- "That creatures exist with both the mass of the leviathan and the grace of the hawk on the wing is a testament to the necessity of the holy efforts of the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos."
A Harridan (Avius terriblis), also known as the Brooding Mother, is the largest flying Tyranid bioform the Imperium of Man has yet encountered in its bitter war against that inter-galactic alien menace. Circling high above, soaring on the warm thermals of battle on its great outstretched leathery wings, the Harridan waits patiently before diving down over the battlefield, strafing its foes with bio-cannons or swooping low to rake a tank with its two massive claws, or snapping its massive fanged jaws around an infantryman. The Harridan's fearsome armament means it is capable of attacking just about any target, and the high-speed impact of its two main claws are capable of punching through just about any armour.
Many Magi Biologis have noted that Harridans have been encountered in a variety of sizes. Some are huge, upwards of 30 metres in length with a wingspan of 40 metres, while other Harridans, far smaller in size, have also been identified. The reason for this is unknown. The Harridan has no legs or feet and because of this it has been theorised that once airborne, a Harridan can never land, spending its entire life soaring high. Other Xeno-biologists believe that the creature is capable of landing and slithering on its belly, like a snake, but as yet neither theory has been proven. On Beta Anphelion IV Inquisitor Lok's forces encountered at least two Harridans, when the creatures conducted a devastating surprise aerial attack against the Elysian Drop Troops' landing fields. The two creatures destroyed or damaged almost all the Elysian aircraft, in a deliberate attempt to cripple the Drop Troops' mobility. The anti-aircraft defences for the landing ground proved insufficient to stop the Harridans.
In 814.M41, Deathwatch forces fighting to cleanse Herisor of the Tyranid menace reported devastating initial losses due in large part to attacks from Harridans and associated Gargoyles. While the smaller flyers distracted ground troops with swooping attacks and strafing runs, the Harridans crippled Imperial aircraft, thereby preventing effective air-transport of ground troops. It is well known throughout the Orpheus Salient that less than half of the Space Marines who fought on Herisor survived. Many of the those who fell in these battles lost their lives to Tyranid Harridans.
Being a living creature and relying upon wings rather than jet engines, the Harridan cannot match an aircraft for straight line speed, but its lithe, twisting body is far more manoeuvreable, allowing it to twist and turn to avoid enemy fighters or ground fire. A Harridan lacks the speed to dogfight effectively with Imperial flyers, although Imperial pilots' after action reports tell tales of Harridans intercepting aircraft that fly too close, or of them sacrificing themselves in suicidal mid-air collisions that destroys both the aircraft and the Harridan.
Harridans seem to act as brood mothers to smaller Gargoyles. A brood of as many as 20 Gargoyles can cling to the belly of the Harridan who acts as a “carrier” of sorts to transport the smaller Tyranid flyers, who, according to many experts, are incapable of long-distance flight. With a Gargoyle brood attached a Harridan's belly appears to constantly writhe with hideous clusters of scaly limbs and leather wings, writhing over the mother's skin and chitinous armour plates. As the Harridan soars over the battlefield the Gargoyles will detach themselves and flap off to attack the enemy. When Harridans gather for a large attack, swarms of Gargoyles will usually darken the skies around them.
Ordo Xenos Departmento Analyticus Data
|Designation||Harridan||Main Weaponry||2 Bio-Cannons|
|Common Title||Brood Mother|
|Species Name||Avius terriblis||Secondary Weaponry||2 Scything Claws|
|Average Height||29 metres|
|Average Weight||64.2 tonnes||Tertiary Weaponry||Claws and Fangs|
|Role||Air Superiority||Known Genus Mutations||None Known|
- Deathwatch: The Jericho Reach (RPG), pg. 177
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, pp. 86-87
- Forge World - Tyranid Harridan