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The symbol of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, which was heavily involved in the events of the Psychic Awakening as the number of Human psykers dramatically increased during this period.

The "Psychic Awakening", also sometimes referred to as the "Age of Witches," is the term given to a phenomenon of the Era Indomitus that dramatically increased the number of new psykers and greatly enhanced existing psychic abilities across the Milky Way Galaxy in the wake of the birth of the Great Rift.

While the massive increase in the flow of Warp energy into the local realspace of the galaxy through the Cicatrix Maledictum dramatically enhanced the power and duration of Daemonic incursions, particularly on worlds close to the Great Rift, it also intensified the psychic abilities of the Craftworld Aeldari and the "miraculous" psychic phenomenon that had once rarely accompanied the worship of the Emperor as the god of Humanity.

The Psychic Awakening thus proved both a boon and a hindrance to the attempts of the forces of Chaos to overwhelm realspace in the wake of the victory earned in the 13th Black Crusade, the Fall of Cadia and the birth of the Great Rift.

For every world that fell to the dominion of the Dark Gods there were also increasing reports of "miracles" in which even individuals who had never manifested the abilities of a psyker were saved by the spontaneous eruption of supernatural abilities.

This was particularly true for those servants of the God-Emperor like the Sisters of Battle of the Adepta Sororitas whose unshakable faith in their deity now seemed capable of manifesting into potent mystical protections or miraculous defences against the machinations of Chaos and xenos forces.

This phenomenon affected every faction in the galaxy, hindering or advancing the next steps in their various agendas.


Phoenix Rising[]

"The Aeldari psyche is a powerful weapon. It can slay a distant foe with a pulse of thought. Like any other, it must be used with skill. Since the coming of the Dathedian its edges grow sharper than ever before, its grip more perilous to grasp.The slightest misstep can see its wielder, and even the reality in which they stand, laid open and bloody."

Eldrad Ulthran

Towards the end of the 41st Millennium, the galaxy was all but split in half by the Great Rift. To the Aeldari it was known as the Dathedian, and as a highly psychically-attuned species, the aetheric phenomena that accompanied it affected them most of all.

The Cicatrix Maledictum, that great tear across the fabric of time and space, further divided the fractious Aeldari species. After the coming of that celestial cataclysm, the Asuryani craftworlds sent out psychic communiques, reaching out to one another across the void.

Two of the world-ships did not respond, their spiritual traces dwindling with every passing solar hour. Some amongst the Spiritseers of the Asuryani believe their souls have empowered Ynnead, the god of the dead, and that those craftworlders will never be seen again.

To a stellar empire as large as the Imperium of Man, this would have been considered acceptable losses, for Humanity's realm contains a million worlds and more. For the Asuryani it was a cost so high it wrenched at the heart.

Perhaps one day the lost craftworlds would return, just as Altansar was drawn from the gullet of the Warp by the odyssey of the Phoenix Lord Maugan Ra. But for now, they were gone.

Far from uniting the survivors against the tide of Chaos spilling into the galaxy, that great loss fomented discord, and the rift between the different kindreds of the Aeldari grew all the wider.

Simple geography was itself a contributing factor, for the craftworlds were too far scattered across the galaxy to easily unite, and even the Aeldari paths through the Webway -- that maze of metaphysical pathways that spanned the interstice between realspace and the Warp -- were now battered and torn at by the raging fury of the Empyrean.

Though the Harlequins continued to walk that strange unrealm at will and do what they could to unite the Asuryani and Commorrite Drukhari in purpose, the resentment and isolationism that had long characterised the fractured Aeldari species only worsened.

In the cultural hearts of the Aeldari peoples, the wound of the Dathedian festered in silence. No civilisation could look upon a sky mauled by the Warp-stuff of Chaos and not feel affected by it. To a people as sensitive to psychic energies as the Aeldari, the scar in reality was a constant dull ache in the mind, a reminder of all they had lost.

Perhaps it would never have existed at all were it not for the formation of the Eye of Terror, born from the sickening cataclysm of Slaanesh's birth.

Across the galaxy, nightmares of guilt, doubt and surging aggression wracked Asuryani and Drukhari alike, and they steeped themselves in battle against tides of Chaos-worshippers in the hopes of assuaging these negative emotions.

A new era of war began as the turmoil within was turned into merciless strikes against ancient enemies, emerging foes and former allies. Much of the blame for the disastrous events was put at the door of the rapidly growing Ynnari movement and, by association, upon Biel-Tan.

There, the populace had been divided between fervent support for Yvraine, the leader of the Ynnari, and the outright condemnation that followed her visitation -- coinciding as it did with the subsequent invasion of the craftworld by a ravening Slaaneshi horde and the fracturing of its Infinity Circuit.

Amidst that appalling catastrophe a new strand of fate was revealed, one that some believed would lead the Aeldari race to greatness once more. The being that Yvraine summoned from within Biel-Tan's broken wraithbone skeleton was an Avatar, of a sort, and its very existence was proof of Ynnead having stirred from his slumber. There was a chance that the Whispering God could save their souls from She Who Thirsts once and for all.

Barring only those dark kin of Commorragh whose powers have atrophied, all Aeldari possess some degree of psychic ability. Since the Great Rift split the galaxy, those gifts have burgeoned in a variety of different ways.

It is generally accepted amongst the Farseers of the craftworlds that this is a direct result of the Dathedian introducing a vast bleed of psychic energy into the galaxy.

Of all the Aeldari, the Asuryani are most in tune with matters psychic, and without the Asuryani Path system -- that cultural process by which an Asuryani focuses his or her mind upon a single pursuit or skill to avoid the temptation of all others -- they may have found this flare of psychic activity maddening, and possibly even disastrous.

Yet the discipline of the Path was developed precisely to turn the Aeldari mind into a fortress against such unfettered activity. Of all the civilisations in the galaxy, the Asuryani could be said to have ridden out the swell of psychic energy the best, for in many ways they had been ready for it. Their entire culture was built around discipline, guardianship and self-denial, to prevent their worst excesses rising to doom them all.

Those Asuryani who trod the Witch Path found their prophetic glimpses escalating into full and potent visions, magnifying their ability to parse the skeins of fate and react accordingly.

On every craftworld their Runes of Warding burned out at a daunting rate, the protective symbols being used up almost as fast as they could be regrown from psycho-reactive material. But for now at least, the inner psychic threat posed by their daemonic nemeses was held at bay.

With this influx of psychic energy came other new abilities for the Asuryani. Even those warlike souls who honed their physical skills over the mental found their talents blossoming when they brought the two into perfect balance. Aspect Warriors channelled the echoes of the Aeldari war god Khaine and focused the resultant energies through the lenses of their glorious Exarch leaders.

When Howling Banshees charged en masse, the wind itself screamed its fury alongside them; when Striking Scorpions gathered in the shadowed recesses of the battlefield, they became all but invisible to the naked eye until they leapt from cover and fell upon the foe.

Always the Asuryani had possessed such powers and employed them in battle, yet now they manifested in a heightened and doubly lethal form. Everywhere potential turned to talent, talent to mastery, mastery to supernatural prowess. The stage was set for the sacred phoenix of the Aeldari people to rise once more.

Notable Events[]

  • Battle of Iathglas
  • Battle of Threccia
  • Raid on Saim-Hann
  • Battle of Khazhar
  • Adonis Palace Massacre
  • Drukhari Civil War
  • Ghodri Falsehood

Faith and Fury[]

"Ten thousand blessed saints rest eternal amidst the silent halls of Benediction. It is a world steeped in the blood of the faithful."

Canoness Arkasia, Fury of the Order of the Ebon Chalice

The birth of the Great Rift during the Era Indomitus found the Imperium of Man reeling, assailed on a million fronts by the surging forces of Chaos. It was only the return of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman and the fury of the Primaris Space Marines that held back the tide. But at this dark hour, the power of faith would offer Humanity the faintest glimmer of hope.

The Indomitus Crusade swept forth from Terra with furious purpose, driving the forces of Chaos before them and bringing hope to hundreds of besieged worlds. None but the primarch of the Ultramarines could have overseen such a decisive counterattack.

To those whom he commanded, it seemed that Roboute Guilliman did not rest for a moment. No sooner had one victory been achieved than he began to lay the foundations of the next. The crusade's momentum could not slow, for that might allow the heretical forces an opportunity to regroup.

So it was that the crusade's various fleets ventured deeper and deeper into occupied territory, pushing into regions ravaged by daemonic hordes and migrating xenos fleets, those territories in their wake were left to manage as best they could. The threats they faced were many. In the aftermath of the Great Rift's birth the entire galaxy was stricken by nightmarish phenomena, temporal disruption and terrible Warp Storms.

It was the Imperium Nihilus -- those regions of the Imperium that lay beyond the line of the Great Rift -- that suffered the worst of these occurrences, but nowhere in the Imperium of Man was left unscarred. Even across the gleaming sanctuary worlds of the Segmentum Solar at the heart of the Imperium Sanctus, horror struck.

Isolated Warp Storms tore through unprepared star systems, swallowing battlefleets and spilling daemonic entities across the surface of worlds. Such was the anarchic disruption of reality that Chaos armadas, Ork raiding fleets and other deadly xenos forces were carried vast distances across the tides of the Warp and vomited back into realspace on the far side of the galaxy.

Worse still, the predations of the Archenemy intensified. Like slavering wolves, the Heretic Astartes and their mortal allies struck at the underbelly of the Imperium, emerging from the roiling stars to raid and pillage across the Segmentum Solar. Many of these incursions were directionless and savage, little more than the servants of Chaos indulging their base desires for blood and slaughter.

Yet they masked a greater plan, overseen by those who served the will of the Dark Gods with a far more insidious agenda. The Word Bearers Traitor Legion sought to spread their heretic faith into the very heart of Humanity's domain. The sons of Lorgar had foreseen a struggle not only for the territory of the Imperium, but its very spirit. The souls of mortals were the currency over which this war of faith would be fought.

Allying with fellow Traitor Legions who served Chaos Undivided, such as the piratical reavers of the Night Lords and the relentless Iron Warriors, the Word Bearers sought to spread fear and hopelessness far and wide. Through dark ritual, system-wide sacrifice and terror tactics, they intensified the power of Chaos, hoping to break the will of the Imperium's mortal populace. Those who accepted the primacy of the Dark Gods were spared -- their collective damnation empowering the spread of corruption.

Blind to the subtle, hexagrammatic patterns of the Word Bearers’ rituals, Imperial forces failed to recognise either the disaster building behind their lines, or the rampant spread of panic and heresy. Planet by planet, the shadow of Chaos spread.

Only the Sisters of Battle, the zealous warrior-champions of the Imperial Creed, foresaw this deadly threat. Many a Canoness of the Adepta Sororitas witnessed the same apocalyptic visions: maws of utter blackness stretching wide to devour the light of the faithful, twin-headed aquilas torn apart by hungering shadows, and stars drowned in the blood of innocents.

The holy orders of the Sisterhood could not spread word of the horror they had uncovered, for across the galaxy astropathic communications were drowned out by warp-screams and the howling static of daemonic entities. Word would have to be delivered in person.

Thus it was that the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas dispatched their battlefleets in greater numbers than ever before, guided by the visions granted by their beloved God-Emperor.

Even as the Sisters of Battle brought hope and fierce defiance to scores of war-ravaged worlds, it seemed certain that the Word Bearers' plans would come to fruition. Yet the sons of Lorgar had not counted upon the new and dramatic phenomenon that began to manifest across those contested planets.

The immense eruption of psychic energy unleashed by the Cicatrix Maledictum gave rise not only to Warp-spawned nightmares, but acts of faith and wondrous miracles on a scale unheard of. Humble, mortal worshippers of the God-Emperor bore witness to manifestations of the Emperor Angelic, flocks of golden eagles and columns of scintillating flame that seared daemonic and Heretic flesh alike.

These miracles galvanised those who bore witness to them, firming their resolve and filling their hearts with defiance even in the face of the horrors unleashed against them. So began a great War of Faith that set the dark prophets of the Heretic Astartes against the acts of hope and belief inspired by the Sisters of Battle and their allies.

While the rest of the Imperium was beset by ever-growing threats following the opening of the Great Rift, the sanctified Talledus System was considered a safe zone under the protection of the Ecclesiarchy, and by extension, the Emperor Himself. The Shrine World of Benediction in particular stood as a gleaming, golden monument to the Emperor's might.

Perhaps this semblance of peace is ultimately what attracted the Ruinous Powers to it. The psychic trauma wrought by the birth of the Cicatrix Maledictum gave rise to increasingly bizarre and terrifying phenomena.

Just as fringe cults began to reveal themselves as servants of the Dark Gods, an armada of six Traitor Legions of the Heretic Astartes, directed by the Dark Apostle Kor Phaeron of the Word Bearers Legion, arrived to destroy the Talledus System once and for all, and deny the notion that anywhere might be safe from the predations of Chaos.

The Sisters of Battle and the Astra Militarum -- bolstered by a massive strike force of Adeptus Astartes led by the Black Templars of the Rutherian Crusade -- stood firm in their creed to defend Humanity, no matter the cost, in the Talledus War.

As this War of Faith grew ever-more bloody and brutal, the psychic trauma generated by the Cicatrix Maledictum gave rise to miracles and psychic manifestations of unrivalled scale and power.

To some, these bizarre and terrifying occurrences were yet further proof that the galaxy is approaching its inevitable final hour of doom. To others, these events were proof of the God-Emperor's divine will, actualised through His loyal servants.

Notable Events[]

Blood of Baal[]

The Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters were already fighting a bitter war for survival during the Battle of Baal when the Great Rift tore the galaxy in half. The Tyranid host of Hive Fleet Leviathan had the upper hand in a war of attrition when the Cicatrix Maledictum yawned wide and instantly swallowed masses of encircling hive ships -- but the war was far from over.

The empyric disturbance of the Great Rift weakened the defenders against the suffocating psychic voice of the Hive Mind, just as the rates of emergence of unsanctioned psykers surged without Black Ships to collect them.

In these dark and desperate times, far from the guiding light of the Astronomican, only heroes such as Commander Dante, Mephiston and Gabriel Seth of the Flesh Tearers were able to hold the defenders together.

Reinforced with Primaris Space Marines, the Angelic Host of the Blood Angels and their successors are just beginning to claw their way back from the brink of death to scour the xenos threat from the Imperium Nihilus, planet by planet in what has become known as War Zone Baal.

Notable Events[]

  • Angel's Halo

Ritual of the Damned[]

Empowered, and delighted, by the malefic energies pouring through the Great Rift, the Daemon Primarch Magnus the Red and his Thousand Sons Legion have been weaving an elaborate plan to bring vengeance and ruin to their ancient enemies. Savaging Fenris -- the home of the Space Wolves -- during the Siege of the Fenris System in 999.M41 was just the beginning.

The unlikeliest of allies came to the defence of Fenris from Magnus' assault -- the Dark Angels and Daemon-hunting Grey Knights. Both, however, sustained heavy losses.

Yet, in the wake of the siege, the Daemon Primarch's next step was to summon his daemonic homeworld, the Planet of the Sorcerers, into realspace above his ancient capital of Prospero. Magnus then restored Prospero itself, ruined millennia ago during the opening events of the Horus Heresy.

With the two planets now united, the Crimson King began the next phase of his grand plan. Firstly, he recalled all of the warbands of Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marines that were scattered throughout the galaxy. Next, he now sought new mortal followers for his Legion.

Across the galaxy, untold numbers of Humans were feeling their latent psychic powers activating. Usually, such outcasts would be hunted down as mutants and witches, but now there was talk of a new, one-eyed champion offering salvation. In fact, Magnus called these lost souls to his newly conquered region of the galaxy called the Prosperan Rift, offering them protection from the anti-psyker prejudice of the Imperium. Here he tried to succeed where his father the Emperor failed and usher in the next stage of Humanity's evolution as a truly psychic species.

For their part, the Dark Angels were reinforced with half-trusted Primaris Space Marines, whilst the ranks of the Grey Knights swelled from the surge in psychically-sensitive recruits brought on by the influence of the Great Rift.

These Space Marines Chapters, both among the most secretive organisations in the Imperium, formed an uneasy alliance, but only by working together could they hope to defeat Magnus and end his fell ritual.

Notable Events[]

  • Prosperan Rift War
  • Assault on Sortiarius

The Greater Good[]

The conflict in the Chalnath Expanse of the Ultima Segmentum is not just a war but a battle for hearts and minds. The T'au Empire, under Commander Shadowsun, brought the promise of paradise as part of the Greater Good. The tenacious and devious Genestealer Cults present in the region dug their claws deep into the expanse, and their insidious rebellions offered the chance to throw off the yoke of Imperial oppression.

Beset on all sides by insurrection and xenos invasion, it was not clear whether Humanity's beleaguered survivors in the region could hold on to their faith in the Emperor, even as the power of the galaxy-spanning Psychic Awakening brought the latent power of their faith to the fore.

As Imperial and T'au propaganda campaigns continued apace, reinforcements for all sides arrived in the Chalnath Expanse. Regiments of the Ordo Tempestus joined the regular troops of the Astra Militarum in an attempt to stem the xenos tide.

The T'au Empire's Fifth Sphere Expansion continued to grow, claiming ever more systems. Meanwhile, for every Genestealer Cult uprising there was another revolt, growing in the shadows, waiting for the right time to strike in the name of the Star Children.

Notable Events[]

Saga of the Beast[]

To the Orks, the Cicatrix Maledictum is "Gork's Grin," and the vast legions of daemonic forces are just more enemies for the greenskins to fight.

The Great Rift forced countless Orks into Freebooter warbands and these hordes of brutes boarded ramshackle armadas, spoiling for battle. One Ork Warboss sought to unite his entire race -- Ghazghkull Thraka. The prophet of Gork and Mork conquered tribe after tribe of Orks in an attempt to create the largest WAAAGH! the galaxy has ever seen.

The only thing that could stop them was the Space Wolves Chapter. Battered and bruised after battling Magnus the Red's Thousand Sons during the Siege of the Fenris System and Abaddon the Despoiler's forces on Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade, the sons of Leman Russ had suffered terribly in recent years, but they fought on, regardless of cost.

Led by the Wolf Lord Ragnar Blackmane, the Space Wolves rushed to meet the threat of the Orks head on, seeking to expand their glorious sagas, even if that meant meeting a heroic end.

Notable Events[]

  • Purging of Gaivos

Engine War[]

Twisted by savage psychic storms in the aftermath of the Great Rift's emergence, the galaxy has become a darker place, and a number of Imperial star systems have been left to fend for themselves -- forgotten, abandoned or simply unreachable.

In these places, the enemies of the Imperium grow strong, and even those who remain loyal feel the pressure upon their oaths building. One such place is the fallen Forge World of Ordex-Thaag.

Severed from any connection to Mars, the planet was stalked by Chaos Knights, whose Fallen Noble pilots sought to use the corrupted forge cities of the world to gouge another empyric rift through the Imperium.

The psychic emanations of this techno-sorcery attracted the attentions of the Chaos Gods, and legions of Daemons sought out those places where the skein between realspace and the Warp was thinnest.

Seeking to reclaim the planet and eradicate the illogical and corrupting influence, the Adeptus Mechanicus sent several cohorts of tech-priests to Ordex-Thaag. Alongside them marched many Imperial Knights hunting down their fallen brethren to underline the nobility of their houses.

Notable Events[]

  • Battle of Ordex-Thaag

War of the Spider[]

In the aftermath of Abaddon the Despoiler's 13th Black Crusade, madness and mutation ran riot and Imperial armies fought desperate battles for survival against nightmarish odds.

With Cadia little more than a shattered husk of a planet, most of Abaddon's forces moved on to fresh conquests. However, teeming hordes of Heretics, Renegades and Daemons remained to prey on the surviving Imperial enclaves. One such profiteer of misery is the Chaos Lord and former Emperor's Children Apothecary Fabius Bile.

Having stolen an ancient artefact from the Death Guard, Bile aimed to reap a bio-harvest from the worlds around the Cadian Gate to further his latest malign schemes. His enemies were many -- the scions of Mortarion hunted him, seeking to reclaim their property.

The Imperium also sent many of its elite agents to track down and finally slay the Traitor. Adeptus Custodes marched out from Terra, supported by Sisters of Silence cadres and an Execution Force of Imperial Assassins. Bile hoped to complete his plan before the noose around him tightened and there was no escape in the conflict remembered as the "War of the Spider."

In truth, Bile stole a precious Death Guard artefact known as the Ark Cornucontagious. This relic of Nurgle granted to the Death Guard by the Great Unclean One Rotigus gives off powerful waves of corruption that brings about such catastrophic mutations and such rapid, uncontrollable growth that the Ark could easily corrupt entire worlds within a matter of solar days. This spurred the Nurglite Chaos Lord Typhus and his Plague Fleet to pursue the Spider, who was forced to form an alliance with Argento Corian and his warband of The Shriven to hold off his fellow Heretic Astartes.

During the subsequent conflict, Bile was able to manipulate all sides to his own advantage. The Shriven were modified into hordes of Terata while Corian himself was eventually doomed to become a monstrous golem.

In a battle that erupted on Bairsten Prime, Bile was able to capture a number of Adeptus Custodes and Sisters of Silence, taking them as the newest and most interesting of his test subjects.

In the final stage of the war on Dessah, Bile was again able to escape as the Shriven, Death Guard, and Custodes destroyed one another. With his research subjects acquired and the Ark Cornucontagious in hand, Bile returned to Urum in the Eye of Terror to begin his work anew.


From the Ghoul Stars to the Veiled Region, the galaxy was engulfed in unnatural phenomena in the wake of the Great Rift's birth. Psychic mutation ran rife and the weft of realspace grew ever thinner. Yet in the Nephilim Sector of the Imperium, all was silence.

As the Indomitus Crusade pushed onwards to reinforce stretched lines and reform buckled defences, Mankind discovered that the galaxy's other denizens had also been responding to the emergence of the Cicatrix Maledictum.

Some alien empires were rising in the fallout while some were succumbing to the destruction. The followers of the Dark Gods attacked in ever greater numbers, hoping to tear the wound in reality beyond any hope of saving.

But the Imperium of Man was not alone in trying to restore some semblance of order. The Necrons put the final touches to a plan so cold and merciless that only their relentless, soulless intellects could have conceived it.

Their victory unopposed was likely to reshape the galaxy forever...

Notable Events[]

  • War in the Pariah Nexus



  • Psychic Awakening: Phoenix Rising (8th Edition), pp. 4-5, 10-19
  • Psychic Awakening: Faith & Fury (8th Edition), pp. 4-5, 10-19
  • Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal (8th Edition), pp. 9-16
  • Psychic Awakening: Ritual of the Damned (8th Edition), pp. 9-19
  • Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good (8th Edition), pp. 8-19
  • Psychic Awakening: Saga of the Beast (8th Edition), "Devastation"
  • Psychic Awakening: Engine War (8th Edition), pg. 7
  • Psychic Awakening: War of the Spider (8th Edition), pp. 3-4
  • Psychic Awakening: Pariah (8th Edition), pp. 4-5
  • Warhammer 40,000: Core Book (9th Edition), pp. 72-73
  • Warhammer Community - Psychic Awakening
  • Warhammer Community - Psychic Awakening - Sorcerous Schemes
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