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The Inevitable One
15-05-2016, 04:20
Do newly born Eldar have souls? If so, then do these souls initially form in the warp or in the body itself? If they are not formed within the body, how are they to have one formed in the warp if Slaanesh can sense them and therefore be devoured? Are these nascent souls able to pass undetected for the most part until they arrive back after death?

Saunders
16-05-2016, 19:42
Wall of text incoming.

Souls cast a reflection within the warp, but their manifestation lies in realspace until the link with mind and body is severed (with death, presumably)

Yes, newly-born eldar have souls. They form within the mind and body. All Eldar souls feel the effects of of Slaanesh's predations over the course of their lives, and an unprotected soul will wither over the course of a lifetime under his attentions. Most Eldar have a means of protection. The Craftworld Eldar have a waystone for each individual. These stones are bound to their souls, functioning as both a ward against Slaanesh and a recepticle for a departing soul upon death. In addition, the Craftworlds have developed the Infinity Matrix as a more perminent repository for the souls of departed Eldar. They also have the secondary function of acting as a subconscious power source for the Craftworlds and any such ships or war machines that they are often installed upon. The Harlequins are bound to Cegorach, the Eldar diety hiding within the webway; their souls are promised to him, though it is suggested that this bargain is at the cost of the Solitaire's soul, who acts as both a conduit for Slaanesh (at least one instance has been recorded of a Solitaire actually consuming the soul of another) and a bargaining chip between the two gods (the common legend behind the Solitaire is that at the moment of his or her death, it is the responsibility of Cegorach to try and outfox Slaanesh of his prize). Still, the exact means of how the Harlequins are protected by Cegorach is a mystery. The Exodites are bound to their World Spirit, which functions as a sort of primordial infinity matrix bound to the world that they inhabit. The Dark Eldar have no protection, but they stave off the attentions of Slaanesh via a combination of several acts. They spend most of their lives within the webway, which by proxy slows the draining effects upon their souls; in contrast, they spend precious little time in realspace because it affects them to a greater extent than the other Eldar factions. The second measure they have taken is to completely neglect the latent psychic potential of their minds, so presumably they are less likely to draw any unwanted attention from the warp that unguarded psykers tend to earn. The third measure they take is what Dark Eldar are most famed for, a trait I personally liken to a sort of psychic vampirism. They have developed a means to nourish their withered souls with the infliction of pain and fear upon others. They draw upon these emotions to revitalize themselves, and their whole society now revolves around it.

The Corsairs represent a life completely unrestrained by these means of protection from Slaanesh. While some who came from the Craftworlds or Commorragh continue to practice their own cultural norms (some continue to wear their waystones, whilst others sustain themselves through cruelty visited upon others), the majority of Corsairs live fast and die hard. Wizened Corsair Princes may have found other, more exotic means of guarding their souls from Slaanesh, but for most it's a matter of dying young or withering away to madness before death. It's no easy task for an individual to make the transition from one faction to another, with the Corsairs acting as a catch-all for any ne'er-do-well caught in between. Near all Craftworld Eldar are bound to their way stone at birth, and undergoing the process later in life is a dangerous proposition that only the truly devoted will undergo. In the same respect, the Dark Eldar creed is also not a life that one can simply make a transition to, requiring years of transition and devotion to that way of life which is easier done from birth. The Harlequins are a selective society, and little is known about their initiation rites. The Exodites, much like the Craftworld and Dark Eldar, require a strong devotion to their own culture in order to be counted amongst their ranks.

That said,it isn't unheard of for these transitions to be made. The only thing I'm less certain about is the Harlequins; as far as I know, all Harlequins come from another walk of life. Once in, there is no leaving. They are the true fanatics of the Eldar race, much like those lost upon the Eldar Path or the most heinous of the Dark Eldar heirarchies.

I remember your original post also asked about the reincarnation of Eldar souls. Addressing that quickly, all the souls born since The Fall have been new souls, since any souls that would have eventually reincarnated were consumed by Slaanesh. There are ...I count five resting places for Eldar souls in the 41st millenium. An Infinity Circuit (this would also include the fate of being subsumed in to an Exarch or Phoenix Lord's armor), a World Spirit, a Warp Entity (Slaanesh, or to a lesser extent Cegorach or some other diety that snacks on an Eldar soul--all of the predatory deities within the Warp feast on souls), or obliteration.

So long as Slaanesh exists, the ultimate fate of all Eldar souls lies with Slaanesh or obliteration. All other fates can be considered temporary in nature--an Infinity Matrix or World Shrine can be broken, Cegorach may some day suffer the fate of all the other deities of the Eldar Pantheon. And yet, it has been said that an eternity with Slaanesh is another temporary fate--the souls consumed by Slaanesh are also part of him, and Slaanesh's ultimate defeat would see the release of those souls back in to the wilds of the warp. There's also the matter of the gradual coalescence of Ynnead, the Eldar god of the dead. As it stands, it is at best an inert entity that lies within the greater Infinity Matrix of all the Craftworlds.

Either way, the Dark Eldar are screwed right now. There's a lot of birth (natural or test-tube cloning) and death in Commorragh, and they have no way of escaping Slaanesh. Haemonculii have the means to regrow a body whilst retaining the soul, but that is a time-sensitive endeavor that requires both an ever-increasing investment and an actual part of the subject's body to work with.

I also mentioned obliteration with the fate of those sacrificed to the Avatar of Khaine in mind, but I suppose there are any number of tools in the galaxy (namely force weapons or, in the case of the Craftworld Eldar, a Diresword) capable of rending a soul asunder. I suppose that's a better fate than being consumed by Slaanesh, but in a way it's a final destination where all other Eldar souls will continue to exist in one form or another.

This is a problem unique to Eldar because they are the only species where (as a general rule) their souls retain their individuality after death. Only the most potent of individuals from other species face this same fate (such as the Emperor), and are often governed by different rules.

The Inevitable One
17-05-2016, 03:45
Wow! That's a wealth of information you've got there. I appreciate you taking the time out to answer the questions that I had.