"You are the true king of the elves, Malekith. You are the son of Aenarion, champion of the Daemon War, heir to the Phoenix Crown. It is your right by deed, merit and birth and I would give my life to see that ancient wrong reversed and your rightful position restored. As an elf I can think of no higher calling."
Kouran Darkhand, speaking to Witch King Malekith.[4a]

Kouran Darkhand, Captain of the Black Guard wielding Crimson Death.

Kouran Darkhand, Captain of the Black Guard, is the longest-serving member of Malekith's personal army, having fought at the Witch King's side for nearly a thousand years. Kouran's wits are sharp, but his battle-skills are infinitely keener. One does not rise to his rank — nor survive the constant stream of challengers who would claim the title as their own — without possessing such ability. He has extensively studied the use of both sword and halberd from the finest weapon masters in Naggaroth, many of whom perished during the tutelage. He combines this battle-art with a brand of gutter-brawling so brutal and unseemly that many nobles cite it as proof of Kouran's unsuitability for such a high rank. For him, everything is a weapon, be it a blade, a rock, a fist, an underling or some pulped fragment of a previous opponent. To Kouran, it matters not how you die, only that you are dead.[1a]

Kouran then went on to fight across the world in the Witch King's armies, earning renown and infamy through his cruel exploits in the Empire, Bretonnia and Ind. Upon his triumphant return, Kouran sought out the Captain of the Black Guard, Khanaleth, and hurled him to a bone-splintering death from the east wall of Naggarond. Malekith, pleased with Kouran's ruthless nature, granted him command of the Black Guard, a position he has held for the last four hundred years — the corpses of seventeen challengers for his position now adorn the gates to the Tower of Grief. Kouran is renowned for taking risks, though always claiming victory in the end. Once he sacrificed half of his army to draw the enemy into a trap, caring nothing for the lives of those who served him. He is an extremely efficient leader and is respected and feared by the Dark Elves under his command.[2a]


Kouran Darkhand without his helmet.

His rise to prominence was nothing short of meteoric, for he became a Tower Master within his first decade of service, and rose again to captaincy over the entire Black Guard within a mere five centuries. Both of these ascensions in station were heralded by the brutal deaths of the previous incumbents. The first was strangled with his own hair after Kouran had been disarmed; the second he hurled bodily from the east wall of the Black Tower. Such is the way of promotion in Naggarond. Kouran has that rarest of things in a land steeped in treachery, an honest soul, a warrior utterly loyal to the Witch King. Such traits are little treasured in Naggaroth. Indeed, it would normally be considered a weakness so crippling as to not only prevent ascension to high rank, but also pose a serious threat to survival. Yet Kouran has not only survived, he has prospered. This can be accredited to the fact that however lacking he may be in deceitfulness, he has no qualms over taking swift and ruthless action should he consider his own interest to be imperilled.[1a]

Over the long years, many nobles have underestimated Kouran, mistaking his uncomplicated speech for a dull wit, and his dogged dedication for a weak will. Few live to make such mistakes a second time. Some find themselves hauled before Malekith's council, their careful steps to treachery applicably uncovered by the captain's bloodhound instinct and laid bare before that most merciless of juries. Still more simply vanish into Naggaroth's dark nights, or meet with accidents on the battlefield, their fate a mystery to all save Kouran. Such activities have little endeared Kouran to Naggaroth's nobility, who hold him to be a common-born dog with ambitions far above his station. Yet the combination of Kouran's own sense for imminent treachery, and the Witch King's generous patronage, has thus far preserved the captain from his enemies.[1a]


  • Armour of Grief - A magic armour first worn by Arnaetbron, a veteran of the sundering. Those who wish to attack the wearer must endure a shock of paralysing pain.[1a]
  • Crimson Death - A huge halberd once carried by Dark Lord Khalak of Ghrond, the first Captain of the Black Guard. Each captain since has pried it out of his predecessor's dead hands.[1a]


  • In Defenders of Ulthuan, Kouran is noted as having purple-coloured eyes.[5a]


  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 59
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (7th Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 70
  • 3: Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (5th Edition)
    • 3a: pg. 60
  • 4: Curse of Khaine (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
    • 4a: Chapter: Eighteen
  • 5: Defenders of Ulthuan, by Graham McNeill
    • 5a: Chapter 3
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