the magics remain similar to that of other races-- stemming from within or without-- it’s the culture of deals that has changed the nature of how magic relates to the Tel’dorei. No other race understand the unique and often contradictory nature of the magics, and so find it difficult to replicate. This in turn is worse for the Tel’dorei-- traditional magics are a lost art to them, and looked upon with suspicion or aggression. Magic formed without a deal is raw and wild, and innately dangerous, in their opinion.