Welcome back dwellers of Sanctuary. With Diablo IV in the not so distant horizon, a new chapter of the story will arrive with it. But, what has happened up until this point? Join us as we delve deep into the lore of Diablo and explore all major key points in its story up to the events of Diablo IV. From the creation of the universe, the rise of the light and darkness, to the plight of humankind. So, why don’t you stay a while and listen. What do the annals of history have in store for us?
What is Diablo?
The Diablo franchise started way back in the late 90s by Blizzard North, which later become Blizzard Entertainment. It is primarily set on the world of Sanctuary. This world is much of the focus of the lords of hell. Of which, the players are lucky adventurers that aim to stem the tide of evil all the way to hell itself! They do this in a good ol’ isometric dungeon crawling, hack and slash RPG action to bring light to the darkness. This battle sees the fight taken to the boss the franchise is named after, Diablo, the Lord of Terror. But, what of the story? Well, let’s jump into it!
Anu and Tathamet
In the beginning there was only a perfect pearl and within it Anu, a being of shining diamond. This being was the accumulation of all good and evil in the universe. But, not only that, but facets of many things like happiness and sadness. Anu desired perfection, to cast off the evil and impure. By doing this, the remains that were removed combined into The Beast, Tathamet. This being was the represented all that was evil, death, and darkness. Tathament became the prime evil in the universe with seven heads of destructions.
These two spirits of light and dark were bound to one another within the perfect pearl. As such, a great battle commenced between to two opposite forces of the universe. This battle lasted for countless eons with neither side having the advantage over the other. But, after nearly expending all of their energy, both Anu and Tathamet unleashed a final assault that would birth the universe.
The broken body of Anu, more so his spine, would cool and form the Crystal Archway and with it the High Heavens. From the body of Tahamet the realms of the Burning Hells were born. Each head would fuel the creation of the seven evils; the three strongest would become the prime evils and the remaining four would become the lesser evils.
But one more aspect remained, the Eye of Anu or The World Stone. This would be found and would formulate the realm of Pandemonium. This place acts as the place from which the great battle ended and the universe was the result. The Eye of Anu is a massive jewel that is the nexus of realities and possibilities, an object of incredible power. As such, a topic that would cause conflict between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells.
Inarius and Lilith: The Creation of Sanctuary
When the forces of the High Heavens and Burning Hells met, a immense battle began. A war that would last for countless years. It would come to be known as the Eternal Conflict. During this war, both sides also vied for control over the Eye of Anu in Pandemonium. A great fortress was built around the artifact to protect it from the opposing side by whoever controlled it at the time. This fortress has changed hands countless times. With it, the architecture warps with influences from both sides.
One Angel, Inarius, claimed the worldstone with careful and powerful magic and cloaked it from the sight of both the High Heavens and the Burning Hells. With the aid of the demoness Lilith, daughter of one of the Prime Evils Mephisto, Lord of hatred, they both fled the war. With them, angels and demons who fell disillusioned with the war. By accessing the power of the stone, Inarius created the world of Sanctuary whereby his followers could be free from the war. A hidden paradise of sorts.
Back at Pandemonium, the conflict had grind to a halt. With the Worldstone gone, much of the reason to fight was gone. Each side blamed the other for its disappearance and a halt to combat was created as the search for the Eye of Anu begun.
During the time of this great betrayal of the Eternal Conflict, Inarius and Lilith fell in love. Upon creating Sanctuary, many of the angels and demons paired together in the now peaceful time that they had created. From which, the Nephalem were born.
Uldyssian and the power of the Nephalem
Both Inarius and Lilith came to realise that their children, the Nephalem, held more potential than they had first thought. Born from the union of angel and demon, this new race could surpass both in power. This scared Inarius but pleased Lilith. The latter planning to utilise this new power in an army against her father, Mephisto the Lord of hatred.
Over time a hunt began of the Nephalem by Inarius out of fear. Lilith responded filled with wrath and rage slaying all those who would harm her children before being banished from Sanctuary itself. After Inarius altered the Worldstone to diminish the power of the Nephalem over each generation, he began to pull back and observe. Until a man named Uldyssian began his story.
Through an act of selflessness, Uldyssian displayed hidden Nephalem powers. Over time these powers grow and evolved whilst being hunted by the religions he denounced to his people. It was revealed that a women he saved in the beginning was infact Lilith, the Daughter of Hatred. She had returned to Sanctuary and unlocked his dormant powers in hopes to use them for her own ends.
After leading and unlocking the powers in his followers, Uldyssian waged war upon all those who would do humanity injustice. These being Inarius, Lilith, and the churches who were hunting them. All in time for the High Heavens and the Burning Hells to erupt onto the scene with a battle that shook Sanctuary to its core. Seeing the destruction around him, Uldyssian decided to sacrifice himself by releasing all of his power. This banished the angels and demons from Sanctuary once more and also resetting the Worldstone. He chose the human heart over power so that humanity may survive on its own.
In light of the grand banishing and events with humanity the Angiris Council in the High Heavens cast a vote upon whether to destroy Sanctuary to prevent such occurrences from happening again. It resulted in a tie, with several members abstaining. It was only Tyrael, the Angel of Justice, that saved humanity with his final vote. Thus, humanity retained the right to exist and a truce declared between the two sides of the eternal conflict. Inarius was offered as a condition to the Burning Hells for torture. Lastly, the memories of those on Sanctuary were wiped and this created a clean slate.
The Hunt for the Prime Evils
After being banished from Sanctuary, the three prime evils, Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal had troubles to return to. After feeling abandoned in the eternal conflict against the High Heavens, the lesser evils unleashed their fury and discontent upon them.
A third of the traitor legions were decimated in the resulting war. However, the three prime evils were weakened enough to be banished to the mortal realm. This left the lesser evils to rule over the Burning Hells and focus on the Eternal conflict. This also meant the High Heavens had to split their resources between two fronts. Despite this, the lesser evils fought amongst themselves in a bloody civil war.
Now on Sanctuary, Diablo and his brothers wreaked havok upon the world. Destruction, hatred, and fear wrought upon all. Tyrael, not wanting the council to find out about another incident on the world, empowered a band of mages that would later be known as The Horadrim. These mages were tasked with hunting down and contain the three prime evils.
By taking shards of the Worldstone, three soul stones were crafted each with a different hue and target. These stones were imbued to trap the essence of each evil and also track them down. The first to be trapped was Mephisto of which the temple city of Travincal was built to protect and guard the sapphire soulstone.
Second, to be captured was Baal. A furious and raging battle in the desert was had between the forces of order and destruction. The amber stone was broken mid battle which resulted in Tal Rasha, the leader of The Horadrim, to embed the stone within himself acting as a conduit for the trap. A noble sacrifice to battle evil for eternity.
Lastly, Diablo’s essence was captured within the crimson soul stone. It took nearly a decade to finally hunt and imprison the lord of terror. This stone was hidden within a labyrinth to help prevent this evil from reaching out to the world once more. A monastery was build at the mouth of the cave that led to the stone with the Horadrim who would guard it.
Tristram and Diablo
The monastery in time progressed into a settlement and then into a kingdom. The founded settlement was called Tristram and houses a sad story. Upon gain power and influence within the world, gained a King from another land, King Leoric. A once wise and just king that fell to paranoia and madness. Failing an irrational war with a neighbouring territory, people started to go missing. In the end, the king himself had to be put down as his madness and wrath knew no end. Not without placing a curse on his follows first.
With the town of Tristram plunged into chaos, demons roaming the land, and fear seeping into every citizen, Leoric’s son, Aiden, vowed to end the carnage. With brave adventurers by his side they all traversed the catacombs below the monastery level by level. Hordes of demons felt the bite of their swords, the sting of their arrows, and the burn of their magic. They felled grotesque greater demons, put down a resurrected skeletal King Leoric, and finally slew the body of Diablo that had possessed the body of Aiden’s brother.
After the battle was done the demons disappeared from Tristram. But, what returned was a troubled and broken Aiden. Mumbles and seclusion made up his life now. He soon left the now peaceful town with constant words of, “I thought I could contain it.” and, “brothers awaiting him in the east”. With his travels east left demons in his footsteps.
Once again a band of adventurers followed the path of the wandering Aiden. On this path slaying the corruption made manifest, the wild beastmen, and even Lesser Evils vowing the stop them. This all lead them to Tal Rasha’s tomb and then to the temples of Zakarum. Each time, too late to prevent Aiden from releasing the other prime evils. And before stepping through a portal to enact plans of destruction and domination, Aiden was fully transformed into Diablo. The very evil that was thought to be of killed. Only, Aiden decided to drive the crimson soul stone into his forehead to contain the terror captured within and prevent further disaster… unsuccessfully.
The Destruction of the World Stone
To prevent the three prime evils from taking over Sanctuary and corrupting the entirety of humankind, the adventurers battled against the brothers of the Burning Hells. First to fall was Mephisto in the Zakarum temple after a brutal battle. Deciding to not let their momentum fade, they follow through the portal to the place where the Worldstone formerly resided. The arch-angel of justice Tyrael appeared to the brave party and informed them that their is a forge found in hell that, once struck upon, the soul stones could be destroyed and the souls within banished to the void forever.
Delving into the realm of destruction, the heroes tracked and faced diablo. Much like the battle with Mephisto, the encounter was difficult and grueling. But, the heroes prevailed gaining another soul stone. After finding the Hellforge the two stones in their possession were destroyed banishing the souls trapped inside forever.
Only one remained. Baal, the Lord of Destruction. This prime evil was waging war and laying siege upon the barbarian homeland surrounding Mount Arreat. Gathing an army along the way from corrupted slain humankind and the restless spirits, the siege force was grands just like Baals strategy and tactics. His aim: the Worldstone. If it could be corrupted then humankind would follow suit and an insurmountable powerful army, like the vision Lilith had centuries before, would be at his command.
The adventurers did find Baal. And they did slay him from within Mount Arreat. However, they couldn’t stop the Worldstone from being corrupted. As mighty as the heroes were they could not reverse such effects. It was Tyrael who ordered the last stone to be destroyed. He then plunged his blade of justice, El’druin, into the blackened Worldstone destroying it, his physical form, and half the mountain with it.
The Prime Evil Returns
With the souls of the 3 prime evils sent to the abyss, the world regain some normality. For a short time at least. But, it wasn’t long before the remaining lesser evils sought what their now banished superiors were after. Power. Portals from the Burning Hells started to appear from the crater at Mount Arreat. Also, Tristram fell upon dark times once more with the fall of a meteor and energies that can rise the dead.
After tracking down the meteor and its fragments, it was revealed that it was the Archangel of Justice Tyrael. He willingly fell from the High Heavens disgusted with the inaction of the Angiris Council wiht recent events and saving humankind. He also proclaims that dark times are ahead and the remaining two lords of hell aim to take what is left of this world.
Belial the Lord of Lies and Azmodan the Lord of Sin became the target of a new band of heroes under the guidance of a now mortal Tyrael. And like the evil of the past, were slain. But this time it was different. A greater soul stone was discovered that was created by a radical Horadrim by the name of Zultan Kule. This Black Soul Stone was created to trap all demonic essence for means unknown. By destroying this stone, all evil will be vanquished and the eternal conflict will end.
However, its corruption and influence was greater than anything before it. The daughter of Aiden and a witch named Adria, a magic user who helped in the times of the first encounter with Diablo in Tristram, was revealed to be a mere instrument. Leah became the daughter of much more than humankind but of pure evil and terror itselfs. The daughter of Diablo. And thus, her body was possessed by Diablo himself as she absorbed the Black Soul Stone to become the Prime Evil
The third generation of heroes followed Diablo The Prime Evil to the High Heavens. The Lord of Terror, with aims to end the eternal conflict once and for all, tore the Crystal Arch asunder slaying angels left, right, and centre. Despite the overwhelming task ahead of them, they battled with the prime evil, faced his visions of terror, and withstood his onslaught to fell the evil incarnate.
The only matter that remained was the fate of the Black Soul Stone. With Tyrael not being able to destroy the more powerful artifact, and not wanting to keep it in the High Heavens, he made the choice to hide it with a new band of Horadrim. Upon securing the essence of all major evil deep within the earth, Tyraels brother, Malthael, appeared before them. But, with a more deathly visage after going missing after the High Heavens were assaulted by Diablo. Mathael took the stone by force wanting to enact his own plan of divine justice.
The world of Sanctuary and the Nephalem have posed much destruction and problems for both the High Heaven and the Burning Hells. Malthael deemed that the all those with a demonic soul could be trapped within the stone to be eradicated once and for all. Being half demon, mankind would also face such divine execution. But, it was not a small task to defeat the Arch Angel. Now the embodiment of death, Nephalem heroes must use the same power he has to defeat him and save the world once more.
And that they did. At a grave cost. In a battle that shook the Pandemonium Fortress, the Nephalem destroyed the form of Malthael but not before he absorbed the power of the Black Soul Stone. With no containment vessel, all the evil trapped within was released once more upon the realms. But, another quandary surfaced. The heroes demonstrated that they have the power to fell both angels and demons. And their powers grow even still, just like they did with Uldyssian. Whether this will become more of a threat in the future, only time will tell.
Lilith, The Daughter of Hatred
In most recent events, the world of Sanctuary returned to its day to day living as much as it could do after the devastation wrought by Malthael. But, it would seem that darkness is never to far from the light. Speculations of what was the Triune, the religion crafted by Lilith before she was banished, have emerged and of its resurgence. The worship of the mother of humankind and her return rumoured. Impulses and desires fueled by evil start to plague the land.
The summoning of the Daughter of Hatred and Mother of the Nephalem would definitely cause a stir. With her mission to dominate the Burning Hells with an empowered and indoctrinated humankind, she could cause an imbalance to the realms once more. But, with the Black Soul Stone shattered, how will the essence of evil play its part? Will Diablo be able to combat such powerful odds? And how will the Nephalem heroes be able to stop the tide of hatred? Only time will tell.
Thank you for reading the brief summary of the Diablo lore up until the pre-events of Diablo IV. Stay tuned for more updates of this title from Blizzard Entertainment. What are you looking forward to seeing in the fourth game? And how do you think the story will go? Pop a comment in the section below. Keep an eye out for more news, reviews, and guides. Until next time, smile and game!