Vartanil had been a young shuwark craftsman in the Furinax Tribe, less than a hundred years old, when the Fall of Aiur occurred. He was stranded on Aiur but was rescued by the Shel'na Kryhas, a group whose leaders then included Felanis, Ladranix and Alzadar. He became especially loyal to Alzadar due to the latter's kindness. He became a warrior of sorts, putting his woodcrafting skills into making weapons.
The group eventually splintered off a dissident faction, the Tal'darim. When Alzadar left to join the Tal'darim, Vartanil went with him. As a member of the Tal'darim, he became addicted to Sundrop. After four years of being stuck on Aiur, a trio of travelers, Jake Ramsey, Zamara (a preserver in his head who carried a secret which she needed to deliver to Shakuras) and Rosemary Dahl arrived and threw his world into tumult. They convinced Alzadar that the leader of the Tal'darim, the Xava'tor, was in fact the dark archon Ulrezaj, who had been sacrificing his closest followers for unknown purposes. Alzadar, rebelling against the Xava'tor, told Vartanil to follow the preserver, and took numerous other Tal'darim into rebellion with him.
The Tal'darim took part in a desperate plan to escape from Aiur by using its warp gate, but were hampered by attacks from the zerg, Valerian Mengsk's Terran Dominion forces, and Ulrezaj himself. He escaped along with some other Tal'darim, Zamara, Dahl and Ramsey. However, Ramsey and Zamara were redirected en route. None of the Shel'na Kryhas had made it, and the gate guards refused to believe the terran or Sundrop-addicted protoss.
Three days later, Vartanil had broken his addiction and the protoss executor, Selendis, was willing to believe him. He quickly sought out Rosemary Dahl and pledged himself to her. He accompanied her on her diplomatic mission to the Hierarchy, where the two (and Selendis) convinced Hierarch Artanis to aid them in their quest to rescue Zamara and Jake Ramsey before the former's presence killed the latter.
The pair located Ramsey/Zamara on the Nerazim sanctuary world of Ehlna. As Zamara was being removed from Ramsey, the zerg and Ulrezaj attacked. Dahl and the protoss tried to send ships to Shakuras for reinforcement along with stored memory crystals. However, these ships hadn't been used in centuries. Vartanil helped maintain them, enabling their flight.