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The Shadows of the Phoenix are the united military force that oversees the defence of an alliance of Aeldari protectorates, operating across the Eastern Fringe. They are their guardians and protectors, as well as fearsome sell swords and mercenaries when their duty is made light in times of relative peace. They are a highly militant society consisting of mostly, but not exclusively, Exodites, Outcasts and Corsairs. Led by a legendary quadrumvirate of heroes, this militant force has also birthed a core of warriors known as the Dumananrii, who have forged their own identity at the center of the alliance. The Shadows of the Phoenix strike back on the behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, those persecuted Exodites or passive craftworlds predated on by pirates and most of all the Shadows' preferred foe, the Drukhari. From humble origins of like minded warriors taking on the impossible because it was right, a new faction of Aeldari have been born who put martial competency and a gruelling regime as their ‘path’ and through this stave off the inevitable attentions of "She Who Thirsts".
Since their original inception as an alliance of four, one party for each faction aside Drukhari and Harlequin, the Shadows of the Phoenix have expanded more and more to even include members and factions outside of the Aeldari species, and to their own surprise exiled members of the Drukhari.
The root of the alliance's name came from Vix'Anna, and the perceived rebirth for each of the founding quadrumvirate who led it; they arose from the Shadows they dwelt in. It was also perceived to have been coined in irony, since the Phoenix lords were absent from this founding, though the true irony would only be revealed many thousands of years after their inception.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Origin
- 1.2 Early adventures
- 1.3 Purging of the Firmament Apparition
- 1.4 The Scouring of the Weeping Mask
- 1.5 Sunder
- 1.6 Entombing of Dynasty Lockatrez
- 1.7 Liberation of Brigan'Tia
- 1.8 Basilate
- 2 Faction Members
- 3 Military
- 3.1 Officer Ranks
- 3.2 Unique Formations
- 3.3 Recruitment
- 3.4 Heavy Support
- 3.5 Additional Forces
- 4 Fleet
- 5 Residence
- 6 Appearance
- 7 Beliefs
- 8 Notable Members
- 9 Relics
- 10 Relations
- 11 Notable Quotes
- 12 Gallery
For many years prior Drukhari raiders preyed upon the Eastern fringe, one Kabal in particular, the Firmament Apparition, had a special depravity for their Aeldari kin. Their raids against minor Craftworlds, Exodite colonies and even Corsairs unwittingly led to the creation of the Shadows - who's first objective was the Kabal's eradication.
The Kabal besieged the isolated Craftworld of Erdinil washing over its unprepared defences and routing its navy. The Craftworld’s small number of veteran warriors faced down many times their own, completely overwhelmed yet they cut down scores upon scores of the attackers. However the Guardians of the Craftworld were not so experienced with war and fell faster than the raiders. With defeat imminent their Spiritseer Basilate, with the leading Bonesinger Kabela, raised the dead of Erdinil as Ghost Warriors to drive off the Drukhari, this was in flagrant disregard against the craftworlds most sacred laws and against direct countermands from the seer council to do otherwise. The raiders broke against the mighty wraithbone constructs, decimated, but feeding Slannesh with many of the noble warriors' souls. The battlefield was momentarily quiet, the raiders consolidating their losses and assembling for a second attack. The defenders could do nothing but wait. It was then that Regulate joined the battle, emerging from the webway within the bowels of the Craftworld with a company of loyal outcasts. He embraced his long missed brother and extended an invitation to join him in battle. A Shadowseer, Regulate identified as Vix’Anna, had been responsible for making Regulate aware and guiding him through the illusive webway in time to reach the battle. She now returned to it. Regulate led his outcasts out into the streets, who swiftly infiltrated the Drukhari battle lines, picking off the Sybarite & Hekatrix officers and identifying their planned offensive. Regulate meanwhile went to each of the bruised and battered squads of the Craftworlds defenders, rousing their courage with a silver tongue and redirecting the forces in anticipation of the upcoming attack. He took the weakest division, some squads of Guardians who had already routed, and became their warlock and moved them to face the head of the Drukhari attack. When it came Regulate’s psychic will pushed the Guardians on to great feats, and the sight of the Drukhari Dracon slain and beheaded in single combat pushed the Craftworld on and threw their Dark kin’s flagging attack into chaos. With the revised defence the remaining Wraithguard had been put on the wings and directed by Basilate they broke through their respective attackers and turned into the flank of the invaders host - their D-Cannon turning on the compressed ranks. Again the Drukhari were beaten back and this time put into a momentary flight. With this battlefield relieved, it sent a wave through the rest, turning the tide back to a balance. But the battle was not over yet.
- "Khaine's fury would not be tempered, the gods watched in horror as he marched to the people of Iltura. He would leave none alive, yet one of their number walked forward holding a half made sword. The humble blacksmith challenged the bloody handed god to single combat, who laughed at the defiance and accepted. But when they fought the blacksmith turned aside every blow, fighting with a clarity and strength beyond him."
"He knew his people were behind him, and every second he stood they lived. Their hearts beated with his and with his family's life in the balance he was immortal. Ulthranesh was with him that day, guiding his action and turning the fates."
"How did it end?"
"The Blacksmith died, cleaved in two by a single stroke. He died with a smile, for his people were already saved and hidden beyond Khaines sight. Now enough of that, here they come, we have our families behind us, let us show our dark kin their arrogance and their mistake. With me!"
- —Regulate at Erdinil, before the second wave.
Regulate took a force of Aspect Warriors and with them he broke through the revised Drukhari battle lines and reached the isolated Dome of Seers that still endured thanks to the efforts of its Seer council and veteran aspect warrior defenders. He spoke to the bewildered Farseers, who had tried to lead the defence as they lacked an Autarch. They were uncertain on what course to take, the appearance of Regulate challenging their authority was a bad omen to their fate; to them and their fates Regulate was one who walked in the shadow of death and was a harbinger of destruction. However his arguments could not be ignored, despite the turn around in the field, the Drukhari would soon carry the day, their fleet had reunited in the Craftworlds orbit to provide directed bombardment and airsupport. Thanks to Regulate’s Outcasts the invader’s established webway vectored reinforcements were pinned by sniper fire and to circumvent this they were moving to orbitally deployed grav vehicles. Regulate urged the council to use their gestalt psychic potential to create an Eldritch storm in the Craftworlds orbit as the Drukhari launched their next assault.
The attempt would be dangerous, the council was small and creating a storm sufficient to ruin the next wave was questionable. Further the fallout of the storm’s attack could lead to catastrophic collateral damage to the Craftworld. However, the seers knew that there was no alternative and began their ritual. Regulate for his part returned to the front lines and planned the organised retreat of the Craftworlds forces into the bowels of the Biodomes and where the citizen population sheltered.
The Seers were successful and just as the Drukhari began to deploy and launch their third assault a massive psychic lightning storm erupted in the middle of their ranks and fleet. Their landing craft and some of the warships were disabled or outright destroyed, sending burning wrecks crashing to the Craftworlds surface. The storm also ravaged the surface of the Craftworld, shattering several habitation domes and obliterating squads of Drukhari. As the storm abated the defenders sallied forth in a combined offensive, with the scattered fleet - rallied by Vix'Anna - joining their attack. They struck their kin at their most vulnerable burning those ships that tried to remain or repair.
The battle was won. The Drukhari force was still too large and strong to be defeated decisively, but they had no interest in pushing the fight. Conquering territory is not their mantra and their Archon directly ordered their retreat, on the remaining Dracon's head. Revenge would come with time. The cost was steep. The Craftworld itself was wounded, the populace decimated, its fleet ruined and its defenders shattered. In the final moments of battle, the Drukhari Dracon personally led a raid on the Dome of Seers and captured two thirds of its council. Thousands of prisoners awaited a fate worse than death in the coming days. The Craftworld was left nearly leaderless with little expertise remaining to guide their recovery and their death would return.
Regulate would not see this happen, they had the means to see this war finished on their terms, and he had the will. He immediately brutally tortured those Drukhari prisoners they had taken in the previous battle, delving back into the dark history he hid and the knowledge from those times; Within the day he had the intelligence required. The Firmament Apparition were not heading back to their satellite city, not before they visited other ripe targets. Between one of these targets was opportune territory for void raiding, where the Firmament Apparition had deployed Haywire nets to disable void craft. Several of the disabled Drukhari vessels were retrieved from the Void and Craftworlds surface and towed by the fleet.
When the Drukhari fleet arrived to reap what their haywire nets had caught they found their own vessels engaging Asuryani in boarding action. They responded to hails, and the fleetmaster explained that they were cut off at Erdinil and came here directly. There were refugees aboard these vessels, and encouraged them to join her boarding parties. With Vix’Anna’s ruse complete, the trap was set. The fleet joined them and boarded the Craftworld vessels, which promptly exploded. The crippled ‘Drukhari’ vessels then turned on their allies with repurposed haywire nets and leech missiles, leaving them dead in the void to be boarded one at a time. Regulate only had a fraction of Erdinils forces with him, the majority were Guardians facing their second battle, but each one fought with a morale breaking fury; Their families and loved ones were in the cells of these ships, they would not be stopped. Led by the four heroes; Regulate, Vix’Anna, Basilate and Kabela the warriors systematically purged the vessels. Regulate would once more face down and incapacitate the Dracon, after defeating his champion Klaivex in single combat. Regulate left the Dracon impaled alive aboard his vessel to eventually meet his fate with She who thirsts. More importantly, the prisoners were recovered, and the depraved Drukhari were denied their sport. The craftworld vessels had been a necessary sacrifice, but with the skills of Basilate the spirits inturned within the vessels had been wholly removed before the battle.
The Phoenix Rises
When Regulate returned to Erdinil with their people returned and warriors eager to follow him to another adventure he had his epiphany. For millennia he had wandered lost in the shadow of self loathing and guilt, witnessing injustice and atrocity, the decay of his race and turning aside each path of learning in turn seeking solitude somewhere else. If he could turn the very fates to return the balance this time, he would again and again until his relished death finally sought him out. He asked the warriors to join him, and see the Kabal of Firmament Apparition eradicated. They unanimously swore allegiance. Regulate then asked his Brother and Sister in law to join his mission. For Basilate it was an easy answer, he was now exiled from his adopted home and accused of Necromancy. He was an outcast and would be welcome in rare company. However Kabela was divided, she was only tied to Regulate by her consort’s blood and her skills were needed in Erdinil. Their children could not join this ‘crusade’. However she no longer felt secure in her adopted home, and also felt the yearning call of war. Ultimately she remained, overseeing the repairs of Erdinil for three months, before securing the children with her parents within Craftworld Szar’Gor and joining Basilate.
Becoming the Shadow of the Phoenix
Regulate had only a small warhost but it was one to call his own. Their relationship with Erdinil was strained, much of the pain and bitterness turned to resentment against Regulate. His actions had damaged the Craftworld and put it's Infinity Circuit at risk to the warp, he had left the population divided between war and peace. Their people who had always lived in peace now felt the intoxicating pull of war and wished to follow this outcast stranger in something akin to a Mon'Keigh Crusade. They were left with nothing and nearly defenceless. Regulate had promised protection, and to both assure their concerns and obtain further resources he offered a contract. As long as Erdinil provided arms and allowed him to recruit, they would be safe. They accepted.
Some notable warriors had been 'acquired' by the previous battle. The first was Mi'Ish, a hardened Dire Avenger who had overseen the civilian evacuations before joining Regulate on the front lines. The warrior was a veteran and fought with such a ferocity and tenacity that no matter the odds put against him he had been the last standing. Another was Mar’Shi, who became known as the ‘Dismounted Spear’, a Shining Spear Exarch that had lost his jetbike and become isolated between battlelines and later led the boarding crews still dismounted. His proficiency in battle had sparked a fresh obsession, and he begun exploring a novel path which focused on duelling with a single blade or glaive. A final warrior of note was Elika, a Swooping Hawk Exarch that had led suicidal raids on the Drukhari grav transports. Few, of the already undersized force, of Swooping Hawks had survived that day and each one was gifted with an unnatural luck - or incomprehensible skill - and Elika was the most foolhardy of them all. These warriors became officers, and along with the small core of veteran Aspect Warriors and Outcasts trained the Guardians and volunteers. Their battles had been wild and uninhibited with death or victory as the only outcome. They now needed discipline.
The motley group were a shambles to behold. Most of their weapons and armour were spoils of war, scavenged from their respective battlefields. Many of the warriors appeared closer to the Drukhari they prepared to hunt, with only cameoline cloaks unifying their appearance. Among their numbers were Mon’Keigh, liberated from the Drukhari cells; these Humans and Xenos had little other choice, not knowing how to return home.
Regulate did however have a significant resource. The void ships they had captured in their ambush, although disabled and useless in their original function, contained a veritable mine of intelligence. They had access to star charts, webway maps, hunting grounds and military records. What more they had hours upon endless hours of combat footage. Meticulous recordings of every atrocity, battle and ambush was there to be relived and drunk in and Regulate absorbed it all. His devoted study made him intimately aware of the Firmament Apparitions tactics and strategy, where they would strike, when and how to defeat them.
Yet this was not enough. The Warhost was meagre and if their strategies failed them they would not have the numbers or flexibility to hold the line or withdraw. Regulate knew that they would only have one or two victories in them. He needed more forces, he needed an airforce, armour or the means to remove his enemies advantages. He knew of one such source, his ancestral home Aleo.
The sheltered Maiden world was home to both Exodites and Corsairs, some of which were fine fighters and more who would be looking for adventure. The return of the twins Regulate and Basilate at the head of a warhost, meagre or not, was a significant turn of events. Regulate had not been seen since Aleo’s tragedy, wracked with guilt and shame; A thousand years before the Outcast had fled reunion with the handful of his surviving family members rather than face his failure, to pursue vengeance and ignore any chance to heal. While Drukhari raiders had set upon his people he had been exploring his own indulgences and excess. That attack was a day of misery still mourned nearly a millennium later. Regulate's reappearance tore open old wounds, those who had lost relatives, and committed dark depraved acts of revenge and buried the twisted emotion under discipline and distraction. Despite the controversy of his character, and his history they welcomed him back and gathered the tribes.
Aleo is a bittersweet paradise, one which ultimately sees it’s young leave for adventures, and few ever return and settle to its tranquil life. Such is its curse and mechanism, life is easy compared to other hardier maiden worlds, and the population thrives. But the planet is small and cannot maintain a growing population. Because of the peace, the lack of challenge, the lack of sensation, the young flee to the wilds, allured by stories of the grizzled ‘retired’ Corsairs who guard its skies.
Regulate offered a solution. Though he would lead the youths to war, he would protect them, he would show them what the galaxy had to offer and push them to their limits, though not break them. There would be death, there would those who remained, enamoured with this life, and there would be those who would come home. But no more would their young be lost, to remain forgotten across distance worlds and mourned afar, their souls lost and their loved ones forever uncertain. Or worse allowed to lose themselves to depravity and become the very blight who had wounded the Maiden world so long ago. The tribes agreed to the offer, Regulate would not be hindered in recruiting the young, any who wished could follow him on his mission.
The tribes raised their warriors, though they did not have many to raise, each was of a quality. Many were hardened and grizzled warriors who had wandered for centuries and walked in the paths of bloodthirsty corsairs before returning to this peace. To Regulates delight he convinced many of the ancient Corsairs who watched over Aleo’s skies. The retinue of Mol’Dius, the Tw’Ats, were an ancient group of Corsairs that had seen the edge and width of what life had to offer, and come to settle with Aleo and find ‘retirement’ with its tranquility. With ideals of one last mythical journey, and passing on their skills to a new generation, the warriors became enthralled and almost unanimously joined Regulates warhost. For all this Regulate bound his warhost to Aleo as it had with Erdinil, for their ‘tithe’ he would ensure their protection as a military ally.
The unison of Erdinil and Aleo through this Warhost that was without identity, was dubbed the Shadow of the Phoenix.
Purging of the Firmament Apparition
The Drukhari Kabal of the Firmament Apparition operated across the Eastern Fringe of the Galaxy. With their own satellite city, they ran themselves with autonomy and their hunting grounds were wide and uncontested. Such was their hubris, and power, that they considered their independent port greater than Commorragh itself. They sowed their own downfall, and birthed the Shadow of the Phoenix. Without warning their raiding parties disappeared, one by one, they failed to return. Each warband suffered the same fate. Their plans fell awry, their flanking or diversionary forces were lost in the chaos of battle. Their attacks were weakened, errant sniper fire cut down their officers, and enemy resistance was many times what it should have been. Their intelligence was proven woefully inaccurate and their own plans were suddenly predictable. When the warband would attempt to return through the webway loaded with loot and slaves they found their exit vector cut off by formidable resistance. The Shadows of the Phoenix would be an anvil against their escape, forcing the Drukhari's should-be fleeting attack to become drawn out. Without instant escape the planets defending forces would muster their own counter attacks and strike the raiders rear. Again and again the isolated forces were caught in the same trap and annihilated. With each victory warriors joined Regulate, liberated combat slaves, and when the defenders had been Aeldari, many of the triumphant locals. Each maiden world that had seen off an attack with their help opened fresh contacts, and the coalition of two grew larger.
With the victories Regulates forces grew bolder, and their deception took greater heights. The Kabals scouts were found, and replaced with saboteurs who directed the Kabals raids to Imperial Bastions, Ork infested wastelands and even awakening Tomb worlds. With each aborted raid the Shadows of the Phoenix would be there to sting the retreat. However, the raiding parties were growing. Rather than scatter their forces as their original complacency had allowed, the Kabal now concentrated and each battle was harder fought and the cost greater. Regulate was not over confident and withdrew as needed. Vix’Anna was essential, her boundless knowledge of the Webway and its infinite labyrinth allowed the Shadows to escape without consequence. The Drukhari’s moral was wounded, they were fighting, fittingly enough, a shadow. Their new enemy wore the cloaks of rangers but fought with discipline and numbers beyond Outcasts, they had not collected any dead, any intelligence on their assailants. Their own meritocracy and methodology was shattered. Every leader was found dead, assassinated or picked off again and again. Their fleeting raids and mobility was ruined. They were forced to resort to strength through numbers, spurred onto further raids to satisfy the crippling void in slaves to sake their thirst. Within their isolated satellite city the citizens were turning on themselves, old feuds were opened up and their leadership challenged. Where slaves could not be provided then the citizens were rounded up to replace them. Blood ran through the streets as a bursting river and the chaos bled through to the raiding parties. The final insult was the fate of the Drukhari wounded and prisoners, who were denied death and instead staked and crucified on the battlefield and elsewhere. Left alive they were denied revival; the haemonculus, if they had a sufficient sample, could attempt revival but each attempt would be wasted until the Drukhari had died. Otherwise they would have to wait and try again with no guarantee that their time and resources were going to waste. Those who fought these malicious ‘shadows’ were guaranteed a true death and its horrific fate.
Ultimately this could not continue. Though the Kabal had been slow to respond it's conclusion would be swift. The next raid arrived to an Imperial world, but the raiders withdrew through an alternative webway gate many miles away. Regulates Warhost did not take the bait however and let the Drukhari escape, whose forces lying in wait kept clean blades that day. This began a game of cat and mouse as the Kabal tried to bait the Shadow of the Phoenix into battle. With each bait resisted the Kabal gained more slaves and Regulate’s warriors grew increasingly restless. Their operations could well become a mockery. However this did not last either. While Regulate would stand and let Mon’Keigh fall to the Drukhari to hold his advantage, he would not stand by and watch this happen to his own kind. Sure enough the Firmament Apparition assembled their raiding parties and set upon the Maiden World of Cad’Fael.
The Shadows of the Phoenix did not confine themselves to ruining the Drukhari retreat, they met the raiders head on. Cad’Fael was home to tall and deep forests whose floor was shrouded in permanent darkness. The Exodites had fled to the safety of the forests and to fight within their preferred terrain. With confirmation that their ‘shadows’ were here the Kabal deployed its reserve forces, who now consisted of en mass armed civilians desperate to sake their own thirst. Leaving contingents to defend every webway access they knew of, nearly the entirety of the Kabals military was deployed around the world. Thousands of Kabalites and Wyches scoured the planets surface as much of the nobility took to the sky to watch in anticipation. The fighting grew bitter, as again and again their forces entered battle to be routed. The ‘Shadows’ could travel unseen, masked by their masterful Shadowseer, their rangers were deadly and crippled any semblance of a command structure. Despite their significantly smaller air presence, the Tw’Ats held off the Drukhari wings and refused their advantage and inflicted devastating bombing runs. Days passed with no significant victory to either side, just mounting casualties to the Kabal. The Archon had reached the end of his patience, his fleet arrived in orbit, the world would burn.
As the Kabal’s ships moved to the upper atmosphere to begin strategic bombardment they were assailed by the pulsars of Aeldari vessels. Corsairs, Craftworlders and Exodite vessels had gathered to destroy this Kabal once and for all, each called here by Vix’Anna, each had felt this blight's blade in their back at some time in history and each were all too eager to take revenge. Their tactical position was pitiful, trapped against the planet and sluggish within its gravity well. The attack was merciless and the void ships burned fast and disintegrated as they sank. The Archon was, to Regulate’s disappointment, crushed under the wreckage of his prized battleship once it was finally put down. The day was taken, the Drukhari routed and as usual their retreat was bitter as their ‘shadows’ hounded them.
The Kabal was demolished, raiding parties would never be seen to come from the satellite city again. But the cost was high. Regulates warhost was nearly broken, a mere fraction of their forces remained standing, none were free of injury or loss. If its forces had not finally routed, or if the Kabal did return, the Warhost would have been crushed.
The Scouring of the Weeping Mask
The Exodites of Tien'Bo were a strong people, their warriors mighty and undefeated, having fought for countless thousands of years against foreign invaders, particularly those of the traitor legions. For whatever reason, to fulfil a prophecy, to enact revenge, or for the fun of it, they came nearly every year and were defeated every time. This had become the routine of Tien'Bo, ever since the Grand Crusade, they weathered these attacks as some peoples weathered winters.
However what they could not weather was attack from the Drukhari when their armies were occupied and their homefront was at its most vulnerable. This had been the first such attack and had caught the Exodites completely off guard. Hundreds of their innocent civilian population were left dead, and hundreds more were captured. Priceless relics and resources had been plundered, only the world spirit had remained untouched thanks to the valiant efforts of its defenders. The morale of Tien'Bo and its still fighting army was shattered, their warriors had failed their single duty. This could never happen again, these predators had to he destroyed utterly before they returned to try again.
The collapse of the Firmament Apparition, and rise of the Shadow of the Phoenix were fresh tales spread by traders and outcasts. If these warriors could topple a Kabal, then they could help. The Exodites dispatched a messenger to find them, but before they had reached the webway Vix'Anna arrived.
The Shadows of the Phoenix had remained on Cad'Fael awaiting news of further attacks. As far as they knew the Firmament Apparition had fallen silent and remained within their satellite city, but their victory could be temporary. It had been a strategic and tactical victory, but also a pyrrhic one. The warhost was shattered, the war had dragged on for years and the 'Shadows' had fought continuously throughout facing each Drukhari army in turn and sleeping under the stars between battles. This was the first rest they could enjoy and as their war spirits faded away they felt the cost. They remained under the stars and moured their triumph. No warrior free of the loss of the many who had not endured to the end.
Their mission was complete, and many of the warriors had already separated to return to their respective homes, but more remained and looked to Regulate for their next mission; Vix'Anna supplied it.
When Regulate and his Shadows arrived at Tien Bo the Exodites were driving the last of their Chaos attackers into the dirt. Their elders met them and explained the crime inflicted upon them and their want. Regulate accepted the mission before it was asked; To enter Commorragh and return their people, destroy the Kabal, leave no trace. Such a mission would not be an easy one, but the tools were available, and the plan seeded already. Regulate was familiar, as much as any traveller could be, with the Dark city; having stayed there twice before and lived as a Commorrite before the tragedy of Aleo. He knew how to endure the people, that strength and cunning were absolute and honour simply a liability. He had the armour of a Drukhari Klavex, spoils from the Shadow’s first victory, and was initiated into their martial arts having studied to become an Incubi in his second tour of that dark city. He was perfectly poised to assume a position as a fallen Klavex looking to regain fame and riches.
Regulate reconstructed the Klavex’s armour (which had been shared between those in need of armour) and within a month assumed the mask of an Incubi, remastering the melee dance of the twin glaives and mentality of a Drukhari. No sooner than it was done he left for the Dark city, time was paramount, before leaving Regulate removed his spirit stone and embraced the fragility of his afterlife. The prisoners would have already suffered, been scattered, hopefully the majority would still be alive. Vix'Anna had travelled ahead at Regulates insistence, leading some of his rangers to find the Kabal, the captives and protect them in anyway they could. In the meanwhile, the Shadows would build their strength and recover, readying themselves for the future trial.
Regulate arrived to an opportunity, as the Kabal of the Weeping Mask held gladiatorial games in the wake of their successful raids, only returning days before. Captive warriors of Tien Bo were soon to display their prowess in the field of battle against hundreds of sell swords and gladiators from rival kabals. Regulate joined the crowd of spectators, but leapt down to the sand, declaring himself a late arrival to the game joining battle with the opening acts, fighting beast and slaves alike. Regulate had a difficult play ahead of him, he made sure to swiftly kill any opponent he faced, but when he came against slave Aeldari he made sure to enact non-fatal wounds. However much care he took, he was still forced to kill some of his kin and buried the grief. Regulate was alone still standing in the arena, he was already popular amongst the crowd for his flair and ‘noble’ fighting style, saluting the crowd after each duel. In the lull between rounds, he addressed the watching Archon directly, declaring his loyalty, that he would serve the Kabal as their glaive and that he would lead their troops.
Finally, the Tien'Bo captives were released, to face down a host of sell swords and gladiators. The experienced warriors made short work of them, helped by Regulate who turned on the crew, sewing chaos and infighting in what was scheduled to be a team battle. Regulate now alone faced down the Exodites, declaring that he alone would defeat these warriors, that if worthy they would serve him, the attacker through a prolonged melee struck down each one with a non-fatal wound and declared that their lives were now his. The gladiatorial games were not finished here, Regulate would face more trials and overcame each one amidst the cheers of the crowd until the Archon announced that with this special turn of events his champion would join the arena. The Champion was a former Howling Banshee and long serving gladiator slave - the archon's executioner, the two fought and the battle became bitter, both fighting on through injuries, losing their weapons and failing to gain leverage until the banshees speed proved too much. Before she could land the killing blow however Regulate confided in her his plan, swearing he would bring down the Kabal. As she hesitated he struck her down, recovering from his defeat. Despite the jeers of the crowd he refused to take her life, crying out that such an entertaining duel should be enjoyed again.
Within the Wolves nest
Champion at last, Regulate was invited to join the Archon’s Kabal and accepted. He joined a feast within the Kabal and while he had the Archons attention explained his ‘history’, of betrayal, loss and abandonment by his own temple. He wanted to build his own coven, and wanted warriors to follow him. For now he would serve an Archon, and earn a reputation. The Archon appreciated his honesty, everything that Regulate had done lended to his story of being an Incubi, and as an Incubi he had no motive to end the Archon, only to serve him. The Archon accepted the Klaivex’s loyalty, and explained the price. It would cost Regulate’s finger. All of his servants paid this price, the payment was taken away by the Archon’s Haemoncullus. If the Archon died, all of his followers would die with him. Though he would not make a move for a while, Regulate's plans were not put awry, as he had no intention of killing the Archon.
Regulate took a position in the Archon’s Court, leading the Tien’Bo gladiators within a wing of the Archon’s raids. He slowly rose through the ranks, and began the careful building of the final act. But first he set to tracking down the Tien’Bo captives and the trails of those already sold on - accessing the Kabal’s meticulous records. Those slaves still within the Kabals slave pits disappeared from their records and temporarily would be reasonably safe there. His rangers stalked the dark city unseen, their reconnaissance invaluable, select raids and infiltration continued to retrieve them one at a time.
Regulate acquired an unlikely ally within the first week when he was confronted by a squad of Incubi who’s Klaivex challenged him to a duel. The fight was arduous, the Klaivex was an artist and when Regulate had faced one down before he had his witchblade, psychic power and fury. Eventually Regulate seized the upper hand, recognising the particular fighting style he caught the Klaivex’s glaive mid swing and disarmed his opponent. The Klaivex ceased his attack, satisfied. The Coven now revealed their motivation, they were the Coven of Mor’Mont. An ‘old guard’ of Incubi, ancient with deep traditions rooted in their regime. One of their Klaivex had been hired out as a bodyguard to the Firmament Apparition and had never returned. Their armour had been lost and by tradition the Klaivex could not be replaced, then a week ago the Klaivex had spectacularly returned. Regulate explained his false history, amending that he had taken the armour after defeating the Klaivex in single combat. By the rituals of the Coven, he had earned a position within their ranks, and clearly by his earlier duel was still worthy of this.
Regulate’s new unexpected position within the Coven gave him authority over ten Incubi who became his students, and he immediately set them tasks. These tasks were the same missions that his rangers were currently enacting. They eagerly accepted the challenge and infiltrated Kabals across the city, to find and extract the captured Aeldari. The riskier and more challenging the task, the greater they performed and more eagerly they threw themselves into it. They did not care for the motivation, they simply relished the duty. Within a month the combined actions of the Incubi and Rangers had secured the successful recovery of all the sold slaves who remained alive. Now it was just the matter of crushing the Kabal.
Regulate was well trusted within the Kabal, joining the Incubi Coven had done much to corroborate his story and his success in leading the Kabals raiding parties was earning him a reputation. He assumed authority over the Kabals security and translated every detail to Vix’Anna. Over multiple months Regulate had learned the layout of the fortress, the guard’s patrols, its weakness. He had recruited trustworthy prisoners and readied them for what would come. It was during this time that Vix’Anna introduced herself to the Archon. The Archon agreed to hold a harlequin troupe’s play within his fortress, in hope to gain a Shadowseers council and catapult his political standing. Regulate passed all of his knowledge to Vix’Anna who arranged a battleplan before returning. Regulate would later arrange certain cargo to pass uninspected that would allow their future escape.
The Shadows of the Phoenix arrived at Commorragh in the bright colours and shifting masks of Harlequins, led by Vix’Anna and other Harlequins in her trust. Within the Kabal fortress the Harlequins took to the stage, each performing multiple roles with a few Shadows taking position in wings with limited roles. The remaining shadows shed their disguise and replaced their armour, they travelled freely through the fortress, its layout and patrols memorised. A webway gate, of the same design within the Stormserpent, was deployed and the remaining Shadows and Dragon's Guard of Tein’Bo were brought through. With the warhost assembled the next stage began as the Shadows prepared for the coming slaughter; Traps were deployed, wraithbone barriers erected, kill boxes established and fire lines formed. Sentries were killed, guards massacred, escape venues cut off entirely.
Under orders of Regulate the Shadows also travelled to the 'nursery' of the Kabal, where hundreds of cloned infants and the Kabal's true born children were undercare. The Shadows took them all to be transported to Tien’Bo. The vast prison was opened, with the Exodites and valuable hostages immediately extracted back to Tien Bo. The gladiators were sent to fight along the shadows and the warhost now waited for the finale. Vix’Anna began the final throes of the play, her psychotropic mist left the Drukhari dazed and sluggish. It had taken hold of them slowly, and in the last minutes of the play the strongest began to realise the imminent betrayal, desperate to stand, to draw their weapons, as Vix’Anna made the false psychic scream and the Shadows began their slaughter. Those in the crowd were utterly butchered, unable to properly defend themselves, gun downed by several minutes of sustained fire before the Shadows drew blades and finished off the survivors. The Kabalites attempted to retaliate from their barracks but were hard pushed to break through the entrenched Shadows, Dark Reapers and Grav platforms waiting at every exit. The Archon, safe within his viewing room, watched and grew vitalised from the slaughter, patiently waiting as the door was broken down and his Incubi took position. Vix’Anna led the way and threw a Witchblade into the group and Regulate revealed his deception. The Incubi guard fought valiantly and held back the Shadows for far longer than the dead that filled the hall. Each one falling with the dead of the Shadows' best fighters. At last Regulate faced down the Archon and duelled for a long time, the two were exceptional warriors. Eventually the Archon’s use of a Shadowfield broke Regulate’s defence and brought him down. Before the Archon could take advantage his champion gladiator interceded and finished the fight. Her furious assault broke the Archon, blinded and dismembered, but still alive even as he begged for death.
With its gates unbarred and its walls undefended the raptors of Commorragh descended upon the Kabal, storming its keep, and attacking the inhabitants as well as each other in their greed driven invasion. The Archons rivals dispatched units to retrieve trophies and artefacts, or to settle old feuds. The bestiary was broken open to but time. In the chaos the Shadows retreated, each unit under the cover of the next, dragging the wounded from both sides, until only Regulate and his guard remained, who retreated through the webway unprotected only for those gladiators and slaves lost in blood lust or determined to die here with their memories. They triggered Distortion mines to bring the gate down behind them. With Vix’Anna's expert guidance the Shadows made their way through the webway, any enemies who broke through those left behind and tried to pursue them, or those slaves who quickly fled at the first opportunity and did not follow Vix’Anna’s steps were lost to the labyrinth.
In the Kabal's fortress a fierce civil war began over the Archon's wealth, it drew more blood than the theatre's massacre and the evidence of the Shadow's part became buried, those that discovered the webway gate were silenced as the warp enveloped them. Ultimately no evidence remained of the cause of the Kabal’s destruction and among the greater populace it was recorded as a mysterious calamity, and lesson in caution when experimenting with the unknown.
The operation had been a complete success, overall their casualties were light and the number of souls saved had exceeded Regulates wildest dreams. The Aeldari drank in the exhilaration, the pain of their former campaign had been washed away, and they yearned for their next adventure and triumph. The warriors of Tein’Bo and the Shadows had fought with the beautiful harmony of lovers, the alliance did not even need to be discussed, the Exodite world had joined the Shadows of the Phoenix, and would become one of its most significant partners. Their shapers were exquisite and innovative, but their greatest strength was their warriors. The warriors of the Shadow of the Phoenix were already, irreversibly, walking the path that would become their identity; The never ending path of war. These Exodites had lived in the shadow of war for so long that they too had fallen into an unresting state. Until their next campaign the Shadow of the Phoenix were welcome to rest at Tien’Bo. Their relations with Erdinil were still fractious, and that craftworld was still repairing. Aleo was too small and resource poor to hold them, but more importantly the warrior spirit of the Shadows was not a welcome presence in a Craftworld or Maiden world at peace.
This decided there were a number of matters to resolve. The Archon was imprisoned, kept alive with the most basic of amenities for as long as it would take for his soul to be consumed by Slannesh; without death or revival his final act could not be enacted. Regulate would, just to be sure, begin the tracking and hunting down of this Haemonculus to confirm the exact mechanism of the Archons curse before he would allow their death. The kidnapped infants would begin indoctrination with intent on recruiting; It was a controversial move, which left many of the officers in disdain of Regulate’s morality. There was a far worse ritual that Regulate began, however that would push their loyalty. Those Drukhari wounded and captured in battle had been dragged away, as with their own wounded, indoctrination alone would not be security to these unsavoury and damned souls. However Regulate had formulated a dark practice while in Commorragh, the ability to make an ally from one who had found his secret. This victim, as these captives would, was stripped selectively of his emotion and memory until only a loyal servant remained. They became known as Thralls, and were little more than mindless and half alive, much as Imperial Servitors. This would become practice, the Shadows enemies would fulfill the need for fodder in the larger scale battles of the future. Finally, the Gladiators as before would join the Shadows, they were welcome to attempt to return to their respective homes, and some did foolishly attempt to leave through the webway. Those with more intelligence bided their time. Regulate would never forcibly hold a Gladiator or Slave within his ranks, but neither would he expend resources returning their home, however they could leave at any time if they encountered their own kind. There was one final act to make.
Regulate returned to the dark city, to the coven of Mor’Mont. It was a bold and risky venture, but Regulate believed that this coven could be convinced to join him. Their mentality and traditions were completely aside to that typically Drukhari, but principally that of the Incubus. They lived only for the purity of challenge and the testing of skills. Yet their coven was in financial ruin, and forgotten. Regulate walked into the coven, to the surprise of the Incubi who assumed their new Klavex was lost in the Kabals' collapse, and called the Klavex to a meeting. The entire Coven, at that time just 30 students and a handful of retainers, were gathered as Regulate made his speech. He gave his final story, the truth, and he offered a partnership. He would ascend this coven as it rightly deserved, give it access to fine recruits, veterans, and challenge. To reverse the decay that they currently suffered from. The Coven was divided, the students Regulate had tutored unanimously sided with him, while one Klaivex considered the offer the other rejected it. The two Klaivex could not agree and the debate grew heated. Ultimately trial by the blade would settle the matter, and the two duelled. The turncoat took the day, but spared his opponent after an impassioned speech of Regulate stayed his blade. The Coven would join the Shadows of the Phoenix and Regulate led them out of Commorragh.
Following the victory, Regulate would spend a cycle in Aleo away from war, joining his people in farming, hunting and travelling. The time in the Dark city had paid a heavy toll on his heart, as his act threatened to consume him. The exhilaration of the ploy, the lies and the game had, along with refreshed memories, awoken the long buried mindset of his youth. In addition Regulate had developed insomnia from obsessive paranoia, which he hoped would be cured by the tranquility of Aleo.
Several would-be heroes of the Shadow of the Phoenix joined their ranks during this time, the most significant, albeit insignificant at the time, was a student of Mor’Mont and Regulate. Samm'Ich would eventually become Sovereign of the Dumnanarii, the single Autarch that Regulate both trusted to lead the Dumnanarii out of his own shadow and to become greater, to follow the balance of obeying his Arbiter, but also commanding his Autarch. Samm’Ich would become a warrior of unparalleled strategic insight and singular skill, for now he was one of several Incubi warriors. Il’Li’Rial was the champion gladiator of the Weeping Mask, once a Howling Banshee warrior, captured and tempered into a killing instrument for the Archons pleasure. Whatever path Il’Li’Rial now followed would be her own, she would eventually become an Adherent Path Forger and form a melee school, before then and forever onwards she is the champion blade of the Shadows of the Phoenix. A’Lex’Zina was a member of the sisterhood of Lhilitu, a Lhamaean, and member of the Archons court, his chef and a diplomatic agent. Wickedly intelligent and shrewd, the courtesan saw through Regulates deception though decided to side with the Exodite and betray her employer. Against his better judgement and reservations, A’Lex’Zina has become a valuable ally of the Shadow of the Phoenix, the charming and alluring woman has secured a foothold within the alliance and its diplomatic missions, becoming vital in bridging the diverse and increasingly fracturing factions, as well as recruiting new members binding the alliance. Regulate’s only speculation for her apparent loyalty is the challenge of her chosen profession, and disdain for her former employee. Finally, though they would not become allies for many years to come, Regulate encountered the ‘Children of Kurnous’ while leading a raid for the Archon. Realising that there were unwitting Aeldari on the field, Regulate altered the mission's plans and parameters at the final second, barely avoiding the unnecessary slaughter of his kin without jeopardizing his position within the Kabal.
The Shadow of the Phoenix continued to expand and evolve, while seeing their duty done by protecting their contractors from pirates and the like. The warhost Regulate had assembled was not suited for peace, much of their number were already addicted to adventure and war, and could not return to their former life. Those most addicted to warfare, who became restless and violent without battle, were formed into separate cells and if battle could not be found for them they would find battle. These warriors had a further worrying issue; Initially they had made sure to return each warrior's spiritstone to their respective home, and infinity circuit, but many of their fallen warriors' souls were returned their spirits were restless and disrupted the circuit. It would inflame the circuit and like a cancer inflame other spirits. They could only be borne by a warrior, who's own rage was controlled. These spirits would from now on be carried by their brothers in arms or walk as Ghost Warriors into eternal combat, until the spirit eventually came to be content (Though many would never settle). Regulate was beginning to understand the consequences of constant war on the Aeldari and sought advice from myths and legends, as well as Tien'Bo who were familiar with this lifestyle. A series of codes and doctrines were introduced, protecting their ideals and propagating 'honourable battle' to keep their warriors from falling into depravity. When savagery was needed, to intimidate or punish the enemy, it would be the work of the Thralls. Finally the Shadows military structure was reimagined, while their initial missions had been united, they found by necessity the need to divide to cover many simultaneous operations. Regulate divided the warhost into flexible cells to be combined and dispatched as needed. Artisans from the path of Healing were integrated closely to the ranks, to monitor his warriors' well being and identify those who needed rest, and those who would not rest.
It became apparent in the years following the destruction of the Weeping Mask that the Shadows of the Phoenix required a home independent of their constituent members. Tien’Bo were particularly hospitable to the Shadow of the Phoenix, especially when their visitors from the warp made their sometimes yearly assaults, however this arrangement was already bringing political strife from the other members which would like such close attention to their own defences. Another concern was pressing Regulate, the inappropriate presence of his wholly martial group on a maiden world. When not embroiled in war, the maiden world was beautiful and tranquil, holding an army, especially one that grew at an alarming rate was an insult to the worlds purpose. While an outpost would remain to see their duty continue, an independent home to his amassing forces was required.
Entombing of Dynasty Lockatrez
Regulate had encountered many locations in his long wander as a youth, and few could support his growing warhost, he set out with a small retinue to find a permanent home. Vix’Anna, as was her want, had disappeared to her own calling. Kabela and Basilate would oversee the Shadow of the Phoenix and their contracts. Vix’Anna’s passing gift was tracking down a Corsair crew, known as the Tranquillity of Entropy, they were old comrades of Regulate who’s experience and expertise were second to few, but their resources were abysmal. They would be crucial in finding a location that the Shadows could use as a base. They arrived aboard their single Shadowhunter ‘Lam’Prog’ and eagerly accepted the quest.
Regulate remembered an ancient station in the depths of space, that he had discovered while travelling with Rogue Traders. With an appearance of Terran sea urchin, the ancient construction sat adrift in the void and was lost to Imperial records or knowledge. The station had no strategic value but could accommodate the warhost within its hangars and halls. However when Regulate arrived at the voidstation now, it was occupied. A significant pirate fleet was docked to its protrusions and hangars.
The Corsairs prepared to swiftly retreat when their Void Dreamer Gla’U advised them to remain. Scans identified weapons fire within the station, and the Void Dreamer confirmed the presence of an Aeldari soul. One of their own was within the station and possibly under attack. They were outnumbered by over a dozen small vessels, but the Tranquillity of Entropy were an exemplar crew of mad geniuses; The Lam’Prog was a heavily customised and finely tuned weapon. With millennia of experience between them the battle was closer than it had any right too. They led a merry chase away from the station, the Lam'Prog appeared to be an unlucky and routing vessel - ripe for pirating - however the pursuing pirates found themselves overstretched and systematically eliminated one by one. Their fighter wings were no match for the Corsairs own fighter wing, and without their fighter screen the pilots redeployed as bombers and set upon the helpless vessels. The poor quality vessels were burned in droves and despite focusing on speed they were no match for the corsairs' own.
However this engagement was only a diversion, from a cloaked transport Regulate and a team of handpicked warriors infiltrated the hangar bay and stormed the station. The ill disciplined and poorly equipped pirates were no match and swiftly slaughtered. The team scoured the station until they encountered the Aeldari, who along with another Mon’Keigh prisoner had escaped and fought a guerilla war for weeks within the station. Before the crew could return to the Hangar the situation took a turn for the worse. The Pirate fleet that was docked at the station was only a fraction of its true strength. The true fleet promptly returned, with larger warships and fresh fighter wings. The Lam’Prog swiftly fled to hide within dust clouds and await it's opportunity. The cloaked transport would not escape the hangar, Regulate and his crew went to ground, retreating into the abandoned reaches of the station and bleeding every search team that attempted to make chase. Days passed as the pirates attempted to root out the Aeldari and dozens upon dozens of their best warriors were left dead and often desecrated as Regulate took to psychological tactics. Their fleet was raided again and again by the Lam’Prog, burning a single ship at a time and escaping no matter the odds. With each passing day the Pirate King’s temper grew shorter, until finally it broke and he ordered that the station be fired upon. Believing the Shadows to be pinned in one quarter of the station, it was a reasonable cost. However the bombardment had no effect.
The station rocked with the rising fury of the bombardment, the rounds had no effect, at first. The station radiated energy, its pylons shifted around shattering the makeshift dockyards, iridescent green light shined out and within the station the lifeless automatons of the Necrons emerged from the walls. Regulate realised the fool he was, the necron architecture had been covered up by millenia of visiting Mon'Keigh until it had become unrecognisable. The battle became imminently dangerous as the indomitable necrons turned aside their attacks, reforming and repairing from their wounds. Several of Regulates chosen warriors fell to their gauss flayers. The Aeldari swiftly retreated, in the renewed chaos Regulate gambled that the transports route would be clear. Indeed the pirates fleet was decimated, the station unleashing powerful weapons into the void ships ranks.
With the Lam'Prog unable to draw close the crew instead made for the Mon'Keigh prisoner's freighter. The human had been a rogue trader and his ship was a fresh addition to the Pirates collection. If his crew were still there, subjugated to the Pirates, they could commandeer it. In the chaos of the battle, burning ships and salvos of canon shells, missiles and green streaks of energy, boarding the freighter was easy.
The team infiltrated the vessel and stormed the bridge. Much of the crew were that of the Rogue Trader and turned on the Pirates, reaffirming their loyalty at the sight of their captain. The greater crew were completely unaware of the event and kept to their stations. They took the ship out of the battle, escorted unbeknownst of the pirates by the Lam'Prog. The striketeam moved through the vessel, purging the remaining pirates aboard. As the Shadows fled, they left behind the extensive pirate fleet battling the station amid a rapidly increasing field of debris.
Union with the Me'Djai
The Aeldari liberated from the station revealed his story; He was a Me'Djai called Ardeth Bah'We and was a prominent leader before his capture. Ultimately he was imprisoned for hundreds of years before finally escaping. The Me'Djai were twelve fleets of Asuryani, now Corsairs, charged to defend twelve artifacts that held at bay an entire Dynasty of the Necrons. The star systems that the Dynasty occupied were captured in a temporal dilation field. Trapped in stasis, the surrounding maiden worlds were safe. However the Necrons that the Shadows had fought that day were of the same Dynasty, Lockatrez. Ardeth feared that their mission was compromised, should this necron force awaken enough forces from outside the Dynasties home system they could raid those forces defending the Artefacts. The Me'Djai must be informed, the Rogue Trader acquiesced to his wishes and escorted the corsair to reunite with his fleet.
Ardeth still had a reputation within the Me'Djai, and a loyal crew. He convinced their council of Princes and Void Dreamers to meet and discuss the incident to which they ultimately agreed to dispatch a fleet to destroy the station. Regulate volunteered his force to aid them, he doubted that even the superior weaponry of the Corsair fleets could break the enigmatic necron armour and therefore planned his own method. While aboard their vessels the Shadows 'acquired' weapons and armour from their hosts. Amongst them were significantly 'Voidwalker' Harnesses, which were the precursor of Adherent Armour. For the upcoming battle they replaced the welding charges with balelight charges.
Regulate had an ambitious plan, a small strikeforce would teleport aboard the station through the warp. The jump would require exact precision, but they were already intimately aware of the Stations layout. The first team would deploy webway runes and bring the remaining forces through cleanly. Wayseers and Bonesingers would construct a temporary webway portal to bring through a I.E.D constructed from Titan-class D-Cannon. The Shadows meanwhile armed themselves excessively with fusion blasters and other powerful weapons to take any edge that they could.
When the Corsair fleet arrived they were interceded by the Lam'Prog which had remained behind to spy on the voidspace. They relayed a significant collection of Necron vessels that had collected around the station. The Prince no longer required convincing, he endorsed Regulates plan. The fleet would make a single swift raid, deploy the shadows, then engage the Necrons at range to keep outside of the Station's weapon fire. This was initially successful and saw the Shadows infiltrate the station, but one cruiser was crippled as the stations energy beam swept across the fleet. While the Corsairs had numbers each necron vessel was a power house. Even if the Shadows achieved their goal, they couldn't be sure they would have somewhere to return.
Within the station the Shadows fought through their plan, butchering the unending horde of warriors and scarabs with overwhelming firepower and devious warp pack ambushes. A number of Bonesingers who accompanied the strikeforce sealed the entrance ways and constricted the necrons into killing posts. Most importantly the Shadows did not overstay their welcome, the moment the I.E.D. was inplace and primed they fled through the webway. The void battle was still on going, the Me'Djai were suffering, their casualties mounting as steadily as the necrons. Each scheme and tactic was foiled, or simply was not enough, the battle would be lost.
However they were saved, as the station imploded, engorged within a warp tear, the necron fleet left in a flair of relativistic energy. The Corsairs were battered, the Lam'Prog too was barely flying - though given the heavyweight nature of the fight it was a miracle it had endured at all - all they could do was return to their docks. To attempt to track the necrons down. Ardeth Bah'We raced ahead with his remaining ships, fearing the worst.
Due to the mysterious and incomprehensible nature of the Webway, only from one of the 'locks' could their fleets be easily drawn to assault the station. They had taken the risk to redirect almost the entirety of their convenient fleet and left the artefact nearly defenseless. They now reaped their gambit, the token defenders had been routed and the lock broken, a system of the Lockatrez Dynasty was liberated and in the beginning of awakening. Once the Necrons were awoken, the remaining systems would just be a matter of time.
By most metrics the Me'Djai had failed, they readied a gathering of all 12 fleets to assault the star system, the coming war would consume them, but they would see the Necrons burn. It would take time for all the fleets to gather, so far only one had reached them. Regulate offered another solution, telltale relativistic signals previously associated with the artefact were present within one of the tomb worlds. A small strike team could infiltrate the tomb and retrieve the device while they were still 'sluggish'. The necron fleets had not fully mobilised, striking swiftly was paramount to the following fleets success. However they risked being isolated and destroyed. If they were able to replace the time lock, then their mission would not have failed. Ardeth agreed, and the Me'Djai Princes followed, they would take the fool's gambit.
The remnants of the first fleet, combined with the second fleet would become the ‘Fury of Wes'Twal, and performed sweeping raids across the system. Orbital bombardments and bombing runs were committed with extreme prejudice against any emerged surface installations and orbital constructs. Whatever damage they achieved could not be verified, but it provoked the necrons. Their awakening was beyond anything expected or calculated and the balance of power was precarious. While the Fury of Wes'Twal aggravated, the Shadows deployed unseen across the tombworlds leading several warhosts of Me'Djai. While one team moved on the Artefact and assaulted the vault that held it, Regulate identified a leverage to aid the Fury of Wes'Twal. The tombworld closest to full awakening contained massive hangars within deep subterranean caverns. Several had already disgorged their vessels into orbit, but the rest were still helpless. Regulate used his bonesingers and wayseers to rent a webway opening within the caverns that was just enough to see a Shadow Hunter through, and the freshly repaired Lam'Prog obliged. As a predator within the nest it tore through helpless vessels before bringing the cavern down upon the wrecks and returning through the webway, as the slumbering necrons redirected countermeasures at last. Across other tomb worlds similar hangars were ambushed, their fleets fired upon as they left the docks. The necrons were overstretched and bamboozled, and while they desperately formed strategies and countermeasures the Artefact was retrieved.
However the operation took another twist, as the retrieved artefact had been altered. It was necron technology, and the necrons had repurposed the device to accelerate their own awakening. In its current state it would not imprison them as before. With time finally on their side the Me'Djai compared the altered device with their historic records, they could not fix the device. Regulate asked the downright silly, could it be accelerated further. The final plan, the final gambit, would be to accelerate the device to such a severity that the systems sun would instantaneously erupt into supernova. Though the star was not destined for such a fate, the asymmetrical aging would destabilise the gravitational-fusion balance and drive an unnatural supernova. It could be done, and the necessary alterations were made, an autonomous ship was produced and dispatched. The device activated and the crew fled to the webway. The effect was instantaneous, the sun boiling and disgorging across the system and burning half of it within the moment and destroying the rest with severe heat and the sudden shift of gravity. The calamity was over with the typical inelegant solution of the Shadows, the remaining 10 fleets arrived to the quiet burning system.
The Shadows rested and recovered, Regulate was immensely proud of their prowess, having turned aside a dozen ambitious operations with minimal casualties displaying professionalism, experience, and discipline that belied their youth. The Me'Djai for their part were in awe of what the Shadows had achieved. However the relationship between the two was not smooth. While Regulate had seen Ardeth returned, and been the driving force behind the resolution of the flash conflict, he was also seen as the driving force of the conflict which had taken so many Me'Djai lives. If Regulate had not interfered, Ardeth would be dead in the place of much of the first fleet - a trade he himself would have happily made. A strong bond had been forged with the Fury of Wes'Twal fleet through shared battle, but the remaining fleets had no such bond.
There was another quandary, the first fleet was relieved of its duty. Their mission was done, each fleet was distinct and its duty was its own, there was no discussion of whether the first would be divided among the others. Ardeth wished to explore the galaxy, to fight for a cause, his Me'Djai, with the 1st fleet flocking to his banner, joined Regulate though for now they remained under their own banner.
Regulate was able to strike a deal with the twelve fleets despite the ambivalent reputation; Construction of the voidships. The Shadows potential navy was a uncertain matter, vessels were under construction at Erdinil and other craftworlds though the ship wrights were conflicted between their existing duty. The alliance was already fragile and reliance on member fleets would be inefficient and unreliable. The Shadows needed their own vessels. The Me'Djai would see these vessels constructed, charging only basic rates as long as Regulate provided the materials, if he provided labour then the ships would be built faster. There was a another reason for this decision; The Me'Djai vessels were atypical constructs of typical Corsairs (Fitting as they were Me'Djai, not true Corsairs), the vessels were well armoured and hard hitting, designed to hold ground and go toe to toe rather than engage as a fleeting force. This design was particularly attractive to Regulate.
Their deal done, the Shadows left to investigate an alternative residence, sending word to Tien'Bo to see the ship contracts fulfilled.
Liberation of Brigan'Tia
Regulate and his escort would have continued their quest but were sent awry. They had travelled to prospective moons, habitable but not inhabited only to find heretic forces seeking the same goal, they moved to leave and find alternatives. Before they could, the Void Dreamer Gla'U was assailed by visions, cries of help, of suffering; something was terribly wrong and the only name she could put to it was Brigan Tia. The Void Dreamer had yet to lead them astray, and when she asked Regulate to resolve her fears he accepted. Scouts were dispatched and their growing Spy Network contacted, Brigan Tia was a Craftworld sailing close by - just a few star systems away - Regulate decided to pay them a visit.
The Song's Carcass
The Shadows arrived at the Craftworld, finding their appearance ignored, the Craftworlds webway entrance was unguarded and even unmonitored. Initially Regulate feared the Craftworld dead, but its settlers were found alive; They ignored the strangers, keeping to themselves, most remaining indoors. The Craftworld was poorly maintained, recovering from a battle scored with extensive damage yet the wounds appeared ancient. The Shadows made their way through the streets, to the Dome of Seers, still unchallenged by anything short of unsettling fog that plagued the biodomes - a sign of poor maintenance. In the depths of the fog the mist whirled and shifting shapes took a sinister connotation. The Shadows soon found themselves unnerved by their namesake, yet nothing attacked them. The Dome of Seers was undefended, still not a single warrior had been seen. While Regulate and a single squad entered the Dome of Seers, his remaining entourage took position where the defenders should have been. They found it empty, Regulate called the Seer Council to meet him wondering if there was any leadership to the Craftworld at all. However a council appeared in time, less than half a dozen members arrived within the hour. Regulate was unsure of what he would put to the council, something was deeply wrong with this Craftworld, but whatever was wrong was their problem not his. He told them what his Seers had seen, of pain, calamity and strife and the Craftworlds name. He asked them what warriors, defences they had to bear, did they have Seers that could divinate when this calamity would come, would they make preparations to summon the Avatar of Khaine to protect them. The answers were dismissive, they had no shrines to the Aspect Warriors, no defences, no shrine to khaine. Regulate was baffled at their apathy, at the lack of fundamental workings to a Craftworld. His journey seemed wasted, though they offered the Prince accommodation. Regulate now made his realisation, a disturbing suspicion had come from some of the responses of the council, a couple of which tried to hold back mocking. Regulate drew his combat dagger, and with a brief apology cut a warrior across their gut. With the scream of agony and shock at their betrayal the soldier released, those mocking members of the council sat forwards, vitalised at the savage display, their eyes hungry for more.
Regulate moved to disable the Drukhari agents amongst the Seer Council, but at that moment the air turned cold and the sun died as an unnatural shadow descended upon the Dome replacing whatever atmosphere was left with an aura of dread and despair. Regulate had met this scourge before and steeled himself, speaking to his isolated host of warriors and stirring the courage he knew held out. ‘Mandrakes’, the warriors born of darkness emerged from the Shadows and fell upon their namesake in a flurried attack.
- "You merely adopted the moniker ‘Shadow’; I was Forged in Shadow, Molded by Shadow, until I became one with it. Fear your adopted home Regulate for it is not yours to keep."
- —An ethereal voice heard through the Dome of Seers mocked the Aeldari immediately before battle commenced.
Each warrior took to another's back and with security behind them engaged the unnatural horrors, sending copious volleys of Balelight into their ranks. Outside the sounds of battle could also be heard. The Mandrakes were unlike any foe the Shadow's had yet met, the fight was arduous, with many of the Shadows best warriors falling to these devious foes, yet they kept their formation, and scores of Mandrakes were sent screaming back into their Shadow realm. One Mandrake, unlike any other there, seeked out Regulate in single combat and threw himself against the Prince again and again, scoring grevious wounds upon the champion in return for his own. It was only after the insane warrior was completely immobilised from multiple would-be life ending wounds that he was dragged back screaming by the Mandrakes into their realm, and with his attack gone the Mandrakes disappeared as quickly as they arrived. There was no time to rest or process what had happened, the doors flew open and behind a withdrawing squad of Shadows came a horde of Wyches and Wracks. The melee continued in a new direction. While these foes were lesser than the veteran core that remained, they came in many times the number of the Mandrakes and mobbed any warrior that became isolated, bringing them down with savagery and nothing of the honour of gladiatorial combat. Regulate gathered his warriors into a defensive Schiltron and pushed towards the exit, desperately hoping that his troops outside endured.
- "Hold onto your guts Meg'Re, while I take theirs"
- —Samm'Ich to the wounded Shadow used to betray the Drukhari subversion.
Luckily those troops outside had endured, and even restormed the entrance to finish off those that had broken through. The outside battle had been bloody, as both Mandrakes and Wychs had come from the fog to assail them in melee. But Regulates warriors had excelled their reputation and held back the attacks. With the fog receding the Drukhari regrouped and gathered for a second attack, the Shadows would not endure. As the fog advanced once more they came with it, as the whooping Drukhari approached, thin beams of light fell upon them. Hundreds of rangers had joined the battle, firing from adjacent rooftops, and even from the Dome itself. Whoever these Rangers were they were a gift, and the Drukhari battle line staggered as scores of their warriors fell. The Shadows charged forth and struck the hesitant mass of warriors, as the melee grew the Rangers beams kept falling upon the Wyches, saving countless Shadows as each warrior in a position to make the killing blow was cut down. They cut a swathe of bloody slaughter through their ranks until the Wyches retreated once more and both forces returned to a standoff.
Encircled and outnumbered, the Shadows bided their time. Their fortunate allies were Outcasts of Brigan Tia, each one had escaped the nightmare reality of this Craftworld but returned when they discovered that the Shadows of the Phoenix had arrived at the Craftworld. Vix’Anna had assembled them, informed them of this day and called them to arms. Regulate both thanked and cursed the Shadowseer, who had both saved them and condemned dozens of his men to death. The cry for help had been bait though Regulate would not know for some time that the Mandrakes and the strange leader were the inciters, the Wyches were unaware of this move, and simply reacting to the unexpected invasion - their own guards missing at the Mandrakes hands. The Drukhari force was deeply wounded and exhausted, despite holding the advantage in strength they withdrew from the fight and melted into mist. Soon afterwards the true leverage made its appearance as the Lam’Prog appeared in low orbit, prepared to bombard the city if required. The eleventh fleet of the Me’Djai had made short work of the token force of Drukhari vessels that orbited the small Craftworld. Fresh forces deployed around the Dome of Seers and Regulate returned to the Seer Council to begin an interrogation.
Brigan Tia had been enslaved by a drukhari kabal for centuries, such that it had become the only existence they had known. Its citizen population became a stock of slaves and victims for the Kabal’s thirst. With their Shrines to Khaine and the Aspect Warriors taken down and removed the Craftworld had lost any heart or ability to fight, and without their passion went the Craftworlds beauty and health. The council were broken puppets, convinced of their fate, seeing only value in a swift death. Regulate, close to fury, made an impassioned speech to the council beseeching them to make a stand, his Shadows would sharpen the edge, but the people of Brigan Tia would liberate themselves. His words sparked the kindle of passion that still resided within the broken people and one by one the council turned to his side. They would raise the militia, the people would rise up. With every second that the Shadows remained on the Craftworld, their fury and militant passion bled through to the world spirit. The same mechanism that drove them away from their allies was the rebirth of this Craftworld. They would march to war. Across the Craftworld cells of Drukhari remained, uncertain on their next move they laid in wait, the Me’Djai deployed across the ship meeting the militia and distributing weapons. Many citizens were prepared to fight with nothing more than sharpened chunks of wraithbone but Regulate wished to avoid unnecessary casualties. His men would be the unseen blade, guiding the citizens on to take victory themselves, not knowing that the Drukhari’s disorganisation came from assassinated leaders, suppressing sniper fire and disruptive sabotage. In a short week the Drukhari were purged from the city, each cell isolated and destroyed.
The war-like spirit of the craftworld had resurfaced and bellowed, despite the cost, the citizens looked to the Shadows now, yearning for the next battle, to kill more of their oppressors and retake paths of martial arts that was their birthright. Passion soared through the populace and Regulate knew it had to be tempered. He dispatched messengers to his allies, to bring artisans, seers and Exarchs that would see the city rebuilt. However the war for Brigan Tia was far from over, the Drukhari would not relinquish such a source of souls without a fight. Regulate already had an army waiting for his command, he set about forging it.
Those council members that had been Drukhari spies were made Thralls, as the wounded Drukhari on the field of battle, to become their slave and unwitting betrayer. The Thralls openly divulged their once innermost secrets and with this Regulate garnered knowledge of the forthcoming battle. With no update the Kabal would dispatch a fleet to investigate, it was not expected to arrive for at least another week. While training a militia Regulate ordered that the surface biodomes be ‘wrecked from battle’, an easy feat given their existing damage, and evacuated the army and population to the catacombs of the craftworld.
The raiding forces arrived earlier than expected, and in large numbers. To Regulates surprise a Battleship had joined the patrol which surveyed the Craftworlds orbit. Probing forces scoured the nearby asteroid fields and nebulas and found nothing. Only a Craftworld seemingly dead and abandoned, its webway gates sealed shut. They quickly deployed ground forces and began an extensive survey while the fleet waited idle. The advance teams dispersed into the catacombs and fell silent, disappearing into the deepest and darkest tunnels. Their rear guard and command posts also fell silent as the Shadows emerged from the sealed webway gates, infiltrating the complacent reserves and slew them in brutal ambushes. As the Drukhari aboard the vessels began to register the alarming disappearance of their forces they themselves were ambushed as the Shadows fleet emerged from the Craftworld itself, shattering thin wraithbone coverings that passed as the Craftworlds hull. The militia sallied forth from the Craftworlds depths and the ground forces found themselves fighting a battle on two fronts.
In the void the Drukhari had suffered for the ambush, but a number of their vessels endured and struck back hard, burning several Me'Djai vessels and crippling the Lam'Prog - their Battleship proving particularly problematic. The battle quickly broke down to chaotic boarding actions across every vessel in the close range void-melee. Despite the risk to their own forces the Drukhari both bombarded the ground theatre and deployed their reserves through the Shadows fleet. The savagery of their attack was appalling, but effective, the Shadows attack was staggered and the clean kill became a mess.
However savagery met discipline, the citizens of Brigan Tia had nowhere to rout, and nothing to lose, they threw themselves into the conflict with reckless abandon and the Shadows held their own nerve, their endless practice and drilling taking over in the unnatural slaughter. Thousands died to their hands which moved without empathy or awareness to the feat which they performed. Those Drukhari who survived, to know the fate of becoming a Thrall, would never sleep easy again, tormented by nightmare memories of impassive butchers carpeteting the ground with corpses. The ground battle was decided, in orbit the Me'Djai showed their worth, their hardy vessels enduring the close range bombardment and deadly weaponry of the Drukhari. Their voidsmen fought cleanly through the chaos and systematically purged their own vessels and disabled the enemies. It was a fight of strength against strength, and the Drukhari were broken.
The bodies were piled high and the wrecked vessels were swept away before they could fall to the Craftworlds gravity well. The Drukhari Battleship was still intact, cleanly disabled, and even now Corsair teams purged the vessel of its occupants one compartment at a time. Only small teams had made the journey, though Regulate desired the battleship for his own use he feared sabotage or a final defiant suicide. A more pressing matter took Regulates attention, one of the Seer council was missing. Regulate’s suspicion was that this member was a true traitor, not a victim, puppet or disguised agent. He wanted the gratification of slaying this vermin himself, and dispatched scouts to track him down. In the meantime he oversaw the recovery of Brigan’Tia and its people. He had summoned the Shadow of the Phoenix and though they had failed to arrive for the first battle, they now arrived in force. The Battleship had been captured, the last Drukhari killed and captured in the bitter combat.
Kabela and Basilate would return soon from their own adventures, but news of the missing council member arrived. Regulate was torn to remain but time was of the essence, a quick journey to take this potential traitor's head and return, then he would reunite with his Brother and Sister.
While Regulate had first encountered the Me’Djai Basilate would have his own adventure. Along with Kabela, Basilate had remained on Tien’Bo to oversee their Protectorates and fulfil contracts. Kabela worked tirelessly to see the Shadow of the Phoenix equipped to the standard of a standing army, while Basilate taught students in the ways of a Spiritseer and oversaw the World Spirit of Tien Bo and Infinity Circuit of Erdinil that both had been at risk of damage. Shortly into this endeavour, messengers of Craftworld Hurul’Pa came to Tien’Bo seeking the ‘Necromancer’. Reputation of Basilate’s ‘Necromancy’ at Erdinil had spread wide and this Craftworld were desperate in seeking such skills. Basilate was not a Necromancer, his actions at Erdinil had been the actions of Spiritseer, an exceptionally skilled one, and an act that the Seer council had refused to be possible. Nevertheless if the Craftworld was so desperate as to seek a Necromancer to resolve their calamity, Basilate would help them and see done whatever they asked. He took his students and with a small guard he followed the messengers.
Basilate arrived at a Craftworld recovering from an attack, a council member met him at the webway and swiftly explained the time-sensitive situation. While Daemons and Heretics had assaulted the Craftworld a parasite had infiltrated the Webway and was growing fat from their undead. A contingent of Spiritseers were removing every spirit they could from the Webway, while a team of elite Warlocks attempted to track down and eliminate the parasite which was hopefully alone, though their efforts were hampered by warp tainted forces that had fled to guerilla battle. The councillor wanted Basilate to join the Spiritseers and extract those souls that refused to leave the infinity circuit, to commit Necromancy and rip the souls from the afterlife to spare them. Basilate had never done this despite his infamy, but nonetheless could see it done. However, he had already formulated a risky venture and offered an alternative solution.
Basilate secured a section of the infinity circuit and with his escort both physically and psychically severed the section from the circuit bar one entrance. He then entered this isolated circuit and removed the souls that dwelt within through both coercion and necromancy until alone he remained. Basilate reached out with his psyche and screamed his psychic presence, flaunting the very eyes of she who thirsts. In an instant, his soul was at the mercy of Daemons and warp parasites. Whatever had invaded this infinity circuit, as Basilate had wagered, found him irresistible and immediately entered the sector to feed upon him. The entrance was severed and now Basilate and the parasite were alone in a miniature infinity circuit. His students pulled the Spiritseer back from the brink, just as Warp Creatures clawed at his mind and the warp realm tested his sanity. The parasite was no daemon but instead Tyranid, the creature had gorged upon the Aeldari souls until it had grown fat and would have continued to do so. The plan had been to leave the creature to starve or force it to return to the mortal plain where it could be more easily killed but the Spiritseer saw another way and pushed off the presence of his students to remain within the circuit. Basilate duelled the creature, one psyker to another in the now sealed tomb of the quarantined infinity circuit. The creature was unearthly and fed upon his power, glutting itself on the Spiritseer’s psychic potential. Basilate allowed this, reaching out with his mind as to communicate with it, the created gorged and became unfocused and in that moment it sealed its fate. Basilate broke through to the psyche of the creature of itself and entered its mind. He could have destroyed the creature if he so pleased, but instead, he severed its intelligence, its will and its conscience until only memory remained. The creature could not feed or fight back, it listed within the soul realm in a state of living dead. Finally, Basilate emerged from the circuit to a waiting assembly of warriors. He had only a moment to communicate his plan before he collapsed from his psychic injuries. Every soul and every memory was within that creature, he hoped that the Tyranid could be broken down and the Aeldari souls returned to their rightful place once healed. If not, maybe the creature's origin could be traced, and a blood tithe enacted upon the vile mind that had dispatched it. For now, he fought with every fibre of his remaining strength to remain alive.
When Basilate finally recovered he awoke back on Tien’Bo, the Craftworld had made sure that the Necromancer they had asked for had not overstayed his welcome. To his dismay Basilate would not find out the outcome of his actions. The Spiritseer, and now truly Necromancer, did not dwell on the adventure and would have returned to work. However he found a Warlock awaiting his recovery. The Warlock was a so-called Chosen Warrior of the Rit’Tur’Ra and he seeked the Spiritseers skills. He had been at Hurul’Pa, one of the Chosen Warriors purging the Craftworld clean of the Daemonic infestation, they had another battle to face in the coming month, and would be required to destroy a Greater Daemon that would save countless thousands in the future. However to face this entity they required an unsurpassed weapon, a Wraithknight, and a Spiritseer to complete the bind of both living and undead twin to the war machine. Basilate accepted.
The Chosen Warriors assembled in Tien’Bo in a rare gathering to oversee the ritual. Guided by a Seer, a Warhost of Warlocks of unparalleled skill spent their entire existence in the service of fighting chaos, each Warlock hailed from a different Craftworld often it's champion warrior and wore a unified Tabard over their original battledress. They brought forth the slain Warlock, and their twin who did not hail from the Chosen Warriors and took an honorary position now. Basilate, joined by Kabela, oversaw the ritual and bore the Wraithknight Drak’Nor.
Before the Chosen Warriors left Basilate asked if they would honour the Shadow of the Phoenix by taking a volunteer of their ranks, they agreed.
(To be continued)
The Shadow of the Phoenix are an alliance, a conglomerate of factions united in shared military might, each faction remains distinct, and the Shadow of the Phoenix are the shared military pooled from each faction. Each member contributing a tithe of warriors and resources in return for protection. Behind this military is a council of the member states who have representatives of Seers and Nobles. The council is typical of the Aeldari and faction politics in general in that it is a knife bed of political argument, backstabbing and power plays. Regulate, as Arbiter, is the 'Final Word' of the council, decider of inconclusive decisions and enactor of its decision, he is their sword and dictator of their military. Political agents, chief among them A'Lex'Zina, work tirelessly behind the scenes of the council to secure the resources needed for the Shadow of the Phoenix. It's military is sworn to the Arbiter not the council and ultimately the political indecisiveness of the council has yet disrupted a campaign. A number of these members have prominent historical or are particularly significant within the council and military.
The Dumnanarii are a distinct race of Aeldari and of an extreme militant mindset. Born of the Shadow of the Phoenix and growing into a distinct identity to eventually be a recognised member of its own right centuries after the alliance was formed. The military of the Shadow of the Phoenix did not stand down between conflicts, and a significant portion of their warriors became radicalised, addicted to the adventure and challenge. They could not be integrated into the infinity circuits of their homes once fallen and continued into battle as Wraith Constructs or carried by their brethren warriors to be tempered. Now with their own infinity circuit and Craftworld the Dumnanarii exist for war, living spartan lives with regimental discipline and drive. They have become the lynchpin of the alliance, its spear and shield. The most powerful military element that coordinates the rest, and makes the largest military proportion.
Favoured Units: Adherents, Wanderers, Adherent Wraith Guard, Heavy Wraith Lords
Colours: Black, Spectral patterns
See the Dumnanarii article for more information.
Craftworld Erdinil, original founding member of the Shadows of the Phoenix. Though they initially had no intentional military at all, having experienced millennia of peace facing no threat their fleet could not adequately dispatch, they would ultimately become a formidable military power following their Craftworlds siege. Repaired and significantly fortified, their Craftworld has expanded to adopt a growing population and become a haven for the alliance. Thanks to a permanent envoy of the Exuberant Executioners Aspect the Craftworld have developed into armoured warfare specialists, and are responsible for the construction of the Apocalypse tanks. Though war and military endeavours have dominated this craftworld they are still at their heart philosophers and artisans, trading debate for warfare from one day to the next. While it has expanded since its attack, the craftworld of Erdinil has always been small, a reflection of a small population.
Favoured units: Apocalypse tanks, Fire Prisms
The outcast allies of Regulate that joined him to defend Erdinil, old comrades of his raiding days. Vicious raiders and pillagers that could put some of the most heartless and sadistic corsairs to shame. These rangers were expert saboteurs, navigators and assassins. Masters of deception, covert, and brutal in warfare. They have since joining the alliance been wiped out through attrition, their skills and knowledge passed on but their mentality and actions deliberately lost. The Wanderers of the Dumnanarii are heavily influenced by this formation, and one of their wings is named in their honour.
Favoured units: Rangers
The Exodites Aleo have chosen to send their young to fight, rather than let them wander and be lost to an unknown fate, their warriors are fresh and seeking adventure. While not holding esteem of shared campaigns and history with the Alliance, they are one of the larger contributors to both the Alliance and the Dumnanarii which along with their ancestral bonds to the Quadrumvirate earns them a venerated position.
Favoured units: Household Guard, Dragon Riders
Colours: Teal, Cherry Blossom
Now the students and ancestors of a once infamous league of rogues and sellswords that ravaged the galaxy and taunted the very gods. When they retired they settled to remain vigil over a maiden world until Regulate tempted them to see one last job done. Expert pilots that are now better described as a subfaction of the Dumnanarii.
Favoured units: Helios Wyrm, Nightwings, Phoenixes, Void Dragons, Darkstars and Eagles
Colours: Cobalt blue, Black and white
Though Tien’Bo was one of the later members of the alliance, it is one of the most significant along with the Dumnanarii who are both forged by endless war. Having beaten off expeditionary forces of the Great Crusade and then since the Horus Heresy have fought off a nearly endless persecution of the heretic legions. The end result is extraordinary warriors and commanders forged by experience and necessity.
Favoured units: The Dragon Guard, Striking Scorpions
Colours: Navy Blue and Orange
The Coven of Mor'Mont, is an ancient league of Incubi that upheld traditional codes and values of the original founders, much of which has been selectively abandoned by their peers. With their own honour system, and rules of engagement this coven had lived on and become obscure. Purity of combat is held above all else, and perfect execution is relished. By a twist of fate Regulate earned himself a position as one of their three ruling Klaivex. They did not care that he was not Drukhari and when he promised to restore their coven to its rightful place they accepted. Since then they have been expanded, given a place within Penumbra with the right to select candidates from the Shadow of the Phoenix military to which offer a place within the coven.
Favoured units: Incubi
Colours: Gunmetal, Black Iron
The Me'Djai Corsairs were an alliance of 12 fleets that had historically seen a necron Dynasty trapped within a time dilation field. Gathered from craftworlds and maiden worlds, they had taken the duty of preserving this trap. Though they are by name corsairs they are closer to individual fleets detached from their historic craftworlds & maiden worlds sworn to an eternal vigil. Superlative naval force but only one fleet is firmly aligned to the Shadows, the other 11 remain independent but opportune allies.
Favoured units: Voidcraft & Warships, Void Storm & Wasp ground forces
Colours: Black, Silver
Once subjugated and enslaved to a Kabal of Drukhari the civilians of Craftworld Brigan Tia were downtrodden and defeated. However since being liberated the Craftworld has become a fanatical and progressive military force and key strategic asset to the alliance. Growing in strength and resilience with each battle.
Favoured units: Dire Avengers, Howling Banshees, Shield Guardians, Wave Serpents
Colours: Grey, Mauve
The Kabal of the Sundered Heart are the surviving members of extremist religious fanatics that wish to distance themselves from Slaanesh and drukhari excess. Fielding a comparatively weak military, where the majority of combatants are sickly from their hunger, but quickly growing strong on the pain of their enemy.
Favoured units: Scourges, Kabalites
Colours: Bronze, Red
Tranquillity of Entropy
The Corsairs Tranquillity of Entropy were but a small crew aboard a single heavily converted Shadow Hunter. These uniquely skilled smugglers have been elevated to operate the Shadows in house vessels, including their Dreadnaughts, providing exceptional void dreamers and pilots. Though like Raid’Gei’Re and Tw’Ats they have since been absorbed into the Dumnanarii and lost their historically distinct identity.
Favoured units: Mar'Ca'Iah Dreadnaughts
Colours: Brown, Silver
The Shadows of the Phoenix operate at two levels, both at small scale conflict and grandscale battle. Their forces are divided into cells that operate with autonomy and are formed as and when for each operation. The military force is pooled into wings to be divided into cells. Multiple cells will be then brought together to form true Warhosts for larger battles. As with any Aeldari force the Shadow’s military is for surgical and precise strikes. Unless they are forced into a position where defence is a necessity, they will concede ground to keep their advantage. Battles of attrition and sacrificial engagements are the domain of the Thralls, and the Mon’Keigh a line behind them.
Rangers, skirmishing and reconnaissance are of the utmost importance to the Shadows of the Phoenix who maintain an expansive spy and scout network, information exchange, and elite skirmishing units known as Wanderers. Deception and trickery follow, sabotage and assassination are the first signs of coming attacks. Their warlocks focus their psychic potential into masking the movement and presence of the cell; their vehicles will have stealth technology integrated into their design in place of holoshields; their warriors will wear ragged cloaks of cameoline. The victim is slowly torn asunder, weakened and made helpless before the warhost strikes. This is one of several factors that contribute to their moniker the ‘Shadows’. Wherever possible their presence and action will go unheard of, unrecorded or unseen. Their actions will always be felt in the step before the ‘true conflict’, the shipyards burned, the barracks slaughtered, the general vanishing and whatever that asset would have done will remain only known by the Seers. While the Cells are focused on absolute stealth and subterfuge, the warhost is a paragon of a sledgehammer. Heavy infantry, extensive and commonplace use of Wraith constructs, heavy vehicles and airpower are used in harmonious conjunction to utterly obliterate the target with a fluid and adaptive approach to strategy and battle. Such is the dichotomy of the Shadow of the Phoenix’s Military, the shadowy and illusive introduction before the devastating finale.
Thanks to the Dumnanarii, the Shadows of the Phoenix are capable of fielding a wide selection of unique units, weapons and armour. From their allies they field especially Striking Scorpions, Incubi, Fire Dragons, Scourges, Dark Reapers, Voidstorm, Dragon Knights and other such hard hitting and typically but not exclusively ranged units. The use of transports is commonplace, with the majority of squads transported by Helios Wyrms while in their cells, and Falcon Grav tanks while in Warhosts. Unusually the Shadow of the Phoenix make use of Mon’Keigh, be it humans or xenos, that they have liberated from their enemies (Typically the slaves and gladiators of Drukhari) or have captured themselves and indoctrinated. Further they make a dark practice of converting the surviving wounded of the enemy into ‘Thralls’, these mind wiped slaves are always seen in the frontlines as fodder units. When attrition or effective pinning forces are required the Thralls, and Mon’Keigh after them, will invariably be used in the stead of their own valuable warriors.
A leading position within the Shadow of the Phoenix will be referred to as Commander. The command of the Shadow of the Phoenix is not much different from that of the Aeldari. A single warrior will lead the Warhost as both strategist and a champion warrior, who may hail from any faction; be it an Autarch, Archon, Prince, Uasal (Exodite Noble) or Dumnanari Cea’Nna’Sach (Gothic Designation: Sovereign). A Commander will lead a warhost or coordinate a number of cells, those commanders who are Autarchs or Sovereigns are highly valued for their unparalleled capability. Each cell will lead by a suitably veteran warrior, such as a Warlock, Exodite Noble, Felarch, Advocate, or Dracon; they are not limited to these examples, but no Exarch has led a cell before as their narrow view of combat is not suited to lead combined military elements.
A number of elements have been added that facilitate the adaptability and transition between conflict scale. Finally each Commander is given their own 'court' or better put command squad; Given the Shadows own focus of decapitating their enemies command structure it would foolish to leave their own leaders vulnerable. Ro'Hnaithe (Gothic Designation: Chosen) are hand picked veterans selected to see out the orders of their commanders. The equivalent of a lieutenant, two will be assigned to each cell. Individuals may lead the Thralls or auxiliaries. The escort of the Cell commander will typically be two strong with Warhost commanders given an escort of five. The escort typically includes Exarchs, Seers, Felarches and other similarly gifted individuals to both advise with battle strategy and maximise their capability.
There are a number of specialist formations that are unique to the Shadow of the Phoenix. Most of their military contains select elements of the Aeldari military as a whole, as it is contributed to by their member states. The Dumnanarii, though not exclusive to them, prominently features in their military and relies upon their infrastructure, the Dumnanarii are the evolution and elite that have formed from the Shadow of the Phoenix's in house military structure, and as such is a reflection of them.
Augmenting and ultimately supplanting much of the Shadow of the Phoenix's reconnaissance and special forces are the Wanderers who function much as Rangers with a greater focus on independent combat action, raiding and destruction of enemy assets including vehicles and bases.
See the Homebrew article section Wanderers for more information.
From their source of Outcasts, agents and saboteurs, the Shadow of Phoenix assemble elite kill teams of veteran Pathfinders to lead Force Recon strike teams, or to head hunt. The warriors of the Shadow of the Phoenix never walk into the unknown, as there will be a Pathfinder leading the way. Any Pathfinder recruited to their ranks, even if just for a single mission, is gifted a finely crafted suit of armour to respect their current status among peers. Those Pathfinders who do not already possess a Shadeweave cloak are offered one to augment their own cameoline for the missions duration. Their longrifles are upgraded with inbuilt focusing crystals that greatly amplify their firepower, such that they can bleed through power armour and tank plates to strike the crew behind. These crystals are not gifted, loaned instead due to their cost in construction.
The elite line infantry of the Shadow of the Phoenix equivalent to aspect warriors. Flexible forces with multiple disciplines that work in cohesion to destroy the enemy.
See the Homebrew article section Adherents for more information.
Gravbike supporting element piloted by skilled Adherents, adhoc transports and heavy weapon support of the Shadow of the Phoenix.
See the Homebrew article section Skyhunters for more information.
In house special forces formed, initially, from converted Drukhari warriors and other rogue elements and many of the captured children from the Kabal of the Weeping Mask. A particular champion warrior, Mepheti earned a position as a heroic Felarch and eventually came to Regulate with inspiration for a special forces group. With potential to become a wholly new Aspect Shrine Regulate financed and helped construct the Aspect. Since then it has fledged and in all but receiving approval from Asurmen as an Aspect Shrine. The would-be phoenix lord Mepheti departed to forge her own destiny.
See the Homebrew article Miasmic Vespates for more information.
When Vix’Anna accepted a permanent position at last within the Shadow of the Phoenix, at the turn of the Noctis Aeternae, she began building a military unit to emulate her fighting style, at Regulates behest. The resulting unit was a cherry-picked assortment of Aeldari equipment given to handpicked Adherents trained in advanced subversive tactica.
Shade Hunters, as they became known, are pure horror shock units used maliciously to incite riot into vulnerable battlelines, and for covert sabotage. They travel under the cover of darkness, wearing Shade-Weave cloaks, the same smoke-weaving material used by Vix’Anna. Engaging the enemy at close range with power sword, haywire and psychotropic grenades the enemy is disabled of their weapons and minds. A final horrific element is the masks the warriors wear, closely designed to the sonic wailing masks of Howling Banshees these horned helmets scream out a bone shattering wail, which is magnified by the hallucinating brain. The majority of their victims truly believe a malignant entity, a daemon of some kind attacked their ranks.
Should more visceral means be required, their shuriken pistols are laced with volatile mutagenics, their victims explode into a gorey and infectious mess. However an even more deadly, but uncommon, weapon are Shade Wolves. For those bound to these mystical beasts they are a most deadly weapon and the Shade Hunters are those most likely to be bound.
Sola’an’Scáth, the abridged translation being ‘Light borne from the darkest shadows’ (Gothic Designation: Honour Guard) are a unit born from Regulates admiration and even jealousy of the Dragon’s Guard of Tien Bo. Their prowess was such that he saw the need to implement a unit that could break the enemy’s attack no matter their advantage. Such he took his best warriors, and devised a new combat doctrine for them to adopt. Since their inception the Honour Guard continue to recruit from the best warriors of their allies, but not from the Adherents.
The Honour Guard ride skyhunter jetbikes to swiftly travel from one battle to the next as well as using webway runes to quickly disengage or appear on the battle as needed. The Honour Guard’s Jetbikes are the pinnacle of the Dumanarii constructs, holding several upgrades unique to them. With a significantly powerful spirit stone the bike has limited autotomy and can fire instinctively as well to the psychic command of the rider. The rider is able to steer with just their knee’s and mind alone and thus can even shoot their rifles on the move. The spiritstone also provides a reserve rune shield. With the power of the Spiritstone the bikes can be fitted with Neural Shredders as their primary weapon.
The Honourguard use Sunrifles and powerswords, they wear reinforced adherent panoply and mandiblasters. Their support systems of choice are holofield decoy and rocket pod. With their veterancy behind these tools of death the Sola’an’Scath are a force to be reckoned with, and this was most keenly seen in the first campaign of Harmartia where they carved through the relentless chaos forces and astartes to reach the incapacitated body of Regulate.
Regulate eventually consented to utilising guardians once the citizen population of Penumbra outnumbered his warriors and the requirement for adhoc militia was too common to ignore and too demanding of the Thralls. Battles were getting larger and territory needed to be held. While the Thralls and Mon’Keigh auxiliary would be the first and second line of defence, the Guardians would be its last. If Regulate was going to put his citizens, those he had pledged his service to protect, on the front lines then every measure would be put into their protection.
The Shield Guardians were the result, they wear void hardened plates over their thermoplas mesh. In addition a celestial shield emitter is built into the armour. While the final armour weighs significantly more than the comparatively light armour of Guardians, the martial lifestyle and regime of Exodite minded citizens has led to an enduring people. Further a grav platform accompanies the squad and is armed with a defensive serpent shield in place of a support weapon. A Warlock and Adherent guide the squad through the theatre of battle.
The Shield Guardians are armed with shuriken catapults and reserve powerblades, given the martial code of Penumbra’s citizens they are formidable fighters, even when unguided by a warlock. However they are not there to eliminate enemy targets, ‘they are the shield that pins the attacker, while the Adherents slice the exposed vulnerability’.
- "He swung the dead weight of the human body over his shoulder, despite the Aeldari's slender frame the weight was nothing to him, he bore the corpse as he had held his rocket launcher the morning before. The warhost of Tu’Ca stood apart from the mercenaries, unnerved by their blood lust, their mindless thralls, and the coldness of their souls. But one of their numbers approached, their reckless youth belying any caution the guardian should have afforded.
"Why do you carry that Mon'Keigh?"
"He is not Mon'Keigh Guardian, his name was Subertoi. He died at my side, a warrior who's courage rivalled my own. He will be buried alongside my own."
"He can not join the circuit."
"No. But he will not rot here forgotten amongst the warp tainted of his kind."
- —Historical account of the Shadow of the Phoenix's attitude to their Mon’Keigh combat allies.
The Shadow of the Phoenix make use of Mon'Keigh as combat allies, though in a similar vein to the combat slaves of the Drukharii they are better described as auxiliaries. This unusual practice unintentionally became habit, starting from as early as the liberation of Erdinil. Regulate offered the liberated slaves a place fighting at his side regardless of their species. With every similar event, where Drukhari captives were liberated, they were offered the same. With centuries of this practice small communities have grown within the Shadows of the Phoenix. Regulate, and as such the Shadow of the Phoenix are particularly accepting of other cultures - provided it does not impede their ability to join them on the battlefield. The Mon’Keigh can practice their own religion and keep their own law (Within their community). It was a natural leap from this practice that the Shadows of the Phoenix offered the same contract that they offered their Craftworld and Maiden World allies, to other species. A few fringent Human worlds, and an Apparamillos colony have accepted this, and in return for protection provide a tithe of combat allies and resources.
The relations between the Aeldari and Mon’Keigh is attributable to that of working animals. The Aeldari, especially the Dumnanarii, treat their auxiliaries with respect but they are simple tools and means to an end. Much as an Imperial Guard would treat a combat dog, or a servitor. It has been known for the two to grow a greater respect and understanding, typically in prolonged combat theatres, but given the difference between the races it is never more than the affection one feels for a faithful hound. The communities remain mostly separated within Penumbra, but coexist easily. In battle the Mon’Keigh fight to their strength, respective to their species, typically the human forces fight with attritional tactics - pinning their foe down - a tactic that complements with the Aeldari’s killing blow , often likened to the two stage mechanism of the Fire Prism.
- "It took a hearbeat to recognise those eyes, a pale white iris surrounded the wide black pupil. She had seen them in her dreams, her nightmares, the memories that weren't hers yet so clear.
She thought they were dead at first. The eyes she remembered rested easy, above the twisted smirk and below impassive eyebrows. The smirk was gone from the face, the life was gone, but a barely perceivable heartbeat remained. She reached out with her mind, his was blank, he stood with no emotion, no thought. She recoiled, both memory and the fresh discovery of his fate brought her horror. She needed to throw up, to expel the anguish into physical movement, to do something to resolve this conflict.
The escort had noticed, he had returned and searched her face to understand.
'He is Drukhari' She finally spoke, emphasising each word with the bile it deserved.
'He is a Thrall' The escort replied impassively, but then spoke softly. 'You know him?'
'What is he to you?'
'Murderer' With as few words she conveyed the history behind them, the bond of a sibling was one stronger than any other. She had shared her pain, her suffering to this animal, as if it was her own. The escort sensed it, and followed her gaze to his eyes.
'Would it please you to kill him?'
'Not like this' The swift reply started her, she had never harboured a savage nature. 'He does not know who I am, or what he has done'
'He remembers, but he has no will of his own, he has no enjoyment of his own. He is a thrall.' The realisation of what the escort meant now dawned. The fate of this vile creature was immeasurably worse than any fate she could have endured to act. Yet, there was one last conflict to resolve.
'His eyes' She said at last, and the escort took them."
- —Mythological history behind the masks that Thralls wear at all times.
Thralls are the grim fate that awakes the enemies of the Shadow of the Phoenix that fail to die at their hands. Like the Drukhari the Shadows regularly take prisoners of their enemies, but the purpose is completely different, they became Thralls. A Thrall is a gladiator slave like no other, one with any will of their own psychically wiped from their mind. The very essence of their soul, their capacity to experience pleasure, pain, love or hatred is erased. Select memories are also destroyed, so that the Thrall loses their identity, capability to learn, and passion, but not their skills and are fixed in loyalty. With their soul reduced to a faint echo they are saved from the eyes of Slaanesh.
The Thrall is the fodder troop of the Shadows of the Phoenix, which they hold in regard beneath their allied Mon'Keigh. The Thrall are there to die and it is the Autarch's choice to spend it wisely. While they are fodder the Thralls are not incompetent warriors, they have the skill of the former warrior afterall, very often Drukhari, but they have no concern for their own life, lacking any self preservation and without careful monitoring can be squandered.
The Thrall born of Drukhari wears a plain mask, a simple design, unmoving but compared to the harlequin that is evocative of their nature. Its purpose is simply to hide their identity from other Aeldari who may recognise them. The Thralls are armed much as they were before capture, though unique boons are lost.
There is little standard recruitment to the Shadows of the Phoenix, as each constituent component recruits in house and provides the required tithe. The demand in skill and discipline is high however and every warrior is put through their paces through intensive combat drills and simulations aboard Penumbra. Numerous biodomes are turned over to mock battlegrounds, shifting wraithbone environments and automata create a hostile and novel experience with each trial. Any warrior found lacking will be re-educated by his new brothers. Excursions to death worlds as well as physical and mental challenges are included within re-education courses. Service within the Shadow’s military is a term of a century, though a large proportional stay of their own volition. The gruelling regime, like that of the Exodites, keeps the Aeldari souls free of the allure of depravity and self-indulgence that would bring Slaanesh.
Opportune recruitment from the battlefield is commonplace, and is one reason that many Craftworlds and Maiden worlds are keen to see the Shadow of the Phoenix gone after their duty is done. Wherever the Shadow of the Phoenix army rests, the local population will suffer attrition, civilians drawn away from former lives by their tales of adventure, their psyche drinking in their mindset and feeling the call to war. The Shadows of the Phoenix will take any recruits they are offered and begin training them. Finally, to be wounded in battle against the Shadow of the Phoenix will see you taken prisoner, indoctrinated and converted to serve ahead of their Mon’Keigh auxiliaries as Thralls.
The Shadow of the Phoenix typically field the unaltered heavy support of the Craftworlds, with a preferred focus on Fire Prisms and neglect of Vipers. With their lack of traditional guardian units, the Shadow of the Phoenix do not have access to Wrath of Vaul squads, but their auxiliaries may do. Wrath of Vaul of squadrons have been replaced with 'Fire-Support Wraithlords. Wraithseers, as well as Wraith constructs in general, are notably abundant. However there are some unique units they field in addition to this.
The Shadow of the Phoenix have replaced the holoshields of their armoured vehicles, when within Cells they are equipped with stealth generators that designed through the same technology as holoshields instead remove the visual presence of the tank entirely, when within a warhost these are swapped out again for forceshield generators.
Fire Support Wraith Lord
Existing in two classes these ‘Fire Support Wraithlords’, as termed by the Imperium, carry heavy support weapons, typically seen used by the Wrath of Vaul; D-Cannon, Shadow Weavers and Vibrocannons. These ranged specialists accompany squads of Wraith lords and operate within their own squads. They are capable of firing on the move, but are inefficient in melee or close range. The second-class utilise the Heavy D-Cannon or Suncannon of Wraithknights but cannot move and fire as the first-class. Ultimately the fire support wraith lord can be less accurate than traditional Wrath of Vaul, but their flexibility and hardiness are considered well worth the trade. These Wraithlords often accompany Wraithseers who can best guide their fire and negate the limitations of the spirit realm.
Harrier Grav Tank
Fitting a position as a jack of all trade light tank that can escort falcon grav tanks and accompany Cells or Warhosts the Harrier has a particular focus on speed and firepower. It primary weapons are its suite of turret mounted Phoenix missiles, that are reloaded from within the hull. Likeable to a skyray or whirlwind, though developed independently of them, the harrier is deadly raider. Zipping in, unloading a full salvo of these powerful missiles, before withdrawing again. Reloading takes some time, but salvos can be fired prematurely. The Harrier can fire at targets indirectly and at considerable range. The missiles function as great AA, artillery and direct anti ground firepower, though they are outclassed in each of these roles by other vehicles such as the fireprism.
Dread Cutter Grav Tank
The Dreadcutter grav tank came into being shortly after the Shadow of the Phoenix routed Imperial invaders of their territory. During the conflict the aeldari had used the webway to transport rebel imperial artillery regiments behind and around the enemy battlelines to release devastating salvos before vanishing once more. This devastating combination would be immortalised with this new design.
The converted grav tank carries a oversized linear accelerator that, when grounded and dug into the ground can rapidly lob large munitions across the battlefield. Coupled with the typical stealth fields of the Shadows tanks they dart across the battlefield between launching salvos. The Grav tank is outfitted with short legs that can deploy and dig into ground before firing, the additional weight slows the vehicle down.
The canon is fitted with an autoloader to allow bursts of rapid fire, and through the skills of the gunner practice of multiple rounds to impact simultaneously. The Dread Cutter can use plasma charge or sonic charge based munitions.
Apocalypse Super Heavy Grav Tank
- "Taste your mortality Mon’Keigh, the Apocalypse has arrived."
- —A pilot of the Apocalypse tank as he strikes an Imperial armour column
Rather than field Scorpion pattern super grav tanks the Shadow of the Phoenix innovated a new design to suit their style of warfare. The Scorpion is a tank designed to fight within heavy weight battles, to face enemy knights, and titans interchangeably. Such battles the Shadows avoid entirely, and should they be required to, they will bring the more dedicated Cobra and powerful airwings to eliminate these threats before battle. The Apocalypse is built around a different purpose, to accompany Cells and Warhosts on adhoc basis and be its singular Apex predator. Its job is dominate those vehicles beneath it. The anti-titan pulsars are swapped out for more flexible Prism cannons, two are fitted at 90° angels, with the mid strength lasers fitted into the hull within their own moving turret. This design allows a powerful mechanism, as the mid strength laser can exchange with reserves, doubling the rate of fire. The psychocrystal as a result must be built to a higher grade than standard Fireprism's however. The twin 'double punch' prism cannons allow the Apocalypse tank to ravage enemy tank columns by itself. The finale of the Apocalypse is a salvo of Phoenix missiles, that thanks to the room afforded by the removal of the pulsars can fit in the rear of the turret, but can only be reloaded externally.
Helios Wyrm VTOL Aircraft
The Helios Wyrm is an advanced grav transport loosely based off a Crimson Hunter or Hemlock Wraithfighter frame. Fitted with a troop bay and vectored thrusters the Wyrm can rapidly traverse the battlefield and continents, drop or collect troops, and act as a fire support gunship with its full VTOL capability. Many Cells are based around two of these transports assigned to a Northstar Frigate.
Through fate and fortune the Shadow of the Phoenix have encountered a number of of rare Aspect Shrines that have joined their military ranks, they are not exclusive to their military but prominent.
These silent and sinister sonic based warriors fell into obscurity when their phoenix lord disappeared, hampered by a dreadful reputation born from their nature and history. The Phoenix Lord however was revived when their armour was discovered abandoned within the bowels of Craftworld Brigan Tia and an Exarch was sought out to bear the mantle. One of their first acts since was to assist the Shadow of the Phoenix with their ill fated Hamartia Campaign, arriving before the end, and since then the Aspect has been revered by the alliance and shrines dedicated upon Penumbra and many of their members Craftworlds and Maiden Worlds.
See the Homebrew article Taciturn Serpents for more information.
The noble and agile warriors of the Astral Bulwark are sworn to protect their siblings on the battlefield, the majority following their Phoenix Lord in their endless adventure from one battlefield to the next. Like the Taciturn Serpents the Astral Bulwark and their Phoenix lord took to Hamartia, however they joined the initial operation to protect Uthwe and left with their duty done before the campaign went awry. Impressed by their skill and the combat niche they fulfilled, Exarchs were invited to return to Penumbra and establish shrines. Though the relationship with the Shadow of the Phoenix is not as significant as that of Taciturn Serpents, their Aspect Warriors are still a regular sight within the Warhosts, often assigned to the Commander's Court.
See the Homebrew article Astral Bulwark for more information.
The elusive tank hunter aspect has crossed paths with the Shadow of the Phoenix on numerous battlefields, and their envoys follow Penumbra and Erdinil, their tanks joining the Shadow of the Phoenix's Warhosts. Their services were acquired for the second battle of Hamartia after the Astral Bulwark had departed. Their service in the first battle ended the moment Ither arrived, a matter they have never been forgiven for.
See the Homebrew article Exuberant Executioners for more information.
Current Fleet Composition
The Shadows of the Phoenix fleet has grown mighty, pooling a fleet from their partners however means the number of available vessels varies to a severe degree. While the available ground forces of most members are given freely, their void ships are not given so freely. Extensive negotiation is required before each major conflict to draw the required vessels. As such the Shadow of the Phoenix maintain their own vessels built to their own specifications, naturally designed around armour and attack. Though the number of these vessels are few, they are exceptionally powerful. Regulate realised early into the alliance’s inception that naval power was an absolute requirement if they ever wished to survive beyond their previous subterfuge. As such no expense has been spared in expanding their naval forces. The final fleet element that the Shadows of the Phoenix can call upon are the 11 unaligned fleets of the Me’Djai who have free anchorage at Penumbra. Though their allegiance is their own they can unreliably be called on to support the Shadow of the Phoenix and are easily the most powerful asset the alliance has.
The Shadows own fleets, of which there are two, are each centered around a single Mar’Ca’Iah Dreadnaught and several Bhre’Na Heavy Cruisers which are supported by further cruisers and escorts. The Dreadnaughts are fleet killers, and require little assistance in their duty, but the cost of building these vessels have restricted the Shadows fleet potential. The fleet's names are Tre’Igean & Ne’Amhai. Their operations include continuous purging of invaders who enter Shadow of the Phoenix territory, as well as destruction operations and raiding.
- Auspicious Apostate - From the ashes of the battle for Brigan Tia came the newly christened battleship the 'Auspicious Apostate', once a Falling Moon class with an unoriginal name the Shadows successfully foiled the Drukhari's attempt to scuttle the vessel and refitted it for their own purpose. It served their navy well for centuries, and before the first Voidhunter was constructed, as their flagship until finally it was destroyed in battle.
- The Butcher - Or Ast’Raeus to its crew. The first of her kind, and alone for many centuries, Ast’Raeus’ design carries many more redundancies and over-designed elements that made the vessel more inefficient, but also more enduring. The Ast’Raeus is crewed by the enduring members and ancestors of the Corsair’s ‘Tranquility of Entropy’ a crew known for their intelligence and cunning, learned in the particulars of their vessel and able to exceed operational predictions.
- The Harvester - Or E'Os to the Aeldari. The second and so far, last of her kind. E’Os features many advantages and streamlining in its design, with a focus on speed and void-craft wings. Sacrificing some of its armour potential. The greatest advantage is to its efficiency in the spear of light salvos, as the weapon’s design was advanced with experience from the first prototype. A crew was gathered from the Me’Djai to operate E’Os, though competent they lacked the extraordinary ability of the Tranquillity of Entropy’s crew.
Unique Vessel Classes
The Mar'Ca'Iah Dreadnaught, or Voidhunter, is the pinnacle of the Shadow of the Phoenix fleet, a Battleship and fleet killer unsurpassed to break the enemy with powerful beams of plasma wrought from the Craftworlds means to blast away asteroids. Clad in layers of armour and shielding, as well as carrying a large suite of void craft its a formidable threat and arguably most importantly a deterrent against most invaders.
See the Homebrew article Mar’Ca’Iah Class Dreadnaught for more information.
Bhre’Na Heavy Cruiser
The Bhre’Na, or Fetch, Heavy Cruisers are the Hunting dogs of the Dreadnought, and its guardians. Carrying no fighter craft, it is instead armed with a suite of support weapons. Its primary weapon is a massive linear accelerator cannon, able to fire projectiles at variable speeds, including near relativistic speed, these projectiles are essentially small unmanned wraithbone craft. At long range and high speed this munition is capable of piercing holes in enemy warships. At low speed the munition imbeds into the enemy hull, and can alter its trajectory. The cannon, after extensive development, was made to be turret mounted. The wraith munition is able to grow after impact, infiltrating the target and encumbering it. On rare occasions it has been used to repair allied vessels.
The Heavy Cruiser is armed with a suite of long range Leech Missiles, which are an effective first strike measure to disable enemy engines. The Heavy Cruiser itself has immense engines and speed, but without the typical Aeldari solar sails has a short effective range. Finally the Heavy Cruiser is covered in an array of Shadow lance batteries – these operate as an excellent fighter and projectile barrier and are only utilised against ships at short range.
The Heavy Cruiser is a support vessel, and not designed to operate alone; Typically two will accompany the Mar'Cah'Iah, with a adhoc pool of others, and six escort Penumbra at all times. When Heavy Cruisers are expected to take part in heavyweight fights they have their leech missiles replaced with vorpal missiles.
- "Imperial databases will always drone endlessly about the power of Void Hunter, its shadow eclipses their navy and quite rightly. But the Northstar Frigates are what has won these Aeldari their wars. It is a workhorse, its dependable weapon, the lynchpin to its military."
- —Rembrancers footnotes on the Ralta'Thu
The smallest class of Void vessel used by the Shadow of the Phoenix yet its most widely utilised vessel. The Ralta'Thu (Gothic designation: Northstar) Frigate is the designated vessel for operating cells, with each cell operating around a Northstar. It will house their equipment and support their air transports and vehicle detachments. Meanwhile the Ralta'Thu is small enough to travel through the vast majority of the webway and make operations within the atmosphere. Its size and incredible agility makes it a noteworthy opponent to those who have survived encounters against it. In large scale void battles squadrons of Northstars will join bombing runs against capital vessels.
The Northstar is a low maintenance vessel, for the most part, that can operate with a crew of three if needed. It holds a hangar bay at the stern that holds two Darkstar fighters, two Eagle bombers and two Helios Wyrm Dropships. It has a second internal hangar that holds four grav vehicles and the equipment to refit them as needed. Crew quarters can hold fifty warriors and a (potential) crew of twenty.
The Northstar is designed as a slender body with narrow hitbox that coupled with a curved facing can deflect munitions. It features composite armour, the outer surface is formed from regenerative wraithbone but underneath sits void hardened plates that would require replacing if broken. The four engines sit on short wings, with vectored thrusters, which combined with excellent inertial dampeners allow the pilot to turn on the spot as well as use full velocity thrust vectoring. In place of holoshields are stealth measures, chaff, signal inhibitors, signal jammers, and even visual camouflage that in no way makes the Northstar invisible, but make it difficult to find and track. Two holofied decoys can be deployed to misdirect the enemy as well as to directly protect the Northstar.
The Northstar is armed with a potent suite of weaponry, the primary and single most powerful weapon is the 'Than'Ix Array'. This Fusion Beamer can be deployed from the underside and is particularly short ranged for void warfare but exceptionally powerful given its size. With this the Northstar can engage voidcraft beyond the typical expectations of a frigate and grievously wound them. However these cannons require extensive maintenance and calibration to achieve their potential, with typically at least one dedicated crewmen working around the clock between engagements. In reserve are two suites of, typically vorpal, torpedoes mounted within the wings. These torpedoes make a formidable salvo but cannot be quickly reloaded. The final weapons available to the Northstar are automated turret mounted starcannons that can be deployed onto the top deck, which are its only countermeasures against interceptors aside from its own.
Several places are home to the Shadow of the Phoenix. Their combined military operations centre and the growing anomalous population does not belong to their component factions but to the Shadow of the Phoenix; refugee’s, soldiers in reserve and their respective families. This demanded for lack of a better word a home, independent of other political factors and demands. Over the millennia this has ranged from various void ships, abandoned tracks of the webway and for a long time a recovered Void Station. While this void station was gifted to the fledgling Dumnanarii, permanent and appropriate homes were founded and in the early years of the 42nd millenia the Shadows discovered their ultimate stronghold.
The Trackless Void
A region of the webway known as Nea’Mhni or the ‘Trackless Void’ is one that the Harlequin Vix’Anna knows well and through her the Shadow of the Phoenix. Even the Harlequins have not mastered the shifting paths of this labyrinth but some of their numbers can traverse select regions. It is also a region home to the webway predator Shade Wolves, and therefore exceptionally hazardous for those travelling alone. As such the Aeldari typically avoid this region of the Webway but it has over time become a home to the Shadows of the Phoenix, who learned of select secure hollows and have used them as boltholes.
Veil of the Shadows
The first independent home for the Shadow of the Phoenix and later the independant home of the Dumnanarii. The Veil of Shadows was a forgotten and ancient void station that's classification was lost to both the Imperium and its Aeldari makers. Even since the discovery of Craftworld Penumbra the Veil of Shadows has remained a critical asset and colony. With the Dumnanarii rapidly forming their own distinct people, as part of their recognition and ascendance of Samm'Ich, the Veil of Shadows was gifted to the Dumnanarii.
For several hundred years, before Craftworld Penumbra was discovered, it was the Shadow of the Phoenix's only home and held their fledgling civilian population and kept their dead. The Station was constantly upgraded and with the needs of the Shadows joined battle and relocated. It not only could move short distances under its own power but was able to open webway portals to travel further, with the assistance of void craft it could efficiently travel to wherever it was needed. When Penumbra was acquired the civilian population could move to the secure Craftworld and, its greater living space and quality, the station was transformed into an entirely military installation. Designed to act as a forward command centre and mobile space port that would have greater flexibility in navigating the webway thanks to its size.
The Veil of the Shadows has a considerably strong reinforced wraithbone super-structure and void-hardened surface armour that allows the station to trade and shrug off the powerful weapons of even enemy battleships. In addition to this a powerful forceshield has been built into the station, replacing any remaining holo-shield emitters, which can protect it and docked vessels. The shield is backed up by a significant rune shield, in the years that it was occupied a small infinity circuit was created from the Shadows resting spirits. The Circuit has continued to grow and has been fully integrated into the superstructure of the station, as such it will unreliably deflect attacks from the station with the undead’s psychic potential.
- "We'll take them under our wings, commencing extermination"
- —The cold voice of the gestalt mind of Penumbra as it acquires targets for the next salvo.
The craftworld of Penumbra is an unusual one. It is not a true craftworld, not one of the cruise liners to flee the fall but an ancient vessel amongst ancient vessels. Its design is tooled entirely for war, without habitation domes but instead hangars and barracks with biodomes for environmental training. Since colonisation the barracks has been expanded to incorporate the civilian population with habitation domes spawning as the ship grew symbiotically with its population. Speculation is that the vessel was built for the war in heaven, and was lost to the chaos of that conflict, undiscovered in the void between galaxies. Although such an asset should be a significant boon to the Shadows the vessel has several drawbacks that make it unwieldy as a potential warship. The original power generators are completely lost to decay and time. The equivalent generators required could not fit within the ship, and as such frequent recharges from stars are required - this pool is drained further by the power-hungry Mar'Ca'Iah Dreadnaughts. Additionally the ship features a significant weakspot that could be exploited in battle. When found the ship had been nearly bifurcated by unknown means. Repairs have been made, but the grafted material cannot replace the original and it remains a flaw within the superstructure. That said the craft suits the Shadow of the Phoenix. It is small and able to traverse select pathways through the webway (though as the population and ship grows bigger these pathways diminish) and despite its size it bears the weaponry and armour of craftworlds many times it size. It has been deployed numerous times to vital void conflicts as an ultimate weapon to sweep aside the enemy - though it is more of a deterrent and show of force, ultimately the Mar'Ca'Iah dreadnaughts are better suited.
The infinity circuit of the vessel is an unusual design, two separate circuits that reflect the twinned people that inhabit it. One circuit houses thoses spirits that will not rest, that which is mostly the Dumanarii, and the other the remaining souls at peace. The War spirit is fluidally connected to the ships weapon batteries when the Craftworld joins battle, where it will hungrily attack their enemies. In the battle the vessel is innately malevolent and has seized victory through its own initiative.
It was with excessive journeying of Nea'Mhni that the Shadows found the abandoned city of the Firmament Apparition. Ir’Kal is a city that exists within the trackless void, and though the Drukhari had established a port there. Building it atop of the existing and abandoned city of their ancestors. This expansion from Commorragh became bountiful and expanded until they destroyed themselves in infighting when their raiding operations were blocked. At the height of their civil war powerful and forbidden weapons were used by ever more desperate fringent factions. This included unrestrained use of the Glass Plague. When Vect discovered that the Glass Plague ran rampant in Ir'Kal, he sealed the remaining temporarily closed webway portal permanently. It was centuries later than the Shadows found the city, now a necropolis and began the slow process of converting it. At first a section of the Drukhari city was removed and their own wraithbone structures replaced, grown to complement and homage the origin settlement. With their base of operations made, over yet more centuries the Shadow of the Phoenix would continue until all taint of the Drukhari were removed. While only a fraction of the space has so far been occupied it is a true refuge and settlement for a colony to flourish with the beginnings of an Infinity Circuit has begun here.
Ir’Kal was two great gateways at its poles and an inner keep in which the colony resides. Around this the necropolis blends into the webway barrier, forming something akin to a Dyson sphere, with countless thousands of portals into the Trackless Void. The Shadewolves have made their territory in the Necropolis but avoid the keep itself. The great gateways, Fir'Inne & A'Lasadh, are the primary entrances from Ir’Kal to realspace avoiding the Trackless Void. A'Lasadh leads to Commorragh and thankfully remains locked by the Drukhari who still believe that the city is home to the plague and a liability. Fir'Inne leads indirectly to realspace; Opening into a subrealm of the trackless void, travellers can be guided to the true entrance and exit by the cities lighthouse that emits a mysterious light that can only viewed through select eyepieces that come from the city. The exit of this subrealm to realspace emerges in the star dust and nebulae that orbits a cold star.
The Lapis Surfs
This expanse of frontier space holds countless hundreds of star systems encompassed by Blue Giants. The Maiden Worlds that initially contributed to the Shadows of the Phoenix call this home, and the number of craftworlds that have joined the alliance have come here. The Shadow of the Phoenix holds dominion of much of the space, purging it of Ork and heretic invaders. While they may only occupy a small territory within this expanse their tactical doctrine insists they maintain a much wider potential combat theatre. A 'ring' of unmanned monitoring stations mark their border and warn travellers of who keeps it. Former imperial systems, since having declared independence, sit across the northern border and make an effective buffer to invaders.
The appearance of the Shadow of the Phoenix is one of variety, their people are born from over a dozen members and cultures, as is their military. Forces raised from their allies will keep their own distinct appearance, bearing their own colours and iconography. Common themes of black, grey, purple and teal are seen. While there is no unifying scheme or mark that the Shadow enforce on their members their own in-house raised warhosts wear armour with black plate imbued with 'night sky' designs.
There is one habit that does unify them and harkens back to the first days of the alliance and its war against the Firmament Apparition, Cameoline cloaks. Every warrior within their warhosts (Excluding the Thralls) wears a cameoline cloak, to assist in their infiltration. Often raggedy and well worn the rangers coats have built a mythology of malevolent spirits, unnatural forces, ghostly figures leaving only the dead. The elite and veterans of their military often wear Shadeweave cloaks, whose smoky vapour only exacerbates this mythology.
Embracing this the Shadows have replaced the traditional holoshields of vehicles and aircraft with stealth generators, unless they are conducting direct assault.
The rune of the Shadow of the Phoenix vaguely resembles a bird taking flight, it is more importantly the symbol of the Unyielding Custodian, the responsibility of putting one life before your own.
The ideology of the Shadow of the Phoenix, its people and military, is an extremist militant attitude. To outsiders they can be many things; savages, immoral mercenaries, war mongers, and a death cult. Aspects of these assumptions are true. The Shadow of the Phoenix has become an independent people of its own right, and its extremist militancy has birthed the Dumnanarii, who exist only for war. The Shadow of the Phoenix and Dumnanarii are so tightly interwoven that it is easy to confuse the two into one. While militant, disciplined and thriving from war, the people of the Shadow of the Phoenix know and seek peace, unlike the Dumnanarii who could not exist with it. Most outsiders, even Aeldari, cannot see this.
The Shadow of the Phoenix are hardy and disciplined, unbridling themselves in the theatre of battle and revelling in the adventure yet never losing themselves fully. Codes and practices similar to honour and fidelity are practiced at all times, with the encouragement of clean kills. As a mindset the faction embodies the martial warrior, the defender that Khaine could be as the War God. They practice and drill endlessly, seeking out 'Combat Practice' when at peace - mercenary duty.
However there is a well earned reputation for savagery. This comes from the treatment of their enemies, ironically counter intuitive to the individual warrior's care for holding their own indulgence in check, treating their enemy with respect, the Shadow of the Phoenix have two fates that await prisoners of war and the enemy wounded. To be made a Thrall, a mindless enslaved and expendable resource or, if a particularly hated foe of theirs, to be impaled alive upon Penumbra to feed the Sundered Heart. These behaviours to Asuryani and Exodites are nothing short of savagery.
Assumptions of savagery are further worsened by the Shadows tactics in the past. When in full scale war, such as their war against the Imperium when it invaded their territory, their battles against the Firmament Apparition or the 2nd Hamartia Campaign, the Shadows of the Phoenix enact terror campaigns. The focus of which is leaving on masse 'scarecrows' of the enemies mutilated dead and wounded, put before the enemies march. As the enemy marches to their goal, unable to pin the Aeldari to a battlefield of their choosing, they will pass miles of their own comrades knowing the fate that awaits them.
To outsiders the Shadow of the Phoenix have no apparent respect for the dead and their rightful rest. Regulate, and as such his people, are pragmatic. The souls of the dead are a resource, every fallen warrior a potential wraithguard, a guiding spirit to a weapon, psychic energy to protect the still living. The Wraithguard are raised for trivial battles flagrant to the practice of Asuryani - many warriors in fact agree to serve 'Eternal' to be resurrected as Wraithguard immediately upon their death. The warriors of the Shadow of the Phoenix, though not to the extreme of the Dumanarii, are heavy with the souls of their brethren as every spiritstone that can is put into service. Wraithblade-like souls, those spirits to angry and warlike to rest are more abundant. The Shadow of the Phoenix respects it's dead, but respects the need of the living first. Because of this they are sometimes assumed to be a deathcult, an assumption easily propagated when one of their leading heroes is an exiled Spiritseer accused of Necromancy.
The rise of the Ynnari under the ascended Ynnead has sewn a division throughout the Aeldari race. The division with the Shadow of the Phoenix was not a serious concern, at first. The discipline and resolve of the people was not divided, the community and their service came first, it was only select members of the command that made demands to join or assist the Ynnarii. The council however was thrown into turmoil. The member states were each in their own political civil wars, and divides in loyalty and opinion were reaching their elected leaders. Regulate was determined to remain impartial, and personally did not want to be subjugated to another ruling. His personal history with prophecy and fates was one of pain and suffering, he cared not for the mythology of Ynnead. When heralds and messengers of the Ynnarri came, ahead of a significant force, Regulate amassed his warhosts ready to annihilate them if need be - much to the council's uproar.
Ultimately he would have little choice, Regulate was outmanoeuvred as the Ynnarii did not come with violence, or religion or ideals. They came with gifts, a reincarnated Basilate, and asked for a contract to utilise the Shadows military in the future. Ynnead was master of life and death, Regulate could not refuse.
Regulate - Ead’Ranai (Gothic designation: Arbiter) of the Shadow of the Phoenix and Ruin of the Drukhari. As Arbiter he is the final word within the Council of the Shadow of the Phoenix, though has no authority to implement rule, and the sword of their military. Pilot of 'Dunm'Haithe', Regulate will be seen at the front of the charge and within the thickest melee. He is enslaved to war, an Exarch of his own Path, unable to comprehend the peace he seeks to establish. An unmatched warrior, a 'living weapon', grown through millennia of pain and battle that defies the very fates and stars, defying death itself with the turn of the 42nd millennia reborn alike the Phoenix Lords.
Basilate - First amongst equals, Chief Spiritseer of the Shadow of the Phoenix and ill-regarded Necromancer to the greater Aeldari people. Wraithseer and Wraith Construct 'Dum'Haithe' since the infamous Hamartia campaign until 'transcended' by the Ynnarri to 'walk both realms at once'. Basilate is the connective tissue of the Quadrumvirate and its heart, an unparralled psyker and library of knowledge.
Kabela - Once what could be ascribed to a spare, in regard to her position as a leader, Kabela was the armourer and builder of the fledging alliance, their most venerated Bonesinger. However when it came to the Hamartia Campaign's resolution Kabela was thrust into the position of Arbiter, alone, and thrived against all odds. A commendable warrior and powerful psyker, the Quadrumvirate's backbone and last truly living member.
Vix'Anna - The illusive puppet master of the Shadow do the Phoenix, for countless millennia sowing their history with small manipulations in service of her agenda, saving the fledging Shadows again and again. The legendary power of this Shadowseer is intimately tied to the Shadow of the Phoenix since her rebirth through the dark arts of the Haemonculus and the loss of her understood path in the greater game. Vix'Anna is a hurricane upon the battle, sowing chaos amongst the enemy and blinding them to the Shadow's movements.
Sovereign of the Dumnanarii and first of Autarchs within the Shadows of the Phoenix. Samm'Ich is a youth among the ancient and experienced warriors, but their prodigy. When Regulate wished to separate the Dumnanarii from the Shadows of the Phoenix, and his political position within both of them, he ascended Samm’Ich to the newly formed position of Sovereign, which has since changed to ‘High Sovereign’ as the faction expanded. Samm'Ich was one of few that Regulate both trusted to remain true but not a puppet, to grow and continue to learn and not fall to the path Regulate was. While Regulate remains Arbiter, and final word of the Shadow’s council, Samm’Ich is Sovereign of the Dumnanarii and their final authority.
Samm'Ich has an armoury of his own design. The Helix Core Battlerifle is a heavily converted and customised weapon inspired from the Miasmic Vespates, which fires oversized wraith cores that violently explode within or in proximity to their victim. The ammunition can be changed on the fly but is clip fed for convenience. In reserve he wields his original Demi-Klaives earned in his former position as Klaivex of Mor'Mont. He also carries the symbol of his position, the Voice of the Sovereign, a finely crafted power axe. The Voice of the Sovereign is a 'singing' weapon, returning to his hands once thrown, it is also a psychic amplifier that, like a witchblade, can be used to focus and release his fledgling psychic potential.
Samm'Ich's armour is a finely wrought suit of Adherent Aspect Armour. While it was made bespoke for his position it incorporates elements of his original Incubus warplate and its design is evocative of the ancient armour found aboard Penumbra. With its single free support slot Samm'Ich fitted a specialised healing apparatus. A fusion of Drukhari and Asuryani, a fallen healer's spirit stone is embedded into a Drukhari amplifier. Instead of sending out a wave of anguish the device sends out a wave of healing energy. The psychic potential of the once powerful and highly regarded healer can guide entire squadrons through the healing process, those subjected walking off would be lethal wounds. He is accompanied by a familiar construct, one of the likes utilised by the Miasmic Vespates but fitted with small disruptive missiles. Finally Samm’Ich is often seen with his ‘true familiar’, a Tio’Nsca Eagle, Das’Ma is often seen gliding serenely in the skies above but is psychically bonded to Samm’Ich, and through their eyes Samm’Ich can survey the battlefield, though the powerful eagle has been known to take unsuspecting victims amongst the enemy scouts.
As his position of Sovereign, Samm’Ich is often followed by his servant Scrung’En, though like all Dumnanarii he lives a Spartan lifestyle, the weight of command requires a servant. On the battlefield Scrung’En will be seen carrying Samm’Ich’s rifle if he discarded it to join the melee, or his axe before hand. Off the battlefield he will be seen running errands and carrying messages.
Once an Aspect Warrior of the Howling Banshee shrine, Il'Li'Rial was one day injured and captured by Drukhari slavers. She would escape other potentially horrific fates as a gladiator in the arenas. For years she defied the fate of her combatants and became known as the 'White Wych'. She became the Champion and Executioner of the Archon of the Weeping Mask and his prize warrior until the Shadow of the Phoenix provided an opportunity and she finally broke her captor.
Since she was liberated Il'Li'Rial fell into the shadows ranks feeling a sense of debt and with uncertainty of her future. She fell into leading the other gladiators and kidnapped Drukhari who she felt kinship for, and with Regulate owing her his life, she was the only one who could temper his rage and see these warriors fairly treated. This led to her becoming a permanent and respected member of the Shadows.
Il'Li'Rial eventually became one of the first Path Forgers, which although its students would not grow as widespread as others, remained a vital instrument of the Dumnanarii. Il'Li'Rial wields a powerblade, and 'Core' Pistol, as well as Fusion Pistol. She has kept the majority of her gladiatorial armour that crossed the designs of Wych and Howling Banshee.
Originally a member of the sisterhood of Lhilitu, a Lhamaean, and member of the Weeping Mask. One of the Archon's court, his chef and a diplomatic agent. Wickedly intelligent and shrewd, the courtesan saw through Regulates deception though decided to side with the Exodite and betray her employer. Against his better judgement and reservations, A’Lex’Zina has become a valuable ally of the Shadow of the Phoenix, the seemingly charming woman has secured a foothold within the alliance and its diplomatic missions, becoming vital in bridging the diverse and increasingly fracturing factions, as well as recruiting new members. Regulate’s only speculation for her apparent loyalty is the challenge of her chosen profession, and disdain for her former.
- "No mercy, no code, no honour, no hesitation. You lose your weapon, your blade, use a rock, keep fighting. If they take your life, take them with you."
- —Mi'Ish initiates his students.
The 'Last Bastion' of Erdinil, Mi'Ish was once a Dire Avenger within the small military of the Craftworld. Whatever his life was before this duty he has kept fiercely secret, for he was not born to Erdinil but was its guest. He serves Erdinil, and to protect his adopted Craftworld he follows the Shadow of the Phoenix. His skills and expertise laid much of the foundations of the Adherents, though he never became a Dumnanarii.
Mi'Ish was infamous for his part in the battlefield, for he was savage in the fight. No matter who won, no matter the odds, Mi'Ish would still be standing at the end, by sheer will if nothing else. Mi'Ish is armed with a Bladestorm Shuriken Catapult and Grenade Launcher.
- "We have the location of the enemy champion, ‘The Storm of Blades’, finest sword of the ‘Third Legion’.
He has claimed too many of our fine warriors, I would like the blight to be cleaned, immediately.
My pleasure Arbiter"
- —The Dismounted Spear is unleashed
The warrior who would become known as the ‘Dismounted Spear’ is a Shining Spear Exarch of Erdinil, having in his younger life joined the Aspect Warriors of Biel Tan. He returned to Erdinil to raise a Shrine and see the next generation of warriors as his pupils, now an Exarch. When Erdinil was invaded he led the counter strikes that bought time for the rest of the military and performed with distinction. Outnumbered and overwhelmed, his students fell and Mar’Shi was grounded in the bowels of the enemy. He seized a Glaive from a Wych and continued to fight against the Gladiators. Hours later Regulate found him upon a pile of dead Drukhari, driven with the energy of true inspiration Mar’Shi realised that he was not lost upon his chosen path and still had to find his true future. He joined the Shadow of the Phoenix for fresh battle and challenge, mastering and perfecting the art of single combat, still using his acquired Glaive and original paragon blade. He is a champion warrior unparalleled and their duellist, to be sent out to kill the enemy champion or commander in single combat.
The Swooping Hawk Exarch Elika returned to Erdinil to defend her Craftworld, and in the battles led suicidal raids on the Drukhari grav transports. Flying into the horde of raiders and ravagers to plant melta bombs and burn them before they could land. The Swooping Hawks who undertook this duty were few and knew the suicidal measure of their plan. Elika was one of a mere handful that survived that day, racking up a phenomenal kill count and like the others was charmed with a preternatural luck forever after. Elika has since joined the Shadow of the Phoenix, as an agent of chaos and Cell leader. Their strength lies in their pure destructive capability, especially as a Tank Hunter, carrying Melta bombs and replacing their grenade launchers with missile pods, to complement their sunrifle.
Prince of the Tw'Ats and still against all odds alive and active. Mol'Dius is an ancient and veteran warrior, having spent millenia raiding and conquering the stars, millenia retired in sentry of Aleo, he has returned to over a millenia of duty to the Shadow of the Phoenix. Mol'Dius leads void wings at the helm of his personal eagle pilot assigned to the Ast'Raeus.
The personal greatsword of Regulate Shadow’s Bane is an ancient witchblade that has seen countless battles across millennia. An entire lineage of warlocks exists in the sword through spirit stones implanted along the blade. A powerful relic before its rebirth, following the Hamartia campaign it became unsurpassed, an exceptionally powerful weapon imbued with exotic priceless materials and rebuilt with only the most skilful hands.
Reforged after the calamity of the Hamartia Campaign the blade was reforged, void hardened and implanted with exotic crystals and materials the Wraithbone became like black glass, which beneath its surface conduits of purple warp energy coursed, and with a series of runes inscribed between the spirit stones.
Shadows Bane pulsates and hums with energy, changing in pitch and tempo with the flow of battle, the sheer psychic potential of the blade can make it crack and spark with eldritch energy, and with Regulates command release a torrent into the enemy's ranks. While the blade's edge at all times remains ice cold to the touch, it’s runes heat with the rhythm of battle until they glow white and steam the air around until finally when Regulate reaches a tempo of fury the Blade ignites in a searing blue flame that is anathema to enemy pyskers and daemons.
This unique construction of a plasma based sniper rifle is Regulate’s signature ranged weapon. The weapon, similarly to his witchblade, is a collaborative effort between several parties and heavily inspired by the weapons of the Astral Bulwark. The weapon is comparable to a power sword, slicing through power armour and tanks as butter.
A powerblade gifted by Kabela and imbued with aggressive spirits that redirect the weapon to its enemies weakpoints and attacks their souls directly. An ideal weapon for an uninspired swordsman.
The cloudpiercer Basilate utilises is a well crafted and maintained weapon, worthy of his position. Like its brethren sword it is imbued with a malevolent spirit that guides his hands, with every kill the Thunderstorm grows thirsty for another kill, growing with psychic power until the Spiritseer unleashes a wave of eldritch energy.
In the hands of Kabela this instrument can shape beautiful creations and heal the wounded warmachines of the Shadows.
A potent singing spear with a void-hardened blade, that Kabela can utilise to channel her psychic potential as an aggressive weapon against her enemies.
A deadly Sunrifle that is Kabela’s favoured weapon.
This powerful runeshield is built around a potent and protective spirit stone, which is highly reliable in its protective abilities. A gift from Basilate, it has seen Kabela through carnage that has consumed far greater warriors.
An archaic material that moves enigma to expected and seems to shift from solid to gaseous at random. When drawn completely the wearer can be seen to disappear completely into a smoky heat haze, much as an Archon can disappear in a Shadowfield.
The Spinneret Rifle of Vix'Anna is suitably modified and is a sniper’s weapon. It’s sting is not limited to the monofilament line that breaks through armour, as Vix'Anna laces each filament with a Wraithbone parasite. In its brief lifetime it infiltrates organics and metals alike and can incapacitate it’s victims.
The Mistave of Vix’Anna used for defensive conjuring of Psychic powers, appearing as a humble branch of wood topped with a mysterious crystal instead of a symbol of Cegorach..
The witchblade of Vix’Anna is an Assassins tool, with the ability to fold in on itself. Although Vix’Anna’s combat style is typical of a Shadowseer when the need arises she can send a fury of offensive psychic power through the blade.
The Shadows of the Phoenix, as Regulate personally believes, are no direct enemy against Humanity; despite the cruel and phobic nature of the milkyway's inhabitants the Shadow of the Phoenix would exist in harmony with others, if they could be reasoned with. They have relinquished any ideal that their empire will rise again or that their curse will be undone. Their place within the galaxy is in the unknown and unconquered, not squandering lives rebuilding empires. Should the Shadows be employed against the Imperium, they have no qualms in executing the mindless indoctrinated Mon'Keigh, for the sorry state of the Imperium is likeable to Commorragh in their eyes. They will however act under no recognisable banner and ensure that the attack will be clean. Should the Imperium attack them they will reply in kind, destroying their attackers and leaving ‘justifications’ for their actions; This ensures that the Imperium will second guess such actions next time.
The relationship between the Shadows of the Phoenix and Imperium is mutual apathy and cold war. The Shadows make it their practice to maintain clear communication and cohesion with neighbouring Imperial military elements. They identify themselves with unique codes that they make an effort to keep secret from their true enemies - and have cleared their name after several false flag operations. Their void territory is clearly marked, and uninvited travellers are warned well of the fate that awaits them should they not turn back. Through this the Imperium knows well who the Shadow of the Phoenix is and those Imperial agents and Governors within the Eastern Fringe know to just leave them well alone.
The Shadows have proved themselves in over a dozen scenarios to be potential combat allies of the Imperium, and should the Imperium come to the Shadows with the right price, they will fight on their behalf. That said the domain of the Shadows are the Eastern Fringe and other outlying territories. Their more common interaction is with human territories that the Imperium holds little or no authority over. The Greater Imperium who have not encountered them before have no understanding or rapor to hold ill fated attacks.
The, for lack of a better word, faction that is the Winters Shadow are a loose business partner of the Shadow of the Phoenix. After brief skirmishers the two parties opened communications and realised an accord could be opened. Though little physical trade took place between the two, other than token gifts to ease relations, the Guild of Wanderers and the 'House of Rain' quickly grew a strong bond. Both parties dealt with intelligence and were spymasters, and the exchange of information flourished and bore an allegiance. However the loose allegiances and rivalries of the Houses made the relationship complex. The corpse harvesting of the House of Devils revolted the Aeldari and threats would not return a number of their own harvested dead - resulting in a calculated strike. The House of Wolves were initially confrontational but their shared attitude as warriors grew a kinship after a series of tournaments. The House of Kings naturally made barely a single communique and only sent a 'Baron' to represent themselves at the first diplomatic meetings, which have since never picked up.
Blades of Onyx - It was a surprise to both that an alliance was born between these two mercenary groups. Since the Aeldari used the Blackshields to unload particular rescued gladiators that they could not return home the two factions encountered each other again and again, with varying degrees of successful joint ventures. Since the fall of Dramos the two factions have sworn fealty, and when drawn into conflict settle the matter with honour duels. They exchange intelligence, and pass on resources of no value to themselves. For example should the Blades of Onyx find spirit stones, they will pass them on. Should the Shadow of the Phoenix find abandoned Imperium resources, weaponry, artefacts and the likes, they will pass that on.
Solar Winds of Auximite - Strong trading partners, these Rogue Traders have no qualms with making trade with xenos and appreciate the more straight talking nature of the Shadow of Phoenix.
Taniks, Winter’s Shadow - As, for the most part, neutral traders and scavengers, the Winter's Shadows and Shadow of the Phoenix have found themselves with an Ad Hoc trading agreement. However the relation between the severed Tanik’s is significantly stronger. Since his severance from the Winter's Shadow, Tanik’s and his crew have found themselves competing with the Shadow of the Phoenix for the same work. However, an interesting agreement was made, the Shadow of the Phoenix could expand Taniks contacts and with the webway his operational theatre and once he understood this he aligned with them. Taniks now sits within the Shadows operational cells, taking the cream of mercenary duty and keeping a large proportion of the bounty. The Shadow of the Phoenix essentially sits as his Guild, they have no authority over him, but can manipulate his service, ensure no conflict comes between the groups and receive a percentage of his profits.
Drukhari - To say the Drukhari is a hated foe of the Shadow of the Phoenix is to say that the Imperial Inquisition hates heretics. The burning and poisonous hatred that Regulate holds has become the radical mindset of the entire alliance. They are anathema, while the Drukhari exist they are a blight and painful reminder of what the Aeldari can but cannot be. Regulate would see Commorragh burn and this may well be his final objective. The Shadow of the Phoenix was born in, what they view as the most heinous crime, predation of their own kind. Against Drukhari they draw no quarter and give no remorse. They can expect the same in kind.
- "They are nothing but a cancer, a blight, a mockery to what we are. They take founded tradition and necessity, twist it and pervert it. They have no place within our Craftworld, pay them and be done with it!"
- —Farseer Nultha, when Regulates warriors returned with his own forces to Craftworld Ullurai, following the battle of Le’Letri.
- "Mmhhh yes. They are too aggressive to be an Exodite, but too disciplined to be a Corsair. Too wild to hail from a Craftworld but too honourable to be a Drukhari. So, what are you?
I am Dumnanarii. Cease your wasted monologue Corpse Surgeon and count your days, and know that you will get nothing from me.
We will see, we have plenty of time afterall."
- —Haemocullus Draz’uc to Adherent Il’ua under interrogation.
- "I tried to steal it, before I wandered. I had desired the blade since the first day I saw my father wield it, slaying a mighty beast during my first hunt. He tracked me down and taught me why it was his blade. It would only be mine upon his death. It was not worth the price."
- —Regulate's lament, upon seeing his reforged blade.
- "The Shadow of the Phoenix? Who are they again? .... Oh yes. If you think they warrant a display of their place in the universe Tim'Othy then maybe you should continue looking for employment. No, we only have reason to thank them. They have destroyed two Kabals, that we know of at least. The first one I would have seen destroyed anyway in a matter of months for their insult. Oh and the other embarrassment, an Archon foolish enough to be defeated like that would have been supplanted in due time.
No, if I were to do anything at all I would add them to the payroll. Let them continue to clean the weak from our streets.
Now, where is that wine?"
- —Extracted dialogue of Asdrubael Vect and his opinion on the Shadow of the Phoenix.
- "He gasped for air, clutching his chest at where the dagger had been. The wound was dry, the armour restored. There was no pain.
‘Where was he?’
There was no snow, the cold icy air had become warm, and smelled almost sweet. The sun was gone and replaced with a high vaulted ceiling. There were stars in the distance, not clouds or blue sky. But he could see so far! Not since his youth had he picked out the dozens pinpicks of lights of each unique star. The micro pores of the wraithbone supports and vapour trails of void craft were clear and crisp. His eyes were that of a stranger, and had none of the weight of age that his had.
He was unfocused. Somehow, against every attempt that fate had thrown at him, he was alive. The Drukhari were defeated, he had survived their final attempt on his life and had recovered in the infirmary. What of Aleo, had the fleet arrived in time, he needed answers. There were others with him, Kabela amongst them.
'What happened? Is Aleo safe? Has Samm'Ich returned?' The voice was alien to him. Was he hoarse? It was deeper, accented, yet familiar.
The figures stared back silently.
'Answer your Arbiter!'
Samm'Ich stepped forwards. 'Your home is safe, I saw the last of the raiders routed last week'
Week? Had he taken so long to recover? His age was showing more and more. He leapt up lithely and walked up to the figures. Was he taller?
No. The thought broke through at last with a painful tear through his heart. He reached for his sword, it was lying on a plinth covered in cloth. It sung as he approached, the growling tones that typically accompanied it soothed in his hands, the stress he felt eased with the blade. He turned the blade to face him and saw Da'Nmar looking back.
'Was there a body to recover?' He spoke with his friend's voice, though he did not make it boom across the room as he once would have.
'There was only ash. We thought it was an effect of the venom' Kabela spoke at last. The memory of the venom came back, he had burned alive within his armour, such agony only their dark Kin could muster. Da'Nmar was his protege, he had trained him for over a century to take up the mantle of his position and lead in his stead. He had become a friend of rare closeness who Regulate had come to love as a son. Now he had become the first of a possible infinity of sacrifices to preserve Regulate's identity. He laughed. What else could he do?"
- —Mythicised account of Regulates resurrection