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Nethu, the son of Ereth Khial, is the gatekeeper of Mirai, the Elven Underworld. It is his task to see that those souls claimed by the Pale Queen remain sealed away until the hour of the Rhana Dhandra - the last battle of the gods. It is also Nethu's duty to see that no intruder breaches the Mirai to steal away the secrets of the dead - at least, not without offering a suitable tribute to the Pale Queen.[1a]

In this, the Keeper of the Last Door is aided by a host of Dark Pegasi, who watch unblinkingly from the battlements of his dark fortress, easily mistaken for statuary by the unwary. When roused, none are safe, for their shadowy maws consume soul-stuff as easily as mortal flesh.[1a]

As a door keeper he keeps a ring of silver keys on his waist. It is said making the sigil of Nethu on a piece of property belonging to an Elf will gradually sap away at their soul until they waste away and Dark Elves think it is hilarious to sneak into the bedrooms of High Elf officials and put the sigil under their beds so Nethu will nab them away. They did this to a High Elf Loremaster of the White Tower once and despite weeks of searching were unable to find the one responsible.[1a]

Agents of Malekith living within the cities of Ulthuan also carve these secret runes of Nethu upon the chambers of High Elf nobles and civic dignitaries. Once ensorcelled, their victims suffer a wasting ennui that drains both body and spirit. Those cursed in this way are driven mad by the potent hex. Some believe it was the power of Nethu that allowed Malekith to twist and torment the dreams of Morvael. After Ashantir Lightweaver cast himself from the pinnacle of the Tower of Hoeth, such a rune was found by the Swordmasters under the dead mage's bed. This led to a desperate hunt for the cultists that had placed it there. The search caused untold shock and grief that lasted for nearly a year, after which the Loremasters decreed that the agents had long since fled and escaped retribution.[2a]

It is said that Nethu carries a silver harp that he uses to tease the soul of an Elf from their body and a heavy iron key for the gates of Mirai itself. Rites to Nethu allow converse with the spirits of the dead and there are legends of daring Elves who have tricked Nethu to gain access to the Underworld and learnt the secrets of the deceased. Some Dark Elves wear amulets of Nethu fashioned from bone bound with raw sinew to protect against disease.[2a]

Trivia

Nethu's symbol depicts a stylised harp, and, alongside his connection to the Underworld suggests a subversion of the Greek demigod Orpheus, who traveled to the Underworld to return his beloved Eurydice to the land of the living. However, Nethu's name may be based off the Sumerian God Neti, who was also a gatekeeper to the Underworld, and was son to the Goddess Ereshkigal.

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 51
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (7th Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 52

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