Grand Alliance Order
"Marge. Kids. Everything's gonna be just fine. Now go upstairs and pack your bags. We're gonna start a new life... under the sea."
- – Homer Simpson - "Homer Badman".
"I got no soul, but I am a soldier"
- – The Killers - "All These Things That I've Done". Well, that's how we remember it going.
"We have been hiding long enough. The time has come for Atlantis to rise again."
- – Prince Orm of Aquaman fame
The Idoneth Deepkin are fucking awesome. They are fish elves who ride giant fish into battle, what’s not to love?
The Idoneth Deepkin are a new faction of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, composed of marine aelves and asorted sea fauna. As the previous writer said, they are rather awesome in their uncommon design and the creatures they bring. Also, elves riding sharks and eels. Yeah, sweet looking.
After Teclis, Tyrion, Malerion, and Morathi made Slaanesh start shitting out elf souls, Teclis took the devout of Mathlann (the deceased elf god of the ocean) and made a new home for them in Hysh called Leiriu, a luminescent city also known as the Bright Haven or City of Reflection. There, Teclis taught these newborn aelves, the "Cythai", about the old world and their gods hoping to re-create the High Elves.
However, they weren't exactly model elves: they were withdrawn, resentful and traumatized by their time within Slaanesh. Upon learning this, Teclis wasn't thrilled with them. He tried to find what went wrong, but the Cythai weren't cooperative ; Teclis' methods made some fall into madness, so they weren't exactly without reason. Afraid for their lives and unable or unwilling to cope with Teclis' methods, they fled into the oceans of the Mortal Realms. Teclis, being a dick, tried to exterminate them for good measure, but his brother Tyrion convinced him to be merciful so he let them go.
Over time, each of the Cythai's enclaves developed differently, but all were affected by their new environs and self-imposed isolation. The magic they learned from Teclis was adapted so they could live underwater, even at the most crushing of depths. They grew attuned to their new surroundings, learning to trust vibrations and changes in pressure more than sight or sound. Some of them even became adept in the art of seeing the flaring soul-stuff that animates the living.
The elves, now the ‘Idoneth’, didn't learn that Tyrion had made Teclis cool down and stayed in hiding. After making their new societies, they calmed down and took stock of their situation. They feared that their time in Slaanesh had contaminated them, and decided to research this and discovered two problems that effected them. The first was mallachi, their name for a state of raging madness that ended in savage debauchery, but this only happened to a few. The second and much worse flaw was found when they started having babies, which manifested by having only one in a hundred survive past infancy. The Idoneth soon found out the cause was that their progeny were born with souls that swiftly withered.
In desperation, they turned to magic to fix the problem without success, and when combined with wars and dangers of the ocean their numbers rapidly dwindled. Things only changed when they found out if you kill something with a soul and put that soul into an elf, they won't die prematurely. They first tried this on animals, but animal souls only brought them days, so they decided to go to the surface and start doing this to other people. Even then, it often took a half-dozen human spirits to empower an elf to live even a third of their normal lifespan - though other souls, such as those of duardin, orruks and even sylvaneth worked equally well for the Idoneth's purpose.
At first it was only for survival, since the withering of souls remained as aggressive and frequent as ever, but later they did it for the expansion of their newly found enclaves. At first it was only one in Hysh, but after the discovery of the Whirlways, whirlpools that work as underwater Realmgates, they started to get into the rest of the realms. Due to differences among the Cytharai and a growing population, they expanded to all Mortal Realms save Azyr and founded several enclaves in all of them.
The Idoneth became quite the hikkikomori: betrayed by their creator, forced into bad habits for survival and hated by many. They thought that they didn't need the surface world and limited themselves to the oceans, leaving only for raiding souls. However, not even their swift raids, their memory-changing magics or their ruthless "leave no witnesses" policy fooled everyone. Sigmar suspected that something dangerous was in the oceans, but had other concerns so he didn't go looking. Alarielle found them when an Idoneth army attacked a coastal Sylvaneth enclave in Ghyran and personally defeated them in battle, causing the Idoneth Deepkin to mostly avoid attacking Sylvaneth or anyone else who lived in Ghyran. The Idoneth also became cautious because Alarielle is immune to their memory-changing magic on account of being a goddess. After torturing a Keeper of Secrets whose warband was destroyed by them into spilling the beans, Archaon confirmed his suspicions that there were more aelves than would seem.
They also have kind of a big issue with Nagash. You see, Nagash knew about the disappeared souls and is kind of territorial in regards to the dead. So, because they're stealing souls to save themselves, he's not happy with them (read: really hates these guys). At first he had no idea what was taking them or where, despite extensive searching on his part. After the accidental drainage of a sea in Shyish (How the hell do you drain a sea "accidentally"?!) by the Skaven (...oh, THAT's how. Even better, everyone's favorite Grey Seer was responsible), Nagash caught on to their existence and location. Now he’s emptying an entire ocean in Shyish and sending waves of undead after them in all the realms just to make sure he can stamp them out because he’s the only guy who believes himself to be allowed to have dead souls.
The Idoneth society is divided in three clear castes. First we have the Namarti, composed of those 90% of Idoneth who were born wth imcomplete souls, extremely pale skin, short lifespan (for an aelf anyway, they may still live more than us puny humans) and without eyes that are the majority of the population and are the workforce. Then we have the lucky 10% dudes that were born with complete souls (aka, average aelves): the Akhelians, the warrior caste and those who ride the sweet-looking eels, sharks, Deepmares and Leviadons; and the Isharann, that are the magic users and priests. However, the first ones among all of them were the Cytharai which due to accidents, wars or other shenanigans all of them have died out save the exception of the High King of the Deep Volturnos, who is still alive after millennia and a being a fighter who leads from the front.
One of the more weird phenomena that happens around these guys on land is the so-called Ethersea. This is a manifestation of their marine magic, taking the form of a mist that enables them to use their superior sea-faring abilities and allow their sea beasts to survive where there's no water in miles and move as if they were in water. The Ethersea also have the secondary effect that it manipulates the land and makes it gain deep-sea characteristics spontaneously, like shipwhrecks, coral, fish shoals to start running freely, bubble breath...
An Interesting Note
Amazingly, Mantic Games started making a range of seaborn elves for the Kings of War game in the form of The Trident Realm of Neiritica. These existed prior to the Idoneth Deepkin, but still feel quite similar, albeit with more "straight up" sea people that have less of an elfin look.
|Playable Factions in Warhammer: Age of Sigmar|