Introspections pt III

More Eldary thoughts.

From Xhalax:

“Dear. Mr Thorpe.

Are Harlequins trapped on a Path like the Exarchs are?

Thanks.”

The short answer is no. The long answer gives away too many of my ideas about Harlequins that I have vowed never to reveal in full. Here is the medium answer…

In the time leading up to, during and following the Fall, the Eldar society as it had been was fragmented. There were four different responses to the creation of Slaanesh and the potential doom of the Eldar, leading to the emergence of four different Eldar sub-societies.

Let’s deal with the Exodites first. They saw something of the cataclysm to come and decided to try to wind back time. They left for the Maiden Worlds and retrenched their lives in a culture that existed (or they believed to have existed) before the descent into hedonism that led to the Fall. Their attitude harks back in time, trying to reverse the state of the Eldar. The spirits of their dead are locked up in the World Spirit of each Maiden World, forever protected from Slaanesh but divorced from reality, unable to truly die.

Then we have the Craftworld Eldar. They fled at the time of the Fall, and through the creation and adoption of the Eldar path, they seek to maintain the status quo, suppressing the cultural and personal factors that led to the Fall. They are in stasis, neither going back nor going forward. Their spirits end up in the infinity circuit of each Craftworld, neither dead nor alive, trapped for eternity but able to be given the semblance of life again in spirit stones.

Next are the Dark Eldar. I don’t know what new information and revelations may be in the forthcoming codex, but here’s where we were the last time I talked to anyone else about this sort of thing. The Dark Eldar strive to maintain the society of the Eldar as it was at the time of the Fall, ignoring the lesson of the past but unable to move forward. They live entirely in the present, hand-to-mouth in a psychic sense, sustaining their existence on a day-by-day basis. Their spirits are drained and replenished in an unending cycle.

Which brings us to the Harlequins. They see themselves as the future of the Eldar. They look upon the other Eldar societies and see that all of them are simply trying to survive rather than change. They are the true radicals of the Eldar, and they have a plan so audacious it fills other Eldar with horror. Their plan, their existence, stems from the myth of the Laughing God. This myth tells us that the Laughing God, Cegorach, eluded Slaanesh’s grasp and survives to this day. He is the only god to have properly survived the Fall according to the Harlequins, and in this lies their secret.

The myth goes on to say that every now and then Cegorach steals the soul of an Eldar from under the nose of Slaanesh, spiriting it away to safety (possibly whilst dancing, that’s Harlequins for you). They believe that in the long term, the only way to defeat Slaanesh is to break the link between the Eldar and She Who Thirsts. The Harlequins see themselves as those saved by the Laughing God, and in performing their masques, and in particular the Dance Without End, seek to show the other Eldar that the Fall cannot be turned back, it cannot be ignored, it cannot be appeased. The future of the Eldar depends upon being able to live in freedom from Slaanesh’s grip, and the only way to do that is to be rescued by the Laughing God.  Their spirits…? Their spirits are saved by Cegorach, free to live and die without the touch of Slaanesh.

Introspections III

More Eldary thoughts.

From Xhalax:

“Dear. Mr Thorpe.

Are Harlequins trapped on a Path like the Exarchs are?

Thanks.”

The short answer is no. The long answer gives away too many of my ideas about Harlequins that I have vowed never to reveal in full. Here is the medium answer…

In the time leading up to, during and following the Fall, the Eldar society as it had been was fragmented. There were four different responses to the creation of Slaanesh and the potential doom of the Eldar, leading to the emergence of four different Eldar sub-societies.

Let’s deal with the Exodites first. They saw something of the cataclysm to come and decided to try to wind back time. They left for the Maiden Worlds and retrenched their lives in a culture that existed (or they believed to have existed) before the descent into hedonism that led to the Fall. Their attitude harks back in time, trying to reverse the state of the Eldar. The spirits of their dead are locked up in the World Spirit of each Maiden World, forever protected from Slaanesh but divorced from reality, unable to truly die.

Then we have the Craftworld Eldar. They fled at the time of the Fall, and through the creation and adoption of the Eldar path, they seek to maintain the status quo, suppressing the cultural and personal factors that led to the Fall. They are in stasis, neither going back nor going forward. Their spirits end up in the infinity circuit of each Craftworld, neither dead nor alive, trapped for eternity but able to be given the semblance of life again in spirit stones.

Next are the Dark Eldar. I don’t know what new information and revelations may be in the forthcoming codex, but here’s where we were the last time I talked to anyone else about this sort of thing. The Dark Eldar strive to maintain the society of the Eldar as it was at the time of the Fall, ignoring the lesson of the past but unable to move forward. They live entirely in the present, hand-to-mouth in a psychic sense, sustaining their existence on a day-by-day basis. Their spirits are drained and replenished in an unending cycle.

Which brings us to the Harlequins. They see themselves as the future of the Eldar. They look upon the other Eldar societies and see that all of them are simply trying to survive rather than change. They are the true radicals of the Eldar, and they have a plan so audacious it fills other Eldar with horror. Their plan, their existence, stems from the myth of the Laughing God. This myth tells us that the Laughing God, Cegorach, eluded Slaanesh’s grasp and survives to this day. He is the only god to have properly survived the Fall according to the Harlequins, and in this lies their secret.

The myth goes on to say that every now and then Cegorach steals the soul of an Eldar from under the nose of Slaanesh, spiriting it away to safety

Introspections III

More Eldary thoughts.

From Xhalax:

“Dear. Mr Thorpe.

Are Harlequins trapped on a Path like the Exarchs are?

Thanks.”

The short answer is no. The long answer gives away too many of my ideas about Harlequins that I have vowed never to reveal in full. Here is the medium answer…

In the time leading up to, during and following the Fall, the Eldar society as it had been was fragmented. There were four different responses to the creation of Slaanesh and the potential doom of the Eldar, leading to the emergence of four different Eldar sub-societies.

Let’s deal with the Exodites first. They saw something of the cataclysm to come and decided to try to wind back time. They left for the Maiden Worlds and retrenched their lives in a culture that existed (or they believed to have existed) before the descent into hedonism that led to the Fall. Their attitude harks back in time, trying to reverse the state of the Eldar. The spirits of their dead are locked up in the World Spirit of each Maiden World, forever protected from Slaanesh but divorced from reality, unable to truly die.

Then we have the Craftworld Eldar. They fled at the time of the Fall, and through the creation and adoption of the Eldar path, they seek to maintain the status quo, suppressing the cultural and personal factors that led to the Fall. They are in stasis, neither going back nor going forward. Their spirits end up in the infinity circuit of each Craftworld, neither dead nor alive, trapped for eternity but able to be given the semblance of life again in spirit stones.

Next are the Dark Eldar. I don’t know what new information and revelations may be in the forthcoming codex, but here’s where we were the last time I talked to anyone else about this sort of thing. The Dark Eldar strive to maintain the society of the Eldar as it was at the time of the Fall, ignoring the lesson of the past but unable to move forward. They live entirely in the present, hand-to-mouth in a psychic sense, sustaining their existence on a day-by-day basis. Their spirits are drained and replenished in an unending cycle.

Which brings us to the Harlequins. They see themselves as the future of the Eldar. They look upon the other Eldar societies and see that all of them are simply trying to survive rather than change. They are the true radicals of the Eldar, and they have a plan so audacious it fills other Eldar with horror. Their plan, their existence, stems from the myth of the Laughing God. This myth tells us that the Laughing God, Cegorach, eluded Slaanesh’s grasp and survives to this day. He is the only god to have properly survived the Fall according to the Harlequins, and in this lies their secret.

The myth goes on to say that every now and then Cegorach steals the soul of an Eldar from under the nose of Slaanesh, spiriting it away to safety (possibly whilst dancing, that’s Harlequins for you). They believe that in the long term, the only way to defeat Slaanesh is to break the link between the Eldar and She Who Thirsts. The Harlequins see themselves as those saved by the Laughing God, and in performing their masques, and in particular the Dance Without End, seek to show the other Eldar that the Fall cannot be turned back, it cannot be ignored, it cannot be appeased. The future of the Eldar depends upon being able to live in freedom from Slaanesh’s grip, and the only way to do that is to be rescued by the Laughing God.  Their spirits…? Their spirits are saved by Cegorach, free to live and die without the touch of Slaanesh.

(possibly whilst dancing, that’s Harlequins for you). They believe that in the long term, the only way to defeat Slaanesh is to break the link between the Eldar and She Who Thirsts. The Harlequins see themselves as those saved by the Laughing God, and in performing their masques, and in particular the Dance Without End, seek to show the other Eldar that the Fall cannot be turned back, it cannot be ignored, it cannot be appeased. The future of the Eldar depends upon being able to live in freedom from Slaanesh’s grip, and the only way to do that is to be rescued by the Laughing God.  Their spirits…? Their spirits are saved by Cegorach, free to live and die without the touch of Slaanesh.

Published in: on October 5, 2010 at 2:56 pm  Comments (13)  

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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Interesting… and makes sense… to me any way. 8)

    Thank you for sharing your views on the Eldar race.

    Like

  2. Awwwww spoilsport.

    But still, good view point. And I like the idea of the Harlequins seeing themselves as the saviours of the Eldar.

    However, I do suspect that the roots of my question are very much based in the things you swore never to tell….however, it does almost sound like once a Harlequin, always a Harlequin. Or would is seem to hedonistic to remain with the troupe for the reason of being ‘free’ and being able to live and die as you choose rather than hiding?

    Either way Harlequins FTW!

    Like

  3. “They are the true radicals of the Eldar, and they have a plan so audacious it fills other Eldar with horror.”

    This is the bit that is unfortunately so vague as to not really give the reader anything to work with. Why or what should be so horrifying about the Harlequin plan to free the Eldar from Slaanesh? For there to be horror, there has to be some hint of what to be scared with. A hint or shadowed detail in a horror movie is better than total darkness.

    If it is pledging one’s soul to the Laughing God like a Champion to a Chaos Power does, then that is still religious servitude of one kind and ultimate consumption or assimilation into a god after death, albeit one more benign than Slaanesh.

    If it is changing the nature of the Eldar, then why should that be horrifying? If it is taking on the identity of their part as the Harlequins do, sacrificing the individual’s identity, how is that truly being “free”? It would be again trading one form of straitjacket for another, almost akin to another version of the Path system.

    Like

    • Let me make an anology. One way of solving many problems of the world would be a drastic reduction in the human population. If I were to suggest that we cull about 3 billion people, most people would be horrified. That’s the sort of thing I am talking about.

      Like

      • While I get your analogy as applied to the real world, I still unfortunately have not the vaguest idea about the Harlequins’ plan, and hence this blank slate offers nothing with which to imagine any horror with which other Eldar might greet it. It is like the total blackness in a supposed horror movie: it is so black and so void of detail that there is nothing for the mind to grasp on to in order to be frightened.

        For example, we know of the other Eldar’s approaches. The Exodites have sacrificed the heights of power of the old Eldar in return for a more physical life. So the Harlequins’ plan isn’t just about becoming humble and giving up star spanning power. The Craftworld Eldar live ascetic ritualistic rigidly controlled lives and culturally are locked in stasis. The Harlequins talk of being free and think the Craftworlders haven’t moved forward and the Harlequins don’t truly follow the Path system so ritualistic denial doesn’t seem to be it either. The Dark Eldar still engage in their excesses, and survive through sacrificing others and getting them to pay the price. For the Harlequins to break the link with Slaanesh, I doubt it involves behavior along the lines of the Dark Eldar.

        Nor do I think it some sort of humbling alliance or equality with the other races of 40K because the test Harlequin Codex in Citadel Journal #39 speaks of the Harlequins seeing themselves as the ones that will return the Eldar to the pinnacle of power.

        Offhand the only real radical plans I can see are either to abandon the galaxy and set sail aboard the Craftworlds for other galaxies or to take to the Webway as hinted at in Lugganath’s description. I don’t see how taking to the Webway like the Dark Eldar really changes things. I could sort of see how most Eldar would be horrified at sailing into the extragalactic void and abandoning all their historic/cultural baggage and locations to the usurping “lesser races”, even if it offers the promise of a fresh start and chance to rebuild. Is this the Harlequin plan?

        I don’t suppose it would be possible for you to show or hint this horror rather than telling by saying they have some horrifying plan? Maybe even try hinting at it in the upcoming Eldar novels or even perhaps showing a Craftworld Eldar’s horror or counterargument to these plans?

        Like

  4. Out of interest (and since all the other groups got a mentioning) where would you put the Eldar Corsairs on this list, Do you see them as merely Craftworld members on the Path of the Outcast or something else?

    Like

    • Hi,

      I’d put corsairs and other outcasts somewhere between the Craftworlds and the Dark Eldar. On the metaphysical side they still have their spirit stones, but on the cultural side, they are more akin to the devil-may-care attitude of Comorragh’s inhabitants.

      Like

  5. Personally, I’d say that it is the freedom of the Harlequins that scares the Eldar….because the last time there was freedom, it brought about the birth of Slaanesh.

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  6. A most delightful and intriguing bit of rambling…this certainly sparks my interest.

    Like

  7. Thank you so much for writing this. It backs up almost everything I’ve thought of as the roots of the Eldar “split”, being different interpretations on how to deal with the Fall.
    Although, my interpretation of the Craftworlders differs slightly from yours, or continues its idea further, in that I see the Craftworlders as secretly terrified of what they are. The thought that simply [i]being[/i] can have such a negative effect on both the individual and the society that they hide from what they truly are, and hide behind the ‘masks’ of the Path system they created in order to pretend to be something they’re not. To put it another way, any given Eldar is “Craftworlder X the Artist”, or “Craftworlder X the Pilot”, never “Craftworlder X the Eldar”.

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  8. Hello!
    Re your recent mention of gender-bending in Eldar culture: Would it be possible for a Craftworld to have a female Avatar? Perhaps representing Khaine’s Banshee Aspect. A matriarchal Craftworld shaping the physical form of their avatar to match their own, a kind of reverse of the male Banshee in a female Aspect thing.

    Like

    • I’ve been following the Warseer discussion on this, which seems to have taken a bit of a tangent into the semantics of whether Banshees are part of Khaine or not… A lot of this comes from the C’Tan background messing with the original War in Heaven material and I try not to get too diverted by it.

      The Avatar is unchanging – even if destroyed it will reform eventually into its original statue-like appearance. I’ve seen a few female Avatar conversions that looked really cool (I maybe misremembering but I think Juan Diaz did one years ago) and ultimately that’s the guiding principle of 40K – if it looks cool, go for it! I coined ‘She Who Thirsts’ for Slaanesh as the English language lacks a sufficient gender-neutral pronoun (It Who Thirsts would be lame…) and though the pantheon of the Eldar has specific gods and goddesses, I would imagine these definitions are somewhat more stark for us than they would be for the eldar. In a metaphysical sense, Khaine is a blend of Khorne and Slaanesh (which is why they ‘fought’ over the war god) so with that Slaaneshi influence the Avatar’s form could well be male, female, androgynous or hermaphroditic. As long as he/ she/ it is a big burning idol of flame and metal, I think anything goes.

      Hang on, I remember now where I saw an Eldar Avatar that was female. Someone created their Avatar as a icy embodiment of cold-hearted vengeance. It was very nice. So, fiery could be optional too… The important thing to remember is ‘Incarnation of War’ and you can’t go far wrong.

      Like

      • Thank for the reply, Mr Thorpe.:) I’d love to see that Icy avatar, time to do some googling! Someone did send me this female Avatar:
        http://www.coolminiornot.com/171688
        Rather beyond my meagre sculpting skills.

        The whole Khaine-Banshee issue was rather annoying, if interesting at times. Seemed a bit strange to argue an Aspect of Khaine wasn’t an aspect of Khaine, but who knows, maybe I take things to literally.

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