Eldar - Encyclopedia/A
ACONITE CLASS FRIGATES
Aconite starship squadrons are renowned for their speed and agility, offsetting their short-ranged firepower. The Aconite class frigate utilises the best Eldar laser technology, giving it a powerful punch which far surpasses that expected of a vessel this size. Usually operating in squadrons of three or four ships, they can level a fusillade of fire which can match the broadside batteries of a battleship - and then slip away before the enemy can fire back. In particular, Aconites often use their great maneuverability to get behind a larger vessel where it cannot return fire. If enemy escorts change course to drive the Aconites off, they can quickly move away from danger and attack elsewhere. This tactic was employed regularly over the course of the Gothic War, and was responsible for the loss of at least three Imperial capital ships and several Chaos vessels, including the Unholy Dominion. The Gothic War saw action by the Aconite Frigates Stings of Eternity and Siren Cry (See also Marethe).
AGENTS OF SILENCE
An Eldar pirate force led by Prince Myan. Myan’s badge was a stylized Eldar head surmounted by an infinity loop. Myan’s Agents of Silence merged with the Alai Mercenary Corps to form the Alai-Myan Alliance.
ALAI MERCENARY CORPS
Alaitoc is one of the most secretive of the major craftworlds, drifting on the far reaches of the galaxy. Following the Beelze conflict with the Imperium, the Alaitoc Eldar have shunned contact with all other races. However, there is great weight placed on the Path of the Outcast by the Alaitoc Eldar, as many hailing from that craftworld find themselves made outcast or constrained by the confines of the society. These Eldar remain loyal to the craftworld and return to it in due course or times of dire need, as well as providing valuable information on other races. In battle, those following the Path of the Outcast; the Rangers and Pathfinders are superb at sowing disruption among the enemy force as it prepares for battle.
The symbol of Alaitoc is known as the Doom of Eldanesh, the Eldar hero slain by the god Khaine. The symbol depicts the sword of Khaine bisecting the Red Moon, the sign of Eldanesh. The Red Moon in Eldar legend was created when Khaine slew Eldanesh, and the dead Eldar lord was placed in the sky, the colour red acting as a constant reminder to his bloody death. The Red Moon is a sign of ill-omen or impending battle for most Eldar, but the Alaitoc use it to remind themselves of what happens of mortals offend the gods.
Altansar was thought to be one of the lost craftworlds. It was among those that survived the Fall, riding out the psychic shock waves, but was eventually caught in the gravity well that is now the Eye of Terror. Although the Eldar of Altansar fought against the encroachment of Chaos, they were unable to escape, and within five hundred years of the Fall, their Craftworld was swallowed into the Warp. For millennia, all that remained of the craftworld was the Phoenix Lord Maugan-Ra, founder of the Dark Reapers shrines.
In recent times Altansar emerged from the Eye of Terror; it’s Eldar are viewed with much suspiscion by other craftworlds. Altansar’s traditional colours are a deep red and black, it’s rune is that of an interlinked chain.
(See Fallen Phoenix ).
Worn by Aspect Warriors, Aspect armour is constructed of a psycho-sensitive material able to react to the movements of its wearer, moulding and shaping itself to mirror the movements. Aspect armour stiffens with the impact of a shot or blow to dissipate the energy of the hit across the body of the wearer.
The Eldar at war are a frightening prospect. On the battlefield specialised squads with destructive weaponry take on different tactical roles, each equipped with decorative and brightly coloured armour reflecting their role. These warriors, backed up by the citizen militia of Guardians are known as Aspect Warriors.
Aspect Warriors are followers of the Path of the Warrior - each strictly dedicating a period of time in their lives to complete mastery of a facet of war. Each craftworld has a number of Aspect Warrior Shrines, each Aspect Warrior having different battlefield skills. Some Aspect Warriors are unique to a certain craftworlds, whereas others are found on most craftworlds. The most common Aspects include Striking Scorpions; Dire Avengers; Howling Banshees; Fire Dragons; Swooping Hawks; Warp Spiders; Shining Spears and Dark Reapers, although there are others besides, including the Slicing Orbs of Zandros. Most of these Aspects were created by the legendary Phoenix Lords soon after the Fall in reflection of the different incarnations of the Eldar war god Khaine.
Eldar Assassins are enigmatic and rarely seen, even by their own race. Assassinations are only ever performed on non-Eldar by this mysterious sub-sect. Traditionally Eldar Assassins are clad in ritual tabards and a close fitting helm, the lower half of the helmet front masked to imitate Assassins of ancient times. Typical weaponry is in the form of a long-ranged sniper rifle.
Early Eldar world colonised by those fleeing the Fall. Was subsequently destroyed by Chaos.
One of the Eldar homeworlds located in the Eye of Terror, Astayan was abandoned during the Fall. The greatest city on Astayan was known as Zytheraa, , location of the Temple of Asuryan - a building as large as a city itself. Prior to the Fall, those Eldar that had foreseen their destruction forged a great sword of awesome power powered by the mighty spirit engines of the Temple, known as the Deathsword. On the day of the birth of Slaanesh, the priests of the Temple strode fourth and wounded the Great Enemy even at the moment of his creation, but Slaanesh was too strong, and forced the priest to flee to the sanctuary of their Temple as the Lord of Pleasure consumed innumerable Eldar souls. All save one was destroyed in the birthing of Slaanesh, he sealed himself into the ultimate sanctuary beneath the Temple with the great weapon, and vanished behind its spell walls as much of the Eldar race was extinguished. His soul was held in the chamber for ten millennia before the Farseers of Ulthwé entered the chamber to retrieve the great weapon.
ASURMEN (THE HAND OF ASURYAN)
Asurmen is the oldest of all of the Phoenix Lords and is known as the Hand of Asuryan, the Phoenix King and chief and greatest among Eldar gods. In the time of the Fall, Asurmen led his people into exile, abandoning his world to the horrors of the warp. He founded the first of the Aspect Warrior shrines, the Shrine of Asur dedicated to Khaine, upon a barren world his people settled. From the Shrine of Asur sprang the first Aspect Warriors, and the Path of the Warrior was opened for the very first time. Asurmen taught his pupils the way to embrace the Path of the Warrior without it consuming the soul. This was to pursue a single Aspect of the many different forms attributed to the Bloody Handed God Those Eldar learned at the feet of their master, and in their turn they assumed the mantle of Exarchs before spreading throughout the galaxy.
The first Exarchs, the Asurya or children of Asur, founded the shrines of the Warrior Aspects in their current characteristics. It was then that the different Warrior Aspects were formalised, taking as their model the skills and teaching of their founders. Shrines were built on the craftworlds as they took to deep space so the warrior skills of the Asurya were preserved in exile.
When the planet Asur was destroyed during the Fall, Asurmen's first incarnation ended in the battle against the Chaos legions of Slaanesh. But it was not the end of Asurmen, as new warriors take up his armoured suit and battle gear again. Asurmen joined the Asurya in founding shrines and founded more shrines on more craftworlds than any other Exarch. His shrines were all dedicated to his own multi-complex skills, and his Aspect Warriors became the Dire Avengers, merciless to their foes and unstinting in devotion to the people they serve - embodying the noble warrior. Soon he vanished again, but tales of his deeds persist.
Asurmen's armour carries a specially adapted shuriken weapon which is connected to each of his vambraces in such a way that it can be fired either handed without loss of accuracy. This arrangement also leaves his hands free to allow him to grasp the Sword of Asur in both hands. The Sword of Asur is a powerful Diresword that is said to contain the spirit of the brother of Asurmen, Tethesis who was slain by a daemon.
Asuryan the Phoenix King was the greatest and first god in the Eldar pantheon. It was Asuryan who banished the Eldar from the gods to prevent Khaine from slaying them. After discovering that Isha had betrayed his wishes by continuing to contact the Eldar, Asuryan handed Isha and her consort Kurnous over to Khaine, an act that initiated the War in Heaven between Khaine and Vaul. After Khaine had won the War in Heaven and slew the Eldar hero Eldanesh, Asuryan cursed Khaine by causing his hands to eternally drip with blood.
AURORA CLASS LIGHT CRUISERS
The Eldar starship designated the Aurora light cruiser is over-gunned for its size, being slightly smaller than full cruisers, but larger than escort class vessels. Powerful as a single vessel, the light cruisers are often deployed in squadrons of two or three vessels, their speed and firepower easily able to overpower larger starships. Aurora light cruisers are armed with prow mounted pulsar lances and torpedo batteries. Infamous squadrons include the Wind Runners.
Only two Eldar gods survived the Fall - Khaine and Cergorach, the Laughing God of the Harlequins. Most Eldar maintain that Slaanesh and Khaine fought a titanic battle in the Warp. Slaanesh proved the stronger but was not powerful enough to destroy the Eldar god completely. Instead Khaine was broken into many fragments and driven out of the warp. Each fragment came to rest in the wraithbone core of a craftworld and grew into an Avatar of the Bloody Handed God
Some more sinister legends of the creation of the Avatars say that when Khaine, the Bloody Handed god fought Slaanesh he was quickly overwhelmed and his energy captured by the newborn god. Khaine was as much a part of Slaanesh as of Khorne - being a product of Eldar nature that finds gratification in murder and pleasure in bloody violence. Khorne the Blood god, the Patron of War, Murder and Battle roared with rage to find one of his own taken from him in this way. Then Khorne and Slaanesh clashed headlong, the Blood god fighting to recover the portion of power that had been robbed from him. The Bloody handed god was tossed one way and then another before the rage of Khorne and the passion of Slaanesh were exhausted. Khaine fell among the calm through the Realm of Chaos and into the material universe. As he entered the material universe he divided into many shards of energy, scattering his power so that neither Khorne nor Slaanesh could ever find him again. Each shard entered the body of an Eldar, filling the body with his own mind, possessing it so that it became a virtually indestructible blood-lusting murderer - the material manifestation of the Bloody Handed god.
At the core of every craftworld is a sealed chamber. Inside this chamber, upon a throne of smouldering iron sits an Avatar of the Bloody Handed god. The Avatar is as still as a statue of ancient metal, pitted with age and encrusted with the patina of corrosion. His eyes reveal only an empty darkness as if his whole body were a hollow metal shell. The chamber is built of gleaming wraithbone whose skeletal structure stretches throughout the entire Craftworld, its strands connecting every part of the craftworld to the throne.
When the Eldar prepare for war the metal body of the Avatar begins to glow as the heat of his fiery blood is kindled. His metal heart begins to quicken and his iron flesh pulses with life. Liquid iron boils through his veins and his whole body crackles and hisses like a furnace. When he stirs on his throne Exarchs and Aspect Warriors all over the craftworld feel the vibrations and hurry to the Shrines of the War God to begin the rituals of preparation
As the Avatars first stirrings are felt, on many craftworlds, the oldest Exarchs - one from each of the principal shrines on the craftworld - gather outside the chamber and begin the ritual of the Awakening. They wear their ritual masks and armour and are accompanied by another Exarch named The Young King. The Young King is selected yearly by the ritual divination of the Craftworld's Farseers. The position is held only for one year, after which time the Exarch steps down and another Young King is elected. On the Craftworld of Biel-Tan these Exarchs form a ruling War Council known as the Court of the Young King. The Awakening Ceremony begins as the Young King is ritually disrobed and his body painted in blood with the runes of Kaela Mensha Khaine - weaving shapes that evoke the annual orbit of the ancient Eldar suns, their rise in the solar dawn and inevitable autumnal fall. With due ceremony the Exarchs bring the ritual regalia of the Avatar from its place in the various shrines of the War God, and present it to the Young King. Across his shoulders is draped the long mantle fastened by its golden pin. In his right hand he carries the long dark weapon of the Avatar - the Suin Daellae - the Doom that Wails. Into his left hand is pressed the Cup of Criel - the bloody cup containing blood drawn from his own body.
The Exarchs, the Young King and a huge choir of Eldar Seers position themselves outside the massive bronze doors of the throne room, watching as its ancient metal grows hotter and starts to glow with a ruddy light. Behind them the Seer Choir sings the Hymn of Blood and the Exarchs take up its cry. From within the chamber come sounds of splintering metal and cracking flame. Very slowly the bronze doors begin to open. The interior is filled with brightness, in the very centre of which is the iron throne, and sat upon it, the Avatar himself, a great shadow amongst the unbearable light. The Young King steps inside as the Hymn of Blood reaches a crescendo of ritualised screams, seemingly random, but actually as carefully orchestrated and rehearsed as the rest of the ceremony. Slowly and deliberately the doors close.
The music and singing cease and the noises within the chamber become dull. The Exarchs join hands forming a continuous circuit and begin their vigil, groups of Exarchs maintaining a continuous humming chant - sometimes for several days. When the Avatar awakes, there is no warning with a loud inhuman scream. The doors to the chamber are thrown aside by an explosion of energy and light. The Avatar walks from the chamber filled with energy. He is an ancient god incarnate, a creature of supernatural power, rivalled only by the incalculable energies of the mightiest of daemons. His eyes glow like coals and his whole surface crackles and spits like smouldering metal as he moves. He wears the mantel fastened on his shoulder with the dagger pin and his long arms are covered with blood up to the elbows. Thick red blood oozes from his hands and drips from his fingers. Of the Young King there is no trace. The Avatar's outer shell is encrusted with spirit stones of all of the Young Kings ever to have entered the chamber - combining their spirit's with that of the Bloody Handed God himself.