|“|| The law is clear. When the Seven Seals are broken, four Horsemen shall ride forth to punish the wicked, be they Sons of Men, Lords of Heaven, or the Dregs of Hell...|
— The Charred Council
The Charred Council is an entity featured in Darksiders. Its responsibility is to maintain balance and order in the universe by preventing any one celestial power from becoming too great.
|“|| Only the Charred Council - not Angel, not Demon not Old One, but something other - holds the warring factions at bay. Only the Charred Council, and their fearsome servants, stand at the pivot point of all Creation, protecting the Balance from all who would see it shattered. Barely.|
— From Darksiders: The Abomination Vault
The Charred Council are mediators, created in time immemorial by the Creator to keep the balance between the never-ending war of the forces of Heaven and Hell. When the Third Kingdom, Humanity, emerged from the chaos of the universe, both Angelic and Demonic factions began to make an attempt on ensuring their influence within the Realm of Man. To maintain balance, the Council forced a "cease-fire" and allowed the Third Kingdom to grow without fear of being obliterated by the ancient conflict between light and dark. When the Three Kingdoms were ready for the end-war, they would break the Seven Seals for the Apocalypse, thus calling off the truce. The Charred Council is located in a special Realm, though some have assumed that they were in Hell due to their fiery surroundings.
There are three Heads that physically represent the Council, though the true number of Council members and their identities are unknown. One of their former members was a Demon known as the Lord of the Hollows indicating that that at least some of them are Demons (despite Darksiders: The Abomination Vault calling them something other than Demon, Angel and Old One). The fact that Lucifer is aware of things known only to the Charred Council (such as Fury's being in possession of the Lord of the Hollows' amulet form which she never mentioned to their subordinates or her few remaining allies, save Ulthane) indicates that either he or some of his followers are on the Charred Council. It is referred to as an "entity", singular, in the beginning, narration of Darksiders, but referred to in the plural on other occasions. Even the Four Horsemen do not truly know whether or not the Council is a single being or multiple ones. Each has a different role, and speak differently. The First is harsh and accusatory while the Second questions all things, seeing the far-reaching consequences of the crime before it and the judgment at hand and the Third is wise and slow to rouse, and usually offers a course of action that is most fair. The Council, as a whole, is quick to anger and is noted for being impatient.
It also appears as though they were truly corrupt from the get-go; being rather paranoid & conniving, appearing to trust no one not even their own enforcers, as it seemingly feared for its position of power when Abaddon and several others managed to defy its laws. If the word of their former member is to be believed, the Council itself never actually adhered to enforcing balance to begin with. This is a trait that both the lesser and leader of the Sins highlighted before being recaptured by their horseman. In truth, the Council was only bothering to moderate the fringe aspects of preserving order in the universe while ignoring more critical parts in its greater context. The lord of Hell and all the Demons once stated they had become an anathema to the very concept they claim to uphold and maintain.
This would be something that was made evident in how they betrayed War in order to placate him into pursuing the real perpetrators of the early Armageddon, along with purposely feigning ignorance of such an event, which was instigated by one side or the other, in its entirety so humankind will be eliminated due to Man's hidden significance threatening their power. It is speculated that the Angels who butchered Fury's horse Rampage were put up to it by the Council behind closed doors, just as the Seven Deadly were unleashed upon the shattered Earth, with greatly augmented forms and abilities provided by the very same, just to preempt Fury. In fact, the Council's ultimate intent was the dissolution of the Horsemen through battling with the Seven Deadly the whole time, all while masking it as a task to complete in which they never expected the least of her number to survive. Given how they've stated that one member amongst said enforcers that was unavailable at the time was preoccupied with an unknown pursuit, raises suspicions to their likely setting him up for a fall as well. The Charred Council are also inclined to being rather power hungry on top of abusive and domineering towards vessels despite their loyalties, as they attempted to coerce the leader of the four to reveal the location of The Grand Abominations to them for unknown purposes, to the point of even resorting to horrendous torture when their Horsemen proved obstinate with their demands.
The Council also pursued the idea of creating a personal servitor race loyal only to them for monitoring those in their service. But even the Watchers are not above their crooked scrutiny, as they sent one of their own to observe the calamity befalling Earth without sanctioning it with the Charred Council eviscerating their acolyte after hearing her report as a consequence, showing not only their own malfeasance towards handling Law & Order, but also their hypocrisy in regarding it.
The Charred Council came to exist long ago when the conflict between the First and Second Kingdoms was in full swing. The Council gained their greatest enforcers when the Nephilim under Absalom burned entire Realms in a wrathful crusade for a realm of their own. Four Nephilim came to see the threat to the balance Absalom's actions represented and formed a bargain with the Council. In exchange for unfathomable power, the Nephilim became known as the Four Horsemen and joined the Angels on the field at Eden, the original home of Mankind, and slaughtered their former brethren. The Council ordered the Nephilim's souls gathered and destroyed, though Death secretly defied their instruction and entrusted their souls to the Crowfather. Mankind was relocated to Earth.
After the battle of Eden Strife and War were sent on a mission to stop Lucifer's plot to threaten humanity, a plan that not only worked but only succeeded because the Horsemen were sent to play executioner against Lucifer's sacrificial pawns. Perhaps incensed at being used, The Council assembled representatives from the Demons in the form of Samael and the Angels in Abaddon and forged Seven Seals for the purpose of safeguarding creation from further scrutiny. Three were set with the demons, three with the angels and one with the council itself.
The council stated that when man is ready to join the balance the seals would be broken and the Apocalypse, the final end war of angel and demon, would begin.
At a later point, the Charred Council created a being known as Panoptos. Using his template, they eventually created the Watchers to serve both as a slave race and the council's eyes and ears. For untold eons the council would wisely mediate between the three worlds, even taking in one who was of the myriad factions among their number.
But as time passed, they became too rigid, too stodgy and un-moving in their maintenance of the order of things. This was something that the Lord of the Hollows came to realize, given how they focused more on the first & second kingdoms while ignoring the third ruled by Man. Worse yet, he'd heard hushed rumors about the coming of cataclysmic events yet to unfold. But not only did the Council make no move to preempt it, they purposely let it come to pass of their own volition. The demon eventually became so disenfranchised with his fellow mediators' dogmatic views that he left their services in pursuit of his own goals.
The Abomination VaultEdit
Millennia before the Apocalypse, the Charred Council detected conflict in the fallen Realm of Eden between Angels and an unknown enemy. They dispatched Panoptos to hand the task of investigation to Death, who had recently emerged from centuries of seclusion.
When Death eventually returned and revealed the threat of the Grand Abominations and those who sought to use them, the Charred Council became enraged by his refusal to reveal the location of the Abomination Vault. Despite their threats, the Horseman was able to convince them that his usefulness in the matter outweighed his insolence and the Council dispatched the Horsemen to eliminate the threat. However, upon leaving the presence of the Charred Council, Death immediately ordered the other Horsemen to stay behind while he investigated the matter alone. War chose to follow him anyway.
When Death sent a request for reinforcements to the homeworld of the Ravaiim, the Council chose to hold Fury and Strife in reserve. They forwarded the request to the Angels, who sent Azrael and a small army to aid the Horsemen.
After Death and War returned from the Ravaiim world, the Charred Council was enraged at their failure to end the threat and showed them images of an Angelic outpost that had been attacked using the Abominations. The Council once again demanded that Death reveal the location of the Vault and tortured him with paralyzing agony when he refused. Despite his protests that they needed him, the Council was prepared to kill the Horseman for his disobedience before War stepped in and told them they would have to kill him along with his brother. The Charred Council grudgingly relented and assigned the pair the task of standing guard over the Vault while Fury and Strife sought out the perpetrators.
Sometime after the resolution of the crisis, the Council granted an audience to Panoptos and vowed to consider his proposal to assign one of the Watchers to each of the Horsemen in order to ensure their loyalty.
The Charred Council knew full well about Abaddon and the conspiracy he and his accomplices had enacted to start the Apocalypse as a preemptive strike against Hell. They considered summoning the Horsemen to handle him, but the Council determined that, without proof, their enforcers would not carry out an execution, but only mass murder: a critical offense to the riders' sense of honor. Instead, they sent War to Earth and framed him for the premature Apocalypse. They knew that the Horseman would stop at nothing to clear his name and kill everyone involved, thereby silencing all who dared challenge their power along with the wrongfully accused Horsemen when all was said and done. Furthermore, the Council would use this opportunity to pursue their own goals by using this fix of disloyalty to the pact as a means of pushing greater sources of intrigue against all whom they deemed a threat, such as Humanity, whom they knew would one day become the concept they pretended to uphold.
The Graphic AdventureEdit
When the End War began on Earth, the Council received a report of it through a female Watcher. After hearing the report, they executed the Watcher for violating the law by journeying to Earth without sanction.
In wake of the premature apocalypse, War was held responsible for the final battle ending in Hell's favor and the ultimate destruction of the Earth. The Charred Council was furious with their constable, falsely accusing the horsemen of forgetting his post and defiling ancient law. They claimed that because there was no call for the Four Horsemen, his presence on the battlefield during the battle of Armageddon turned the tides of war in favor of the Demons, despite attacking both kingdoms involved in the battle, leading to man's extinction.
The Charred Council would then summon Fury who would arrive just in time to hear of her masters' accusations. The council would task her with hunting down and eliminating the Seven Deadly Sins while deliberating War's punishment, revealing that the Seven had been set free by unknown parties during the early Apocalypse while assigning her a Female Watcher to keep track of her progress. Unbeknownst to the Horseman, the Council, in actuality, had released the Seven Deadly upon the now ruined Earth themselves. Empowering them with new abilities and augmented forms, the Council sent Fury after them in the hope that they would destroy each other, and eventually her brothers as well. However, they miscalculated as well as underestimated both Fury and the Sins; in particular, Envy, who used both them and their would-be patsy to gain power strong enough to actually challenge them directly. When Fury arrived, they ordered their Horseman to end her but upon learning that the Horseman was planning on defying them, due to now knowing the true depths and scale of her former superiors' malfeasance, they chose to attack Fury after her lengthy battle with the last Sin, due to believing that the Black Horseman had outlived her usefulness. They failed in killing her, however, when Fury brandished a mysterious amulet left behind by the Lord of the Hollows, a former member of theirs whom they had long since turned away, much to their horror.
The Council immediately questioned where Fury picked up such an artifact, while demanding that she turn the object over to its person immediately. In response, the Horseman rebuked their demands while stating the significance of said rune in open defiance, riling their ire further still. To escape and find retribution for the Council's manipulations, Fury detonated the Talisman containing the Sins in order to escape. Out of anger towards Fury as well as fear of Humanity, the basis of why they ignored the Earth's destruction from the start, the Council secretly urged the Demon attack on Haven to kill the remaining humans kept there.
Unfortunately, the Council's unscrupulous efforts would fail as Fury managed to safeguard the survivors from the Destroyer's onslaught, with Strife and the Makers holding off the Demons while Fury took the Humans to a safe place away from the sight of Heaven, Hell and the Council.
For his crimes of aiding in Hell's victory. War was found guilty by the council and murdered on the spot. His Soul, on the other hand, was left imprisoned in the Abyss for over a century, after which they would fish their fallen enforcer out of the Abyss with the intention of making him carry out their corrupt deeds as was planned from the beginning, while demanding the Horseman make recompense for his transgression against the universal Balance.
After War struck a bargain to be sent back in an attempt to punish those responsible for disrupting the balance, the Charred Council agreed, stripping him of most of his power and binding a Watcher to him to ensure his loyalty. They then returned Chaoseater to him and sent him back on a journey to redeem himself and bring retribution to those responsible but by traveling to the tree of knowledge War learned of their true intentions and after killing the Destroyer on Earth allowed Uriel to slay him, thus ensuring that the Seventh Seal was broken, which would allow the four to reunite against their former masters' corruption.
When the Council accused War of breaking the law, Death objected, not believing his brother would ever do such a thing. With that in mind, he went to see the Crowfather without their knowledge or blessing.
The Charred Council's power is shown in their confrontation against Envy, one of the Seven Deadly Sins; they could throw fireballs and powerful streams of fire at their target.
In the Abomination Vault novel, the Charred Council displayed other abilities such as manipulation of the others in the universe, creating sentient species such as the Watchers to serve their purposes and, quite possibly what was their most important power in this case, granting their servants unimaginable power, as was the case with the Four Horsemen and the Seven Deadly Sins. At the same time, however, the Charred Council possessed the ability to strip others of power or knowledge they considered dangerous as they did so to Lilith after she created the genocidal Nephilim.
They also were able to inflict horrendous pain upon those who defied them, including their servants, which could be so excruciating that it can eventually or instantly result in death, as was the case with the Watcher's sister.
- The Council are some of the only characters to not be shown in their true form, with the others being the Creator and Lucifer.
- According to the Darksiders Website, The Charred Council has been corrupted; this is proven in the original Darksiders, as they knew Abaddon was responsible of the events of the game, yet they accused and manipulated War into killing him.
- A fact which is further compounded in Darksiders III, where they not only let the end war commence unabated, but secretly pushed the Destroyer's attack on Haven, seeking the invalidation of Mankind.
- It can be assumed that they know about the threat of the Corruption during the event of Darksiders 2 but chose to not act since they knew Death would take care of it for them during his journey to clear War's name.
- The Charred Council, like several others in Creation, are aware of Humanity's true purpose and fear them for it; when Abaddon triggered the End War early, they let it come to pass so that mankind would be annihilated, thus ensuring that a potential replacement to its seat of power would be eliminated.