Tau Book Preface
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It is the 41st Millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor of Mankind has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the master of mankind by the will of the gods and master of a million worlds by the might of His inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the vast Imperium of Man for whom a thousand souls are sacrificed every day so that He may never truly die.
Yet even in His deathless state, the Emperor continues His eternal vigilance. Mighty battlefleets cross the daemon-infested miasma of the Warp, the only route between distant stars, their way lit by the Astronomican, the psychic manifestation of the Emperor’s will. Vast armies give battle in His name on uncounted worlds. Greatest amongst His soldiers are the Adeptus Astartes, the Space Marines, bio-engineered super-warriors. Their comrades in arms are legion: the Imperial Guard and countless planetary defence forces, the ever-vigilant Inquisition and the Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus to name only a few. But for all their multitudes, they are barely enough to hold off the ever-present threat to humanity from aliens, heretics, mutants – and far, far worse.
To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable. These are the tales of those times. Forget the power of technology and science, for so much has been forgotten, never to be relearned. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim dark future there is only war. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods.
Huddled at the furthest reaches of the galaxy lie the worlds of the budding Tau Empire. In their naivety and ambition the Tau have come to know the true horror of joining the elder races among the stars. They face unthinkable savagery and terror from every direction as the tiny light of their guiding philosophy, the Greater Good, flickers at the edge of oblivion.
A great many strange coincidences have befallen the Tau to their unlikely advantage, driving their unmatched pace of scientific progress. The Ethereal - the benevolent leader caste of the Tau - are more than they seem, their brethren’s obedience not as innocent as they would have others believe. Blasphemous separatists are spoken of in hushed tones across every world. Doubt looms over their once uniform and unbreakable principles. For all their wonders, their civilization walks a thin line between survival and destruction.
To be Tau in such times is to be a cog in the newest machine of galactic war. It is to live in the gilded cage of a quiet oppression. These are the tales of those souls. Stagger forward into the enticing power of technology and science. Trust in the promise of progress and understanding even in a galaxy repeatedly torn apart by those same ideals. For this light in the darkness is sustained now only through war – and the delight of dark gods with new fuel for their machinations.