"I can show you a portal that can take you to a special place. There you will experience pleasure without conscience, delights without boundaries. There you will find wealth without working, gratifications beyond count. Won't you come with me?"
- —Siren song of Sha'ris, Deacon of Lust
Of all the Chaos Gods, it is Slaanesh whose desires and practises are most like those of a mortal ruler, and to this end it surrounds itself with a court to attend and entertain it. Made up of the immortal and the immoral alike, only those in great favour are given the honour of basking in Slaanesh's presence.
The more privileged a Daemonette is -- the more she pleases the Dark Prince -- the closer to its throne she is allowed to approach, and the most favoured of all such Lesser Daemons of Slaanesh are instilled with a greater measure of its divine power. These are the handmaidens, fastest and most deadly of Slaanesh's courtesans, creatures of impossible grace and horrifying cruelty.
Also known as the Heralds of Slaanesh, these Daemons are more powerful than their sisters, and are allowed free reign within the Palace of Pleasure in the Dark Prince's Realm in the Realm of Chaos. The greatest of their kind are even privileged enough to ascend Slaanesh's dais, where they feed their twisted patron sweetmeats and stroke its body with their oiled claws.
"Hope, love, hate. All are but desire by other names. Thus it is that desire is always foremost amongst the concerns of mortals, and through their desires we shall lead them into our benighted paradise."
- —Proclamations of Elsand'daa'arai
When they are not reclining around their master's throne, the Heralds of Slaanesh serve the god in other ways. Primarily, the handmaidens act as lieutenants in the Dark Prince's Legions of Excess, leading the Lesser Daemons of the legions' constituent cavalcades to fulfil the desires of each legion's ruling Keeper of Secrets.
There are a number of titles borne by the Heralds of Slaanesh, such as "Artisan of Pain," "Abbess of Avarice," or a "High Bacchante of Glut." Whatever the epithet, a Slaaneshi Herald is a beacon of depravity, and wherever she goes, she whips the other minions of the Dark Prince into a hedonistic furore, inspiring them to new heights of depravity.
To them, battle is but an ongoing dance, and the Heralds are accomplished choreographers and performers both; on the battlefield, they cast agonising psychic powers to render their foes insensate and inspire them to give in to their deepest needs, before nimbly falling upon them with bladed limbs. Some are known to go into battle riding Seeker Chariots.
While they are masterful warriors and leaders, it is also to these depraved creatures that the Lord of Excess entrusts its more subtle machinations -- such as acting as temptresses within the varied circles of torment that surround the Pleasure Palace in the Realm of Chaos, or seducing weak-willed mortals to their god's cause -- as of all Slaanesh's Daemons, they are most sensitive to the delicacy that the Dark Prince's ploys require on occasion.
With promises of glory and self-fulfillment, the Herald twists the aspirations and ambitions of her prey into self-obsession, paranoia and madness, luring the victim onto the indulgent road towards self-destruction and the furtherance of the Dark Prince's desires.
An Infernal Enrapturess, also called a "Muse of Agony," a "Bringer of Discord" and a "Herald of the Choir Infernal," are Heralds of Slaanesh who play harps made from their victims' bodies.
Playing the harp during battles allows an Enrapturess to bolster the summoning of her brethren and send out sonic waves that shred her enemies.
Notable Heralds of Slaanesh
- The Masque of Slaanesh - The Masque of Slaanesh is the most infamous Daemonette to have ever plagued the sentient creatures of the galaxy. Once the Chaos God Slaanesh's favoured dancer and chief handmaiden, she was cast out by her master, and cursed to forever dance through the Materium and Immaterium alike. The Masque has turned this curse into a potent weapon, forcing any being she manages to seduce with her hypnotic dance to join her performance until the unfortunate soul drops dead from exhaustion.
- Lustfury - Lustfury, Queen of Avarice, is a Herald of Slaanesh who was part of a daemonic invasion of an Aeldari Maiden World after it was caught in a Warp Storm. Unfortunately for the Daemons, the Harlequins of the Masque of the Laughing Circus discovered the world's plight and brought the forces of the Craftworld Saim-Hann and the Drukhari of Commorragh to save the Maiden World. However, the Daemons proved victorious and defeated the Aeldari, with Lustfury personally slaying many before the daemonic legions proceeded to then wreak havoc on the now-defenceless Maiden World.
- The Devil-in-the-Bush - The Devil-in-the-Bush was a Herald of Slaanesh defeated during the Geratomran Reconquest of 398.M41. After having leeched sufficient force to subsist on the material plane from an unidentified psyker who happened to be the niece of Geratomro's planetary governor, the Devil-in-the-Bush proceeded to corrupt the governor's family and the planet's nobility to the worship of Slaanesh. As the planet had already declared its freedom from the Imperium before the Herald's intervention and was fighting the forces of the Astra Militarum, the Devil-in-the-Bush summoned its allies from the Emperor's Children Traitor Marines and led the enthralled Geratomran nobles in foul rituals of hedonistic pleasure to open a Warp rift on Geratomro which would allow legions of Daemonettes to join the fight. These efforts were thwarted by a Black Templars Emperor's Champion and the crew of the Shadowsword Lux Imperator of the 7th Paragonian Super Heavy Tank Company.
- Mistress Azaela - Mistress Azaela is an Infernal Enrapturess and the leader of Maidens of Torment from the Slithertine Legion. Her cavalcade is composed of six Daemonette packs. When the Keeper of Secrets Kruult takes to the battlefield, he is accompanied by the Maidens of Torment. During the invasion of Cadia, they grew bored with slaughtering the Imperial defenders and sought out a tallyband of the Great Unclean One Slogoth Poxbelly's Plague Legions. The Daemonettes that followed Mistress Azaela took special delight in fighting against the minions of Nurgle, adorning themselves with the still-warm trailing guts of Plaguebearers while cavorting across the corrupted and corpse-strewn battleground.
- Drizha the Impaler - Drizha the Impaler is the leader of the Impalitors from the Slithertine Legion. Her cavalcade is composed of three Daemonette packs, two Fiends of Slaanesh packs and an Exalted Seeker Chariot. They never stop slicing, even after their playthings die.
- Dryzla Lashlok - Dryzla Lashlok is the leader of the Promanade of Pain from the Slithertine Legion. Her cavalcade is composed of two Daemonette packs, two Seeker packs and two Hellflayers. This cavalcade is held in reserve, patiently awaiting the right moment to perform their devastating charge. On Macharia, it was they that broke through the defences of the governor's stronghold.
- Scylza the Eviscerator - Scylza the Eviscerator is the leader of the Eviscerators from the Slithertine Legion. Her cavalcade is composed of five Daemonette packs and one Seeker of Slaanesh pack. In every battle the Eviscerators attempt to out-slay their rivals, the cavalcade led by Mistress Azaela. Thus far they have not yet managed to dethrone Kruult's favoured sistren, but they will halt at nothing to gain the legion's commanding Keeper of Secrets' praise.
- Ssskri Ssskra - Ssskri Ssskra of the Glistening Claw is the leader of the Hellshriekers from the Slithertine Legion. Her cavalcade is composed of three Daemonette packs, a Seeker of Slaanesh pack, a Fiend of Slaanesh pack and a Hellflayer. Before beginning their orgy of violence, the Hellshriekers emit such banshee-like screeches of exultation that only the bravest of foes dare stand their ground against them. Such courage offers little protection in the slaughter to come.
- Syll Lewdtounge - Syll Lewdtounge was formerly an outcast of Slaanesh's court due to her habit of growing emotionally attached to the mortals she was tasked with corrupting. One such mortal was a slave by the name of Esske who Syll cared for and aided, so that he might acheive daemonhood. Despite his success Esske was still dismissed by Syll's peers due to his mortal origins. In response, the pair slaughtered those who mocked them and reached the throne of Slaanesh, whom they swore a pact before, binding the Daemon Herald and the Daemon Prince into a single entity known as Syll'Esske.
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (4th Edition), pp. 32-35, 51
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (6th Edition), pg. 58
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (8th Edition), pp. 63, 64, 100-101
- White Dwarf 392 (UK), "Battle Report: Eye of the Storm", pp. 46-57
- Shadowsword (Novel) by Guy Haley
- Warhammer Community - Pre-order Preview: Wrath and Rapture
- Realm of Chaos: Wrath and Rapture, Sourcebook, pg. 16 (Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Age of Sigmar Boxed Set)
- Warhammer Combat Cards - Mistress Azaela Card Description (Mobile Game)
- Warhammer Community - Slaanesh: the Lore