“To the last, I grapple with thee; from hell's heart, I stab at thee; for hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee”.
— Captain Ahab, Moby-Dick
Ynnead is the Eldar
God of the Dead Voltron reincarnation of David Bowie (Ha! Bet you can't unsee that now!!!! (Cegorach pls)). Or at least he will be, as he is currently being created. He is in godly limbo at the moment as the Eldar try to amass enough pure souls, or at least desireless souls, in the various craftworlds' infinity circuits to give him enough mojo to become a proper god. Part of the problem with this is that each Craftworld's Infinity Circuit is separate from the rest, meaning the Eldar's goal has the massive flaw of not having the pieces together; this is of course easily remedied by the existence of the Eternal Matrix that links all the Infinity circuits and World Spirits together through the Webway. However considering how Slaanesh turned out from their last God creating accident does this really seem like a good idea? On the other hand, the Eldar are probably going to get what is coming to them but it might not be quite how they had expected or hoped for.
This is without getting into the supreme stupidity of attempting to send essentially a giant, ultra-powerful Eldar soul against a being which is not only intrinsically tied to all Eldar souls but also considers them to be a delicacy. For fuck's sake! Stupid damn space elves! You know, the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting a different result. With the release of the Gathering Storm its looking a lot less stupid seeing as Ynnead turns out to be Anathema to the Chaos Gods and they are actually afraid of it. On the other hand Slaanesh has already been put on a bus in Age of Sigmar and Ynnead is a pretty good way to put Slaanesh on a bus in 40k too. That being said the overall position of the Chaos Gods on Ynnead is not one really of fear, with Nurgle not minding assisting in its birth, with only Slaanesh expressing any extreme trepidation over the matter (although also finding Ynnari far tastier than any other Eldar). Over all the four Chaos Gods consider the birth of Ynnead as far less important than the return of Roboute, with their servants and minions only being said to be stirred to great frenzy when Roboute's return was confirmed, and the gods themselves all competing to be the first to claim Roboute. Indeed of the servants of Slaanesh none of note have really even seemed to notice or care about the birth of a God intended to destroy the Young Prince, and Ynnead has so far demonstrated little power beyond bringing Space Marines back to life, with no major change in the fortunes of the Eldar at all, other than the empowering of the Imperium.
The whole process of god creation is a bit of a tricky one to explain, but we'll try to keep it simple.
Basically, Ynnead is the Eldar's last hope against Slaanesh. When the bitch-goddess was born, she devoured most of the Eldar race, and their souls, and most of their gods, and basically caused a lot of things to get badly screwed up, making a terrible mess in the toilet afterwards that the Eldar where forced to mop up. The crap on the wall that won't scrub off was that the surviving Eldar found Slaanesh was constantly hungering for their souls, laying in wait for the moment when any member of their race died to completely consume them. In the past the Eldar believed that when they died, their soul would be reincarnated in the form of a Jokaero. With Slaanesh's coming though, the Eldar's ability to reincarnate disappeared.
To save themselves from this fate, the Craftworld Eldar use spiritstones to trap their souls upon death. The spiritstone is then used to inter the soul within the infinity circuit of a craftworld, next to a carefully placed egg timer, where the soul is free to roam around and commingle with the other Eldar souls of the craftworld.
As more souls over time have been added to the infinity circuits, the Eldar Farseers have perceived something stirring from this collection of souls; this is Ynnead, a god formed from untainted Eldar souls and the power of Asuryan, the king of the Eldar gods, who passed on his power to the Farseers of the Eldar before he was devoured by Slaanesh. The Farseers believe that when the last Craftworld Eldar dies, Ynnead will be fully born and will rise up to cast down Slaanesh, destroying him/her/it forever.
It's unknown whether this is feasible or not considering Slaanesh's immense power, but Ynnead is the Eldar race's last, best hope for a better future, and so all their efforts go towards making him as strong as possible. Plus, Khorne would probably jump at the chance to finally get rid of Slaanesh and its merry band of chickenshits once and for all, consequences be damned.
All of this assumes that Ynnead would give a shit about any of this, of course. The Eldar's past track record for creating gods makes it highly dubious that this one will turn out any better, and as far as anyone knows it could just make like Nagash and try to make itself a Chaos God instead. Then again, Slaanesh was born out of unbridled hedonism, giving him/her/it/xe the theme of extreme pleasure. Ynnead is born out of the dead post-fall Eldar who are vengeful but still optimistic stuck-ups, so Ynnead would theoretically be born out of the Eldar's vengeance and hopes for a better tomorrow. Assuming it follows the same process as Slaanesh; Ynnead probably won't go rogue and will follow the main purpose of its creation. Probably. There's really not a lot of events where a god was created in a controlled environment, the last one was the C'Tan and that went horribly wrong for the Necrontyr, so Ynnead could just derp out and murder everything at one point.
There is also the problem that Ynnead is a god created out of fear and hopelessness, strengthened by death, and who seems to fixate on the number seven. It isn't helping that Nurgle is totally okay with Ynnead being born and one of the last Eldar gods is currently in Nurgle's possession.
The Star Child/Ynnead Theory
There is a theory stating that when the Emperor screwed Horus's soul to the wall, part of the Emperor's soul was also cast into the Warp. This Emprasoul fragment is the Star Child, another god waiting to be reborn—or perhaps to be reincarnated into human flesh. If the remains of the Emperor were ever to die, the tiny spark of soul left in his body would re-united with the greater whole, and according to prophecy, stalemate the four Chaos Gods while the races of the galaxy were left to battle it out in one last great Ragnarok scenario.
More recent (2006 onwards) fluff from Xenology grants some credence to this theory by suggesting an image of an "unborn child surrounded in starlight" as one of the three future survivors of the galaxy's conflicts (the others being Khaine and the Laughing God). While this may refer specifically to Ynnead, who is supposed to be born from the Webway when the last Eldar has died, it is now conceivable that Ynnead and the Emperor's star child are the same entity, particularly with the revelations in Horus Heresy that the Golden Throne is a (failed) doorway into the Webway itself. The newest fluff however has shown that the Gate beneath the palace was shut down and sealed off and the area within the Webway around the breach was sealed off by the Eldar to prevent the Daemons from spreading further so the Emperors spirit would not have had any way to enter upon his "death". Ynnead may indeed be the unborn child surrounded in starlight, but with the most recent events its very likely that that possible future has been altered; but then again with the way its shaping up if Ynnead does survive and continues to exist past the Rhana Dandra then the chance of an Eldar resurrection is still on the table even if they all die in the conflict.
This is made more relevant when you consider the fact that the Eldar Gods (possibly the Old Ones) do not belong exclusively to the Eldar alone, and were active amongst several races all at the same time. However there is historical examples of this happening in our own history, like how other cultures adopted the roman Pantheon when the Roman Empire existed; the Eldar Gods are still the Eldar Gods but seeing as they ruled the Galaxy for such a long time it is not surprising that other races started to worship them as well. So Ynnead does not have to be an "Eldar" god, just a powerful enough being to actually count as a god. The Emperor ticks that box, finally unifying the two species in the galaxy with the most in common, and, truth be told, the least reason to fight (except for the Dark Eldar).
On the other hand, the star child theory's biggest proponents proved to be cultists of Tzeentch, which makes it very likely that all of the above is completely untrue. So believe what you will, and always act on the assumption that most of it is wrong somehow. Of course, considering Chaos and Tzeentch, he might really be plotting to end everything simply for the sake of plotting. It would make sense that he, by nature, must plot to do anything and everything. Literally. Even his own demise.
Although a good theory the release of the Gathering Storm books and the release of the first book set in the 8th edition timeline (Dark Imperium) pretty much proves this one false. Ynnead is already partially awake and already has an avatar running around and the Emperor is still alive and has already had a conversation with Roboute Guilliman (although Guilliman certainly did not like the experience; poor boy).
The Gathering Storm
Ynnead is prematurely "born" during the 13th Black Crusade following the fall of Cadia. Eldrad Ulthran attempts to summon him early by stealing the fossilized bodies of all the dead Farseers of all the craftworlds and conducting an elaborate ritual on a crystal moon. It gets fucked up by the Deathwatch and only a tiny fraction of Ynnead enters the Materium.
After searching through space, this fragment discovers Yvraine. Due to her history she was considered the ultimate expression of being Eldar because apparently the true Eldar are supposed to travel all the paths of life, even the dark ones. With her is the Visarch, a former Exarch of the Dire Avengers who trained Yvraine and had his heart broken when she chose to leave rather than succeed him. He ended up sneaking into Comorragh, pretended to be an Incubus, and fought his way to Yvraine after she unlocked the power of The Sword of Sorrows actually had one of the severed fingers of Morai-Heg forged into a sword by Vaul. The Visarch would later get his own sweet croneblade The Sword of Silence when it was pulled from the heart of Craftworld Biel-Tan.
Together, Yvraine and the Visarch become the prophets of Ynnead, preaching that not ALL the Eldar have to die for Ynnead to be born. This ends up fracturing Eldar society at all levels, and Biel-Tan ends up tearing itself apart over whether or not this is actually Eldar heresy. The destruction of Biel-Tan causes all kinds of Warp holes to tear themselves into existence around the ruins, and Ynnead births an Avatar through them known as the Yncarne (get the pun?), the one-horned ghost-fire model that's been making the rounds in photos of the latest White Dwarf.
Yvraine, Visarch, and Yncarne are now gathering an army of all the branches of the Eldar race who believe they can fight Chaos without all having to hara-kiri, while those who don't believe in Ynnead are preparing to kill all the heretics for daring to alter the fate of the Eldar. Eldrad is himself imprisoned and placed on trial by the Eldar Inquisition, because he's not Eldar enough, and proposed, after his failure to birth Ynnead, allying with the Imperium of Man to defeat Chaos once and for all. Even if the other Eldar don't like the idea of becoming best buddies with the Imperium they still reluctantly agreed that they are still the best of a bad bunch, what with the other options being either the Orks or Tau both of who are either too "young" (translated as to naïve and inexperienced to face the forces of Chaos) or simply too uncooperative and uncouth to be allied with (better use of time manipulating them from the shadows rather then try and negotiate with them), that didn't stop Yvraine from helping to resurrect Roboute Guilliman, so perhaps an actual alliance may be possible.
It may also be that Ynnead simply disagrees with the stupidity of not allying with the only faction both willing and able and actively doing something against chaos. It could also be possible that once Rowboat Girlyman gets in charge the Imperium will stop killing everything that isn't human and start killing everything that is a demon with them. But 40k isn't Star Trek. Its Army of Darkness meets Aliens, and also possibly Hellraiser. If you think this has a happy ending you haven't been paying attention. At best each side will keep the other at an arm's length and keep fighting the endless Tyranids, and only marginally ignore the other, particularly when they have a horrific past of dickery, slavery, and genocide at both sides.
|The Gods of the Eldar|
|Asuryan - Cegorach - Isha - Kurnous - Khaine - Lileath - Morai-Heg - Vaul - Ynnead|