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The Guardian of Tirisfal, also known as Guardian of the Tirisfalen (and perhaps "Guardian of Azeroth"), was a single mortal champion magically empowered by the Council of Tirisfal to secretly fight the Burning Legion and other demons wherever they may appeared on Azeroth.
It was an order of immensely powerful beings who were empowered to protect the world from the Burning Legion over the millennia. The Guardians were imbued with powers from all members of the Order of Tirisfal, becoming extremely powerful mages in their own right. Typically, Guardians took rooms in the Violet Citadel. At the time Aegwynn became Guardian, all Guardians were given the honorific title "Magna", which comes from a dwarven word meaning "protector". ( It is unclear if Medivh ever received this honorific. He is usually known as "Magus". )
There can be only one Guardian of Tirisfal at a time. Each Guardian of Tirisfal is empowered through a long ritual by a council of seven archmages. The secrets of this ritual are closely guarded, if not all but forgotten in recent times. A new Guardian of Tirisfal cannot be empowered while the previous one exists. Only through his death, or through an equally long and secret disempowering ritual conducted by the surviving archmages who empowered him, can a Guardian of Tirisfal be stripped of his power. ( )
Each archmage participating in the empowering ritual loses part of their power. The loss of power lasts as long as the Guardian of Tirisfal that had been empowered lives. The power is regained if the Guardian of Tirisfal dies or is stripped of power by the surviving council of archmagi. A Guardian of Tirisfal cannot be stripped of power if all of the empowering archmagi are dead. Instead, they must be killed before there can be another Guardian of Tirisfal. Guardians live for centuries, and as a result, there have been few of them. Only the names of six are known:
- Magus Alodi — the first Guardian
- Magna Aranda
- Magna Scavell
- Magna Aegwynn — who "vanquished" Sargeras.
- Magus Medivh ( — The Last Guardian, who opened the )Dark Portal and later saved the world from Archimonde.
Foundation of the Order
Following the inadvertent summoning of several demons of the Burning Legion into the streets of the newly founded city of Dalaran, and the summoning of elementals from the Elemental Plane by both elves and humans, ( the ruling )mages of that city sought out the help of the high elves. While the Convocation of Silvermoon was able to help neutralize the immediate problem, the underlying threat of the Legion remained.
Formed by a secret pact between the human and elven mages, the Order of Tirisfal was created to oversee the secret war to protect Azeroth from demonic invasion. Taking its name from the council's meeting place in the Tirisfal Glades, the Order imbued a single mortal with incredible powers of both elven and human magic. Though there would only ever be one Guardian at a time, they held such vast power that they could single-handedly fight back the Legion's agents wherever they were found in the world. The Guardian's power was so great that only the Council of Tirisfal was allowed to choose potential successors to the mantle of Guardian. Whenever a Guardian grew too old, or wearied of the secret war against chaos, the Council chose a new champion and under controlled conditions channeled the Guardian power into its new agent.
Alodi and the Spearhead
Aegwynn and Medivh
The Guardians of Tirisfal were finally corrupted by Sargeras when his avatar fought the Guardian Aegwynn in Northrend. Though the Guardian Aegwynn successfully defeated Sargeras, his dark spirit entered her, and later the child that she conceived by the court conjurer of Stormwind, Nielas Aran.
Determining that she, not the Order, should determine the heir to the mantle of Guardian, she imbued her new son Medivh with the powers of a Guardian, though these powers would not be realized until he reached adulthood. Unbeknown to Aegwynn, the spirit of Sargeras had tainted Medivh's soul. Medivh would eventually be overcome by the will of Sargeras and conspire with Gul'dan and his orcish Shadow Council to open the Dark Portal which would allow the orcs to invade Azeroth.
Following Medivh's death during the First War, no new Guardian was chosen, and nothing more was ever heard of the Order of Tirisfal. It may have been that extraordinary power, however, which allowed Medivh to return and guide events during the Third War.