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- Ascended, some of which later became Darkin. was previously the ruler of above all
- wields .
- and are part of the body known as .
- gave the Runeterrans the knowledge to seal away the Darkin during The Great Darkin War.
- Shurima's fall. fought along side Ascended that later became the Darkin, before
- fought against the Darkin during The Great Darkin War.
- fought along side Ascended that later became the Darkin, before Shurima's fall.
- Freljord. is the sole survivor of massacre in
Lore"We had another name once... Now, we are Darkin."
The Darkin are stated to be a collection of sentient weapons by Eduard Santangelo and , of which only three have been revealed in modern times so far.
In truth, the Darkin are corrupt Ascended who were imprisoned within their own weapons in an act that ultimately ended The Darkin War. The nature of their corruption is implied to be self-inflicted after the mental scar left from the horrors of countless wars and those witnessed in the Void War, finally taking its toll on them centuries later with death during his Ascension and the subsequent fall of Shurima, leaving them feeling purposeless, betrayed and forgotten by the world they once swore to protect to which they gave their mortal lives to fight for.
In the centuries since, a handful of these weapons have been rediscovered by the ignorant and the ambitious alike.
The Legend of the Darkin
When the rebels of Icathia foolishly unleashed the Void in battle, Shurima’s defense was led, as ever, by the legendary Ascended. Imbued with the power of the Sun Disc, these “god-warriors” towered over mortal soldiers, wielding magic and blade with equal ease, and eventually they were victorious. Even so, the horrors of the war took a heavy toll, and those who lived to remember it were perhaps never quite as they once were.
Centuries later, with the loss of mightyat the very moment of his own Ascension, Shurima fell. Although apparently immortal, the god-warriors had been born human—gradually, with no emperor to lead them, many of the surviving Ascended began to falter in purpose as their older, petty ambitions resurfaced. They taught themselves forbidden sorceries, and came to view themselves as the rightful inheritors of the world. The scattered mortal populace named these new tyrants darkin, a whispered curse translating roughly in the old tongue as “the fallen.”
But even the darkin could not escape the sickness of soul that had come from fighting against the Void for so long. After centuries of uneasy alliance, they inevitably turned against one another—and so began the Great Darkin War.
This conflict spread from Shurima to Valoran, and beyond. The renegade god-warriors and the armies they raised were unstoppable, and entire nations were crushed between them. It seemed as though this would be the end of all things… until, , the mages of Runeterra learned how to contain the remaining darkin. Through secrecy and cunning artifice, the physical forms of the Ascended could be merged with the celestial power in their hearts, and all of it bound within the weapons they bore. With their leaders imprisoned forever, the rampaging hordes were broken and slain.
These darkin weapons were hidden, many of them carefully guarded by the mortal civilizations that grew in the aftermath—for it was clear that such power could be locked away, but never destroyed.
And, should such power fall into the wrong hands, the darkin will surely rise once more.
The Darkin began their story as revered human warriors of Ancient Shurima, Ascended into serving against the threat from the threshold. After finally halting the Void's perverse incursion, the surviving Ascended entitled themselves as "Sunborn" as first witnesses of a dawn of peace they brought to a now safe world.
Centuries after an age of war with the Void, despite their divine makeup, their minds remained as frail as the mortals they once were. When the light of Shurima finally left the world, many of the immortal Ascended found themselves lost. With no emperor to lead them, these “darkin” eventually fell to warring among their own kind—and the peoples of Runeterra were caught in the middle.The ceaseless warring and the horrors they witnessed slowly took their toll, leading them to fight over who was worthy of taking over the world that forgot them. This started the War of the Sunborn, known better to the world as the Darkin War.
The laws of mortal life held little meaning for the darkin. Over the centuries, they mastered many forbidden forms of primal magic, crafting their own flesh and armor with equal ease, until they were completely unrecognizable as the noble warriors they had once been.
During the Darkin War depictions of the self-corrupted Sunborn, now known as Darkin, as already having a demonic appearance—the result of using blood magic, fueled with each mortal and Darkin life they took, to reshape their own bodies and armor and meld them as one.
Toward the end of the Darkin War, the Darkin were imprisoned within their own weapons and wielded against their brethren until all who remained were likewise trapped. Those who held a Darkin would gain a portion of their power, but through a host was also the only avenue through which a Darkin to gain a mockery of freedom. Even when able to wrest absolute control of a body, the power of a Darkin is too much for any mortal body to contain - condemning the Darkin to a fate of constantly harvesting life force, eventually completely depleting the mortal's energy and being forced to seek another host, lest they be rendered inanimate once more.
To date, a golden-armored warrior queen is the only being known to have held a Darkin and not succumbed to its will. That said, her final act after dispatching all other Darkin was to trap herself andwithin a well in Pallas, condemning herself but denying the Darkin freedom as well.
From the moment a darking weapon chooses a host, that mortal will find themselves compelled by a power they can scarcely hope to master—no matter what seductive whispers they might hear in their mind. That power will soon take root in flesh and bone, reshaping them into a new, monstrous amalgam.
The weapon's wielder and any Darkin trapped within seem to enter a symbiotic relationship, the wielder gaining a portion of the Darkin's power and the Darkin in turn gain some agency and a venue of freedom. However, the Darkin can parasitically dominate their wielder, thereby annihilating the wielder's personality while in turn freely affirming their agency; similarly, the wielder can extirpate the Darkin's persona to gain full access to the weapon's power. In both cases, the dominated other is described as "dying".
Though the darkin’s hunger for vengeance is inhuman and eternal, they must overcome the limitations of their new form if they are ever to sate it. Memories of who they once were, what they aspired to be, and what they have become, all now blur together in their flawed, mortal minds.
usurped his wielder long ago. actively seeks to gain control over body. has yet to fully take control of both and in their tri-symbiotic existence.
asserts that will die if Kayn "lets go" of the scythe, while it is implied the Darkin's power is lost if they are killed in this fashion. However, Kayn's statement may simply imply that Rhaast will suffer, much like other known Darkin, complete immobility and sensory deprivation until another takes up the scythe. According to Aatrox, this is a fate far worse than death, for the Darkin remains conscious for the full length of their imprisonment.
- It was revealed during  AMA that all Darkin are essentially "Artificial Aspects": The celestial ideals which the they (the souls within the weapons) derived power are long gone, making their ascension difficult to reverse.
- The entity known as
was an elite warrior of Shurima and confidant of Queen Setaka. He fought in the Void War and was traumatized, which led to his self-corruption after death and the fall of Shurima. Freed after millenia imprisoned, he now seeks the destruction of Runeterra - if only to end his own suffering.
- With Ascended before their imprisonment. initial release, it was believed that the Darkin were a race of demon-like beings. However, in and teaser it was stated that the Darkin were a collection of sentient weapons. With release, a Rioter stated that the Darkin are powerful beings and that only the Darkin were imprisoned within their weapons. With lore update that established him as Darkin, it was simultaneously established that the 'powerful beings' were alien refuges that were fleeing the Void's corruption and alien invaders who sought the power of World Runes, with his comic and short story providing different accounts of the Darkin's reason for being on Runeterra. In the refuge account, they were initially revered for their god-like power, but relations eventually turned to war. Both stories culminate in the Darkin's death and/or imprisonment. Aatrox's rework re-established them as having a terrestrial origin, revealing that they were corrupted
- Ionia by a golden-armored warrior queen, before he was released by Valmar and Kai during the Noxian Invasion. was sealed away inside the Pit of Pallas in
- It is speculated that life stealing properties in their kit and lore. might also be a Darkin infused weapon, in observance that melee based Darkin tend to have
- The fate of varies from game-to-game: either killing to become dominant over his body, or being destroyed by , based on the outcome of Quest.
- Despite it seems that the Darkin's corruption is the result of Void-corruption contracted from exposure during the Void War, commonly those psychologically affected by it (e.g.: Into the Abyss) disregard themselves and give in mind and soul to the Void, opposite to the Darkin's intentions of conquering the world for themselves. Rather, their corruption originates as the result of an extreme form of - for what they witnessed in that war, and what can do to them and the world. and Rasho from
- Other notable Ascended who were referred to as Darkin were: Ta’anari (Panther), Enakai (Tiger), Syphax (Chameleon), Zigantus (Bull), Xuuyan (Turtle), Shabaka and Shabake (Raven twins), Moneerah (Unknown), Valeeva (Unknown), Cebotaru (Wolf), and Naganeka (Snake).
- Darkin hearts were used by , as the key to seal away the Darkin inside their weapon prisons.
- The two factions within old lore, the Protectorate and the Magelords, were highly likely to be the two factions represented on Summoner's Rift.
- A stone mural can be seen along the north edge of the map that depicts two factions surrounding a crystal, with a small carving of him visible to the left.
- Thou it is unconfirmed, Valeeva might be Varus' long lost Darkin sister.
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