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Know Your Lore: The Eredar

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

On Argus, Mac'Aree was the most sacred of our cities. Would you believe me if I told you that the walkways were lined with precious minerals? That the rivers glittered even in complete darkness? I long for those days... How long has it been? A thousand years? Ten-thousand?
-- Jessera of Mac'Aree

Many peoples have had a golden age. The ancient kaldorei on Azeroth had one, over ten thousand years ago, when their mastery of the magic of the Well of Eternity made them effectively the most powerful people in Azeroth. Before that, the mogu ruled a nation carves from slave labor while the ancient trolls of Zandalar held their empire. These events are distant to us, the long past.

The eredar had already had at least two golden ages before any of this had ever happened. Over twenty five thousand years ago, on the planet Argus, a people worked wonders so profound and magnificent that they drew the attention of a power beyond anything they could have imagined. Everything they were up until that point, their ancient and magnificent works, their intelligence and magical acumen, it is all long lost now. Then, they were the eredar, one people. Now, they are two - draenei, exiles, and man'ari, what we today simply call by the name of that long vanished people. Be not mistaken, however - the eredar of today are the twisted, corrupted, magically powerful but spiritually debased remnant of that people, just as the draenei are the last remnant of what they were before their fall.

But fall they did. Who were the eredar, and who are they now?



Long Lost Argus

We don't actually know that Argus is destroyed. Indeed, it may well be one of the capital cities of the Legion, but considering what the Legion does to worlds it holds, it may as well be destroyed. At its height, the draenei civilization on Argus had worked its will on the planet, but many wild places remained - vast mountains with snow covered peaks and deserts are today known to have been present in addition to those glittering rivers and cities of precious metals (one assumes silver or gold, but it depends entirely on what metals were rare there). At some point, the ancient eredar had come into possession of the original Ata'mal Crystal, and by the time of Velen, Kil'jaeden and Archimonde this crystal was a sacred and holy artifact of their people. We don't know what the crystal's origins are or how the eredar came to possess it, but it was considered so important that only the three eredar of their ruling council were allowed access to it.

This implies that the naaru had come to Argus at some point in its distant past, since by Velen's time none of his people remembered or knew of them, or of the crystal's ability to communicate with them - Velen contacted the naaru K'ure by using the crystal while praying for guidance, but he didn't do so knowing what would happen.

However long it took the eredar to create their society, however many reverses it may have suffered, if there were others who shared the world Argus with them - these are all unknown to us. It's implied that Argus held only the eredar, and that their society was already ancient by the time Sargeras found them, but all we know is that when the Dark Titan came to Argus, the eredar were magically gifted, strong, adaptable -- perfect soldiers, perfect officers for Sargeras' plans.

And so the Dark Titan to Argus came, and made his offer. Serve me, Sargeras said. Serve me, and I shall bestow upon you that which you have always sought - the ultimate knowledge of the universe. He offered them the power to help him bring about a perfected universe. Both Kil'jaeden and Archimonde were impressed and even fascinated with the raw power of the Titan. They were both covetous of the power and the knowledge he offered them, and their race entire.

Velen doubted. It was too easy. Too perfect. Too much exactly what his people had always wanted - an understanding of the cosmos and the power to make it all as perfected as Argus. And in his doubts, he went and prayed at the Ata'mal Crystal, and his nascent Sight showed him the truth of Sargeras' words. The Titan would make them powerful - powerful monsters who would lead an unstoppable army of destruction. He would give them knowledge - the tainted knowledge of his own madness, his vision of a universe rendered cold, sterile and dead, a burned out husk, an infinite abyss. Horrified, Velen heeded the advice of K'ure, stole the Ata'mal Crystal, and led as many of his people as he could into exile, whisked away from Argus by the naaru. In this moment, he and his followers became draenei, exiled ones.

Archimonde and Kil'jaeden took Sargeras' offer. They accepted the Titan's gifts, and through them, their people did as well. Thus ended the eredar, destroyed in that moment to be remade as a plague upon the very face of creation itself.


The madness of the eredar

The man'ari eredar (as their draenei cousins call them, and as they even call themselves from time to time) are divided into various sub-groups. The most commonly known is the eredar warlock, the leadership elite of their people. All eredar warlocks are masters of demonic magic and fel energy, and many are so suffused with it that they display notable physical deviations from the eredar baseline once seen on their world - both Archimonde and Kil'jaeden, for example, have facial spikes, clawed hands, and enlarged facial structures (although Archimonde still retains his classic eredar blue skin, while Kil'jaeden and many other eredar have turned a dark red color, indicating potentially further fel mutation). Eredar mutations include but are not limited to increased size (often bolstered via demonic magics, as was the case with both Kil'jaeden and Archimonde), longer ears, longer tails, fangs and even wings, although some or all of these traits may have been deliberately engineered with magic.

Archimonde and Kil'jaeden display power on a scale most mortal spellcasters can barely comprehend - Archimonde personally destroyed Dalaran with an incantation and broke Malorne's neck in single combat. Kil'jaeden, for his part, created the Lich King, implying that his personal power is at least as great if not greater - his one appearance on Azeroth required the entire power of the Sunwell simply to make his appearance possible, and Archimonde required the spellbook of Medvih. Even eredar lords like Prince Malchezaar and Lord Jaraxxus display impressive magical might, opening portals or summoning infernals, cursing and burning their enemies.

Some of the eredar, however, display a more extreme mutation. These wrathguards are not so gifted in magic as their warlock masters, instead displaying a brutal nature and physical prowess rivaling even the annihilan pit lords like Mannoroth and Magtheridon. Unlike draenei who are exposed to fel energy (the broken and lost ones), the wrathguards display keenly enhanced physical abilities, larger and stronger tails, and elongated tusks. However, they share the clawed feet of the lost ones. They serve less as front line fighters in the Legion's shock troops (that role being filled by the Felguard) and more as escorts and bodyguards for the eredar warlocks. It is unknown if they are a mutation or engineered by the warlocks.

Since the coming of Sargeras, the eredar have served as the Burning Legion's generals, chief spellcasters, and masters. Their twisted version of old Eredun is now the official 'demonic' language, spoken by races as varied as the shivan, annihilan and nathrezim. Some races may be more inherently corrupt - the dreadlords, or nathrezim, seem to be agents of pure malice for malice's sake - but the eredar are the embodiment of a naked lust for power at any cost, and in their hands the Burning Legion has successfully carried out Sargeras' mission of destruction on countless worlds for the past twenty five thousand years. Azeroth may well be the only planet ever to escape their wrath.

Amazingly, however, not all eredar remained loyal to Sargeras and his lieutenants. Some joined with the Betrayer, Illidan Stormrage, when he took control of Outland by defeating Magtheridon. Considering this took place after the death of Archimonde, some instability could be taking place in the upper ranks of the Legion following their second defeat on Azeroth in the Third War - again, it appears that only Azeroth has even balked the Legion once, much less twice.

With Archimonde dead and Sargeras essentially bodiless in the Twisting Nether, day to day control of the Legion entire is in Kil'jaeden's clawed hands, and as his invasion of Azeroth via the Sunwell indicated, he seeks to do what his deceased brother and erstwhile master both failed to do, namely to invade and conquer Azeroth. At present, save for the appearance of Jaraxxus, we haven't seen many eredar since Kil'jaeden was driven back, but it's only a matter of time. As long as Azeroth exists, mocking the Legion by doing so, the eredar and the Legion will inevitably return. Only their destruction can prevent this.
While you don't need to have played the previous Warcraft games to enjoy World of Warcraft, a little history goes a long way toward making the game a lot more fun. Dig into even more of the lore and history behind the World of Warcraft in WoW Insider's Guide to Warcraft Lore.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

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