- "Though we travel in darkness, we steer ever towards the light."
Iyanden is an Asuryani Craftworld, the greatest worldship of the Aeldari Empire that was. It drifts through the stars of the eastern rim. Once, its halls were busy and vibrant with life, but no longer. Now, it is but a shadow of its former glory, a sombre and desolate vessel where the dead walk and the living dwindle. Its journey through the aeons has been blighted with disaster, however, and now it is a pallid reﬂection of the spacefaring power it once was. Large-scale raids by Chaos warﬂeets and the coming of the Ork WAAAGH! Rekkfist sorely tested the Craftworld's military strength, but it was the attack of Hive Fleet Kraken that proved Iyanden's doom.
Iyanden teeters on the brink of extinction after being invaded by the Kraken in 992.M41. Thousands upon thousands of its noble warriors fell in battle against the Great Devourer. A long and hard-fought space battle against the teeming bio-ships of the Tyranid ﬂeet was initially successful, and for a while, the Craftworlders dared to think their superior tactics and technology had carried the day. Then came another wave, and another, and another. Iyanden was all but overrun. Not a single bio-dome remained untouched by the skittering hordes of the Tyranid race.
On the verge of utter defeat, Iyanden was saved from extermination by the return of Prince Yriel, a gifted fleet commander exiled for his reckless tactics against a Chaos invasion many solar decades hence and his Eldritch Raiders. Despite his bitterness, Yriel was unable to watch his home be destroyed. His Eldar Corsair armada penetrated the Tyranid blockade, and ended the space-borne threat. The alien invaders had taken a terrible toll; fully nine-tenths of the Craftworld's populace had been slain before the last Tyranid was cut down.
The profound losses suffered by Iyanden have led to a reliance upon the Wraithbone constructs of its Ghost Halls that now form the backbone of the Craftworld's armies. Silent Ghost Warriors and other Wraithbone automata tower above Iyanden's remaining Guardians and Aspect Warriors, wielding the most powerful weaponry the Craftworld can provide. But such strength comes at a terrible price, for the Wraithbone constructs protecting Iyanden are inhabited by the departed spirits of Iyanden's dead. Were it not for the direst necessity, the Seers of Iyanden would leave their ancestors to rest. However, the fight for the survival of their Craftworld forces them to resurrect their dead and enlist them to fight once again. The Light in the Darkness, as Iyanden's world-rune is known, has come close to dying out altogether. There are those that would see it blaze bright before the end.
Asuryan is the oldest and greatest of the ancient Eldar deities. He is the father of the gods, the ancestor of all living things. As noted, the world-rune of the Iyanden Craftworld means "Light in the Darkness," a reference to the ever-burning shrine that honours Asuryan and the flame of hope for the Eldar of Iyanden.
The Light in the Darkness
The story of Iyanden echoes that of the Eldar race itself. It is a tale of greatness squandered through hubris, of valour subverted by arrogance and, perhaps, of a renaissance of glory yet to come. It is a story that began with the Fall of the Eldar -- the dying days of the Eldar empire, when Slaanesh's monstrous birth shattered their civilisation, and the survivors fled in disarray across the stars. Having barely survived the catastrophe, the Eldar of Iyanden did not long despair. Disaster fanned the flames of their arrogance where it had doused them in others.
Those who had survived the Fall had done so precisely because they had never succumbed to corruption, or so the Eldar of Iyanden said, and it was their duty to rebuild. In these early days of Slaanesh's existence, some on Iyanden's council even ventured opinion that the Dark Prince was an enemy that could be overcome, given time and the proper weapons. Though this ideology quickly faded when the scars Slaanesh left upon the Eldar psyche failed to heal, the dream of rebuilding the empire of the past never did.
Thus did the Seers of Iyanden harness ancient techniques of mysticism and science to recover the first Waystones from the Crone Worlds, and soon thereafter adapted the Infinity Circuit of their Сraftworld to be a conduit for the souls of the dead. Though Slaanesh's shadow could not be truly denied, the Dark Prince would at least have to work harder for his prizes in the years that followed. It was a small victory, but against a nemesis of such terrifying and indescribable power, there would only ever be small victories. And if a god could be thus thwarted, the Iyanden Eldar reasoned, then why could mortal foes not be similarly humbled? Driven by pride, Iyanden resolved to rebuild, not the Eldar empire of old, for that was long lost to them, but a new realm from which they would one day rule the galaxy once again. However, for this to be possible, the agents of Chaos would have to be banished from the galaxy.
Deeming this noble goal could be more swiftly achieved though unity of purpose, Iyanden sent emissaries through the Webway to other Сraftworlds. They shared with them the discoveries of the spirit stone and infinity circuit, and bade them join in their great work. Iyanden's Seers soon lamented, for though their discoveries were welcomed, their call to action fell upon deaf ears or encountered minds too closed to embrace the opportunity. Many Сraftworlds deemed their resources just barely sufficient to ensure their survival in a hostile galaxy, and would not indulge such grandiose plans. Other Сraftworlds -- Alaitoc and Ulthwé foremost amongst them -- claimed higher duties, ones that required them to focus their strength on the destruction of ancient enemies rather than rebuilding their own past. In the end, only the Eldar of Biel-Tan joined Iyanden's cause.
For thousands of years, Iyanden and Biel-Tan fought as inseparable allies, their distant Сraftworlds united by the common goal of defeating Chaos. Though the Eldar force were few, when considered on a galactic scale, their mastery of the Webway allowed their fleets and warhosts to span the stars with a speed and surety no other race could ever have hoped to match. As Biel-Tan purged the western arm, so did Iyanden drive the Forces of Chaos from the eastern rim, tirelessly defending the Exodites and Maiden Worlds they hoped would one day form the heart of a new civilisation. Then came the Tyranids. Iyanden had encountered such creatures before, but those had only been tendrils of the Hive Mind's awareness, groping blindly through space; now Iyanden stood exposed before the onset of an entire Hive Fleet. In their pride, the Eldar of Iyanden underestimated the threat. They believed that their might could weather even this storm, that their armies and fleets could vanquish the Great Devourer. Alas, they were terribly wrong.
In an eye blink, as the Eldar reckon existence, Iyanden Craftworld was reduced to ruin. The Сraftworld's armies and fleets were all but gone, destroyed by the relentless Tyranid advance. Countless billions were slain, whole families and bloodlines lost forever; the living were outnumbered many times over by the dead. Now Iyanden, whose people once dreamed of ancient glory restored, was left all but adrift upon the solar tides. Abandoned by Biel-Tan, whose own dream of an empire reborn suffers not stragglers, Iyanden's living looked to their dead for salvation; the Infinity Circuit had become the Craftworld's only hope. Roused from their dreamless slumbers and interred within mighty Wraithbone bodies, the spirits of the past must fight for Iyanden's future, and for its very survival.
The Rise of Iyanden
For several millennia following the Fall of the Eldar, Iyanden and Biel-Tan waged a joint war against the Forces of Chaos. Though the two Сraftworlds were separated by countless light years, the labyrinthine tunnels of the Webway allowed their forces to fight as one. Iyanden's graceful course had taken it far into the east, and so its armies focussed their efforts along the galactic rim. By contrast, the Swordwind of Biel-Tan descended most often to defend the scattered maiden worlds of the western spiral arm. Biel-Tan held that these planets, seeded with life before the Fall, held the key to the Eldar race's eventual ascension and sought to reclaim them. Together, Iyanden and Biel-Tan earned many thousands of victories, exterminating the forces of Chaos wherever they could. That the servants of the Dark Gods have never possessed a mighty stronghold on the eastern rim is a direct consequence of these times. The Farseers of Iyande focused their divinations on the servants of Chaos alone and, even though this blinded them to much else that occurred, they foresaw and crushed Chaos incursions before they gathered pace. In time, the Exodite worlds of the far-flung Ybaric Cluster joined Iyanden's cause, bringing with them knowledge long lost to the Eldar of the Сraftworlds and pledging many thousands of Dragon Knights to the struggle. With each triumph Iyanden won, the Eternal Flame in the Shrine of Asuryan burned ever brighter, fuelling the Сraftworld's determination to continue the fight.
An Alliance Sundered
Alas, it soon became clear that the Eldar of Biel-Tan fought not to defeat servants of the Dark Gods, but to humble all who barred the Eldar path to re-ascension. With every success, Biel-Tan grew more confident, and before long, they no longer limited themselves to the destruction of Chaos. Instead, Biel-Tan began to loose its fury against any alien-occupied planet the Eldar had once claimed. They took no pleasure in their victories, seeing them merely as the righteous eradication of vermin, growing ever more bitter each time they encountered a world in need of cleansing. Before long, the pact between Biel-Tan and Iyanden weakened and ran its course. Biel-Tan came to resent that Iyanden did not share its outrage at the primitives who squatted upon ancient Eldar worlds, and interpreted Iyanden's refusal to engage in such battles as an unwillingness to spill blood alongside its ally.
By contrast, the Iyanden Eldar saw little value in squandering strength on worlds they could not afford to re-colonise; nor did they hate the aliens so deeply as their Biel-Tan kin -- indeed, the Eldar of Iyanden pitied many of the aliens for their shortcoming. Though the alliance was never officially dissolved, joint campaigns between the two Сraftworlds became ever more infrequent until, one day, communications ceased altogether. Greater woes befell Iyanden when Warp storms by sending expeditions to the cluster through the Webway. Alas, none ever returned, and the Seer Council of Iyanden reluctantly gave up their Exodite allies for lost until such time as the Warp Storms abated.
No longer able to rely upon the aid of allies, Iyanden's accomplishments were curtailed in the decades that followed. Worse, the Farseers had greatly underestimated how far the influence of Chaos had run through the younger races. Mankind had been corrupted most of all, and even populous Iyanden lacked the numbers to provide more than a token opposition to humanity's spread. At first, Iyanden's council believed this to be an unorchestrated series of events, but in time, the Farseers were able to unveil the terrible truth; these uprising were guided by a singular genius. Zhemon, once a Space Marine of the Dark Angels Space Marine Legion, now a soul fallen into darkness, was manipulating insurrection and heresy on an unprecedented scale. As Zhemon's empire of anarchy spread, worlds that had been cleansed of Chaos influence now fell deeper under the sway of the Dark Gods than ever before, the incepted madness spreading like a plague.
The Dead are Summoned
Zhemon's puppetry was not aimed at harming Iyanden, rather it was an act of revenge against his own former masters, but understanding his motive was of little consolation to Iyanden's council, who foresaw Zhemon would undo their efforts of centuries in mere decades. Sensing that the labours of millennia were about to be undone, they turned to drastic measures. So it was that, after much weighty consideration, Iyanden's council ordered the Craftworld's Spiritseers to commune with the Infinity Circuit and rouse the dead to battle alongside the living. When the news of this decision reached Iyanden's populace, there was uproar; Eldar of all ranks and Paths flooded to the Place of Answering to voice their horrified objections. Awakening the Ghost Warriors had ever been a measure of last resort; to do so in any course other than survival was held by many Eldar to be a break with tradition and an abuse of their honoured dead. Only by reassuring the assembled masses that this sacrifice was necessary if the work of aeons was not to be undone, did the Council soothe this affront.
With its ranks reinforced by implacable ghost warriors, Iyanden soon knew fresh success. Chaos-tainted worlds were purged, Warp rifts were sealed and Zhemon's prophets and cultist rabbles were driven back. Alas, never had Iyanden faced an enemy whose forces were so widespread, and the Council began to fear that even with the ghost warriors, their forces might be insufficient to claim victory. Fortunately, the Craftworld did not have to confront Zhemon alone. The Imperium of Man, though sluggish in its response, had at last sent armies and fleets to bring the rebellious sector to heel. Though Iyanden would not lower itself to work directly with the primitive humans, its Council quickly realised the value in sharing their aim. Iyanden attacked Zhemon's power base on pivotal worlds, weakening his defences to such an extent that even the uncoordinated efforts of the loyalist humans could make headway.
Zhemon was finally cornered by Iyanden's forces on the world of Ishata. This battle marked the only time in the entire campaign where the Eldar fought at the Imperium's side. The Dark Angels, ever alert for their fallen brethren, the Fallen Angels, struck at Ishasta in the very hour in which a host of ghost warriors had begun the final assault on Zhemon's palace-stronghold. Wraithlords and Wraithguard advanced upon the palace's gates, nigh-impervious to the Heavy Stubber and Autocannon fire that hammered into them. Seeing the danger, Zhemon loosed a savage pack of Maulerfiend Daemon Engines upon the attackers at his gates, even as he prepared to flee with his personal guard. Unfortunately for the Fallen, the scale of the ghost warrior assault had stripped defenders from other walls, and fast-moving Ravenwing bikers now breached the compound from the rear, Bolters roaring with flame. As Zhemon and his bodyguard fought like cornered rats to keep the vengeful Dark Angels at bay, the Maulerfiends thundered into the ghost warriors. Wraithbone was trussed by lasher tendrils and shattered, but the attackers held firm. The spirits within the Wraith-Constructs were those of Eldar slain as a result of Zhemon's rise; they had come seeking vengeance and would not be denied. Smouldering forge-ichor oozed forth as Wraithbone firsts smashed through daemonic armour, and then the ghost warriors were striding though the wreckage and into the palace itself. Caught between the cold fury of the Dark Angels and the relentless vengeance of the walking dead, Zhemon's bodyguard were swiftly overwhelmed and their wretched master taken alive.
At the close of the battle, the Dark Angels demanded that Zhemon be given over to their keeping. Iyanden's Council were reluctant to accede at first, and for a time, it seemed that the impromptu allies would fall upon each other in quarrel over the traitor's fate. Only when the Council foresaw that Zhemon would suffer far more at the Dark Angels' hands than he ever would at those of the Eldar, was the matter settled. So it was that, when the Dark Angels left Ishata, they did so with Zhemon frozen in a stasis vault. In the days that followed Zhemon's defeat, the Eldar of Iyanden restored their dead to slumber and rejoiced. They had been tested, they said, and had emerged stronger for it. Swayed by Iyanden's success, two lesser Craftworlds of the eastern rim pledged their forces to its cause. The first, Malan'tai, was a sombre worldship whose people had suffered greatly at the hands of Ork pirates and had remade their home into nothing less than a fortress. Idharae was the opposite, a vessel whose splendour rivalled that of the old empire. Acting in concert, these three nomadic peoples were nigh unstoppable. Alas, confidence became arrogance, and would soon cost all three Craftworlds dearly.
The Age of Glory
For long centuries, Iyanden continued along its serene course, a beacon of light that drove back the darkness wherever it advanced. Victory followed victory, each greater than the last. Daemonic hordes were banished back into the Warp, and cults to the Dark Gods were driven from human and alien worlds alike. Thousands of light years away, the High Lords of Terra noted that the Forces of Chaos seemed far less active along the eastern rim and briefly wondered why. They elected not to question the serendipity, and instead simply enjoyed fate's largesse. Had they but thought to investigate, the humans would have found a powerful ally in their own battle against the Chaos threat, but other crises soon distracted them, and a great opportunity was forever lost.
The Naga's Strike
- "Let fire reign. Burn it. Burn it all. There is nothing here for us now."
As the centuries ground on, the Warp Storms around the Ybaric Cluster faded, allowing contact with the Exodite worlds therein. Alas, no sooner had the Warp Storms faded than a new enemy descended. Hive Fleet Naga, a remnant of the Behemoth that was, had set its sights on the bountiful worlds of the Ybaric Cluster. To their credit, Iyanden, and its sister Craftworlds of Malant'tai and Idharae, responded almost immediately, but even so, they were too slow. By the time the first Eldar fleets had engaged Hive Fleet Naga, Halathel, largest and most prosperous of the Exodite worlds, was all but overrun by Tyranids. Even with aid of forces from Malan'tai and Idharae, the Exodites could not repel the invaders. Iyanden's forces, under the command of Admiral Draech, arrived at Halathel to discover its World Spirit destroyed and its defenders consumed. Determined to exact vengeance for Halathel, the Iyanden fleet engaged the orbiting Hive Ships, but underestimated the menace of their foes. Draech's flagship, the Auspicious Illumination of Eternity, was destroyed early in the battle, and for a time, it seemed that the whole Eldar fleet would be lost alongside it. Only when a young Prince named Yriel took command did the tide of battle turn.
Realising that the smaller Tyranid vessels could not function if the greater bio-ships were destroyed, Yriel converged his forces on these targets, but it was only when the Prince unleashed boarding parties to destroy the ships from within that he meet with success. Though many Eldar lives were lost and hundred of Ghost Warriors destroyed, the ships were finally slain. With their passing, the smaller Tyranid vessels flew into an uncoordinated frenzy and were easy prey. Though the strength of Hive Fleet Naga had been greatly diminished, its threat was not yet ended. Over the following years, Yriel's forces joined with those of Malan'tai and Idharae to fight hundreds of engagements against the Tyranids, both in the cold dark of space and amidst the horror of partially-digested worlds. Little by little, the Tyranids were scoured from the Ybaric Cluster, and victory was at last won -- though not without great cost. Idharae, which was never the most populous of craftworlds to begin with, lost many of its warriors defending the maiden world of Eth-aelas, and its halls were ever after empty and joyless places. Malan'tai suffered far worse and was destroyed when an aberrant form of Tyranid life devoured the Craftworld's Infinity Circuit and used the stolen power to slay the rest of Malan'tai's living Eldar.
A Time of Greatness
Only Iyanden came through the conflict with Hive Fleet Naga relatively unscathed. Though its folk mourned Malan'tai's destruction, and commiserated with Idharae for its losses, they did not learn from either fate. Iyanden did not recognise the true scale of the Tyranid menace. Taolis Eversong, Chief-Farseer of Idharae, claimed that the creatures they had fought were but harbingers of a larger swarm. When Eversong's warning fell on deaf ears, Idharae ended its alliance with Iyanden and struck out on its own. Iyanden's people cared little as their last surviving ally parted ways, for they were now all but blind to anything save their own rising greatness. Buoyed by their victory against Hive Fleet Naga, the Eldar of Iyanden now experienced a golden age of renewal. Iyanden's pride had blossomed form a few guttering sparks to a roaring blaze. Its people were growing too confident in their ability, too certain that their ascendance was preordained.
Not all of Iyanden's folk were so afflicted; a few Farseers saw the danger. Kelmon Farsight, leader of Iyanden's Council, was concerned most of all. As time passed, he saw the parallels between Iyanden's rise and that of the ancient Eldar, and he feared that his beloved home would share his ancestors' terrible fate if another path were not chosen quickly. Alas, even his august words of caution were drowned out by the clamour of the exultant masses. The Eldar of Iyanden could taste a glorious destiny, and their hearts burned to claim it.
No one typified the mood of Iyanden more than Prince Yriel, now risen to High Admiral of the Iyanden fleet. Yriel believed that it was Iyanden's destiny to reclaim the stars, and moreover, that he would be the architect of its rise. Kelmon and others on the Seer Council saw the dangers of Yriel's hubris and had many times sought for a way to humble the Prince. If Yriel could be tamed, they thought, perhaps his example would cool the ardour of their people. Alas, each effort came to naught. Through his victories, Yriel had become more than a hero to the folk of Iyanden; he was a herald of the flame that was blazing anew. Every small censure Kelmon could devise was thwarted, for the common people of Iyanden were ill-inclined to follow the counsel of cooler heads whilst Yriel continued to know such success.
At last, Yriel encountered a foe worthy of his mettle. As Iyanden skirted the edge of what the Imperium knew as the Vidar Sector, its scouts brought word that much of that sector was in thrall to a mighty pirate armada, whose ships flew under the colours of Argan Kallorax. Further investigations determined that Kallorax was a renegade of the Raven Guard Chapter, who had long ago turned his allegiance to Chaos. After turning traitor, Kallorax seized control of a small but effective pirate band and set about carving his own bloody legend. Now, his followers numbered thousands of cultists, renegades, betrayers and scoundrels -- the dregs of a dozen star systems. Many planets paid Kallorax fealty, and every attempt the Imperium had yet made to obliterate him had ended in disaster.
Even Iyanden's mighty fleet was eclipsed by the sheer number of pirate warships at Kallorax's command. Many of Iyanden's Council cautioned against becoming embroiled in battle with such an entrenched foe, affirming that they should leave the humans to blast each other apart in whatever manner suited their barbarous nature. But others on the Council deemed that the threat of Kallorax must be ended once and for all. None argued for this course longer and louder than Yriel, but even his words failed to sway his peers. In the end, the matter was decided only when Kelmon Farsight, the foremost of Iyanden's Farseers, supported Yriel's cause. This was most unexpected, for Kelmon had been the Prince's most vocal detractor in recent years, ever at the forefront of attempts to curtail his influence. Yriel was distrustful of the Farseer's motives at first, but quickly forgot his suspicions when it became clear that Kelmon's support ensured that Iyanden would confront Kallorax's armada.
Kelmon never spoke of why he supported Yriel. As the long days of debate has passed, the Farseer had consulted the runes but had found only ambiguity. Each time, the pattern had been the same, with the runes of pride, doom and salvation orbiting that of Asuryan. It was clear that great events were nigh, and that Yriel would be pivotal in them. As to the shape of those events, Kelmon was uncertain, but having tried and failed for many years to contain Yriel's arrogance, he had resolved instead to encourage it. If Yriel was doomed, as the runes suggested, better that he burn bright and brief, rather than become an enduring blaze whose flames would consume the entire Craftworld.
War Amidst the Stars
For nearly a decade, Yriel led Iyanden's forces against Kallorax's armada. Guided by his own keen instincts and by the divinations of the Craftworld's Farseers, Yriel set about isolating and destroying Kallorax's forces. This was not a war of fleets arrayed gloriously for head-on battle, but one of ambush and subterfuge. Yriel began to monitor the spaceways for distress calls, loosing his vessels to the hunt only when an attack was well underway and the pirates distracted with their plunder. The merchant vessels that had acted as unwitting bait seldom survived, but then, such was not Yriel's priority. Better by far that the dull-witted humans could make themselves useful by their deaths than live on to pollute the galaxy with their presence. Even so, a few fortunate vessels did survive, their crews at the fitfully blazing wreckage, wondering at what manner of force had wrought their salvation. Yriel's attacks were not limited to spaceborne engagements; any installation under Kallorax's command was a potential target. Swift-winged Vampire Raiders carried Wraithguard and Wraithblade strike forces against fuelling stations, asteroid bases, monitoring posts and slave yards. They struck without warning and left nothing but ruin in their wake. Little by little, Kallorax's supply chains withered and died.
Angered by his losses, but powerless to carry the fight to an enemy whose base of operations was unknown, Kallorax sought ways to "motivate" his minions. Fear galvanised Kallorax's crews where avarice had not, and soon, the Eldar experienced their first losses. Yet still, Kallorax's anger grew. On the occasions where the pirates actually managed to destroy a more substantial vessel, the losses they suffered in return rendered the success almost meaningless. Yriel's ships were simply too swift and too well led to permit Kallorax anything but the most trivial of victories. Matters finally came to a head at the planet Agrion -- the location of a key orbital shipyard from which the pirates staged their raids. Here, Kallorax finally experienced an Eldar attack for himself. This was the closest to a conventional naval action the two sides had yet fought, with some four-score Iyanden vessels engaging a pirate fleet nearly twice their number. This was also the closest Kallorax ever came to a victory, for in the throes of battle, his forces managed to destroy or cripple a dozen Eldar capital ships. Unfortunately, this success cost him half of his own forces. This included the pride of his fleet, the Hades-class Heavy Cruiser Deathless Reaver, whose Warp engines had been breached early in the battle by a pinpoint salvo from Yriel's flagship, Flame of Asuryan.
When the pirate vessels at last withdrew in disarray, Yriel ordered his warriors aboard the shipyard. Alas, renegades aboard the shipyard recognised that they had nowhere to run and resolved to make the attackers pay for their temerity in blood. Yriel's forces breached the hangar bays easily enough but, once inside, the Aspect Warrior vanguard were cut apart by a storm of bolter fire. Determined not to fail, the Eldar pressed on through the storm, but the resistance grew heavier the deeper into the station they fought. The pirates had the flotsam of a hundred battles to press into service, and every access point was defended by barricades and Icarus emplacements. Loathe to lose more lives aboard the shipyard than he had already, Yriel ordered the Aspect Warriors to retreat, and loosed his ghost warriors to the hunt. Guided by the precise commands of Spiritseers, the wraith-constructs advanced through the storm of shells and missiles, weathering blows that would have torn a mortal Eldar apart. Kallorax's forces fled as Wraithlords tore down the barricades, but there was nowhere to hide from the vengeance of the dead. In a final, terrible battle amongst the coolant ducts of the shipyard's reactor, the ghost warriors scoured the station clean of foes, then used plasma charges to scuttle it.
In the wake of the Battle of Agrion, Kallorax faced a sizable rebellion. Though this was swiftly and bloodily put down, and the ringleader's mutilated (and not yet dead) body riveted to the prow of Kallorax's personal shuttlecraft, the pirate admiral knew that the challenges would only increase unless he managed to put an end to the Eldar's predations. Kallorax now directed his cabal of Sorcerers to divine the location of the Eldar base. Unfortunately for him, the Seers of Iyanden had anticipated such a move and had woven a psychic shield that obscured their forces from the Sorcerer's sight. In a rage, Kallorax had his Sorcerers put to death, and instead forged pacts with Daemons, offering up ever-increasing numbers of lives in the hope of attracting the attention of a being powerful enough to give him the answers that he sought. In the end, after an unthinkable tally of lives had ended upon Kallorax's sacrificial pyres, just such an entity granted the admiral the information he desired. This was N'kari, a Slaaneshi Daemon whose own monstrous pride allowed him to sense that of the Iyanden Eldar, even through their psychic shield. N'kari granted Kallorax the Craftworld's location in exchange for a number of spirit stones that the pirates had seized during their battles and the promise of more to come once Kallorax had taken his revenge. Ignorant of the spirit stones' function, and therefore puzzled by the Daemon's seemingly inconsequential price, Kallorax nonetheless struck the bargain and quickly mobilised every warship at his command.
So it was Iyanden scouts soon brought word that a mighty armada of ships was converging on the Craftworld. Many were appalled, seeing in the very attack they had sought to avoid. Yriel wasted no time deflecting the recriminations that came his way. Instead, he gathered his own ships and struck at the Chaos Warfleet whilst it was yet distant from Iyanden. Yriel was so confident in victory that he mustered every ship the Craftworld possessed, from the largest Void Stalker to the smallest Darkstar.
The Battle of The Burning Moon
So began the Battle of the Burning Moon -- the greatest naval confrontation seen in that part of the galaxy for many centuries. Kallorax's armada, though it had suffered greatly from Yriel's previous attacks, still dwarfed Iyanden's forces, and the Eldar were forced to rely on every iota of their cunning. Fortunately, the sheer size of Kallorax's armada soon began to work against it, when Yriel ordered his ships to engage full speed and close to point blank range. At such velocities, even Eldar gunners could hope to provide little in the way of accurate fire, but such was not Yriel's plan. So tightly-packed and poorly crewed were Kallorax's vessels that barely any of their salvoes hit the Eldar craft it was aimed at, instead tearing gaping wounds in the hulls of their allies, slaughtering crews and unseating gun batteries. As sections of the Chaos vessels went dark, agile Eldar bombers slipped into the silenced kill zones to inflict more damage, sometimes flying into the ravaged superstructure itself to destroy vital systems. Some of these daring pilots were consumed in the ensuing explosions; others safely rode the bow-wave of energy into open space. Yet not everything in that battle favoured the Eldar. Ponderous though Kallorax's ships might have been, their sheer firepower was devastating. Even the smallest mistake by an Eldar helmsman could prove disastrous. The punishing volley of shells, missiles and torpedoes could shred the Eldar vessels' delicate steeing vanes and solar sails in the blink of an eye, leaving the craft adrift or out of control and easy prey for a second salvo. Many of Yriel's ships were crippled by stray shots; others were overwhelmed by the endless fighter-craft and Heldrakes that swarmed and boiled in the vacuum between the duelling starships.
At the heart of the battle line, the Flame of Asuryan vied with Kallorax's newly-promoted flagship, the Riot Hunger. The Chaos vessel was vaster by far than Yriel's ship but here, as elsewhere, victory went to the swifter combatant, not the most muscular. Swooping low under the rippling torpedoes from the Chaos ship, Flame of Asuryan tore a great rent in the Riot Hunger's hull. Soon, Vampire Raiders were loose in the space beyond, deploying Yriel's boarding part of Wraithblades into the very heart of the command superstructure. Klaxons blared as Kallorax ordered the Shadow Guard, his inner circle of Renegade Space Marines, to defend the breach. These were the veterans of a thousand shipping raids, murderers of whole colonies; they were black-hearted killers who had slain the finest warriors of the Adeptus Astartes at their master's command, and now they came forward to slaughter perfidious aliens in his name. Not all of Yriel's assault force had come aboard the Riot Hunger in Vampire Raiders. Like Kallorax, the Eldar Prince had committed his finest warriors to this battle. Theses were Wraithknights, and much too massive to be accommodated within a Vampire's sleek hull. Instead, they had used their jump jets to cross the void between the two vessels, tearing their way through the Riot Hunger's ravaged hull and into the vaulted chambers beyond to join the fight.
Duel to the Death
Eldar Prince and traitor admiral duelled as their vassals fought and died around them. The Shadow Guard strove furiously, but the hardy Wraithbone shells of the ghosts warriors were nigh-impervious to their blows, and every sweep of a Wraithblade's axe claimed an enemy's life. Meanwhile, Yriel and Kallorax fought on. The pirate lord was a lumbering brute, swinging his cumbersome Warp axe with enough force to shatter a blast door. Yriel evaded every blow with effortless grace and darted forwards to land his own immaculate strikes whenever the opportunity presented itself. Kallorax laughed, for Yriel's blows were but the stings of a bothersome insect. A cooler-headed foe would have shrugged off these jibes, but Yriel's pride chafed at the mockery and spurred him to take ever greater risks.
Twice the ragged blade of Kallorax's weapon passed within a hair's breadth of the Eldar Prince's brow -- so close, in fact, that Yriel fancied he could hear the whispering voice of the Daemon-bound within. Again, the pirate lord lashed out, and again Yriel dodged the blow, but this time, Kallorax slammed an armoured gauntlet forwards as well. The mesh armour plates along Yriel's midriff stiffened to absorb the impact, but still the force of the blow hurled the Prince into a bulkhead. Stunned, Yriel fell to his knees. Sensing his triumph at last, Kallorax advanced, axe readied for a final strike. Gathering what wits he could, Yriel threw himself forwards, ducked low under the axe and buried his sword to the hilt in Kallorax's chest. All at once, the pirate lord felt his strength flee. With one last curse, he toppled over, stone dead.
A Dying Act of Malice
Few of the Shadow Guard long outlived their master, but Yriel had little chance to crow over his victory, or even complete the destruction of the Riot Hunger. Scarcely had Kallorax fallen when a desperate telepathic message form the Flame of Asuryan warned Yriel that a spearhead of three Chaos cruisers had breached the Eldar cordon and were driving hard for Iyanden itself. Yriel knew that three cruisers was a laughable force to send against an entire Craftworld, but he assumed that Kallorax had known it too, which meant some deeper ploy was at hand. Knowing that the Flame of Asuryan was the only ship close enough to intercept the attackers, and ill-inclined to leave the take to another, Yriel abandoned his attack on the Riot Hunger. He was soon aboard his own vessel once more, pushing its engines to their limit.
The Flame of Asuryan overtook one of the Chaos ships within minutes, its prow batterings blazing into life to send the cruiser, engines firing fitfully, listing into the darkness. A second vessel was crippled a few minutes later, its engines flaring one last time as the Flame's pulsars tore its engine vaults open to space. Only one Chaos cruiser now remained, and the crews of Yriel's ship knew that their victory was sealed. Though there were no vessels escorting the Craftworld -- Yriel had commandeered every battle-capable vessel for his attack -- a single cruiser could not hope to endure its weapon batteries long enough to inflict serious damage. Then the Flame's sensors detected a torpedo launch from the Cruiser, and everything changed. A spread of three dozen torpedoes had been fired in all, a pitiful gesture that would normally have been laughable against a vessel of Iyanden's enormous size. Alas, the Flame's sensors showed that these were no ordinary warheads, but modified cyclonic torpedoes -- one of the Imperium's many tools of planetary exterminatus. Such weapons were famously inaccurate, and of little use against warships, but a Craftworld was a much larger -- and much slower -- target. If even one of those warheads stuck home, the damage would be incalculable.
Now Yriel cursed his folly at stripping Iyanden's defences; the torpedoes were too small, too fast and too distant for the Flame's weapons to target. This wouldn't have mattered if but one squadron of fighters had remained aboard the Craftworld to engage the inbound warheads, but there none left to do anything to save his home, Yriel directed the Flame's weaponry against the third and final cruiser which was soon nothing more than a twisted and slagged ruin of metal. But his eyes never left Iyanden, and the sleek torpedoes he knew were almost upon it. Bright sparks of light flared as the Craftworld's firestorm defence lasers sought to engage the torpedoes. Here and there, explosions lit the darkness as the incoming warheads were struck and punched into clouds of shrapnel and vapour. All in all, the firestorm batteries tracked and destroyed thirty-five of the inbound torpedoes, but through a malign quirck of fate, the thirty-sixth evaded all efforts and pitted against it. The torpedo struck the Craftworld high on its upper port-side quadrant. There was a brilliant flash of light and a portion of the Craftworld's Wraithbone hull simply vaporised. Yriel watched, helpless, as fires tore across the Craftworld's outer hull and raced through the passageways exposed by the explosion, and he wept at the terrible beauty of the sight.
Knowing that he could do nothing for the dead, Yriel ordered the Flame of Asuryan to come about and return to the battle. It was many hours before the last of the Chaos starships were finally destroyed -- but so great was the wrath of the Eldar that not even one of the pirate vessels escaped. Yriel saw little of the ensuing battle; the sight of Iyanden afire still danced before his eyes, and he could find nothing to drive the image away. He spoke not another word until the final few Chaos vessels had been reduced to scrap, and the battle was at last finished. Yriel had won the Battle of the Burning Moon, but the cost was more than he had been prepared to pay. No few of Iyanden's starships had been destroyed, and every single vessel was in need of substantial repair. The damage to the Craftworld itself was far worse. Tens of thousands of Eldar had died instantly when the cyclonic torpedo struck; worse, their spirit stones had been destroyed in the same moment, dooming the slain to suffer Slaanesh's cruel embrace.
The Price of Arrogance
Yriel was sorrowful for the dead, but he did not weep. He knew that their fate would have been Iyanden's also, had he not made a pre-emptive strike on Kallorax's fleet. He assured himself that some sacrifices were necessary if Iyanden's destiny was to be fulfilled, and he was certain that the deaths aboard the Craftworld would be held of little account when held alongside his great victory. In this, Yriel greatly misjudged the mood of his people. More than lives had been lost when the torpedo struck. The Fire of Creation in the heart of Asuryan's shrine -- a flame that had blazed since the Craftworld's maiden voyage -- burned no longer. It was a portent of despair that even the dullest wit could comprehend; Iyanden was no longer worthy of its great destiny. Kelmon's cautions about Yriel were remembered, and at last heeded. So it was that Yriel was not feted and honoured as he had anticipated, but bidden to justify his chosen course. Yriel was outraged at being questioned so. Along with his closest followers, he departed voluntarily into exile, declaring darkly that he would never set foot on Iyanden again.
Kelmon watched the disgraced Prince depart with a tumult of emotions. He was glad that the Craftworld's madness had at last burnt itself out, but he despaired at the price. Iyanden had suffered grievous harms, and had lost not only its ablest admiral, but also a sizable portion of the fleet, for many vessels had chosen to enter exile alongside Yriel. Kelmon knew that, in encouraging Yriel's rashness, he was as responsible as the Prince for what had happened, but he drew strength from the fact that his actions had diverted a greater disaster. Or so he thought, Kelmon's mood soured when he cast the runes again, for their pattern was unchanged. The runes of pride, doom and salvation were in orbit about Asuryan; whatever fate they alluded to had not yet been averted.
The Doom of Iyanden
Never, in all the preceding millennia, had Iyanden been humbled so. The physical damage wrought upon the Craftworld was without precedent, but the loss of Asuryan's Flame gouged a far more grievous wound in Iyanden's collective psyche. But a greater peril was soon to come...
Nursing of Wounds
Iyanden now turned its attention inwards, forsaking the war upon Chaos as it tended to its wounds. Nothing exemplified Iyanden's increasingly insular attitude than when Kelmon decided upon the appointment of a new High Admiral. Yriel's replacement was a middle-ranking worthy named Ethrael. In truth, Ethrael did not possess half of his predecessor's daring or flair in battle, but such was the reason for the appointment. Kelmon Farsight believed that Iyanden had been endangered because of the Council's inability to control Yriel's recklessness, and so he brought all of his influence to bear in order that a more pliable candidate become High Admiral. None of this was to say that Ethrael was weak or incompetent -- such traits would have doomed Iyanden just as surely as those that Kelmon wished to avoid -- but he stood ever at the council's beck and call, and never took action without their express approval.
A Warning From Ulthwé
At about this time, Iyanden received an emissary from craftworld Ulthwé; no less a personage than Eldrad Ulthran himself, greatest of the Eldar seers. He had learned of the harms wrought upon Iyanden, and had brought with him many of Ulthwé's Bonesingers. These he swiftly instructed to assist in the repairs as best they could, and the efforts of his retinue did not go unmarked. Yet despite this, Eldrad Ulthran was poorly received, for many thought he had come to mock Iyanden for its misfortunes. When Iyanden's Council discovered that he had come to deliver a warning, their manner cooled further. Over the course of the preceding centrueis, Eldrad Ulthran had become increasingly aware of a growing threat upon the eastern rim, a hungry darkness that was as rapacious for Eldar flesh as Slaanesh was for Eldar souls. Eldrad felt sure that Iyanden lay in its path; unless preparations were made, the Craftworld would be consumed. He begged Iyanden's council to turn their course westward, away from the rim -- if this was done now, the Craftworld might yet outpace the oncoming darkness, and the race of man would bear the brunt of the onslaught.
Sad to say, Iyanden's Council paid the Ulthwé Farseer little heed, Kelmon Farsight least of all. Mindful of past differences between their Craftworlds, he accused Eldrad of attempting to deceive Iyanden into abandoning the territory it had fought so hard to cleanse. Iyanden had faced this threat -- this Great Devourer -- and they had vanquished it, Kelmon icily informed his guest. They would do so again if need be. When Eldrad next spoke, he did so in tones laden with sadness. This was not about territory, he told Kelmon and the Council, nor was it about the greatness of one Craftworld over the other. He was concerned only with the survival of the Eldar race. When Iyanden's Council still paid no heed, Eldrad departed once more for Ulthwé, silently lamenting the stubborness of his peers.
The Shadow of the Kraken
It would be less than a year before Eldrad's shadowy predictions would emerge into terrifying reality and, as time passed, Iyanden slowly began to reach out into the stars once more. It did so more hesitantly and less often than it had previously, for its people were still scarred by the loss of the Eternal Flame. Despite all efforts, the Shrine of Asuryan remained dark and lifeless, the last spark of their god's favour lost until it could be earned back. No number of victories against the followers of Chaos could lift the spirits of Iyanden's populace. Through it all, the Craftworld held its course along the eastern rim; the Council never once considered following Eldrad's advice. Only when the runes became clouded by strange shadows, and Kelmon began to hear a cacophony of alien voices screaming through his thoughts, did he come to realise the terrible depth of his mistake. Kelmon had encountered this voice more than a century ago, during Iyanden's desperate defence of the Ybaric Cluster. This was the Tyranid Hive Mind's shadowy presence in the Warp, but it was many thousands of times stronger than it had been before.
In a terrible moment of realisation, Kelmon grasped just how insignificant Hive Fleet Naga --- a force of invasion that had destroyed dozens of worlds -- had been. As the web of probability and portent about Iyanden grew ever more tangled and uncertain, Kelmon reluctantly took what desperate measures he could. Instructing Admiral Ethrael to deploy Iyanden's fleet as a far-flung sentry line, Kelmon at last gave the order that saw the Craftworld turn away from the rim and back in towards the heart of the galaxy. But it was too late, far too late...
The Swarm Approaches
In the end, Iyanden's warning came not from its far-flung fleet, but from Rangers scattered across rimward worlds. Ethrael, ever-cautious of exceeding his authority, had kept his scout ships close-in to the fleet, effectively blinding himself to events only a few light years distant. Nonetheless, the Rangers brought Kelmon constant reports of the worlds ravaged and consumed by the advancing Tyranids. As the Farseer predicted, the swarm that now descended upon Iyanden was far vaster than anything the Craftworld had previously opposed. Worse, the hive fleet's hunger drove it onward at a speed that Iyanden could not outpace. It quickly overwhelmed the outward elements of Ethrael's fleet, and Kelmon ordered the Admiral to withdraw. Ethrael gladly did so, leading a series of clinically perfect hit and run strikes against Kraken's vanguard. To a swarm of this size, these were but pinpricks; even when the Admiral detonated the unstable star of the Kalibax System, Kraken's pace barely slowed. Thousands upon thousands of bio-ships were consumed in that cataclysm, but many more endured the nuclear fire to continue their relentless advance.
Every glimpse of the hive fleet forced the Eldar to expand their perception of the Tyranid threat; every second now garnered was a blessed respite. While Ethrael delayed the Tyranids as best he could, Kelmon called together the Eldar of Iyanden in the Place of Answering and warned them of the impending Tyranid assault. Too many errors of judgement, he deemed, lay on the path behind him. He had not only encouraged Yriel's rashness, but also purposefully appointed a puppet Admiral and had exhorted his fellows to ignore Eldrad Ulthran's warnings. Any one of those decisions, if inverted, could have altered Iyanden's fate for the better, and Kelmon did not want to risk the Craftworld on his own flawed judgement. He had cast the runes again and again, and always the runes for pride, doom and salvation spiralled about Asuryan. The pride, he at last perceived, was his and his alone. Better that Iyanden move with one will and one mind in its darkest hour.
The Last Debate
- "Gather the dead for war. Let them join our ranks, lest we are forced to join theirs."
So it was that Kelmon, in his moment of self-doubt, compounded Iyanden's danger a hundredfold. Once opened up to debate in the Place of Answering, the chief representatives of each Path were entitled to give voice to an opinion on the matter at hand -- only when consensus was reached would a course be chosen. The ensuing debate was heated and prolonged. Few of the Craftworld's inhabitants truly recognised the scale of the danger. Most believed that Iyanden was a far more dangerous prey than Malan'tai or Idharae could ever have been, and that their home could weather the storm coming its way. In the end, after much wasted time that would have been better expended preparing for war, Iyanden argued over two potential courses of action. The more conservative elements of the Craftworld argued for a policy of isolation, shielding the Craftworld behind a powerful psychic barrier in an attempt to avoid all contact with the Tyranids, while the more aggressive elements wanted to attack the enemy immediately, dispatching the fleet to destroy the Tyranids before they reached the Craftworld. Both courses of action were badly flawed, however, because they greatly underestimated the sheer size of the Tyranid swarm. It took a speech from Irillith, a Ranger who had mapped the scale of the Kraken during a lonely and terrible voyage. She drove home to all present that the hive fleet was far greater in size than Naga had been; it was too vast to hide from or for the Eldar fleet to defeat on its own. It would take the combined efforts of every Eldar on Iyanden to have any chance against the Tyranids, and even then, they might not succeed.
Mute terror fell upon the hall as Irillith finished her speech. No more needed to be said, for all the Eldar had recognised the truth in the Ranger's words and now realised the sheer enormity of the task ahead. Quickly, the meeting reached consensus: all elements of the fleet would be recalled, and every single Eldar would take on the Warrior aspect of Warlock, Guardian or Aspect Warrior. Help would be requested from the other Eldar Craftworlds. The Avatar, the embodied spirit of the Craftworld's war god, would be awakened to take part in the battle. Iyanden itself would be fortified, for there could be no doubt that the Tyranids would breach their outer defences and land on the vessel. Throughout the debate, Kelmon listened approvingly, but he perceived a fatal flaw in the plan and, at last, rose so that his voice too would be heard. Kelmon warned the assembled crowds that the living Eldar were not enough to hold the Tyranids at bay; only by awakening the ghost warriors could victory be achieved.
The crowd thought Kelmon had misunderstood; the ghost warriors had fought alongside the living for millennia, and would surely do so again. Actually, Kelmon told the masses, it was they that had misunderstood. He was not proposing that only the willing souls be awoken as ghost warriors, as had previously been tradition, but that all capable spirits from the Infinity Circuit be roused to war. By risking the destruction of the Craftworld's spirit stones, Iyanden risked the obliteration of its culture and racial memory, but all knew that just one ghost warrior could make the difference between victory and defeat. Thus, in an act considered by many to be little better than tomb robbing, every last spirit stone of Iyanden was plucked from its resting place; every ancestor was arrayed in Wraithbone shell to fight alongside its still-living descendants.
The Battle Begins
Kelmon's preparations were barely complete when the first Tyranid swarms attacked. By then, Iyanden had fallen beneath the Shadow in the Warp, yet even so, some aid had arrived from other Craftworlds. None sent so much aid as Biel-Tan, though whether this largesse was in memory of their past alliance, or purely out of a desire to wreak xenocide, Kelmon was never sure. Even a few Harlequins from the Masque of the Veiled Path and Exodites emerged from the Webway portal at Iyanden's aft and pledged their aid, yet still the outlook was bleak. The Tyranid bio-ships closed on the Craftworld, and hundreds of solar sails glittered in the starlight as Iyanden's fleet darted to the attack. The Eldar spacecraft were faster, more manoeuvrable and had longer ranged weapons than their opponents, but this was not their only advantage. Admiral Ethrael, propelled to new heights of daring by the time of dire need, at last became the commander that Iyanden needed if it were to survive. In battle after battle, the Eldar spacecraft destroyed the lumbering Tyranid hive ships while only suffering minimal casualties themselves. For a while, it looked as if the fleet might be able to hold off the Tyranids on its own, but Kelmon worried. Already, the Craftworld's ability to replace destroyed spacecraft was being outstripped by the casualties being suffered. The Eldar fleet was being ground down in a massive battle of attrition, a battle that only the Tyranids could hope to win.
As if to confirm Kelmon's worst fears, the next assault wave was massive, twice the size of any thus far. Iyanden's fleet suffered terrible casualties, and for the first time, Ethrael was unable to prevent the Craftworld from being breached. Carnifexes rampaged through the Wraithbone halls but were quickly slain by a host of Wraithguard under the command of the long-dead hero Draech, whose soul now resided in a Wraithlord's implacable frame. Thanks to Draech's intervention, the Tyranid landing had been wiped out before any serious damage was done, but the Eldar fleet had practically ceased to exist -- only a dozen vessels now survived. Still there was hope, Kelmon believed, especially if the wave had been the Tyranid's main assault force. Spirits were raised even more when it transpired that the next assault wave was tiny in comparison to what had come earlier. Although Ethrael could repel but a fraction of the swarms, those that landed were easily isolated and destroyed. Oftentime, Iyanden's own forces arrived at the site of a breach to find that their Biel-Tan allies had already destroyed the interlopers. For a short while, scans showed no new Tyranid vessels, and the Eldar dared to hope that they had weathered the storm. Kelmon and the other seers knew better. They could still feel the Hive Mind clawing through their thoughts; still hear its alien hunger scratching at their very sanity. The battle was far from over.
When the Tyranids came again, they did so in numbers greater than ever before. The pitiful remnants of the Eldar fleet opposed the hive swarms as best they could, but were swept aside by a tide of bio-ships. Ethrael, his ship ablaze and his crew dead, guided the Starwind Voyager onto a collision course with the largest of the Tyranid vessels, and in one last deperate act, overloaded the starships systems to create a plasma explosion that consumed both ships. With its fleet now completely destroyed, Iyanden was fully engulfed, as clouds of spores settled, infecting the Сraftworld itself. Twisted forms struggled to emerge from the beautiful harmony of Iyanden's architecture. A horrific psychic scream resounded around the Сraftworld's infrastructure as seething hordes of clawed, scuttling aliens were disgorged into its heart. Huge battles erupted all over Iyanden; the fighting was bitter and close-ranged, with enemy forces often only separated by the width of a Wraithbone wall.
Battle was joined in every imaginable arena. Amongst the treetops of the ancient and holy Forests of Silence, Crimson Hunters struck at Harridan brood-mothers whilst Swooping Hawks fought a deadly aerial dance with dark flocks of bat-winged Gargoyles. Striking Scorpions sliced their way through the massed Termagants that blocked the Craftworld's arterial passageways like a vile cancer. Falcons hunted massive Carnifexes as they smashed apart the beautiful and complex sculpture-bastions of the Fortress of Tears. On the hallowed steps of the Shrine of Asuryan, Dire Avengers fought close and bloody battles with seemingly infinite numbers of Hormagaunts. But all of these valiant champions fell to the sheer number of attackers, their lives sold at a great cost to the Tyranid hordes. Before long, the most heavily contested regions of the Craftworld were knee-deep in mingled blood and ichor, the bodies of the slain beyond counting. But still the Tyranids came. The Eldar now abandoned entire regions so that they might offer a better defence elsewhere. At Kelmon's order, Quallindral, Exarch of the Fire Dragons, set the forsaken passageways ablaze. The Craftworld flinched in agony as the flames tore through its structure. Not all those slain in the fires were Tyranids; many defenders had been cut off by the Tyranid advance, and now those that had not succumbed to the warriors of the Hive Mind did so to the flames.
Scarcely had the fires cooled when the Eldar counter-attacked. The Avatar itself led the charge, smashing apart all who stood before it. Guardian fought side by side with ghost warrior, the living generation battling alongside those long-dead as the Eldar gave everything they had. The ensuing battle was an orgy of destruction. It raged like wildfire through the embattled Forests of Silence, scouring the Tyranids from that sacred earth. But the damage was done, the arboretum defiled by the fast-growing alien spores. The Eldar wept tears of anger to see the hideous and twisted parodies of once-great trees that were left standing. However, the tide of the battle was turning, or so it appeared. The Eldar forced the Tyranids back, albeit at the cost of untold lives. Wraithknights and Falcon grav-tanks had systematically hunted down the giant synapse creatures, destroying the network of command that guided their minions. Choirs of Warlocks united in psychic accord to repel the Shadow in the Warp. Bonesingers coaxed the writhing Wraithbone, rich with the departed spirits of the Infinity Circuit, to fight against the terrible warping effects of the Tyranid spores. Then, to the Eldar's utter despair, the hive fleet launched another assault wave. This was the largest yet, and as the scanners of Iyanden's command dome turned bright with the readings of yet more swarms, the Farseers fell silent. There was to be no escape.
Kelmon knew that, barring a miracle, Iyanden was doomed. Again and again, he consulted the runes, desperate for hope. Each time, he saw only the same; the runes for pride, doom and salvation circling that of Asuryan. As the Tyranids swarmed across Iyanden, Kelmon sealed himself away in the Chambers of Starlight, his meditation halls, and sought enlightenment. The Tyranids advanced as never before, but still Kelmon remained hidden in the Chambers of Starlight. Desperate obsession drove the Farseer now, and he did not heed how his absence caused his people to lose heart.
A Fate Reforged
In the end, Kelmon's deliberations ended only when he sensed an intruder lurking amongst the darkness of his halls. Upon touching her mind, Kelmon knew her to be Sylandri Veilwalker, Shadowseer and last survivor of the Harlequin troupe who had come to Iyanden's aid. It said much about the Farseer's mental state that his greeting was less than polite, but if Sylandri took offence she gave no sign. Her mask remained smooth and dark, and she gave no word of rebuke. Indeed, Sylandri said nothing at all, but walked gracefully to where Kelmon's runes still circled the air. There was a spray of glittering light as she seized the rune of Asuryan, snapped it cleanly in two and held the remains in her cupped hands. Kelmon stepped forwards, outraged at Sylandri's actions, before quickly retreated in horror -- the Shadowseer's mask had become a likeness of his own face, but worm-eaten and decayed. The Shadowseer's hands flew apart, casting the remnants of the rune to join the others. Kelmon saw not two broken halves of Asuryan as he expected, but two new runes charged with meaning. One was the rune for redemption, the other that of the Hosue of Ulthanash. Kelmon's outrage quickly gave way to hope. For a moment, Sylandri said nothing. Then her mask grew dark once again, and she told the Farseer simply that fate must sometimes be forged, not followed. A moment later, she was gone, as mysteriously as she had arrived. It didn't matter. Kelmon now knew what had to be done.
The Death of Pride
Emerging at last from the Chambers of Starlight, Kelmon gathered together what Farseers remained and led them to the Dome of the Crystal Seers. A message needed to be sent, he told them, one which had to breach the Shadow in the Warp if there was to be any chance of survival. Working in concert, Iyanden's surviving Farseers sent a focussed beam of psychic energy through the Hive Mind's choking presence, driving aside the writhing tendrils with telepathic light. Kelmon's mind soared across empty light years of space, touching at last upon that of Yriel, Iyanden's greatest exile. Kelmon had planned to offer an apology, to promise that Yriel's name would be restored if only he would return to defend his home in its desperate need. In the end, he had opportunity to say none of these things. Scarcely had Kelmon made contact when the floor heaved, and the Tyranids burst into the dome. A half-dozen Farseers were slain in the moment of the breach, either by the bio-electric bursts of Trygons or the waves of Termagants that followed in their wake. Kelmon felt the contact sever, cursed his ill luck, and called down eldritch fire upon his attackers.
The Outcast Returns
- "My loyal warriors. My kin, by deed and bond. Our home faces obliteration. Our people are dying. The light of Iyanden fades. But it is not yet extinguished. Outcasts and exiles, follow me to war. Like a spear of flame we shall pierce the darkness. We will bring ruin to the void-spawned filth that seeks to defile the Shrine of Asuryan. If we are to die, let it be here. Let it be with blades in hand, amidst the spirits of our ancestors and the bodies of our foes. What say you, exiles of Iyanden? Are you with me?"
- — Prince Yriel, High Admiral of the Eldritch Raiders
Many light years distant, Yriel experienced Kelmon's contact as a waking dream, filled with darkness and emotion. He glimpsed snatches of Tyranids rampaging through the ruined domes of his former home; he saw the shattered Wraithbone spires, and he saw the ravaged bodies of the dead lying thick in the passageways. Yriel did not need to hear the words Kelmon had planned to speak, for he knew the truth. Iyanden was fighting for survival. He had to return home -- but he would not do so alone. Yriel had not been idle in the fifty years since leaving Iyanden.
In that time, he had forged his followers into a pirate fleet known as the Eldritch Raiders. Operating out of many of Kallorax's old strongholds, Yriel had continued the war against Chaos. Along the way, he had clashed with the Imperium of Man many times. Upon realising that they could not defeat Yriel in space-bound battle, the humans had instead attempted to foster rivalry between the Eldritch Raiders and two other pirate companies -- Xian's Black Raiders and the Scarlet Command. This quickly backfired when Yriel simply seized control of his rivals' fleets. Yriel convened a council of his fleet captains, and announced his intention to return to Iyanden. He warned them that he was almost certainly sailing into the jaws of death, and bade only the willing to follow him. Not one vessel elected to remain behind. Outcasts all, they were still Eldar, and thus possessed a sense of duty that far eclipsed the petty honour codes of other races. They would fight.
Attack of the Eldritch Raiders
The Eldritch Raiders arrived as another wave was closing in. Little of Iyanden now lay in Eldar hands, and the majority of its defenders lay dead. The last of the Biel-Tan forces had perished in an attempt to slay the Hive Tyrant in command of the swarm. They had died in failure; hundreds of lives had been lost, and the beast was yet unwounded. Farseer Kelmon was lost amidst the slaughter, as were many of the Council. Draech had perished a second time while defending the Webway gate. Leadership now fell upon Farseer Taec Silvereye and the Spiritseer Iyanna Arienal, and they marshalled their last forces in the Fortress of the Red Moon. From the bridge of the Flame of Asuryan, Yriel looked upon the ruin of Iyanden and knew only anger; at Kelmon for not contacting him sooner and at Ethrael for his failure to protect the Craftworld, but the better part of his rage Yriel spared only for himself. He should have been here; he would have been here but for the monstrous pride that had driven him away. Yriel's subordinates marked the grim look upon their Prince's face, but dared not ask its meaning.
Like the burning spear of Khaine, Yriel's forces tore through Hive Fleet Kraken's blockade and ripped the heart out of the attacking swarm. Then, without pause, they came about to strike at two more waves. Not a single Tyranid ship reached the Craftworld through that maelstrom of plasma, though the cost of the Raiders was dear. Nearly a hundred vessels had accompanied Yriel, and scarcely a third of them remained by the time the second wave of Tyranids was naught but ichor-flecked debris. Bloodied but unswerving, the Raiders prepared to sell their lives to the last in order to turn back the next wave of Tyranids. Vigilant eyes watched the scanners, waiting for the first tell-tale blip that would indicate the onset of the next assault -- an assault that did not come. The space-borne threat had been defeated.
The space battle had been won, but under Iyanden's skies, the battle for the Craftworld's soul still raged. The Tyranid hordes now turned and hurled themselves at the Eldar with renewed ferocity. This unexpected assault shattered the Fortress of the Red Moon and sent its defenders reeling. No longer was there a concerted defence of Iyanden, just a series of doomed pockets of resistance, fighting to survive. Iyanna Arienal gathered what ghost warriors she could and formed a breakwater of the dead that she hoped would buy time for the living to counter-attack. Wraithcannons and D-Sythes blazed darkly amongst the ruins as reborn ancestors perished anew to save what descendants they could. They did not hold for long. This attack was led by a Hive Tyrant larger than any the Eldar had yet faced. Neither shuriken nor blade could pierce the creature's hide, and every sweep of his claws reduced a ghost warrior to ruin.
Knowing the battle would be won or lost with the Hive Tyrant's fall, Iyanna summoned what forces she could. Amongst them, there was one warrior whose might should have been sufficient to crush the Hive Tyrant. At Iyanna's call, the Crafworld's Avatar of Khaine strode into the fray, its towering form alive with fire. With a growl akin to an erupting volcano, the Avatar roared a challenge to the Hive Tyrant. However, Tyranids do not fight for honour; indeed, it is doubtful they have any concept of bravery or cowardice. Instead of meeting the Avatar in single combat, the Hive Tyrant urged its minions to destroy the newcomer. Not one, but a dozen thundering Carnifexes stampeded towards the demigod. The Wailing Doom felled two of the beasts in a single swipe and disembowelled a third, but under such an assault, not even the embodiment of the Blood-handed God could prevail. The impact of the fourth Carnifex slammed the Avatar from his feet, molten blood oozed form his shattered iron frame. Before the war god could rise once more, the rest of the brutes closed in and tore him apart.
With the Avatar's fall, Iyanden's last strength was spent, but, in an act of loyalty that restored Yriel as a hero, the Raider Prince and his people disembarked from their sleek ships to reinforce the wavering ground troops. Yriel himself led the charge, and not one of the Hive Mind's abominations could stand before him, for he had taken up the Spear of Twilight from its resting place in the Shrine of Ulthanash. This was a cursed weapon of legend, likely to prove as fatal to the wielder as to his enemies, but the hour was too late for Yriel to heed any personal danger. The Hive Tyrant thundered to meet the Eldar Prince, but the creature's savage strength and ferocity proved no match for the awesome energies of the Spear of Twilight. With one fluid motion, Yriel thrust the weapon into the monster's gaping maw and out through the back of its chitinous skull. It was as perfect a blow as any that had ever been struck. With a howling scream, the Tyrant collapsed and died at Yriel's feet. The last echoes of the monster's death shriek signalled the defeat of the alien horde. With their synaptic conduit severed, the remaining Tyranids ceased to attack as a united wave and reverted to instinct. In that heartbeat, the hunters at last became the hunted, as those Eldar who had yet the strength to stand surged forwards to claim vengeance for the dead. Iyanden had been saved.
The Price of Victory
- "We may have won the battle, but our ancestors have lost their souls."
- — Prince Yriel
The victory on Iyanden was a hollow one indeed, for though the Craftworld's defenders had repulsed the invaders, there were barely any left alive to witness the victory. Iyanden stood in ruins, a crumbling remnant of its former glory. Four-fifths of the population lay dead or dying in the battle-scarred halls -- a terrible blow to the declining Eldar race. Amongst the dead lay Kelmon Farsight, surrounded by the bodies of a dozen Tyranids rent by psychic fire. What had become of Sylandri Veilwalker, no one knew. Iyanden's graceful and majestic fleet had been reduced to a pitiful shadow of its once mighty stature, the blasted remains orbiting in deathly silence around the shattered Worldship. The Craftworld's once-beautiful landscape was covered in the blackened corpses of Tyranids. The eldritch architecture was devastated; slender Wraithbone towers and magnificent crystal domes lay broken and shattered. Worse still, the very souls contained in those spirit stones that had been destroyed by the Tyranids were lost forever. Yet even in the darkness, some hope remained. Silvereye assumed Kelmon's place at the head of the Council and begged Yriel to stay. Iyanden needed all of its sons and daughters if it were to survive. Yriel did not answer at first. He could feel the baleful energies of the Spear of Twilight coursing through him and knew that he had changed his destiny forever by taking up the blade. Yet Yriel knew also that he could not abandon Iyanden a second time. Thus did the Scion of the House of Ulthanash at last come home.
Iyanden in Twilight
In the wake of Hive Fleet Kraken, the survivors of Iyanden began the slow work of rebuilding their shattered home. What was once the most populous of Craftworlds was now a battered mausoleum, all but adrift in space. The dead were legion, the living few and overwrought with sorrow. Iyanden had become a strange and unsettling place for the surviving Eldar. So many had died that the wraithbone of the Infinity Circuit had become overcharged with psychic energy and had grown unchecked. In those domes and passageways where the fighting had been heaviest, bizarre shapes extruded from walls and floors, spiralling to meld with unclaimed spirit stones. The Forests of Silence, once a dome filled with the flora of long dead worlds, was now home to glittering crystal trees. The Fortress of the Red Moon, whose battered wraithbone bastions had been torn asunder by the Tyranids, was reborn as a sepulchre, where crystal statues of those slain in its defence guarded the battlements forever after. Ancient and empty palaces, their bloodlines ended forever by the Tyranids, were sealed shut, their doors bound over by the encroaching wraithbone.
Normally, this process would have been kept in check by the Craftworld's Bonesingers, but they were too few and the dead too determined. These places had become ghost halls, caught in the twilight between the spirit and material planes. At first, the living sought to reclaim the ghost halls, but they soon abandoned the attempt. To enter these ravaged chambers was to risk madness; the crystal within bore strange reflections and fragments of memory, the impossible breezes carried echoes of sorrowful songs. In the end, it was simpler to just cede the ghost halls to the spirits. No longer were the ghost warriors able to rest, for their strength and skills were needed to rebuild and defend the Craftworld. Indeed, many did not wish to, for Iyanden's partial submersion into the spirit world meant that their souls of the Wraithguard knew uncommon vibrancy. Rather than yielding to the Infinity Circuit's embrace, those ghost warriors already awoken congregated in the ghost halls, reoccupying the family estates of old, the spirits of the dead flocking through the tangled spurs of the Infinity Circuit to join the others of their kind. The Spiritseers quickly sensed this shift in the ethereal fabric of their craftworld and journeyed deep into the ghost halls. There, they discovered Wraithlords holding silent court amongst the chill, uninhabited halls.
Concerned that the ghost warriors' strange behaviour went even deeper, Taec Silvereye had Iyanden's Spiritseers enquire if the dead would still fight when called upon. The Wraithlords' response was as immediate as it was final. The dead would serve as they always had, but they had chosen to hold vigil alongside the living rather than slumber within the Infinity Circuit until awoken. Recognising that such a thing was possible only in the twilight world Iyanden had become, Taec Silvereye invited the greatest of the Wraithlords to join Iyanden's council. Most refused, but a few saw the wisdom in the Farseer's suggestion. Buried within each Wraithlord's shrouded mind were many lifetimes of knowledge, hard-won in war and in peace, wisdom that Iyanden would need to survive the times ahead.
A Craftworld Divided
- "It is our duty to rekindle the fire of hope in our people, not to quarrel with one another about who breathes life into the flame."
- — Farseer Taec Silvereye
Kraken's onslaught had not only disrupted the balance between life and death, it had also destroyed Iyanden's unity, and those Eldar that remained, living and dead, polarised into two factions. One group, in which Yriel was the loudest voice, wished to continue the war against Chaos. They no longer believed that the Craftworld's might was sufficient to achieve lasting victory, but would not despair. The other group believed that Iyanden could rise from the ashes like the phoenix of myth, and that the Craftworld's forces should not be frittered away on a fatalistic crusade. This second faction was far smaller, at least at first, but many influential individuals including Iyanna Arienal swelled its ranks. It fell to Taec Silvereye, as head of Iyanden's council, to keep the peace between these two factions. Yriel was given whatever forces could be spared in order to prosecute campaigns, but not to the point that Iyanden was left unprotected or that Iyanna Arienal could not pursue her goals of returning the Craftworld to greatness. Thus did Taec Silvereye keep death and life in balance. It was a solution that pleased neither faction, but it held Iyanden together.
The Prince and the Seer
The fight against Chaos now consumed Yriel's whole life, interrupted only when other foes drew near enough to threaten Iyanden. Time and again, Yriel led the armies and fleets of the Craftworld against forces that greatly outnumbered those of Iyanden. In another Autarch, this would perhaps have led to disaster, but Yriel's reckless days were behind him, and he never over-reached himself. To his supporters, Yriel was a hero, a hand of Khaine that reached out to slaughter the Craftworld's enemies. To his detractors, he was the greatest danger Iyanden faced. Rumours told that the prince neither slept nor ate, that the Spear of Twilight now sustained his life even as it slowly stole it away. They spoke of how Yriel could feel the hand of death upon his shoulder, and that this constant reminder drove him to seek a lasting legacy for his people before death claimed him.
Iyanna Arienal and her followers were no less active than Yriel. They had thrown their hopes into an ancient prophecy; that of the Pheonix Arisen, which told of the Eldar race reborn anew. At Iyanna's direction, they sought the Tears of Morai-Heg, gemstone fragments possessed of ancient magic that the Spiritseer said would see the rebirth accomplished . The Tears had been lost for millennia, and Iyanna's followers sought clues to their whereabouts more often than they did the gems themselves. The search brought the Eldar into contact with humans, Orks and other primitives. Some could be bartered with, on those few occasions where Iyanna was able to lower herself to deal with them as equals. Most of the time, however, only the threat of application of force saw the search fulfilled. Reclaiming the first Tear alone left a dozen worlds in ruin, and as many again were left fearful that the Eldar would return to slay those that had survived.
Slowly, the balance of power within Iyanden began to shift. Yriel's victories came at an ever-increasing price, and for little obvious benefit. Iyanna's, on the other hand, gave the people of Iyanden a sense of hope and of progress. Where each of Yriel's triumphs was but another costly victory in a war that had no perceivable end, every Tear of Morai-Heg that Iyanna recovered was a step closer to fulfilling the prophecy. Within a few short years, Iyanna Arienal's faction had grown so influential that it now completely overshadowed Yriel's. The Spiritseer could now count on the allegiance of almost all of the Craftworld's ghost warriors and a good portion of the living besides. Yet Taec Silvereye still kept his neutrality and thus maintained a (mostly) harmonious balance on the Craftworld.
Many dangers arose to confront Iyanden in this time; the Daemon horde of M'Kar the Reborn and the Necrons of the Sautekh Dynasty to name but two. Even an Imperial sector fleet, led by the ambitious but woefully overconfident High Commodore Rassoloth, chanced its arm against the Craftworld. All of these Yriel despatched with ease. Alas, each victory was blighted by tragedy, for ghost warrior spirit stones were destroyed in every battle, their souls cast into the Warp to be devoured by Slaanesh. Yet if the ghost warriors did not fight, the Craftworld would be destroyed, and the Infinity Circuit itself would die alongside. Thus was their sacrifice truly noble; better that a few walk knowingly into oblivion than all be consumed.
Only one threat in all this time came close to ending Iyanden: the forces of WAAAGH! Rekkfist. As the Craftworld broached the Antellas System, the runes warned Taec Silvereye that the planets in Iyanden's path were heavily infested with Orks -- any attempt to pass through would end in disaster. Nor was retreat an option; Iyanden's fleet had already engaged several Kill Kroozers, and there could be no doubt that the Orks knew of the Craftworld's presence. The only hope remaining to the Eldar of Iyanden was for them to unleash a pre-emptive attack on Rekkfist's empire. It said much for the scale of the Ork threat that Yriel and Iyanna put aside their differences and agreed to work in concert; the needs of survival transcended the sanctity of ideology. Whilst Iyanna did not go so far as to put her supporters under Yriel's command, she had them offer the prince every assistance and ceased questioning his leadership in public. It seemed that the great threat presented by the Orks had brought the two halves of Iyanden's people together in a way that no peaceable endeavour could ever have achieved.
The Battle for Antellas Begins
Easily outmanoeuvring the Ork fleet, Yriel launched a series of daring attacks on the ramshackle shipyards and battle stations orbiting Antellas Prime. The planetary defences thus neutralised, Iyanna Arienal took her own forces down to the surface, not to fight a conventional war, but to throw the Orks into chaos. Most of those she took with were wraith-constructs, but she also led warriors who knew the skills of the silent stalker; Crimson Hunters, Warp Spiders, Striking Scorpions and Rangers. They struck the gloom-laden forest of Antellas Prime, wielding terror and shadow as weapons. Ork patrols were ambushed and eliminated, Warbosses despatched from afar by Ranger long rifles, or up close with the slash of power blade. Quickly, these attacks spread disquiet amongst the Orks. Rekfist's lads loved a fight as much as any of their kind, but no Ork yet had seen an Eldar and lived to speak of it, and so rumours of a supernatural enemy quickly spread. Rekkfist himself didn't believe the hearsay, but he was also a pragmatist and so ordered that the forests be set alight. Over the next week, every Skorcha and Burna on Antellas was brought to bear, and soon, the ancient woodland was ablaze. Iyanna's forces now had no choice but to stand and fight.
Meanwhile, in the outer darkness of the Antellas System, Iyanden had troubles of its own. Yriel's hit and run attacks had crippled or destroyed many of the Ork starships, and those that remained were too distant to offer threat to either Iyanden or the Eldar forces of Antellas. Unfortunately, it was then that a massive craft emerged from the Warp almost directly on top of Iyanden. This was no mere kroozer, but a vast Space Hulk, a twisted conglomerate of ships, asteroids and wreckage melded together by its time in the immaterium, all repurposed to Orkoid design. At first, Taec Silvereye feared that Iyanden had been deliberately ambushed, but then quickly deemed that the Orks would have been unable to guide their monstrous vessel with sufficient precision. This was not a greenskin plan, just the most damnable ill fortune. Likely, the craft had intended to join with Rekkfist's forces, or was a much-belated arrival of the same WAAAGH! that had swept across Antellas. Between the inherent unpredictability of Ork behaviour and the unstable eddies of the Warp, it was little wonder that the runes had given no warning.
For a moment, both Craftworld and hulk were silently in mutual shock at the other's presence; then, as if at some prearranged signal, weapons batteries on both vessels lit up and missiles flared across the void. A heartbeat later, Yriel's fleet screamed back towards Iyanden. It had been the plan that he would lead his forces to Iyanna's aid once the Ork starships had been driven back, but the Ork hulk's arrival had changed everything. Ordinarily, even a space-going fortress like a hulk would have stood little chance against a Craftworld, but Iyanden was but a shadow of its former might. Fortunately, the prince had left fully half of his space-worthy vessels to screen the Craftworld from any unseen threats. Unfortunately, such was the sheer brutish size of the Ork craft, and so crammed was it with redundancies and backup systems, that it absorbed the combined firepower of Iyanden and its escort fleet without so much as a shudder. Boarding torpedoes slammed home into Iyanden, spilling thousands of Orks into the Craftworld's domes. Taec Silvereye mustered the defence, directing the efforts of those ghost warriors that remained aboard the Craftworld whilst the Spiritseers laboured to awaken others from the Infinity Circuit. It was not enough. The Orks were everywhere, and the overwhelming numbers swept aside what their brute force could not crush.
Meanwhile, on Antellas Prime, Iyanna Arienal had a surprise of her own to unleash upon WAAAGH! Rekkfist. As the Orks advanced through the ashen remains of the forest and charged home against her army, she sent a telepathic signal high into the mountains that summoned her Hemlock Wraithfighters to the fray. These sleek craft had been hidden since Iyanna had first made planetfall on Antellas Prime. She had intended to use them, and their soul-severing weapons, as the capstone to a carefully built strategy of terror, but now they came to rout Rekkfist's horde. Eighty Wraithfighters screamed low over the charging Orks, the whine of their distortion scythes easily audible over the greenskins' bellowing. Then, all at once, the bellowing stopped. Orks tumbled lifeless to the ground, their brutish souls cast into the hungry Warp. Battlewagons and Warbikes slowed to a halt, their crews slumped dead at the controls. Rokkits and flakk shells split the skies as the surviving Orks sought to bring down the sinister Eldar craft, but the damage had been done; Rekkfist's horde had been thrown into disorder by the Wraithfighter's attack, and Iyanna now threw her ground forces forwards to capitalise on the disarray. Bloodied but unbreaten, Rekkfist roared for reinforcements and, all across Antellas Prime, Mek tellyportas burst into life as they flooded fresh troops into the battle zone. As the Ork reinforcements began to arrive, Iyanna looked upon the forces now arrayed against her and knew that she could not prevail. Where was Yriel, she wondered, silently cursing the prince for his abandonment of her warhost.
In space, Yriel's fleet had at last joined the battle for Iyanden. The prince was briefly tempted to have his warriors disembark and fight aboard the Craftworld as they had against Hive Fleet Kraken, but quickly discarded the idea. The Ork hull was pounding Iyanden's outer hull with cannon shells and rokkits even as it launched more boarding torpedoes at the Craftworld. There could be no victory until it was destroyed. Detailing half his ships to intercept and destroy the boarding torpedoes, Yriel led the rest in low-level flight across the hulk's surface, blasting apart the stanchions that bound together the ruined starships and captive asteroids that formed its hull. After a dozen such flights, the hulk began to break up, jumbled wreckage spinning lazily into space from the force of the explosions. Thousands of greenskin bodies vented into space as the hulk's structure finally lost integrity. With a grim smile, Yriel turned his fleet back towards Iyanden.
Despite the efforts of the fleet, countless boarding torpedoes had breached Iyanden, and the Orks had spread far and wide throughout the Craftworld. The greenskins avoided the ghost halls, for the clamouring of spirit voices made them uneasy, but they wrought much damage elsewhere. Taec Silvereye had fallen back before the horde, trading distance for time in which other ghost warriors could be awoken and marshalled to the fight, but at last, he had run out of places to retreat to. Then, as the Farseer prepared for what he knew would be the final assault, salvation came from a most unlikely source. Without warning, Iyanden's webway portal flared and a new and sinister force burst onto the Craftworld. These were warriors of the Wraithkind Kabal and the Cult of the Flayed Hand -- the Dark Eldar of cruel Commorragh had come to their cousins' aid. Like a wind of blades they swept through the passageways and halls of Iyanden, leaving only mutilated greenskin corpses in their wake. Seeing the Orks falter, though not knowing the cause, Taec Silvereye urged his own forces forwards. By the time Yriel arrived, not an Ork remained alive within Iyanden's halls.
Moments later, Yriel's fleet was on the move again, this time carrying reinforcement to Antellas Prime where Iyanna Arienal was still embattled. To everyone's surprise, the Dark Eldar Archons offered their aid once more, explaining that they found great amusement in Iyanden's necromantic dabbling and would be delighted to bear further witness. Disgusted, but unable to refuse any aid, Yriel agreed to allow the dark kin aboard his vessels.
Yriel arrived at Antellas Prime to discover a chaotic and fragmented war underway. Had Rekkfist been able to muster their warbands into a single mass, Iyanna's forces would surely have been overwhelmed. As it was, the Ork tellyportas had spat Rekkfist's reinforcements out all across the northern continent. They had converged, but slowly, and the Eldar had taken advantage of the opportunity to isolate and destroy scattered warbands. Iyanna's warriors were faster and far more manoeuvrable than the Orks, but the Eldar had another advantage too; the ghost warriors were tireless and could continue the fight long after their flesh and blood kin grew weary. Nonetheless, the Eldar knew that this was a fight that they could not win without aid from the rest of the Craftworld. Thus, there were none in Iyanna's host that did not rejoice when Yriel's fleet moved into orbit overhead.
The swift Raiders of the Dark Eldar were the first into the fray, the crews laughing wildly as their Splinter Rifles took a bloody toll of the greenskins. Lithe Wyches sprang from the decks of their hurtling craft, eager to practice their cruel pursuits. Next came Ravagers, their Dark Lances reducing Trukks and tanks to smouldering ruins. Then, finally, the first of Yriel's Vampire Raiders set down alongside Iyanna Arieanl's position, disgorging Guardians, Aspect Warriors and Wraithguard into the thick of the fight. At their head came Yriel himself, the Spear of Twilight glimmering evilly in his hands. No words did Yriel have for Iyana Arienal, nor she for him; whatever differences lay between them, they now faced a common enemy who would pay dearly for the harms inflicted upon their Craftworld.
And so it was. Though the fighting lasted for the better part of three days, when it was done, the power of WAAAGH! Rekkfist had been broken forever. Rekkfist was deceased, slain at Yriel's hand when the prince had led a reckless charge into the heart of the green tide. Yriel would have died there too, crushed beneath a Stompa's gigantic foot, if Iyanna Arienal had not possessed the foresight to instruct two Wraithknights to ensure the admiral's safety. Rivals they may have been, but the Spiritseer knew an Iyanden without Yriel would not long survive. As it was, the Wraithknights' heavy wraithcannons brought the Stompa to a halt, smoke billowing from its amrour, and Yriel lived to fight another day.
Rekkfist's lieutenant, Snakra, tried to rescue the battle, throwing whole squadrons of Dakkajets into the fight. The air was full of mechanical growls as heavy-calibre shootas opened up on the Eldar positions. Without a word, the Wraithguard formed an impenetrable wall of bodies around the living and, through their mighty frames fractured and shattered beneath supa shoota shells, their sacrifice ensured that the living were spared. A moment later, a sonic boom echoed across the vally; Dakkajet wreckage spun out of the skies as Razorwings blasted the Ork fighters to scrap. In the end, and after much toil, the Eldar commanded a battlefield thick with mangled dead. Not all of the Orks had been slain, Some had fled into the hills, perhaps to one day reclaim Antellas. Yriel and Iyanna cared not -- the threat to Iyanden had been vanquished. Nor did they trouble themselves with the hundreds of caged greenskins that the Dark Eldar had taken back into the webway as "payment for services rendered." Those savages had challenged the supremacy of the Eldar, and they would pay a steep price in the shadowy realm of Commorragh.
A Brief Respite
With the Orks of WAAAGH! Rekkfist defeated, the Eldar of Iyanden at last experienced a few brief years of relative peace. There were still wars and battles to be fought, of course, for the galaxy was ever a cruel home, and Yriel's spear seldom found itself resting idle. But these, at least, were not conflicts fought for Iyanden's very survival; never since that time have alien feet tread uninvited through the Craftworld's hallowed halls. This period of relative calm allowed the Bonesingers to affect a great many repairs; as the millennium drew to a close, their constant labours had seen a substantial part of the Craftworld restored to glory. Given another thousand years, or so the Bonesingers said, Iyanden would perhaps be made whole. Through it all, Iyanna Arienal continued her search to fulfill the prophecy of the Phoenix Arisen. Fully half the Tears of Morai-Heg had now been discovered, or so she said, although shared no details of her final goal with even her closest supporters. On those rare times she could be found aboard the Craftworld, Iyanna could invariably be found communing with Olari Dreamshaper, one of the oldest of Iyanden's Bonesingers. It was rumoured that they would speak only of the Craftworld's Infinity Circuit, though none knew the reason behind this.
The Kraken's Legacy
A desperate decision from the past now came back to haunt Iyanden. In the aftermath of the battle with Hive Fleet Kraken, the Craftworld's Farseers had created an artificial Warp storm to block the Tyranid pursuit. Hundreds of bio-ships had plunged into that otherwordly tempest, and the Eldar assumed they had all been destroyed, or at least banished to where they could wreak no immediate harm. Alas, this was not the case. Forewarned by the prophecies of Taec Silvereye, the Eldar of Iyanden learned that the fickle eddies of the Warp had cast the Kraken's tendril back into realspace. Worse, the bio-ships had reappeared near Dûriel -- a world known to the Imperium as Valedor -- directly in the path of Hive Fleet Leviathan. The two fleets could not be permitted to combine, lest an unstoppable potent strain of Tyranids emerge to threaten Iyanden again. The Tyranids had to be stopped, and they had to be stopped at Dûriel.
Iyanden knew its forces were too distant to reach Dûriel in time, and too few to guarantee victory, but it would not need to stand alone. Biel-Tan soon pledged its aid, and even the dark kin of Commorragh agreed to join the fight. Indeed, it was the Dark Eldar who provided the solution -- a psychically triggered device that could spark the planet's molten core into a cataclysmic fury, destroying Dûriel and every Tyranid upon it. This device was known as the Fireheart, but it could not be detonated remotely -- Dûriel could be destroyed, but it would require the seers who actived the Fireheart to perish along with it.
The Red Death of Dûriel
Dûriel became a crucible of war as the Eldar fought to prevent the melding of Hive Fleets Kraken and Leviathan. The Swordwind of Biel-Tan arrived first to Dûriel, and thus bore the burden of the initial fighting, but Iyanden's forces soon found that their own battles began before they even reached their destination. The unthinkable had happened -- the Tyranids had breached the Webway. As Iyanden's vanguard confirmed that the Dûriel webway gate had been compromised, Taec Silvereye ordered the Craftworld's ghost warriors to lead the counter-attack. A wall of implacable wraithbone forms blocked the glowing webway tunnels, a barrier that only the mightiest bio-abominations could breach. Suncannons and D-Scythes flared, and the Tyranid infestation stalled. Then, Iyanden's Avatar, reborn in rage and fire, entered the battle. As the molten giant plunged into the Tyranid lines, the glory of Khaine swept over the Guardians and ghost warriors that came in his wake. Those Tyranids that were not hacked down or torn apart by shuriken weapons were trampled underfoot as the Eldar of Iyanden forced their way through the webway portal and onto Dûriel's embattled surface.
They arrived to find the final battle for Dûriel well underway atop the mountain known as the Godpeak. As the Farseers of Biel-Tan bent the Fireheart to their will, the combined Eldar and Dark Eldar hosts fought to keep the Tyrnaid swarms at bay. The air reverberated with alien roars and the hissing of shuriken fire. Time and again, the Tyrnaids hurled themselves at the Eldar positions, the ruthless will of the Hive Mind ever probing for a weakness to exploit. It did not find one. The Eldar fought at the last as the planet came apart beneath them. Taec Silvereye perished there, guiding the Wraithguard of House Illumenwë as they held back the doomed Tyranid swarms long enough for the remaining Eldar to escape. In the skies above, Yriel led the Iyanden fleet against the bio-ships of Hive Fleet Kraken, harnessing his hard-won experience to destroy every last obscene vessel. Even then, at the last, it seemed as if the Hive Mind might win its prize, that the precious bio-information encoded in the Kraken swarms might be reclaimed by Hive Fleet Leviathan, but a last minute strike by Dark Eldar fighter-craft delayed the reabsorption long enough for the Fireheart to complete its cataclysmic purpose. Though many lives had been spent, the union of the hive fleets had been denied. Iyanden was safe again.
The End Times Approach
Though Iyanden had lost comparatively few of its warriors during the defeat of the twin hive fleets, those losses it had suffered were hard to bear. Many of its Farseers had perished during the pivotal battle at the Godpeak, Taec Silvereye amongst them, and the absence of their wisdom would hurt the Craftworld greatly in the future. Many thought also that Iyanna Airenal had been slain. She had been ever at Taec Silvereye's side during that battle, and most had assumed that the Farseer's fate had been hers also. Yet this fear, at least, was unfounded, for Iyanna was soon discovered amongst the wounded. She had tried to remain at Taec's side, she insisted, but the Farseer had ordered her to leave and continue her work. As for Yriel, he was weary to his bones. He sensed that Dûriel had been his last battle and that the Spear of Twilight had burnt away all but the last of his soul. For nearly ten years, he had fought the enemies of his Craftworld without rest and without companionship -- whatever hope he had remaining was not for his own fate, but for that of his kin.
In the depths of night, Yriel returned to the Shrine of Ulthanash, whence he had taken the Spear of Twilight those long years ago. He said no farewells and spoke not of his purpose. No one marked his passage. The prince soon stood within the shrine, before the very reliquary where the Spear of Twilight had once lain. He bowed his head, intending to return the weapon to its rightful repose, even though the act would claim his life. With one last whispered prayer to Asuryan, he began to lower the Spear of Twilight into its cradle, only to stop when the felt a hand upon his. Yriel looked up and beheld the smooth, dark mask of the Shadowseer Sylandri Veilwalker, whom he had not seen since he had first taken up the spear.
The Shadowseer told the prince that his labours were not yet done; that night was descending upon the galaxy, but that a chance of an empire restored waited in the dawn. As Yriel listened, the walls of the shrine flickered with vibrant images of worlds afire, of Daemons loose among the stars and of the Eldar Gods reborn to glory. Yriel felt his soul grown strong again, though whether it was the Shadowseer's words, her touch or the images he saw that wrought this change, he did not know. Yriel drew the Spear of Twilight to his side once more and stood tall -- taller, indeed, than he had in many years. In that moment, he saw that he had many more battles to fight -- it was not yet time for his soul to know peace. Veilwalker's illusions faded away, and she beckoned Yriel after her into the shadows of the shrine. Tightening his grip on the Spear of Twilight, Yriel followed. It was a long time before he was seen in that part of the galaxy again. Meanwhile, the story of Iyanden Craftworld continues on, but to what destination, not even the gods can say.
Following Yriel's departure from Iyanden, Iyanna Arienal soon found herself standing alone in the Shrine of Asuryan, lost in contemplation. No one had seen Yriel in over a month, and the skeins of his fate were so tangled that not one the Craftword's Farseers could divine what had befallen him. Iyanna did not greatly regret Yriel's absence -- he would have opposed her plans, had he ever truly perceived them -- but she could not deny that his loss diminished Iyanden and their race. The Fire of Creation at the chamber's heart had laid cold and inert since Kallorax's insolent attack, decades earlier. The shrine still bore the scars of that day, and of the Tyranid invasion that had come after. The Spiritseer wondered if its desolate fate was a metaphor for that of Iyanden's people. Of course it was, she assured herself. Only Ynnead's embrace offered any hope of salvation. The old gods were dead; the coldness of the chamber was proof of that. With one last look around the chamber, Iyanna turned to leave; only one Tear of Morai-Heg yet remained unaccounted for, but there was much more to be accomplished if She Who Thirsts was to be thwarted. Behind her, unnoticed, the Fire of Creation flickered into sudden, brilliant life.
- The Voyage Begins (c.M31) - Iyanden is one of the first Craftworlds to escape the failing and corrupt Eldar empire.
- The Fall of the Eldar (c.M32) - The Eldar empire is torn asunder as Slaanesh is born from their depravities.
- The Salvation of the Soul (c.M33) - Mehlendri Silversoul ventures to the Crone World of Falladon and returns to Iyanden with the first waystones. For the next three centuries, she labours with the Craftworld's Bonesingers to adapt the Infinity Circuit. At the end, Mehlendri realises that a soul must be given in offering to awaken the Infinity Circuit, and so she makes a sacrifice of herself. Legend tells that her spirit lingers thereafter on the border between the dead and the living worlds, welcoming the freshly slain into the Infinity Circuit's embrace.
- An Alliance Fades (777.M34) - Craftworld Biel-Tan begins a bloody war to reclaim the Maiden World of Rasilena from the encroaching humans. Iyanden, judging that reclaiming Rasilena brings no benefit in the ongoing war against Chaos, refuses to send aid, even when two whole sector fleets and ten Space Marine Chapters join the fight. Biel-Tan eventually emerges bloodied, but victorious. Thereafter, the two Craftworlds soon lose their unity of purpose, each assuming the other to be uncommitted to their alliance.
- The Cleansing of Menimshemash (867.M35) - Iyanden's armies descend upon the Daemon-infested world of Menimshemash. Once a proud Exodite world, the planet is now overrun with the foul servants of Tzeentch, and its world spirit is corrupted by the otherwordly labyrinth of the Great Deceiver. Such is the scale of the threat that Iyanden's ghost warriors are awoken, and ordered to defend the Craftworld's Spiritseers and Bonesingers as they attempt to free the world spirit from the unnatural infestation. The Daemons, sensing what the Eldar are attempting, counter-attack immediately. Wraithguard form a wall of unliving bodies around the seers, buying enough time for them to purge the primary source of infestation, but the battle is only won when the souls of Exodites trapped within the tainted world spirit join the fight. In the aftermath, those Exodite spirits that remain are safely and reverently transferred into Iyanden's Infinity Circuit.
- An Emperor Deposed (453-478.M37) - The Eldar of Iyanden wage war against the Fallen Angel Zhemon's Empire of Anarchy.
- Vengeance for Lilarsus (876.M39) - The Maiden World of Lilarsus is destroyed by expansionist Tau forces. This provokes a bloody response from Iyanden, and the Ke'lshan sept colony Ka'mais is reduced to rubble during the reprisals. The Tau counter-attack, though slow to mobilise, is determined and well-coordinated, and the aliens recover the wreckage of several Wraithguard as the Eldar withdraw. Earth Caste scientists are fascinated by their prizes, thinking them to be more sophisticated version of their own Battlesuits. However, the secrets of psycho-conductive wraithbone prove to lie far beyond the Tau's clumsy grasp, and the wreckage is soon recovered when the Eldar return in force. Despite the innate superiority of the Eldar, the Tau prove themselves incredibly tenacious, and the conflict continues for several weeks, until both sides discover that actions are being manipulated by the Dark Eldar Archon Andross Klax. The Eldar of Iyanden disengage, and the Tau extend the hand of friendship, hoping to learn the technological secrets of their recent foes. The Council of Iyanden icily ignore the primitives' offer and bend their efforts towards making Klax pay for the unnecessary carnage he has caused.
- The Blood of Khaine (585.M40) - The Blood of Khaine, one of the mightiest vessels in the Iyanden fleet, is boarded and captured by the Imperial Fists Chapter's 2nd Company. The Space Marines convey their prize to the shipyards at the Forge World of Hypnoth, where the battered remains can be studied. Before meaningful investigation can begin, however, Admiral Draech of Iyanden launches reprisals against Hypnoth. The Eldar purposefully destroy the Blood of Khaine, then send ghost warrior boarding parties aboard the two Imperial Fists Strike Cruisers still in orbit, the Vengeful Praetor and Starwart Hammer. The vessels are swiftly overwhelmed by furious Wraithblades and scuttled. Retribution enacted, and their point made, the Eldar slip away from Hypnoth's ravaged defences and vanish into the stars.
- A Cry for Help (801-808.M41) - A string of Eldar Exodite worlds and Maiden Worlds fall under the shadow of Hive Fleet Naga. The Eldar craftworlds of Idharae, Iyanden and Malan'tai despatch fleets to their aid.
- The War for Halathel (810-811.M41) - The flagship of Iyanden's fleet is destroyed whilst attempting to pierce the Tyranid blockade on Halathel. Prince Yriel assumes command and defeats the remaining bio-ships, but it is too late to save Halathel's Exodite protectors. Overwhelmed by rage and grief, Yriel orders the planet to be scoured of all life lest a single Tyranid survive, before rushing to rejoin his kin at Eth-aelas.
- The Fury of Shai'naid (810-812.M41) - The forces of Iyanden join with those of Craftworld Malan'tai and Craftworld Idharae to destroy Hive Fleet Naga.
- The Doom of Malan'tai (812.M41) - Hive Fleet Naga is systematically vanquished by the combined forces of Craftworlds Malan'tai, Iyanden and Idharae. In the Hive Fleet’s death throes, it ejects a clutch of Mycetic Spores, one of which reaches Craftworld Malan'tai. The psychic leech-creature that emerges slowly bleeds the Craftworld unto death.
- The Hellabore Assault (867.M41) - Iyanden forces slaughter of the planetary council of Hellabore before the seeds of damnation within their souls can bear blasphemous fruit. Unaware that the Eldar have prevented a great Heresy, the Crimson Fists arrive on Hellabore in force and bring the Eldar to battle. Most of Iyanden's forces have already departed through the Webway by the time the Space Marines arrive, but it falls to a small warhost of ghost warriors, led by the Wraithlord Toralven Gravesong, to hold the vengeful Crimson Fists at bay whilst the last of the living Eldar make their escape. Their sacrifice is mourned ever after.
- Battle of Orar's Sepulchre (888.M41) - An Eldar emissary from the Biel-tan Craftworld was sent to the Imperial world of Commrath to enter negotiations with its Planetary Governor for the return of an ancient eldritch artefact from the tomb of one of the Ultramarines' most-lauded heroes, Captain Orar, known as the Sceptre of Galaxian. When the Imperial noble refused his request, the Eldar emissary grew angry and soon his pleas turned to threats of violence. The Planetary Governor refused to be cowed by the arrogant xenos and had the Eldar executed on the spot. However, the Governor had the foresight to heed the Eldar's threats and requested aid from the Ultramarines. Eldar from the Alaitoc and Iyanden Craftworlds then proceeded to assault the planet Commrath to recover the Eldar artefact within Orar's Sepulchre. Orar was a great Ultramarine hero in the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, and Chapter Master Marneus Calgar vowed not a single alien would breach the sanctity of his tomb. For the first time since the Battle of Macragge, Calgar lead his entire Chapter to war. The Eldar descended upon Orar's Sepulchre to find it held against them by the Ultramarines. Eldar Aspect Warriors and Guardians darted towards the main gates of the great edifice that was Orar's tomb as grav-tanks and artillery engines battered the Imperial defenders. On Calgar's command, the Ultramarines emerged from cover and scoured the invaders from the Sepulchre's steps with disciplined Bolter volleys. The Eldar fell back, only to find their lines of retreat cut off by Assault Marines and Land Speeders. Eldar leaders emerged from cover and rallied the trapped first wave, only to fall to sniper fire as the Ultramarines' Scouts made their presence known. The initial Eldar assault faltered but, for an entire day and night, they continued to attack. Though they mustered every arcane science at their command, they could not overcome the tactical brilliance of Marneus Calgar and his Ultramarines. The following day, a fresh assault swept onto the great stairs of the sepulchre, led by a colossal figure wreathed in flame -- an Avatar of Khaela Mensha Khaine, the Eldar god of war. Heavy weapons fire seemed only to anger the creature, and the Ultramarines' battle line buckled beneath its onslaught, so Calgar issued a challenge himself. The fiery god bellowed with fury, its first blow missing the Ultramarines' Chapter Master by a hair's breadth. The second tore plates from Calgar's armour. A third bit deep into his shoulder, driving the Chapter Master to one knee. But the fourth slammed into the armoured palm of Calgar's left hand. Rising up, Calgar struck with all his strength, bringing his other gauntlet around in a mighty arc that punched clean through the molten ichor of the Avatar's torso. With the fall of their War God, the Eldar lost all heart and retreated. Some fled without heed while others fell back in good order, but all of the xenos retreated into the darkness. Despite overwhelming odds, once again the Ultramarines had emerged victorious, but in his wisdom Calgar knew that the Eldar would return for the Sceptre of Galaxian. So it was that Calgar informed Commrath's Governor that the Galaxian Sceptre would be removed from Orar's Sepulchre to Macragge, where it could be properly defended.
- The Perfect War (891.M41) - Upon the sludge planet of Yurk, the armies of the Ork Warlord Killfist are engaged and killed without loss by Craftworld Iyanden's grav-tank skimmers. The clockwork precision of the warhost’s attack prevents the Yurkoid Waaagh! altogether and saves a virgin Eldar colony from destruction in the process.
- The Perfect Invasion (919.M41) - Pirate Prince Yriel and his warriors make planetfall upon the backwater planet of Yurk and kill the Ork Warboss mustering his forces along with the entirety of his ruling caste. Their blades bloodied, Yriel and the warriors of Craftworld Iyanden disappear back into the void without losing a single Eldar life.
- Against the Pirate Horde (933.M41) - Iyanden's war against Chaos pirate Kallorax begins.
- The Battle of Agrion (941.M41) - Prince Yriel wins a major victory against Kallorax's pirate fleet, and destroys his flagship the Deathless Reaver.
- The Battle of the Burning Moon (942.M41) - Learning of Kallorax's intent to strike directly at Iyanden, Yriel leads the Craftworld's fleet in a pre-emptive strike. Yriel storms Kallorax's new flagship and slays the pirate lord in single combat. Alas, the Chaos fleet ravages Iyanden before it is destroyed. The Council of Iyanden calls Yriel to account for his actions, but the prince refuses to justify himself and vanishes into exile.
- The Time of Ending (991.M41) - Farseer Kysaduras forsees the rise Ynnead, the Eldar god of death.
- The Devourer Descends (992.M41) - The Tyranids push their tendrils into the galaxy, and Craftworld Iyanden is locked in a death-struggle against the mighty Hive Fleet Kraken. As the Craftworld teeters on the brink of extinction, more and more Ghost Warriors are summoned to its defence, until the army facing the Tyranids is as much of the dead as the living. Thousands of souls are drawn from the Infinity Circuit to stand beside their living descendants until whole armies of Wraithguard stride to war, but even drawing on this precious resource cannot stop the Tyranid invasion. With millions of Tyranids battling through the Craftworld itself and the Craftworld's own defences unable to drive off the waves of hive ships assailing it, only the timely arrival of an outside influence saves the ancient Craftworld. Prince Yriel returns from his exile at the head of his Eldritch Raiders and vanquishes the Tyranid fleet in a titanic space battle. Rallying the desperate defenders upon the Craftworld, Yriel ensures his place in legend when he takes up the cursed Spear of Twilight and slays the towering monster leading the Tyranid invasion.
- Fury's Fall (087993.M41) - Inexorable Fury, a Battle Barge of the Novamarines Chapter, emerges from the Warp less than a light year form Iyanden. Not wishing to take the risk that this is the prelude to another attack, Yriel despatches ghost warriors from the House of Ulthanesh to board and destroy the vessel.
- Battle for Teleth-Ai (778993.M41) - Desperately needing to repair and resupply their ruined Craftworld, the Council of Iyanden seek aid from the Exodite world of Teleth-ai. The Exodites willingly give what assistance they can, and many vital and sacred areas are restored to functionality -- including the Craftworld's massive webway gate. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the repairs have been completed when Teleth-ai is beset by a vast army of Cadian Imperial Guard. The humans invade the Exodite world in such numbers that even the roots of the mountains tremble with their footfalls, and Teleth-ai's defenders fall back in disarray. The Council of Iyanden know that the Exodites cannot hold back the human invaders alone, but know also that their own forces are still horrendously weakened from battling Hive Fleet Kraken. Thus, with heavy hearts -- the humans are ignorant, rather than truly evil, after all -- Iyanden's Autarchs unleash their Hemlock Wraithfighters. The massed regiments of Cadians have no defence against the soul-servering D-Scythes and, by the time Iyanden's Wraithguard enter the battle, there is little for them to do but goad the routed humans deeper into the mountains, where Striking Scorpions and vengeful Exodite dragon knights lie in wait for them.
- The Fate of Malan'tai (994.M41) - Taec Silvereye sends an expedition to Malan'tai, with the goal of salvaging anything that can be used to speed Iyanden's repairs. Unfortunately, the abandoned Craftworld is swarming with Orks. The Eldar finally regain control of Malan'tai, only to discover that the Orks have stolen or destroyed anything of use. With heavy hearts, they alter the Craftworld's course towards the nearest sun and head home.
- An Unexpected Ally (995.M41) - The Craftworld of Iyanden, struggling to survive after its horrible narrow victory over Hive Fleet Kraken, is forced to engage WAAAGH! Rekkfist in order to prevent Iyanden being invaded again. Early engagements cause crippling damage on the greenskin empire, but the Orks counter-attack in force. Iyanden is left with no choice but to disturb more and more of their revered ancestors from their deathly slumbers and place their spirit stones into mighty Ghost Warriors in order to contain the counter-invasion. Just as all seems lost, the Wraithkind Kabal and the Cult of the Flayed Hand burst through the Webway portal at the Craftworld's rear. Fighting alongside Iyanden's Aspect Warriors and their Ghost Warrior allies, the Dark Eldar drive off the Orks. When asked by Iyanden's Council of Seers as to why they intervened, the Dark Eldar reply that they find Iyanden's angst-ridden forays into the world of necromancy extremely entertaining.
- The Encroaching Swarm (997.M41) - Word reaches Iyanden of a new and terrible Tyranid incursion. Though the Craftworld is not directly threatened by this new onset, all aboard Iyanden agree they cannot stand idle whilst the galaxy is invaded again. Emissaries are sent to those Craftworlds closest to Hive Fleet Leviathan, sharing the experience hard-won against the Kraken.
- The Red Death of Dûriel (778999.M41) - The Eldar of Iyanden and Biel-Tan combine with Dark Eldar forces to prevent the biological union of Hive Fleets Kraken and Leviathan upon the Maiden World of Dûriel. They are successful, but Dûriel itself is sacrificed to ensure victory, through means of an arcane device known as the Fireheart. In the wake of the battle, Prince Yriel disappears.
- The Bio-Purge Continues (811999.M41) - Encouraged by their successes against the Tyranids at Dûriel, the Eldar of Iyanden and Biel-Tan bring the Fireheart to other worlds. Thus do they begin a campaign of planetary annihilation in order to starve Hive Fleet Leviathan as it advances. Countless worlds, many of them inhabited, are scoured clean of bio-mass in the ensuing campaign. Scores of peaceable civilisations are erased from existence, sacrificed for victory in a war whose scale they would have been unable to conceive. Little by little, the Imperium becomes aware that the destruction cannot be blamed solely on the Tyranids, and forty Space Marine Chapters soon converge on the warzone. Some become embroiled in conflict with Orks, who have themselves become displaced by the Eldar's ruthless purge. The Invaders and Crimson Castellans Chapters, wholly ignorant of the Eldar motives, assail Iyanden forces as they moved to destroy the Agri-Worlds of the Verdox System. As the vanguard of Hive Fleet Leviathan descends upon Verdox II, Autarch Sunspear and his army of ghost warriors are caught between vegeful Space Marines and the hunger of the Tyranid swarm. Despite the odds, Sunspear prosecutes a flawless campaign that draws the Space Marines into fighting the Tyranids, and the Eldar to escape through the Gargoyle-clogged skies less than an hour before Verdox II collapses into atomic fire. Though advised to do otherwise, Sunspear warns the Invaders and Crimson Castellans of Verdox's imminent collapse, then departs into the webway, neither knowing nor caring if the Space Marines believed his message.
- A Clash of Fates (827999.M41) - Iyanden's Farseers become aware of two possible futures in which the Craftworld is destroyed. The first potential catastrophe is wrought by the Daemon hordes of M'kar the Reborn; the second by the Ultramarines of Macragge. Thus do the Eldar of Iyanden begin a series of campaigns designed to bring these two enemies into direct conflict with one another. Through a series of hit and run engagements, M'kar's forces are lured ever closer to Ultramar. When there can no longer be any doubt that the Daemon Prince's forces are going to descend upon Talassar, the Eldar withdraw and M'kar's loathing for the Ultramarines does the rest.
- The Phoenix Rising (998999.M41) - Now the pre-eminent voice on Iyanden, the Spiritseer Iyanna Arienal begins the preparations that she believes will cast the souls of Iyanden into the Infinity Circuit, and hasten Ynnead's awakening.
Iyanden is more reliant on its Ghost Warriors than any other Craftworld. Where other Eldar Craftworlds utilise Aspect Warriors and Guardians as the heart of their armies, and their ghost warriors as supporting units, Iyanden does the exact opposite.
Emissaries of the Dead
- "The universe is triparite: the sunlight of the material plane, the darkness of the spirit plane, and the twilight of the spaces twixt the two."
- — Spiritseer Iyanna Arienal
Wraithknights are vital to any Craftworld's survival. Not only are they ranked amongst the most formidable warriors that the Eldar can bring to bear, it is they that recover spirit stones from the metaphysical horror of lost Crone Worlds, thus ensuring the survival of Eldar souls. On Iyanden, the Wraithknights are bound even more tightly into the Craftworld's survival, for it is they who act as emissaries between the living and the dead. Such is only possible because of the psychic bond between each Wraithknight's twin pilots. Even once bound into the body of a ghost warrior, the dead share few points of reference with the living. Unless there is a Spiritseer present -- and they are all too often not, especially during the upheaval of battle -- communication between the dead and the living can be likened to that between a sightless man and one who cannot hear; progress is slow, at best, and often maddeningly imprecise. Only a Wraithknight's pilots are immune to this confusion. A shared soul ensures that each twin is at all times able to communicate in terms that the other can understand. Though this seldom allows the living pilot to commune directly with the dead, or the ghost pilot to speak on equal terms with the living, it does allow them to translate the dreamlike urges of ghost warriors into something that the sharper souls of the living Eldar can comprehend, and vice versa. Thus do Wraithknights serves as secondary command nodes in Iyanden's armies, especially where complex strategies are being employed, and a sudden loss of coordination between the living and the dead would be disastrous.
The tale of Iyanden is replete with great heroes awoken from the dead to defend their home as Wraithlords. The deeds of Lord-Phoenix Dreamspinner could fill a thousand volumes, as could those of Draech Starhand and Elendri Deathsiren, the Crone Banshee -- and these are but three of the many hundreds of mighty souls who have striven from beyond death's veil. If these heroes could all be awakened at once, or so the Eldar believe, their race would once again know the power to remake the stars. Alas, the longer a spirit dwells in the Infinity Circuit, the more of its anima slips away, and the less urgent the concerns of the living seem. A recently interred soul, the memories of kith and kin yet bright in it flickering consciousness, is always readiest to take up arms -- at least once the psychic shocks of death and twilight rebirth are overcome. As the decades pass, the skeins of mortality fade, and the soul's personality is subsumed into the Infinity Circuit's whispering gestalt. Nonetheless, when the direst times befall, the Spiritseers of Iyanden will judge that only through the labours of their mightiest dead can the Craftworld be saved. On those occasions, their minds travel deep into the Infinity Circuit so that they might gather and rebind a hero's fading consciousness into a single entity of implacable will. This is a perilous undertaking, and many Spiritseers are lost in the process, their minds lured into the serenity and peace of the spirit world. Nonetheless, they all make the sacrifice willingly, so they might have even the slimmest chance of restoring a worthy hero from the past to fight one last battle from within a Wraithlord's mighty frame.
Weaponry of the Dead
A great many Eldar weapons are so lethal that they are too dangerous for the living to operate. The intricate mechanisms of distortion weapons, in particular, rely upon a mix of arcane technology and mystic science lethal to living matter. Fortunately, such forces find little purchase on a ghost warrior's wraithbone form, allowing the dead to wield these weapons in safety where the living cannot. More perilous by far are the ghost weapons wielded by wraith-constructs. Many of these weapons contain a spirit stone whose deathless sentience guides the wielder's strikes to greater effect. The danger comes from the fact that these spirits are not drawn from the Craftworld's Infinity Circuit as those of the ghost warriors are. Not all spirit stones gathered on the Crone Worlds are empty. Indeed, some few contain the immortal essence of great scholars or heroes of the ancient Eldar Empire. More often, however, those spirit stones that are not imprinted when they are recovered contain a malevolent soul, one that rages at its confinement within the crystal shard.
Some of these Spirit Stones, unfit as they are for any other purpose, are embedded into ghost weapons. No living Eldar could safely wield such a blade, for the spirit's spite would, at best, overcome him and, at worst, attempt to claim his mortal body for its own sadistic purposes. Even ghost warriors are not immune to the psychic feedback from such a weapon, and many Eldar assume that the legendary fury of Wraithblades is as much brought about by the malice contained in their weaponry as their own immortal anger.
Ghost Warriors perceive the physical world only dimly, and can be slow to react to -- or even acknowledge -- instructions issued by non-seers. For the armies of Iyanden, which rely ever more on their wraith-constructs to win victory, such delays can prove catastrophic if they occur in the crucible of battle, where even a second's tardiness can transmute a hard-won victory into a bitter and costly defeat. It is to guard against this danger that an Autarch of Iyanden seldom engages in battle without at least one Spiritseer at his side. By maintaining a telepathic link with both the Autarch and the ghost warriors, an Iyanden Spiritseer can ensure that the wraith-constructs react swiftly to changes in the battle-plan; more swiftly, sometimes, than the Aspect Warriors and Guardians who make up the remainder of the warhost. Of course, the more ghost warriors there are present in the warhost, the greater the strain this places on any individual Spiritseer. Thus, in larger campaigns, an Autarch might well be accompanied by an entire council of Spiritseers -- known as a "Shadow Council" -- each of whom is responsible for overseeing the actions of a different ghost warrior strike force.
This arrangement, which originally arose out of necessity, has over time become an established practice and one of Iyanden's greatest strengths, allowing elements of the Craftworld's ghost warrior warhost that are scattered across the battlefield to operate with a coordination that far outstrips that of the living. As tireless beings with no need for rest or sustenance, ghost warriors can remain in silent ambush for days at a time, if need be, patiently waiting for the order that will begin the killing.
- Shrine of Asuryan - The Eldar of Iyanden have ever revered Asuryan, the eldest and greatest of all the gods. Indeed, the Shrine of Asuryan lies at the very heart of the Craftworld. In the centre of this hallowed chamber, atop a pyramid of perfect diamond, burns the Fire of Creation, said by some to be the last splinter of Asuryan's power. For thousands of years, it was from the presence of this flame that the Eldar of Iyanden drew their strength; even though Asuryan was gone, consumed by Slaanesh during the Fall, the presence of his flame told the Eldar of Iyanden that they were still touched by greatness and would one day make the gods proud. It that fire were to go out, or so legend told, doom would befall the Craftworld and all within it. The Eldar, being creatures of subtle and intricate mind, interpreted the legend as metaphor, for they knew the fire of the shrine was but a reflection of the flame they kindled within their own souls.
- The Ghost Halls - For most Craftworlds, Ghost Warriors are the last line of defence, awoken sparingly and seldom in large numbers. On Iyanden, where the boundary between the land of the living and the dead is particularly thin, the ghost warriors are so numerous and so active that they have willingly taken up the burden of the Craftworld's wars. Thus have Wraithguard, Wraithblades and Wraithlords adopted the duties once given over to Guardians and Aspect Warriors, overwhelming through endurance and implacability those enemies that would have once been defeated through deftness and grace. Just as Iyanden's wraith-warriors dwell in the ruined and silent ghost halls that were once their families' ancestral domes, so too do they fight together on the field of battle. They bear the colours of their Craftworld and the iconography of their houses -- for the Eldar of Iyanden, the importance of lineage transcends even death itself. It is rare, though not unheard of, for ghost warriors of different houses to fight together. What remains of an Eldar soul after death is given to extremes of personality -- only the strongest character traits and obsessions survive the transition from living being to spirit. By having ghost warriors of the great houses fight alongside their kin, the Spiritseers guarantee that these divergent forces are bound by a common purpose that transcends the dreamlike desires of the dead.
Notable Iyanden Houses
- House of Varinash - Proud in life, proud in death -- that is what other Eldar say of the House of Varinash, for its scions have ever been reluctant to share their burdens of duty and honour with others. So large and populous was Varinash that, in its heyday, it held sway over many Aspect Shrines and could field warhosts of impressive size without the aid or consent of other houses. Now, perhaps only a few hundred of its folk still dwell in the living world. Those who remain have given lives over to the service of their ancestors, ensuring that they are ever girded for war.
- House of Divinesh - The ghost warriors of the House of Divinesh are insular isolationists and seldom emerge form their ghost halls except in times of great need. At other times, Wraithseers gather in the shadowed chambers where the elders of Divinesh once held council, their efforts ever bent on piercing the veil of the future. What they are looking for, no one knows, for no member of the House of Divinesh will speak of it. Nonetheless, there are rumours that the scryings are dispersing the souls of their ghost warriors, and outsiders wonder what peril could possibly be so dire as to require such sacrifice.
- House of Arienal - The House of Arienal was all but destroyed during the Battle of the Burning Moon. Most were not even present at the conflict itself, but perished when Kallorax's cyclonic torpedo struck Iyanden. The psychic sorrow birthed in that moment rippled through the Warp, overwhelming Arienal's survivors. All across Yriel's fleet, Aspect Warriors, helmsmen and ships' crew collapsed in that manner of puppets whose strings had been cut; their souls fled into their waystones. Only one daughter of the House of Arienal yet lives, and none can say how she has avoided being driven mad with grief.
- House of Delgari - There are few places upon Iyanden so desolate and sorrowful as the ghost halls of the House of Delgari. Never a grand bloodline, Delgari has borne more than its share of tragedies; now, even its ghost warriors are dwindling. Each year, more Wraithguard slip away into the restless death-sleep of the spiritkin, their proud vigil abandoned as ennui and sadness overtake them. The still living Delgari watch with horror as their ancestors slip away into the void, and toil ever harder for a means by which hope can be restored before it is too late.
- House of Valor - In life, the warriors of the House of Valor stood in the forefront of Iyanden's greatest warhosts, and death had done little to change this. They are amongst the first to muster when war calls, solemnly assembling to some unseen summons, often before the living are aware of any danger. The House of Valor no longer has any progeny amongst the living, for last of their line was slain during the attack of Hive Fleet Kraken. Thus have the ghost warriors silently embraced all Eldar as close kin, and they give freely of their strength and souls when the Craftworld is threatened.
- House of Haladesh - Of all Iyanden's great lineages, the House of Haladesh has suffered least from the Craftworld's tragedies. Such a capriciousness of fate would perhaps have bred bad feeling between Haladesh and the other houses, were it not for the faultless and unselfish manner in which its sons and daughters cast themselves into war. Kelmon Firesight, once leader of Iyanden's Council, was a son of Haladesh, and it is said that he still walks his family's ghost halls consumed with regret for his failings in mortal life.
- House of Ulthanash - As befits a line sprung from one of the greatest heroes, the House of Ulthanash is a proud lineage with a gloried path. Yet it is also one that has learned humility in recent years. For too long did the sons and daughters of Ulthanash look down upon Prince Yriel, spurning him for his half-blood nature. It was only when the exiled scion became Iyanden's saviour that his kin, both living and dead, recognised the folly of their prejudices. Now, only the most stubborn of the Ulthanashi ancestors have not pledged themselves fully to Yriel's cause -- the rest have willingly put aside old misgivings in survial's name.
Notable Iyanden Eldar
- Prince Yriel - Prince Yriel, High Admiral and Autarch of Iyanden, is a scion of the House of Ulthanash, one of the oldest and noblest lineages in the Eldar race. Before his successes against Hive Fleet Naga, Yriel had always been something of an outcast, isolated for his status as a half-blood. The prince's mother might have hailed from the noblest of lineages, but his father was a different matter. Though few speak on the matter in Yriel's presence, rumours abound that the prince's sire was an outcast from anther craftworld, a title-less walker whose feet and soul followed the Path of Exile. Such would likely mean that he carried the blood of both Eldanesh and Ulthanash, which would well account for his monstrous pride. However, there are a few who whisper that Yriel's father was not an outcast from a craftworld at all but rather that he hailed from a darker realm by far. Those same whispers suggest that it is Yriel's loathing for this half of his nature that drives him to continually strive for fresh challenges. Yriel was a brilliant if reckless commander in Iyanden's fleet. He was originally exiled when he led a successful and pre-emptive attack on a Chaos fleet that left Iyanden open to attack, causing the death of thousands of Eldar. Darkly vowing never to step foot on his former home world, he and his crew formed a Corsair fleet, the Eldritch Raiders, and became infamous throughout the galaxy in only a few decades, a testament to Yriel's skill. He and his fleet saved Iyanden at its time of greatest need, at the height of the Tyranid invasion by the Hive Fleet Kraken in 992.M41. As the Craftworld was about to fall, Yriel and his Eldritch Raiders blew a sizeable hole in the Tyranid's fleet and reinforced Iyanden's forces within the Craftworld's corridors and on its surface. Yriel himself slew the leader of the hordes, a supposedly invincible creature, with the Spear of Twilight, a cursed artefact that contains the harnessed power of a supernova. Yriel was then restored to his position as an Autarch of Iyanden and the Craftworld's High Admiral, and is currently searching for a way to rid himself of the Spear, which is slowly killing him as he struggles to contain its raging energies.
- Kelmon Firesight - Kelmon Farsight served as Iyanden's preeminent Farseer for some centuries. He firmly believed that there was little more dangerous in the galaxy than the wildness of youth, at least so long as it went untempered by the wisdom of elders. For many decades, Kelmon watched Prince Yriel of Ulthanash, and other like him, waiting for the fire in their hearts to die down so that they might at last heed his words. Alas, that day never came. Instead, their souls alight with the dream of glory restored, they grew ever more brazen, taking ever more needless risks. Such recklessness, Kelmon believed, could lead only to disaster. Following the Chaos fleet attack on Iyanden, and Yriel's failure to stop a cyclonic torpedo severely damaging the craftworld, Kelmon sought to humble Yriel, before others paid the price for the prince's arrogance. Nonetheless, though Yriel went into voluntary exile, the Farseer would never be sure that his actions did not stem from wounded pride, and this uncertainties would haunt him until his dying day. When word reached Iyanden of an inevitable attack by Hive Fleet Kraken by the venerable Farseer Eldrad Ulthran of Craftworld Ulthwé, Kelmon's voiced his displeasure the loudest, accusing Eldrad of deceiving Iyanden into abandoning the territory it had fought so hard to cleanse of Chaotic taint. It would be this arrogance that nearly led to Iyanden's downful when the craftworld was attacked by the full brunt of the massive Hive Fleet. During the height of the fighting, Kelmon sought out the faintest of hope, and so, he and a group of fellow Farseers sent a desperate message that pierced the Hive Mind's psychic barrier known as the Shadow in the Warp, to reach the outcast Prince Yriel. Though unsure if he was successful or not, Yriel received the Kelmon's message, and would come to Iyanden's aid and save the craftworld from destruction. Kelmon died valiantly fighting the Tyranids, killing a dozen or more with his eldritch powers before he was finally slain.
- Taec Silvereye - Taec Silvereye was a powerful Farseer and member of Iyanden's Council. He would become Kelmon Firesight's successor following his death at the hands of the Tyranids during Hive Fleet Kraken's invasion of Iyanden. During a brief period of time following these events, Silvereye helped give the downtrodden Eldar of Iyanden new purpose, as well as helping keep the peace between the rival factions of Prince Yriel and Iyanna Arienal. Maintaining his neutrality, he thus maintained a mostly harmonious balance on the craftworld. He would later oversee Iyanden's defenses alongside Prince Yriel and Spiritseer Iyanna Arienal when the Craftworld was assaulted by the Orks of WAAAGH! Rekkfist. With the greenskins defeated, Silvereye foresaw a new threat arising in the form of a tendril of Hive Fleet Kraken in the Dûriel system, and the threat of it merging with the encroaching Hive Fleet Leviathan. During the Battle of Dûriel, Taec Silvereye and a group of fellow Seers willing sacrificed themselves in order to activate a psychic device known as the Fireheart. This device sparked the planet's molten core into a cataclysmic fury, destroying Dûriel and every Tyranid upon it.
- Iyanna Arienal - Iyanna Arienal is a powerful Spiritseer of Craftworld Iyanden. When the Chaos fleet of Kallorax attacked Iyanden, the House of Arienal was wiped out by the cyclonic torpedo that was launched at the craftworld. Iyanna was the last of her family yet alive. Most would have been driven mad by a loss of this suddenness and scale, but instead, Iyanna embraced the duties of a Spiritseer, and her mind was ever after afield in the infinity circuit, communing with the kind that she had lost. When Eldrad Ulthran brought warning to Iyanden, he spoke more than the Great Devourer. He also spoke of Kysaduras the Anchorite and the ancient Phoenix Arisen, which told of the Eldar race reborn anew. Eldrad also spoke of his predictions that the Eldar's only chance of atonement lay with Ynnead, the God of the Dead. Just as the Council of Iyanden ignored Eldrad's warnings of the Tyranids, so too did they dismiss this talk of Ynnead as morbid fantasy, but Iyanna did not. At Iyanna's direction, her followers sought the Tears of Morai-Heg, gemstone fragments possessed of ancient magic that the Iyanna believed would see the rebirth accomplished. Ynnead would rise from his slumber, she believed; Slaanesh would at last know defeat, and the Eldar would endure within the infinity circuit's embrace. Iyanna claims she has found all but one of the missing Tears, although she shares no details of her final goal with even her closest supporters.
- Mehlendri Silversoul - Mehlendri Silversoul was a Farseer of Iyanden who lived during the 33rd Millennium. She was one of the first to recover Waystones from the lost Crone Worlds and utilised her Bonesingers to adapt them to the newly created Infinity Circuit. But in the end, in order to activate the device, Silversoul realized that a soul must be made to awaken it, and so, she willingly offered herself in sacrifice. Eldar legend holds that her spirit lingers on still, at the border between the ethereal and living worlds, welcoming the fresh dead into the circuit's embrace.
- Invaril Brightshard - Invaril Brightshard was a notable Bonesinger of Iyanden. He was famous for constructing the first Infinity Circuit on Iyanden with the aid of Farseer Mehlendri Silversoul. It is said that Iyanden has never known a more skilled Wraithbone shaper than he, and though he has been long dead, his soul remains within the Wraithforge Stone to aid its wielder in the manipulation of wraithbone into new forms just he once did.
- Draech - Draech was the successor of Prince Yriel, who following his exile, was chosen by Iyanden's Council to serve as it next High Admiral. Possessing a more even temperament than his predecessor, Draech did nothing without the express permission of the Council In 585.M40, he led the attack on the shipyards at the Forge World of Hypnoth in retaliation for the Imperial capture of the Eldar vessel, the Blood of Khaine. In 810.M41, Draech valiantly led his Craftworld's naval fleet against the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Naga. Confronting the Tyranid fleet of Bio-ships above the Exodite World of Halathel, Draech was killed early in the battle when his flagship, the Auspicious Illumination of Eternity, was destroyed. However, his second-in-command, a relatively young Prince named Yriel, seized command of the reeling Eldar forces and turned the tide, destroying the Tyranid fleet.
- Sunspear - Sunspear is an Eldar Autarch of Craftworld Iyanden. In 999.M41 he led the purges of populated worlds (many inhabited by humans) that lay in the path of Hive Fleet Leviathan in an attempt to starve the aliens of resources. However this brought him into eventual conflict with the Imperium on the Agri-World of Verdox II. Caught between the Invaders and Crimson Castellans Space Marine Chapters and the Tyranid swarms, Sunspear was able to skilfully draw the Space Marines into battle with the Tyranids while his own forces made their escape. Before he took his leave into the Webway, however, he warned the Space Marines of Verdox II's imminent collapse, not caring whether the Astartes heeded his warning or not.
Gifts of Asuryan
- The Celestial Lance - This crystal lance was once borne by Drastanta, Tempest of Starlight and Phoenix Lord of the Shining Spears. Alas, Drastanta was ever over-proud and much given to needless lone battles. Drastanta came late to Asurmen's final stand and found his mentor already fallen before the foul might of the Keeper of Secrets N'kari. Keening with rage and sorrow, Drastanta slew the Greater Daemon, the energies of the lance shattering the creature's vile spirit. Drastanta emerged from the fires of Asur where his mentor had not, but he soon vanished into the tumult of the war-torn galaxy. In the centuries since his final recorded battle, the Celestial Lance has passed from shrine to shrine and craftworld to craftworld, the better to keep alive the tales and teachings of the Shining Spears. If Drastanta is truly lost to the Eldar, others will continue the fight in his name.
- Soulshrive - At the heart of this sword lies an ancient spirit stone, within which is caged the essence of a malevolent and long dead soul. Only a warrior of the strongest will can wield this weapon, for the spirit within feasts on pain and ever spurs its bearer to violence. Legends abound of past bearers who have been driven mad by whispers echoing through their waking minds, who slaughtered friends or family in an attempt to quell the voices in their head. By rights, the Soulshrive should have been sealed in a stasis vault or destroyed long ago, so that its evil might be contained or dispersed, but alas, times are so dire that every weapon must be pressed into service, whatever the risks.
- The Wraithforge Stone - This was once the waystone of the long dead Bonesinger Ivaril Brightshard. It was Ivaril who aided Mehlendri Silversouls in adapting the infinity circuit into a soul reservoir, and Iyanden has never known a more skilled shaper than he. Ivaril's soul has long since departed into the infinity circuit, but legend tells that an echo of it remains in the Wraithforge Stone and allows its bearer to manipulate wraithbone into new forms just as Ivaril once did.
- Guardian Helm of Xellethon - This deceptively delicate alabaster helm was crafted in aeons past by the master smith Xellethon. Wearing it amplifies the presence of the wearer's soul in the spirit world, allowing those roused from the spirit realm to "see" as the wearer moves between the strands of many potential destinies. This provides nearby ghost warriors a brief opportunity to intervene befoe the bearer's doom falls.
- Spear of Tethlas - Adrallanar, of the House of Tethlas, was a mentor to many of Iyanden's seers, including the Spiritseer Iyanna Arienal. His spear was an heirloom of his house, its origins shrouded in the pandemonium of the Fall. Adrallanar and his house were utterly consumed by Hive Fleet Kraken, and the Spear of Tethlas has ever since been carried by Iyanna Arieanal. In the years since Kraken's defeat, the weapon has become so synonymous with her authority that she will sometimes permit a chosen emissary to bear it, so that all will know that he speaks with her voice.
- Battlefleet Gothic 2010 Compendium, "Doom of the Eldar - Yriel's Raiders, and the Warfleets of the Craftworld Eldar," pp. 124-145
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pg. 23
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pp. 16, 23, 54, 75, 89
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition)
- Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition)
- Codex: Tyranids (8th Edition), pg. 21
- Codex: Tyranids (6th Edition) (Ebook), pp. 33-34, 39-43
- Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition), pp. 16-17, 24-25
- Craftworld Iyandedn - A Codex: Eldar Supplement (6th Edition)
- The Gathering Storm - Part Two - Fracture if Biel-Tan (7th Edition), pg. 64
- Warhammer 40,000: Apocalypse, pg. 144
- Warhammer 40,000: Planetstrike (5th Edition), pg. 56
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 117
- White Dwarf 190 (UK), "Tyranid Invasion," by Jervis Johnson, pp. 12-13
- White Dwarf 164 (UK), "Doom of the Eldar," by Jervis Johnson, pp. 27-32