Naggarond, the Tower of Cold or the City of Cold, is the oldest and largest of the Dark Elves' cities, and quite likely the most malevolent place in the world. Its outer walls form an imposing circlet of black stone, in no place less than a hundred feet tall. About the ramparts are set a hundred towers, each rising as high above the battlements as the walls rise above the bare rock. From these towers fly the Witch King's dark banners of flayed skin. Severed heads and raven-worried limbs rot upon spikes about the walls, grisly reminders of the price of denying Malekith's will.[1a]

Behind its impenetrable walls, Naggarond rises high into the foothills of the Iron Mountains. The city is a jumble of mansions, barracks, temples, slave pits, and crooked alleys, all swathed in a perpetual pall of smoke. Through chill day and frozen night, worshippers of Khaine tear beating hearts and tangled entrails from their still-living victims and cast them into the flame pits to their hungry god. Thus is the very air of Naggarond thick with the essence of murder.[1a]

Few walk carelessly through these streets. Those seeking sacrifices make no distinction for rank or loyalty -- Khaine's thirst is slaked as readily by the highest of Dreadlords as its is by the lowliest of slaves. Murder and thievery of all kinds are rife, for the Witch King tolerates any and all deeds, save for those that inconvenience his rule. Indeed, Malekith provokes discord, for anarchy serves to weed out the weak and thus make his people stronger. To this end, he deliberately sparks contests that set one noble house against another, encourages revolt amongst the innumerable legions of slaves and sets the Hag Queens of the murder cults at one another's throats. Such turmoil frequently leaves quarters of Naggarond in scorched and blood-soaked ruin, but the Witch King cares not so long as the feeble perish and the strong thrive.[1a]


The Black Tower

At the center of Naggarond stands the Black Tower. No mere fortress is this, but a city within a city -- a maze of palaces, ramparts and towers huddle within its curtain walls and jut from its sheer sides. Here dwell those nobles held highest in Malekith's regard -- an honour that brings wealth and patronage, but also danger. The Witch King has ever been a volatile monarch, generous when fortune smiles, but unflinchingly merciless when all does not go his way. Naggarond's court is therefore a place of rapid rises and meteoric descents -- few can play this game of politics for long, and none who take part die a natural death.[1a]

The central bastion of this tower belongs to Malekith alone, and none save the Black Guard of Naggarond are granted entrance without the Witch King's permission. Neither torches nor lanterns are permitted within; though he would never admit it, the Witch King has long been discomfited by wholesome flame. Many of these rooms and passageways lie entirely in gloom, and others are dimly lit by the bloody glow of accursed sigils. Few Dark Elves enter these shadowed chambers without pressing cause, for they lie heavy with neglect, dust, and an unmistakable melancholy. When Naggarond was founded, the Witch King intended his citadel to rival the finery and splendour of Ulthuan's greatest mansions. However, as the millennia crawled by, Malekith lost the taste for fripperies and fleeting indulgence. The lower chambers, which once glittered with light and rang to the wild laughter of courtiers and companions, are now desolate and web-haunted, full of faded tapestries and haunting silence. Only in the upper reaches are the glories of yesteryear maintained. Here, in rooms bedecked with plunder from around the globe, the Witch King holds court and makes his plans against hated Ulthuan.[1a]

The council chamber is a particularly gruesome spectacle. Its vaulted roof is lost in shadow, and its walls are draped in tapestries woven from bloodied hair. The jagged likenesses of cruel gods stare down from intricately-carven buttresses, their eyes glowing in the darkness. At the center of the room sits a vast circular table struck from a single slab of obsidian. One hundred chairs of blackened bone and slayed skin sit alongside. Some are occupied only when the council meets. Others are permanently engaged, for their occupants are long dead, having displeased Malekith in ages past. It is whispered that one of the corpses was once close kin to the Witch King, a brother perhaps, or maybe even a son. Some of these dead councillors are desiccated and brittle -- testament to their centuries of service. Others are relatively fresh, with maggots and beetles crawling through still-fleshy skulls.[1a]

Malekith's iron throne sits at the head of this table, but he much prefers to prowl about the perimeter so that no one can ever be certain where his fitful gaze lies. Occasionally, he will call for silence and make play of holding a one-sided conversation with one of the corpses. It is impossible to know whether he truly speaks with the dead or merely does so for macabre effect -- certainly no-one has ever dared ask. Nor do any question the need for such a council in a land bent to one supreme rule. It is simply Malekith's will, so it is done.[1a]

When not consumed by matters of war and state, the Witch King retires to his personal rooms at the very top of the citadel and the scrying chamber therein. It is said that there is no corner of the world hidden from Malekith's sorcerous vision and that he can direct his view wherever his malicious intent demands. However, his gaze is ever drawn to the mist-shrouded isle of Ulthuan, the birthright he so desperately wishes to claim as his own, or else see destroyed.[1a]


  • Malekith has a cavern of ice deep beneath his winter citadel that is hidden even from the eyes of his mother Morathi's sorcerous spies.[2a]
  • The Black Tower is all that remains of the ancient capital of Nagarythe, Anlec. Contained within is the throne room of Aenarion, as well as the throne from which the first Phoenix King ruled.[3a]


  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves (8th Edition)
  • 2: Sword of Caledor (novel) by William King
    • 2a: Prologue
  • 3: End Times: The Curse of Khaine (Novel)
    • 3a: Chapter Eight: The Witch Kings Command
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