- "Do not long for peace, for there can be none while any druchii still draw breath. Embrace war as the crucible of your valediction, the means to purge this stain upon our people. Swear oaths of vengeance, not to me or your companions or to the uncaring gods, but to fallen mothers and fathers, dead sisters and brothers, slain sons and daughters. Take the darkness that the druchii have created and rob them of its power. You are the blade that will strike down the wicked. You are the shadow warrior, the faceless bringer of justice."
- —Alith Anar, Shadow King[4a]
The Shadow Warriors are an elite band of scouts, warriors and assassins, who are the descendants of loyalist Elves from the Kingdom of Nagarythe during the time of the great Sundering. The Shadow Warriors are masters of ambush and guerrilla warfare, elite warriors even among other Elves. They strike swiftly and noiselessly from concealment with deadly accurate volleys from their long bows.[2a]
For their part, the warriors of Nagarythe deem their distant kin to be soft and naive. Silently, however, they remain secretly grateful that the burden of the Shadow Warriors has not yet fallen upon their whole race. Whilst the Shadow Warriors never directly respond to a cry for aid, many a battle has been won by an unlooked-for volley of black-fletched arrows, or the silent slaughter of an enemy sorcerer thought invulnerable behind his own lines. Though they are shunned and distrusted by their own folk, the bleak wardens of Nagarythe know full well where their loyalties lie.[1a]
- "Tainted by association with the Witch King and the violent madness of Aenarion, the survivors of Nagarythe are a very different type of Asur. Since the destruction of their lands they have been a rootless and nomadic people, drawn to fighting and unable to settle to more peaceful tasks. They are intense and brooding, proud and warlike, and this has made them little trusted by the other Elves of Ulthuan. Despite this they are among the most loyal subjects of the Phoenix King and the tales of their daring exploits are many. It is an unusual Elf indeed who has not heard of their valour. Though they are wilder and perhaps more vicious than the rest of our people, it is because of their tragic past rather than innate cruelty. Given the bitter times through which they have lived, this is a flaw that we find easy to understand."
- —Recounted by Unthwe Windrider, Herald of the Phoenix King[3a]
The opening battles of the Elven civil war were fought in the cities of Nagarythe. Fire and madness flowed through once peaceful streets. Brother fought against brother, and mothers screamed for the blood of their children. When the fighting was done, many proud cities had been destroyed forever, and the stain of kin-slaying tainted the stones long after the blood had washed away. Scattered and desperately outnumbered, the loyalists fled into the darkness. They swore before all the gods of heaven that they and their descendants would continue the fight against Malekith and his treacherous forces — throughout eternity, if such was the need. Thus did these ill-fated Elves became the Shadow Warriors — the darkest, most sinister and most brutal of all the High Elves.[1a]
From carefully concealed hiding places deep within the Shadowlands, these loyal sons and daughters of Nagarythe fought a blood-soaked war against Malekith's traitors. Ambush and deception were their tools, for they lacked the numbers for more conventional war. In the weeks and months that followed, many of the Witch King's patrols perished in lonely places, throats slit or pierced by arrows. To this day, the descendants of the Shadow Warriors continue their grim battle against the Dark Elves — whether on the shores of Ulthuan or the lands beyond. Tactics and skills that began out of desperation have now been honed to a fine and sinister art, passed down with family names and the last precious traditions of an older, more civilised Nagarythe.[1a]
Even at times when the populace of Ulthuan does not consider itself at war, there is no respite for the Shadow Warriors — only a ceaseless vigil against the approach of those traitors who sank their homeland beneath the waves. The hatred that the Shadow Warriors reserve for the Dark Elves is boundless, for the Sundering cost them not just their lands and loved ones, but also forever stained their reputation with suspicion and dread. Any Dark Elf captured by the Shadow Warriors can expect a long and painful death. The Shadow Warriors' relationship with the rest of Ulthuan is a troubled one. Many High Elves mistrust them, ill at ease with their stony hearts and ruthless ways. Indeed, while they would only speak of it with caution, there are those who whisper that the shadow war has left the Shadow Warriors more like their enemies than they would dare to admit.[1a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (8th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 48
- 2: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (7th Edition)
- 2a: pg. 52
- 3: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (6th Edition)
- 3a: pg. 7
- 4: Time of Legends: Shadow King (Novel) by Gav Thrope