Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Naaru game
Although its title implies a focus on the Burning Legion, we’ve learned about far more than Sargeras and his minions this expansion. Legion has shed new light on the ancient pasts of both Argus and Azeroth. Through the Nightborne, we caught a glimpse of Highborne society like we’d never seen before. Suramar was a time capsule of sorts — its citizens physically changed, but still very much embracing the ways of the past. Argus, on the other hand, isn’t a time capsule so much as an ominous warning of sorts. It’s a glimpse at what our world could be, should the Burning Legion succeed.
But perhaps one of the most intriguing plot points brought about in Legion has been that of the Naaru. Long thought to be benevolent caretakers and companions of the Draenei, the Naaru have shown us a slightly different side in Legion. We’ve learned more about their history — and about the history of the Eredar as well.
It’s…a little concerning, to say the least.
Today’s Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation based on known material. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn’t be taken as fact or official lore.
There’s not much out there about the origins of the Naaru. Khadgar apparently uncovered a passage in some ancient cosmology tomes that suggested the Naaru were created by Elune. That’s why, in theory, the Tears of Elune unlocked Light’s Heart. It’s why they enabled us to communicate with Xe’ra — a prime Naaru, one of the first.
But more compelling beyond their mysterious origins is their relationship with the Eredar. Long before Velen’s time, an ancient artifact of Naaru origin was bestowed to the Eredar. This artifact, the Ata’mal crystal, was only accessible by the Triumvirate by the time Sargeras came to Argus. Sure, Archimonde and Kil’jaeden were willing to take Sargeras’ offer at face value, but Velen was different. He had the gift of Sight — and he saw a vision of the truth. Sargeras wasn’t offering power; he was planning to destroy the universe.
So Velen prayed for guidance. His prayers were answered by K’ure –a Naaru. K’ure told Velen to take the Ata’mal crystal and travel to Argus’ highest mountain, bringing any willing followers with him. During their frantic escape, the Ata’mal crystal was shattered into seven shards. Obviously, the Draenei were successful in fleeing — although Velen expressed a wish to return. He was told that this wasn’t his path. The rest, of course, is well-known history by now.
There’s a lot of really odd stuff going on with the Naaru in Legion. First and foremost is Xe’ra herself. Although she initially seemed like Illidan’s biggest cheerleader, her motives grew more dubious over time. This all culminated in the explosive confrontation between Xe’ra and Illidan. She was dead set on forcing Illidan to embrace his “destiny” — and he was having none of it. In an odd and unsettling scene, she skirted the line between benevolent creature of the Light, and malevolent entity. Ultimately, Illidan broke free of his chains and destroyed her.
It was weird, to say the least. Stranger still was Turalyon’s ignorance when it came to the Void state of the Naaru. After being informed of L’ura’s state, Turalyon expressed surprise that a Naaru would fall to darkness. Velen tells Turalyon there is much that Xe’ra didn’t want Turalyon to know. Couple that with the events in A Thousand Years of War — Xe’ra expressly forbade Alleria from investigating the Void.
That’s where a question began to bother me, and it still doesn’t have an answer. Why was Xe’ra so bent on keeping the Army of the Light in…well, the dark? On Outland, the Naaru of the Sha’tar have absolutely no problem discussing the duality of their nature. We were told that, while it was regrettable, it was part of their nature.
We weren’t anyone special. Simply wandering heroes. Why did we warrant that kind of disclosure, yet the Army of the Light — the universe’s best hope for defeating the Legion — were deliberately kept unaware? And by a prime Naaru, of all creatures?
And now we go back, once again, to the history and origins of the Naaru. Khadgar supposedly found an ancient cosmology tome that spoke of their origins and ties to Elune. Who wrote that? How did they know? If it’s speaking of ties to Elune, that would imply it was a kaldorei tome. Yet the Night Elves were unwilling to consider any ties between the Naaru and Elune at all. Velen spoke to Tyrande, and she shut him down. If this tome were kaldorei in origin, wouldn’t she have corrected him?
Why did the Naaru gift the Eredar with the Ata’mal crystal? What warranted that gift, so long before Velen was born? What was the intent behind it? As a prime Naaru, Xe’ra seems to know the future, or at least have visions about it. Did she know that the Eredar would eventually gain Sargeras’ attention? Or did she hope that this would occur? Were the Naaru trying to protect the Draenei — or were they using them?
Because here’s the thing — the Ata’mal crystal basically helped them develop their highly advanced society. We’ve been told that it was that advancement that caught Sargeras’ attention and brought him to Argus in the first place. In fact, one could argue that without Naaru intervention, nothing of consequence would ever have happened on Argus at all.
A long game
This is what it’s beginning to look like, to me. The Naaru were aware, somehow, of what was going on. All of it. They planted the Ata’mal crystal with the Eredar in order to jump-start their development, gaining Sargeras’ attention. Once that offer had been made, the Naaru once again intervened — this time, to help those unwilling to join the Legion in their escape. The Draenei fled, and were told they could not return for the others — their path was a different one.
And then the Naaru introduced the idea of the Army of the Light — a grand army that would defeat the Burning Legion once and for all. The Draenei that joined the Army were suffused with the Light, and they changed as a result. The same thing happened to Turalyon when he joined — his eyes glowed with the Light, and when Xe’ra died, that Light went out. The Army fought against the Legion for thousands of years, with the prime Naaru Xe’ra leading them all.
Eventually, that fight led back to Azeroth — a world on which the remaining Draenei already conveniently settled. And through it all, the Army was never told about the Naaru life cycle. They were actively discouraged and forbidden from trafficking with the Void. When Alleria tried to venture down that path, she was incarcerated upon her return to the Xenedar.
It feels like, in some small way, the Eredar were used as pawns. Some were deliberately sacrificed to the Legion, so that others could escape and become the grand army that Xe’ra needed. They were playing pieces on some kind of cosmic board, told only what they needed to hear.
Were the rest of the Naaru aware of what was going on? The Naaru are well aware of prophecies — M’uru willingly let himself be captured and siphoned. He knew what was going to happen to him when Kael’thas took him to Silvermoon. Here’s the funny part — it wasn’t a Naaru that had that prophetic vision.
It was Velen.
One begins to wonder where Velen’s unnatural powers of Sight came from. Was he born with them, or were they Naaru-bestowed? Are they even visions at all? Or are they images he’s being fed by the Naaru — easy enough to do, with the strength of Velen’s connection to the Light? Has Velen simply been a pawn all along?
Sure, by expansion’s end we’ve taken care of the Burning Legion. The Army of the Light was a success. But that doesn’t answer the question of the Naaru and their unusual connection to the Void. I don’t know if we’re going to see any solid answers in Battle for Azeroth — but I feel like we’re far from done with the Naaru. And as we learn more about these enigmatic creatures, one has to wonder if they’re benevolent at all — or if we’re simply part of a game we still know very little about, despite the vast amounts of story and lore Legion has provided.
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