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 part of the CrapsackWorld where [[OurElvesAreBetter dark elves]] rule fortress cities under a mighty Witch King.

The series consists of five books, as well as a prelude 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 VillainProtagonist: Through the series, nearly everyone Darkblade meets [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder will eventually be betrayed by him]]... though, admittedly, with the dark elves known as [[AlwaysChaoticEvil druchii]], often it's a race to see who betrays whom first. [[AbusiveParents Even his own family]]. [[InTheBlood Especially 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}} never gives up]], even well after there is no plausible path to success.

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!!The series uses the following tropes:

* AbusiveParents: Malus' father has been covertly trying to get him killed since childhood, not trying openly for fear of Malus' mother's wrath. He paid the captain of the ship Malus used for his Rite of Passage to [[HuntingAccident get him killed]]. His mother loves him but uses him as a pawn, willingly risking his life and soul, for the sake of a prophecy to claim magical power for herself and give him a good future.
** Malus's father tortures him for ''weeks'' in the hopes that he will beg for death and nearly kills him in frustration when it failed, except for life-saving magic.
* 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 subordinated, giving awesome motivational speeches and even sacrificing 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 the cast full of bloodthirsty sadistic monsters and insane killers (which includes the main protagonist) his snarky, impertinent yet loyal and surprisingly likable persona is quite a relief. The mercenaries in the fifth book, petty crooks and cutthroats each, are also a lot of fun.
* AxCrazy: Most of the characters from all factions, but followers of Khaine in particular.
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Subverted. "Darkblade" may sound cool, but for the druchii it is a derogatory allias, meaning "a flawed thing", and Malus hates it (more than other things, that is).
* BackFromTheDead: In ''Lord of Ruin'', [[spoiler: Lhunara]] comes back leading the Chaos Army. Malus is quite surprised.
* BlackMagic: The magic Dark Elves use is highly destructive, uses rather gruesome reagents and oh boy, does it corrupt.
* BrotherSisterIncest: Malus and pretty much every one of his brothers and sisters has intentions toward/is having an affair with one of their siblings. They're only Malus's half-siblings; not that it makes a difference...
* CruelMercy: To get some information out of a wounded Khainite, Malus threatens to... leave him alive and treat his wounds. Kainite is horrified that a fellow druchi would sink that low. Mind it, Malus only wounded him in the first place, because the Kainite attacked Malus after he ''saved'' him from being killed, which he considered a grave insult. Yep, Khainites are that crazy.
* DeadlyDecadentCourt: All druchii cities are ruled by one of these. They even have rules for how far 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. Malus remains free-willed through most of the series. Later played straight after Malus [[TheDarkSide uses the demon's power a few too many times...]]
** There are several other instances of demons taking over mortal bodies, and it's never pleasant for the mortal.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Malus and, essentially, almost every druchii in the entire series. He makes and betrays 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: [[spoiler: Malus retrieves and wields the Warpsword of Khaine, one of the relics T'zarkan requires. Not only is it a powerful weapon, it allows Malus to resist the daemon's influence while wielding it.]]
* TheDarkSide: Malus's main trump card is that he can ask T'zarkan for power, 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, the daemon gains more control of his soul and body.
* {{Determinator}}: Malus is fond of saying, "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.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas: As much as he's capable of loving anyone at all.
** A mercenary in the fifth book briefly mourns the loss of his mother's keepsake.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: [[spoiler: Lhunara had fallen in love with Malys while she was alive, but never told him until after she became an undead Chaos Champion. Also Malus' siblings [[BrotherSisterIncest Bruglir and Yasmir]].]]
* EvenEvilHasStandards: For all his depravity, some displays of cruelty disturb even Malus, such as the way his forest-dwelling cousins mutilate their slaves (cut off their ears, pluck out their eyes and cut out their tounges). 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! The chaos-worshippers who flay their victims alive to cover their decaying bodies with the stolen skins are also not his cup of tea.
** Played with in the comic. After murdering a whole party of Dark Elves in cold blood for an artefact, Malus reveals that one of them was his father. Cue T'zarkan's stunned disbelief upon finding out. "Even so...sometimes, Malus Darkblade, you scare even me. And I'm a demon..".
* EvilHasABadSenseOfHumor: The Dark Elf race as a whole finds torture and murder highly entertaining, fitting into Type 2. One reason Hauclir is such a popular character is that his (dark, deadpan) 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."
*** Debatable whether this is part of Malus' sense of humour or something he picked up from Hauclir. It seems to become more prominent the more time Darkblade spends around him.
* 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 dwarfen, or elven, all perfectly lgeitimate materials for tailoring.
* HornyVikings: The Chaos Marauders who raid Naggaroth from island strongholds on its northern sea. So horrifyingly brutal that even the Dark Elves think they're crazy. Which, if you know anything about Dark Elves, means quite a bit. Worst among these Norscans are the Skinriders, Nurglite worshipers who are the primarily antagonists of the second volume, Bloodstorm.
* ImHavingSoulPains: It gradually gets worse the more Malus asks from T'zarkan.
* IncorruptiblePurePureness: With a dark twist (of course). The Endless, the elite guard of the the Witch-King Malekith, are all brainwashed into unwavering loyalty to their overlord and stripped of all traces of personal ambiton. Malus concludes [[FelonyMisdemeanor with a mixture of dismay and revulsion]], that they are completely incorruptible.
* InTheBlood: Malus's family is chalk full of bastards, heretics, and murderers... which practically makes them model citizens of dark elf society.
* KarmaHoudini: Averted. While Malus (usually) ''survives'' his adventures, the prices he pays are staggering; he loses his status, riches, and authority; even his very ''soul'' comes into question. At one point he notices that [[ImHavingSoulPains he doesn't have a heartbeat anymore]]. 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 ends up killing Lhunara (again); her last words are, "I loved you." He responds with, "I know."]]
* LiteralGenie: Malus, at one point, wishes he had a sword. T'zarkan offers him a sword, but Malus declines because he knows that T'zarkan embodies this trope and would make a bone sword grow out of his wrist or something.
--> T'zarkan: "It wouldn't have to grow out of your ''wrist''..."
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Malus means "evil" or "wicked" in Latin. Overlaps with MeaningfulName.
* PetTheDog: Despite being a truly awful person, Malus has quite a bit of affection for his [[HorseOfADifferentColor giant lizard mount]], Spite.
* 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.]]
* SuperpoweredEvilSide: A couple of times, T'zarkan does 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...
* UriahGambit: There are a number of these, particularly in ''Bloodstorm''; see ChronicBackstabbingDisorder above. Given that TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} stories often include the massed battles their parent game is famous for, there are usually numerous opportunities for unwanted collaborators or minions to meet unpleasant fates.
* WrongGenreSavvy: Related to GenreSavvy above, Malus, for some reason, doesn't realize that he's the warrior protagonist of a fantasy series; numerous times he runs into situations where one of the magic items he's collected on his quest would have protected him from harm or allowed him to kill an otherwise unstoppable enemy, but he left them back at his base for one reason or another.
* VillainProtagonist: Malus 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 as bad or worse.
* XanatosSpeedChess: Both T'zarkan and Malus's mother, Eldire, are {{Chessmaster}}s of nigh impossible skill, playing a ScryVsScry game centuries or even millenia in the making. Any and every event that takes place is considered and used to the maximum advantage.
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