Dark Lord is the title of the supreme ruler of the realm of Hell. The title appears to refer to any entity which claims dominion over Hell, with the realm's past being divided into "ages" based on the reign of these creatures. The first Dark Lord, Davoth serves as the main antagonist of Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods and by extension, the entire Doom series.
According to Maykr history, the original Dark Lord was an immortal being once known as Davoth, created by the Father to rule over his first deliberate creation, a realm called Jekkad. Jekkad was a higher plane than the Father's first creation, Urdak, and Davoth was a Primeval, one of the first gods, created to rule over it. However, during the final battle, Davoth reveals that it was he who had created the Father, Urdak, Jekkad, and all living things.
According to the Maykr version of history, the people of Jekkad were mortal but made many great wonders, seeking to make their land a paradise: The Father had filled them with ambition without restraint, wishing to see them excel in all things. They were long-lived, but not immortal like the Maykr of Urdak, and it was in this single flaw that the seed of Hell itself was planted.
The Father created Davoth with an undying love for his people and a desire to better their lot, and both he and the denizens of his realm came to regard mortality as a curse. Davoth knew that he himself was not mortal, and feared the possibility of his beloved people's extinction, leaving him alone in an empty realm. Guided by Davoth and lacking self-doubt to reign them in, the people of Jekkad turned their intellects towards defeating death itself.
The Father saw the future of this endeavor, that Davoth and his people would never cease in their search, regardless of the cost. Foreseeing that this ambition would someday threaten all creation and that Davoth would someday seek to challenge the Father himself, the Father sealed off Jekkad from all other realms.
Davoth saw this act as an unforgivable betrayal by his creator, directing his fury at the barriers that encircled his domain as his people continued to fall to mortality. He became the Father's nemesis, the Dark Lord, while his realm would come to be known as "Hell" to the people of Urdak. The once grand and beautiful realm fell into horror and ruin as its denizens set aside all other concerns save for their singular purpose.
Davoth continued to test at the boundaries of his prison, with his legions spilling forth into other realms, defeating many forces sent by the Father to stop them. With each victory, the Primeval's power grew greater. Finally, moved to act, the Father entered the despoiled realm and, atop the Pyramid of the Lost, once a temple to the Father, he tore the essence from the Dark Lord's body and cast it down. While Samur Maykr begged the Father to destroy the Life Sphere containing Davoth's essence, he refused, as Davoth was still his own creation: instead, he placed the Sphere in the Temple of Souls.
While Davoth was reduced to nothing but a sphere containing his essence, he continued to whisper his influence to the corrupted people of his realm. Ultimately, he would be restored to a physical body by the Doom Slayer through the use of the Maykr device known as the Luminarium, as part of the latter's plan to stop Hell's invasion for good. It is stated by the intern that the only way to truly defeat the Dark Lord (and by extension Hell) was to restore his physical form and then kill him. When resurrected, he appeared in the form of the Slayer. The Slayer tried to execute him there and then, but Davoth informed the Slayer that no blood can be spilled in the Luminarium. Summoning a portal, Davoth told the Doom Slayer that he would be waiting in the city of Immora. The intern would later inform the Doom Slayer that should he destroy Davoth, every demon outside of Hell would be destroyed due to the connection between Davoth and his subjects.
When the Slayer arrived at Immora, Davoth, clad in a red-colored mech, greeted him with his entire demon horde. As the remaining forces of Argent D'Nur rose to aid the Slayer, and the Slayer advanced into the city of Immora, Davoth retreated into his chambers, where he goaded the Slayer into fighting to show him his “purpose.” During the fight, Davoth and the Doom Slayer were transported across realms conquered by the forces of Hell, ending in the ruins of a city on Earth. There, Davoth demanded the Father tell the Slayer the truth.
Davoth was, in fact, the true first being responsible for all of existence and the Father was one of his creations. Davoth had created the Maykrs to help him find the secret of immortality; although they succeeded, they feared the consequences of sharing this knowledge with Davoth. As such, the Maykrs betrayed Davoth, sealing him away in Jekkad and stealing his power of creation; the being now known as the Father was a Maykr imbued with the bulk of the stolen energy, transforming him into a god in his own right. Having lost everything to his creations, Davoth vowed to unmake everything as he had made it. He influenced Samur Maykr into placing the Doom Slayer into the Divinity Machine, with the intention of having the Slayer unconsciously contribute to the destruction of the Maykrs and the Father.
Despite this revelation, the Slayer remained resolute in his defiance of Davoth, eventually defeating him by crippling his mech suit beyond repair. As the Slayer removed his helmet and approached him slowly, Davoth asked if the Slayer had anything to say to his creator before he struck him down. In response, the Slayer stabbed Davoth with the Doomblade, uttering only one word: “No.” Davoth's Life Sphere ejected from his body and exploded, confirming his ultimate demise. As a result, every demon outside of Hell was destroyed. The Doom Slayer collapsed as well since the Divinity Machine had made him partially a product of Davoth. His comatose body was entombed where the life spheres of Davoth and the Father's had been kept - the Temple of Souls.
Other Dark Lords
Following Davoth's near-destruction and imprisonment, it appears that other powerful demons within Hell vied for his former rank and appointed themselves as Dark Lord in his place.
Given the chronology of events, it appears to have been Davoth's successor, the Dark Lord of the First Age, who made a pact with the Khan Maykr allowing for the construction of "Soul Spires" in Hell. These structures, including the Citadel located in the Hell-city of Nekravol, fused mortal souls with Hell energy to form Argent Energy, an incredible power source which the Maykr could use to stave off their degradation following the loss of the Father. In return for allowing the construction of the towers, Hell would be provided new worlds to harvest, as well as the refuse from the soul extraction process, husk-bodies which would transform into demons much more quickly than if the process proceeded normally.
A voice identified as the current Dark Lord (presumably of the Fourth Age) was heard contacting Olivia Pierce. This is implied to have been the Spider Mastermind, which was later destroyed by the Doom Slayer.
However, it is important to remember that the Maykr Texts were retconned, and even if there are multiple Dark Lords, they were most likely manipulated by Davoth and while undeniably powerful, they served as little more than Davoth's unwitting puppets in preparation of his restoration to physical form.
Betrayed by his own creations, stripped of most of his power and even name, Davoth was imprisoned for millennia which made him swear vengeance against his servants and everything he created. Malevolent and enraged, he shows no mercy towards others and is fully willing to kill and destroy other worlds. Despite his negative traits, Davoth is also very honorable and is able to show respect to others as is shown during his confrontation with the Doom Slayer, where he fought honestly and revealed his story and the truth about how everything started, as well as the reasons for his actions. After being defeated by his creation, he accepts his fate with dignity and only asks the Slayer if he had anything to say to him, his creator, before he struck him down.
Davoth is battled at the center of Immora, piloting a red mech suit resembling a cross between a Marauder and the Praetor Suit. He has five health bars, changing phases when the first and third bars are depleted; the phases are also indicated by Davoth slamming his shield on the ground and changing the surroundings. Like most foes in the game, his mech suit will become visibly damaged as the battle progresses, but this has no effect on its performance.
Davoth's suit wields a large energy shield that renders him effectively immune to direct damage. However, when he tries to slash the Slayer, his eyes will flash green - attacking him during this window will stun him and provide a few seconds to deal damage with impunity. The stun duration can be extended by hitting him with the Sentinel Hammer while he's stunned. Staying close to Davoth will greatly increase the chances of him using an attack that leaves an opening. When one of his health bars is depleted, the game will provide a prompt to attack the staggered boss (similar to the prompt for a Glory Kill) and advance the fight.
The Dark Lord will heal himself every time he lands a direct physical attack on the Slayer - his projectiles and summoned demons will not heal him. The amount of health he restores is roughly proportional to the damage dealt by the attack, being represented by the Doom Slayer releasing yellow-colored health pickups that Davoth immediately absorbs. On the other hand, Zombies will spawn around the edges of the arena to let the Slayer replenish resources.
Initially, the background will appear as the central citadel of Immora.
- Moves and dashes around the arena rapidly, firing a stream of projectiles from the large cannon on his right shoulder.
- Summons a Sentinel Wolf to chase the player, which will drop a charge of the Sentinel Hammer when killed.
- If the Slayer approaches him at point-blank range, he will quickly slam his shield down to create a shockwave that deals damage and knockback.
- Braces himself, then lunges while slashing with his Crucible. Shorter windup than any of his other slash attacks.
- Flashes green and winds up, then slashes twice in succession with his Crucible. This attack has a long reach and deals extremely high damage. Shooting him during the windup period will stagger him.
- A "fake-out" where he performs his double slash attack without rendering himself vulnerable. If the player attacks him during this fake-out, he will recover a large amount of health instead of taking damage.
After losing his first health bar, Davoth will change the background to a burning Earth city and gain the following attacks:
- Summons two Sentinel Wolves at once instead of just one.
- Periodically fires round bombs from his left shoulder cannon, which will roll along the ground for a few seconds before exploding.
- A shield bash attack that has him charge up before dashing at the Slayer, dealing high damage and significant knockback on impact. He will flash orange while charging, and flash blue right before he lunges.
After losing his third health bar, a cutscene will play, ending with Davoth changing the background to Ingmore's Sanctum. He gains the following attacks:
- Summons two Sentinel Wolves and a projection of a Hell Knight.
- Summons a group of phantasmal demons to aid him (a Baron of Hell, a Mancubus, a Pain Elemental, and a Tyrant). These demons have far less health than their original variants, and instantly die if caught in a Sentinel Hammer slam.
- "You feel you are prepared now, for this...?" -Davoth taunting the Slayer from within his life sphere.
- "No blood can be spilled in this holy place. Our time will come. If you survive, I will be waiting in the city of Immora." -Davoth challenges the Slayer after the latter's failed attempt to execute him in the Luminarium.
- "Aten Me." -Davoth summoning his army to destroy the Slayer.
- "You bring violence and war to thwart the Dark Realm, but conflict was born in Hell. It is inevitable... a fire that fuels creation and gives purpose where there is none. ... Stand and fight, Slayer. Honor your true God. Fight and show me your purpose." -Davoth beginning combat with the Slayer.
- "I will bathe in your blood!" -One of Davoth's threats toward the Slayer, after losing his first health bar.
- "You will burn!" -Another one of Davoth's threats.
- "Die, Slayer!" -Another one of Davoth's threats.
- "You cannot stop me!" -Davoth taunting the Slayer, after losing his second health bar.
- "For too long have I been imprisoned by my own creations. You will not stop my vengeance, nor the one who betrayed me. Tell him." -Davoth commands the Father to reveal the truth of their past.
- "They lied to you, Slayer. Immora and its people would have been perfect if not for the treachery of my servants. They sealed me away, stole my power and name, and now the time has come for a reckoning. As all things have been made by my hand, so shall they be unmade. Starting with you." -Davoth reveals his motives before resuming his battle with the Slayer.
- "I will devour your soul!" -Davoth threatening the Slayer one last time, after losing his fourth health bar.
- "Tell me... have you nothing to say to your creator... before you strike him down?" -Davoth's last words.
- It is unknown why the Father didn't destroy Davoth's life sphere after ripping it from his chest. Perhaps the Father still needed him alive to use the power he stole from the Dark Lord.
- The voice that calls out "NOOOOOO!" after the death of the Khan Maykr in Doom Eternal is identified as "Dark Lord" in the game files, but was originally only identified as "Mysterious Voice" in the game itself. After the release of The Ancient Gods - Part One, this was changed to match the game files, which was then reverted back following the release of The Ancient Gods - Part Two, presumably to avoid confusion.
- Possible reason for why the Slayer and Davoth look identical could be that the Slayer is an alternate universe counterpart of Davoth since Jekkad was a regular realm before.
- There are multiple sequential Dark Lords: "Envision chanting the names of dark lords in the correct order" - "Why We Must" (Codex: The Necropolis 2), Doom 2016
- "Believing Jekkad rejected by their creator, hate grew within Davoth. (...) The Primeval, created to protect and shepherd the people of his realm, stoked an eternal fury toward The Father as more of his people fell to mortality. He became the Dark Lord and raged against the walls of Jekkad." - Codex: Book of the Seraphs - Part VIII, Doom Eternal - The Ancient Gods Part 1
- Codex: Book of the Seraphs - Part V, Doom Eternal - The Ancient Gods Part 1
- The Ancient Gods - Part Two
- Davoth was defeated before the disappearance of The Father sparked the Maykr need for Argent Energy: Book Of The Seraphs - Part V, Doom Eternal - The Ancient Gods Part 1 & Codex: Story of the Maykrs, Urdak Doom Eternal
- The Slayer entered Hell in the First Age: Codex: Slayer's Testament I, Doom 2016
- "(...) the Barons of Hell are the current Royal Guard of the unknown dark lord of the fourth age (...)" UAC REPORT FILE: IIS5LW21 (Codex: Baron of Hell II), Doom 2016