So, we all know the story of Yrel. If you don’t, avoid this post because spoilers are ahead.
Also, this isn’t meant to be written like a story. This is meant to be written similarly to a stream of ideas.
For starters, we do not know if Yrel is dead in the prime timeline. She could have been killed by orcs. She could have died in the explosion.
… But what if she didn’t die? What if the Legion captured her and other nearby draenei? What if they were being spiritually broken, malformed into the Eredar?
Imagine, if you will, the final raid tier of Legion. The cinematic comes out. Gul’dan is narrating the cutscene, saying how these champions of the light shall fall like so many before them. He will end it by mentioning that they will be broken and fall like so many before them. I realize this part is extremely cliche, but I haven’t seen anything regarding Legion’s story, so I don’t know what it is building towards.
The screen fades to black — All ambient sounds stop.
Gul’dan: “And if they make it here…”
Then Yrel’s voice, slightly modified to sound more similar to a Man’ari, speaks, “Then I shall thin their ranks.”
The patch name appears right then. You wouldn’t see Yrel in the cinematic. You’re left wondering if that was Yrel or not.
She would be the second to last boss in the raid. As you approach her room, you are approached by a group of demons led by an Eredar. The Eredar is Samaara, Yrel’s sister. (A possible alternative would be to give Samaara an Eredar name as she was not considered strong enough to keep her name. It isn’t until you beat Yrel that you discover that this Eredar was Samaara in this alternative.)
You enter the room with Yrel standing alone in center of the room.
That is her WOD appearance. In this raid, though, she’s have a much different appearance. The off-whites would be black. The bronze armor lining would be replaced with a fel green. The pink (and the pink crystals) would be replaced with a red similar to Gul’dan’s eyes. Her skin pigmentation would be slightly more purple, but very, very slightly so. But her hair, her horns, and everything else about her would be the same.
Why, though? Why would Yrel be an antagonist? Why would Samaara also be with her?
Because it tells you more about the Legion than a thousand words ever could. You saw how strong willed and determined Yrel was in the face of impossible odds in WOD. She knew that they were facing near impossible odds, but she still fought. She was a true heroine.
… Yet the Legion was able to break her will. The Legion shattered her resolve. It helps put into perspective the power that the Legion holds compared to the Iron Horde. You saw what she was willing to bear. You saw the sacrifices she made in the name of her people. And yet the Legion could break her.
Why is Samaara there? Because it is the antithesis of the WOD story.
Eredar Yrel isn’t too weak (physically) to protect her beloved sister. Eredar Yrel’s convictions were too weak to keep her from being corrupted. Instead, Samaara is too weak to be of any value to Eredar Yrel, so Yrel is willing to send her to her demise. So instead of a story about physical weakness leading to the death of her sister, it becomes a story about weakness in her convictions eventually leading to the death of her sister.
Want Yrel to still be a protagonist?
Fast-forward to Yrel’s defeat. Her red cotton candy mace falls to the ground and shatters. She is ready to be executed. She is as defiant as ever, as you’d expect of Yrel. Velen approaches and asks you to continue on. He will deal with Yrel.
Towards the end of the Gul’dan fight, things look very bleak. It seems as if evil will triumph. A blazing light shoots down from above, piercing through all of the demons on the battlefield, bringing them to their collective knees. In come Velen and Yrel, yelling for the champions of the light to hold on. They join in the battle to help defeat Gul’dan once and for all. I base this entire redemption arc on the fact that Avrus was redeemed, although I am not sure if an Eredar has the same rules of redemption as a satyr.
Closing cinematic features Yrel being very distraught. She thanks the champions for allowing her to see the world without being blinded by corruption. Her regret is palpable, but she is clearly very confused. Then she remembers Samaara. She sprints out of the cutscene. The rest of the cutscene then plays out however it will. The player is offered a quest by Velen to go and check on Yrel.
The player will find Yrel at the spot that Samaara died. The scene would be a cruel juxtaposition of the similar WOD event. After a brief time, Yrel swears herself to the light. She swears that she will become strong enough to save this world from suffering the same fate as hers; To save the people of Azeroth from suffering the same fate as her people; To save everyone from the torment that she and Samaara suffered.
Eventually (perhaps in the pre-patch for the expansion after Legion), Yrel becomes a regular NPC in the Exodar. Perhaps she could assume a more primary role in the war against the Burning Legion.
But wouldn’t this taint Yrel’s legacy?
To me? No. WOD showed you the kind of champion that Yrel could have been had historical events been different. She would have been a strong, unbreakable champion of virtue.
This path shows you that, even in her darkest moments, she still held onto a shred of light. Despite being near fully consumed by the demonic powers given to her by the Burning Legion, the love for her sister still burned brighter than that. She would be a hero whose tale wasn’t simply about glory and destiny. Her tale would be one of falling into the clutches of evil. It would be one of redemption and future glory. It would be a tale of a character who understands corruption, anger, and the power of the Burning Legion like few others.
It would give the players many “what if” questions to ask.
But why does Samaara still have to die?
Because in the end, time is a flat circle.
I hope you enjoyed reading my crazy idea.