High Elves, or Asur in Eltharin, are tall, fair and slender in comparison to humans. They are almost physically flawless and rarely succumb to disease or mutation and can live for hundreds even thousands of years. They are usually seen as being arrogant, aloof, and overly concerned with beauty and art, a reputation which is not completely unfounded for in return they generally view themselves as being superior to other races. They hold an ancient enmity towards the Dwarves, ever since the disastrous War of the Beard when the two races fought a bloody war against each other that lasted for centuries. They have fought against the spread of Chaos since it first appeared in the world, but their bitterest stuggle is against their own kin, the Dark Elves.
Commonly known as High Elves, the Asur inhabit the ancient Elven kingdoms on the island of Ulthuan, the capital of which is Lothern. Since the tragic time of the Sundering, Asur culture has shunned its darker nature, tending to emphasise traits such as nobility and purity, with a particular emphasis on personal self-control. Their poetry and music can seem fairly simple and abstract at first, but it invariably contains dual meanings and hidden depths designed to clear the mind of emotion and focus the attention upon the essence of the piece. Asur craftsmanship is founded on the work of artisans who dedicate centuries of their life to mastery of their craft, as they strive to find the perfect balance between form and function. Their work tends to be incredibly intricate, involving elaborate detail and intricate decorative touches, yet their items are also ideally suited for the purpose for which they are made, whether it be blades, armour or the humble work of a carpenter.
The armies of the High Elves are primarily based around the citizen levy. Every adult Asur must spend time in the militia as an archer and a spearman, training to be a warrior so that when called upon, almost the entire population of Ulthuan can be mobilised for war. The bulk of the cavalry is made up of the lesser sons of the High Elf nobility, known as Silver Helms. Additionally, the kingdoms of Ulthuan can provide specialised troops as required: The Sea Guard of Eataine, White Lions of Chrace, Swordmasters of Saphery, Shadow Warriors from the Shadowlands, Ellyrian Reavers -light cavalry knights from Ellyrion, The Maiden Guard of Avelorn, Tiranoc charioteers, and the fabled Dragon Princes of Caledor. The Phoenix Guard are perhaps the most elite of all Asur warriors, silent guardians of the Shrine of Asuryan. There are also two kingdoms of Ulthuan, Yvresse and Cothique, which provide no specialised troops to speak of.
Whilst lesser races must study the magic in its corrupted, broken form, High Elf Archmages harness the power Qhaysh, or High Magic, as pure, mystical energy. The minor spells of the Lores Of Magic taught to the wizards of the Empire by the legendary High Elf Mage Teclis are but a pale reflection of the power that can be wielded by an Archmage fully trained in the magical arts at the White Tower. The language of the High Elves is Eltharin, and contains many arcane runes in its written form.
The Asur are ruled by the twin thrones of the Phoenix King (Chosen by the Council of Princes) and the Everqueen, the marriage between which symbolises the twin nature of the Elven psyche. The Phoenix King is the commander of the armies of Ulthuan and determines the level of engagement with the world at large, while the Everqueen is the spiritual leader of the Asur, responsible for the inner well-being of the people and the land in which they live. The current Phoenix King is Finubar Seafarer, a former prince of the trading city of Lothern which accounts for Ulthuan’s renewed and vigorous interest in distant lands.
It is through the medium of trade that most Asur activity outside of Ulthuan takes place. Elves have always been extraordinary sailors, and their ships regularly ply the seas of the world taking the work of their artisans to the trading ports of the more civilised nations of the world. While friendly traders are welcomed to Lothern (though up until recently this was not the case), High Elven mages have laced the seas around the island with fey enchantments and wards to keep out any unwelcome visitors. Several Asur colonies and enclaves can be found throughout the Old World and beyond, mostly to protect the trading interests of the mercantile families, although some date back to a time before the Sundering.
The Chaos IncursionsEdit
In the beginning of High Elf recorded history, the Elves were one race and dwelt in many separate kingdoms on Ulthuan. When the warp gates at the planet's poles failed and the stuff of chaos spilled into the world, daemons and other creatures began preying upon the early Elves. A great hero Aenarion, later called The Defender arose and forged an alliance between the rival Elven states. United, the Elves drove back the creatures of Chaos and Aenarion was crowned the first Pheonix King, taking Astarielle as his Everqueen. After a time, the minions of Chaos invaded again, this time with corrupted human followers. A host of daemons invaded Avelorn and slew the Everqueen and, it was believed, Aenarion's two children. Aenarion fell deeply in love with Morathi and from their union she later bore Malekith. However, maddened by his losses and the attacks on his people, Aenarion drew the Sword of Khaine and led the Elven host to war. Aenarion won a titanic battle and managed to plunge the sword back into the Altar of Khaine before he died. His sacrifice bought time for Caledor Dragontamer to enact his plan to drain the Chaos energy away from the world.
After Aenarion's death, instead of Malekith, the High Elves chose Bel Shanaar as the next Phoenix King and Malekith was relegated to the role of war-leader. Malekith wished the throne to be his and eventually accused the King of being a member of the Cult of Pleasure. When the Council of Princes refused to accept this, Malekith poisoned Bel Shanaar. Malekith passed through the flames of Asuryan to prove his right to the throne but unlike a rightful King, was burned horribly. Retreating to his home kingdom and power-base of Nagarythe, Malekith prepared for war. The armies of the other kingdoms of Ulthuan, headed by the new King Caledor the Conqueror, assaulted Nagarythe (the most powerful Kingdom) and through weight of numbers besieged and sacked Anlec. In retaliation, Malekith's Sorcerers used their magic upon the vortex at the center of Ulthuan and unintentionally caused a great cataclysm which sank much of Nagarythe and Tiranoc. Finally, the Elves of Nagarythe, used magic to set their fortresses and cities afloat and escaped west to Naggaroth.
The War of the BeardEdit
The next King, Caledor the Second ruled in peacetime for many years and cultivated relations with the Dwarves, until the Dark Elves raided a Dwarf caravan, posing as High Elves. The Dwarves, being outraged sent an envoy to the Phoenix King who demanded compensation and rudely drew his weapon in the throne room of the Phoenix King. The Elves, being offended, shaved his beard and sent him back to the Old World. The High King Gotrek Starbreaker was outraged and declared war on the High Elves, whom the Dwarves gradually drove out of the Old World in a series of bloody battles. The War of the Beard ended when the High King killed the Phoenix King in single combat.
The Druchii InvasionsEdit
After the Sundering, the Druchii invaded Ulthuan on several occasions attempting to claim the land they believe is theirs, and the throne they believe rightfully belongs to their King Malekith. Using the Imperial Calendar; the first of these invasions was in -2360 IC, the second in -1499 IC, the third in 1125 IC, over 2500 years later, the fourth around 300 years before present (2200 IC) and each time the Dark Elves and their foul allies have been repulsed. The new invasion is in modern times, and in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning this is a major plot point.
The Last Coming of ChaosEdit
Just three hundred years ago, the Dark Elves made a pact with their old foes - the forces of Chaos and invaded the weakened Ulthuan. At the same time, The Empire in the Old World was invaded by the Chaos war host of Asavar Kul and Magnus the Pious was frantically trying to trying rally against the oncoming horde. The Dark Elves swept all before them in Ulthuan and the Armies of the Witch King crushed every army sent against them. Every Kingdom except for Caledor, Saphery and the city of Lothern were under Druchii rule and the Black Arks and Plaguefleet of Nurgle had swept the sea clean of Ulthuan's navy. However the forces of the Asur rallied under the leadership of Finubar the Seafarer, Tyrion and Teclis and formed a great host which took back Eataine and confronted the host of the Dark Allies on the Finuval Plain, north of Saphery. Tyrion slew Poisonblade, the Witch-King's personal champion and Teclis defeated the Witch King himself in a sorcerous duel, the Dark Elves and their allies routed and were eventually driven into the sea.
High Elves in The Age of ReckoningEdit
When the call came from Emperor Karl Franz imploring the High Elves to help the Empire defeat the forces of Tchar'zanek, Finubar had already begun the preparations to send a fleet to aid them. He knew that with the Dwarfs engaged in the defense of their own lands against the Greenskins, the Empire would fall to Chaos, and with it all the nations of the Old World. Taking personal command of the expeditionary army, he left the defense of Ulthuan in the hands of Tyrion and Teclis, along with the elite members of the Shining Guard. Mere days after the sails of the fleet disappeared over the horizon, the sea to the west was blackened by the looming towers of a vast flotilla of approaching Black Arks. The shores of Ulthuan were attacked by wave after wave of black-clad Dark Elf warriors. The High Elf defenders, outnumbered and outmanoeuvred, were forced back, watching in despair as their homelands were overrun by their hated enemy.
The Dark Elves press hard towards the heart of Ulthuan, driven by the desire to possess the island they were exiled from millenia ago and to reclaim the Phoenix Throne for the Witch King. Only the Shining Guard, fighting across many scattered fronts, can prevent them from being victorious.
For the tactician, there are few armies more satisfying to play than the proud and majestic High Elves. Deadly, swift, and precise, the power of the High Elves lies in their ability to hit the enemy hard where and when they choose it with the support of their awesome sorcery and devastating missile fire. The High Elves are refined and well organized, and they march to war in perfect unity, armoured in their strong, flexible scale coats and wielding fine weapons of the highest quality.
Taught the ancient arts of warfare from a young age, the High Elves are masters of sword and bow. A highly elite force, they are skillful and well led, though few in number. A successful commander must use each of his precious units to their full potential, fulfilling their designated role to perfection and using each of them to support the rest of the army.