Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lessons in Lore - Velen, the Prophet

I just finished reading Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden, and I highly recommend it if you haven't had a chance to buy it or check it out from the library. It's a telling of the history of the orcs before they ever came to Azeroth through the Dark Portal and their war with the Draenei. There are a lot of interseting lore characters that play into this story, Durotan, the father of Thrall, Orgrim Doomhammer, Ner'zhul, Gul'dan, Kil'jaedan, and many more. But having recently started playing a Draenei, and wanting to understand the concept behind them, today's (first) lore post will be about the leader of the Draenei, Velen, the Prophet.

Velen was originally one of three leaders of the Eredar, a peaceful and advanced race of beings who lived on their homeworld of Argus. The other two leaders, and worthy of their own posts, were Kil'jaeden and Archimonde. Sargeras, the Fallen Titan who was out to destroy pretty much everything, discovered the Eredar and rather than wipe them from existence like everything else, decided to use them for his cause. He contacted the three leaders and promised them power unimaginable. KJ and Archi thought that would be awesome. Velen, not so much. Being known as the Prophet, Velen had the gift of sight, and was able to see what his friends could not, that Sargeras' power would come with a price. The Eredar would be totally subject to the will of Sargeras and changed into Man'ari, something unspeakably horrifying and unnatural.

Velen voiced his concerns to Kil'jaeden and Archimonde, but they did not listen, and in the end Velen knew that he would have to take those loyal to him and flee, or else face a fate worse than death. In his plea to the Light for help, the Naaru, K'ure spoke to Velen and told him that he was indeed correct about the future that Sargeras would bring. With K'ure's help, Velen and his followers were able to barely escape Kil'jaeden, who had set out to kill Velen for being a "traitor" to the path of the Eredar. Kil'jaeden then vowed to hunt down Velen until he was killed.

After nearly 25,000 years of traveling from world to world, avoiding the new Burning Legion that sought him, Velen and his people settled upon the orc world. It had no name from the orcs, so Velen and his people called it Draenor, Exiles' Refuge, after his people, the exiled ones, Draenei. For 250 years, the Draenei lived peacably with the orcs, trading goods and supplies with the various orc clans. The Draenei built their capital city of Shattrath in Terokkar forest, along with the now ruined site of Auchindoun, which at the time was a large burial site. And in Shadowmoon Valley, they erected the Temple of Karabor, now known as the Black Temple and ruled by Illidan Stormrage. It was here that Velen made his home and lead his people.

On a ceremonial journey to Auchindoun, Velen had a chance encounter with two orc boys. Durotan of the Frostwolf Clan, and Orgrim Doomhammer of the Blackhand. They had been brought to the city of Telmor near the border of Nagrand in the Terokkar forest after being rescued by a Draenei hunting party from an ogre. Velen and the Draenei treated them well and kept them safe, returning them to their respective tribes the next day, and leaving a lasting impression upon the young orcs.

However, Kil'jaeden had not give up his search for Velen, and upon discovering again the location of the Draenei, he decided to go about things differently. Kil'jaeden corrupted the minds of the orcs and through their Shaman turned them against the Draenei. The orcs brought war to the unsuspecting Draenei, slaughtering them wherever they were found. Velen sought a meeting with Ner'zhul, the leader of the Orc Shaman, but was instead captured by a much older Durotan, now clan chief of the Frostwolves. Durotan had known from the beginning that something was wrong with the way the Orcs were shunning their old ways and killing the Draenei, but he could not risk the life of his clan by going against Ner'zhul. Velen tried to explain the truth behind the Draenei's appearance on their world, and the signifigance of Oshu'gun, which the orcs held as an ancestral holy ground but was in reality the site of the crashed Naaru vessel that had brought Velen and his people to Draenor. It as also why they could not leave the world again, as they had done in the past. Durotan could not accept this, but rather than hand Velen over to Ner'zhul, he released him and took instead two of the powerful Ata'mal crystals.

Velen, who now saw no hope for his people, began to prepare them for war. In the end, the orcs, fueled by Kil'jaeden and the Burning Legion, overran the cities of the Draenei and eventually the temple of Karabor. The last assault was upon the capital city of Shattrath. Velen had wanted to take as many of the Draenei that were left and seek refuge in the Zangarmarsh, which the orcs had not yet discovered. His lieutenants, however, convinced him that if the orcs arrived in Shattrath and found it empty, they would be driven to find the Draenei, wherever they hid. Thus it was that Velen said goodbye to many of his people, who stayed behind in Shattrath to defend it to the death, protecting those few who escaped to the marsh.

For 20 some years, Velen and the Draenei hid in the marsh, safe from the orc threat. During this time, the orcs had created the dark portal and waged war on Azeroth. Ner'zhul had attempted to create many more portals to other worlds to conqure, but his plan failed and the end result was the destruction of Draenor, turning it into the Outland we know today. Eventually, Illidan and his armies would come through the portal to overtake Outland from Magtheridan and the Burning Legion. Velen took this opportunity to flee, and leading an assault on the Blood Elf controled fortress of Tempest Keep, they wrested the Exodar section free and escaped into the Twisting Nether. The Exodar had been sabotaged however, and when the Draenei attempted to plane shift, they were hurled through the Nether, eventually landing on Azeroth in the Azuremyst Isles.

It is here that Velen dwells this day. He and the Draenei have joined the Alliance to fight back the Burning Legion and retake Draenor for their own. He can currently be found in the Exodar, in the Vault of Lights.

Here are some last interesting facts and observations on Velen. He is very old, having been around for over 25,000 years, and up until his exile to the Zangarmarsh, he had a very pale white skin tone. During the time hidden from the orcs and the destruction of Draenor, his skin turned to the more bluish tone he has today. Up until their arrival on Azeroth, the Draenei's defense had been to run away whenever they saw the Burning Legion coming. Now bolstered by the Alliance, Velen and his people are making a last stand for themselves. All of this culminates in what is currently the end game raid, the Sunwell Plateau, in which we as adventurers seek to stop the coming of Kil'jaeden. I haven't gotten to see this content, and don't know that I will before I'm level 80.

Please let me know what you thought of today's post. Too long? Boring? Did you learn anything you didn't already know? Want less history and more of my opinion? And feel free to offer up subjects for future lessons in lore.

Thanks for reading, and have a good morning!


Desdarii said...

Excellent lesson. I enjoyed the entire read and encourage you to make more of the same.

fifigoesnom said...

As someone who got lured into the game for the hitting of stuff and pretty accessorizing I'm a relative latecomer to the appreciation of WoW's lore, which is insane considering my background as a fairly hardcore roleplayer >.> I also just finished reading this book recently, and it gave me a serious kick up the backside to take the Draenei a bit more seriously than I have done in the past, and stop looking at them as comedy spacegoats. Very nice recap! Looking forward to your next one :)

/applaud wildly