Preservers were a very small group of Khalai protoss who held the memories of other dead Khalai. The preservers, based out of the Sanctum, dressed in gossamer-fine lavender and white garb to make their status obvious. At least one preserver was always on hand at the Conclave during its existence. They could offer only information, and could not give orders, and were unable to serve on the Conclave. However, their opinions were often respected and could sometimes shape the policies of the Conclave.
There are currently very few preservers left, as most have been hunted down.
The role of a preserver was to protect and maintain the memories of the greatest protoss who have ever lived. Though the Khala was usable by all Khalai, the depth of the Khala made it difficult for most protoss to maintain the focus needed to pull specific memories, and only preservers had the strength to fully delve into the Khala's depths. The memories accessible to preservers could be millennia old. It was claimed preservers have access to the memories of every dead Khalai. When a Khalai died their memories were instantly transferred to the preservers.
The psionic link of the Khala was required to become a preserver and access the collective memory. The Dark Templar, who rejected the Khala, could not become preservers. The memories of protoss from the Aeon of Strife, who had lost their connection to the psionic link, could still be accessed. In addition, the memories of the Tal'darim of Aiur, who had cut themselves off from the Khala with the drug Sundrop, became available to the preservers upon their deaths.
The term "preserver" is in itself a title earned by a protoss, but to become a preserver, one needs at least some level of innate ability. Only a fraction of the protoss are born with that innate ability, and those that do are considered the ultimate expression of a latent gift deep within all protoss.
During the era of the Protoss Empire, the highest of the preservers were the Grand Preservers, who could navigate the thoughts of every protoss connected to the Khala. They functioned both to preserve the memories of the protoss from ages before, and as body to interpret the thoughts and actions of protoss from ages past and use their wisdom to advise and direct the protoss of their time. These Grand Preservers were very long lived, existing well over the normal thousand years of a protoss's life span.
For millennia, the wisdom of preservers was held in the highest regard by protoss leaders. Following the Aeon of Strife, the protoss discovered the xel'naga archive world of Zhakul. When the Conclave took power, all texts and artifacts from the Aeon of Strife were sealed away on Zhakul and entrusted to a trio of preservers. Three Grand Preservers advised the Conclave during the age of Adun: Rohana, Orlana and Shantira. They held the respect of the Conclave of their time.
After the khaydarin crystals of two motherships failed, resulting in the loss of thousands of protoss lives, the Grand Preservers pondered how such small, random events could also lead to the destruction of the Protoss Empire. As such, they advised the construction of the arkships, which would serve as a contingency against any large scale tragedy that could befall their empire. Three were construction, the Spear of Adun, the Memory of Nezin, and the Pride of Altaris. However, as the Grand Preservers pondered the ramifications of what they had created, they realized the arkships were built too early, and would likely be thrown away early into a conflict rather than be used as a last resort. The Grand Preservers presented this to the Conclave, who agreed to bury them on Aiur with the Grand Preservers and a contingent of protoss warriors in stasis within each one.
Long before the Great War, the Dark Templar Ulrezaj, an Alysaar scholar based on the sacred Dark Templar world of Ehlna tended to the memory crystals. He accessed forbidden knowledge which eventually drove him mad. When he was caught by other scholars, he refused to have the knowledge erased from him and fled.
After the Brood War Ulrezaj, now a dark archon, used his Dark Templar assassins to kill preservers. Ulrezaj considered the preservers a threat to his plans, and sought to destroy their knowledge of the xel'naga's motives and Infinite Cycle. By 2503 there were no preservers among the refugees on Shakuras.
Zamara, a preserver, was mortally wounded by one of Ulrezaj's assassins. To survive she forcibly transferred her mind from her dying body into Jake Ramsey, a terran archaeologist, using the technology of the xel'naga temple on Nemaka. This rewired Ramsey's brain and gave him both preserver abilities and a brain tumor. Ramsey's memories became available to future generations of preservers. Ramsey/Zamara found themselves being pursued by Ulrezaj, the Queen of Blades and the Terran Dominion, all of whom desired her knowledge.
Zamara was able to give her secret information to both Ramsey and Zeratul. While undergoing a ceremony at Ehlna to remove her from Ramsey's mind and place her in a pure khaydarin crystal, Ulrezaj attacked. Zamara trapped both Ulrezaj and herself in the crystal.
The Xel'naga ProphecyEdit
Zamara was not the last preserver. A trio of "immortal" preservers lived on Zhakul. However, they were captured and drained of their essence by Maar, a hybrid, who had also taken control of the Zhakul Guardians.
Zeratul delivered fragments of a xel'naga prophecy found on Ulaan to the trio of preservers on Zhakul. However, Maar appeared and attempted to keep Zeratul from reaching the preservers. Maar held an advantage in that he was able to use the preservers' psionic powers to resurrect himself each time he was struck down. However, Zeratul's forces defeated Maar's servants, rescued the preservers and felled Maar one last time. The preservers interpreted the fragments and allowed the Nerazim to continue his quest.
In the year 2506, the protoss attempted to reclaim Aiur, but were halted with the return of Amon and his corruption of the Khala. Desperate, Hierarch Artanis gathered what forces he could and fled aboard the Spear of Adun, the last surviving arkship. Aboard was Grand Presever Rohana, still in stasis. Rohana knew of the desperate time the protoss were in, but refused to cut her connection to the Khala. She insisted she would be of more use to the protoss even if it meant fighting Amon for control.
Initially, Rohana was resistant to the changes of the time, specifically those of the acceptance of the Nerazim, terrans, and the Purifiers. However, she slowly began to understand the times, and warm to the other races. In her role as preserver, she called upon memories of old executors and judicators to warn Artanis against many of his actions. Amon would use Rohana's connection to the Khala in order to posess her, and talk to the Daelaam aboard the ship. This backfired, when Rohana was able to gaze into his thoughts and figure out his plans to lure the Daelaam to Aiur then warp the corrupted Golden Armada on top of them. With that last possession, Artanis convinced Rohana that the time of the Khala had passed, and that she had to look to the future. Rohana severed her nerve cords, thus ending the last preserver's connection to the Khala.
Though she could not call on the surety of the memories of past protoss, Rohana used her deep knowledge from her time as a preserver to oversee the protoss forces reclaiming Aiur. With Rohana's aid, the Daelaam were able to once again reclaim their homeworld.
- For the preservers that appear in Wings of Liberty, it was initially intended that their models be repurposed from Tassadar. However, after it was decided to give him a unique model, the preserver models were updated as well, given shoulder and helmet variations. However, the helmets remained the same, as from a distance, they all looked identical. Their bodies use the same model as that of Zeratul and have the same animations.
- In the "Dark Templar Saga," it was stated that Zamara was the last preserver the Daelaam potentially had access to in 2503, as the rest had slowly been killed off. This is contradicted by "A Sinister Turn," which has Zeratul visit three preservers on Zhakul after this point.