Asuryan, the Phoenix King/the Creator is the leader of the Eldar pantheon in Warhammer 40k and the High Elf pantheon in Warhammer Fantasy. He is the older brother of Khaine and Vaul. He's basically Zeus if Zeus traded the lightning and bull theme for fire and phoenixes, but while Zeus is a badass who gets into fights and bangs mortals Asuryan basically just sits on his throne and does as little of anything as he can. He also doesn't have a wife yet somehow produced children, meaning he may be a hermaphrodite, gets it on with unfortunate mortals like Zeus, or is as afraid of vagina as the
God-Emperor of Mankind HERESY!.
He appears as an Elf/Eldar seated on a Golden Throne, almost never moving because his mind is always working on his ultimate plan for the universe. At least that's what everyone assumes, in reality he's probably watching Blood Bowl. He's depicted as wearing a mask because nobody can see the true wonder of his face and survive. Or because he's fuck-ugly, who knows.
Part of his job was to settle disputes among the gods without upsetting anyone too much, a job that he failed so hard at that he makes Failbaddon looked good. Thus, when Khaine started butchering the Eldar because he heard from Asuryan's granddaughter (and the entire Eldar race's sister), Lileath, that they would kill him one day, and Isha and Kurnous raised a fuss because he was massacring their children, Asuryan decided that the realms of the gods and mortals would be separated -- that way, none of them could kill each other. This may sound like Khaine got off Scott free (which he did), but think about it from the Eldar Gods’ perspective. To them, the dead Eldar either reincarnated as space Orangutan or (maybe after dying as one) showed up with the gods in Eldar afterlife to live happily ever after. From that perspective, the Eldar being killed doesn't seem like a big deal to cause a fuss about. Oh no, your children are dead which means now they must live in perfect paradise for all eternity. How terrible.
Isha and Kurnous weren't happy to be separated from their children, so with Vaul's help, they found a way to communicate with the Eldar, but when Khaine learned about this, he went whining to Asuryan about it.
Asuryan decided, in his infinite wisdom (and even more infinite laziness), that maintaining the separation between the gods and mortals meant keeping them totally separated, and that handing Isha and Kurnous over to Khaine was a reasonable punishment (Khaine certainly thought so -- though he could not kill his fellow gods, he could certainly torture them). Vaul managed to bargain with Khaine for their freedom: one hundred mighty blades delivered within a year. Unfortunately, he only had ninety-nine blades ready when the year was up, so he slipped in a mortal's blade for the last one. Vaul, Kurnous, and Isha had to run for it before Khaine figured out he had been tricked.
This lead to Khaine throwing a massive bitch fit and starting the War in Heaven. While the entire Eldar pantheon picked sides, Asuryan's contract stated that he wasn't allowed to pick a side and had to sit stoically and watch his family try to kill one another while trying to give a few fucks as possible. In the end, Vaul finished his last and bestest sword and took it up against Khaine. Despite having the materiel advantage, Vaul was still a pussy while Khaine was the guy who brags about eating Necrons for pre-workout. Khaine won easily, crippled Vaul and chained him to his anvil. Asuryan swooped in and declared that the entire disagreement had been settled.
Then fuck all happened for a long time, and the Eldar got bored and threw increasingly psychotic orgies. In the end, Asuryan was eaten along with most of the other Eldar gods when Slaanesh was born from the Fall of the Eldar. Despite this, his legacy lives on with the Eldar, particularly in name as part of the title for the Phoenix Lords: the Asurya. Then, The Gathering Storm expanded on this a little bit, stating that his last act was to give his power to the Warlocks and Farseers. Apparently the Eldar weren't as psychic before. This gift may be a good thing, because the Eldar are few in number while many races in the galaxy try to butcher them; or maybe not, because Eldar reproduction is even slower, so their numbers may still be declining. In the end since it was Asuryan, and the Eldar, it was probably a bad idea either way as everything they touch tends to turn to fail.
The High Elves worship the same set of gods as the Eldar do, with a few minor changes here and there, but theirs are all still alive. Since Chaos (called the Ruinous Powers more often in Fantasy) came as a result of the Old Ones fucking up their attempts at protecting the world from Chaos instead of anything the elves did (quite the contrary, the High Elves actually manage to beat Chaos back into the Warp constantly and even fight alongside other races towards common goals with regularity), Khaine never heard any prophesy about mortal elves harming him and thus never had a reason to kill them, so the War in Heaven never happened. In addition, gods are much more powerful and themselves can provide at least some opposition to the Chaos gods on a cosmic scale, rather than just the Emperor (and Gork and Mork, of course) in 40K.
The Fantasy version of Asuryan is not called the Phoenix King, because that title belongs to one of the two rulers of Ulthuan whom he personally judges and blesses (or throws into a deep frier, pisses on, and drops back into the mortal world for being an egocentric dick). Instead, he is known as the Emperor of the Heavens and the Creator.
According to two legends, Asuryan was the first true god, and was around when Chaos first broke into the world. The dark gang took the other fledgling gods by surprise and Khorne slew Asuryan while he and the others were putting up a last stand, but he returned at the last moment in a fiery blaze and beat back the entire Chaos host. Since then he's sat atop his temple in a pose like Karl-Franz from Shadow of the Horned Rat, grumpily staring down at the world and usually observing rather than acting while holding the flame of life in his hand, though he's said to adjudicate disputes between the gods to prevent literal holy wars.
He has a plan, one so well crafted that Tzeentch's plans are mere hiccups here and there. It ends with an ultimate battle between good and evil, and if good wins the Chaos Gods will fall and be forever banished into the Warp and thus be unable to meddle in mortal affairs ever again. The overall outcome of that battle isn't certain, except a few things like the fact dragons will go extinct in it one way or the other. Sigmar may or may not be in on this plan, but he is a part of it. Asuryan's shrine is so blessed that Daemons require a very powerful Greater Daemon, on N'kari's level, to even manifest with any degree of stability near it, and the fire coming from it is a death sentence. His monks and priests are immune to fear since they know the Asuryan's plan for everything including their ultimate fates (kinda sucks upon being inducted into the order when you find out in three months you're going to be killed by ten Warriors of Chaos and your soul will be eaten by Slaanesh, but HEY at least you know it's coming). Finally, High Elves take the name they call themselves (Asur) from his name (with Wood Elves calling themselves Asrai, and Dark Elves being known as Druchii).
The End Times
According to the
skub fluff from the third bookset of The End Times, Asuryan and his daughter are actually refugees from a previous world that was overrun by Chaos, part of a cosmic cycle that is doomed to repeat itself unto infinity. Though Asuryan perishes during the End Times, the former Wood Elf Araloth is sent to a new world by Lileath with their daughter, to be the new Asuryan of the next world. Unfortunately for Lileath, when Duke Jerrod of Bretonnia confronts her, no doubt pissed off after learning that the god his people were serving turned out to be a two-faced manipulative bitch, Be'lakor eavesdrops and learns about Lileath's safehaven. As a result, the Chaos gods murderrape it before Araloth has a chance to make anything out of it, most likely doing the same thing to both Araloth and his daughter in the process. In the The End Times: Khaine fluff book, when Asuryan dies, the Wood Elf Araloth sees under his helmet -- and sees his own face looking back. The reason behind this gets revealed (sorta) at the book's end.
|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|
|The Gods of the Eldar|
|Asuryan - Cegorach - Isha - Kurnous - Khaine - Lileath - Morai-Heg - Vaul - Ynnead|