Craftworld Alaitoc (also known as "The Starstriders"—the most George Michael of aliases) is the most puritanical, overtly racist, and obnoxious of all the Eldar Craftworlds, potentially even rivaling that prick with their sheer arrogance. Primarily comprised of outcasts with sniper rifles and a disparate selection of pirates, the forces of the Alaitoc can most accurately be described as "shady as fuck", choosing to spend most of their time chilling in the Webway, waiting for shit to go down, or holding casual meetings with everyone's favorite circus freaks. Mostly, the forces of the Alaitoc like to observe from afar, casually mocking Ahriman as he knocks frantically on the door of the Black Library, sobbing like a girl in the rain waiting to be let in. Because the forces of the Alaitoc are made up of grumpy loners, with ideologies rooted firmly within the past with no scope for change, they hate the idea of spending their time floating around in a big hunk of space-metal. Consequently, this means that few Eldar actually live aboard the Alaitoc craftworld. Most choose to leave to follow the Path of the Outcast—where, eventually, they become pathfinders. On occasion, they are recalled to the craftworld in times of need, but most of their time is spent causing havoc and general jackassery upon passing merchant vessels, transports, and anything Necron.
A Word on the Necron Grudge
Alaitoc used to be known for fighting mostly the Imperium, but they became arch-enemies of the Necrons because GW needed an Eldar force that "remembers" being created for that very purpose, and also because everyone and their dog fights the Imperium. A better choice might have been Saim-Hann, as they keep alive most of the Eldar's ancient traditions and would be more likely than Alaitoc to return to their roots. Even their colors, white and red, are a perfect contrast to the black and green most Necrons favor. Alaitoc has had mixed success, at best, in confronting the Necron. One part of this is, probably, because their preferred leader for fighting the Necron is an absolute loser called Eldorath Starbane who, like most Farseers, will only win a battle if he has Space Marine allies holding his hand for him. But the blame can't all be placed on him, the famed ranger Illic Nightspear, for example, has never managed to do anything more than run away from battles and get captured either. How did he escape capture? Well a Space Marine saved him. Beginning to notice a pattern?
A possible reason for Alaitoc's newfound Necron hatred could be the story of the Alaitoc Farseer Alladrios Kulcassian from the 3rd edition Necron codex. In the story, Alladrios had ordered Craftworld Alaitoc to the Imperium's training facility for Culexus assassins. He was doing this because a Culexus assassin killed his sister (who was also a Farseer), and the Eldar consider dying at the hands of one to be a horrific fate (as it resulted in complete destruction of the soul; vs. being consumed by Slannesh...tough call). Once within striking distance, Alladrios was about to give the order for Alaitoc's forces to destroy it. However, though eager to avenge his sister, Alladrios came down with a case of something rare in 40k: common sense. He read the runes to see the future consequences of the attack. This was a wise choice, as every alternate future after the Culexus temple's destruction showed Alaitoc being destroyed by an unidentified enemy (possibly Necrons or the Imperium's forces). Alladrios was torn but swallowed his pride and called off the attack. Though he loved his sister dearly, the price of vengeance was too high. As Alaitoc turned and left, the story concluded with a bitter Alladrios deducing that the Necrons and/or the C'tan put the pariah gene in humanity, likening it to sowing crops, and are preparing to harvest them. Of course, he doesn't realize that A) the Imperium would have found a way to make Culexus assassins even if we never had the gene and B) the other Culexus temples scattered across the galaxy and likely the other assassin Clades would come to show their... Appreciation. Likely the destruction of Alaitoc he foresaw. Because if anyone is so damn sneaky an Eldar Farseer cannot see them, it would be the Officio Assassinorum. Although since numerous Space Marines constantly surprise whole Seer Councils sending the Culexus are probably overkill. Besides, being killed by a Culexus assassin does not destroy the soul, it merely prevents psychic powers from working unless the psyker is strong enough. Being from Alaitoc, he was likely just superstitious like that. Alternatively, one could assume that the significant reduction of Culexus assassins could have led to an increase in certain lovable warp-based rascals, who would make life a lot more uncomfortable for everyone involved.
Of course, there is another reason.
The Events of Path of the Eldar
Due to the selfish actions of the ranger Aradryan and the corrupt and egocentric Imperial commander De’vaque, who had dealings with the Eldar pirate Yrithain in an attempt to enrich himself at the expense of the Imperium, Alaitoc found itself under attack by all of the Imperial forces De’vaque could muster, led by the Chapter Master of the Sons of Orar, Nadeus. These events are the main focus of the books Path of the Eldar, by Gav Thorpe, which follow the story of three Eldar youths, Korlandril, Aradryan, and Thirianna. Thorpe decided to leave out their current Necron hunting job (Alaitoc's anti-Necron stance was introduced in 2011 irl, when Thorpe was more than halfway through the Path of the Eldar trilogy).
The armada that was sent was massive and each of Alaitoc’s Farseers had been ascribed a region of the skein to watch. Thirianna herself was responsible for watching the unfolding fates of more than a dozen starships, from frigates to battleships. Thirianna was impressed that the human ships were protected by Warp-based technologies (void shields), for she had not believed them capable of such technology, though it was still simplistic compared to the Eldar mastery of the Warp. Which was a funny thing to think considering the Eldar aren't really shown with any advanced or particularly great psyker powers or warp technologies compared to the Imperium's great variety and the great power of its psykers; this is of course only if you look at the table top rules, but from a fluff prospective the Eldar Psykers out class human Psykers by a hilarious degree. Things like Wraithbone, which is a material created by manipulating the warp itself and is used as a foundation for most of their technology is a good example and so are things like wraith cannons or the D-scythes or even the sheer number of D weapons that even basic troops can take into battle; not to mention things like Wraithseers, Ghost Seers and Warlock Titans. Maybe they had become complacent in their dealings with humans because their typical conflicts with the Imperium would normally be dealt with on their own terms and as far away from the Craftworld as possible. But Thirianna's reaction can probably be chalked up to her youth and naïveté, as she, up to this point, had no experience when it came to dealing with humans, and given Alaitoc’s strict customs and insular tendencies, it’s not very likely that such information would be common knowledge.
After the first wave of Imperial ships were butchered, the main Imperial fleet appeared, arriving in small groups scattered around the edges of the star system. The Alaitoc fleet was just not numerous enough to cover every approach. Although they could not ultimately prevent the Imperials from boarding Alaitoc herself, by the time they had finally managed it the space around the craftworld was a graveyard of Imperial vessels.
Before the Space Marines arrived to save the day, the Imperial Guard were getting slaughtered within the craftworld by Alaitoc Aspect Warriors, which isn’t a surprise given that they had THREE Phoenix Lords, including Maugan Ra, fighting alongside them. One incident saw a small group of warriors luring thousands of Guardsmen, including entire armed divisions, into the centre of one of the craftworld's massive domes before turning off the gravity, ejecting the whole lot into the void. Taking advantage of the limited movement of the Eldar Titans within the confines of the inner corridors, the Imperial Guardsmen were actually able to take down the Alaitoc titans. Given the correct weapons (such as heavy Vanquisher cannons, which are basically anti-Titan guns), the Imperial Guard could indeed accomplish such an objective (though most of them died doing it). The reason the Sons of Orar chapter took light casualties during the initial fighting was because their chief Librarian was purposely sacrificing his basic troops to preserve the elites. Thirianna put a stop to this when she hunted him down and crushed his mind like a grape.
The Craftworld's Farseers had told their people that they had foreseen Alaitoc's victory. The conclusion? Due to the intervention of the Ranger Aradryan, the Imperium discovered they had been tricked by the Dark Eldar and De’vaque's treachery was finally revealed. In short, the Alaitoc Eldar could have beaten off the attack, but it would have been bloody. Well, not really, considering the Eldar were still getting ass raped in their own Craftworld; despite each Eldar warrior killing dozens of imperial soldiers for every Eldar lose they would have likely lost eventually given the sheer imperial number advantage. Especially with the, y'know, Imperial Titans inside blowing shit up with the Eldar Titans dead and though the Guard was taking a brutal beating, they were still pushing through and gaining ground throughout the battle; although this was actually part of the Eldar strategy (I know, I know, blame Gav) to avoid needless Eldar losses. The plan was for the Eldar forces to hit the Imperial forces hard and then fall back in order to lure large numbers of Imperial soldiers into areas where they could be dealt with and away from the civilian areas which allowed them to evacuate before the Imperial forces arrived. This is not to mention any reserves from both sides that would have arrived eventually. Instead, they just told the Space Marines that they had been manipulated into attacking Alaitoc by the Dark Eldar and an Imperial governor. During the fighting within the Craftworld, the Eldar fleet had continued to destroy the Imperial fleet, leaving their forces upon Alaitoc stranded. Once the Eldar had finished evacuating the last of its population, they had planned to destroy Alaitoc by imploding her Webway portal and killing all the humans left behind (which would still be very much an Imperial victory). They also told the Space Marines that if they did not stop, a fuckhuge fleet of Eldar with ships from pretty much every craftworld was on its way to kill everything that was not Eldar within 20 lightyears which in theory would have resulted in mass cyclonic torpedo bombardment of every craftworld in the galaxy (too bad they have no idea where they are). Of course the Eldar have done such things before such as the erasing of all life from dozens of Imperial planets in order to starve Tyranid hive fleets of biomass; to which the Imperial response was to fail spectacularly to do anything other then stew in impotent rage as they were unable to retaliate against or even locate the Eldar.
And so, although Alaitoc is one of the smaller of the big five craftworlds, weaker Eldar for Eldar than other craftworlds such as Biel-tan and Ulthwé (who are constantly at war), and not made up of warrior tribes like Saim-Hann or a huge amount of wraith constructs like Iyanden, they managed, through the sheer scale of Imperial losses, to ultimately convince a Space Marine Chapter Master to negotiate a truce:
"How many thousands have died already?" whispered Alaitin. "How many of your warriors have fallen to clean the blood from this man’s hands, Chapter Master?"
The boom of the pistol caused Aradryan to jump. De’vaque’s head disappeared in a cloud of blood and bone and his headless corpse collapsed to the pavement.
"Too many," snarled the Chapter Master. "Call off your ships and I will cease the attack."
In the end, nearly a third of Alaitoc lay in ruins from rim to core, but the number of Eldar dead was only counted in the thousands (unlikely, given the Titans blowing everything up, although it should be noted that the Imperial Titans were suffering the same problem as the Eldar titans within the confines of the Craftworld and were themselves being taken out by the more nimble Eldar Super Heavies. The losses for both sides are listed as "heavy" in the lexicanum but the books themselves give the Eldar loses in the thousands so whether that is an actual accurate number is debatable), and could have been far higher (though, the Imperium only wanted to smash everything, killing was just a bonus as they knew how evasive the Eldar are). The Imperium, upon leaving, decided to go kill the ones responsible. Some victory, but victory is not measured in corpses, especially when fighting the Imperium. For them, it was a strategic victory. The Eldar rely on the stuff the Imperium destroyed to survive. Besides that, the Imperium had shown that a small (by Imperial standards- about the same size as the forces sent against the Tau) force could course serious problems for a craftworld and that the Imperium did not give a shit about the number of ships it would cost. Which told the Eldar what they already knew; that the Imperium has absolutely no respect for the lives of its own warriors and that they were so blinded by their own hatred and so heavily indoctrinated that they would willingly suffer truly horrifying loses as long as the enemy was destroyed. Directly attacking the Imperium with sheer force was not an option with their low numbers. The Imperium could afford to throw away millions if not billions of their own and they wouldn't even care; which the Eldar are not prepared to or willing to do.
Although there will be those who read the books that go straight into the chest thumping “My guys can beat up your guys”, this is unnecessary as it was written by Gav Thorpe and he's got some weird fetish for elf deaths, even when prior books state that the Imperium avoids fighting Craftworlds because it'd be a war of attrition that would be too costly for even them. It took the entire legion of Space Wolves at full strength and with the backing of the Imperium at its height years to destroy one Craftworld (or months, depending on what book or what the writers decides sounds best at the moment). It also does not help that Gav Thorpe is of the camp of "there are as many elves as there needs to be and they're just strong enough to make things tragic". But the battles are really set dressing to what the book's actual message was, mainly that someone's actions have consequences even when they mean no harm.
Note the books are more about showing the different priorities of both individuals and factions and how they affect the story as a whole. The big difference between the Imperial forces and the Eldar forces are that the Imperial’s priority is to destroy whilst the Eldar priority is to preserve.
Alaitoc lead an attack on the Invaders Space Marine Chapter in revenge for their utter destruction of a Craftworld. Said attack has forced the Invaders to become a fleet-based Chapter but, unlike their Craftworld victim, they have survived and, most likely, like the Scythes of the Emperor been reinforced with the new Ultima Founding.
Alaitoc also attempted to foil the efforts of the Word Bearers upon the planet Gruelbowl (yes, that is really its name) but were incapable of doing so (probably because Alaitoc doesn't seem able of doing anything unless Space Marines are helping them).
Alaitoc itself has not, so far, become a major proponent of the Ynnari, with only a limited number of its people joining the movement and the Craftworld itself remaining distant. Indeed, through the events of the Psychic Awakening, they blatantly believe that of the many enemies the Aeldari have, their true enemy has been and will continue to be the Necrons and until they've been fully eradicated they cannot spare any attention to the efforts of the Ynnari. Ok then.
While the Asuryani of other world-ships finds their people divided and desperate for the first time, the staunch sons and daughters of Alaitoc have ever been cast like a net across the stars – and no matter how far they wander from home, they remain ready to close in around their craftworld’s many enemies. They're also been defending Exodite worlds from the Mephrit Dynasty with Saim-Hann.
Tactics and Military Doctrine
While Alaitoc itself doesn't really conduct war in a manner atypical from other Craftworlds, they do employ a significantly higher percentage of allied Rangers and Corsairs to supplement their forces. In this regard, they tend to have an edge in scouting and intelligence gathering capabilities.
- Pathfinders - The Ranger equivalent of an Exarch, Pathfinders are highly skilled individuals who have lost themselves to the Path of the Outcast. Though they lack the discount Phoenix Lord armor regular Exarchs use to effectively resurrect themselves upon death, Pathfinders are still masters at their craft. Even though they're no longer considered part of Alaitoc society officially, Alaitoc can still call upon a significant number of still-loyal Pathfinders when they find themselves in need of their highly refined skills.
|Governments, Empires, Nations and Astropolitical Powers of the Galaxy|
|Imperial Human Powers:||Imperium of Man (Adeptus Mechanicus - Ultramar) - Squat Homeworlds|
|Renegade Human Powers:||Severan Dominate|
|Chaos Powers:||New Kingdom (Sortiarian Occupation - Prospero/Sortiarius) |
Blood Pact - Scourge Stars
|Eldar Powers:||Commorragh - Craftworlds (Alaitoc - Biel-tan - Iyanden |
Saim-Hann - Ulthwé)
|Necron Powers:||Atun Dynasty - Charnovokh Dynasty - Maynarkh Dynasty - Mephrit Dynasty |
Nekthyst Dynasty - Nephrekh Dynasty - Nihilakh Dynasty - Novokh Dynasty
Ogdobekh Dynasty - Oruscar Dynasty - Sautekh Dynasty - Szarekhan Dynasty
|Ork Powers:||Ork Empire of Charadon - Ork Empire of Octarius - Ork Empire of Bork |
Ork Empire of Dregruk - Ork Empire of Calverna - Ork Empire of Jagga
|Tau Powers:||Tau Empire - Farsight Enclaves|
|Other Xenos Powers:||Q'Orl Swarmhood - Fra'al|