"The wind whipping across your face as your blades whip across the throats of the foe. It makes the blood sing."
- — Hrythar Dreamweave, Saim-Hann Wild Rider
Saim-Hann is one of the larger Aeldari Craftworlds whose Jetbike-riding warriors, the clans of the Wild Riders, are renowned for their savagery and their preference for fast, mobile warfare, striking as a serpent before falling back beyond the reach of retaliation. Theirs is a Craftworld of ancient tradition and a proud warrior culture.
In Aeldari myth, the Serpent is the only creature believed to exist in both the material and the psychic universes at the same time. Hence, the Serpent is said to know all secrets past and present. Saim-Hann means "Quest for Enlightenment," for the Aeldari Lexicon word for snake and secret knowledge is identical: "Saim."
The Aeldari of Saim-Hann bear the world-rune that represents the Serpent as their heraldry, sporting it on the cowlings of their jetbikes, grav-tanks and aircraft.
The Aeldari Craftworld of Saim-Hann was reputedly one of the first Craftworlds to abandon the Crone Worlds as the Fall of the Aeldari approached, heeding their Farseers' warnings. As such they have spent far more time isolated from the rest of the Aeldari than the other major Craftworlds, although the Saim-Hann do maintain contact with and have cultural ties to the Exodite worlds.
They are fierce warriors, who place honour at a higher value than their more culturally sophisticated kin. This, coupled with their pride, has led them into conflict with each other and different Craftworlds. While this generally takes the form of a highly ritualised duel in which first blood is usually sufficient to end the matter, the occasional deaths from these conflicts has lent to the barbaric reputation of the Craftworld among other Aeldari.
The Wild Host of Saim-Hann is comprised almost entirely of Windrider kinbands mounted on Jetbikes. Windrider hosts in battle are spectacularly adorned, especially upon Craftworld Saim-Hann, where the kinbands ride to war in their thousands, sun glinting from their cowlings and pennants snapping like gunfire in the breeze. Almost every member of Saim-Hann is part of a Wild Rider family, including its Seers, and this allows them to field many specialists who ride Jetbikes and Vypers.
The chieftain's closest family form the kinsmen, who paint their faces with hot blood on the eve of conflict, drink from each other's wrists, and ride to war together as brothers. In much the same way, each unit of Jetbikes or Vyper pilots is comprised of blood relatives, and tends to sport a vivid banner showing their clan's rune.
It is only during a Wild Rider's time as an Aspect Warrior that his familial ties are put aside, as devotion to the Aspect Shrine overrules all other considerations. The families are maintained in a feudal hierarchy ruled by an Aeldari chieftain and his rule is passed down through hereditary tradition.
Unlike other Craftworlds who unite in mass mobilisations, the Saim-Hann kindreds are each free to choose whether or not to fight in defence of a particular cause. Disagreements on military matters are usually resolved with ritual combat between champions chosen from within the kindreds -- however, it is not unknown for a kindred to go to war without the assistance, let alone the approval, of the rest of the Craftworld.
Some families also fight with each other, although this conflict usually takes the form of a ritual single combat between champions. They are not uncommon, but fights to the death are very rare as first blood is usually sufficient to determine a winner.
The Saim-Hann warhosts are generally red or a light scarlet colour. They are often highlighted with contrasting shades, mainly black, white or yellow in striped patterns. They also use simple chevron or stripe motifs on their vehicles as a form of status identifier. Saim-Hann's different warrior clans have their own varying personal symbols, so there is almost certain to be a significant amount of variation between clans, squads or even individuals.
The Craftworld's rune is a stylised serpent, which is the Cosmic Serpent of Aeldari myth. Indeed, it is revered so much by the Saim-Hann Aeldari that one of their coming-of-age rites is to catch a daggersnake (found on many of the worlds of the Exodites) in mid-strike. The serpent also epitomises the attack style of Saim-Hann -- a fast, deadly strike before withdrawing, leaving the enemy panicked and confused.
The Warriors of Saim-Hann are proud, boisterous and aggressive, and use fast, mobile troops with a high quantity of Jetbikes. Young Guardians are always trying to outdo each other in contests of speed, particularly in battle.
- The Voyage Begins (ca. M31) - Saim-Hann is one of the first craftworlds to escape the failing and corrupt Eldar empire.
- The Fall of the Eldar (ca. M32) - The Aeldari Empire is torn asunder as Slaanesh is born from their depravities.
- A Cruel Thirst (487-492.M39) - The Slaaneshi Daemon Prince Lilesh Snarelust slakes his infernal desire for excess, masterminding a vast daemonic incursion across a score of Imperial worlds near the Moon of Nightmares. Unwilling to permit such a foray into the material plane so near to their Craftworld, the Eldar of Saim-Hann respond with focussed aggression, risking all in the battle against the legions of the Dark Prince. Over the course of five years, the Windriders of Saim-Hann systematically outmanoeuvre and exterminate those loyal to the court of Slaanesh. Eventually, Saim-Hann’s high chieftain Nuadhu brings Lilesh Snarelust to battle at the Daemon's corrupted stronghold, the so-called Sanctuary of Sins. Though Snarelust’s lethal handmaidens seek to intervene, Nuadhu's Jetbike kinriders keep them at bay with volleys of shuriken catapult fire. Leaping from the back of his Jetbike, Nuadhu plunges the legendary Celestial Lance into the Daemon’s heart, shattering its soul and banishing its essence to the hell from whence it came. Those Slaaneshi Daemons that remain -- and the Chaos-worshipping humans that are in league with them -- are mercilessly culled.
- The Death of Gnosis Prime (786.M41) - The Imperial planet of Gnosis Prime is invaded by the Aeldari after a territorial dispute of epic magnitude. Despite having settled the planet some twelve hundred years previous, the human inhabitants are given an ultimatum by Eliac Zephyrblade of Saim-Hann -- evacuate or die. The Autarch's imperious demand is met by an extremely vulgar response. The Aeldari force is outnumbered a hundred times over by the Imperial armies, but the vengeful Zephyrblade makes the ocean his landing zone before running rings around the military juggernaut of the Imperium with his Windrider hosts. He cripples the planet’s industrial zones before leaving Gnosis Prime to a cruel and lonely fate at the hands of his Dark Eldar allies.
Notable Saim-Hann Eldar
- Nuadhu "Fireheart" - Nuadhu is a notable Wild Rider of Saim-Hann. In battle, he is known to ride upon a Vyper, known as Alean, The Steed of Khaine, that has been built to allow him to fight from its back, much as the bloody-handed god Khaine rode to war on the legendary steed Alean. He is considered reckless, even by the standards of his kindred, and pays no heed to danger, gladly flying into the heaviest enemy barrage. His Wild Riders willingly follow him into the fiercest fighting.
- Eliac Zephyrblade - Eliac Zephyrblade is an Autarch of Saim-Hann who led a warhost of Eldar and invaded Gnosis Prime in 786.M41. Claiming the world as their own, despite it having been under Imperial control for over twelve centuries, the aliens set about the systematic eradication of its billions-strong population. A full year after the start of the war, Wolf Lord Logan Grimnar and his Space Wolves Chapter arrived in the Gnosis System. When they found the doomed world, it was all but a graveyard. The Great Wolf vowed if he could not save the people of Gnosis Prime, he would avenge them, and so, the Great Wolf set course to Gnosis Secundus seeking revenge against the Saim-Hann Eldar still in-system. At the height of the battle, Grimnar feigned a looming defeat in order to draw the arrogant Eldar commander into battle. Though the two mighty warriors clashed blades, Grimnar was unable to take full advantage after having knocked the Autarch from his Jetbike by smashing its engine-core with the Axe of Morkai. The Great Wolf could only howl in frustration as the Autarch nimbly pulled himself up onto a passing skimmer. The two exchanged a final look through the rain before Zephyrblade and the surviving Eldar fell back through a Webway portal. Though the Space Wolves had emerged victorious, it was a hollow victory as the Gnosis System lay in ruins whilst the Eldar had escaped...at least for now.
The name of the Craftworld is a variation of the Gaelic holiday Samhain (also called the Celtic New Year or in modern times, Halloween). Saim-Hann means "Quest for Enlightenment" in the Eldar Lexicon. The Saim-Hann Craftworld is often located somewhere in the Segmentum Pacificus.
- Champions of Fenris - A Codex: Space Wolves Supplement (7th Edition), pp. 37-50
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pg. 37
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pp. 3, 15, 21-22, 41, 43
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pp. 15, 17
- Codex: Eldar (3rd Edition), pg. 39
- Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), pg. 34
- Warhammer 40,000: Planetstrike (5th Edition), pp. 60-61
- Shadow Captain (Novella) by David Annandale