"A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green."
- – Francis Bacon
Eltharion, known either as "the Blind" or "the Grim" depending on if you're going by pre or post retcon fluff, is a named character from the Warhammer Fantasy universe in the High Elves army. He is the Prince (AKA governor) of the kingdom (province) of Yvresse, which is perhaps the most fucked up and depressing place in the world you can be in charge of short of taking a trip through the Warp to the 41st millennium.
Eltharion grew up a privileged Prince groomed for his position with ample training at the hands of Sapherian historians and tacticians including Loremaster Belannaer, and schooled in the arts of war expected of a warrior of the High Elves including archery, fencing, and mounted combat. His homeland, one of the less populated kingdoms in the modern age which had nonetheless held onto its heritage as the cultural and commerce center of the eastern lands of the Elves, was continually covered in fog and had a brisk coolness in the air compared to most of the rest of Ulthuan which was in a state of perpetual summer climate. In these conditions Eltharion was toughened, learning about survival and the importance of community in a hostile land.
After becoming a full grown
man elf, he set about recapturing the lost glory of the Yvressians with a spectacularly arrogant goal; invade Naggaroth. To everyone's surprise however, he actually had a fucking PLAN to do so other than "Be more fabulous and pray to Asuryan" which had been the keystone of every prior attempt. His strategy was disrupting the messages of the Dark Elves by using his light cavalry and rangers to nail any dispatches for aid that were sent which ensured every attack was against an unsuspecting foe, as well as utilizing infiltration methods to weaken the defenses of the Dark Elves.
He was poisoned in one of his attacks, and while he lay dying he was visited by the spirit of his dead father who told him that a WAAAGH had done the impossible and landed on the shores of Ulthuan, desecrating Waystones and slaughtering everyone within reach including himself. Tor Yvresse had been completely destroyed and it was time to kick ass and take names. He awoke fully healed from his wounds, and called off the attack to immediately rush home to Ulthuan.
Once there, he gathered as many troops as he could from the rest of Yvresse and marched on the capital. There, he found that the Goblin named Grom the Paunch of the Misty Mountain had sent his shamans into the tallest tower in Tor Yvresse for unknown reasons. Riding his personal Gryphon companion Stormwing and bringing two Mages with him, he entered the tower. The spell that the Shaman was casting backfired, and Eltharion used his adept knowledge of magic to attempt to dispel the misfire effect. He received a vision while doing so, although what it entailed was never revealed by him to anyone. He exited the tower alone and from that point on never smiled, never joked, and was cold and strict while before he had been a class clown (according to Tyrion's sad recollections of their boyhood adventures).
At some point after the battle he captured Grom, tortured him, chopped him into tiny pieces, and fed him into a magical furnace from which the magically regenerative Goblin couldn't recover (this was revealed by author Josh Reynolds, and since there is no official end to Grom this is the closest we get).
Shortly after the battle subsided, the armies of The Phoenix King finally arrived to assist him. He told them to fuck off, swearing that Yvresse would stand by itself from then on as the 'ardiest kingdom. In the days after, Eltharion was elected to lead Yvresse and he immediately set about eradicating the greenskins from his lands to the last, cleansing every valley of every
Orcgina spore left by the tribes.
The Waystones had been toppled, and would take many years to rebuild. As a result Daemons had begun manifesting out of the raw and stagnant magic around the kingdom, born out of pure Chaos and free from the will of any of the Chaos Gods. These horrors, coming in all possible shapes and forms, ambled towards settlements and before long only Tor Yvresse remained as the primary inhabited location in the entire region. What few scattered villages existed soon became more outpost and garrison than farming community, as an attack from horrors almost unimaginable could come at any moment.
After rushing to aid the Nagarythe in defense against a Dark Elf invasion, Malekith captured a wounded Eltharion. He tortured him in the most mind-breaking ways possible, although Eltharion held onto his sanity in the most stoic badass way imaginable. Malekith, frustrated, had his eyes removed then sent what remained of Eltharion back to Ulthuan to strike fear into the hearts of the High Elves. He made a full recovery however (as this was the older lore where the Dark Elves didn't do REALLY cruel shit like make flags out of the skin of one of their own, tied to the flagstaff itself to scream in harmony with their cavalry bugles) and became a badass swordsman, using his training from the Swordmasters of Hoeth and applying the heightened hearing/smelling/tactile senses to it. While back in the early editions High Elves looked down on Dark Elves as brutish and vile cousins, Eltharion was one of the few to actually HATE them and dream of genocide against their race.
In later editions, the Blind story was retconned. Eltharion's plot dropped the Dark Elf hate and reserved that for Alith Anar, instead using him as the High Elves anti-greenskin character.
After Grom was defeated and Yvresse cleansed of his race, Eltharion became reclusive. Every visitor to Tor Yvresse was viewed with suspicion regardless of why they had come. The bulk of the city was abandoned, being reclaimed by nature while only the defensible locations underwent regular upkeep. Tor Yvresse became nothing short of a Kobold Den, full of traps and ambush points which were regularly patrolled by paranoid and hateful elves that had survived the attack. Daemons constantly invaded from every direction, appearing in the oceans and swimming to the coastal city or even within its walls. Loremaster Belannaer and his Mages attempted to restore the Waystones of Yvresse, but the process was slow and many were forever damaged. As an alternative, the Mages set up magical defenses comparable to those of Saphery; ones that lead you in circles forever if you approached with ill intent, ones that fractured the mind of those who went off-trail, and so forth.
Even during the darkest hour of the High Elves, when a fuckhuge force lead by Malekith, Morathi, and Slaaneshi Warrior invaded Ulthuan he refused to aid another kingdom, answering a personal call from Finubar to save Lothern entirely by himself riding Stormwing (where he fended off Malekith and gave the dragon and rider a fair number of wounds before exiting the fight to let Imrik take over). He left unceremoniously after the battle was over without a word to anyone, to the disappointment of his boyhood friends who were also at the battle and hadn't seen him since before his invasion of the Dark Elves.
After eventually feeling that Tor Yvresse was secure enough for him to leave his city, he lead an army of his most disciplined and trusted Yvressians to Cothique to catch a ride to the Old World. Here he set about attempting to wipe out all Orcs and Goblins or to cause them to fear his race and never bother Ulthuan again, using fire magic to incinerate the earth after each battle to prevent another group from rising again. He destroyed WAAAGHs that began thousands of years ago and had battered at the doors of Dwarfen Holds in all that time, allowing the Dwarfs of many locations to regain their strength and lend it to Thorgrim Grudgebearer as well as causing their race to gain a (slightly) higher opinion of the
dandelion eaters Elves. WAAAGHs that had begun forming to wipe out humanity were assaulted and annihilated to the last. Everywhere the army of Eltharion marched, peace came to the land. But no matter how many he killed every day a new force of greenskins would appear on the horizon, marching into certain death.
After putting a larger dent in the greenskin population than any army or even single being had ever accomplished, Eltharion discovered that the reason the greenskin hordes had seemed endless was purely because THEY were now coming to HIM. WAAAGH after WAAAGH had pounded against his forces, and he had beaten them all. Knowledge of this had somehow spread throughout their race, and according to a Warboss he had captured almost every greenskin in the world now believed "Pointy-'eads give a proper fight." and had put fighting High Elves high on their To Do list.
Eltharion returned home, content that the bulk of the greenskin race would be lost at sea as Ulthuan is protected both by magic (intentional spells, and the raw energy surrounding it) as well as natural hazards (sea monsters even demigods can't kill, sentient islands that move to cause shipwrecks, and chaotic storms) that only (lucky) Elven navigators utilizing magic can navigate with assured success. Beyond that, the greenskins would have to fight unending Daemons to reach the shore. Then penetrate the defenses of Tor Yvresse. There at home in his beloved city, Eltharion the Grim waited in the tallest tower of the only large settlement in his cursed region waiting for one final WAAAGH to break itself upon his knee.
In the End Times event, Eltharion was a major character, when he was chosen to lead the forces of Ulthuan against Nagash's forces in an attempt to save Aliathra since Tyrion was needed to defend Ulthuan from surprise Slaanesh buttsex. Despite being grim and suspicious as ever, he tried to be considerate to his non-elven allies at Eldyra's and Belannar's request. In the battle he proved he was more skilled at leading an army and nearly as skilled in combat as Tyrion, kicking Mannfred's ass being his most notable accomplishment. He broke through the magical barrier around Arkhan's Nagash-summoning ritual with his Fangsword, destroying the sword in the process. Even without it, he was still a powerful elven warrior with a gem that made him a level 2 wizard. But Arkhan was a level 4/5 wizard, so Eltharion grabbed Arkhan and slammed him against the cauldron's edge to try and break his neck. Badass as it is, taking on a lich with only one's bare hands is not the wisest idea. Eltharion was annihilated by Arkhan in a "I don't have time for this crap" fashion with a spell that made Eltharion age to dust.
His ghost also gave his niece and nephew his necklace and sword some years after the bone daddy's resurrection. This would be a good "Take up my sword" scene, but both of them
worfed were unceremoniously murdered by Malekith and his right-hand minion Kouran during the Elven civil war only two books later because both of them disliked the idea of a Druchii being Phoenix King.
Many old-time High Elf players were offended and horrified at the completely shitty end to one of the original Warhammer Fantasy major characters. Most of them didn't blame Eltharion's killer Arkhan (who's another original Warhammer Fantasy character despite being added to the setting one year after Eltharion), but the writers.
In Age of Sigmar Tyrion, Teclis, and Malerion (Malekith now a dragonman, because changing his name was easier and more likely to succeed than suing Marvel comics) attained godhood and managed to capture Slaanesh who at the time had eaten so many Elf souls from End Times that he was hiding out in a cave, too bloated to move, digesting them. Slaanesh promptly vanished from the ranks of the Chaos Gods, and Horned Rat was promoted to Great Horned Rat and given Slaanesh's place in the Great Game and in a vision of the future detailing how Chaos will eventually win and destroy all things (because this is Games Workshop writing afterall, and you can't be ambiguous about evil always winning because good is dumb) Slaanesh was not present meaning he's functionally been killed.
It is implied that these "new beings" are the souls of the Elves who died in End Times, possibly even prior, that Slaanesh was forced to regurgitate. Thus its possible that Eltharion has returned to the new setting, albeit forced to worship his former best friend as a god. At the very least you can field him again.
On The Tabletop
Over the years, Eltharion has remained a questionable option to put on the tabletop. His Blind stats were much more impressive, as he was designed as a character who could fit into a unit of Swordmasters similar to the current Loremaster of Hoeth with his low level magic and high offensive stats. Eltharion the Grim by contrast is overpriced, only ever really useful on Stormwing but thanks to cannonfire being a liability. His magic items make him durable enough to take some damage and dish it back out, although not as well as a proper generic Prince kitted out could do. In addition, his weak spellcasting does not make up for lacking a Mage or Archmage and you run into the problem of the fact you're paying for a combination melee/magic Lord while you want that split between two characters for safety and prioritization reasons. As a result, Eltharion has spent many years mostly as a proxy model for a generic counterpart simply called "Eltharion" for narrative reasons.
The army of Tor Yvresse is similarly defeatist and confusing. His kingdom lacks any kind of unique signature unit or combination, instead relying on models from other kingdoms which is ironic given his attitude to asking favors (or answering them). His Blind version simply blended Nagarythe tactics with Saphery ones, relying on Shadow Warriors and Swordmasters with high magic and the typical Elf core to deal megafuck damage fast. The Grim seems to rely heavily on magic as well, although even in the Yvresse entry of the 8th edition High Elf Heraldry book only Spearmen, Archers, Silver Helms, Princes/Nobles, and Archmages/Mages are described as Yvressian troops. Whether this means an Yvresse list (supposedly small forces of depleted and shellshocked troops) are almost entirely Core and characters is the intention of Games Workshop or not is unknown. A list like that may explain why Eltharion was killed so quickly in End Times however...
|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|