The follow-up trailer released for the second book of the Gathering Storm series, Fracture of Biel-Tan, reflects this perfectly-
So, to start with the obvious: Yes, Ynnead's fractured remnant did survive. It seems to be so weak that it is effectively an Avatar of that form akin to how Khaine survived through his Avatars. This will be the crux of the new story, and from the sounds of things it will focus upon a major conflict, split or breaking point on the craftworld of Biel-Tan. An interesting choice to be sure given Ulthwé's closer proximity to the Eye of Terror and the major battle being waged about Cadia, so this might be a side event. It could be the start of something to help cover the galaxy as a whole rather than sticking purely to one location, untying the Gordian Knot of narrative threads writers have built up over the last three Editions.
Furthermore, and this needs to be made absolutely clear, this models are spectacular. Really, much as people might complain when something like the Centurion is produced, this is a clear sign that the design department is capable of churning out wonders for Warhammer 40,000, just as they can with Age of Sigmar. Each is clearly distinct, unique and with a few solid shout-outs to past creations, and is a perfect mix of beauty, menace and disturbing lethality.
Now, with that said however, there are a few very big warning lights showing up looking at these models alone. Why, when I praised them so highly just a moment ago? Well, ask yourself this question: Could you see any of these working with a Craftworld Eldar army? The menacing edges, gaudy designs, exaggerated non-human traits and Slaaneshi qualities are all something far more in line with the Dark Eldar than anyone else. Some already suspect that the figure with the exaggerated headdress, Yvraine, is in fact Lady Malys from the Codex: Dark Eldar books. Something which would make sense given her history and relationship with the Harlequins.
Personally, I would even go so far as to argue little to nothing of the Craftworld Eldar designs actually remain here at all. Given that this is supposed to be a new set of heroes devoted to this faction, it makes the previously discussed idea of a forced unity between the armies all the more likely. We have a similar situation as the start there, royally screwing over the less-evil race and depowering them until they are in a severely weakened state. Combined with the name, it wouldn't surprise me if we start to see the destruction of the Craftworlds and Commorragh as well. Given how forced, nonsensical and downright rushed the whole Elf storyline was in Warhammer: End Times even without the retcons, this seems like it could be a recipe for disaster. Just another "WHAM! Now you're one race again, no problems and you all work together fine!" whilst sweeping the old problems under the rug.
Now, some will likely argue that his is more easily pulled off here as a comment left in the previous article brought up the idea that there is less of a divide between the species. This is entirely wrong right from their societies upwards. You have one race taught to fight Slaanesh through focus, self control, constant discipline and constant use of their psychic powers. The other, meanwhile, is taught to embrace excess, use emotion as a constant drive, and to perpetually feed Slaanesh and gain fresh souls to extend their lives. One is taught to follow order, obey a strict hierarchy and become attuned to the will of their elders. The other is taught to kill those elders, consume their souls, back-stab everyone in sight and keep bumping people off so they remain at the top.
Even without getting into that however, the Dark Eldar have been doing a damn good job of making themselves the enemies of every other sub-sect of their race over the years. The few times they have allied with others have been rare exceptions or performed out of a twisted sense of spite. As for the rest, well, see for yourself -
- Ishareq, an Exodite World, repels an attack by the Dark Eldar who value them as slaves. In response, the Kabalite Warriors poison the World Spirit before leaving. This leads to the death of the world and its entire populace.
- Biel-tan and several Kabals wage a decades long war in the Webway to rob the other of its control, killing thousands on either side. This only ends when it becomes clear it will lead to mutual annihilation, but even then the Dark Eldar make a point to provoke and attack the craftworld following this.
- Upon discovering a small Craftworld trapped in the Webway from the days of the Fall itself, the Dark Eldar enter it, greet their lost kin, and then slaughter them all. Shattering spirit stones and stealing anything of worth (including the wraithbone so precious to them) they commit an act of massed genocide in the name of power. The Harlequins are forced to perform the Masque of Vyle and hunt down the perpetrators of this attack, keeping the event hidden from the Craftworlds to avoid all out war.
- The Dark Eldar trick the Tau Empire into launching a retaliatory strike against an Exodite world following their own raids. This leads to it being stripped of all life by the Empire, and even a brief war with Iyanden while they retreat into the Webway.
- Eldar slaves, victims and technology is prized beyond all else. As such, even the likes of Vect have been known to align himself purely to spite them. During the Gothic War he briefly sided with Abaddon the Despoiler to destroy a possible Imperial-Eldar alliance against the Twelfth Black Crusade following the promise of eldar slaves. Furthermore, he retains a personal force of Wraithguard tortured to the point of insanity and imprisoned beneath his fortress, to be used as a hidden army when needed.
Yeah, these aren't the sorts of people who would agree to suddenly stop fighting and permanently ally. They would be trying to use one another as cannon fodder in place of their own troops at the best of times, and likely murder one another shortly after any actual victory. As such, while I personally think the models themselves are certainly fantastically designed and expertly made, I am worried just what kind of future story they might be heralding for this army.