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Harbringerxv8
03-04-2008, 21:54
Hey all, I was looking for some advice on how to continue on with my DE. I've got about 3500 points right now, but have only just recently begun writing for them. With my Imperial Guard done (25,000 points later lol), I can now shift focus from the sledgehammer to the scalpel with my complete attention.

Here it is, the backstory for the Kabal of the Wounded Heart!


Deep inside the walls of Commoragh, the dark city of the Dark Eldar, there are thousands of sects all vying for power. Some are young and spirited, others are old and wise. All are dangerous, and all seek the same state for their realm. Complete control. Few ever gain it, and those that do never hold it for long. That notion is what determines the doctrine for a very unique and subtle Dark Eldar Lord, Kasslion. A distinguished, clever creature, he sees the strife on Commoragh as a way to strengthen oneself for the long haul, rather than immediate self-gratification. Though he is not without the trademark Dark Eldar vices, his approach to politics is much more subtle than that of many of his counterparts. However, this plan of action is often to the dismay of some of his subordinates, who feel that things on Commoragh should move faster, to gain power.

Kasslion began his work as a page for the late Lord Farential. He would act as Farential’s messenger, diplomat, and servant in exchange for being able to watch his Lord conduct more strategic orders of business. He noticed how Farential would sucker his enemies into seemingly helpful deals, and then betray them exactly twenty-four hours after he got what he wanted. Unfortunately, he began to get predictable, and soon his betrayals began to be repulsed. Eventually he was driven out of his sector in Commoragh, into a lesser sector filled with Mandrakes. Life became more difficult than even before, and within three months, over eight hundred of Farential’s thousand remaining followers were slaughtered.

Those that remained, however, were far tougher for it. Kasslion, along with a small band of Incubi, decided that Farential had forced his followers to suffer enough, and planned an assassination. He soon came into contact with a Haemonculus, Litharon, and together they planned the death of Kasslion’s former mentor. They began contacting the Mandrakes, and encouraged them to seek out and murder Farential’s trusted warriors, rather than those loyal to Kasslion. Soon, Farential could no longer depend on any of his bodyguards except for those provided by Kasslion. With this new update in the status quo, Farential knew that Kasslion would make a bid for power, though he believed that the strike would come sooner than later. However, Kasslion was no fool. He had indeed learned from his mentor, but he decided to apply to a much larger scale. He began to help Farential rebuild his power base, using his influence over the other Dark Eldar leaders to requisition more fighters, to enlist the wyches, and a whole host of other creatures.

Within a few years, Farential was more powerful than he had ever been, and he asked for Kasslion’s audience in a private session. Speaking to the younger Lord, Farential spoke of how he had doubted Kasslion’s loyalty for so many years, and then offered to make him captain of the Incubi, that were so instrumental in defending their lord. Only warriors with fanatic loyalty could sustain such a position. Kasslion smiled, knowing full well that Farential would expect an assassination attempt within twenty four hours, because that’s what he would have done. However, Kasslion decided to make the decision now.

Years earlier, when Kasslion decided to become a conductor of power, rather than a performer, he had begun administering a potent drug to Farential’s food and drink. It was so subtle, in fact, that it would only kill you if you kept it out of your diet. This was the opportunity that Kasslion had been waiting for. Kasslion took the poison, which had been created by Litharon, and destroyed it. Every single drop. Farential was dead in two weeks, apparently from his excesses and vices. Kasslion made a public showing of grief, then immediately took complete control of Farential’s operations.

There wasn’t much of a transitional period, due to the fact that Kasslion had been running the Kabal for some time anyways. However, it needed a new name. Kasslion decided that there was not a single greater way of killing someone without doing it by your own craft, and with your own intelligence. His ideas had given birth to the Kabal of the Wounded Soul. He had inherited over four thousand warriors, along with five hundred Raiders and Ravagers. His Incubi were truly loyal only to him, and consisted of over a hundred highly trained fighters. It was not a force to rival that of the great Kabals or Cults, but it was enough to begin an Empire.

These warriors were to form the core of Kasslion’s Kabal. However, one does not rise to power in Dark Eldar society without realizing the inherent dangers in commanding such a concentrated force of professional murderers and thieves. Commoragh was made up of factions within factions within factions, and the Wounded Soul was no different. To protect his title, along with his head, Kasslion had to make these divisions work for him, rather than against. The Incubi and the Mandrakes formed the most loyal of his cadre, for they had been his servants during the time of Farential. The Incubi had allowed him to attain power, and he rewarded them in turn with extravagant gifts and slaves. Their numbers had been slowly growing, allowing Kasslion to defend himself against any single one of the sub-factions within the Wounded Heart. In addition to this powerful force, he had enlisted the terrifying Mandrakes. To satiate the Mandrakes, all he had to provide was the blood of his enemies. In a city such as Commoragh, such a commodity was easy to come by. With this support base in place, Kasslion could turn to the rank-and-file members of his ever-growing Kabal.

The Wounded Soul was split into several factions outside of Kasslion’s personal guard. There was the enigmatic Dracite Yvenne, a former lieutenant of Farential, who bound her followers to her by promises of advancement and power. And there was the merciless Dracon Requin, who promised his warriors fine slaves and an abundance of opulent gifts. The two were mortal enemies, using opposite styles of combat, and having opposite personalities. Yvenne and Requin were in a perpetual contest for their master’s favor, and were willing to go to great lengths to discredit the other. Kasslion pushed these two against each other as often as he could, for the more they were focused on each other, the less they would worry about toppling him. He continually worked to keep these particular two factions equal in strength, to prevent one side from overthrowing the other.

The Haemonculus Litharon headed his own group of personal guardsmen, though this formed the smallest faction in the Kabal. They took great pleasure in the torturer’s experiments and games, and had little ambition beyond their own hedonism. They were the most brutal of the Wounded Soul, but took little part in raids and skirmishes across the galaxy. Litharon and his fellow Haemonculi were content to remain in their dungeons with their favorite ‘pets’ and ‘toys.’ A large percentage of the Wounded Soul’s slaves were sent here for what Kasslion called ‘integration’ into Dark Eldar society. Unfortunately, many of Litharon’s bodyguards became too entranced in the painful aspects of his trade, and as such have become little more than mindless, bloodthirsty drones. These ‘grotesques’ became the shock troops for Litharon’s personal guard whenever his dungeons were threatened.

There was also the Dracite Voutella, of the Kabal’s Wych Cult. They had attached themselves to the Wounded Soul after being forced out of their own holdings shortly after Farential’s death. Kasslion had offered his protection in exchange for their loyalty and influence among the gladiatorial arenas. While their numbers had never truly swelled, the Wyches had proven themselves to be lethal fighters, contributing to many victories both on Commoragh and abroad. Voutella’s forces had not grown large enough to attempt a coup against Kasslion, and stiff opposition from Litharon the Haemonculus had prevented her from attaining further slaves to increase her power. The Wyches serve the Archon for now, but only until the time of their ascendance is at hand.

The final faction was under the command of Dracon Gratyn. This comprised the entirety of the Wounded Heart’s fleet, with the exception of Kasslion’s flagship, the Bitterness, and the pirate station Cadmus. Dracon Gratyn was arguably the most powerful of the Wounded Soul’s factions, but was not allowed, by decree of the Archon, to have a significant force of infantry. Three previous fleet dracons had attempted in the past to circumvent these restrictions, but all had been eviscerated by groups of Mandrakes who stalked the hallways and corridors of each ship. Kasslion had referred to these actions as ‘population control,’ and made no effort to conceal his distrust towards his fleet officers. Gratyn has not, as of yet, made the same mistakes as his predecessors, but it remains to be seen whether or not his ambitions will take hold. And with the most powerful Wounded Soul ships under the command of the Archon himself, any open confrontation had little chance of succeeding.

Iracundus
04-04-2008, 01:02
One detail: The Incubi are trusted within Dark Eldar society precisely because they seem to have no loyalties (or disloyalties) to anyone and seem to be equal opportunity bodyguards. Their one interest seems to be improving their martial skill. Aside from that they seem entirely apolitical and disinterested in the politics, which is part of why they are valued. I don't think they might go out of their way to protect their employer, but on the flipside I think they would not betray them or do less than what their agreement stipulated.

Johnnyfrej
04-04-2008, 03:46
Kudos for the detailed background Harbringer! Very impressive and well written. If you start posting your games on the Battle Report forum make sure to use your background to its fullest.

Private Jon

Asentaja
04-04-2008, 05:31
Nice story, although as mentioned before, the Incubi parts need some fixing. No point giving gifts and slaves to them, as they are not intrested of them (well maybe slaves for their souls, in case the Incubi feel the Thirst, really need the new codex to be sure...).

Harbringerxv8
04-04-2008, 20:30
Thanks for the comments guys. The Incubi issue I agree could be cleaned up, but the lack of background makes that sort of thing difficult. The reasoning behind that inclusion was A) I wasn't sure how to reliably get Kasslion close enough to Farential to administer a potent poison and B) I have no idea how the incubi work during a shift in the power structure in DE society. I wasn't sure how I could justify so many followers lining up behind Kasslion without some of them being already in on the scheme.