Aun'Shi is a Tau Ethereal, the philospher-warrior-monks who lead the Tau Empire down the path of enlightenment (or at least that's what they think of it as). His name literally means "victory". Alongside just being generally charismatic, Aun'Shi has mastered the art of duelling with the honour blade, that weird two-bladed staff that the Ethereals carry. He uses it to slaughter Orks by the WAAAGH!!! load. Even though Tau are physically inferior to humans (not making this up, weaker, more fragile, and greatly inferior reflexes). So, he achieves physical feats nearly impossible for a human despite lacking the physical ability to do so. Oh well, at least he manages to still be a pretty awesome guy.
Aun'Shi was on his last tour of 'duty' before retiring to a paradise world when he was sent to bolster/train the defenders of a relatively new colony named Kel'tyr, which was founded on a planet infested with feral Orks. Usually not a good idea, but the Tau had been doing well enough negotiating with the Orks with their Burst cannons and railguns.
Unfortunately, as he was completing his tour of duty in the Fio'Vash, a horde of Orks surrounded the compound, besieging the Tau, and beheading their leader. As the Fire Caste began to run around like headless chickens with the death of the their leader, Aun'Shi proved himself to be stone-cold, leaping into action and splitting the Ork Nob (later retconned to be a Warboss) in half from scalp to groin, planting his honour blade between the two halves (later changed to stopping just above the ground as the Warboss fell to pieces because that's more weeb). This rallied the defenders and they began to throw the Orks, however the Ork Hordes also rallied and began to send wave after wave of Boyz at the compound. Aun'shi took complete command of the defenders, dispatching stealth suits and a member of the Kor to tell everyone at the capital they were being overrun, while running from point to point to fight where he was most needed. Any part where the Tau line was faltering he was there, cutting Orks to pieces by the dozen and then he was gone again, his assault was so furious that eventually the Orks lost the benefit of mob rule and began to fear getting near him. Despite his defence however, the Orks were still steadily winning the fight and forcing the Tau back, eventually making them retreat to an inner perimeter, and then to the inner shrine. From here they took on the Ork's final assault as they charged through the hail of gunfire towards the last 50 fire warriors, before reaching the walls and literally tearing through them in order to reach their foes in a wave that would've annihilated the Tau.
Fortunately the Tau reinforcements arrived, showing up just in time to save Aun'Shi and his forces from death and quickly destroying the Ork horde. Unfortunately the Ethereals were so impressed by Aun'Shi's performance that they cancelled his retirement and sent him to spend his remaining years leading fresh expeditions to expand the Tau empire. Assholes.
Later this entire defence plan would be retconned out to having Aun'Shi set himself (and only himself) in a bottleneck and just killing each Ork as they rammed themselves against the door like a particularly bloodthirsty Laurel & Hardy sketch. Future writers decided to just ignore the bits about the Orks tearing right through the walls because pretending that didn't happen makes it easier to make him look like a badass, whereas in the earlier editions the doorframe Aun'Shi fights in is explicitly described as being torn apart by the Orks.
In the retconned versions when a relief force finally arrived at the besieged compound, they found the Orkz scattered to the winds, piles of Greenskin corpses choking the entrance to the last standing building where Aun'Shi stood in the doorway, his blade soaked in ichor and gore as the last few surviving civilians huddled behind him, because if you're going to retcon the shit out of how the battle went you might as well make him a Mary Sue while you're at it. He still gets his retirement shitcanned though, this time specifically by Aun'Va since this was when writers really started shitting on him.
What's quite interesting to note, is that he is is the one Ethereal that Farsight actually likes. This is because while all the other Ethereals looked at his achievements and said "Nice work O'Shovah but uh... you really shouldn't be getting that close, that's not how we roll." he went "Say, I heard you like killing Orks. That's awesome! Let me teach you how to kill Orks better!". Seriously, this is canon as it's mentioned in the Phil Kelly books. It's even stated in the 8th ed Codex that the warriors of the Enclaves are usually hostile to Ethereals, but show great respect for Aun'Shi.
In the short story 'Aun'Shi' we learn what's happening to Aun'shi. He's currently being held captive by the Dark Eldar. After being sent out to retake the Farsight Enclaves for the Tau Empire he made a short stop at Arthas Moloc to 'better understand Farsight' and ended up in captivity due to showing up at a webway gate the Tau were unknowingly thawing out. He would be taken to and blackmailed to fight in Commorragh, where he was apparently so awesome that on his own he elevated his captor from a nobody, to one who was walking side-by-side with the higher echelons of Dark Eldar society. Everyone who went to the arena came to see him and only him because they all loved him so much (yes that is the reason), and it's outright stated if he were to ever die in the arena (or in any way for that matter) his captor would lose so much face she would be better off leaving the city for good. The story ends with him realizing it's impossible to leave or to be rescued, so he's unless other authors outright ignore it, he's probably gone for good.
Given the quality of writing in the story that might end up being what happens, since the guy who wrote it was too busy sucking off Aun'Shi to give what he was writing much thought, which is presumably why they wrote that there was a schism in the Tau Empire, with many inside it wondering if Farsight should be followed instead of the Ethereals (it also features Tau who don't recognize Aun'Shi to be a fucking Ethereal, thinking he was a Water Caste for some fucking reason). It's close to C.S. Goto's works in terms of writing and with any luck it'll be ignored.
Aun'Shi is one of two Tau units that you actually want to be in an assault (the other being Commander Farsight). He brings both his interesting melee style and a re-rollable 4++ Invulnerable Save, alongside an Ethereal's massive Bubble of Buffs. However he's not as crunchy as literally any other tau character, and more just a fluffy character to be used if you've got points to sink on an Ethereal that might need to be more survivable. I wouldn't skip him over, but use him for casual play at most.
|Heroes of the Greater Good|
|Ethereals:||Aun'Shi - Aun'Va|
|Fire Caste:|| Commander Farsight - Commander Puretide |
Commander Shadowsun - El'Myamoto
|Dawn of War:||Shas'O Or'es'Ka - Shas'O Kais|