Highborne Ruins - Eldre’Thalas
Sidenote: The city has been spelled with the ‘t’ in ‘thalas’ both capitalized and lowercase. The importance of one or the other is unclear, however the spelling of Eldre’Thalas where it is capitalized seems to be the official one.
One of few royal cities in Azshara’s empire, Eldre’Thalas was built during her reign twelve thousand years ago to protect Queen Azshara’s most prized arcane secrets. This ranged from processing her most important demands to the safekeeping and storage of her precious tomes. Led by Prince Tortheldrin and Azshara’s greatest revered arcanists, the House of Shen’dralar, Eldre’thalas was established by expeditionary forces in the lush jungles of Feralas.
Eldre’thalas appears to have more of a druidic and naturalistic direction than many other Highborne cities of its age. Granted, all night elf cities were shaped in concert with nature and built with dozens of gardens, however Eldre’thalas has the touch of nature magic in its very existence. In addition to many elven statues, there are figurines of deer, bears, and owls. Eldre’thalas had an Ancient protector, Tendris Warpwood, whose very heart was inexorably entwined with the fate of the city. The official art of Eldre’thalas shows wandering treants, some of which inhabit the conservatory in the eastern wing and Milicent Serene, Highborne naturalist, created the Fruit of Fertility which protected Eldre’thalas and made it flourish. Eldre’thalas may, as a result of its unique direction, have been a useful location for the combined study of arcane and natural magics even before druids existed.
Eldre’thalas is a massive, multi-tiered sprawling expanse of gardens, districts, and corridors (sometimes hidden) that connect every part of the city. There are three official districts in addition to the central colosseum. The north and western districts, the Gordok Commons (named for the ogres that now inhabit it) and Capital Gardens respectively are connected to the Athenaeum, the library that serves as the very purpose of Eldre’thalas’ existence. The eastern district, the Warpwood Quarter exits through multiple passageways, such as Lariss Pavilion which opens up well outside the boundaries of the city.
In similar fashion to other decrepit Highborne cities, some areas of Eldre’thalas have been renamed in favor of their intruders. The Gordok Commons and Warpwood Quarter were claimed by outsiders and likely no longer sport their original names (although the Warpwood Quarter may have been named for Eldre’thalas’ protector, Tendris Warpwood). The function of the northern district is unclear, but the eastern district has a conservatory, a pool (either for bathing or as a moonwell, perhaps), and the Shrine of Eldretharr. The western district, the Capital Gardens, was likely a great place for socialization. It’s dominated by a massive garden and plethora of benches which make up the Court of the Highborne.
The Athenaeum is indisputably the most valuable part of Eldre’thalas. It is the library that holds much of Queen Azshara’s tomes in addition to compendiums detailing the known history of Azeroth. It may also be a place of science, considering the Highborne armillary sphere on display. It shares its model with the Highborne Astrolabe, however it looks like an armillary sphere which is a model of the celestial globe.
All books stored in the Athenaeum are protected with the Mark of the Athenaeum which prevents any unauthorized viewings. Even if one were to break the seal, it is implied that only people with the “requisite intellect to consume the knowledge” can read the sacred books. This may just mean that it depends on the reader’s skill level and has nothing to do with one’s magical aptitude.
The books are arranged according to the Dewey Decimal System.
The same prefix, “Eldreth” shows up in regards to Eldre’thalas many times. Eldreth Row and the Shrine of Eldretharr are subzones of the massive city. Ghostly inhabitants are called “Eldreth Sorcerers”. It is likely some Darnassian word with an unknown meaning, however ‘thalas’ alone translates to kingdom. In the translation of Eldre’thalas, ‘Eldre’ would then be its own word, meaning that Eldreth, at least where the name of the city is concerned, does not apply.
Eldreth could be a name for the inhabitants, similar to how people who live in America are called Americans. It could simultaneously be a word used to denote things that are “Eldre’thalas” in design, like how one will refer to certain items as “American”. Eldre’thalas is inhabited by the Shen’dralar, however they are not a race so much as they are a house: the House of Shen’dralar. This may have been Prince Tortheldrin’s royal house, which would include his servants and most loyal followers. The Eldreth, in this case, would be the lower caste civilians of the city, later to be sacrificed by the Shen’dralar in order to prolong their lives after the Sundering. That would explain why any living Highborne from Eldre’thalas never call themselves Eldreth, but instead Shen’dralar.