Today, we speak of the one of the Eldar’s last surviving gods, the molten god of destruction – Kaela Mensha Khaine.
A god of the Eldar, Kaela Mensha Khaine, also known as Khaine, is associated with murder, violence, destruction and war.
Many scholars believe him to be a manifestation of the Eldar‘s racial passion as manifested in battle and warfare. “Kaela Mensha” is not technically part of Khaine’s name, but is a title he bears. It roughly translated to “bloody-handed”, a reference to the blood that eternally drips from his hands as a reminder of his murder of the ancient Eldar hero, Eldanesh. The word Khaine signifies the essence of murder.
During the War in Heaven, Khaine fought and defeated the C’tan Nightbringer, shattering his necrodermis, although the resulting metal shards pierced his flesh, tainting his form with “the Aspect of the Reaper.” It is also said that this event precipitated the eventual Fall of the Eldar: The Nightbringer planted the fear of death within all mortal creatures except the Orks, which furthered their survivalist emotions. In the depths of the warp, beings created during the turmoil of the War in Heaven would feast on these feelings and grow to sentience, setting into motion a chain of events that would close the Path of Rebirth for Eldar souls forever.
Khaine is one of the three surviving gods of the Eldar. In the old pantheon, he was second only to Asuryan himself in power, and was often shown as the enemy of Vaul. He is also the most violent and reckless of the gods. Asuryan was so appalled by his murder of Eldanesh, a mortal, that he cursed Khaine and made his hands drip eternally with the blood of Eldanesh so that everyone would remember what he had done.
Khaine is also believed to have been assaulted, defeated, and dominated by Slaanesh sometime after its awakening in the 29th millennium (by the Imperial Calendar). Following this, Khorne, Chaos God of war, battled Slaanesh for Khaine, rightly claiming the Eldar deity as his property. During their struggle, Khaine was driven into the material world, where he shattered into a thousand pieces. The dread Avatars of Khaine are the mere splinters of the ancient war god that can be called upon by a sacrifice of an Exarch who is chosen to be the Young King who are then absorbed by the essence, thus becoming the Avatar of Khaine wielding the might of the War God himself.
Aeldari Worship of Khaine
The “Warrior Aspects” followed by the Eldar Aspect Warriors embody the different aspects or facets of Khaine – each Aspect Warrior type closely follows a particular aspect through long training and dedication, and each fulfills a distinctive role in combat. The greatest Eldar warriors may, if the need arises, offer their lives as sacrifices to awaken an Avatar of Khaine, one of the most powerful manifestations of divine power the Eldar possess.
But not only Aspect Warriors of the Craftworlds follow Khaine. The Dark Eldar Incubi still practice and follow the teachings of Khaine. In the heart of their obsidian shrines, failed initiates are burned as offerings to iron statues of the bloody-handed god.
Notes & Xenology
Khaine’s precise nature in the Warhammer 40,000 cosmology is not defined, although due to his interaction with the Chaos Gods, he appears to be an entity of the Warp, although not appearing to be like the Chaos Gods.
Some background materials published by the Black Library (such as Xenology), imply that Khaine and the rest of the Eldar gods are in fact members of the first sentient species known as “the Ancients,” also known as the Old Ones, which were the creators of the Eldar and many other races of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Other Black Library publications suggest that the psychically potent Eldar were themselves created by the Old Ones so that they would produce living manifestations of their racial collective unconscious for use in the war against the C’Tan. After the Old Ones were defeated, Eldar came to worship their psychic creations as gods.
~Will Khaine ever be restored, and how will it react to the ascent of Ynnead?