|WIND OF CHANGE
An investigation into the increasing activities of the Haras ag Iadonna Craftworld within the Agrippa Sector
by Michael Bard
© Michael Bard -- all rights reserved
Overview of the Eldar
Millennia ago the Eldar ruled an empire centred in what is now The Eye of Terror. Through their own foul decadence, they let pleasure consume them and in a cataclysm of their own devising destroyed themselves, creating the warp entity Slanesh and The Eye of Terror. A few survivors, lucky or farsighted, escaped before The Fall on immense spaceship-cities known as Craftworlds.
Though the Eldar are most similar to blessed humanity in physical appearance, never forget that the most innocent semblance can cloak the most horrific blasphemy. The alien Eldar may be thin, of minimum physique and delicate features; they may have pallid wasted skin, pointed ears, flowing hair, and delicate shifty eyes; they may move with extreme grace and suppleness; but all this is only a cloak over the most inhuman decadence and heresy. Let not appearance deceive you, for they are alien, heretical, and exist only to die in our holy rage.
Eldar Craftworlds are immense spacegoing vessels, larger than those constructed by any other known race and currently beyond the technological capability of even the Imperium. Each of these Craftworlds contains an entire Eldar culture, more than a city but less than a planet. Each provides habitats, manufacturing capabilities, support mechanisms, and decadent retreats for entire Eldar armies. From these monstrous bastions are born the Eldar warmachine; from their cursed Manufactorums come the instruments of Eldar war and the cursed psychic technologies used by this Enemy of the Imperium.
Heretical Data Source
The following information is derived from data entered into the Inquisitorial Logistic Engines by sources unknown sometime in early 002.M42. It is believed that a decadent Harlequin Solitaire may have penetrated security and this incident is still under investigation.
One craftworld escaped the grasp of Slanesh during The Fall, but did not escape his eye. Some of his followers were able to sneak aboard the vessel, hidden from the numbed survivors, and they invited Slanesh to join them. The others on the world were able to kill Slanesh's agents, but it cost them their lives. Abandoned, the Craftworld continued on its course as the Emperor rose, and almost died, and the Imperium followed behind him.
Yriel's Eldritch Raiders
In 942.M41, the Admiral of the Craftworld of Iyanden's fleets, Yriel, was told by the Warlock Shakarandras (who had been fed the false information by Slanesh) that a massive Slanesh fleet was massing in the Eye of Terror. Yriel led the bulk of the Craftworld's fleet on a raid against that supposed fleet as Slanesh had planned and in Yriel's absence, forces of Slanesh attacked Iyanden. They would have destroyed it if Yriel had not realized the truth in time and returned with the fleet at the last moment. Nonetheless, Yriel was stripped of his command, and left Iyanden with his personal followers and launched attacks upon the Imperium as Yriel's Eldritch Raiders, a pirate group. Shakarandras followed his leader Yriel into exile, along with many others. He became Yriel's Drastuisich (lit. ShadowLord) and advised Yriel before battle. Yriel and his fleet served first as mercenaries, and then as pirates. They even survived a crusade against them by the Adeptus Astartes. But Yriel never forgot his home, and his failure. When Hivefleet Kraken attacked Iyanden in 992.M41, it was Yriel who led his raiders back to Iyanden and drove off the Tyrannids. Yriel was welcomed back into the Eldar path.
Not all of Yriel's followers wanted to go back, chief among them Shakarandras. They enjoyed their new life and refused to go back into the straight jacket of the Eldar Path, and went off on their own, colouring much of their armour the red of blood so that they would never forget Yriel's betrayal.
But unbeknownst to any, Slanesh had slowly been working in the dreams of Shakarandras, using the hooks she had quitely slipped in during Yriel's exile far away from the watchful gaze of the Eldar Farseers. Shakarandras would be her key to the Webway, and the rest of her long delayed feasting. Under her watchful gaze, Shakarandras led his followers back into the Imperium, raping and pillaging so that their excesses became indistinguishable from the Eldar's darker brethren. Throught it all, slowly, secretly, Slanesh increased her hooks in Shakarandras.
Eventually, Shakarandras' excesses became too much. In 998.M41 the Imperium declared another Crusade to wipe him out. Without Yriel's naval expertise, the Imperium would have succeeded but for Slanesh. As Shakarandras and his followers fled the Adeptus Astartes and the Crusade led by the Raven Guard, Slanesh guided them to the ruins of an ancient Craftworld, abandoned and empty for eons. Slanesh had been there before, and soon he would be there again. With his agent he would gain control, and finally gain entry into the Webway.
The Haras ag Iadonna Craftworld
When Shakarandras and his followers arrived, the Craftworld was cold and dead. The Avatar sat frozen on his throne, and the bodies of the dead had decayed long before the last of the atmosphere had escaped. With the unseen aid of Slanesh, the Imperium lost track of Shakarandras and the Crusade was ended as it was believed that Shakarandras had died in The Warp. On the Craftworld, which Shakarandras named "Haras ag Iadonna" (trans Blood of the False Pirates) in memory of Yriel's betrayal, the Eldar began to rebuild. The wraithbone and souls responded eagerly to others, but would not answer Shakarandras for they sensed the shadow within him.
The Harlequin Shadowseer
The Harlequin's had been sent by their Laughing God, but none knew why. Only the Shadowseer that arrived after saw the shadows cloaking Shakarandras and to him fell the undoing of Slanesh's web. At the height of the Harlequin's dance of The Fall, the Shadowseer walked over to Shakarandras and pulled him into the dance as one of Slanesh's demons. As he danced, Shakarandras finally saw the shadows in his mind. He fell unconscious, with the Shadowseer grabbing his form before it fell to the stage. Then, for the next month, the Shadowseer and the spirits of Haras ag Iadonna fought Slanesh for Shakarandras' soul and were finally victorious. The warp coiled and twisted with Slanesh's rage.
Eventually Shakarandras awoke, a changed Eldar. He knew that he had fallen, even when he thought he was strong. He knew how close the Eldar had come to being destroyed at his hand. But no prize was free. The Shadowseer has remained with Shakarandras, making sure to keep his soul free from She Who Thirsts.
Shakarandras and his followers knew their sins, and knew their failings and resolved to keep the red as a reminder of their near disaster. They would remain here to guard this Craftworld and its memories.
Arrival in Agrippa Sector
Shakarandras and his followers numbered only a few thousand, and the Haras ag Iadonna Craftworld was massive, haunted, and empty. As the Craftworld drifted into the edges of the Agrippa Sector, Eldar refugees from the broken Eldar Alliance and the Scylla Crusade arrived seeking refuge, amongst them the survivors and remnants of both the Hros Elas and the Ondilinde and from them Shakarandras learned of the rapidly fading Eldar presence. Where once the Eldar had dominated the region, with the departure of the Ondilinde Craftworld beyond the galaxy the Imperium would soon drive the Eldar completely out of the sector.
Shakarandras swore that this would not happen.
Further Information Sources
From this point Imperial knowledge of Haras ag Iadonna history becomes very sketchy. Further information is derived from battlefield reports and is not complete.
The Bloodmoon of Blodsburg
It is not known who first contacted Shakarandras, but orbital auguries confirm that it was Haras ag Iadonna forces who were defending the Bloodmoon of Blodsburg and unknown artifacts there. The Imperial assault was defeated with massive casualties caused by incorrect intelligence regarding the Eldar presence which suggests that Dominic Fortuna may have been involved. The truth is still under investigation.
The Conclusion of the Scylla Crusade
In 002.M42 the Haras ag Iadonna supplied large quantities of mechanized support into the faltering Eldar position on Kaleigh in the Scylla subsector. This included the construction of substantial ground fortifications, along with additional mechanized forces, some infantry support, substantial air power, and Titans. The core of the Eldar defenses was what was known as Amun Tower. An earlier raid by a Black Templar Crusade had been almost contemptuously driven off with heavy casualties, but information from the survivors aided Imperial planning. The Haras ag Iadonna attempted to consolidate their gains but a combined Imperial defense including mechanized Imperial Guard and forces of the Ecclesiarchy dealt them a glorious massacre.
Finally a combined Imperial force under Lord Dukas attacked the tower in Corps strength, and were able to drive off the aliens and recapture the Great Seal of Blodsburg which was present in the tower. Shakarandras surrendered the planet to the Imperium under terms allowing the withdrawl of his armoured strength. During the battle, the Imperium was able to destroy a Phantom Class Titan at the tower, but traders report that the Haras ag Iadonna possess additional Phantoms and are planning to use them.
Death of Shakarandras
Since the conclusion of the Kaleigh Crusade, the Haras ag Iadonna have not been idle. In 003.M42 they were in negotiations with the alien Tau [cf The Greater Good] and a breakaway faction of Eldar based on the world of Sindar assassinated Shakarandras. In retribution the Haras ag Iadonna performed Exterminatus on the Sindar homeworld. Rumours have surfaced that the spirit of Shakarandras has been kept alive through alien heresies and now controls a Wraithlord body.
Invasion of Aranhod
Most recently, a crusade of Black Templars has invaded the Haras ag Iadonna controlled world of Aranhod. Fighting was swift and brutal, and the Eldar were quickly overcome with minimal casualties. Reports do indicate that at least one Titan was present, along with Superheavy Grav Tanks suggesting that the Haras ag Iadonna still possess a significant quantity of these vehicles.
The Haras ag Iadonna appear to have a large pool of Eldar mechanized vehicles, including many that have not been used by the other Craftworlds since the time of the Horus Heresy. Weaponwise they use the same equipment as other Craftworlds. Thus, it is just the carriage and exact weapon combinations that differ.
The Tempest Superheavy Grav Tank is a smaller tank than the Scorpion. Although it has the same main armament, it is not quite as accurate, but does have significantly better anti-personal capabilities.
The Warp Serpent is a specialized transport capable of carrying eight persons and is defended by an array of defensive fields and scrambling technology. This vehicle is extremely resilient to damage from the front and sides and requires vast quantities of heavy fire to neutralize. Some reports indicate that it can pulse the defenses forward in an offensive manner but these reports have yet to be confirmed. Fortunately the Haras ag Iadonna appear to have these vehicles in limited numbers as very few have been reported in combat.
The Peregrine Transport is a predecessor to the Wave Serpent and works alongside Wave Serpents as transport vehicles for the Haras ag Iadonna and is not as well armoured, depending on speed and cover for defense. It is armed with an anti-tank Pulsar and has no anti-personal capabilities.
The Warp Hunter is yet another ancient tank of the Eldar put back into service by the Haras ag Iadonna. It is a particularly vicious tank killer, projecting a short ranged but extensive tear between real space and the immaterium. Although other Eldar craftworlds have abandoned the Warp Hunter in favour of the large Cobra Superheavy Grav tank (which allows better control of the materium/immaterium rip) the Black Templars have reported large numbers of these vehicles in use. It is extremely dangerous and should be destroyed as quickly as possible.
The aircraft used by the Haras ag Iadonna are the same as used by other craftworlds, though Shakarandras tends to field them in higher numbers and make much more extensive use of them for ground support
The Nightwing is a high performance tactical fighter with limited ground support capabilities. The Phoenix is a ground strike bomber armed with significant ground attack weaponry and a large number of explosives. It is extremely dangerous and should be dealt with in preference to the Nightwing.
The Haras ag Iadonna typically use a flexible and mobile mechanized force to provide local firepower superiority against isolated Imperial forces. All troops are transported or on jetbikes, with heavy armour, Titan, and substantial air support.
Imperial commanders may also be able to make use of psychological tools. The Dukas Legion reported at the Tank Harbour at Amyaans that the Haras ag Iadonna forces were the last to pull out after other Eldar contingents; this may have been due to either overconfidence, or a denial of defeat. If either is true, it might be possible to trick the Haras ag Iadonna into committing for too long a period and suffering catastrophic losses.
The majority of tactical successes against the Haras ag Iadonna have come from forces defending fixed fortified positions, forcing the Haras ag Iadonna to attack a layered defense in a predictable fashion. Additionally, at Amon Tower it was showed that, even with their armour, the Haras ag Iadonna are incapable of dealing with a massed armour formation. The Twelvers have reported that the Haras ag Iadonna rely heavily on psychic enhancement - Space Marine librarians with Psychic Hoods can neutralize this ability and disrupt the co-ordinated assault favoured by the Haras ag Iadonna.
The best solution to aircraft superiority is dedicated Hydra anti-air batteries. Clusters of these have proven extremely effective against Haras ag Iadonna airstrikes, and this is supported by the Haras ag Iadonna's highly aggressive fire concentration by conventional forces on Hydra batteries.
In conclusion, when dealing with Haras ag Iadonna, either a large concentrated force that can guarantee local battlefield superiority, preferable with armour, or a fortified position, give the best chance for combat success, as long as such positions are well defended against air strikes.
Website Copyright 2004,2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments or questions to him at email@example.com