Long before the fallen titan, Sargeras, unleashed his demonic Legion on Azeroth, he turned his baleful gaze upon the world of Argus and its highly intelligent inhabitants, the eredar. Believing that this magically gifted race would be a crucial component in his dark quest to undo all of creation, Sargeras contacted the eredar’s three leaders – Kil’jaeden, Archimonde, and Velen – and offered them knowledge and power in exchange for their loyalty.
Only Velen abstained, for he had seen a vision. In it, his people were transformed into hideous demons, and they joined the ranks of Sargeras’ Burning Legion: an army of unspeakable evil that would grow vast and decimate life on countless worlds. With the aid of the naaru, benevolent energy beings who had resolved to combat the fallen titan’s nihilistic crusade, Velen gathered other like-minded eredar and narrowly escaped Argus. Forever after, these renegades would call themselves the draenei, or “exiled ones.”
Kil’jaeden, who had loved Velen like a brother, was infuriated by the draenei’s flight from Argus and their ungrateful refusal of Sargeras’ offer. In retaliation, Kil’jaeden led the Legion’s armies on a relentless pursuit of the draenei throughout the cosmos. Eventually, Velen and his beleaguered people eluded their hunters and found sanctuary on a remote world that they would name Draenor, or “Exiles’ Refuge.” Having been instructed by the naaru in the ways of the Light, the draenei developed an extraordinary society on their new home and came to know the shamanistic orc clans native to Draenor.
Yet the draenei’s peaceful existence did not last. Upon discovering the renegades’ home, Kil’jaeden corrupted the noble orcs into a single, bloodthirsty force of destruction: the Horde. Blinded by rage, the orcs wreaked havoc upon the draenei, slaughtering over eighty percent of the race and forcing Velen and other survivors into hiding. Many draenei also mutated into lesser forms known as the Krokul, or “Broken,” after being exposed to the fel energies wielded by orc warlocks. Decades after the Horde’s genocidal campaign, the shaman Ner’zhul opened magical portals throughout Draenor, and the resulting magical stress tore the dying world apart.