Know Your Lore: Mysteries of the Draenei and Naaru
They rejected the offer of a Titan and survived his wrath. They saw their world corrupted, their own people lost to madness and evil and persevered despite losing everything they ever valued. And they lost their home, their families and friends, even their name. The word Eredar became a curse whispered by victims as the cosmic nightmare erupted forth from their homeworld. The sleeping Titan within the planet of their birth was corrupted and enslaved. The universe was set afire by those they’d once called comrades, friends, and loved ones. All they could do was flee. For thousand upon thousands of years, everything was stripped away from them.
Some managed to fight. Others were tasked with the burden of survival — of flight across the Great Dark, a desperate attempt to preserve what little of their culture wasn’t broken and twisted by Sargeras and his insanity. The Titan had offered them power, and he indeed granted it. He’d offered them knowledge, and again it was given to them. But the exiles of Argus saw the cost. How everything that made them who they had been would be stolen from them. That they would be shaped into monsters that would set the cosmos to burn.
The word Draenei means exiled ones in Eredar. Modern Draenei speak a language which is basically the ancient Eredar tongue minus all the loan words from other demonic languages that modern Eredar speak, but with loan words and concepts from their Naaru benefactors. There are two lines of development for Draenei culture. First are the ones who fled on the Genedar all those millennia ago. The second, the Lightforged who were part of the Army of the Light that split off from the Genedar aboard the Xenedar.
It’s not clear if the Genedar was similar to Tempest Keep. We don’t know if it had other satellites that may yet exist in the cosmos somewhere. But it’s at least possible. Tempest Keep has the Arcatraz, the Mechanar, the Botanica and the Exodar. We could have up to three lost Draenei arcs in the cosmos if the Genedar was a vessel similar to it. Or there could be a lost Naaru vessel that both the Genedar and Xenedar were satellite ships to. The fact that the Genedar and Xenedar were similarly named implies that they may have been similar vessels.
We can reconstruct a chain of events. Sargeras’ arrival on Argus, his offer, the acceptance by Kil’jaeden and Archimonde and the flight of Velen and his followers are all established. The Naaru arrive and bear the survivors away. At some point after that the Xenedar departs with those Draenei willing to take the fight to the Legion.
Mysteries of the Naaru
How long were the two groups a community before Xe’ra took the Lightforged off to war? How many Naaru originally traveled with the Draenei? Just how many Naaru are there, where do they come from, what’s their connection to Elune? Why did a Tear of Elune awaken Xe’ra’s consciousness, when supposedly only a Naaru of her line could do that? The naaru pose many mysteries. We know that the Sha’tar Naaru like A’dal seem to differ on many key points with Xe’ra. It may be a sign that perhaps not all Naaru are in agreement. Xe’ra’s departure with the Lightforged may not have been a fully consensual parting.
For example, Xe’ra never told Turalyon or any of the Army of the Light about the Naaru void cycle. But A’dal and his Sha’tar allowed adventurers from Azeroth to discover this. They were even willing to allow it to happen to one of their own to fulfill the prophecy that Velen had involving the Blood Elves. M’uru’s current existence as a part of the Sunwell happened entirely because the Sha’tar didn’t seem to hold with Xe’ra’s philosophy.
Could it be that the Genedar and Xenedar were simply more satellites of Tempest Keep itself? That might explain why O’ros, clearly a former member of the Sha’tar and A’dal’s forces, was a direct descendant of Xe’ra. Is A’dal another Prime Naaru? For that matter, how do Naaru reproduce? How is O’ros a descendant of Xe’ra?
The divided people
The Draenei split into two groups. There was a war faction aboard the Xenedar, and the rest of their survivors aboard the Genedar. The fact that there were several Naaru aboard the Genedar implies to me that it was a craft closer in scale to Tempest Keep than the Exodar or Xenedar. This supports the ‘lost Draenei on other satellite craft’ theory. During their voyages across the Great Dark, they visited dozens of worlds. It was during this period that Xe’ra and the Army of the Light left. Potentially, any other Draenei aboard other satellite vessels would have been lost as well. There’s nothing out there about potential Draenei colonies during this period. The blood mad pursuit of the Burning Legion under Kil’jaeden always forced the Draenei to flee rather than settle anywhere.
Thanks to the nature of dimensional ship travel, it’s impossible to say how much subjective time the Draenei aboard those ships have experienced. While decades passed on Azeroth, Turalyon and Alleria lived over a thousand years. It was due to a phenomenon that can work in either direction. You could leave your world and spend a thousand years fighting the Legion to discover only 20 or 30 years had passed on your homeworld. Or you could travel for hundreds of years between worlds only to discover that 25,000 years had passed on Argus or in the cosmos outside the Nether. A conservative estimate would put it at thousands of years. Velen himself is ancient, and there are living survivors on Azuremyst and Bloodmyst who remember the flight from Argus.
Generations of Draenei
At the same time, not all Draenei remember. There are Draenei alive today who were born during the diaspora. They’ve never seen Argus, nor remember any other life than that of nomads fleeing the Legion. Some were even born on Draenor before the Horde. Draenei have a generational divide unlike anything any Azerothian people save the Elves can comprehend. Yet the Elves became wholly separate groups — Kaldorei, Quel’dorei, Sin’Dorei, and Shal’dorei all as separate peoples. Even the newly minted Ren’dorei continue this trend.
But one could look at the Eredar people and say much the same. The Man’ari, the Lightforged, the Draenei of Draenor, the Lost Ones, the Broken, and the Krokul of Argus. The fact that there are two distinct kinds of Broken — the ones of Draenor and the Krokul of Argus, mutated from different sources, plus the Lost Ones show the variety of ways the Eredar can be changed by exposure to powerful energies, much as the Elves of Azeroth have in the past. It’s also interesting to note that Elves on Azeroth have a connection to Elune. The Tear of Elune clearly worked to allow the Champions of Azeroth to communicate with Xe’ra.
I haven’t really even talked about that group of Draenei on the other Draenor because wow, this stuff is complicated enough without a whole army of time-lost Draenei to contend with. Amazingly, despite two expansions that dealt with these issues, we still have much left to learn about the Draenei and their Naaru benefactors. Battle for Azeroth seems to be taking a step back from the cosmic odyssey, but with time, all things are possible.
Previous Know Your Lore columns on these subjects:
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