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For other uses, see Dark Elf Conflict (disambiguation)

"Long before the birth of light, there was darkness, and from that darkness came the Dark Elves. Millennia ago, the most ruthless of their kind, Malekith, sought to transform our universe back into one of eternal night. Such evil was possible through the power of the Aether; an ancient force of infinite destruction. The noble armies of Asgard, led by my father, King Bor, waged a mighty war against these creatures."

The Dark Elf Conflict was a major war between the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim and the Asgardians of Asgard. The crisis was instigated around 2988 B.C. when Malekith, the genocidal leader of the Dark Elves, attempted to use the reality-warping Infinity Stone known as the Aether to revert the universe to a state of total darkness, starting with Nine Realms of Yggdrasil.

The Dark Elves were defeated and nearly exterminated by the Asgardian army under King Bor, with Malekith and several dozen other warriors going into hibernation for 5,000 years until the next Convergence.



The origins of the Aether explained in the Book of Yggdrasil

"There are relics that predate the universe itself. What lies within her appears to be one of them. The Nine Realms are not eternal. They had a dawn as they will have a dusk. But before that dawn the dark forces, the Dark Elves, reigned absolute."
Odin to Thor and Jane Foster[src]

The Dark Elves are the oldest species in existence, having ruled unchallenged for untold ages before the Big Bang, thriving in the shapeless, lightless void the Asgardians call Ginnungagap. After the creation of the current universe, however, the Dark Elves' power waned, their influence in the cosmos grateful reduced with the introduction of manifest light. The Dark Elves eventually settled in Svartalfheim, the darkest and bleakest of the Nine Realms connected by the 'world tree' Yggdrasil, one of the few places in the universe dark enough to sustain them.

For millions of years, the Dark Elves sought to return to their former power. This yearning culminated in the reign of Malekith, an accomplished Dark Elven sorcerer, who obtained the Reality Stone, of the six Infinity Stones created by the Cosmic Entities from the remnants of a singularity that predated the universe. Malekith was able to manipulate the Reality Stone, turning it into a liquified weapon called the Aether. This weapon had the power to convert matter to dark matter and, in practice, could restore the entire universe to its prior state of total darkness, wiping out every lifeform in existence, with the exception of the Dark Elves, who would again be able to reign supreme.[1]

The War on Svartalfheim

Malekith and Algrim overlooks the First Battle of Svartalfheim

"Malekith sought to use the Aether's power to return the universe to one of darkness. But after eternities of bloodshed, my father Bor, finally triumphed, ushering in the peace that lasted thousands of years."

In 2988 B.C., the Convergence, a cosmic event in which the Nine Realms are aligned, took place, opening wormholes between the Realms. Malekith sought to take advantage of the Convergence to begin his genocidal conquest of the universe, beginning with the other Realms.

Bor fights the Dark Elves

The Dark Elves came dangerously close to succeeding in their plan to unleash the Aether on the universe, but were prevented by the intervention of the Asgardians, the self-appointed protectors of the Nine Realms. Under the command of King Bor, the Asgardian Einherjar army invaded Svartalfheim, leading to a decisive battle. While the Dark Elves proved worthy foes, the Asgardians were able to push them back, withstanding even the enhanced "Kursed" class of Dark Elf warriors. Bor used a portal opened by Asgard's Bifrost Bridge to take the Aether moments before Malekith finally unleashed its destructive power.

Malekith attempts to use the Aether

Realizing the battle was lost, Malekith unleashed one last desperate attack, dropping the entire Dark Elf air fleet onto the battlefield, wiping out the majority of both armies and leaving the surviving Asgardians in disarray. Malekith took advantage of the ensuing chaos to escape on the last remaining Ark, along with his lieutenant Algrim and the several dozen warriors who had survived. The Asgardians assumed the Dark Elves had all perished in the battle, however. Bor, realizing the Aether was too powerful to destroy, ordered the weapon to be buried on a distant world where none could ever find it again.

The Aether hidden by Bor

Meanwhile, Malekith and the other surviving Elves entered a state of extended hibernation aboard the Ark, intending to wake when the Aether revealed itself anew and they could make a second attempt at total conquest.[1]


Jane Foster discovers the Aether

"The Asgardians will suffer as we have suffered. I will reclaim the Aether. I will restore our world... And I will put an end to this poisoned universe."

The next Convergence occurred 5,000 years later. Upon investigating gravitational anomalies at a warehouse, Jane Foster was transported to the Aether's hiding spot, and was possessed by the Infinity Stone, awakening Malekith and his army, who plotted their next offensive against the Asgardians in their final attempt to regain the Aether and transform the universe into eternal darkness.[1]

A decade after the Second Battle of Svartalfheim, the Avengers plotted the Time Heist in a group discussion, in which Thor explained that the Aether was possessed by the Dark Elves prior to the Asgardians' acquisition of the Reality Stone, alluding to Malekith's first attempt to use the Infinity Stone to destroy the Nine Realms.[2]


Wars and Conflicts in Earth History
Kree-Skrull War (995 A.D.1995) • Asgard-Jotunheim War (965 A.D.2010) • World War II (19391945) • Johann Fennhoff's Campaign (1946) • Cold War (19471991) • Chase of Bruce Banner (20052010) • Chitauri Invasion (2012) • Aldrich Killian's War (2012) • Second Dark Elf Conflict (2013) • Centipede Investigation (20132014) • HYDRA Uprising (2014) • Quest for the Orb (2014) • Ego's Expansion (Pre-1 A.D.2014) • War on HYDRA (20142015) • Operation Cerberus (2014) • S.H.I.E.L.D. Civil War (20142015) • Ultron Offensive (2015) • War Against the Inhumans (2015) • Chase of Luke Cage (2015) • Inhuman Outbreak (20152016) • Grant Ward's Campaign (20152016) • Frank Castle's War (20152016) • War for New York (2016) • Watchdogs' Campaign (20162017) • Hive's Campaign (2016) • Avengers Civil War (2016) • Termination of the Red Room (2016) • Erik Killmonger's Campaign (2016) • Adrian Toomes' Weapons Trafficking Operation (20122016) • Rawlins Conspiracy (20152016) • Chase of Quake (20162017) • Attack on the Sanctums (2017) • Terror in New Orleans (2017) • Aida's Uprising (2017) • War for Harlem (2017) • Triad War (2017) • Kingpin's Conspiracy (2017) • War Against PRIDE (20172018) • War Against Jonah (2018) • Morgan le Fay's Campaign (2018) • Schultz Conspiracy (2018) • Jigsaw's Campaign (2018) • Trish Walker's Vigilante Campaign (2018) • Infinity War (2018) • Search for Leo Fitz (20182019) • Sarge's Campaign (2019) • Izel's Campaign (2019) • War Against the Chronicoms (2019) • Ronin's Campaign (2023) • Time Heist (2023) • Westview Anomaly (2023) • Flag Smashers' Campaign (2024) • Mafia Cold War (2024) • Quentin Beck's Campaign (2024)

Wars and Conflicts in Asgardian History

First Dark Elf Conflict (2988 B.C.) • Subjugation of the Nine RealmsAsgard-Jotunheim War (965 A.D.) • Battle of HarokinBattle of Puente Antiguo (2010) • Duel at the Rainbow Bridge (2010) • War of the Nine Realms (20112013) • Chitauri Invasion (2012) • Second Dark Elf Conflict (2013) • Ragnarök (2017) • Infinity War (2018) • Battle of Earth (2023)