THE STORY SO FAR…
Our story begins with all of humanity being wiped out in the apocalypse. Angels and demons rain down from the sky, duking it out and using Earth as their boxing ring. While it was always intended for humans to engage with angels and demons during Armageddon, things have happened far too early. A truce had been made between Heaven and Hell until such time that humanity was deemed strong enough to defend itself, but something has gone awry.
The horseman War arrives on the scene, though the rest of his brethren should have arrived as well, but haven’t. Confused but determined, War fights through demons and angels alike before coming across Abaddon, a high ranking angel of Heaven. Abaddon is swiftly killed by Straga, a massive demon, who also makes short work of War. When War awakens, he finds himself chained and imprisoned by the Charred Council, the overseeing powers that command the horsemen and have dictated the details of the apocalypse. War is accused of starting the apocalypse early, dooming mankind. War refutes these claims, and demands he be sent back to Earth to discover the truth culprit and clear his name. The council agrees, on the condition he be leashed to a Watcher, a shadowy being that ensures War will act in the council’s interests.
When War arrives on Earth, he sees that centuries have passed since he was last there, and Earth is devoid of human life, home now only to angels and demons. In order to learn how to reach the Destroyer, Hell’s general on earth, and undo the mess War has allegedly caused, War frees Samael, a powerful demon. Samael promises to tell him how to accomplish his goal, but in exchange War must track down the Chosen of Hell and bring him their hearts. War agrees.
War eventually succeeds in bringing all the hearts to Samael, and in the process regaining some of his power while Samael also grows in strength. True to his word, Samael shows War the way to the Black Throne, where Straga resides. There, War finds Azrael, the archangel of death, imprisoned. Azrael, upon being freed, sheds some light on War’s situation. The reason for the apocalypse starting early was Azrael and Abaddon themselves. Fearing Hell’s power, the angels decided they would trick Hell into starting the apocalypse by destroying the Seven Seals (except the last one, which would have summoned all the horsemen and they didn’t want that). The seals would then be reforged by a Maker, an ancient race of world builders, so as to cover their tracks. However, things clearly went wrong, as Abaddon greatly underestimated Hell’s current might and was struck down by Straga. With evidence of his innocence, War plans to return to the council, but the Watcher refuses to let him leave, ordering him to kill all those involved in this conspiracy.
Straga eventually falls to War’s blade, and War, the Watcher, and Azrael escape to the Garden of Eden during the tower’s collapse following Straga’s death. There, War has a prophetic vision, which reveals new truths to him. Abaddon, upon being struck down, was offered a chance to become the Destroyer, rather than face justice at the hands of the council. He agrees. War also learns that the council was aware of War’s innocence the whole time, and knew a horseman was the only one who could take out Abaddon, now the Destroyer. However, a horseman would not act as an assassin, so they came up with a plan to frame War for the apocalypse so that he would want to clear his name and make right what went wrong. He also learns that the mission was meant to be a suicide one, and saw his death at the hands of the Watcher at the quest’s end.
Even with this new information, War continues on his mission, as justice must be served, regardless of the reason he was put on this path. War assembles the Armageddon Blade, a sword capable of destroying the Destroyer. During this, he encounters Uriel, a high ranking angel and former comrade of Abaddon. She challenges him to a duel to the death, in order to seek revenge for Abaddon’s death, whom she blames War for. War defeats her, but lets her live, for now.
War challenges the Destroyer, besting him in both his dragon and angelic forms. His quest complete, the Watcher attempts to kill War, but Uriel shows up and beats him to it. Afterward, she destroys the Seventh Seal, which resurrects War, now free of the Watcher’s control. War defeats the Watcher, and Uriel asks what he’ll do next. War vows to take the fight to the council, fighting Heaven and Hell along the way. Uriel doubts his ability to take all that on alone, but he swears he will not be alone, as the three other horsemen, now summoned by the breaking the Seventh Seal, streak across the sky to come to his aid.
Tl;dr: Apocalypse starts early, oh no! Humanity is killed and War is blamed because he was on the scene. He goes on a quest to clear his name. He learns that some angels started the apocalypse in order to beat Hell before they got too powerful. Things did not go as planned. War is framed by the council, his bosses, in order to put him on a suicide mission to kill those responsible. War ends up destroying much of Hell’s forces, and then vows revenge on the council as his fell horsemen arrive on the scene.
During War’s imprisonment, prior to the main events of Darksiders I, War’s brother Death goes on a mission to undo the damage that War is accused of. His quest takes him to the Crowfather, who sends him to the Forge Lands, home of the Makers, but not before cursing him with the ownership of an amulet containing the souls of the slaughtered Nephilim, the race of the horsemen.
Death’s target is the Tree of Life, but the Makers tell him that the way to the Tree has been blocked by a mysterious corruption. Death goes on a quest throughout the Forge Lands to assemble a key needed to awaken the Guardian, whom he must then defeat in order to pass through to the tree. Upon his success, Death approaches the Tree but is sucked in by the Corruption, where he encounters someone claiming to be his long dead brother, Absalom.
Death is ejected from the Tree, but now finds himself in the Dead Plains. There he learns that the Tree is not capable of granting him the power he seeks, but it can show him the way. What he really wants is the Well of Souls, which can be used to restore humanity on Earth. He is directed to speak to the Dead King, who agrees to show him the way to the Well of Souls, if he agrees to find and return the King’s three lords.
The three lords returned to the king, and subsequently killed for their disloyalty, Death is shown the way to the City of the Dead, where the Well resides. There he encounters a massive demon who houses the souls of all of mankind. Upon its defeat, the souls are released, but the Well remains corrupted. In order to cleanse the corruption, Death must seek out two keys, one held by the angels and one by the demon Samael.
Death goes after the key held by the angels, along the way meeting Archon, the last remaining angel free of the Corruption that has overtaken the White City, and Uriel on Earth. After finding a bunch of pieces of more McGuffins, Death goes after the Scribe, whom Archon has said has the key. The Scribe reveals Archon’s lie, saying that it was Archon who has the key. Archon has gone mad after using his Second Sight to see the truth of Armageddon and learning of Abaddon’s hand in it all. Death defeats Archon and retrieves the key.
Now Death sets his sights on Shadow’s Edge, Samael’s domain – which appears to be in ruin suggesting the demon lord is no longer present. There he meets Lilith, the demon mother of the Nephilim. Lilith agrees to help him, and in exchange he must use the Well of Souls to resurrect the Nephilim, not humanity, when the time comes. Using the newfound powers of time, Death returns to a point in Shadow’s Edge history where Samael was still there and challenges him to combat for the key. Defeated but not destroyed, Samael gives over the key.
Back at the Tree, Death uses the keys to enter the Well of Souls. There he encounters Absalom again. Absalom reveals he is not the source of the Corruption, but instead it is Death who is responsible. The Corruption formed from the guilt Death felt over the destruction of the Nephilim at his own hands. Absalom and Death fight, with Death being victories. Though torn between choosing to resurrect the Nephilim and humanity, Death decides to bring back humanity, in order to save his brother War.
Meanwhile, Lilith stands before the judgement of her master, who chastises her for not giving him the army of Nephilim she promised, and instead now humanity has returned to the balance.
Tl;dr: Death goes on a quest to resurrect humanity. He seeks out the Tree of Life but learns that won’t help but instead needs the Well of Souls. He travels through the Dead Plains and Forge Lands, fighting angels, demons, and a mysterious corruption. He ends up in the Well of Souls, fighting Absalom, one his former brothers, and has to choose between restoring the Nephilim, his race that he helped slaughter, to life or bringing humanity back to life. He chooses humanity in order to save War.
The four horsemen are the last remaining Nephilim in existence. They had grown weary of the mass crusade of destruction they were part of with their fellow Nephilim, and so swore themselves to the Charred Council. Their first order of business was to wipe out all other Nephilim in existence. They work as enforcers for the Charred Council in order to maintain the balance between Heaven, Hell, and Earth. The horsemen are comprised of Death, War, Fury, and Strife, names they chose to go by after joining with the council.
The Charred Council
The Charred Council is either a being or a group of beings, no one knows for sure. Regardless, the council was created by the Creator, to act as mediators between Heaven and Hell. They created the truce between the two realms upon the creation of mankind. The council decided that mankind stood no chance against Heaven and Hell, and so the truce would continue until such time that humanity was strong enough to defend itself. The council uses the Horsemen as their enforcers.
Born of the mating between angels and demons, and orchestrated by the demon Lilith, the Nephilim were an immensely powerful and war-hungry race. They waged war across many worlds, possibly seeking a realm to call their own. The Nephilim were known to infuse their weapons with their own energy, creating even more powerful weapons, some of the strongest in creation. Eventually the Nephilim were destroyed by four Nephilim who would become the four horsemen, under orders of the Charred Council.
An ancient race that stands neutral in the battle between Heaven and Hells. Craftsmen by birth, the Makers are responsible for constructing the cities of both Heaven and Hell. Giant in nature, the Makers have much in common with those of Norse Mythology and society.
A slave race created by the Charred Council, the Watchers are seemingly demonic in appearance but owe no allegiance to Hell. They act as the council’s eyes and ears, and perform tasks deemed too small for the horsemen.