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This is not really a short story, but rather a little essay about “my” Craftworld:

Caer Diomasach
(or Ker Dempsey, as the Mon-Keith would spell it)

By Doro Schluter

Caer Diomasach, meaning Strong Fortress, was at the time of the Fall one of those huge space vessels able to house large numbers of fleeing Eldar, hastily constructed by a group of people led by  what would today be called Farseers, individuals gifted with great foresight and the ability to convince others of the necessity to prepare against the imminent catastrophe.

 

It was one of those Craftworlds that lingered longest to save as many Eldar as possible, and survived the Fall only with luck, and greatly damaged at that. At a slow pace Caer Diomasach limped away from the site of unimaginable destruction, and is still on a trajectory leading it from the eye of terror along the northern fringe of the galaxy into the depth of space. It is currently traveling through human-inhabited space, which leads to many encounters with human forces, who are at the moment rather occupied fighting off an Ork invasion, and  battling forces of chaos, which are active above average this close to the eye of terror.

 

From the beginning, the name Caer Diomasach could only be related to the strength of mind of its inhabitants and not to the structure itself, or it must be seen as a testimony to wishful thinking or else great irony on the part of the founding Farseers. Although the Craftworld has grown considerably over the last millennia, it is still by no means a fortress, and its strength to this day lies predominantly in its standing army and well equipped hangars, as well as the number of gifted and influential Farseers who guide and guard its fates with exceptional foresight.

 

Although they commonly hold the view that only the fight against the forces of chaos is worth the risking of Eldar lives, it has been on their behest that the forces of Caer Diomasach lately attacked the Orks on various occasions, as the ruling body of Farseers sees a chance to develop a working relationship based on a measure of trust and respect with the human forces in the sector, and ultimately to utilise this to fight back an outbreak of chaos that could engulf the whole sector. To facilitate cooperation the youngest battleseer is always charged (Well, forced, let's be honest. Which Eldar would willingly sully his mind and mouth with this uncouth tongue?) to learn the human language and work towards a good understanding between human commanders and Eldar battlessers. Seen on many battlefields, this post is currently occupied by Fay-ak, daughter of Tiarn Dalach, one of the Craftworlds Farseers. The lady is by now well known among the human commanders deployed in the sub-sector.

 

From these “chance encounters” and seemingly random appearance of Eldar forces on many a battlefield results a steady cooperation with the Howling Griffons Space Marines, a chapter stationed and operating widely in the sector, which is currently seeing much action against the invading Orks, as well as one inquisitor Lucius and a detachment of Blood Angels accompanying him, who were caught up in the struggle. Although Blood Angels and Eldar did at first not take to each other, the relationship is by now characterised by mutual respect. Long years of cooperation are indeed improving the understanding between the two races at least in this sub-sector, and it seems as though the Farseers' plans are going to work out as intended.

 

The people of Caer Diomasach are characterised by a dogged, on rare occasions slightly forced, optimism. Having escaped the Fall so narrowly clearly left its mark on them. Yet they are posessed by a strong will to survive, as a nation as well as a race. To ensure a stable, if not growing population, everyone is strongly expected to have at least three children. Guardians are rarely to be found on the battlefield, only in times of direst need does Caer Diomasach call its population to arms. Instead, a strong army of aspect warriors is maintained, supported by a number of spirit warriors. Great care is taken not to loose too many Eldar permanently to the path of the warrior, so Exarchs are rare. Regular change of  path is strictly encouraged to prevent anybody from lingering too long in one aspect. Yet, Caer Diomasach is not a belligerent Craftworld, and the proportion of warriors is comparatively small, most inhabitants fulfilling more peaceful roles. Nevertheless, almost everybody treads the path of the warrior at least once in his or her lifetime, and to become a warlock, battleseer and ultimately a farseer having served in a shrine is an immovable perequisite. Unwritten laws are numerous and usually rock-hard on Caer Diomasach, and the duty towards the Craftworld dominates the life of each of its inhabitants. For anybody with a more than slightly rebellious spirit, this can make life a misery, on the other hand Caer Diomasach is probably the only Craftworld that can boast of a steadily growing population.

 

The Craftworld itself is by now a beautiful creation, build around numerous huge landscape domes. The skill of its bonesingers, artisans, landscape designers and gardeners has been used to create an habitat pleasant even to the refined minds of the Eldar, housing the numerous population without crowding the least among them, and entirely able to make anyone forget the fact that the Craftworld is in fact nothing more than a giant spacecraft. By now, it truly is a home world.

 

The Craftworld is represented by the rune “stronghold”, which can  mean armoured fortification, harbourage and refuge, but also resolve of spirit. Many family names aboard stem from the principle of hope and resolve, such as e.g. Fir Lirithair, the youngest Battleseer's family name, meaning “hearts armoured with hope”. Most of the Craftworld's custodians, from the venerable farseers to the valued guardians, wear a combination of pale green and dark green. The reason for this is unknown, but the colours are customary by now. Every aspect warrior wears a sash or banner with these colours somewhere on his armour, to denote that the warriors' first loyalty is still to the carftworld, and the shrines are an integral part of the craftworld and not set apart. The aspect warriors' armour's colours are rather muted, e.g. the Hawks wearing a pale bluish grey, the Banshees' armour being predominantly bone coloured with only few grey, white, black or dull red highlights, and the Fire Dragons wearing rust brown edged with orange.

 

Notes:

  • use the standard Eldar rules
  • in small skirmishes, represent the Battleseer with a warlock, with larger armies use the rules and costs for Farseers for the Battleseer. Caer Diomasach's “real” Farseers are almost never seen on a battlefield.
  • avoid the use of Guardians, use Dire Avengers instead
  • use whatever tactics and army composition suits you best, as this is entirely up to the individual Battleseer leading the host
  • the lady Fay-ak has sometimes been seen on a battlefield closely guarded by four Blood Angel Space Marines, why ever this came to pass. If you want to field her together with her unusual honour guard, use the rules and costs for Striking Scorpions for the Marines.

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