Karond Kar, the Tower of Despair, also known as Slaver's Gate, can be counted the bleakest of all refuges. The citadel stands sentinel on the edge of the Sea of Chill, perpetually battered by gale-force winds, icy rain and tidal waves the size of mountains. Its folk can therefore be counted amongst the hardiest of a hard people. Indeed, they have become so acclimatised to their frozen conditions that more temperate climes cause them a measure of discomfort.[1a]
Karond Kar is known as Slaver's Gate for a reason, for it is here that the great reaving fleets bring their living cargo. Countless thousands die as they cross the wide seas to Karond Kar, stifled and suffocated in the holds of slave ships or tortured to death for the amusement of the black-hearted crews. Those are the lucky ones. When the survivors are finally unloaded onto the ice-wreathed docks, they soon find that their torment is just beginning. There is no escape from Karond Kar.[1a]
From the docks, the slaves are brutally driven forth amidst jeering crowds, beaten onward by lash and scourge. Those that stumble are trampled; those who slip their spiked chains are flayed, then cast bodily into the icy ocean. Both forms of death are much appreciated by the maddening spectators, who throw rocks to trip the panicked slaves and send servants to break the chains whilst the captives are still dock-side, in the hopes of inciting even more violence.[1a]
The slave markets are vast, and those captives that make it to the wide open plazas beyond the docks are roughly examined and divided by age and gender, destined to labour in mines and quarries or drudge in the dungeons and kitchens of Naggaroth. Overlooking the markets are the slave traders' palaces, slab-sided mansions decorated with the scrimshawed bones of perished slaves.
Night and day, Karond Kar echoes with tortured wails, for its sorcerers delight in binding together their captives' souls to their mortal remains. Trapped between life and death, these wretches haunt the streets of the Slaver's Gate, filling the dreams of their tormentors with delicious images of suffering and pain.[1a]
The traders themselves seldom leave the comforts of their opulent homes but can be occasionally lured into the rain-drowned plazas by news of a particularly impressive bounty. A captured High Elf is the most valuable of prizes, and a wealthy slaver will gladly trade much of his remaining stock -- or even members of his own family -- for the opportunity to bring such a sweetmeat before his patron's tender mercies.
For more commonplace cargoes, slavers hold audiences and auctions within their chambers, playing off the greed of Corsair captains to ensure a healthy profit. The slavemasters drive a hard bargain, and no fleet leaves Karond Kar with wealth equal to its expectations. However, no captain will challenge the terms of a trade once it has been completed, for they know that Assassins aplenty lurk in the crowds, waiting silently for the slavermasters' commissions. Better to leave Karond Kar with a light purse, they reckon, than to never leave at all.[1a]
- 1 Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (8th Edition)
- 1a pg. 10
- 2: Malus Darkblade Chronicle: Reaper of Souls (Novel) by Dan Abnett & Mike Lee
- 2a: Chapter Three: The Tower of Slaves