- Isha warning the Eldar of Nurgle's plots
"How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world"
- – William Shakespeare
Isha, the Mother or A Supernatural Garbage Can is one of the many gods and goddesses of the High Elves in Warhammer Fantasy and the Eldar in Warhammer 40,000. Isha's domain is healing, fertility, and the harvest. She and her daughter Lileath are two of the few completely and genuinely loving and kind Warp-entities in 40K.
So, naturally, grimdark things happen to her. A lot. To give some sense of scale, the story behind Eldar's spirit-stones is that they are Isha's tears. Seeing as there were once trillions of Eldar... yeah, you do the math.
Long ago, before the Eldar got into their hedonistic shit, Khaine learned of a prophecy that an Eldar would kill him, so he did the only rational thing in this universe: start wiping out the Eldar. Isha complained to Asuryan, King of the Eldar Gods, to stop this. At first, Asuryan's response was "cry me a river". You can imagine his surprise when she did just that in his palace. Not wanting to ruin his floors any further, Asuryan told Khaine to calm the fuck down, and ordered the Gods to cease interacting with the Eldar (even though they are formed by the consciousnesses of the Eldar themselves, lulz). Isha had a bit of a problem with this, and so met the Eldar in secret. When Khaine found out, he imprisoned Isha and her husband Kurnous. The other Gods thought this was kind of extreme, but only Vaul, the Smith God, did anything about it (which pretty much sounds like an Eldar thing to do), offering to make one hundred swords to pay their ransom. Since Vaul's swords were really fucking powerful, Khaine agreed to release them in a year. Problem was, Vaul only made 99 in that time, so he threw in a regular sword. Isha and Kurnous were freed, but when Khaine found out, he imprisoned Vaul instead.
In the book, Angel Exterminatus, written by Graham McNeil, on page 93, Fulgrim is rambling on about Eldar mythology to the Iron Warriors. He basically says that Isha let Khaine use her for sex if he would save the Eldar from the threat of some weird ass species called the Hresh-Selain. It is said that Khaine fucked her so hard that the moment he came, the Angel Exterminatus (Demon/avatar of Khaine on steroids) clawed its way out of her body, killing her. Since Fulgrim is known for being nearly as high as Doomrider, and he lied about so much other shit in the book, the authenticity of his claim is highly debatable. Also, the Angel Exterminatus was made up by Fulgrim. It was just a prophecy about him becoming a daemon prince.
During the Fall of the Eldar
Then the Fall of the Eldar happened, and things got real ugly. The only good thing to happen to Isha is that Isha survived Slaanesh's initial birth-slaughter, compared to the other poor Eldar gods. However, Slaanesh, being what he/she/it is, decided to take Isha as his/her/its eternal sex toy. Naturally, Isha started crying again, which someone again heard this time. However, it was the last person she would expect: the loveable bastard Nurgle had heard her cries and misery, like every other Chaos god, for a long time.
He however, decided to do something about it. He also realized he was feeling true, real love for another being (could be because nobody was in more despair than her at the moment, and that's kinda his thing, and/or because he and her are both gods of life). While the other Chaos gods kinda wished to give Slaanesh a little breathing room (He/She/It had just raped and killed most of the Eldar pantheon) until the birth subsided, Nurgle wasn't having that shit, so he challenged Slaanesh for the freedom of Isha, and won (thus setting a precedent for Him/Her/It vs the other gods).
Unfortunately the 6th edition Eldar Codex says that only Cegorach and Khaine survived Slaanesh's feast upon the eldar pantheon, calling these events into question. Or maybe they just assumed that she died. The 6th Edition Daemons Codex states that only one isolated Craftworld knows about her fate.
A recent story has five eldar farseers entering the warp in Nurgle's realm to save Isha from Nurgle. They fail and are turned into features of his garden, but the omniscient narrator confirms her survival, specifically by saying she saw the farseers fall and get captured.
To this day, Nurgle adores her like no one else can (well besides Kurnous, but he can't being deader than dead) like a creepy stalker. By the rules, she was his, and for a while, he would keep her in his Gardens and force-feed her many of his creations to see how long it would take her to succumb(tl;dr Poxfulcrum). Being a goddess of healing, she wouldn't die from any of them and could cure herself, so if Nurgle was satisfied with the effects, he would release the contents somewhere in the universe - if not he'd drink the batch and start all over again. Isha could and still does take her time to whisper to the mortals as she has always done, to tell them how to cure themselves. Thus she didn't actually die at the hands of Slaanesh like most the other gods of the pantheon since Nurgle rescued her before the former could rape her to death. Kinda funny how she cares for all life despite her own children bastardizing her teachings (like ANOTHER certain race with THEIR non-deity *BLAM* suggesting the emperor is not a god is HERESY! (they're perfect for each other)) and by consequence most other mortals hate the shit out of them too. But to be fair, she's kinda stuck in the same boat as a certain half-dead, super human atheist, so who’re we to judge?
Doing much better than her 40k version namely that her husband is still alive and she's not Nurgle's prisoner (goddess Shaylla is imprisoned instead- and that goddess escapes Nurgle's manse in the End Times, but those stories are absolutely horrible anyway). The Everqueen is her avatar/high priestess, and thanks to the fact each Everqueen's soul is added to the soul blob that makes up the Everqueen entity Alarielle (current Everqueen) is kind of the God Emperor of Fantasy (however the official counterpart to big guy is an actual admirable Conan the Barbarian look-a-like with a dwarf king sidekick) that can counter the Chaos Gods' own powers. Isha still cures Nurgle's plagues, and like High Elves are more friendly than Eldar in general she too whispers cures to non-Elf races (yes, even Dwarfs).
Then The End Times happened. Lileath poisoned Isha, who was really Ariel, and merged her with the Everqueen. That makes Isha technically the only original Elf deity to survive into Age of Sigmar (unless Khaine's heart counts, though Morathi assimiliated it into herself later).
However, in /tg/ish canon, Isha and Nurgle's relationship has progressed beyond what it was (possibly due to Stockholm Syndrome, possibly due to them being complementary gods of life), and Isha can be said to love him back in kind. There is even debate whether she was chained in the Garden (where she could easily escape), or legitimately stayed behind. However, her reciprocation of love is always an uncomfortable one for Papa Nurgle, for he always worries that he's not good enough for her, and that she will leave him one day. She however, sees past his exterior for his true self, and his kind heart, and balks at the idea of leaving him. Nurgle Daemonettes are a result of this.
This probably means there is a Chaos Space Marine band/army dedicated to her, but of course such a thing would be Extra Heresy! It might even have Eldar Nurgle Chaos Space Marines. There is currently no level of heresy to depict this.
In other /tg/ canon, the Emperasque recently rescued her from Nurgle's garden; he claims he only did it because he needed leverage over the Eldar, but he's also apparently a much nicer guy after ten thousand years of forced introspection, probably because he knows how it feels to be stuck in one spot in constant pain and suffering and have your teachings shat all over on by a bunch of fanatics who claim to do your will but are just in it for power. At least Isha doesn’t have to suffer from her followers’ bastardizations of her ways being proven right. Unlike the Emperor regarding Chaos vs faith and emotion rather than worship.
|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|