"The air was the cleanest I had ever breathed, and I knew at that moment I had found a planet unlike any other I had ever set foot upon. And it would be mine for the taking."
- — Rogue Trader Maxellian Vor
Recently discovered by Mankind, Forraliss is quickly becoming a destination for the Imperial elite in the Askellon Sector. An immaculate Garden World, it hides a deep secret beneath its pristine surface and is home to far more than the recent colonists who have come to call it home.
With its perfectly blue skies, vast untouched forests, crystal clear lakes, majestic mountains, and year-round temperate climate, Forraliss is a world of beauty crafted as if from the mind of an artist. Many are awestruck upon first laying eyes on this gem, unable to speak as they search for words to describe what they are witnessing. Painters and authors sponsored by wealthy patrons flock to the planet, inspired by its grandeur, to compose their works.
Master sculptors from Vouxis Prime have used the beauty of the world to inspire their works on many occasions, when they could gain access to the world. The faithful of the Imperial Cult believe this to be a paradise, given to them by the Emperor’s guiding hand while the unscrupulous and undesirable see the planet as an untapped resource, waiting for exploitation.
Dark secrets lie beneath the surface of this pristine planet, however, secrets that can spell doom for those who now call Forraliss home. This world once belonged to the Aeldari, and they are intent on retaking what was once theirs. Advance forces of these aliens have arrived and established hidden outposts across the planet, enabling them to observe the human colonists and any others who trespass on their ancient grounds.
Forraliss was once known as Geelsynal to the Aeldari who came to this part of space tens of thousands of years ago. A young world, barren but brimming with primordial life, the Aeldari used their vast technology to terraform the planet into a paradise, a Maiden World. This process would take thousands of years to complete but the Aeldari were a patient race, intent on establishing viable colonies for future generations.
Millennia after their initial seeding, the Aeldari returned to Geelsynal. By then, the planet was the paradise it still is today and a colony was quickly established. This settlement was dedicated to knowledge, founded by a group of Aeldari Seers who wished to study the arts of wraithbone crafting and other pursuits away from their brethren. While the depredations of the Aeldari grew in other parts of the galaxy, those few on Geelsynal, numbering only in the thousands, lived in peace and harmony with their planet. Wondrous constructs of sweeping wraithbone spanned areas of the planet and delved deep beneath the surface. In a grand cavern under the world’s largest mountain, a Webway portal allowed the seers and their servants to maintain connections with the Aeldari homeworlds, supplying their wares and innovations back to their kin. This eventually led to their undoing.
When The Fall came, terror erupted from the webway. The birth of Slaanesh echoed throughout the known universe, and the webway amplified this greatly. The Aeldari of Geelsynal attempted to bar the portal and make their escape in ships by collapsing the mountain down around the cavern. Many of the seers died in the escape from the planet, but in the end they managed to bury the webway and flee. Over the next ten thousand years, the world reclaimed the lands that had been coveted by the Aeldari, and all traces of their time on Geelsynal faded away. In their haste, however, the Aeldari left behind a number of hidden caches of artefacts, buried deep in long abandoned workshops.
Over the ensuing millennia, Geelsynal faded in and out of accessibility due to the Pandaemonium's activity. The few ships that did discover the world went to great lengths to hide its existence, intent on preserving its beauty and luxury for themselves. Forty-five years ago, while travelling rimward at the edge of the Asphodel Depths, Rogue Trader Maxellian Vor’s ship, The Indomitable Will, was thrown off course and battered by particularly strong Warp currents. His vessel rode the turbulent waves, finally translating to realspace in an area not recorded on the local charts. A gleaming planet loomed before the ship and Vor made his way towards it, anxious for a place to use as a port of call to effect much needed repairs.
The world the Rogue Trader found was unlike any he had ever set foot on in his century and a half of exploration. Pristine conditions, temperate climates, abundant water, and more covered the unclaimed planet. Maxellian Vor claimed Forraliss, named for his daughter Forra, in the name of the Emperor and the Imperium. Over the next decade, Vor kept Forraliss to himself, with only his crew privy to its whereabouts. The world became his personal retreat, a place for him and his trusted crewmembers to spend when they were not conducting the Emperor’s business. Vor explored areas of the planet when he had the opportunity, always intent on uncovering this paradise’s secrets. After a dozen expeditions did not yield anything of value, Vor then turned his attention towards colonisation.
Forraliss was not to be a standard colony world for the Imperium. Maxellian Vor is always concerned with profit above all else, so to make sure that the world was a source of constant revenue, he decided to create a colony that would cater to the rich and powerful of Askellon. A world as luxurious as Forraliss would command a great deal of prestige and power as a pleasure world where the nobility and other wealthy individuals could travel. A colony was established to cater to these people, and within less than twenty years Forraliss became one of Askellon’s most sought after—yet still obscured enough to intrigue the elite—destinations.
While primarily a pleasure planet, there are economic opportunities on Forraliss. Even though the fertile soil was prime for agriculture, Vor did not want to turn his hidden gem into another overly farmed Agri-World. Instead, he focused on the large herds of shaggy beasts that were indigenous to the planet—the rothal. The Rogue Trader quickly established a number of ranches far from any settled areas (as to not disturb his high-paying customers) and began exporting rothal throughout the sector.
The Rogue Trader established his four ranches across the southern half of the largest continent, allowing the herd animals a great deal of freedom to roam and graze. The tens of thousands of animals housed across these locations provide a smell that most find intolerable, and visitors to the ranches regularly wear rebreathers. The local workers find this amusing and have grown almost immune to the stench (and all other smells in addition). The attached processing plants are able to skin and process the beasts for food exportation in minutes, with very little waste. These massive machines are very dangerous and it has been reported that a number of accidents have taken place here, a fact that Vor considers minor compared to the profits the rothal bring to him.
It was also discovered that the large, docile fish known as kallaida, found in many of the lakes and streams, produced delicious eggs that soon became a favourite of travellers to Forraliss. Unbeknownst to them though, these eggs contained an addictive element. The Rogue Trader’s Magos-Biologists discovered this fact after an incident where a patron lashed out at a number of staff over quantities of the delicacy. Vor began to regulate the amount produced, quickly driving up the price as well as guaranteeing a steady customer base. Unknown to Vor, one of his henchmen has begun selling the eggs on his own in an attempt to establish his own power base. If this trade takes off as he plans, it will allow him to separate from the Rogue Trader and establish his own way.
Travel to and from Forraliss is steady, but limited to a select clientele that Maxellian Vor and his trusted advisors fully control. Due to these restrictions and the world’s continued obscurity, standard Imperial Navy ships do not monitor the planet. This has worked out well for smugglers and other individuals who have discovered Forraliss and begun using the world for their own ends. These circumstances have also proven fortuitous to the Aeldari, who have returned to their former world to reclaim pieces of the past.
Whispered rumours that few take seriously say Aeldari have come to Forraliss seeking relics of their time here. A small contingent arrived recently and has supposedly taken up a remote position. Utilising their superior technology, they have established an outpost in a series of caves deep in the mountains. From here, they are conducting their search for their lost artefacts.
These Aeldari are possessed by a vision that drives their designs. Portents tell of the destruction that can be wrought with Aeldari technology in the hands of lesser races, and they are determined to prevent that here. If prevention requires the extermination of the humans on the planet, so be it. Many inhabitants have reported strange lights in the sky at night, as well as shadows at the corner of the eye always gone when looked at directly. A pervasive feeling of being watched has made a number of recent visitors anxious about their stay on the world, potentially hurting future tourism.
The sweeping vistas and beautiful landscapes are not the only things Forraliss holds. There are long lost, hidden parts of the planet unknown to humans that hold great danger and riches:
- Crystal Vault - On an island in the Northern Sea, a solitary mountain rises above the waves. Deep inside, unknown to all on Forraliss, is an ancient vault containing artefacts from dozens of races. This is the location of the treasures that Aeldari and Drukhari alike are desperate to find, but have so far been unsuccessful. The entrance is invisible to not only to the naked eye, but also all known scanning devices. To anyone looking at the mountain, it is nothing but sheer rock. The only way to open the door to the passages leading deep into the mountain requires an ancient, wraithbone key that has been lost for millennia. This key, it is said, reveals the entrance to the complex within, where the Vault lies at its heart. None of the Aeldari have uncovered any information about the key as of yet, though the search continues.
- Ebon Star - Aeldari spirit stones are used to trap the souls of the dead, saving them from eternal destruction at the hands of Slaanesh. At times, large stones are created to contain particularly powerful individuals upon their deaths. The Eye of Night was created to hold the soul of a Farseer of great strength, allowing him to live on after death. This great gem vanished thousands of years ago, a fact that distressed the Aeldari greatly. Some believe the Drukhari, whose dark arts tortured and twisted the soul within, took it. Stories of a cursed gemstone, black as night, have circulated throughout the Askellon Sector for many centuries, and there are some who believe this to be the long lost spirit stone.
- Five Hundred - Ancient legends of the Aeldari tell of a vast collection of Wraithguard slumbering in a long-lost cavern. These legends have made their way to other races, and the tales of an unstoppable army able to be controlled by an individual with the proper tools has proven quite popular among the unsavoury and power hungry.
- Geelsynal Webway Portal - Deep within the planet, the webway portal which once connected the Aeldari world of Geelsynal to the rest of the empire still exists, buried inside a vast cave mere kilometres from the human settlements on Forraliss. At times, the portal fluctuates, opening for moments. This is all that is needed for unwelcome visitors to enter realspace, as the portal is damaged and no longer connects to the greater Aeldari Webway, but directly into the madness of the Warp. At times, visitors have spoken in hushed whispers of strange dreams and nightmares filled with darkness and alien technology. This information is not widely spread, for fear of the Inquisition and being branded a heretic.
- Dark Heresy: Enemies Without (2nd Edition) (RPG), pp. 76-78