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Having been a Tau player for several years, the idea of leaving my large army of 'The Young' for 'The Dying' seemed a distant and silly idea for several years. Yet when the new Eldar Codex came out along with lots of beautiful new models and some really cool ideas about army organization, I was pleasantly surprised. Now, having read the wonderful new Codex, I am quite excited about the prospect of seriously collecting a small Eldar army - especially since their fluff is so deep (don't get me started on how much GW have shafted my favourite race time and time again).
So, I needed a good-looking, small, easy to paint Eldar amy with a unique playstyle. Having seen the new Wraithlord model, and having always like the Wraithguard, I decided on an army built largely on wraith minis. But I didn't want to play Iyanden. After some thought, I have come up with this fluff. I wrote it a few hours ago (yes, the whole thing), so it's due to much refinement and change, but I just want to know what you all think and if it's more or less fluff legal. Constructice criticism is a must - I've been told this fluff is cool but I'm basically writing this based on the knowledge I've gleaned from one reading of the first few pages of the Codex, so please don't kill me for any 'obvious mistakes'. Hehe. The 'Other Craftworld' mentioned at the end is a friend of mines', and were collaborating our fluff for allied battles etc in the near future. Here goes.
The Tale of Craftworld Ifthela: (Penetrator of the Void)
Floating deep within the featureless void of space, Craftworld Zen-Raba is one of the last bastions of hope for the Eldar race. From a distance, it is a pale jewel of a planet, drifting listlessly through the depts of space - its destination unknown and its course unsteady. Closer scrutiny would show the towering structures of the planets' gigantic spaceports, massive pillars of wraithbone that stretch iut from the lonely planet, their smooth forms a tribute to the skill of the Eldar artisans onboard. These ports once held the massive star fleet of this particular Craftworld, a strike force capable of terrible feats of destruction, a force feared by aliens and humans alike. These ports now lie nearly empty; their spires shattered and weakened, their lights dim or dead. What was once the pristine, proud Craftworld of Ifthela, Penetrator of the Void, is now the Craftworld of Zen-Raba, of Broken Dreams.
Once before the Fall, this Craftworld was the pinnacle of Eldar technology, an artificial world capable of the support of millions of lives and the maintenance of entire star fleets. When the Craftworld Ifthela left upon its maiden voyage, it could not forsee the depravity that would befall those it left behind. Manned by the youngest and and brightest there were to offer within its home system, Ifthela was not merely a ship or even a fleet of ships; it rode upon the hopes and dreams of the millions of Eldar who created it. WIth it came the promise of exploration and expansion, and a new way of life in an ever-expanding horizon of possibilities. Little to the knowledge of those on board the craftworld, a terror beyond their imagination would call them back to their empire sooner than they thought.
For several thousand years, the Craftworld of Ifthela grew exponentially as it moved deeper into the unknown recesses of space, probing beyond the farthest reaches of their already considerable empire. WIth time, the Eldar living upon the craftworld became accustomed to the nomadic way of life, claiming new new planets in the name of their empire before moving on, colonization fleets trailing in their wake. Before long, their earlier were long forgotten, as life on the craftworld was far too busy to accomodate for the decadent luxuries that life upon their home planets offered. But even as Ifthela and her sisiter craftworlds grew, the race of the Eldar sank into perversion- the rule of the Eldar was soon to come to an end.
When the craftworld first heard of the horrors befalling their home systems, their was a great deal of consternation amongst the populace. Many of the Eldar felt that they should return to their home, in order to stem the tide that was inevitably to drown their race in lunacy. However, their were those who also wished to distance themselves from their empire- to move on and rebuild. For a time, the craftworld still hung in space, on the brink of civil war, as two factions fought for supremacy. After more than a year, the craftworld was pushed back into life. It was decided- the craftworld would return home.
For months the crew onboard the craftworld toiled day and night to push it further and faster than any had done before. The seers, who had once demanded their return, were now experiencing terrible nightmares- visions that even they found difficult to translate. Somewhow, the eldar onboard the artificila planet knew that something horrible lay before them , but they forged on nonetheless.
When the massive form of the craftworld appeared on the edge of their home system, the Eldar of Ifthela immediately knew that something was wrong. Their planet- once a verdant Paradaise World- now burned in the eyes of its children. For a short while, the crew gathered within the highest towers on the craftworld- so that they could better observe their former home- and wept. But while they mourned, a darker presence loomed into view. An Eldar corsair fleet, but nlike any other those of Ifthela had ever seen. These ships were daubed in the blood of their brethren, and scrawled with ruinous symbols and blasphemous poetry. To look upon these ships was to look upon Chaos itself, and the unbound souls of tortured and suffering Eldar haunted the visions of the craftworlds' seers.
Despite this, the attack that followed was entirely unexpected. The Eldar corsairs swept down upon them, firing upon the craftworld with the characteristic speed and deadliness of the Eldar. In mere seconds, hundreds of the Ifthela Eldar died, sucked into the vacuum of space or crushed beneath the falling rubble of their once elegant structures. It would be several minutes before the craftworld was able to respond, her pilots rushing to their ships- but by then it was almost too late. What followed was a cataclysmic space battle, as the warriors of the craftworld Ifthela locked themselves in desperate combat with their maddened brothers, fighting and dying alongside them. It was here that the people of this particular world truly died, the psychological effects of this battle between brother and brother, sister and sister, would remain for thousands of years to come.
As quickly as this attack had come, the enemy vanished. Not daring to venture further into the system, and seeing that they were far from welcome, the people of Ifthela left their buring home behind. As thier crippled craftworld lumbered out into space, those still left realized that their lives would never be the same again. The massive wraith-construct of their craftworld and its infinty circuit was now their home. The people of Ifthela were left alone in the universe.
It was during this time that the warrior caste of the craftworld truly came into their own. Unlike many of the craftworlds who had already left, Ifthela was deep inside a sahttered and depraved empire. The escape of Ifthela was a fighting retreat and for many months the Eldar aboard the dilapidated craftworld were kept on high alert at almost every hour, fending off ever increasing attacks as the Fall drew ever closer. And their numbers continued to dwindle.
By the time the bruised ship drew away from the fringes of their fallen empire, it was covered in the signatures of battle. The great spaceports of Ifthela were in ruins, barel;y capable of restocking her once proud fleet. The lustre of her hull was gone, and her runes obscured by scorchmarks and rifts in the once sleek shape of the great ship. Her towers lay smashed, the observtories and habitation areas destroyed and cast down in the fires of battle. At this time, little more than a third of the crew who had stared in horror at the ruins of their home planet still lived. Those that remained were either wary or maddened, months of sleepness nights followed only by brutal battle having taken its toll. The ships Flesh-Seers were overwhelmed as the wounded continued to stream in, some of whom who had not been injured at the hands of the enemy. Increasingly, the people of the craftworld became uneasy, and a sense of doom became prominet, looming within the minds and souls of those who still remained.
Once again, the warrior castes were to save them in their time of need. Having fought for the craftworld during her escape, the warrior Eldar knew the importance of returning the craftworld to her former strength, vied for return to the worldes that they had populated upon the borders of their broken empire. Uisng the Webway, the people of Ifthela reconnected with their lost brothers, as the worlds they had populated were still in a state of developement and far from the seeds of madness within the Eldar homeworlds. For a time, the people of Ifthela were filled with hope once again, as they were reuinted with their brethren and their numbers were bolstered. After months of war against its own people, Craftworld Ifthela was finally on the path to recovery, and it was with new hope that the massive fleet lumbered out into the galaxy once again, determined to re-forge their empire, and to re-plant the seeds of the Eldar.
Then came the Fall.
As the psychic scream of the birthing chaos god, Slaanesh, tore across the fabric of space and time, Ifthela was ravaged by writhing psychic energies and twisted warp daemons. This time, there would be no escape for the inhabitants of Ifthela, and thousands died in mere seconds, torn apart by the abhorrant warp energies or grotesquely twisted and mutilated when exposed to the sheer power of this new realm. Even the Craftworlds formidable Infinty Circuit was shaken to its very root, and came close to fracturing under the energies of the warp. The border between real and unreal was gone, and the Eldar of Ifthela finally knew the fear of death. Many of those who had fought for months to save their precious craftworld had died in the warp-torrent, their courageous souls lost forever to the Great Enemy. The universe would never be the same for the eldar. The Golden Age was over
HAving endured the psychic storm and barely survived, the craftworld was once again left crippled and alone. The webway was in ruins, and Ifthela was cut off once again. This time, she was bereft of both leaders snd hope. Few of her Seers remained, her fleets torn away or seperated from the Craftworld in the psychic storm, and she drifted between systems, her course unsure. It was at this time that the Craftworld appeared to be truly doomed. Fewer than one quarter of her initial capacity survived. Were it not for the many great leaders that arose, Iftheal would have drifted away and been forgotten. Yet despite the many great dreams and hopes that arose, the Craftworlds efforts were met only with failure. It seemed that she would never recover. As the hopes of the survivors dimished, so did the integrity of the craftworld itself. Even with the monumental arrival of the Craftworlds own Avatar, the people of Ifthela remained cut off from the remainder of the Eldar craftworlds, unaware that there were other survivors, or even that the Eldar Path had been created. Even as the shrine of the avatar was erected within the core of the craftworld, the wraithbone structure weakened under the psychic influence of so many lost souls. The infinity circuit was fractured, and the people of Ifhela almost dead. Due to low maintenance and negative psychic injuries, the wraithbone structure of the ship degraded quickly and its energies began to fade. It appeared that the Craftworld would die alongside its people, her magnificent towers crumbling as their wraithbone cores gave way. Eventually the Guardians of the Avatars Temple watched in horror as its glow began to fade and with a tremendous roar,collapsed. It appeared that even the gods had left them behind.
It was with much sadness that the remnants of the Eldar fleet renamed the Craftworld Zen-Raba, the world of Broken Dreams. After the horrible events that had befallen their people, and besides all the efforts they had made to survive, all had finally come to this: A cold, empty death within the darkness of space. No-one would mourn their passing, and even the craftworld would fade into obscurity and myth given time. The Great Enemey had taken their homeworld, and the bodies of their brethren drifted in space, marking the dangerous journey that they had made to escape it. Now it seemed that the ultimate enemy was the simply the endlessness of space. Here, they would die.
As the last of the Eldar survivors gathered within the Great Dome of Crystal Seers of their dying home, a mysterious cloaked figure took centrestage and attracted the attention of those who still cared to listen. He told a magnificent tale, weaving imagery, dance and wordplay together so effortlessly as to make his practical speech an art in which he indulged. His story told of many places that the survivors had never heard of before; of great races, the rise of Man, the Fall of the Eldar, and most importantly, of the survival of many otehr craftworlds and their efforts to return the Eldar to their former glory. Finally, he told of another craftworld, one which was searching for them, one which was finally nearing the end of its journey.
Just as quickly as the figure had appeared, he vanished. Not daring to question his illustrious tales, the Eldar of Zen-Raba made their way to the last remaining observatories upon the great ship. It was with tremedous releaf that the Seers finally sighted another Craftworld, drifting through space mere light years away.
WIth a tremedous roar, the people were fulled with hope once again.
Those who were broken, now dared to dream.
Only in Death does Duty end.TAU EMPIRE: 2000pts
WOOD ELVES: 1000pts (and growing)
Brilliant! This is one of the best Eldar backgrounds I have seen in years. It shows a great deal of talent and inspiration. Well done.
Still a few flaws could be worked on, the numbers of survivors from the retreat and then the fall are too close, it would be better if it were more like one third after its flight form the core worlds, and then less than a tenth after the fall to give the proper sense of catastrophe to the end of the empire. Also you use the word Hope to much look it up in a thesaurus.
Actually those are the only flaws I can think of... Good Job, REP!
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Beautifully written.. I'd change a few things though:Again, the craftworlds weren't civic projects or colonization missions, but part of a desperate effort to flee. They wouldn't be colonizing planets, they'd be running as fast as possible to escape the impending catastrophe.Originally Posted by SethThe thing is, they will have left the home systems precisely because of those horrors. Things like the pleasure cults, mass saccrifices and the madness indunced in the eldar by the near-birth of Slannesh were the reason the craftworlds left. They won't have suddenly become aware of them.Originally Posted by SethWhile I love this passage, it's so hard to justify.. The only account we have of the fall in the fluff is Asurbadael Vect speaking in 'The Torturer's Tale', and he never mentions anything about chaos worship. It seems that the pleasure cults remained the sole authority right up until the end, and, while some of them may have known what they were doing and who the patron of their saccrifices and rituals was, the vast majority of eldar citizens were completely ignorant.. There was no point where the eldar suddenly began worshipping chaos.Originally Posted by SethAgain, colonized worlds.. The craftworlds weren't built to colonize worlds, they were built to flee the eldar empire.Originally Posted by SethA brilliant description.Originally Posted by SethI love this bit too.. very symbolic.Originally Posted by SethHmm.. It just seems really unlikely that they'd meet them in space.. Maybe a ranger or other explorer discovered an entrance to another craftworld through the webway. That would be quite a shock.Originally Posted by Seth
Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; January 7th, 2007 at 16:34.
Thank you both, Great_Mantis and Ghost.
Excellent feedback, I will re-work my fluff. Obviously I need to read-up a little bit more. Hehehe. Thanks once again, I might post a revised version sometime soon (in this thread). It's good to know what I did wrong, and that my fluff was appreciated. From here, it can only get better.
EDIT: Great_Mantis, I checked up on the creation period of the Craftworlds, and although I was not entirely correct, according to the Eldar fluff bible, they were initially created as trading fleets. Although the colonization idea isn't entirely fluffy, I can still stage a return to their homeworld.
EDIT(2): Will be posting up organization and military doctrine sometime soon. Stay tuned.
Last edited by Truth; January 7th, 2007 at 18:12.
Only in Death does Duty end.TAU EMPIRE: 2000pts
WOOD ELVES: 1000pts (and growing)
Yeah.. I do remember reading that actually.. isn't it on wikipedia?Originally Posted by Seth
The return to the homeworld thing is cool as well.. but rather than chaos eldar, how about they get attacked by the forces of the eldar empire and the pleasure cults. In a way, it's even creepier, because the enemies wouldn't be mad or possessed or dominated, just lost to their own dark emotions and the subtle whispers of the growing Slannesh.
By the way, whoever gave me negative rep, please..Nothing worse than posting fluff and everyone going 'yeah.. it's cool' without having really bothered to read it or think about it. People post on forums because they want ideas and suggestions, not just for an ego boost.Originally Posted by Seth
Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; January 7th, 2007 at 21:22.
I have to agree. I asked for constructive crit and I got it, please don't de-rep The_Great_Mantis for giving it.
Sorry it's taking so long to get the new post up. I have been working on it and it should be up (at the latest) by tomorrow. I appreciate your patience and constructive criticism.
Only in Death does Duty end.TAU EMPIRE: 2000pts
WOOD ELVES: 1000pts (and growing)