Commorragh, also known as the Dark City is the capital of Dark Eldar society. It's located within its own pocket of reality, cut off from the rest of the galaxy. Hidden deep within the labyrinth of the Webway, tunnels protected by ancient wards and seals that allow safe access through the Chaos Realm known as the Warp.
The origins of Commoragh are traced to the times of the ancient Eldar empire when it was dominant in the galaxy as it became one of the greatest Webway port-cities. Port Commoragh was established in M18 as the primary nodal port in the Webway. This allowed it the capacity to transport a fleet to any of the most vital planets of the Eldar. Its ability to access the far-flung corners of real space led it to becoming the most important location in the entire Webway. Thus, it was considered too valuable to belong to any one aspect of the Eldar empire and was granted autonomy. However, this meant that Commoragh became outside the jurisdiction of the great Eldar councils of the time and thus attracted many to the port-city who wished to hide their deeds. In time, this realm expanded with wealth and influence reaching across its borders leading it to absorb other locations within the Webway such as port-cities, private estates and sub-realms. With each expansion, Commoragh grew even larger and more impressive as it fed upon the plundered wealth of these parts of the Webway. By M31, the Fall of the Eldar fell upon their empire which shattered their civilization forever. The unrepentant Eldar that survive this event continue to survive within the Webway between M31 to M32 that sees Commoragh become a vast realm itself and the Dark City coming under the oppressive rule of the noble houses that lurk within its heart.
Commorragh has stood for over ten millennia, and due to the difficulties of surviving the Dark Eldar way of life, combined with needing to live much longer than what is considered possible for normal Eldar, there is only one being who could possibly remember the founding first-hand: Asdrubael Vect , Supreme Lord of the Kabal of the Black Heart. In fact, Vect claims that he is the founder of Commorragh, as well as the one who discovered the way of extracting souls from living creatures in order to prolong one's life. Unfortunately, he is the only one nearly ancient enough to know whether these statements are true or false, so the validity of this claim is unknown. But it seems that by M35, Vect had achieved total dominance over Commorragh following the Imperium's raid on the city that virtually wiped out the old aristocracy.
Commorragh suffered another invasion in 227.M38, this time at the hands of Orks under the Warboss and Weirdboy Zoggit. Zoggit led his forces through a Webway rift, emerging in the Commorrite port of Blackblood. The hundreds of thousands of Orks rampage throughout parts of the city until the local Kabals are able to isolate and destroy each individual mob piece by piece. Commorragh suffered heavy damage during the battle, with several districts destroyed. However the Dark Eldar still managed to benefit from the attack, using 10,000 captured Greenskins for a grand gladiatorial spectacle in the Wych arenas.
Commorragh is split up into regions, and these regions are controlled by Kabals . Members of those Kabals live in and police these regions, as the existence of their Kabal depends, to a large degree, on maintaining districts for its members to live in. Traditionally, Wych Cults maintain Battle Coliseums in the districts of Kabals they're allied with, Haemonculi are given laboratories (usually underground) within the districts of Kabals they provide their services to, and Mandrakes will be given the right to prowl the streets and alleys in search of meals in some cases in return they agree to assist the Kabal of the region when requested.
"Commorragh is a city like no other in the universe. It exists outside space and time in the unknowable depths of the Sea of Souls, the realm beyond our realm that idiot savants argue gave birth to all we know. Commorragh's makers, or rather architects as they would claim, did not fashion the city as one place. Rather, each of them used ways unimaginable to lesser beings to fashion their own secret enclaves out of the Immaterial Realm to serve as fortress, sanctum, pleasure palace or arena according to their whim. In time the hubris of these "architects" grew so great that they created something that breached the very walls between realms. As all crashed into ruins they fled to their enclaves like rats into their holes. In time, as they grew ever more fearful of the dreadful child they had sired together, those that survived the tempest strove to connect their realms. So steeped in torture and murder were they that they had no choice. They must do so to feed one upon another and whomever else they could bring beneath their hand. And so the eternal city was born."
—Adept Xalinis Huo, Hereticus Majoris
Within the Webway, Commoragh appears as a composite entity of impossible scale as it acts more like a vast collection of satellite realms and cities that are all linked to one another by either an number of portals or other hidden pathways. As such, the Dark City can be seen as a loose collection of far-flung nodes spread across the passageways of the Webway. The most clustered concentrations reside in a reality that are scattered across the galaxy that are thousands of light years apart in some places. However, shortcuts are present that link these points together in the form of dimensional gateways that allow the immense distances of the sub-realms to be crossed with a single step. Runic wards are present that protect Commoragh from being breached by outsiders.
There are many rumours about Commorragh, the terrifying home of the Dark Eldar, making it difficult to know just what is truth, and what has been fabricated by the shattered psyches of those unfortunate enough to find themselves in Commorragh.
Commorragh was built in the Webway for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, it is a dimension where the forces of Chaos, and specifically Slaanesh, have very little influence. Therefore, the Webway is the location where the Thirst takes its toll the least on the Dark Eldar.
Secondly, since the Webway connects virtually to everywhere in the galaxy it is ideal as a staging point for raids on other races. It's not uncommon for a raiding party to be able to run raids on an entire star system before the Imperium is able to respond, and they have no method with which they can traverse the Webway, so the raiding party can travel back to Commorragh undisturbed.
Finally, the infinitely large expanse of space makes it the perfect place for a city the size of Commorragh. No single planet would be capable of supporting the sheer size of the Dark Eldar people, and no system of planets could ever hope to be as defensible as the Webway allows Commorragh to be.
Commorragh is no mere city as humans think of the term, since it makes even the largest of Mankind's Hive Cities seem to be no more than a termite mound in comparison to its mountainous bulk. Its dimensions would be considered outright impossible if Commorragh existed within the confines of the physical universe rather than the Webway. Commorragh is more like a vast, interlinked network of satellite Webway realms and cities linked by innumerable portals and hidden interdimensional pathways. In reality, the Dark City is a loose collection of far-flung Dark Eldar habitation nodes spread across the arteries of the Webway like a malignant cancer. Its nodal clusters are scattered at various points across the entire galaxy, thousands of actual light years apart. Yet these locations are linked together by shimmering interdimensional portals. As such, from the perspective within the Webway's confines, the immense distances between each of the different sub-realms of Commorragh can be crossed with but a single step, using the Labyrinthine Dimension's non-Euclidean physics to teleport seemingly instantaneously across the stars.
Commorragh appears within the Webway to be a composite urban centre on an impossibly vast scale, a hazy, contradictory realm whose dimensions can baffle the logical mind of any who approach it. Thousands of starships dock each day at its spires, for the Dark Eldar are a far more numerous species than the Imperium of Man or even their own Craftworld kin fully suspect. Yet Commorragh plays host to more than just the Dark Eldar race. Many diverse species of alien mercenaries, bounty hunters and renegades all risk their souls to do business in Commorragh, hoping to claim just some of the riches to be had in the Dark City. The reaches of the interdimensional space around Commorragh are filled with the light-trails of spacecraft that pass between the Dark City and the Webway portals that surround it. Some of these gateways into real space are small and dim, while those above the largest city-states of the realm are massive and can accommodate an entire pirate fleet with ease. A profusion of thorny dock-spurs juts from every spire and skyscraper, holding Dark Eldar and other strangely-shaped xenos spacecraft fast in crackling violet beams of electromagnetic force.
At present, Commorragh is an almost-infinite nest of architectural impossibilities and spatial anomalies. Each of its estates has been overdeveloped to the point that their growth has been forced into the vertical plane, the various regions sprouting upwards like needle-plants fighting for sunlight. Each of the Dark City's spires and skyscrapers is linked to its fellows by curved arches and gossamer-like buttresses. Its miles-tall aeries and palaces both reach upwards and downwards simultaneously, spiralling into the depths of the Webway's curved space-time. With every Terran year that passes, the hideous city seeks to spread out over more of the dimension that serves as its foundation.
- Low Commorragh is a region of Commorragh, home of the Dark Eldar. Once the trading districts from the days before Asdrubael Vect's rise to power, when the Noble Houses ruled, Low Commorragh now lies in ruins and poverty. Overcrowded and full of beasts, cutthroats, scavengers, slaves, and other deranged individuals it is extremely dangerous to an unescorted traveler. Now a massive maze of catacombs shielded from Commorragh's stolen suns, it is said that only the lost and feral thrive in the lower districts of Commorragh.
- Hidden Blade is a region of Commorragh, home of the Dark Eldar. An outer district of Low Commorragh, it consists of a Kabalite stronghold bristling with defensive armament and houses hangers of Razorwing Jetfighters and Voidraven Bombers for the purpose of protecting vital Dark Eldar ports such as Port Carmine and the Port of Lost Souls. The fortress walls hang with the bodies of vanquished foes and captured slaves, all undergoing various stages of dismemberment.
- Nightsound Ghulen is a mysterious unknown region in low Commorragh
- Port Carmine is an important starport of Commorragh, home of the Dark Eldar. Second only in violent reputation to the Port of Lost Souls, Port Carmine hosts a dazzling array of spacecraft. It is from Port Carmine that Duke Sliscus, the infamous Eldar Corsair, stole his flagship Incessant Agony. Currently, control of Port Carmine is being contested by two Kabals, the Kabal of the Slashed Eye and the Kabal of the Stolen Conscience. The two Kabals' warfleets battle endlessly over the Port.
- The Port of Lost Souls is a region of Commorragh, city of the Dark Eldar. The largest port of the Dark City, it is the principle spaceport from which slaves are brought into Commorragh and raiding parties dispatched to bring further captives. It is a violent realm, suffering from constant gang warfare between rival Kabals.
- The Sprawls are a region of Commorragh, city of the Dark Eldar. Consisting of war-torn ruins around Port Carmine, it is home to the Parched, Dark Eldar who have fallen from grace and into poverty and no longer have tormented souls to feed upon.
- The River Khaides is a region of Commorragh, city of the Dark Eldar. Located near the Sprawls, it is an acid-green colored polluted waterway and full of corpses. Many impoverished citizens of Commorragh recover the bodies floating in the river and attempt to sell them to Kabals as slave food.
- The Corespur is a region of Commorragh, city of the Dark Eldar. Formally home to many of the mighty noble houses of Commorragh, it now lies in ruins since the Commorragh Raid by the Imperium. Today, thirteen statues of Asdrubael Vect stand over its ruins, each representing one of his Foundations of Vengeance. Their presence serves as a constant reminder that even the most powerful noble house was ultimately destroyed by Vect's raw intellect.
- Null City or Sec Maegra is a region of Commorragh, city of the Dark Eldar. Also known as the Null City, it is a nation-sized shanty town permanently engulfed in civil war between rival gangs, assassins, and xenos mercenaries. From time to time Kabals may recruit from the gangs of Sec Maegra.
- Aelindrach is a region of Commorragh, city of the Dark Eldar. Literally fallen into shadow, it is one of the several districts of Commorragh that exists in more than one dimension at once. In Aelindrach, shadows thicken and writhe as living things, flowing into one another and attempting to capture those that venture into the district. It is in Aelindrach that Mandrakes make their lairs. Rumor has it that somewhere in Aelindrach lies a portal to a world where shade-daemons exist who can freeze the soul with but a touch.
- The Bone Middens are a region of Commorragh, city of the Dark Eldar, in the outskirts of Aelindrach, inhabited by Wych Cults. The Bone Middens are home to a "representative" of each sentient species in existence, positioned in grim tableaux and mock battles. Millions of alien skeletons are put on display in this manner.
- The Old City is a region of Commorragh, city of the Dark Eldar. The oldest part of Commorragh, today it consists mainly of subterranean factories that ravenously consume millions of workers and slaves each year. Humans, Tau, Craftworld Eldar, and even fellow Dark Eldar are amongst the uncountable ranks of slaves. The weapons and resources the subterranean world of the Old City allows Commorragh to wage its ceaseless wars and raids in the Materium.
- High Commorragh is a region of Commorragh, home of the Dark Eldar. Consisting of the highest spires of the Dark City, they are home to the elites of Dark Eldar society: Archons, Dracons, famed warriors, and other figures of social status. Many of the spires possess thousand-foot idols of Kabalite warlords. A place of great luxury and status for the ruling class, the citizens of High Commorragh consider themselves blessed. They have a great distaste towards those who live in other regions of the city, such as Low Commorragh and the Old City. The denizens of High Commorragh dub these areas Ynnealidh, or the "Necropolis below".
- The Middle Darkness is a region of Commorragh, city of the Dark Eldar. Between High Commorragh and Low Commorragh, the skies of the Middle Darkness are plagued by gangs of Hellions who constantly battle one another.
Travelling Through The Dark CityEdit
Around the titanic central spires of the Dark City are the trading districts of the old Eldar empire. The lowliest of ports was once an architectural masterpiece millennia ago, but the ravages of civil war have not been kind. Low Commorragh now consists of a mixture of shattered ruins and scavenged former glories. Numerous dilapidated fortress complexes and barter-ports now spread out in every direction. The lesser Kabals riddle the extremities of the angular black spires with opportunistic growth. The labyrinthine depths of the outer zones are so congested that a traveller could travel for months on end without so much as a glimpse of a stolen sun. Many areas that have been twisted beyond recognition by the tremendous upheaval of the Fall are haunted by scavengers and spectres. Within the pitch-black catacombs of Low Commorragh there lurks far larger and uglier creatures than the Dark Eldar, for they are prowled by the lost, and the feral thrive there.
One could not possibly visit all the outer districts of Low Commorroagh in a single lifetime, for they are many and varied. Attempting to catalogue them would prove fatal, for the Dark Eldar are highly territorial and tend to kill intruders on sight. One such outer district is Hidden Blade, a crucially placed Kabalite stronghold that sticks out between Port Carmine and Nightsound Ghulen. Port Carmine is second only in violent reputation to the Port of Lost Souls. The immensely tall spires of the starport sprout outward for miles, each host to a fleet of ornate spacecraft. Port Carmine's central docks play host to the spectacle of two major Kabalite fleets at full anchor, the Slashed Eye Kabal and the bloodthirsty Stolen Conscience, locked in a never-ending struggle for dominance. Around Port Carmine lay the war-torn ruins known as the Sprawls. Their bleak streets play host to the Parched, cadaverous Dark Eldar that have fallen from grace and wound up on the fringes of their violent society. These wretches are drawn ravenously to a battle whenever one breaks out, vicariously experiencing the acts of extreme violence and drinking in the bloody spectacle to rejuvenate their wasted bodies. Occasionally they will drag an unfortunate soul who has been fatally wounded into the dark alleyways, where the Parched will fight one another over the scraps of the departing soul.
The Sprawls eventually give way to a network of atriums and chambers through which flow the toxic acid-green waterway known as the River Khaïdes. This polluted waterway winds around and through the outer districts of central Corespur, shrouded in subterranean darkness and wreathed in mist. Above the toxic surface of the foul river drift thin grav-craft bedecked in faded grandeur. The sorry hosts of these craft earn what little they can by hooking corpses from the Khaïdes and selling them as slave-food. These corpse-fishers often fall prey to Jetbikes and sky-chariots which streak through the air above the river at dizzying velocity, slashing apart the unfortunate victims in merciless contests of speed.
The mercenary district of Sec Maegra is found further coreward, and is more popularly known as Null City; a nation-sized shanty town permanently riven by civil war. The permanent smell of cordite hangs over the roofs of the shanties, and every few minutes fresh screams pierce the silence. The scorched streets resound with solid-shot gunfire and the crack-spit of Splinter Rifles at night, as negotiations and assassinations turn out badly. It is said that occasionally xenos mercenaries can be found stalking the streets of Null City. It is even rumoured that from time to time the most vicious of their number are called upon to serve the Kabals.
Inward toward the Core
Within the inner rings that surround the Dark City's core can be found the oldest noble houses. Descendants of the architects of the Fall live in massive mansions that are crested by citadels full of proud aristocratic warriors. Sorrow Fell, the largest of these city-states, can trace its lineage to the ancient Eldar. It surrounds a massive promontory that leads into the region known as Corespur. Thirteen screaming statues of Supreme Overlord Asdrubael Vect stand sentinel over Sorrow Fell, each representing one of the Foundations of Vengeance, serving as stark reminders that even the most powerful of the Dark Eldar noble houses was ultimately undone by raw intellect.
Aelindrach is one of the Dark City's ancient city-states that has literally fallen into shadow, existing in more than one dimension at once. Here amongst the velvet domes the dreaded Mandrakes make their lairs, bathing in the darkness. The outskirts of Aelindrach give way to the Bone Middens of the Wych Cults, a district buried under mounds of calciferous matter. Here can be found a massive ossuary of millions of skeletons, representative of each sentient species in existence, ranging in size from insects to massive colossi, positioned in grim tableaus and mock battles. They stand throughout the Middens as a testament to the Dark Eldar's status as the apex predator of the galaxy.
Beneath these inner districts are ranged the weapon and food factories of the city that are massive in scale. They spread outward and down into the lower spires underneath the Old City. Each year these factories ravenously consume millions of workers and slaves; Humans, Orks, Tau and even other Dark Eldar are amongst their number. Divisions of cruel taskmasters watch over their charges, each of which is locked in a murderous rivalry with their peers. The world beneath the Old City puts out prodigious output of war materiel, allowing the Dark Eldar war machine to wage its ceaseless war against all intelligent species in realspace. Without such labour performed on such a massive scale, the Dark City would soon be forced to feed upon itself.
The impossibly high structures of the Dark City's upper regions are the province of the warrior elites. Thousand-foot idols of Kabalite Archons and Dracons stand incomplete amongst the spiralling starscrapers that vanish beyond sight. Blood continuously drips down from the highest spires in squalls of red. Slaves are forced to crawl across the facias of titanic buildings, suspended in near-invisible webs as they labour to carve titanic likenesses of their cruel masters. Further toward the core, the central mass of towers, statues and spires forms a close-packed theatre for inter-Kabalite war. Mercenaries and armoured bounty hunters clad in segmented Ghostplate move steathily under the vaulted arches, stalking those with a high price on their heads.
The battleground that exists above the thickets of spires and towers plays host to the deadly world of the Scourges, terrifying aerial predators, as well as the lightning-fast Jetbike pilots who hunt them for sport. Though most of High Commorragh is controlled under the iron rule of the Kabalite masters, this volatile region is firmly under the control of these aerial apex predators. Those who dwell in the aeries of High Commorragh consider themselves blessed, and have little but contempt for those who fester in what they scornfully term, Ynnealidh, "the necropolis below." Further down into the murk of Commorragh lies the Middle Darkness, an area plagued by Hellion gangs. These skyboard-riding rebels fly through the foul air in great swarms that attack on sight. Though these gangs are known to be feral and wild, they are not adverse to allying with the Kabals for the right price when a real space raid is on offer.
Arenas of the Wych Cults
The Wych Cults of the Dark Eldar stage displays of ultra-violence in the massive arenas built into their lofty citadels and razor-edged ziggurats, allowing the citizens of High Commorragh to feed upon the acts of wanton murder and killing refined to the level of an art form. These multi-level structures are clustered with barbed stages upon which thousands of warriors and slaves meet a gruesome end. The arena's spectators observe from ornate thrones or from anti-gravitic pleasure-craft, drinking in the pain from a thrillingly unsafe distance. Wyches are paragons of physical perfection, and the Syrens and Succubi that rule over them are supernaturally adept at the art of dealing death. The ruling Archons of the Kabals know that without the imaginative displays of killing put on in the Wych arenas, Dark Eldar society would soon collapse in order to slake its eternal thirst for suffering. This practice of feeding the populace of High Commorragh with regular displays of bloodletting is known amongst the Archons as Lith'antu Khlavh, "the knife that stays the blade."
Around the peaks of the Wych Houses are the toroid arenas, elaborately curved racetrack complexes famous for their death races. Cliques of elite Jetbike pilots known as Reavers take part in fighting battles at breakneck speeds around the elliptical interior of each arena, hurtling past the ingenious traps and moving blades of each deathscape, careening into each other with their custom-bladed craft and mowing down those nearby with blasts from their sophisticated weaponry.
The Dwellers Beneath
The underworld that lies beneath Commorragh is an exceptionally dangerous place. It is the domain of the Haemonculi, a twisted brotherhood of torturers and monsters so ancient and thoroughly steeped in evil that their continued existence requires daily acts of indescribable torment. The seedy underside of Commorragh is host to almost as many edifices and spires as the top. Clustered together, these spires are often hollowed out by controlled acts of destruction in order to form cavernous lairs. Within these deadly complexes, the Haemonculi ply their trade, dealing body modification, fleshcrafting, drug distillation, and beauty elixirs. Often times, Haemonculi of similar bent are wont to form into Covens, which occupies a vast demesne of cells and laboratories under the core. Here they practice their vile experiments, torturing the unfortunates that fall into their clutches and savoring their endless torment and pain like a fine meal. Most Haemonculi Covens dwell at the bottom of spiral-edged pits underneath the Core. At the heart of each spiraling labyrinth, the eldest and most vile Haemonculi dwell at the heart, reveling in epic depravities of their own invention.
A Realm Unbound
This is but a fraction of the surreal sights and landscapes scattered throughout dread Commorragh. Across the Rift of Dead Hope, pillars of bone reach up to form a makeshift bridge into the Pale Fortress. In the City of Titans, enormous statues enact historic assassinations and coups with terrible inevitability. Vitreous Heap is filled to capacity with piles of glass glazed body parts, sorted into a landscape of limbs, torsos and heads, and in the bleak wilds of Iron Thorn the choking gut-clouds of the red smog bring the corpses of the cursed back to life. Cyclopean gates of crackling jade fire link one realm to another, guarded by the most vigilant warriors, and in Devil's Orchard noisome hanging gardens of grave-lotus sprout from a mosaic of the dead. There is no end to the depths of the Dark City, just as there is no end to the chilling depravity of its occupants.
Beyond the runic wards that define the borders of Commorragh lie the tributary realms of the Dark Eldar, ancient vassal states of the Dark City dating back to the Fall. These are the hidden domains in which the Dark Eldar enact their vile rites and Machiavellian schemes. Their origins lie in the tumultuous times that preceded the Fall: as the Eldar empire's hedonistic cults of excess began to thrive, the private realms they maintained within the Webway flourished unseen until the largest of their number grew large enough to pose a threat to Commorragh itself. Over the course of its long history, the Dark City has absorbed all of the vassal domains that it has not destroyed outright, linking one massive sub-realm to another using ancient Webway portals and gates. Within the gilded corridors and flesh-pits of these myriad satellite realms cavort those debauched Eldar who are responsible for the fall of their own species. Despite all the terror and misery that has befallen the Eldar since the Fall, these self-absorbed hedonists still laugh at the warnings of their sober Craftworld counterparts.
Many Satellite Realms are connected to Commorragh via Webway portal, often becoming de facto part of the city itself. Originally independent regions, under Asdrubael Vect each of the Satellite Realms was defeated and absorbed into greater Commorragh. Notable satellite realms have included Shaa-Dom and Pandaimon.