"I am all your nightmares. I am the legends your forebears whispered of in fearful tones. Every terror you have never imagined comes from me. Look upon my majesty and weep at the terror I have wrought upon you and your kin. I am an artist, and dread is the colour I splash across the canvas of your mind."
- — Archon Anas Vaenix of the Kabal of the Sundered Eye
An Archon is the leader of a Dark Eldar Kabal, the organisation that serves as the heart of the standard Drukhari raiding force as well as the primary political unit within the Dark City. The Archons of the Drukhari Kabals are the true lords of Commorragh. They sit at the apex of the Dark Eldar hierarchy that controls the Dark City and the Labyrinthine Realm of the Drukhari portion of the Webway. Each wields enough political influence to collapse portions of realspace into the Warp, stall the progress of an Imperial Crusade or take the population of entire worlds as slaves. The overlord of a Kabal is always a potent foe on the battlefield, but he has attained his position not merely through martial prowess in the arts of war and violence but through consistently emerging as the victor in the most difficult game of all -- the byzantine intrigues that govern all things in the heart of the Dark City, sometimes known as the thyllian ai-kelethril, or ‘path of shards’. Only the most ingenious survive long enough to kill their way to the top.
In both word and deed, each Archon is as poisonous as a serpent, their mind as labyrinthine as the darkest reaches of the Webway. Such traits are a necessity, for to sit at the very peak of power is to make oneself a prominent target indeed. Though every Archon is a conceited, solipsistic megalomaniac convinced of his mental and physical superiority over all other beings, he will retain his position as an overlord of Commorragh for only as long as he can stave off the endless coup and assassination attempts of his rivals, enemies and his own Dracon lieutenants. One false move in the upper echelons of the Dark City is almost inevitably fatal, and so all Archons have an uncanny ability to predict the motives and schemes of others and take great delight in turning their rivals' traps against them in bloody and often spectacular ways.
Despite the elaborate network of allegiances within the Dark City, the Overlords of the Kabals run rings around those who seek to beat them at their deadly game. The endless ambitions of their underlings keep an Archon's paranoia as sharp as their own blades, and so it is in the service of treachery that all Archons truly excel, with their strategies stretching across millennia as centuries-old plots come to fruition. It is said by some that the Archons of the Drukhari could teach even Tzeentch, the Lord of Change, a thing or two about plotting for the long term. Some of the Archons known as the Lords of Twilight, who govern from the highest spires of Commorragh, even claim to have seized their thrones in the times before the Fall of the Eldar. These eldest of the Archons view the rest of their species with contempt; as little better than squabbling children. The Lords of Twilight do not suffer fools willingly. A single misstep in protocol may rouse an Archon to murderous wrath. In matters of maintaining their Kabal's hierarchy, Archons have been known to even prefer solutions that leave everyone less well-off if only to spite them.
Yet revelling in the depths of suffering and madness for an eternity eventually extracts a price. Over the long Terran years that they have held the reigns of power or clawed their way up to hold their lofty positions, the Archons of the Dark Eldar have enjoyed the pain of others for so long that only a true atrocity invigorates them. Archons regularly lead full-scale planetary raids for their Kabals, as drinking in the agony of entire planets is the only way they can regenerate themselves. Thousands of slaves must be sacrificed for the eldest Archons every night and this still may not be enough to make the oldest and most corrupt look youthful once more. As a result, elder Archons usually cover their black-veined faces with masks. Some Archons' masks are stylised and beautiful; others are bloody, alien and terrible, fashioned from the flayed flesh of their rivals' faces.
When the time comes to offer battle, an Archon will first stop at his weapons museums, savouring the process of selecting which of the baleful technologies of the Dark City -- Soul-traps, Agonisers, and Shadow Fields -- he will use to visit terror and pain upon the unwitting. Some Archons choose a different array of armaments for each engagement, indulging in the variety at their disposal. Others have used the same tools of slaughter for years, decades or even centuries, and continually find new ways to induce suffering with their favoured implements. One such weapon – the huskblade – is a favourite of many Archons, for it evaporates the internal fluids of those it slices, causing their flesh to shrivel and crumble to dust in a most spectacular fashion. Thus accoutred, the Archon strides haughtily onto the battlefield, eyeing their enemies with utter disdain. The Archon's most favoured retainers and pets, each of whom specialises in its own preferred form of visiting death and pain upon others, accompany him into combat. Even the least of a Kabal’s Archons can move like the wind, seeming almost to vanish from sight and reappear again when their blade has done its bloody work. Few mortals have ever seen a Dark Eldar Archon in combat -- and kept the tongue in their mouths to tell the tale.
Court of the Archon
Kabalite lords surround themselves with coteries of favoured retainers, pets and bodyguards. From the looming, serpentine mercenaries known as Sslyth to packs of drooling, fang-mawed Ur-Ghuls from the haunted pyramids of Shaa-dom, such a retinue can be as varied as the tools in an overlord's torture chamber. Lhamaeans lurk in their master’s shadow, unobtrusive until the moment they strike, their poisoned blades slicing armour, flesh and bone. Medusae shuffle forth at their master's behest, foul parasitic fleshsacs bobbing in their wake as their visors spew nauseous anti-light that hurls foes into contraempathic comas. Though each member of an Archon's Court is deadly in its own right, it is when these fiends are combined that they become a truly deadly instrument of their master's will. Depending on an Archon's personality, this court can be comprised of a highly eclectic group, but is usually drawn from among the following types of beings:
- Medusae - Medusae are visored slave-beings used to record the roiling emotions of the battlefield. However, these creatures, usually humanoid slaves with psychic ability, are actually only the physical hosts for the alien entities of the Immaterium that are the true Medusae. These creatures are empathic parasites and in their true forms look like a collection of brains and spinal cords layered one atop another. In their natural state they float through the Warp like jellyfish, a form of psychic plankton who feed on daydreams and nightmares. Medusae can latch onto a host that intruded into their realm, absorbing their emotions directly and providing a portal into realspace. Though meeting the gaze of a Medusae's host can cause immediate emotional hemorrhaging, these hybrid beings are extremely valuable in Commorragh, for they can absorb and store extreme sensations for the Dark Eldar to enjoy later. Consuming one of the Medusae's brain-fruits brings back all the exhilarating emotions of a raid or other experience as if it was happening once more.
- Ur-Ghul - Dark Eldar Archons maintain all manner of deadly xenos creatures in their courts, from worm-like Haemovores to greater Shaderavens, whose croaks and caws drive those who hear it insane. Though innumerable numbers of such hideous beasts prowl the dark ways of Commorragh, it is the Ur-Ghul that is the most frightening, a blind but dexterous troglodyte that originated on the world of Shaa-dom among its haunted and abandoned ziggurats. Once one of these whip-thin horrors gets the scent of prey in its rows of quivering, dripping scent-pits, it will not stop hunting that creature until either it or its prey has fallen.
- Lhamaean - An Archon may keep many strange humanoid beings as his courtesans, but the mysterious Dark Eldar sisterhood known as the Lhilitu are coveted above all others, for not only are they imaginative and passionate lovers but they are also masters of the arts of poison. Descending from the original Cult of Lhamaea, they draw from the knowledge of Shaimesh, the Father of Poisons, one of the Dark Muses. The presence of a Lhamaean in an Archon's court ensures his Kabal with a supply of the most virulent toxins which she will share with her Archon before each raid into realspace. It is said that even a kiss blown upon the wind by a Lhamaean courtesan can kill hundreds in its deadly path.
- Sslyth - As true Dark Eldar inevitably make extremely poor bodyguards as a result of their innately self-interested nature and penchant for treachery, most Archons employ the more reliable alien mercenaries who inhabit the Dark City to protect them from the constant coup and assassination attempts. Though Dark Eldar bodyguards can be found among every intelligent race of the galaxy, the most favoured are the Sslyth, massive serpent-bodied xenos whose race fell to the temptations of unbridled excess and the worship of Slaanesh many millennia ago. Since they possess two sets of arms, Sslyth mercenaries can wield enough guns and blades to easily counter any would-be assassin or usurper. Some Imperial scholars have noticed the unusual similarity of the Sslyth to a xenos race known as the Laer who were supposedly exterminated by the Emperor's Children Legion of Space Marines at the end of the Great Crusade in the early 31st Millennium. These creatures were nearly identical to the Sslyth and were also worshipers of sensual excess whose homeworld of Laeran was responsible for the initial corruption of the Emperor's Children and their Primarch Fulgrim by Chaos. What the connection might be, if any, remains unknown at this time.
- Asdrubael Vect - Supreme Overlord Asdrubael Vect is the ruler of the Kabal of the Black Heart, the oldest and greatest of its kind. It was Vect who rose from his mundane life as a young warrior-slave to bring the old order of the Dark Eldar nobility crashing down and instituted the Kabalite system. So complete is Vect's stranglehold upon Commorragh that none of these highly-placed subordinate Archons dare challenge the Overlord’s supremacy in anything but the most private dreams or fantasies. Even then, they do so with caution, for it is said that Vect knows well the scent of treachery, and reads the minds of lesser mortals like an open book.
- Khadys Abrahak - Khadys Abrahak is the undisputed ruler of the Kabal known as the Lords of the Iron Thorn, the masters of the sub-realm of Pandaimon. Embittered remnants of a long-gone aristocracy, the Lords of the Iron Thorn are Commorragh's pre-eminent weapon crafters. Long ago, this proud and ancient Kabal were brought to their knees after an ill-fated rebellion against Asdrubael Vect by their then-master, Archon Qu. However, in the centuries since, they have rebuilt their power through ensuring the Kabal of the Black Heart remains well supplied with Iron Thorn war machines. It is said that the mark of the Iron Thorn upon a Raider's hull is akin to Aestra Khromys' brand upon the stock of a gun -- a mark of quality that is second to none.
- Akhara'Keth - Archon Akhara'Keth is the ancient ruler of the Kabal of the Bloodied Claw. Referred to as the "Ruler of the Void" by his subordinates, Akhara'Keth has remained in power over his Kabal despite over three hundred assassination attempts. Due to his age, many in Commorragh see him as weak, but his abilities at reading people have always left him one step ahead of any who have attempted to take his life. Because of these assassination attempts, Akhara'Keth is forced to stay secluded within the sanctum of his throne room. In the event of an attack, his large, ornate throne houses an anti-gravitic generator that lifts him up into a safe room above, while hidden chambers along the throne room's walls release his personal retinue of Incubi and Mandrakes to dispatch his enemies. It is said that his Kabal's ranks number in the thousands, and raid realspace daily, in order to supply their Archon with a sufficient quantity of souls to keep him relatively young.
- S'aronai Ariensis - Ariensis lead The Severed, a spacebound Kabal that left the Dark City hundreds of Terran years ago. They are more than familiar to the Imperium, as The Severed have plagued the systems of the Ghoroid Strip since time immemorial. Their Archon once botched a coup that cost him his place in the Dark City and most of his left hand. He defiantly refuses to regenerate his wound, and his warriors are often mutilated in the same manner, their left hands reduced to talons or replaced by augmetic claws. It is testament to Archon Ariensis' utter ruthlessness that, having lost such face before his followers, he managed to retain the reins of power. Indeed, in the days following his and his Kabal's exile from the Dark City, Ariensis faced challenges to his authority almost daily. Each was answered with sudden, shocking violence, the Archon making such hideous examples of his rivals that those who remained soon lost all desire to attempt coups of their own. Now The Severed are a force to be reckoned with once again. With his authority beyond dispute, Archon Ariensis has fought a centuries-long campaign against all who cross his path. His Kabal's pirate fleet -- once a ragtag collection of battle-damaged craft -- has become a sleek flotilla of hundreds.
- Dhariaq Bladetongue - Archon Bladetongue is the current ruler of the Kabal of the Pierced Eye.
- Cythrax - Archon Cythrax is the ruler of the Kabal of the Slashed Eye. His Kabal is known for its grudge against Lord Helion Sathonyx, a former noble of the Slashed Eye who was banished by the Archon after bringing an Eldar Farseer into their court. Though a fine prize, it was deemed too dangerous for even the Kabal, who accused Baron Sathonyx of putting the entire Kabal at jeopardy. Captured by the Kabal, Sathonyx was cast into the bowels of Commorragh. Gathering about him an army of exiles, dispossessed and rebels, Sathonyx rose to dominance over the Hellion gangs, and launched a year-long campaign against his former Kabal that nearly brought it to its knees. The Slashed Eye continued to pursue the former noble with bounty hunters and assassins, but somehow Sathonyx always managed to stay one step ahead of his enemies. The Slashed Eye is also known to have an intense rivalry with the Kabal of the Stolen Conscience, and constantly vie with one another over the control of Port Carmine, a contested and strategically important port city of Commorragh.
- Tliensic D'raque - Lord Tliensic D'raque is the monomaniac of the Kabal of the Wraithkind, a Kabal that has suffered a unique type of punishment inflicted by the ruling overlord of Commorragh, Asdrubael Vect, afer a failed attempt to secede from his rule. Once the rulers of the pleasure city of Aur-Ilithain, one of the satellite realms of Commorragh within the Labyrinthine Dimension of the Webway, the Wraithkind were extremely powerful until their daemon-courting Archon attempted to close his dark paradise off from the rest of the Dark City. By destroying the single hyperspatial bridge that led from the heart of the Dark City to the Cyclops Gate of Aur-Ilithain, D'raque announced his intention to secede from the rule of the Dark City's dictatorial overlord, Asdrubael Vect, the Archon of the Kabal of the Black Heart. The very next night six secret portals suddenly opened across Aur-Ilithain, and thousands of shadow-creatures spiralled through, chanting in an eldritch tongue. Before the next dawn, Vect's ethereal allies had plunged the pleasure city and its denizens into a half-real state slightly out of phase with the rest of the Webway. The Wraithkind were forever altered, changed into night-shrouded fiends similar to Mandrakes that can only feed upon the pain and despair of others when they step out of the Webway into the material world. When they do so, the venting of their frustrations upon the "lesser races" of the galaxy is truly shocking to behold.
- El'uriaq - The self-proclaimed Emperor of the sub-realm of Shaa-dom, having grown steadily in influence and power, El'uriaq declared himself more worthy of rule than Asdrubael Vect in 984.M37. Vect publicly vowed that all of Shaa-dom would feel the edge of his blade, much to the amusement of El'uriaq's famously well-funded and elite forces. Three solar days later, a Warp rift opened suddenly above the satellite realms and a burning Imperial Navy Battleship thundered downward, plunging deep into the hidden city's heart before its Warp-drive detonated. The palace-fortress of El'uriaq was torn apart. The Warp rift allowed Daemons to invade the city, and in a matter of a single solar week the devil-haunted realm of Shaa-dom is reduced to cinders. Vect was reported to have allowed himself a rare smile at the moment of its fall. In the latter 41st Millennium, Archon Xenial of the Kabal known as the Blades of Desire would conspire with Archons Nyos Yllithian of the Kabal of the White Flames and Kraillach of the Kabal of the Realm Eternal, in order to usurp Supreme Overlord Vect. To accomplish this monumental undertaking, the Blades of Desire aided Archon Yllithian in the resurrection of El'uriaq. The master Haemonculus Bellathonis, the most capable Haemonculi at resurrecting Dark Eldar who have been long dead, discovered that El'uriaq's body could be restored if a pure Eldar Exodite soul was captured and tortured sufficiently. Yllithian and his co-conspirators captured an Exodite soul and were able to successfully resurrect the long-dead Tyrant of Shaa-Dom. But soon, the resurrected Archon began to usurp the authority of Yllithian, and gained a strong following within the White Flames as well as a loyal following throughout the Dark City with his charismatic speeches and manipulative genius. Though the resurrected Archon retained his old personality and charisma, he also now maintained potent psychic powers. Yllithian eventually discovered that El'uriaq was also in fact possessed by a powerful Daemon. To make matters worse, the Daemon was hell-bent on causing a Dysjunction -- collapsing the boundaries between the Warp and the interdimensional space which held the Dark City, allowing the Neverborn to spill into the Webway and consume Commorragh. Whether or not this comes to pass, remains to be seen.
- Gharax - Archon of the Kabal of the Crimson Blossom, Gharax is known to have led his Kabal in a realspace raid by utilising a Webway portal which led to the tunnels deep below the surface of the planet Bukehall in the Teramus System. The Dark Eldar formed a dark alliance with the human pirates there, providing them Lance weapons and a drug called the Red Sacrament (known colloquially as "Red Sacra"), in return for human slaves taken from captured vessels. Unfortunately, many warriors of the Kabal were killed by a cunning ambush by the Space Marines of the Deathwatch, the Chamber Militant of the Inquisition's Ordo Xenos. It is believed that their Archon somehow managed to effect his escape during the ambush.
- Surasis Grief - Archon of the Kabal of the Dark Mirror, Surasis Grief is known as the "Lord of the Skies" in the Dark City of Commorragh. Formerly a Reaver pilot, he won the Sec Maegra Marathon by overloading his Jetbike, causing it to explode, which killed the final racers. Grief became the first Reaver pilot ever to cross the finish line on foot. He later invented the Tantalus, an assault skimmer that is somewhat larger and more complex in design than the standard Raider, and accordingly better armed. Its distinctive twin-hulled design also houses powerful engine-reactors slaved to enhanced drives and its unique scythevane armament. With this deadly assault craft, Grief led his Kabal, along with his son and daughter Roteus and Nitholeth, on a rampage that saw them ransack parts of the Dark City. But like all high fliers, Grief had young pretenders, constantly challenging his power. Most notably was the Nightspur Covenant, a group of Reaver Champions led by the former Arena Champion Ciav. Grief took part in a death race that inevitably saw him bested by Ciav who used a fractal web to teleport the Tantalus to safety while sending Grief plummeting to his death. The Archon was succeeded by his children as the rightful rulers of the Dark Mirror, although it was noted by Ciav that the Kabal would unlikely survive its new and avaricious masters.
- Kelithresh - A would-be rival of Asdrubael Vect, in 677.M36, Vect tricked Archon Kelithresh into opening a casket that had ostensibly been presented as a tithe. Held precariously in the collapsing field of the casket was the unstable essence of a black hole. Kelithresh's entire realm was plunged into a howling, yawning vortex.
- Khargiel - Archon Khargiel was ruler of the Kabal of the Bleaksoul Brethren. In 226.M41, the infamous Succubi Lelith Hesperax issued a challenge to the Dark City -- should anyone produce an inhabitant of realspace that could pose her a genuine challenge in the arena, that individual would be honoured beyond their wildest dreams by Hesperax herself. The competition sparked by this challenge was immediate, violent and widespread. Archons lead raiding parties to strike at the length and breadth of the material realm, returning with ever mightier champions and deadlier monsters trammelled in their holds. Having defeated all challenges brought before her, finally Khargiel presented Hesperax with a foe that could answer her challenge. In an especially daring and costly raid, Khargiel kidnapped Brother Captain Cadulon of the Iron Knights Space Marine Chapter. Known as the Saint of Blades, Cadulon is an exceptionally talented swordsman who has twice been declared victor at the ritual Feast of Blades. The duel lasts for over six solar hours before Cadulon finally falls, leaving Hesperax victorious with but a single, bloody cut across her midriff. Amid the sudden hush, Archon Khargiel descends to the arena floor to accept his reward. Yet his look of triumph curdles as Lelith kicks the fallen Space Marine's blade across the floor to land at the Archon's feet, explaining that the greatest honour she can bestow is the deadly kiss of her knives. To the amusement of the crowd, Khargiel is lucky to last six solar minutes.
- Aestra Khromys - Aestra Khromys serves as the ruler of the Kabal of the Obsidian Rose, who controls the greatest swathe of weapons shops in the Dark City. Though the inventive genius of their Archon, the Obsidian Rose maintain a deathgrip on the Commorrite arms trade. Khromys is an exceptionally skilled artisan in the field of weapons manufacture, and a blade or pistol bearing her signature mark will sell for a huge price in slaves and souls. Yet she was not always the Kabal's leader. Indeed, having failed to bend the knee to the Obsidian Rose's previous master, Archon Vhloriac, Khromys was flung into the Kabal’s vast weapons shops to suffer death by ennui. Yet Aestra worked tirelessly to produce perfect weapons until eventually she and her fellow weaponsmiths were called upon to present their work as tribute to Vhloriac himself. The coup that followed was executed with exceptionally crafted hidden weapons, Khromys and her retinue gunning down the Archon and his guards when their own firearms mysteriously failed to fire.
- Zaergarn Kul - Archon of the exiled Kabal of the Splintered Talon and the master of the Nexus of Shadows. Zaergarn Kul was once a favoured son of Commorragh for many long centuries, but eventually the wheel of fortune inevitably turned against him and he angered a number of more powerful factions within the Dark City. He led his Kabal into exile instead of seeing it destroyed, and immediately began seeking a new refuge from which he could consolidate his power. To this end, he sought Salaine Morn, whose Kabal of the Shadowed Thorns had recently uncovered the Gaelan Sphere, and offered her much-needed strength of arms to help claim it. Together, the two Archons discovered and claimed the Nexus of Shadows as their own dominion. Unfortunately for Salaine, it was not an outside force or an alien that was to oust her from power. In the end Zaergarn Kul usurped her, and exiled her once more into the Webway before she could do the same to him. For many of the inhabitants of the Nexus this change in power meant little, especially for the slaves, to whom one Dark Eldar Archon is much the same as another. Zaergarn Kul is the master of the Nexus of Shadows in name, but in name only. For years, since his demise at the hands of a Mandrake sent by Salaine Morn during their power struggle, his soul has been trapped within the twisted heart of the voidship, The Soul Reaver. While The Soul Reaver draws power from all of those who die within the Nexus of Shadows, Zaergarn's assassin attacked him while he was observing the vessel's tormented heart, bathing in the pain that exuded from it. Since that day, Zaergarn's essence has simmered and seethed, trapped within the heart of the voidship but unable to lash out at those who have wronged him because the Nexus of Shadows pulls out all of the energy that the vessel collects.
- Vhane Kyharc - A narcissist without equal, Archon Kyharc is the ruler of the Kabal of the Black Myriad. In 399.M41, he released the Doppelganger Virus on the planet of Phlogiston VI. This transmorphic plague rewrites the biology of every living creature on the planet, forcing their features to reform in the likeness of their alien conqueror.
- Kraillach - An ancient Archon, Kraillach led the Kabal of the Realm Eternal. In the late 41st Millennium, he conspired with Nyos Yllithian of the Kabal of the White Flames and Xelian of the Blades of Desire to overthrow the tyrannical rule of Asdrubael Vect. To achieve their ends, the Realm Eternal aided Nyos' mission to resurrect the infamous El'uriaq, the legendary tyrant ruler of the shadowy-realm of Shaa-Dom. However, Vect's agents were able to pit the Realm Eternal and the Blades of Desire against one another by staging an attack upon Kraillach's fortress, making it appear as if Xelian was behind it. This drove the venerable Archon to paranoia. In retaliation, the Realm Eternal assaulted the Blades of Desire's fortress in return. Due to the fear and paranoia that gripped the Archon, the management of the Kabal fell to his trusted Incubi lieutenant Morr. The Kabal itself was eventually destroyed when Morr discovered that Kraillach had become possessed by a Daemon following his encounter with the resurrected El'uriaq. This caused the loyal Incubi to strike down his possessed master. Following the Archon's death, the Kabal broke into warrior factions and internecine fighting.
- Vraesque Malidrach - The self-styled "Murderprince of the Poisoned Crown," Archon Vraesque Malidrach is the Ruler of the Kabal of the Flayed Skull. Malidrach began his long and dishonourable career as a half-born Reaver in the arena of Khad Mhetrul, the Bitterspire. With his signature brand of high speed violence, Malidrach has fought his way to mastery of his own Kabal, the Kabal of the Flayed Skull. He specialises in airborne warfare, preferring to slaughter his foes in swift, shocking raids. As such his Kabal boasts a great many Reavers, Razorwing Jetfighters and Voidraven Bombers, and competition is fierce to claim the first blood spilt in any raid. The Flayed Skull once famously conquered the world of Thrandium without a single Kabalite setting foot upon the ground.
- Malys - Led by the intellectual she-devil known as Lady Malys, the Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue enjoys a position right at the forefront of Commorrite society. Their number includes many Trueborn -- the rare naturally-birthed Dark Eldar who are the closest to nobility in Commorite society that Vect's mercilessly-enforced Kabalite system will allow. The whispersmiths have it that the Lady has her own mysterious patron, for those bold or foolish enough to eavesdrop on her personal chambers have reported two distinct voices when only one lifesign registers within. Few such spies survive long, for Lady Malys has her little ways, and she is invariably several steps ahead of the competition. The only being Malys has thus far proven incapable of second-guessing is her ex-lover, Asdrubael Vect -- though in recent years, even that is beginning to change.
- Salaine Morn - Salaine Morn is the current Archon of the Kabal of the Shadowed Thorns, an outcast Dark Eldar Kabal. After being exiled from Commorragh, the Archon spent years wandering the Webway with her fleet, raiding worlds and looking for a place to claim as her own. Eventually her Kabal stumbled upon the Gaelan Sphere, an ancient relic of a long-forgotten age of technology. The size of a small moon, covered with towers and antennae, the sphere was crafted around a solid core, the remnants of some mineral rich asteroid that its automated systems are slowly eroding away as it adds more and more levels to the sphere. Unfortunately for Salaine, the sphere's defences and legions of Servitor guardians were too numerous and powerful for her Kabal alone to overcome. Thus, Salaine forged an alliance with Zaergarn Kul and his Kabal of the Splintered Talon, and together they purged the city of its ancient human defences, destroying that which they could not control and sealing away the areas that they could not inhabit. Eventually, the Dark Eldar built the Nexus of Shadows, a dark and dangerous artificial world that is controlled and partially developed, and populated with some of the worst xenos to ever crawl out of the Koronus Expanse. The city has festered and grown into a common port for the Dark Eldar and those who trade with them. As a base, it provides an excellent and well-hidden locale to raid the nearby Koronus Expanse, Calixis Sector, and even the Screaming Vortex, while its place within the Webway gives it access to hundreds more worlds scattered across the Segmentum Obscurus and beyond. Unfortunately for Salaine, it was not an outside force or an alien that was to oust her from power. In the end Zaergarn Kul usurped her, and exiled her once more into the Webway before she could do the same to him. For many of the inhabitants of the Nexus this change in power meant little, especially for the slaves, to whom one Dark Eldar Archon is much the same as another. She finds it utterly distasteful that she and all those she commands are exiles from the Dark City and now even the Nexus of Shadows. At her grudging command, the warriors of her Kabal have turned to mercenary work, selling their efforts to lesser beings as part of a plan to regain the power she once possessed.
- Tahril - Archon Tahril is the leader of the Kabal of the Black Heart within the Kaurava System, his base of operations is located at the edge of the system on a moon called Lacunae which orbits Kaurava IV. Although he is accompanied by Asdrubael Vect (the Archon of the Kabal of the Black Heart and the current Supreme Overlord of the Dark City of Commorragh) who is Tahril's superior, it is Archon Tahril who oversees the coordination of the raid on the system while Asdrubael oversees the overall campaign from the relative safety of Lacunae. Like his fellow Archons, Tahril is naturally a very cruel and sadistic being, who delights in conquering and enslaving many of the worlds within the system, as well as fighting various other factions (such as the Imperium, Eldar and Orks) within the region. In battle, Archon Tahril is surrounded by his bodyguard comprised of elite Incubii.
- Thyndrak - An insane female Archon of the Kabal of the Last Hatred, in 327.M41, Thyndrak launched a raid on the Hive World of Tamantra's Folly. During the fierce fighting between her Kabalite forces and the Tallarn 8th Infantry, Archon Thyndrak abducted the planet's tyrannical governor and his entire sadistic household. The luckless abductees were fitted with neural restraints, dressed in improbable and torturous finery, and installed in life support tubes built into the ceiling of Archon Thyndrak's grand ballroom. Trapped in an agonising half-life, the human nobles could be lowered down to the Archon's dance floor at will on wheezing brass armatures, their mere presence leaving the hall awash with an aura of pain and misery that the Commorrites find most refreshing. Needless to say, Thyndrak's new toys were something of a coup, her guests delighting in dancing and frolicking with the whimpering humans amid the mocking laughter of their peers.
- Thysk - Archon of the Kabal of the Bloody Storm, in 864.M41, Thysk led his Kabal against the Feral World of Vandred, from which the Angels Sanguine Space Marine Chapter recruited new Aspirants. Sure enough, a strike force of Angels Sanguine made planetfall within days, yet unknowingly they played into the Archon's hands. Thysk released a blood-plague acquired at great cost from the Haemonculi Coven of the Altered, a virus that tapped directly into the tragic gene curse of Sanguinius' sons. Aware of their madness but unable to stop, the Angels Sanguine butcher and devour those they came to save before falling upon each other, while the Dark Eldar drink in the agony, terror and despair.
- Kiliarq Tongueblade - Archon Tongueblade is the lord of the Kabal of the Lacerated Eye.
- Asdrubael Vect - Asdrubael Vect is the Dark Eldar Archon of the Kabal of the Black Heart and the current Supreme Overlord of the Dark City of Commorragh. Considered the most devious of a race legendary for deviousness, Vect is possibly older than the Fall of the Eldar. It was Vect who shaped Commorragh from a sprawling corsair port and collection of autonomous sub-realms into what it had become by the late 41st Millennium, a vast and incalculably powerful and evil galactic metropolis located deep within the Labyrinthine Dimension of the Webway. Among the murderous hierarchy of the Dark Eldar race, and from the lowest of beginnings, Vect gained and holds on to his position with both an unmatched intelligence, murderous ambition and a talent for cunning that is said by some to rival that of the Chaos God Tzeentch. Vect knows the primary weaknesses of all the major sentient races of the galaxy, and those of his own species most thoroughly of all. Quite simply, Asdrubael Vect is one of the oldest, most powerful, and most deadly beings to walk amongst the mortals of the 41st Millennium.
- Xelian - Xelian is the battle-hungry warrior-queen of the Kabal of the Blades of Desire, a notable Dark Eldar Kabal known to employ large number of Wyches within its ranks as well as Hellions and Reaver packs, that took part in many realspace raids. Due to their large abundance of Wyches and slaves, the Blades of Desire operated one of the premiere gladiatorial arenas in the Dark City. Their Archon Xelian opposed the rule of the tyrannical despot Asdrubael Vect, and conspired with Archons Nyos Yllithian of the Kabal of the White Flames and Kraillach of the Kabal of the Realm Eternal, in order to usurp Vect. To accomplish this monumental undertaking, the Blades of Desire aided Archon Yllithian in the resurrection of El'uriaq, the legendary tyrant of the destroyed sub-realm of Shaa-Dom. However, before their plot could be executed, several Wych assassins (more than likely agents of Vect) armed with the deadly Plague of Glass, were able to pit the Blades of Desire against the Realm Eternal by staging an attack upon Kraillach's palace and making it appear that Xelian was behind the audacious attack. This forced the aging Archon Kraillach to confront Xelian en masse, in a desperate attempt to save face or risk being seen as a weak leader by his own Kabal. As the Realm Eternal's forces approached the fortress of the rival Kabal, rogue Hellions and Reavers (also likely Vect's agents and feigning allegiance to Xelian) attacked Kraillach's forces, forcing the two Kabals into a bloody standoff that was only broken when Archon Yllithian appeared and forced a parlay between the two warring factions in order to salvage the situation. Though the two Kabals were convinced by Yllithian that Vect was really the one behind the recent events that pitted the two opposing Kabals against each other, Xelian demanded an honour duel with Krailach in order to satisfy her besmirched honour. With no alternatives, the aging Archon faced Xeilian and was soundly beaten, suffering several mortal wounds that forced him into an extended stay in a regeneration chamber of the Haemonculi. The defeat of Krailach and his Kabal did much to boost the reputation of the Blades of Desire, and soon many gangs of Hellions and Reavers pledged their allegiance to Xelian. Despite her success and the recent victory over a rival Kabal, her own Kabal was very nearly shattered when Xelian was almost killed during what was originally meant to be a routine combat exercise with the Wyches of her Kabal, after their plot to overthrow El'uriaq came to fruition.
- Xerathis - Xerathis is the lord of the Kabal known as the Broken Sigil. This Kabal is synonymous with acts of discord. Lord Xerathis is looked down upon by his rivals for the predictability of his strategies. True enough, his Kabalites are not above sky-writing, blanket-bombing with hallucinogenic gas or hijacking communications channels to ensure their victims are frightened half to death before the invasion starts in earnest. Yet the Kabalites of the Broken Sigil maintain that the price they pay in forewarning the enemy is far outweighed by the rich feast of fear that awaits them when the onslaught begins. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Broken Sigil are amongst the most feared and infamous of the Kabals, especially amongst the worlds of the Imperium. Entire conclaves of Ordo Xenos Inquisitors seek their demise, and on multiple occasions Lord Xerathis has found himself the personal quarry of Deathwatch Kill-teams. If this concerns the toweringly arrogant fearmonger, he conceals it well. Instead, Xerathis boasts of the fine slaves such post-human warriors make, and insinuates knowingly that, with the correct persuasion, even Space Marines can be made to cower in fear.
- Vorl-Xoelanth - Vorl-Xoelanth is the ruler of the Kabal of the Dying Sun, one of the oldest Kabals renowned for their overweening pride and disdain for anything that has not endured for millennia. The Kabal of the Dying Sun possess ancient fragments of forbidden arcana, heirlooms from the days of the Eldar Empire of old. Their stronghold -- the Pinnacle of Disdain -- is an impenetrable mountain of elegant, buttressed armour and echoing chambers, within which the Kabal hide their darkest secrets. These timeless artefacts, hidden away in shadowy vaults, possess the power to kill stars, suck the life-force from worlds and exterminate whole races of sentient beings.
- Yaelindra - The lord of the Kabal of the Blackened Tear, this ruthless Archon gained notoriety in 724.M36 when the Blackened Tear poisoned the entire Imperial Hive World of Tybor III. After this vile act, Adrubael Vect granted Yaelindra a boon. Archon Yaelindra was elevated in prestige and allied herself with Asdrubael Vect and his ruling Kabal of the Black Heart. She also chose to take a spire of her own in High Commorragh, founding the Cult of Lhamaea and training an army of deadly courtesan warriors to further her deadly works.
- Nyos Yllithian - Nyos Yllithian was the Archon of the Kabal of the White Flames, originally one of the great ancient Eldar noble houses of Commorragh. In the late 41st Millennium, Yllithian conspired with Archons Kraillach of the Realm Eternal and Xelian of the Blades of Desire. It was Yllithian's desire to see the infamous El'uriaq, the legendary Tyrant of Shaa-Dom, resurrected. However, before they could enact their nefarious plot, Vect's agents were able to pit the Realm Eternal and the Blades of Desire against one another by staging an attack upon Kraillach's fortress, making it appear as if Xelian was behind it. This drove the venerable Archon to paranoia. In retaliation, the Realm Eternal assaulted the Blades of Desire's fortress in return, forcing the two Kabals into a bloody standoff that was only broken when Archon Yllithian appeared and forced a parlay between the two warring factions in order to salvage the situation. Continuing with his plans to resurrect El'uriaq, master Haemonculus Bellathonis, the most capable Haemonculi at resurrecting Dark Eldar who have been long dead, discovered that El'uriaq's body could be restored if a pure Eldar Exodite soul was captured and tortured sufficiently. Yllithian and his co-conspirators captured an Exodite soul and were able to successfully resurrect the long-dead Tyrant of Shaa-Dom. But soon, the resurrected Archon began to usurp the authority of Yllithian, and gained a strong following within the White Flames as well as a loyal following throughout the Dark City with his charismatic speeches and manipulative genius. Though the resurrected Archon retained his old personality and charisma, he also now maintained potent psychic powers. Yllithian eventually discovered that El'uriaq was also in fact possessed by a powerful Daemon. To make matters worse, the Daemon was hell-bent on causing a Dysjunction -- collapsing the boundaries between the Warp and the space which held the Dark City, allowing the Neverborn to spill into the Webway and consume Commorragh. Whether or not this comes to pass, remains to be seen.
- Ysclyth - Ruler of the Kabal of the Talon Cyriix, Archon Ysclyth is the last descendant of a pure-blooded lineage that had lasted for thousands of standard years. Having grown weary of the tyrannical rule of Asdrubael Vect, in 248.M41, Ysclyth attempted a coup against Vect by harnessing Daemons to his cause. But he soon learned his folly when Vect utilised an ancient failsafe which sealed off Ysclth's territory from the rest of Commorragh. Trapped with only the Daemon legions for company, Ysclyth and his Kabal were slowly torn apart.
- Kabalite Armour
- Splinter Pistol
- Close Combat Weapon (Any type of Dark Eldar melee weapon)
- Plasma Grenades
- Codex: Drukhari (8th Edition), pg. 50
- Codex: Dark Eldar (7th Edition), pp. 15-16, 19, 23, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39, 43-44, 49, 51, 57, 60, 66, 73, 83, 86-87, 90, 92, 98, 106-112, 114-115, 119, 125, 128, 141-145
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pp. 34-35
- Rogue Trader: The Soul Reaver (RPG), pp. 11, 119, 122