"Attack swiftly, and without warning. This is the mantra of the striking scorpions -- it is the way of all our kind."
- — Aulriel Doomhand, Striking Scorpions Exarch
The Aeldari Aspect Warriors known as the Striking Scorpions epitomise the deadly attributes of their namesake, and they are the most skilled of all the close-assault Warrior Aspects on the Aeldari Path of the Warrior.
They are merciless killers without exception, reveling in the hunt and the kill, using stealth and shadow to cloak themselves from sight until the moment of attack. The Striking Scorpions represent the wrath of the War God Kaela Mensha Khaine, which can fall without warning and with extraordinary savagery upon his foes.
The Striking Scorpions Aspect are one of the deadliest Aeldari Warrior Aspects. Following the Fall of the Eldar, Asurmen, the first Phoenix Lord, was the Aeldari who led the Craftworlds away from the ancient Aeldari homeworlds at the time of the Fall and it was he who founded the first of the Aspect Shrines. He established the first Aspect Shrine, the Shrine of Asur, on the world of the same name. Those who attended the shrine of the Striking Scorpions are the manifestation of viciousness and merciless death.
Perhaps the most sinister aspect of the Striking Scorpions is the legacy of their Chaos-corrupted former master and Phoenix Lord Arhra, "the Father of Scorpions" -- the ability to stalk the shadows and creep ever closer to their prey before falling upon the foe like the wrath of the Aeldari War God Khaine himself, a legacy that often leads them close to the burning anger and bloodlust that could see their souls consumed by Slaanesh.
The history of the Striking Scorpions is shrouded in infamy from the Aspect's very beginning. The founder of their Aspect Shrine, Arhra, was lured to darkness and betrayed Asurmen and the other Asurya, the first Phoenix Lords, by bringing daemons into the First Shrine to wage war upon his fellows. Those loyal to Asurmen were defeated and scattered across the stars, but Arhra himself would eventually flee into the Webway, becoming "the Fallen Phoenix who burns with the dark light of Chaos."
In his place rose Karandras, a Striking Scorpions Exarch and Arhra's greatest pupil, who would give the Striking Scorpions their current form by tempering the murderous nature instilled by their former master with the patience necessary to become consummate hunters. Karandras would be responsible for spreading this new teaching and installing new Striking Scorpions Aspect Shrines on the Aeldari Craftworlds.
The Striking Scorpions are one of the Aeldari Warrior Aspects dedicated to close combat, particularly close combat during infiltration missions in which they must first close with the enemy undetected before unleashing their wrath. Many Striking Scorpions are physically more powerful than standard Aeldari, and can match their Drukhari counterparts for sheer physical power. The signature attack of the Striking Scorpion is made by the weapon pods housed on either side of the warrior's helmet, known as Mandiblasters.
These are small, short-ranged laser weapons used to deliver a deadly energy sting in close combat that can be psychically triggered. A Mandiblaster volley and the blistering storm of attacks from the Scorpions that follow it is enough to tear the heart out of an enemy force. Compared to their closest cousins, the Howling Banshees, Striking Scorpions are not as swift but instead more adept at moving through dense terrain, using every available nook and crevice to lie in wait for the enemy before unleashing their attack. Only those Aeldari of strong physique can become Striking Scorpions in order to wear their armour and wield their weapons.
The Striking Scorpions are also known for their use of a Shuriken Pistol in one hand and a Scorpion Chainsword in the other. Striking Scorpions also make use of Scorpion Armour, a suit of Aspect Armour that offers somewhat superior protection compared to the Aspect Armour suits used by most of the other Eldar Warrior Aspects.
Striking Scorpions are best deployed to deal with tactical situations in which they face off against large numbers of enemy troops who are weaker than they, though their unusual physical prowess for Aeldari allows the Striking Scorpions to successfully battle foes head-to-head that most Aeldari, even other Aspect Warriors, would avoid, like the Imperial Space Marines or the larger and more powerful varieties of Ork. A squad of Striking Scorpions typically numbers five to ten warriors, one of which is usually an Exarch. This squad can easily fit into a Wave Serpent transport for more rapid movement across the battlefield.
Notable Striking Scorpions Shrines
- The Hidden Strike Shrine
- The Obsidian Claw Shrine
- The Stinging Shade Shrine
Striking Scorpion Exarchs
Every Aspect Shrine of the Aeldari is led by an Exarch, an Eldar who has been called permanently to the Path of the Warrior. An Exarch has travelled so far down that Path that he or she can no longer leave it and so dedicates him or herself fully as a high priest of Khaine in service to the Aspect of the War God that he or she represents. Exarchs wear more elaborate and ornate versions of Aspect Armour which incorporates the spirits of their past wearers, granting an Exarch not only wisdom and knowledge stretching across the millennia but a raw pool of potent psychic energy that can be used in combat.
This permanent acceptance of the Aeldari's "war mask" provides Exarchs with enhanced skill and dedication to their craft and entitles them to access their Shrine's oldest and most advanced wargear. Striking Scorpion Exarchs often incorporate the use of several different specialist weapons, including a monomolecular toothed version of the Scorpion Chainsword called the Biting Blade, a claw-shaped gauntlet called the Scorpion's Claw, or the large unique weapon known as the Chainsabre.
Striking Scorpion Exarchs often lead their squads from the shadows, using them to shield their approach from their enemies. Exarchs also train their squads to flow silently and without trace through dense terrain on the battlefield.
The Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions is Karandras, "the Shadow Hunter." However, it should be noted that Karandras is not the original Phoenix Lord of this Aspect Shrine. The original Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions was named Arhra, the "Father of Scorpions,", now named "the fallen Phoenix."
Arhra is the only Phoenix Lord to have been completely lost to the Aeldari and his Shrine when his murderous nature ultimately overwhelmed him and led to the consumption of his soul by Chaos, transforming him into a life-destroying monster like the Drukhari. It is believed that after he began walking the Path of Damnation, Arhra fled to the Dark City of Commorragh where he became the first Drukhari Incubi Hierarch and founded the first Incubus Shrine.
Arhra is believed by some Aeldari to have survived into the present and become Drazhar, the Master of Blades, the greatest champion of the Drukhari Incubi. Karandras, a Striking Scorpions Exarch and the greatest student of Arhra, then took over leadership of his Aspect and taught the Striking Scorpions the patience and discipline they needed so that they would not follow in their founder's wake and lose their immortal souls to She Who Thirsts when their bloodlust and murderous desires overtook them.
The last suspected sighting of the Fallen Phoenix occurred in 928.M41, when the Drazhar and Karandras were seen duelling for seventeen days amongst the shattered ruins of the ancient Aeldari world of Zandros. The outcome of this duel is currently unknown.
Striking Scorpions Wargear
- Aspect Armour - Like other Aeldari Aspects, Striking Scorpions wear lightweight synthetic bodysuits, reinforced with plates of psycho-sensitive bioplastics that will instantly harden to resist impacts. Those plates can morph their shape in accordance with the wearer's movements, meaning the armour does not encumber the wearer in the slightest, providing good protection with unencumbered mobility. The Aspect Armour of the Striking Scorpions is similar in construction to that of other Aspect Shrines, but incorporates heavier, rigid armour plating for increased protection. While the extra weight of their Aspect Armour means Striking Scorpions are not as swift as their Howling Banshee counterparts, the protection it provides is such that even Bolters are virtually useless against them, requiring concentrated fire from multiple weapons in order to bring down a Striking Scorpions warrior. The reinforced breastplate of the Aspect Armour bears the warrior's Spirit Stone, a precious item for all Aeldari. This psycho-receptive gem is attuned to the individual so that at the moment of death, when the Aeldari's psychic spirit is released, it is captured instead within the stone. Otherwise it is believed by the Aeldari that the spirit would be released into the Warp, where the Chaos God Slaanesh, "She Who Thirsts," awaits to consume it. Contrary to popular belief, the small domes and blisters on the Striking Scorpions Aspect Armour are not extra gems, but small compartments that contain the suit's technical systems. A tabard or pennants are a common addition to the Striking Scorpions' Aspect Armour. Its runic inscriptions name the shrine for which the Aspect Warrior is fighting and identifies that shrine's allegiance to its particular Craftworld. Regardless of the Craftworld of origin, the Aspect's colour scheme is always green with different patterns of yellow, black or orange depending on each individual shrine.
- Aspect Helmet - Each Warrior Aspect has its own distinctive helmet, and within each shrine the helmet may vary in form slightly, with correspondingly more elaborate versions for the shrine's Exarchs. A standard Striking Scorpions warrior helmet is distinctively tall and swept back and incorporates a pair of weapon pods positioned and shaped much like the mandibles of a scorpion. Each pod houses a mandible blaster, or Mandiblaster, a unique and deadly device also known as the Sting of the Scorpion. The Mandiblaster is an extremely short range weapon, useful only at a distance of a foot or so, but highly effective as a first-strike weapon which can be used to disorient or kill an opponent before combat is joined. The weapon is activated by a psychic pick-up in the helmet, and fires a stream of tiny metallic needles straight forward into the target. These needles do not inflict much damage themselves, although in the case of unarmoured targets they can tear and lacerate flesh, but they act as a conductive medium through which the Striking Scorpion delivers an intense laser energy sting. In battle, the Striking Scorpion is assisted by an advanced, computerised targeting system. This targeter finds and tracks multiple foes, feeding the target information directly to the Aspect Armour's helmet display. It is likely that it can also differentiate between enemy and ally. A Striking Scorpion's helm also includes wide spectrum viewing, allowing the warrior to not only spot an animal hidden underwater but to see the workings of its internal organs. By custom, it is this helmet that marks the Aspect Warriors as the protectors and avengers of their Craftworld. It bears the Striking Scorpions Aspect rune traced upon its forehead.
- Scorpion Oex Pattern Chainsword - The customary weapon of this Aspect is the Oex Pattern Scorpion Chainsword, a vicious blade with diamond-toothed edges that mangle and tear flesh. It allows the Striking Scorpions to make the best use out of their unusual physical strength. First amongst the ritual weapons used by the Striking Scorpions, these distinctive Chainswords bolster the strength of their users considerably.
- Shuriken Pistol - Shuriken Pistols are graceful dealers of death that use sophisticated gravity accelerators to hurl volleys of miniature razor discs to literally slice their victims apart in seconds. Shuriken Weapons use solid core ammunition which Imperial technology cannot replicate. When fired, a Shuriken Pistol unleashes a hail of razor-sharp monomolecular discs known as Shuriken. The pistol, while giving the warrior additional reach, is primarily a close combat weapon intended to complement the cuts and parries of the Chainsword. In the hands of a Striking Scorpion it can be used to distract or incapacitate an opponent, allowing for a killing blow with the Chainsword. The pistol includes a viewfinder psychically linked to the warrior, which can provide a view-within-a-view in the corner of their eye known as the "Scorpion's Eye." Through it a Striking Scorpion can see through the various electromagnetic spectra, both visible and invisible, as well as provide friend-or-foe identification. This ability is most useful when targeting opponents at range but can be distracting in close quarters.
- Scorpion's Claw - The Scorpion's Claw is a gauntlet that contains a built-in Shuriken Catapult. This weapon is sheathed in a power field that enables its wielder to tear through even the thickest battle plate much like an Imperial Power Glove. The Scorpion's Claw is only utilised by Striking Scorpion Exarchs.
- Chainsabre - Some Striking Scorpion Exarchs train in the use of blades known as Chainsabres. Chainsabres are twin chainblades mounted in gauntlets that each incorporates a Shuriken Pistol. This allows the user to deliver a short-range fusillade as he leaps at his opponents followed by a series of lightning-quick attacks.
- Biting Blade - The teeth of the specialised Aeldari Chainsword known as a Biting Blade can tear through flesh like parchment, shredding muscle and bone. Biting Blades are two-handed close combat weapons only used by Striking Scorpion Exarchs that increase their strength tremendously at the cost of fewer attacks.
- Codex: Craftworld Eldar (3rd Edition), pg. 11
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pg. 52
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pg. 33
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pp. 33, 62
- Codex: Eldar (3rd Edition), pg. 10
- Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition) pp. 23, 55, 84
- Rogue Trader: The Koronus Bestiary (RPG), pg. 53
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 156
- White Dwarf 173 (US), "Eldar Pheonix Lords", pp. 6-9
- White Dwarf 127 (US), "Eldar" by Rick Priestley, Jes Goodwin, William King & Lindsey D. Le Doux Paton, pp. 13-52
- Path of the Warrior (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Hammer of Daemons (Novel) by Ben Counter
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