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Characters / Malus Darkblade

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The cast of the Malus Darkblade series, and the tropes that apply to them.

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     Malus Darkblade 

Malus Darkblade
"Through hate, all things are possible...And my hate is strong."

Bastard son of Lurhan, Vaulkhar of Hag Graef, and the sorceress Eldire, Malus Darkblade is considered the lowest of his highborn family. Driven by a ruthless ambition to surpass his kin, Malus embarks upon a quest deep into the Chaos Wastes in search of an ancient power - only for said power to actually be the vile daemon T'zarkan, who possesses the dark elf and delivers an ultimatum: Recover five artifacts to release the daemon from its prison, or forfeit his soul forever.

  • Affably Evil: Malus can be sincerely affable to the, admittedly few, people he actually likes. To everyone else however he's more Faux Affably Evil, or just outright hostile.
  • Anti Anti Christ: Malus is the Scourge, destined to wield the Warpsword of Khaine and bring about the Time of Blood. However, he's a bit more interested in using the Warpsword to save his own soul rather than usher in any sort of apocalypse.
  • Bastard Bastard: He is the improper offspring of Vaulkhar Lurhan and Eldire the hag-sorceress, and he's definitely a bastard.
  • Bait the Dog: In the opening scene of The Daemon's Curse, Malus offers that a single prisoner will be set free before his raiding ship reaches Clar Karond. Just before the ship enters the city port, the prisoner in question - after hearing what the druchii did to his lover - is simply thrown overboard for the mer-creatures in the water to devour.
  • Boxed Crook: In Lord of Ruin, as the 'champion' of Malekith's army.
  • The Captain: Was thrust into command of the ship Manticore by his father in "The Blood Price".
  • Cool Sword: The Warpsword of Khaine, which he acquires in the fourth novel. The blade is powerful enough to kill a dragon ogre shaggoth in a single blow, and turns the wielder into a nigh unstoppable killing machine. It also serves to counter the influence of T'zarkan, albeit temporarily. This power comes at a price however, as it sends the wielder into an uncontrollable, psychotic rage when used.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Fate is downright sadistic to Malus, a fact he is well aware of.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He certainly has his moments.
  • Demonic Possession : Courtesy of T'zarkan.
  • Determinator: One of his key traits, Malus simply never gives up. Even when the odds are ludicrously stacked against him and no plausible path to success can be found.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite being a thoroughly unrepentant bastard for the most part, there are still acts which disturb even Malus. He can't help but react with horror at upon witnessing the depredations of the Autarii for example.
  • Greed: Essentially what damns him in the first place, he just had to pick up that ring.
  • Meaningful Name: "Malus" litterally means "bad" in latin.
  • Race Against the Clock: When T'zarkan possesses him, the Daemon offers to free Malus of his curse should he locate five artifacts that would grant T'zarkan his own freedom. Malus only has one year to locate the artifacts or else T'zarkan will take Malus' soul. In Lord of Ruin, it is revealed that the one year deadline was because a ground level volcano underneath T'zarkan's prison was to erupt in a year, and T'zarkan needed to be released before the volcano would erupt.
  • Screw Destiny: Towards the end of the series, Malus' goals evolve into this on top of 'get my body back'.
  • Self-Made Orphan: He ends up killing his own father. Not that Lurhan didn't have it coming.
  • The Soulless: T'zarkan takes Malus' soul as it flees after its defeat, leaving Malus as this.
  • The Unfavorite: Being the bastard offspring of his father and a sorceress, Malus isn't very high in his family's pecking order. It really says something when even your deformed, crippled half-brother is more highly-regarded than you. During his first raiding cruise he even comments that he could come back to Naggaroth dragging Teclis by the hair and it still wouldn't improve his father's opinion of him.
  • Villain Protagonist: Malus is a deeply unpleasant person, but he's the main character and it's possible to cheer him on simply because his enemies are just as bad or worse than he is.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: One of his earliest moments is to torment a captive by describing what the crew of his raiding ship did to his lover when she offered herself in exchange for his 'freedom', complete with showing the man her skinned-off face, before casting him overboard.
    Malus: " Would you like one last kiss before you go?"




An ancient daemon sealed inside a Crystal Prison, T'zarkan possesses an unwary Malus Darkblade and forces the highborn to search for the keys needed to release it, lest T'zarkan devour his soul.

  • Big Bad: Of the series as a whole.
    • Bigger Bad: Beyond Malus' possession being the driving force of the plot, T'zarkan isn't a direct antagonist until Lord of Ruin.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: With Nagaira in Lord of Ruin.
  • Body Horror: A great many of its 'gifts' tend to be body parts warped and mutated into utility.
  • The Corruption: As Malus draws on T'zarkan's powers, the demon gains more and more control.
  • Demonic Possession: Possesses Malus at the end of "The Daemon's Curse".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: It sometimes likes to invoke this, as a way of taunting Malus for his more despicable acts.
    T'zarkan: "Sometimes, Malus Darkblade, you scare even me. And I'm a demon."
  • Faux Affably Evil: He often tries to appear personable, or even helpful. Needless to say, this is all an act.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard : T'zarkan is ultimately defeated by the same artifacts Malus had been forced to collect.
  • Our Demons Are Different: A greater daemon of Slaanesh, which would classify him as a Keeper of Secrets, going by the main canon.
  • Retcon: In the original comic, Dan Abnett introduced us to T'zarkan as a Daemon of Tzeentch. When he rewrites the story for the novels, He changes him to a Daemon of Slaanesh, maybe to fit better in the Dark Elves background and their relationship with the Dark Prince of Chaos of the main game.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Generally played straight but played with in parts. It claims that it's body is trapped in the crystal prison which is why the artifacts are needed to free it. When Malus completes the ritual with the assembled relics, the demon's body emerges from him and not the crystal, although he wasn't entirely surprised by this.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The prophecy of the Scourge was written for Malus Darkblade, and T'zarkan intends to assume that identity to bring about the Time of Blood himself.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Upon being freed from his prison, T'zarkan attempts to devour Malus' soul as the final step towards realizing the prophecy of the Scourge.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: He steals Malus' soul at the climax of "Lord of Ruin".

     Malus' Family 


Vaulkhar of Hag Graef, and Malus' father.

  • Abusive Parents: And how. He has tried to have Malus killed since birth, and actively encourages rivalry among his offspring, even if it turns deadly.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Is a very typical Dark Elf noble in the novels. In the initial comics, he's just another leader of a raiding party who values his comrades and seemed to mourn his son's apparent death. Malus also kills him in short order.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture : He subjects Malus to this in Reaper of Souls.
  • The Dragon: To the Drachau of Hag Graef.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He appeared to have genuinely love his first wife, and while he appears generally dismissive (at best) of his children, he at least seems to regard his eldest son Bruglir with a certain amount of pride.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch / The Dog Bites Back : In ''Reaper of Souls, Malus kills him for the Dagger of Torxus.
  • The Lost Lenore: His first wife.
  • Offing the Offspring / Make It Look Like an Accident : He despises Malus, and has gone to great lengths to see his bastard son killed. However, his own fear of incurring Eldire's wrath prevents him from simply executing Malus outright.


A powerful Sorceress and Malus' mother, she is the sister of a rebellious Dark Elf commander. After her brother's defeat Eldire went to Lurhan after the death of his first wife , secretly at Eldire's hands, and made a deal, including having child with him for her own purposes.


Malus' first half-brother and oldest sibling, and renowned captain of a raiding fleet.

  • Brother–Sister Incest: With Yasmir.
  • Four-Star Badass: Commands a Dark Elf raiding fleet.
  • Generation Xerox: Looks the most like their father and is his favourite child.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Twice. His cheating on Tanithra and denying her the command he promised her leads to her betraying his plan to the Skinrider chieftan. The second is disregarding Malus despite his newfound authority, which leads to his death.
  • In the Back: Gets killed while trying to kill Malus when a Skinrider buries an axe in the back of Bruglir's skull.
  • Not Worth Killing: He has killed every suitor for Yasmir's hand and everyone he catches making a move on her, except Urial. Despite Yasmir's requests to kill him, the only reason he hasn't is because he considers Urial not worth the effort.
  • Villainous Incest: In an incestuous relationship with Yasmir.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: He is a renowned fleet commander among the Dark Elves.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Despite his relationship with Yasmir, he has a sexual relationship with his lieutenant, Tanithra. Both women are furious when they find out.


Malus' second oldest half brother.


The third of Lurhan's children and Malus' half-sister. Renowned as probably the most beautiful woman in Hag Graef

  • And Show It to You: How Yasmir kills Urial.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: With Bruglir, and it is implied that Urial or Malus were destined to marry her at one point.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: When she starts to see slaughter as the only way in life she abandons the trappings of nobility and clothes.
  • The Hedonist: Spends her time only doing things she enjoys.
  • Hypocrite: Yasmir has many lovers besides Bruglir, and enjoys the attention, making men compete for her affections many times. When she finds out that Bruglir has someone else, she is furious and considers it a betrayal.
    • This is due in part to a Double Standard in Dark Elf culture. An unmarried Dark Elf woman can have as many lovers as she wants, but a Dark Elf man is expected to have only one at a time as a show of strength.
  • Kick the Dog: She brought a personal slave to carry her things when she travelled to Bruglir's fleet. When she found out about Tanithra, Yasmir took her anger out on the slave, kicking her to the ground, then choking her before slitting her throat.
  • Knife Nut: Is reported to be exceptionally good with a pair of daggers. Becomes preternaturally good, after she looses her mind and embraces slaughter as the only meaning in life.
  • ManEater/Really Gets Around: Has almost all the noblemen in Hag Graef wrapped around her pinky. Malus notes that it's been said more of Hag Graef's knights have died trying to please her than have been killed in battle, and privately thinks Lurhan should either order her to marry someone or ship her off to the Temple of Khaine. In Bloodstorm, Yasmir is implied to have kept Malus waiting for nearly an entire day due to being in an orgy with some of her various admirers the whole time.
  • Sanity Slippage: Grows progressively more insane over the course of Bloodstorm, and by the end of the novel has completely lost it.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Starting when Malus orders her to accompany his expedition, since she's unused to not having control, and continuing when she finds out her brother is seeing someone else is implied to be the start of her Sanity Slippage.
  • Villainous Incest: In a relationship with Bruglir, her eldest brother.
  • When She Smiles: Inverted. She is at her most beautiful when she is angry and when she becomes the Bride of Ruin.
  • Woman Scorned: She is furious when she discovers that Bruglir was seeing Tanithra when he was away with his fleet.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Her fate past "Warpsword" is unknown.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Or at least the most beautiful in Hag Graef.


The fourth oldest child of Lurhan and Malus' other half-sister.


The fifth child of Lurhan and Malus' third half-brother. Born crippled because Eldire slowly poisoned Lurhan's first wife, he was given to the Temple of Khaine as a sacrifice. When the cauldron of boiling blood he was thrown into split open and he survived it was taken as a sign and he was raised as a disciple of Khaine.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: To Yasmir, who is utterly disgusted by him. Initially at least.
  • Badass Cripple: Despite having a withered arm and leg, he's a very capable fighter and a powerful sorcerer.
  • The Beastmaster: Urial has a tendency to use summoned monsters, usually patched together from various other creatures, both as hunting beasts and guardians for his inner sanctum.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Subverted. He wants his older sister Yasmir, but she doesn't want him and can fend him off easily, especially since she's well-protected.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Yasmir tears his heart out and eats it in front of his dying eyes.
  • Evil Cripple
  • Evil Sorcerer: His deformities meant he couldn't be trained as an assassin like those who survive being given as a sacrifice, so the Temple of Khaine taught him sorcery instead.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Urial keeps using his sorcery to dodge Malus's attempts to strike him. Malus uses this against him to make a killing blow by, when he sees Urial about to use the spell again, stabbing out at the point where Urial will be.
  • I Lied: Offers in Bloodstorm to transport Yasmir and Malus directly to Bruglir's ship to save time but insists they only bring one retainer with them, as trying to magically teleport more will be too dangerous. When they teleport, much to Malus's fury Urial brings six of his personal guard with him. Urial later admits he deliberately lied because he'd already factored his men into the teleportation spell.
    • Literal Words: When confronted, he smugly clarifies that allowing Malus to have more men would've indeed been dangerous. For Urial that is.
  • Religious Bruiser: A priest of the Cult of Khaine.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Blessed with the power of Khaine he stares down the Skinrider chieftan a powerful Daemon Prince of Nurgle and he hesitates to attack Urial.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Every time Malus fulfils part of the Scourge prophecy that Urial thinks relates to him.
  • Villainous Incest
  • Wham Line: Urial drops a hell of a one in the opening of Reaper of Souls.
    Malus: The reason for my search is unimportant, but-
    Urial: You seek to free the daemon T'zarkan from his prison.

Balneth Bale

Eldire's brother and Malus' uncle, leader of the Black Ark Naggor he rejected the Witch-King's rule.

  • Batman Gambit: After Malus slays Lurhan, Bale allows Lurhan's men to enter his territory in pursuit of their lord's killer so he can use it to declare war on Hag Graef while leaving Malekith unable to intervene.
  • Evil Uncle: Definitely one to Malus.
  • It's Personal: After Malus tortures his son Fuerlan he makes revenge on his nephew one of his primary goals.


Balneth's son and Malus' cousin.

  • The Alcoholic: Begins drinking heavily after enduring torture at the hands of Malus.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: He was not exactly great before, but Malus torturing him for daring to treat him like an equal did not do wonders for Fuerlan's sanity.
  • Covered in Scars: As a result of Malus torturing him for kicks.
  • General Failure: For all his grandstanding, Fuerlan proves himself an abysmal military commander. Naggor's military commanders collectively panic when they learn Fuelan's being put in charge of their campaign against Hag Graef.
  • I Have Your Wife: After the last conflict between Hag Graef and Naggor, Fuerlan spent several years at Hag Graef as a hostage to keep his father in line. After Malus tortures him, Uthlan Tyr returns Fuerlan to Naggor to avoid a diplomatic incident.
  • Miles Gloriosus
  • Oh, Crap!: When he realises Nagaira has been using him as a pawn for her agenda all along.

     Malus' Retainers 

Lhunara Ithil

A female corsair who served as the first mate on the raiding ship Manticore, upon which Malus embarked on his first raiding cruise. She later joins his warband and becomes one of his chief lieutenants. Until her death at the end of The Daemon's Curse.


A roguish guardsman from the city of Hag Graef who later joins Malus' warband.

  • Affably Evil: Hauclir is surprisingly friendly and easy going for a Dark Elf. In fact most of his actions paint him as more of a petty crook than anything, which practically makes him a saint by Druchii standards.
  • Affectionate Nickname: He is frequently called "you damned rogue" by Malus.
  • Better Living Through Evil: Resigns from his position as a Captain in Hag Graef's city guard to join Malus's retinue because he believes there's more chance for advancement there.
  • Bus Crash: By the time of Deathblade, the last book in the series, Malus offhandedly mentions Hauclir is long dead and that he made sure Hauclir had a decent burial.
  • Deadpan Snarker: One of the most prominent in the series, whenever he and Malus interact Snark-to-Snark Combat is practically inevitable.
  • Servile Snarker: His position as one of Malus's retainers does not stop him from talking back to his master.
  • Villainous Friendship: By he end of the novel series he and Malus have formed a genuine bond, an extremely rare thing among Dark Elves.

Arleth Vann

A former Khainite Assassin.

  • Ascended Extra: Arleth doesn't receive much focus for the first three books of the series, but becomes a major supporting character in Warpsword.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Delivers a surprising amount of snark in Warpsword. Malus comments that he must have been spending too much time with Hauclir.
  • Lean and Mean: Described as looking like a man worn down to skin and bone by fever.
  • Mr. Exposition: Gives Malus a lot of information about the history of the Temple of Khaine and the druchii's past that proves valuable to Malus.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: a very low-key example, but he is a follower of the extremist sub-cult of Khaine worship, that earns to set off The Time Of Blood.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: His eyes are described as: "A pale yellow-gold, like those of a wolf".

     Other Characters 


The Witch King of Naggaroth and ruler of the Druchii.

  • Big Damn Heroes: Amazingly he does this while Malus is about to be overwhelmed by Nagaira, bathing the sorceress in dragonfire and giving Malus an opening to strike her.
  • Dragon Rider: Rides into battle atop the black dragon, Seraphon.
  • Evil Overlord: One of the premier examples from Warhammer Fantasy.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Zigzagged; Malekith spends most of Lord of Ruin in his temporary throne room in Ghrond, leaving the job of defending the city to his lieutenants, but when the horde overstretches itself, Malekith personally leads the druchii counterattack.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He come across as much more pragmatic and level-headed than his Ax-Crazy backstabbing leutenants that Malus has to deal with. Probably because he has a bunch of Axe-Crazy backstabbers for leutenants, so if he wants to get shit done, he has to keep a clear head and restrain from wasting the only guy around with the same interest (i.e. Malus).
  • Tin Tyrant: Wears an all-covering suit of black armour.

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