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However, they weren't exactly model elves: they were withdrawn, resentful and traumatized by their time within Slaanesh.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. Accepting the possibility that their time in Slaanesh had contaminated them, the Idoneth did some research 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 as only one in a hundred Idoneth babies survived past infancy. The Idoneth soon found out the cause was that their progeny were born with souls that swiftly withered.
In desperation and without divine intervention, they turned to magic to fix the problem without success. With the combination of a high infant mortality rate, wars and the 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. Though other souls, such as those of human, duardin, orruks and even sylvaneth worked equally well for the Idoneth's purpose, it often took a half-dozen souls to empower an elf to live even a third of their normal lifespan.
At first it was only for survival, since the withering of souls remained as aggressive and frequent as ever and has so far proven incurable, 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. They developed a pattern of swift raids and a strict "leave no witnesses" policy, surrounding themselves with memory-altering magic so anyone who encountered them would forget it soon after if the Idoneth didn't kill or capture them first.
But there were other powers out there so the secret could only last for so long. Sigmar suspected that something dangerous was in the oceans, but had other concerns so he didn't go looking. It was Alarielle and the Sylvaneth who first learned about them. In Ghyran, an Idoneth attack on some Sylvaneth drew the attention of Alarielle, who entered the fray and personally defeated them in battle. They also realized that since Alarielle was a goddess, she was immune to their memory-altering magic and made sure the Sylvaneth remembered them too. While the Sylvaneth kept the secret, the Idoneth of Ghyran dialed back their attacks and kept a low profile. On the Chaos side, Archaon had long suspected there were more aelves than would seem, but didn't confirm this until he captured and tortured a Keeper of Secrets whose warband was destroyed by them into spilling the beans.
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. During the Age of Chaos this started to change. They fought the forces of Chaos wherever they found them, either leaving Chaos' other opponents alone or killing them and taking their souls too. High King Volturnos realized that they'd have to ally with others to fight off Chaos though most other Idoneth didn't approve of this. First, he reached out to Alarielle for peace talks but, wary of trickery and aware of the Idoneth's past actions, Alarielle turned them down. They also encountered some Stormcast Eternals, and after a battle where the Idoneth learned they're unable to capture Stormcast souls due to Sigmar's blessing, they found new allies in the Sigmarines.
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 who was taking the souls 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 to stamp them out because he’s the only guy who believes himself to be allowed to have dead souls. In their desperation, the Idoneth of Shyish changed their foreign policy and allied with the Forces of Order.
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...
The "factions" of the Deepkin are the Enclaves, city-states founded under the seas of the realms connected by underwater realm gates called Whirlways. Whilst there are, as expected with such a large setting, countless Enclaves, there are six main ones that have been fleshed out.
- Ionrach: The posterboys, who have their armour painted a shiny blue and also have a venerable leader from a forgotten age. The Ionrach are one of the first enclaves that ran from the rays of Teclis into the seas of Hysh, though they have since emigrated to Ghyran. Notably the most "friendly" of the enclaves, to the point where they will actually co-operate with the other forces of Order.
- Dhom-Hain: The polar opposites of the Ionrach, being the first to part ways with their fellow Deepkin to settle in the literal hellscape that are the seas of Ghur. Seriously, imagine every lethal predator in our seas but 10x larger and there's ridiculous amounts of them. They settled in a deep chasm, where lots of the Fangmora Eels lurked. This meant that they use more Akhelians than other enclaves.
- Fuethan: Living in the seas of Aqshy means that these Deepkin are especially aggressive and mean spirited when collecting souls. Whilst enclaves like the Ionrach would spare the soul of say, a child, the Fuethan would do no such thing. In fact, they take such glee in raiding that they are found still hacking away at bodies even when they're long dead.
- Mor'Phann: Dour and pale, the Mor'Phann inhabit the dark seas in Shyish. They use lots of mist and pale tentacled creatures,many were hit especially hard by the Necroquake to the point where they had to ally with the Stormcast to not die.
- Briomdar: These guys used to be a part of the Ionrach, before declaring independence and settling in the middle of a kelp field in Ghyran. Started attacking the people of Ghyran - especially the Sylvaneth - to harvest their souls until Alarielle kicked their asses over it, so now they mostly keep a low profile. They camouflage themselves in it to leap out at unsuspecting passerbys.
- Nautilar: An enclave that literally lives on the shell of a giant crusteacean called the Giant Scaphodon. Recently they took quite a beating from some Skaven that tunnelled underwater. Also used to be a part of the Ionrach.
An Interesting NoteEdit
Mantic started producing the Trident Realm range several years before Idoneth Deepkin were conceived. They're also categorically not elves (Kings of War has elf factions, the Trident Realm isn't one of them), they're mostly naiads and thull with a number of other underwater-themed species.
|Playable Factions in Warhammer: Age of Sigmar|