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A common form of Corruption

This Corruption was born in Absalom! It rises from him like a black tide and you, 'Mother', must help me stop it!
— Death demanding Lilith help him stop the Corruption

Corruption is the force that causes many to commit evil and fall into madness. It is theorized by the Maker Shaman Muria to be hate given physical power. Usually, it is seen as a physically tangible black mass which sticks to any surface, including living ones; sometimes it is accommodated by yellow crystals. Corruption was born from devastation wrought by the Nephilim race during their rabid conquest and annihilation throughout creation. But it only gained true autonomy through the hatred and agony of Absalom after he met his demise at Death's hand. After the Eldest Horsemen claimed both the Angel and Demon keys, he would enter into the Well of Souls, confronting the champion of Corruption. After slaying Absalom for good, the threat of Corruption finally came to an end.


The day you raised your scythe against us, I was born. And soon, I will be all.
— Absalom explains the creation of Corruption to Death

Corruption appears to have been born from the destruction caused by the Nephilim but made real by the hatred and agony of the first Nephilim, Absalom when he fell to Death's fatal stroke. After his defeat at his brother's hand in Eden, a black pool formed beneath him. While he lay dying, he was consumed by the pool, despite Death's attempts to pull him out.

Now Corruption spreads throughout all Creation, seeking to undo the balance and plunge all of Creation into nothingness with only the Balance to stop it.

Darksiders Genesis[]

The earliest appearance of Corruption occurred in the time immediately following the battle for Eden and the fall of the Nephilim, taking the form of the abomination known as the Grinner. It's earliest victim was Astarte of the Faneguard and from her the madness spread to her subordinates giving rise to Corrupted Light Angel's which together with the Dark Angel's and the Undead Astarte raised proceeded to ravage Eden.

Though Eden was cleansed of Corruption the damage sadly was already done, Corruption had been born and from that point forward whenever any organism in Creation feels the encroach of madness they risk becoming a well of corruption risking spreading the black and yellow vitriol into the environment, and onto their fellows.

Rise of Corruption[]

The gates of Eden, long ago... when the legions of heaven allied with the Four Horsemen to battle the mighty Nephilim! One day, something changed... My eyes were opened... and I began to see things as they truly were.
Makhala, speaking as she succumbed to Corruption

It would take eons for corruption to firmament itself throughout reality, even after having subsumed the elder Nephilim Absalom.

Despite its slow manifest, Corruption managed to take root within one of the angelic warriors within Heaven's gates. An impressionable soldier belonging to The Hellguard, known as Makhala, would be the very first among many whom corruption would take root in.

Its influence was initially weak as it took to the destruction of Eden to the rise of till the dawn of man and their civilization to properly take root within one of the angelic hosts.

But eventually Makhala would succumb to its maddening influence. After having slaughtered many amongst Heaven's elite soldiers, one lone voice within the White City's garrison believed the perpetrator to have been an errant demon who had infiltrated it. The angelic soldier fled to Earth after the vexatious whispers spoke to her and culled her to descend to the Earthly plane.

She set out to, in her own warped mentality, bring salvation to humanity by purging it of sin.

Makhala then began her work by butchering thousands of humans, then tainting thousands more with her bane, whom went on to continue their mass killings by spreading her poison through tainted Crossblade Pendants carrying her defiling power. The Horseman Death had been secretly dispatched to Earth by her former commander to rectify the issue. After a brutal battle which claimed countless more lives. Death finally slew the deranged member of the Hellsguard in mortal combat; thereby stymieing the spread of corruption in the third kingdom indefinitely.

It was there that legends of the Black Plague of France would spread far and wide across the Kingdom of Man, as did the religion consecrated by their deranged benefactor spring forth centered around the Crossblade. What the Pale Rider didn't notice in the aftermath of the battle, was that an individual corrupted human managed to give back his affliction to his would-be savior, which soon revived Makhala a scant few moments later.

Spread of Corruption[]

It wasn't the city that fell, but those within. It begin with one Angel. Weak of will, given to doubts. When the darkness called... he welcomed it in. From him, the Corruption spread.
The Archon, speaking on the spread of Corruption

Corruption can spread in several different ways: in Realms that are already old and decaying, Corruption can manifest itself in physical forms outside living beings as yellow and black crystals and as black, tar-like liquid. This liquid is incredibly deadly, and even Death himself cannot survive prolonged contact with it. In places where the Corruption is particularly strong, it can even acquire sapience, such as in the Forge Lands.

It can also affect living individuals, though initially, it seems to be able to do this only to beings already plagued by doubts or afflicted by madness. Initial symptoms appear to include paranoia and mood swings, and the individual may become inexplicably violent. Corrupt individuals appear to exhibit obsessive behavior, as they will often justify their violence with whatever creed or belief system they live by.

The final step of Corruption of an individual is the physical manifestation of Corruption on their body appearing as a strange slimy black material, and in some cases the sprouting of yellow crystals along with black tentacles. The individual in question becomes completely insane at this point, as was seen with the Archon, and by the fact that Corrupt lesser Angels were willing to attack Nathaniel despite his status as an Archangel.

Corruption does not need living things to spread itself as is seen with the Constructs throughout the Forge lands, and since Constructs have Souls of Makers within them, it could be suggested that Corruption only needs a soul and not a living body.

Darksiders III[]

Whilst on her journey for the Seven Deadly on Earth, Fury would encounter an inkling of the astrological taint in the form of Sycophants and the like skulking about the Third Kingdom's ruins. At the end of her story, Lucifer briefly mentions Corruption when meeting with Lilith, proclaiming that soon it would overtake all his rivals amongst Heaven, Hell and the Charred Council, leaving him the only one left standing. Unfortunately for Lucifer, Death would discover the threat of Corruption and put an end to it, thereby robbing Lucifer of the weapon he needed to take out his enemies.

The Destruction of Corruption[]

You cannot fight Corruption, nor can you harm it. You can only kill those it has claimed.
— Thane on Corruption

Since Corruption is a nearly unstoppable force, it cannot be destroyed easily as it spreads too quickly, though it does have weaknesses. However, only two of them are effective in combating it; powerful holy light and the death of the host. Shadow bombs can be used against it, but only to destroy the crystals from Corrupted structures.

Holy light can destroy the black matter of Corruption, but usually the death of the Corrupted individual is the only way to end their Corruption. The only known individual to have recovered from Corruption was Jamaerah, though how this was managed is not revealed (it may have been a side effect of being blasted by his own holy light attacks).

Darksiders II[]

Death first encountered the Corruption when he arrived in the Forge Lands, being attacked by Corrupted Constructs. A Maker, Elder Eideard, told him the Corruption was causing the destruction of their realm and told Death that it blocked the way to the Tree of Life their only means of exit. After restoring the Maker's Forge and awakening the Warden, Death and Karn activated the Guardian.

Unfortunately, one Heartstone was Corrupted and infected the other two, which in turn Corrupted the entire Construct and caused it to go on a rampage. Death defeated the Guardian, which was then resurrected by Eideard's sacrifice, and respectively the Guardian sacrificed itself to destroy the Corruption blocking the way to the Tree of Life. Death then entered the Kingdom of the Dead after encountering Absalom in the Tree.

There he met Ostegoth who spoke about how Corruption might well be the opposite of life, which is destruction. After recruiting the Dead Lord Judicator, Basileus, a partially Corrupted Dead Lord, confronted Death with claims that the Realm now belonged to Corruption and that Death was too weak to stop it. Basileus then confronted Death again at the Psychameron, asking if he was strong enough to stop the Corruption, and attacked him with Achidna.

Death mercilessly defeated the two and was granted an audience with the deceased Crowfather who explained that the Well of Souls had been corrupted and in order to restore the balance, he needed two keys belonging to the Demons and Angels. In the Angel outpost Lostlight, Death encountered Angels that had been taken by Corruption and found out that it now covered the Ivory Citadel.

The Archon, ruler of Lostlight and holder of the Angelic key to the Well of Souls, helped clear the citadel of most of its Corruption with the Rod of Arafel after Death retrieved it from Earth. By Archon Lucien's advice, Death found the scribe Jamaerah within the citadel, but the scribe was unfortunately Corrupted, forcing Death to fight and ultimately defeat him.

After the scribe's defeat, Death discovered that the Archon was the first Angel in Lostlight to be Corrupted and that it had spread from him. With this new tidbit of knowledge, Death confronted the Archon about his key to the Well of Souls. However the Angel had become fully corrupted and attacked the Horseman, forcing Death to kill him and take his key.

In Shadow's Edge it was discovered that after Samael was dethroned, the Realm fell to Corruption, and as a result Death had to travel back in time and barter/fight with Samael for the Key. After retrieving the Demonic key from Shadow's Edge, Death opened the Well of Souls, where he encountered its avatar, Absalom himself. Absalom and Death did battle, and even with the powers of Corruption Death was able to defeat Absalom once and for all. With Absalom's death, the Corruption was ended and all those it touched across the Realms soon became cleansed.


  • The concept of Corruption may have been inspired by the "Outer Darkness" of Christianity and Latter Day Saint belief.
  • Aesthetically, the Corruption bears some resemblance to the "Ruin" in the game Alice Madness Returns, which is also described as "Corruption". It is also a black, tar-like substance that sticks to everything. Unlike Corruption, it doesn't create crystals and more strongly resembles blazing oil. Both concepts serve as the major Antagonist roles in both games.