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On Gods and Daemons

Posted by Wang Fire, 05 April 2016 · 3,701 views

Following up on my previous Warhammer 40K blog entry, no analysis of or introduction to the series would be complete without a look at the all the various deities, daemons, and other entities of the Warp.
Of course first we have to take a look at the nature of the Warp itself. The Warp began to exist not long after the universe itself. As life began to appear and evolve, its psychic potential and increasingly complex thoughts creating a new parallel realm alongside reality: The Realm of Souls.  But then an absolutely MASSIVE cataclysmic war occurred, The War in Heaven. It was a such a massive conflict that its effects corrupted the Realm of Souls, with all the collective fear, rage, despair, and hate the galaxy now experienced turning it into the collective seizure it is today, the Warp. For more info on this (if you don't mind foul language) with a humorous spin on it: Cue visuals. Also, as a side note, many of the 40K gods either have equivalents or are simultaneously gods of the counterparts to 40K species in Warhammer Fantasy. Anyway, onto the gods themselves.
The Eldar Gods
The Eldar are one of the oldest races, created by THE oldest race the Old Ones (basically the crotchety old grandparents of the galaxy).  As such their remaining gods are the oldest still around. I say "remaining" because most of them were killed in the War in Heaven.
"Big Daddy Calgar's personal pleasure toy." - Ecclesiarch Decius
The Eldar god of war, hunting, and fire, Khaine is probably the best known of the Eldar gods that are technically still around. I say "technically" because Khaine is actually sorta dead-ish, forced into the materium and splintered into thousands of fragments by the fighting on the Chaos gods. Because of this he is also the only Eldar god to have a direct presence on the battlefield, in the form of daemonic avatars the Eldar can summon as a last ditch effort in combat by sacrificing one of their own.  An avatar of Khaine manifests as a giant flaming Eldar-looking daemon that wields an equally giant sword and makes the enemy wish they had brought their brown pants, but has the main downside of only lasting for a finite amount of time before evaporating into the Warp.  Khaine is also the patron deity of the Eldar Aspect Warriors, their specialist commando forces who each dedicate their lives to a particular aspect of Khaine as a hunter and warrior.  He has also, rather embarrassingly, has been beaten in single combat by both the Primarch Fulgrim and current Chapter Master Marneus Calgar of the Ultramarines. So... Yeah. Warhammer fluff can get stupid at times.
"A supernatural garbage can." - Ecclesiarch Decius
The Mother, covering the domain of harvest, fertility, and healing. She's one of the few genuinely caring and unarguably good warp entities in existence. Her daughter is Lileath, the Maiden, goddess of fortune, innocence, and magic/psychic energy.  Lileath was eaten by Slaanesh and currently resides within the Chaos god(dess)'s stomach.  Isha meanwhile, was taken captive by the Chaos god Nurgle, and resides in his garden, though there is a bit of debate as to whether or she remains against her will at this point. Her tears as said to have formed the soulstones which the Eldar use to prevent their souls from going immediately to Slaanesh upon their death.
"Hello child, do you want to play a game?" - Cegorach
"Scream in desperation for me, Rubrics!" - Ahzek Ahriman, being ejected from the Black Library
"A giant freaking clown" - Ecclesiarch Decius
Patron god of the Eldar Harlequins, guardian of the Black Library, the Laughing God. Cross the mythological Loki with a chaotic neutral version of the Joker, and you'd get this guy. He's a trickster, prankster, and schemer, and should probably be voiced by Mark Hamill.  He has no direct Fantasy version, his job instead being taken by Loec.  Cegorach is friends with the C'Tan (Necron gods basically) known as the Deceiver, and helped end the War in Heaven by convincing another C'Tan, the Outsider, to start consuming the other C'Tan.  Cegorach's primary concern is screwing with Slaanesh and keeping him/her in check.  In guarding the Black Library, the Eldar's repository of all knowledge on Chaos, he and his Harlequins also ensure that only those who need to know the darkest and deepest secrets of the Chaos gods and other ruinous powers. He plays poker with the Deceiver, Tzeentch, and the Emperor on Saturdays.
The Ork Gods, Gork and Mork
"I 'ave power of Gork, AND Mork!" - Ork Warboss
"Literal. Mushrooms." - Ecclesiarch Decius
The twin gods Gork and Mork are the only deities of the Orkish pantheon. Both of them are gods of war, and are exceptionally similar. The distinction between them is that one is brutally cunning, while the other is cunningly brutal. No, I don't know which is which. Nobody knows which is which for sure, not even the Orks, many of whom will worship both because they don't see much point in distinguishing between them. On the other hand, these arguments as to which is which have even started wars. 
Chaos, the Ruinous Powers
They didn't appear all at once, and there are only four of them, but these are the big four gods of Warhammer that you so often hear about. They are constantly at odds with each other, their followers constantly trying to spread pain, suffering, disease, and general assholery to the galaxy and its inhabitants.
"Stop doubting me, I will become canon again! I will I will I will I will...*sobs*!" - Malal
"He doesn't exist, shut up about it" - Ecclesiarch Decius
Oh did I say four? I meant five. Yeah, Malal is an odd one, and many people will give you funny looks and say "who?" if you mention him. This is because Malal is a Warhammer Fantasy Chaos god. From second edition. Who was never mentioned again. Ostensibly he's the god of malice. He HATES the other Chaos gods and wants nothing more than to see them dead. In 40K some people like to think of him as not only the god of malice, but agnosticism. Followers of Malal may not even think Chaos exists, or the Emperor, or even you. In fact, especially you.  His sacred number is 11.
"Blood for the blood god! Skulls for the skull throne!" - the Creed of Khorne
"Milk for the Khorne flakes!" - addendum to the Creed of Khorne
"A paraplegic psychopath." - Eccelsiarch Decius
Khorne, the Blood God, he of 8888 names, the god of blood, war, rage, battle, wrath... And also justice, strength, courage, and honor. He is the strongest of the Chaos gods in both Warhammer versions, which makes sense considering that the best way to worship him is to fight in battle, and as well all know in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.  He dislikes Slaanesh because he/she represents hedonism and selfishness, while Khorne instills a sense of duty and purpose in his followers.  He dislikes Tzeentch because he sees honor and fairness as a nuisance and doesn't bother with them. And he dislikes Nurgle because the fat blob never gets out and really does anything. As to the other gods, he and Khaine actually get along quite well, and he probably respects the Emperor's combat prowess. Khorne also has a hate-on for psykers and sorcerors, because making someone's head explode by flicking your wrist is cheating in his eyes. However there are Khornate sorcerors of Chaos. Why doesn't he instantly make their heads blow up for daring to worship him? Because they still go out on the battlefield and fight with glorious weapons like guns and chainaxes and swords, only using their powers to protect themselves or serve as lines of communication for their warbands. Khorne's sacred number is 8, and his main followers are the World Eaters (Kharne the Betrayer in particular) and Khorne berserkers. He was born during the Mongol invasions of China, and his main daemon is Doombreed, who is all but confirmed to have been Genghis Khan.
"Nurgle is life! Nurgle is love! All praise the Plaguefather with the corpse of death!" - the Pact of Nurgle
"Nurgle, I hate you and everything you stand for, but phantom itching is the greatest thing you ever invented!" - Tzeentch
"A supernatural garbage bag." - Ecclesiarch Decius
God of death, decay, and stagnation, as well as nature, empathy, life unbounded, and misunderstood creepy weirdos everywhere.  His followers are all disturbingly happy and more than happy to spread the new recipes he comes up with in cauldron of disease to the galaxy. As said above, he has Isha kept in his garden of plagues and uses her to test his new concoctions, but also cares for her very much.  Papa Nurgle's followers include the Death Guard legion, the now daemon-prince Mortarion, and the plaguebearers and plaguemarines, all of which remain cheerful even when their insides are on the wrong side of their ribcage. He was born during outbreaks of the Black Plague.
"For now it does not matter who I am, or maybe it does matter!" - Tzeentch
"All according to my ever-growing schemes! *skin-crawling daemonic laughter*" - Tzeentch
"An indecisive mollusk." - Ecclesiarch Decius
The ever-shifting Chaos god of change, hope, lies, ambition, mutation, magic, politics, the phrase "just as planned!", and internet trolls, he of 10000 names, the Changer of Ways. Tzeentch is pretty much the Chaos version of Loki. Born in the Renaissance, he constantly schemes and plots, setting things into motion to throw the galaxy into chaos and ruin the plans of his enemies, while ensuring that even his own failures further his other plans. He is responsible for 40K's Dark Age of Technology, which was actually a golden age at the time with Humanity and the Eldar reaching their pinnacles and conquering the galaxy. Unfortunately, the other three Chaos gods were severely weakened during this time and, being resentful about it, ganged up on Tzeentch to put a stop to his shenanigans. This resulted in him being split into many pieces, and though he managed to pull himself together a few of those pieces scattered, creating the first psykers and a massive surge of warp storms that caused the Age of Strife. His sacred number is 7, and his main followers are the Thousand Sons, most Chaos sorcerers, the Rubric Marines and their leader Ahzek Ahriman, and the daemon Primarch Magnus the Red.
"Oooh, I love it when you talk dirty!" - Slaanesh
"Never went to rehab." - Ecclesiarch Decius
Slaanesh was born during the fall of the Eldar, when after dealing with the rogue Orks left unchecked following the defeat of the Old Ones and the end of the War in Heaven, at which point the Eldar said "screw it". And so they did. Literally. Constantly. This resulted in the birth of Slaanesh, the death of nearly all Eldar in the galaxy, and now means that all unprotected Eldar souls now are consumed by Slaanesh. As for Slaanesh, he/she is the Chaos god of shamelessness, hedonism, pleasure, pain, sex, beauty, music, torture, and terrible pop artists. Slaanesh's birth was so violent that it actually ended the Age of Strife by ripping the fabric of reality a new one and creating the Eye of Terror, a gigantic permanent gateway into the Warp. Slaanesh's followers revel in the ecstasies of life and the pain of others, and include the Emperor's Children, Noise Marines, the daemon Primarch Fulgrim, Lucian the Eternal, and the daemon Doomrider, who is basically the lovechild of Kieth Richards and Ghost Rider. His/her fight with Khorne is what finally forced Khaine into the materium and fractured him.
The C'Tan, the Enslavers of the Necrons
The Necrontyr were an ancient race that evolved shortly after the Old Ones. Despite their great technological prowess, the Necrontyr all had short painful lives due to the massive radiation of their parent star. Jealous of the Old Ones' power and the Eldar's numbers they swore to rid the galaxy of all life in vengeance. How would they do this? With the C'Tan, ancient entities of gas that fed on their star's radiation, which they gave insanely powerful and intelligent bodies of living metal. Needless to say, this did not end well. The C'Tan soon discovered that souls were a lot tastier and more powerful than the radiation that had been eating, and thus turned the Necrontyr into the Necrons, everyone's favorite Terminator zombie robots, and ate nearly all of their souls.  Once they were done with the Necrons the C'Tan wanted more souls, and went after the Old Ones. The War in Heaven was on. There are lots of C'Tan around, but we're looking at the main four.
Aza'Gorod, the Nightbringer
"Has no friends." - Ecclesiarch Decius
The Nightbringer is friggin' scary. Picture a giant mechanical Grim Reaper in space that vaporizes people with lightning. His interests include killing, homicide, slaughter, genocide, and more killing. He was convinced to start eating the other C'Tan when they started losing the War in Heaven by the Deceiver, in order to make sure their power wasn't wasted. Needless to say, that was a bad idea. During the war he once fought Khaine and fared rather well despite losing. He had been sealed away, but was accidentally released by Captain Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines. Nice one, Smurfs.
Mephet'ran, the Deceiver
"Killing all of your allies in the middle of a huge war was apparently a bad idea, who would have freaking thought?" - Cegorach
"Just straight-up an idiot." - Ecclesiarch Decius
The trickster of the C'Tan. As stated before he convinced the Nightbringer to start eating the other C'Tan and partook a bit of that cannibalism himself. He's not as powerful as the other C'Tan, but prefers to fight with treachery and misdirection instead. He also may or may not have given Abaddon the Despoiler, leader of the Black Legion and champion of Chaos united, his powerful daemon sword to ensure that he would never be replaced as Warmaster of Chaos. If true, this is most likely due to the notable lack of progress Abaddon and his 13 Black Crusades have accomplished.
Mag'ladroth, the Void Dragon
"Locked up in a rock." - Ecclesiarch Decius
The strongest C'Tan. Period. If you thought that the Nightbringer's omnicidal tendencies were bad, then the Void Dragon is even worse if only because of his power: The power to control technology. In a sci-fi setting this basically makes him unstoppable, which is why I'm glad that his current location is buried in the center of Mars. In fact some people go so far as to say that he is the entire reason the Imperium's technology works at all is because of the Void Dragon's influence and captivity. Some will go even further and say that he is in fact the Omnissiah worshiped by the Adeptus Mechanicus, rather than an aspect of the Emperor as they claim.
Tsara'noga, the Outsider
"Started crying and ran away." - Ecclesiarch Decius
Convinced by Cegorach to start eating the other C'Tan, only to realize halfway through that this was a stupid idea and get remorseful.  As such, he left the galaxy and he and his army of loyal Necrons currently reside in a Dyson sphere outside the galaxy.  A Dyson sphere that even the Tyranids avoid. Not ignore, AVOID, and Tyranids don't try to avoid ANYTHING. One theory for this is that he actually controls the Tyranid hive-mind, but there's not a lot of evidence for it.
The Emperor of Mankind
"Look, just because I want to wear ornate gold armor, wield a fiery sword, emit a glow all the time, and other things of that nature doesn't mean that I want to be looked upon as a god." - the Emperor of Mankind
"The Emperor is no god, and to lump him into that obscene category is what is HERESY around here!" - Ecclesiarch Decius, announcing that the Emperor is not a god to the rest of Ecclesiarchy
Born 48,000 years ago (or 10,000 years ago from modern times) as a result of all the psykers on Earth committing ritualistic suicide to combine their powers, the Emperor is the most powerful Human psyker to ever live.  Staying in the shadows for most of Human history (except to give us a nudge or scare small children), he finally made his presence known during the collapse of society on Earth that occurred in the Age of Strife. By genetically enhancing soldiers and conquering the Mad Max style warlords that had risen as Earth was cut off from the galaxy, he conquered the planet, and as the warp storms cleared he made the Primarchs and space marines to set out and conquer the galaxy.  After the Horus Heresy however, he now remains permanently entombed upon the Golden Throne, a super-advanced device that would have given Humanity access to safer space travel, but which was damaged during the Heresy.  Now it serves to keep some remnant of his fractured soul anchored to his decaying body, and generates the Astronomicon, the beacon which all ships in the Imperium use to navigate the Warp. And also the beacon which drew the Tyranids to the galaxy. Oops.  Despite being referred to as the God-Emperor in most 40K media, he never wanted to be worshiped, and indeed his first action after uniting Terra was to disband and destroy all churches and religious centers as a means to help create an atheistic Imperium that would slow or stop the spread of the Chaos gods. Needless to say, that didn't work.

Warning: this contains outdated information on the Necron race and the C'tan.


That is all.

January 2021

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