"Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
- – Dylan Thomas
Khaela Mensha Khaine (also known as the Bloody-Handed God, A Consistent Fail, or Big Daddy Calgar's personal pleasure object) is the Dark Elf, High Elf/Aelf, and Eldar God of War and Fire. He is also GW's Worf-equivalent, being the chosen punchbag-by-proxy for whenever they want to prove just how powerful their new character of the week is (more on that below).
In Warhammer 40,000
Mr. K.M. Khaine is one of the three Eldar gods that survived the Fall of the Eldar (the other two being Cegorach and Isha), although he was trampled and pushed out of the Warp and into realspace while Khorne was busy piledriving baby Slaanesh all over Eldar heaven. Because of this, he's no longer "alive" in a spiritual sense and is now shattered into a bajillion physical pieces. These pieces made their way into the Craftworlds, where they can be used to summon a manifestation of Khaine when the need arises. He's also the angriest god of the Eldar pantheon, although he can't really contest with the RAGE of Angron and Doombreed.
It has been hinted at that Khaine (as well as the rest of the Eldar pantheon) is one of the Old Ones, and so strictly speaking is not exclusively an Eldar deity. He was also the Bloody-Handed God of War for the Hrud.
The story of the single angriest Eldar entity ever
Long ago, when the Eldar were the most powerful race in the universe and they hadn't raped themselves yet, Khaine heard from Lileath, the prophecy-giver of the Eldar pantheon, that the Eldar would one day kill him. Khaine, never one for subtlety, decided to murder every last one of the pansies to ensure that never happened. However, Isha, the mother-goddess of the Eldar, wept for them because no sane mother would want her own children butchered to death by a maniacal god of war. Khaine's rage gets pretty visible at this point because he had the hots for Isha and still completely ignored her, even after she immediately used her common sense and said she was not getting with a genocidal manifestation of pure wrath (per the book Path of the Eldar. Speaking of which, this book basically says that Eldar Exarchs and Khaine have severe psychological problems. Too bad the only gods who come close to being psychologists are this warmongering atheist and this squawking politician patron of spontaneous casters. The last one would be this god who doesn't believe that you (or he) exists.
Anyway, that's where Asuryan, the Phoenix King of the Eldar gods, intervened and decided to spare the Eldar from their would-be fate at the bloody hands of Khaine and Isha from having to witness it, by creating a barrier to separate mortals from gods for all eternity. This ensured that the mortal Eldar would never have the chance to kill Khaine and that Khaine would never be able to enter the mortal realm and kill all of the Eldar. This solution worked for Khaine, but not so well for Isha.
Isha missed talking to her children and so cheated through the whole barrier deal by having Vaul the Artificer (the best craftsman of the Eldar gods) make spirit stones to communicate with them. Khaine however, discovered this, and cried foul on Isha and her husband Kurnous. Asuryan, not wanting to look like a biased dick, told Khaine that he could do whatever he wanted with the two, so naturally Khaine chose eternal torment. Vaul got pissed at this and bargained with Khaine that he would make a hundred of his finest swords in a year in exchange for Isha and Kurnous' release, which Khaine agreed to.
However, because Vaul decided to jerk off on the last day rather than work, he couldn't make the last sword in time and instead tried to trick Khaine by putting one normal sword among the bunch of ninety-nine epic swords he made, thinking that Khaine, with his short attention span and inability to count beyond 10, wouldn't notice and would just accept the fuckheug pile of swords as is. Which is exactly what seemingly happened at first, and Khaine released Isha and Kurnous. Situation over. However, Vaul didn't count on Khaine being a total mathfag/detailfag whenever he's weaponwhoring, and so Khaine got almighty pissed when he discovered that he got tricked. Yeah, a lot of people reeeaaallly love to screw with Khaine. Too bad the guy has a terrible sense of humor.
This trickery had unfortunate consequences for the whole Eldar pantheon, who after Asuryan shrugged the matter off started to take sides: some agreed with Khaine, others told him to calm the fuck down and grow up; and things snowballed from there and boiled over into the mortal realm (simply having Vaul fashion a replacement sword apparently never occurred to anyone). Exactly what the hell happened then is unclear but a couple of things are set in stone. At one point, Khaine got his hands on Vaul and beat the shit out of him before chaining him to his anvil. Another certainty is that he eventually murdered Eldanesh, an Eldar champion, although why he did it is unclear since multiple reasons have been put forward (there's lore on this in multiple sources and they are contradictory as fuck):
- Eldanesh challenged Khaine to an honorable duel for the freedom of Vaul, armed with the last blade the Artisan-God should have finished in time (and did before his capture). (Original lore from 2ed. Codex: Eldar.)
- Eldanesh, as nominal leader of the mortal Eldars, was just tired of his shit and told Khaine to calm the fuck down because he and the War in Heaven were fucking things up for the Eldar royally. (More recent lore.)
- Eldanesh and Khaine actually collaborated during the war against the Necrons, but at the end he gave Khaine the middle finger when he tried to convince him to keep killing for the sake of killing and generally having violent fun. And Eldanesh did it in vain because his murder triggered the internecine War in Heaven anyway. (See also the novel Path of the Eldar by Gav Thorpe.)
Anyway, whatever the exact reason, what is certain is Khaine got a little angry at Eldanesh and slapped a bitch, and since said bitch wasn't a god it really didn't end well. That's the point where Asuryan got really tired of everyone's shit so he told everyone to shut the fuck up and condemned Khaine to have blood eternally drip from his hands to remind him of his crime, earning him the title "Khaela Mensha" (or Bloody-Handed).
When the Chaos god Slaanesh was birthed from the accumulated Warp energy of the Eldar's galactic empire of excess and decadence, Khaine tried to battle the newborn god and managed to put up a pretty good fight, despite the fact The Great Hermaphrodite had already consumed the other Eldar gods and was backed by the Ruinous Powers themselves (well, two of them at least). Despite Slaanesh overpowering him she/he/it did not have power enough to consume Khaine, but then Khorne appeared and challenged Slaanesh to a battle, as he claimed that Khaine was his property and that Slaanesh had no right to eat him. Needless to say, Slaanesh lost. While Khorne was busy piledriving and backbreaking Slaanesh into oblivion, Khaine was in the middle of it and got shattered into a million pieces, presumably because Khorne had left his axe back at the Brass Citadel and Khaine was the only available melee weapon at the time. Or maybe he made a fine object on which to drop Slaanesh over and over again. Whatever it was, he doesn't say and the rest is history.
So in the end, Lileath's prophecy did come true in a sense. The Eldar were responsible for the birth of Slaanesh, who sort of got Khaine killed, but not totally because technically he is still "alive". It's just that he's not up and about anymore, like Cegorach and Isha, and now has to live with the fact that he, the Eldar god of war and destruction, was himself destroyed. Either way, it was either Just As Planned by Tzeentch, who was the only Chaos God who didn't directly intervene during the fall of the Eldar, or Cegorach, because that hilarious son of a bitch just HAD to do it to put Khaine in his place before he slipped back into the Webway. Hell, for all we know, the two could have orchestrated the entire Fall of the Eldar just to be the only two entities who managed to successfully screw with Khaine and get away with it.
The Avatar of Khaine
The Avatar of Khaine is a unique Eldar daemon unit. The Avatar is basically a small fragment of Khaine's power given form through one of his fragments present in a Craftworld.
The Eldar will only summon the Avatar into battle under the most dire of circumstances when there is no other choice. This is because in order to summon the Avatar, the Eldar must sacrifice one of their Exarchs, known as the "Young King", in order to bring him into existence, and this only lasts for a limited amount of time. Like any daemon, after some time, the Avatar will eventually degenerate and disappear, taking the sacrificed Exarch with it. For the Exarch in question this is the ultimate honor, as this and becoming a Phoenix Lord are the only ways an Exarch can find release in death.
There is an alternative method of awakening the Avatar, but it requires no less than six Phoenix Lords to show up on a craftworld simultaneously and place their weapons at the Avatar's feet. The concentration of psychic energy is enough to not only awaken the Avatar without needing a sacrifice, but supercharge him.
used to be IS really strong, but Games Workshop's authors have taken a liking to murdering Avatars every chance they get depending on marketing needs. Because of this, the Avatar has been:
- Killed hilariously by Marneus Calgar in hand-to-hand combat in the 5th edition Space Marine codex.
- Possessed by Heartslayer, a Keeper of Secrets (oh, the irony), during the invasion of the Eldar Craftworld Kher-Ys.
- Trampled to death by twelve stampeding Carnifexes during the battle between Craftworld Iyanden and the Hive Fleet Kraken. What happened was that the Avatar goaded the swarm's Hive Tyrant into a duel. What the Avatar failed to realize was that this wasn't tabletop and that the Tyranids are a pragmatic instead of an idealistic lot who have no concept of honorable or dirty fighting, so the Hive Tyrant just raised his brow at this and sent twelve Carnifexes to run the Avatar over. (Weirdly, Matt Ward gave him a more dignified death than this bullshit.)
- Strangled (WTF?)/neck snapped by Fulgrim. Let us remind you that Avatars are living metal statues, and neither breathes nor has bones.
- Killed by the Sanguinor.
- Doused in a great flood by the water people of Astrominus IV after his raw power and heat defrosted them from their icy imprisonment by the Space Wolves.
- "Put out of his misery" by Lorgar (who was, at the time, considered to be the worst fighter out of all the Primarchs). Though the Avatar was heavily damaged even before the fight, unable to even stand and driven mad by centuries spent in the Warp, and this was just a few pages before Lorgar proved to be a top level badass as he battled and bested Anggrath, the uber-Bloodthirster of Khorne who can eat Avatars and Titans like cookies.
- Stabbed in the heart by Maugan Ra to temper his Maugetar. See? Even in its own faction, the thing gets killed anticlimactically.
- Abandoned on a Maiden World, where its connection to the Eldar was severed, reducing it to a mindless state of rage. The now-unbound Avatar consequently called out to the Orks of the nearby Octarius system, which were happy to answer it. It's kind of sad that the only time the Avatar isn't being a jobber is when he's being used by someone else entirely.
- Killed by the Legion of the Damned when assisting the Invaders in their assault on Craftworld Idharae. When the Legion realized their flaming bolters did squat against the Avatar, they instead brought the roof down on it. Bringing down the roof...sigh...
- Slain by a Battlewagon whilst leading Ulthwe's forces in a near suicidal attempt to defeat a powerful Ork Warboss.
- Somehow able to achieve a mutual kill against Skarbrand, most likely the closest thing to a victory any Avatar has ever achieved; it should be noted that, as the Avatar of the Craftworld with the greatest devotion to Khaine, it may have been stronger than normal. Sadly, with the death of the Craftworld and Infinity Circuit, this Avatar is most likely no more.
- Somehow fused and corrupted by a Genestealer Patriarch who took over it on the Craftworld Zaisuthra.
- A purer shard of he Avatar of Khaine, called the Warshard, was killed rather quickly by the Yncarne possessing Yvraine which, considering the Yncarne itself was easily defeated by Ahriman, does not say good things about Khaine.
He's also used by a boss fight whenever Eldar show up in Dawn of War. These are among his more dignified deaths because he's actually got the high-level stats he should have, on par with greater daemons, yet encountered much earlier:
- Killed by Gabriel Angelos' 3rd company without the aid of anything heavier than a Dreadnought during the Tartarus Campaign. The presence of Isador Akios, though he was already descending towards heresy, probably helped too.
- Killed in a break-dancing competition by a Khornate Bloodthirster during the Eldar's incursion on Lorn V (this one's non-canon).
- In Dark Crusade, destroying the Eldar Stronghold during the Kronus Campaign shows you a loving rendition of the Avatar getting punk'd in single combat by the tallest unit your army has to offer. This includes:
- A Chaos Bloodthirster.
- A Necron Nightbringer shard.
- A Tau Great Knarloc.
- If the Imperial Guard under Lukas Alexander defeat the eldar on Kronus, then the avatar gets killed by a MOTHER FUCKING SENTINEL.
- And last but not least, the tallest unit the canonical winners have to kill the Avatar is Epistolary Anteas. Yep, Papa Smurf himself just got outdone by a Librarian. In the after-action report Anteas is credited with stealing the pieces of the Avatar's armor, showing early-onset signs of the Blood Ravens' kleptomania.
- Possibly defended Farseer Caerys' last base on Kaurava III only to be blown away by
VANCE MOTHERFUCKING STUBBS and his 100 Baneblades after they refused to fuck off.KRUMPED BY GORGUTZ! QWIT WHININ' DIS IZ KANNON YA 'UMIE GROT!
- Killed twice by Force Commander Hair Gel's squad during the fighting to pacify the Eldar in subsector Aurelia. Though to be honest, both of these battles are really fucking hard if you don't have a well-managed squad, and nothing short of greater daemons is more than a speedbump for Tarkus or Cyrus.
One rare example of an Avatar of Khaine not being used as a punching bag is in the Fracture of Biel Tan, where one ties with an injured Skarbrand. It has gotten to the point that the question isn't who could beat an Avatar, but who hasn't beaten an Avatar.
On the Tabletop
The Avatar of Khaine took a bit of a beating with 8th edition. For starters, the Avatar now costs 220 points while not improving too much. What you get for that cost is a whopping WS2+ A5 monster that hits at S8 AP-4 D6 damage, with an ability that lets you roll two dice and take the highest to determine damage. This means that the Avatar of Khaine can punch holes in tanks and monsters like it's nobody's business. Do note that it has only 5 attacks and it deals no Mortal Wounds, so it can kill a maximum of 5 models per turn. If you really want all your attacks to hit, give him an Autarch buddy for rerolls for your To Hit rolls. On top of that it can also shoot with that profile as an 12" Assault 1 weapon, and thanks to Battle Focus does not get -1 to hit if it advanced the same turn. Paired with its 7" movement and a re-roll on failed charge rolls one of the Avatar's largest problems in earlier editions, its low speed, has been kind of addressed. As for saves it gets a 3+, a 5++ due to being a Daemon and its Molten Body ability has been reworked into granting yet another 5++ save instead of immunity to flamers and melta weapons. With the advent of multi-wound weapons this is quite useful and it would be one hell of a job to write down exactly which guns count as flamers or melta now that the keywords regarding them are gone, it is still sad to see such a flavorful ability disappear. With T6, W8 and no degrading of its abilities as it gets hurt the Avatar can stay in the fight long enough, but two lucky Lascannon shots can put it down for the count with frightening ease (although if you lose a character to shooting in 8th edition you probably don't know what you're doing). Don't forget that it's a Character, so as long as it remains screened by other units it should be able to get close enough to the enemy to deal damage. Be wary of flyers with powerful weapons, for they can easily assassinate your Avatar because of the high speed of the rest of the Eldar army compared to it.
If you're not running a Saim-Hann list the Avatar's 12" aura (which allows units to re-roll failed charges and makes them immune to morale) can be pure rape. Use him to propel Howling Banshees up the table, or to lead a horde of Guardian blobs.
When using Power Ratings instead the Avatar clocks in at 13 points, the second-most expensive unit behind the Wraithknight. Nothing much changes about it, so stick it in combat as soon as you can to get the most out of it.
Similar to his 40k part only not in pieces. He is given a LOT more respect in this version of him, shown to be a powerful, mighty god that is renowned and feared (as he should be, you pussies).
There was no prophecy that the Elves would harm him, so that 40k story about him trying to wipe the mortal elves out didn't happen in the Fantasy universe because he had no reason to dislike the mortal elves. The Swords of Vaul story DID happen however, and that final Sword was the Widowmaker which somehow ended up in the mortal world (a lot of Khaine's shit does actually, probably at a 1:1 ratio with Lileath's). He's not outright evil (other than the fact he likes war just like the Fantasy players), rather he's pretty neutral and the High Elves love to acknowledge the dualities of "evil has to be killed by good, there can be no joy without sorrow, etc" with him.
Overall, Khaine is a huge asshole and High Elves acknowledge him as part of the pantheon but do not actually worship him (barring a small minority amongst the Nagarythe who are a bit more fucked up than the rest of the lot, which is saying something). Dark Elves on the other hand praise him in Asuryan's place (when they aren't worshiping Slaanesh anyway). High Elves do not insult him however, and still include a depiction of him amongst the High Elf Pantheon who view him as a necessary evil. High Elf warriors pray to Khaine before battle, but are careful to insure that his influence does not drive them batshit crazy. The Shrine of Khaine is a hotly fought over place between the High and Dark Elves, the former trying to prevent his worship and the latter trying to, well, worship at it. It's the location of the Widowmaker (see below).
He's not overly fond of ANY of the elf races in the mortal world, but since the Dark Elves revere him instead of big boss Asuryan he grants them boons then sits back with some popcorn and watches the Elves slaughter each other.
His love of war combined with his elfness and that his most ardent worshipers are scantily-clad women means he's probably the secret love-child of Khorne and Slaanesh (tsundere confirmed).
The Sword of Khaine
Long ago, when the Old Ones left and Daemons were overrunning the world, Aenarion, the first Phoenix King of the High Elves (as well as the father of the king of the Dark Elves) took up the Sword to help fight off the Daemons. He used it to kick so much ass he eventually drove the Daemons back. During the final battle against the Daemons, while his best bud created a Vortex to syphon off the extra magic and keep the Daemons from manifesting properly, he used the sword to fight and kill all four avatars of the Chaos Gods, killing a Lord of Change, Bloodthirster and Keeper of Secrets single-handedly (there was a Great Unclean One, but his HUEG dragon helped him kill that). Suck it Marneus.
Aenarion, mortally wounded, took his dragon (also mortally wounded, having been ambushed by the Bloodthirster Aenarion subsequently killed) and flew across half a continent (which, thanks to the size of the Warhammer world, means a full sized continent) back to the island then stuck it in the ground at the Shrine, where it remains to this day.
Some editions imply the Widowmaker being grabbed by Aenarion and thus causing the Dark Elves to happen is Khaine's plan come to fruition so there'd always be elves fighting and thus his portfolio would mean something. Other times, he's with the other gods in facepalming when he nabbed it and cursed himself. It's open to interpretation.
Khaine Lives In Death
Kane.. er, I mean Khaine... was the main focus of The End Times' third book, which focused on the conclusion of the Elven wars.
So Malekith, king of the Druchii and all-around bad person, manages to repeat the ritual of becoming the Phoenix King once again and succeeds this time, reclaiming the title that was rightfully his. Tyrion, the closest thing to a guardian as Ulthuan has had the entire event, finds this to be a breaking point in a series of upsets (Including being utterly unaware that his own illegitimate daughter was sacrificed to summon the king of the spooky scary skeletons and the death of the last Phoenix King) decides that enough is enough. At the Shrine of Khaine, Tyrion reaches for the Widowmaker, and thus becomes possessed by the big guy himself as his Avatar.
This possession does a 180 on his personality; where once Tyrion was a noble prince who was dedicated to defending his land, Khaine's possession turned him into a murderous asshole. Well, that and Morathi's attempts at wooing him. This too affected the Elves as well, as they also surrendered to their murderous impulses and Witches joined with his host. Together, they rampaged through Wood Elves and murdered Orion (and Kurnous), they executed Kohril when he stole the Widowmaker in hopes of ending the war early, and generally just stopped caring about protecting their land.
This all comes to a head at the Isle of the Dead, where all Elves had a massive battle, with Malekith's side being bolstered by the ghosts of Phoenix Kings past who sought to repay a debt to their creator. Eventually Malekith, now bearing Asuryan's power, and Tyrion the Avatar of Khaine battled. It was long, bloody, and terrible, but eventually it ended when Alith Anar managed to snipe out Tyrion's heart. Tyrion's death also spelled the death of Khaine, and thus his madness faded from the world and the Old Gods faded from the world. When Tyrion was resurrected in the last book, it was free of the Bloody Handed one's influence.
Age of Sigmar
In Age of Sigmar Khaine (like all the Aelven gods) is dead, killed in the End Times. But the Aelven Gods are cyclical and will reincarnate if they're worshiped enough. Khaine's parts ended up in Khorne's control...somehow and were reforged into weapons for his greatest generals, except for Khaine's iron heart. Despite the greatest efforts from Khorne himself, the heart would not break or even crack. Finally Khorne got frustrated and hurled it away where, after a lot of shit, it came into the clutches of Morathi, who is the High Oracle of Khaine and is uniting worshipers to bring Khaine back to life.
Except not. Holding onto the Iron Heart of Khaine has allowed Morathi to steal its power and she's using it as part of her plan to ascend to Godhood. Of course given that a lot of other members of her family (like Malekith/Malerion or Alarielle) have ascended to Godhood, maybe when she ascends she'll be the Goddess of Murder herself, Khaine reborn.
On the Tabletop
As implied by the name, the Daughters of Khaine faction is entirely devoted to Khaine and as such they get their own Avatar of Khaine model. This can be taken either on foot or as part of a Cauldron of Blood, but unlike the 40k version, it's not the heart of a Craftworld or Temple but simply an iron statue, animated by magic. As such it requires continual prayers from Daughters of Khaine Priests to stay awake and moving, at least until you hit turn 3 in an all-Daughters army, at which point it wakes up permanently as part of their escalating table allegiance ability (there are a lot of bonuses to playing all Daughters of Khaine, the girls do not play well with others).
Once he's awake however, he's an incredibly brutal close combat unit. Clocking in at 180 points (or included as part of the 300/330 for a Cauldron) he moves 9 inches a turn, has a short ranged shooting attack that can hit hard (6 shots, 3s to hit, 3s to wound, -1 rend, 1 damage, just don't ask how it hurts Magmadroths) and in close combat he's got 4, 3 to hit, 3 to wound, -3 rend, 3 Damage hits. Yes, flat 3 damage. Alone he can very easily wreck entire units or annihilate monsters (especially since the turn he wakes up automatically, he gets rerolls of 1 to hit) and on top of a Cauldron he can help the Cauldron eat squads. The only downside is he's basically only a beatstick, only having a small +1LD aura (which is active whether he's awake or not). Still, as the monster at the front of a brutal charge, he certainly does the job.
A piece of useless trivia
Khaine has been inspired by the biblical Cain, the first human born outside the Paradise, and the first murderer - he murdered his brother Abel. The Wailing Doom (known as the Suin Daellae by the Eldar) wielded by the Avatar also bears close similarities with the mythical weapon of the Irish god Lugh, a howling burning spear so bloodthirsty it was able to throw itself at the enemy like at fucking missile and was never tired of slaying shit.
|The High Elves and their gods of Warhammer Fantasy|
|Characters:||Eltharion - Everqueen - Teclis - Tyrion - Prince Imrik - Alith Anar|
|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|