40K LORE: The Eldar End Times

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Today loremasters we delve into the end of the world – according to the xenos Eldar.

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Rhana Dandra

Rhana Dandra is the Eldar name for the final great battle with Chaos. It is written about in the Asuryata which predicts the destruction of the Eldar and their remaining gods. Another section states that the battle will destroy both the materium and immaterium.

The Phoenix Lord Fuegan is said to be the one who will call the other Phoenix Lords together for the final battle and will be the last to die in the fighting, while Phoenix Lord Baharroth will also die. It is unknown what other races will take part in this, or even where it will occur, but it is a strong theme in Eldar mythology.

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The Book of Rhana Dandra

The Book of Rhana Dandra, also known as the Book of Fate, is an ancient mutable tome that resides within the Black Library of Chaos and is located within the Webway under the protection of the Harlequins. To the Eldar, it is considered a precious and potent relic within their care with its loss being considered catastrophic.

At some unknown point, the bulky volume rested within an arabesque cage upon an ebon podium where its binding was encrusted by gems such as sapphires, emeralds, topaz and tourmaline that glittered with an inner light. The diamonds that decorated its surface are believed to had spelt in runic letters the word Rhana Dandra and there was some speculation by Humans that the jewels may have been in fact spirit stones of long dead Eldar Seers. Whilst a priceless relic, the tome also contained a wealth of gems on its surface and could bring a fortune if they were pried open. The liber contained vellum pages that were covered in a diverse range of illuminated rune-scripts that were annotated and footnoted minutely in the Eldar language. Its contents, however, were mutable as they related to the future which itself was multifold which meant that the tome could alter. The fact that it was written in the Eldar tongue meant that it was indecipherable to outsiders unless they had knowledge of the language. This tome serves as a repository of prophecies and a mutable book in the sense that it changed as probabilities shifted. The runes themselves that decorated the pages of the book writhed as if they were alive.

Among its contents include encrypted information that can lead its readers to the Crossroads of Inertia within the Webway where it is said that time can be reversed. It is written in the book that Inquisitor Jaq Draco was to survive daemonic possession and thus be Illuminatus. After learning of its existence, the outlaw Inquisitor Draco along with his retinue attempted to acquire the Book of Rhana Dandra. Using the runic shaped warp eye of the Navigator Azul Petrov, he managed to enter into the Black Library and recover the volume. Among the outraged Eldar included the Farseer Eldrad Ulthran who attempted to divine the future on the theft of the tome and attempted to discern Jaq Draco’s motivations such as whether he intended to use it to improve his standing with the Imperium. Inquisitor Draco and his surviving comrades would use the pry the gems from the book in order to purchase items whilst they were hiding on various Imperial worlds. In reality, Jaq Draco intended to become illuminated after being exorcised of a daemon in order to gain the required knowledge to learn the Book of Rhana Dandra’s secrets with which he intended to reverse time itself in order to save his deceased Callidus Assassin lover Meh’Lindi.

The thief Rakel binth-Kazintkis attempted to steal the priceless artefact but was instead caught by the Inquisitor’s comrades and later made part of his retinue as they attempted to discern the books contents. Afterwards, a Death Jester of the Harlequins attempted to reacquire the lost book but was captured by Draco who attempted to interrogate the Eldar. However, the xenorevealed nothing and Jaq Draco decided to burn pages from the book in order to force Marb’ailtor to reveal his comrades plans. Afterwards, Chaos renegades attacked the planet and the Eldar worked to combat these foes in order to safeguard the Book of Fate.

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Ynnead

Ynnead represents the last hope of the dwindling Eldar race. They believe that when the Infinity Circuits hold all the spirits of their race, all of the Craftworlds will unite into one Infinity Circuit, and the collective spirits of the Eldar will join to form a new Power in the Warp that will battle and subdue Slaanesh, so that Eldar spirits may once more be able to merge with it and form a single, balanced entity. By doing so, if such a thing is possible, they hope that this will allow the Eldar race to be reborn into a better form. Meanwhile the Craftworlds and the spirit stones must be guarded from harm and continue to survive, so that all Eldar can see and form in their own minds a concept of the Eldar virtues that will enter along with their spirits into the Infinity Circuits.

Ynnead itself (the God of the Dead) is supposedly a nascent Eldar god growing in the collective Infinity Circuits of every craftworld, from the souls of dead Eldar. It has yet to manifest itself, as it has yet to attain enough power to fulfill its purpose: to destroy Slaanesh and free the Eldar. Its relationship to Kaela Mensha Khaine is unclear.

As Eldar die and their souls become part of the Infinity Circuits, the god grows in power. A few Eldar Seers believe that once every single Eldar has died, Ynnead will awaken and have the strength to defeat Slaanesh forever. In 991.M41, the Eldar Mystic Kysaduras proclaimed that the only hope of Eldar survival in the End Times would lay with Ynnead.

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Kysaduras

Kysaduras, known as The Anchorite, is an Eldar mystic. In 991.M41, he proclaimed that the End Times of the Eldar have begun. After a lengthy meditation alongside Eldrad Ulthran of Ulthwe, he preaches to the High Seers that the Eldar’s only hope of survival lies with Ynnead, the Eldar God of the Dead.

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Cegorach

Cegorach – the Great Harlequin, the Great Fool, the First Fool, the Laughing God – is one of the gods of Eldar mythology, and the central figure of Harlequin belief. He is a trickster god known to be mocking, sinister, vindictive, and enigmatic. His pranks and jokes punish gods and mortals alike for the sin of pride. In Eldar legend, he is said to have stolen Khaine‘s blade and overseen a terrifying event known as the Wedding of Screams.

While most of the gods were destroyed during the Fall of the Eldar, according to legend, this deity survived because his mocking nature distanced him from the corruption and decadence that became Slaanesh. The legend goes that as Slaanesh battled Khaine, the Laughing God escaped into the Webway.

Cegorach is the only authority the Harlequins recognize and there are those who claim that the Laughing God walks amongst his children from time to time, wearing the disguise of a Harlequin player

‘On the last day Cegorach will gather all the dead of his peoples and give them to the mustering Lord of the Dead to aid him in combating the Prince of Pleasure so that they may be reborn in a new earthly shell.’ – Attributed to a disguised Cegorach

At the heart of the Black Library lies a crystalline book that is said to contain the words of Cegorach himself:

‘Now long awaited portents have come to pass, and the bands of light around the book have flicked and died, and within the pages are recorded Cegorach’s final jest, a way to trick Slaanesh into expending all her power not to destroy the Eldar, but to save them.’

~That should be plenty to start speculating on what Eldrad is up to in the new Boxed Set.

 

  • Maximillian Rampertshammer

    So this is basically saying slaanesh is getting written out of 40k now yes? All I can see is the setup for a non R rated slaanesh future.

    • benn grimm

      No. This is basically just a rehash of the same lore we’ve had for years. The whole Slaanesh being written out is a non-rumor based on a silly AoS plot line/fan theory, picked up and carried over to 40k by certain commentators/rumormongers/bs merchants…

      The pointy ears wish they had a chance to overcome Slaanesh, of course they do, but as the fluff has shown again and again, it’s very much a false hope. That said, going by the utterly broken rules of the recent eldar codex, and how well the rules stack up to the fluff in general, Slaanesh could probably be quite soundly beaten up by a 2000 pt Eldar army…

      • Maximillian Rampertshammer

        But slaanesh *has* been largely written out of AOS to date. For good reason I think too, given the age of hobbyists and the subject matter of slaanesh to date. I can see that reason applying to 40k as well, without it being too problematic with the fluff. I mean the laughing God is trying to end slaanesh anyway.
        I just think saying “No” is premature, when it’s at least entirely plausible.

        • benn grimm

          The gods are not tangible in the same way in 40k, just as they used not to be before the ‘end times’ in wfb. Slaanesh IS the Eldar, the two are inextricably linked; like Tom n Jerry, Marge n Homer, the joker n batman, black n white, ying n yang… There can’t be one without the other.

          Its all deliberately apocryphal, cryptic stuff, designed to sound very grand, but its actually in content nothing particularly new. The Rhana Dandra has been in the fluff since the beginning, as has the Wolftime; 40k has always been set at one minute to midnight, the setting has always been very firmly rooted in those medieval inspired ‘end times’.

          Slaanesh in 40k is going nowhere, cept maybe to an intergalactic Ann Summers to get some more provocative coverings for all those bits that need covering up for the sensitive souls of the early 21st century…

          • Maximillian Rampertshammer

            I have been playing eldar for over twenty years, have all codicies, novels etc. so I have an amazing extremely good idea of the relationship between the two. (Edit- Oops hit enter too early)
            While it’s true eldar created slaanesh, they don’t sustain it. Humans can do That fine. I don’t see eldar victory over slaanesh meaning they aren’t going to stop being a dying race. It would just be another complex part of their background.

          • benn grimm

            Then you should be able to understand the point I’m making.

          • Maximillian Rampertshammer

            Sorry edit above, hit enter too early. I think you are being too literal on the yin yang thing. They don’t really need each other, eldar existed just fine before slaanesh, and chaos gods can consume anything. I’m really not sure how you think it’s *the* defining characteristic of eldar.

          • benn grimm

            Np, to reiterate; Eldar are space elves, who fell far, but managed to pull themselves back from the brink, in lots of interesting ways. What they were like before the Fall is pretty much irrelevant; its a concept, an idea, never to be fully realised.

            So they are what they are now; Space faring refugees, who are still on the run, 10,000 years later from the cataclysmic event that pretty much wiped them out. They are a dying race, they don’t have enough kids, and they get eaten by the galaxies various predatory denizens.

            Or..they’re sadistic, unrepentant techno loving super-nazi vampires, who are eternally scared of big baby Slaanesh sucking their souls out.

            Or…they’re rural, tragic, peace loving but never getting, John Wayne types; a little bit racist, but charming with it… 😉

            The point being, they are all defined and put in to context, by their relationship to the Fall, and thus Slaanesh. Spirit stones? … Wraithguard? Exarchs? Infinity circuit? World spirit? Webway, rather than warp? All directly linked to the Eldar fear of being consumed by Slaanesh. The reason Eldar are interesting is because of the jeopardy/ internal conflict. Take away that jeopardy and they cease to be interesting.

          • Mike Salamandrin

            So being the fractured remnants of a vast, star spanning empire surviving against a hostile universe would be boring if a godlike entity was not eating their souls when they die?
            Besides, I’m fairly certain that the webway was created before Slaanesh.

          • benn grimm

            The reason they are ‘fractured remnants of a vast star spanning empire’ is because of the fall. Otherwise they’d be a fully functioning vast star spanning empire now…That’s kind of the set up line for the whole of 40k…

            The webway was created before of course, but those who went on to become know as the Dark Eldar weren’t confined to it in the same way as they are now; also as a narrative tool it was clearly used to establish the difference between the human use of warp travel and the Eldar use of older technology/paths they do not fully control anymore and which aren’t quite safe. Same with runes; they possibly, probably used them before the fall, but now they NEED to use them, or risk a fate worse than death.

          • Mike Salamandrin

            …But both would still exist without the presence of Slaanesh. The webway exist to provide safe travel from all the denizens of the warp, not just one chaos God. The Eldar Empires fall still occurred, it’s history. Anything happening in the story now to Slaanesh would not effect that; the craftworlders would still need to defend the exodites from external forces, craftworld eldar would still be slowly dying out, ancient Archons and Haemoloci would still need to sustain themselves on souls to prevent death. The only faction with strong ties to Slaanesh and needs him/her are the Harleguin, and that’s only through the solotaires.
            If your argument is that the Eldar would be thematically dull, I would invite you to entertain the idea of Yanead becoming a living death god and all the unforseen nightmare that would be. Maybe it would need sacrifice to serve them, like Kaine; or consume the souls of the elder dead. Maybe the ultimate trick is to make Slaanesh BECOME Yenead?

          • benn grimm

            The whole craftworld existence, the path, even the concept of the birth of Ynnead depends and is born out of the conflict with the great enemy. Ynnead, it has been stated, can only come into existence when the last Eldar dies. All they have left as a hope is that after they all die, a revenant will avenge them. Kind of pathetic really when you think about it…

            I find the idea of a Eldar death cult; a new faction, dedicated to bringing forward the coming of Ynnead quite interesting, but I very much doubt this current team of yawn inducing hacks they have working in the studio atm would have the skill to pull it off successfully.

          • benn grimm

            From a narrative perspective, you can’t ever have the Eldar beat Slaanesh, or visa versa, it just wouldn’t work (imo), for so many reasons; good taste being first and foremost. How would frame it? That would be the true ‘doom of the Eldar’; the whole dynamic with the Fall, Slaanesh, etc is what defines them. Without it they’d just be boring and annoying generic Space Elves.

          • Randy Randalman

            In this argument, I fully agree with Benn. Oh, and Slaanesh are not being written out.

          • Maximillian Rampertshammer

            Pair points but hypothetically speaking, eldar could be psychic and magical as a defining feature of 40k. Everyone else is either technological or corrupt but eldar maintain the mystical balance between the two, merging souls and technology as one. It’s not very generic and all the slaanesh stuff could be rich backstory.
            Aspect warriors wouldn’t go away because slaanesh died, neither would dark eldar stop raiding, neither would harlequins stop trying to restore the eldar empire.

            Enough to straw man building though, the point is we don’t know what will happen. But the hints so far seem to indicate a resolution to cegorachs jest. I could imagine a Scenario where that doesn’t end well for slaanesh.

          • twincast

            Well, Batman did exist without Joker for quite a lot of years because the latter was deemed inappropriate for kids, so…

            (Also, it’s yin, not ying.)

            Honestly, the only thing that makes me very much doubt a (near-)destruction of Slaanesh is that it would be too major a shining victory to have in the Grimdark™.

          • benn grimm

            Indeed, and Batman was a bloody awful comic for many years so…?

            Thanks for pointing that out.

            And there you have it; this is not a universe where the ‘good guys’ pull through holy wood style against all the odds. Thank goodness…

        • Heinz Fiction

          I really don’t get why ultra violent bloodshed (collecting skulls and stuff) is ok for 12 years old but bare boobs aren’t.
          Usually I’d say thats an american thing, but as GW is based in England I don’t know…

          • Maximillian Rampertshammer

            Try selling it in store to a 13year old in front of their mum and you’ll have some idea of how it’s different. not saying it’s right btw, just that it’s understandable.

          • Heinz Fiction

            Really? In my country (germany) mothers would rather be upset about blood drenched khorne stuff. Not saying they wouldn’t have a problem with slaneesh but traditionally violence is considered more offending than partial nudity…

          • euansmith

            I guess though, that Slaanesh is edging in to sexual-violence; and that trumps chainsaws and viscera.

          • Randy Randalman

            That isn’t most of the world.

            Blood is more acceptable to a larger audience than boobs. Consider movies:

            One (blood) can be shown in rated PG films.
            The other (boobs) will garner an R-rating for a film.

            Slaanesh in particular also has to do with bondage, perversion, lust and excess. Not to mention gender ambiguity. I get that there are a lot of lonely, perverted gamers who want more bewbs on their miniatures to increase their stroke bank, but they do immediately make the game less appropriate for a new, younger audience.

          • Heinz Fiction

            Well, in german television violent movies have to be shown late at night or (more common if big hollywood blockbusters) get censored at prime time. Sex and nudity however is a non-issue. If Game of Thrones is shown at prime time it’s the beheadings that get cut, not the sex scenes.

            And while germany is known to be a little overprotective concerning violence the liberal approach to nudity is shared by a lot of european countries to my knowledge.

            The argument that Slaneesh is also violent just with sex on top of it is a valid one. However the blind brutality of Khorne frightens me much more.

        • ragelion

          Er no, I have read all the campaign books slaanesh and it’s forces have been in several of the main books. Slaanesh has had several short stories and was the main antagonist in the new Realm gate novel.

          Plus is a main force in the chaos grand alliance book with it’s own section like all the chaos gods.

          Slaanesh is a plot point, and is finally being relevant in fantasy fluff for once. I don’t call that being largely written out lol.

          Think whatever you want mate.

          • Axis Mundi

            Yep, exactly this. Slaanesh has definitely not been “written out”, and is likely to be central to the story when they reveal the fate of the Aelves.

            Which, given the timing of this 40K release, makes me supect GW are going to have bit of fun in linking up their two gaming universes – just to tease the fan-boys of course. I doubt they’ll go any further than they did during the End Times, but you never know… 😉

          • ragelion

            With 40k they are just advancing the plot they are not going to change much since 40k actually makes them a lot money.

            At most they are most likely going to brush up the bloated rule set a bit.

          • ZeeLobby

            But 40K sales have been dropping. Granted not to WHFB levels, but I never thought they’d blow up the old world either. I’d say anything is possible at this point.

          • Maximillian Rampertshammer

            This exactly. Everyone thought WFB was a core part of their business until it suddenly wasn’t. All bets are off in the current GW climate.

          • Randy Randalman

            40k sales are not dropping. They have ever been a bit stale because there hasn’t been consistent, major releases for almost a year as GW focused on making AoS pretty darn great.

            This has all been a big planning phase to clean up 40k. WHFB wasn’t interesting to most 40k players, and spent years in the red. Whereas most Fantasy players did play 40k as well. The fans are the reason WHFB blew up not GW.

          • ZeeLobby

            Woah is me. I overstepped the bounds set by or GW overlords. Thank you RandyGWRandalsman for you have shown me the way! Of course it’s our fault, for GW does no wrong!

            On a side note, where are sales falling then if AoS is up? Something has to account for a 2% loss accross the board. And 40K had a ton of releases across the board this year, including many heavily discounted products. Why would they be planning to redo 8th edition if 7th has been selling so well? I’m sorry, but unless you can supply some internal numbers (which I wouldn’t be shocked if you could), I’d at least like some logical explanation on where those sales went?

          • Randy Randalman

            You are right. The people claiming they’ve been written out are still piggybacking off of an initial Chicken Little series of rumors over a year old. People who have read the fluff for AoS – which is getting better and better – will know full well that Slaanesh is still very much there.

            They also have a campaign supplement upcoming.

          • Maximillian Rampertshammer

            🙄🙄🙄 Sure, slaanesh went from being a current principal power of chaos to an elven (sorry aelven) plot point. By your own admission too.
            I think that’s needed to be said.

        • Randy Randalman

          Slaanesh is still very much in the fluff of AoS, and they have a campaign supplement with the aelfs upcoming. They are NOT being written out of the fluff.

          • Maximillian Rampertshammer

            I look forward to seeing that upcoming supplement, I really really do. Maybe you’re right, but I haven’t read anything yet that makes me think slaanesh is back.

        • Ross Allan

          Slaanesh hasn’t been written out of AoS. Largely or not. He’s been Godnapped, and his followers seek him out. And there’s very much the suggestion in the final tome of the Realmgate Wars that the Clans Eshin know where he is….Ulgu, aka the domain of Malerion/Malekith…one of the two who Godnapped Slaanesh.
          It’s coming back, I guarantee it.

        • Frank Underwood

          Slaanesh is going to be a whole plot line in AoS which I imagine they’ll tie in with one (or more) of the faction of the Aelves.

  • benn grimm

    We know what happens to Eldrad, and I’d imagine it’s representative of what will happen to the Eldar race, ‘cept maybe the Dark kin and Exodites, since they’re too smart to be caught short trying to mindmeld with a daemon infested spaceship…

    • We know what happened to him in old lore – if you’re talking about the Black Fortress stuff. We don’t know if GW is going that route again. And so far, I’d say they don’t.

  • MightyOrang

    I don’t think the Draconbooks count as 40K canon …

  • Deez

    It’s good to see Slaanesh getting some attention. Khorne is great, but there are other Gods that can be focused on. Could we see a CSM resurgence in the near future?

  • LordKrungharr

    Damn, the Eldar have some good myths. I like where this maybe hopefully possibly seems to be heading….to decent formations for Tzeentch chaos marines.

  • petrow84

    – Hey, Cegorah, we all gave our life, but no manifested deity is in sight!
    – Chill, Fuegan, it’s just a prank, bro!

  • ZeeLobby

    Yup. Bye bye Slaanesh and boobies. My guess is the god will be destroyed, but will still be worshipped and start to regrow. Something that will let people still have a reason to play Emperor’s Children armies, but to also provide an excuse to slowly fade out the models.

    • euansmith

      They just need Slaanesh to decide to get the band back together; Rock ‘n’ Rainbow Furs for the win. Kick out the jams, melon farmers!

      • ZeeLobby

        LOL. Part of me really misses 80s GW.

      • ragelion

        Honestly I prefer that aspect of slaanesh murdering someone with a guitar with a melta strapped to it? Awesome.

        • euansmith

          The noise marines are one of my favourite elements in 40k; along with Orkz and The Sisters of Burn-it-with-fire.

  • Randy Randalman

    Ugh… That 2nd edition codex cover was hideously epileptic. Bright circus colors that look nothing like war, or grimdark. Easily the most cartoony edition in the game’s history.

    • Commissar Molotov

      And the streak continues!

    • Admiral Raptor

      Those second edition books had the best cover art of any edition. Before the game lost it’s sense of humour and dove head first into the Grimderp.

  • Lord Elpus

    She who thirsts isn’t going anywhere in either setting, Slaanesh is in tonnes of fluff in A.o.S, and is pretty integral in 40k too. Currently in A.o.S Slaanesh is AWOL, but must still exist as daemons both great and small are but fragments of the great whole.. He/she/it’ll be back..

  • Darth Bumbles

    Wasn’t it the birth of Slaanesh that got the Chaos gods active in the 30k era? Maybe Slaanesh’s de powering will cause them to slide into slumber again, give the Chaos side something to work towards “if we infect/slaughter/manipulate/bugger enough well wake our patron up, but only them!” and give everyone else a goal of “let’s not let that happen”