As Eldar civilization 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 away from their collapsing civilization, settling many, often harsh worlds.
The degeneration of Eldar society leading to the Fall did not go wholly without resistance. Some, the more far-sighted, began to openly criticise the laxity of their fellow citizens, and to warn against the effect of Chaos cults. These people were mostly ignored or else treated as narrow-minded fools and fanatics. Soon the general collapse of society convinced even the most resolute amongst them that the only end to the steady decline would be in a terrible collapse. Some decided to leave the Eldar worlds, and settle new planets far from Eldar civilization. They were the ones still untainted by the touch of Chaos, and by now they were few. These Eldar are known as the Exodites.
The Exodites purposefully settled worlds where life would be hard. Those among the original Exodites came from all levels of Eldar society, but all were united in their powerful determination to survive. Eventually a new form of society took shape. The Exodites divided into clans each led by a warrior elite. When the Fall came, the Exodite worlds were untouched.
The Exodite Worlds are generally considered backward and rustic compared to the rest of the space-roaming Eldar although they still possess a good deal of high technology. One of the pieces of technology they have maintained is the Infinity Circuit, although on the Exodite worlds these are known as World Spirits and exist in the form grids of stone menhirs, obelisks, and stone circles all crafted from psychoactive crystal. When forced into a corner, the Exodites wage war using a mixture of standard Eldar technology and riding great Dinosaurs into battle. Some Exodites also operate Clans of Eldar Knights. Despite the presence of some technology, these worlds are often agricultural, however, and it is not uncommon for groups of Exodites to exist in a nomadic state, living off roaming herds and seasonal harvests. This is the most common image of the Exodite life. Many Outcasts will find a refuge among these Eldar, who are generally more accepting.
To others, they are the groundwork of a new Eldar Empire on the edge of the galaxy, composed of the descendants of those far-sighted and strong-willed enough to escape the touch of Slaanesh. Biel-tan is one of the chief proponents of the Exodite potential, and will often mobilise its forces in defence of one of the scattered worlds.
Though Exodite societies vary across the galaxy, mutual to virtually all, is a societal organisation built around small, sovereign clannish communities. The causes, however, are unknown. It is common belief amongst Imperial scholars that such tribalism is the natural state of the Eldar. The lives Exodites live is thought to be similar to the ancient Eldar empire before the Fall and birth of Slaanesh. Each Exodite tribe on a planet swears loyalty to a local ruling tribe which in turn owes adherence to the planet's king and his royal kinfolk. These tribal societies developed out of necessity, as small, scattered communities were the most effective way to exploit the sparse natural resources of the newly settled worlds.
As there are comparatively few Eldar on these worlds there is also little territorial quarrels. Full conflicts between tribes are rare but clashes between rival Dragon Knights are common. These raids and occasional deaths do not embitter the tribes, and it is notable that no matter how hard-fought their disputes might be, no Eldar would despoil or steal the crops of a rival tribe even though these lie unprotected for months at a time. While not willingly hostile, the Exodites are a stout, self-confident people and still possess the mythical pride, even arrogance, of the ancient Eldar race.
- 1: Promethean Sun (Novella); artwork by Neil Roberts
- 2: Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), 1994, p 76
- 3: Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), 1994, p 16
- 4: Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), 1994, pp 16-7
- 5: Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), 2006, p 48