- "We are the hawks of mighty Kurnous. We are the blade that strikes swift and true. We soar upon the the winds of war and pierce our prey with talons of flame. Through mastery of the skies do we win mastery of the ground, and thus mastery of all."
- — Battle mantra of the Crimson Hunters
The Crimson Hunters are amongst the most unusual of the Aeldari Aspect Warriors. Their ritual wargear is not blade or sidearm, but instead a sleek aerial fighter that represents the pinnacle of Aeldari aeronautics.
These formidable aircraft, known as Nightshade Interceptors, are just as much a part of the Crimson Hunter's battlegear as the Howling Banshees' Power Sword or the Dire Avengers' Shuriken Catapult. Their lethality, however, is measured on a different scale altogether.
The Crimson Hunters are few in number, though their Aspect Shrines are becoming ever more widespread amongst the Aeldari Craftworlds. These temples to Khaela Mensha Khaine, the Aeldari God of War, are unlike any other. They are not buildings or landscapes at all but tunnel-linked collections of transparent atriums that float around the periphery of their Craftworlds like archipelagos at the edge of a vast landmass.
During the breakneck battles that take place in these shrines, the weapons of the Crimson Hunters are set to illuminate rather than to pierce, for the Nightshade Interceptor has been designed specifically to hunt down and destroy aircraft of any kind -- even those of the Drukhari. A single beam of light can be the difference between victory and defeat, though it is said that the reflexes of a Crimson Hunter are so preternaturally sharp that they can evade even these.
By training every night against their own kind -- in essence, the most gifted fighter pilots in the galaxy -- the proud warriors of the Crimson Hunters ensure that the act of destroying the aircraft of the "lesser races" is a simple exercise that proves their inherent superiority over the sluggish would-be pilots that pollute the skies of the universe.
The Crimson Hunters embody the war god Khaine's ability to leave a more powerful foe reeling and ready for slaughter. Soaring through the air in a blur of colour, they hunt down and destroy the aircraft of the foe, ensuring total air superiority so that the ungainly bulk of the enemy army is left blinded and slow to react. Once the pinpoint strikes of the Crimson Hunters have ensured the enemy army is ripe for destruction, the barbaric horde is taken apart at leisure by the rest of the Aeldari warhost.
- "Look not to where your enemy is, but where he is not. Find the chink in his armour, then tear it wide with a single, mighty shot."
- — Taelorian, Crimson Hunter Exarch, before the Vhorda Massacre
Crimson Hunter Exarchs are very similar to the standard warriors of their Aspect, save that they fly Nightshade Interceptors that have been modified to carry heavier Laser Weapons, including two Starcannons in place of the standard complement of two Bright Lances.
A Crimson Hunter Exarch is known to possess uncanny night vision and to generally be an even more accurate marksman when behind the controls of his fighter craft than a standard Crimson Hunter combat pilot.
- Nightshade Interceptor - The Nightshade Interceptor is a potent Aeldari fighter that is equipped with the following weaponry:
- 2 Bright Lances - Aeldari Laser Weapons use psychically-grown crystals to refine their already intense bursts of coherent light to their optimum potency. Many Aeldari consider the laser weapon the most elegant of all, exulting in the fact that their technological mastery extends even to light itself. Some heavier Aeldari Laser Weapons are calibrated to send out a staccato series of blasts, whilst others narrow their focus to such a degree that they can pierce any armour, no matter the thickness. The Bright Lance is one such Aeldari Laser Weapon and the equivalent of the Imperium's Lascannon. It operates the same way, firing a concentrated blast of coherent light capable of destroying enemy vehicles, though the Bright Lance is far more efficient thanks in part to the use of psychically-grown Aeldari crystals. It is also more accurate than an Imperial Lascannon, making armour below a certain thickness redundant.
- Pulse Laser - The Pulse Laser is a highly advanced Aeldari Laser Weapon capable of firing a stream of powerful laser bolts. Compared to the Bright Lance, it has a higher rate of fire and longer range, though at the expense of penetrative power.
- 2 Starcannons (Crimson Hunter Exarch Only) - The Adepts of the Imperium of Man have never really harnessed the full power of Plasma Weapons technology; only the Aeldari have truly mastered its potential. To the Aeldari, it is further testament to the idiocy of Man that he has created a weapon that frequently maims or even kills its wielder. The sophisticated Starcannons of the Aeldari have no such flaws. Each weapon's plasma core produces the incandescent heat of a star, but sophisticated electromagnetic containment fields ensure that the weapon's exterior remains cool to the touch. A Crimson Hunter Exarch may replace his Nightshade Interceptor's Bright Lances with the more potent Starcannons.
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pp. 39, 62-63
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