As the battle raged across the burning fields of Kalimdor, a terrible turn of events unfolded. The details of the event have been lost to time, but it is known that Neltharion, the Dragon Aspect of the Earth, went mad during a critical engagement against the Burning Legion. He began to split apart as flame and rage erupted from his dark hide. Renaming himself Deathwing, the burning dragon turned on his brethren and drove the five dragonflights from the field of battle. Deathwingâ€™s sudden betrayal was so destructive that the five dragonflights never truly recovered. Wounded and shocked, Alexstrasza and the other noble dragons were forced to abandon their mortal allies. Malfurion and his companions, now hopelessly outnumbered, barely survived the ensuing onslaught.
Malfurion, convinced that the Well of Eternity was the demonsâ€™ umbilical link to the physical world, insisted that it should be destroyed. His companions, knowing that the Well was the source of their immortality and powers, were horrified by the rash notion. Yet Tyrande saw the wisdom of Malfurionâ€™s theory, so she convinced Cenarius and their comrades to storm Azsharaâ€™s temple and find a way to shut the Well down for good. As the aftershocks from the Wellâ€™s implosion rattled the bones of the world, the seas rushed in to fill the gaping wound left in the earth. Nearly eighty percent of Kalimdorâ€™s landmass had been blasted apart, leaving only a handful of separate continents surrounding the new, raging sea.
At the center of the new sea, where the Well of Eternity once stood, was a tumultuous storm of tidal fury and chaotic energies. This terrible scar, known as the Maelstrom, would never cease its furious spinning. It would remain a constant reminder of the terrible catastrophe and the utopian era that had been lost forever. Somehow, against all odds, Queen Azshara and her Highborne elite managed to survive the ordeal. Tortured and twisted by the powers they had released, Azshara and her followers were dragged down beneath the raging sea by the Wellâ€™s implosion. Azshara herself expanded with hate and rage, becoming a massive monstrosity, reflecting the wickedness and malice that had always hidden within her core.