Eldar Outcasts are those rare members of the Eldar race who have left their home Craftworld to wander the galaxy when they find the rigid Eldar lifestyle suffocating or because they have committed some unforgivable crime against their fellow Eldar, such as walking the Path of Damnation that leads to consumption by Chaos. Many Eldar Outcasts often take up daring lives as pirates or raiders and thus are sometimes confused with their Dark Eldar counterparts. Sometimes the rigid constraints of the Eldar Paths are intolerable even for an Eldar to bear; such individuals leave their Craftworlds and willingly become Outcasts. Many Eldar spend years or decades as Outcasts before they return to the Eldar Paths, though most do eventually feel the need to return to Eldar society unless they have been forcibly exiled from their former home. Outcasts must bear the terrible burden of their heightened Eldar consciousness and psychic abilities without the mental protections offered by the Eldar Paths. Only Eldar of remarkably strong characters can survive for long as Outcasts. After years of adventure and wandering, or sailing the seas of space with the Eldar pirate fleets, most Eldar eventually return to the sanctuary of the Eldar Paths and the warm collective familarity of the Craftworlds.
There are many kinds and degrees of Eldar Outcasts. They can serve as Rangers, the scouts of their Craftworlds, well-trained survivalists and marksmen able to find the eye sockets and neck joints of even the most heavily armoured enemy troops with their Long Rifles. The most skilled of the Eldar Rangers are known as Pathfinders. Others choose to leave their Craftworlds and live elsewhere, often wandering the galaxy and visiting the worlds of Mankind or the Exodites. They are not welcome aboard Craftworlds except briefly, for their minds are dangerously unbounded and attract predators from the psychic realms of the Warp. Daemons or other Warp entities can home in on the undisciplined and extremely powerful mind of an Outcast and lodge in the psycho-supportive environment of the Craftworld's Wraithbone core and Infinity Circuit, threatening the very survival of a Craftworld. Outcasts are also disruptive to the highly structured societies of the Craftworlds in another sense, for their presence can distract the young and inexperienced from the Eldar Paths through their romantic tales of travel, plunder and freedom. The Outcasts rarely divulge the hardships of their lives or their constant mental struggle to maintain themselves uncorrupted by the darker impulses of the Eldar nature without the aid of the Eldar Paths.
Eldar Outcasts are extremely pragmatic realists and are often very tough, sinister individuals. In their manner and actions they are often complete opposites of the Craftworld Eldar. Those Outcasts who walk this path for too long may ultimately be consumed by the Path of Damnation and so begin to be enslaved by the same lust for suffering and death that corrupted both their Dark Eldar cousins and the ancient Eldar pleasure cults that led to the Fall of Eldar civilisation more than 10,000 Terran years ago.
Eldar Corsairs are those Eldar Outcasts who have deliberately chosen to make their living by raiding the commerce of the other star-faring intelligent races of the Milky Way Galaxy, particularly the shipping of the Imperium of Man. They are a constant threat to Imperial merchant shipping, though they lack the ability to face off against a true Imperial Navy battlefleet of any real size.
Aware that it was the ineffable power of their own whims and desires that brought about the downfall of their species and led to the birth of Slaanesh, the survivors of the Fall of the Eldar, the Eldar of the Craftworlds, have developed a way to control their own inner natures. Every Eldar chooses for himself a discipline which he then makes it his task to master. It may take many standard years to successfully accomplish this, perhaps more than a single human lifetime. Each discipline is called a Path, and each Path may necessitate further choices and specialisations. For example, the Path of the Warrior has many Aspects, and whilst all enable the Eldar to master the skills of combat, each Warrior Aspect brings with it its own special techniques and abilities. Other Eldar Paths include that of the Bonesinger, as the psycho-technicians of the Craftworlds are called, who craft Wraithbone and other psycho-plastic materials to fashion the material artefacts of the Eldar civilisation. There are innumerable Paths, some of which are chosen only rarely, but each offers its followers a complete way of life during the time which they tread upon it.
Sometimes the rigid constraints of the Eldar Paths are intolerable even for an Eldar to bear; such individuals leave their Craftworlds and become known as Outcasts. Many Eldar spend years or decades as Outcasts before they return to the Eldar Paths. Outcasts must bear the terrible burden of their heightened Eldar consciousness without the protection of the Eldar Paths. Set free within the universe they are dangerously vulnerable. Only Eldar of especially strong character can survive for long as Outcasts. After years of adventure and wandering, or sailing the seas of space aboard the pirate fleets, most Eldar eventually return to the sanctuary of the Eldar Paths. Eldar Pirates are always followers of the Path of the Outcast –- Eldar who have turned away from the Paths and abandoned their Craftworld. These eldritch wanderers live quite apart from the orderly, disciplined Eldar of the Craftworlds, and form ravenous bands of pirates, corsairs and raiders. As with other outcasts, some of these eventually Eldar return to the Paths, or may retain some ties to their Craftworld of origin. However, the willful and unaccountable actions of the Outcasts stand far apart from the carefully scryed and considered actions of the Craftworld Eldar, and for the most part the Farseers show great reluctance for their own peoples to mix with the wayward and dangerous Outcasts.
Outright alliance between fleets acting on the will of a Craftworld’s Seers and the more volatile, self-serving Eldar Corsairs is relatively rare, but certainly not unknown. It usually only occurs when a knowledgeable Corsair leader of great influence is present, able to both satisfy the measured desires of the Seers at the same time that he can prove his raw might to the more aggressive Eldar pirates. Such leaders, like the legendary Prince Yriel of Iyanden, are rare, but the fleets they command are invariably very powerful and capable of giving even the most potent forces of the Imperial Navy substantial opposition.
Some Eldar Corsairs have been known to hire themselves out as mercenary forces for various foolish and often very wealthy human factions within the Imperium. A fleet of Corsairs can prove to be a powerful force on the battlefield for their patrons. But the fickleness of Eldar Corsairs is legendary and more than one group of these xenos pirates has been known to suddenly change sides or even turn on their human patrons after a battle is won to seize a greater share of the rewards. In these situations, the Corsairs' employers usually find their own blood coating the Outcasts' potent blades.
Eldar Corsair Organisation
- Corsair Prince - An Eldar Corsair band is usually led by a member of the Eldar nobility with the title of prince (or princess) who has chosen the Path of the Outcast. To a human these Eldar might seem aloof and arrogant, but the remnants of the lost Eldar empire's ancient aristocracy are natural leaders, brilliant tacticians and bold warriors in battle.
- Blade Sworn Retinue - A Blade Sworn Retinue serves as the personal bodyguard of a Corsair band's prince or princess and is composed of the finest warriors in the band. They accompany their sworn leader wherever he or she goes. The retinue is composed of close kinsmen, bridge officers or Outcasts whose skills have made them infamous enough for their master to seek them out and swear them to his or her service.
- Void Dreamer - Void Dreamers are the helmsmen and navigators of Corsair starships. They are powerful Eldar psykers, closely related to Warlocks, but use their powers of divination and prophecy to guide their vessels and protect their crews from the Daemons of the Warp and other dangers.
- Voidstorm Squad - During raids a Corsair prince will gather hand-picked veteran Corsairs together to form a Voidstorm Squad. Equipped for close-quarters combat, these veterans will be in the thick of the fighting or the first to storm a breach during a boarding action.
- Corsair Squadron - The rank and file of the Corsair band are its ship crews, led by their Felarch (a rank broadly equivalent to the bosuns of the Imperial Navy). They are lightly equipped for fast raiding, utilising Corsair Jet Packs, Venoms and Falcons for rapid insertion and battlefield mobility. Corsair squads tend to be much more experienced and battle-hardened troops in comparison to Craftworld Guardians.
- Wasp Assault Walker Squadron - Wasp Assault Walkers are light vehicles that provide Corsair bands with mobile heavy fire support. Corsair bands adapt them for rapid insertion mission alongside the Corsairs, fitting them with jump jets, and jet-supported anti-gravitic systems that enable them to rapidly redeploy where needed as part of a Corsair raid.
- Corsair Jetbike Squadron - Jetbikes form an important part of Corsair attacks, speeding ahead as scouts or sweeping around enemy flanks to encircle the foe before plunging into the melee with deadly effect.
Known Eldar Corsair Fleets
- Alai Mercenary Corps
- Alaitoc Warp Hunters
- Balestorm Avengers - The Balestorm Avengers are one of the Eldar Corsair groups operating within the Jericho Reach, though the region is far from the only one they have haunted over the millennia. Since the Reach's Age of Shadow, however, the Avengers have concentrated their efforts in the Outer Reach and even established a number of havens on the outer verges of the Slinnar Drift. Far from using the lambent clouds of the Drift as a place to hide from vengeful enemies, the Avengers appear to be using them as places from which to watch surrounding space. Exactly what these outcast, piratical Eldar are watching for remains unknown though some of the masters of the Dead Cabal hold that it must surely relate to the accursed Dark Pattern.
- Black Suns
- Children of Thorns - When voidfarers in the Koronus Expanse speak of the fickle and vicious ways of Eldar Corsairs, their tales most often speak of the Corsairs known as the Children of Thorns. Clad in glossy beetle-black armour, the proud and capricious warriors of the Children of Thorns are merciless in combat and are said to slaughter their enemies to the last once battle is joined. It is said that one is fortunate to hear the keening war cries of the Children of Thorns and live to tell of it. The leader of the Children of Thorns is a female who long ago cast herself from the strictures of the Eldar Path to lead her Children of Thorns in bloodshed across the Halo Stars. Her true names long ago discarded, she is now simply known as the Mother of the Shadows. When attacking in the void, the night-black ships of the Children of Thorns prize stealth above all tactics. Only once they have ensured complete surprise and a perfect position of attack, they strike with ferocity and precision, crippling their prey and leaving the ship reeling and boarded by screaming, dark, and graceful shapes that kill and kill until there is nothing left alive and the prize is theirs. Despite their terrifying reputation, the Children of Thorns have had dealings with a number of Rogue Traders in the Expanse and have even made compacts with a few or fought as mercenaries for those brave enough to seal such a bargain. It is perhaps these ties that give the Children of Thorns the phenomenally accurate information that allows them to strike at human craft close to the Maw with such accuracy. One or more Rogue Traders have sealed a compact with the Children of Thorns -- one paid for in the blood of their rivals.
- Crow Spirits - The Crow Spirits are grim, cold killers who seem bent not on piracy but the selective annihilation of humanity within the Koronus Expanse. Clad in glittering armour that shines as if filled with moonlight, they make no sound in battle and are led by witches robed in pale tatters with tall helms of gleaming bone. Their starships are like pale dead things driven by a cold and broken will. Their tattered ethereal sails propel them from the depths of the void to strike at Imperial ships, colonies, and stations in Expanse's Foundling Worlds, Accursed Demesne, and Unbeholden Reaches. Cloaked and unseen until it is too late, the Crow Spirits are borne on a storm within the Warp and realspace that boils and screams with ethereal voices. They destroy and kill with a cold precision -- and then leave, taking no prizes. Who leads these mysterious Corsairs and what their purpose is remains unknown, but some have speculated that they are guarding something, or keeping something from being discovered. At least one Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos believes that the Crow Spirits have some tie to a notorious Eldar Corsair in the Calixis Sector -- Ulthyr Ellarion.
- Eldritch Raiders - The Eldritch Raiders Corsair fleet is commanded by the High Admiral, Prince Yriel. Yriel is an Eldar Autarch of the Iyanden Craftworld and High Admiral of the Iyanden fleet. Yriel is widely considered to be the greatest Eldar naval genius to have ever lived. Though Yriel and his Corsairs have officially left their Craftworld of Iyanden to raid Imperial shipping, the Eldritch Raiders still respond to the defense of their Craftworld in times of need.
- Ellarion's Raiders - This infamous Eldar Corsair band plagues the Calixis Sector. Led by the Corsair Lord Ulthyr Ellarion, his elusive warship has been pursued throughout the Drusus Marshes Sub-sector by the starships of the Battlefleet Calixis for over four centuries. Though he has been brought to battle more than once, the Eldar pirate lord and his vessel have either triumphed or successfully disengaged and lot Imperial pursuit in every encounter. Some say he remains in the region in order to recover a special Soul Stone, precious to him for some personal reason. Others claim that he revels in the thrill of the hunt, and finds Mankind to be most excellent sport. Over a thousand Imperial shipments have been raided by Ellarion's Raiders.
- Golden Squadron
- Myan Agents of Silence
- Scarlet Command
- Sky Raiders - The Sky Raiders was an Eldar Corsair band that was allied with the two main Eldar factions from Craftworlds Alaitoc and Mymeara during the full-scale Eldar retreat from the world of Betalis III in 894.M41 at the end of the Betalis III Campaign. During the massive naval engagement near the Karina Nebula, the Sky Raiders became notorious for the viciousness of their attacks, and later analysis of the remains of their victims was commonly mistaken by less experienced Adepts for attacks more akin to those made by Dark Eldar hunting cadres. Due to the reputation for ferociousness they gained during the Battle of the Karina Nebula, boarding assaults upon starships belonging to the Sky Raiders were spearheaded by the Astartes drawn from Great Wolf Bran Redmaw's Great Company of Space Wolves. This resulted in very few of the Corsairs onboard the Sky Raiders' vessels surviving the campaign and those ships of the band which did escape were all reported to have been heavily damaged.
- Sky Serpents - Known as "The Serpent," Duke Traevelliath Sliscus is the infamous Dark Eldar pirate lord of the Sky Serpents Corsairs. Over thousands of Terran years, Duke Sliscus and his Corsair band's reputation has spread from Alpha Prime to the Omegon Belt. The Duke's trio of flagships, stolen from the Kabals of three humiliated Dark Eldar Archons, are surrounded by a flotilla of Cruisers and other warships that have flocked to his banner. The Sky Serpents' low-orbit raids continue to plague the the worlds of the rich and privileged across the Imperium, their legend growing with every fresh slaughter.
- Sunblitz Brotherhood - The Eldar Corsair band known as the Sunblitz Brotherhood is believed to be aligned with Craftworld Alaitoc. During the battle for the Betalis System, the pilots of the Sunblitz Brotherhood's fleet were ultimately responsible for the destruction of the Watchful Saviour, Betalis III's orbiting defence platform. Later, the Sunblitz Brotherhood temporarily allied with the ships of the Void Dragons Corsair cadre to patrol the inner regions of the Betalis System. Wreckage recovered from the star system after the campaign ended indicates that this alliance proved tenuous at best, as it appears that more than one Sunblitz vessel was damaged by Void Dragons weaponry during that time.
- Twilight Swords - The Twilight Swords are another Eldar Corsair group that operates within the Slinnar Drift within the Jericho Reach. Their Corsair lord harbours an abiding hatred for the Corsair lord of the rival Balestorm Avengers, and the two groups have fought a series of bitter wars for no reason that can be ascertained by outsiders to the dispute.
- Ulthwé Steal Eye Reavers
- Void Dragons - One of the most infamous and dangerous bands of Eldar Corsairs in existence, the Void Dragons operate across the galaxy. The Imperial Navy estimates that they command a fleet in excess of 3,500 warships, and have been encountered in places as far apart as the Cadian Gate, the distant Tau Empire and the Halo Stars. Currently commanded by the haughty Princess Saaraina, the Void Dragons' attacks hold no predictable pattern, and range from ambushes against Chaos raiders near the Eye of Terror, to the mass enslavement of the Imperial penal colony of Vorenz VI, to fighting against the Orks of the empire of Charadon.
- Void Warriors
- Xian's Black Raiders
Notable Eldar Outcasts
- Relhadhar Antariel - An Eldar Corsair and famed xenos pirate of the Koronus Expanse, has suffered long years of torment at the hands of first the Kabal of the Splintered Talon and then the Wych Cult of the Withered Blade. Antariel’s shaggy white mane falls around a delicate face usually split by a hateful grin, and his arms are badly scarred from some incident he refuses to mention. The pirate’s solid black eyes are as unreadable as those of any of his kin, but the Hawk makes no effort to conceal the rage that nourishes him. Only by nursing a deep hatred and burning thirst for revenge has Antariel survived, doing whatever it takes to stay alive and one day see the open space of the Koronus Expanse again.
- Garadhûn - A Corsair of the Crow Spirits, Garadhûn serves as the Istaurmen—diplomatic liaison—for his Cruiser Fate’s End. Because of this, he is far more tolerant of humans and other non-Eldar races than most of his kind. However, the Crow Spirits are renowned for their wanton slaughter of all non- Eldar they encounter.
- Ebahn Lauma - The master of the Balestorm Avengers is a being known to his enemies as the Black Prince of Slinnar, and to his wayward kin as Ebahn Lauma, meaning “Night Sky” in the tongue of the Eldar. Like his underlings, Prince Lauma is an outcast of an unknown Craftworld, and he appears blessed of the skill to unite those of his species that might otherwise fall to the path that leads only to the gates of the Dark City under his banner. While outwardly jocular and bloodthirsty, Prince Lauma is in fact utterly dedicated to the welfare of his Corsairs and entirely uncaring of the fate of those he preys upon.
- Illic Nightspear - An Eldar Ranger of Craftworld Alaitoc, and has wandered the Path of the Outcast for thousands of years, striding the skeins of fate and seeking out the unknown paths that span the galaxy. He is known to different Ranger bands by many different titles; the Sentinel of the Stars, the Wayforger, and the Shield of Alaitoc. To Illic, one name is as good as another. Such is Nightspear's knowledge of the Webway that it is said by the Eldar that he can arrive unheralded upon any planet, stepping through its portals and out across the galaxy with the ease of a man drawing breath. Whilst this is undoubtedly an exaggeration, Illic clearly knows more of the hidden paths than any other living being save the Harlequins themselves. Indeed, some say that he knows too much.
- Battlefleet Gothic - Yriel's Raiders
- Chapter Approved - The Book of the Astronomican (Background Book), pg. 43
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pg. 51
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pg. 53
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pg. 55
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pg. 52
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pg. 82
- Deathwatch: The Outer Reach (RPG), pp. 64-65
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pp. 147, 160-163, 165-166, 171
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 357-359; 376
- Rogue Trader: The Soul Reaver (RPG), pg. 61
- Rogue Trader: Fallen Suns (RPG), pg. 24
- White Dwarf 119 (UK), "Battlefleet Gothic: Concept Art - Eldar Crew & Ships," by Jes Goodwin, pp. 29-31