40K Loremasters: Eldar End Times – The Rhana Dandra
Today Loremasters we delve into the end of the world – according to the perfidious Eldar.
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.
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 spelled in runic letters the word “Rhana Dandra,” and there was some speculation by Humans that the jewels may have been spirit stones of long-dead Eldar Seers. While 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 knew 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 to purchase items while they were hiding on various Imperial worlds. In reality, Jaq Draco intended to become illuminated after being exorcized of a daemon to gain the required knowledge to learn the Book of Rhana Dandra’s secrets with which he intended to reverse time itself to save his deceased Callidus Assassin lover Meh’Lindi.
The thief Rakel binth-Kazintkis attempted to steal the priceless artifact but was instead caught by the Inquisitor’s comrades and later made part of his retinue as they attempted to discern the books contents. Afterward, 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 to force Marb’ailtor to reveal his comrade’s plans. Afterward, Chaos renegades attacked the planet, and the Eldar worked to combat these foes to safeguard the Book of Fate.
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 against 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.
Eldrad Ulthran attempted to undertake a great ritual that would prematurely awaken Ynnead, involving channeling the remains of Farseers through every Infinity Circuit. The ritual would have rendered every Craftworld disabled and wreaked havoc on the Astronomican, but Slaanesh may have ultimately met its end. However, he was foiled by the Deathwatch in the Battle of Port Demesnus.
Later, the Ynnari were formed to once again attempt to bring about the resurrection of Ynnead. Led by Yvraine, they seek to use the Crone Swords to revive the God without having to sacrifice the Eldar race, a ritual known as the Seventh Path. Ynnead has begun to awaken, bringing about its Avatar known as Yncarne.
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. Kysaduras later joined the Ynnari, but was killed by Ahriman during the War in the Labyrinth when the Sorcerer transformed him into a wooden statue.
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 where GW will take the Eldar race as 8th’s grand narrative unfolds.