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 (which goes as well for them as attacking the Imperium sounds), 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. Also, common sense says that a whole Craftworld devoted to fighting the Imperium would be one the Imperium would genuinely put effort into exterminating. Made easier by how spread out Alaitoc's forces are. This means the Imperium being their primary foe was unfeasible. 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 on a rogue planet. 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 (this is actually a small fleet by Imperial standards, ironically). 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. 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. Because not knowing your enemy's capabilities couldn't possibly be a stupid decision.
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. Which is weird as they should have had a fleet many times the sized of a mere few dozen ships. 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 (in other words they lied, because the Imperium deciding to go kill someone else is not 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.
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."
Astartes do not like being tricked. And it wasn't the scale of Imperial loses that caused the negotiations. It was the pointlessness of the battle. The Imperial loses they suffered were pretty much normal for the Guard. Not really all that different from a normal engagement with a fleet their size and the troops they carried. Most of their forces dying in battle is perfectly normal for them, though usually a fleet their size would have five or six Chapters involved instead of one. If anything, the Imperium did well enough with what it had present that future attacks on Craftworlds would look like a good idea and easy accomplishment. Sure, any force sent would have to be about two or three times larger, but that's not a big deal for the Imperium and they'd need several Chapters. But that's not a heavy price either and even if almost all the Guardsmen died in the process they probably would be considered too few to matter. We're talking about an empire that kills hundreds of billions of its own people on a Hive World and is just annoyed by the reduction of industry in that sub-sector.
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 especially since Black Library and Games Workshop are utterly incompetent at understanding numbers), 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. Anything less against the vast majority of the Imperium's enemies would just result in constant loses until every human was dead or worse. Ten millennia of that results in a truly terrifying culture. 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. And if the Imperium had told the Adeptus Mechanicus that the Eldar had toasters, they'd have showed up with amazing force with riduclously fuck-physics technologies even the Necrons would be confused by and steal everyone's toasters. Then kill everyone. The Mechanicus has done this to a Craftworld before. Just waltzed in, smashed the fuck out of everyone and stole a bunch of shit, and waltzed out. Are we sure the Omnissiah isn't Eldrad?
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 (not this time since only a few thousand died, but that's relative to how many he thought were in the Craftworld in the first place), 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 (even though it wouldn't be a war of attrition since the Eldar cannot afford to replace their loses and attrition is entirely about which side can replace it's loses the quickest and the Imperium wins wars of attrition against the damn Tyranids). 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). Saying "full Legion" is misleading as the Space Wolves had very small numbers. Also, it didn't have the backing of the Imperium, only the fleet that encountered that Craftworld too stupid to realize attacking everyone it sees is a bad idea. 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. Mean no harm? It was all intentional specifically to cause a war. That's meaning an aweful lot of harm. And the message of the book? It's Warhammer 40,000. The books' messages are always "explosions are awesome, buy our miniatures".
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. Which is hilarious because as factions the Imperium wants to preserve humanity while the Eldar keep attacking everyone. Yes with the intention of preserving themselves but it's almost always unnecessary aggression to try and get factions to act in ways the Eldar want to deal with events that a bit of diplomacy would have solved but their egos are too big for it. Perhaps that is the point: to show the roles of the factions ironically reversed with the Imperium as the mindless aggressor and the Eldar as the defenders against alien invaders.
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. Also, it was a force of three Craftworlds that attacked the Invaders but still failed to destroy them.
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. Maybe they should have remembered that instead of spending ten thousand years poking at the Imperium and then having a surprised Pikachu face when the Imperium finally pokes back.
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. Because being spread out everywhere means they can defend from everywhere in derpelf logic. 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 Satrapies|