Nearly twenty-five thousand years ago, the eredar race arose on the world of Argus. They were extremely intelligent and had a natural affinity for magic in all its myriad forms. Using their gifts, they developed a vast and wondrous society.
Unfortunately the eredar’s accomplishments caught the attention of Sargeras, the Destroyer of Worlds. He had already begun his Burning Crusade to eradicate all life from the cosmos, and he believed that the brilliant eredar would be pivotal in leading the vast demonic army he was gathering. Thus, he contacted the eredar’s three most prominent leaders: Kil’jaeden, Archimonde, and Velen. In exchange for the loyalty of the eredar race, Sargeras offered untold power and knowledge.
Although the offer sounded very tempting, Velen had a vision of the future that filled him with sick dread. Sargeras had spoken the truth: the eredar who joined the Dark Titan would indeed gain enormous power and knowledge. However, the eredar would themselves be transformed into demons.
Velen saw the Legion in all its terrible might and witnessed the destruction it would wreak upon all of creation. He hastened to warn Kil’jaeden and Archimonde, but they dismissed his concerns, for they had been enticed by Sargeras’ promises. They gave Sargeras their allegiance and were transformed into colossal beings of depthless evil.
The sheer power that Sargeras commanded made direct opposition unthinkable. Velen nearly despaired, but his prayer for help was overheard. A being came to Velen and explained that it was one of the naaru, a race of sentient energy beings bent on stopping the Burning Crusade. The naaru offered to take Velen and any other like-minded eredar to safety.
Deeply relieved, Velen gathered the other eredar who had thus far refused to join Sargeras. Naming themselves the draenei, or “exiled ones” in the Eredun language, the renegades barely escaped from Argus, with the Burning Legion only moments behind. Kil’jaeden was furious with what he felt was Velen’s betrayal, and the demon vowed to hunt Velen and the rest of the draenei to the ends of the cosmos if need be.
The Legion chased the draenei for many thousands of years. The draenei visited many worlds and explored much of the known cosmos in their quest to find safe harbor. Still the Legion would not give up its pursuit. Meanwhile, the enigmatic naaru race blessed the draenei with Light-given knowledge and power. The naaru explained that there were other forces in the cosmos that would stand against the Burning Legion. One day the naaru would forge them into a single unstoppable army of the Light. Deeply affected by the naaru’s words, the draenei vowed to honor the Light and uphold the naaru’s altruistic ideals.
At last Velen and his draenei settled upon a remote and peaceful world that seemed an ideal refuge. They named it Draenor, or “Exiles’ Refuge”, and there they quietly cultivated their society once again. Ever wary of being discovered again by Kil’jaeden’s forces, Velen and his mystics kept their magics hidden for generations.
In time the draenei met and befriended the shamanistic orc clans that already lived in the tranquil southern grasslands of Nagrand. Aside from engaging in some limited trade, the draenei and orcs regarded one another with respect but kept mostly to themselves.
In spite of the draenei’s caution, Kil’jaeden discovered their secret refuge on Draenor. He learned more of the world and its inhabitants, and he grew intrigued by the mighty orc race. A plan unfolded in his mind, and the demon lord began to laugh. He could see precisely how to mold the orcs into the instrument of his wrath. It was merely a matter of time and pressure.
And so Kil’jaeden began to corrupt the orcs, first through the elderly shaman Ner’zhul, and then through his apprentice, Gul’dan. The orc clans dedicated themselves to the art of war and joined to form a single, murderous Horde. Even the wisest shaman learned warlock magics and abandoned the teachings they had once revered.
Smoothly manipulated from a state of wary acceptance into blind rage and bloodlust, the orcs attacked the draenei. This bloody conflict lasted nearly eight years, but the orcs’ triumph was inevitable. The draenei were mighty due to their Light-given powers, but the demon-maddened Horde was mightier still. The orcs killed over eighty percent of the draenei race and sent the rest fleeing for safety to the remote corners of the world.
Afterwards, draenei who had fought the Horde and survived found that they had been affected by the fel energies wielded so freely by the orc warlocks. These draenei have since mutated into lesser forms, resulting in a series of subspecies. The Broken and the Lost Ones (as seen above) are two such genetic offshoots. Their warped bodies bear only a rough resemblance to the proud draenei they once were, and quite a few have lost their grip on sanity.