The Ordre was a group of priests who advocated a balance between Light and Shadow. Its philosophy took a long view of that balance, allowing for minor fluctuations which tended to rebalance themselves with the passage of time. Their concern was focused on more overt or gradually building threats, and signs of rising extremism were never taken lightly. As Orcs, Gnomes, and Tauren have no affinities for the Divine magics used by the Ordre Cendrée, none of those races were represented in the membership. Additionally, the Night Elves worship of nature and the moon-goddess Elune were seen as incompatible with the goals of the Ordre, and they were similarly excluded. The Ordre's history and fall predated the rise of the Forsaken, though some of their former number were raised in undeath and a few retained their dedication to the Ordre's mission. As their name suggests, the Ordre favored the color gray, and many members wore white, gray or black as they preferred. Upon achieving the status of full Priest/Priestess of the Balance, a flat gray brooch was granted to signify the all-important balance between dark and light. Many priests of the Ordre choose not to wear the trappings of their faith, preferring to appear mundane as they go about their appointed tasks. The world was largely unaware of the Ordre's existence throughout its history, and those members who traveled among the folk of Azeroth did not reveal more than was required to achieve their goals.
The Ordre was formed in secret by a spirit incarnation known only as "the Watcher" in the year 3 WC1. According to their teachings, the spirit sought to establish a Divine order to look for and oppose outbreaks of extremism among the inhabitants of Azeroth. In the form of visions, the Watcher approached several priests among the populations of the Trolls, Dwarves, and Humans. To those who would follow, the spirit conveyed the importance of maintaining the balance between Light and Shadow, and instructed them in the use of both Holy and Shadow magic to preserve that balance. The Watcher ordered that the existence of the Ordre remain hidden from the view of the outside world--"the hand of the Ordre remains hidden, its only evidence the balance it maintains." The followers were taught to set aside racial tensions and charged with finding others of like talent, working to expand their ranks to meet the challenges ahead.
In the following years, some members of the Ordre wandered the land, searching with ancient artifacts for those with talents in both Holy and Shadow magic. As their existence must remain secret, such searches were clandestine, and abduction the usual method of recruitment. Initiates were brought to the Ordre's hidden enclave in Tirisfal, and educated there in academic subjects as well as use of magics and the precepts of the organization. Most new initiates were taken at a very young age, as it was thought that those much older might have difficulty adjusting to the Ordre's mission. In certain cases, the levels of power found in some individuals were too great an asset to overlook, and more intricate methods were used to acquire these promising candidates.
In the year 16 WC1, one of the most promising initiates, a human named Cadyna, sought to destroy the Ordre by betraying it to the Cult of the Damned. Cadyna had been recruited at the age of ten and harbored deep resentment for being conscripted against her will, but her bitterness was overlooked by many in the Ordre impressed with her mastery of the Divine magics. After completing her training, she deserted and led the Cult to the hidden enclave, believing she would receive a position of stature within Kel'Thuzad's growing following. Seeing a threat to his own position, the leader of the Cult forces drove a spear through her back during the attack. The Ordre was caught unaware by the assault, and most of the accomplished members lost their lives protecting the retreat of a few initiates and those artifacts able to be quickly gathered. After the enclave was put to the torch by Cult forces, the few remaining members scattered across the world. Certain they would be hunted now that their existence was known to the forces of dread Shadow, each priest of the Ordre took one or two of the remaining initiates and found a secret locale in which to take up residence, hoping to continue the training and the mission to which they had devoted themselves.
At the Battle of Mount Hyjal, the remaining priests of the Ordre Cendrée aided in the delay of Archimonde's advance, but fell before the onslaught of the Legion forces. With their passing, the final remnants of the organization were thought lost. A few remain, though it is uncertain if the Ordre will ever be rebuilt and again take up its sacred charge.