OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
Intent: Sub a more unusual Eldorai unit that can serve as a strike force for Kaida and her group. Expand on Eldorai lore a bit. Somewhat inspired by the Eldar Corsairs. Superficial similarities exist with the Dark Eldar, but while the Harbingers venerate a death goddess and would be considered demons by conservative Eldorai, they lack the Dark Eldar's excessive cruelty and sadistic debauchery.
Image Credit: Here. 'Dark Eldar: Darting Swiftly' by Beckjann. Found on Deviantart.com.
Role: Strike force, raiders, religious cult.
Permission: They can use Firemane gear since I write the owner of the company.
Links: Eldorai, To Hell and Back, Yuuzhan Vong, Kaida, Force-Dead, Ashiranism, Kar'zun, Kaeshana, Firemane Industries, Battle of Kaeshana.
Unit Name: Harbingers of Twilight
Affiliation: Shadow Knights (lore submission), Shadow Knights, Court of the Shadows, Emissaries of Illyria, Tynan Vanoth, Eldorai.
Classification: Elite Infantry, raiders.
Description: The Harbingers of Twilight are a force of raiders, religious zealots and corsairs who revere the Great Harbinger Illyria, the Goddess of the Underworld in the Eldorai Pantheon. Her faith is considered heretical by orthodox Eldorai, for the Book of Light proclaims that Illyria grew haughty and rebelled against her the Great Goddess Ashira. To mock Ashira's creation of the Eldorai, Illyria spawned demons and abominations. After failing to slay Ashira in mortal combat, she was imprisoned in the underworld. Despite being reviled, there Illyrian sects have arisen time and again, challenging Eldorai orthodoxy. There has been a bit of a resurgence ever since the destruction of Kaeshana, which Illyrians see as proof that Ashira is either weak or does not care for her children.
The Harbingers take their radical beliefs a couple steps further than the older Illyrian cults did. They are all, without exception, Force-Dead. To the orthodox Ashiran, this makes them soulless. The Harbingers, by contrast, believes this has freed them from the pernicious influence of the spirits that seek to tempt Sciians, for only in silence can the Mistress' true word be heard. They are freaks to normal Eldorai society and have responded to this by embracing their curse and declaring it to be a blessing. They are a collection of outcasts and proud of it. They launch raids to get most of their resources, dedicating their campaigns and kills to the Great Harbinger. For in the end, it is she who rules over the Underworld. Unsurprisingly, being completely void in the Force makes them good at combating Force-Users. They also practice a form of shadow justice against those they consider heinous, though their methods are on the brutal side. They utilise a mixture of conventional weapons and Yuuzhan Vong technology.
Unsurprisingly, the Emissaries are heavily militarised. Their outcast status has brought the Harbingers into the orbit of the Shadow Knights, a group of Eldorai dissidents and renegades who have rejected the tripartite order of throne, temple and nobility. They are also an important component of the Emissaries of Illyria, an Illyrian cult that has adopted many of their theological views. As a result, the Emissaries hold the Force Dead in high regard and are distrustful of Force-Users, viewing them as suceptible to the temptation and thus in need of watching. Not all Illyrians are members of their Emissaries though. Ironically, the founder of the Illyrian Heresy was a Force-User and a disgraced noblewoman. The Harbingers are quite hostile to the Eldorai Matriarchy, the Church of Ashira and the old noble families. This makes them opposed to compromise. They are among those Eldorai exiles who support making a clear break with the ancien régime and building something new.
Tynan Vanoth is the Commander of the Harbingers of Twilight, holding the title of Fatebringer. Skillful, secretive and cunning, he was one of the architects of their rebellion against their Vong captors and made himself a name as a raider. Tynan is a figure of calm and control. He believes in economy of word, motion and deed. He is the type to observe and only act when needed. Detractors have seen this as a sign of weakness or lack of resolve, only to be disabused of this notion. They tend to be surprised by the explosive violence he is capable of unleashing. Tanon remembers those who cast his people out. He also remembers the Vong who enslaved them. But his is a cold hate, not a burning rage.
A male in a leadership position in an Eldorai group is an unusual thing even among the more 'progressive' renegades. As a young warrior, he proved that he was just as brave and skilled as any Eldorai female - if not more so. Although his own gender was an obstacle for him among his people, Tynan is rather dismissive of the Eldorai male rights movement and has a tendency of mocking it. Tynane prefers to avoid the limelight, using cunning and subterfuge instead. This is also reflected in his personal combat philosophy. He's displayed a talent for deception and trickery. This was shown when he managed to convince his Yuuzhan Vong master that he was completely obedient to him and had submitted to the 'True Way'. In truth he was one of the leaders of the insurrection.
Another member is Siona Vaerum, one of their junior leaders. Siona was still a child when the Illyrian commune she had been born into was banished from Kaeshana and then abducted by Vong. She lost a sibling to the Embrace of Pain. did not escape the 'alterations' the Vong saw fit to bestow upon their slaves. She breathed in the corrupted air of the Vong ships. The cruel abuse she suffered at the hands of her captors, who were eager to pass on their 'insights' about pain to their victims, left its mark on her. Forced to be self-reliant, she learned how to be sneaky and tough. During the course of the rebellion, she and her father, a proven warrior, were stranded on the inhospitable world of Raevana, a planet teeming with dangers. They were eventually rescued by fellow Harbingers. She grew into a daring raider, explorer and reaver.
However, she was among those raptured during the Netherworld Event. At first she welcomed it, believing it was a blessing from Illyria. but she soon reconsidered her views. She found herself on the Field of Blades.Here was no grand plan, no purpose, no justice, only neverending slaughter. People fought, killed, died, rose again, fought, killed and died, only to rise again and continue the cycle. She fought, she died, she killed. As time lost its meaning, she clung to what remained of her identity. Being Force Dead helped her. But to escape the cycle, she had to something unthinkable by making common cause with a Force-User, namely a former Angelii called Lavina Taldir. Having lost her memory during her imprisonment in the Nether, Lavina called herself Ashana. The two were able to escape. Despite her suspicion of Force-Users, Siona grew protective of her unlikely comrade, even though her peers disapproved. The Harbinger had to essentially teach the near-feral Ashana how to act like a normal person again.
Siona is an outwardly optimistic person and free of the sexism that is so rampant in Eldorai society as her father was a big influence on her. Her experiences with Force-Users have left her conflicted, as she is a believer in Illyria and suspicious of space mages, but has also encountered some who did not fit the stereotype. She has been involved with the Starstriders, the exploration corps of the Shadow Knights. She was also a participant in a Shadow Knight mission to investigate ruined Kaeshana and rescue the few remaining survivors.
Unit Size: Medium
Unit Availability: Rare
Unit Experience: Elite.
- Stouker Concussion Rifle
- ACS-202 Vanquisher Light Repeating Blaster
- MkI Bolter
- ACS-204 Vulcan Blaster Rifle
- ACS-201 Executioner Slugthrower
- Reaper Plasma Shotgun
- Cryo Projector
- Magnetic Repeater
- Dissuader KD-30
- Sonic Disruptor
- Verpine Shattergun
- A280 CFE
- Cylix Bolt Pistol
- Magnetic Revolver
- Thud Bug Launcher.
- PLX-4 Missile Launcher or EL-34 Rotary Plasma Cannon. Each squad can have two missile launchers, two plasma cannons or one of each.
- Nang Hul, Bhorash Jelly, Razor Bugs.
- Fighting Claws
- Wrist Bolter.
- MM9 Rocket System
- Fire Spitters
- APE Boltgun Ammunition
- Plasma Cutters.
- Plasma Disruptor
Combat Function: They are crack soldiers. The Harbingers' existence has been defined by many tribulations. However, this has shaped them into a capable unit. Bravery, skill and fanatical zeal are well-represented among them. Force Dead. The Harbingers of Twilight are all Force-Dead Eldorai, completely void within the Force. They have no presence within the Force and thus cannot be sensed in it or mentally manipulated. possess an immunity comparable to that of Vong and their biots, meaning they are unaffected by most Force powers targeted directly against them. Even a normally powerful telekinetic blast that was capable of launching an ordinary opponent off their feet at high speeds simply caused a Yuuzhan Vong either to stumble, or lose balance temporarily. Their Force Dead nature can give them an advantage over Force-users in combat.
However, while being void in the Force is a great benefit, it also has all the associated drawbacks as they cannot be aided by the Force either. Thus if an ally were to use Battle Meditation, that would be no help to the Harbingers. Trying to communicate via telepathy or heal injuries with the Force will not work on them. Moreover, they are not immune to Force Lightning and can be indirectly affected by the Force. To name some examples, during the Yuuzhan Vong War Jedi were able to cause Vong to suffocate by making the air super dense around them or increase the air pressure to a degree that they were effectively crushed.
Moreover, chucking a boulder obviously still works against Force Dead and Vong because them being a void in no way affects the fact that a giant rock is being thrown at them. Naturally they can also be sensed via Vongsense. In short, all the Force techniques that work against Vong and other Force Dead also work against the Harbingers. The Harbingers lack the extreme brute strength and durability of Yuuzhan Vong. However, their Vong slavers put them through some rather savage conditioning, including the embrace of pain, as part of their experiments on them. As a result the Harbingers are stronger than is normal for Eldorai, making them about equal to humans.
The Harbingers are a rapid strike force. Their methods revolve around slipping into enemy territory, striking fast and hard, then vanishing quickly. They are skilled in conducting boarding operations to seize enemy vessels, stations and so on. To ensure mobility, their arsenal of heavy weapons is rather limited, which is a problem if they go up against heavy armour or have to launch direct assaults on heavy fortification. When faced with tanks and walkers, they would have to ambush them with anti-tank weapons and explosives or retreat, as they cannot engage them head-on or deal with large numbers of heavily armoured vehicles. They are reavers, and thus their strategy focuses on rapid, hard-hitting strikes, rather than taking and holding territory for a protracted period of time.
Being an elite group, they are not a large unit. On the ground, they rely on speeders to traverse long distances. These give them mobility, but also leave them vulnerable to damage as the vehicles are lightly armoured. Heavier ground vehicles are not available to them. Moreover, being an infantry unit, the Harbingers are vulnerable to artillery and air strikes. Those among them who wear Vonduun Skerr Kyrric armour have the usual advantages, but also drawbacks associated with this suit. The Vong splinter group the Harbingers were originally enslaved by never figured out how to cure the Vonduun crab's allergy to Baffor pollen, and their former servitors have not had any more luck.
- All of the Harbingers are Force Dead. Thus they are completely void within the Force, cannot be sensed in it and possess an immunity to direct Force powers comparable to that of Yuuzhan Vong and their biots.
- Elite soldiers. Courage, tenacity and skill are common characteristics of the Harbingers. Particularly skilled in boarding actions and rapid strikes.
- The Harbingers are Force-Dead and thus completely void within the Force. While a great benefit, it does have the normal associated downfalls in that they cannot be aided by the Force either. Beneficial techniques such as Battle Meditation, Force Meld and Force Healing will not work on them. Additionally they are not immune to Force Lightning or Force Net, and can be indirectly affected by the Force.
- No heavy vehicles or artillery. Limited air power. Being infantry they are vulnerable to long range bombardment such as air and artillery strikes. Their tactical doctrine revolves around rapid strikes and they operate in small units. This means that while they can carry out rapid strikes to seize a strategic objective, they are bad at holding it by themselves.
The Harbingers of Twilight have their roots in an old Eldorai heresy. They can trace their origins back to a community of Illyria worshippers, who were banished by Star Queen Tirathana VI. Forbidden from setting foot on Kaeshana's surface again, they were declared outlaws and apostates. In Eldorai mythology, Illyria is the Goddess of Death, ruling over the hellish underworld. Orthodox Eldorai do not worship the reviled deity. This is because she rebelled against the Great Goddess Ashira, the supreme deity of the Eldorai Pantheon, who is credited with fashioning the first Eldorai from clay, breathing life into them and endowing them with souls. However, Illyria was prideful and envious of her mother. Determined to surpass the Heavenly Mother, Illyria utilised dark sorcery to create demons, twisted parodies of Ashira's children. Illyria's children were vile abominations and endangered Ashira's Creation.
Upon being confronted, Illyria refused to see the error in her ways and beg forgiveness. Instead, she turned on the Eldorai Pantheon, unleashing an army of demons. The conflict between the two is known as the War in Heaven. Angels and the other Eldorai deities rallied around Ashira, who led them into battle against the forces of darkness. While their armies clashed in an epic battle, Ashira and Illyria duelled upon the surface of Kaeshana. Illyria was able to stab and wound Ashira severely. However, though weakened, Ashira cast her down into the underworld. Then the supreme goddess ascended to heaven. Until this fateful day, the members of the Pantheon had walked the earth, but now the Star Queen and clerics would be needed to communicate with them and guide the faithful. This is how the Ashiran scriptures record events at any rate. While Ashira is associated with light, fire and air, Illyria is the embodiment of darkness. However, because orthodox Eldorai society is built upon the bedrock of crown-temple-nobility, many dissidents and renegades have embraced Illyria, regarding her as a liberator who stood up to the powers that be, who was unjustly vilified.
Queen Tirathana VI, whose own legitimacy was somewhat questionable after deposing the Evora family, made a concerted effort to enforce religious orthodoxy and thus strengthen her claim to the throne, as the queen was not just a temporal ruler, but the Defender of the Faith. The dreaded Investigators of Ashira's Truth were endowed with sweeping powers to root out bastions of heresy and unbelief. A whole community of Illyria worshippers was arrested en masse. They were accused of blasphemous practices, consorting with demons and foreign raiders and ritually murdering innocent Eldorai. Some were probably guilty of crimes, many were not. Certainly not of ritual murder. They made convenient scapegoats for the slaver raids that plagued Kaeshana. In any case, Her Majesty's Government ordered their deportation. This was deemed appropriate since, as far as Ashiran hardliners were concerned, the rest of the Galaxy was populated by savages and demons. So it was only appropriate to banish the blasphemers. Confessions were often extracted via torture.
Therefore, they were sent to the 'foreign devils', being taken in ships to the nearest inhabited system and left to fend for themselves, with minimal supplies. Inevitably, they became prey for pirates, in other words the 'foreign devils' they were accused of consorting with. Assuming they actually had, this did them little good as the slavers just regarded them as another source of chattle. A good number, those deemed weak, died in captivity or were sold on the slave markets. However, the captors had something more horrific in mind for those they deemed 'deserving'. For these were no ordinary slavers, but a Vuuzhan Vong sect, who felt a strong hatred for Force-users.
Their Shapers began to conduct experiments on their captives, considering them to be a viable slave race that could be 'enlightened'. Slave seeds and the Vongspawn virus were among the methods used to keep them under control. Over the years, their time was spent labouring for the Yuuzhan Vong. Eventually, through use of their hideous bioscience, the Vong succeeded in creating Force Dead Eldorai. These experiments were paired with rigorous indoctrination to keep the Eldorai under control. The elves' children grew up with a twisted understanding of Eldorai culture, fused heavily with that of the Vong who lorded over them.
Forced to serve as slave-soldiers, the Force Dead Elves performed well in a number of battles. However, their Vong masters had underestimated the tenacity of their slaves - or the hatred these felt for them. And so it came to pass that the mutated Eldorai rebelled, taking advantage of internal squabbles between two Vong warlords. Each of whom expected the mutated slave-soldiers to obey them. Slaughtering their captors or venting them into space, the rebels escaped on stolen vessels. Their world view had been irrevocably altered by the tribulations they had experienced.
To the Eldorai, Sciia is not just their word for the Force, but also for soul. For the Space Elves view the Force as their inner flame, rather than an omnipresent energy field. The Ashirans believe that Sciia is a gift from the Goddess. Those without Sciia are soulless demons, abominations that are nothing but a cruel mockery of Ashira's Creation. This applies to Vong but also other Force Dead creatures. This made the Harbingers of Twilight outcasts. Even if they had wanted to, they could not have gone back. Ironically, these experiences strengthened their faith in Illyria. As they became more and more removed from their roots, they began to see becoming Force Dead as an act of communion with their goddess, breaking the shackles of Ashira, whose minions had dared to scorn them, and embracing the Mistress of Hell.
They became a force of cunning raiders, guerillas and mercenaries, living a nomadic existence. Their condition made them freaks even among the Eldorai exiles, though some came to swallow their disgust and appreciate their talents. Where possible, they struck against the hated Eldorai Matriarchy. Indeed, Firemane forces clashed with them in the corporation's early days when the Harbingers hit convoys or remote outposts. However, they also practised a form of 'shadow justice' by punishing slavers, as they had not forgotten their own enslavement. They preferred poetic punishments, such as hurling slavers out of airlocks into the vacuum of space - or giving them a taste of their own medicine by enslaving them.
Then came Kaeshana's desolation. Though a number of their membersm vanished into hell, the Harbingers were during the Netherworld Event. Akala's wild rampage caused major powers to crumble, presenting them with new targets. Indeed, a number of Harbingers believed that the mad goddess had to be one of Illyria's demons or Illyria herself. Especially since Force-users had been pulled from their pedestal. It was a bit of a letdown when things went back to normal. The stories told by disappeared cultists who'd managed to return from the Netherworld convinced the cult that Ashira's heaven was an illusion. Instead, there was only the underworld, governed by the mistress of the dead. Soon word of Kaeshana's coming destruction travelled down the grapevine. Before the massive asteroid devastated the planet, the Eldorai Matriarchy, backed by Firemane and the Silver Sanctum Coalition, launched an exodus, saving billions of Eldorai and many of the surviving Kar'zun.
However, for those who had to be left behind, the conditions were hellish. They cursed the exodites, accusing them of abandoning them to save their own skin. It was this chain of events that brought the Harbingers back to Kaeshana. In the enemy, they wound up with an enemy of my enemy is my friend situation with the Shadow Knights, a group founded by Eldorai soldiers and rebels who'd grown disgruntled with what they saw as the government abandoning Kaeshana.
Both came together separately to evacuate or otherwise help people. Initial contact was awkward, even violent, but then they found common cause against the Monarchy, slave raiders who took advantage of the chaos on Kaeshana. Later the First Order annexed the planet. Kaeshana became a battleground, but when the Galactic Alliance withdrew following the Kaeshana Rebellion, the Shadows and the Harbingers were forced to likewise evacuate the planet. During the battle, there had been a truce with Firemane and the Eldorai Matriarchy, but the united front did not survive these events.
The Harbingers began to work more closely with the Shadows. Their role in defending the Forsaken, as Kaeshana's surviving Eldorai called themselves, against foreign threats had won the Harbingers a degree of trust. It helped that few of the Forsaken still believed in Ashira. However, many Eldorai exiles are still wary of them. While Illyrians are well-represented among the Shadows, many tend to focus on Illyria as the first revolutionary and goddess of justice, not as the demonic figure the Harbingers imagine her as. This has produced awkward theological disputes. The Force Dead warriors played a role in founding the Emissaries of Illyria, an Illyrian religious movement. However, it does not command universal support among the Illyrians. There was a schism between those who believed they could commune with their goddess by becoming Force Dead and those who used the dark side to accomplish this. Ironically, the Harbingers are a lot more egalitarian in gender matters than most Shadows or Eldorai in general.
While part of the Shadows' nomadic migrant fleet, the Harbingers are still very independent. Much to the profound irritation of disciplinarians like Kaida and Strategos Yseult Faerin, they treat orders from above more like well-meant guidelines and are averse to the idea that when the Archon says jump, they should ask how high. Being a radical atheist, Kaida also feels great contempt for their belief, to say the least. However, they do their job well as a strike force, though they make sure they get an 'appropriate' share of loot. One of the Harbingers, a warrior called Siona Vaerum, was a member of the task force the Shadows dispatched to Kaeshana after the planet emerged from the Netherworld. Siona fought bravely, helping the task force link up with survivors of the cataclysm after crash-landing. The group faced Ashiran religious zealots and beasts that had been driven mad confinement in hell. However, they were able to successfully evacuate scattered bands of survivors after overcoming a mystical barrier. For this they were honoured by the Shadow Corts. Today, the Harbingers are associated with the Court of the Reaver, a Shadow Knight body set up to manage and represent irregulars, raiders and partisans. Their present commander is its leader. Their Force Dead nature makes them very disconcerting to most Eldorai, but their combat prowess cannot be doubted.
Recently, the Harbingers spearheaded an expedition into the Netherworld. They hoped to find more of their comrades who had been stranded in the Nether during the calamities. Instead they came across a strange Nether city called Gethsemane. It contained both old comrades and old foes. One of the wraiths who lived there was the original founder of Illyrianism...who was not too thrilled about her modern 'followers'. Ironically, the Harbingers found it easier to negotiate with some royalists than their revolutionary kin. After negotiating with what passed for the local government, the Harbingers set up a small outpost in the heart of the city.