|War, one of the Four Horsemen and one of the last nephilim.|
|Type of Creature||Nephilim|
|Mode of Travel||Phantom Horses, on foot|
|Genders||Male and female|
|Additional Features||Magical capabilities, extreme physical prowess, only four remaining|
|Previous Affiliation||The Charred Council, Absalom, the Nephilim Horde|
|Occupation||The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, former servants and enforcers of The Charred Council|
Fury and Strife's unnamed horses
Mercy & Redemption
|Voice||Liam O'Brien (War)|
Michael Wincott (Death
Simon Templeman (Absalom)
|“|| Trust me angel, if you live until the last star burns, until the Creator Himself has died and putrefied away to nothing, you still won't even begin to understand how depraved we were.|
— Death, about the Nephilim, to Azrael
Nephilim are an ancient and nearly extinct race born from a union of Angels and Demons engineered by the demoness Lilith when she created the first. The physical traits and powers of the Nephilim are quite diverse when compared to other races of the universe, save for their common humanoid shape. This may be owed to their unnatural creation at the hands of Lilith. Though they all retain a humanoid form, the appearance of the Nephilim can be wildly differentiated. Some possess remarkably human appearances aside from their size while others were known to have horns and even wings.
All Nephilim possess incredible physical prowess. At least two of the Horsemen are known to have more powerful forms they can take on, but Absalom, the only named Nephilim not aligned with the Council, displayed no such ability. Determining what abilities come naturally to a Nephilim is further complicated by never seeing one portrayed without some sort of outside influence: The Horsemen gained power from the Charred Council and used abilities granted to them by other beings over the course of their journeys. Absalom, when encountered by Death, was utterly infested by Corruption and filled with its power. It is therefore impossible to accurately measure the scope of the Nephilim's ability. However, until the defection of the Horsemen, the Nephilim's Balance-imperiling crusade was apparently unstoppable.
The Nephilim left some of the deadliest and most powerful weapons in Creation as their legacy. Though the Nephilim were not craftsmen, they were able to create extremely potent weapons by infusing their energies into Maker-forged weapons. Death himself appears to have been particularly skilled at this, as he was noted as being the closest thing the Nephilim had to a crafter. He was responsible for infusing both his own scythe, Harvester, and the sword Affliction with arcane energies that vastly increased their effectiveness. Affliction, for instance, inflicted poisonous wounds beyond the skill of even Heaven's best healers to mend, and Harvester was able to transform into any melee weapon Death wished it to become. The most heinous of their creations were the Grand Abominations, world ravaging weapons crafted from the flesh and bone of the Ravaiim. Ordinarily, creating weapons such as the Abominations would have been far beyond the skill of the Nephilim, but the somewhat amorphous nature of the Ravaiim themselves enabled the Nephilim to circumvent this problem.
The Nephilim as a race ultimately came to an end when they led an assault on Eden, during which the Four Horsemen, alongside the Hellguard, slaughtered the Nephilim to the last being during a titanic battle. After this occurrence, the only Nephilim left were the Four Horsemen, and to some extent, Absalom, though what he became after spawning Corruption is not fully understood.
|“|| Nephilim-cursed union of Angel and Demon. The Nephilim put countless realms to the sword, and burned them to ash.|
— Crowfather, speaking of the Nephilim
The Nephilim came into being by the hand of Lilith, who derived the first of their kind from the mingled remains of angels and demons which, in turn, triggered the mating of angels and demons to spawn them by instinct. Upon the first such being, Absalom, were all brought into existence. After a time, when enough Nephilim had been spawned and matured, Absalom led his kind on a world killing crusade. It is not known why this crusade was begun, but based on statements from Absalom, it may have been started in part out of a desire to claim a realm for the Nephilim, which was in fact the primary reason for their assault on Eden. Further evidence of this is alluded to by Death who stated that his people were "depraved". The first victims of the Nephilim were the Ravaiim, an ancient and remarkably inventive race of craftsmen who could sculpt their own flesh, living or otherwise, into almost anything. Their destruction was quick and brutally effective, but unfortunately for them, the Nephilim had plans for them extending beyond death, for one of the firstborn generation of the Nephilim, Death, conceived of a way to turn the corpses of the Ravaiim into obscene weapons of world-ending power. Named The Grand Abominations, these weapons were so horrific that even the Nephilim used them only sparingly, keeping them a closely guarded secret and creating numerous fail-safes to keep them under control. They went on to annihilate hundreds of other realms, but after a time, four of the Nephilim grew weary of the slaughter. Believing that the crusade of their kinsmen threatened to undo the Balance of Creation, the four approached the neutral ruling body of the universe, The Charred Council. There, they struck a deal with the Council; they would become the Council's enforcers, upholding the Balance and maintaining order in the universe, in exchange for phenomenal amounts of power. After their defection, it is known that the Nephilim crusade continued for some time, but that time was short.
When humans first appeared, it was decided by the Charred Council that they were to be given Eden as their realm. This decision enraged the Nephilim. Believing Eden should have been theirs, they conspired to wrest it from Heaven's control and take it for themselves. The Charred Council learned of this plot, and sent the Four Horsemen to reinforce an army of angels intent on defending Eden from the Nephilim.
|“|| I wondered where the souls of your brethen had gone, for they never passed through my realm.|
— Lord of Bones, speaking of the deceased Nephilim to Death
The ensuing battle saw the slaughter of all the remaining Nephilim, primarily at the hands of the Four. As they died, their souls were collected into an amulet which Death wore around his neck, preserving their essences even as their flesh was destroyed. At some point, apparently near the end of the battle, Death met Absalom himself in single combat and defeated him. Lying on the ground, mortally wounded, the eldest Nephilim was suddenly dragged into the ground by what appeared to be a blackened pool of his own blood. Death attempted to save him, but failed, and, screaming in anguish at his actions, he collected the rest of the souls of his brethren into the amulet. After the battle, the Council instructed Death to destroy the Amulet, and with it, the souls of the Nephilim. However, Death instead entrusted the amulet to the Crowfather, who agreed to take the burden in exchange for its secrets. He would come to regret this decision, as constantly listening to the hateful psychic voices of the trapped Nephilim ultimately drove the Crowfather mad. After this, Death went to the location of the Abomination Vault, the location of most of the Grand Abominations, and sealed it with magic wards. The location of the Vault and the secrets of powering the Grand Abominations had been known only to the firstborn generation of Nephilim. With Death as the sole remaining survivor of those individuals, nobody else in creation knew the secrets of the weapons, and Death hoped to keep it that way. Unfortunately, eons later, a rogue angel discovered the existence of the weapons. Hoping to use them against Heaven in revenge for exiling his lover to Hell, Hadrimon waged a campaign to retrieve them which was ultimately foiled by Death and War.
|“|| The eons have not answered the question: Was it worth it?|
— Crowfather, on the slaughter of the Nephilim
Eons later, an archangel general known as Abaddon conceived of a plot to trigger the End War earlier than ordained. He located the Seven Seals of the Apocalypse and broke all but one of them, hoping to lure the forces of Hell into a trap, destroy them and then reforge the seals to make it appear as though Heaven had simply protected Earth from the aggression of Hell. Leaving the final seal intact, he hoped, would keep the Four Horsemen from intervening in the battle, as the breaking of the final seal acted as a summons for them. However, Abaddon was betrayed by a person or persons unknown, and Hell prepared for his trap by sending far more force to Earth than Abaddon had believed they would. Outnumbered by the demons, Abaddon was shocked to see the appearance of the Horseman War, who had appeared on Earth in response to a summons from the Council, who also knew of Abaddon's plan. However, with no proof as to Abaddon's duplicity, they could do nothing to punish him. As such, unbeknownst to War, they sent him to Earth with the intent of blaming the attack on treachery on his part, hoping that he would uncover Abaddon's co-conspirators in the process of clearing his name. The attack ended in victory for the forces of Hell, and War's spirit was sent to the Abyss after his death at the hands of the demon Straga.
Death soon learned of the Council's accusations against War. Believing that War was innocent, and possibly that the Council knew of that fact, Death began to search for a way, not to clear War's name, but to undo the crime War was accused of. Seeking to resurrect humanity, he visited the Crowfather in search of answers, only to find that the souls of the Nephilim had driven the Old One to madness. The Crowfather refused to help Death unless he took back the amulet, but Death refused to either reclaim it or destroy it. Hearing this, the Crowfather attacked, but Death killed him. After the Crowfather's defeat at Death's hand, the amulet containing the souls of the Nephilim shattered and the shards embedded themselves in Death's chest, along with the souls themselves. After this, Death was transported to the realm of the Makers. Without any easy way off the world, Death was forced to help the Makers to restore their realm, battling a decaying, animating force known as Corruption. After managing to destroy a sapient Corruption construct blocking access to the Tree of Life and Death, Death traveled to the Tree, hoping to find the key to resurrecting humanity. Instead, he discovered that Absalom was still alive after a fashion, having been twisted into becoming the source of Corruption. Absalom vowed to consume Creation with his new abilities, and Death was transported by the Tree to the Dead Kingdom. There, he visited the Lord of Bones, the ruler of the Dead Kingdom. The ancient king recognized the Nephilim souls in Death's chest, but ultimately thought of it as little more than a curiosity, as his kingdom was already overcrowded by the collective souls of humanity. However, in discussing the Nephilim souls with Death, it became clear that Death was remorseful for having killed his kinsmen, despite adamantly stating that he did not regret doing so. Ultimately, the dead king sent Death to the City of the Dead, where the souls of the dead went to be cleansed of their past lives before being sent back to the Well of Souls for rebirth. Here, Death met the spirit of the Crowfather, apparently cured of his madness and none the worse for wear despite being dead. The Crowfather revealed to Death that, in order to resurrect humanity, Death would need to sacrifice the souls of the Nephilim to the Well of Souls, a prospect that did not sit well with Death. He also revealed to Death that he could also use the Well to restore the Nephilim, but expressed unequivocally that Death, despite his remorse, had been absolutely right to destroy the Nephilim. After locating the keys to the Well of Souls, Death confronted Absalom, who had made his abode within the Well, one last time. After a lengthy battle, Death defeated Absalom once more and, in doing so, stopped Corruption. Without any clear idea of what to do next, Death was visited again by the Crowfather, who reminded him that, if he sacrificed the souls of the Nephilim, he would save humanity or, if Death chose to, he could resurrect the Nephilim. But whichever choice he made, he would doom one of the two races forever. Choosing to save humanity, and thus War, he cast himself and the rest of his kin into the Well, ensuring that humanity would be saved, but forever dooming the Nephilim.
|“|| Flawed castings from a perfect mold. Absalom was always stronger than the rest of you...|
— Samael, speaking to Death on the Nephilim
Very little is known about how the Nephilim organized themselves save that Absalom led them, however they appear to have been a simply structured oligarchy with a sole ruler holding the majority of the power along with a ruling class:
The Firstborn - A group of the oldest Nephilim that appears to have served an important authoritative role in their social military structure, though the extent of their power is unknown. Death is mentioned as being one of the Firstborn. It is unknown whether Absalom, the ultimate leader of the Nephilim, was considered a Firstborn or possessed a unique status all his own. Also, these Firstborn were extremely skilled in crafting weapons, as Death, a Firstborn, was viewed as the closest thing the Nephilim had to a maker.
Notable Nephilim Characters
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The Four Horsemen are vastly powerful beings bound to the service of the Charred Council. The four Nephilim were granted their exceptional abilities in exchange for their oaths to serve the Council as enforcers of the Law and defenders of the Balance, their first task being the slaughter of the rest of their kind.
- War - The youngest Horseman and the main protagonist of the first Darksiders, he wields the sword Chaoseater. The Horsemen have the innate ability to transform into much more powerful forms for a short period of time. War's form is called "Chaos Form".
- Strife - A Horseman wielding two pistols. One of them is a weapon wielded by War in Darksiders, named Mercy; the other appears in Darksiders II as a weapon for Death, named Redemption.
- Fury - The only female horseman and Strife's twin sister, she wields a fiery like whip along with a set of razor-sharp claws. She is the main protagonist of Darksiders 3.
- Death - Death is the eldest of the Horsemen, War's twin brother, and their leader. He wields the scythe Harvester, though he uses alternate weapons since Harvester cannot be utilized without the Council's permission. He is the main protagonist in Darksiders 2. Death's form is called "Reaper Form".
- Absalom - The first of all Nephilim and the only unnatural born of his kind as well as the leader of the race. He led the Nephilim across countless worlds, burning everything in their path until eventually they came to Eden. The angels met his forces on the field of battle with the help of the Four Horsemen. Eventually Death defeated Absalom in single combat. Absalom then became Corruption, setting in motion events that would culminate eons later. In Darksiders 2, Absalom took on this role as the champion of Corruption and guarded the Well of Souls. When Death reached the Well, he defeated Absalom and killed him, ending his life and the threat of Corruption. He wielded the axe Absolution.
- It should also be noted that there are two interpretations of the Four Horseman. The Biblical interpretation labels the horsemen Conquest, War, Famine and Death. The interpretation used most often in popular culture including the famous woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, consists of Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death. Other than War and Death, the other Horsemen, in either interpretation, were cut and replaced with Fury and Strife. Although Fury has no close resemblance to her corresponding horseman Famine, Strife slightly resembles Conquest. Conquest is designated to depict internal conflict, similar to Strife. The word strife, however is more closely related to War.
- Like most religious elements in Darksiders, a lot of creative license has been taken with the concept of the Nephilim, making Darksiders' interpretation of the Nephilim and Four Horsemen very different from the Biblical ones. Most notably; in the Bible, the Horsemen are mentioned as being the first four seals in addition to being separate from the Nephilim. The most popular as well as the major traditional view of Nephilim in religion is that they were the offspring of humans and angels, described as giants among men.
- It should be noted that some conflicting canon exists in the Darksiders universe. It has been said that the Nephilim are created from angels and demons yet other statements say the Nephilim are older than angels and demons. If the first statement is true then their mother is Lilith. If the latter is true then the Nephilim race are one of the first beings created by the Creator and probably as old as the universe itself second only to the Makers. Although Lilith's statement of "mingling the dust of Angels and Demons" could be seen as accurate since men are also considered to be created from dust but Demons were only created after the fall of Lucifer's host and further Abaddon has been stated to be older than Nephilim and Lilith herself was a demon (most probably never human as Nephilim are eons older than humans).
- At the end of Darksiders 2 the souls of the Nephilim were sacrificed to resurrect Humanity. The amulet containing their souls was embedded in Death's chest, who was also sacrificed. The end of the game reveals that Death was resurrected, but whether the amulet containing the Nephilim was brought back with him, though unlikely, is currently unknown. If it was, there is a chance that the race may be resurrected in later games.
- The term Firstborn has only been used in the novel Darksiders: The Abomination Vault, and has not appeared directly in the games, though as all but one of the Firstborn are dead, there is little reason for it to be used.
- The Four Horsemen are only ever referred to as "The Four Horsemen" or "The Four", never as "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse".