The Black Guard of Naggarond, or simply the Black Guard, is Malekith's personal army, answerable to none other than himself.
Black Guards are recruited from the descendants of families held in high favor by the Witch-king, and are born to mothers who are soon thereafter slain by the sword. With no family ties to distract them, these children grow up in the Black Guard barracks, learning the myriad skills of death and destruction demanded by Malekith's ruling elite. As soon as they can, these young warriors are pitted against each other in deadly fights to the death, leaving only the strongest, quickest, and most ruthless to survive. This violence is not limited to the training fields and arenas. An intake of recruits can lose up to half its numbers as the unwary, injured, and unpopular are finished off by their fellow recruits
As they grow of age, these young fighters are regularly visited by the Witch-king, who generously rewards those who display great cunning and bloodlust. When the aspirants finally come of age and their education is complete, Malekith promises each of them great wealth and lands that will be theirs if they serve him well for two hundred years. Those Black Wardens who survive their arduous journey of duty become rulers of cities, leaders of armies, and favored members of the Witch-king's court. This promised generosity seldom needs to be fulfilled, however, for there are many ways to die in Malekith's service - not least as a scapegoat for his frustrations. But when the risks are great, the rewards are even greater, and so each member of the Blackguard serves without hesitation until death takes them.
They are a bulwark of grim steel on the battlefield, standing where all others have fled, fighting with a determination capable of turning defeat into victory and victory into glorious slaughter. The Black Guard Barracks is divided into twenty towers that compete in war and torture. The Witch-king fiercely encourages competition between towers, and each year at the start of the Season of Blood a tournament is held to determine which tower will prevail over the others in the year to come. The leaders of these factions are the Tower Masters, veterans of the Black Guard who are so adept at death and combat that they choose to continue in Malekith's service after completing their bicentennial duty. These hardened warriors rule their subjects with an iron will, determined that their tower will not be shamed by a lack of discipline - or worse, a glimmer of mercy - on the part of their charges.