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Desolate City

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"I cannot go on ... Please… I must be free."
- Reported words spoken by the Emperor to Cardinal Abernath, during his journey within the Desolate City

The Desolate City is a mysterious realm, that contains a vast destroyed Imperial city which some believe the Emperor dwells in.[1]


What it is exactly is unclear, but Inquisitor Argento, claimed the Desolate City was a dream place that was only seen by Imperials in moments of revelation. He also stated it was an echo of what would be and a reflection of a terrible truth. How one enters it is unknown, but the former Cardinal Abernath claims he was pulled into the Desolate City, after seeing a dying pilgrim while he preached on Dominicus Prime. He would be there for sometime, before he blinked and found himself back on Dominicus. However he discovered that only mere moments had passed for everyone else, who did not sense anything was amiss with the Cardinal.[1]

From records of those who have entered the Desolate City, which include witches and the former Cardinal Abernath, the City is destroyed and contains statues and buildings that rise like mountains. Its streets are like canyons, that are filled with rubble and clusters of dry bones, that are covered in ash. Rust-colored clouds also billow throughout the Desolate City, whose air is dead cold. Abernath also described hearing a voice cry out in pain, which the Cardinal could feel. The voice also said that, "I cannot go on," and upon following it, the Cardinal found himself in the middle of the City, where a figure sat upon a throne. As he got closer, Abernath realized that it was Emperor and that it was His voice that was wracked with pain. The Emperor then said that he could not go on and said, "Please… I must be free.", just before the City faded away and Abernath found himself back on Dominicus Prime.[1]

However that vision of the pain wracked Emperor, led Abernath to believe the Imperium's leader was dying. This shattered the Cardinal's faith in the Imperial Creed and later led him to be declared a Heretic, when he began preaching this. Others who had seen the Emperor in the Desolate City had their faiths destroyed as well and this came to the attention of Inquisitor Covenant. He began studying it and learned that there were and had been signs that the Emperor was seeking out ways to walk amongst Humans once more. Covenant also learned, however, that a disturbing pattern was emerging from the Desolate City's appearances, which led the Inquisitor to fear it may destroy Mankind. Covenant is now searching for ways to end its threat and after learning of Abernath's account, the Inquisitor believes his journey to do so, lies on Dominicus Prime.[1]