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Warhammer 40K Lore: The Phoenix Is Rising – But Which One?

4 Minute Read
Oct 6 2019
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The Aeldari, in addition to being smug and haughty, are also unoriginal. All this talk of a Phoenix Rising, and yet there’s at least ten of them.

Say what you will about the policies of the Imperium–that they’re fascist, draconian, that they care more about the expense of maintaining hard to rebuild equipment that can only be built with the aid of an almighty STC, that for all that they claim to be benefiting “Humanity” it’s really only the wealthy part of humanity that can afford power on the order of hereditary nobility while the poorest of the poor live in some of the worst conditions in the galaxy–at least they’re creative.

Look at the Aeldari, Loremasters and Loremaster-initiates. They can’t even settle on one “Phoenix” to rise. There are at least ten warriors known to bear the title, so for all the talk of a “phoenix rising” it’s next to impossible to tell whom they’re talking about, because the Aeldari are unoriginal in the extreme. That said, forewarned is forearmed, so let us look at the Phoenix Warriors of the Aeldari and see if we can determine who exactly is rising…to meet the powerful hammer of the Ordo Xenos, which shall surely strike them back down into the ashes that phoenixes love so much.

The Phoenix Lords are amongst the most ancient and renowned heroes of the Eldar race. Should they be vanquished, their essence will lie dormant inside their armor until it is donned by another Eldar warrior whose soul resonates. Should they prove worthy enough to combine souls, the Phoenix Lord will be reborn in a new body.

This is cowardly in the extreme. They don’t even give themselves up to martyrdom like a true hero of the Imperium. No they simply hide out in the armor they were slain in–likely ill fitting and full of bolter holes. It can’t be comfortable, especially for warriors as decrepit as the Aeldari “heroes.”

The Phoenix lords are Exarchs so ancient that they have no shrines and no Craftworlds to call home. They wander from world to world, instinctively driven by war, attracted by intuitive power to places of great danger and need. During moments of desperation they appear, sometimes alone but often several together, depending upon the perils faced. Using the Eldar Webway they move from Craftworld to Craftworld and from planet to planet, following in the path of the Bloody-handed God.

The names of the Phoenix Lords are well known throughout the Craftworlds, and their deeds form part of the legends of the Eldar. No one knows exactly how many Phoenix Lords there are, for some are seen but rarely, while others disappear for millennia only to reappear suddenly and unexpectedly. Some have undoubtedly perished far away, their suits lying upon some hostile world awaiting discovery by some predestined Aspect Warrior doomed to don the armour and become the ancient hero for another cycle of his existence.

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This is another reason that Imperial policies regarding the dangers of alien artefacts are as harsh as they are. Surely even the lowliest member of the Astra Militarum would prove more than a match for the greatest Aeldari Warriors, and as such, should they don the armor, they would be assaulted by the spirits of a thousand aeldari heroes–an annoying fate, to say the least.

Some of the Phoenix Lords are as old as the Fall. They were heroes during the cataclysm, and were the first to bear the spirit stones of the Warrior Aspects. It is said that Asurmen was the first of the Phoenix Lords and that he trained the first of the Aspect Warriors, the Asurya, in the Path of the Warrior. The first Exarchs, known as the Asurya – the children of Asur, founded the shrines of the Warrior Aspects that remain to this day.

And yet for all their reverence, even these Phoenix Lords may fall. Arhra, the Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions is known for “burning with the dark light of Chaos” and is even called the Fallen Phoenix, and it would be a shame if the fallen phoenix was the one that was rising. Perhaps we should call the Ordo Hereticus. And the Ordo Malleus just to be safe.

Take care, Loremasters and Loremaster initiates–and remember to beware of any alien armor. The last thing you need are old aeldari warriors reminding you of how things were ‘back in their day when they had to walk uphill both ways to get to the Infinity Circuit maintenance stations.’

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