Dark Elf History In Brief


A Brief History


Long ago, the High Elves, Wood Elves and Dark Elves were a single unified race. Malekith, a great Elf hero was destined to become king of the elves. However, Malekith grew corrupt in his ways, and with his corruption, he became evil. Malekiths corruption cost him his chance at becoming the king of the Elves. This lead him to plot against the king, his own king, and he attempted to take the throne through treachery. The sacred flame would not allow him to take his place as king, burning him permanently. As a result, he was cast out and reviled.

With the loss of his kingdom, and health, Malekith's sanity also waned. Over many years Malekith and his followers warred against their kin. This began the separate act by Malekith and his most powerful mages caused both mass destruction, and the salvation of the Dark Elves. The war continued for many years, finally coming to a point where the Dark Elves were almost destroyed.


Born of evil, corruption, treachery and madness, the Dark Elves have survived, prospered, and dream of one day ruling over the entire world. The Dark Elves come from Neriak, a dark, dangerous and magical city. They see no problems in achieving their goals through exploiting others and have no respect for honour, love or devotion. Those who have tried to form friendships with Dark Elves have more often then not found themselves behind the point of a dagger whether 'literally' or not.

Dark Elves are perhaps the most feared race, known to be cruel, devious, and extremely intelligent. They are the ultimate Evil race; moving silently in the shadows, plotting and calculating. Merchants and other races will react to them with at the very least suspicion, often becoming hostile. Because of the Evil of their race Dark Elves can be found as Necromancers, Lich's and Shadow Knights but also take up the pursuits common of the High Elves.

Magical energy seems to be highly concentrated in the Dark Elves and they are often found as Enchanters, Clerics, Magicians and Wizards.Dark Elves, use to moving in the shadows, have excellent night vision and are able to hide themselves from their enemies at will.

The Dark-Elf is a very close cousin to the elf. In the past, the elf was closer in temperment to the Ancient Ones and man than today, but in disgust with the way their ancestors ruined the world of plenty they tried their best to dispell their darker nature. The Dark-Elves formed as a seperate race after one of the great racial purgings, when several thousand Elves were thrown out of communities for the most minor of transgressions. These refugees needed a new home, so they turned their backs on the light, and descended into the earth.

It is interesting to note that the Elves have not proven to be overwhelmingly successful with regard to Good and Evil, but have had the effect of making Elven communities extremely Lawful. On the other hand, the continual concentration of the worst character traits in one newer and younger race of outcasts away from the light has produced an intelligent, magic using and Evil people. The Dark Elves have no allies, they are not trusted by anyone. They consider all Elves to be their enemies, no matter their individual circumstances. Any Elf they have the opportunity to kill, they will! The feeling is mutual! No-one is really sure exactly where their communities actually are, everyone simply says "in the earth".


General Characteristics


The armies of the Dark Elves are raised from all levels of society (except the slaves). Every man and woman is trained in weapons of war from an early age, and many of the warrior castes begin their training at birth. Like all Elves, the Dark Elves are highly disciplined and regimented. Battle for them is almost a calm and orderly affair. Only against their hated rivals the High Elves do they show their true ferocity and violence. The Dark Elves have forsaken or changed much of their ways so that they do not much resemble the High Elves in battle.

The most distinctive differences are the use of deceptive units and Assassins. Many of the troops of the Dark Elves appear to be regular infantry, but often the regiment is armed with the Repeater Crossbow in addition to hand weapons. The rough background of this race has led to a hardier than average species, and the Elven background has granted them better magic using skills. Their underground activity has maintained the night sight ability, but turning their back on the light and everything around them including the gods has resulted in a lower piety.

Religion, Faith and Death


The religion of the Dark Elves is the only religion in the Warhammer world which is most closely monotheistic. The Dark Elves respect and follow Chaos and Khaine. Chaos is the basic tenant of their religion, the god of murder and death for "religious" reasons, (sacrifices and such atrocities), while Khaine is the god of murder and death for pleasure. With this belief system, the Dark Elves are also the Warhammer race which is most interested in death.

Many would say the the Undead are most interested in death, but this is not the case. The Undead are more interested in undeath, and in life beyond death than in death itself. It is said that some of the greatest Dark Elf heroes knew 10,000 ways to kill a man, and 10,000 ways to cripple a man without killing him. Because the Dark Elves have forsaken all gods other than Khaine and Chaos, they have a very simple religion. Khaine wants his followers to spread death, violence and vengeance upon others. Chaos wants sacrifices and ceremonies dedicated to him. The Dark Elves have taken this to heart, and are adept at fulfilling their gods wishes.


Social Structure


The birth of the Dark Elf race and their social structure is founded on violence, and vengeance. Thus, it is not uncommon for the Dark Elves to be immediately distrustful of each other, even of their own family. The Dark Elves have a rigid social structure. Each person has an assigned place in the society, and there really is no way to change your position. However, it is an accepted practice that anyone who kills or undermines the power of another is entitled to that persons position. The deposed individual is left to the whim of the deposer. This often leaves gaps in the social structure, which can be filled by enterprising individuals.

All of the social castes can participate in this political posturing, even the slaves. It is rare, however for a slave to have enough time to assume any sort of power, as they have no rights in society whatsoever. Political posturing is carried out in a number of ways. There are several equally common methods, murder, assassination, blackmail, warfare, and the application of wealth. Some of these methods show who is directly responsible for the other's downfall, while others allow for many rivals to compete for the new position.

In Dark Elf society, both men and women are treated as equals. This is because both have an equal aptitude for treachery, and both are capable of the same atrocities. Family groups are not the loving households of many of the other races. Rather, they are more like a band of people who live together for mutual protection. Of course, this does not eliminate the possibility of treachery from within. It is not uncommon for family members to be killed by one another for some disagreement, or internal argument.

It's not uncommon for Dark Elf families to be large and only loosely related. This is because each person takes over all of the assets of the deposed individual. This often includes the family as well as the wealth.


Army Composition and Rationale


Dark Elf armies tend to be composed of warrior-citizens. This means that the army's main attack forces are average people. The Warriors, Spearmen, City Guard, and Crossbowmen consist entirely of the citizenry. These should be a large part of any Dark Elf army, and should be represented heavily. The City Guard are a small exception, as they tend to not to fielded far from the city they defend. Though all soldiers and commoners alike have the ability to blend and manipulate themselves into the background.

The Dark Elf army has a number of elite troops, which are often seen in specific circumstances. The Black Corsairs are often seen near the very front of the battle before it has begun, preferring to be one of the first units to strike when the enemy comes near, but not wanting to be separated from the other soldiers for long.

Cold One Knights are seen in small numbers, and in larger raids, but are rarely seen small battles. In Neriak, the numbers of Cold One Knights is much larger, but they are still only a small part of any army.

Dark Riders are fairly common, and tend to accompany many armies. Dark Riders are especially prevalent in small raiding armies, and in Watchtower armies. This is because of their great ability to travel with news between the small forward forces, and the larger main army.

Witch Elves are often seen in battles which will be glorious bloodbaths. This is their favourite pastime, and if a battle is to be bloody, they'll want to be in the thick of it.

Black Guard are very rarely seen away from Neriak, but may be sent on special missions in far away lands. Similarly, Executioners are normally not far from their home, but may appear where Malekith wishes them to be.

Harpies tend to follow the Dark Elves (and other races) wherever battle is to be had. Flocks of Harpies appear where the raiding parties of the Dark Elves appear.

Scouts tend to appear in small armies, as these form the vanguard of the Dark Elf attack force. However, their battlefield importance cannot be understated.

Many armies contain at least one mage and Repeater Bolt Thrower. Both of these troops are fairly difficult to acquire, and so are reasonably few in number. A high level mage is almost never without a few apprentices, and is very rarely seen in a small force. The importance of mages to the Dark Elf race cannot be understated.

Monsters are also limited in number, but are much more commonly found with Arks than anywhere else. They are most commonly seen with their master, and are usually wary of everyone else.


In-Depth History and Event List of Dark Elves


The Dark Elf race was born in war, a conflict that has continued formore than 5,000 years. The roots of this terrible war lie with one being,once a High Elf prince of the most noble blood, but who was destined to become the Witch King of the Dark Elves. The name of this abomination was Malekith.

Malekith was the son of Aenarion, the first of the High Elf Phoenix Kings, and the mysterious and beautiful seeress Morathi. He grew to be a mighty warrior and a great sorcerer. What no-one knew was that Malekith had been secretly experimenting with the power of Dark Magic, and that his contact with its evil energies had corrupted his spirit and created in him an overwhelming desire for supreme power.

However, Malekith's secret experiments slowly began to affect his appearance and character. He grew slowly more and more introverted, his skin grew dark, and his personality became progressively more sinister and intimidating. So it was that when Aenarion died there were many who doubted that Malekith would make a suitable ruler, and he was passed over in favour of Bel-Shanaar, who became the second Phoenix King. Hiding his resentment and frustration, Malekith vowed to wait until he could make the throne his own. None suspected his evil intentions or his unquenchable thirst for power.

Malekith bided his time. In the colonies he led successful armies against the Orcs and the forces of Chaos. His expeditions took him ever onward to the cold colonies of the northern New World. Here in the rubble of anabandoned pre-human city he found the Circlet of Iron, a talisman of awesome sorcerous power. Finally, after many decades, he worked himself into a position of power second only to the Phoenix King's, and then he acted.

Malekith claimed that Bel-Shanaar was a secret worshipper of the Chaos gods, and then had him poisoned. Believing that all he now had to do was crown himself as the new Phoenix King, Malekith marched into the sacred flame of the god Asuryan, the final test that each Phoenix King has to pass to prove their worthiness for the crown. Malekith was confident that he could endure the ordeal as his father had done before him, but he was proved horribly wrong. The flame of Asuryan would not suffer his polluted body to pass through it. Horribly scarred and burned, Malekith was castback onto the side of the platform he had entered from.

Malekith and his followers fled to their stronghold in the mountains to the north of Ulthuan. Leaderless, the Elves did not pursue. Frantic consultations were held and it was decided that the third Phoenix King was to be Imrik, who upon his succession took the name Caledor the First. Meanwhile civil war raged throughout Ulthuan. It was a period of great confusion and conflicting rumour. Brother fought brother. In the far realms and colonies no-one knew who the true king was. Some spoke for Caledor, some spoke for Malekith.

In strength the two sides were equally matched. The followers of Malekith were numerous and well-versed in sorcery, being descendants of those grim Elves who had followed Aenarion after he took up the Sword of Khaine. Therewere no fiercer warriors among Elvenkind. Their mountainous strongholdin the north of Ulthuan was a near impregnable base from which they couldlaunch their attacks. At first they were as organised and disciplined as their enemies were confused. However, the new Phoenix King could call on the mighty Dragon-riders of Caledor and the legions of the Phoenix Guard.

Malekith himself recovered his strength and called his armourers to him. With the aid of the sorcerers he had trained in the arts of Dark Magic and Hotek, a renegade Priest of Vaul, he forged a great suit of black armour which would lend strength to his withered and fire-blasted body. To the brow of its great horned helm was welded the Circlet of Iron. On the day of its creation he had his armourers fuse the suit directly to his body. After passing through the fires of Asuryan even the infernal heat of their forges could not hurt him. After that day those who looked upon Malekith shuddered, for he was a figure of dread. Ever afterwards, Malekith was to be known as the Witch King.

Fell he was and many were his victories but to no avail. Slowly and surely the truth of what had happened came out, and slowly and surely the Elves rallied to the side of Caledor. Time and time again the new Phoenix King proved his cunning as a general. He sprang traps and ambushes on the WitchKing's forces. He crushed them on the open field of battle. The White Lions protected him from many assassination attempts and his personal retinue of Sapherian wizards countered all death-spells. Finally Caledor faced the Witch King himself in battle and defeated the mightiest of his armies, driving them into the marshes of Maledor.

The Witch King decided on a final gamble. He gathered all his sorcerers together and revealed a plan as mad as it was bold: he intended to undo the spells that bound the Realm of Chaos to the Northern Wastes. The WitchKing and his fellows would call upon the dark gods of Chaos themselves to help them defeat Caledor. So far lost to sanity were many of the DarkElves that they readily agreed. At dusk as the sky shimmered with weirdmany-coloured lights, the Witch King and his followers attempted to carryout their supremely evil plan. For hours the Witch King and his followers struggled, but it slowly became obvious that even their combined might was not great enough to break through the magical barriers that contained the Realm of Chaos.

Suddenly a surge of mystical power came hurtling back to strike the Witch King and his followers. Many of the Witch King's coven fell stone-dead. The land bucked and heaved like a terrified horse and a storm of baleful magic raced over the land. Nothing could withstand the terrible forces unleashed. The earth itself buckled under the titanic stress, and across the island continent earthquakes cast down cities and levelled mountains. A wall of water a thousand feet high smashed down and the sea rushed into cover a huge area of northern Ulthuan. Tens of thousands of Elves were slain, drowned by waves, buried by earthquakes, struck by magical lightning. The shock of the sinking was felt as far away as the World's Edge Mountains and is recorded in the chronicles of the Dwarf kings.

The power of the Witch King was reduced but not broken. In those lasthours as the seas rushed in to devour the land the Witch King and the mightiest of his followers cast dark and terrible spells. As the waves crashed round the hilltops the wizards' palaces broke free and floated on the surface of the waves. Large as icebergs they drifted off to the north carrying the remaining followers of the Witch King. Thus were created the infamous Black Arks of Naggaroth.

The cataclysm destroyed much of what had been built up during the long reign of Bel-Shanaar and left the Elves temporarily too weak to pursue their dark kinsfolk. The Dark Elves named their new land Naggaroth, the Land of Chill. Their towers became the cores of new cities, the main city was named Neriak. Other Black Arks were left to patrol the stormy seas. There they drew the sea monsters cast up from the ocean bottom by the sinking of the land into the service of their evil master. The fell kingdom of the Dark Elves had been born: death and destruction were the legacy it would bring to all the races of the Warhammer world.

The Dark Elves were driven from the Elven homeland of Ulthuan many centuries ago and now live in the northern regions of Naggaroth, the bleak Land of Chill. Dark Elves, or Druchii as they are called in the Elf tongue, are close kin of the High Elves and in appearance they are pale but otherwise almost identical.

The High Elves are the greatest wizards in the whole world, and the Dark Elves are also a race touched by magic power. Whereas the High Elves take great care to protect themselves from dangerous magical energies, especially daemons, the Dark Elves embraced the Dark Gods of Chaos. The natural magic powers of Elves and the unnatural vitality of Chaos are mated together in the Dark Elves, so that they have become the ultimate masters of dark sorcery.

The Dark Elves live in six heavily fortified cities, their innumerable black towers rising like pinnacles of ice from the cold, hard rock of Naggaroth. The surrounding landscape is bleak and unwelcoming: bare rock and poisoned blackwater streams, with dark forbidding pine forests to the south. Of their six cities the largest is Neriak, the Tower of Cold, where the greatest and most evil of all the Dark Elves, Malekith the Witch King of Neriak, holds court. Few mortals have ever seen this sinister sorcerer, and his body is said to have changed beyond recognition over the untold centuries of his unnaturally long life. His original Elf form has been corrupted and altered by the magic of Chaos for which it forms a mortal vessel.

The Witch King is master of the cities of Naggaroth: Ghrond the North Tower, Clar Karond the Tower of Doom, Hag Graef the Dark Crag, Har Ganeth the City of Executioners, and Karond Kar, the Tower of Despair. All these cities are dark and evil places, steeped in death and agony. Their black dungeons are crammed with captive daemons and unfortunate mortals whose wailings fill the air and whose moans seep through the thick walls of the high towers, saturating the place with pain and despair. At the tips of these towers, soaked with evil and doom, the sorcerers of Naggaroth cast their malign magic over the world and consort with the darkest daemons of Chaos.

The greatest enemies of the Dark Elves are the High Elves of Ulthuan. Dark Elf armies set off from the harbour of Har Ganeth in their huge daemon-infested ships, sailing west over the Sea of Grudges to the Old World and south through the Straits of Rhinasha towards Ulthuan. When they reach their objectives the Dark Elves rampage and destroy as much as they can, often burning and looting whole cities before retiring with their plunder back to Naggaroth. Many of their raids are undertaken for captives: Men, Elves, or other creatures, that they take back to their sorcerous towers.

Few have ever escaped from slavery at the hands of the Dark Elves, and fewer still speak of their captivity. Such tales as are known tell of the haunted dungeons of the Witch Kings, of living sacrifices to the Chaos Gods, and of souls burned up to fuel the sorcery of Naggaroth.

Dark Elf armies are mobile and well armed. Many carry the deadly repeater crossbow which shoots a hail of small barbed arrows. Others ride captive beasts, including gigantic scaled reptiles called Cold Ones. These creatures are hunted down and captured in the caves and tunnels beneath Hag Graef where many strange ferocious creatures live. Dark Elf women are just as deadly as their menfolk, and are equally adept warriors, fighting alongside their men in battle. The wildest of all are the Witch Elves - a warrior sisterhood devoted to the Chaos God Khorne who they call Khaine Lord of Murder. They are the most cruel of all the Dark Elves and the most bloodthirsty. After a battle they choose victims to sacrifice to Khaine and bathe in cauldrons of blood, renewing their dark pact with the Lord of Murder.

Witch Elves eat only the flesh of sacrifices and drink blood to which they add strong poisonous herbs, which cause nightmarish hallucinations and send them into frenzied dancing and obscene revelries.

Witch Elves live in the temples of Khaine under the glowering eyes of their Hag Queens. The Hag Queens are extremely ancient, and once a year they take part in the riotous celebrations of Death Night when the Witch Elves prowl the streets and steal away any Dark Elves they find, sometimes breaking into houses to take petrified inhabitants away for sacrifice. On Death Night the Hag Queens bathe in blood to restore themselves, at which time they are the most enchanting and voluptuous of all Elves, their strangely cadaverous beauty more powerful and captivating than any magic.

Over the year the Hag Queens revert into the haggard crones they really are, until Death Night comes round once more and Dark Elves hide in their homes, listening to the revelry and evil laughter of the midnight celebrations of the Witch Elves. The Witch Elves also steal away some male children to raise in the temples of Khaine to be assassins, and these are probably the most deadly and evil Dark Elves of all, the masters of subtle and murderous magics.