Guardians of Ulthwé: Forestalling Doom

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Craftworld Ulthwé drifts defiantly along the outskirts of what was once the heart of the mighty Eldar Empire. Consumed by the birth of Sai’lanthresh, the eldar core worlds were dragged into the warp through a rift known to humans as the Eye of Terror. Ever since escaping the doom of their race, the eldar of Ulthwé have lived within sight of this great wound in realspace.

As he had done thousands of times before, Farseer Aramel gazed through the infinite void at the great lesion. Even for the most powerful eldar seers, looking directly into the raw warp can prove dangerous. At this great distance, however, the swirling mass of unreality had no power but to remind Aramel of how far his people had fallen. Perhaps this is why the Seer Council of Ulthwé had decided to remain so close to the epicenter of the Fall. Even one glance at the vast warp-rift, is enough to convince the eldar mind of the need to avoid repeating past mistakes.

Aramel considered how the people of his craftworld stood apart from other eldar. They were not clannish as their brethren of Saim-Hann, they were not obsessed with rebuilding the Old Empire, as were the xenophobic eldar of Biel-Tan. Neither were they fanatically devoted to Asurmen’s path as are the Alaitoci, nor consumed by death as their unfortunate brethren of Craftworld Iyanden. Many of these far-flung brethren look upon Ulthwé with distaste and suspicion. They cannot imagine how Aramel’s people can find success in battle, again and again, whilst wearing no war mask. Surely they must be consumed by Khaine’s rage and hunger, or be utterly damned.

But the truth is that the eldar of Ulthwé do not look solely to the bloody handed god when battle is joined. Rather, they choose to tread along a lighter path. Isha, goddess of life, subjected herself to eternal imprisonment, that her children may survive the Fall. From her example, the eldar that join the ranks of Ulthwé’s Black Guardians realize that, in defeating the great enemy, no sacrifice is too great. They understand the value of all living beings, and dispense death only when need demands it, to tip the scales in the war against the dark powers. Over the millennia since the Fall, the manipulations of Ulthwé’s seers, enforced by the Black Guardian host, have saved untold billions.

The dome of Crystal Seers where Aramel now stood was soothingly quiet, though he was far from alone. Farseers Erethentil and Ithiniael were nearby, wrapped in their own thoughts. The dome was filled with psychoreactive flora and fauna, that behaved in concert with the moods of passing eldar. None of the Farseers had been summoned by the Council, as such, but each of them had seen through the skein and found that they must be here, in this place, at this moment.

When the time came, the three seers slowly walked towards the inner-most dome. As they did, they passed hundreds of crystal statues. To the unknowing observer, these would appear as immaculate crystal statues of Ulthwé Farseers. In truth, they are the mortal remains of farseers that have long since joined the Craftworld’s crystal spirit matrix. Though not truly dead, they had joined the spirits of Ulthwé’s fallen, with all of their memories and sense of self intact. It is the fate of all farseers that do not perish in combat. One that only Eldrad Ulthran has managed to evade.

When the three seers reached the Council chambers, they were greeted by a gathering of the most revered Eldar to walk their path. The legendary Farseer’s form was also there, but Eldrad’s mind was deep within the warp, hunting for answers. “We have a task for you” said Farseer Dariel. “A strike force has been readied aboard the warship Asredil. You must lead it to the Sorathian System. A maiden world lies in peril and an ancient temple of the Phoenix may come to ruin” she continued. “There is also a darker threat, though we do not yet know its purpose.” The words were a formality. Each already knew the perils of which Farseer Dariel spoke. But ritual demanded that all expeditions be sanctioned by the Council in person. Meeting on the material plane served to ground Seers, lest they risk confusing reality with a loose thread, glimpsed within the skeins of fate. Aramel, Erethentil and Ithiniael inclined their heads in understanding, and went forth to perform their task.

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