Compared to other civilizations and races in the known galaxy, the Tau are a relatively young, technologically advanced, intelligent humanoid race native to the Eastern Fringes. The driving force of this civilization is a mystical philosophy known as Tau’va or The Greater Good1. The basic principle of Tau’va is that all sentient beings should strive for the greater good for the greatest number of beings in the galaxy. This philosophy guides the Tau in their attempts to conquer the rest of the galaxy and unite all the intelligent races in pursuit of the Greater Good.
The ruling caste of the Tau Empire is known as the Ethereals2. Though their numbers are small compared to the other four castes of the empire, the Ethereals command near total authority and loyalty from other Tau. A known exception is the Farsight Enclaves3, a series of heavily-fortified colony worlds independent of and openly opposed to the rule of the Tau Empire and the Ethereals.
Records of the Adrilles War show that other Tau were openly against the Ethereals. These Tau became known as H’Av’Raj’lkon.
The Tau known as the H’Av’Raj’lkon were part of a larger force en route to Ke’lshan Prime to aid in the fight against Tyranids. Their Manta, the L’Amprey, became separated from the rest of the A’ldya fleet when it encountered a sudden, powerful warpstorm. The Manta’s hull was breached. Nightmare creatures poured through the wounds.
Only fifty-seven Tau remained when the storm and the creatures disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared. With the L’Amprey literally falling apart around them, the surviving Tau boarded a Devil Fish and Hammerhead. As these makeshift escape pods dropped into the void, the L’Amprey exploded.
The Tau did not know it at the time, but the warpstorm had dropped them above the planet Adrilles. The Hammerhead did not survive the drop through the planet’s tumultuous atmosphere. The Devil Fish did. As its bay doors opened, Tyranids swarmed the already sorely tested Tau.
Three days later, twenty-six Tau gathered in a cave in the volcanic northern hemisphere of Adrilles, not far from the site of the Battle of First Contact that had occurred only days earlier. The Tau knew from recon of the battlefield that Terran forces had fought Necrons, Tyranids and Chaos hordes.
The Tau decided to find these Terrans and entreat with them in order to get off Adrilles. On the 7th day after their arrival on the war-torn planet, the Tau made contact with the Terrans. Shas’ui T’Hara met with the commander of a sizable Terran stronghold. This Terran was a Grand Librarian of the Jager Corps. His name was Hoeth. That meeting is the moment when the Tau joined the Adrilles War.
H’Av’Raj’Ikon means The Lost Ones. These Tau took that name after Shas’nel Velk’Han Neran executed Aun’Irid, the Ethereal leader of the Jayn’El Sept, shortly after the Tau crashed on Adrilles. The strange energies that permeate Adrilles created a neural feedback that drove Aun’Irid insane. This same energy shorted out devices secreted within each of the Tau, devices they had not known were within them. It was through these devices that the Ethereals held the Tau within a psionic grip. Free of this yoke, the H’Av’Raj’Ikon vowed to get off Adrilles, return to to Tau space, and take up arms against the Ethereal oppressors.
It was obvious to The Lost Ones that they were not alone on the planet and that they had, in fact, been thrust into the heart of a war. Outnumbered and lacking information, the H’Av’Raj’Ikon eventually came across a Jager position. Grand Librarian Hoeth was in command of this position and it was he who saw in The Lost Ones allies who could bolster the Jagers’ numbers. Shas’nel Velk’Han Neran saw in the Jagers allies who could provide them with a ship to get off planet and back to Tau space. Hoeth agreed to provide this, but first the H’Av’Raj’Ikon would have to assist in a large offensive that became known as The Assault on Grimmig. The assault failed and no ship was provided for The Lost Ones to leave.
Some time after the Assault on Grimmig but before The Breaking Tide – Klendathu Canyons, the H’Av’Raj’Ikon made contact with other members of their kind presumed lost in the initial warpstorm that had brought them to Adrilles. With their numbers renewed, the Tau continued to fight alongside the Jagers.
Some accounts of the Adrilles War ponder why The Lost Ones supported the Jagers when the Jagers used Tyranids in battle. The Tau, after all, had been en route to fight Tyranids when the warpstorm brought them to the planet. Alas, the answer to that question has been lost to time though there is no shortage of speculation. The easiest answer is the one most often quoted: The Jagers / H’Av’Raj’Ikon alliance was one of convenience. The H’Av’Raj’Ikon, in particular, had no other option.
Shas’nel Velk’Han Neran
A Cadre Fireblade, Velk’Han Neran was a legend among the Fire Warriors and their Hunter cadres even before he was raised to the rank of Shas’nel. It was Neran who first understood how the strange energies of Adrilles had freed the Tau from the psionic grip of the Ethereal. It was Neran who executed the Ethereal Aun’Irid. Shas’nel Velk’Han Neran commanded the H’Av’Raj’Ikon. He also led Fire Alpha, one of two Fire Warrior squads.
Neran remained in command of the H’Av’Raj’Ikon until his death. He died on the 24th day of the Adrilles War during a Jager / Tau attack on a Chaos position deep in the Klendathu Canyons.
Shas’ui T’Hara (Shas’nel T’Hara)
Fire Warrior T’Hara was raised to the rank of Shas’ui by Shas’nel Velk’Han Neran a couple days after the H’Av’Raj’Ikon arrived on Adrilles. She led Fire Beta, a Fire Warrior squad consisting of herself and six other Tau. Shas’ui T’Hara was second-in-command of H’Av’Raj’Ikon. She met with Grand Librarian Hoeth in a Jager Corps stronghold on the 7th day of the Adrilles War.
T’Hara assumed command of the H’Av’Raj’Ikon on the 24th day of the Adrilles War after Velk’Han Neran’s death.
Shas’vre Rian’la was a Fire Warrior in Fire Beta squad under the command of Shas’ui T’Hara. Rian’la had more combat experience then T’Hara–in fact, more combat experience then most of the Tau on Adrilles– but Shas’nel Neran chose T’Hara as his second-in-command because of her natural leadership skills. Shas’vre Rian’la approved of the choice.
The leader of a squad of eight Pathfinders. He and his Pathfinders found and analysed the site of the Battle of First Contact. It was also Shas’ui R’jon and his Pathfinders who spotted and observed the Terran stronghold commanded by Grand Librarian Hoeth of the Jager Corps.
The only surviving member of the Air Caste.
For five days after landing on Adrilles, the Tau were almost always on the move, Tyranids nipping at their flanks and descending upon them in the cover of darkness. This small yet fierce force never established a fortified position during the Adrilles War. This was not due to any sort of strategic disadvantage. This simply was not a priority for the H’Av’Raj’Ikon. For the remainder of the war, the H’Av’Raj’Ikon moved where the Jagers moved and stayed where the Jagers stayed.
Historical data provides context to the current struggles in our part of the 40K universe. If our campaign takes liberties with canon it does so for the benefit of our game and not as a slight to the work of Games Workshop and fans of 40K.