Sacrifice…what would you give up to save the ones that you loved? How far would you be willing to go in order to protect that which is precious to you? Would you fight fire with fire?
These are the questions that every Demon Hunter must ask themselves…and those that survive answer; yes. They give up everything in their pursuit of The Legion. They will go to any lengths to save those that are precious to them. In a cruel twist of irony, they use the demon’s very own powers against them, battling the Burning Legion with their own Demonic power.
To become one of the Illidari you must be willing to give up everything, like their leader Illidan Stormrage was forced to. Sacrifice being a core component of their belief; let us take a look at the history of the first Demon Hunter.
NOTE: Below are spoilers for Legion so if you want to stay in the dark about this, don’t read any further.
Illidan, and his brother were born in Lorlathil, a village within Val’sharah. It was here that the first signs of his great destiny would be revealed. Born with amber eyes, the Night Elves thought this meant he would have a great future ahead of him. Illidan grew up in Suramar with his twin brother Malfurion, and their friend Tyrande Whisperwind. Their childhood was happy. Of course, they each had their own calling, but that was before they decided to search for a myth.
Malfurion shared his stories of Cenarius with his twin Illidan, and Tyrande. Of course they wanted to meet him like all children do so they searched for the Demigod. Curious about these elves who seemed to want to learn more than the rest of their kin who had grown distant from nature, Cenarius introduced himself to the three. He decided he would teach them his ways.
Failure, and Rejection
As both brothers trained under Cenarius, it was apparent that Malfurion was going to be the first Druid due to his patience and dedication. Illidan was the opposite; he quickly grew impatient when he failed. It was because of this that Cenarius refused to teach Illidan anymore, and told him that if he wished to continue to study nature he would have to do so under his brother.
“You must learn respect. Malfurion will become the first druid because he is a dedicated student. You…are NOT. To walk this path requires sacrifice Illidan…Something you have yet to understand”
Those were the words that Cenarius spoke to him, and the first rift was formed for Illidan. So he set out to find a new destiny, one forged by his own hands.
It was on this journey that he found a place with Lord Ravencrest. While he wasn’t a highborne his prowess with the arcane magic soon earned him a place within the lord’s court. He eventually came to lead the Moonguard.
The First Sacrifice
Illidan had been tutored by the mage Rhonin who was impressed with his skill with magic, though he failed to keep the youth’s recklessness in check. The spells that Illidan could cast were complex, and wreaked havoc on the Legion’s forces, but they also drew heavily on the power of his Moonguard often leaving them completely exhausted. Though he was unaware of these side effects, others began to take notice.
Through the War, Illidan had done his best to impress the beautiful Tyrande Whisperwind but because of his reckless, and often selfish acts, she had already made up her mind. Illidan eventually found out that she had chosen his brother Malfurion over him despite his best efforts to win her over.
A voice in the back of his mind however began to whisper dark thoughts to him; saying that if his brother fell in battle then he would no longer have a rival for his beloved Tyrande. Shaking these thoughts, Illidan was disgusted with himself for allowing them to enter his head and he stormed off. Within the shadows of the forest – the satyr Xavius could be seen. He had been planting those thoughts within the mind of Illidan, hoping to drive the brothers apart.
The next battle took place at Black Rook Hold, which was slowly being destroyed by the demons, taken apart piece by piece. If it fell then all of Suramar would soon follow. So Illidan, with his fellow Moonguard, fought through the legions of demons until they came upon an enemy that they couldn’t defeat. Xalian Felblaze overwhelmed Illidan and his Moonguard, and she was prepared to kill them all if Illidan didn’t act quickly.
Forced with the choice of draining away the life force of his mages, or allowing the Legion to win, this was the first sacrifice Illidan ever made for the greater good. He siphoned off the essence of his Moonguard and he easily defeated the demon before him. He then began to fight his way down to the final opponent. After destroying the portal, and the demon Balaadur – the final demon lay before him.
Unable to harm it with any conventional magical attack, Illidan did the unthinkable. He drained the power of all the nearby Moonguard, and cast a spell that defeated the incredibly powerful demon with ease. Though the cost was high, they had won the day.
Horrified by Illidan’s actions Ravencrest reprimanded him. Illidan believing that the sacrifice was necessary, praised his Moonguard as heroes for giving their lives. Calling them all blind for not being able to see the truth, Illidan left.
We will end this section of the story here. But just like Xe’ra, I will pose the same question to you,”What would you have done differently if you were placed within Illidan’s shoes?”