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The Farstriders is an elite group of blood elf rangers active in Quel'Thalas. They are led by the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, Halduron Brightwing, who succeeded Sylvanas Windrunner after the Third War. The Farstriders are based in Silvermoon City, but they have several camps and lodges scattered all across Quel'Thalas. They are considered part of the blood elf government.
Intimately bound to the wildlands, and with a deep respect for the law, the rangers that compose the Farstriders' ranks remain noble, traditional, and valiant protectors of blood elf society.
The Farstriders were initially comprised of little more than a group of high elven rangers, who loosely fought together during the Troll Wars to keep Quel'Thalas safe. Of them, Talanas Windrunner was the greatest. Roughly 500 years ago, a group of similarly dedicated fighters formed and officially took on the name "Farstriders." Their mandate was original to protect Quel'Thalas far beyond its actual borders and look after high elf interests all over Azeroth, and while the Farstriders still see their mission as a broad one, this ambitious goal narrowed over time; today, the Farstriders rarely range beyond Quel'Thalas. The commander of the Farstriders was given a unique, historic title: Ranger-General of Silvermoon.
At the outset of the Second War, the Farstriders were led by Ranger-General Lireesa Windrunner, who was killed in one of the first attacks on Quel'Thalas by the fel-crazed orcs and their Amani allies. She was succeeded by her second eldest daughter, Sylvanas Windrunner. As the forces of the Amani and the Old Horde encroached upon northern Eversong, the Farstriders sortied to push back the invaders. Notable Farstrider commanders such as Sylvanas' second-in-command, Lor'themar Theron, the ranger-captain Alleria Windrunner, and their comrade Halduron Brightwing were part of the conflict, and the Farstriders were instrumental in holding off the Amani until the Horde's subdued red dragon allies began to lay waste to the forests. When the Farstriders and the Alliance forces had succeeded in driving off the invaders, Alleria and Lor'themar led their rangers to Lordaeron to relieve the human capital. Sylvanas remained behind to help secure Quel'Thalas, and it was Halduron and his platoon of rangers, assisted by some of Silvermoon's priests and priestesses, who defeated and apprehended the troll chieftain, Zul'jin, amidst the burning woodlands. The Rangers, many of whom had lost loved ones in their many conflicts with the trolls, tortured the leader of their ancient enemy extensively. Halduron had hoped to keep Zul'jin alive long enough to be brought back to Silvermoon, but an Amani war party was able to cause a damaging enough diversion for their leader to escape the elves' grasp.
While Quel'Thalas was a part of the Alliance, Sylvanas inducted an unlikely apprentice into the Farstriders' ranks - the human ranger, Nathanos Marris. Sylvanas took what was considered an inordinate amount of pride in her talented human disciple, as noted by several of her comrades, and a number of the other Farstriders did not take kindly to the presence of a human in their ranks. Quel'Thalas' scion Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider himself demanded Sylvanas dismiss him from the ranger corps, though Sylvanas persisted in his training. Regardless, Nathanos proved himself a valuable ally and was the first and last human to achieve the rank of Ranger Lord and be trained with the Farstriders.
Sometime after the conflict was over, Anasterian cited poor leadership on the humans' end that led to unnecessary violence in the elven homeland as an excuse to withdraw his kingdom from the Alliance. Thus, the nation of Quel'Thalas and the Farstriders went back into their isolation from the wider world. The Farstriders saw little action during this time; the odd Amani war-party aside, Quel'Thalas enjoyed a peaceful end to the Second War.
The Farstriders were the high elves' first line of defense during the Scourge Invasion of Quel'Thalas. They were the first to learn of the fall of Lordaeron, wrought on by the twisted Prince Arthas and his undead hordes. Farstrider scouts informed Ranger-General Sylvanas of the approaching death knight, and Sylvanas led a raid of rangers herself to meet him. After mocking the Ranger-General's attempts to convince him to turn back, Arthas strode on towards the elfgates, and the Farstriders dispersed to put a stop to him before the Scourge's unholy trail of destruction could spread further into the elven kingdom.
Firstly, the Farstriders rained a hail of arrows down upon the invaders, while a contingent drew their blades and targeted the mortal members of the Cult of the Damned. Against the Farstriders' superior abilities, the living members of the cult proved a little match, though their corpses were swiftly reanimated and any elves that fell followed suit. Before long, Ranger-General Sylvanas gave the order to retreat, the undead Scourge fast approaching the elfgates and cutting its way through the rangers. Sylvanas came to realize that they could not win this battle but held out hope that the Magisters on Quel'Danas could still turn the battle around if they knew what was coming. Farstrider scouts were sent north inform them, but Arthas had them swiftly murdered at every turn.
The Ranger-General made numerous efforts to halt the Scourge advance, including destroying the main passage leading to Elrendar and keeping the Key of Three Moons out of Arthas' grasp. However, these attempts proved mostly futile: Arthas supplemented the destroyed bridge with his shambling, mindless servants, and a traitor named Dar'Khan Drathir ensured that Arthas knew exactly where to find his much-coveted key.
The Farstriders launched a large-scale Dragonhawk attack on the invaders. After some initial successes, their valiant beasts were largely fought off by the Scourge's stone gargoyles.
Sylvanas herself fell before Silvermoon after single combat with the scion of Lordaeron, and the Farstriders fought a desperate battle for survival without her leadership. Lor'themar Theron and his rangers were patrolling near Zul'Aman around the time of the invasion and rushed to check on the hidden mooncrystals after catching signs of an invasion. They joined with Halduron Brightwing's ranger company and rushed north to Silvermoon, and the Sunwell.
Halduron Brightwing, the Ranger-General of Silvermoon and the leader of the Farstriders. Their efforts thwarted, the Farstriders were pushed back to the capital, and Belo'vir Salonar, Grand Magister of Quel'Thalas, took over the defense of the city in Sylvanas's place.
When the battle was over, Ranger Lord Lor'themar Theron became the acting high elven leader, and the Farstriders were instrumental in keeping the survivors of the Scourge onslaught safe. Upon their arrival at Silvermoon, Lor'themar and the remaining Farstriders had gathered together all the survivors they could find. They established a defensible position within Silvermoon and fought back the wandering dead that maintained a vigil in the area. The next day, the Farstriders struck out and made sweeping perimeter searches of Eversong, seeking out survivors they had missed or those trying to reach the city, and leading them to safety.
After learning of the devastation of Quel'Thalas, Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider returned to his homeland. He renamed the survivors "blood elves" in honor of their fallen brethren, and commanded Lor'themar to safeguard the elven homeland from the Scourge remnants, while he took 15% of the blood elven people to join the Alliance resistance. With Sylvanas' demise, a void was left, and the Farstriders elected Halduron Brightwing as their new ranger-general, as he was both a talented leader and a skilled ranger.
Lor'themar and Halduron led the Farstriders in doing battle with the Scourge all over Quel'Thalas, with varying success. They picked up the track of the great traitor Dar'Khan Drathir himself, and launched an ambush on him; however, they were met with a raid of high elven skeletons blocking their path, and the traitor eluded justice. Lor'themar, Halduron, and their rangers later captured and interrogated Kalecgos and his companions, but joined forces with the blue dragon's party upon discerning their good intentions. The rangers aided Kalecgos in battling Dar'Khan on Quel'Danas.
The blood elves had made little progress with reclaiming the kingdom, the Scourge still inhabiting it in strong numbers. Nevertheless, the Farstriders continued their battle against the undead and were eventually relieved by Grand Magister Rommath and his magisters, who quickly went about using the radical new teachings advocated by Illidan Stormrage (ostensibly Kael'thas) to expel the invaders and reclaim much of Quel'Thalas with stunning efficiency. Silvermoon City itself was rebuilt "almost overnight," and the blood elves' fortune was beginning to look far better.
However, the teachings Rommath brought back to Quel'Thalas caused some friction within the Farstriders: Renthar Hawkspear and his rangers openly opposed them, an act that led the newly-named Regent Lord of Quel'Thalas Lor'themar Theron to banish them south.
Quel'Thalas also looked to finding allies around this time, and the Farstriders were initially of a dubious mind regarding their alliance with the Horde. They also opposed the creation of the Blood Knight order.
The Farstriders were perhaps the most unaffected by the pangs of magic addiction and withdrawal and felt a much lesser hunger for the arcane than some of their brethren. The cause of this was unknown.
Today the Farstriders do not usually range far from home. Instead, they fight to reclaim and control the southern section of Quel'Thalas, which has been heavily afflicted by the plague: the southernmost areas have fallen into Scourge possession. The Farstriders are also fighting to hold onto Eversong Woods, which is being threatened by the Amani trolls of Zul'Aman, to the east of Quel'Thalas.
The Farstriders hold the Ghostlands via their numerous holdings throughout Eversong Woods with the unlikely assistance of the Forsaken; primarily concerned with dealing with the Amani trolls still holding out within Quel'Thalas from the Farstrider Retreat. They would also take the fight into the Ghostlands, from their main base in the Farstrider Enclave. Halduron and a Farstrider platoon joined with the Blood Knights in dealing with Dar'Khan's first reappearance in the Ghostlands. Although Farstriders and Magisters rarely see eye-to-eye, they had a very common goal when it came to seeing the great traitor Dar'Khan Drathir, now an undead servant of the Lich King, dead.
After the dramatic events surrounding the treacherous Prince Kael'thas and the Burning Legion, the Sunwell has been restored to its people. Around this time, a number of the Sunfury forces returned home to serve their people, and the Farstriders have been less stretched with protecting Quel'Thalas' borders as a result.
The Farstriders and Darkspear tribe form an alliance against the new troll empire brewing in Zul'Aman, and a regiment of Farstrider Troll hunters can be found on its outskirts. With most of the Farstriders away on duty, Halduron calls upon support from an unlikely source -- Vereesa Windrunner and her own rangers, who travel to Quel'Thalas to assist their homeland against the Amani threat.
Mists of Pandaria
A Farstrider regiment is deployed to Pandaria roughly two months after the continent's discovery. Accompanying Lor'themar Theron, the Farstriders (as well as Blood Knight divisions) serve as bodyguards to Regent Lord Theron, and as a protective measure for The Reliquary. Ranger Orestes is tasked with tracking down and capturing a mogu warlord alongside Blood Knight Aenea, and Farstriders are seen subduing the captured mogu with chains after the deed is done.
Following Grand Magister Rommath's assault on Dalaran to rescue the Sunreavers, Lor'themar orders Halduron to assemble the Farstriders, noting that the time had finally come for the Sin'dorei to take their future into their own hands. Halduron and his Farstrider rangers then assisted Lor'themar and the Sunreaver Onslaught against the Zandalari and mogu forces.
Warlords of Draenor
The Sunsworn contain a number of rangers, assisting the Blood Knight-heavy force in their battles across Talador.
Halduron leads the Farstriders to Trueshot Lodge; many named Farstriders, some familiar, can be found in and around the camp. The Farstriders were responsible for uncovering the whereabouts of their old comrade Alleria Windrunner, after torturing a demon into giving up information on Niskara, a Legion world inhabited by the Inquisitor demons. Joining forces with Vereesa Windrunner, they returned to the Broken Shore to plan a rescue. Ranger Orestes lost his life in the attempt.
When the Unseen Path's new leader is inaugurated, Halduron vows that the Farstriders will fight at their side.
Beliefs and Practices
The Farstriders have long been considered valiant and honorable elves who regarded the law with deep respect and faith. Indeed, they have long been considered the epitome of selfless dedication.
Since the Scourge's bloody rampage through Quel'Thalas, the Farstriders have lost some of their optimism. Even so, they are nobly maintaining their role as protectors of blood elf society. Perhaps due to their ties to the land, these rangers tend to be spiritually, mentally, and physically healthier than many other blood elves.
They see their mission as a broad one: to seek out and eradicate evil. Their primary focus is on Quel'Thalas itself, but they also occasionally venture abroad, carrying out surgical strikes where they feel their efforts will have the greatest effect.
While many of their brethren focus on magical supremacy and the wonders of the arcane, the Farstriders retain some of their forebears' connection to nature, feeling at home in the forests and finding allies in the wilderness - while Silvermoon has many political divisions, in nature, the Farstriders find allies that do not know deceit. Intimately bound to the wildlands, the Farstriders are experts at their craft and know the forests of Quel'Thalas like no others, outclassing even their ancient enemy the Amani in terms of woodsmanship and stealth.
The Farstriders are not opposed to torture, sometimes practicing it with a brutality that unsettles fellow elves. They famously employed it on Zul'jin, beating him ruthlessly and gouging out his eye to take vengeance for the lives his campaigns had claimed, and have also made use of it on captured demons for the purpose of interrogation.
Though initially icy in relation to their prospective alliance with the Horde, the Farstriders seem capable of putting racial prejudice aside when needed -- gladly working with the Darkspear tribe -- and Halduron Brightwing himself seems highly respectful to his Horde allies; the ranger-general is noted as displaying few of the haughty prejudices the elves are known for.
Their feud with the Blood Knights is well known. Due to the Knights' method of wielding the Light, the Farstriders looked down upon the Blood Knights, considering them to be immoral, and hoped they would see the light. In turn, the Blood Knights considered the Farstriders afraid of grasping true power.
The Farstriders also seem at odds with several of the Magisters. This is perhaps fuelled by the various allusions given to Grand Magister Rommath and Halduron Brightwing not seeing eye-to-eye on many matters.
The comments of Silvermoon City Guardians indicate their cold feelings towards the Farstriders.
The Farstriders have a ranking system by title, and it appears to possess a fairly straightforward command hierarchy.
- Ranger-General - also referred to as "Ranger-General of Quel'Thalas". The leader of the Farstriders and Quel'Thalas' military commander.
- Ranger Lord - a high ranking title granted to rangers of incredible prowess. The Thalassian term for this rank is Alar'annalas.
- Ranger Captain - a position of high authority in the Farstriders.
Known Ranger Captains are Ranger Captain Venn'ren, and Ranger Captain Areiel; the latter of which retains her title even as a Dark Ranger of the Forsaken.
- Captain - a rank of authority.
- Lieutenant - a rank of authority.
- Farstrider - a number of rangers simply bear the title of "Farstrider" itself.
- Ranger - an entry-level rank.
Promotion to Ranger Lord, or Alar'annalas, is often done in a formal public ceremony. The ranger-general drapes the new ranger lord in a Fora'nal cloth, symbolizing their progression, and imparts encouraging words. The head of state may even pay their respects.
Adapted from WoWPedia