Slaanesh, The Dark Prince, Lord of Excess, She Who Thirsts is the Chaos God of pleasure, excess, desire, hedonism and passion, and is considered the youngest of their brethren. To indulge in your darkest fantasies at the cost of all else, to desire nothing less than the bliss of perfection, these are the ways mortals worship and empower Slaanesh, who gifts these hedonists with beauty and talent far beyond any mortal ken. Even the other Chaos Gods must be wary of the Prince’s power, for they all inspire excess of one form or another in their servants, and this serves only to feed Slaanesh’s power; in this way, though they are the youngest and often weakest of the Pantheon, the Lord of Excess has the potential to be the most powerful God in all reality.
Depending on whether you live in the 41st Millennium or the Mortal Realms, your knowledge of Slaanesh’s history will be radically different. In the grim darkness of the far future Slaanesh was born from the depravity of the Aeldari. So dark and debased were their deeds that at the height of their power She Who Thirsts tore their way into the galaxy, creating the Eye of Terror and destroying the heart of the Aeldari Empire. Even now, ten thousand years later, all Aeldari no matter their calling must take pains to shield their souls from Slaanesh’s hunger, be that to seal it away, trust to the survivors of their pantheon, or renew it with the suffering of others.
Slaanesh’s fate in the Mortal Realms however, is a vastly different one. During the End Times of the World-That-Was, the Dark Prince gorged themselves upon the souls of Aelves, who’s long lives offered a great buffet of experiences and vices for Slaanesh to indulge upon. Thus, when the Aelven gods Teclis, Tyrion, Malerion and Morathi sought others of their kind to guide and rule there were none to be found; instead, their quest led them to an indolent Slaanesh, filled to bursting with aelven souls. The allied gods lured Slaanesh to the twilight realm of Uhl-Gysh, and their bound the chaos deity with chains of shadow and pillars of light, that they might free the souls of their kin from Slaanesh’s torment. With Slaanesh largely missing from the realms, their followers have divided into factions, who seek to either find their missing God, replace them, or choose to follow Archaon in their stead.
Whichever version of events holds true, Slaanesh’s form and that of their domain remains the same. The Dark Prince is described as alone being divinely beautiful of all their kin, neither male nor female but instead combining and perfecting aspects of both, though often the Lord of Excess will alter their form to appear most desirable to the viewer; it is said to gaze upon Slaanesh is to forfeit your soul to their every whim.
The realm of Slaanesh, simply called the Dark Prince’s Realm, is as deceptively beautiful and alluring as its master. At the centre of this realm sits the Palace of Pleasure, where Slaanesh themselves resides; this in turn is surrounded by six concentric rings, each filled with temptations and delights meant to lead the unwary astray or trap them in Slaanesh’s realm forever. While we do not have room to dwell on the details here, the circles temptations are as follows: riches, sustenance, bodily delights, adoration, achievement and repose.
Slaanesh does not particularly care for their brethren, too enraptured are they with their own desires, but they notice Slaanesh and some even whisper the brothers fear them. Of all the gods it is Khorne who is openly antagonistic of Slaanesh, their divine portfolios diametrically opposed as they are with Khorne’s desire for bloodshed for its own sake at odds with Slaanesh’s want of artistry and perfection. Nurgle and Tzeentch, however, recognise that the extremes they motivate in mortals, of scheming and despair, feed Slaanesh, and dread that one day this could lead to the Dark Prince being the most powerful of all the Chaos Gods. In the Mortal Realms, Slaanesh’s absence has been filled by the Great Horned Rat, who has taken the fourth seat on the pantheon as a God of Ruin.
Devotees of Slaanesh
All mortal life feeds the Lord of Excess in some way, as all living things seek pleasure in their day-to-day. But there are a few creatures, however, that drive themselves to ever greater depths to find the ultimate sensation and for them no act is too taboo.
Fulgrim – Primarch of the Emperor’s Children space marine legion, Fulgrim sought perfection in everything, never realising that such a thing will be, by its very nature, forever out of reach. His loyalty to the Emperor of Mankind began to waver when he claimed the Blade of Laer from a Xenos world. Unbeknownst to Fulgrim, the native Xenos were worshippers of Slaanesh, and the magnificent blade Fulgrim claimed housed a mighty greater daemon, who slowly but surely ate away at any lingering humility or restraint the Primarch once had. Ten millennium later the serpentine daemon primarch is loose upon the galaxy once again, driving his legions even further into depravity than can be imagined.
Lucius the Eternal – Once one of the greatest swordsmen of the 3rd legion has a become a ghoulish sadist that stalks the galaxy, unkillable in any true sense of the word. Lucius sought to be the greatest blade in the galaxy, and this journey taught Lucius to equate pain with success, until eventually he carved deep scars across his face and body into an irregular pattern that warped his features. When Lucius did finally meet his match at the hands of one of his own: Lord Commander Cyrius. But Slaanesh was not done with Lucius yet, and so over the following days Cyrius’ armour began to warp, his hair fell out in clumps and dark lines appeared beneath his skin, until eventually Lucius emerged smiling from within his executioner, and all that remained of Cyrius was a screaming face on Lucius’ armour. Thus does Slaanesh bless Lucius to this day, and however kills him and takes but a moment of satisfaction in the act will eventually turn into Lucius and become another face on his armour.
Sigvald the Magnificent – A mighty champion of Slaanesh from the World-That-Was, Sigvald was defeated during the End Times and then later in the Age of Myth, his soul was sealed inside of a mirror by Nagash and cast into the dread city of Shadespire. Here Sigvald lingered until his prison was taken by Kharadron eager to profit off their venture. Eventually the mirror found its way into the hands of a band of Hedonites, and Sigvald used all his cunning and gifts of magic to trick the leader of this warband into shattering the mirror and setting him free. Now filled with a sliver of Slaanesh’s power, and wielding a blade forged from the shards of his former prison, Sigvald leads his ever-growing warband across the realm of Shyish, intent on destroying the realm of the Death God with a thousand cuts till there is nothing left.
Synessa & Dexcessa – Recent turmoil has sent ripples across the Mortal Realms. Morathi has ascended to true Godhood, but in doing so has severely weakened Slaanesh’s prison, enough for the Dark Prince to release a part of themselves into the Mortal Realms. This mote of Slaanesh’s essence blazed across the skies of Ulgu till it crashed into the ground, where then the Hedonites following in its wake christened it the Newborn and established a camp around the crater. The Newborn eventually split in two, creating the twin children of Slaanesh in a moment of creation so beautiful that many who beheld it died on the spot. The twins, Synessa and Dexcessa, sought to test their power upon the city of Excelsis as it was besieged by the Earthquake God Kragnos. Their plan was foiled by a family of Witch Hunters, but even now they devise their next scheme from within the Palace of Pleasure.
So why serve Slaanesh?
For the beauty and the artistry of it all. Why simply charge into battle when you can turn it into a dance, your every flourish eliciting delicious pain from your foe? In the 41st Millennium the forces of Slaanesh wield some of the deadliest ranged weapons in the galaxy, their sonic weapons devastating all in their wake while their champions stand toe-to-toe with the mightiest warriors in the galaxy. On the fields of the Mortal Realms there are few who can match the Hedonites for speed, and your daemonettes and even greater daemons will be amidst the foe before they even have time to react.
And now we approach the end, but there is one last God we must discuss before this is over, so join us next time as we delve into the Under-Empire to learn the secrets of the Great Horned Rat.
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