Ionus wrote:As far as I have noticed, information about Tau from the FFG books haven't really made their way onto this site in any major way aside from the acknowledgement of the existence of the Velk'han Sept in some of the stickied lore posts, and a recent thread on the XV46 Vanguard Void Battlesuit. Which is a shame really since there is actually quite a bit of information to be found.
They are guided by a caste of rulers and spiritual leaders called Ethereals, who appear to be able to inspire in the Tau a curious combination of duty and contentment. The Imperium has no concern if its citizens are content, so long as they do their duty; to the Tau the two concepts are one and the same.
The Velk’Han Sept is the empire ruled by the Tau and the primary objective of the Imperial Crusade in the Canis Salient. It consists of several dozen populated worlds. While several worlds are properly colonized Tau worlds, many others are mostly human-populated and are ruled by proxy through sympathetic human leaders. The Sept capital world, Tsua’Malor, acts as the central seat of Tau governance and rule.
The Mal’caor Shi’s ruling council, a small number of Ethereals and ambassadors, gather in the kilometre-high edifice known in the gue’la tongue as the Transcendence. Each caste has its own district in Equatorial City, from the floating tethered platforms of the Air Caste to the bronze-walled fortresses of the Earth Caste. Several billion humans also live on this world, in the planet’s other cities cut from the rocky desert by Imperial pilgrim-settlers thousands of years before. Every city has a Tau quarter of glittering spires and grand pavilions, where the human leaders gather to listen to the wisdom of Tau ambassadors. One such city, Beldar, is home to the Gue’Retha, a research institute and university to which the Tau transport all the brightest and most talented humans to educate them in Tau philosophy and technology. Attached to the Gue’Retha is a place which the Tau decline to name, but which human malcontents call the Lacuna. This underground research facility, it is rumoured, is where the Tau conduct psychological experiments on gue’la prisoners. The results supposedly help the Tau refine their methods of social manipulation, but no one can be sure since any heard to utter such thoughts vanish, quite possibly into the Lacuna itself.
Imperial religion is prohibited and the Tau Water Caste run education (and re-education) programs that instil an understanding and love of the Greater Good into the sometimes reluctant gue’la minds. Populations are regularly sterilised to prevent population growth outstretching Tau methods of control. Human transgressors against the Greater Good are not publicly executed, as is the Imperial way, for the Tau see no need to publicise the fates of those who oppose them. Instead, such gue’la simply disappear, and it is the way of the Greater Good to convince oneself that they never existed at all.
This world is, on the surface, a featureless rock, but is riddled right down to its core by crystalline caves. Never settled by humans, Krrk’tikit was given by the Tau to their Vespid auxiliaries, and the insectoid xenos now inhabit city-hives built into the largest chambers. Hatcheries, nutrient lakes and warrior mustering chambers have been constructed, while the Vespid strain leaders blood their warriors in huge warrens of jagged crystal designated as battlegrounds.
Ebongrave’s purges are most frequent on the Greyhell Front and a Guardsman is almost as likely to be executed by his own side as he is to be killed by the xenos. Life is no better for the gue’la auxiliaries, who are wont to be abandoned by their Tau overlords or betrayed by Imperial intelligence officers who have worked their way into their ranks.
An experienced Fire Caste warrior will have started his career as line infantry and received cross training in the operation of every form of vehicle fielded by the Tau. He then progresses to serve first in a Pathfinder team, and next dons a stealth suit to complete his mastery of the arts of infiltration and ambush. The most skilled of warriors eventually join a battlesuit team, piloting one of the XV-8 “Crisis” Suits or one of its variants such as the XV-88 “Broadside.” Of these elite veterans of service to the Greater Good, a small number progress to become leaders of their own Cadre, either replacing a fallen leader or taking command of a newly created formation.
Tau Ethereals utilise Honour Blades as symbols of office, ceremonial weapons, and (in an emergency) in self defence. While each weapon is custom-made and individual, they all feature a broad blade fitted to a long, lightweight metallic staff. Ethereals use the blades primarily to settle disputes, engaging in lengthy, highly stylised duels that are more coordinated comeditation than combat. The combatants dance and weave as if in a trance, their weapons flashing past one another scant millimetres and microseconds from causing terrible damage. Yet somehow, the dance is always bloodless, as if the Ethereals are in total union with one another. In truth, the combatants are engaged in a deeply spiritual duel, conducted at a level which none outside of their caste can discern. Some Ethereals
carry their Honour Blades on the field of battle, not expecting to have to use them, but prepared to make a last stand against their barbaric foes nonetheless.
Upon investigating this matter further, I discovered how. The Tau appear to have a reduced mind-spoor. They are not blanks, let me be quite clear on that, but their presence in the Sea of Souls is somehow muted, as if only tenuously anchored in the material universe.
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