- "Our beautiful land is besieged on all sides, but we resist the like our fathers did before us. We will emerge victorious and more intractable than ever to these turbulent times when our corrupt brothers come to ravage our shores. We are Asur, the son of Aenarion and Ulthuan shall never will fall. "
- —Prince Tyrion, Defender of Ulthuan
The High Elves, or Asur (High Elves in Eltharin) are amongst the most ancient and powerful mortal civilizations within the Warhammer World, a race whose history, achievements and deeds have been made legendary long before the rise of even Mankind, during the time of this world's creation. This mighty people all hail from their homeland of Ulthuan, a massive island-continent that lies within the center of the Great Ocean, in-between the civilized lands of the Old World and the cold and inhospitable lands of the New World.
The Chaos Incursions
In the beginning of High Elf recorded history, the Elves were one race and dwelt in many separate kingdoms on Ulthuan. When the warp gates at the planet's poles failed and the stuff of chaos spilled into the world, daemons and other creatures began preying upon the early Elves. A great hero Aenarion, later called The Defender, arose and forged an alliance between the rival Elven states. United, the Elves drove back the creatures of Chaos and Aenarion was crowned the first Phoenix King, taking the Lady Astarielle as his Everqueen. After a time, the minions of Chaos invaded again, this time with corrupted human followers. A host of daemons invaded Avelorn and slew the Everqueen and, it was believed, Aenarion's two children. Aenarion fell deeply in love with Morathi and from their union she later bore Malekith. However, maddened by his losses and the attacks on his people, Aenarion drew the Sword of Khaine and led the Elven host to war. Aenarion won a titanic battle and managed to plunge the sword back into the Altar of Khaine before he died. His sacrifice bought time for Caledor Dragontamer to enact his plan to drain the Chaos energy away from the world.
After Aenarion's death, instead of Malekith, the High Elves chose Bel Shanaar as the next Phoenix King and Malekith was relegated to the role of war-leader. Malekith wished the throne to be his and eventually accused the King of being a member of the Cult of Pleasure. When the Council of Princes refused to accept this, Malekith poisoned Bel Shanaar. Malekith passed through the flames of Asuryan to prove his right to the throne but unlike a rightful King, was burned horribly. Retreating to his home kingdom and power-base of Nagarythe, Malekith prepared for war. The armies of the other kingdoms of Ulthuan, headed by the new King Caledor the Conqueror, assaulted Nagarythe (the most powerful Kingdom) and through weight of numbers besieged and sacked Anlec. In retaliation, Malekith's Sorcerers used their magic upon the vortex at the center of Ulthuan and unintentionally caused a great cataclysm which sank much of Nagarythe and Tiranoc. Finally, the Elves of Nagarythe, used magic to set their fortresses and cities afloat and escaped west to Naggaroth.
The War of the Beard
The next King, Caledor the Second ruled in peacetime for many years and cultivated relations with the Dwarfs, until the Dark Elves raided a Dwarf caravan, posing as High Elves. The Dwarfs, being outraged sent an envoy to the Phoenix King who demanded compensation and rudely drew his weapon in the throne room of the Phoenix King. The Elves, being offended, shaved his beard and sent him back to the Old World. The High King Gotrek Starbreaker was outraged and declared war on the High Elves, whom the Dwarfs gradually drove out of the Old World in a series of bloody battles. The War of the Beard ended when the High King killed the Phoenix King in single combat, claimed the Phoenix Crown and withdrew into his Hold.
The Druchii Invasions
After the Sundering, the Druchii invaded Ulthuan on several occasions attempting to claim the land they believe is theirs, and the throne they believe rightfully belongs to their King Malekith. Using the Imperial Calendar; the first of these invasions was in -2360 IC, the second in -1499 IC, the third in 1125 IC, over 2500 years later, the fourth around 300 years before present (2200 IC) and each time the Dark Elves and their foul allies have been repulsed.
The Last Coming of Chaos
Just three hundred years ago, the Dark Elves made a pact with their old foes - the Forces of Chaos and invaded the weakened Ulthuan. At the same time, The Empire in the Old World was invaded by the Chaos war host of Asavar Kul and Magnus the Pious was frantically trying to rally against the oncoming horde. The Dark Elves swept all before them in Ulthuan and the Armies of the Witch King crushed every army sent against them. Every Kingdom except for Caledor, Saphery and the city of Lothern were under Druchii rule and the Black Arks and Plaguefleet of Nurgle had swept the sea clean of Ulthuan's navy. However the forces of the Asur rallied under the leadership of Finubar the Seafarer, Tyrion and Teclis and formed a great host which took back Eataine and confronted the host of the Dark Allies on the Finuval Plain, north of Saphery. Tyrion slew Poisonblade, the Witch-King's personal champion and Teclis defeated the Witch King himself and sent him to the realm of chaos in a sorcerous duel, the Dark Elves and their allies routed and were eventually driven into the sea.
Since the days of Aenarion, the First Phoenix King, the continent of Ulthuan has followed a loosely centralized government that is composed of ten different smaller Kingdoms, all of which are semi-autonomous but is subject to both the Phoenix King and the Everqueen by rule of tradition and the law. These different smaller Kingdoms are ruled by a collection of powerful Mages or Elven Nobles known as a Prince or Princess. Unlike the traditional monarchy of other intelligent civilizations, the relationship between the Phoenix King and the Everqueen is completely different. Originally, the title of Phoenix King was meant to be inherited, where the first born heir, Prince Malekith was suppose to be the next successor to the Phoenix Throne. However, the other Elven Princes feared the dark ambition of Prince Malekith and was thusly forced to elect one of their own as the new Phoenix King. After Malekith was banished from Ulthuan following his failed coup d'etat against the Phoenix King, the new successive line of Phoenix Kings have since all been elected into their position.
Unlike the Phoenix King, the position of Everqueen is hereditary as to follow the traditions where only those that bear the blood of the first Everqueen have any legitamacy to become one. Due to the spiritual significance of the Averlorn Forest, the Everqueen is naturally also the Queen of the Averlorn Kingdom as well. The Kingdom of Averlorn is the site of the principal shrine of Isha, the Earth Mother, which is sacred to all High Elves, with the Everqueen being the Goddess spiritual successor or Avatar. As a result the Everqueen is regarded as the spiritual leader of Ulthuan and her people, and by tradition is also the consort to the Phoenix King as well. The position of Everqueen is always granted to the firstborn daughter of the previous Everqueen, conceived during her year-long ritual marriage to the Phoenix King. After formally marrying each other, both Everqueen and Phoenix King are free to take new consorts. As such, this has ensured that the Everqueen has within her the blood of every Phoenix King that has ever ruled Ulthuan, forming an unbroken chain of bloodlines that can be traced back since the time of Aenarion himself. By contrast, the Phoenix King is chosen from a number of princes, representing different kingdoms and interests, one year after the death of the previous Phoenix King. Every Phoenix King is crowned during a hoy ceremony, held at the massive pyramidal Shrine of Asuryan and attended by the legions of Phoenix Guard and princes of Ulthuan. The current Everqueen and Phoenix King of Ulthuan are Alarielle The Radiant and Finubar The Seafarer.
Council of Princes
The High Elves love political intrigue and never is the prize greater when the process of choosing the new Phoenix King starts. Usually this electoral process is held within a small cadre of high-ranking princes known simply as the Council of Princes. In this delicate time of political scheming and uncertainty emotions commonly run hot, with many interests colliding, vying for power and control. The greatest of Ulthuan's noble families each pick their own candidate, that best fits their interests to be chosen. Also, each kingdom in Ulthuan desires the new Phoenix King to be chosen from their realm adding extra interests into the equation. During the election process all manner of deception, manipulation and chicanery is employed to make sure the most favorable outcome happens for those who employ them. However it is unheard of for this to escalate to violence or outright sabotage. Doing so would be considered heretical, for the Phoenix King is the chosen servant of Asuryan. Very few High Elf nobles are so obsessed with power that they could come close to believing that their creator god would ever approve of sabotaging the election, and having the candidate be chosen under dubious and destructive circumstances. The last thirty days of the year of mourning is when the election finally takes place. However years before the reigning Phoenix King has even died does the scheming and debating really start.
Phoenix King's Date (Imperial Calendar)
- Caledor I The Conqueror -2749 to -2198
- Caledor II The Warrior -2198 to -1599
- Caradryel The Peacemaker -1599 to -996
- Tethlis The Slayer -996 to -691
- Bel-Korhadris The Scholar King -691 to 499
- Aethis The Poet 499 to 1121
- Morvael The Impetuous 1121 to 1503
- Bel-Hathor The Sage 1503 to 2163
- Finubar The Seafarer 2163 to present
The Elven Pantheon Gods are split up into two groups, the Cadai and the Cytharai. All Elves believe in this pantheon but put a lot more emphasis on certain gods than others. An example of this is the Dark Elves outright ignoring the Cadai Gods and the High Elves shunning the Cytharai Gods. The peaceful, fundamental, and productive aspects of the Elven Pantheon, such as crafting, smithing, motherhood, farming or hunting are represented by the Cadai. The High Elves openly worship and revere the Cadai, building large temples and shrines to profess their faith. Above all other gods is Asuryan, The Creator, who the High Elves worship the most, as the Phoenix King is the mere servant of.
Then come the rulers of Mirai (the Elven Underworld) the Cytharai. Many Cytharai Gods are shunned by the vast majority of High Elves, while for some of the Cytharai the High Elves attempt appeasement. However even though worshipping the Cytharai Gods in Ulthuan is either frowned upon or totally outlawed depending on the diety in question, some individuals still do privately worship them. For a High Elf to worship Kaine, The Lord of Murder who is the Dark Elves primary God, is to ask to be put to death on the spot. On the other hand the worship of Mathlann, The God of the Deeps is common among elf mariners.
At one point according to Elven legend some of the gods walked the mortal world, which ones specifically is contested. The deities of the High Elves are actually represented by a circular rune pattern call the Pantheonic Mandala. Asuryan being the most important God to the High Elves would be placed in the center, while the others spiral outwards in an order of greatest to least.
In secret some Elves turn to the worship of Slaanesh out of a desire to appease it, so their souls could be spared. Elven worship is greatly desired by Slaanesh, for Elves experience emotions stronger than any other race. This creates the excess for which Slaanesh desires for it gives Slaanesh power. The worship of Slaanesh and other Chaos Gods is strictly forbidden in Ulthuan, the penalty for doing so is death. To keep Chaos Cults from growing within High Elf society, The Sword Masters of Hoeth work diligently to root out and destroy any cults and cult members found.
Mirai otherwise known as the Black Pit, is the Elven Underworld. The dark realm of Mirai is ruled by Ereth Khial the Pale Queen. The way to get in and out of Mirai is through the a door, referred to as the Last Door, which is guarded by Nethu. It is Nethu who prevents wayward souls from escaping, and the living from entering and stealing the secrets of the dead.
However, Since the Coming of Chaos, most Elven souls don't reach Mirai and are claimed by the Chaos God Slaanesh. Slash desires Elf souls above any other, and is always hungry for more to devour. Sadly most Elves souls throughout history, are consumed by 'She Who Thirts' as the Elves refer to Slaanesh. This horrible fate terrifies all Elves, so in order to avoid being devoured by Slaanesh, the High Elves bind their souls to waystones. So when their ultimate death finally comes, their souls will instead be used to empower the magical wards protecting Ulthuan. Whenever High Elves are far from Ulthuan, they will bring and were stone necklaces so that incase they meet their fate their souls will be captured by it and not by the Chaos God Slaanesh.
However not all unprotected souls are doomed to be consumed by the Dark God, on occasion the Trickster God Loec will rescue souls by challenging Slaanesh in a game of chance, and then of course cheating to win. In addition to Loec, Ereth Khial often tries to send her winged servants to steal souls from Slaanesh's grasp, and sometimes if done quick enough succeeds. Even though these rarely happens, even the smallest chance to avoid their souls from being consumed by Slaanesh, give the Elves some reminisce of hope.
Even if their souls are saved from being consumed by Slaanesh, they will receive no paradise, for their souls often are faced with an eternity as slaves within Ereth Khial's Army. Even though it is frowned upon for High Elves to do so some Elves will worship The Pale Queen just for this reason, hoping to earn her favor. Ereth Phial, uses every soul she receives to serve in her army for the day Rhana Dandra comes. Rhana Dandra is the Elven apocalypse. It is in this day that the Cadai and the Cytharai Gods will have a final battle and Ereth Khial's Army of fallen Elven souls will be pitted against Asuryan's Creatures. It is also in this day that the Elven Gods will also battle the Chaos Gods, be the outcome good or ill.
List of Deities
- Asuryan The Creator
- Isha The Mother
- Kurnous The Hunter
- Hoeth The Lord of Wisdom
- Vaul The Maker
- Loec The Shadow Dancer
- Lileath The Maiden
- Ladrielle The Lady of Mists
- Ereth Khial The Pale Queen
- Khaine The Lord of Murder
- Morai-Heg The Crone
- Atharti The Lady of Desire
- Hekarti The Mistress of Magic
- Ellinill The Lord of Destruction
- Mathlann The Lord of the Deeps
- Drakira The Queen of Vengeance
- Hukon The Sunderer
- Addaioth The Bringer of Fire
- Estreuth The Lord of Hunger
- Nethu The Keeper of the Last Door
- Anath Raema The Savage Huntress
- Eldrazor The Lord of Blades
Elves Reckon time differently to Men and Dwarfs. They are so long-lived that their history is divided not into centuries or millennia but 'reigns', with each Phoenix King's reign considered to be a separate historical epoch.
The Elven calendar, like that of Men, has four seasons (Frost, Rain, Sun and Storm), and it is by this calendar that they measure time. In Elf records, the reign of the Phoenix King comes first, then the year then eason and lastly the day (though the latter two are seldom used in the chronicling of significant events). Thus V, 140, 3, 90 would equate to the ninetieth day of the season of the Sun, in the one hundred and fortieth year of the reign of Caradryel the Peacemaker. Because a new Phoenix King is not elected until the previous ruler has been dead for a full year, the 'missing year' is always considered to be the last year of the dead King's reign. No records exist concerning the dating system prior to Aenarion's reign (the day he stepped through the Fire of Asuryan being the first day of his reign), except that the Everqueens ruled alone, and the system revolved in some way round them.
High Elf Infantry
- High Elf Archers - the majority of warriors in the armies of the Asur are citizen militia rather than professional soldiers, but are quicker, braver, and better trained than the average 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 Ulthuan. When young elves first join the militia, they will begin as archers, fighting with longbows and wearing light armor. This allows them to gain war experience from a relatively safe distance.
- High Elf Spearmen - after a decade or so of being an archer, 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 armor and shields. Spearmen train to get as many in the fight as possible without getting in each other's way.
- Lothern Sea Guard - the province of Eataine 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. They wear light armor, carry shields and wield both bow and spear. The sea guard also protect the Ulthuan capital city Lothern, and crew the repeater bolt throwers and the elegant Lothern Skycutters.
- Sisters of Avelorn - are the guardians of Avelorn and the Everqueen herself. They constantly watch over the sacred places of Avelorn, making sure the beasts who dwell in the tainted reaches do not stray, swiftly killing them if they do. The Sisters of Avelorn are picked by the Eeverqueen's personal decree out of the citizen militia, and like the Everqueen they are incorruptible. In battle the wield magical bows that fire bolts of white-blue flame. There is no foe the Sisters of Avevlorn can't handle.
- Sword Masters of Hoeth - the Sword masters are experts with a blade, especially when wielding their finely balanced ceremonial great swords. These expert warriors are the Guardians Of The White Tower and serve as protectors of the mages and scholars who live and study there. They study the secret ways of battle, honing their bodies and skills to unbelievable levels. In battle they are deadly opponents, eager to practice 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.
- Shadow Warriors - 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 Shadow Warriors 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.
- Phoenix Guard - 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. 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. 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.
- 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. Each must demonstrate his skill and bravery by tracking down one of the fierce white lions that roam the barren mountains and dark forests of the land. When they find one they must kill it through hand-to-hand combat and take its pelt. 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.
High Elf Cavalry
- 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.
- Ellyrian Reavers - 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.
- 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 very elite heavy cavalry originating from the province of Caledor. The suits of Dragon Armour that they wear are extremely resilient against heat, even being able to survive dragon fire. 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.
High Elf War Machines
- 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.
- Tiranoc Chariots - a few charioteers are all that remain of the ancient way of war of the Tiranoc nobility. In ages past, the coastal plains of their realm were full of herds of noble steeds and racing charioteers. 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. They now 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 battle, the "Eagle's Claw" needs only two crew to operate, and unlike other bolt throwers can shoot two different types of bolts. Either a single spear sized bolt or a hail of smaller bolts.
- Lothern Skycutter - when the swift Hawkships of Lothern slip from their moorings, they are accompanied to the open sea by Skycutters - sleek, airborne chariots that rest upon a cushion of magic and are drawn into battle by the Swiftfeather Rocs that nest along the Glittering Coast. These hawkships can be fitted with Eagle Eye Bolt-throwers that, despite being compact, are still capable of punching through dragon scale.
High Elf War Beasts
- Great Eagles - 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. Great Eagles have been allies with the High Elves since the time of the Sundering, and the sight of one soaring high above a battle is still considered a sign of victory. 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 - 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.
- Dragons - in days long gone, there were many Dragons to be seen, riding the thermals of the mountain ranges, 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. Rightly so, as they rode these majestic and fearsome beasts to war and vanquished all who challenged them. '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.
- Flamespyre Phoenix - the Flamespyre Phoenixes of Ulthuan dwell amongst the Flamespyre - great alabaster pillars of rock that stand sentinel about the Shire of Asuryan. Aqshy (the wind of fire) has left its marl on more than the silent stones. Over generations, the Phoenixes of the Flamespyres have become attuned to fire magic, harnessing it at whim. These very intelligent and deadly creatures, have a very unique alliance with the High Elves, often being called by the Phoenix Guard to act as mounts.
High Elf Lords
- High Elf Prince - Each of the ten Elven kingdoms are ruled by Elven princes. The High Elf Princes are usually the ones commanding Ulthuan's Armies in the name of the Phoenix King, while riding great war beasts, such as Griffons or in some cases Dragons. Using a variety of weapons depending on the kingdom in question the Princes of Ulthuan are all incredibly dangerous, able to strike down their foes with unmachted quickness.
High Elf Heroes
- High Elf Noble -
- High Elf Mage -
- Dragon Mage of Caledor -
- Lothern Sea Helm -
- Handmaiden of the Everqueen -
Locations of Interest
The High Elf civilization started on the immense, isolated continent of Ulthuan, an island paradise created specifically for the High Elves when the world was formed by the Old Ones. Ulthuan has very strong Winds of Magic, where unthinkable power can be harnessed and physicalized upon the land. Ulthuan is comprised of ten Eleven Kingdoms of the Outer and Inner parts of the continent. The former are those whose shores touch the ocean, while the latter are those that surround the Inner Sea. Each kingdom is ruled by a prince and his household and in turn the princes are ruled by one chosen from their ranks to be the Phoenix King. The Inner and Outer Kingdoms are divided by the cloud-piercing Annulii Mountains.
High Elf Kingdoms
- The Kingdom of Eataine
- The Kingdom of Avelorn
- The Kingdom of Caledor
- The Kingdom of Ellyrion
- The Kingdom of Saphery
- The Kingdom of Tiranoc
- The Kingdom of The Shawdowlands
- The Kingdom of Cothique
- The Kingdom of Chrace
- The Kingdom of Yvresse
- Armybook: High Elves (4th Edition) pg. 4 - 13
- Armybook: High Elves (6th Edition) pg. 50 - 56
- Armybook: High Elves (7th Edition) pg. 4 - 11
- ArmybooK: High Elves (8th Edition) pg. 4 - 9, 28 - 34