A Maiden World, or Lilaethan in the Eldar Lexicon, is one of the lush paradise worlds originally created through advanced terraforming techniques from lifeless Dead Worlds by the Eldar before the Fall of their race's ancient interstellar empire in the 30th Millennium. The creation of these worlds involved seeding formerly barren planets with life, gradually leading to their transformation into lush, life-supporting worlds. The seeding of worlds was part of a program of colonisation which would take many thousands of years to reach fruition, and the result would only be seen by much later generations of Eldar, though in fact many of these worlds ended up being settled by other sentient races like humans and Orks, much to the Eldar's chagrin and anger.
The terraforming of Dead Worlds to make them habitable for Eldar life was part of a program of colonization which would take many thousands of years to reach fruition, and the result would only be seen by later generations of Eldar. The development of a lifeless planet into a Maiden World was a slow one. Simple bacteria were first introduced to create a stable, oxygenated atmosphere and gradually more complex organisms were added to stabilise the growing eco-systems of the planet. Eventually, in the distant future, the world would be ready to colonise by the Eldar. Once the process began it was fairly self-sustaining but took thousands of Terran years to complete.
These terraformed worlds are referred to by the Eldar as Lilaethan after Lileath, the Eldar Goddess of Dreams. They are often extremely rich in natural resources and safe from any virulent microorganisms because their ecosystems were genetically engineered to resist harmful lifeforms. The Eldar consider these worlds, even when uninhabited or currently inhabited by another sentient species, as rightfully their own, created by their forefathers for them to settle.
As the ancient star-spanning Eldar Empire neared its Fall, many groups among the Eldar denounced their decadent societies, abandoning their homeworlds in a series of migrations called the Exodus. These Exodites travelled far from their collapsing empire and settled the still-barren Maiden Worlds. The terraformed worlds survived the Fall of the Eldar, and continued to develop on their own. In the Age of the Imperium these worlds are now verdant paradises. Inevitably, many have been settled by the colonists of non-Eldar intelligent races. Although these races may have lived on the Maiden Worlds for thousands of years, the descendants of the colonists are considered nothing less than invaders by the Eldar of the Craftworlds.
After the Fall, the Eldar began to settle the verdant worlds they had created, sometimes finding these planets already inhabited by other sentient races. The "invaders" are given the choice of either leaving peacefully or being exterminated by the military forces of the Craftworlds. Even in cases where the colonists are feral humans or Ork savages with no technological means of leaving the planet, the Eldar have mercilessly followed through with the threat of extermination.
Notable Maiden Worlds
|Alayran||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||In 631.M41 the Farseers of Craftworld Alaitoc foresaw a vicious assault from an Ork WAAAGH! on Alayran, and so, the Craftworld's forces responded rapidly in order to save the soon-to-be besieged Maiden World. With their Rangers too far away to aid them, Alaitoc awakened their Ghost Warriors and hid them in concealed positions across the planet. When the Orks arrive on Alayran, the Ghost Warriors struck, executing precise attacks on the greenskin leaders, which quickly dismantled, drove the remnants from the surface of Alayran.|
|Davinuus||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Eldar from Craftworld Iyanden fought the forces of the Imperium to reclaim this Maiden World. A truce was eventually called, and both sides soon joined forces when Tyranids were found on the planet. The truce ended with the Tyranids' defeat.|
|Emele||Segmentum Pacificus||Cabulis System||Unknown||An Eldar Maiden world located in the Cabulis System. This world is currently listed as a Forbidden World by the Imperium, as the entire system is currently under attack by WAAAGH! Gragnatz.|
|Eth-aelas||Segmentum Ultima||Ybaric Cluster||Vidar Sector||The forces of Iyanden join with those of Craftworlds Malan'tai and Idharae. Their combined forces destroy the second tendril of the Tyranid Hive Fleet Naga in 860812.M41.|
|Ethero||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||This Maiden World was attacked by a tendril of Hive Fleet Kraken but saved by allied forces of the Harlequins of the Masque of the Frozen Stars and Craftworld Biel-Tan.|
|Equinox||Segmentum Tempestus||Graia System||Graia Sector||A Maiden World colonized by the Imperium in M38. Formally known as a thriving, lush, civilized planet, it soon degenerated over three millennia into a sodden, crumbling nightmare, due to constant rainfall caused by the Imperium's industrialisation of the planet and the abuse of it's delicate ecosystem.|
|Hannibal||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||An Eldar Maiden World later settled by human colonists.|
|Kiliak||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||In 838.M41, Imperial xenologists begin to plunder the buried artefacts of the Eldar Maiden World of Kiliak, triggering a devastating response from the nearby Craftworlds of Biel-Tan and Ulthwé. After a confirmed sighting of the Phoenix Lord Jain Zar and over a hundred Howling Banshee disciples, the Imperial interlopers are killed to a man, incinerated, and their ashes scattered to the wind.|
|Lethidia||Segmentum Tempestus||Unknown||Unknown||In 999.M41, Hive Fleet Leviathn assailed the untamed Maiden World of Lethidia. The Haemonculi of Commoragh descended whilst Craftworld Saim-Hann was attempting to rescue the planet's indigenous Eldar. Through their vile machinations, the Dark Eldar were able to abduct the entire planet, plucking Lethidia from Realspace, through a trans-dimensional gateway, and directly into the Webway. Lethidia now hangs like a cataracted eye above the Dark City, the planet's outer layers rich not only with Tyranids but also the tortured spirits of those craftworlders and Exodites too slow to escape. The rending of the veil had left a gaping wound in reality, and a large spar of the webway had been opened to the realm of terrors that mankind calls the Warp. Saim-Hann was reeling in the face of a large-scale daemonic invasion that was spilling through the rift, and the tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan, denied the power of its planetary feast, was being slowly torn apart by the hell-spawned host that appeared within its bio-ships.|
|Lilae'Fionnadh||Segmentum Obscurus||Koronus Expanse||Calixis Sector||An ancient Maiden World lost to a Warp Storm during the Fall of the Eldar and later colonised after its return to realspace by human settlers who renamed the planet Dread Pearl.|
|Lilarsus||Segmentum Ultima||Unknown||Eastern Fringe||Lilarsus was a Maiden World of the Eldar. In 876.M39, it was destroyed by the Tau Empire in retaliation for a cruel Eldar raid on the world of Ke'lshan, an act that was actually perpetrated by the Dark Eldar Archon Andross Klax. This in turn spurred Eldar retaliation against the Tau, resulting in the Battle of Ka'mais. Once they realise the duplicity of the Dark Eldar Archon, the Eldar of Iyanden disengage, and the Tau extend the hand of friendship. The Council of Iyanden icily ignore the primitives' offer and bend their efforts towards making Klax pay for the unnecessary carnage he has caused.|
|Rasilena||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||In 777.M34, Craftworld Biel-Tan begins a bloody war to reclaim the Maiden World of Rasilena from the encroaching human. Iyanden, judging that reclaiming Rasilena brings no benefit in the ongoing war against Chaos, refuses to send aid. Biel-Tan emerges bloodied, but victorious. Thereafter, the two Craftworlds soon lose their unity of purpose, each assuming the other to be uncommitted to their alliance.|
|Stryken Primus, II, IV & V||Segmentum Obscurus||Unknown||Unknown||Situated far in the galactic northwest, the Stryken System's principal planet is the smoke-wreathed Forge World of Stryken Primus. The system's industrial heart is protected by a ring of three Knight Worlds in close proximity -- Stryken II, IV and V -- and each is home to several knightly houses. These verdant planets were once Maiden Worlds of the Eldar. The ancient tribes of Exodites that dwelt there, herding the many different species of giant reptiles and bipedal carnivores, were ruthlessly driven from these worlds by the knightly houses that were established shortly after Mankind's arrival.|
|Tarsus||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||A Maiden World guarded by Craftworld Ulthwé. After a meeting between Farseer Eldrad Ulthran and the Emperor's Children Primarch Fulgrim go sour, the Daemon-influenced Fulgrim orders the Maiden World and others in the Perdus Region bombed with the deadly life-eater virus.|
|Torvendis||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||A sentient Maiden World at the very heart of the Warp rift called the Maelstrom. After being tortured and driven insane by the daemonic Chaos minions inhabiting it, it eventually destroyed itself as revenge against the Chaos Gods who had imprisoned it and treasured it for so long.|
|Twenty-Eight Four||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||An unnamed Eldar Maiden World brought to Imperial Compliance by the Emperor's Children Legion during the Great Crusade in the Perdus Region.|
|Unnamed Worlds||Unknown||Unknown||Perdus Region||A number of Maiden Worlds in the Perdus Region meet the same fate as the doomed Maiden World of Tarsis, virus-bombed with the deadly life-eater virus by the Daemon-possessed Fulgrim following a meeting with Farseer Eldarad Ulthran that turns sour.|
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pg. 7
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pg. 7
- Codex: Imperial Knights (6th Edition), pg. 19
- Codex: Tau Empire (6th Edition), pg.
- Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition), pp. 16-17
- Craftworld Iyanden - A Codex: Eldar Supplement (6th Edition), pp. 56-57
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pg. 77
- Dataslate: Eldar Ghost Warriors (7th Edition), "Timeline - An Anticipated Atrocity"
- Harlequins Painting Guide – Warriors of the Laughing God, pg. 41
- Haemonculus Coverns - A Codex: Dark Eldar Supplement (6th Edition), pp. 60-68
- Inquisitor: Conspiracies 3 - Heavenfall
- Rogue Trader: Lure of the Expanse (RPG), pp. 97-98
- Warhammer 40,000: Planetstrike, pg. 55
- Warhammer 40,000: Rites of War (Board Game)
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 116
- White Dwarf Magazine 126 (UK), "Space Marine - Knights," by Andy Chambers, pg. 28
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Inquisition War Trilogy (Novel Series):
- Daemon World (Novel) by Ben Counter
|General||Dead World • Death World • Desert World • Ice World • Jungle World • Ocean World|
|Imperium||Adeptus Astartes Homeworld • Agri-World • Armoury World • Cardinal World • Cemetery World • Civilised World • Feral World • Feudal World • Forbidden World • Forge World • Fortress World • Frontier World • Hive World • Industrial World • Knight World • Mining World • Pleasure World • Penal World • Research Station • Shrine World|
|Xenos||Craftworld • Crone World • Exodite World • Maiden World • Ork World • Tau Empire • Tomb World • Xenos World|