The main character of a series of TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} books written by Creator/DanAbnett and Creator/MikeLee. It was initially a comic strip released by Black Library which follows the same general plot but differs in a few areas. The books are mostly set in the distant land of [[{{Mordor}} Naggaroth]], where the [[OurElvesAreBetter dark elves]] rule city-states under the fearsome [[EvilOverlord Witch-King]].

The series consists of five books, as well as a prequel short story ''Blood Price'' included in the ''Malus Darkblade Chronicles: Volume 1, Omnibus Edition''.

* ''The Daemon's Curse'' (May 2005)
* ''Bloodstorm'' (December 2005)
* ''Reaper of Souls'' (July 2006)
* ''Warpsword'' (February 2007)
* ''Lord of Ruin'' (September 2007)

The plot of the series seems at first to be a standard fantasy cliche: the protagonist must collect five PlotCoupons to save his own soul from a powerful demon that uses the name T'zarkan. The monster is [[DemonicPossession inhabiting his body]], but has made a deal with Malus: Collect the five relics needed to loose T'zarkan on the world, and Malus will be free.

It's clear early on, however, that their relationship isn't that simple, and Malus is no standard fantasy hero. For one, he's not actually a hero at all, but a ruthless VillainProtagonist: Throughout the series, nearly everyone Darkblade meets [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder will eventually be betrayed by him]]. Though, admittedly, among the dark elves known as [[AlwaysChaoticEvil druchii]], often it's a race to see who betrays whom first. Even his own family. ''[[BigScrewedUpFamily Especially]]'' [[BigScrewedUpFamily his own family]].

Malus Darkblade is not the strongest, smartest, or most skilled of his race, or even of his siblings - but what he ''is'' is the most hateful SOB this side of the [[GrimUpNorth Chaos Wastes]], and he [[{{Determinator}} almost never gives up]], even when there's no plausible path to success.

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!!The series uses the following tropes:

* AbusiveParents : Malus' father, Lurhan, has been [[OffingTheOffspring covertly trying to get him killed since childhood]]; only being discreet for fear of Malus' mother, the hag-sorceress Eldire. The sorceress herself clearly loves Malus [[spoiler: but still uses him as an UnwittingPawn; risking his life and soul for the sake of an ancient prophecy]].
* AbhorrentAdmirer : Urial, to Yasmir. Until she undergoes some SanitySlippage and becomes the Bride, anyway.
* AFatherToHisMen : Surprisingly enough, Malus [[CharacterDevelopment develops]] certain qualities of this kind near the end of his journey; taking genuine concern for the needs of his subordinates, giving awesome motivational speeches and even risking his own agendas to avoid excessive casualties.
* AffablyEvil : Hauclir is more or less the only druchii in the series it is possible to identify with. In a cast full of bloodthirsty madmen and unrepentant sadists (which includes the main protagonist), his [[DeadpanSnarker snarky]], [[ServileSnarker impertinent yet loyal]] and surprisingly likable persona is quite a relief. His mercenaries in the fifth book, petty crooks and cutthroats each, are also a lot of fun.
* AngstySurvivingTwin : Ahashara, after her brother is killed by Malus.
* AntiAntichrist : [[spoiler: Malus himself. T'Zarkan's manipulations makes him the cornerstone figure of an apocalyptic prophecy of the Temple of Khaine: He's supposed to become the Scourge of Khaine and the Lord of Ruin, wield the Warpsword of Khaine, consort with the Bride of Khaine and usher in the Time of Blood - a genocidal global conquest that will bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. Aside from the Warpsword, Malus has zero interest in his Bride ([[BrotherSisterIncest his now-batshit-crazy sister Yasmir]]) and has more urgent things to do, namely save his hide and soul, than to usher in any sort of apocalypse.]]
* AntiMagic : The Octagram of Praan, one of the artifacts needed to free T'zarkan, absorbs magic and protects the wearer from spells.
* AwesomeMcCoolname : Subverted. "Darkblade" may sound cool, but for the druchii it's [[FailOSuckyname a derogatory alias]], meaning 'a flawed thing', and Malus hates it.
* AxCrazy : Most of the characters from all factions, but followers of Khaine have Ax-Crazy-ness as their ''[[ScaryAmoralReligion religion]]''.
* BackForTheFinale : [[spoiler: [[LovableRogue Hauclir]] and [[BackFromtheDead Lhunara]]]] in ''Lord of Ruin''.
* BackFromTheDead : In ''Lord of Ruin'', [[spoiler: Lhunara returns as an [[RevenantZombie undead]] champion of Chaos]]. [[OhCrap Malus is understandably horrified]].
* BastardBastard : Malus is the illegitimate son of Lurhan, Vaulkhar of Hag Graef, and the hag-sorceress Eldire.
* BigBad : While most of the series is just Malus dealing with several individual ordeals, a few books feature overall antagonists.
** The Skinrider chieftain in ''Bloodstorm''.
** [[spoiler: Nagaira]] in ''Reaper of Souls''.
** Urial in ''Warpsword''.
* BigBadDuumvirate : [[spoiler: Nagaira and T'zarkan in ''Lord of Ruin''.]]
* BigBadWannabe : Feurlan in ''Reaper of Souls''. He's an [[GeneralFailure incompetent]], half-mad SmugSnake who thinks he's in charge of the campaign against Hag Graef, when the real mastermind is clearly [[spoiler: [[ManBehindTheMan Nagaira]]]].
* BigDamnHeroes : [[spoiler: Hauclir and his mercenaries rescue Malus from Nagaira's camp towards the end of ''Lord of Ruin''. Malus is under T'zarkan's control at the time, [[CrazyPrepared but Haulclir is clever enough]] to bring along [[KryptoniteFactor the Warpsword of Khaine]] and trick the daemon into grabbing it.]]
* BiggerBad : T'zarkan is the overall driving villain of the series, possessing Malus and forcing him to recover the keys needed to [[SealedEvilInACan unseal his Can]]. [[spoiler: He becomes the end-all BigBad in ''Lord of Ruin''.]]
* BittersweetEnding : In ''Reaper of Souls'', [[spoiler: Nagaira's scheme is thwarted and the Dagger of Torxus is now in Malus' possession, leaving only two artifacts to collect. However, Hag Graef is in ruins, and Malus is now an outlaw for killing Vaulkhar Lurhan and leading the campaign against his city; losing his wealth, his power and his subordinates as a result.]]
** In ''Lord of Ruin'', [[spoiler: Nagaira is dead, T'zarkan's prophecy has been undone, and Malus is finally free of the daemon's influence. However, the daemon was still freed from its prison, and managed to escape with Malus' soul. As he departs the ruined temple, [[SequelHook Malus vows to track T'zarkan down and reclaim his soul, no matter what it takes]].]]
* BlackBlood : Malus's blood turns black when he uses T'zarkan's power.
** [[spoiler: Nagaira's blood is also black, revealing her nature as a daemonhost.]]
* BlackEyesOfEvil : Malus, again while channeling T'zarkan.
** [[spoiler: Same with Nagaira, after TheReveal.]]
* BlackMagic : The magic the dark elves use is highly destructive, uses rather gruesome reagents, and it definitely corrupts.
** [[TheDarkSide Chaos magic]] is all that, and [[UpToEleven worse]].
* BrotherSisterIncest : Malus and pretty much every one of his half-brothers and sisters has intentions toward/is having an affair with one of their siblings.
** Burglir and Yasmir.
** Urial is also infatuated with Yasmir, though unfortunately she considers him to be an AbhorrentAdmirer.
*** After Yasmir [[SanitySlippage loses her mind]] over the course of ''Bloodstorm'', it is revealed that she is destined to become the bride of [[TheChosenOne the Scourge]]; the prophesied wielder of the Warpsword of Khaine. Urial, who hopes to fulfill the prophecy himself, is naturally delighted. [[spoiler: Unfortunately for him, it turns out the prophecy is actually about Malus Darkblade. He doesn't seem terribly invested in the arrangement, though.]]
** [[EvilSorceress Nagaira]] has evidently had intimate relations with Malus before, though the sorceries she weaves into her body sometimes make it a less-than-pleasurable experience...
* CatchPhrase / ArcWords : '' "With [[ThePowerOfHate hate]], all things are possible..." ''
** IronicEcho : [[spoiler: '' "...Hate, and faith in the Dark Gods." '']]
* CreateYourOwnVillain : [[spoiler: When he is first possessed by T'zarkan, Malus murders all of the retainers he brought with him on the expedition to the temple, including Lhunara. Unfortunately, Lhunara's [[ThePowerOfHate sheer fury]] at the betrayal allows her to posthumously make a pact with the Chaos Gods, coming back to life as a RevenantZombie.]]
* CruelMercy : The reason [[spoiler: Ahashara]] chooses to leave Malus alone at the end of ''Reaper of Souls''.
--> '''[[spoiler: Ahashara]]:''' "From this point forward you walk alone, Malus of Hag Graef. I see know how much has been taken from you. You have lost your name and your honor. Your dreams lie in the dust. There is nothing left for you in this life but loneliness, fear and pain."
--> '''Malus:''' "So you will not kill me after all?"
--> '''[[spoiler: Ahashara]]:''' "No. You deserve no such mercy."
** To get some information out of a wounded Khaine worshipper, Malus threatens to... leave him alive and treat his wounds. The Khainite is horrified that a fellow druchii would sink that low. Malus only wounded him in the first place because the Khainite attacked Malus after he saved him from being killed, [[MartyrdomCulture which he considered a grave insult]].
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder : Almost every druchii in the entire series, including Malus. They make and betray alliances whenever it's convenient, necessary, or profitable.
** The entire second book is essentially the build-up to a massive UnfriendlyFire climax where Malus, three of his siblings, and a couple {{Wild Card}}s are all just waiting for the right moment to kill nearly everyone else.
* CombatPragmatist : Malus fights dirty, he uses the scenery when necessary, and will sacrifice his own soldiers' lives if it means potentially getting the upper hand.
* CoolSword : The Warpsword of Khaine, one of the relics T'zarkan requires. Not only is it a powerful weapon, [[spoiler: it allows Malus to resist the daemon's influence while wielding it]].
** EvilWeapon / ArtifactOfDoom : However, T'zarkan is adamant that the blade will eventually consume its wielder, [[spoiler: and Malus is briefly possessed by the Warpsword in one scene]]. There's also the fact that the wielder of the Warpsword is destined to bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* DeadpanSnarker : One reason Hauclir is such a popular character is that his dry sense of humour is one readers can identify with. Though to be fair, this sort of humour does seem to be a Dark Elf thing, so maybe it's not all bad.
** "I'm fine," snarled Malus. "These jagged rocks managed to break my fall."
* DeadlyDecadentCourt : All druchii cities are ruled by one of these. They even have rules for how close you're allowed to stand to someone else, measured in swordlengths, because the highborn nobles are so prone to killing each other.
* [[DemonicPossession Daemonic Possession]] : T'zarkan is [[spoiler: gradually turning Malus into a daemonhost in the hopes of using his body to fulfill [[SelfFulfillingProphecy prophesies he wrote himself millenia before]] ]]. Subverted in that the demon T'zarkan is using Malus's body to try and escape a crystal prison, but he is limited in that Malus has to ''ask'' for demonic power for him to spread his influence in a bid to take over his body entirely. As a result, Malus remains mostly free-willed through most of the series.
** Later played straight after Malus [[TheDarkSide uses the demon's power a few too many times...]]
** In the climax of ''Reaper of Souls'', [[spoiler: Nagaira is revealed to be a WillingChanneler for Chaos.]]
** There are several other instances of daemons taking over mortal bodies, and it's never pleasant.
* {{Determinator}} : Malus is [[CatchPhrase rather fond]] of saying [[ThePowerOfHate "Through hate, all things are possible"]] - Indeed, after most would have given up or surrendered, pure spite and unwillingness to let someone else have success will keep him fighting.
** [[spoiler: Lhunara is such a {{Determinator}} that she manages to come [[UpToEleven back from the]] ''[[BackFromTheDead dead]]''. She even gives an IronicEcho of Malus' aforementioned CatchPhrase when they finally meet again.]]
* DissonantSerenity : Yasmir, post-SanitySlippage.
* TheDragon : [[spoiler: [[BackFromTheDead Lhunara]]]] to [[spoiler: Nagaira]] in ''Lord of Ruin''.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas : Insofar as he's capable of loving anyone at all, Malus clearly respects his mother Eldire.
** A mercenary in the fifth book briefly mourns the loss of his mother's keepsake.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes : Malus' half-brother [[AbhorrentAdmirer Urial]] is deeply infatuated with their sister, Yasmir (though this probably has more to do with the prophecy he hopes to fulfill).
** Yasmir herself is in a relationship with her brother Burglir, who is in turn loved by his second-in-command, Tanithra.
** [[spoiler: Lhunara had fallen in love with Malus while she was alive, but never told him before he suddenly betrayed and killed her. As a RevenantZombie, her [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge single-minded obsession]] with killing him stems from this.]]
* EvenEvilHasStandards : For all his depravity, some displays of cruelty disturb even Malus; such as the way the forest-dwelling autarii mutilate their druchii slaves (cut off their ears, pluck out their eyes and cut out their tongues). Don't get him wrong, torturing people horribly is fun, but you're supposed to kill them afterwards, damn it, not force them to drag out such wretched existence!
** Played with in the comic. After murdering a whole party of dark elves in cold blood for an artifact, Malus reveals that one of them was [[spoiler: his father]]. Cue T'zarkan's mocking disbelief upon finding out: ''"...Sometimes, Malus Darkblade, you scare even me. And I'm a ''demon''."''.
* EvilCripple : Malus' half-brother Urial, who was born weak and malformed. Because of this, he was going to be sacrificed to Khaine, but the cauldron of boiling blood he was to die in mysteriously broke apart, and the child survived. Taking it as an omen, the [[ScaryAmoralReligion Temple of Khaine]] took Urial in and trained him as an acolyte.
* EvilIsVisceral : All over the place. Torture and violence is the druchii way of life, and they can be ''very'' creative with it.
** The state religion of Naggaroth is the worship of Khaela Menshia Khaine; the bloody-handed god of war and murder. The centre of this religion, Har Ganeth, is often called ''[[IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace The City of Executioners]]''.
** Chaos is just as bad, with the addition of [[ReligionOfEvil demon worship]].
* EvilHasABadSenseOfHumor : The dark elf race as a whole finds torture and murder highly entertaining, fitting into Type 2.
* EvilSorceress : Malus' mother Eldire, and his half-sister Nagaira. [[spoiler: Especially after the latter is revealed to be a follower of Chaos.]]
** In ''Lord of Ruin'', we meet Morathi - mother of [[EvilOverlord Malekith the Witch-King]] - who happens to be one of the most powerful druchii sorceresses in the world.
* FullFrontalAssault : Yasmir, as the Bride, fights completely in the nude.
* GenreSavvy : In his quest, Malus collects five extremely powerful relics, including two terrible magic weapons and amulets that protect one from all harm... and he almost never uses them because he knows that he ends up getting captured or knocked out several times per book; nearly every person he meets would rob him blind if they knew what he possessed. He usually keeps them in a saddlebag on his mount, Spite, under the belief that nobody wants to risk getting their arm bitten off by a surly giant lizard.
* GenuineHumanHide : Or dwarven; or elven; all perfectly legitimate materials for tailoring.
** The Skinriders flay their victims and wear their hides to cover their [[BodyHorror mutated, rotting bodies]].
* HeroAntagonist : The [[GoodCounterpart high elves]] in the prequel short ''Blood Price'' and the Bretonian border patrol in ''Sea of Blood''.
* HornyVikings : The [[ReligionOfEvil Chaos-worshipping]] marauders who raid Naggaroth from island strongholds on its northern sea. So horrifyingly brutal that even the druchii think they're crazy - which, if you know anything about [[AlwaysChaoticEvil dark elves in general]], means quite a bit. Worst among these raiders are the Skinriders: Followers of the plague-god Nurgle who skin their victims and [[GenuineHumanHide wear the hides as clothing]].
* ImHavingSoulPains : It gradually gets worse whenever Malus draws from T'zarkan's power.
* IncorruptiblePurePureness : [[PureIsNotGood With a dark twist, of course]]. The Endless, the PraetorianGuard of Malekith the Witch-King, are all indoctrinated into unwavering loyalty to their overlord and stripped of all traces of personal ambition. Malus concludes [[FelonyMisdemeanor with a mixture of dismay and revulsion]] that they are completely impossible to negotiate with.
* InTheBlood : Malus's family is chalk full of bastards, heretics, and murderers... which practically makes them model citizens of dark elf society.
* ItsAllAboutMe: For the most part of the narrative Malus Darkblade doesn't give a shit about anything not called Malus Darkblade. He ''slightly'' grows out of it by the very end, when he reasons that if his life and soul are most likely forfeight anyway, he could at least hold to his honor.
--->"The loss in ships and men did not concern Malus. He would've gladly ground continents into dust if that meant bringing him closer to his goal."
* KarmaHoudini : Averted. While Malus generally ''survives'' his adventures, the prices he pays are staggering: He loses his status, riches, and authority; even his very ''soul'' is at risk. Any time it looks like he's going to get away with something unforgivable, it's only so that he can play a role in somebody else's scheme.
* KillTheOnesYouLove : In ''Lord of Ruin'', [[spoiler: Malus kills Lhunara yet again.]]
* LiteralGenie : Malus, at one point, wishes he had a sword. T'zarkan offers to create a sword for him, but Malus declines because he knows that T'zarkan loves this trope and would probably make a [[BodyHorror bone sword grow]] [[BladeBelowTheShoulder out of his wrist]] or something.
--> '''T'zarkan:''' "It wouldn't have to grow out of your ''wrist''..."
** While exploring the [[AlienGeometries Tower of Eradorius]], Malus asks T'zarkan for a way to leave a trail as they navigate the maze. The daemon's solution [[BodyHorror is to start unraveling Malus']] ''[[BodyHorror veins]]'' [[BodyHorror to serve as string]].
* MustMakeAmends : In the last book, ''Lord of Ruin'', [[spoiler: Malus realizes that his ex-retainer Hauclir, the closest thing he's had to a real friend in a year, is going to die. Malus is home free as long as he keeps the Warpsword of Khaine close, as it prevents T'zarkan from controlling his actions, but his blood has healing properties when T'zarkan is in control. He puts down the sword and bleeds on Hauclir's wounds; he saves Hauclir's life, but loses control of his body, allowing T'zarkan to proceed with his endgame.]]
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast : Malus means "evil" or "wicked" in Latin. Overlaps with MeaningfulName.
** His [[HorseOfADifferentColor nauglir]] mount is named ''Spite''.
* PetTheDog : Despite being a truly awful person, Malus has quite a bit of affection for his [[HorseOfADifferentColor giant lizard mount]], Spite.
** His treatment of [[VillainousFriendship Hauclir]] also counts, [[spoiler: [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming to the point where Malus chooses to save his life at the cost of his own freedom]]]].
* PowersViaPossession : Malus's main trump card is that he can ask T'zarkan for demonic powers, which usually takes the form of supernatural healing, strength, and speed (though sometimes T'zarkan is a LiteralGenie and answers his requests in the most disturbing way possible). The problem is that, every time Malus does this, [[TheCorruption the daemon gains more control of his soul and body]].
* SmugSnake: That "not the strongest, smartest, or most skilled of his race, or even of his siblings" part? Malus spends quite some time aknowledging it, during which he reguralry makes some rather stupid and costly mistakes. For instance, he challenges the Beastman shaman to a duell for possession of the Anti-Magic amulet he's already wearing and doesn't bother to stipulate the rule against using magic, because, hey, he's immune to it! It doesn't occur to Malus that the shaman might use magic ''to buff himself'', which he does, nearly killing the druchii.
* SuperpoweredEvilSide : T'zarkan is effectively this to Malus, practically turning him into a demon right there so he can use nasty claws and supernatural strength and speed to fight his way out of a tough situation. He can barely control himself when he's like this. Of course, since Malus was evil in the first place, there might not be a lot of difference...
* ThePowerOfHate : Druchii culture as a whole seems to run on this concept. Malus himself provides the page quote:
--> '''Malus:''' "[[CatchPhrase With hate, all things are possible]]. And my hate is strong!"
* TheUnfavorite : Malus, for being the [[BastardBastard bastard offspring]] of Vaulkhar Lurhan and Eldire the sorceress. It really says something when even your physically-deformed step-brother is regarded more highly than you.
* UriahGambit : There are a number of these, particularly in ''Bloodstorm''. See ChronicBackstabbingDisorder above.
** In the prequel short story ''Blood Price'', [[spoiler: [[ArchnemesisDad Lurhan]] bribes the captain responsible for Malus' [[RiteOfPassage hakseer-cruise]] in an attempt to ensure the young highborn never survives his first raiding mission]].
* VillainProtagonist : Malus Darkblade is a deeply unpleasant man, but he's the protagonist and it's even possible to root for him simply because all the other characters are just as bad or worse than he is.
* WrongGenreSavvy : Related to GenreSavvy above. Numerous times, Malus runs into situations where one of the artifacts he's collected on his quest would have protected him from harm or allowed him to fight an otherwise unstoppable enemy, but he left it back with his mount to keep it safe.
** Because he miraculously survived being dropped into a cauldron of boiling blood as an infant, Urial believes he is TheChosenOne destined to wield [[ArtifactOfDoom the Warpsword of Khaine]] and bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. [[spoiler: He isn't. The Warpsword he takes from the Temple of Khaine is actually a replica, and the original artifact is later found by the ''real'' chosen one - Malus Darkblade.]]
* XanatosSpeedChess : [[spoiler: Both T'zarkan and Eldire are {{Chessmaster}}s of nigh-impossible skill, playing a ScryVsScry game centuries or possibly ''millenia'' in the making.]]
* YankTheDogsChain: Malus is allowed to gather and keep the artifacts he needs to release T'Zarkan. Everything else that goes even slightly in his favor is promptly taken away or otherwise nullified.
* YourDaysAreNumbered : Malus is given one year to find all of T'zarkan's artifacts, or else he loses his soul forever.
* YouHaveFailedMe : [[spoiler: For her failure to defeat the armies of Naggaroth in the name of the Chaos Gods, Nagaira's sorcerous powers turn against her, destroying her completely.]]

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