This Darksiders novel was released on July 24th, 2012. It takes place before the events of Darksiders and Darksiders II, and follows the two Horsemen War and Death on a quest to protect the Abomination Vault. An excerpt of the novel can be viewed here.
|“|| Ages before the events of Darksiders and Darksiders II, two of the feared Horsemen—Death and War—are tasked with stopping a group of renegades from locating the Abomination Vault: a hoard containing weapons of ultimate power and malice, capable of bringing an end to the uneasy truce between Heaven and Hell . . . but only by unleashing total destruction.|
Created in close collaboration with the Darksiders II teams at Vigil and THQ, Darksiders: The Abomination Vault gives an exciting look at the history and world of the Horsemen, shining a new light on the unbreakable bond between War and Death.
— Official plot description
The book starts with a brief prologue, where Lilith discusses the plans of an unknown visitor. The visitor offers to make Lilith as powerful as she once was, but she declines in favor of her own, more discreet, schemes. As the man leaves, Lilith deduces that he did not succumb to her seductive powers because he was already in love. As the man leaves her chambers, he encounters another woman. He reveals to her his weapon, a gun made from flesh and bones, named Black Mercy, which, at the moment, is dormant. He convinces her to help him...
Death arrives on a barren world (a dead realm) and raises a crowd of skeletons from the earth to begin construction of a new home. A creature with nine eyes (Panoptos) appears behind him and declares that the Charred Council wishes to speak with him after his 500 year travels. Death initially refuses, but is told that the incident they expected him to investigate occurred on the boundaries of Eden.
Upon arriving, Death found the battlefield curiously lacking in overt signs of carnage such as corpses and rubble. He eventually found the body of one angel, so hopelessly tangled deep in the brush that his comrades had been unable to find him. Using necromancy, he was able to summon the spirit of the deceased angel to describe the battle. Through his method, he was able to discover that the angel garrison was attacked by an army of Maker Constructs that nearly overwhelmed them through sheer numbers before they received reinforcements from Abaddon himself. Death's interview was cut short when a small group of angels attacked him, angered by his desecration of their fellow's corpse. Death defeated them handily, and in doing so realized why he had been unable to detect them earlier and why the site was barren of battle signs. At his call, the angel that had cast the powerful illusion, Azrael, allowed it to fade. After discussing the angels' purpose at Eden, being the protection of Eden where the Council had not bothered, Azrael brought Death to the small fortress that was the angels' camp to speak with Abaddon. The three grudgingly discussed the terms of an alliance to uncover the perpetrators of the attack. When Death discovered that Abaddon had lost his eye to a long thought lost Nephilim sword named Affliction, he immediately became worried as to what other ancient weapons they might have liberated from the dead worlds, the old battlefields of the Nephilim. The eldest Horseman refused to elaborate on his fears to the angels and departed at once.
It was to Kothysos, the site of the fiercest battle the Nephilim had fought before Eden and the world where the Nephelim had lost Affliction, that Death journeyed to next. He found that a massive force of Maker constructs were excavating the ancient battlefield, scavenging what they could of Nephilim weapons. By the light guard and small prizes the constructs uncovered, Death surmised that whoever had made the constructs had already found what they were looking for and were merely wrapping up their operation. After dispatching a number of constructs and upon examining the pile of scavenged materials, he discovered fragments of handles, grips, and other material crafted from leathery flesh, confirming his fears that the constructs had discovered a lost Abomination. Shortly after this discovery, Death's companion, Dust, fell into a fit and through him the Horseman received a vision of the Crowfather's domain under attack by yet another construct army.
Death went to the Crowfather's frigid domain and made his way to the Crowfather himself, using subtlety to sneak and ambush his way across the battlefield where constructs did battle with flocks of crows so large they blotted out the sky and the elements of the realm itself, gusts of blizzard and even bolts of lightning, as the Crowfather marshaled the power of his own domain. When he found the Crowfather, the pair combined their abilities to drive the last of the constructs from the icy plains. After arguing about the Crowfather's lingering connection to Dust, they worked out a way get the knowledge they wanted from a dead construct. The Crowfather placed the soul of one of his dying crows within the construct, mingling it with the memories of the construct itself. Death then used his necromantic powers to consult the spirit, discovering that the Maker that had built the construct army was named Belisatra and his worst fears were confirmed: someone was looking for a way to awaken the Grand Abominations.
Death then returned to the Charred Council to give his report and warn them of the danger posed by the Abomination Vault with the other three Horseman present. He told the Council and the other Horsemen about the Abominations and the Abomination Vault, though he refused to reveal its location regardless of the Council's threats. Death managed to convince the Council that his usefulness in this matter outwayed his insolence and they agreed to send the Horsemen to investigate. However, the eldest Horsemen ordered War, Fury, and Strife to stay behind. Despite their protests, they eventually agreed to abide by his wishes.
Before leaving the Council's domain, Death paid a visit to the Keeper of Oblivion, the being that holds power over the portal to the realm of nonexistence known as Oblivion and a fellow servant of the Charred Council. As a friend, Death expressed his discomfort with the feelings of guilt that the resurfacing of the Abominations had brought on. He then told the Keeper most of his history concerning the abominations, not because he was seeking council, but because he wished to unburden himself of at least some of his guilty secrets to someone that might understand. During the conversation, the Crowfather contacted Death with a memory from one of his crows concerning the construct invasion of his realm. It revealed that the invasion had been led by an unknown angel. The Horseman then set his next destination as the Library of the Argent Spire in the White City, searching for records of the Maker Belisatra.
Death received a frosty reception from the angels in the White City, owing to a massacre War had recently perpetrated there while eliminating an angelic weapon of mass destruction on the Charred Council's orders. The Horseman was, however, able to convince the guards to let him through. On his approach to the Argent Spire, Death was approached by an angel calling himself Semyaza, who claimed to be his escort. Soon after, Semyaza ambushed Death and pushed him off the bridge they were standing on, plummeting several layers deeper into the city. As he recovered from the impact, Semyaza impaled the Horseman with Affliction. Before Semyaza could continue his attack, War appeared and attacked the angel from above. Unwilling to fight two of the Horsemen simultaneously, Semyaza fled the field of battle. Death and War argued vehemently over the latter's disobedience to the former's orders but they were cut short by the arrival of Abaddon and his forces. After a standoff and reminding the angels of the pacts and treaties that bound them, the pair was able to continue to the Argent Spire.
At the Argent Spire, they consulted Azrael for information on Belisatra and her angelic ally. They determined that Semyaza was most likely an alias as the real Semyaza was stationed at an angel outpost far from the White City. As Death gave Azrael a curtailed account of the Abominations, omitting any mention of the Ravaiim or the precise nature of the Grand Abominations. In the meantime, Azrael's subordinates had gathered information regarding Belisatra. They discovered that she was once an apprentice to an ancient and powerful Maker named Gulbannan that was murdered some ages ago. Furthermore, Gulbannan had been a lover of Lilith.
Their next destination was the home of Lilith herself in Hell. Leaving War at the door, Death confronted Lilith alone. She alluded to some past relationship between the two, but he refused to acknowledge it. Lilith evaded his questions about Belisatra, but he threatened her with the Charred Council's retaliation should she not aid them in stopping the Maker's effort's to awaken the Abominations. She admitted that it had been Belisatra that murdered Gulbannan when he was going to reveal what he had taught Lilith to the other Makers out of guilt and that Belisatra had become Lilith's servant soon after. However, the Maker recently left Lilith's service after the visit of an angel named Hadrimon. Realizing that Hadrimon was the angel that had attacked him and led the assault on the Crowfather's realm, the Horsemen departed for Lilith's old laboratory in Gulbannan's former domain.
After breaking their way into the laboratory, Death and War found Hadrimon and Belisatra. They immediately struck, but the battle had hardly begun when a small army of demons attacked both sides. The Nephilim defeated the demons handily, but the rogue angel and Maker escaped amidst the confusion. Confused by the demon presence, Death was still able to surmise that the workshop had contained a large Grand Abomination before the conspirators had absconded with it. He also acquired the Abomination Mortis, still powerful though nearly dead. He underestimated it and left his own mind vulnerable to it when he put it on, accidentally revealing the secret of the Grand Abomination's activation to Hadrimon through the mental link between Abominations.
Furious at his failure, Death led War to the Ravaiim home world where he knew Hadrimon and Belisatra would go to retrieve the key necessary to awaken the power of the Grand Abominations: Ravaiim blood. Frustrated by his brother's opacity, War cajoled Death into revealing the reason for his guilt, his complicity in the creation of the Abominations. Before they got far, both Nephilim were shocked by the appearance of a small army of angels under the command of Azrael. Death, having sent Dust to the Charred Council, was expecting Fury and Strife, but the Council had chosen to hold them in reserve and sent Dust on the White City to request assistance. Upon hearing Hadrimon's name, Azrael explained the rogue angel's past and his reasons for hating both Heaven and Hell.
The angels and the Horsemen searched the plains of the Ravaiim world until they came across Belisatra's construct army. They were able to deal with the constructs easily despite being outnumbered eight to one, but once again, as in Lilith's old laboratory, a demonic horde attacked. Between the battle prowess of the Horsemen, the angels, and Azrael's magics, the demons' stood little chance of victory. In the heat of battle, Death glimpsed the profane form of a Lost Angel lurking as a commander in the rear of the demonic forces. Just as the battle seemed to be winding down, another army of constructs joined the battle. This time they were joined by Hadrimon, who wielded the Abomination Black Mercy, a pistol that killed each of its targets no matter how minor the injury inflicted. That was revealed to be the least of their worries as Belisatra appeared with the massive Grand Abomination known as Earth Reaver, a weapon capable of causing a full scale volcanic eruption. Many demons, constructs, and a good number of angels fell to the first shot. In light of such power, Death convinced Azrael and War to retreat. After setting up his brother and the angels in a defensive position, the eldest Nephilim used ammunition from the angels' Redemption cannons as explosives to destroy Earth Reaver's footing, temporarily disabling it for a number of hours.
Death regrouped with War and Azrael shortly, hatching a plan to deprive Hadrimon ad Belisatra of Ravaiim blood. He concocted a necromantic spell to draw all the Ravaiim blood into the cavern they had made their camp in, a feat made possible by the pooling of Azrael's mystical energies with his own. He condensed the blood and placed it in a cylinder, also creating several duplicate decoy cylinders. He told Azrael and War that he would stay with a decoy cylinder while Azrael would take most of his angels with a second decoy. War would carry actually Ravaiim blood in an attempt to outmaneuver Hadrimon and Belisatra. After they had gone, Death carefully lowered his mental defenses and revealed the plan to Mortis, and thus to Hadrimon. Unbeknownst to Hadrimon, Mortis, Azrael, or War himself, Death had sent the younger Horseman with a decoy while he himself carried the true Ravaiim blood. In this way, he ensured that he would be able to depart with the Ravaiim blood unharrassed though all but guaranteeing his brother's demise. Death then took the time to interview the deceased spirit of a dead demon, discovering that their master was the Lost Angel Raciel, who was Hadrimon's lover before she was banished to Hell after he reported their illegal romance to Heaven's leaders.
The elder Horseman then departed for the realm of the Charred Council. Rather than visiting the Council, Death went to the Keeper of Oblivion and persuaded him to cast the cylinder of Ravaiim blood through the portal into Oblivion, thus ensuring that nobody would ever be able to use it to awaken the Abominations ever again. Despite Panoptos' attempts to stop him, the Horseman immediately departed to the Ravaiim home world once more in the hopes of saving his brother. He spent days with Dust and Despair scouring the plains for War. When Death found him, the younger Horseman was already dead. However, Death stabbed himself with War's soul bound sword, Chaoseater, allowing it to feed off the violence and pain of the act, and used the spark of War's life lingering in the blade combined with his own necromantic powers to revive his brother. Death was consumed by guilt at his actions that led to War's death and his own inability to tell his brother the truth afterwards. He took some solace in his certainty that the threat of the Abomination Vault was resolved.
Unfortunately that solace was premature. Upon their return to the realm of the Charred Council, Death and War learned that Belisatra's constructs and Hadrimon had attacked an angelic outpost using an inexplicably still awakened Black Mercy. The eldest Horseman surmised that the attack was a test for their new method of obtaining Ravaiim blood, seeing Earth Reaver's absence as a sign that they had cannibalized the Grand Abomination to get the blood they needed to fuel the smaller one. He kept this fact to himself until after the meeting. The Council, having grown frustrated by Death's repeated disobedience, tortured him with pain extreme enough to paralyze even him. Death told them that they needed him, but the Charred Council only told him that they had no need for servants that were unwilling to obey. Fortunately, War stepped in and told the Council that they would need to kill him too though Death's guilt was deepened by his brother's faith in him. The Charred Council relented given Death's personal history with the Abominations, but warned him that they could strip his power away should he disobey them again. He and War were assigned the duty of standing guard over the Abomination Vault itself while Fury and Strife would hunt down Hadrimon and Belesatra.
The eldest Horseman sent Dust to the Crowfather to send a message to Azrael with a request to trick Raciel's forces into attacking the Abomination Vault soon after departing the Charred Council's realm. Death then led War to the world of ashes upon which he had made his home, revealing that it was the last world the Nephelim had destroyed prior to their defeat at Eden and the location of the Abomination Vault's entrance. It was not long before Belisatra's constructs attacked, first fighting the ghouls and necromantic wards Death had placed around his home, then the Horsemen themselves. Their easy fight was complicated by the arrival of Hadrimon and Black Mercy, then Belisatra herself with a massive cannon she had constructed. It was then that the demons led by Raciel intervened in the battle and devastated the remainder of the construct army. Death then confronted Hadrimon over the seal of the Abomination Vault. He shattered the ward protecting the vault in the hopes that the psychic presences of the Abominations within would overwhelm Hadrimon long enough for him to deal the final blow. Instead, Black Mercy took control of Hadrimon and fired at Death, a shot he blocked with Harvester but nonetheless drained his energies and left him too weak to move. Just then, a wounded Raciel entered the chamber. Black Mercy once again took control and killed her, leading the angel to try and use the Abomination to kill himself, but it refused to slay its wielder. Azrael then appeared, projecting an illusion of Raciel before she became a demonic Lost Angel. The distraction allowed Death the time he needed to recover and slay the mad angel.
Death and Azrael then exited the building to confront Belisatra, who had been fighting War. Upon seeing Black Mercy in Death's hand, she surrendered and Death's ghouls restrained her to be brought to the Charred Council. Azrael and War expressed their distaste at the deceitful way they had achieved victory, but Death told them they were being foolish and that it only mattered that they had won at all. Azrael told Death he was grateful they could stop the Abominations, but wait a long while before ever calling upon the White City for aid again. War asked his brother what he meant to do with the Abominations, to which Death responded that he would return Black Mercy to the Abomination Vault, though he might keep Mortis seeing as it was nearly dead, posed little threat, and could be useful. They then set about resecuring Death's home and the Vault, War, laughing, refused to help clean up the corpse laden battlefield.
On his return to the Charred Council's domain, Death encountered Panoptos advancing his suggestion to the Council that each Horsemen be assigned a Watcher to keep them loyal. Catching him alone, Death suggested that it was Panoptos that had hired Raciel's demonic mercenaries, that he had grown unsatisfied with being the Council's slave, sought to use the Watchers based off of him as soldiers and the power of the Grand Abominations to free himself from the Council. The Horseman acknowledged that he had no real proof and but promised to be waiting when Panoptos made a mistake. He left the Watcher to his uncertainty, and went to give his report to the Council.
- ↑ Taken from: http://www.amazon.com/Darksiders-Abomination-Vault-Ari-Marmell/dp/0345534026 on 16th March, 2012.
- ↑ According to the author: http://mouseferatu.com/index.php/news/april-3-2012-darksiders-pre-order-special/