Know Your Lore: The Flight From Argus
There were once a people called the Eredar, a people with unparalleled mastery of the arcane. Gifted, intelligent, physically powerful, they created a near utopia on the planet Argus. Over twenty five thousand years ago, they ceased to exist.
In their place were two divided factions. Most of the Eredar became Man’ari, the “Unnatural Ones” in service to the fallen Titan, Sargeras. Led by Archimonde and Kil’jaeden, these corrupted beings wage a war across infinite gulfs of darkness to burn away every world. They are a far cry from the beings that once hungered for knowledge on a cosmic scale. Now they seek to bring destruction to every world that hangs in the tapestry of the universe.
But they are not the only remaining trace of the people who looked at the universe in wonder. The Prophet Velen saw Sargeras’ offer for what it truly was: a slavery so profound it would leave nothing behind of the inquisitive Eredar of old. And so Velen turned to the Light, and the Naaru, and led those of his people willing to dare a desperate voyage forth into an exile from their homeworld.
And in that exile they found themselves made into something new.
When the Ata’mal Crystal allowed Velen to contact the Naaru, those beings sent the Genedar, a dimension-traveling vessel made of sapient crystal, to rescue them. It’s important to realize that this was so very long ago that the Black Empire was only recently defeated on Azeroth. So long ago that the Trolls and Mogu had not yet created their empires, much less those of the Night Elves. Twenty-five thousand years ago, Velen was already old, respected, powerful, a leader of his people. When he saw the vision of what Sargeras truly intended for the universe, he knew he was too late to convince Kil’jaeden or Archimonde to turn away from the Titan’s promises.
Velen and his followers assembled on Argus’ highest peak on her longest day, and waited. It was already too late for most of their people. Velen’s friend and confidant Talgath was but one of the Eredar who chose to join what Sargeras was now calling his “Burning Legion” and it was Talgath who betrayed Velen to his former friends and allies in the Triumvirate, telling them that Velen and his followers were planning to escape. Archimonde was incensed that Velen would dare refuse Sargeras, but Kil’jaeden was personally affronted. He and Velen had ruled Argus together even before Archimonde had turned on his master to join them, and Velen’s actions were seen by Kil’jaeden as a rebuke from the one person on his whole world he thought of as a brother. Kil’jaeden instructed Talgath to hunt down Velen and his people, and it was nearly too late when the Naaru and the Genedar arrived, whisking them away from their homeworld.
The Lives Amid The Stars
This was their lot for thousands upon thousands of years — the former Eredar slowly changed as they soaked in the Naaru’s teachings about the Light, while they lived as nomads moving from world to world to stay ahead of Kil’jaeden’s vengeance at the hands of Talgath and other hunters. As long-lived as they are, it was still a terrifyingly long time. To put it into perspective, Velen had a son thirteen thousand years ago. That means he and his people had already been exiles for twelve thousand years by that point. Forever finding new homes, settling them as long as they could, then being forced to retreat, again and again, while the Legion ever closed in on them. Velen lost his family in just one of many such attacks by the Legion, and Kil’jaeden let his old friend think that while he raised the Prophet’s son as a weapon of his own jilted revenge.
So long an exile changed these once-Eredar profoundly. Not just socially, but their proximity to the Naaru and the Light changed them somewhat physically as well. They still resemble their Eredar kin, but they’re not the same. They became to a degree naturally gifted with the Light much as they’d once been gifted with the Arcane (although many Draenei Mages still exist, a testament to the lore they have not wholly lost in their flight) — but what’s truly the most obvious is that they never forgot Argus, even while fleeing from world to world.
Some of the Draenei living today remember Argus, and not just Velen, either. These few living survivors from the Flight serve as touchstones for their whole people. But many more of them died during the long, long escape from their former people. Even Velen lost family. Others have been born along the way. There are a great many Draenei who never saw Argus at all, who are only a few hundred or thousand years old. Even before the Rise of the Horde, the Draenei were no strangers to loss, pain, and endurance in the face of tragedy.
The Wreck of the Genedar
A mere two hundred years ago, just as it seemed that the Draenei had finally escaped their Legion pursuers, a disaster struck. Fleeing the Legion for tens of thousands of years had drained the energies of the three Naaru aboard the ship. K’ure, D’ore and K’ara had protected the Draenei and kept them one step ahead of the Legion for millennia, save for a few encounters (such as the one that cost Velen his family) but doing so, powering the ship as it breached reality again and again, drew upon their very life force. The Naaru knew they couldn’t run much longer, and so they resolved to find a world where Velen and his people could fortify and prepare themselves for the conflict to come.
In time they found a world utterly devoid of the Legion’s influence. The Draenei and the Naaru aboard Genedar were the majority of their people, but not all of them — the Draenei had visited dozens, perhaps hundreds of worlds during their long flight. Still, there were enough aboard Genedar that it could be said that the Draenei as a whole were imperiled as the three Naaru began to fall into their dark cycles and the ship began to lose power. K’ara went first, forcing the other Naaru to eject her so that she didn’t lash out in her dark phase and kill the very Draenei they were trying to save, and D’ore was “killed” in the crash. Velen was gravely injured trying to use his power to save K’ure from a similar fate, and only partly succeeded. The cost? Without the Naaru to aid him and with his own injuries severe, Velen could no longer see the future with the clarity that he’d used to keep one step ahead of the Legion for thousands of years. He was, essentially, blind to what was coming.
But they’d arrived on the world the Naaru had sought for them. There was no sign of the Legion there, just a primordial world teeming with life. There were others who lived there already — the brutal Ogres, cunning Orcs, fierce Saberon, proud Arakkoa — but it was a large world, and the Draenei saw no reason they couldn’t coexist with them. In gratitude for their seeming deliverance they named the planet Draenor, or ‘Exile’s Refuge’ in the old Eredar tongue.
Little did they realize that in a few paltry centuries the Legion would find them again.
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