"The howling scream of Hemlock's passege... once heard, it can never be forgotten. Every night it echoes in my mind like a trapped soul; I know I will carry it to my grave. It was a sound of pure anguish, of the dead torn from their rest to terrify the living."
- — Illithrys Goldmane, Everguard of Alaitoc
The Hemlock Wraithfighter is an Eldar psychically-empowered fighter aircraft. The Hemlock Wraithfighter is the subject of much controversy among the Craftworlds, for it is a weapon of utmost terror. To use such a device is to teeter on the brink of atrocity. Only the most dire of circumstances could force the Eldar to employ such an abhorrent device, and those who do so have a stain upon their soul that is not easily erased. Yet the Autarchs know that they have little option -- they must use every weapon in their quest for survival.
The Hemlock blends the psychic abilities of its Spiritseer pilot with the sinister gestalt energies of the Eldar dead. The co-pilots of these uncanny devices are not living beings at all but Spirit Stones that contain the essences of the departed Eldar. Just as the Ghost Warriors that accompany the Eldar warhosts to battle are inhabited by the spectres of the past, the Hemlock has a psychically reactive wraithbone core that functions much like a miniature Infinity Circuit, thrumming with the essence of the otherworld. The spirits within the Hemlock's hull can operate the aircraft's basic functions should the pilot be rendered senseless, which is just as well given the constant mental strain of sharing a weapon-shell with the brotherhood of the departed. Each Spiritseer pilot risks being driven slowly insane by the whispering voices within his Hemlock or, after communing with his spectral co-pilots one time too many, having his spirit forever join the ghosts within the craft and leaving behind nothing more than an empty husk.
A herald of woe, the Hemlock Wraithfighter's presence claws at the minds of the foe long before they hear the aircraft's engines or see its foreboding shape. The aircraft moves with terrifying grace and speed, appearing to those on the ground as a flickering phantom darting through the pall that rises above the battlefield. As the Spiritseer pilot manoeuvres the craft, his mind sifts the disembodied thoughts of his spectral co-pilot just as his mortal senses scan the horizon for foes. No creature is safe from the Hemlock, not human, nor daemon, nor monstrous beast.
- Two Heavy D-Scythes - Distortion Scythes, commonly abbreviated D-Scythes, are a form of Eldar Vortex Weapon. Considered to be taboo weapon among the Eldar, a D-Scythe can force the soul of its target from their physical body and banish it into the Warp, a truly frightful proposition for the Eldar. When fired, a D-Scythe emits no visible blast and leaves behind no damage, save the suddenly lifeless corpse of its target. D-Scythes are normally wielded by Wraithguards in place of a Wraithcannon. The Eldar call the act of separating the spirit from its body "Cutting of the Crone's Cord", for in Eldar Mythology a strand ties the soul of a being to its material form in realspace. Ancient tradition has it that only the Eldar Crone Goddess Morai-Heg herself has the right to sever this connection, for a mortal doing so would be taking on the rightful role of a god. However, due to the desperate situation of the Eldar Craftworlds, increasingly pragmatic Autarchs are calling for more regular deployment of these once-taboo weapons. The D-Scythes are considered so fiendish that no living Eldar is expected to wield them; instead that is a role for the spirits of the dead, such as the Wraithguard and the spirits who help to fly the Wraithfighter. Heavy D-Scythes are simply a more potent version of the D-Scythe commonly mounted under the wings of Hemlock Wraithfighters. Originally designed to sever the psychic link between Tyranids and the Hive Mind, these powerful weapons can even scramble the electronic engrams of mechanical beings such as the Necrons.
- Mindshock Pod - This psychic weapon pod emplaced under the cockpit of a Hemlock Wraithfighter allows the Eldar pilot within to use his natural psychic powers to project the cold aura of the Spirit Stone dead who accompany him against the foe, degrading their ability to pilot their own craft.
The rune in the Eldar Lexicon for the Hemlock Wraithfighter bears the horns of the Hunter of Fates atop the skeletal symbol of the Revenant-Brought-to-Life. It is the same rune used for the Cutting of the Crone's Cord, an act by which a warrior severs the connection between body and soul -- and in doing so risks the wrath of the Eldar Crone Goddess Morai-Heg's own shade, for such is the work of a god, not a mortal.
Ordo Xenos Departmento Analyticus Technical Specifications
- Codex: Craftworld Eldar (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pg. 78
- Codex: Craftworld Eldar (6th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 80-81, 109
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pg. 52
- Games Workshop Hemlock Wraithfighter