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Through magics more powerful than the unsuspecting world can imagine, the largest and most densely populated city in the world is kept secret, its location only guessed at by the wisest.
Deep in the rotting heart of the Blight Marshes festers the vile capital of the Skaven, the decay-ridden nexus of all Skaven. This shell of a once great city of mankind called Kavzar, lies more than half sunken in the morass, a testimony to the corruption and ruin spread by the Children of the Horned Rat. [2a][4a]
This is Skavenblight, a sprawling metropolis of endless caverns; a multi-layered under-city of twisting corridors, and nightmare squalor on an unimaginable scale. This evil capital of a nefarious race is the lair from which rule the mighty Lords of Decay, the ruthless leaders of the Skaven who sit upon the Council of Thirteen. It is from here, amidst labyrinthine darkness, that the Skaven scheme for supremacy, gnawing over plots for the final apocalypse.
Well past the swampy borders are found deep-water channels where rotting slave-ships, great barges the size of Imperial villages, ply along the murksome flow. Banks of oars or ingenious water-turbines propel the ships through the turbid waters. Vast flotillas of Skavenslaves launch out, either swimming or mounting in small shanty-crafts. They scour the reed beds for the foul crops that grow there. Overseers apply the lash as slaves struggle to make quotas before the slave-ships moves on- Escape through the blight marshes is impossible and, as unimaginable as it sounds, the worst punishment any grain-slave can suffer is to be abandoned in that stinking marsh. [2a]
Closer to the swamp's centre ruined towers punctuate the murky waters. As the banks become solid ground there reside teeming ports where endless lines of bent-backed slaves haul black corn from the banks to the factories. Enormous mill wheels of worm-eaten wood and rusted iron relentlessly churn out grain to feed the starving masses of Skavenblight. Periodically, armed patrols sweep the lines, enforcing speed and mercilessly gathering up any who have collapsed or expired under the weighty loads. Any such unfortunates are thrown in with the crops, they are just more grist for the mill. [2a]
It would be impossible to reach the Skaven capital across the land surface, as the immense Blighted Marshes are certain death to cross. The noisome stench of the sucking mud and fetid waters rises high into the air, a vast and poisonous cover that prevents the full light of the sun from penetrating its gloom. [2a]
Beyond the great granaries the outline of a vast city rises out of the mud. Clammy green-tinted mists wrap the ruins of the shattered buildings. The cracked paving stones tilt up from the deserted streets and holes and vents pockmark the rubble-strewn byways. Shadowy figures flicker and scurry amidst the crumbling ruins. [4a]
The majority of Skavenblight exists underground in unfathomable levels, caverns and shafts. No map could hope to account for the many districts or the constantly changing locations of lairs, breeding pits, or strongholds, all connected by an intertwining network of tunnels gnawed out between sections. The deeper levels can only be reached by cages attached to massive chains and lowered into the depths.
Skavenblight houses an incredible number of different clans, from the great powers to upstart and little-known warlord clans. All areas are packed with hordes and that demand constant expansion. At the lowest levels countless Skavenslaves toil away, never to leave the mines or factories for the rest of their short and miserable lives. They are regularly worked to death and quickly replaced. Armies of slave workers shift mountains of rock drilled out by tracked machines of immense size that burrow out new tunnels for the ever-growing population.
As large and impressive as Skavenblight is, its reach is mightier still. Stone-gnawed and chiselled passages extend away from that den of despair, diving deep under the roots of the Black Mountains and extending thousands of miles in all directions so the Grey Seers routinely travel outward, bringing their plans for supremacy to the multitude of Skaven stronghold and spy-posts.
- Caverns of Unyielding Shadow: The Clan Eshin district of Skavenblight. [1a]
- Great Temple of the Horned Rat At the centre of the city lies the Great Temple of the Horned Rat. It stretches for miles beneath the surface but above ground is marked by a single, cloud-piercing tower reaching high over the desolation. The shattered tower is a piece of madness made manifest, in places marble-white and perfect, whilst in other decrepit and crudely patched together masonry from many realms and eras of architecture are stacked atop each other, but for all that is stretches upwards to impossible heights. It is the fabled black heart of Skavendom, about which are told many legends. The temple is the base for the Grey Seers and home to their ruler Seerlord Kritislik, who occupies the first seat on the Council of Thirteen.
- Pillar of Commandments: Also known as the Black Pillar, this vast thirteen-sided column of obsidian, each side having thirteen edicts written by the Horned Rat when he placed the column at the heart of what would become Skavenblight. Touching the pillar and surviving is a pre-requisite for becoming one of the Council of Thirteen. [3a]
Although there is no accurate maps of the city, the upper levels are broadly divided into precints controlled by one of the Great Clans. [4b]
Somewhere in the Under-city can be found the unbreathable air produced by the monastery of Clan Pestilens, that unwholesome clan's largest dwelling outside of the southlands. The fort like warrens of the Ironspike sector are maintained by Clan Rictus, and all know and fear the Caverns of unyielding shadow, the Clan Eshin quarter where treaty-pacts are claw marked, and the doom of many assured.
With the exception of the Great Temple of the Horned Rat, perhaps the most prestigious precincts of Skavenblight are the warpforges and workshops of Clan Skryre. At one time the famed Warlock engineers took control of the city unsurprising whole quarters of the Under-city for their sorcerous machinery. The cathedral sized halls are lit by glass spheres filled with lightning. Steel wheeled carts are hauled along metal rails by tireless, smoke belching iron beasts. Pistons, gears, and cogs the size of houses endlessly churn, generating power for relentless industry. All other clans resent the space, wealth and power of Clan Skryre but few would dare to openly defy them.
Stone cut passages lead away from the city to the north and west, burrowing towards the Black Mountains, each defended by outposts and traps whilst others spread out under the World's Edge Mountains and the Grey Mountains. From there the tunnels move across the world to Araby, Cathay, the Dark Lands, Lustria, Naggaroth and the South Lands. [2a]
- To date, the only one who has visited Skavenblight and left unharmed is the legendary Ogre Mercenary Golgfag Maneater.
- The former name of Skavenblight is Kavzar when it was Humans and Dwarfs living there.
- 1: Uniforms & Heraldry of the Skaven
- 1a: Clan Eshin, pg. 8
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (4th Edition)
- 2a: The Under-Empire, pg. 6-7
- 3: The Horned Rat Companion
- 3a: Skaven magic, pg. 42
- 4: White Dwarf 302 (UK)
- Warhammer Armies: Skaven (7th Edition), pgs. 10-12, 16-18
- Warhammer Armies: Ogre Kingdoms (8th Edition), Needs Citation