High Elves (Warhammer)
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2008)|
The elves are nearly immortal, expected to live for about 2500 years, and their Mages are among the best in the world. They have split into three factions: The High Elves (Asur) live on the island-continent Ulthuan; the Wood Elves (Asrai) live in the Loren Forest, in the Old World, and the Dark Elves (Druchii) live in Naggaroth, in the New World. The latter are the sworn enemies of the Asur. In the Warhammer Fantasy Battle tabletop wargame, Elf armies are generally small and although lightly armoured their soldiers are generally braver, quicker and more skilled than those of other armies.
The High Elves for the main part confine themselves to Ulthuan, though they have colonies across the known world, and their ships are the finest that sail upon the waves. Ulthuan itself is split into a number of smaller kingdoms, each ruled by a Prince. Together these Princes form a council, and it is they who decide which Elf among their kind shall be crowned as the Phoenix King, the co-ruler of all the Asur. They are similar to the Warhammer 40,000 Craftworld Eldar army.
- 1 High Elves in game
- 1.1 Fictional History
- 1.1.1 Aenarion the Defender
- 1.1.2 Bel-Shanaar the Explorer
- 1.1.3 Caledor I the Conqueror
- 1.1.4 Caledor II the Warrior
- 1.1.5 Caradryel the Peacemaker
- 1.1.6 Tethlis the Slayer
- 1.1.7 Bel-Korhandis the Scholar King
- 1.1.8 Aethis the Poet
- 1.1.9 Morvael the Impetuous
- 1.1.10 Bel-Hathor the Sage
- 1.1.11 Finubar the Seafarer
- 1.1 Fictional History
- 2 Fantasy army
- 2.1 Citizen Militia
- 2.2 Cavalry of the Asur
- 2.3 Elites of the Asur
- 2.4 War machines of Ulthuan
- 2.5 Creatures of Ulthuan
- 2.6 Magic of the Asur
- 3 Gameplay
- 4 References
- 5 External links
High Elves in game
Aenarion the Defender
After the powers of Chaos entered the world with the disappearance of the Old Ones and the destruction of their interstellar gates at the roof of the world, all seemed lost. As hordes of daemons and men corrupted by Chaos sallied forth to destroy everything in the name of their masters, a hero rose from among the ranks of the Elves to fight back. His name was Aenarion, a warrior and adventurer who had travelled the world and returned home in his people's time of need. Knowing his people had no chance of holding off the Chaotic hordes, Aenarion travelled to the Shrine of Asuryan and implored the god to save his people. After countless sacrifices and libations failed, Aenarion hurled himself into the sacred flames of the shrine as a sacrifice. But to the amazement of all present, he did not die. Instead he emerged from the fire, unharmed and blessed by the power of the Creator God of the Elves. Armed with that power, he led his people to victory after victory on the battlefield and finally succeeded in driving the daemon hordes from Ulthuan.
In this brief time of respite, Aenarion found peace for a while. He befriended Caledor Dragontamer, greatest of all the realm's mages and lord of the realm of Dragons, and added the power of that land to his armies, taking Indraugnir, greatest of all dragons as his steed. He married Astarielle, the Everqueen, and she bore him twin children: a daughter, Yvraine, and a son, Morelion. But the daemon hordes came again, in far greater numbers and with much more ferocity. The war dragged on for a century, and faced with a numberless, relentless foe, even Aenarion began to lose hope of victory. Caledor presented a desperate scheme that might present a chance of victory: to create a great magical vortex that would drain the powers of Chaos from the world, thus saving its inhabitants. But Aenarion didn't want to risk the repercussions of such a plan. However, news came of a terrible event that would alter the course of his life: word reached him that the daemons had attacked his wife's realm of Averlorn. Astarielle was dead, and his children by her could not be found (unknown to him, the pair had been taken by the tree-man Oakheart and his people to the safety of the Gaen Vale).
Believing his family dead, a vengeful Aenarion travelled to the Blighted Isle and drew the Sword of Khaine from its resting place in the Shrine of Khaine there, ignoring the knowledge that to do so not only damned oneself but their descendants as well. It is said that on his journey, all four of the Chaos Gods urged him to reconsider and that the ghost of his wife appeared at the entrance of the Shrine, begging him not to go through with it, but Aenarion did not turn away. Blessed by the power of the Creator God and armed with the very weapon of the God of War, Aenarion became an Avatar of death and destruction: none could stand against him. Off the battlefield, though he never stopped mourning Astarielle, Aenarion took a new wife: the beautiful seeress, Morathi, who he had rescued from a Slaaneshi Chaos warband, and she bore him another son: Malekith. Aenarion made court in his bride's homeland of Nagarythe, at the castle of Anlec, where the most bloodthirsty and vicious of Elves flocked to his banner, and the castle and the kingdom became synonymous with misery, suffering and death. Eventually, Aenarion and Caledor fell out over the new age of cruelty and violence Aenarion had ushered in and Caledor stormed out of court. But before Aenarion could take action against his old friend, disaster struck.
The daemons came again, this time in such great numbers there was no hope of victory. With little other choice, Caledor assembled the greatest mages in Ulthuan and began to create the vortex. Realising he had no choice, Aenarion assembled his armies to defend Caledor on the Isle of the Dead. The battle that followed was long, bloody and savage and thousands of Elves were slain, but the ritual worked: the vortex was created, draining away the power of Chaos and without it, the daemons faded out of existence. Victory had been won, but the cost was high: thousands were dead, Ulthuan lay in ruins, Caledor and his mages were trapped inside the vortex, doomed to keep it open forever, and Aenarion was wounded unto death. Though dying, Aenarion travelled back to the Shrine of Khaine and returned the Sword of Khaine to its resting place. He died on the island and his body was never found, leaving only a kingdom in ruins and a legacy that would haunt his people for long ages to come...
Bel-Shanaar the Explorer
A new Phoenix King was chosen, named Bel-Shanaar, later titled “The Explorer”.
Bel-Shanaar was chosen by the Council of Princes over the more obvious successor, Prince Malekith, the son of Aenarion, due to their inclination for a more peaceful ruler. In spite of great support from his homeland and his insidious mother, Malekith did not contest the ascension and Bel-Shanaar was crowned king. Initially Bel-Shanaar's reign was peaceful and prosperous: Malekith made contact with the dwarves and together the two races established many settlements in the lands that would become the Empire, destroying hordes of Orcs, Daemons and other creatures of Chaos in great battles. Trade flourished between the two realms and Bel-Shanaar and Snorri Whitebeard, High King of the Dwarves, signed a treaty of eternal friendship between Elves and Dwarves. It seemed to all that the elves had entered a golden age, one all thought would never end.
However, late in Bel-Shanaar's reign, a canker began to infect Ulthuan: cults dediated to the Cytherai, the darker elven gods began to flourish and spread, despite all efforts to curb their excesses. Malekith returned to Ulthuan and led a series of great purges against the cults across Ulthuan, but it did little save push the realm towards civil war. Finally, Malekith declared Bel-Shanaar to be a follower of the cults. Before this claim could be ratified, Malekith murdered Bel-Shanaar and claimed the Phoenix King had killed himself. Malekith demanded the crown pass to him, but the Council was skeptical. Unfortunately, this didn't stop Malekith, and he tried to take the crown by force. Too late, the Council realised Malekith and his mother Morathi had been controlling and orcheastrating the cults for their own purposes all along. Unfortunately, their plans were undone when Malekith was horrifically burned trying to prove his right to be king by passing through the sacred Flame of Asuryan. As his followers fled with their badly injured master, they left Ulthuan without a king and poised on the brink of civil war...
Caledor I the Conqueror
Civil war gripped Ulthuan. Imrik, the prince of Caledor, was chosen and crowned to oppose Malekith. He gathered an army of pure elves, and upon his coronation took the name Caledor the First. Caledor was a silent and resolute elf, but he was also a mighty leader, and unequaled warrior. He united the Elves and personally defeated Malekith. As part of a final, desperate plan; Malekith attempted to collapse the vortex created by Caledor Dragontamer, thus releasing the minions of Chaos fully into the world again. The apocalyptic plan failed, and in the magical backlash, Caledor Dragontamer and the mages stuck in the Isle of the Dead overcame their prison and disrupted the spell; Consequently, large portions of Ulthuan sank beneath the sea. This is the event known as the 'Sundering'. Malekith, along with Morathi and their followers, used their magic to transform the great northern cities into the huge floating 'Black Arks', which are mobile fortresses created to plague the oceans of the Warhammer World. They traveled to the western lands known as Naggaroth, by means of the Black Arks.
The Asur retook the Blighted Isle toward the closing of the war: Caledor went to the Shrine of Khaine, but ultimately, though he felt its call, refused to draw the Sword of Khaine, even though he knew it would give him the power to destroy Malekith and the Dark Elves once and for all. As his fleet headed for home, Caledor’s ship was swept away by a freak storm and driven towards the coast of Naggaroth. Morathi alerted Malekith to this turn of events, who set a fleet of corsairs the task of finding and capturing Caledor. As their ship drifted, it was caught and boarded by Dark Elf pirates, against whom Caledor and his men fought off desperately. However, in the end, the Dark Elves were too many, and the crew were annihilated. Wounded and surrounded, Caledor jumped into the sea in full armour, choosing a quick death by drowning, rather than face the long, slow, torturous end Malekith would inflict on him if captured. A tragic ending, for the great king, Caledor...
Caledor II the Warrior
Caledor's son ascended to the throne, taking the title Caledor II. Unlike his father, Caledor II was arrogant and foolish. When the Dark Elves sought to inflame the Asur-Dwarf relations, Caledor II's arrogance only worsened the situation. The Dark Elves began raiding Dwarf trade caravans, disguised as High Elves,but when the Dwarves demanded an explanation and recompense for their loss, Caledor arrogantly replied that he did not answer demands but granted pleas and send the Dwarf emissaries away with nothing. The Dwarf High King, Gotrek Starbreaker, replied he made no plea to elf, man or god and demanded twice the weregeld price for the implied insult. Outraged by this, Caledor had the Dwarf emissary sent back with his beard shaved off: the ultimate insult in Dwarven culture. This atrocity sparked off the War of the Beard, a millennia spanning conflict that saw the empires of the Elves and Dwarves crumble into ruins.
Dwarf armies started to attack the Asur colonies all across the Old World. Arriving from Ulthuan, Caledor II took personal command of the Elf armies. He slew the Dwarven King Gotrek’s son, Snorri Halfhand, and routed many dwarf armies. At the 14th siege of Tor Alessi, the war reached its conclusion. Caledor II allowed the Dwarves to enter peacefully, but the Dwarves attacked instead. The Asur claim Caledor II refused to slay Gotrek to preserve some hope of peace. The Dwarves claim Caledor II was simply arrogant who habitually squandered the few opportunities for peace that occurred. The Dwarves claim that Caledor II was killed by High King Gotrek at Tor Alessi after Caledor II charged straight into the heart of the dwarf army unsupported. According to the Asur, however, Gotrek fought his way to Caledor and killed him at the centre of the field. Gotrek returned to Karaz-a-Karak with the Crown of the Phoenix King, having taken it from Caledor's corpse as recompense. It remains in Dwarf hands to this day.
Caradryel the Peacemaker
As the High Elves planned to launch a suicidal attack on Karaz-a-Karak to recover the Phoenix Crown, word came that Malekith had initiated a new invasion of Ulthuan. Having learnt the error of hereditary kingship, the Asur's next choice for Phoenix King was the pragmatic Prince Caradryel from the outer kingdom of Yvresse. Caradyrel recalled the Elven forces from the Old World to deal with the Dark Elves, thus abandoning the few remaining colonies who had refused to return to fend for themselves against the Dwarves. The survivors of these migrated to the forest of Athel Loren and became the Asrai, or Wood Elves, slowly integrating themselves with this sentient forest and its denizens.
Not being a warrior, Caradryel appointed a number of skillful generals to battle the Dark Elves. Because of his foresight, the Druchii were held at bay in the northern provinces for much of his reign. Despite numerous attempts by Malekith's assassins to kill him, Caradryel survived and was remembered as a wise and noble king. After a rule of over 700 years, Caradryel the Peacemaker became the first Phoenix King to die peacefully in his sleep.
Tethlis the Slayer
For their next king, the Asur chose a warrior noble of Caledor, one who would seek to end the threat of Naggaroth for all time. His name was Tethlis and he loathed the Druchii with a passion, for they had murdered his family when he was but a child. At the start of his reign, the Dragons of Caledor began to succumb to a strange malaise, making them difficult to summon to war or even awaken from deep slumbers, and so Tethlis had to find new ways to compensate for the loss of these mighty beasts in his army. He began to train more and more soldiers, until he had rebuilt the Asur armies to a strength not seen since the time of Aenarion.
When this was complete, Tethlis launched the Scouring, a long campaign to drive the Dark Elves out of Ulthuan. The armies of Ulthuan and Naggaroth waged war against each other for centuries, the course of the war changing on the outcome of a single battle. The war reached heights of ferocity not seen since the days of the Sundering, as seen at the siege of Griffon Gate, where a Druchii army was ambushed by Tethlis's forces: only a counterattack led by Malekith himself was enough to save the Dark Elves from destruction, or the siege of Tor Lehan, where the Asur and Druchii forces wiped each other out down to the last Elf, leaving no survivors. After many years, Tethlis pushed the Druchii back into Nagarythe. He laid siege to Anlec and when it fell, gave the order for all Druchii prisoners- men, women and children- to be put to death: an action which only inflamed the hatred of the Dark Elves. Tethlis's commanders were also worried that the Phoenix King's hatred and bloodlust would spread to the elven armies until they became no better than what they fought against.
In his 303rd year of rule, he led a great armada to the Blighted Isle where he inflicted a mighty defeat upon the Druchii: he also found the armour of Aenarion himself and had the great heirloom passed onto the descendants of Morelion, Aenarion's son by his first wife. He later died under mysterious circumstances: some claimed that he was slain by a Dark Elf assassin hiding among the bones surrounding the Sword of Khaine, others that he attempted to draw the weapon and as it began to come free, he was murdered by his own bodyguard, who feared the unleashing of the sword's terrible power. Whatever the truth of the matter, Tethlis did not return from the Blighted Isle and the Asur armada sailed home.
Bel-Korhandis the Scholar King
After the great cost in Elven lives, the Asur chose a more peacefully inclined ruler. They compromised, and chose a wizard prince of Saphery, Bel-Korhandis. His relatively unremarkable rule was marked by one notable event: the building of the Tower of Hoeth, the greatest library and repository of magic and knowledge in the world. The King died shortly after its completion, and was buried beneath the Tower's foundations. It is claimed his ghost still wanders the Tower, offering wisdom and advice to scholars in need of it.
Aethis the Poet
After Bel-Korhandis came Aethis, also of Saphery. During his rule, art bloomed and music was heard through Ulthuan, combined with a great sense of joy, as rumours spread that the Dark Elves were all but extinct and Malekith himself had finally died. It was during this time that the shrinking number of births was first noted and that the elves were diminishing. During this time, Dark Elf infiltrators sneaked back into Ulthuan and the Cult of Pleasure spread once more: in the end, several Swordmasters of the White Tower were sent to investigate, and a long and bloody war was waged in secrecy between the Swordmasters and the cultists. Ultimately, Aethis’s High Chancellor, Girathon, was unmasked as a Dark Elf spy. Girathon chose to fight rather than come quietly, and in the struggle drove a poisoned dagger into Aethis's chest. Thus was the Phoenix King slain by a man he trusted as a friend.
Morvael the Impetuous
Next came Morvael, High Loremaster of the White Tower (although originally from Yvresse). He was not well versed in statecraft or warfare. His first act was to order a punitive attack on Naggaroth to avenge Aethis's murder: unfortunately, the army he sent was massacred as it made landfall (an event the Druchii fondly refer to as "The Day of Blood"), and word of its failure spread panic across Ulthuan. It transpired that, far from being an extinct race, the Dark Elves had simply been amassing their strength for a return to hostilities with the Asur, and Malekith took advantage of the reduced military presence to once again assault Ulthuan. Having learned from his mistakes, Morvael appointed Mentheus of Caledor as his field commander of the Asur armies, and introduced the levy system, requiring that every elf spends part of the year as a soldier. As Mentheus won the war, Morvael became ever more despondent at the high cost in Asur lives, and was driven deeper into paranoia and insanity through horrific nightmares Malekith's sorcery inflicted on him. During the final assault on Anlec, Mentheus’ forces took the castle, but Mentheus himself was killed: his dragon, Nightfang went berserk and broke the back of the Druchii armies, and the survivors fled back to Naggaroth, Malekith in the lead. Weary beyond bearing, Morvael committed suicide by walking into the Flames of Asuryan once again.
Bel-Hathor the Sage
Once again the Asur found themselves leaderless during a time of war. The clear candidate, Mentheus of Caledor, was dead, and none could agree on a suitable replacement. In the end Bel-Hathor, a wizard prince of Saphery was chosen and crowned. He was chosen because many in the Elven court believed that he could easily be manipulated to their own ends. They were proven wrong, and Bel-Hathor became a ruler as famed for his resolve as for his wisdom. The most notable example of this was his refusal to agree to an invasion of Naggaroth: while he was aware that the High Elves could likely destroy the Dark Elves in their weakened state, he feared that such a bloody and bitter war would leave so many dead that the extinction of the Elven race would be assured. For the sake of his people's survival, he chose to leave the Dark Elves be and not continue the war.
After many years of raiding by Norse tribes, the Elves began to hear of the human Empire in the Old World, and became uneasy. Bel-Hathor decreed that no human would be allowed to set foot on Ulthuan, but sent Finubar of Lothern to investigate what had become of the Old World in the Asur's absence. Finubar sailed to the Old World and found that the humans had some measure of civilization, and rediscovered the Asrai of Athel Loren. He opened relations with the Empire, Bretonnia and even the Dwarfs. He returned to Ulthuan with his knowledge and Bel-Hathor revoked his decree, causing trade to flourish. After 548 years of rule, Bel-Hathor the Sage died peacefully.
Finubar the Seafarer
Bel-Hathor’s successor, Finubar, is the current Phoenix King. Under his rule, trade has flourished, and Ulthuan survived the last Great War against Chaos, with help from the twins Tyrion and Teclis. At present, Finubar leads the Asur against Malekith's latest invasion.
Spearmen & Archers
The majority of warriors in the armies of the Asur are citizen militia rather than professional soldiers but just as good as any human soldier. This militia is a form of part-time army in which all take their turn to serve, every Elf providing his own wargear in defence of his home and country.
When young elves first join the milita, they will begin as an archers, fighting with a longbow. This allows them gain war experience from a relatively safe distance. After a decade or so, they will become spearman, fighting with a spear and shield. This is the senior arm of the militia, and are expected to fight bravely in the main line of battle. Spearmen wear light armour and shield and archers may have light armour.
Spearmen train to get as many in the fight as possible without getting in each other's way. In game terms, this means when using spears they are able to get more people in to a fight than other races armed with spears.
Lothern Sea Guard
The Eataine province does not field a citizen militia as all the other provinces do, instead contributing the Lothern Seaguard to the army. Unlike the normal levy, they are not only called up in times of need, but remain at arms at all times.
They form a corps of marines to crew ships that patrol the seas around Ulthuan and its colonies, but also fight on land, and like spearmen can fight with more people when using spears. As space is a premium on board a ship, the Seaguard are armed with both a bow and spear, allowing them to maximise their numbers. They wear light armour and carry shields.
The sea guard also protect the Ulthuan capital city Lothern, and crew the repeater bolt throwers.
Cavalry of the Asur
Silver Helm Knights
Silver Helms are the sons of High Elven nobles. They are called silver helms for their ilthilmar helmets, which they decorate with medals showing what monsters they've slain and deeds they've done. They are normally equipped with heavy armour, shields, and lances on barded elven steeds.
Light cavalry from the province of Ellyrion. They frequently use bows (either as a replacement or in addition to their spears) to harass their foes, on unbarded elven steeds. They are exceptionally skilled riders and can shoot their bow in all directions, including behind. This makes them excellent in game terms for causing general disruption in a hit and run style.
Dragon Princes of Caledor
Long ago dragon princes fought on the backs of great dragons, but now the dragons sleep and they ride to battle on horses instead. Proud, arrogant, but extremely skilled, able to impale two people with one lance thrust, they are the elite heavy cavalry from the province of Caledor. They refuse to dip their banners in honour of the Phoenix King before battle, and the phrase 'Prince of Caledor' is often used as an insult in Ulthuan to describe an arrogant and egotistical individual. They wear suits of Dragon Armour which are resilient against heat.
Dragons can seldom be roused. Imrik, the Dragonprince is probably one of the last Dragon princes that is actually riding a Dragon. It has been prophesied that a great battle will come in which the Dragon Princes will ride to war on the backs of the great drakes one last time.
Elites of the Asur
The chosen guardians of the Everqueen and Avelorn, these all female soldiers make use of swords and magical longbows to defend the land of the queen of the High Elves. Those who serve well patrolling the dark places in Avelorn are raised to the rank of Handmaiden. These are no ordinary servants or courtiers, instead they are peerless warriors and the chosen defenders of Queen Alarielle herself.
These models were present in Warhammer's 5th edition High Elves army book, but were removed along with Alarielle in 6th. They returned, along with the Everqueen in the 8th edition army book.
Sword Masters of Hoeth
There are many ways to travel the path of wisdom. Some fast and meditate for years, others study obscure and arcane tomes, but for a few their true path lies in martial prowess. These are the Swordmasters, though they are not only experts with a blade; they also learn to fight with their bare hands or with any other weapon they can reach, especially their finely balanced ceremonial greatswords.
The centre of their cult is the White Tower Of Hoeth, at the heart of ancient Saphery. Here they study the secret ways of battle, honing their bodies and skills to unbelievable levels. Some say they can cut a candle in half without disturbing the flame, others that they can fight in complete darkness, guided only by the faint whisper of their foe's breathing.
These expert warriors are the Guardians Of The White Tower and serve as protectors of the mages and scholars who live and study there. But the Swordmasters are not hermits; part of their duties is to serve as messengers for the Tower's masters, and to this end they travel regularly throughout Ulthuan, guarding travelling scholars or seeking out information to enrich the vast store that resides in the White Tower.
In battle they are deadly opponents, eager to practise their legendary skills on real enemies, in an arena where there is no room for second best. This is the true test of mettle, skill and honour that they eagerly seek out.
A minor change, but still of note, is that, as of the 7th edition army book (2007), "Swordmasters" became "Sword Masters".
Even in times of relative peace, the Shadow Warriors are never at rest. They constantly patrol the barren shores and bleakest hills as they watch for the inevitable Dark Elf raiders; the evil Druchii who sank their homeland beneath the waves and who slaughter their kin. It is little wonder then that battles between the two races are bitterly fought with no quarter asked or given.
Tainted by their association with the Witch King and the violent madness of Aenarion, the survivors of Nagarythe are a very different type of Asur. Since the destruction of their lands, they have been a rootless people, drawn to fighting and unable to settle down to more peaceful tasks. They are intense and brooding, proud and warlike, and this has made them little trusted by their fellow kin of Ulthuan. Despite this, they are among the most loyal subjects of the Phoenix King and the tales of their daring and dangerous exploits are many in number. It is an unusual Elf indeed who has not heard of their valour. Though they are wilder and perhaps more vicious than the rest of the High Elves, it is because of their truly tragic past rather than innate cruelty. Given the bitter and war-wrecked times through which they have lived, this is a flaw that is easy to understand. Even so, there are those in the court of Ulthuan who whisper the long war has left the Shadow Warriors more like their Druchii foes than they would dare admit.
The leader of the Shadow Warriors is the so-called 'Shadow King', Alith Anar. Alith was the youngest son of House Anar, who rose to prominence in the Sundering. His destiny was sealed after the Battle of Dark Fen: At this battle, a force of vastly outnumbered Nagarythe warriors loyal to Caledor I fought against Morathi's private army. After his father, Eothlir, was killed by Morathi's general and the loyalists routed, Alith led the survivors back to his family's castle, only to find Malekith had attacked it in his absence: Dozens of the elderly, women, and children had been slaughtered without mercy. Alith also learned from the few survivors that his grandfather Eolaran had been taken to the dungeons of Anlec on Malekith's orders: He was never seen again. At this, Alith and his warriors swore an oath they would never rest until the Witch King and the Dark Elves were destroyed: Thus were the Shadow Warriors formed. Alith's exploits against the Druchii are legend. Most famous is the tale that he sneaked disguised into the court of Naggarond, danced with Morathi under Malekith's nose, then escaped Naggaroth after stealing the Stone of Midnight, a flawless diamond given to Morathi as a wedding gift by Aenarion. Tales like this give the Shadow Warriors hope in the long war. They claim that Alith is still alive and continues his fight against Malekith and the Druchii.
Of the many great warriors of the High Elves, the most fearsome are the silent guardians of the Shrine of Asuryan. Known as the Phoenix Guard, the main duty of these warrior monks is to protect the island shrine and all those who make their pilgrimage there. Particularly important is the eternal flame, through which the chosen candidate for Phoenix King must walk in order the receive the Asuryan's blessing.
The secret behind the unnatural silence lies in the Chamber of Days, a secret room whose walls blaze with words of flame, written on the naked walls themselves. These tell the histories of all the Phoenix Kings who have ever lived, and also those who are yet to come. It foretells the death of each, and their successors and predecessors. Any who gaze upon these terrible words must swear a magical oath of complete silence from which they can never be released. This knowledge of their fate wipes away any joy or other expressions from these warrior priests, their faces set instead in grim expressions of doom. In battle, they can always be found where the fighting is in its most desperate state, knowing in advance if they shall fall or if they shall be victorious.
When a Phoenix King dies, the Phoenix Guard are always there, appearing suddenly and without warning to bear away the body of their king to the White Ship. Once a new candidate for the Phoenix King has been selected, they escort him safely to the Shrine of Asuryan to undertake the ritual of rebirth as the new Phoenix King.
In battle, the Phoenix Guard fight with their ceremonial halberds, clad in cloaks of embroidered fire that echo the sacred flame of Asuryan. They move throughout the battlefield in utter silence, accompanied only by the beat of a solemn drum. This unnatural manner is deeply disturbing for their enemies as even the direst of wounds will not make them cry out. Although they are named the Phoenix Guard they do not actually guard the Phoenix King. That right belongs to the White Lions of Chrace.
White Lions of Chrace
Ever since the time of Caledor the First, the closest bodyguards of the Phoenix Kings have come from the wildest forests of Chrace. The people found here are the bravest of the young Elves of Chrace, chosen for the honour of serving the Phoenix King by ancient rites. Not all are considered worthy to serve, and each must demonstrate his skill and bravery by tracking down one of the fierce beasts that roam the barren mountains and dark forests of the land, the white lions. When they find one they must kill it through hand-to-hand combat and take its pelt. Those that have proved themselves wear the cloak of the white lion as a sign of their undoubted courage and may serve the Phoenix King as one of his bodyguard.
In battle, the White Lions use the traditional woodsman's axe of Chrace, a finely crafted weapon which is said to be sharp enough to hew a tree or a man in half with a single strike. The White Lions were chosen to serve as the Phoenix King's bodyguard after an incident during the reign of Caledor the First. Following the massacre at the Shrine of Asuryan and the revelation of Malekith's treachery, both emissaries of the Elven council and assassins loyal to Morathi scoured Ulthuan, each group hoping to find Caledor before the other did. The assassins found Caledor first, but a band of Chracian woodsmen heard him fighting for his life and charged to his aid, driving off the attackers, before escorting him back to Lothern for his coronation. In the wake of their courageous deed, Caledor chose the brave woodsmen of Chrace to be his bodyguard, a decision continued by those who followed him to the throne.
War machines of Ulthuan
Lion Chariots of Chrace
The lion chariots of Chrace are the more brutish and savage of the two high elf chariots. The crew manning the chariot are "the White Lions" or less commonly "the hunters of Chrace". The chariot is pulled by two lions, raised from the cubs of wild lions the hunters have killed. The chariots superior design allows the crew to use their huge axes to cleave foes in half. Unlike the elven steeds of the Tiranoc chariot, the Lions are more than capable of breaking the most determined shieldwall and tearing into the foes behind it with tooth and claw.
A few charioteers are all that remain of the ancient way of war of the Tiranoc nobility. In ages passed, the coastal plains of their realm were full of herds of noble steeds and racing charioteers. The warriors competed with each other to see who could ride the fastest, or loose the most accurate arrow from the back of their speeding chariot. Then the Sundering came, and the once fair land of Tiranoc sank below the waves of Ulthuan's sea.
Not all was lost however. Indeed, many of their finest warriors were elsewhere, fighting against the evil minions of the Witch King. In this way they were able to preserve their traditions and skills, but it was an embittered few that returned to their drowned land. Since then, they have spent their time tending their herds and preparing for battles. They serve in any of Asur's armies, especially those that fight the Dark Elf kin, and will travel many days and nights to join a force on the road to war.
Repeater Bolt Throwers
The repeater bolt thrower or "Eagle's Claw", as it is usually called, is a versatile weapon and by far the most common war machine in high elf armies. It is lightly made, though sturdy and strong, and is practical and portable. This makes it highly adaptable and it is widely used both on ship and on shore. In fact, the same individual weapon can be used in either location as they are designed to be taken from their mountings and carried with the Lothern Seaguard when ever they venture forth.
In battle, the "Eagle's Claw" needs only two crew to operate (most other bolt throwers need three), and unlike other bolt throwers can shoot two different types of bolts. Either a single spear sized bolt (good for killing monsters and heavy-armoured knights)or a hail of smaller bolts (good for large groups of lightly-armoured troops).
Creatures of Ulthuan
These creatures are the last of a noble race that has lived high in the mountain peaks since before the rise of Men. They are haughty and proud, and the High Elves have an instinctive kinship with them. Caradinor rode Sulinash the Great Eagle into battle in times of The Sundering, and such were the heroic deeds that songs are still sung of them. Great Eagles have been allies with the High Elves since this time, and the sight of one soaring high above a battle is still considered a sign of victory.
Some of the wisest of the Asur are said to be able to talk with the Great Eagles of the Anulii as easily as if they were passing the time of day with their own brethren. The Eagles soar over the mist-shrouded peaks and rocky spires and when they return they speak with the Loremasters. In this way, the dire forces of Chaos can never make their way down from the Anulii without finding the warriors of Ulthuan waiting for them.
Griffons are noble beasts, as beasts go, though they are far from tame and placid. Their heads are like that of a huge bird of prey, whilst their bodies resemble that of a lion or any other great cat. All this is borne aloft by a pair of mighty wings that carry the Griffon across the high mountains and peaks where it dwells.
A patiently hand-reared hatchling can be trained to bear a noble upon its back, making a formidable mount in times of battle and war. The people of Chrace, renowned hunters and scouts of Ulthuan, are particularly famed for their skills at raising and training the Griffons that circle above the high mountains of their land.
In days long gone, there were many Dragons to be seen, riding the thermals of the mountain ranges, from Eataine in the south to Chrace in the north, and fighting alongside heroes of the age. The largest nests of Dragons were in the mountains of Calendor, and the Asur of that realm were known as Dragon Princes. And rightly so, as they rode these majestic and fearsome beasts to war and vanquished all who challenged them.
Now the Great Hall Of Dragons lies almost silent. It is filled with the great forms of wyrmkind, but all are deep in slumber, the sound of their rasping breath filling the air. When times of danger are upon the Asur of Calendor, they try to rouse a few from their sleep, but it is an ever greater task. 'Not in a Dragon's age' is a common phrase among the Asur, and it has been many years since more than a handful rode the skies into battle.
However, when they can be awoken from their deep slumber, they are terrible to behold. The light catches their glistening scales before they spread their mighty wings to blot out the sun and light the world with their fiery breath. They are huge and terrifying monsters with a cold, alien intelligence which fills sane folk with dread.
Magic of the Asur
Whilst lesser races must study magic in its corrupted, broken form, High Elf Mages harness its power as pure, mystical energy. The minor spells of the Asur, those Lores of Magic taught to Men by the legendary High Elf Mage Teclis, are but a pale reflection of the power that can be wielded by an Asur fully trained in the magical arts at the White Tower.
The ebb and flow of the winds of magic are the Asur's to command, summoning great energy into themselves or denying it to the enemy. The tumultuous eddies of magic can be smoothed, and used to alter the High Elf's material realm, while the most accomplished Mages can enter the realm of magic and leave behind their physical shell.
Before a promising youngster is taught the dangerous path of a True Mage, he will be shown some simple prayers and enchantments to bring down the blessings of the divine Isha. These are far less dangerous for the caster and can be safely employed by even the most untutored talent.
These blessings are of no real use on the battlefield, intended as they are to help the apprentice in his daily tasks and to relieve the simple Elven folk of some of the drudgery of their daily chores. However, they allow the Mage tutors to easily assess the potential of their charges and show which of their number is favoured by the High Elven gods. So it is that Mages can perform all manner of tricks and illusions when in a lighter mood, and never need the help of mundane servants. It is even said that the Elven farmers and labourers who live near the majestic White Tower of Hoeth never plough their own fields as every year there is another crop of novices eager to test and demonstrate their skills.
The High Elves may use any of the normal eight lores of Magic, but also have their own list of High Magic which only they can access. In addition, Teclis may choose to use any lore during battle and has knowledge of all the spells in it.
The High Elves Army is a precise, hard-hitting force on the table. With some of the best leadership statistics in the game, the High Elves can be relied upon to be where they are needed, when they are needed. With ages of practice honing their skills with arms, the High Elves have the advantage of being able to strike first in all fights. In combat, the High Elves are strong hitters, but Elves have never been famed for being tough: low toughness and light armor make the elves fall fast to heavy opponents. Furthermore, the high point cost of the Elven warriors means that, model for model, the elves are often outnumbered.
The core of the High Elf army is formed around base units of Spearmen and Archers. While the Silver Helms, fast Ellyrion Reavers, and the elite Dragon Prince cavalry may still be used to augment, balance, or accent a force, with the advent of the Seventh Edition came the end of all-cavalry High Elven forces. Now, White Lions, Swordmasters, or Phoenix Guard make up the elite strike group of most High Elf warhosts.
High Elven magic is, like the army in general, extremely precise, deadly, and costly. The Elves can field powerful mages and archmages who know devastating spells, and who are equipped with magical talismans and artifacts. Though not cheap, the magic of the High Elves can be a potent force when used in harmony with the power of the High Elf combat forces.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (August 2008)|
- Warhammer Armies: High Elves; Andy chambers, Bill King, Jes Goodwin; Games Workshop; 1993; ISBN - 872372 63 5
- White Dwarf Issue no. 333, September 2007