NOTE: BDP stands for "Before the Dark Portal," which is the standard measurement of time used in the Warcraft Chronicle series. The information on this page comes from the aforementioned series, as well as various in-game sources.
ACT I: ARGUS 25,000+ YEARS BDP Highly intelligent and possessing an innate gift for magic, the eredar cultivated a society based around art, science, magic, and technology. With their advanced way of life, the eredar and their culture thrived without opposition.
All was well until Thal'kiel, leader of an order of magi called the Wakeners, began dabbling in darker magic. He and his devotees soon rejected the arcane in favor of fel, and Thal'kiel's ambition culminated in presenting the eredar's leaders, Kil'jaeden and Velen, with his discoveries. He was denounced and forbidden from continuing what Velen deemed "a failed experiment."
Despite this, he and his Wakeners resumed their practice of fel magic, albeit in secret. However, Thal'kiel's apprentice, Archimonde, did not back his desire to overthrow the Duumvirate, and instead informed Kil'jaeden and Velen of his plan to do so. This warning resulted in the chance for a preemptive strike, and Thal'kiel was beheaded by his own apprentice. The bodies of the defeated Wakeners were burned, and any records of their discoveries were destroyed along with them.
After the defeat of Thal'kiel and his followers, Archimonde rose to leadership alongside Kil'jaeden and Velen, thus forming the Triumvirate.
Some time later, the fallen titan Sargeras discovered Argus and the eredar. Determined to put their affinity for magic to his use, he reached out to their leaders, playing into their innate thirst for knowledge and promising them the power necessary to gain it. While the Triumvirate deliberated upon this offer, Velen experienced a vision of what would befall the eredar if the offer was accepted: they would be transformed into hateful, monstrous beings bent on destruction and fueled by chaos. Though he tried to talk the other two out of this grisly fate, they dismissed his vision as a delusion, and ultimately accepted Sargeras's bargain.
In possession of the ata'mal crystal—an artifact left to the eredar in a time ancient even to them—Velen prayed for guidance as to what he should do. He was answered by a naaru named K'ure, who instructed him to gather his followers and gather on the highest mountain on the longest day of the year. Velen did as told, and as he and his people waited to be rescued by the naaru, his beloved brethren who had been corrupted came after them. However, just before they had the chance, the naaru intervened, granting the escaping eredar a vessel known as The Genedar.
Seeing Velen's retreat as an act of betrayal, Kil'jaeden vowed to hunt him and his followers, no matter how long it took.
ACT II: EVASION BETWEEN 25,000 & 200 YEARS BDP Perpetually on the run from the Legion, the draenei never had a true home. They visited countless planets at unspecified times, but were always prompted to flee again and again when the demons ultimately caught up with them.
At some point, a small number of draenei from the Genedar split off to follow Xe'ra aboard the Xenedar, becoming Lightforged and serving in the Army of the Light.
ACT III: DRAENOR ~200 YEARS BDP Due to the naaru having to utilize their energy to power the Genedar across the cosmos, they eventually grew weakened. Knowing that they were reaching the end of their capacity, they set their sights on a world undiscovered by the Legion, intending to land there and recuperate.
Unfortunately, because of her severely weakened state, the naaru K'ara fell to Void and became aggressive toward the other two naaru, K'ure and D'ore. Knowing she was compromised, she insisted she be removed in order to spare the draenei and her fellow naaru from danger. Velen shielded the other two naaru and ejected K'ara from the Genedar, causing her to remain a fixture of Shadowmoon Valley's skies and later become known as the Dark Star.
Velen and both naaru were left exhausted from the ordeal. The Prophet could no longer rely on his visions of the future, as they'd been rendered unpredictable as a result of great mental strain. With K'ure and D'ore unable to muster the strength to land the Genedar safely, the vessel crashed; D'ore and several draenei perished in the collision. K'ure, knowing he was on the verge of the same fate as K'ara, urged the draenei to leave the wreckage immediately so they weren't exposed to his impending Void energies.
With the Genedar destroyed and thus no way off the new and dangerous planet, Velen established the Rangari to scout the unknown world. With their aid, the draenei were able to tentatively spread across Draenor, tending to stick to areas largely uninhabited by the other races so as not to disturb them, as their presence was a result of circumstance rather than conquest.
Other orders were established once Velen realized he could no longer lead his people alone, due to his unreliable visions. Naielle was appointed the leader of the Rangari; Hataaru oversaw the Artificers; Akama commanded the Vindicators; and Othaar led the Sha'tari, who were tasked with studying the recovered remains of D'ore.
195 YEARS BDP In search of a location upon which to establish a permanent settlement, the Rangari came across an unsettled place by the sea and flanked by mountains. Here, Shattrath City would be established.
Meanwhile, a Sha'tari named Maladaar noticed that the spirits of the draenei killed in the crash were making their way to the remains of D'ore—who had fallen further into his Void state. Additionally, as the spirits merged with the naaru, they were capable of communication with living draenei. This was a new experience for the draenei; nothing of the sort had ever been seen, not even on Argus!
Ordered by Velen to move D'ore's remains elsewhere, Maladaar and some other Sha'tari settled on a spot in Terokkar Forest that was far from other civilizations—both their own, and Draenor's natives. Here, the enormous mausoleum city of Auchindoun was built, and D'ore's remains were kept safely within; the spirits of the departed draenei soon followed.
For his accomplishments, Maladaar was appointed the fifth in the Council of Exarchs, and led the Auchenai, an order dedicated to protecting and communing with the souls of their dead.
180 YEARS BDP Karabor was established.
100 YEARS BDP The draenei beat back ogres who had dared attack them at Shattrath.
99 YEARS BDP Initially viewing the draenei as harmless, the orcs began seeing them as formidable, suspicious, or cowardly following the defeat of the ogres. The majority of orc clans opted to simply keep their distance from the draenei, since the latter had never provoked aggression on the former. The Bladewind clan, however, utilized territorial advantage—being settled between Terokkar Forest and Nagrand, they knew where and when draenei traders traveled between the two areas. With this knowledge, they attacked caravans and took prisoners.
Though the addition of Vindicator troops to guard future caravans lessened these attacks, and despite the Rangari managing to rescue many of the prisoners taken, others yet remained. These prisoners were made slaves by the Bladewind orcs, and some became the parents of half-breed children, which were treated as outcasts by both orcs and draenei.
13 YEARS BDP Orgrim Doomhammer and Durotan were rescued by draenei and meet Velen in Telmor.
12 YEARS BDP Talgath found the draenei on Draenor, having spent a century searching for them after sensing the holy magic thrown out into the Twisting Nether upon the Genedar's crash. His discovery was relayed to Kil'jaeden, who wanted to destroy the draenei... but ultimately decided to play the long game. He had Talgath keep an eye on not only the draenei, but the orcs.
11 YEARS BDP Talgath observes the orcs.
10 YEARS BDP Kil'jaeden, after gaining further information about the orcs from Talgath, decides to corrupt them and use them as a weapon against the draenei. His first tool in this grand plan was Gul'dan, an orc exiled by his clan for having been born with physical deformities and desperately seeking purpose.
8 YEARS BDP Gul'dan incited conflict between the orcs and draenei by telling the Bladewind clan—decimated by the red pox, starving, and desperate for relief—that the draenei were responsible for the disease that had ravaged them, and that the elemental spirits could be appeased by the orcs killing the draenei. The orcs started attacking caravans and taking prisoners more than they had before. One of the prisoners was Vindicator Maraad's sister, and this spurred him to action. Ultimately, Vindicators and Rangari were sent to resolve the issue, but upon seeing his sister dead by the Bladewind orcs' rituals, Maraad attacked the orcs viciously. Any who survived were killed by Gul'dan so that no one could know the truth, thus making it look as though the draenei had made the first strike, thus cementing collective distrust and hatred against them among the orcs.
Kil'jaeden began speaking to Ner'zhul and other shamans as venerated ancestors, convincing them to make war on the draenei and slaughter every last one.
7 YEARS BDP With the increasing violence against his people, Velen attempted diplomacy, thinking it was the elemental unease that was making the orcs do as they were. However, after the Rangari reported that the clans were uniting, Velen decided instead that the draenei would have to go on the defensive. All this time, he was unaware of the true influence of the Legion—though he considered it, there was no evidence.
4 YEARS BDP The recently appointed Warchief Blackhand begins attacking the draenei with fervor, causing the draenei to become demoralized. It was then that they began to realize that the orcs had cast their lot with the Legion.
Given that they had no way to escape Draenor, their only choice was to continue trying to push back against the Horde. However, protecting the smaller settlements was impossible, and they focused on protecting their two main cities of Shattrath and Karabor.
Eventually the Horde would make their way to Shadowmoon Valley, intent on conquering Karabor. They were met with strong opposition from the draenei, and the draenei were on the precipice of beating them back.
Their hopes for victory were shattered when Gul'dan called down the power of the Dark Star—the void-tainted remains of K'ara—upon Karabor. Many of the draenei forces were killed immediately, while others were driven mad by the void magic unleashed upon them. Velen and a small number of survivors managed to escape, but the city was lost, and irrevocably darkened and corrupted into what would become known as the Black Temple.
3 YEARS BDP Shattrath was all that the draenei had left, and it was there that they made their last stand when the Horde ultimately arrived. Velen decided that the civilians were to be evacuated, but the military would remain in the city. Though he originally intended to stand by them, he was convinced to escape with the other refugees so that the draenei race had any chance of surviving. He and the evacuees sought refuge in Telredor.
Though the draenei gave their all, they knew it was a losing battle... and in the end, the city did in fact fall. The nail in the coffin was the use of the "red mist," a combination of the red pox disease and the magic of warlocks, loaded into bombs and fired against the defenders of Shattrath.
Some managed to survive, however, and stole away to Auchindoun. Exarch Maladaar led the defense, and with the combined effort of the draenei and the spirits of their ancestors residing in Auchindoun, they kept Teron'gor and his allies at bay.
Once again, however, victory eluded the draenei—this time as a result of Teron'gor and his warlocks summoning an elemental being called Murmur into Auchindoun. Its arrival shattered the holy temple and killed many of its occupants in the process. In addition, its shockwaves leveled the surrounding forest, which later came to be known as the Bone Wastes.
2 YEARS BDP With the loss of Karabor, Shattrath, and finally Auchindoun, the draenei were all but annihilated. Their population was a fraction of what it once had been, their culture largely erased, and refugees once again. Telredor became their last bastion, and thanks to the artificers, it was shielded from the Horde.
Survivors of Shattrath slowly made their way to the temple, and some of them—including the vindicators Nobundo and Akama—began showing signs of the sickness brought on by the red mist used against them at Shattrath. Their bodies shriveled and their connection to the Light lost. Fearing they were contagious, the refugees forced them out of Telredor, even despite Velen urging acceptance.
The Krokul ("broken") were left to survive on their own in the wilderness. Some further devolved into "Lost Ones," which were beyond redemption.
Some draenei who had survived but hadn't gone to Telredor began establishing hidden outposts across Draenor, to which Velen traveled from time to time to aid his people.
It was around this time that the Zangar Sea began to dry up due to the fel energy taking hold of the world, and transformed into the swamp lands later known as Zangarmarsh.
INTERMISSION: OUTLAND BETWEEN 10 AND 25 YEARS AGO At some point, the naaru led by A'dal arrived to Outland aboard Tempest Keep, a large vessel with four satellite structures.
Blood elves under the command of Kael'thas gained control of the Exodar, one of Tempest Keep's satellites. Velen led a portion of draenei in a raid to retake it.
ACT IV: AZEROTH APPROXIMATELY 10 YEARS AGO Though the draenei were victorious in reclaiming the Exodar, it would not last long. With the aid of the traitor Sironas, the blood elves were able to sabotage the engines that allowed the Exodar to warp. This resulted in a malfunction, and the vessel plummeted toward the closest planet: Azeroth. Reminiscent of the Genedar's fate, the Exodar crashed and was left entirely disabled. Its impact was witnessed by nearby night elves of Teldrassil, and its wreckage spanned miles upon miles.
Happy Birthday to our favourite Auchenai, Phaerin!