Every army needs a figurehead! For mine, I've chosen one of my favorite units; the Autarch. I wanted to create a unique autarch, one who aspires to be more than a simple vehicle for wargear and tweak reserve rolls. I chose Nuada of the Silver Arm, a central character from the Tuatha De Danann, as mine. Nuada suffered many setbacks (not least of which was losing his arm in battle and being dethroned) but never stopped fighting to find a home for his tribe.
OriginsNuada is counted as old even among the Eldar. Originally hailing from the Biel Tan craftworld, he pursued the Path of the Warrior for many years before his first selection as Autarch. Time after time he was chosen for that role by the seers of Biel Tan, until the Path of Leadership became a burden. He bid goodbye to his long-time partner Morriagh and his grown son Lugh and set out upon the Path of the Outcast.
CorsairNuada's skill at battle and planning served him well among the Night Shrikes corsair band, where he quickly rose to command first his own warband, then his own ship, then his own fleet. In time he was the leader of the entire Night Shrike fleet, sowing devastation amongst their victims and reaping the rewards of piracy.
ExoditeAt length he retired to the exodite world of Nemed, where he started another family with a new lover, the seer Macha. Macha gave him two sons, Daghda and Elatha, and for a time Nuada new peace.
Peace deserted him, though, when it was revealed that a large colonial flotilla was bound for their pristine home. Imperial servitor probes had deemed the world ideal for colonization and colony freighters, their holds bulging with colonists, supplies and escorted by a detachment of the Imperial Navy.The sparsely populated forest world of the eldar would be outnumbered by thousands to one.
The war which followed was a bloody delaying action, the Eldar forces holding critical Webway portals through which the exodite noncombatants fell back. As the last of his adopted people fled into the Webway from the encroaching Imperium, Nuada swore two terrible oaths - one to find a home for the Nemedian exodites, another to punish humanity for its invasion - and left.
ExileIn the ensuing years, Nuada helped find the displaced exodites temporary homes, either among more accepting craftworlds or aboard corsair ships. He assumed the mantle of a corsair once again to support them, selling the Night Shrikes' services in payment for hosting the 'uncouth' exodites on the sacred, traditionalist craftworlds.
During this time Nuada became more involved with the seers of Ulthwe, and was frequently seen departing that craftworld with full complements of seers, Harlequins and Dark Reapers. Such expeditions returned after long absences, their hosts much reduced in number. None spoke of where they had been, but it was surmised they had been stalking the territories around the Eye.
In truth, Nuada had struck a bargain with the Ulthwe seer council; the services of his fleet during the forthcoming Black Crusade in return for a home in which his people could dwell.
The Eye of TerrorIt was during Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade that Nuada earned his part of the bargain. The Night Shrikes fleet transported large detachments of eldar warriors into the Eye itself in order to strike key supply centers of the traitor legions and attack those individuals - human and daemon alike - which posed the gravest of threats to the eldar, as predicted by the Ulthwe council.
He also played a part in the search for the lost craftworld Altansar, and it was during this time that Nuada lost his arm in single combat against the daemon prince Sreng, having it replaced with a silver prosthesis so that he might continue to fight during the rest of the campaign. Many eldar died, and the Night Shrikes as well as the exodites of Nemed suffered terrible losses.
Lia Fáil: the Stone of DestinyThe Ulthwe were as good as their word, if only just. In return for his people's service, the Ulthwe directed Nuada to a derelict craftworld, called "Lia Fáil", which had been floating unpiloted in the void since the Fall. Because it was uninhabited, the webway portals upon the craftworld were closed, so the eldar would be forced to travel there by the long path. Nuada gathered together all of his people and set out for the home promised them by their allies.
But the craftworld was not devoid of inhabitants...