Irillyth, the "Shade of Twilight," is the Eldar Phoenix Lord of the long-extinct Shadow Spectres Aspect Warriors. Lost for millennia, the Shadow Spectres were long forgotten and Irillyth's Aspect Shrines were abandoned. During the Betalis III Campaign in 894.M41, the Shadow Spectres of the Mymeara Craftworld returned from the mists of legend and managed to recover the armour of Irillyth, giving the Eldar new hope that other portions of their lost patrimony and culture might one day be recovered.
In the Eldar mythic cycles, Asuryan, the Phoenix King, is the chief and greatest of all the Eldar Gods and the king of the Eldar pantheon. Asurmen, also known as the Hand of Asuryan, was the penultimate warrior of all the Eldar, for his extraordinary powers placed him at the Pinnacle of Might. Prior to the Fall of the Eldar, Asurmen was the Eldar who led the Craftworlds away from the ancient Eldar homeworlds of their now lost interstellar empire and it was he who founded the first of the Aspect Warrior Shrines, the Shrine of Asur, upon a barren world of the same name his people initially settled. Asurmen found that he could not give up the Path of the Warrior to follow a different Eldar Path, for he desired to use his skills to protect what remained of his species after the birth of the Chaos God Slaanesh, "She Who Thirsts." From the Shrine of Asur sprang the first Aspect Warriors, and the Path of the Warrior was opened for the very first time to all Eldar. Asurmen then travelled amongst more of the different Craftworlds than any other member of his race, teaching those Eldar who wanted to learn the Dire Avengers' suite of combat skills. Those Eldar learned at the feet of their master, and in turn they assumed the mantle of Exarchs before spreading throughout the galaxy. The first Exarchs, the Asurya, the children of Asurmen, were the greatest of his students and went on to become the Phoenix Lords of the other Aspect Shrines, the first masters of the other specialised Eldar combat disciplines. It was then that the different Warrior Aspects were formalised within the culture of the Eldar Craftworlds, taking as their model the skills and teachings of their founders.
Irillyth was once one of these disciples of Asurmen, and became the founder of the Shrine of the Shadow Spectres Aspect on the Mymeara Craftworld. The Eldar mythic cycles speak of a time when, during his training under Asurmen, Irillyth was gifted with a terrible vision. In it he saw the destruction of the Mymearan Craftworld at the hands of an intelligent alien race that was, even then, still in its infancy. Still reeling from the near-destruction of the Eldar race during the Fall, Irillyth vowed not to allow any more of his kind to be wiped out, and he set out to find the threatened Craftworld and prepare it for the battles that lay ahead of them. Searching the pathways of the Webway for decades for his lost brethren, he imparted his skills to other Craftworlds as he travelled, but the location of Mymeara continued to remain elusive. During this time, the legends of the Phoenix Lords also tell of the many great battles Irillyth fought against the creatures of Slaanesh that had infiltrated the great Eldar Labyrinthine Dimension.
Whilst exploring a particular region of the Webway that he had never come across before in his travels, Irillyth was confronted by a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh who had broken through from the Warp and had set about opening up sealed portals for its brethren to flood through into the Webway. Irillyth battled the Greater Daemon even as its infernal followers poured through the breach, searing away yet more of the protective Eldar runes from the bindings on the portals. It is unknown how long this battle lasted, but eventually Irillyth proved to be victorious and cast the terrible creature and its fell minions back from whence they came. The legends go on to tell that, exhausted by his titanic struggle, the Phoenix Lord fell into a long sleep, during which he was to be gifted with the knowledge of Mymeara's location.
Once he awoke, Irillyth found the portal that led to Mymeara and set about training its warriors in his ways of war, namely stealth, swiftness and all-consuming firepower. Eventually the day came when the Phoenix Lord spoke to Mymeara's Council of Seers to reveal his true purpose for coming to their Craftworld. He spoke of his original vision and of the terrible fate that awaited the people of Mymeara, but he provided the frightened Eldar the hope of preventing such a terrible outcome if he launched a preemptive assault upon their enemy before they became unstoppable.
The Mymearan Council of Seers bowed to the Phoenix Lord's wisdom, allowing Irillyth to take with him a great war host composed of nearly half of the Craftworld's warriors. With a heavy heart, Irillyth left that day using the very same Webway portal he had arrived from, for since he had reached Mymeara his vision of the Craftworld's future had altered. He knew now that Mymeara would survive with his help, but at the cost of his own life and the lives of all those who came with him on his quest to find Mymeara's nemesis. What lay beyond the point of his own death was unknown, but Irillyth feared that to lose so many of their own would still bring about Mymeara's eventual demise.
Those left behind on the Craftworld waited for word of the Phoenix Lord and their war host's victory, but none came. After many Terran decades had passed, the Mymearans had to accept that their brethren had undoubtedly been killed and that the Phoenix Lord had fallen. In truth, Irillyth had succeeded in destroying the threat to the Craftworld, but had been struck down during the fierce fighting on that reptilian enemy race's homeworld, a place known in Eldar legend as Bethalmae, or later to the Imperium of Man as the Mining World of Betalis III. There, the Phoenix Lord remained unrecovered, the cave where his body and precious war panoply lay was slowly covered beneath centuries of glacially-deposited rocks as the planet's global Ice Age advanced. But the Phoenix Lord was not truly dead, for like all Phoenix Lords, Irillyth was immortal. He was no single warrior, but a psychic gestalt collective of those individual Exarchs that had become him over the centuries, their souls held within the Spirit Stones that adorned his armour and wargear. And so, Irillyth remained trapped within the cave, his spirit awaiting the day he would be rediscovered and the Shade of Twilight could be reborn to serve the Eldar race once more.
With the loss of the Phoenix Lord, Irillyth's disciples and Shadow Spectre Aspect Shrines began to wane on other Craftworlds, as one-by-one their shrines' Exarchs died in battle. Soon the Shadow Spectre Aspect Shrines were deserted, becoming dark, haunted places in the Craftworlds shunned by most Eldar. To them it was just another part of their culture lost in the continuing downfall of their race. Eventually, the Shadow Spectres Aspect became extinct on all of the known Craftworlds or so it was thought by the Eldar, who did not known that a small number of Shadow Spectres had remained active on long-hidden Mymeara. The discovery of the location of Bethalmae in the late 41st Millennium, known to the Imperium as Betalis III, meant that Irillyth's armour could finally be recovered. Bel-Annath, a Farseer of the Mymeara Craftworld, led a mission to re-animate the spirit host of the Phoenix Lord, and succeeded. The Eldars' reward at the Battle of Dawning Twilight, as the Betalis III Campaign is known to them, was the restoration of Irillyth, the Phoenix Lord of the Shadow Spectres, who was reborn into the service of his people, his destiny having come full circle.
- Phoenix Armour - The legendary Phoenix Lords wear ancient, invaluable Aspect armour so finely wrought it is proof against almost any weapon.
- Spear of Starlight - In addition to his Phoenix Lord Armour, which is an even more finely-crafted set of Shadow Spectre Exarch Armour, Irillyth wields a unique, master-crafted Prism Blaster with an integrated Power Glaive known as the Spear of Starlight. The Phoenix Lord's expertise with this weapon allows him to use it equally effectively at extreme range or in close-combat, as well as on the move. The Spear of Starlight is able to be used in conjunction with a Shadow Spectres squad's Ghostlight.
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pp. 131, 138, 142
|Arhra • Asurmen • Baharroth • Fuegan • Irillyth • Jain Zar • Karandras • Maugan Ra|