|Current status/schedule||Weekly updates|
|Launch date||December 16, 2003|
Darken is a completed webcomic set in a Dungeons & Dragons-style fantasy world, featuring a cast of morally ambiguous or outright evil characters led by Gort, lord of hellfire. It is based on a story by Mike Foulks.
Darken is one of the more popular members of Cornstalker Webcomic Collective. It was originally a member of Comicgenesis since its creation in December 2003 and was later a member of Keenspot from July 2006 until January 2010. It ended on October 17, and the artist went on to make a new comic, Widdershins.
The comic begins with Gort being summoned before the arch-devil Mephistopheles. Gort made a pact with him that would allow him to defeat his then nemesis, Leon. After completion of this, Mephistopheles wanted the return on the pact. He requested Gort's servitude, and gave him the quest of bringing to him three sacred artifacts, the Regalia of Evil. Upon obtaining this quest, Gort was returned to the material plane, and coincidentally met a Drow, named Komiyan.
Disciple of Fire: The story begins with Gort's deal with Arch-Devil Mephistopheles: All the power he can want, in exchange for fetching the three artifacts of the Regalia of Evil. Meanwhile, a small drow village is under attack from a wormbeast, and Gort is summoned to deal with it.
Wyrms and Serpents: Gort sets out to reassemble his old team, starting with the priestess Mink, Casper, who was out hunting Slaad, and Jill.
Rage of Winter: The group is commissioned to fetch a monster's eye for a mystery patron. Accepting, they travel to a snowy mountain, where they set upon a giant.
Watcher in the Dark: Reaching the lair of the beast whose eye they are to procure, the party discover that they are to face a Beholder, an arrogant and powerful magical creature. A difficult fight ensues, in which Mink is near-fatally injured, but the beast is felled.
Blood Bond: The group is nervous, having been told to take the eye to the Citadel of Light, capital of all that is good and holy on Darken, but the promise of lots of money and having Mink brought back from the brink of death spurs them on. Arriving, they find an old enemy; a priestess of the Light named Violet. They pay her, but in order to save Mink, she must create a link between the half-dragon and Gort, in order for them to share their wounds. While in the city, Gort is startled to see a man who bears a striking resemblance to himself.
Beast: The group is forced into doing a good deed to reclaim back their reward money- they must clear out an evil cult of blood that lives beneath the Citadel of Light. While doing so, they find the Sword of Evil, part of the Regalia, and free Michaelus, a former town guard, who promptly turns into a bear.
Sleeping Dragons: Travelling to Casper's old town of Falloakes, the promise of prize money and fame leads to Gort, Casper, Komiyan and Michaelus entering a race. Mink leaves, having experienced a prophetic dream advising her to awaken her blue dragon mother, Silvador, from her permanent sleep. This she does, restoring her family to the throne of Hextoria. In Falloakes, Casper is intercepted by Jade, one of the race of Yuan ti he had thought wiped out by orcs. Jade informs him of who had led the orcs that crushed the Yuan Ti.
Siege: Gort decides that he requires a base of operations, and picks an orc-infested castle called Three Spires. Reluctantly, the others help him lay siege to the castle, and set up a temporary home there.
Reckoning: Word of Gort's domination of Three Spires reaches the Citadel, and to the Paladin, Tyr, who looks so much like Gort. Outraged, he calls on the Light for help, and sets out to fight Gort atop Three Spires with the help of three celestial beings. The party are all defeated, except for Jill, who surrenders.
Long Way Home: Facing judgement on a celestial plane, the group is cast down into Purgatory for their various crimes, despite Tyr's insistence that they deserve only death. The limbo they are scattered in is dominated by a giant spire, which blocks all use of magic. This plane resembles the Outlands. They are left separated without armour and weapons.
From the Shadows: While trying to escape the influence of the spire, Mink, Jill and Komiyan stumble across a being who claims to be an ambassador, a Shade named Zathras. Despite his terrible accent, they manage to strike a deal in which he will show them where a portal back to Darken is, and they will protect him on the way. Gort, Casper and Michaelus, however, have met a red dragon, Garganon. He helps to reunite the group and flies them to a nearby town.
Shards: Garganon's price for the flight is that they must retrieve a gauntlet that has been stolen from him. It has been sealed in a cave, guarded by a huge metallic five-headed beast. Along the way, Komiyan uncovers a sword that can change its form, and speaks in a voice only he can hear. After the battle with the hydra, Gort discovers that the gauntlet is, in fact, the Gauntlet of Evil, and he has no intentions of returning it to the dragon, despite the protests of the honourable Michaelus. They make good their escape in a boat, and reach the portal town, where Zathras departs for his own dimension.
Goodnight Moon: Komiyan returns to his hometown and faces punishment for killing a priest. Gort, as the disciple of Mephistopheles, is welcomed into the town, and the Drow priestess reveals the location of the Crown and Sword of Evil to him. Meanwhile, Casper tries to get rid of a cursed amulet that gives him nightmares.
Reunion: Gort pursues Tyr as the latter attempts to hide the Sword of Evil. As the two fight, a flashback is shown of their childhood. It is revealed that Gort, Tyr's brother, saved him earlier in their lives when they were captured by slavers.Gort returns to his companions with the Sword in hand, and Tyr's fate is left unknown.
Interlude: The Devil's Due: A brief scene in Hell, where Baal hints that he is planning something, and Mephistopheles, meanwhile, hints that he has a second disciple.
Restless: The group goes to the location of the Crown. As they pick their way through complicated mazes, Michaelus sets up a rebellion against Gort. Upon reaching the crown, an undead creature, actually Gort's old nemesis Leon, blocks the way. In the ensuing struggle, it is revealed that Leon is also a disciple of Mephistophiles and that he too has a remarkable power: he can possess any undead creature as his current body is destroyed. Leon escapes with the crown, Michaelus leaves the group, and the loyalties of all everyone in Gort's party is called into question.
Afraid of the Dark: Mink uses magic to draw the group into the Shadow plane, where they again meet Zathras and negotiate to use the plane to fight Leon. They trick Leon and Violet into fighting them on the plane, where Leon cannot regenerate. Mink takes the crown during the struggle and replaces it with a fake. Gort, having won the battle, apparently completes the Regalia.
Uprising: The group returns to the Three Spires to find Michaelus preparing to kill Gort before he does anything else with the Regalia. Garganon also returns, apparently sent by Mink's own mother. The dragon is winning the fight when Mink, in desperation, gives Gort the real crown, thereby completing the Regalia. It fuses to Gort's body, and with his new power he is able to destroy both Garganon and Michaelus.
A Summer Wasting: Several weeks later, the group meets at a bar, where Jill has an important message for all of them: "The Worm Lord is rising." Everyone is surprised, as they have all heard the same phrase throughout the summer. They relate stories of how they heard the phrase, and it is revealed that the Worm Lord is the arch demon Baal. The chapter ends as Casper asks Komiyan his story, to which he responds that "nothing happened." However, his story is shown to the reader, revealing that Komiyan has been captured by Baal worshipers, and that the drow seen in this chapter is actually an impostor.
Double Down: Gort, Mink, Jill, and the fake Komiyan go to the Citadel of Light, where Baal will shortly rise. They are slowed down as Mink and Gort are poisoned by the impostor. Meanwhile, Komiyan's sister and Shard, his sword, look for Komiyan. They free him by letting Shard possess the drow that tortured Komiyan. Casper discovers the impostor, and the group does get to the Citadel of Light before the rising. Gort meets with Tyr, who is still alive and preparing a weapon to cast Baal back into Hell. Gort is fighting a demon which is apparently the vessel Baal is preparing to possess when Komiyan, teleported from his home town, warns him that Tyr is the real vessel. A sudden explosion knocks the party off their feet, and a possessed Tyr beats Gort to the ground and leaves as more demons are pulled into the area.
- ^ Within the disclaimer: "The comic is based on a story by Mike Foulks"
- ^ Talk About Comics Interviews Matt Johnson, Daniel Orta, and R. L. Peterson, 11/1/2006
- ^ Kel McDonald's blog entry about her being fired by Keenspot.