"Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced."
- – Soren Kierkegaard
If ever there is a point where Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 split into nobledark and grimdark, that point would be the High Elf character Alarielle the Everqueen AKA The Handmaiden of Isha.
There are two God Emperor-style "good-aligned god on earth" entities in Warhammer Fantasy. The first, Sigmar Heldenhammer, was a human in gold armor (well, armored boots, a skull belt, and a fur cape) who unified (some of/most of) humanity, kicked a lot of ass, became a god (maybe), and is now the patron god of the Empire, who are/used to be the primary protagonists of the game (sound familiar?). The other one is an Elf. Despite this large strike against her record, she is made up of an amalgamation of badass
psykers wizard souls, makes the Chaos Gods quake in their Chaos Boots, and has a habit of resurrection (okay, so the Emperor didn't do that last one... yet).
This Elf also happens to be queen of the High Elves and the living avatar of Isha, but we don't hold any of that against her.
Probably the girliest thing in the entire franchise, and the fans would not have it any other way.
(Although different sources describe the origin and identity of the Elf Gods different ways, the version presented here combines the Elvish and Lizardmen versions into a version most matching up to High Elf lore.)
Technically speaking, the Everqueen begins with Isha. Isha and the rest of the Elf pantheon were (in previous editions, beings of Chaos which was retconned to creations of the Old Ones, and now they are) the survivors of another world which was consumed by Chaos who fled to this world in its lifeless primordial state and created a race of Elf Neanderthals who would later be uplifted by the Old Ones ("All according to plan" whispered Lileath) into being Elves proper.
Isha was a being of immense power, connected to the world, and was the spiritual embodiment the Life magic (Ferngully style) which flows through all natural living things (and refuses to work from the Chaos rules that all other forms of magic obey). After giving birth to an inferior race of short-lived Elves, Isha felt the misery that comes with the fact that her second(+)born children were mortal, cursed with aging and dying (albeit at a very slow pace) while she remained as a Goddess over them. Isha wept at the fate of her youngest, and the tears became Soulstones which fell to Ulthuan. While the souls of the mortal Elves went to Morr's afterlife (or Ereth Khial's, the daughters of Isha descended from her firstborn daughter each return to her upon death. In their mortal lives, the souls of the aforementioned daughters are connected to Isha and the entirety of the souls of each daughter that has lived and died (plus the currently living host) accompany Isha herself to enter the body of the current eldest daughter, resulting in an almost super saiyan state of being that can equal a Chaos God and wield power on-par with Lord Kroak.
Nothing much is known about the first Elves. We don't know how many there were, or if they came in multiple litters from Isha.
What we do know is that the oldest of Isha's mortal daughters is the one who became tied to her mother. She was revered as a demigoddess by the rest of the mortal Elves, and became their supreme leader in all aspects of society, from spiritual to military (not that they had much to fight early on). Upon the ascension of her own daughter to the queenly role upon the Elf Eve's death and the realization that Eve II's connection wasn't only to Isha, but to Elf Eve as well the position became known thereafter as the "Everqueen".
Everything regarding the Everqueens prior to Astarielle, including their names and how many there were, is lost to the current day High Elves.
Astarielle was the reigning Everqueen during the collapse of the Warp Gates, and although the bulk of the Daemon forces went for the Lizardmen, Ulthuan was their secondary target. The countryside was ravaged, the small and inexperienced armies of the Elves doing little other than slow the Daemons down. During the invasion, a badass world explorer Elf named Aenarion became Asuryan's mortal avatar, and with his strength (both his own and that granted by Asuryan) he more or less made the Daemons of Chaos look like unarmed children as he tore through them and pushed them back into the Warp wherever he went. The nobles of the Elves (at least, the ones who were still alive) swore allegiance to Aenarion, and Astarielle summoned him to her court to hit dat... which is actually kinda creepy, because Asuryan was Isha's father, so technically Asuryan was proxy-fucking his granddaughter on a pile of smoking Daemon corpses (but if you're at all familiar with the Greek pantheon, gods have a tendency to do whoever (or whatever) the fuck they've got a boner for right now, damn the consequences).
Then shit kinda started going downhill.
Daemons of Khorne and Slaanesh (because Nurgle was mostly picking on the southwestern elves and the cavemen humans in the Old World, and Tzeentch never really does jack shit in Fantasy) blitzed into the ancestral forest home of the elves, and burned/raped a fair amount of it down. Astarielle made a pact with the spirit of Life Magic, (Life Magic eats Chaos, and it was having a good ol' time unbeknownst to the Chaos Gods) to at some point in the future send a group of Elves to serve nature forever as servants. In return, the Elves race in it's entirety was bound to the world (sadly making it difficult for them to reach Morr's afterlife, as Elf ghosts now are stuck adhering to gravity) and the ancient Treekin Durthu took Astarielle's children Yvraine and Morelion to safety from the burning forest. She then summoned Dryads (not the happy kind that hide in trees and get fucked by Satyrs, these ones are spirits that possess plant bodies and turn them into Angry Marines). She then stood in the middle of the forest with her army and waited for the Daemons to come. Whatever happened isn't in the fluff, and is described as unable to be conveyed through mortal words (even that of Elves) and that none of the Daemons survived it.
Aenarion heard the news that Avelorn had fallen and, thinking that there were no survivors, went into a rage of epic proportions and drew a cursed sword of Khaine to become a living Elven WAAAGH!, making him (canonically) the strongest Elf to have ever lived. He also made shit decisions like marrying a chick who liked hanging out with Daemonettes, telling his son by her he'd be badass forever and be king like his old man, building a new kingdom out of the ruins of the most tainted land in Ulthuan, and similar full retard moves. Eventually his old buddy Caledor the Dragontamer, who had come up with an awesome plan to actually BEAT Chaos decades ago, got sick of waiting for Aenarion to get off his ass and decided to start shit himself. High Elves went all over the world and set up magical rocks called Waystones covered in runes and gems, which vary in size from a large mountain to the size of a paperweight. Those rocks drain magic (which Daemons use to make themselves real) into the center of Ulthuan. Aenarion finally showed up, personally fought and killed 4 avatars of the Chaos Gods themselves, suffered a mortal wound and managed to cross a HUGE continent to put that cursed sword back before dying (to be fair; he was carried by his also-mortally wounded-dragon, who actually made the journey. But still awesome!)
So after the smoke had cleared, the Elves decided there'd be two rulers of the race from now on: the Everqueen, who is the firstborn daughter of the last queen, and upon the death of the last queen and the passing of the Everqueen entity (now one soul stronger) into the princess she is crowned the new Everqueen. The second, the Phoenix King, is a male elf democratically elected from amongst the princes (AKA governors, not literally part of a royal family) of Ulthuan. After election, he's required to walk through a pyre in the Shrine of Asuryan. If he survives, he's buffed to badass levels and becomes king. So far nobody has died, although one asshole has managed to burn himself to a crisp when he tried to declare himself king.
The king's first job is to produce a new queen with the Everqueen (up until this point the Everqueen was produced by the previous Everqueen's own husband, who was simply the man she favored most), who will be her future heir. He's got a year to knock her up (which seems to always be how long it takes), after which the two return to their spouses or lovers as they will.
Alarielle the Radiant
Once again, there's a gap in fluff. This time it's not because it's a forgotten mystery, but because GW hasn't filled in the fluff. The modern day Everqueen is Alarielle, dubbed "the Radiant" for her inspiring presence upon battlefields. See, before her the Everqueens were expected to sit at home and send condolence letters to the families of those slain in battle and to pose for commemorative plates like a proper queen. Her role in society is to be the head elf hippy and just be a pinup who conducts fertility rituals and the like (which is really important since it keeps elf birth rates up), however due to her insistence at being present in battles where the fate of the world hangs in the balance the courts of Ulthuan are beginning to gossip that she might be masculine lesbian (despite this, everyone around her gets a hard on for good and figures GOD IS WITH US in her presence, so an already fearless race becomes literally fearless if they're around her).
Alarielle's earliest mention is during the massive (recent) Druchii invasion of Ulthuan. Malekith sent his forces into Ulthuan, burning down a fairly large chunk of Avelorn and pursuing the fleeing Alarielle with both assassins and Daemons. As she was still young and unconfident, the loss of her home gave her a sad that sapped her powers. She was simply an Elven maiden fleeing both Seekers of Slaanesh and Cold One riding hitmen while on foot. After the hitmen caught up to her and were preparing to turn her into a Dark Elf Battle Standard Dolcette-style, Tyrion appeared and killed the assassins although suffering poisoned wounds in the process. She was forced to carry him away as the Daemons closed in. Right as a Slaaneshi warhost was about to do even worse things to them, Teclis appeared and incinerated them.
They escaped to the gathered forces of the High Elves. Inspired by (her throbbing ladyboner for) Tyrion's bravery, she regained some of her power and restored his health. She granted the firstborn descendant of the worlds first horse, Malhandir, to him as well as giving him a magic pendant marking him as her Champion. She then gave Teclis a powerful magic staff, made by Lileath herself and granted to Elfkind. The heroes then saddled off to the Battle of Finuval Plains, leaving Alarielle to reenact the Gone With The Wind field hospital scene. At some point, before or after the battle, Alarielle and Tyrion shagged. She then began her one year with Finubar, and she became pregnant with her daughter.
Alarielle would also participate in another battle against Morathi and a Slaaneshi warhost after a failed assassination attempt (Manchurian Candidate style) left her first comatose, then awakened the Everqueen entity in her for the first time. After gathering the noncombatants of Avelorn and suiting them up as Spearmen, she summoned the Dryads of the forest and faced the oncoming army alongside a force from Ellyrion. Although initially the battle was a stalemate, the Slaaneshi Champion saw her on the field and sought her out for the purpose of "desecration". Before he could attack her however, she took his hand and cleansed all of the Chaos taint from him in an instant. She fought a tug of war for his soul with Slaanesh himself before freeing the man'sso (using the guilt from sacrificing his own wife for attractiveness) and letting go of the "rope", causing Slaanesh to pour power into the soulless body of the Champion and make it into a (rather large) Chaos Spawn which was then cut down by her forces. This plunged the forces of the Chaos warband into disarray as Slaanesh's enraged tantrum fucked up their magic. The High Elves spent the rest of the day mopping up the remaining enemy forces until Teclis appeared and nuked the last holdouts.
Alarielle also yearly makes a dangerous pilgrimage to the summit of one of the Annulli to protect the dreamscape of the mortal races from Slaanesh.
Since her year with Finubar is up and she had a daughter during that time she's now toting around Tyrion like a puppy on a leash. (The end times revealed she and Finubar never did the deed as she was his daughter with the last Everqueen.)
If she ever gets a voice actor, it should be Idina Menzel.
Although it was believed that she was the daughter of Finubar, Teclis found out (and revealed during the events of the End Times) that she was the daughter of Tyrion, conceived in love before Finubar's year. Although this didn't remove her legitimacy (at least in technicality, politically it may have caused some stirring) it meant she had inherited Aenarion's Curse; having a permanent lust for the Widowmaker and being destined for glory and (sometimes) misfortune.
Aliathra was very popular with the Dorfs, and the High Elves used this to their advantage by making her the diplomatic representative for their race. Her continued presence in the Holds of the Dwarfs increased relations rapidly, bringing the two elder races closer than they have been since the War of the Beard. Unfortunately, Mannfred von Carstein saw her as both a way to resurrect his master and divide the two races. He first goaded a massive WAAAGH! of greenskins into attacking the Hold where she resided, then sent in his pawn Heinrich Kemmler. While the valiant Dwarf and Elf defenders fought side by side and handily defeated the greenskins, the animated bodies of both the enemy and their own fallen pulled them down. Mannfred dueled Aliathra's own paramour, a Prince on a Gryphon, before taking Aliathra captive.
Although many Dwarfs and Elves blamed each other for the attack and results, Finubar and High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer managed to reign in the dissidents. Alarielle sensed through the Everqueen entity that Aliathra was still alive, and Tyrion was dispatched to retrieve her while Thorgrim assembled a massive force of Dwarfs. Thanks to M4, Tyrion reached Mannfred first. His Silver Helms battled through a massive Undead army to find Aliathra unconscious. He attempted to ride out with her only to face the largest Undead force ever assembled before him. His forced plunged in from one side while the newly-arrived Dwarf army (the largest assembled since the War of Vengeance) attacked from the rear.
Both sides met in the middle, after Mannfred swooped in with his magic and once again took Aliathra. The Elves and Dwarfs screamed insults at each other, while Tyrion arrogantly stated that the Elves had no need of Dwarfs. Maintaining his composure, Thorgrim said that Aliathra's fate was in Tyrion's hands and took his massive force to retake long-lost Dwarf Holds.
Teclis shamed Tyrion into once-again leading the High Elf forces, so he got his friends Eltharion and Eldyra to lead a High Elf army to rescue Aliathra. They arrived just before the ritual to revive Nagash started. The barely managed to fight their way through, with Eltharion reaching Aliathra just as Arkhan was about to sacrifice her. Arkhan turned Eltharion to dust with magic and killed Aliathra after she performed some mysterious spell on him. Tyrion was a broken spirit after her death, then it is revealed that Teclis allowed Aliathra to be sacrificed. With the revelations later that Asuryan was a dick who preferred Dark Elves and pitched a hissy fit when Malekith didn't become the eternal king of the Elves by fucking over the entire Elf race until he got his way, Tyrion went full-Aenarion and drew the Widowmaker, causing him to become the mortal vessel of Khaine (after it was revealed that the Curse of Aenarion simply means you have a fragment of Khaine stuck in you). Morathi, thinking that was totally hot, forgot the feel of her son's cock and became his lover before completely losing what was left of her mind and believing she was truly with Aenarion again. After a short three-way mixed forces civil war, Ulthuan sunk with all Elf gods other than Isha and Lileath dead. Isha, who had become senile and unable to remember anything that had happened within this world, had come to reside fully within Ariel. Lileath poisoned Ariel, then lead Alarielle to her whereupon she absorbed Isha's spirit and kept Isha's mind and personality completely buried, then merged with the entire Life Wind of Magic to become a super-goddess. She then married Malekith. Derp.
During the ritual to return Nagash to life, powerful beings (including the daughter of the Lady of the Lake) were sacrificed to bind his spirit to the body of Volkmar the Grim. Aliathra was among them, and through her he sought to inherit the powers of the Elven Gods and of Life magic.
Although he sought to gain her strengths, Aliathra was not the Everchild, as Alarielle was still alive so the Everqueen entity still resided with her. Alaithra's title of Everchild was purely ceremonial, as she would have been the recipient of that bloodline, but it didn't pan out due to Alarielle still being alive. So all Nagash got from Aliathra was Aenarion's Curse (All according to plan for Nagash's enemies, Not As Planned for Naggy himself). Arkhan and Mannfred really should have checked elven lore and the genealogies better; Neferata somehow knew all this and put the pieces together when Nagash returned, having a laugh at Mannfred's and Arkhan's expense before making her own plans.
There was the theory that since Aliathra's soul merged with Nagash's, it was possible that he is now part of the Everqueen entity. It was thought that this helped explain how he has usurped control of the afterlife from Morr, which he had made part of Sylvania, although another explanation is that Morr and Usirian were the same god by different names and worshiped in different ways (the lore says that when Nagash consumed Usirian, Morr died at the same times).
However, with the fusing of Isha, Ariel and Alarielle, along with Alarielle receiving the Wind of Life and the world being destroyed, the gestalt nature of the Everqueens was ended. This means that any connection Nagash had to the Everqueen lineage, if he ever had one, is gone.
Isha/Ariel Alarielle Fusion Dance!
As End Times progressed, Lileath poisoned Ariel (revealed to be Isha, though Lileath's actions took a toll on Ariel's mind) and brought Alarielle to merge with her and become ...still Alarielle, but more powerful.
They became involved in the end of the Elf civil war, transporting all Wood Elves to Ulthuan to fight alongside Phoenix King Malekith (don't think about it too hard)'s armies against the fused Khaine/Tyrion (again, just accept this and move on). Orion died, Tyrion had a death and revival, Alarielle lead all Elves except those who were confused and hated this convoluted lore rape to Athel Loren through the roots of the World Tree as Ulthuan sank due to the unbinding of the Vortex. All Elves spent a few months hating each other as Teclis bound each Wind of Magic to a living being, Alarielle becoming the entire Wind of Life.
These Incarnates attempted to save the world and failed due to Mannfred von Carstein backstabbing them all, literally in Balthazar's case, for no good reason other than Archaon needing to win (this wasn't Storm of Chaos after all).
Age of Sigmar
After End Times, Alarielle was left standing with Tyrion, holding hands (possibly standing on top of rubble that had pinned Malekith) while watching the world end, and was confirmed dead as only one being was left floating in the void after Chaos had consumed all but the remnants of the World Tree and a single spark of light, and that being was Sigmar. Following the retcon, it turns out each Wind of Magic became an entire Realm and a single being from the old Warhammer was now a god within it with their soul being tied to it (so the god cannot be killed outright or the Realm apparently crumbles).
Alarielle appeared in the Realm of Life, the most changed out of any of the other gods. Rather than a self-sacrificing motherly queen of the High Elves, she became distant and cold. Sigmar found Alarielle, who was in a long period of hibernation, and woke her up. Alarielle was grateful, and together the two hurled back a tide of darkness. The Everqueen thing is basically gone. No hint is made of the cascade of souls that once made her up, Alarielle is now just thousand-yard stare Alarielle now.
She initially joined Sigmar's pantheon of gods in the Realm of Light, but vanished not long after back to her own Realm where she took "Soul Pods", plant seeds containing souls from the old Warhammer setting (how and when she obtained these is as undescribed as her survival) and created a people to lead. A people who are mostly the same as the old Warhammer Dryads and Treekin (which means she saved MUCH more women than men). She cut off her hand and planted it in the ground to create a new daughter (hopefully she knew what she was doing, or that would have been REALLY fucking crazy) named the Lady of Vines who had the exuberant and youthful personality that had been lost to the traumatized former queen.
Nurgle invaded the Realm not long after, seeking to turn the Realm of Life into an extension of his Garden and secure Alarielle as his Fantasy kidnapping victim. During this time the Wood ELves of Age of Sigmar pussied out and abandoned the fight against CHaos, so Alarielle banished them for their cowardice. Sigmarines intervened, although the Lady of Vines and most of the Realm of Life was corrupted in the process. In the final battle, part of the Realm was cleansed and Alarielle died, turning into a seed. The Sigmarines planted said seed at a location where many of them had died defending her, hoping she would grow back into a warqueen. They were right. Her new appearance is as seen in her miniature, she has an arm made of wood to replace the hand she cut off to make the Lady of Vines, leafy wings, and EXTRA THICC legs. Also, she's riding a giant horned beetle whose charge can shake a castle wall.
Alarielle’s rebirth gave her a new perspective on the situation. The goddess now saw that the war against Chaos could not be won simply by reclaiming Ghyran. The corruption of the Dark Gods had to be purged utterly from all the Mortal Realms, lest they all be brought to ruin (ironically, this is a good counterpart to Nurgle's new perspective after he failed to conquer Ghyran - that he should share his "gifts" with all realms, not just one). It was this revelation that led Alarielle through the Ghyran Realmgate known as the Copper Falls – which connected to the Hellhaze Realmgate in Aqshy – and into battle atop Godskull Mesa. During this battle Alarielle and her beetle steed battled two Bloodthirsters and defeated them.
It's not clear who has more political power between the Phoenix King and the Everqueen, although generally the Everqueens are fairly hands-off of leading armies and the High Elf provinces (called 'kingdoms') are fairly autonomous. Instead the Everqueens tend to administer to certain rites and responsibilities from domestic tasks like visiting the shrines of Isha to conduct fertility rituals needed to keep High Elves outbreeding their lost population, to once a year leading huge forces of elves to dangerous peaks in Ulthuan's highly dangerous Annulii Mountains to fight a battle against the forces of the Warp to keep Daemons from being able to enter the dreams of mortals and wreak havoc in their minds at will.
Her armies are mostly volunteers from all kingdoms plus sometimes requested aid that is given eagerly, since serving the Everqueen is the highest honor in Ulthuan. High Elves believe in a duality to all things (even their language for example is full of things like the words for honor and victory also meaning slaughter and loss of innocence) so power struggles are probably more philosophical argument and trying to have your cake and eat it too than any intrigue and greed (the only time any meaningful interaction between the two powers has been described in the fluff is actually recent, with Alarielle (more on her below) stepping in with support to prevent the Princes of Ulthuan from rebelling against the current Phoenix King Finubar the Seafarer).
The Everqueen's court in the kingdom of Avelorn is much different from the rest of Ulthuan, being a much more Wood Elf themed vibe combined with a drop of Tolkien elf mixed in (Games Workshop can't into subtlety, Everqueen's court is an 'R' rated Lothlórien that changes location in the forest periodically). At first it's hard to see the difference between this and the Cult of Pleasure of the Dark Elves which worship Slaanesh, but the main difference is that the casualty rate from lovemaking is 0% in Avelorn, people bathe in exotic oils and magical water instead of virgin blood and Daemonette semen, teasing is defined by making catty remarks at group poetry readings instead of cutting away the skin over a lover/cousin's ribs at a public execution (one on every corner!), and everybody involved in the activities is pretty okay with it and respects everybody else involved as an individual.
For a summary on the average Everqueen's personality, picture Snow White who has a bonus Avatar State like from that one cartoon about a monk kid saving the world that /co/ faps over and rages over between fap sessions (what was it called again? Oh yeah, Batman: The Animated Series). She is so pure and Noblebright (honest to god noblebrightness in a Warhammer setting? It's more likely than you think!) she kills Greater Daemon's by just asking them to go away please (and thank you!).
On The Tabletop
She had a model in previous editions that allowed you to take her Maiden Guard, but her stats were horrible and she was unusable despite the awesomeness of the Guard. She was later removed, but now in 8th she's back and overpowered although not to the point that players of other armies can hold it against High Elf players. The Maiden Guard, now called Sisters of Avelorn (with the original Guard now represented by Hero models called Handmaidens of the Everqueen) can be fielded separately, and find themselves in the role of "best ranged infantry in the entire game".
Like Malekith (her new hubby!), she got two updated versions in The End Times; the Avatar of Isha for 375 points, and the Incarnate of Life for 540 points. Both of them are good healers, but not entirely bad at killing things either. Still, you definitely want to focus on her casting abilities, since she's much more useful with them.
As the Avatar of Isha, Alarielle is sporting M5, WS6, BS5, S3, T3, W3, I6, A1 and LD10. She's a level 4 Caster who uses spells from the Lores of Life, Light and High Magic, and sports the special rules Always Strikes First, Lileath's Blessing, Martial Prowess, Valour of Ages, Anathema of Chaos (Daemons within 12" take D6 S4 hits at the start of each Magic phase), Blessings of Isha (Alarielle and all friendly Elves within 12" have a 5+ Ward Save and Immunity to Fear & Terror) and Touch of Purity (Alarielle's attacks are magic and, against Forces of Disorder, Wound on a 2+ and inflict Multiple Wounds (D6)). She has two unique magical items; the Star of Avelorn (Enchanted Item, heals 1 friendly character within 12" of 1 lost wound, can only heal Alarielle if there's no other viable targets in range) and the Stave of Avelorn (Arcane Item, One Use, can cast a previously cast spell, whether or not the first try was successful, by making the normal power dice & casting roll for that spell).
As the Incarnate of Life, Alarielle gets +1 to her Strength, Toughness and Wounds and +2 to her Attacks. She upgrades to being a level 5 caster who uses spells from the Lore of Life only and trades Blessings of Isha for the Locus of Renewal (reroll miscast results) and Incarnate of Life (Alarielle and all friendly units within 12" have a 6+ Ward Save and Regeneration, plus she and any friendly model within 12" regain 1 lost wound automatically at the start of each friendly Magic phase). Other than that, she has all of her old form's goodies.
|The High Elves and their gods of Warhammer Fantasy|
|Characters:||Eltharion - Everqueen - Teclis - Tyrion|
|Cadai:||Asuryan - Hoeth - Isha - Kurnous - Lileath - Loec - Mathlann - Vaul|
|Cytharai:|| Addaioth - Anath Raema - Atharti - Drakira|
Eldrazor - Ellinill - Ereth Khial - Estreuth - Hekarti
Hukon - Khaine - Ladrielle - Morai-Heg - Nethu
|Events:||The War of the Beard - The invasion of Naggaroth|
|Misc:||Ulthuan - The Vortex - Waystone - Widowmaker|
|Appearances:||Blood Bowl - Dreadfleet - Mordheim - Warhammer Fantasy Battle|
|Gods of the Age of Sigmar|
|Alarielle - Gorkamorka - Grimnir - Grungni - Malerion - Nagash - Sigmar - Teclis - Tyrion|