"Death is my meat; terror my wine."
- — Asdrubael Vect, Supreme Lord of the Kabal of the Black Heart
Considered the most devious of a people legendary for their deviousness, Vect is possibly older than the Fall of the Aeldari.
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 Drukhari people, 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, starfaring species 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.
Asdrubael Vect was born as a low-class underling in Commorragh and sold into slavery as a child. According to Vect's own account, related to a Human slave, in his youth he personally witnessed the Fall of the Aeldari in the late 29th or early 30th Millennium.
Never accepted by the privileged high-born "betters" of his species, Vect was forced to climb the murderous hierarchical structure of the Dark City from the bottom, rung by tortuous rung. This survival in the face of incalculable odds explains his razor-sharp mind and infinite talent for intrigue.
It was during this time that Vect vowed to himself that he would one day rule the Dark City, even if it took an eternity. Vect's talent for subterfuge was exceptional. Vect's rivals had a propensity for being murdered in plots or for suffering apparent misfortunes, although never by Vect's hand personally.
By the time his rivals realised the threat represented by this upstart, it was usually only an instant before their heads had been separated from their bodies by his agents.
Kabal of the Black Heart
Vect's power grew and at an unknown date in the 32nd Millennium, he founded the Kabal of the Black Heart, the first organisation to openly refer to themselves as Eladrith Ynneas or "Dark Eldar." Though the Black Heart began as a flickering flame, it has since been fanned into a searing firestorm.
Thriving on being underestimated, Vect played a low profile as the Dark City fought a long civil war of its nobility against the Solar Cults who controlled the captured twin suns that powered the city, "The War of the Sun and Moon," in the 35th Millennium.
The nobility were ultimately victorious. A Kabal like Vect's had almost no power compared to Commorragh's nobility, and Vect was opposed at every turn by the most influential of the Dark City's noble houses -- Xelian, Kraillach and Yllithian.
Commorragh in Flames
Over the millennia, Commorragh grew from its shrouded beginnings into a galactic nightmare, its expansion driven largely by the machinations of one being, Asdrubael Vect of the Kabal of the Black Heart, who rose from slavery to become the true Overlord of the Dark City.
Four thousand standard years after the Fall of the Aeldari, in the time that Mankind calls the 35th Millennium, Commorragh underwent its greatest ordeal since its founding. The slave Asdrubael Vect had risen, through pure guile and murderous ambition, to become the Dracon of what he later named the Kabal of the Black Heart, when the elite forces of the Imperium of Man mounted a full-scale invasion of the Dark City.
At that time Vect, the hidden architect of this time of strife intended to cement his own rule, was opposed at all turns by the most influential of the Dark City's noble factions, the Houses Xelian, Kraillach and Yllithian.
By the time the human invaders had been repelled, the powerbases of these houses were in ruins, their Archons slain.
It was not long before Vect and the more meritocratic Kabals had replaced them as the source of ultimate power in the Dark City, just as he had planned.
The seeds of the Imperial invasion were sown in the region of the galaxy called the Desaderian Gulf. This area of wilderness space was well-known among the human starfarers of the Segmentum Tempestus for the number of spacecraft that had disappeared within its confines. General Imperial practice was to avoid it at all costs.
Unknown to the Imperium, there existed a vast portal into a main arterial of the Webway within Desaderian space, shielded by holofields that made it appear to be nothing more than a shimmer in the starlight, perhaps a result of gravitational lensing. Behind this portal lurked the pirate fleets of Commorragh, waiting for unwary prey.
The Drukhari's noble houses preyed upon Imperial shipping lanes only rarely in order to escape retribution; hence the missing ships were always considered acceptable losses or written off as bureaucratic errors of the Administratum.
Vect's first move was to increase the frequency of these piratical raids tenfold. He made it his Kabal's priority to capture every Imperial Navy warship and invade every human world within reach of the Desaderian portal.
He tore apart the Imperial Guard regiments garrisoning the planets of the Desaderian System, devastated their fortifications and disappeared with his living bounty into the depths of the Dark City, leaving nothing but utter ruin in his wake.
This campaign saw the Kabal of the Black Heart grow rich in plunder and souls, though Vect's detractors thought him a fool for antagonising the massive Imperial war machine.
With its usual ponderous, bureaucratic slowness the Imperium eventually reacted to the disappearances in the Desaderian Gulf. A Strike Cruiser belonging to the Salamanders Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes was close enough to investigate. It was patrolling the edges of the gulf in search of the sacred artefacts and relics of their Primarch Vulkan. Captain Phoecus of the Salamanders ordered his ship deeper into the Desaderian Gulf.
After a short but violent exchange with Vect's Kabalite fleet, Phoecus' Strike Cruiser Forgehammer was crippled by Haywire Bombs and transported through the Desaderian portal into the heart of the Dark City. The furore that resulted from this audacious capture set the spires of High Commorragh aflame with new intrigue.
A Space Marine captain was a great prize indeed, for such an individual could withstand extreme and prolonged mental and physical torture before divulging his vital secrets about Imperial defence. Before long, Vect found his Kabal's fleet in the Desaderian Gulf dwarfed by the armada of the Archon Lord Xelian.
The Forgehammer, still rendered impotent by Vect's Haywire field, was confiscated by Xelian, taken to High Commorragh and analysed by a long dissection process.
In his arrogance, Lord Xelian had not reckoned with the resourcefulness of the Space Marines trapped within the stricken Strike Cruiser. The ship's vox communications network had been shorted out by the Haywire field, but unknown to Xelian there remained a more pervasive method of communication available to the Astartes.
Captain Phoecus' close friend, the gifted Librarian Hestion, had sent a psychic request for aid as soon as the starship's systems had been disabled. Hestion acted as a living beacon to the rest of the Salamanders Chapter, a beacon now trapped within the spires of Xelian's realm in the Dark City.
When Lord Xelian sent the elite of his warrior court to bring the Space Marines to his torture chambers, they were met with far sterner resistance than anticipated. The Drukhari found it easy to carve through the hull of the strike cruiser and gain entrance to its dark corridors, but overpowering the Space Marines proved impossible.
Lit only by the flashes of boltgun fire, a desperate battle took place within the hull of the Forgehammer until Astartes and Drukhari blood had mingled upon its hull plates. Xelian was quick to realise that he had underestimated his victims.
He returned the salvage rights for the Astartes starship to the Kabal of the Black Heart, appearing generous but actually intending to seize the Space Marines once the Black Heart had suffered the losses in taking them captive.
Vect readily agreed, forming small strike forces of all those warriors in his Kabal whom he suspected of disloyalty and sent them to face the strike cruiser's defenders piecemeal. Vect's Kabalite Warriors, triumphant on dozens of worlds, marched into the Forgehammer without fear, but the battle lasted for days.
Xelian was happy to let Vect drive his so-called Kabal to destruction, believing the Kabal's Dracon to be a fool for not attacking with all the force at his disposal in a single, massive assault. Vect played a waiting game, feeding the disloyal elements of his Kabal to the guns of the Space Marines to buy time and even employing Commorrite mercenaries with well-known ties to Xelian's court, all of whom were soon swallowed by the violence within the human Strike Cruiser.
On the sixteenth day of the siege, the skies above High Commorragh suddenly broke open. The Salamanders Chapter had received the coordinates that had led them to their beleaguered Battle-Brothers from the Librarian Hestion's psychic broadcasts. The Desaderian portal had mysteriously been left fully operational, its guards slain and its controls locked so that it could not be closed.
The full fury of the Imperium of Man thundered from the crackling jade-cloured Webway portal directly above Archon Xelian's personal spire. Through it came starships bearing the heraldry of not only the Salamanders but also the badges of the Howling Griffons and the Silver Skulls Chapters of Space Marines.
Two dozen strike cruisers, each appearing like a chunk of Gothic architecture reshaped for war, hammered though the wide-open portal into the shadowy skies of the Dark City. At their heart was the great Battle Barge Vulkan's Wrath, an immense spacecraft with broadside batteries that could flatten whole cities. Its prow was a vast jutting ram that ploughed straight into the spire where Xelian stood, crushing it like a hammer driven into a priceless sculpture.
The Drukhari overcame their surprise quickly. From nearby Port Shard came hundreds of exotic craft, each a needle-like splinter next to the slab-like Imperial vessels, but no less deadly for that. Voidraven Bombers and Razorwing Jetfighters careened out of their towering hangars like bats from a cave, descending in swarms to attack each Astartes Strike Cruiser.
Though many were destroyed by the Imperial cruisers' broadsides, others systematically targeted the larger ships' guns with focused Void Lance fire and sustained hits from their Disintegrator Cannons. The Vulkan's Wrath was struck by thick blasts of electromagnetic force produced by Port Shard's salvage spars, rendering the majority of its weapons systems useless.
One by one, the Imperial ships' guns were silenced. But these were Space Marines, and they were nothing if not resourceful. Ejecting from each strike cruiser came Drop Pods, fired with such force that they were projectile weapons in their own right.
The Drop Pods hurtled down, smashing through Drukhari fighter craft and Commorrite starscrapers alike, each containing a squad of Space Marines who deployed upon impact with their weapons blazing. They left pure ruin in their wake as priceless Aeldari statues shattered and the spires of the Dark City fell.
The Astartes' counterattack robbed the Drukhari of the initiative. Within only moments of the Drop Pod assault, the Space Marines had established a perimeter in the obsidian-paved streets of the Kraillach Quarter. Though they took constant fire from Kabalite Warriors and Scourges that flew through the dark skies above, Astartes Power Armour proved to be an effective barrier to the Drukhari's splinter weaponry.
Yet it was not long before more of the Dark City's denizens joined the fight, drawn to violence and death like sharks to blood. Massed swarms of skyboard-mounted Hellions and Reaver Jetbikers swooped down to rake and tear at the Space Marines, who returned fire, literally, with their Promethium-fueled Flamers. The half-daemon Mandrakes and Raider transports loaded with Drukhari warriors assaulted the Space Marines with claws, knives and Splinter Pistols.
Battle was joined from one side of High Commorragh to the other and the streets seethed with violence. Entire sections of High Commorragh burned as the invading Space Marines cut down or incinerated each new breed of horror that assaulted them. Word spread quickly through the Dark City of the human invasion and high up in the arenas, the gladiators of the Wych Cults mobilised for war.
The Space Marines within the city were 500 strong, almost half the size of a full Chapter, and they maintained a defensive perimeter throughout the Kraillach Quarter. High Archon Kraillach himself led a massed charge against the Astartes, intending to crush the invaders that were destroying his personal fiefdom. Yet Kraillach's rampage was ultimately halted by a "stray" blast from a Dark Lance that vapourised him where he stood.
As the Forgehammer lay shackled by electromagnetic force high in the spires, the battle in the skies of the Dark City intensified. Xelian's last command had been to destroy the captive human ship no matter the cost, for if mere humans recovered his prize, the Archon's authority and that of his fellow noble-born peers would be shattered forever.
Flights of winged Scourges armed with Haywire Blasters and Heat Lances began to systematically destroy the captive ship while a fleet of Ravager gunships forced the Space Marines who sought to rescue the vessel's Battle-Brothers back into cover.
Then, in a storm of light generated by their teleportation technology, Terminators from the Salamanders 1st Company teleported directly onto the hull of the Forgehammer and returned fire. The Scourges were driven back and Captain Phoecus seized his chance.
His men emerged from cover as a single force, sending a Krak Missile soaring into each of the nine towering spars that held his craft captive with their beams of electromagnetic force. Miraculously, each missile triggered a chain reaction of explosions, and the burning spars crashed down into the streets below.
The Librarian Hestion summoned a psychic storm of his own, a raging inferno in the shape of a flaming drake that tore the Ravager gunships out of the sky one by one. The Forgehammer had been ravaged by the Drukhari assaults, but it was free at last from the Dark City's clutches. With a roar, the Strike Cruiser began to ascend into the sky and freedom.
Far below, the Space Marines fighting in the Xelian Quarter were completely encircled as the full weight of Commorragh was pressed against them and warriors from dozens of noble houses joined the defence of the city. Yet the Space Marines' objective had been achieved, for the Forgehammer was free.
A single curt comm-signal was sent and within mere moments, the main bulk of the Space Marines in the Dark City teleported away in a brief burst of light. Those that had been cut off from the main assault gave their lives to buy their brethren time or else were paralyzed by Drukhari hypertoxins and taken away to later fight and die as warrior-slaves.
Confusion reigned as the Haywire fields that had shackled the Imperial spacecraft were disengaged one by one. The Battle Barge Vulkan's Wrath, now joined by the badly damaged Forgehammer, fired its retros and disengaged itself from the ruins of what had been Archon Xelion's pride.
The vast starship's engine blast flattened spires and starscrapers alike before the Space Marines made their escape. The entire Astartes fleet then passed through the still-yawning Webway portal above High Commorragh and escaped triumphantly into realspace.
In the aftermath of the Imperial invasion, Commorragh changed forever. The power vacuum left by the vanquished noble houses of High Commorragh was quickly filled by Asdrubael Vect and his jubilant Kabal of the Black Heart, who had proven their superiority to their rivals in the crucible of war.
In the years that followed, Vect played politics like a true Machiavellian master of intrigue, forever asserting the meritocracy of the Kabals over the ancient aristocracy of the Aeldari noble houses. So it was that the Kabal of the Black Heart rose to ascendancy over the Dark City in place of the old nobility and Archon Vect's new position as the Supreme Overlord of Commorragh and the Drukhari race was sealed.
Yet Vect's ambitions did not end there. He would never cease his scheming until he had the entire city and all of its realms within his steely grip. In 677.M36, Vect tricked Archon Kelithresh into opening a casket ostensibly presented as a bribe, and the black hole constrained within was unleashed to consume both him and his entire realm.
One by one, Vect forcibly united the sub-realms of Commoragh into his own powerbase, conquering each in turn over thousands of standard years of civil war and strife. Commoragh expanded into and throughout these once-autonomous regions until they became integral to the Dark City.
In 984.M37, the last independent sub-realm, Shaa-dom, had been growing steadily in influence to the point where Archon El'uriaq, the self-declared "Emperor of Shaa-dom," declared himself more worthy of rule than Vect. Vect publicly vowed that Shaa-dom would feel his blade, but seemed in no position to make good such a threat against Shaa-Dom's well-funded and elite military forces.
Three solar days later a Warp rift opened above Shaa-dom and a burning Imperial Battleship emerged and collided into the city before its Warp-Drive detonated, destroying El'uriaq's palace fortress. Daemons, exploiting the resulting Warp rift, invaded the sub-realm, destroying and consuming all in their wake.
In the matter of solar weeks, Shaa-dom was reduced to haunted cinders. Vect is reported to have allowed himself a rare smile at the moment of its fall.
With the destruction of Shaa-dom, all of Commoragh's sub-realms became part of the Dark City -- and the newly unified city was now under Vect's complete control.
Vect, through plots more labyrinthine than most mortals could hope to comprehend, was still the supreme overlord of Commoragh in 999.M41. This achievement is perhaps even more impressive than his becoming supreme overlord in the first place.
As a result of his low-born status, he has never been accepted by the remaining Drukhari nobility of Commoragh. Though the noble houses he usurped power from were forced to reinvent themselves as Kabals, they still hate Vect and would gladly topple him and reassert themselves given the chance.
Yet even other Kabals' archons, unimaginably devious themselves, have never been able to outwit Asdrubael Vect. All who have tried have died in indescribably horrible ways.
And yet, as the 41st Millennium comes to a close, it is believed by some that Vect's hold upon the Dark City is beginning to loosen: he visits uncharacteristically blunt retribution on those who defy him with increasing frequency.
His realspace raids have become increasingly frequent as well, leading some to speculate that he has finally passed beyond even the capability for rejuvenation that the agonised murder of thousands of slaves can bring.
Typical of the Drukhari, theories abound that Vect may be tired of success, rulership, or even his long existence. Others say he may be gambling against himself as it is now the only challenge that he can find in a city that has never had his equal.
More sensible Drukhari believe that he is only feigning weakness until his true enemies reveal themselves, at which point he will destroy them.
Nothing is ever sure when it comes to Asdrubael Vect, except that if he falls, the Dark City will be torn apart by vicious civil war.
Drukhari Civil War
The hidden realm of Commorragh was shaken to its foundations by the coming of the Great Rift, known to the Aeldari as the Dathedian, and the Warp quake or Dysjunction that Yvraine had brought into its heart on the Night of Revelations when the god of the dead Ynnead first began to stir to wakefulness.
Seeking to counter the Ynnari influence that had arisen in the Dark City after the Night of Revelations, Supreme Overlord Asdrubael Vect began manipulating many assets within Commorragh, seeking to eliminate Yvraine and her sect without being seen as openly murdering the Prophets of Ynnead.
But the Supreme Overlord of Commorragh found himself in something of a quandary. The rise of Yvraine -- and her transformation at the Crucibael arena into the high priestess of Ynnead -- had triggered a metaphysical invasion -- the Great Dysjunction -- that had allowed daemon legions to spill into his artfully created city from the Immaterium.
Vect isolated and effectively quarantined that invasion at great cost; that Warp Gate and its infernal spawn continued to gnaw at the Commorrite sub-realms conjured to hold it back. It was a great loss he would not ignore, and an insult he could not be seen to excuse.
Vect could not strike directly at Yvraine and her Ynnari followers himself, however; to do so would be to actually acknowledge he considered them a threat to his rule. He worked instead through puppets and whispersmiths, layering intrigue and rumour atop one another until Drukhari Kabals, Haemonculus Covens and Wych Cults alike moved against the Ynnari without ever realising that they did so at Vect's behest.
Some sought to directly assail those Ynnari dwelling within the fractured realm of Commorragh, and in so doing weaken or cast doubt upon Yvraine's cause. Such was the intent of Marquis Vulkhere of the Lords of Iron Thorn; by subtle whispers and shadowy missives it came to the archon's attention that his hated rivals, the Kabal of Poisoned Hopes, had converted to the Ynnari cause and were gathering fresh recruits to their fortress in the Howling Spire.
Vulkhere saw here a chance to eliminate his own long-time foes and give the appearance of making war upon the Ynnari without expending time and resources hunting down Yvraine herself. Thus he unleashed his kill squadrons in a sudden and devastating assault upon the Howling Spire.
Spearheads of grav-craft slid through the greenlit gloom around the spire, staying low amidst the lambent fog so that their sails cut through the fume like the fins of oceanic predators.
At the last moment some eldritch alarm warned the Ynnari of the approaching threat. The Howling Spire's defence guns spat darklight and hails of splinters, and in response grav impellers screamed and the Lords of Iron Thorn burst up from the mist-cover to attack.
Lance blasts ripped back and forth as Ravagers jinked and wove, their gunners hammering the Howling Spire's defenders. Drukhari were atomised by energy beams that would have sundered tanks. Others toppled from the spire's flanks, their bodies riddled with toxic needles or bound in restricting webs of thorned metal.
Return fire saw more than one gunship or transport explode in mid-air, shedding screaming bodies as its wreckage plummeted. However, striking fast and unheralded, the Iron Thorn swept the spire's lower galleries clear of defenders and landed a massive raiding party.
They were met by a ferocious counter-charge. The ragged alliance of Kabalites and Wyches who had flocked to the Ynnari banner fought back with the determination of true zealots. The Lords of Iron Thorn wavered as they found their opponents fighting with an unfettered death-madness even their pain-heightened reactions could not keep pace with. For long moments the battle hung in the balance, a blistering blur of violence engulfing every stairwell, walkway and torture chamber in the spire.
Then came Marquis Vulkhere himself; whilst his foes were focused on the threat pushing up from below he and his handpicked Trueborn bodyguard had blasted their way into the spire's upper chambers, slain Archon Leshh of the Poisoned Hope, and now fell upon the Ynnari from behind. Caught between two foes, hammered from without by the fire of the circling gunships, the Ynnari of the Howling Spire were annihilated.
This was but one example of the internecine warfare that erupted anew as disgusted or furious Drukhari turned upon the deviant death-cultists in their midst. Yet though the devotees of Ynnead found themselves beset, they were far from defenceless; conflict and violent rivalry is the norm in Commorragh, and this fresh schism was but one more reason for the Drukhari to tear at one another.
So it was that several sub-realms of the Dark City were claimed by pro-Ynnari Drukhari factions, fortified against assault and became separatist enclaves in their own right. The message of Ynnead spread slowly through Commorragh, but despite Vect's best efforts, spread it did.
Vect also used third party brokers to put bounties on Yvraine's and her follower's heads, creating expeditions of assassins and bounty hunters in Commorragh tasked with hunting down Ynnari in the Dark City and across the galaxy.
In truth, Vect needed little to push the city towards constant strife as the Drukhari rarely required much cause to murder one another. While Vect managed to destroy many of the pro-Ynnari factions within Commorragh, entire sub-realms of the Dark City nonetheless fell under Ynnari control. These were soon fortified against attack and became separate enclaves of the Webway in their own right.
Determined to eliminate the growing threat of the Ynnari to his own control over the Drukhari of Commorragh, through third-party brokers Asdrubael Vect offered impossibly rich rewards for Yvraine's severed head, and so spurred dozens of hunting parties and feral Drukhari and other xenos mercenaries to take up the prophet of Ynnead's trail.
Perhaps the deadliest such hunting party was led by Drazhar, Master of Blades. By following Yvraine to the sacred debating fires of Craftworld Saim-Hann and striking from a hidden Webway portal, Drazhar got his blade a hand's breadth from the high priestess' neck. The kill strike was parried at the last moment by the Phoenix Lord Jain Zar herself.
The running battle that followed saw Asuryani, Ynnari and Drukhari clash in a series of engagements that took them to the ancient ruins of the Aeldari Empire and beyond. Skilled as she was, Jain Zar could not overcome Drazhar in combat, for where she was a leader as well as a warrior, Drazhar was devoted to bladesmanship alone.
But Jain Zar had pledged her power to the Ynnari, and with Ynnead's grace upon her, she fought with uncanny speed and skill to defend Yvraine. It appeared that even a mastermind such as Vect, allied with a near-mythical warrior such as Drazhar, could not engineer Yvraine's death. The Whispering God had use for his high priestess still, and he would not be denied by the self-serving machinations of Asdrubael Vect.
There were other attempts by the supreme overlord of Commorragh to strike at Yvraine. Many of the Haemonculi that made their lair in the lower regions of Commorragh were old allies of Asdrubael Vect's. They were so steeped in the history of the Dark City, so influential in their control of the Drukhari's sham immortality, that they sought to maintain the status quo from which they had profited for so many Terran centuries.
The coven of the Prophets of Flesh, those who studied under the demented flesh-sculptor Urien Rakarth, had devised a new punishment -- to take a transgressor and reshape them, melding their mortal clay until they looked, walked and even smelt like a Human being. All Drukhari found this horrifying, for to them a Human form was ungainly and ape-like, a cruel mockery of a biped in comparison to the lithe and alabaster-skinned Aeldari anatomy. This was a horrific punishment for a people so vain and haughty as the Drukhari, and those subjected to the treatment cried out that they would do anything at all to have it reversed.
In these "false Humans," Vect saw opportunity -- one so twisted and sadistic that Urien Rakarth agreed to orchestrate it on his behalf. On the Imperial slabcrete planet of Ghodri Sekmet, Yvraine preached the Ynnari creed to a hidden gathering of Alaitoc Pathfinders high in the peaks. The Aeldari did not expect any of the dull-witted Humans who infested the rest of the planet to uncover the location of their eyrie, and Yvraine was speaking with such passion and fervour that all eyes were on her.
Hence when the Imperial military announced their presence with a well-organised Astra Militarum pincer assault, the Aeldari found their line of retreat cut off by artillery fire. The Ynnari and Alaitoci fell back to the Webway portal by which they had made planetfall upon Ghodri Sekmet -- only to find a strike force of Drukhari mercenary elites bursting through.
Caught between the hammer of the Drukhari assault and the anvil of the Astra Militarum -- amongst whose ranks were Vect's false Humans, who had engineered the attack -- the Ynnari were decimated. Only the manifestation of the Yncarne, summoned to battle by so much Aeldari death in one place, allowed Yvraine and the rest of the command structure of the Ynnari to break through and make their escape into the Webway.
Assassination of Vect
With every Incubi bodyguard within Commorragh deployed to stem the tide of Daemons, long-stifled rivalries between the Dark City's elites erupted into bloodshed. Assassinations became commonplace, and the threat of civil war loomed ever closer. Yet right when the denizens of Commorragh seemed set to tear themselves and their city to shreds, the impossible happened.
Asdrubael Vect himself was murdered, cut down by Mandrakes in service to an unknown master. Furthermore, every receptacle that contained a fragment of the supreme overlord's essence was destroyed simultaneously, ensuring that he could not be regrown even by the arcane methods of the Haemonculi.
The internecine conflicts that ravaged the Dark City were quickly replaced by an uneasy stillness as every Commorrite assessed their existing alliances. If Vect could be killed, then none amongst the Drukhari could be assured of their own survival.
"Some of you thought me dead. Some of you even willed it, and you gathered here in the Nhexus to offer feigned respect. But now you see plainly that my will cannot be undone, my favour cannot be regained and my wrath cannot be tempered. Whether you are loyal or a traitor, you will be slaughtered, for it is only right that my ascension be celebrated with sacrifice. And if I deign to have you resurrected, know that you will serve me by your deeds or by your suffering."
- —Asdrubael Vect, Supreme Overlord of Commorragh
The Harlequins of the Masque of the Veiled Path prepared a wake for Vect to be held in the Nhexus, the arena of the Wych Cult of the Cursed Blade. Many began to suspect that it was the Cursed Blade who had orchestrated the supreme overlord's demise -- others suspected the hand of Aurelia Malys, for she and her Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue had withdrawn from Commorragh into the fractured spars of the Webway.
Nonetheless, the Great Wake was attended in great numbers, both by those loyal to Vect and by those who came to gloat before beginning the war to divide up his territories. At the crescendo of the proceedings, the arena was saturated with potent airborne hallucinogens, and the Harlequins unleashed their full fury on the other Archons in attendance.
The blood of Archons flowed in great rivers, and amidst the screams of agony and terror, Asdrubael Vect rose from the centre of the arena, his body perfect in form and his eyes filled with wrath.
When the slaughter had finished, those Archons who had remained faithful to Vect were resurrected by the Prophets of Flesh, as were some of his enemies -- though remade as twisted monstrosities whose only purpose was to serve the supreme overlord by their suffering.
Having culled the upper echelons of Commorragh of all who would have opposed him, Vect's position as ruler of the Dark City was rendered nigh-unassailable, and he declared himself a living Dark Muse.
- Ghostplate Armour - Those Drukhari who desire a substantial amount of protection whilst retaining a high degree of mobility sport armour made of hardened resins and shot through with pockets of lighter-than-air gas. Ghostplate Armour also incorporates minor forcefield technology to better protect its wearer.
- Shadow Field - The Shadow Field surrounds its wearer in a dark miasma of energy that is almost impossible to penetrate. However, should a solid blow connect, the shadow field will short out, leaving its wearer vulnerable.
- Splinter Pistol - This side arm is a smaller version of the Splinter Rifle. Often carried as a sidearm by Drukhari assault and shock troops, it fires a hail of splinter-like shards of crystal at the enemy. The only disadvantage of its smaller size is its more limited effective range. Splinter Pistols are often fitted with vicious combat blades, which the Drukhari use to slash and stab opponents in close combat.
- Plasma Grenades - These grenades explode into a ball of super-heated plasma, negating the effect of cover in close combat.
- Haywire Grenades - Haywire Grenades are used for disabling or crippling enemy vehicles. They send out a powerful electromagnetic pulse that shorts out and destroys electrical circuits.
- Sceptre of the Dark City - This unique sceptre is the badge of office of the Supreme Overlord of Commoragh and is an advanced Power Weapon that contains sophisticated pain-inducing devices.
- Obsidian Orbs - Extremely advanced and rare Drukhari soul-technology. When an Obsidian Orb is used against living opponents, it can suck out their very souls and use their stolen life-energy to heal Vect's own wounds.
- Dais of Destruction - When Vect deigns to lead a battle personally, he often does so upon the Dais of Destruction, a modified Ravager skimmercraft dedicated to his own use and armed with Dark Lances and force shields.
- Codex: Drukhari (8th Edition), pp, 47, 86
- Codex: Dark Eldar (5th Edition), pp. 13-15, 55
- Codex: Dark Eldar (3rd Edition), pg. 31
- Psychic Awakening - Phoenix Rising (8th Edition), pp. 16-17
- Dawn of War - Soulstorm (PC Game)
- Games Workshop - Dark Eldar: The Torturer's Tale by Gav Thorpe