Eldrad Ulthran is renowned as the most powerful and far-sighted psyker of the Eldar race, and was the Chief Farseer of Craftworld Ulthwé. He is awfully fond of engaging in overly elaborate plots to tweak the balance of fate, presumably to preserve the Eldar as a species. Also, he engages in only the highest forms of dickishness, as the accounts from one of his retinue warlocks attest. Possibly father to Farseers Taldeer and Macha. Love Can Bloom is ambiguous on the matter, but current /tg/ canon operates on the assumption that he is. Basically Spock's dad Sarek from Star Trek.
Some time ago, Abaddon the Despoiler led an assault on Craftworld Ulthwé, to attack the Eldar Farseer Council there. After slowly slogging through the nearly deserted Craftworld while his Black Legion suffered massive casualties as the Eldar forces still present, picked them off in hit and run attacks, Abaddon finally got to the council's Dome but found Eldrad waiting for him. Eldrad quickly made a mockery of Abaddon's combat skill; he dodged Abaddon's strikes with the daemon sword Drach'nyen and the Talon of Horus with ease. In just two strikes, Eldrad cleaved through Abaddon's Terminator armor with virtually no effort and separated him from his arms (hah, I see what you did there). The Eldar then stuffed the remainder of the attack force into a Dreadclaw with "Failbaddon the Armless Failboat" as well as other demeaning terms and images painted all over it and launched it back into the Eye of Terror while laughing hysterically. And that is why Abaddon has no arms.
As of the 13th Black Crusade, Eldrad is getting more active. After stealing the crystallized bodies of Farseers from every Craftworld, he attempted to prematurely summon Ynnead, the yet-to-be-born Eldar god of Death who would save them from Slaanesh before every single Eldar dies, which was when it was supposed to be born. Just before the events that would lead into the events of 8th edition the Deathwatch intervened in the Battle of Port Demesnus, that had been orchestrated by Eldrad to distract everyone whilst he performed a great ritual upon a moon made of psychic crystal. When the Deathwatch discovered what was going on they immediately made all haste to Eldrads location. Eldrad attempted to reason with the Marines, explaining that what he was doing would strike a devastating blow against the true enemy. The Marines, of course, refused to listen and promptly fucked the whole thing up (marking one of many times he himself was out-dicked by Space Marines) whilst claiming that they would rather see the universe burn than trust Xeno scum. Said summoning ritual required the bodies of every Crystal Seer, and when the Ulthwe's Seer Council learned of it along with how he crystallized a couple more seers bringing the Ynnari to Ulthwe, only the intervention of the Harlequins saved him from being executed on the spot. Instead, he was then was exiled from the Craftworld on pain of death if he returned.
Currently, a member of the Ynnari, although he travels separately from the main group, joining their quest to bring forth Ynnead in its full power with the Croneswords. He is one of the Eldar that guided the survivors of Cadia on Kalisus to Macragge to resurrect Roboute Guilliman. In this way, the fates of two most prominent dicks in the galaxy intwined.
- As every loyal member of the Imperium should already know, Eldrad’s life is basically one failure after another with very few and potentially accidental successes in-between. The Emperor is of course infallible and infinitely benevolent in all things; if only this foul abomination had just trusted the guy with tens of millennia more experience, knowledge and god-like wisdom. The Emperor would have of course welcomed him with open arms, so as to guide him and avoid his many, many mistakes. If only Eldrad had realized his natural state of subservience to humanity the grimdark wouldn’t have happened and the grateful Imperium would have of course been good to the Eldar due to Eldrad’s presence, securing a wonderful future for both species. - Imperial
"No threat! The Emperor and the Farseer are known to each other. Though they long diverged from friendship, they are not yet opposed."
- – Lhaerial Rey- Shadowseer of the Ceaseless Song
The only thing known of Eldrad's life, before becoming trapped on the path of the Seer, was that he used to be a musician, and he apparently still has quite an ear for that kind of stuff. Although he is most well-known as the High Farseer of Ulthwe, he did not begin that way, and his time on the Seer Council of Ulthwe was a surprisingly volatile one. Eldrad was the one responsible for much of what the Path of the Seer would become (Runes and all). Eldrad would be introduced to the idea of the Path system by Asurmen and would apply these ideas to reform the Witch path into what we know it is today (the original seers were more like ancient soothsayers and mystics).
- There was also a subtle hint in "The Throne World" that claimed that at some time in the past both Eldrad and the Emperor had been "friends". What form or how this friendship came about is unknown, but it is clear that by the time of the Heresy something *cough* Molech *cough* had bought their friendship to an end, even if their shared goals to fuck over Chaos still aligned, hence why Eldrad took steps to ensure that Vulkan could return to Terra as well as fucking up the Cabal's plans to get Horus to win.
Whilst he served on the Seer Council, but before actually becoming its High Farseer, there was a bizarre tendency for all of Eldrad's superiors to be conveniently (by fate or design, you decide) killed on missions, often just as a Phoenix Lord arrived. This occurred twice in the days before the Great Crusade, first when Eldrad and an older female Farseer journeyed with Asurmen to try to find a legendary Exodite Oracle. Said Oracle, believed to have been the first Eldar to ever foresee the Fall, turned out to be a Keeper of Secrets in disguise and, in the ensuing fight, killed Eldrad's superior. This pattern was repeated when Jain Zar visited the Craftworld, advising it against attacking a nascent Ork Waaagh, which the Crafworld's, at the time, most senior Farseer agreed with. Eldrad, however, wanted to attack and destroy said Waaagh (Mainly because Jain Zar's plan was to make sure this Ork Waaagh ended up destroying Ulthwe, so as to prevent an even bigger disaster later on; Eldrad disagreed), convincing the Craftworld to follow him and rousing the Avatar of Khaine. Despite all this the attack was a total failure, with the High Farseer dying, the Avatar of Khaine being destroyed (in one of its earliest defeats) and Eldrad himself almost being killed. Discovering that the presence of the Phoenix Lord was what was reshaping the strands of fate to bring about Ulthwe destruction, Eldrad moved to sacrifice himself to prevent it. He gave Jain Zar an ultimatum, she could continue on her chosen path and see him dead, or she could choose to trust in the path he would forge for the Eldar. In the end, it was only because Jain Zar changed her mind and decided to believe in Eldrad that she moved to intervene. In the aftermath, though, despite his colossal cock-up (the first of a career of failures; to be fair the plan was working until the mere presence of Jain Zar started twisting fate to suit her goals; Phoenix Lords are fucking freaky like that), Eldrad's arrogance continued to rub Jain Zar the wrong way, and he refused to allow the former High Farseer's Spirit Stone into the Infinity Circuit, deciding he could make better use of it personally (which probably means it just got chucked into his big collection of tokens).
- In a strange case of "Just as planned" this apparent failure, actually turns out to be a complete success. Despite the lives lost, Eldrads actions ultimately destroyed two Ork Waaagh's, whilst also preventing the inter-Craftworld wars that would have brought about a far greater loss of life. What at first glance looked like an utter failure not only saved countless Eldar and non-Eldar lives but also reserved him a seat at the big table for the Rhana Dandra. Which only goes to prove that in order to be the hero sometimes you have to be a dick. Or have Jain Zar bail you out.
Were these simple coincidences or Eldrad's way of conniving his way to the top by ensuring his superiors all met with tragic fates? The answer to that probably depends on how much of a dick, and how competent, you think Eldrad is, although it is true that one skill he certainly has is getting other Eldar killed, in many ways Eldrad is the most successful murderer of Eldar since Slaanesh. But then again, he is a dick.
- In his defence, to make an omelette you gotta break some eggs (as the Mon'Keigh saying goes) and while Eldrad's bodycount is frighteningly high, most of his actions have prevented even greater loss of Eldar lives further down the path even as they guaranteed the deaths of many. Farseeing and reading the future isn't an exact science nor does it guarantee there is a bloodless path/one can be found out of every situation, assuming the one attempting the reading interprets the vision correctly. Even Big.E cannot discern the future with perfect clarity despite being vastly more powerful and experienced than Eldrad (or any other psyker). He still is a dick though, double so considering his actions tend to come at even higher cost to the 'lesser' races as they do to his own.
Horus Heresy and later
After ascending to the position of High Farseer Eldrad would try to interfere in the course of the Horus Heresy a few times, rarely to much success. First he attempted to warn Fulgrim of Horus' corruption but failed, costing the life of one of Ulthwe's greatest Wraithlords and his friend, and also seeing the Avatar of Khaine slain, yet again, on his watch when Fulgrim throttled it (one assumes that Ulthwe's Seer Council has become a bit suspect about letting Eldrad use the Avatar since he seems to always come back with it broken). After this, he became pretty unpopular with both Ulthwe and the Cabal alligned part of the Eldar race, and decided to go solo to get things done. He aided John Grammaticus and Vulkan, making clear also that he opposed the plan of the Cabal. Said opposition went so far he even killed the entire Cabal eventually. Apparently, according to him, at some point he and Vulkan did something together (with Eldrad disguising himself as an old man representing Mount Deathfire to guide Vulkan towards Terra) which resulted in Vulkan giving him a Salamander's tooth, probably to join the huge collection of knick-knacks Eldrad has along with the former High Farseer's Spiritstone.
Following the Heresy Eldrad next interfered in the affairs of the Galaxy when he and the Seers of Ulthwe allowed a group of Harlequins to infiltrate the Imperial Palace during the height of the War of the Beast. It is not exactly clear what he hoped to gain from this, as the Harlequins butchered the palace's mortal guards as a greeting and even managed to kill a good number of Custodians before they themselves were methodically cut down until only the Shadowseer remained, prostrate and wounded before the Eternity gate with a load of understandably pissed off Custodians. Her only message was to say that Chaos was the real threat and not to get distracted, whilst Orks were literally moments away from destroying Terra itself, so its not clear how any of this really helped anyone. Maybe he really wanted those Harlequins dead and this was... somehow... the best way to do it. Or the more plausible theory; Eldrad is just really bad at getting things done.
- This said, even as the Harlequins danced through the Imperial palace Eldrad and the Ulthwe Seer Council did help out the defenders of Terra by calming a path through the Warp allowing the combined Imperial Fists successor fleet to reach Terra and help defeat the Ork forces.
- These events would also directly influence the two organisations who would go on to create the Ordo Malleus, whose responsibility it is to investigate and destroy the physical manifestations of Chaos throughout the Imperium, and the Ordo Xenos, that investigates and eliminates alien influence and plots against the Imperium (you can probably guess which one was more prepared to listen). Members of the Ordo Malleus and the Ordo Xenos have been known to "fraternize" with the Eldar, and along with members of the Illuminati (who are frequently involved on some level with the Eldar, in particular, the Harlequins. And just so happen to have members placed throughout all levels of the Imperium) have been allowed access to the Black Library. Eldrad's actions not only created two of the main Ordos of the Inquisition but may have allowed Eldar affiliated humans to infiltrate to the very heart of the Imperium itself (take that Tzeentch, let's see you top that "just as planned" plot twist).
Since then Eldrad has been involved in a few events; he saved Saim-Hann from a Hrud infestation, tried to forewarn Iyanden of the invasion of the Tyranids, defeated the Ork Warboss Nazdreg and also took part in the battle of Blood and Tears. He seemed particularly invested in the small Craftworld of Idharae, engineering the entire 2nd War of Armageddon to save said Craftworld, although it amounted to nothing in the end as the Invaders Space Marine Chapter simply destroyed Idharae instead. So much for that.
Indeed Eldrad has a poor reputation when facing off against Space Marines (but that's true of everyone), beginning with his battle against Fulgrim. On Maedrax the Ulthwe forces under his direction were mauled by a single Blood Angels Battle Barge and failed in their mission to stop an awakening Necron Dynasty. In fact, if you were to believe the mountain of Space Marine bolter porn that gets released by GW, you might come to believe that Eldrad (and everyone else for that matter) has, in over ten thousand years, never won a single battle against any Space Marines. This of course is not true as his humiliation of Abaddon in single combat will attest (but then again he is also a memetastic failure himself, so maybe it cancels it out). He has had more luck when working with Space Marines, such as when he interfered to save Blood Angels Chief Librarian Mephiston.
In many ways it was Eldrad, along with Abaddon, who started the whole set of events which have lead to the changes beginning in the Gathering Storm. Showcasing his extreme level of dickishness Eldrad stole Crystal Seers (remains of past Seers, which obviously contain a lot of psychic fuel to awaken a god) from every single Craftworld and endangered the entire Eldar species in an abortive attempt to awaken Ynnead which failed when Deathwatch Captain Artemis intervened and defeated him and his Harlequin associates. Whilst Eldrad's full attention was focused on maintaining the energy required to birth a god, he took a dreadnought's plasma cannon to the face. Subconsciously diverting a tiny amount of energy to protect himself proved to be enough to cause the ritual to collapse, and the moon to explode. Ynnead awakened, but only at a fraction of its full power, choosing Yvraine as its first servant, and beginning the entire Fracture of Biel-tan storyline.
Since his act of incredible treason caused the Craftworld to declare that Eldrad had interfered with fate one time too many, Eldrad has been involved in aiding the Ynnari. He has also been removed from the Seer Council of Ulthwe as a part of his exile, instead now moving with a small roving group of followers, interfering where he sees fit and playing his role in the alliance (that he himself proposed) by aiding the besieged Imperial forces all across the galaxy, and by taking up missions from the Primarch Roboute Guilliman when requested. His dedication to helping out his new allies in the Imperium goes so far that he even directly defies his peers in the Black Library to rather do as Roboute wishes. He did return to aid his home when it was invaded by Kairos Fateweaver though, assisting them in banishing an attempt by Daemons of Tzeentch to attack the Craftworld.
Where did Eldrad’s reputation for being such a dick come from?
He gives candy to young races.
And that candy will contain a slow-spreading gingivitis bacteria that will fester in the new race and slowly spread amongst their entire species. The gum pain will be considered a normal part of everyday life, and they will regularly take painkillers.
When the ’Nids invade them in 3000 years, they too will be infected by the gingivitis disease—but they are mindless beasts, who know nothing of painkillers. Living in constant pain, only worsened by eating, this massive hive of ’Nids will starve and become extinct, a result of their own adaptation abilities.
And of course, Craftworld Ulthwé would have been the next target for that particular hive to eat. Just. As. Planned.
And that is why Eldrad is a dick. There is only one mortal being in 40k who is a bigger dick than Eldrad.
As of 8th edition, and his exile, Eldrad is pulling old strings while fighting alongside the Ynnari and their new allies. His devotion to this new great alliance of Elves and Men--I mean Eldar and Imperium has seen him going so far as to oppose the White Seers, the leaders of the Black Library itself, in favour of doing what was requested by Roboute, doing so without any of the usual Eldar trickery (by the gods, the sheer amount of dickishness that he must be holding back is mind-boggling- one can only assume that his exile taught him a painful lesson in humility) and openly admitting to the Primarch that the Imperium and the Eldar need each other to survive. Existing much like a Corsair fleet, Eldrad and his renegades now travel the galaxy, regularly offering sage wisdom or aid to those who fight against the overwhelming forces of Chaos, or occasionally getting into the fray himself like during the War in the Labyrinth. Despite his exile when Daemonic forces invade the defenseless Ulthwé due to Ulthwe sending its entire force to every corner of the galaxy in order to fight Chaos, Eldrad returned and kicked some major Chaos arse.
He also turns out to be a bit of a hoarder, with whole towers stuffed with all manner of strange knick-knacks and other totally pointless items gifted to him over his long life, that he was apparently too polite to refuse but too lazy to dispose of (what a dick). Or in a kinder way maybe he feels it would be disrespectful.
Yvraine has taken to making fun of him because of his old age. I tell you, these youngsters today, have absolutely no respect for their “Eldars”.
Most concerningly, he seems to believe that something worse than Chaos, something older, is on it's way...
Phoenix lord of the Witch Path
Could Eldrad possibly become the Phoenix Lord of the Witch Path? He certainly has lived far longer than is natural for even the most long-lived Eldar, and it was his introduction with Asurmen and the ideas of the Path system that caused him to reform the Witch Path into the highly controlled and focused Path that it is. Even Jain Zar, who had less than friendly interactions with Eldrad, claimed that she knew when she was in the presence of another "Immortal". Of course, seeing as Eldrad is still on his first life there is no telling if this is true or not, but given that his previously retconned death had him splitting his soul into multiple soul stones (in a similar way to a horcrux) and that several were still active, even after his supposed "death" may indicate that GW may have planned on resurrecting him eventually if they had chosen to continue that storyline.
What is his ultimate plan (or how to make the biggest dick in 40k even more of a dick)
The Eldar as a whole have many ambitious plans in the works for dealing with Chaos, each as desperate and dangerous as the last, but what is Eldrad's grand plan, and why is he so interested in keeping humanity alive?
It could be that he ultimately wants Eldar and humanity to join hands and sing kumbaya, as we skip merrily into the sunset, but what's the fun in that.
First of all a warning, there will be spoilers below.
During the Horus Heresy Eldrad disagreed with the Cabal (of which he was a former member) regarding what should be done, and actively sought to keep humanity from being annihilated; believing that there was actually a third option. But why?
Now this is were it gets interesting; the Emperor upon the destruction of his great work, possessed Vulkan's, at the time, dead body to forge his ultimate "fuck you" button. It was a talisman that could create flames that can permanently kill daemons. Eldrad made great efforts to make sure Vulkan made it back to terra with this weapon, were it was then permanently fused with the Golden Throne. If the Throne fails or the Emperor slain, then the device will feed upon the power stored within the Golden Throne, and Terra will burn. Any daemon's nearby will be perma killed, and seeing as they are all extensions of the Gods themselves, this is going to seriously hurt. On top of that if the Gate is open, these flames will potentially flow into the Warp, were they may even reach the Gods themselves.
It is unlikely that this explosion will be able to kill the Gods, but it will likely weaken them seriously. It goes without saying that the more powerful the explosion, the more damage it will do. So how do you make the explosion more powerful? Easy you add more fuel to feed it.
For 10,000 years humanity has been feeding the Throne and the Emperor. Was Eldrad's plan all along, to keep humanity around so they could ultimately fuel this terrifying warp doomsday device in order to strike a devastating blow against the Gods themselves, a blow that they would never recover from.
- This would also go a long way to explain why he sent Harlequins to breach the Imperial Palace during "The Throne World". As long as Terra was properly defended, then Chaos, or some other enemy would stand no chance of actually reaching the Golden Throne; you don't want your secret doomsday device being deactivated, or worse, set off prematurely, before it is powerful enough to do what it needed to do. The Imperium had grown lazy and lethargic during a brief time of peace, and had let the defences around the Throne slip. The Imperium was never going to listen to the warnings of xeno scum, so the only way to get their attention was to show them.
- It should be pointed out that this does not mean humanity itself is destroyed as the majority of humanity would be nowhere near the explosion. In fact with the weakening of the Chaos Gods it might actually serve to save humanity as a whole, alongside the Eldar.
When you add this too:
- The Phoenix Lords running around, getting everything setup and ready for the Rhana Dandra, whilst at the same time holding it back for as long as possible.
- Cegorach and his great jest, to trick Slaanesh into saving the Eldar.
- The birth of Ynnnead and a new way to protect Eldar souls from the creatures of the Warp.
- The possibility of a small reformed pantheon, to counter balance the Dark Powers.
You get the distinct impression that the Eldar have no intention of pulling their punches, and are fully intending to fuck Chaos up big time. Even if their time is up, if they're going down, they're taking Chaos with them. Out of all the factions (despite their many splinter groups not always seeing eye too eye) in 40k they seem to be the only ones who actually know what the bloody hell they're doing, and actually have a plan for the Endgame unlike the Imperium which is just running around and putting out the fires and the Tau who are sitting in a circle holding hands and singing John Lennon's Imagine.
This Dick On the Tabletop
Eldrad is probably THE mainstay special character for Eldar armies. As we all know, the dude is rivaled as a (non-cheese) psychic powerhouse only by Ahzek Ahriman: he's got Mastery Level 4, meaning that if you go for Psychic Focus and roll on a single table, you've got access to every power on there except for one (something his Tzeentchian peer can only do with the Tzeentch discipline since he has to generate at least one power from it). He knows Sanctic Daemonology, Telepathy, Divination, and, of course, Runes of Fate. Whereas Ahriman is all about the volume when it comes to mind bullets, Eldrad is all about stability and reliability. He has the usual Farseer toys: Runes of the Farseer, which allows him to re-roll once per turn any number of dice on a psychic test or a Deny the Witch test, and a Ghosthelm, which allows him to spend a warp charge to nullify a wound caused by Perils of the Warp. So like any Farseer, he's already much less likely than other psykers to get turned inside out by daemons or to have his powers fizzle out, even when casting big WC3 stuff. Furthermore, his staff gives him a 33% chance to generate an extra warp charge every time he successfully casts a power; so not only does he have those 4-5 powers, but he's usually got the charges to use all of them.
Besides his psychic prowess, Eldrad also has some nifty wargear. Armour of the Last Runes gives him a 3++ Invulnerable save, which, coupled with his T4, allows him to take more punishment than the average Farseer, though his resilience still isn't anything to write home to Craftworld Ulthwé about. He's got a shuriken pistol (always good to have a Bladestorm weapon handy, and it's an extra close combat attack), a witchblade (Fleshbane! Always wounds on 2+), and let's not forget his all-important psyker disco stick, the Staff of Ulthamar, which is S-User (which doesn't really matter), AP3 AND has Fleshbane and Force. Anything he hits with it gets wounded on 2+, probably doesn't get an armor save, and dies instantly if you activate Force. Enough said. Oh, and his special rules are Fleet, Ancient Doom, Independent Character, Battle Focus, and Psyker. Naturally, his Warlord Trait is An Eye on Distant Events—because, you see, Eldrad is a dick.
8th Edition kept a lot of the details more or less the same; his melee weapons still wound on a +2, he's still T4 with a 3++ Invuln save and he's still a dick. He can learn three Runes of Fate as opposed to the generic Farseers' two and may cast three of those powers(or Smite) in the same turn. He also gets slightly better at casting after his first successful power for the turn, so there's that. If he's taken as your Warlord he gets Ulthwé's unique Fate Reader trait, which gives you a Command Point at the beginning of your turn if you roll a 6. Could be better, but he's still a very good character even if you choose have someone else lead your army.
He beat the shit out of Abaddon in close combat despite knowing full well what kind of reputation he had. What a dick.
|Heroes:||Eldrad Ulthran - Illic Nightspear - Prince Yriel - Yvraine|
|Phoenix Lords:|| Asurmen - Baharroth - Drastanta - Fuegan |
Irillyth - Jain Zar - Karandras - Maugan Ra
|From Dawn of War I:||Farseer Caerys - Farseer Macha - Farseer Taldeer|
|From Dawn of War II:|| Autarch Kayleth - Farseer Elenwe - Farseer Idranel |
Ranger Ronahn - Warlock Veldoran