Of Heaven and Hell
Of Heaven and Hell is a book in the Librarius Ex Horadrim, a collection of Horadric lore gathered and compiled by Horadric mages. Of Heaven and Hell is referenced in very short excerpts in Diablo I as readable in-game texts.
Of Heaven and Hell
The Great Conflict
Since the Beginning, the forces of Light and Darkness have engaged in an eternal war: the Great Conflict, whose victor will rise from the apocalyptic ashes to hold sway over all creation. To this end, the Angels of the High Heavens adhere to strict militaristic disciplines. Seraphim warriors strike at the enemies of Light with swords imbued with righteous wrath and justice. The Angels believe that only absolute discipline can properly restore order to the myriad realms, while the demonic denizens of the Burning Hells hold that absolute chaos is the true nature of all things.
The battles of the Great Conflict rage across both time and space, often infringing upon the very fabric of reality itself. From the Crystal Arch at the very heart of the High Heavens to the arcane Hellforge of the Underworld, the warriors of these eternal realms journey to wherever their timeless conflict carries them. The legendary deeds of the heroes of the realms beyond elicit both veneration and insight.
The greatest of these heroes was Izual, lieutenant to the Arch-Angel Tyrael and bearer of the Angelic Runeblade Azurewrath. He once led a fierce attack upon the Hellforge as the creation of the dark demonblade Shadowfang was nearing completion. His quest was to destroy both wielder and weapon - a charge that he was destined never to complete. Izual was overcome by the legions of chaos and, tragically, was lost to the Darkness. His fate stands as testament to the fact that Angels and Demons alike shall fearlessly enter into any domain - so long as their hated enemies dwell within.
Although the Great Conflict burned hotter and brighter than any of the stars in the sky, neither side could gain dominion over the other force for long. Both factions sought some way to turn the tides of the war to their favor. With the ascension of Man and his mortal realm, the Great Conflict ground to a mysterious halt. Both armies paused in a breathless stalemate, waiting to see to whose side Man would eventually turn.
The Sin War
The coming of the Great Conflict to the mortal realm is known as the Sin War. Angels and Demons, disguising themselves while traveling amongst men, attempted to secretly lure mortals to their respective causes. Over time, the forces of Darkness discovered that mortals responded much more to brute force than to subtle coercion, and so began to terrorize Man into submission. The Angels fought to defend humanity against this demonic oppression, but all too often their austere methods and severe punishments succeeded only in alienating those whom they sought to protect.
The violent battles of the Sin War occurred very often, but they were seldom witnessed by the prying eyes of Man. Only a few "enlightened" souls were aware of the supernatural beings that walked amongst the huddled masses of humanity. Powerful mortals arose and accepted the challenge of the Sin War, allying themselves with both sides in the Great Conflict. The legendary deeds of these great mortal warriors served to earn both the respect and hatred of the netherworlds. Although the lesser demons kneeled before those possessing power and strength, they also cursed the very existence of mortal man. Many of these fiends believed that the deadlock brought about by the emergence of Man was a perverse offense to their "higher" role in the great scheme of things.
This jealousy of Man led to harsh, atrocious acts of violence by the demons against the mortal realm. Some men learned of this deep hatred and used it against the denizens of the Underworld. One such mortal, Horazon the Summoner, delighted in summoning demons and then breaking them to his will. Horazon, along with his brother Bartuc, were members of the Eastern mage-clan known as the Vizjerei. This mystic clan studied the ways of demons and had catalogued their lore for generations. Empowered by this knowledge, Horazon was able to take the work of the Vizjerei and pervert it for his demented purposes. The denizens of Hell sought revenge against this bold mortal, but Horazon managed to keep himself well protected within his arcane sanctuary.
Bartuc, the brother of Horazon, was eventually lured to the side of Darkness. He was granted exceptional strength and longevity, and fought alongside the legions of Hell against the cursed Vizjerei, and eventually his own brother during the Sin War. Although Bartuc was renowned amongst the warriors of many realms, his dominance in battle came with a terrible price. An insatiable lust for mortal blood pervaded his every thought and deed. Bartuc soon became as fond of bathing in the blood of his enemies as he did of shedding it, and in time he came to be known only as the Warlord of Blood.
The Dark Exile
"Seven is the number of the Powers of Hell, and Seven is the number of the Great Evils."
Duriel, the Lord of Pain
Andariel, the Maiden of Anguish
Belial, the Lord of Lies
Azmodan, the Lord of Sin
These are the true names of the lesser of the Great Evils. For ages uncounted each have ruled over their own domains within the Burning Hells, seeking absolute dominion over their infernal brethren. As the Lesser Four continuously vied for the control of those forces that dwelled within their realms, the Greater Three held absolute power over the whole of Hell. The Lesser Four used dark and evil measures in their quest for power, and herein begins the legend of the Dark Exile.
Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred
Baal, the Lord of Destruction
Diablo, the Lord of Terror
These are the Prime Evils of Hell that wielded their power as a dark, sovereign triumvirate. The Three Brothers ruled over the Lesser Four by brutal force and malicious cunning. Being the eldest and strongest of the Evils, the Three Brothers were responsible for countless victories against the armies of the Light. Although they never held sway over the High Heavens for long, the Three were justly feared by enemies and subject alike.
With the ascension of Man and the subsequent standstill of the Great Conflict, the Three Brothers began to devote their energies to the perversion of mortal souls. The Three realized that Man was the key to victory in the war against Heaven, and thus altered their rigid agendum that they propagated since the Beginning. This change caused many of the Lesser Evils to question the authority of the Three, and so brought about a great rift between the Prime Evils and their servitors.
In their ignorance, the Lesser Evils began to believe that the Three were afraid to continue the war with Heaven. Frustrated by the cessation of the war, Azmodan and Belial saw the situation as their chance to overthrow the Prime Evils and take control of Hell for themselves. The two demon lords made a pact with their minor brethren, assuring them that the wretched plague of humanity would not deter the ultimate victory of the sons of Hell. Azmodan and Belial devised a plan to end the stalemate, achieve victory in the Sin War and ultimately ride the bloody crest of the Great Conflict straight into the very arms of Armageddon. Thus, a great revolution was set into motion as all of Hell went to war against the Three Brothers...
The Brothers fought with all the savagery of the Underworld, and to their credit, annihilated a third of Hell's treacherous legions. In the end, however, they were overcome by the Horned Death led by the traitors Azmodan and Belial. The Prime Evils, weakened and bodiless, were banished to the mortal realm where Azmodan hoped that they would remain trapped forever. Azmodan believed that with the Three set loose upon humanity, the Angels would be forced to turn their focus upon the mortal plane - thus leaving the Gates of Heaven abandoned and defenseless. Those few demons who still pledged allegiance to the Three Brothers fled the wrath of Azmodan and Belial, escaping to the realm of Man to seek out their lost Masters.
As the warfires died out upon the battlefields of Hell, Azmodan and Belial began to argue over which of them held the higher authority. The pact that they had made quickly fell to ashes as the two demon lords took up arms against each other. The legions of Hell that remained were polarized behind either warlord, launching themselves into a bloody civil war that has lasted to this day...
The Binding of the Three
In the ancient days, before the rise of the Western Empires, the dark and terrible entities known as the Three Evils were exiled to the world of Man. These eternal entities wandered throughout the waking world and fed upon the lusts of men, leaving chaos and attrition in their wake. The Evils turned father against son and prompted many great nations into brutal and petty wars. Their Exile from Hell left them with an insatiable hunger to bring suffering and pain to all who would not kneel before them, and so the Three Brothers ravaged the lands of the Far East for countless centuries.
Eventually, a secretive order of mortal magi was gathered together by the enigmatic Arch-Angel Tyrael. These sorcerers were to hunt the Three Evils and put an end to their vicious rampage. The order, known as the Horadrim, consisted of wizards from the diverse and numerous mage-clans of the East. Employing disparate magical practices and disciplines, this unlikely Brotherhood succeeded in capturing two of the Brothers within powerful artifacts called Soulstones. Mephisto and Baal, trapped within the swirling, spiritual constraints of the Soulstones, were then buried beneath the swamps of Kehjistan and the dunes of desolate Aranoch, respectively.
The powers of Hatred and wanton Destruction seemed to diminish in the East as a nervous peace began to settle over the land. Yet, for many decades, the Horadrim continued their grim search for the third Brother, Diablo. They knew that, if the Lord of Terror was left untamed, there could never be any lasting peace within the realm of humanity.
The Horadrim followed in the wake of terror and anarchy that spread throughout the Western lands. After a great battle which claimed the lives of many brave souls, the Lord of Terror was captured and imprisoned within the last of the Soulstones by a group of Horadrim monks led by the Initiate Jered Cain. These monks carried the cursed stone to the land of Khanduras and buried it within a secluded cave near the river Talsande. Above this cave the Horadrim constructed a great Monastery from which they could continue to safeguard the Soulstone. As ages passed, the Horadrim constructed a network of catacombs beneath the Monastery to house the earthly remains of the martyrs of their Order.
Generations passed in Khanduras, and the numbers of the Horadrim slowly dwindled. With no quests left to undertake, and too few sons to sustain their guardianship, the once powerful Order faded into obscurity. Eventually, the great Monastery that they had built fell to ruins as well. Although villages grew and thrived around the shell of the old Monastery, no one knew of the dark, secret passageways that stretched into the cold earth beneath it. None could have dreamed of the burning red gem that pulsed within the labyrinth's heart...