High Elf Navy
The High Elf Navy is the mightiest naval power of the Warhammer world.[3a][4a] Its main task is to protect the island of Ulthuan, its colonies, outposts, and the sea trade routes of the High Elves. Its most dangerous foes are Dark Elf Corsairss and Norse pirates.
The High Elf fleets are composed by agile vessels, who instead of cannons are equipped with mighty repeater bolt throwers.
Dragonships are the most powerful vessels of the High Elf fleet.[2a][3b][4b] Once, only Starwood from the Anhara Draconis forest, where Starwood trees grew twice as thick and half again as tall as normal, were used to build hulls of the Dragonships. The wood's bled resin glitters like shimmering gold, making the whole hull resemble the scales of a dragon. Since Anhara Draconis was burnt down by the Dark Elves during the Sundering, no new Dragonships will ever be built again. The loss of even one is a tragedy, and epic sagas are sung in the ship's honour when such a tragedy occurs. Thus, those ships only go to sea for war, and never for missions of peace or of less importance.
Only silver-helmed nobles are selected to join the crew. They frequently have to vie for their place on board, during ritual contests of arms. The Dragonship towers above even the mighty Eagleship. The mere rumour of its main weapon, the Dragonblade, causes sailors of other races to shudder.
Forged in ancient days, long before the Sundering, Dragonblades are forged from truesilver, an adamant and steel alloy. Heated in the breath of the great Dragons, moulded by the mightiest spells of high mages, it may be the hardest substance in the world. They are adorned with potent runes inlaid from the elder days, and most men can be driven insane merely by looking at them.
Each of the twin prows of the Dragonship is set with a Dragonblade, forming a ram capable of slicing through another ship's hull like a knife through butter, shattering them completely. The Dragonship carries distance weapons as well, in the form of two Eagle Claw bolt throwers.
Eagleships are the most common vessels of the High Elf fleet.[2a] Armed with broadside Eagle Claw batteries, these craft are huge, sleek and streamlined, making them both fast and deadly. They are able to out-race even Bretonnian Corsairs and are far more manoeuvrable than any ship of the old world.
Their hulls are made from a single curved mighty Starwood tree, grown specially for this purpose by Masters Shipwrights of Ulthuan. Those shipwrights lovingly tend groves of Starwood for a time equal to many men's lives. They sculpt the shape of the trunk as it grows, working with the wood to maintain its strength and integrity. They then carefully select the strongest, most flawless of these magical trees before they are uprooted. Mighty spells are then used to keep the plant alive and the masts are actually branches grown out of the trunk that will become the hull.
Its sails are works of art in themselves, woven from the hair of several shriven priestesses and spiderwicked in a tapestry of enchanting beauty and finally ensorcelled.
Trunks are bled just before the ship is launched and the sap of the living tree is tapped and allowed to flow out and over the hull. The resin is hardened until it is a strong as steel and remains watertight. The ship is then blessed by the High King himself and allowed to go to sea.
Hawkships are smaller and agile vessels.[2b] Mainly created to counter Norse raiders and for patrol duty on the rocky coastlines of Ulthuan against any invasion raider, the Hawkships are swift and highly manoeuvrable. They are designed to perform hit-and-run attacks against larger craft and then escape to bring warning back to the Elf ports.
Their crews are formed of hardy young seafarers, who relish the danger of their task and take delight in performing the most alarming and seemingly foolhardy of manoeuvres.
Each ship is armed with two forward-firing Eagle Claw bolt throwers.
- 1: Sea of Blood, pg. 38
- 2: Man O'War: High Elves
- 3: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (5th Edition)
- 4: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (7th Edition)
- 5: Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (4th Edition), pg. 62
- 6: Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (6th Edition), pg. 49
- 7: Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (7th Edition), pg. 68