The Fall of the Eldar

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The Fall of the Eldar

Postby LordLucan » Sun May 08, 2011 5:40 pm

“I had a fleeting notion once. A dream that the domes and crystal towers of Asuryana fell into the sea of souls. That our race were no longer arbiters of the fate of all. That barbarians overran an extinct state, and there was naught but ash and fire.

Oh fear not youngling: I taste your dread aura. Do not grieve for the anxiety of one who has lived too long.

It was naught but a dream.”






The Fall of the Eldar.

Book One: Ascendance.

First:


It was some great border dispute, or a genocide, or simply a battle forged of the undying antagonism encoded into the very nature of the two races; few can tell with the young mon keigh races. The system of Zodain was burning int he fires of the two factions of brutes. Zodain prime was a cloudy marble of a world, and the relentless battles raging beneath its clouds illuminated it from within through sporadic flashes of atomic destruction. Meanwhile, in orbit vessels clashed on an epic scale.

Thousands upon thousands of starships clashed int he silent void; some chased one another through the rings of Zodain Prime’s sister worlds, while others simply battered one another to death from afar in the interplanetary void-oceans.

The Orks were so very many. Their wreck-like vessels filled the skies like the debris from some ruined god-craft, pounded into countless fragments by unseen hands. They sought to defile and pillage the system, in the name of nothing in particular; they were warriors, who fought because they were warriors, and there was nothing else for them.

Streamers of lance fire speared between the colossal fleets, and only the most reckless of vessels ever came into visual range of their desperate opponents. The enemies of the orks desired Zodain just as much as the green barbarians did, but their motives were no more honourable. They came to strip mine the entire system; drills would rape the cracked ground, vast ram scoops would drink deep of the particle clouds, and industry would swarm over every square inch of the system. This was all for their investors. The orks’ enemies were a chemolian/human alliance, drawn from almost fifty settled systems across the local cluster, who had gathered together to claim the apparently uninhabited system for exclusive mineral rights.

The alliance vessels were as diverse and colourful as the orks’ were ramshackle. Blinking lights and a blinding profusion of hull designs and weapon systems were on display on every vessel. Each weapon system on display was fired to demonstrate their commercial worth as much as for practical reasons. Everything was for sale in the domain of mankind; even the vessels themselves were inscribed with runes which, if decoded at a commerce world, would reveal their specifications and price tag. The vessels had extensive Archilect processors, and thus the captains could multi-task; haggling prices with their fellows as they fought the furious naval engagement. Such battles lasted days, and prices fluctuated hourly, as ships were damaged and devalued, or when a particular weapon was shown to be spectacularly effective.

Atomic bomb-pumped lasers, anti-matter rams, rail-guns, coil-guns, gravity guns, hyper macro launchers and quantum beams scored angry molten wounds in the flanks of the orks vessels, but the brutes pressed on with their own myriad arsenal. Man and ork could never stop their wars; humanity wanted to buy and own everything, while the orks wanted to smash it all; they were destined to wage an eternal war.

... But not in the Zodain system. Their impromptu battle, though a skirmish compared to the wars of the real galactic powers, did not go unnoticed. As soon as the first salvo struck Zodain’s upper atmosphere, stealth-shielded ghost probes installed discreetly throughout the system activated, cataloguing and assessing their military strengths, fleet dispositions and speculated motives for being in orbit around the Zodain-star. The information flowed like liquid honey through synapses of psycho-plastic and advanced conductive materials, converted into etheric pulse-signals that filtered into the Infinity Pulse, and out into the local hub, and then relayed to the home-worlds faster than light could travel.

In less than a day, the furthermost planetoid of the Zodain system, known as Ellebrash, began to experience tectonic activity. All the ork buildings and forts on the world were instantly shaken into rubble, and seismic ruptures swallowed the survivors. And, with shocking speed, the equator of the tiny planet ruptured and unfurled like a broken seam. A golden line of mantle could have been seen briefly, if the two mon keigh fleets had paid any attention, before the entire world folded open, revealing an immense webway hub, which fondled the void as it awoke like some deep-sea anemone or urchin. Barely minutes later, a single pulse rippled through the system. Every world heard the pulse as a booming rumble, which resounded in every creature’s skull at once.

Now they paid attention. For the first time since the hostilities began, the fleets paused in their grim exchanges of fire, and their captains turned their sensors towards the huge spider-like station. As they did, pin pricks of multi-hued light blossomed in the void around the transformed moon; each twinkling light expanding into a webway gate. And from these gates, the foe all truly feared, emerged.

Ghost warriors. They were the servile host of the undisputed masters of the galaxy; the mighty eldar.

Each smooth, perfectly sculpted vessel that glided from the portals dwarfed even the 5 kilometre Void-dreadnoughts of the human alliance. Such was their scale, they could almost be seen visually by vessels in orbit around Zodain itself, almost 20 light minutes away. The vox-links between the alliance and ork vessels were alive with furious communications, arguments and hurriedly-devised plans. The lead Dragonship unfurled a spar, and the vox links were muted instantly. The Soulless wished to address the mon keigh directly.

“Mon Keigh. You shall depart/flee/begone from this place. You may do so in a manner of your choosing. Departure is non-negotiable. This system is within seventeen point five-seven light-years of the Master’s territory, and is thus off limits to lesser forms. Sanctions pending.”

The voice was resolute and cold beyond imagining, and was pushed directly into the minds of every living being present. A shudder passed imperceptibly through the alliance. Dread gripped the hearts of the commerce captains like a rodent prostrate before a falcon.

Within minutes, frantic calls for treaties and safe passage out of eldar space flooded from the alliance fleet, even as the heterogeneous armada mobilised for flight. Their strange profusion of vessels bolted for the warp translation points, ignoring the screaming distress calls of the mining staff they abandoned on Zodain below.

The warboss smashed his radio box with his fist, howling in bestial wrath at the ghost warriors. A mek hobbled to his side and tried to explain taht ‘the brain-words’ didn’t come from his vox link. The hulking green behemoth ripped the mek’s hea doff with a single furious swipe of his crackling power claw. Warboss Snarla leapt to his feet, bellowing and roaring until his assembled Nobs echoed his monstrous cry. Eventually, the bridge fell silent, and the orks looked to their boss for guidance.

He snorted once.

“Let’s crump ‘em.”

The orks did not listen to threats. Nor did they fear anyone. Orks, as history repeatedly makes reference, were ignorant of the past. They did not quite comprehend what their current course of action would lead to...

###

Pit-chief Dolgan had soiled his tunic. Shame did not register in his mind; only utter terror as he watched the sky pulling itself apart. There was a storm above them, but it was silent, banks of fire rippling across the purple starscape like flashes of paint in watercolours. There could be no sound, for the slaughter was occurring beyond the atmosphere. The stubborn orks had become the unwitting defenders of Dolgan and the hundreds of other pit-crews spread out over the craggy face of Zodain. The Orks were buying them time. Time for what he didn’t know, Dolgan reminded himself bitterly. He employers had fled with their guns and their wealth, and now there was nothing stopping the dread Ghost-warriors of the eldar from destroying them all. Well, except for the orks of course.

Weaponised warp rifts and terrible shivering munitions clad in strange cloaks of phasing matter pulled apart kill kroozer after kill krooser as the Dragonships advanced with disturbing calm towards Zodain. Nothing could halt the relentless advance of the lifeless simulacra-craft; their weapons bypassed even the greatest defences, and their boarding parties of loping statuesque giants pulverised and massacred every ork they encountered. D-cannons vomited hellish dimensional energy over the green menace, destroying each ork until nothing remained, save the bubbling mass of dead fungal mulch, forever corrupted by warp-taint.

The last chamber was breached with a single kick by a slender construct which towered fifteen feet high. The weapons built into its body activated instantly, and the chamber filled with searing laser bolts and screaming munitions which should not exist, yet had been tamed somehow by eldar science. The Nobs charged into the fray regardless, struggling forwards on shredded limbs, barking and braying even while they died. They were desperate to kill, and to kill, and to fight. The Ghost warriors had no interest in letting them. Arcing beams of azure light rippled from the forms of the advancing Ghosts, killing and scorching orks before they could so much as raise their sluggas towards them.

The constructs were hollow and heartless; they were death and nothing more.

Snarla howled in agony. His skin was gone, but the gory fiend still leapt into combat, defiant forever. He threw all his power and rage into a shoulder barge, and powered his hulking body into the nearest construct. Iron hard flesh and psycho-plastic collided with a resonant clang, oddly tuneful despite everything. The Ghost didn’t move an inch. It dispassionately raised a flared barrel towards the warboss.

Snarla darted sideways, snatching the barrel with his claw. At last, success. The barrel was snipped cleanly from the machine, which stepped back quietly in response.

Snarla cackled, hoisting the barrel over his head.

“Snarla is da best! Snarla is da best!” he hooted.

But this was not defeat to the machines. This was inconvenience. Two other Ghost constructs raised their weapons, and atomised the ork in a single salvo.

Dolgan ran heedlessly through the mine complex as it collapsed around him. Burning spars of metal lanced down around him like clattering javelins, while walls crumbled under the train of bombardment. The scent of burning meat and a sundered chemical stink clung to the wind rebelliously, and his mouth ran with clear drool even as he wept.

Impossibly swift shadows stole across the sky; and their ruby trails of timer-activated munitions tore precise lacerations onto the surface of Zodain as they sped around the world’s population centres, dismantling any human industry that dared to exist.

Dolgan leapt for cover, as another spiralling missile plunged through a fractionating column, deftly steering between the mangled tower, before striking a hidden ork vehicle directly beneath the cupola. Dolgan held his hands to his ears as the vehicle detonated spectacularly, flinging burning wreckage and green corpses in every direction. Crawling on his hands and knees through ash, Dolgan reached the lip of the valley’s edge, and peered over with bleary eyes towards the wider city below.

The city sprawled like a cancer made of towers and domes, and across this dark metropolis, fires erupted in sequence, like disturbingly choreographed volcanoes. The slender, loping forms of the Ghost warriors could barely be seen at this distance, but Dolgan could mark their progress through the city easily, for trails of flaming destruction snaked their way through the city streets like burning blood through a circulatory system. They were systematic and efficient, and killed everything they had been instructed to destroy, and absolutely nothing else. This was no war. It was scheduled demolition; of the populace as well as the buildings.

He heard the rustle of light feet behind him. He turned, drawing his laser carbine from his belt in a last effort of defiance. Instantly, a slender limb swatted the weapon aside, and his arms came away with it. He howled in sudden agony, his severed limbs oozing before him. Bleary-eyed, he raised his eyes to glare at the tall figure which stood over him. It had no face; it was smooth and featureless yet unmistakably built by the masters of the galaxy’s grand empire. It had a hideous smoothness to it, almost wet and slimy in its lustrous sheen. Six limbs dangled from the faceless thing, too many joints giving the limbs the appearance of tendrils. Dolgan mouthed words, but shock and fear muted them on his tongue. Almost gently, the Ghost Warrior reached down, and pulled his head from his shoulders with a gentle twist.

The primary foes were vanquished, and a change rippled through the matrix which governed the unloving host. It was a low hum, but pregnant with a million meanings, flashing as colours within the honey-combed cortexes of a billion lethal machines; the foe was neutered/neutralised/tamed. He area was now clear for the masters.

On cue, the smaller Void Stalkers sheltering within the titanic Ghost Craft descended into low orbit. Moments later, the skies were awash with puckering webway portals.

Like a swarm of perfect lice, the venom hunting barges spread out across the ruins of the vanquished foes. Upon each flying platform, an eldar stood. They drank in the spectacle. Lives, ending and some alive and in panic, bubbled up from the ruins like tonal smoke which fired the soul and opened the contours of experience wide, as if nerve endings had been shredded and opened to the whipping air.

It made Lord Kraillach shudder with delight for a moment, before he noted that his allies/partners/servants/accomplices lounged around him, each perched upon the Venom in extravagant ways. He could read them all as thye could read him, and it was an eternal game of interlinking mindstates and notional bluffs; they were labyrinthine souls locked together rin relational/social and political bonds, but how a soul would intersect is rarely governed by those who choose to interact.It made things more interesting, and also meant an eldar could never tell exactly what their fellow eldar would say before they said it, even if they had a fairly good idea. It made things more interesting, and thus rendered vocal expression not entirely defunct.

He smiled at his fellow huntsman, and he twirled a long-barreled rifle between his dexterous fingers.

“It is good for us to reconnect with our warrior past. Re-Living of history I would argue. A war is good to temper the soul with bloodlust. Pacifism can be tiring at times,” he chuckled, as he carefully took aim through the scope, making sure to strike a dashing pose as he did so, for the benefit of his courtiers/fellow lords, and the wider infinity pulse adherents.

In his sights, a wounded mon keigh staggered, hobbling through the ruins clutching a fellow creature to its chest. His rifle bucked as he fired. Five rounds. The first struck the bas eof the spine, the next ones each lung, the fourth shot away the arm of the mon keigh, and the fifth shot struck the creature which fell from its arms, his aim perfectly compensated. If he could have been bothered to keep a tally, he’d have got top score. His fellows merely smirked and smiled, undulations of bemusement filtering through a mild tone of boredom. Talk of wars was not productive. He preferred sport, and thye knew it, and the discord was ill-fitting. He invited them to take up their tools of killing.

Each male and female had weapons as diverse as their tastes; sonic spears, shuriken cannons, proton disassemblers, all were used at some point. It was a marvellous thing, to see the million-colours of a great mon keigh hunt in motion, swirling like a tumult made of tone and shade and pallet. To call this a war, kraillach considered, was probably a lie. War was an affectation of those who chose to engage in killing non eldar. There was strictly no need for them to be here; this land would not be occupied or garrisoned, and the Ghost Warriors did the bulk of the fighting. He had arrived in the system mere minutes ago, travelling from his grave-complex many light-years distant. Combat, no matte rhow tame, broke up the tedium of never-ending balls and festivals of intoxication or assonishment. Sometimes he craved something beyond spectacle and joy. There was something hollow in mutual enjoyment; it didn’t ring as true as the pleasures of self, at the expense of another. No, taht was not what he meant; the thought shimmered back down, deep within. Notihng coiled within. He knew that.

He was gratified at being one of the first at the hunt though, he resumed, assembling his architecture of self once more. He would have the choicest and most elaborate kills for himself, while others would perhaps come from the home worlds once they received word through the infinity pulse; or indeed, if they cared enough to respond at all. Neither was a certainty. As a member of the Noble orders, he was marginally closer to the borders, as his estates were located there. He always received word before those urbanites, he mused, finding his own deliberate lie hilarious.

Perhaps now was a time to compose another of his great versal works he had attempted years ago? Yes, he decided. He recalled the memories with perfect clarity, and began to form the rhymes in his cavernous vaults of his mind, even as he slew fifteen mon keigh with dozens of perfectly-placed yet utterly nonchalant shots with his rifle.

A tolerable haul to start with...
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Re: The Fall of the Eldar

Postby LordLucan » Sun May 08, 2011 5:40 pm

###

The pulse continued to spread out across the vast unseen psychic uplink, spreading beyond the speed of light, across the empire’s boundless territory in the real world. Only the Labyrinth dimension was closed off from the Infinity Pulse; the runic defences too powerful for even an eldar god-caller to overcome on their own.

Across the luminescent empire of the eldar race, word of the fall of the despoilers of Zodain spread with the swiftness of thought, as did the terms and promises made by the human mon keigh in their hurried peace treaties.

The message was not just one of words, but of the sights and smells of the planets of Zodain, of the thoughts and fears of the opponents of the Ghosts, and a comprehensive summary of the military and strategic capabilities of the various lesser species involved in the action; all was bound within a message that flowed and shifted like a dream.

Different areas of the empire acknowledged the message in a plethora of diverse ways.

###

The message came as a trickle amongst a hundred other reports across the primary boundary reaches, and slithered into the bustling spires and airy galleries of the Merchant-world Hoarnii. The eldar within wandered the halls with a languid grace, but as traders they took interest in the affairs of species far beyond merely the eldar themselves.

Tsovech reclined in his meme-throne, and allowed the information to wash over him, filtering through his mind like a river through a drag net, sifting the useful elements for his own ends, and allowing the rest to continue on their course. As he learned of these many incidences and accounts, he spoke and debated with his fellows, who likewise reclined in extravagant thrones, or idly composed masterful works of art on canvases or through hologram-mist etchings.

“I wish...” Tsovech began, considering his words carefully, as he took a long draw from a fluted contraption on his wrist. “... that we could curb their belligerence. It does them no favours,” he concluded, each word lingering on the air.

“You speak of the mon keigh,” Nulquenta replied; a statement not a question. The other eldar wore a long coat, which constantly shifted in colour as his body temperature and the pulsing of his blood fluctuated throughout his body. It was an interesting jacket, for it often formed patterns and artworks seemingly at random. Form from chaos; when Tsovech chose to be a scientist-mage long ago, he had had a theory about such things.

“Forgive me/humour me/toleration Nulquenta. You must be patient with me, for I understand/acknowledge that you have little time for the mon keigh.”

“It depends, my ally, which mon keigh race you speak of. I have little time for the ancient overt green foe. They are belligerence incarnate. One should not be concerned with them; they will not perish, even if we chose to destroy them. They are a moss on the underside of civilisation. It is a binary formation; civilisation polarises; the civilised create the barbarian, and as long as there is culture, there shall be its antithesis.

"The short lived man-race is a prospect entirely different. They are aspirational; perhaps transitioning to a plane of respectability? For how many centuries have we watched them emulate and try to live up to our empire’s works? Yet in many ways yes, they need to be curbed in their goals. They do not want/desire/crave equality. They want/covet advantage; it shall one day lead them to dark places. They are not a sated power as we are. They can never have the peace we have,” Nulquenta smiled, before he carefully pressed his hand to the wall. The wall turned transparent and he looked out across the throbbing metropolis of a trade-city, which flourished inside the trade-craft.

Hundreds of diverse species of creature walked and conversed within the soothing neutral resonances of eldar tonal melodies and the beautiful gardens of living plants, that grew from the hull itself and flowed between stalls and buildings with a will governed by the Ghost consciousness that suffused every fibre of the craft-world.

“We need not change or reform our worlds, for we can sculpt them from the very foundations to their highest pinnacles. This world is one amongst countless thousands engaged in a web of exchange and prosperity and every time we return to Port Commorragh, we enrich the empire a little more with the sheer diversity and creativity encapsulated here. Allowing the mon keigh to emulate us might throw this pattern into disarray. Are they competent enough to enact the perfect vision of society? What if they miscalculate, and become a belligerent species on a scale we struggle to moderate? It is a fear we must confront... one day... but not this day...”

“Very true. Wise/knowledgeable as ever my ally/friend/colleague,” Tsovech nodded, as he began to effortlessly pull apart the legal documents and treaties of the human mon keigh. Every devious clause and wrinkle in their debates was fished out and catered against. The mon keigh possessed a low cunning which was almost admirable; even in their peace treaties, they tried/strove/attempted to trick the eldar into recognising certain claims against rival mon keigh factions and races. They sought, through legal devices, to fashion the eldar into the ultimate ally in their schemes and designs upon the galaxy. Tsovech saw what they were attempting and he easily uncovered and disassembled it for what it was.

Meanwhile, he simultaneously calculated the exchange rates of various currencies, while he negotiated the shipment of certain eldar materials to other alien civilisations, in exchange for raw ores, articles of cultural material and biological samples of each race. Of course, his great merchant world-ship had no need for genuine trade, because the empire was by its very nature beyond the scarcity which so plagued other cultures. Indeed, they were post-scarcity in every sense of the word; eldar could become anything they desired. Craftsmen, artists, kings of their own little realms, hedonists, aesthetes or puritans; no eldar required/needed anything, for everything was already theirs to possess and consume/partake/experience. But trade was a useful pretence which allowed the eldar to study the other races‘up close’ as it were/figuratively. Anthropological in a sense, but it was more than that.

Tsovech was often denounced for his interest in mon keigh, being named mon-keighvissir by younger and more foolish eldar, which implied carnal attachment to mon keigh. But Tsovech knew that there was something about them that would be useful for the empire. Something they had missed, when they had ascended to this stage of culture. He had his theories. For many centuries, he had hidden the largest human and tarellian populations from the grand census; the galactic survey which noted every living non-eldar and whether each race possessed enough merit to not be destroyed. Just until they were large enough and widespread denough to ensure that a random eldar could not cause their extinction based upon a passing whim (which had occurred before in the case of the Ovvilchine weaver-creatures). Perhaps he was too attached to mon keigh? After all, he considered, look how cowardly they were at Zodain; how hungry they were to ravage. He pondered the mon keigh problem long into the evening, as his craftworld met up the the rest of the craftworld flotilla, and headed back towards the metropolis core.

###

The message reached the dark world of Luminadrach without comment. The message simply entered the minds of the great archive world’s gloomy guardians, who sifted the most interesting technical and unique information of the events, and stored them away, deep inside the coiling vaults that burrowed their way to the very centre of the artificial world.

It was a world without a natural star; illuminated instead by the pale silvery light of its four moons that each glimmering with an internal light that suffused the world with a fae ethereal glow. Lhethuni nodded in acknowledgement of the message, which arrived alongside countless other communications and thoughts that rippled from the empire’s many, many worlds, and every one of its citizens. Luminadrach was the archival repository, which guarded the past of the eldar like an impregnable fortress.

Lhethuni wandered the spiralling walkways and passages with a simple grace, only the sound of his silver staff rebounding against the polished stone floors betraying his quiet presence. Even his soft robes of grey and midnight blue made no sound as they fluttered around him. His free hand stroked the tomes and sense globes that lined every avenue of the great Library planet/world/vessel, and he breathed in the knowledge like a fine fume or a succession of thickly spiced wines. The wardens and curators who flanked him could not help but follow his example, lightly caressing history itself. He was leader of the Cult of Old Ways, for he was intrinsically linked to the past via this tangible record of all that had vanished from the present. All artistic and technical designs, all knowledge and studies into warp energy and counter-Annihilator research was stored within these limitless vaults. It was as complete a record of reality as any that existed in all of time and space as far as his great mind could fathom.

He had seen the face of the Gods, and their eldest siblings in the years just before the time of separation. Lhethuni was so very old, and it saddened him how many of the oldest periods of eldar history were becoming stories and mystical tales, as if they were mere allegory to be dismissed. He knew the truth, for the Gods were more than just powers in the ether. They were eternal and recursive; creators and created. If the other eldar chose to, they too could know and understand the gods with equal intimacy. If an eldar chose to dedicate themselves to one single path in life, that of understanding and calling upon the gods, they could be as powerful as Eldanesh. But who amongst his race had the patience or will to limit their experience into one single obsession? Even Lhethuni was not sure he could say that with any confidence. He desired to experience as much of life as possible.

The news of Zodain was nothing new to him. Most of his ancient kinfolk had forgotten that it was the eldar who had defended the young mon keigh races. Mon keigh was not always a term of abuse. It had referred to the status of the young races as evolving; they were mon keigh/apes/primitives. They did not deserve to be purged, as the other old races had desired, those races who had suffered worst in the wake of the war of the divine planes, for they were still evolving and could yet become part of the wider galactic community. Community; a farce, Lhethuni considered. The eldar had promised unity and instead conquered the galaxy in its entirety. Their benevolence was merely arrogant dismissal of their lesser foes. Lhethuni shook his head as he returned to his quarters and sank into a warm basin of amber which instantly replenished his waning soul and strengthened his weak bones into diamond-hardness.

Perfection was an anaesthetic to reality, he concluded with a smile. For nothing of the real could ever be perfect.

###

The signal, when it reached the throbbing heart of the eldar empire, was instantly lost amongst a billion, billion signals that flooded the humming air of the home worlds like an endless chatter: a fearsome deluge of sensation and noise that had no sound. Images and thoughts sifted through so many permutations and levels of reality that only the most skilled and powerful of eldar could register such distinct events. The events of mon keigh incursion became a single mass of knowledge, and was itself lost amongst the myriad.

The tireless and beautiful factory-worlds, the Vaul moons, simply took the enemy specifics and automatically began to tailor new Ghost constructs to counter any perceived advances in the enemies. Occasionally an artisan or passing sculptor would smirk at the flashing image of a skinless ork shouting he was ‘best’ and made a sculpture about folly, but most ignored such things.

On Eldannar, one of the first and greatest core worlds, Lord Xelian was reclined in the flesh-smith’s chair, humming a lilting ballad as he took in all information with a lazy half-consciousness. His face was harsh and well defined, with certain tightening surfaces that spoiled the perfection of his visage. His body was covered in leaf-like plates of armour; an affectation, as all his clothes were. The surgical table was not a table at all, but rather a hovering sculpted shape, which fitted his body contours perfectly. Slender tendrils of fibre flowed from its base, and gently pierced his flesh in a hundred places. Anaesthetic was a nightmare to most eldar and he was no different. He had insisted that his smiths did not remove his pain, but turn it into something pleasant. Surgery should be a luxury and a joy, not a life-threatening misery.

Xelian smirked as his tailor returned from decontamination and set to work upon his face with gentle caresses of his strange wands and semi-organic devices that pierced and carved, smoothed and drained, pushed and folded, with increasing complexity and staggering dexterity. He found he could even talk idly between sessions of cutting.

“They spread like lice, these creatures. Just seven decades hence, we barely knew the name Krork. Now they seem to filter into knowledge like an un-purged stench. I say we burn their stars and be done with it. Wouldn’t take more than a year I’d say,” Xelian hissed in bitter amusement.

“Some eldar do find their antics almost endearing, I have heard my lord,” his surgeon replied neutrally, and his soul seemed to reflect this when Xelian caressed his aura gently.

Xelian snorted, and his spike aura bristled. “Let them open reservations/zoos/cages for them then. No reason to let them wander around across our domain. One would not let a Fessil plant grow into one's home foundations and run rampant over one's crops; would you?”

“I suppose not my Lord. Your facial sculpting is nearing its first phase. Is there a particular direction to the construction you would find pleasing?” the flesh-tailor asked, smiling and revealing the odd intricate lines of stitching that formed wonderful patterns in the eldar’s flesh.

“I wish for my flesh... to mould to my mood... I trust your beautific architecture can accommodate such a request?”

The surgeon-artist nodded with mock contrition which pleased Xelian. A cynic, he liked that.

“How would you like you flesh to respond? Would you like it to change colour, or-?”

“Oh, nothing as odious as a mere colour change. Make it subtle. Joy would make my cheeks seem to flare, and perhaps exude a pleasant narcotic. Rage or anger or feelings of being perturbed would harden the lines, making me hideous and terrifying in an unquantifiable manner. I wish to unsettle and delight my friends/allies/sycophants, without them even realising it. I shall enjoy playing with their expectations at the next orchestral display party.”

The surgeon looked into his eyes, and his shimmering orange irises seemed to flush with green light momentarily. “I think I can achieve what you desire...” he purred.

“Also, I’d love eyes like your's!” Xelian chuckled, before gasping with joy as the blades began cutting again.

“Oh! You are an artist Urien! Really, and artist!” he sibilantly exclaimed.

“I aim... to please...” Urien Rakarth, the youngest of his order of flesh tailors, grinned.

###

Asuryana was the greatest metropolis in the entire galaxy. A city, ecosystem and garden at once, it covered every inch of the world, and reached far into the void. Its towers and spires were golden works of art, and each building complemented and enhanced the beauty of its neighbouring structures. Impossibly narrow aqueducts and bridges interlinked the edifices like a golden spider's silk, blanketing the world like a mesh. Billions of eldar lived upon its surface, each with mansions and whole valleys full of beautiful and wondrous possessions. There was no hunger, no want and no fear. Every alleyway and passage was a delight to walk down, for the wraithbone-plated floors sang as eldar feet passed them, as walls reacted to the souls of the Asur, humming sublime tunes and flashing with spontaneous artworks or new and unseen colours.

Flight-lanes and sky-avenues orbited the city like a planetary ring system; millions upon millions of jetbikes, barges and pleasure craft making their way through the bustling metropolitan heartland without undue haste.

Asuryana was the birthplace of the eldar race and darkness never truly fell upon the world. Its vast blue star had burned for countless eons, its harshness moderated by sun shields which turned its light into overwhelming golden joy. When the titan slept beyond the horizon, the three moons shone. One was pale and silvery and was named Lileath the Maiden, after the Goddess. The other had a glowering green atmosphere and was the Hunter’s moon, Kurnous. The final was a dead world of red sand, a world never rebuilt since its destruction countless millennia ago; Eldanesh, the red moon, the final victim of the evil Khaine, the most hated and proscribed deity within the pantheon, second only the Dog-faced monster Khorne.

All news and all spirits formed a great choir of cognitive grace, and the word from Zodain became part of that perfect tune of spiritual bliss. It had no importance on its own, and only reached the central Chancellory of the Ruling Council by chance.

The tower of the Phoenix King was a miracle of engineering and psychic construction. Built within a cavernous artificial valley seeded with crystal trees and mangroves, the tower floated in its midst. It had two summits, one reaching up towards the multi-hued sky, and one pointing downwards, into the golden heart of Asuryana itself. Each tower was a cluster of spires, which congregated around the central column like pipes in an organ. Every river of the city converged upon the great hovering tower, and in defiance of gravity, rivers flowed upwards into the reservoirs of the Chancellory; waterfalls reversed by the will of the most ancient eldar mages. Deep inside, one of the hundred Ruling Councils of the empire decided the fates of entire star clusters, along with the spiritual well-being of all eldar in existence.

Away from the central spire, there were countless beautiful works of engineering, including the Hellivashin; the grand museum.

Tethesis held onto his little brother’s hand, as he followed the line of his fellow classmates into the heart of the museum with slight apprehension. His little brother was playing with his psych-clay toy, making it into weird and funny shapes with his infantile mind. He didn’t have the heart to take it from him, even though it was a toy for one much younger than himself. The tiny eldar children were ushered into the hall by their worrying teachers and their mindless Ghost-servants, who followed them like shadows.

It was a trip to expand their knowledge base. Without a wide base, they could not reach the heights of ability like their elders could and did; shallow foundations meant one would topple and fall into uncertainty. One must never fall, they were forever told. Never. Tethesis didn’t care about his knowledge base or making himself more intelligent. He was just excited. He loved to hear the stories of the eldar past. And now, in the psycho-reactive halls of simulation, the myths and legends his father spoke of would be shown to him as moving, realistic images; three dimensional figures circling all around him.

“Stay close, younglings, and remember that nothing in this hall is real. They cannot harm you. There is no need to recoil or look away. You must see everything and take it all in, so you have a firm base from where we can begin to discuss and debate in later sessions of learning. Follow,” Gathofiil, their tutor, murmured to the children and they followed him as closely as he demanded.

For such an emotive race, Tethesis thought, how was it possible for his teacher to be so incredibly boring and joyless?

Eventually, once they were all inside, the doors sealed behind them and Tethesis tried and failed to suppress his smirk of excitement that thundered through his body and shook him like a ragdoll.

The show began with the most recent of historical events in eldar history, and wound its way backwards as they walked through the hall. Space and stars seemed to wheel around them in holographic form, perfectly miniaturised images of the galaxy that made the children feel like light-year sized titans floating through the void. Tiny eldar ships wheeled through the ehavens, re-enacting the disputes and skirmishes of recent years, Ghost ships destroying horrible stone-age primitives and brawling orks in horrible deluges of fire. He felt his pulse quicken as he watched the wars unfolding around him in enhanced speed, while poets and narrators whispered over the visual scenes quietly, adding to the experience.

They travelled further into the past. The great demiurg treaty, signed in the orbit of the white dwarf star known as Grimnir. Tethesis had never seen some many Stronghold vessels and demiurg war-factory ships before. That was a time long ago, when the Demiurg rivalled the eldar, with power on a galactic scale. The treaty had ended the demiurg warmongering, and eventually they became miners and craftsmen, trading with but not disputing the eldar claims of territory. The demiurg gained the eastern galaxy, the Eldar retained the western.

They travelled ever deeper into the past. They delved into the dark places. The days of the infancy of the eldar empire, when they first became a galactic power. Many of the children began to cry in fear as the events of the K’nib war played out across the hall’s expanse. Even Tethesis averted his eyes to avoid peering directly at the barbed, hideous K’nib monsters. Even their name conjured infantile images of old monsters lurking beneath his bed. He felt anotherr hand searching out his own.

Zarin. She pulled herself towards him, peering around fearfully at the terrifying clawed fiends and their equally sharp, jagged vessels. Her hair was tightly fixed in a ponytail, but Tethesis knew she normally wore her hair wild and flowing, much to the irritation of her parents, who preferred perfection in all things. He sensed her unease as she glared at the horrors that duelled with the eldar ancestors.

You do not have to look, just look at me. The K’nid are gone now, defeated and broken. We won long ago. Just look at me. He pressed these thoughts against her mind, and they sank in easily, like a hand in oil. She did look at him however, and her cold features softened slightly, but she remained silent.

The K’nib war was left behind mercifully, as they reached the age where the gods came to the mortal realm directly, without need of the God-callers or the great warrior mystics. This was an ancient age, and one that instantly transfixed both Zarin, Tethesis and his young sibling, as well as many of the children who had avoided bawling in the previous chamber.

He saw the vast field armies of Ulthanesh and Eldanesh assembling across great plains. They saw the warriors of the ancient eldar battling with silver daemons and the fearsome forces of Khaine. Swords, spears, klaives, shurikens, and many other ancient weapons were wielded by these fire-wreathed warriors of legend. Tears formed in Tethesis’ eyes as he watched these ancient warriors duelling with monsters and gods. And, what was more, they were winning. The Yngir giants crumbled into silvered ash, and their mirror devils fled into shadow. The exhibit's choir chanted of the death of the mirror devils, but this chorus did not ring entirely true for Tethesis.

“How... how could they win? They only had sword and shield. How could they beat the giants and the silver abominations?” he murmured to himself as he watched the great spectacle.

His tutor glanced over his shoulder, back towards Tethesis. “We are luminous beings. Long ago, we were even moreso. You do not need technology when you have the power of Asuryan flowing in your veins, and the fires of the Gods at your beck and call. It was a time when the eldar faced extinction, yet it brought our passion and fury to the fore. And we grew into ascendance on that day my youngling charge; the day the Mute Monarch cowered from us and was vanquished.”

“Why do we not have such power now?” Tethesis asked innocently.

The Tutor had no answer. He simply shook his head, and sent up a wall of discipline. “It is an age passed by, robed in the msit of mystery... Now, come along, the tour shall take us to the prehistorical mythology stages. I expect all of you to have memorials of this room etched on your memories. There shall be an examination.”

Zarin glared silently at the receding form of their teacher, before smiling at Tethesis and releasing his hand. He made to follow her to the next chamber, until he realised his other hand was empty. There was a moment of panic in the young eldar, before he realised his sibling had simply fell behind.

His brother was several pace away. The child stood transfixed as he watched an eldar hero wielding a great double-handed blade to slay a dozen loping daemons that spat fire. The boy was grasping at the holographic blade’s pommel, desperately trying to grasp it. Tethesis pulled his brother away with a gentle tug, smiling serenely.

“Come along Asurmen. We’re missing the rest of the tour.”
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Fall of the Eldar

Postby LordLucan » Mon May 09, 2011 5:39 pm

Should i move this story to the 40K boards?

EDIT: Actually nah, just realised Horus Heresy stuff goes int his forum too. Best place for this is here I guess.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Fall of the Eldar

Postby zolohunter » Mon May 09, 2011 10:40 pm

LL, i love this but was also wondering if the War in Heaven series will be back on?
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Re: The Fall of the Eldar

Postby LordLucan » Mon May 09, 2011 10:57 pm

Oh yes it hasn't gone anywhere. I'll be porting it over here in due time. have no fear. I never forget my stories.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Fall of the Eldar

Postby Tyrant » Mon May 09, 2011 11:18 pm

Awesome. Just awesome so far. More soon, please!
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Re: The Fall of the Eldar

Postby Green River » Sat May 21, 2011 8:27 pm

No, No, No,No, No, NOOOO! I knew you would do this at some point! I really wanted to have a crack at it myself, but now my dreams are shattered :(. Anyway, I'll have to get around to reading this and giving my feedback, looks great, and it'll be interesting to see where we differ on conceptual grounds.
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Re: The Fall of the Eldar

Postby LordLucan » Sat May 21, 2011 8:43 pm

GR: The Fall is a massive event though to be fair, and I think we can easily cross-pollinate and in some way collaborate.

Perhaps we could make it like the HH; a shared universe where we can write stories and collectively perhaps devise an overarching plot to it all. You should see my dramatis personae so far. Bloody huge! And I haven't even detailed the non-eldar characters. It is an incredibly ambitious project, and I am uncertian whether I have the stamina to get it done on the scope that it deserves.

This first book, Ascendance, is really going to be about detailing and filling in the setting of the pre-fall galaxy. We must remember that the big players are entirely different here. I'm also imagining many of the races that are marginal weak races in 40K have vast dynasties and empires of their own. Humanity is a sort of fringe race; as much an infestation as the orks are. In 40K fiction the Dark Age of technology is show as a vastly powerful period of human history, but we have to remember the Eldar make them look like amateurs (but ambitious amateurs, who are progressing rapidly). Perhaps humans are to the Eldar, as Tau are to the Imperium?

Anyway, hope you like what I have so far mate.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Fall of the Eldar

Postby Green River » Sat May 21, 2011 9:03 pm

Absolutely awesome! I'll give you a more detailed review so far when I have the time, but for now I can say that I loved it; great stuff man!
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Re: The Fall of the Eldar

Postby Gaius Marius » Sun May 22, 2011 2:58 am

Can't believe I haven't posted on this before. Great one LL, with your usual ambition and skill in pursuing both grand sweeps of narrative and extremely non-human viewpoints. I had a probably to never be finished idea for this, but it focused more on an assassination attempt orchestrated by the Emp that goes wildly out of control.
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