Cegorach, also known as the Laughing God, as well as the "Great Harlequin," the "Great Fool" and the "First Fool," is one of the gods of Eldar Mythology and the central figure of the Eldar Harlequins' belief. Alone among the Aeldari gods, Cegorach is believed to have survived the Fall of the Eldar and escaped the fate of the rest of the Aeldari pantheon, who were consumed by She Who Thirsts.
According to legend, this Aeldari deity survived because his mocking nature distanced him from the collective psychic corruption and decadence of the ancient Aeldari Empire whose reflection in the Empyrean eventually became the Chaos God Slaanesh. Unknown to the Aeldari, Cegorach is in actuality one of three Eldar Gods to have survived the Fall; the other two being Isha, who is held captive in the Garden of Nurgle in the Realm of Chaos within the Warp, and the War God Kaela Mensha Khaine, who lives on as a fractured collective gestalt through his Avatars within the Infinity Circuits of the Eldar Craftworlds.
Aeldari myth explains that, while Slaanesh fought with Khaine, the Laughing God escaped into the Webway and hid amongst its myriad tunnels. These tales suggest that he remains there still, unassailable, laughing at the Chaos Gods as he hatches bitter plans for revenge. It is believed that he is the only being in existence who knows every single path through the Labyrinth Dimension of the Webway. This might explain how his disciples possess such an intimate knowledge of its twists and turns, for the Harlequins walk the Webway without fear, appearing and disappearing at will.
So well versed are they in the Webway's secret routes that many other Aeldari have credited the servants of the Laughing God with supernatural powers. There are those who claim that Cegorach walks amongst his children from time to time, wearing the disguise of an anonymous Harlequin Player. Whatever the truth of such tales, the Laughing God's is the only authority that the Harlequins recognise as they fight their wars and perform their mythic dances across the void and for all the Aeldari factions in his name.
Cegorach is the Aeldari god of deception, stealth, creativity, art and trickery. It was he who tricked the Outsider into eating other C'tan according to Eldar legend during the War in Heaven between the Old Ones and the Necrontyr millions of Terran years ago. Those Aeldari who follow him, known as the Harlequins, are protected from Slaanesh's eternal thirst for Aeldari souls in a different way from their Craftworld brethren. While Craftworld Eldar wear Spirit Stones which absorb their souls when they die to prevent them from being devoured by Slaanesh once they enter the Warp, the Aeldari Harlequins are directly protected by their faith in their god's power, becoming one with his own Warp emanation upon their death. The only exception to this are the Harlequin Solitaires whose souls must be won from Slaanesh after their deaths by the Laughing God.
The Laughing God should not be confused with the C'tan called the Deceiver. There are a pair of stories in Eldar Mythology about the Laughing God and the Deceiver which sometimes cause this confusion. In one, the Laughing God tricks the Outsider into eating many other C'tan, driving him insane. In the other, the Deceiver consumed several C'tan to increase his own power and convinced the Nightbringer and the Void Dragon to do likewise. Neither of these C'tan, nor the Deceiver, were driven insane.
There is a more obvious difference between the Laughing God and the Deceiver. The Laughing God was created by the collective psychic belief of the ancient Aeldari impacting the psychically reactive energies of the Immaterium, in the same way as were Kaela Mensha Khaine, Isha and all the other Aeldari gods, and as such Cegorach is an entity of the Warp. This is supported by his ability to compete for Aeldari souls with Slaanesh. The Deceiver is a C'tan, a Necron Star God, a sentient being of solely physical matter whose natural environment lies at the core of stars in realspace. A C'tan is a creature purely of the material universe; it has no soul and thus no emanation in the dimension of the Empyrean. The mysteries of the Immaterium are beyond the comprehension of the C'tan, who find the energies of the Warp to be inimical to their existence and are thus extremely vulnerable to the use of all psychic powers.
The Final Act
In recent years, the Harlequins' war against Chaos has been characterised by a newfound urgency. Full Masques have become an ever more common sight among the stars. Appearing from the Webway, they can be found performing within the realms of their Aeldari, Exodite or Drukhari kin or battling the galaxy's disparate intelligent races in vicious campaigns of apparently random violence. As the 41st Millennium of the Terran calendar comes to a close, more and more Aeldari of every faction vanish into the Webway, forsaking their former lives to take up the Harlequin's mask. The Harlequins' numbers are growing, and many among the Aeldari wonder why.
The truth is inspirational and terrifying in equal measure. At the very heart of the secret Craftworld that lies deep within the most hidden reaches of the Webway, the so-called Black Library, there lies a silver-lit vault. Therein stands a plinth made of finely graven obstinite, upon which rests a crystalline book said to contain the words of Cegorach himself. Since the Fall, the tome's covers have remained closed, sealed shut with flickering chains of light. Yet now, long-awaited portents have come to pass. A fallen Sorcerer seeks the lore of the library. A king stirs in his court of death and silence, preparing to rise once more. Within madness' eye, the Champion of the Ruinous Powers prepares to seize a realm long denied. As the signs of the Rhana Dandra have come to pass, so the bands of light about the tome have flickered and died.
Now, at last, the tome has fallen open. Within its pages the Shadowseers have found a script, a secret final act that changes utterly the tale of the Fall. Penned in inks of light and shadow, these words present a slender hope, detailing an intricate, galaxy-spanning performance with the potential to change the fate of the Aeldari race. Always, the strands of fate have pointed toward the victory of Chaos during the last, mythic battle of Creation known to the Eldar as the Rhana Dandra. Yet within the pages of the crystal tome is recorded Cegorach's ultimate jest, a way to trick Slaanesh into expending all her power not to destroy the Aeldari, but to save them.
How such an impossibility could come to pass is unclear, for on this matter the final act is infuriatingly vague. Yet the Harlequins take their god's words on faith alone, for their devotion to Cegorach is total and his methods beyond question or reproach. Thus they have begun the steps of this final dance, and will see it completed, or else face absolute destruction in the attempt.
Some Aeldari artefacts are items of incredible rarity, ancient treasures that are carefully maintained and stored within the Black Library by the Harlequins and the other Aeldari faithful of the Laughing God. Representing the barbed gift given in jest by the Laughing God to the Aeldari Crone Goddess Morai-Heg, Cegorach's Rose contains thorned monofilaments of shadowsilk. Existing in the penumbra between realspace and the Labyrinth Dimension of the Webway, these shadowsilk strands bypass even the thickest armour as though it did not exist. Once within the body of the victim, the Rose's threads uncoil, a blossom of molecule-thin blades unfurling at the end of each. Thus, the foe is slain instantly as a thicket of bloody, bladed roses bursts forth within their chest.
- Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), pg. 12
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pg. 48
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pp. 46-47
- Codex: Harlequins (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 3, 9, 15, 21, 23, 30, 34, 43, 46, 48, 68, 70, 120, 215
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium (2nd Edition), pg. 184
- 'Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pg. 120