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Darkin Explained: Everything You Need to Know About the LoL Creatures

Lore 14-06-2023 18:50
Darkin Header
Aatrox is thetrue leader of this merry band | Riot Games

The Darkin are thrice-cursed—once by the ancient enemy they faced, again by the fall of their glorious empire, and finally by the betrayal that has damned them for all eternity. With a description such as this one, who wouldn't want to know more about these LoL creatures?

Darkin are the closest thing League of Legends has to devils, excluding the skin line of course, and their aesthetic and visuals are hard to match by any other champion category in the game. Riot always go all out when designing a Darkin champion. But what lies at the heart of these LoL creatures?

LoL: What are the Darkin?

Darkin is a rare are in the League of Legends universe, whose numbers can be counted on one hand, as it stands now. Their true numbers are unknown though, but their history and downfall certainly is.

Darkin Lore - Creation

The tale of the Darkin starts in Shurima, an ancient empire of the Sands, that reverse engineered the might of the Celestials with the knowledge of Aurelion Sol, and created the Sun Disc.

With it, they embued their greatest warriors and scholars, giving them an extended lifespan, new forms and power that can rival even the Aspects of Targon themselves.

Justicar aatrox
Aatrox used to be The Justicar | Riot Games

The society of these, at the time called Ascended, would usher Shurima into prosperity and make it the most powerful nation on Runeterra. Fate, however, had different plans.

Darkin Lore - The Fall

Te most powerful Emperor in the history of Shurima was Azir. He was also one of the people destined to become an Ascended and rule Shurima forever. However, what he thought of as his best friend, Xerath, who was his personal slave, betrays him in the moment of his Ascension ritual.

Thus, Xerath kills Azir before he can become an Ascended, and steals his Ascension, thus dooming Shurima to implode upon itself, with no leader at it's helm.

Lo L xerath
Xerath is more powerful in the lore than in the game | Riot Games

Without guidance and leadership, the Ascended try to preserve what remains of the empire, but their strong wills make it so each one wishes to impose their own ideals on Runterra.

This leads to the creation of petty kingdoms ruled by the Ascended, who, after centuries of warfare and trauma, and due to the insidious corruption of the Void, become fallen. They become, the Darkin!

Darkin Lore  - Darkin Curse

Due to their vile nature, the former Aspect of Twilight, the one who preceded Zoe, teaches the humans of Runeterra, those who were not the minions of the Darkin, how to curse and seal these Demonic LoL creatures inside their own weapons.

There they now wait for those foolish enough to try and wield them, only to take over their bodies and once again rampage all over Runeterra,

How Many Darkin Exist in League of Legends Universe?

The number of the Ascended was never revealed, nor was the number of those that die before turning into Darkin themselves. There are, currently, fourteen known existing Darkin creatures in the League of Legends universe, though not all are present in the game, nor do we know the plans of each and every one:

  • Aatrox - The Darkin Blade, currently active and in full possession of his host.
  • Rhaast - The Darkin Scythe, trying to take over the body of his wielder, Shieda Kayn.
  • Varus - The Darkin Bow, currently struggling for control against the spirits of humans Valmar and Kai.
  • Xolaani - The Darkin Bloodletters, last seen slaughtering Wuju disciples after possessing their star pupil Jun.
  • Naganeka - The Darkin Balista, currently en route to the fallen city of Icathia to heed the call of Aatrox
  • Taarosh - The Darkin Halberd, currently en route to the fallen city of Icathia to heed the call of Aatrox
  • Horazi - The Darkin Lodestone, currently hunting down Xolaani
  • Anaakca - The Darkin Spear, Somewhere in Freljord
  • Ibaaros - The Darkin Harpoon - Serpent Isles
  • Styratu - The Darkin Harp - Caverns of Zaun
  • Praa - The Darkin Fan - in the Spirit Realm
  • Joraal - The Darkin Shield - Guarded in Demacia
  • Baalkux - The Darkin Staff - Somewhere in Bandlewood
  • Naafiri - The Darkin Dagger, upcoming League of Legends champion

The next League of Legends champion has recently been teased to arrive at the end of June to the PBE. Then we'll know more about them, and their story, which leaves only one more Dakin unaccounted for.

The most powerful Darkin of all, currently, is Aatrox, whose power is so great that, unlike the others, he can only control his hosts for a short period of time before their own bodies give out.

Who Are the Two New Darkin?

Recently, Riot Games have revealed two new Darkin creatures in their Legends of Runeterra game, which seem to be exclusive for LoR, for now. They are Ibaaros and Anaakca.

Ibaaros is a Darkin found roaming the seas and can be likened to Nautilus. A titan of great power, who churns the waves with his passing. Perhaps counteracting Ibaaros is why Nagakabouros created Nautilus in the first place.

On the other hand, Anaakca is a Freljordian Darkin, described by Riot Games as "Anaakca moved with such speed that the Freljord itself seemed to follow in her wake. Those who survived her butchery soon felt their skin freeze, and their hearts still."

Why are Darkin Evil?

Becoming an Ascended of Shurima takes incredible will, principles, and accomplishments. So, how could such individuals fall so much so as to become Darkin?

The answer lies with the rebellion of Icathia. This vassal state of the Shuriman empire dreamed of independence, and knowing they could not stand against the might of Shuriman Ascended, asked the Void for help.

Void The Fall Of Icathia
A splash of cosmic horror to spice things up | Riot Games

The Void answered, and only then did the Icathians realize what they unleashed upon the world. The rampage of the Void, and its terrifying nature, left many Ascended with incredible traumas, and yearning for revenge.

Revenge they could not get as Icathia was wiped off the map with the appearance of the Void, and the SHuriman empire fell with the death of Azir. So, in their misery, sorrow, and madness, they turned on each other and even experimented with dark magics to gain an edge, which turned them from the resplendent Ascended, into the abhorrent Darkin.

Are Darkin Stronger Than the Ascended?

In League of Legends there are currently four known Ascended that were created with the Shuriman Empire's Sun Disc, in an attempt to copy the creation of Aspects, such as Taric and Leona:

  • Nasus
  • Renekton
  • Xerath
  • Azir

Azir has been revived recently, and become an Ascended, in order to return to his former glory. The only one who can help with that is Nasus, the only remaining Ascendant that is not a fallen Darkin, a betrayer, or tortured to madness such as Renekton, who sealed himself with Xerath in order to keep Xerath away from the rest of the world.

Rammus 0
Some theories suggest Rammus is an Ascended too | Riot Games

What we do know, however, is that Aatrox was capable of killing the Aspect of War, who is an original Aspect, unlike what Shurima made with their Sun Disc, making Darkin seem more powerful than their Ascendant counterparts. Azir, however, is the Emperor of Shurima and may prove to be more powerful than we ever thought.

The current world events have Aatrox calling upon the Darkin to rally around him, while Azir is trying to restore his empire. Perhaps we will soon see a clash of these, former, brothers-in-arms?

Rijad Kamberovic

Graduating from Sarajevo university in 2020, with a Bachelor's Degree in Islamic Theology, I never believed that my fascination with comparative religions and their myths would mesh so well together with the fantasy genre of the video games I play....