"A scratch from an envenomed dagger, a sip from a poisoned chalice, a slight to a proud warrior's honour... In time these things may do far more grievous harm than the broadsword or the axe, my love..."
- – Morathi
"Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him."
- – Groucho Marx
She is also perverted, incestuous, so-sexy-you'll-die-for-real-lolz, and pretty much a complete bitch as she was responsible for a lot of the actions that screwed over Elfkind. Don't believe us? Read and weep oh dear reader.
Her character suffered greatly from a 7th edition retcon, further worsened in 8e until in End Times her role in history was reduced to mostly "had a baby who is really important" and scheming on the side that kills a lot of people but contributes nothing to the story. Many fans were angered by her apparent and very disappointing death in the event, although it was later revealed she survived and may in fact still regain her glory as an important character.
She is usually seen mostly naked, although sometimes she covers her breasts or uses pasties, and always rides her Dark Pegasus named Sulephet into battle. Her model is one of the raciest in the Warhammer range as she wears a metal thong and little else, her perfect tits on display for everyone to see (something she uses with magic in a Black Library novel she gets a starring role in to render an entire mixed-gender garrison of soldiers into standing mutely while riding up and down in front of their fortress on Suluphet as they get shot to pieces with her crossbow forces). The model of her even has them helpfully pushed upwards for the best possible angle. It could be she does this because her son is so lacking in sex appeal she must make up for both of them....oh the harsh duties she must do!
She was originally a mere maiden, rescued by the first Phoenix King Aenarion from a Chaos slave caravan and he was so taken with her that he took her to be his new wife, having recently lost his first wife the Everqueen to a Daemonic attack. Considering her actions later, the rumors of her being a Slaaneshi Sorceress and using her magicks to charm Aenarion were most likely true. Aenarion moved his court to Nagarythe and fell into a hedonistic lifestyle while his armies battled the Daemon apocalypse raging all around. Morathi eventually gave birth to his third child, Malekith, and encouraged Aenarion to sit back and relax as everything would turn out juuuuuuust fine. Caledor the Dragontamer, Aenarion's old friend, hated Morathi bitterly and knew she was wreaking havoc on his already damaged mind. In a last act of desperation, Caledor gathered his Wizards and began channeling magic to create a Vortex that would suck excess magic out of the Warhammer World so Daemons would have difficulty manifesting forevermore. Morathi encouraged Aenarion to slay Caledor for his betrayal, although upon reaching the site of the ritual he instead defended his friend against the might of Chaos itself.
After the disappearance of Aenarion and the trapping of Caledor within the Vortex, Morathi planned and groomed her son to take the throne. When the actual election came however, Malekith assured the Princes of the land he was willing to accept a vote for him rather than simply claim the throne by birthright. In a retcon in End Times this turned out to be a gambit to ensure the loyalty of the Elf people and the manipulations of Chaos robbed him of his birthright; however, in original canon this was simply the only moral choice he ever made. His friend Bel Shanaar was chosen instead, and Morathi raved and ranted like a wild woman over their "treachery". Only Malekith could calm her, and assure her they had made the right choice. He then took to the sea to explore the world like his father had, being gone for many years. During his travels he encountered human Chaos worshipers and random undead, fighting them for control of a magical crown. Curious, he placed it on his head and saw a future where Chaos would conquer his people. He immediately rushed home.
Prior to the 7e retcon, Malekith began searching his homeland for Chaos worship and discovered the Cult of Pleasure revering Slaanesh, with his own mother Morathi as the High Priestess to Slaanesh himself having corrupted a very large chunk of the Elf race to her way of thinking. She fled to the city of Anlec where a large number of cultists resided. Malekith led an army consisting of both his own army and the supporting armies led by the princes of Ellyrion, Yvresse, Chrace and Saphery. Malekith was successful in breaching the cities defences and confronted his mother in the cities palace. Though Morathi had the upper hand with her great sorcerous powers, she was defeated. Morathi was spared from certain death by convincing her son that she would give him her full support of the cults and help him gain the Phoenix throne. She was brought before the court of the Phoenix king in the city of Tor Anroc. Though she would have been executed for her Crimes, Malekith convinced Bel Shanaar to imprison her instead (Despite Imrik of Caledor's insistence that she must die, even offering to strike the deathblow himself).
He called a meeting of the Princes of Ulthuan to reveal a discovery about the Cult. Rather than point the finger at his mother, he accused Bel Shanaar of the heresy as Bel lay dying from poison Malekith had slipped him. He then declared that he himself was the fit ruler of the Elf race, and stepped through the Flames of Asuryan which select who is fit to be Phoenix King. Due to his treachery and the fact the Flames are designed to root out the unworthy, his full-retard plan resulted in him burning to bacon. His followers quickly slaughtered the unarmed Princes while Morathi rushed him out and kept him alive with her magic until a priest of Vaul loyal to his family sealed him in a suit of frozen armor that would reduce the misery of his blackened body.
In the retcon, Morathi was not involved in the story at all; he returned knowing that he was the true Phoenix King as desired by Asuryan while Bel Shanaar had been shielded by magic which disqualified him from judgement, and Malekith himself was only rejected because he was immature and filled with fear. His followers killing the Princes was apparently justified somehow, and everything that happened was all the fault of the Asur because reasons and grimderpness. She still helped him survive however, and if anything was cast in a more motherly role than the manipulative one.
Either way, Malekith and Morathi gathered their supporters and their culture took a turn for the dark; pre-retcon Morathi summoned Daemons which feed on Elf souls to ravage the countryside while the formerly banned worship of the war god Khaine replaced all other faiths. Eventually the bitter civil war turned against the new Dark Elf faction, and as one final "fuck you" Morathi messed with the Vortex. When that backfired she, Malekith and the other Dark Elf sorcerers/sorceresses launched huge chunks of Nagarythe away from the land like boats, causing massive death and destruction across Ulthuan. They then settled in a new land to the west, a series of landmasses split by bodies of water that are vaguely in the shape of our real world North America, populated by vicious and nasty monsters as well as Chaos humans. These lands were called Naggaroth, and after destroying the High Elf colonies and humans who dwelled here the Dark Elves settled them (let's calmly bypass the unfortunate implications of the Native American/colonization parallels).
During this time, in early editions it was implied Morathi and Malekith were lovers who also constantly vied for control of their race while planning to kill each other. Dark Elves set up many batshit insane celebrations such as a night where the Cult of Pleasure and/or Cult of Khaine are allowed to take anyone they want who can't buy their own lives in huge amount of slaves and slaughter them in any way they wish (Gav Thorpe went on record in regards to Elf storytelling that numbers don't matter, High Elves can lose millions as a statistic or ten as a tragedy and either way they will be dying out, and although Dark Elves always lose massive population due to stupid reasons will always be only in jeopardy in regards to the future but not currently on the verge of extinction). Later lore did away with the incest, Slaanesh worship, and plotting; Morathi went from the ultimate hedonistic schemer and rival to her son like a cougar version of Caligula to his dear sad mother sadly stricken with a mild case of dementia as she continued to believe that she was living in the court of Nagarythe and sometimes mistook Malekith for Aenarion whom she genuinely loved rather than manipulated, all while continuing her duties as high priestess of the Elf god of pleasure Atharti (as Gav Thorpe thought Elves worshiping Slaanesh makes no sense, since he thinks of them as Eldar in rat-infested shitholes). Either way, Morathi went to great pains to keep herself youthful. She bathed constantly in blood made from screaming Elf babies, a technique learned either from Slaanesh or Khaine directly depending on pre or post retcon.
As Naggaroth grew in power, Malekith saw the Chaos worshiping Elves as a possible threat to his power. He established Khaine as the official god of the Dark Elves, although loyalty was ultimately only to himself. The Witches were nonetheless loyal only to Morathi and their gods, Khaine and (in older canon) Slaanesh with the two factions politicking against each other while hiding their true allegiance from the rest of the race (as an open secret lacking only proof of course).
Morathi found another rival in Hellebron, a priestess of Khaine who was becoming dangerously powerful within Morathi's Witch Elf forces. Morathi cursed her with a hag-like appearance Elves rarely ever naturally attain, causing Hellebron to hate her more than anyone else. Ironically, after the retcon Hellebron features in history more importantly than Morathi herself.
During the Battle of Finuval Plains, one of the many battles between the High and Dark Elves, Morathi faced off in magical duel with Teclis while Malekith dueled Tyrion below. With the Dark Elves having overrun much of Ulthuan, the battle was the deciding point between the two forces; Morathi's own Daemon force lead by a powerful Keeper of Secrets named N'kari (later retconned to be just more of Malekith's assassins) had badly injured Tyrion and hunted the Everqueen Alarielle, and the burning of her forest had weakened her powers so she could not help. Morathi and Teclis were evenly matched, although after suffering great injury Malekith managed to escape into the Warp to avoid being killed, and sensing her son flee the battle Morathi herself immediately retreated leaving her army to be cut down. After the retcon, Morathi is absent from the battle and Malekith fought Teclis in a battle of magic while Tyrion fought his forces.
In the Defenders of Ulthuan/Sons of Ellyrion novels, Morathi engineers the main plot as a repeat of the invasion which involved the Finuval Plain battle, although this time using a captured Ellyrion Reaver as a Manchurian Candidate who would assassinate Teclis and Alarielle prior to the attack. She used her rank as Slaanesh's High Priestess to call upon the loyalty of Slaanesh's current champion, a Warrior of Chaos who was kept entertained with Elf slaves for him and his men to torture and defile (use your imagination) until Ulthuan was entirely destroyed, whereupon he would be allowed to do as he would with her (que both chuckling that the other Slaaneshi would not survive it). During the ongoing war, the Witch Elves and Slaaneshi spent their time raiding each other's camps and torture-killing their allies when supplies of still-living High Elves were low. Morathi's plan was partially successful, with the cursed dagger the unwitting pawn carrying consuming the body and soul of an Elf maiden he'd fallen in love with to incinerate Teclis like Malekith, then pierce Alarielle's heart. Malekith (who she feared greatly in the novel despite planning to kill him) lead his forces to assault Ulthuan from the south with their navy and slay the greatest heroes of Ulthuan while the Slaaneshi Dark Elves and Warriors attacked from west to east and meet him in the middle at Finuval Plain II. The Champion used Slaanesh's magic of pride to force High Elf commanders and champions into terrible decisions while her beguile and mind control wreaked havoc on the lesser Elf defenders. The plan began to fall apart however when their pawn sought redemption for his actions, reuniting with his brother and fiance before joining the defending army. Alarielle herself was saved by Isha, and the Everqueen entity (made up of Isha and EVERY Everqueen who ever lived) took control of her body and healed the wound before joining the battle herself. The Everqueen's magic purified the Slaaneshi Champion, burning away his blessings to reveal an ugly old man who regretted sacrificing his only love on an altar in exchange for eternal youth, and in a battle of wills between Isha and Slaanesh the Champion was turned into a Chaos Spawn that was hacked away by the Asur forces. With the loss of their commander and the Daemonettes turning to ash all around them, the Dark Elves and Warriors looked to their Queen to find her flying inland from the battle. The forces routed, and were destroyed by the triumphant heroes. Meanwhile, Morathi's true plan had been revealed; in her madness she was only using her entire race, her son, and all the humans as a distraction for her to undo the Vortex and summon Slaanesh directly into the world to prove herself as his greatest servant. The Vortex was on an island lost in time and half in and out of the Warp like magical interdimensional amber. She stabbed a Mage to death, and cackled out her monologue to Caledor the Dragontamer when he appeared before her as an emaciated long-dead skeleton of an Elf. After calmly replying that he never liked her and had always seen her as the selfish insane little girl she was, he revealed his true form within the amber as being stronger than he had ever been and as youthful as in his prime. He lashed out at her using only his knowledge of reality, searing her mind and driving her into hysteric wailing as she fled from the island with her very soul bleeding. She somehow flew Sulephet home to Naggaroth in this state, eyes wild and screaming all the way. Her son fled from his battle similarly, his dragon mortally wounded and bereft of a large chunk of his armor and gear. This story's canonicity is doubtful as ALL of the concepts the story hinges on were retconned out. Although considering Morathi's damaged mental state in End Times, it may have simply happened in a very different way and remained canon...
In Storm of Chaos, Morathi brought the Cult of Slaanesh back and allied them with Warriors of Chaos before flaunting themselves openly in Naggaroth. This was implied to put Naggaroth in a civil/religious war between the Temple of Khaine and the Cult of Slaanesh, but Games Workshop retconned Storm of Chaos out of existence so now this never happened.
The End TimesEdit
In an effort to reboot Warhammer Fantasy, as it had been neglected for so long in favor of yet another Space Marine Chapter update, Games Workshop thrust the End Times upon the Warhammer world, where the slow slide into destruction becomes a non-stop express train. In the canon Naggaroth had become overrun with the legions of Khorne, with Karond Kar and Clar Karond destroyed. Ghrond was surrounded by an impenetrable thicket of magic thorns when Malekith and his army arrived fresh from liberating Naggarond. No longer able to coddle his spiteful but addled mother, Malekith left her alone in a tower there after destroying the entire Chaos invasion force and destroying everything of value from fortresses to slaves to silk handkerchiefs and anything else the enemy could claim, then gathered the entire Dark Elf race barring her guards to go claim his "rightful place as Phoenix King".
She left the tower however, disguising herself as one of her own followers who had been enlisted in Malekith's army, and tried to make Tyrion into Aenarion 2.0. Once Alarielle confirmed Malekith's legitimacy by marrying him (you know, her great great great great great great great great uncle) Tyrion and Morathi were wed, him drawing the Widowmaker like his ancestor and becoming Khaine's avatar (as well as her greatest lover). She was revealed to actually be the mortal incarnation of the goddess Hekarti.
After Tyrion was killed on the Isle of the Dead, Teclis undid the Vortex in order to bind the Winds of Magic to mortals in an attempt to combat Chaos. She rushed to stop the whole thing, and broke down sobbing and shrieking when she saw Tyrion and Malekith die (though the latter was alive, but only just). In a fit, she killed all the mages in magic amber except Caledor the Dragontamer. Her actions created a breach that temporarily enabled Slaanesh himself/herself to partially manifest in the material world, forcing one of his/her arms through the rift to grab as many elves as he/she could. Realizing she'd fucked up worse than ever before in every sense of the term, Morathi tried to flee but Caledor held her down and both were taken by Slaanesh into the Warp.
Fans of Morathi, already unhappy with her increasing retcons rendering her useless, RAGED. Her hatedom and High Elf fans cheered that Morathi was getting her just desserts (given Slaanesh's hunger for elf souls it could be literal). A small few continually insisted that it was just how she was going to be returned to Slaanesh's side, reincarnated as a Daemon Princess while others quickly bought her models thinking she would be removed from canon.
Age of SigmarEdit
In Age of Sigmar, Morathi really did make a return. During the Age of Myth, Malekith awoke alone within the Realm of Shadow without any memories. He took on the name Malerion and attempted to find others of his kind. Eventually he found Morathi, who had escaped up from Slaanesh's belly and out her mouth while he was in a food coma digesting all the aelf souls she had consumed. But Morathi was "changed" by the experience. She now had two forms: The first is her normal aelf form, whilst the winged, coiling, serpentine Grecian Medusa is her true form (which she transforms into by her own will or whenever she loses her cool). As she regained her memories, Morathi formed beings of pure shadow who celebrated around her. She met up with her son Malerion, and though there was a lot of bad blood between them, they worked together to find more aelves.
Sigmar eventually found them, and they joined his pantheon made from an assembly of gods and other powers of the Mortal Realms. Morathi stayed with Sigmar and rest of the pantheon, trying to feel Sigmar's "Stormhammer" outside of battle. When Sigmar proved immune to her charms, she moved on to Nagash. With a cry of "BEGONE THOT!" Nagash struck Morathi, hurting and upsetting her enough that her true serpentine form was revealed (say what you will about Nagash, he keeps his pimp hand strong). Humiliated, Morathi fled. During this time Tyrion, Teclis and Malerion learned that Slaanesh had the aelf souls and sought to trap him. They approached Morathi and, with the promise of the share of the bounty, they used her as bait and managed to capture and imprison Slaanesh somewhere between the realms of Hysh and Ulgu, siphoning souls from him in increments (too many at once would draw the attention of Slaanesh's followers or fellow Chaos Gods, or allow Slaanesh to break free). Morathi took her share of the aelven souls Slaanesh had consumed and made aelves from them who would go on to become the Daughters of Khaine.
She claims to be the Oracle of Khaine on account of having recovered his heart and leads the Daughters of Khaine, but in truth she is siphoning the prayer-power meant for the war god (stopping his potential rebirth in the process) in the hope of becoming a goddess herself- after that she plans to exact revenge on everyone who ever wronged her. Her war against the forces of Chaos and her bringing civilization to the Mortal Realms is mentioned, suggesting that she heavily influenced the Mortal Realms before the Age of Chaos.She has also since had another falling out with Malekith/Malerion and is said to be working as a part of Order only because she finds the other three Grand Alliances even less appealing to her tastes; she has become a sworn enemy to the forces of Chaos, the forces of Destruction are too uncivilized for her liking and the forces of Death too static and unappealing to someone whose people were nearly extinct (she probably also remembers the taste of Nagash's pimp hand).
As part of her transformation, she has not only bound the Bloodwrack Medusae to her will as her high priests, but also created two new species of monstrous yet beautiful female elf-kin; the lamia-like Melusai, and the Khinerai, who resemble either bat-winged Avariel or a less-monstrous take on the Harpies of old Warhammer.
Ironically, Morathi's new fluff as having mutated into a lamia-like form as a result of exposure to the daemonic powers of Slaanesh makes her kind of similar to the now-lost Slaaneshi champion, Dechala.
Recent fluff has shown that she and her son have made up again and have started plotting against the other gods most notably Sigmar.
On The TabletopEdit
In her current incarnation, Morathi has two forms. Her basic form, High Oracle of Khaine, is a caster of absurd power, and not a slouch in close combat either. She can cast three spells per turn (and Unbind twice), her unique spell which is basically Arcane Bolt on steroids, adds 1 to her casting rolls and doubling the range of her spells, as well as her Command Ability that lets her choose 2 Daughters of Khaine units within 14 inches and have them either shoot or pile in immediately. She also has 6 attacks with her bladed wings and 3 attacks with her spear Heartrender, which is better than a lot of combat characters get. On defense, she has a 4+ Armor, a 6+ Ward (from her Daughters of Khaine allegiance), a -1 to hit from how gorgeous she is AND she can only take 3 wounds per turn.
But that's not all. Either when you choose or when you roll under the number of wounds Morathi has taken, she can get super angry and turn into her giant
Snake Mom Shadow Queen form. In this form she loses a lot of her trickier abilities (all of her casting bonuses, -1 to hit, command ability, although she keeps her max of 3 wounds per turn) and instead turns into one of the most brutal beatsticks in the entire game, capable of going head to head with Nagash or Archaon and coming out on top. She gains a shooting attack that allows you to instant kill a model if roll over its number of wounds, between 6 and 2 attacks with Heartrender (which now does a flat 3 wounds as opposed to D3 in her Oracle form), 5 attacks with her Crown of Serpents, and 1 with her tail that does between 6 and D3 damage. That's a max of 29 wounds when she's at full health, enough to wreck anyone's day. Unfortunately, any wounds she takes as Oracle are double in Shadow Queen, so you're better off letting her transform, than waiting for her to take damage. All of this will cost you 480 points, so best make sure you're getting your points worth. It helps that she's one of the best models in the game (in a faction that already has a lot of the best models in the game).
Total War: WarhammerEdit
To the surprise of very few Morathi, alongside her son, is set to appear in Total War: Warhammer II as one of the starting legendary lords for the Dark Elves. She even got to narrate the Dark Elf faction trailer, with her voice actress sounding fittingly manipulative and conniving. Interestingly Morathi as presented in game seems to mix traits of both older and newer lore, she and her faction spread Chaos corruption, and a number of her skills indicate worship, or at least the willingness to deal with, the Chaos gods. However she can also be heard referring to, or beseeching various Cytharai gods like Khaine and Atharti. Of course even in recent lore Morathi was presented as someone willing to treat with, if not outright worship, the Chaos gods and their various daemons.