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The Fall of Aiur was a pivotal event in the history of the protoss and the war between the protoss and the zerg. The Fall of Aiur began with the zerg invasion of Aiur, and occurred simultaneously with the Protoss Civil War. The war ended when high templar and former executor Tassadar destroyed the Overmind. Unfortunately for the Protoss the damage had already been done and the Zerg, even without the Overmind had claimed too much of Aiur and slew seventy percent of the protoss population. The Protoss were forced to abandon Aiur. The Zerg, despite the loss of the Overmind and many cerebrates, were victorious.

BackgroundEdit

The conflict started soon after the protoss discovered the presence of zerg near terran colonies. The protoss opened the conflict by sending an expeditionary force to destroy the zerg infestation of Chau Sara.[2]

The preliminary conflict failed, however, as the protoss were unable to save the heavily populated terran planet Tarsonis from a massive zerg invasion. Executor Tassadar was ordered to return to Aiur, but instead traveled to Char, the zerg base of operations, following a psychic beacon. While there he came into contact with an outcast protoss sect, the Dark Templar.[3] Together they learned how to defeat the zerg,[4][5] but the Overmind learned the location of Aiur from them.[6] Tassadar's force was stranded on Char, unable to prevent the zerg invasion. While there the two groups of protoss allied with a band of terrans, Raynor's Raiders.[7]

The Zerg InvasionEdit

Aiur SC2-LotV-R Cine3

A protoss city falls

The Overmind and the majority of the Swarm descended upon Aiur. One of the Swarm's first tasks was to acquire a khaydarin crystal, which was defended by the Vanguard of Aiur. The Vanguard was defeated and the crystal claimed.[8] The zerg then destroyed an ancient temple which marked the spot where the xel'naga first set foot on Aiur[9] and put the crystal in its place, defeating another Vanguard force to do so.[10] This enabled the Overmind to crash-land on Aiur and remain there in a physical form.[11]

The Protoss ResponseEdit

The protoss were demoralized by their recent losses,[12] but immediately began attempts to retake territory. They fought the zerg to a standstill but suffered severe losses.[13]

The Conclave felt it was winning the war, and sent an expedition to arrest Tassadar over his relationship with the exiled Dark Templar, believing them to be more dangerous than the zerg.[14] Instead, Tassadar took command of these troops and used them to rescue Dark Prelate Zeratul from the zerg.[15]

The Protoss Civil WarEdit

Main article: Protoss Civil War

Tassadar returned to Aiur with a number of dark templar, intending to destroy the zerg with them. This brought them into conflict with the Conclave and the Vanguard of Aiur.[16]

Striking the Head of the ZergEdit

Overmind SC2 Art1

The destruction of the Overmind

Tassadar's forces created a plan to weaken the Zerg Swarm. They intended on having Zeratul slay two cerebrates commanding broods near the Overmind's locations. Their deaths would distract the Overmind and thin the numbers of zerg between themselves and the Overmind. The plan was successful.[17] Along with Raynor's Raiders, the protoss launched a final assault on the zerg.[18] Tassadar sacrificed himself in order to destroy the Overmind.[19]

The RetreatEdit

FallOfAiur SC2-LotV-R Cine1

The zerg conquest

Aiur had been left a smoking ruin by the conflict.[20] Meanwhile the zerg rampaged across Aiur, destroying seventy percent of the protoss population, including the Conclave.[21]

Zeratul convinced Judicator Aldaris that the Khalai refugees should retreat to the last functional warp gate on Aiur and flee through it to Shakuras. Zeratul personally led troops to and through the gate,[22] but hundreds of thousands of protoss were killed during the evacuation.[23] Fenix and Commander Jim Raynor volunteered to guard the Aiur side of the gate from the zerg.[22] Large numbers of protoss fled over the course of three days,[23] until Fenix and Raynor were forced to close the gate to prevent more zerg from forcing their way through it to Shakuras.[24]

AbandonmentEdit

The remaining protoss who were stranded on Aiur scattered in a panic. One group, led by Fenix and Raynor, remained near a warp gate. They were eventually hard hit by the invading United Earth Directorate.[25]

During the Fall, high templar Erekul summoned motherships from the edge of space known to the protoss. The fleet assembled after the evacuation, but made efforts to rescue stranded protoss. They were unable to discover the location of those who fled, but made an effort to locate them.[26]

The protoss settlers of Shakuras launched at least two return expeditions to Aiur. One such mission, led by high templar Rihod, former high templar Lekila (who had been cut off from the Khala) and a Dark Templar ship commander searched the Velari Templar School for the powerful Kassia crystal. The group took a long time retrieving the crystal, putting them and their ship under siege by the zerg. Lekila and Rihod fused into a twilight archon, transporting the crystal to the protoss ship.[27]

One group of survivors, which called itself the Shel'na Kryhas ("Those Who Endure"), led by the templar Ladranix, coalesced and sheltered in the ruined cities in Antioch. One of their first tasks was to destroy all flying zerg minions, a task made easier by disarray amongst the zerg, which included a lack of spawning.[23]

Protoss military leaders Zeratul, Artanis and Selendis[28] led an expedition to rescue three wounded heroes from stasis cells. They fought the local zerg in order to clear a way to the cells, but a group of Dark Templar, led by Ulrezaj, attacked, killing two of the heroes before surrendering to the protoss forces.[29] During the battle, Zeratul and the others became aware of the Shel'na Kryhas but, believing attempts to rescue them to be futile, kept knowledge of them secret.[28]

The Shel'na Kryhas eventually lost many members to a splinter group, called the Tal'darim ("The Forged"), led by Felanis. The Tal'darim took shelter in the caverns beneath Aiur which had been forbidden thousands of years ago by the Conclave. There they worshiped a mysterious "Benefactor" they called the "Xava'tor". They were controlled by a drug known as Sundrop. The Tal'darim learned to capture zerg, and seemed to suffer fewer losses to the zerg than the Shel'na Kryhas, leading many former Shel'na Kryhas to defect to the Tal'darim.

Years after the abandonment of Aiur, only "hundreds" of Shel'na Kryhas, including only three templar, remained.[23]

The EscapeEdit

A trio of travelers approached Aiur, seeking an artifact for reasons which were mysterious to two of them. They were Jake Ramsey, a terran archaeologist and Rosemary Dahl, a former mercenary and assassin, fleeing from the Terran Dominion's Heir Apparent, Valerian Mengsk. Ramsey contained within his brain the spirit of the protoss preserver Zamara, who held a dark secret she desperately wished to bring to her people.

The group were surprised by the large numbers of zerg present on the world, but were rescued by the Shel'na Kryhas. The two groups joined forces.

Zamara needed to acquire the artifact to rescue Ramsey from the tumor her presence was forming in his brain. She did not immediately inform Ramsey of this, however. She arranged for Dahl to sneak into the Tal'darim caverns and see what the defenses were, but she was captured by Felanis and his former templar henchman, Alzadar. They subjected her to Sundrop, which was addictive to terrans as well as protoss. Dahl was eventually reunited with Ramsey and Zamara, and eventually they were able to break her addiction. From her subconscious, they discovered much of the truth behind the Tal'darim — they were, in fact, being controlled by the powerful dark archon Ulrezaj.

The group captured Alzadar and convinced him to work with them. The fugitives, Alzadar and a Shel'na Kryhas force stealthily entered the caverns, acquiring the artifact and avoiding more dark secrets. However, they were discovered and intercepted by the Tal'darim. They discovered that the size of the Tal'darim band had shrunk even faster than the Shel'na Kryhas, as Ulrezaj was sacrificing them for unknown purposes. Furthermore, Felanis was well aware of this, and he even revealed that Ulrezaj served another being. Alzadar and half the Shel'na Kryhas force remained behind to battle the Tal'darim while the rest attempted to flee ... only to be intercepted by a well-led, disciplined zerg force led by an advanced infested terran, Ethan Stewart. This ambush was spoiled by the arrival of a small Terran Dominion fleet, which had been dispatched by Valerian Mengsk in order to pick up Ramsey.

Ramsey, Dahl and the protoss had their own plans. They needed to get to the warp gate, and so they hijacked the Dominion dropship which had picked them up and fled towards the gate in it. The Dominion and zerg forces pursued them.

At the warp gates, the rest of the Shel'na Kryhas, along with a number of Tal'darim who had defected along with Alzadar arrived. The protoss (and fugitives), zerg and Dominion forces weren't able to come to grips with one another, due to the arrival of Ulrezaj himself, who wished to capture Zamara and punish his former followers.

Ramsey convinced the protoss to use a dangerous technique, stopping Ulrezaj long enough to escape through the gate.[23] Some of the renegade Tal'darim entered the warp gate with the two terrans, but none of the Shel'na Kryhas made it through. Stewart's zerg pursued Ulrezaj into the caverns, killing his guardians and forcing him to flee in a xel'naga vessel to the moon of Ehlna. The zerg were, in turn, secretly followed by Dominion forces.[28]

ReferencesEdit

  1. April 6, 2010. "Timeline". StarCraft II: Heaven's Devils. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). pp. 311 - 323. ISBN 978-1416-55084-6.
  2. Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
  3. Tassadar: "As you know, the Zerg vanished after the fall of the Terran world of Tarsonis, and though the Conclave bid me return home, I was compelled to remain. A powerful psionic call drew my attention to a remote, barren world named Char. Apparently, the call was answered by others as well. For upon Char, I encountered those who were once our brethren - the Dark Templar." StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Level/area: Into the Flames (in English). 1998.
  4. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: The Culling (in English). 1998.
  5. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: Eye for an Eye (in English). 1998.
  6. Overmind: "Yet shall their overweening pride be their downfall. For when the assassin Zeratul murdered Zasz, his mind touched with mine, and all his secrets were made known to me. I have taken from his mind the secret location of Aiur, the Protoss Homeworld." StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Level/area: Eye for an Eye (in English). 1998.
  7. Rosenberg, Aaron (June 1, 2006). StarCraft: Queen of Blades. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-7434-7133-4.
  8. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: The Invasion of Aiur (in English). 1998.
  9. Overmind: "Behold, there is a temple, not far from here, that lies upon ground most hallowed. Though I have born witness to the passing of countless millennia, the temple which you must assault is older by far. For it was constructed by my creators, the Xel'Naga, and it marks the site where the Xel'Naga first set foot upon Aiur." StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Level/area: Full Circle (in English). 1998.
  10. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: Full Circle (in English). 1998.
  11. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Cinematic: The Invasion of Aiur. (in English). 1998.
  12. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: First Strike (in English). 1998.
  13. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: Higher Ground (in English). 1998.
  14. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: The Hunt for Tassadar (in English). 1998.
  15. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: Into the Darkness (in English). 1998.
  16. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: Homeland (in English). 1998.
  17. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: Shadow Hunters (in English). 1998.
  18. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: Eye of the Storm (in English). 1998.
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  20. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Cinematic: Epilogue. (in English). 1998.
  21. Underwood, Peter, Chris Metzen and Bill Roper. StarCraft: Brood War (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Mission: Escape from Aiur (in English). 1998.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 Golden, Christie (November 27, 2007). StarCraft: The Dark Templar Saga #2: Shadow Hunters. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-7434-7126-1.
  24. Jim Raynor: "Executor, my crew and I will remain here on Aiur and shut the gate down on this side. It's the only way to make sure that the Zerg won't send more reinforcements to Shakuras."
    Artanis: "You will be hopelessly outnumbered, and once the gate is shut down there will be no one to save you should you be overrun."
    Raynor: "Yeah, well... I'm a man of action. What can I say?"
    Fenix: "I shall remain with Raynor as well, Executor. My duty is to Aiur, after all."
    Artanis: "Farewell then, brave warriors. We will send through all the troops we can spare." StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Level/area: Dunes of Shakuras (in English). 1998.
  25. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Mission: Emperor's Flight (in English). 1998.
  26. Kindregan, Brian T. "Mothership." (January 15, 2010). Blizzard Entertainment. Mothership Accessed 2010-01-15.
  27. Zapotek, Ren (w), Noel Rodriguez (p, i), Mel Joy San Juan (i). "Twilight Archon." In StarCraft: Frontline: Volume 3 (paperback binding), pp. 132-177. Tokyopop, July 14, 2009. ISBN 978-1427-80832-5.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Golden, Christie (June 30, 2009). StarCraft: The Dark Templar Saga #3: Twilight. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-0-7434-7129-9.
  29. StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Mission: Enslavers: Dark Vengeance bonus campaign, episode I: "The Rescue" (in English). 1999-02-05. StarCraft Map Archives