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In bodies of living bone, the souls of ancient heroes are roused to war, lest the light of Iyanden fade forever. Were it not for dire necessity, the seers of Iyanden would leave their ancestors to rest. However, the fight for the survival of their craftworld forces them to resurrect their dead and enlist them to fight once again.

This process is akin to necromancy in the Asuryani mind: Even the lowliest ghost warrior can take incredible punishment and survive, and on the rare occasions that one is destroyed, its spirit Once the most populous of the craftworlds, Iyanden became a ghost ship in the wake of Hive Fleet Kraken. Although now the dead outnumber the living, they believe that which cannot be altered must be borne. So Iyanden endures, never giving in to despair.

In this way, the dead of Iyanden are trapped in an eternal cycle of war. While most craftworlds will supplement their force with such wraith warriors, in the warhosts of Iyanden, the dead typically outnumber the living. It is these strange psykers who guide the Wraithguard and their kind to battle.

The dead no longer sleep, but hold silent vigil with the living. Despite being a shadow of its former self, however, Iyanden continues to survive against the odds, fending off Ork assaults, Imperial fleets, the Necrons of the Sautekh Dynasty, and further Tyranid tendrils.

With the coming of the Great Rift the craftworld has also seen fresh invasions, three times overcoming daemonic threats. While the rise of Ynnead has caused much strife within the craftworlds, none are more unified in their support of the Ynnari than the Asuryani of Iyanden.

Others believe that it was the arduous support of the Spiritseer Iyanna Arienal, who alone amongst the seers of her craftworld believed the Slumbering God would awaken.

He is the father of the gods, the ancestor of all living things. It is he that leads the wraith hosts of the Tower of Blue Starlight to war. Theirs is a craftworld of ancient tradition and a proud warrior culture.

Saim-Hann was reputedly one of the first craftworlds to abandon the Aeldari home worlds as the Fall approached, and their tribal culture is closest to that of the Exodite worlds on the fringes of the galaxy. While other craftworlds see them as barbarous, the bravery of the Saim-Hann Asuryani is legendary, and they are known to place a higher value on honour than their more enlightened kin in other craftworlds.

Their pride, however, has frequently led them to fight unnecessary wars, and even to initiate conflicts with other craftworlds. These warriors are famed for their ability to speed into battle riding jetbikes, and tales of their swift raids and daring rapid strikes are told in whispered awe across the galaxy. Each of these clans is led into battle by a Wild Rider chieftain, who takes the role of Autarch.

Perhaps the most sacred of these rites, though, is the blood bond — a verbal agreement between two warriors that is sealed by drinking from each others slashed wrists.

Tales abound of the lengths to which Wild Riders will go to ensure they uphold the honour of such debts. It is the ritual combat practised by the people of Saim-Hann that is most dimly looked upon by other craftworlders, however. Where most Asuryani settle disagreements through lengthy debates, those of Saim-Hann are too hot-blooded for such wars of words, preferring instead to resolve conflicts with ritual combat. Generally these duels are fought in a stylised fashion, with the winner decided by first blood, but the aggression and speed with which Saim-Hann craftworlders approach every aspect of their lives often mean that fatalities are inevitable.

Other Asuryani find such savagery distasteful and backwards, but the Wild Rider clans are equally perplexed by the willingness to waste time in ineffectual discussion, to say nothing of the endless political intrigues and bitterness that follow. Once a decision is reached through ritual combat, even the most fiercely opposed of Saim-Hann clans will accept the result and move forward, and so the practice proves to be an expeditious way to resolve even the most complex of issues.

Unlike the warriors of other craftworlds, who unite in mass mobilisations, the clans of Saim-Hann are each free to choose whether or not to fight in defence of a particular cause, and it is not unknown for a kindred to go to war without the assistance — let alone the approval — of the rest of the craftworld.

It is the nature of the Saim-Hann Asuryani, however, that when one clan rides to battle, others will often follow, forming a loose alliance under the banner of the Cosmic Serpent. In such warhosts each clan is still beholden only to its chieftain, and if a disagreement arises over military or other major matters, they are usually resolved with ritual combat between champions chosen from within the kindred.

The Wild Host falls upon its foes in a blur of crimson attack craft, its riders and pilots screaming war cries into the raging winds. Like the bloody spear of Khaine, the Wild Rider clans strike from above, their warriors mounted upon jetbikes or taking to the skies in grav-tanks whilst their kin sprint into the fray below.

In the face of their assault, foes fall back in disarray, stunned by the speed of the attack or torn asunder in a storm of shuriken fire and energy blasts.

The jetbike-riding kindreds excel at mimicking the strike of a serpent upon the field of battle, able to accelerate from a standstill to blinding speed in the blink of an eye. After delivering their rapid blows, the Wild Rider hosts often pull back, withdrawing out of reach to reassess.

Over the long millennia since the Fall, the clans of Saim-Hann have temporarily allied themselves to many other Aeldari factions. The Seer Councils of the major craftworlds have all attempted to sway their Saim-Hann cousins to join their own particular cause at some point or another, as they place a great value on the martial skill of the Wild Riders.

Such entreaties have resulted in many significant triumphs for the Asuryani as a whole, but the obstinate and principled personality of the Saim-Hann people means these alliances often end in frustration. For example, the Wild Rider clans often join the warhosts of Biel-Tan in cleansing aliens from maiden worlds, but, because they find the extreme xenophobia of the Swordwind and its willingness to slaughter non-combatants distasteful, the coalition rarely lasts beyond the defence of the planet in question.

Saim-Hann maintains a far less strained relationship with the Exodites, and spending time upon their paradise worlds has become part of the many rituals to which the Wild Rider clans adhere. Harlequin troupes are also welcomed aboard the craftworld, for the mysterious followers of Cegorach do not judge those of Saim-Hann for any perceived lack of sophistication. There are exceptions, however. The Wild Riders do not hunt for pleasure, but all clans will attack any Ork colonies they locate, launching hit-and-run missions to thin the greenskins numbers and eliminate their largest and most formidable leaders.

An ever deeper contempt is reserved for the Necrons; even the least clue as to the whereabouts of those ancient foes is enough to mobilise the Wild Riders for a hunt. Unlike the Orks, whose numbers are merely culled, Necrons are destroyed utterly and their tomb worlds extinguished. To the Imperium, who do not understand the disparate Wild Rider clans, the people of Saim-Hann remain an enigma, as likely to ally with them as they are to ignore or even assail them.

Always impetuous, the Wild Rider clans are torn with dissent as never before. With the coming of the Great Rift and the influx of Chaos, Saim-Hann is inundated with pleas for aid, and the growing strife amongst the Aeldari means many clamour for the Wild Riders to commit to one side or the other. While a few clans have done so, most remain fiercely independent, acting as their impulses dictate at any given moment. He is considered bold, even by the aggressive standards of the Wild Riders.

In Aeldari myth, the Serpent is the only creature believed to exist in both the material and the psychic universes at the same time. Hence, the Serpent is said to know all secrets past and present. The Asuryani of Saim-Hann bear the world-rune that represents the Serpent as their heraldry, emblazoning it on the cowlings of their jetbikes, grav-tanks and air support.

While this acute concentration and shunning of outside influences sharpens their minds into an unyielding shield against the vagaries of Slaanesh, maintaining such rigid discipline proves impossible to many. Some adherents become trapped on their Path, losing more of themselves with every step they take along it.

Consequently, Alaitoc has an unusually high proportion of Exarchs, Asuryani warriors who have forgotten everything outside of killing, and dedicate themselves entirely to their Aspect. A great many others of the craftworld abandon the Path completely, choosing instead to sate their repressed desires far from the spires of their home.

Although disenchanted with the strictures of their people, the majority of these Outcasts remain loyal to Alaitoc no matter how far they roam, and often undertake dangerous quests on behalf of the craftworld.

Despite their best efforts to escape the zealous and obsessive mindset that characterises the people of Alaitoc, some of these Rangers ultimately lose themselves to their lifestyle in the same way an Exarch is lost to the Path of the Warrior. Known as Pathfinders, these Outcasts are supernaturally adept at concealment, and make for near-invisible assassins on the field of battle as they kill foes from afar.

The Rangers and Pathfinders of Alaitoc — or Starstriders as they prefer to call themselves — have become synonymous with the craftworld across the breadth of the galaxy. It is from these nomadic individuals that the Imperium has gleaned much of its knowledge of the Aeldari race as a whole.

This is not a gift Alaitoc has willingly given, but a product of excruciation at the hands of the Imperial Inquisition. However, there is a new faction of Aeldari who believe they have a way of not just avoiding the predations of Slaanesh, but defeating the god entirely.

The Ynnari are a rising force that pay heed to an ancient Aeldari belief that as more and more of their race die, and their spirits pass into the infinity circuits of the craftworlds, they might form a gestalt consciousness. When every last one of them passes they will awaken and empower a new being — Ynnead, the Whispering God. That baleful presence will be strong enough to destroy Slaanesh, The High Farseer Eldrad Ulthran attempted to begin this awakening process early, but his plot only stirred the sentience that would become Ynnead.

In that instant she became a conduit for deathly energies, a reservoir of Aeldari spirits that live on through her. This power could be attained by all who pledged themselves to Ynnead; no longer would death hold any fear, as the souls of the departed would be harnessed not by spirit stones or other such means, but by the living themselves. Acting as the chosen prophet and emissary of Ynnead, Yvraine has travelled across the galaxy, visiting craftworlds, far-flung Corsair fleets and hidden nooks of the webway.

With every passing day the Ynnari grow in number, attracting followers from a wide variety of backgrounds who believe that the cycle of death and rebirth could be their salvation. Although a young movement, the Ynnari have already shaped the galaxy, most notably by their instrumental role in the restoring the Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman to lead the Imperium.

Many amongst the Aeldari have rejected the Ynnari, seeing them as misguided and dangerous. Only then can the tides of Chaos be turned, and a united Aeldari race saved. It is an apt description. Few foes can withstand this combined assault, and even those that flee find no true escape, for Alaitoc has eyes everywhere.

It is these many eyes that allow the Alaitoc Asuryani to assemble a full picture of the turmoil facing the galaxy, from the awakening Necron dynasties to the Chaos forces flowing out of the Cicatrix Maledictum, from the travails of the Imperium to the civil discord amongst their own race. The world-rune of Alaitoc depicts the sword of Khaine bisecting the Red Moon: The Red Moon is an ill omen for the Aeldari even now, used as a reminder of the fate of mortals who offend the gods.

While some of the smaller craftworlds are extremely reclusive, spoken of as little more than rumours, others have become notorious in their own right. Only the Phoenix Lord Maugan Ra survived. For millennia Altansar was considered lost. However, as the Eye opened wide at the end of the 41st Millennium, Maugan Ra undertook a great odyssey that culminated in the rescue of his lost people.

Since their re-emergence, the people of Altansar have been distrusted by their kin. Some whisper they are tainted by their ordeal, others that they entered a dread pact with Ynnead. Perhaps the rumours are based in truth, for the voices of the Altansar craftworlders are but whispers, and their pale, deathly features seem little more than those trapped in a shadowy half-life.

They are driven by a desire to scour the stars of the Great Enemy, and will ally with Commorragh and even the armies of Mankind to see their goals achieved. Where once their title spoke of the gifts passed down through the generations and the blessings of their ancestry, in the last few millennia it has become a promise of war.

Once, the craftworld was renowned for the exquisite art of its Bonesingers. Now, these same craftsmen have turned their skills to creating only weapons, and even accompany the warhosts to battle to heal wraith constructs and Engines of Vaul amid the crack of gunfire. They enter realspace only to raid for what they need, striking with a rapidity and suddenness impressive even for the Aeldari. The legends of Iybraesil tell of a pact their ancestors made with the goddess Morai-Heg.

The craftworld has a disproportionately high female population to this day. In these dark times, the people of Iybraesil are driven to hunt for crone worlds, for they hope to secure not only the Tears of Isha, but also ancient technologies and doomsday artefacts with which to tip the balance of fate. Masterful and prolific in their efforts, they ensure that their warhosts are always furnished with the finest Engines of Vaul, and are able to field a great number of titans when they go to war. Though the wraith constructs of Yme-Loc are but few in number, there are tales among the Aeldari that their weapon smiths have created a new and devastating weapon powered by the souls of the dead.

It is a device so terrible in potency that Yme-Loc have never dared to use it. It is whispered that it can scour entire continents of life in mere minutes, the souls of the living torn from their bodies by a vast ghost-storm.

MYMEARA When the Fall consumed the souls of billions in a psychic shock wave that rocked the foundations of reality, Mymeara was cast far out into the galactic wilderness. For millennia afterwards, the craftworld sailed the void alone, thinking themselves the last of the Aeldari people.

Its citizens turned inwards, focusing upon the glories of the past — for they believed that without them the memory of their race would fade away forever.

During its long isolation, Mymeara was forced to fight for its survival against rampaging Ork hordes and the ever expanding boundaries of the Imperium. Alone and outnumbered, the craftworld learned well the ways of stealth, and mastered the art of concealing their world-ship. In time, fate eventually reunited them with their kindred.

In their ranks, the Asuryani found a host of exceptional warriors possessed of great cunning and resourcefulness. Much of what was known was lost during the devastation of the Fall. In the millennia since that cataclysmic event, the Aeldari have been forced into a relentless battle for survival, pressed on all sides by a galaxy teeming with alien races that would see them destroyed.

In the warp, She Who Thirsts awaits to consume the unwary. The Aeldari have no choice; they must fight with every weapon at their disposal or die out altogether.

Those lesser races that dare oppose them present little challenge. Worlds live and die at their behest, for the supremacy of their great empire is beyond dispute.

The core of the Aeldari empire is torn out by the cataclysmic birth-screams of a new god. Trillions of sentient beings die as the centre of the galaxy collapses into the immaterium. A thousand worlds are consumed by the Eye of Terror, the largest warp rift the galaxy has ever seen. A Sickness of the Spirit The luxurious paradise of Aeldari civilisation gives rise to a dangerous combination of curiosity and complacency.

Throughout the empire, a profound degradation in moral discipline sets in. Over the millennia there is a gradual slide into sensual excess. Darkness Rising With the rise of the cults of pleasure, the worship of the Aeldari gods declines sharply.

As the quest for excess crosses the line into outright evil, a new god stirs towards wakefulness in the depths of the warp. Heroes from before the cataclysm, it is said they are the first to bear the spirit stones of the Warrior Aspects, and it was they who ensured that Aspect Shrines were built upon each of the craftworlds.

The Hidden Kin The cults of pleasure escalate their worship of the Dark Muses — those lesser powers of the Aeldari pantheon who epitomise carnal and selfish vice. The architects and masters of the new order rise so sharply in influence that they are able to claim vast swathes of the labyrinth dimension of the webway as their personal domains.

The forefathers of the Drukhari are born. Those Aeldari wise enough to see danger in the corruption flee from the rotten core of their empire. The first to leave become known as Exodites: Later, others build gigantic craftworlds to flee the moral plague corrupting their civilisation.

Their stranglehold on space travel shattered, the Aeldari are powerless to stop it. Within the space of a century, the Imperium of Mankind becomes the largest single empire in the galaxy. Chaos runs rampant and the galaxy burns. Thousands die as the devotees of Slaanesh defile much of the craftworld and drive the defenders back. Seeing the devastation wrought by the terrible weapons of the Chaos Space Marines, the Autarchs of Lugganath authorise the use of Hemlock Wraithfighters. The Emperor of Mankind unites his greatest masterpieces, the warrior Primarchs, with the Legiones Astartes created from their gene-seed.

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The Great Crusade begins as Humanity brings the worlds of the galaxy under compliance The steadfast alliance between the craftworlds Biel-Tan and Iyanden begins to break apart over the bloody war to reclaim Rasilena.

The Iyanden belief that the Chaos threat should hold precedence over all else does not mesh with the uncompromising crusade of Biel-Tan. Installed in towering Wraithknights, they plunder the tumbledown cities of the once-glorious world, gathering empty spirit stones from those locations where reality and the warp bled into one another.

The cavorting Daemons of the crone world appear in force and bring the Twelve Outcasts to battle, but by fighting almost back to back, the Aeldari are able to forge a path back to their webway portal and disappear from the nightmare planet with seconds to spare.

Despite having settled the planet some twelve hundred years previous, the human inhabitants are given an ultimatum by Eliac Zephyrblade of Saim-Hann — evacuate or die. The Aeldari force is outnumbered a hundred times over by the Imperial armies, but the vengeful Zephyrblade makes the ocean his landing zone before running rings around the military juggernaut of the Imperium with his Windrider hosts.

Against the advice of several noted Farseers, the Autarchs agree that the lesser races of the galaxy must be shown their place. The message spreads, and the following centuries see a great upswell in the number of Asuryani who take to the Path of the Warrior. The military capabilities of the craftworlds are bolstered to their greatest point in millennia, though dozens of civilian Paths are left to fade away as a result.

With the death toll spiralling into the thousands on either side, an uneasy truce is agreed upon — despite their mutual loathing, both sides know well that Aeldari lives are too valuable to waste in such numbers. The Council of Coalition In the midst of the Council of Coalition, an attempt to unite the disparate Asuryani under a single banner, tempers flare between the craftworlds, and brief but violent civil war breaks out. Later, some claim the conflict was started by the Drukhari, while others propose that daemonic forces, led by the Masque, were behind the internecine fighting.

The Slaaneshi Daemon Prince Lilesh Snarelust slakes his infernal desire for excess, masterminding a vast daemonic incursion across a score of Imperial worlds near the Moon of Nightmares. Unwilling to permit such a foray into the material plane so near to their craftworld, the Asuryani of Saim-Hann respond with focused aggression, risking all in the battle against the legions of the Dark Prince. Over the course of five years, the Windriders of Saim-Hann systematically outmanoeuvre and exterminate those loyal to the court of Slaanesh.

Those Slaaneshi Daemons that remain — and the Chaos-worshipping humans that are in league with them — are mercilessly culled. The psychic leech-creature that emerges slowly bleeds the craftworld unto death. Across the galaxy, the prophets of the Asuryani weep as the psychic magnitude of the hive fleet threat becomes horribly clear. Maedrax Stirs Eldrad Ulthran foresees a fleet of Imperial explorators unwittingly awakening the Necron tomb world of Maedrax. The Damned make planetfall in force and purge the Necron presence before it can fully awaken, but they do not escape unscathed.

An entire dynasty awakes across the system, world by haunted world, and the battles that follow are fought with a ferocity not seen since the war between the Aeldari and Necrontyr of old. Outnumbered and unable to defeat his former master in combat, Karandras artfully goads his predecessor into a blind killing frenzy over the course of a gruelling seventeen-day battle.

At the critical moment, the Shadow Hunter melts into a patch of darkness and disappears entirely, leaving his nemesis to slaughter every one of his own disciples in a murderous rage. For a brief time afterwards several craftworlds are brought into battle against one another, as the aftermath of Aspect Warriors once loyal to the corrupted Arhra are eventually hunted down and slain. The Confluence of Fate Every major craftworld, alongside many masques of Harlequins, descend en masse to lay waste to the shrine world of Aggenon.

The Roar of the Beast In the act of preventing a Waaagh! The self-styled Prophet of the Ork gods unites his barbaric followers against the industrial world of Armageddon. Word of the unbridled destruction caused by Waaagh! It is speculated by Ordo Xenos prognosticars that no less than one thousand class IX or greater vessels have been lost to his fleet. A new era of war unending begins, as threats to the craftworlds multiply in number and severity. As the craftworld teeters on the brink of extinction, more and more ghost warriors are summoned to its defence, until the army facing the Tyranids is as much of the dead as the living.

Thousands of souls are drawn from the infinity circuit to stand beside their living descendants until whole armies of wraith constructs stride to war, but even drawing on this precious resource cannot stop the Tyranid invasion. Prince Yriel returns from his exile at the head of his Eldritch Raiders and vanquishes the Tyranid fleet in a titanic space battle.

Rallying the desperate defenders upon the craftworld, Yriel ensures his place in legend when he takes up the cursed Spear of Twilight and slays the towering monster leading the Tyranid invasion.

Sanctity Breached Furious battle erupts in the twilight realm of the webway as Chaos Space Marines of the Thousand Sons legion fight their way to within sight of the Black Library. Several major arteries of the webway are choked with the dead before the warrior-psykers of the Thousand Sons are driven from the secret paths by a concerted attack.

The breach caused by the rampaging Chaos Sorcerers is runically sealed, but as a result, a section of the webway is lost forever. Though the Imperium rages at the slaughter, blindly venting its wrath upon any xenos spaceship within a dozen parsecs, Hive Fleet Leviathan is denied crucial bio-resources as a result. A short time after, a major part of the hive fleet is isolated and destroyed by interlacing Asuryani attacks.

The Might of Chaos Abaddon, Warmaster of Chaos, launches the greatest invasion of realspace ever seen. The Asuryani cause horrific damage to the Chaos Space Marine Legions on dozens of worlds, suffering untenable casualties in their turn as the minions of the Great Enemy fight back.

They are quick to join the slaughter, and the death toll rises ever higher.

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He succeeds in finding his people, somehow having endured their time in the Eye, though deeply changed by their ordeal. Maugan Ra guides them out, where they join the battle against Chaos.

Far from celebrating the return of their Altansar kin, however, the other Asuryani treat them with open suspicion and distrust. Deathly Vision While fighting within the Crucibael arena on Commorragh, Yvraine passes the threshold of mortality and has a vision. She comes face to face with the newly stirred Ynnead, the God of the Dead, and is filled with new powers during her deathly apotheosis.

Gathering followers even as a warp breach brings daemonic invasion to the Dark City, Yvraine escapes into the tunnels of the webway. With this revelation, the Seer Councils of the craftworlds are forced to concede that the danger prophesied by the Alaitoc Asuryani is very real, and set in motion ancient plans to combat their returned rivals.

Many battles follow, such as when the Farseers of Alaitoc foresee to the day when the Hyrekh Dynasty will awaken. The galaxy is flooded as warp storms of rising intensity sweep across the stars.

The psychically attuned Aeldari can feel the mounting pressure, while the seers of their people hear the unnatural keening sounds of doom. Biel-Tan Corrupted The Masque, infamous Daemon herald of Slaanesh, leads an invasion through a long-sealed webway tunnel that leads from the maiden world of Ursulia directly onto the craftworld of Biel-Tan.

The psychic backlash of energies unleashed by the breaking of Biel-Tan is felt by all of the Aeldari race. Yvraine harnesses these energies to empower Ynnead, and brings into existence his avatar, the Yncarne. The Great Rift Beset by immense warp storms and multiple cataclysmic events, the galaxy shudders.

Like a seam in the tapestry of reality, a tear runs through realspace, creating a hole from which the immaterium spills. A blackness shrouds the galaxy, and every craftworld sustains damage from the battering storms and the daemonic invasions that follow.

As the initial cataclysm subsides, the Asuryani reach out to one another, checking for survivors; despite the difficulties experienced by each of the world-ships, even the most obscure of craftworlds, such as hidden Meud-Wyaid and secretive Mymeara, issue communiques.

Only two of the known craftworlds do not respond, their fates unknown. Nowhere is Safe Many craftworlds seek solace from the raging warp storms, setting course far from the calamity. A few even hope to find safety as they have done previously, by taking refuge in the strange nether-realm of the webway. What they learn instead is that nowhere is safe, and even secluded and once-secret spars of that ancient network are corrupted by the forces of Chaos.

During this period, all craftworlds are discovered and attacked. Those drifting in the furthest, most remote reaches of the void are discovered, as are those secreted in the webway. They are repelled at the last, however, as Aeldari reinforcements arrive from all corners of the webway, including Drukhari, Ynnari, Harlequins and warhosts from every major craftworld.

The Swordwind Unsheathed Those that thought the crippled craftworld of Biel-Tan might soften their militant ways are proven mistaken. Declared a spawn-pit for the Great Enemy, the entire population of the hive world is systematically annihilated. Although reduced in numbers, never has the Swordwind been more mercilessly effective.

The Seer Council states that need necessitates such daring, as the threads of fate must be twisted in many places simultaneously to avoid greater doom. The Red Tide The sixth wave of the Blood Crusade stabs into the galactic west, its forces materialising upon planets to wreak havoc. No less than five entire clans descend into the maelstrom. The streams of jetbikes weave in between the wreckage of broken bunkers and smashed gun towers to pour devastating fire upon the massed Bloodletters before darting away.

Baying with rage, the murderous Daemon hosts charge over and over but fail to reach their fleet foes. As the Daemons leave in frustration to find easier prey, the Asuryani too disperse, without a word to the stunned human survivors. There, they are met in battle by the exiled Farseer Eldrad Ulthran and his faithful followers, along with warriors of the Ynnari and Harlequins.

Despite the presence of Kairos Fateweaver and a sextet coven of Keepers of Secrets, the Aeldari swiftly banish their foes. They awaken the sleeping Necron tomb that lies buried beneath the nearby dead moon of Ull, leading their ancient nemesis into a battle waged between Imperial forces and the Plague Legions. On the maiden world of Iathglas, Yvraine convenes a council between the major craftworlds, alongside representatives from the Harlequins, many Exodite worlds, three renowned Corsair fleets and even the Drukhari.

The assembled Aeldari fall to arguing before a common threat — a Chaos incursion — unites them. The combined forces of the Aeldari are soon triumphant, and despite being presented with such a practical example of how an alliance would be to their benefit, they part ways no closer to reaching an accord.

The Aspect Warriors and Guardians of Iyanden are ever-ready to fight for the little they have left, yet they are too few in number to fight alone. So do the Spiritseers of Iyanden summon forth their fallen ancestors, and lead the wraith hosts to war. If the Aeldari are to fade from the galaxy, the ghost armies of Iyanden will ensure they do not do so quietly. Even in battle they can perform their divinations, casting the complex wraithbone runes of the Asuryani into the air and interpreting changes as the glowing icons orbit around them.

In this way, the Farseers explore the myriad skeins of present and future, studying the consequences of the smallest decision, the better to guide their people to victory. The Path of the Seer — also known as the Witch Path — is the most dangerous and convoluted journey of all, for all psykers are intimately connected to that heinous mirror of reality, the warp.

Just as Asuryani who are trapped on the Warrior Path become Exarchs, so seers who progress too far along their own Path become Farseers. Aeldari upon the Witch Path learn to harness their powers using complex, psychically sensitive wraithbone runes.

These act not only as prophetic tools but also as arcane wards. With these runes, the Farseers learn to divine the many futures of their craftworld, identify the course of reality that benefits them the most, and steer their people accordingly. When the transformation is almost complete, the senescent Farseer makes a journey to the Dome of Crystal Seers, joining his predecessors as an inert statue linked to the infinity circuit forever.

The Aeldari of the craftworlds look to the Farseers for leadership in all things, and it is no different upon the field of battle. At the heart of each warhost, the Farseers and their Seer Council disciples flow around blasts of enemy fire with a grace that makes their foes seem predictable and slow.

In the crucible of battle, Farseers shape the future with the skill of master craftsmen. Their tools are the warriors they lead, and their clay the flesh of those who oppose them.

As the Farseers pluck at the strings of fate, the crude plans of the foe wither away to leave only barren and bloody defeat. Many such adherents, feeling their blood sing with the need to kill, will return to their old shrines; there they will accept their mask, recreating the division in their mind between self and warrior. Known as Warlocks, these individuals have followed the Witch Path to its most aggressive and warlike of ends.

In battle, Warlocks will band together in conclaves to pool their considerable eldritch power, although it is common for some to split off and lead other Asuryani from the front. Whether alone or combining their strength, Warlocks will cast the runes of battle to bolster the warhost and bring havoc to their enemies. Warlocks who go to war mounted atop jetbikes are known as Skyrunners, adding great speed to their already formidable array of powers.

Many craftworlds deploy entire Skyrunner Conclaves, although such formations are especially common in the Wild Rider clans of Saim-Hann.

Eldrad has lived for over ten thousand years, and has successfully guided his people along the twisting paths of fate since the Fall, and throughout the rise of the Imperium.

Time and time again, Eldrad has averted disaster for not just his former craftworld, but the entire Aeldari race, committing acts of heroism hidden within severed strands of fate. It was Eldrad who thwarted the malefic works of the newly risen Necron dynasties, Eldrad who prevented the Hrud infestation of proud Saim-Hann that would otherwise have reduced it to rotting mulch. Such a machination defines the way of the Farseers; to manipulate the time-stream with great skill and subtlety to their own ends.

Although many Aeldari seers sensed the nascent presence of Ynnead in the infinity circuits, it was Eldrad that put into motion a daring ploy to awaken the slumbering God of the Dead. Enlisting the aid of the Harlequin Masque of the Midnight Sorrow, he stole away the fossilised crystal statues of long-dead Farseers from numerous craftworlds.

He hoped to combine their latent power with the psychoactive crystal sands that covered the moon of Coheria to produce a psychic flare bright enough to awaken Ynnead. Alas, the xenos-hunting Space Marines of the Deathwatch ended his plans prematurely. While the God of the Dead did not waken, he stirred. Even in this perceived failure, Eldrad put in motion the chain of events that would see Yvraine obtain power over death and become the true prophet of the Whispering God.

For some time Eldrad and his faithful accompanied the Ynnari, before his foresight led them down different paths. Existing much like a Corsair fleet, Eldrad and his renegades continue to follow the diminishing strands of fate that keep the Rhana Dandra at bay, regularly offering sage wisdom or tactical aid to those who fight against the overwhelming forces of Chaos that beset the galaxy. With the aid of these powerful implements, an Asuryani who walks the Witch Path can read and manipulate fate itself, but if too much power is drawn, the runes will glow hot and the seer risks potentially destroying their greatest assets.

Different rune shapes represent different powers and states of mind, and the more experienced a seer becomes, the more runes they can use.

The most ancient of seers may even create new runes; it is said that over the course of his long lifespan, Eldrad Ulthran has fashioned over a dozen distinct runes that he alone can master. The Aeldari term for it roughly translates as the Path of the Leader or the Path of Command, and those who travel far enough along it are known by the title of Autarch. This is the duty of the Autarch — to master the myriad ways that the Asuryani wage war, and, should dire enough need arise, to personally lead a warhost to victory in battle.

For the most part, when an Aeldari leaves an Aspect Shrine, they disassociate themselves from it in pursuit of a completely new Path. What was once central to their being is left in the past — teachings and disciplines are abandoned, and trappings are cast off.

Not so the Autarch, whose duty it is to learn about each Aspect in turn so that he might better guide them in defence of the craftworld. In this secretive rite, a selection of weapons, armour and wargear of the shrine are laid out before the Autarch, from which they choose a single item to take with them on their ritual journey.

The Autarch retains this wargear throughout his life, using it — and the knowledge that it represents — for the betterment of their craftworld. They must be willing to devote themselves to a long and arduous task above all else. After a time, every Autarch comes to learn that the road to true martial excellence lies not in the heat of melee, but rather in gaining a wider vision of battle and directing the warhost along the most efficient path to victory.

When an Asuryani army is led by an Autarch and guided by his Farseer advisors, it functions as a well-honed machine, each component acting in perfect concert with the others to form an irresistible force.

However, it is not purely as a back-line commander that the Autarch excels; the Asuryani leaders are quite capable of leading their warhost from the front, plunging into the fray to change the course of the conflict with each well-placed kill. When visited by such war-lust, an Autarch will call upon the skills that have been honed amongst the Aspect Shrines to spearhead assaults, duel with the leaders of the foe and destroy their war machines with contemptuous ease.

Just as they wield the warriors of the different shrines as a cohesive force, so too do they blend their own varied Aspect wargear into a singular, deadly arsenal. For instance, an Autarch might wear the wings of the Swooping Hawk and the mandiblasters of the Striking Scorpions, descending on the foe from above as they spit a hail of death from their helm. Some Autarchs, especially those who lead the clans of Saim-Hann, fight as Skyrunners, joining battle atop jetbikes and recalling the ways of war learnt during their time as Shining Spears.

Warhammer 40K 8th Rulebook HD

Only when you have fallen screaming upon those who know they are already dead can you understand the Banshee. Only when you have annihilated those who would oppose you can you truly understand the power of the Dragon. And only one who has travelled but ultimately turned away from each of these Paths can understand the Autarch. In his youth, despite his lack of years, he was chosen to walk the Path of Command — a level of trust that many speculated was unwarranted.

Although his victory over the scions of Chaos was complete and overwhelming, Yriel earned bitter censure rather than accolades from those who had remained behind.

Driven by pride, he became an Outcast, vowing never to set foot on Iyanden again. It is likely that Yriel would have never returned to the home that spurned him had Iyanden not faced annihilation in the face of Hive Fleet Kraken. There, Yriel drew the ill-fated Spear of Twilight from the Shrine of Ulthanash, a weapon so potent it curses the soul of any who wield it. With this weapon, he slew the Tyranid leaderbeast, and in so doing vanquished the horde. However, in saving his people Yriel had seemingly doomed himself, for the Spear is no mortal weapon, and cannot be abandoned.

The cursed blade transferred back a large portion of the life force it had stolen from Yriel over the years, and the Autarch arose as one of the Reborn.


While his doom at the hands of the Spear has only been forestalled by the event, he has been given back years of his life. It is well that it is so, for in such desperate times, Iyanden needs her favoured son more than ever.

When a craftworld calls out in dire need, its Guardians answer; comprised of citizens who in times of peace tread the more peaceful Paths, this highly trained and well equipped militia could rival the professional soldiers of lesser races. Every Asuryani is trained and ready to fight as a Guardian if need be. They are primarily a defence force employed when the craftworld itself comes under threat, as the sheer rarity of the Aspect Warriors means they are often too few to overcome the enemy without reinforcement.

They had the stars in their grasp and now are left to sift the dust of their once fabulous realm. For all their intellect and mysticism they could not contain the beast within them, nor tame the wild monsters of the Shadow. Why should we pay them any heed? Guardian Defenders act as support units, manning anti-grav heavy weapon platforms that glide effortlessly over rugged terrain as they blast away at any targets that get too close.

If the enemy closes in on their position, the Guardians will unleash a withering hail of fire from their shuriken catapults, moving steadily to safety all the while. When the Farseers and Autarchs of a craftworld deploy Guardian Defenders, they do so knowing that they are risking the lifeblood of their people.

For that reason, Guardian Defenders are briefed to avoid the closest and most furious aspects of combat wherever possible, though in practice they fight as bravely as any of their kin. It is a testament to the skill and technology of the Asuryani that even their civilians are capable of engaging an enemy army and emerging victorious.

Guardians wear armour formed from complex psychoplastics which stiffen with the impact of a shot or blow. Aspect Warrior armour is similar in design, but incorporates moulded plates to better reinforce the suit.

Both react to the movements and thoughtforms of the wearer, reshaping to fit like a glove as the warrior moves and fights.

Although they lack the protection afforded by Aspect armour, they fight with all the skill and grace of their kind. With preternatural speed, their weapons sweep into the foe, chopping through limbs and joints before their adversaries can take a heavy toll in return. Storm Guardian squads invariably need to move fast, sprinting from one hotly contested strongpoint to another, and thus they forego the use of heavy weapon platforms.

Instead, these darting fighters bear specialist weapons; they often bolster their shortranged firepower with fusion guns and flamers, allowing Storm Guardian squads to better adapt to the ever-changing realities of the battlefield. Only the Aeldari, with their swift reaction times and perfect balance, could hope to pilot such craft, and over the millennia, many races of the galaxy have rightly learned to fear the high-pitched whine that precedes them. So carefully wrought are the incredible machines they ride that a skilled pilot can cross leagues in the space of a few heartbeats before shredding his awed foes with the paired shuriken catapults that allow the jetbike its famously deadly rate of fire.

The Windriders are rightfully proud of their mastery of these impressive vehicles. Upon the cowling of each jetbike, the heraldry of the craftworld and sometimes the specific Windrider squadron are emblazoned in pride of place.

These colours are invariably bold and defiant, for what fear of the foe have those pilots whose steeds mock gravity itself, soaring with the grace and ease of a hawk on the hunt? It is considered a singular honour to join the Windrider hosts in battle, especially upon Craftworld Saim-Hann, where the kinbands ride to war in their thousands, sun glinting from their cowlings and pennants snapping like gunfire in the breeze. A military innovation initially pioneered by the artisans of SaimHann, Vypers are two-seater attack craft capable of mounting a variety of heavy weapons.

Their relatively small size means that they can travel through all but the thinnest arterials of the webway, and their prodigious armament enables them to rival many tanks in terms of firepower.

Their sheer speed provides more surety against incoming fire than any amount of armour plating — it is rare for a Vyper squadron to move at anything less than breakneck pace while a battle rages. Vypers mount a fearsome array of weapons — shuriken cannons and scatter lasers to scythe down ranks of men or Orks, or missile launchers and bright lances to deal with tanks or heavy infantry.

Together, Vypers have the speed and firepower to deal with any threat. The crew of these arrow-swift attack craft usually share a close bond that allows them to better coordinate their actions, and it is common to find that those manning a Vyper are blood relatives, especially in the tight-knit kinbands of Craftworld Saim-Hann.

A well-drilled Vyper squadron moves as one, redeploying in seconds to target the vulnerable rear of an oncoming tank, looping around an exposed flank or jinking away to escape interceptors attempting to close with them.

Vyper crews prefer to work at range, harrying the outriders of the foe before boosting past them to pour yet more firepower into them from a new vantage point.

Their role is that of aggressive reconnaissance; when the enemy is located, the War Walkers stride forwards to pin them in place. Carried forwards on surprisingly agile limbs, War Walkers are universally armed with two heavy weapons, including shuriken cannons, scatter lasers, bright lances, missile launchers and starcannons.

When a squadron of such constructs fires, it produces a prodigious amount of firepower, more than capable of tearing through the ranks of the foe, or, depending upon loadout, leaving enemy tanks as burnt out and blackened hulls.

The War Walker is relatively well protected thanks to a formidable power field that blurs and distorts its outline as well as shielding the pilot from harm. Incoming shots that might strike the cockpit, or the Guardian pilot within, are deflected by a crackling hemisphere of invisible energy, making the War Walker as safe as a fully enclosed vehicle.

With grim finality, the pilot returns fire, obliterating his target without mercy. Being lightly built, squadrons of War Walkers rely on their ranged weaponry to neutralise threats in order of priority.

This clinical process is facilitated by advanced support systems, including piloting fail-safes in the form of spirit stones. It is said that during battle the pilot of a War Walker enters a kind of meditative state, wherein he becomes one with his craft. The machine stalks effortlessly through terrain as its twin heavy weapons spit death at the foe.

Indeed, the sheer rate of fire of a full squadron of War Walkers is staggering, and is often enough to obliterate a platoon of enemy troops before the rest of the Asuryani host descends upon them. Any who attempt to disrupt this fusillade by closing in on the War Walkers quickly learn that the kicking, stamping legs of the constructs are deadly weapons in their own right.

Thus do the most successful War Walker pilots have both the first and last word in a battle. Our task will be complete only when every last one of the creatures has been slain, their filthy presence upon this planet washed clean only by their blood. Their crude factories and very footsteps have contaminated this maiden world. They have sullied that which was never theirs, but ours by right. Cast their shallow souls into the black void that awaits them.

Do not waver in your duty to the Swordwind. Do not pity the mon-keigh, for their end will be quick, and their war will be over. Save your pity, save it for ourselves. Yes, my kinfolk, pity only ourselves. Despite all that has come to pass here, our war has only just begun. Indeed, so nimble and dexterous are the Asuryani war engines that many of these constructs, such as the Wraithknight and Revenant Titan, incorporate vast jump jets, allowing them to bound across the battlefield in graceful arcs.

Depending on the size of the Aeldari walker in question, they can be manned by a single Guardian pilot or a team of psychically linked crew that move and fight as one. Many walkers also incorporate holo-fields, which emit a complex weave of rippling energy to confound the aim of their enemies with a mirage of distortion.

As in all things, the Aeldari prefer to rely on subtlety and guile, rather than brute strength — their fields reflect this philosophy, being far more artful than the crude power shields of lesser races.

Each platform mounts a huge gun with which to slaughter the enemy — but where the artillery of the Imperium or the Orks employs blunt explosions and weight of fire, Asuryani Support Weapons utilise a variety of dazzling technologies to slay their foes, and can be geared towards a number of battlefield roles as the needs of the craftworld dictate. A support platform carrying a shadow weaver can fire a large net of monofilament wire that drifts down to entangle its target.

The razored strands mercilessly shred any enemy that attempts to struggle out of the fine, cloud-like mesh. Such Support Weapons are ideal at breaking up massed infantry attacks, and many an Ork horde has lost its momentum as seemingly harmless mists of shadow descend from the sky to gouge bloody holes in the greenskin assault waves. Experienced Guardian crews have learned to secrete themselves upon the battlefield, firing their shadow weavers using psychonic scanners rather than direct targeting matrices.

To the Asuryani, each weapon is not only a tool constructed by a master artisan, but also a thing of macabre beauty. Its form and function are blended into one, perfectly tuned for the art of bringing death. A common example is the shuriken weaponry that forms the staple of the Asuryani arsenal. Designed to generate a hail of razor-sharp monomolecular discs, they range in size from sidearms to tank-mounted cannons, but all work on the same principle.

A series of high-energy impulses originate at the rear of the weapon and travel through the barrel at terrific speed. The Asuryani also make use of monofilament weapons, all of which work in a similar fashion by using spinning gravity clamps to cast out a dense net of monofilament wire. Unlike the unstable plasma weapons of the Imperium, for example, Asuryani plasma containment fields ensure these weapons function flawlessly; to the Aeldari it is further testament to the idiocy of Mankind that it has created a weapon that frequently maims or even kills the wielder.

The vibro cannon projects sonic waves that, as they hit the resonant frequency of their target, do immeasurable harm. Enemy tanks struck by a vibro cannon shake violently before shattering, whilst troops are thrown to the ground, coughing up blood and pulverised innards. Further vibro cannon shots at the same target capitalise on those before it, receiving increased penetrative power. Although D-cannon platforms have a shorter range than any other Support Weapon, the dreaded nature of that gun more than compensates.

A technological terror, the D-cannon blast causes physical matter to collapse in upon itself, creating a small rift that drags surrounding reality into the warp with horrifying force. Targets are torn apart before being sucked into the immaterium, and no amount of armour can withstand such forces.

Sometimes circumstance dictates the need for each of these weapons on the battlefield. The most dangerous guns used by the Asuryani are those such as the D-cannon, which enables its user to open a portal to the hellish dimension of the warp. If the target is not wholly swept into the immaterium, it is usually torn to pieces by the violent and extreme forces brought to bear upon it.

The weapons wielded by the Asuryani in close quarters are just as deadly as those utilised at range. The gently purring motors of their chainswords spin glittering monomolecularedged teeth, and shimmering fields dance along the keen edges of their blades as they close in for the kill. Whether acting as battle tanks, transports, tank destroyers or assault craft, the sight of these distinctive armoured vehicles skimming over the horizon has filled many enemies of the Asuryani with dread.

Not for them the ground-churning rumble of Imperial tanks or the oil-drizzling incontinence of the vehicles cobbled together by Ork Mekaniaks. Instead, the sleek battle craft of the craftworlds glide through the smoke-filled skies, the nimble Falcon as silent as the deadly Fire Prism and the giant Cobra. The only signs of their passage are the blasted bodies left in their wake; regardless of type, they mount weaponry capable of breaking open a line of battle.

In appearance they are like unto humans, although the comparison can only be made on a superficial basis, for in their minds and souls the Aeldari are truly alien. The Aeldari stand taller than a man, with longer, cleaner limbs and handsome, striking features.

Their skin is pale and unblemished as polished marble, yet with a surprisingly supple strength hiding beneath it.

Their keen ears are pointed and their slanted eyes possess a penetrating quality more akin to that of a hunting cat than a man. The most fundamental difference can be seen when the Aeldari move, for they each radiate an inhuman elegance and poise. This is especially evident in the sinuous grace with which they fight and the dexterity with which they wield their weaponry.

Every gesture is laden with subtle intent, and their reflexes are dazzlingly fast. A casual, languid gesture can end in a pinpoint thrust should the necessity arise. On closer inspection, every aspect of the Aeldari physiology betrays their alien nature. Even their lives are greater in span — the Aeldari enjoy an existence of rich sensation and wonder that can stretch over millennia, unsullied by illness, frailty or disease.

Even the complex technology of the craftworlds is based upon psychic engineering, the manipulation of and creation of matter using mental energies alone. But such raw power has its price. The Aeldari mind is far more inclined towards extremes than that of a human. An Aeldari will at some point climb the most noble peaks of accomplishment, just as he will plunge into the darkest abyss of doubt.

Their capacity to experience emotion enables them to attain transcendent bliss or, in contrast, undergo soul-wracking sorrow. This spiritual intensity is writ large throughout their culture, manifesting in sublime works of art and music, but also giving rise to a darkness that threatens to engulf them all.

No creature, not even an Aeldari, can taste such rich fruits in an uncontrolled way without consequence; for an Aeldari to yield absolutely to his desires would destroy him. Such was the fate of their ancient stellar empire, whose depravities brought about the Fall of the Aeldari race itself. Such apparent perfection is all too often blighted by pride. Over a million years ago, the Aeldari alone ruled the stars as the undisputed masters of their own destiny.

Such a position was their right, they thought, and their preeminence was beyond doubt. In many ways, the Aeldari had good reason for such hubris, for no other race had posed a serious threat to their wealth and stability for time immemorial. They were convinced that they no longer had anything to fear from the galaxy at large, and they may have been right, but the true threat came from within. The doom of the Aeldari, when it came, took a form far more subtle and dangerous than that of alien invasion.

The ancient race continued their glorious existence unaware or unwilling to acknowledge the dark fate that awaited them. They plied the stars at will, experiencing the wonders of the galaxy and immersing themselves completely in the endless sensations that it offered them.

Such was the technological mastery of the Aeldari that worlds were created specifically for their pleasure, and stars lived or died at their whim. On hundreds of idyllic planets seeded across the stars, the Aeldari pursued their inclinations as they willed, indulging every dream and investigating every curiosity. They mastered the labyrinth dimension of the webway, expanded their realms into the furthest corners of reality and learned much about the universe that has since been forgotten.

When their spirits eventually left their mortal bodies they dissolved peacefully back into the aether to be reborn again, for the warp did not thirst for Aeldari souls then as it does today.

Fuelled by an inexhaustible curiosity, many gave way to their most hedonistic impulses. Exotic cults sprang up across the Aeldari domains that eclipsed the noble pursuits of old, each dedicated to esoteric knowledge or sensual excess. There were, of course, many wars. Even when the galaxy was young there were upstart races seeking to gouge out petty empires of their own, and the Aeldari waged wars against the sprawling Necron dynasties that ravaged dozens of star systems and cost trillions of lives.

Most of these conflicts, though, were so short-lived that the ease of their victory left the Aeldari ever more sure of their ascendancy. Even the greatest of all their wars, known in the mythic cycles of the craftworlds as the War in Heaven, did not humble them.

In their hearts the Aeldari reigned supreme, and no other power could end their dominance. The core of the Aeldari race began to look inwards, inexorably seeking new ways to explore the full range of emotion and sensation. Such behaviour was perilously decadent and, in the end, corrosive to the soul of the race. The pursuit of excess gradually became a blight upon the whole society. Their people had long outgrown the need for labour or manual agriculture.

Society provided all that was 7 The acts of the pleasure cults began to transcend those of idle curiosity, or even extreme addiction. Aeldari from every corner of the empire wallowed in their most unnatural impulses in the pursuit of debauchery. As the cults gained a tighter hold over their society, the Aeldari became increasingly divided.

Those who saw the foulness that corrupted their people for what it was became known as Exodites, and they departed to found colony worlds on the fringes of the Aeldari empire. As the civilisation slid further into anarchy, others repented of their ways and fled into deep space aboard world-ships called craftworlds.

Most Aeldari, however, continued to glut themselves on the pursuits of the depraved. The sorrow of those left who mourned the loss of innocence eventually turned to bitterness and spite. In time, brother fought brother, and sadistic killers stalked the shadows in search of victims for their vile lusts. No life was spared in the pursuit of pleasures both murderous and perverse.

A sickness of vice overtook the Aeldari race, and blood flowed through the streets amidst the bestial roar of the crowd. Their hidden realms within the webway — the network of tunnels that spread between realspace and the warp — became sprawling palaces of avarice and sadism, and entire worlds were bent to the pursuit of the darkest of sensations. What an unimaginably foul and sickening thing it was that the Aeldari unknowingly raised in the warp; it was a dire shadow of themselves, of what they had become, of nobility and pride brought low by perversity and shamelessness.

Worlds burned as the Aeldari slew and laughed and feasted upon the corpses of the dead. Slowly, the Great Enemy stirred towards wakefulness. Too late, the Aeldari realised that they had created a god in their own image, a god grown immense and potent by suckling upon the dark fodder of the Aeldari spirit. No creature was ever conceived that was as terrible or perverse as the Chaos God Slaanesh. As the moral corruption of the Aeldari race tightened its stranglehold, echoes of ecstasy and agony began to ripple through time and space.

In the parallel dimension of the warp, the reflections of these intense experiences began to coalesce, for the shifting tides of the empyrean can take form around intense emotion.

Slowly, silently, a nascent god of excess grew strong in the depths of the warp. When Slaanesh finally burst into divine consciousness, there was not one Aeldari alive who did not feel its claws in his soul. With a howl of raw power, Slaanesh roared into supernatural life. A psychic implosion tore at the universe. Countless billions of Aeldari screamed aloud and fell dead. In a heartbeat, the shining Aeldari civilisation that had lasted for aeons had its heart ripped out, leaving a pulsing afterbirth of pure chaos in its place.

The spirits of the Aeldari were drawn from within them and consumed as their blasphemous creation took its first infernal breath. Intoxicated with this draught, Slaanesh laughed and looked upon a universe ripe for the taking. They become entities of greater or lesser potency depending on the intensity of their origin. Amidst the swirling psychic energy of the empyrean, the corruption of the decadent Aeldari became manifest on a horrifying scale as the flood of raw emotions coalesced into a gestalt consciousness.

All Aeldari within thousands of light years were reduced to lifeless husks, their souls forever claimed. Even those who had foreseen the catastrophe and fled upon the craftworlds were overwhelmed, with only those furthest from the devastation surviving. The remote Exodite worlds remained largely untouched, but within the space of a single moment, the Aeldari had become a doomed people. Their nemesis was born and would hunt them for the rest of eternity. The characters and events of legend are commonly discussed and comparisons drawn between mythic events and those of the present day.

Every Aeldari is familiar with the epic songs and dances that form their mythic cycles, and references to these tales are immediately understood by others of their race.

Though the psychic shockwave focused upon the Aeldari, billions of humans, Orks and creatures from other races were obliterated as well. Warp space convulsed as a cosmic hurricane raged across the galaxy.

The fabric of reality was torn apart and the warp spilled from the dimensional rift into the material universe, turning hope into despair and paradise into hell. Psykers of all races howled with pain as their people died in storms of blood and madness.

The principal characters of the mythic cycles are the gods, their mortal descendants the Aeldari, and the monstrous adversaries they fought. The chief and oldest of all the gods is Asuryan, the Phoenix King.

Khaine is the master of both war and murder, and he symbolises wanton destruction and martial prowess. Third of the greatest gods is Vaul, the crippled smith god who is often depicted chained to his own anvil.

Isha is the goddess of the harvest, from whom the Aeldari race is descended. The youngest goddess is Lileath the Maiden, mistress of dreams and fortune, whilst the third of the trinity of Aeldari goddesses is Morai-Heg the Crone, an ancient and withered creature who holds the fates of mortals inside a rune pouch made of skin.

The roiling wound in realspace spread outward until it completely encompassed the Aeldari realms of old. This gaping lesion would come to be known as the Eye of Terror, and until its size and horrors were surpassed by the Great Rift, it stood as the largest area in the galaxy where the warp and the material universe overlap. Within its reaches Daemons bathe in the raw energy of the warp, whilst Daemon Princes and the worshippers of Chaos rule over Aeldari planets turned into nightmare worlds of fire and darkness.

As well as the many gods there are countless mortal heroes descended from the gods, who founded the great houses still echoed today upon the craftworlds. These include the great hero Eldanesh, who was slain by Khaine and whose blood is said to drip from his hands. Eldanesh had many descendants, the Eldanar, of whom Inriam the Young was the last. Rivals to Eldanesh were the descendants of his brother Ulthanash, whose bloodline exists upon craftworld Iyanden to this day.

For ten thousand long years before the Fall, the warp had been riven with storm and tempest, making it almost impossible for the vessels of the lesser races to travel any great distance between the stars. With the birth of Slaanesh, the warp was becalmed, its rage temporarily spent. A new equilibrium was reached as Slaanesh joined the ranks of the Chaos Gods.

With the warp storms around ancient Terra dispersed, the newly risen Emperor of Mankind was able to launch his Great Crusade. In this way, the Fall of the Aeldari heralded the rise of the nascent Imperium, and so Mankind inherited the stars.

The teeming armies of Mankind have brutally swept aside many dangers whilst stamping their mark upon the stars. In the process they have awoken many more. After its dire awakening, the god developed a taste for the souls of the Aeldari. Where before, when one of their race died, they would pass peacefully into the warp in order to be reborn, now they face eternal torment, for Slaanesh has a perverse and twisted appetite that can never be sated.

She Who Thirsts will not rest until it has claimed every Aeldari soul. The disgraced survivors of that once-glorious race are doomed, and they know it well. Lacking the understanding and foresight of the Aeldari, Mankind fails to realise they only strengthen the Orks with every battle they engage them in.

The greenskin race has become so prolific that many Asuryani seers believe it has reached critical mass, their numbers too large for even the most protracted cull to have any real effect, and should the Ork hordes unite their efforts, all the artifice and cunning of the Aeldari would not be enough to stop them drowning the galaxy in blood. In the darkness of space, those who escaped destruction upon the craftworlds cling to what remains of the culture of the fallen Aeldari empire. They consider themselves the true children of Asuryan, preserving the art and architecture of their people and passing their ancient history from generation to generation via song, dance and the recital of myths and parables.

Aboard their continent-sized vessels, these fragments of the Aeldari race sail the sea of stars, always seeking to stay one step ahead of She Who Thirsts. This is primarily achieved through the use of spirit stones; when an Asuryani dies, their soul is captured in a waystone, a precious gem worn for such a purpose.

The spirit stone is then retrieved from the fallen Aeldari and released into the infinity circuit — the psychic power grid that runs through the wraithbone core of every craftworld. In such a way the spirits live on, safe from the horrors of the warp and in a twilight existence that allows the dead to watch over the living.

In recent millennia, new foes and old have also emerged. Foremost amongst them are the invasion fleets of the Tyranids; having crossed the interstellar void purely to feed, each craftworld and Exodite planet represents a bounty of biomass that the Hive Mind covets greatly. In the wake of this lesion in reality, warp storms have broken across the galaxy, and the slaves of the Dark Gods spill out in unprecedented numbers.

Not since the days of the Fall have the Aeldari been so fragmented and assailed, and for those of their race who yet survive, war remains their only hope. While their many foes lack the technology, wisdom and skill of the Children of the Stars, in numbers alone they seem insurmountable. Yet the Aeldari are a proud race, determined that the flame of their people will blaze brightly once more rather than flicker and die out.

The craftworlders were not the only Aeldari to survive the Fall. On far-flung planets teeming with natural life, the Exodites have carved themselves a survivalist niche. Savage, primal places where everyday life was hard, these realms helped the Exodites to remain focused on the ascetic lifestyle they had chosen. They live in harmony with their adopted worlds, the spirits of the planets protecting the souls of the Exodite dead in much the same way as the infinity circuits of the craftworlds, and will fight aggressively to protect their homes and maintain their isolationist ways.

Cloistered deep within the hidden city-realms of the webway, those survivors who concealed themselves in their palaces of depravity still revel in the debauched lifestyle that led to the Fall. Known as the Drukhari, they mock and jeer those ravaged by the downfall of their race from the dubious safety of that twilight realm between the material universe and the warp.They mastered the labyrinth dimension of the webway, expanded their realms into the furthest corners of reality and learned much about the universe that has since been forgotten.

Whether alone or combining their strength, Warlocks will cast the runes of battle to bolster the warhost and bring havoc to their enemies. Even their lives are greater in span — the Aeldari enjoy an existence of rich sensation and wonder that can stretch over millennia, unsullied by illness, frailty or disease. A great many others of the craftworld abandon the Path completely, choosing instead to sate their repressed desires far from the spires of their home.

It is a testament to the Asuryani skill at war that even their citizen militia can overcome In times of great need, Autarchs can also call upon ghostly legions of wraith constructs, keen-eyed Rangers, and even the Avatar of the Bloody-Handed God itself. Towa owards rds the end of the year year,, as the planet sweeps close to the sun once more, a brief spring warms the surface. Grea Champion..