Black Library of Chaos
|This article is about the Black Library of the Eldar; for the publishing subsidiary of Games Workshop, see Black Library (BL Publishing).
The Black Library of Chaos (also known as just the Black Library) is the Eldar's repository of forbidden lore.
The Craftworlds became the only surviving sources of their ancient knowledge after the Fall of the Eldar. As the Craftworlds have drifted apart, this knowledge has consequently become fragmented, and as some Craftworlds have become lost over the millennia, more knowledge has been lost with them. The Library is the only source of the Eldar's knowledge concerning Chaos that has remained untouched. It was created by Cegorach (better known as the Laughing God), though for what purposes can only be guessed.
Though most often mentioned in relation to its collection of chaotic lore, the Library contains other mysteries as well. It is said that knowledge of the fate of Arhra, the fallen Phoenix Lord, is contained within the vast archives of the Black Library, as is the nature of ancient "star gods" and more besides. [5b]
The Black Library is spoken of by Eldar as a dark Craftworld existing within the Webway, far beyond the reach of the Imperium. Within are collected tomes and writings describing the Eldar's studies of the warp. These writings describe all aspects of Chaos: its perils, promises and horrors. The Library is enclosed within a nearly impenetrable psychic barrier, and is watched and maintained by its Guardian-scribes, who collate and transcribe the knowledge of the Library, a task they have carried out since the Fall. It contains not just Eldar knowledge of Chaos; any knowledge of Chaos is taken and kept within the Library, such as a copy of the Book of Magnus. It is as much a source of knowledge for those who fight Chaos as it is a vault to keep dangerous knowledge hidden and protected from those who would misuse it.[Needs Citation]
The existence of the Library is known to few, and even fewer are allowed access to it. The Library's mind defends itself, barring the weak and corruptible. Only those who have mastered the Chaos within themselves are able to enter. Only two groups come and go at will: the Human Illuminati and the Eldar Solitaires. Inquisitor Bronislaw Czevak gained entry once, but had to prove himself worthy. Ahriman of the Thousand Sons has sought entrance to the Library for almost ten thousand years, in his vain attempt to understand the ever changing Tzeentch, Lord of Change. Inquisitor Jaq Draco also managed to find a way into the Black Library and steal the Book of the Rhana Dandra, aka the Book of Fate.[Needs Citation]
Since the Fall of the Eldar, a crystal tome bounded with chains of light has rested upon an obsidian plinth at the heart of the Black Library. As fabled events came to pass — beginning with Ahzek Ahriman learning the first of those truths leading to his eventual attack on the Black Library[5d] and culminating with the death of the Maiden World of Dúriel[5e] — so those chains faded one by one until the tome opened shortly before the opening of the Great Rift. Revealed within were writings said to have been written by Cegorach itself, telling of a final act that changed utterly the tale of the Fall. Instead of the ultimate victory of Chaos, the final act tells of Cegorach's ultimate jest that would trick Slaanesh into expending all of her energies to save the Eldar instead of destroying them. How such an event could come to pass remains unclear.[5c]
In 998.M41, shortly before Abaddon the Despoiler's Thirteenth Black Crusade, Ahriman led his warband of Thousand Sons into the Webway in an effort to finally claim the Black Library. Engaging in furious battles with the Harlequins and the Craftworlds of Ulthwé and Lugganath, Ahriman advanced to within sight of the Library itself. However, several major arteries of the Webway were choked with the dead before the Chaos Marines were driven from the secret paths leading to the Library. The breach caused by the rampaging Sorcerers was sealed. As a result, a section of the Webway was lost forever.
Once considered inviolate, even the Black Library is not immune to the turmoil caused by the Cicatrix Maledictum. The opening of the Great Rift caused a section of the Library to fall completely, breached by the warp. Now in the clutches of She who Thirsts, that portion of the library is tainted forever, beyond the ability of even the White Seers to cleanse.[7b]
While it exists wholly within the webway, echoes of the Black Library persist within the materium. Some time after the opening of the Great Rift, the last of these traces in realspace were located at the western fringes of the Ghoul Stars, within a triangle formed by the Grand Shrine of Asuryan and the Exodite worlds of Syph and Quilan.[5a]
Known and Rumoured Contents
- Atlas Infernal
- Book of Mournful Night
- Book of Rhana Dandra
- Stern Codex (intended to be placed here)
- The True Name of the Emperor of Mankind (rumoured, as one possible location)
- Book of Magnus (copy)
- Daemonicus Totalus (copy)
- 1: Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness, pg. 215
- 2: Xenology by Simon Spurrier, [Needs Citation]
- 3: Warhammer 40,000 Collectible Card Game (game system): Siege of Malogrim Hive
- 4: Codex: Eldar (6th Edition) (E-Book), The Doom of the Eldar
- 5: Codex: Harlequins (8th Edition)
- 6: Pariah (Novel), Chapter 41
- 7: Hand of Darkness (Audio Drama)
- 8: Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook, pg. 296
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium, [Needs Citation]
- Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, [Needs Citation]
- Harlequin (Novel) by Ian Watson, [Needs Citation]
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pg. 6