|“||I sometimes happen to give a second chance... But never a third one.||„|
|~ Darkhell (sending a servant who failed him too many times fall to his doom).|
Darkhell the Dark Sorcerer is the central antagonist of the French comic book series Les Légendaires (The Legendaries) and its prequel Les Légendaires : Origines (The Legendaries: Origins). He is the most prominent villain of the series, with almost every foil faced being linked to him in one way or another. Darkhell is an extremely powerful sorcerer and the archenemy of the series' eponymous protagonists the Legendaries. Before the start of the story he ruled the country of Shiar and sought to take over the world of Alysia, but he was defeated by the Legendaries and thought dead. He was eventually revived and sought an ancient divine artifact to destroy the Elven Dimension, only to get defeated again. During the Anathos Cycle, he was recruited by the divine Guardian to prevent the return of the God Anathos.
BackgroundDarkhell has lived for much more than a century thanks to a powerful spell he cast to extend his life-span, with the consequence of turning his skin chalk-white. At some point in the past, he took over the gloomy volcanic country of Shiar and built himself a fortress which he called Casthell. (Almost all his creations and aliases end with -Hell, causing many puns. For instance, Casthell is pronounced the same way as "castel" Old French for "castle".)
He made an immense army of monsters that he created himself, and set out to conquer Alysia. He razed many towns and villages, sometimes making it pass for the action of other marauding armies, and gained a frightening reputation all over Alysia; to the point that the mere mention of his name is enough to scare anyone. Even the Legendaries dread the very idea of confronting him once more.
Little is known about Darkhell's past. It is revealed that fifty years before the start of the story, he fought against the Demon Wizard Skroa for dominion over the world. He defeated his foe and imprisoned him in an anti-magic class cage, and used him as a lab-rat for his experiments and other unspeakable tortures. Some times after, Darkhell secretly bargained with Queen Adeyrid ("a des rides", French for "has got wrikles"), the mage queen of the kingdom of Orchidia who could not bear children. Darkhell conducted experiments to enable the queen to bear a child without insemination, but he had no interest for providing a heiress for the throne of Orchidia.
What he really wanted was an offspring of his own, born with the huge magic potential of Orchidia's royal line. When the child was born, Darkhell took her away by force and brought her to Shiar, calling her Ténébris and raising her as his daughter. At some point, Darkhell also created the powerful parasite known as Abyss, but he lost interest in it and left it in a bottle, probably considering it as a failed experiment.
As years went by, Ténébris became one of Darkhell's highest ranked generals, captain of his flying ship called the Hydarkos. At some point, after a barbarian named Razzia slaughtered the Army of the Thousand Wolves that razed his hometown (a crime in fact caused by Darkhell's armies, who planted false evidences to divert suspicions), Ténébris approached him and convinced to become Darkhell's right-hand man, known and feared as Korbo the Red Shadow ("corbeau" being French for "crow").
Korbo and Ténébris led Darkhell's armies side by side and eventually fell in love, and at some point they killed a couple of killed inventors who provided dangerous weapons to the armies opposing Darkhell. But Korbo defected when he learnt the truth about the attack on his hometown, taking back his original name and swearing to kill Darkhell by his own hand to atone for his crimes.
Around five years before the start of the series, Darkhell came in contact with the Native-American-like tribe called the Comanshawas (a pun on "Comanche" and "Comment ça va ?", French for "How do yo do?") to gain magical plants and knowledge on shamanic magic from them. Not knowing about him, the Comanshawas welcomed him warmly, only to get slaughtered when he had no longer any use for them. The only survivor of the tribe, Shaki, attacked Darkhell and gave him the scar on his right cheek, but he got stuck down with a spell and was left for dead.
A few years later, as the Dark Sorcerer was locked in conflict against the Legendaries, Darkhell realized that old age would catch up to him before he could conquer Alysia. He then looked for ways to regain his youth. To that end, Darkhell went to the cursed land of Klafooty (a pun on "clafoutis" a kind of French cake) and struck a bargain with the Guardian, the divine protector of the six Mystical Stones that hold power over all things. He took the Stone of Jovenia in exchange of creating a race of plant-like beings called the Zar-Ikos ("les Zar-Ikos" being a pun on the pronunciation of "les haricots", French for "the beans") and many other monsters to populate Klafooty and provide a challenge for heroes. Darkhell also created a magical time-travel device called the Temporhell, but was unable to make it function without a power source.
Darkhell appears as a rather typical Dark Lord: cruel, ruthless, scornful, ambitious, deadly serious, and very threatening. He seeks power and personal gain no matter how many lives he tramples, and as Shaki puts it in, his idea of an association is to order people around as long as he needs them and then mercilessly slaughter anyone he was involved with. Despite this, he can be very courteous to his allies, or give genuine praises to allies and foes alike. Darkhell is also very clever and manipulative and can play people into doing what he wants very well, as he did with the Comanshawas, Queen Adeyrid, or even Razzia/Korbo the Red Shadow (indirectly). Finally, he displays a strong sense of irony and sarcasm.
Darkhell is very collected and rarely gets angry. But he is very prideful, reacting poorly to what he perceives as bad jokes and becoming absolutely livid whenever he gets struck in the face. And making him angry makes him much more dangerous that he already is. Even when angry, Darkhell is very cautious and tends to get ready for the worse, no matter how good the situation looks for him.
It must be noted that Darkhell has a real respect for his subordinates, as seen when he laments Korbo's desertion, and even his enemies to some extent. He somehow regards his monsters as his "children" and, something extremely rare for this kind of villain, he harbours a deep, genuine love for his daughter Ténébris; a fatherly love even stronger than his thirst for power and control. They have a very close relationship and should someone be skilled enough to harm Ténébris in any way, he or she would immediately suffer Darkhell's painful wrath.
Powers and Abilities
Darkhell is an incredibly powerful sorcerer, who despite being human was able to defeat what was probably the mightiest Demon Wizard of all Alysia. He displays both immense raw magical power and skills with sorcery, potions and other forms of magic. It is repeatedly stated that he was even more formidable back in his prime, and it shows after he gets turned back to a child by the Jovenia Incident. He has proven able to communicate with people no matter the distance, to watch over faraway places through bewitched objects, to enchant objects with shape-shifting spells, to light magical fire, to animate objects and to conjure stony hands from the ground, among other things.
Darkhell devised a technique of magic-based genetic manipulations he calls "Maginetic", through which he created all of his monsters. This alone gives enough proof of his skills, considering the abilities he granted them (mostly Abyss who is arguably as powerful as him), and the magical devices he created. It was most likely Darkhell himself who devised the powerful bewitched weapons wielded by Ténébris and his other henchmen. Also, he has extensive knowledge of the legends of Alysia and the various kinds of magical creatures and divine artifacts in existence.
Darkhell is absolutely deadly in battle. He attacks with blasts of purple energy of variable intensity, ranging from "mere" bolts of magic able to knock out a hardened fighter to tremendous onslaughts, giant bolts of magical lightning, and huge waves of destructive energy all around him. He is also able to raise magical barriers that stop attacks, reflect back spells, or imprison things or people.
- When he served under the Guardian during the Anathos Cycle, Darkhell was made even more powerful than he already was. The divine entity granted him a pair of demonic-looking wings enabling him to fly without any spell and granted him access to divine magic and even deadlier attacks (including raising a subterranean room over the surface, opening wormholes, sending Spheres of Destruction and waves of slashing energy). Still, despite this vast increase of power he was no match against the God Anathos, until he fused back with his "Good Half" Elysio. At that point, they became so tremendously powerful that they overcame the effect of the Jovenia Incident and were able to fight on par with Anathos himself, forcing him to resort to underhanded tricks.
The different kinds of Monsters that Darkhell created:
- Dragonites: Large and powerful monsters looking like anthropomorphic dragons. They serve as the base of the Dark Sorcerer's army.
- Carbonions: Flying monsters looking like oversized orange dragons, used as mounts by the Dragonites and Darkhell's other soldiers. They can breathe powerful streams of fire and usually attack targets on the ground while flying out of reach.
- Darkhellions: Darkhell's most powerful and dangerous creations. These are giant winged monsters looking like dragons, whose spit can encase anyone in non-lethal ice to capture targets without killing them. They are also able to fire venomous stingers that turn anyone into a Chaos Shade.
- Chaos Shades: Anyone struck by a Darkhellion's stinger will automatically turn into a demonic and bloodthirsty Chaos Shade, bound to serve Darkhell for eternity. Chaos Shades look like humanoids made of shadow that can only be destroyed by spells and enchanted weapons.
Les Légendaires : Origines
Origins describes Darkhell's conflict with the Legendaries in itself. Likely before obtaining the Stone of Jovenia, Darkhell resolved to abduct Jadina, the mage princess of Orchidia (and Ténébris' unknown little sister, born from a similar spell) to gain her Eagle Staff, an extremely powerful magical artifact that he could use to activate the Temporhell or vastly amplify his power. However, all of his men's attempts failed.Darkhell orders one of his henchmen, Raptor the Green Shadow (a mighty lizard-man armed with a magical spear able to fire devastating enegry blasts), to bring him Jadina and the Eagle Staff with the promise of making him his right-hand man if he succeeds. (When Ténébris warns him that Raptor wants to overthrow him, Darkhell does not see him as a threat and merely counts on this as a bigger motivation.)
It turns out that Jadina is escorted by the elite knights known as the Silver Falcons, among whom the primary protagonist Danaël, his older brother Ikaël and his girlfriend Saryn. Raptor sends his soldiers to distract the Silver Falcons and kidnapps Jadina, killing Saryn's father in the process. Danaël and Saryn (who befriended Jadina) rush after Raptor but they are no match for him and Danaël only owes his life to the intervention of the enigmatic Kalandre.
Danaël and Saryn eventually kill Raptor, but Saryn got stung by a Darkhellion's stinger and turns into a Chaos Shade. She then attacks the horrified Danaël and prepares to kill him, only to get destroyed by a grieving Jadina. Danaël and Jadina then decide to create a group of heroes above political intrigues that they call the Legendaries, and set out to defeat Darkhell to honour the memory of Saryn.
GryfenferDarkhell does not appears in person in the two following tomes of Origines, not even being mentioned in the second one, but it is revealed in the end of the third one that he recruited the dreaded female gladiator Dasyatis the Venomous, also known as the Silent Death, as the Black Shadow: Ténébris' most fearsome general. This revelation is what motivates the beast-man Gryfenfer (known as Gryf in the main series) to join the Legendaries, since Dasyatis once defeated his big brother figure Samael, leaving him for dead and driving him mad, leading to a battle to the death between them.
In adventures that have yet to be published, the Legendaries would eventually recruit the Elementary Elf Shimy and the barbarian Razzia (the former Red Shadow) who share their goal. Together, they would oppose Darkhell and repeatedly thwart his plans, ultimately storming Casthell just when Darkhell was finally about to gain back his youth from the Stone of Jovenia. Unfortunately, the Stone was shattered in the ensuing fight, causing everyone in Alysia to turn back into a child. Because of this, the Legendaries were shunned by the people and forced to disband. (It was eventually revealed that Kalandre was the one who broke the Stone of Jovenia.)
RebirthAs the reunited Legendaries travel through Klafooty to reach the Guardian's castle and get the Stone of Crescia, in order to give back the population its real age, they come across an amnesiac boy with incredible yet uncontrolled magical power named Elysio, who is pursuing the same goal. In spite of their initial wariness, the Legendaries eventually befriend Elysio and travel with him. However, when the group comes across the Zar-Ikos, it is revealed that Elysio is none other than Darkhell himself, who survived the Jovenia Incident at the cost of his memories.
The Zar-Ikos capture the legendaries and prepare a potion to restore their lord's memories, but the Legendaries manage to escape and to take Elysio with them before he can drink it. Before entering the Guardian's castle, they tie him to a tree to prevent him from becoming Darkhell again, but Gryf (who feels bound by the promise he made to help Elysio regain his memories) unties him and give him the potion despite the risk, asking him to remember his gesture if he were to return to his old ways.
After Danaël gains the Stone of Crescia (which gets stolen by Skroa), Elysio is nowhere to be seen and the vial of potion is seen lying on the ground... empty.
War in the Elven Dimension
|“||Oh they will find a way General Rasga. They always do.||„|
|~ Darkhell (knowing that seemingly impossible odds are not an obstacle for the Legendaries)|
Few months later, the Legendaries and their rival team the Fabulous are tasked by the King of Larbos to go help the elves, whose world is victim of a magical plague. Upon entering the Elven Dimension, they learn that the plague was caused by an ominous red cloud surrounding the gloomy island where the piranhis, the hereditary enemies of the elves, are established. They also learn that a human sorcerer saved the elves from the plague; a mage who turns out to be none other than Elysio.Meanwhile in the piranhis' island, it appears that the piranhis led by General Rasga made an alliance with a sorcerer called Skalp-Hell, who needs their help to uncover the "Treasure of the Gods", buried under their land and promised that he would use it to create a new, much more hospitable world for them.
However, by digging too deep the piranhis unleashed the plague-bringing cloud, from which they were cured by Skalp-Hell. However, the elves took it as a deliberate attack and both people are now at war. Upon hearing that very powerful warriors from Alysia defeated a squadron of piranhis, Skalp-Hell sends a piranhi equipped with a shape-shifting talisman to spy on the elves and kill Elysio.
The spy gets captured, but Skalp-Hell was able to watch his fight against the Legendaries and the Fabulous through his talisman. Elysio later reveals that Skalp-Hell is none other than Darkhell. When Elysio drank the potion and recovered his memories, he refused to turn back into Darkhell and managed to expel the Dark Sorcerer from his body and mind. Alas, Darkhell did return as a separate being, now a child like everyone else. Darkhell went to the Elven World to find the "Treasure of the Gods" and Elysio, who now has the same powers as his "Evil Twin" pursued him to defeat him for good.Darkhell eventually gets his hands on the "Treasure of the Gods", the Kréa-Kaos: a magic armour created by the gods to use the power of the Six Mystical Stones without danger, which even without the Stones is able to destroy an entire world to create a new one from it. Darkhell tells General Rasga that he will destroy the Elven Dimension and give the world he will create from it to the piranhis, before destroying Alysia to replace it by a world under his control.
Elysio reveals his true identity to the elves and thanks to Jadina's magic he is able to prove that Darkhell is the cause of the war. Yet, in spite of the danger of the Kréa-Kaos, attacking the piranhis' island is impossible by sea and the piranhi army is specialized in airborne squadrons. Shimy then decides to attack from the sky and asks Elysio to brew a potion that would give wings to the entire elven army.
Knowing that his enemies are aware of his intentions, Darkhell activates the Kréa-Kaos and opens a dark vortex to engulf the Elven Dimension, just before the elven army's attack. Shaki, who is now one of the Fabulous, attacks Darkhell to avenge the Comanshawas, only to get promptly defeated by General Rasga, who refuses to finish him off since he wants to waste as little lives as possible. Darkhell reminds him that the Kréa-Kaos will kill all elves, before noticing that Elysio is attempting to close the vortex. He hurls a huge bolt of magic lighting at his good counterpart, who is knocked down and fall into the ocean alongside Gryf who tried to help him.
Right after, Shimy's mother Captain Shamira attacks Rasga and is defeated from behind by Darkhell. As Rasga persists in sparing his foes, Darkhell loses patience and prepares to dispose of his now useless ally; revealing that millennia ago the piranhis willingly accepted to settle on their inhospitable island to protect the Kréa-Kaos on the God's behalf, before forgetting about it and coming to believe that the elves banished them.
Shimy enters the fray, rescuing her mother and General Rasga who call to their armies and order to stop the battle. Darkhell defeats Shimy who only owers her life to Danaël's and Jadina's intervention, and both armies confront the Dark Sorcerer, who laughs them off stating that the Kréa-Kaos makes him invincible. But Elysio, who got rescued, barges in and cast a spell to fuse back with Darkhell, pulling the Dark Sorcerer out of his weapon. Struggling against the fusion, Darkhell states that if he does not get back into the Kréa-Kaos, it will explode and destroy the entire island with everyone in it.
It appears that Elysio is counting on this and he raises a magic barrier around them and the Kréa-Kaos to contain the explosion, sacrificing his life to stop Darkhell despite his friends' pleas. After this, the elves make peace with the piranhis who settle on the continent, and their population raises a giant statue in Elysio' likeness to honour his memory.
Return to the Past
|“||You're getting on my nerves with your pretty words. A fight is won... WITH ACTIONS!||„|
|~ Darkhell (decimating the Legendaries)|
Ceydeirom and Halan want to use Jadina's Eagle Staff to activate the Temporhell and go back in time before Danaël and Jadina formed the Legendaries; to prevent the group's creation, and thus the Jovenia Incident, and reunite with their lost love. (Ceydeirom killed his wife for leaving him after the Jovenia incident and blames the Legendaries for it, while Halan persuaded himself that Danaël stole Jadina -who was never interested in him in the first place- from him.)
During the trip to the past, Danaël, Gryf and Shimy are separated from the rest of the group and end up helping Past-Danaël to go after Past-Jadina, who was encased into ice by a Darkhellion and brought to the flying fortress the Hydarkos. There, the two Danaëls engage a fight against Past-Ténébris, while Gryf and Shimy try to hijack the Hydarkos.
Meanwhile, Ceydeirom, Halan, Jadina and Razzia have reached the Casthell of the past. Just when Razzia points out that they might run into Past-Darkhell, the Dark Sorcerer appears behind him and restrains the group, save from Ceydeirom who promptly betrays Halan and pledges allegiance to Darkhell. Razzia then breaks free from his restrains and engages a fight against the Dark Sorcerer, but alone and in his child form, he stands little chance and ends up killed in front of the horrified Jadina (who cannot fight since Ceydeirom smashed her Eagle Staff to activate the Temporhell).
Then, Gryf and Shimy crash the Hydarkos against Casthell, causing Ténébris to die in her father's arms. Livid, Darkhell kills the two Legendaries and is about to finish Jadina off when Danaël takes the spell in her place... collapsing dead after confessing his feelings for the princess. Jadina only owes her life to Halan, who first fled cowardly but witnessed the meeting -and obvious interest- between Past-Danaël and Past-Jadina and finally understood Jadina's accusations of selfishness. Halan sneaks behind Darkhell and uses a Darkhellion's spit to encase them both in ice.
Emotionally broken, Jadina is about to get murdered from behind by Captain Ceydeirom. However, Jadina's ancestor Jadilyna, an extremely powerful sorceress who turned herself into a Guardian Angel for her descendants after her death, takes possession of her and subdues the wretched pirate. She uses the Temporhell to cast him 60 millennia in the future (where he ends up put in a zoo by talking monkeys, the new dominant specy in Alysia, in a comical nod to Planet of the Apes); before going through time before Ceydeirom discovered the Temporhell and destroying it, preventing this entire disaster from ever happening and restoring the original timeline.
The Anathos Cycle
|“||Take care of the Legendaries. They would be the last hope of Alysia should I fail to kill Anathos! But above all else... take care of yourself my daughter!||„|
|~ Darkhell's/Elysio's farewell to Ténébris|
The Anathos Cycle begins when Darkhell invades the dreadful Prison Barek (a nod to Prison Break) to rescue his daughter Ténébris, who was imprisoned there after the Jovenia Incident. However, jail has changed Ténébris and she escapes to find her former lover Razzia. Later, the Legendaries' vacations are interrupted by a sour-looking Elysio and an overjoyed Darkhell, who attempt to kill them with a Sphere of Destruction. The Legendaries are saved by Ténébris of all people, who uses her magic gauntlets to absorb the Sphere and reflect it back. Danaël then escapes to the Elven Dimension with his group. Ténébris reveals that the Guardian saved Elysio and Darkhell from death after the Kréa-Kaos exploded, and offered to restore their bodies and vastly increase their powers in exchange for preventing the return of the fallen god Anathos.
They sought for the Bearer (Anathos' living jail which he took over) in vain for two years and now that Anathos is about to reincarnate within one of the Legendaries, they have no choice but to kill them all. (Contrary to Elysio, who hates himself for trying to kill his friends, Darkhell was extremely eager to get back at the Legendaries and did not care the slightest for Alysia. But now that his beloved daughter has defected to their side, he hates himself as well for endangering her life.)Since Anathos cast a spell preventing the Guardian from locating him or the Legendaries, Darkhell asks him to locate Ténébris instead. Darkhell and Elysio find her and the Legendaries in the treasure room of the royal castle of the kingdom of Larbos. There, the Legendaries attempt to get the Alystory (the book describing the past and the future), but are confronted by Ikaël's Silver Falcons and by the Fabulous, who label them as traitors and outlaws. Elysio raises the subterranean room over ground and slashes a way in to attack the Legendaries, but they use it as a way out and fly away in a nearby hot air balloon. As the sorcerers are about to kill them, they are struck by surprise by a stock of bombs sent by the Fabulous and forced to retreat.
While Elysio and Darkhell are incapacited, the Legendaries confront Anathos within the bearer and manage to defeat it, but they cannot prevent Anathos from reincarnating (within Danaël instead of Shimy as he expected). The God of Evil horribly decimates the remaining Legendaries and is about to kill Ténébris when her fathers appear just in time to save her.Knowing that they are no match for Anathos, Elysio and Darkhell fuse back into one sorcerer, becoming so powerful that they bypass the effect of the Jovenia Incident and turn back to a young adult. The fused sorcerer opens a wormhole and instructs Ténébris to flee through it with the grievously wounded Legendaries.
The Guardian's champion fights against the God of Evil and matches his physical might. Anathos then unleashes a powerful energy blasts, but once again Darkhell/Elysio matches him with a divine spell of his own. Unfortunately, Anathos sends his flying sword to pierce his foe from behind and the sorcerer gets struck and killed by both spells. (To add insult to injury, only a god can kill another god, so Darkhell and Elysio stood no chance to begin with.) Anathos then finishes the work by destroying the Guardian and his castle.
Two years later, when the Legendaries manage to defeat Anathos and his Hellions; backed up by the Silver Falcons, the Fabulous, the elves, the piranhis and Halan's army, Darkhell and Elysio are buried next to Danael and hailed as heroes for their sacrifice. (But Darkhell's atrocities are not forgotten.)
After the Legendaries sacrifices their lives to destroy Kalandre, the Dynaméïs and the remaining Divine Stones that the sorceress stole, reality itself is unravelled into a world where the Legendaries never existed. They are now normal mortals and all their victories against Darkhell, Skroa and Anathos were the doing of the obnoxious writter Artémus del Conquisador (Conquisador or "con qui s’adore" is French for "self-adoring moron" and a pun on Conquistador), who witnessed their last battle and told their story as a tribute, in a series of best-selling novel that made him extremely wealthy.
Artémus is the only one who remembers the former world, and his victories are likely due to the splinters of the Divine Stones that were embedded in his notebook during their destruction. He meets Danaël and Shimy, now human married farmers, and enrols them in his quest to take back Anathos' sword that was stolen. It now appears that the former Legendaries experience flashbacks of their previous existence and that they retain their former abilities, unlocked in a great stress.
It turns out that Darkhell was imprisoned in the gloomy jail of Prison Barek after being defeated by Artémus. He spends his days chained and infused with anti-magic serum, but one day he is visited by Count Kasino, son of the tyrannical queen of Orchidia Invidia, who asks him about the "Maginetic" technique he devised.