|This article relies on references to primary sources. (February 2012)|
Gabrielle in Dahak's grasp
|First appearance||The Deliverer|
|Created by||Robert Tapert|
|Portrayed by||Michael Hurst
Dahak is a fictional character in the fictional universe of Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. He is the main antagonist of Xena's third season and the fifth season of Hercules, and loosely based upon the creature of the same name found in Persian/Zoroastrian mythology.
In the Season 3 episode "The Deliverer", Gabrielle meets a group of religious disciples that worship "The One True God". Attracted by their apparent piety, Gabrielle follows them to their temple, but her curiosity leads to tragedy when she discovers that this god is Dahak and his religion is built on death and destruction. Gabrielle is lured there because of her innocence, and when she is tricked into murdering another, she completes a dark ritual that leads to her supernatural impregnation with Dahak's child.
Gabrielle's ensuing pregnancy progresses with unnatural speed. She gives birth within a matter of days. Xena recognises the child for what it is and insists that it be killed as soon as it is born. Gabrielle, however, is overcome with maternal instincts and names the child Hope because she believes that is what her child represents. After giving birth, Gabrielle tricks Xena into believing that she dropped Hope off a cliff, when in fact she had placed Hope in a basket and set her down a river.
Eventually Xena and Gabrielle cross paths again with Hope, though due to her supernatural genealogy, she's already grown into a pre-teen. Hope's manipulations cause Xena and Gabrielle to turn against each other, culminating in the death of Xena's son, Solan. Gabrielle eventually realizes Hope's true intentions and poisons her.
The Dahak arc, however, continues over the Season 3 finale to an early Season 4 episode where Hope finally meets her demise. He planned on using Ares and Hope to sire a race of destroyers who would destroy the world and usher in his coming. However, both Hope and her child eventually meet their demise.
In the Hercules series, Dahak's latest attempts to enter the world were through the events that took place in Sumeria. Dahak had fought against the Sumerian gods, who were eventually able to stop Dahak's advances. The battle killed and injured many people, leaving the Sumerians to fear that the gods had turned on them. The Sumerian King, Gilgamesh, sent word out to Hercules to aid him and his people against the sudden "terror" of the Sumerian gods. As Hercules journeyed towards Sumeria, Dahak haunts Hercules in his dreams stating that "I am the darkness you hold close to your heart." In Sumeria, Hercules agreed to help Gilgamesh stop the Sumerian gods by obtaining a heavily guarded chalice that contained the nectar that sustained the Sumerian gods. Hercules and Gilgamesh succeeded in reaching the chalice, but Gilgamesh had revealed himself to be Dahak's servant and used Hercules' ambitions to keep the gods from toying with the lives of mortals to his advantage. Gilgamesh consumed the nectar of the gods obtaining incredible god-like power, and destroyed the chalice. With the chalice gone, the Sumerian gods no longer had the means to sustain themselves, let alone fight Dahak any further. Gilgamesh claimed that Dahak needed the sacrifice of a warrior heart in order to enter the world, thus beginning a ritual for Dahak's arrival using his sister Nebula as the sacrifice. Hercules interrupted the ritual and engaged in an intense battle against Gilgamesh who was transformed into a demon by Dahak. During the battle, Gilgamesh stabbed Iolaus in the chest while he attempted to defend Nebula, fulfilling Dahak's plan of a sacrifice of a warrior heart. An enraged Hercules defeated and killed Gilgamesh afterwards.
Dahak lured Iolaus' spirit into the realm where Dahak is still a prisoner and disguise his environment as the Elysian Fields. Taking on the form of Hercules, Dahak offered Iolaus "the power of a thousand gods" in order to liberate the world from the Olympian God's reign of terror. Iolaus had for a while refused Dahak's offer, but eventually gave into temptation by taking Dahak's hand. Dahak had finally entered the world in Iolaus' body with Iolaus' soul as a prisoner. The balance of light and darkness began to shift in Dahak's favor through every tragic event: The Sumerian gods have died as a result of having nothing to sustain themselves, and Dahak himself had killed the noble druids of Ireland, who acted as mentors to Hercules after Iolaus' apparent death. Dahak had mentally tormented Nebula forcing Hercules and his new companion, Morrigan to return to Sumeria and confront Dahak now in possession of Iolaus' body. Dahak made a vague attempt to make Hercules believe that he is indeed Iolaus just with the power to achieve whatever he wants. Hercules, however refused to believe that he is Iolaus. Dahak easily escaped Hercules' grasp and journeyed to Greece. Hercules, accompanied by Nebula and Morrigan headed to Greece as well, to stop Dahak or die trying.
When Dahak arrived at Greece, he found that the Olympian Gods, who were severely weakened by his dark presence, had already left before his arrival. Dahak sensed that his former ally Ares had not left with them, instead choosing to hide. In spite of this, Dahak chose to adopt a disguise as Iolaus the new "god of light" in order to gain followers and trust of the people who believed that the Olympian gods had abandoned them. He even made them believe that Hercules is the reason for the gods departure, claiming he has returned to destroy them. Hercules wanted to know what Dahak had to gain from his deception, and Dahak states the wants a return to the old days before the Olympians ruled the earth. Dahak was said to have been defeated by the Titans when he first manifested on Earth. This battle was said by Mnemosyne to have devastated the planet and left the Titans so weakened that Zeus was able to defeat them and claim mastery over the Earth. The extensive devastation also resulted in the Greek gods rebuilding the world into something more hospitable. Mnemosyne advised Hercules to gain the "stone of creation" in which its purest light will render Dahak powerless. After these revelations, Hercules gains a new ally, Zarathustra, who was once a follower of Dahak a thousand years prior to one of Dahak's attempts to enter the world. Zarathustra reveals that there are two basic forces that govern the universe: creation and destruction, and that Dahak is the force of destruction. Zarathustra reveals to Hercules that Dahak wants Hercules to kill him in order to condemn Iolaus' soul to eternal doom, giving Dahak the means to plunge the world into chaos. After obtaining the stone of creation, Hercules and Zarathustra confronted Dahak and bind him in chains using the stone to prevent Dahak's escape. Zarathustra begins a ritual to exorcise Dahak's being from Iolaus' body. Dahak taunts Zarathustra for killing his family and cursed him with immortality a thousand years ago in order to feed off of Zarathustra's anger and gain enough strength to kill him, preventing the ritual from continuing. Dahak revealed to Hercules of how he manipulated Iolaus into accepting him into his heart.
During this time, Dahak taunts Hercules further by telling him that Iolaus was nothing more than a travelling companion. Hercules tells Dahak that his friendship with Iolaus is one of the best things that he has been blessed with. This moral sentiment upsets Dahak and weakens him enough for Iolaus to call out to Hercules from the spiritual realm Dahak has him trapped in. Hercules touches Iolaus' hand and is sucked into the spiritual realm where he sees his long dead friend. Dahak appears there too, in his true form: A huge crustacean-like monster. Hercules and Iolaus battle Dahak and send him into a fiery pit. With Dahak defeated, and the balance of creation and destruction had returned to normal, Dahak's spirit was finally liberated from Iolaus' body. Zarathustra returns and guides Iolaus into an after life governed by the force of creation, which is later hinted at being the Judeo-Christian god.
There are some contradictions within the series regarding Dahak. The chief druid tells Hercules that he is a creature from beyond this world implying he is from a different world or dimension. Yet Dahak's recounting as well as that of the Titans suggests that he is a manifestation of the darkness within the world, which would indicate he is native to this world.
- "Redemption". Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. 1999-01-18.
- "The Deliverer". Xena: Warrior Princess. 1997-10-20.
- "Gabrielle's Hope". Xena: Warrior Princess. 1997-10-27.
- "Maternal Instincts". Xena: Warrior Princess. 1998-01-26.
- "Sacrifice, Part 1". Xena: Warrior Princess. 1998-05-04.
- "Sacrifice, Part 2". Xena: Warrior Princess. 1998-05-11.
- "A Family Affair". Xena: Warrior Princess. 1998-10-12.