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Background for my Dark Eldar. I don't have a tabletop army or any such things; I just like writing background. I also like feedback when possible; hence, posting it. I was originally going to have these guys as a Kabal, but kind of hate Kabal naming convention and decided to rip off George R R Martin instead.
If you like or dislike this, please post your opinion.
House Taekharis is a small group of Eldar descended from one of the cults in the Eldar Empire; quite a few of the older Kabals were formed in this manner. Though the cult was very large at the start, their numbers were quickly cut down as the weak were rooted out, leaving only a small but potent force.
They keep their numbers low, usually around a thousand, employ very harsh recruitment measures, ensuring only the strongest and smartest are accepted. The intention of their overall tactics is to cultivate an appearance, to other Eldar, of being elite and powerful, both as an instrument of fear in negotiations with the Kabals, and to attract a regular supply of would-be members.
It must be noted that most of the House do not have an obsession with torture; for them it is simply a pleasant diversion, part of their way of life. Only the Haemonculi let it fill their very existence. This is pointed out for two reasons - one, some Kabals are completely obsessed with torture (ie their writer forgets that there is more to them than that) and two, to reinforce the fact that while torture is important to them, it is not overwhelmingly so. Imagine it like any other activity... cooking, reading, etc. One might enjoy it, and some (Haemonculi) make it their main guiding hobby and life's focus, but for most it is just part of an ordinary day and not all that noticeable.
Due to their small numbers and the extreme Thirst of their leaders, they tend to go for two sources of soul energy: large masses of lesser slaves (such as regular humans) purchased or taken from the Kabals, and soul-rich beings such as psykers and daemons. Rarely will they attack Tau or normal human settlements - such would not provide the needed energy. They are more likely to be seen attacking Black Ships, Nicassar, daemonic forces, other Eldar, and similar such prey.
House Taekharis have three main interests: capturing slaves, attaining high degrees of martial prowess, and the collection of artifacts, technology, relics, information, etc. Slaves are composed of various sources; aside from soul-food, they also are fond of keeping and breaking daemons, keeping Craftworld Eldar and Exodites as pets, and collecting rare species.
Martial prowess is practiced against each other, in battle, and in the gladiatorial arenas of Commorragh and other Eldar cities (House Taekharis are often on the move, and get around a lot). Where Kabals such as the Black Heart might decide to put many of their own Wyches into arena battles to raise the odds of their champion winning, House Taekharis prefer to train privately and then select one or two very skilled fighters. Such is their general belief, that a small, elite force is superior to a large, mediocre force.
Their collections are composed of many things. Weapons, skulls of enemies, enemy technology, data, etc... they collect it all. The reason? Nothing beyond the very most basic: they like to collect interesting things. After all, who knows when a piece of ancient technology taken from the ruined remains of a Space Marine Battle-Barge might come in handy?
Their usual colours are black and silver, sometimes with the addition of red or purple trim or gradation.
They do not have a fleet, residing in solely one ship, named Siroikesadh. It serves as their transportation and is also where their living quarters, combat arenas, slave holding cells, torture chambers, medical centres, and other such facilities are located. In space engagements, they tend to sneak up by means of Mimic Engines, cripple enemy engines, deploy boarding parties, and then manoeuvre away, returning once the enemy crew is dead. If facing several enemy ships, they will try to scatter them and disable weapons, deploying boarding parties to as many ships as possible.
When not on raids, their time is usually spent on the following activities. Combat training in their various arenas (or on the surface of hazardous planets for improved environmental combat abilities); torturing psykers/daemons to hold off the Thirst; engaging in various forms of entertainment, sometimes with slaves; examining recovered technology and maintaining a good condition of their own equipment; and meditating, as all Eldar do.
Their relationship with other Eldar is varied. They enjoy and look forward to visits from Harlequins, treasuring their rare performances and often changing plans when a Mime heralds the coming of Harlequins in one of the Dark Cities. As Craftworld Eldar go, relations are considerably more strained. Craftworld Eldar have vibrant souls, making them excellent prey (though due to the extreme martial prowess of Craftworld Eldar, they only strike when they sense weakness), which is not much appreciated by the Craftworlders themselves. Exodites they see as sad and culturally primitive. While they're fond of taking Exodites to keep as pets, aside from that they tend not to bother with them.
Their main desire as of M44 is to obtain one of the remaining Talismans of Vaul and to acquire the services of a larger standing army (such as a medium or large Kabal). What they plan to do with these is unknown, thoughly undoubtedly bodes ill for someone out there.
Their leader, Rhadraen Taekharis, has led them since before the Fall of the Eldar. It is he who decides their targets, who speaks for them in negotiations with the Kabals, who rules them in all aspects. He has survived for so long in part because of their House's structure - in so small (relatively) a group there is little room for petty internal power struggles, and the members of the House understand that without his guidance and control they would soon fall and become merely another small band of warriors. Over time he has worked himself into the minds of his House as a divine figure, an eternal constant - he ensures that he never takes a battle he cannot win, always succeeds at what he does attempt, and cultivates an image of perfection. His objectives are clouded in shadow; for now, he seeks only to keep the House intact, yet it seems the constant drive for martial and mental supremacy has some hidden purpose. He is aided and guarded by an Incubi bodyguard nearly as old as he is. In combat, his preferences match those of his Incubi - he wears a set of heavy armour with a Tormentor Helm, and usually wields a Punisher.
(Clarifying note: It's not that he always wins any fight, it's that he only enters fights he thinks he can win in the first place. If there's a battle or raid he thinks will go badly, he'll simply not attempt it, unless some uppity member of the House is thinking too highly of themselves and he wants to make an example of them.)
The Haemonculi in House Taekharis are lead by the Haemonculus Intyric, an old companion of Taekharis. Intyric, like all Haemonculi, is well versed in biological studies, an expert in torture, bioengineering, and medical processes. He stays with the House for the most part, though it is his custom to leave at times to join other True Kin forces for a raid, bringing large amounts of slaves on his return, payment for his services to the Kabals. Intyric trains other Haemonculi, and, as do the other Haemonculi under his command, breaks and prepares slaves as well as healing injuries taken by Kabal members. Intyric enjoys spreading fear amongst lesser species, having a particular fondness for carefully engineered diseases. It is something of a game for him, to design a disease, set it loose on a world, and see how it fares. (Yeah, I was playing Pandemic 2 when I wrote this bit.) He wields the usual Haemonculi weapons, albeit with whatever modification he may have been tinkering with at the time.
Hierarch Avelihr leads the Scourges, the House's heavy damage warriors. Avelihr does not directly command any scourges of her own (save when she takes direct command), preferring instead to move around the battle, bringing her weapons to bear on specific targets. Fiercely loyal to Archon Taekharis, she keeps a close watch for distant threats from her mobile vantage points, a guardian angel of sorts. She is quite cold and distant towards most of their members (with the exception of Rhadraen, Arkadrehl, and her own Scourges) relaying most orders and information through Dracon Arkadrehl. She wears regular Scourge armour and carries a Dark Lance, capable of ripping through enemy vehicles and annihilating enemy units.
Arkadrehl is the Dracon in the House, first among the Sybarites who lead their Warriors. Both harsh and charismatic, he maintains strict combat discipline in the Warriors and Sybarites under him, though outside of combat and training he mingles closely with them, and keeps a close bond with the Eldar who serve him. Arkadrehl sees other species as mere combat practice for the most part, a living training exercise. He makes an exception for the Orks, whom at their tougher stages he regards as "a worthy challenge." Aside from them, he only regards other Eldar and a few select individuals as a genuine challenge. When not in combat, Arkadrehl is open and outgoing, and enjoys spending time with his warriors. In battle he wields a pair of poisoned monomolecular blades, and carries a Splinter Cannon strapped to the back of his armour in case he needs heavy suppressive fire.
Dhasilac is the leader of the House's Hellion gang. Brutal and chaotic, he delights in spreading fear and suffering amongst the enemies while attempting to outperform his fellow Hellions in flying skill. He carries a Hellglaive with the splinter mechanism replaced with Disintegrator technology, and also carries Wraithbone Grenades to scatter amongst the enemy and improve the shock effect of the Hellion gang's attacks. Even when not on raids, Dhasilac spends much of his time competing with the other Hellions, each trying to outdo each other in displays of skill aboard their skyboards. The constant competition ensures that the Hellions are always striving to attain new heights of skill.
The House's Wyches are led by their Archite, Vehlaeral. Vehlaeral is a cautious and cunning fighter, taking time to study her enemies carefully before unleashing a devastating assault. Most often, as is the habit of Wyches, Vehlaeral will seek out enemy leaders or skilled fighters, looking for the greatest challenge. In combat she wields a monofilament net and an agonizer spear. Her close subordinate, Dracite Elahkrei, leads the Beastmaster section of the Wyches. Elahkrei oversees the Beastmasters' placement during raids; when not raiding he is fond of breaking daemons and pitting them against his Warp Beasts. In combat he uses a Splinter Pistol and an agonizer whip, striking down foes who turn to flee from the nightmarish Warp Beasts.
Kahraevol is chieftain of the House's biker clan, which, it must be noted, includes both Reaver Bikers and regular pilots (the only difference, really, is what vehicles they use). Obsessed with making faster and more deadly vehicles, Kahraevol can often be found making alterations to vehicles or tinkering with the ship's systems. Battle for him is a place to put their vehicles to good use, providing fast attack and recon abilities, and proving to other species' fast attack troops that there are none who can escape the Eldar. In battle he rides one of his Reaver Jetbikes, usually joining with a squad of bikers.
Though the Kabal's Mandrakes have a leader of sorts who keeps them under control, nothing beyond that is known. Only Archon Taekharis communicates with their leader, or indeed, knows who their leader is. The other Eldar of the House know nothing beyond that this individual exists at all, and even this is not fully certain. It is not known how, or if, Archon Taekharis secured his loyalty, or what this mandrake leader does. The regular mandrakes themselves are also fairly unseen for the most part, keeping to themselves hidden within the ships, frequently preying on slaves or, during visits to the Dark Cities, other Eldar.
~50 Warrior Sybarites
~5 Hellion Succubi
~25 Reaver Bikers
~10 Wych Succubi
~10 Scourge Sybarites
Archon Rhadraen Taekharis
Master Haemonculus Intyric
Dhasilac, Hellion Leader
Biker Chieftain Kahraevol
Total of ~960, plus named leaders.
~20 Raider Pilots (20 Raiders on the field)
~40 Ravager Pilots (10 Ravagers on the field)
As well as around a dozen Talos.
- The soultresher is a skimmer similar to the Raider and Ravager. However, in size it is much larger, roughly twenty metres tall, fifteen wide, and ninety long, resembling a classic sailing ship of ancient human history, if such a ship could fly. It contains walkways along the sides, featuring heavy weapons, hooks to hang enemies from, and active blade systems to grind apart any who try to scale the soulthresher. Inside is a webway gate, as well as a few rooms for torture, medical attention, and storage. There is also a large device inside which absorbs extra soul energy from the battlefield, storing it for use later. It incorporates shadow fields and a gravity generator for extreme turns or tilting. At the top of the soulthresher is a throne designed for the Archon or a given mission leader, as well as a few tables for torture, more heavy weapons at the edges, and three masts from which to hang prisoners and banners.
The soulthresher is the Dark Eldar titan equivalent, and as such is often used for dealing with enemy titans. It incorporates a scaled-down Phantom Lance, similar to that of those used on Dark Eldar starships, capable of ripping through void shields and armour plating. However, care must be taken to aim properly, as it has a slow rate of fire and hits only a very small area.
A soulthresher is an excellent means of damaging morale - not only does it dish out immense damage to enemies, the sight of mutilated comrades is terrifying to most foes - Tau, Humans, Chaos, Astartes, and all manner of other species.
Take note that the soulthresher vehicle is not canon and not part of official 40k. It is purely fan-made, and something that I came up with when speculating about how Dark Eldar seem to lack large scale vehicles.
Character Personalities (Summarized.)
Take note that the characters might seem overly nice and friendly here. This is because I've not bothered to fill in the fact that they are all rather psychopathic by our standards, enjoy the suffering of others, etc. All Dark Eldar are like that, so it's been left out. When I say that Intyric is kind to his fellow Dark Eldar, for example, that means he doesn't use the most painful techniques available when healing them, and friendly means he doesn't turn them into Grotesques when in his care. Remember that it's a part of their racial psyche, just as a love of fighting is part of every Ork, and just because it isn't mentioned, doesn't mean it isn't there.
Rhadraen - Regal, cunning, proud.
Avelihr - Cold, distant. Speaks little to most warriors, intent on safeguarding Rhadraen. (She does not love him, by the way, just extremely loyal. Pre-emptive strike.)
Arkadrehl - Charismatic, strict and disciplined leader but very close with his troops. Hard but fair, respected by its warriors.
Intyric - Grandfatherly, kind, fills the role of the elderly, friendly doctor to other Eldar, and the insane combat surgeon against enemies. (Intyric is actually based on my dentist; a soft-spoken, polite, elderly man, fond of classical music and who speaks with a faint british accent. Take that and cross it with an insane doctor obsessed with pain, and you have Intyric.)
Dhasilac - Fairly crazy in a combative sort of way; lusts for blood and combat, delights in battle, utterly fearless.
Kahraevol - Quiet and laidback, focused intently on machinery and rigging his vehicles to work better, fairly anti-social save to fellow machinists and pilots.
Vehlaeral - Driven by an intense desire for martial perfection; focused on very little else.
Elahkrei - Easygoing and calm for the most part, but extremely protective and proud of his Warp Beasts.
Mandrake Leader - Loyal to Rhadraen; beyond that nothing is known.
- small group, highly disciplined, potent warriors
- search of slaves and artifacts/technology/relics
- tend to hunt for psychically potent targets, don't do large-scale slave harvesting
- more named Dark Eldar characters than Codex: Dark Eldar contains, which is kind of sad when you think about it
- very fond of Harlequins
- each Eldar in House Taekharis is highly skilled and well-equipped.
- stable structure, devoid of the backstabbing and such.
- low numbers; they literally cannot go head-on against a large army, forcing them to use stealth and speed to avoid needing to face large enemy forces.
- very bad on the defensive; running away is pretty much mandatory if their ship is directly attacked.
- can't really damage enemy forces the way other species can, aside from assassinations and such. They cannot do things like lay siege on planets or fight an extended space battle.
Last edited by Zahr Dalsk; May 17th, 2009 at 19:27.
That was fun to read, I think it contains more info on Dark Eldar lifestyle than the rule book, which I think is a good thing. The book has so little info. One thing is that you mention M44, I don't think it's that late yet. Most of 40K is set in M41. However it was a good read, reppy for you. You could do an army about this lot as they would be cool, even a small one which would fit with their style.
Thanks! I do try to expand on Dark Eldar, and the idea that there's more to them than simply torture, torture, torture.
With regards to M44, yes, that's part of a loose project of mine dealing with events after M41.
I don't think I'll be doing an army for them - I haven't touched tabletop models in over a year and was never good at painting them in the first place, let alone converting.