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everything you wanted to know about eldar
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Old 15 Dec 2004, 01:03   #1 (permalink)
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Default everything you wanted to know about eldar

this is an exerpt from the white dwarf issue 127 this explains almost everything about the eldar. so without further adiu

The Eldar race has a long and complex spacefaring history, so long in fact that little is know for certain about the course of their physical evolution and early planet-bound existence. The original Eldar Homeworld was destroyed during the catastrophic collapse of the Eldar civilization known as the Fall of the Eldar. The remnants of Eldar culture that survived that cataclysm preserved much of their racial history in the form of traditional stories, songs and dance. Written records, monuments, and visual records were almost completely destroyed except for a few instances where they were taken aboard spacecraft fleeing from the doomed planets.

BEFORE THE FALL
Although the whereabouts of the Eldar homeworld is unknown, it is likely that it lay in the region of the galaxy now known as the Eye of Terror. This area lies to the galactic north and east of Earth and forms a circular eye' shape approximately ten thousand light years across at its widest point. The Eldar believe that their homeworld and the extent of their ancient civilization formerly covered the Eye of Terror, and that during the Fall their spatial realm was overwhelmed by Chaos. Today the Eye of Terror is known as the largest region of warp-real space overlap, where Chaos and the Material Universe mix into each other.

The Eye of Terror is not devoid of habitable planets, and it may be that the secrets of the Eldar past still lie there awaiting rediscovery. However, these worlds no longer form part of the real universe and are not bound by the normal logic of astro-physics. Instead they are controlled and in many cases actually shaped by the Chaos Powers or mighty daemons. For this reason these worlds are known as the Daemon Worlds. These planets take many bizarre forms, including worlds which are flat, where rivers of blood pour from the sky, where gigantic burning trees provide the only illumination, and many others created from the daemonic imaginations of their rulers.

Even so, these planets are not devoid of life, but are home to countless mortal followers and champions of the Chaos Powers as well as immortal daemons and their masters. Among the mortal inhabitants can still be found Eldar, some preserved since the time of the Fall, who champion the cause of Chaos on the Daemon Worlds and throughout the galaxy.

Eldar are physically similar to humans, although not entirely identical by any means. They have longer and cleaner limbs, and fine ascetic features with penetrating and slightly slanted eyes. Their ears are also slightly pointed, but otherwise they could pass as human at first glance. The most obvious difference between humans and Eldar can only be seen when they move, for the movements of an Eldar radiate a subtle grace which is impossible for a human to emulate. This can be seen in even their slightest gestures or the dexterity with which they manipulate small objects.

Dance, mime and other gestural art forms are very important to the Eldar, their formal art investing a whole range of gestures and stance with precise meanings. Much of the early history of the Eldar is recorded in the form of traditional dances, recounting the stories of the ancient houses of Eldanesh and Ulthanash, the children of Kurnous and Isha, Gea and her twin consorts Khaine the Bloody Handed God and Asuryan the Phoenix King. The legends surrounding these mythical immortals and the birth of the Eldar form a complex cycle of ritual dance and song known as the Dream of Asuryan. Although mythic rather than historic in nature, this cycle of dance and song is said to embody profound secrets about the Eldar past within its subtle movements and tonal variations. In their highest form these dances are performed only by the Warrior Dancers called Harlequins, and only they really understand all of the myriad secrets hidden within these extremely physically demanding and incredibly precise dances.

The Eldar mind, while similar in general to the human mind, is far more inclined towards extremes. Because of this Eldar are more intelligent but also far more intense than humans. Although an Eldar and a human can both feel grief or joy, the Eldar's experience is likely to be far more extreme.

This natural inclination towards emotional extremes is both a blessing and curse to the Eldar. On the positive side it gives them an unparalleled appreciation of life and an unrivalled ability to express themselves through music and other creative arts. A melody or gesture made with grace and skill can elicit an intensity of pleasure which is unimaginable to a human. On the negative side this potential for joy is paralleled by an equal capacity to feel despair, ambition and even hatred. Confronted by grief or personal loss an Eldar suffers mental torments which far exceed the boundaries of human anguish.

The extreme nature of their temperament makes it very important that the Eldar retain a measure of self-control at all times, for it is dangerously easy for them to become entranced by and ultimately dependent upon the experiences that their culture offers them. At the same time they must learn how to control the darker side of themselves, the side which feels jealousy, rage and hatred, and which is no less a part of their personalities.

THE PSYCHIC RACE
As far as is possible to tell, the Eldar have always been a psychic race. This manifests itself in a variety of unusual talents. One natural ability which is common to many Eldar is called psychomorphism by the human Xenobiologists of the Imperium. In crude terms this gives them the ability to shape matter and create simple artefacts from raw materials. More complex things can be made by several individuals working together or with the aid of forging machines to enhance the creative process.

Eldar can also move small objects by a form of psychokinesis and it is by this means that they build their most sophisticated devices.

Some Eldar can influence the structure of growing matter by a form of empathic telepathy. This empathic ability may have been particularly important during the early development of the Eldar race enabling them to promote the fruitfulness of edible crops and reshape the growth of trees to make simple shelters. During their primitive evolutionary stage the Eldar undoubtedly benefited greatly from these skills. The first Eldar villages and towns are supposed to have been living structures grown from trees, often covering many square miles and reaching high into the air. Structures like this can still be found on worlds colonised by the Eldar in later times.

Because of their psychic abilities the Eldar race learned how to make and shape raw materials at a very early stage of cultural development. By means of their mental powers they were able to refine minerals and shape the resulting metals and stones into whatever they wanted. Eldar technology has a very ancient history and the pace of its progress is closely tied to the slow evolutionary development of the race.

There was never a sharply defined industrial phase of Eldar history (as for example there was in human history) but rather a steady growth in competence and knowledge over a very long period of time. A particularly Eldar aspect of their technology is that its forms often adhere closely to natural biological shapes and structures. This is quite understandable, as there is no real difference between technology and nature in the Eldar mind - they amalgamate into a single process by which the Eldar imbue living things with function and functional things with life.

THE TEARS OF ISHA
Artefacts called spirit stones have existed for as long as the Eldar can remember. The story about how they were created is told in the Dance of Asuryan. One night the Goddess Lileath had a dream in which she saw Khaine the War God torn to pieces by a mortal descendant of Kurnous the god of the hunt and Isha the goddess of the harvest. Kurnous and Isha had many children who included immortal gods as well as the very first mortals - the Eldar. When Lileath told Khaine about her dream he resolved to destroy the mortal children of Kurnous and Isha, and pursued them through the Heavenly Realm, trapping and slaying many before Asuryan the Phoenix King heard the weeping of their mother Isha and came to see what was happening. When he discovered what Khaine had done, Asuryan banished the remaining Eldar to the Mortal Lands and forbad all further contact between mortals and gods.

Kurnous and Isha were dismayed at being parted from their offspring and asked their uncle Vaul the Smith god to help to reunite them. Vaul took the tears shed by Isha and turned them into spirit stones. By means of the stones an Eldar could talk to the gods, and in this way the Eldar and gods could communicate even though they could never meet. Although Vaul knew Asuryan had forbidden contact between mortals and gods he gave one of the stones to Isha and the remainder to her mortal children the Eldar.

By means of the stones the Eldar talked to Isha. They learned how to use the stones to draw runes, and were shown how the energy of the stones could be combined with the runes to make skeletal frameworks for all kinds of structures and craft. Unfortunately, Khaine overheard Isha one day as she talked through her stone to the Eldar, and the War God immediately told Asuryan.

Asuryan was so enraged that his order had been disobeyed that he gave Kurnous and Isha to Khaine to do with as he pleased. Vaul could not bare to see his brother and sister harmed by Khaine so he struck a bargain in return for their safety. Khaine agreed that if Vaul were to make him a thousand enchanted weapons by the same time the following year he would let Kurnous and Isha go free.

Vaul worked hard all year, but at the end of the time the final weapon, a long sword, still lay unfinished on the anvil. To conceal the shortfall Vaul picked up an ordinary sword and mixed it into the others, and gave the weapons to Khaine who was too pleased to spot the deception. Vaul, Kurnous and Isha hurried away. As they made good their escape Khaine discovered the ordinary sword hidden among the weapons and roared with anger, calling Vaul a cheat and crying out for revenge.

Following this episode the Dream of Asuryan tells how Khaine and Vaul fight each other, and how Vaul reforges the unfinished sword to use against his enemy. After a series of battles Vaul is finally caught by Khaine who cripples him and chains the Smith God to his own anvil. Vaul's Sword then passes into the hands of the mortal hero Eldanesh, who finally confronts Khaine and is torn apart and killed.

Asuryan was so appalled by the murder of Eldanesh that he cursed Khaine and made his hands drip eternally with the blood of Eldanesh so that everyone would remember what he had done. The sword then passed through the hands of Eldanesh's descendants until it was finally lost in the Sea of Broken Tears by Inriam the Young.

SPIRIT STONES
Spirit stones are glassy spheres which are warm to the touch. They respond to the psychic emanations of anyone who holds them, glowing brightly in the hands of a mighty Bonesinger, blue if touched by a Farseer, and red or orange if handled by a Warlock. All of these are types of Eldar Seer - the name given to Eldar who have been trained to use their psychic powers.

A spirit stone is a tool which allows a Bonesinger to draw raw energy from the warp and shape it into matter. The matter created in this way is called Wraithbone, and it can be psychically teased and manipulated by the Bonesinger into almost any form he wishes. Wraithbone is extremely tough and resilient. It forms the backbone of spacecraft and large structures as well as countless smaller items. Nor is Wraithbone used only for utilitarian artefacts like spacecraft, it is also used to create sculptural works of art.

Because Wraithbone is a solidified form of warp energy it has several special properties. It never really loses its physical connection to the warp, so that in a sense part of it remains in the warp at all times. As a result Wraithbone can channel psychic energy much as an electric cable carries current. At the same time it also contains psychic forces and can shield the forces it contains from other psychic energy.

PSYCHIC ENGINEERING
The Eldar use Wraithbone to make the skeletal cores of their buildings and spacecraft. Much as the skeleton of an animal provides a framework for its fleshy tissue, so the Wraithbone skeleton of an Eldar spacecraft is a living core around which its functional structures are arranged.

The Wraithbone not only gives the construction is rigidity, but also provides channels for psychic energy. This facilitates internal communication between systems, transmits power, and enables the craft to act as an organically integrated whole. In this way the Wraithbone skeleton not only performs the mechanical tasks which a bony skeleton would perform in an animal, but also the role of the nervous system and blood stream too.

The Wraithbone core of a spacecraft is surrounded by a structure which is literally grown into the required shapes. This is accomplished by a special class of Eldar called Bonesingers. These Bonesingers use their psychomorphic talents to accelerate the formation of psychotropic crystals around the Wraithbone. They then shape the resulting mass into fibrous bulkheads, supporting walls, floors, and conduits. The resulting shell completely surrounds the Wraithbone core and forms the hull and major internal divisions of the spacecraft. The same process is used to make any large structure including vehicles, but spacecraft are typical works of Eldar psychic engineering and serve as a good example of the process.

Once the Bonesingers have laid the basic structure over a Wraithbone core, the spacecraft is ready to be fitted out. Individual systems can be either fabricated on board the ship by psychomorphism or made elsewhere and installed subsequently. Most of the craft's operating systems are connected directly to the Wraithbone core. The many thousands of systems draw power through the Wraithbone and are constantly monitored and ultimately controlled through it.

Because of the unique practices of Eldar psychic engineering, any Eldar construction, whether building, vehicle or spacecraft, resonates with sympathetic psychic energy. The Wraithbone core provides a psychic channel through which an Eldar can evaluate and control various mechanical functions. This is the basis on which Eldar technology is achieved. Although it is very different from the simple mechanical processes used by humans, individual devices and structures usually look similar to comparable human artefacts. As a general rule, Eldar artefacts have an organic, flowing appearance and tend to lack hard angular edges.

Eldar RUNES
Wraithbone is also used to make small but psychically potent items including runes. Eldar runes are complex interwoven shapes each of which has its own distinct pattern. Because they are made of Wraithbone the runes retain a connection with the warp, and have the ability to both direct and contain psychic energy.

Small runes are cast upon the ground by Eldar Seers who interpret the pattern and the proximity of one rune to another in order to divine the future. The runes are vital to every Seer because they enable him to focus and direct psychic energy, and by concentrating on a particular rune he can evoke a specific psychic power.

The runes used by Bonesingers function as templates or patterns for the various devices or structures which they grow from psychotropic crystals. The runes also have a protective function which is important to all Eldar Seers. Because the runes are made from Wraithbone, which is itself impervious to external psychic energy, they act as simple fuses. If a Seer draws too heavily upon his psychic energies, or if malign forces attempt to reach him while he is in a trance, then the runes will be destroyed severing the psychic connection between the Eldar and the warp. Were it not for the runes it is doubtful that the Eldar could use their psychic powers at all, as they would soon fall prey to the malicious entities of the warp.

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dra'Tuisich-Novae
Competitive, sure. Sports...
Quote:
Originally Posted by executioner
Note "3.diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime."
Its a sport...
In that case, so is sex. Therefore, pornstars and prostitutes are professional athletes.
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Old 15 Dec 2004, 01:04   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: everything you wanted to know about eldar

THE FALL OF THE Eldar
Over ten thousand years ago the Eldar race suffered the greatest tragedy ever to befall a major intelligent race. The Eldar civilisation was at its height and spanned a significant portion of the galaxy. Their worlds were places of great beauty and peace, paradises of personal contentment and cultural achievement. However, all this was to end in a cataclysm of destruction which was to wipe out the inter-planetary civilisation of the Eldar at a single stroke. This cataclysm is known simply as the Fall.

All Eldar tend towards extremes of emotion and intellect so that the temptation to pursue a life of pleasure, art, and intellectual gratification is very great. Even before the Fall the majority of Eldar recognised these temptations and fought against them, refusing to be drawn into the inescapable pleasures which their sensibilities and culture afforded.

However, the very act of fighting against their own nature had an unbalancing effect upon their minds. Hysteria, insanity and a multitude of racial psychoses began to affect almost the entire population. Some Eldar gave in to their hedonistic impulses, joining exotic cults in their pursuit for novel experiences, esoteric knowledge and sensual excess. As these cults proliferated, Eldar society became increasingly divided. Foreseeing the collapse of their civilisation, some Eldar began a series of mass migrations to newly seeded planets where they planned to set up utopian societies free from the taint of hedonism. These Eldar called their migrations the Exodus, and referred to themselves as Exodites. Many early Exodites were wiped out by marauding Orks or became embroiled in the eternal wars of humans, but some were successful. These Exodites eventually founded a second generation of frontier civilisations based around a core of noble houses. Their descendants still rule these worlds after ten thousand years and are known as the Eldar Knights.

Between the survivalist Exodites and the uncaring pleasure seekers were Eldar who were still mentally stable, and who remained behind in the hope that they could help restore order to their civilisation. They became increasingly few in number until even they realised their dream of recovery was hopeless. Eventually even these few die-hards were forced to abandon their homes as the whole Eldar civilisation fell apart in an apocalypse of destruction and madness. The last of the true Eldar eventually deserted their planets on board the few remaining spacecraft, beginning a new phase of Eldar civilisation - the age of spaceborne travel and the Craftworlds. The creatures that screamed and cackled over the ruins of the Eldar worlds could no longer be called Eldar.

SLAANESH
The warp is an alternative universe inhabited entirely by psychic energy generated by the thoughts, emotions and mental life of the inhabitants of the material universe including the Eldar. These thoughts and emotions cannot die, they are eternal, so that over the ages they accrue and become stronger as they are reinforced by the similar thoughts and experiences of others. Eventually, a single idea or emotion can become so powerful within the warp that it attains a consciousness of its own and becomes a daemon or a god. These daemonic entities are known as Chaos Powers. The most powerful of these are the four Great Powers Khorne the god of war, bloodshed and anger; Tzeentch the god of change, plots and intrigue; Nurgle the god of plagues and morbidity; and Slaanesh, the god of pleasure and personal gratification. Slaanesh is particularly associated with the Eldar, and only came into being with their final Fall. Prior to this time Slaanesh was growing in power but not fully conscious - rather like a sleeping monster bellowing and kicking in its dream- disturbed sleep.

As the Eldar pursued their road to destruction so their emotional life degenerated into the reckless pursuit of pleasure, exotic experience and intellectual indulgence. The mental energies released into the warp as a result coagulated into an entity, an entity which was potentially very powerful but which was not yet fully conscious. This was, of course, the entity called Slaanesh. Although Slaanesh was not yet fully conscious some Eldar had already begun to worship the god's sleeping form. For centuries the Eldar had predicted the Coming of the Lord of Pleasure, so that many had come to disbelieve the prophets and their endless tales of doom. As the disturbed dreams of Slaanesh began to infiltrate the psychic minds of the Eldar, so their degeneration accelerated apace, further feeding Slaanesh in the warp, and creating an unbreakable cycle of doom. While there were Eldar sane enough to be appalled by the degeneration of their race, their horror kept Slaanesh from achieving full consciousness.

When the cataclysm finally came there were few sane Eldar left on their home planets, only millions of millions of squawking, insane creatures crying and squealing with self-inflicted torment. The quickly-accelerating decline of the Eldar had fed the energy of Slaanesh until the god was ready to burst into consciousness, like a mighty dam about to break and release immeasurable flood waters.

As the few remaining sane Eldar fled aboard the flotillas of trading ships Slaanesh finally awoke. With a scream the god was shaken to consciousness and the other three Chaos Powers were driven scattered through the warp by the waking terror of Slaanesh like ships before a storm. The energy of that scream swept across the entire galaxy, and blew through the minds of psykers everywhere, destroying them in untold millions. Where the energy was concentrated most, in the area where the Eldar home planets were, the boundaries between the warp and real space were torn apart.

The intermixing of the two realities wiped out most of the inhabitants of the Eldar planets and formed the areas of warp real-space overlap the largest of which is now known as the Eye of Terror. Those Eldar who had succumbed to the temptations of pleasure were particularly vulnerable. Other Eldar, those who had resisted the decline of their civilisation, were better protected. Even so, many billions died even as they fled in the giant trading ships, but some survived - protected by their mental resilience or by the psychically impervious Wraithbone structure of the spacecraft themselves.

THE Eldar AND DEATH
The Fall was to have a further terrible result for the Eldar race, for their natural psychic natures made them especially vulnerable to the predations of daemonic creatures and especially to the newly awaked Slaanesh. As the representation of the Eldar mind, Slaanesh is able to gather up the psychic energy of Eldar as it flees their dying bodies. This means that when an Eldar dies the eternal psychic part of him, his soul, is immediately consumed by Slaanesh. Needless to say, this evokes great horror in the Eldar who will go to any means to avoid this fate.

In order to save their souls from destruction by Slaanesh, every Eldar wears a small spirit stone called a Waystone. If the Eldar dies his psychic self is absorbed by the Waystone. The Waystone can then be taken back to the Eldar's own Craftworld and embedded into the Wraithbone core where it will grow into a larger spirit stone. Once the spirit stone is implanted, the soul of the Eldar can travel freely through the Wraithbone, mingling with other Eldar souls and forming part of the communal spirit of the Craftworld itself. All the souls contained within a Craftworld are collectively known as the Infinity Circuit. Individual Eldar souls can enter specific parts of the Craftworld to provide the energy and controlling intelligence which is needed by many Eldar Technical devices. Other souls can leave the Infinity Circuit for a short while by entering Waystones which are then placed within robot bodies. The soul contained in the Waystone animates the robot body and enables the dead Eldar to move about the Craftworld and even fight alongside the living in the form of Wraithguard.

THE SURVIVAL OF THE Eldar
The Eldar are fully aware of their extreme predicament. From an early age they are taught about the tragedy of their race, and how their eternal souls face extinction due to the predations of Slaanesh. Their numbers are now a tiny fraction of the teeming billions which once spread across the universe. Now the Eldar race maintains its grip upon existence only because of a grim determination to survive. That determination is fuelled by an awareness of their past failing to control their own nature leading to the creation of their greatest enemy Slaanesh.

Because of their vulnerability to Slaanesh the Eldar have developed ways of protecting themselves when they use their natural psychic powers The most important of these is the development of the Eldar Path - a social learning system which restricts the abilities and experiences an Eldar is subject to until such time as he is mentally strong enough to face them. Another important development is the use of runes to protect the principle psychic members of the race - the Seers.

The Eldar nurture a dream in which they confront Slaanesh in the warp, and overthrow their great enemy, freeing themselves from the constraints his existence places upon them and safeguarding the survival of their souls in the warp. Although the Eldar souls preserved in the Infinity Circuits of the Craftworlds can muster only a tiny amount of energy compared to that of Slaanesh, the Eldar hope that one day there will be enough souls to unite to fight and overthrow Slaanesh. It is a faint hope, but the only hope for the Eldar who must otherwise face the eternal threat of their own racial psyche.

THE CRAFTWORLDS
During their heyday the Eldar travelled the galaxy in vast trading ships called Craftworlds. These trading Craftworlds were whole self-contained communities housing hundreds of Eldar families. A typical trading mission might take the Craftworld away from its home planet for centuries, travelling thousands of light years beyond Eldar space before returning home. These Craftworlds developed a strong sense of independence, so that they were for the most part unaffected by the general malaise of Eldar society. Because a Craftworld might return to its home planet only three or four times in a thousand years, the decline of their civilisation was all the more apparent to them, whilst those who remained behind grew accustomed to the slow degeneration and so failed to heed the danger signs.

In the final weeks leading to the Fall, the returning Craftworld crews found their worlds in ruins. They rescued those of their kind who were still sane, and fled into the deeps of space through the rapidly collapsing warp tunnel network. Many Craftworlds lingered too long in attempting to rescue their kinsmen. Finding themselves in orbit at the moment of the Fall they were either destroyed by the psychic overspill or sucked through into the warp and consumed by Slaanesh.

Craftworlds travel through space via a system of warp tunnels which stretch through the galaxy. Long ago the Eldar learned how to make these holes through the warp which link two fixed places. It is likely that originally nearly all Eldar planets and Craftworlds were interconnected by warp tunnels. However, during the Fall a great part of the network was destroyed so that travel is no longer as easy as it once was. Some tunnels were attacked and destroyed by daemonic intrusions from the warp - their entrances had to be sealed or destroyed to keep Chaos from swallowing entire Craftworlds. Other tunnels simply collapsed or the places they led to were destroyed or desolated. Today the tunnel network still connects Craftworlds to each other and to millions of places throughout the galaxy but there are significant gaps in the system, and some Craftworlds are completely isolated. Because of the partial breakdown of their warp tunnel network, the Eldar find it impossible or extremely difficult to reach certain parts of the galaxy.

Since the Fall the original Craftworlds have grown considerably in size, so that they are now ten or a hundred times larger than the original trading ships which lie at their cores. Because they have expanded steadily over the years many are at least partially ruinous and have zones which await reclamation or very old zones which are largely uninhabited.

Each Craftworld is a self-contained biosystem, with zones which contain forests and natural flora as well as urbanised areas. These natural zones act as green lungs, furnishing a breathable atmosphere and providing renewable resources for the Eldar. Vast Space Docks are located on the outside of the Craftworld housing fleets of spacecraft. These Fleets carry the Eldar armies through the warp tunnels which connect the Craftworld to the rest of the galaxy.

Each Craftworld is independent and conducts its own affairs and wages its own wars. Craftworlds do sometimes ally together to face a common threat, or to achieve a common objective, but such alliances are usually temporary and have no lasting significance. Of course, all Eldar are united by a common culture and racial identity, but that means little when it comes to defending the interests of their own particular Craftworld. Wars between one Craftworld and another are certainly not uncommon. Such wars are almost always fought over a locally disputed world, or colonising and mining interests. Such conflicts grow out of local disputes, and are usually resolved within a short time. For one Craftworld to actually assault and attempt the destruction of another would be regarded as a terribly wasteful and purposeless enterprise. Although such calamitous events have happened in the past they are not common.

CRAFTWORLD COLONIES
Since the Fall, the Eldar Craftworlds have established many colonies of their own. These colonies are not independent, but remain a part of their society, and provide troops and raw materials for the home Craftworld. Colony planets are connected to their Craftworlds by means of warp tunnels. The number of colony planets associated with a Craftworld is tremendously variable, some have hundreds while others have only one or two. Most have about a dozen. These colonies are quite distinct from the earlier phase of colonisation by Exodites prior to the fall. The Eldar Knights, as the Exodites call themselves, remain fiercely independent. Although they trade and sometimes aid the Craftworlds they conduct their societies along entirely different lines, regarding the Craftworld civilisations as being dangerously close to the old Eldar ways which led to their downfall.

THE Eldar AT WAR
Although each Craftworld is a completely independent and self-contained realm, Eldar society is remarkably constant from one Craftworld to the next. Some Craftworlds, however, have unique variations.

THE Eldar PATH
Eldar enjoy a naturally long life-span and can live for a thousand years or more. During this time, almost all of them pass through a series of distinct lifestyle stages, dramatically changing their social role at irregular intervals. For example, an Eldar might be a technician for a few decades before he adopts another role and becomes a warrior, following which he might choose to become a galactic trader or a colonist. Each new role does not totally replace those that went before, but merely adds to the Eldar's accumulated experience. As Eldar pass through these different stages they explore the many aspects of their own character. An Eldar of a thousand years or more will have usually experienced lots of different roles and attained a very sophisticated understanding of the universe.

This cyclical process is called the Eldar Path. As a social institution it evolved during the time of the decline and fall of the Eldar, when their ancient society began to break apart and the whole race seemed doomed. The fall of the Eldar was due to the intensity of the Eldar character and mind. Their heightened sensibilities offered an opportunity for intellectual and emotional gratification far beyond the sluggish human comprehension. It was uncontrolled self gratification which created the Chaos Power Slaanesh and which subsequently destroyed the old Eldar civilisation. The Eldar Path was envisaged as a way of allowing every Eldar to live within their full emotional and intellectual capacity in a safely controlled and progressive manner.

By concentrating on only one facet of their complex and overwhelming character at a time, the Eldar are free to explore that area in depth without dangers of distraction. As total awareness of each facet is achieved, the Eldar move to another, thus building a deeper understanding of the universe and their own capabilities. As an Eldar grows older and his comprehension of his own nature deepens, a wider range of more challenging roles becomes available to him. One of these is the role of Warlock - Eldar who open up their psychic minds and learn to control the forces of the warp itself. One of the most demanding of all roles is that of Warrior - the Warrior Path as this facet is called. An Eldar who embarks upon the Warrior Path chooses one of the many different Warrior Aspects, each of which is characterised by a different school of martial combat, distinctive armour, special weapons and tactics.


__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dra'Tuisich-Novae
Competitive, sure. Sports...
Quote:
Originally Posted by executioner
Note "3.diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime."
Its a sport...
In that case, so is sex. Therefore, pornstars and prostitutes are professional athletes.
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Old 15 Dec 2004, 01:04   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: everything you wanted to know about eldar

ASPECT WARRIORS
Most Eldar follow the Path of the Warrior at some time or other during their lives. Both male and female Eldar move along the Eldar Path in the way described, so Warriors are equally likely to be male or female. An Eldar entering the Aspect of a Warrior assumes one of several distinct and quite separate aspects of the Warrior Path.

Each of the Warrior Aspects represents one facet, or aspect, of the Eldar god of war known as the Bloody Handed God. In the Eldar tongue this god is called the Kaela Mensha Khaine, which translates roughly as Bloody Handed Khaine; the word Khaine signifying the essence of murder. The Bloody Handed God embodies the destructive impulse which underlies the Eldar psyche.

The Eldar Path is designed to steer the Eldar away from this dark, self-destructive side of their character. By assuming one of the many aspects of the Bloody Handed God, an Aspect Warrior faces and learns to live with the inner terror which his own potential for destructive violence evokes inside him.

When an Eldar becomes an Aspect Warrior he does not cease to utilise the facets of his character which he has already developed through his progress along the Eldar Path. Indeed, he deliberately continues to pursue the arts of peace, and will typically keep on practicing and perfecting his own artistic talents. Thus Aspect Warriors form a community of practising artists, poets, orators, dancers, and musicians. This is a strong contrast between their role as fighting warriors, as indeed it is meant to be.

Because Eldar perceive everything so much more sharply than humans, the passionate excitement of fighting and killing is too much for them to tolerate for long periods at a time. Should an Eldar spend too long actively fighting in the guise of an Aspect Warrior he may find it hard, if not impossible, to ever leave the Warrior Path.

In order to counter-balance his life as a fighter, the Aspect Warrior deliberately continues to cultivate the opposite side of his nature. To demark his fighting self from his true self, he carefully cultivates a separate distinct warrior personality, embodied within the armoured fighting suit of the Aspect Warrior. Only when he wears the suit does he becomes an Aspect of the Bloody Handed God - the terrible destructive impulse of the Eldar psyche.

The donning of the war suit is an act of special significance because it symbolises the sharp division between the Eldar in normal life and the same Eldar as an Aspect Warrior. It takes several hours to perform the ancient ceremonies designed to enable the Warrior to put his own personality aside and adopt an Aspect of the War God. In his guise of Aspect Warrior he feels no guilt, remorse or pity. It is as if he were another person entirely while he wears the masked suit. When he puts the suit aside and returns to his normal life he does so in the knowledge that no matter what violent or murderous things he has done he remains untainted by them.

THE MANY ASPECTS OF THE WARRIOR
There are many different Aspects of the Bloody Handed God, each emphasising some facet of the War God's murderous character. Some of these are particular to certain Craftworlds, but the following six Aspects are common to almost all Craftworlds and account for the majority of Aspect Warriors. Their appearance, battlefield roles, and tactical preferences are described in detail in the lists that follow. Other Aspects are not covered in this list, but remain to be described in later articles.

Dire Avengers

Howling Banshees

Striking Scorpions

Swooping Hawks

Fire Dragons

Dark Reapers

The special armour and weapons of each Aspect are kept in shrines dedicated to the Bloody Handed God. Each shrine is tended by one or more Eldar who have passed from being ordinary Aspect Warriors to become Exarchs. The same suits and equipment are used year after year, passing from one Aspect Warrior to another.

EXARCHS
Although Eldar accept that the Path of the Warrior is an essential and natural part of their nature, the blood-drenched Aspect Warrior still evokes extreme feelings of horror and repugnance which are hard for humans to fully understand. If ordinary Aspect Warriors elicit such feelings, at least it is understood that they will one day enter another cycle and put aside the warrior's suit for the final time.

Not all Eldar manage to pass beyond the Path of the Warrior. Some are unable to resist the passionate lure of battle and develop an unquenchable lust for bloodletting. They become trapped in the role they have chosen, unable to escape from the Aspects of the War God they represent. These Eldar are called Exarchs. They are regarded with a disturbing mixture of awe and revulsion.

Exarchs are held in awe because they single-mindedly pursue a side of their nature which most Eldar fear to even contemplate. On the other hand they are pitied because they have deserted the Eldar Path with its promise of new experience and constant development in favour of a life of bloodshed and battle. Perhaps, most horrifying of all to the Eldar mind, is the knowledge that every one of them holds the potential to become an Exarch, to lose their way along the Eldar Path and become addicted to their own lust for blood and death which only being an Exarch can truly satisfy.

Although only a few Eldar become trapped in the Aspect of the Warrior, it is not unknown for others to desert the Eldar Path for one reason or another. The intensely capable Eldar mind sometimes rebels against the highly structured delineation of achievement which the Eldar Path offers. Others find they are insufficiently prepared for a role they have chosen and they become so obsessed by it that they can never leave. Without the protection of the Eldar Path individuals are likely to be driven crazy and eventually succumb to self-destructive urges. The Eldar Harlequins are one specific example of individuals who have left the Eldar Path. The Exarchs are another form of this same universal peril - although in this case they have a special place within society. The worst fate of all is known as the Path of Damnation - but of this aberration no Eldar will speak and so almost nothing is known. Regarding this and many other subtleties of the Eldar Path we shall have much to say in the future.

EXARCHS AND THEIR WARRIOR ASPECTS
Exarchs sometimes remain trapped within the Path of the Warrior but continue to cycle from one Aspect to another. When they go to war this enables them to wear one of two or more armoured suits representing the different Aspects they have undertaken. Similarly, they choose weaponry appropriate to any of these Aspects. Exarchs who continue to cycle in this manner are sometimes called the Lost Warriors - or Menshad Korum - which roughly translates as, hunters in pursuit of themselves'.

In most cases however, Exarchs cease to change their Warrior Aspect once they become Exarchs, although they may pass through several cycles as different Aspect Warriors before they are finally trapped by the Warrior Path. The Eldar then becomes an Exarch of his final Warrior Aspect, a Fire Dragon Warrior can thus become a Fire Dragon Exarch, or a Dire Avenger Warrior a Dire Avenger Exarch. He still retains all the battle-skills he has learned in any previous Warrior Aspects, so Exarchs tend to have a broader understanding of the Path of the Warrior than ordinary Aspect Warriors.

When he becomes an Exarch the Eldar assumes one of the ancient names which reflects his particular Aspect. For example, Horned Serpent, Gleaming Scale, and Slicing Fang are all names which have been assumed by Fire Dragon Exarchs. These names are particular to specific Craftworlds and specific shrines to the War God within each Craftworld.

Only one Exarch can bear a particular name at once. The name is associated with a set of Exarch armour which the Exarch wears in battle. Only if the Exarch is killed can another Aspect Warrior take the same armoured suit and name. Although the same suit is thereby worn by many Exarchs over thousands of years, the result is to continue the legendary life of the single heroic identity represented by that suit and name. This assumption of a ancient heroic identity emphasises the break with the Eldar's old life and the Eldar Path.

The Exarch's fighting suit is an elaborate and superior version of that worn by the ordinary members of his Warrior Aspect. Their very age means that they preserve much ancient workmanship, long-abandoned decorative styles, and various emblems and ornamentation which may now mean nothing to a typical Eldar.

Worked into the suit is a spirit-stone containing the spirit of the very first hero to have worn it, the Eldar whose name all subsequent Exarchs have perpetuated. When the Exarch enters the suit it is this spirit which merges with his own, adding its own accumulated memories and experiences to his. This enables the Eldar to understand much about the ancient weaponry and armour he is using, as well as giving him general knowledge about the distant times when the hero was alive. In this way, the Exarch is initiated into one of the most closely guarded of all Eldar secrets - the origin of the Exarchs during the time of the fall of the Eldar itself.

EXARCHS AND THE SHRINES OF THE WAR GOD
When Exarchs are not fighting they tend the shrines of the Bloody Handed God. Each Warrior Aspect usually has a single shrine on the Craftworld. Some Craftworlds have more than one shrine to a particular Aspect, others may lack an Aspect altogether. There are therefore six shrines on a typical Craftworld - a Dire Avenger shrine, a Howling Banshee shrine, a Stinging Scorpion shrine, and so on.

These shrines are not just holy places, they are also armouries and places where the warriors learn martial arts and complete their weapon training. It is to these shrines that the Exarchs and Aspect Warriors gather when they are called to war, where they undergo the ritual transformation which culminates in the assumption of their warrior identities The Exarchs are priests of the Bloody Handed God but they are also armourers and instructors who are responsible for maintaining the shrine's war gear and training the Aspect Warriors.

AVATARS
When Kaela Mensha Khaine, the Bloody Handed God of the Eldar, fought with Slaanesh the Lord of Pleasure, he was quickly overwhelmed and his energy captured by the newborn God. For the Bloody Handed God was as much a part of Slaanesh as of Khorne - being a product of that part of the Eldar nature which finds gratification in murder and pleasure in bloody violence. Khorne the Blood God, the Patron of War, Murder and Battle, roared with rage to discover 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 his power that had been robbed from him, Slaanesh driven by his uncontrollable hunger to consume everything in his path. The Bloody Handed God of the Eldar was tossed this way and that, at first grasped by Slaanesh, then tugged back into the compass of Khorne.

Eventually the rage of the Blood God and the passion of the Lord of Pleasure were exhausted, and the boundaries between them were established. Like a leaf in the eye of a hurricane, Kaela Mensha Khaine fell among the calm, down 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 or 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. These are the Avatars of the Bloody Handed God.

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dra'Tuisich-Novae
Competitive, sure. Sports...
Quote:
Originally Posted by executioner
Note "3.diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime."
Its a sport...
In that case, so is sex. Therefore, pornstars and prostitutes are professional athletes.
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Old 15 Dec 2004, 01:04   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: everything you wanted to know about eldar

THE THRONE OF THE WAR 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 starts to pulse with life. Liquid iron boils through his veins, and his whole body crackles and hisses like a furnace. When he stirs upon his throne Exarchs and Aspect Warriors all over the Craftworld feel the vibrations reverberate through the gleaming threads of wraithbone which spread like naked ribs throughout its caverns and chambers. Recognising the Avatar's battle-call, the Exarchs and Aspect Warriors hurry to the shrines of the War God to begin the rituals of preparation.

As the Avatar's first stirrings are felt, the oldest Exarchs - one from each of the principal shrines on the Craftworld - gather outside the chamber and begin the ritual of Awakening. They wear their ritual masks and armour. They are accompanied by another Exarch called the Young King. The Young King is selected every year by the ritual divination of the Craftworld's Farseers - the psykers who guide the Craftworld's political decisions. The position is held only for one year, after which the Exarch steps down and another Young King is elected. 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 sun, its rise in the solar dawn and its 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 Siun Daellae - the Doom that Wails. Into his hand is pressed the Cup of Criel - the bloody cup containing blood drawn from his own body.

The six 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 dark 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 brazen doors close.

The music and the singing cease and the noises within the chamber become dull and bass like the sound of distant thunder. The Exarchs join hands forming a continuous circuit and begin their vigil. Groups of Exarchs take it in turns to maintain a continuous humming chant. Sometimes they must wait for several days, but usually an hour or two elapses before the Avatar awakes. He awakes without any warning. Suddenly there is a loud inhuman scream and the bronze doors are thrown aside by an explosion of energy and light. The Exarchs struggle against the hurricane of force trying desperately to remain on their feet and maintain their closed circle. The Avatar walks from his throne and at that moment in shrines throughout the Craftworld the Aspect Warriors don their helmets in the culmination of a ritual that has paralleled that before the throne room.


THE AVATAR WALKS
The Avatar's previously empty shell is now filled with a powerful energy. His eyes glow like coals and as he moves his whole surface crackles and spits like smouldering metal. Molten iron flows through his veins and bubbles of fiery ichor burst and solidify upon his skin. Dark tendrils of smoke and flying cinder enwreathe him. Mixed with the hot smell of brazure and coal is the unmistakable taint of blood. He wears the mantle fastened upon his shoulder with its dagger-pin. His long powerful arms are covered with blood up to his elbows. Thick red blood oozes from his hands and drips from his fingers and leaving steaming red droplets behind him. In his right hand he carries the Doom that Wails. The runes etched upon it appear to writhe and struggle inside the weapon, as if tortured by the heat of the Avatar's bloody grasp. Of the Young King there remains no trace - unless it is the sickly seeping blood that drips from the Avatar's gory arms.

The Avatar's outer shell resembles a suit of war armour and is encrusted with individual spirit-stones which pulsate with vermilion light. These contain the spirits of all the Young Kings that have ever entered the chamber. The personalities and memories these spirit-stones contain fortify the Avatar and enable him to call upon the experiences of the Young Kings themselves. In a sense, therefore, Exarchs who become Avatars never die - they are united with the Avatar himself and continue to live in him forever.

SEERS
All Eldar are incredibly sensitive to psychic energies and can manipulate these energies to a certain extent. However, every Eldar fully realises the inherent dangers of using psychic power without the preparation of proper training and experience. Uncontrolled psychic emanations can attract daemons and cause rifts in the warp through which malevolent forces move into the material universe. Because of this most Eldar deliberately choose to suppress any psychic tendencies they have. Only Eldar who have passed through many stages of the Eldar Path are likely to feel sufficiently confident of their mastery over their own minds to develop their psychic powers in an open way. These Eldar are known as Seers and they are said to follow the Path of the Seer or the Witch Path.

Seers learn how to develop their powers by means of special Seer Runes. These runic shapes are made from wraithbone and are usually kept in a special bag or case. Sets of Runes may be thousands of years old, and are passed on from one Seer to another, often with the addition of new Runes invented by his predecessor. Seers also wear spirit-stones containing the dead spirits of Eldar Seers. These are the Seer's spirit-guides - their purpose is to guide him along the Path of the Seer and protect him from the dangers of the warp. It is these spirits which gather the power of the warp and channel it through the Runes to provide his psychic energy. In this way the Runes and spirit-stones act as psychic Fuses, protecting the vulnerable Eldar mind from the awesome power of the warp.

Every Seer explores his psychic potential in his own way. Some learn how to manipulate objects by kinetic forces, for example, and use these powers to create living symphonies of shape and movement. Some learn how to use empathic powers to heal or council others. The range of abilities is vast and will depend to a large extent on the roles already explored along the Eldar Path. An Eldar who has enjoyed a career as an engineer, for example, may learn how to apply his psychic skills to the structuring and arrangement of matter into buildings or bridges.

WARLOCKS
The vast majority of Seers are unable to develop their powers in any militaristically useful way, and their powers are wholly restricted to peaceful or artistic purposes. These individuals can still fight in the Guardian Squads, but their abilities are not used in anger any more than are the abilities of other Eldar pursuing a career on the Eldar Path. However, Seers who have previously fought as Aspect Warriors can and do fight on the battlefield and are known as Warlocks. Because of their experiences as Aspect Warriors, they are able to develop combative psychic powers. Not all Seers who have been Aspect Warriors choose to develop this side of their nature. Indeed, many Seers regard it as a potentially dangerous and slightly unhealthy thing to do so.

When the Avatar stirs upon his throne and the Aspect Warriors make for their shrines to take up their battle gear, a Seer can also go to the shrine of his old Warrior Aspect. Although no longer treading the Warrior Path, he will be welcomed as a brother and invited to join in the ritual. He does not put on the weapons or armour of the Aspect Warrior, but when the time comes to put on masks, he is offered a special Warlock mask from the shrine. If he feels able to fight he accepts the mask and in doing so he recreates the two-fold division of his mind into self and warrior. He can only do this because he has already undergone the training necessary as an Aspect Warrior. He can always refuse the mask in the final event and his doing so brings no shame upon him.

Warlocks wear Rune Armour consisting of breast-plates, bangles, and other ornaments made from wraithbone. These tunic shapes are interwoven with spirit-stones, creating an energised psychic field which protects the Warlock from harm.

FARSEERS
After a number of years Seers usually pass on to some other life to continue their exploration of the rich possibilities of the Eldar Path. However, a Seer can give up the endless cycle of the Eldar Path and instead become a Farseer. Once an Eldar becomes a Farseer he is trapped upon the Witch Path and unable to change his future role. He uses his remaining years to learn and explore more about psychic power. Farseers spend much of their time casting the Seer Runes and making endless calculations and prognostications, trying to guide the fortunes of the Craftworld and anticipate any future difficulties. Because the calculations of the Farseers may be based upon predicted events happening hundreds of years in the future, their immediate effect is rather hard to determine. However, the Eldar consider Farseers to be a vital part of their Craftworld, basing all of their political decisions around their predictions.

The Eldar Army is sometimes accompanied by a single Farseer - more cannot be spared from their task of guiding the future of the Craftworld. Their powers are greater even that those of the Warlocks but are mostly concentrated on casting the Seer Runes to determine courses of action which will be most fortunate for the army.

OTHER PATHS
The Paths of the Warrior and Seer are just two of the many roles which Eldar can assume during their lives. Some of these roles are quite clearly defined, with traditions and ritualised behaviour patterns of their own. Others are less structured and therefore offer less guidance - they allow a certain amount of freedom and rely on the inner strength that the Eldar has already attained. These roles allow the Eldar to fulfil the functions of technicians, civil administrators, fabricators, colonists, traders, explorers, and so on. However, we are not immediately concerned with these other Eldar as their part on the battlefield is not directly linked to their place upon the Eldar Path. Regardless of their current vocation, all Eldar are trained to take their position in the Eldar armies when they are needed. They serve in the Guardians as combat troops, weapon crews, drivers, technicians, and in all the other functions which are necessary to any lighting force. If danger is sufficiently pressing, every Eldar on a Craftworld can pick up a gun and rally to his or her designated Guardian unit.

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dra'Tuisich-Novae
Competitive, sure. Sports...
Quote:
Originally Posted by executioner
Note "3.diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime."
Its a sport...
In that case, so is sex. Therefore, pornstars and prostitutes are professional athletes.
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Old 15 Dec 2004, 08:21   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: everything you wanted to know about eldar

Thankyou for putting the time and effort in to write all that down.
however, are you sure it isn't copyrighted? As I wouldn't want TO to get into trouble.
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Old 15 Dec 2004, 17:55   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: everything you wanted to know about eldar

it probably is by GW.....poo didn't think about that :-X. um lets add a disclamer thingy. everything above Restayvien's post is copywrited by Games Workshop ltd. so um you know the rest.......
i don't think the'll get mad at us for posting it, but if they do i guess we could just delete it..........
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Competitive, sure. Sports...
Quote:
Originally Posted by executioner
Note "3.diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime."
Its a sport...
In that case, so is sex. Therefore, pornstars and prostitutes are professional athletes.
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