As a boy, the Darkling lived in a Grisha camp with his mother. He demonstrates his power to Annika, a young Tidemaker, and her younger sister, Sylvi. Annika is frightened by his power when he makes Sylvi apparently disappear, but she admits it only scares her because she has never seen it before. He then uses his power to ward off three boys who were teasing Annika, blinding them with darkness. The Darkling touches Annika's hand, and she realizes he is living Amplifier.