An Avatar is the spirit of an Eldar God in a material form, usually the Eldar God of War Kaela Mensha Khaine, though the term can actually apply to any divine entity of the Warp that has found some way to take on a corporeal form.
It is said that after the birth of the Chaos God Slaanesh during the Fall of the Eldar in the 29th Millennium, she fought and killed the ancient Eldar Gods one-by-one in the Immaterium. But the God of Blood, Violence and Death, Khaela Mensha Khaine, was too strong to be destroyed forever. So Khaine's spirit fled the Warp and found refuge dispersed among the Infinity Circuits of the Eldar's Craftworlds. The fragments of his spirit can be summoned in times of great danger by the Eldar from the Infinity Circuit where it rests to inhabit a physical body that will fight on their behalf. These are the Avatars, a single fragment of a true Eldar God. The Eldar call forth the Avatar in times of dire need by sacrificing an Exarch to Kaela Mensha Khaine on the eve of battle. The Avatar becomes a fiery, animated manifestation of the God and leads the Eldar armies into battle.
Imperium of Man
While only the Eldar have actually made use of physical Avatars to date, the Thorian faction of the Inquisition searches for the Avatar of the Emperor of Mankind who they believe actually will be born somewhere in the galaxy at the time of the greatest need for the human race among the teeming billions of the Imperium of Man. There are numerous factions within the Adeptus Mechanicus, including the Khamrians, who pursue the forbidden science of artificial, or "abominable" intelligence. The Omnissiads of the Cult Mechanicus seek to summon the Machine God into an Avatar called the Omnissiah. In the early days of the Great Crusade, the Emperor of Mankind was recognized as the Omnissiah by the leaders of the Adeptus Mechanicus, prompting the Treaty of Mars and the alliance of the Cult Mechanicus with the nascent Imperium of Man.
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