- Hierarch Artanis(src)
Aiur was lost to the zerg during the Great War, and was abandoned by the Khalai in the opening stages of the Brood War. The protoss would return to Aiur during at least one instance, and in 2503, protoss survivors made their way to Shakuras through warp gate. Nonetheless, Aiur remained under the control of the Queen of Blades.
The Golden Armada was created in response at the behest of Hierarch Artanis, its express purpose being to one day reclaim the lost protoss homeworld. After Kerrigan's de-infestation in the Second Great War, a unit was sent to Aiur's moon of Saalok, to make preparations for the liberation of the planet. The team was wiped out, but not before they alerted the protoss that the zerg were under control. The fleet was pulled back.
At the conclusion of the Second Great War, as Kerrigan led the zerg away from the Koprulu sector, the Daelaam were faced with the opportunity to reclaim Aiur. Artanis took the Golden Armada under his command and led it to Aiur, as reclaiming it was the only common interest possessed by both the Khalai and Nerazim. In doing so, he hoped that a new protoss civilization could be created from the rubble of the old. Though Matriarch Vorazun could not commit the entire might of the Nerazim to the operation, she sent a force to aid the Golden Armada in the reclamation.. By this stage, the zerg on Aiur were no longer under Kerrigan's control.
Course of the Battle
- Hierarch Artanis(src)
In the opening stages of the invasion, at least one khundelar unit was sent to Aiur's surface. This unit was led by Kaldalis. Immediately, this unit came under attack by the zerg, and was almost wiped out. However, they held out long enough for a beachhead to be established via pylon, as scores of zealots were teleported to the planet's surface, thanks to the actions of a probe, Probius.
Many had lost their lives, but the Armada now had a foothold. As more Templar stood ready to be deployed to the surface, dark prelate Zeratul made his presence known, informing Artanis of the looming threat of Amon, and requesting that the invasion be halted. Selendis refused to listen, and Artanis, while more cordial, stated that too many lives had been spent for them to turn back now. As such, more Templar were deployed outside the ruined city of Kherrisan, where they would reactivate the city's warp conduits. Once this was achieved, the warp conduits would allow the protoss to move across the surface of Aiur with impunity.
The protoss progressed against the feral zerg inhabiting the ruins. However, they came across a brood that was showing signs of coordination. The unseen was soon revealed as hybrid reavers, though they too were destroyed by the Firstborn. With the warp conduits secured, Artanis turned control of the invasion over to Selendis, while he discussed matters with Zeratul further. Zeratul told Artanis that they needed to recover the Keystone, as it was the key to defeating Amon. To this end, Artanis asked Zeratul to travel to the Terran Dominion world of Korhal and acquire the Keystone.
The Khala Corrupted
Before Zeratul could depart, however, Amon made his presence known, corrupting the Khala and enslaving the Templar. Only the Nerazim were spared of the corruption due to being disconnected from the Khala. Zeratul managed to free Artanis by severing his nerve cords, though the dark prelate was fatally wounded in the process. Before he died, Zeratul told Artanis that the Keystone would lead to the Xel'naga.
The reclamation of Aiur having failed, Artanis had no choice but to retreat. He worked to save as many Templar as he could, including the phase-smith Karax, before heading to the Spear of Adun. With Karax's aid, Artanis and his followers reactivated the ancient ship and escaped the planet. Shortly afterwards Amon unleashed legions of hybrids in a galactic assault bringing about the End War.
- According to Heroes of the Storm, the probe that deployed the pylon during the initial planetfall of the khundelar unit was named Probius.