He is the only Phoenix Lord to have been completely lost to the Asuryani and his Aspect Shrine when his murderous nature ultimately overwhelmed him and led to the consumption of his soul by Chaos, transforming him into a life-destroying monster like the Drukhari.
Asurmen, the "Hand of Asur," was the first Phoenix Lord. Prior to the Fall of the Aeldari, Asurmen was the Aeldari who led the craftworlds away from the ancient Aeldari homeworlds of their now lost interstellar empire and it was he who founded the first of the Aspect Warrior Shrines, the Shrine of Asur, upon a barren world of the same name his people initially settled.
Asurmen found that he could not give up the Path of the Warrior to follow a different Asuryani Path, for he desired to use his skills to protect what remained of his species after the birth of the Chaos God Slaanesh, "She Who Thirsts." From the Shrine of Asur sprang the first Aspect Warriors, and the Path of the Warrior was opened for the very first time to all Asuryani.
Those Asuryani who wanted to follow this new path learned at the feet of their master, and in turn they assumed the mantle of Exarchs before spreading throughout the galaxy.
The first Exarchs, the Asurya, the children of Asurmen, were the greatest of his students and went on to become the Phoenix Lords of the other Aspect Shrines, the first masters of the other specialised Asuryani combat disciplines.
Arhra, the "Father of Scorpions," founded the Striking Scorpions Aspect Shrine, which came to epitomise its founder's dark nature; cunning, merciless and deadly. He taught the warriors of his Aspect the ability to stalk the shadows, creeping ever closer to their prey before falling upon them like the wrath of Khaine himself.
Eventually Arhra's murderous nature consumed him, and he became lost to his Aspect, becoming known as the "Fallen Phoenix." Arhra was lured by darkness and betrayed Asurmen and the other Asurya, the first Phoenix Lords, by bringing Daemons into the First Shrine to wage war upon his fellows. Those loyal to Asurmen were defeated and scattered across the stars, but Arhra himself would eventually flee into the Webway, becoming "the Fallen Phoenix who burns with the dark light of Chaos."
It is believed that after he began walking the Path of Damnation, Arhra fled to the Dark City of Commorragh where he became the first Drukhari Incubus Hierarch and founded the first Incubus shrine. Many Aeldari believe that Arhra survived into the present and became Drazhar, the Master of Blades, the greatest champion of the Drukhari Incubi.
Karandras, a Striking Scorpions Exarch and the greatest student of Arhra, took over control of the Aspect Shrine after the corruption of its original Phoenix Lord. Karandras taught the Striking Scorpions the patience and discipline they needed so that they would not follow in their founder's wake and lose their immortal souls to She Who Thirsts when their bloodlust and murderous desires overtook them.
Arhra is suspected to have been last seen when Drazhar and Karandras duelled for 17 solar days in 928.M41 amongst the shattered ruins of the ancient Aeldari world of Zandros. Outnumbered and unable to defeat his former master in combat, Karandras artfully goaded his predecessor into a blind killing frenzy over the course of a gruelling seventeen-day battle.
At a critical moment, the Shadow Hunter melted into a patch of darkness and disappeared entirely, leaving his nemesis to slaughter every one of his own disciples in a murderous rage.
Tale of the Incubi
The Incubi of Commorragh tell a different tale than that told among the craftworlds about Arhra's fall. They claim that Arhra was known as the Father of Scorpions, and his disagreements with the other Phoenix Lords were said to be deep and vitriolic from the first. The Phoenix Lords preached discipline and caution, a slow rebuilding of the Aeldari civilisation around the preserved kernel of the Asuryani of the craftworlds.
They foresaw that the heightened passions of war could destroy what was left of the Aeldari in the centuries that followed. To forestall this, their Aspect Warriors learned to adopt a persona, a "war aspect" that could insulate their souls from the carnage and prevent them developing a taste for it.
As with so many other things, the Craftworld Aeldari saw the allure of bloodletting and senseless violence as a gateway for Chaos to enter their hearts and complete their ruination. What Arhra believed was a secret known only to his true followers, the Incubi.
Arhra believed that the other Phoenix Lords wished the Asuryani to learn to lay down and take up the role of the warrior at need, as if donning a mantle or mask. He knew they wished to abandon the Drukhari of Commorragh and fight only for the Craftworld Aeldari they viewed as uncorrupted by the hedonism that had destroyed the Aeldari Empire.
Arhra saw that the long fight against Chaos would require true devotion from all the kindreds of the Aeldari, including the inhabitants of Commorragh, not weak compromise for the benefit of a few. He refused to accept the Craftworld Aeldari's ideals and he went his own way, leaving the craftworlds behind.
Followers flocked to Arhra's shrines and he tested them for their worth. The weak and corrupt he slew. He taught discipline and martial skill only to those who were possessed of sufficient fury to stand against him. Where Chaos threatened, Arhra always stood against it. It is told that in his final battle, Arhra stood alone and without respite through days and nights when the other Phoenix Lords failed to come to his aid.
At last Arhra was pierced through the heart by the dark light of Chaos. What returned to the shrine showed Arhra's face, yet burned with unholy fire that drove Arhra's students into terror and madness.
When all seemed lost, the students heard their master's voice from amid the flames. It bid them to marshal their fury and stand against him, that now was the ultimate test of their discipline. Such was their devotion that they obeyed despite their terror.
They slew Arhra's corrupt mortal form and partook of his untouched spirit, taking it into themselves so that the way of Arhra should endure forever more as the way of the Incubi.
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pg. 52
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pg. 58
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pg. 33
- Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), pg. 84
- Warhammer 40,000 Collectible Card Game - Siege of Malogrim Hive
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 128
- Path of the Warrior (Novel) by Gav Thorpe, pp. 130, 402
- Path of the Incubus (Novel) by Andy Chambers, pp. 172 - 175
|Arhra • Asurmen • Baharroth • Fuegan • Irillyth • Jain Zar • Karandras • Maugan Ra • Drastanta • Amon Harakht|