Characters of Diablo
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Major and recurring fictional characters from the fantasy series Diablo are listed below, organized by respective origin within the fictional universe. The story of the Diablo series revolves around events of the Great Conflict, a war between denizens of the Burning Hells and the High Heavens. Specifically, the games focus on events within the mortal plane, called Sanctuary, which are collectively known as the Sin War. The series began with Blizzard Entertainment's 1996 video game Diablo and has been expanded with the sequels Diablo II in 2000, and Diablo III in 2012. The franchise has been further extended with a number of novels, most written by Richard A. Knaak.
- 1 Character design
- 2 Characters of Hell
- 3 Characters of Heaven
- 4 Characters of Sanctuary
- 5 Cultural impact
- 6 See also
- 7 References
Characters of Hell
Creatures from Diablo's Burning Hells are called Demons and the most powerful seven of these demons are known as the Great Evils. These elite can be further broken into two groups: three "brothers" called the Prime Evils and four somewhat less powerful demons called the Lesser Evils. All of the Great Evils were eventually absorbed into the essence of Diablo when he became the singular Prime Evil in Diablo III.
Sometimes known simply as the Three Brothers, the Prime Evils are revealed very early in the original Diablo to be the rulers of the Burning Hells and leaders in the fight against the forces of Heaven. However, prior to the start of the first game, it is shown that all three have been exiled to the world of Sanctuary by the Lesser Evils, where they retain very little of their former power. This of course makes Diablo, and in the sequel his brothers, accessible to the player's mortal character as a final challenge in certain chapters of the games. Despite being nicknamed the "Brothers," there is no mention of the Prime Evils having parents and indeed are often said to have existed "from the Beginning," though they are given different, but unquantified, ages.
Diablo, the Lord of Terror (voiced by Bill Roper, later by JB Blanc), is the titular character and main antagonist of the game series. He is also the youngest and most powerful of the three Prime Evils. Diablo and his elder brothers Mephisto and Baal ruled over Hell as a sovereign triumvirate until overthrown by the Lesser Evils Azmodan and Belial, who banished the Prime Evils to the mortal world of Sanctuary. However, Diablo's game manual implies that the "Dark Exile", as this became known, was in fact intended by the Prime Evils in order to corrupt the mortal world personally. A mage order known as the Horadrim was formed to hunt down the Prime Evils and remove their corruptive influence from the world of men. Diablo was the last of the Prime Evils to be captured by the Horadrim, and his red Soulstone was buried in a series of caverns over which a monastery was built, which later became the Cathedral of Tristram.
Diablo remained imprisoned for two centuries prior to the events of the first game, until his Soulstone was shattered by the Archbishop Lazarus, the corrupted advisor to King Leoric. At first attempting to take control of Leoric, only to find a portion of the king's soul denying him full control, Diablo took possession of Leoric's young son Albrecht as his mortal vessel. He was defeated by a group of mortal heroes - the warrior Prince Aidan, the rogue captain Moreina (later Blood Raven), and the Vizjerei sorcerer Jazreth - in his lair in the depths of the labyrinth. Aidan plunged Diablo's Soulstone into his forehead in an effort to contain the Lord of Terror, but was consumed utterly by him.
In Diablo II, Diablo - in the guise of the Dark Wanderer - travelled eastward to locate his brother Baal, whose Soulstone was embedded in the chest of the Horadric mage Tal Rasha and buried in a tomb beneath the desert, and (with the unwitting aid of his travelling companion Marius) released the Lord of Destruction from his prison, before continuing to the Temple of Light in Kurast to reunite with his eldest brother Mephisto. Diablo joined his brothers in opening a gateway into the Burning Hells, whereupon the Lord of Terror took on his true form and stepped through the gate as a harbinger of the Prime Evils' return to Hell. A group of heroes who had tracked Diablo's path eastward confronted him in his inner sanctum and defeated him, destroying his and Mephisto's Soulstones at the Hellforge to ensure (unsuccessfully, as it later turns out) that the two Prime Evils would not return to the mortal world again.
In Diablo III, twenty years later, the essences of Diablo and his brothers, as well as the defeated Lesser Evils Andariel and Duriel, had been bound within the Black Soulstone, an artifact powerful enough to contain all seven of the Great Evils. The Archangel Tyrael, who had shed his angelic existence to become a mortal, warned of an invasion from Azmodan and Belial, who had ruled over Hell in the absence of the Prime Evils. Tyrael, a young woman named Leah, and Leah's mother Adria were joined by a mortal hero, the Nephalem, to defeat them and seal them within the stone, which would then be destroyed, ending the Lords of Hell along with it. However, once the two demon lords were defeated, the mortal heroes were betrayed from within; Adria had been an agent of Diablo since his awakening in Tristram decades before, and had conceived Leah with Aidan after he was possessed by Diablo to serve as a vessel for his essence. With the powers of all seven Great Evils combined, Diablo became the Prime Evil, the most powerful demon that had ever existed. Once he had taken hold within Leah and assumed his true form, Diablo laid siege to the High Heavens with the intention of corrupting the Crystal Arch, the source of angelic power, at the summit of the Silver Spire. However, the Nephalem ventured through the corrupted Heavens and even into the realm of Terror itself to defeat the Prime Evil, casting his disintegrating body down from the Silver Spire until all that remained was the still-intact Black Soulstone, plummeting to earth.
In Reaper of Souls, Malthael, the former Archangel of Wisdom and now known as the Angel of Death, took the Black Soulstone before it could be hidden away, and altered it to consume all demonic essence in Sanctuary, including the demonic half of the ancient Nephalem bloodline that birthed humanity. In the Blood Marsh outside Westmarch, Adria reveals that Diablo granted her a vision of his return and that the Nephalem would bring it about. This prophecy was unwittingly fulfilled when the Nephalem confronted Malthael, who shattered the Black Soulstone to gain its power in a futile effort to stave off his defeat. Malthael's action leaves the possibility that Diablo will return in a future installment.
Diablo has made three appearances in the quasi-annual character contests of GameFAQs, reaching as high as the final four in the villains contest in 2005. He has also had some minor influence on Blizzard's World of Warcraft, resulting in two in-game pets: a miniature Diablo and Murkablo, a Diablo/murloc hybrid. Diablo made his first playable appearance in Heroes of the Storm, his appearance being based off his look from Diablo II; his "Prime Evil" form from Diablo III later became a purchasable skin in the Heroes 2.0 patch.
Baal, the Lord of Destruction (voiced by Milton James) is the main antagonist of Lord of Destruction, the expansion to Diablo II. Baal was the second of the Prime Evils to be captured; a group of Horadrim under the venerable mage Tal Rasha hunted him down into the deserts of Aranoch. The Horadrim managed to defeat him, but during the encounter, Baal's destructive nature shattered the Soulstone that was to be his prison. It was during this moment that Tal Rasha stepped forward.
Knowing that the stone would not entirely contain the Lord of Destruction after its sundering, Tal Rasha volunteered to complete the prison with his own body. He instructed his brethren to take him into the desert into a hidden canyon with seven identical tombs. Within one of them, Tal Rasha was bound with chains and runes of power. The Archangel Tyrael appeared and took the Soulstone shard with Baal's essence and stabbed it into Tal Rasha's chest, imprisoning the Lord of Destruction within the mage's body. The plan worked, and Baal remained chained in the tomb, unable to break free. Tal Rasha had thought that he could match the will of the Prime Evil, but pride had blinded him. It was not long before Baal had complete control over the mortal mage - including his knowledge and memories - but, trapped as he was, there was nothing Baal could use this information for.
In Diablo II, Diablo, with the help of Marius, travels to the tomb and frees his brother. Released from his bonds, Baal first travels with Diablo to Kurast, where they set their eldest brother, Mephisto, free, and open a gateway to Hell for Diablo. Baal then tracks down Marius, who kept the Soulstone shard he had pulled out of Tal Rasha's body, and listens to his story (the cinematics throughout the game), before reclaiming the stone and killing Marius. After that, he gathered a great horde of demons and laid siege to the Barbarian homelands, marching towards their holy shrine at the summit of Mount Arreat. Through Tal Rasha's memories, Baal had learned that Arreat was the location of the Worldstone, a powerful artifact that had been responsible for creating the world of Sanctuary, and from which the Soulstones had been created.
A group of heroes, who had previously defeated Mephisto and Diablo, came to the aid of the besieged town of Harrogath and pursued Baal to the summit of Arreat, where they proved their worth to the ancient guardians of the mountain. Entering the Halls of the Ancients, they confronted Baal within the Worldstone Chamber itself and defeated him, the last of the Prime Evils to fall to the mortal champions. But he had already corrupted the Worldstone with the essence of Destruction, forcing the Archangel Tyrael to destroy the stone.
Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred (voiced by Paul Eiding) is the eldest of the Prime Evils, and the end boss of Act III of Diablo II. Mephisto was the first of the Prime Evils to be captured, and his Soulstone was held by the Children of Zakarum within the Temple City of Travincal in Kurast, capital of Kehjistan. In Diablo II's game manual, it is indicated that prior to leaving for Tristram with Leoric, the Archbishop Lazarus had been the guardian of Mephisto's Soulstone.
Over time, Mephisto managed to corrupt the Zakarum high priesthood, with one exception - Khalim, the Que-Hegan, leader of the High Council. In response, Mephisto instructed his new followers to tear Khalim apart, and they chose one of their number, Sankekur, to replace Khalim as Que-Hegan, later becoming the mortal vessel for Mephisto himself. Mephisto would be reunited with his brothers Diablo and Baal within his Durance of Hate, deep beneath the corrupted Temple of Light. There, the three brothers opened a gateway to Hell, sending Diablo to herald the Prime Evils' return. A group of mortal champions, who had pursued Diablo east across Khanduras and Aranoch, confronted Mephisto deep within the blackened temple and defeated him, taking his Soulstone through the gateway to Hell, and smashing it at the Hellforge.
Directly under the Prime Evils in power are the Lesser Evils. Within the games and books released so far, four Lesser Evils have been named, but it remains unclear whether other demons with this title will be revealed. Since the banishment of the ruling Three to Sanctuary, reign over the Burning Hells has been left in question and supposedly a civil war has broken out between two of the Lesser Evils (Azmodan and Belial) to determine who will claim power. The other two Lesser Evils (Andariel and Duriel) appear as the final enemies of the opening acts of Diablo II.
Andariel, the Maiden of Anguish (voiced by Lani Minella) is the strongest daughter of the "Queen of the Succubi", the twin sister of Duriel, and is the only female of the Great Evils. Andariel appears as a large, feminine demon, not unlike the succubi of the first game, and is the final battle of Act I of Diablo II. According to her backstory, despite taking part in the banishment of the Prime Evils, she followed Diablo to Sanctuary and wished to gain his favor by guarding the way east, so that Diablo can free his brother without interference. The heroes who set out in pursuit of Diablo confront Andariel deep in the corrupted monastery of the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye, which guarded the passes between Khanduras and the eastern deserts of Aranoch.
Duriel, the Lord of Pain is the twin brother of Andariel. The player meets the demon Duriel in the final battle of Act II of Diablo II. This mantis-like Great Evil has been tasked with guarding the captured Tyrael in the tomb of Tal Rasha, as punishment for the part he played in the Dark Exile. A much stronger version of this character also appeared as an enemy during the Pandemonium Event.
Belial, the Lord of Lies (voiced by Jim Ward), is a master of subterfuge and deception, and the final boss of Act II of Diablo III. Belial, along with his brother Azmodan, masterminded the exile of the Prime Evils to Sanctuary. In Diablo III, a powerful hero finds that Belial has replaced the young Emperor Hakan as ruler of Caldeum, and is attempting to assert control over the region with his demonic serpent minions, and the demon witch Maghda and her occultist coven. The hero eventually discovers Belial's true identity, defeats him in battle, and, with the help of the witch Adria and her daughter, Leah, seals the Lord of Lies within the Black Soulstone.
Azmodan, the Lord of Sin (voiced by David Sobolov) is Hell's chief general, and the final boss of Act III of Diablo III. He joined with his brother Belial to exile the three Prime Evils to Sanctuary, believing them to be cowards for abandoning direct combat against the forces of Heaven in favor of corrupting Humanity. In Diablo III, after Belial's failed attempt to gain control of Caldeum, Azmodan and his demonic legions pour forth from the broken mountain of Arreat, opening a portal to Hell which his forces emerge from, assaulting the powerful Bastion's Keep and attempting to seize the Black Soulstone from the humans there, absorb his six brothers and become the Prime Evil. While initially the battle looks grim for the human defenders, the former archangel Tyrael and a powerful hero manage to hold the keep, and then push forth into Arreat and the Burning Hells. Eventually, the hero reaches Azmodan himself, and, after defeating him, his soul is sealed inside the Black Soulstone, along with the other six evils, making him the final Lord of Hell to be locked inside the stone. Ironically, Diablo carried out Azmodan's plan himself, absorbing the essence of the Lord of Sin and the other five Great Evils, becoming the Prime Evil.
Lilith, Queen of the Succubi, is the daughter of Mephisto. Though not listed as one of the seven Great Evils, she certainly seems to be attributed with no less power than any of the Lesser Evils. According to the Book of Cain and the Sin War Trilogy, she is not the mother of Andariel but is in fact the sister of Lucion. The character is indeed given enough strength to resurrect Diablo and in turn the other two Prime Evils, as well as command a host of demonic forces during Diablo IIs "Pandemonium Event". In the novels, the story is told of Lilith helping to create the realm of Sanctuary and pairing with Inarius to spawn the first of the Nephalem. Shortly thereafter she is banished from Sanctuary and her ability to later return during the Pandemonium Event is left unexplained.
Rakanoth, the Lord of Despair, served Andariel, the Maiden of Anguish, with efficient brutality, for his touch may open up many painful wounds. He was also the warden of Izual during many long years that the angel suffered in Rakanoth's own Plains of Despair, but he has quit his realm unexpectedly in recent times. He captured and tortured Auriel, Archangel of Hope, during the events of Diablo III in order to break Heaven's will to drive back Diablo's hellish minions.
Characters of Heaven
The realm of Heaven is populated by Angels and Archangels, collectively known as Seraphim, governed by a group of five Archangels called the Angiris Council. The Seraphim shown in Diablo II seem similar to humans in form, with the addition of tendril-like wings, but their faces are never seen, as they are fully shadowed by hoods.
The Angiris Council is the ruling body of the High Heavens, composed of the five Archangels who embody the purest aspects of Creation.
Tyrael (voiced by Ed Trotta in Diablo II and Jonathan Adams in Diablo III) is the former Archangel of Justice and the first Heavenly being seen in the games, and takes by far the most direct actions within Sanctuary of any of the Seraphim. He wears heavy armor and possesses great flowing, luminous wings. He wields a powerful sword by the name of El'druin.
Tyrael's first appearance in the series was within Tal Rasha's tomb at the end of Act II of Diablo II, and in the cinematic leading to Act III, where he battles the Dark Wanderer (the vessel of Diablo) to prevent him from releasing Baal within Tal Rasha; the Wanderer's companion Marius takes the soulstone shard from Tal Rasha's warped body, and Tyrael instructs him to take it to the Hellforge (which he fails to do; the stone is later reclaimed by Baal himself). Tyrael is the major questgiver in Act IV, standing at the Pandemonium Fortress at the gates of Hell, where he directs the player character to destroy his former lieutenant Izual and give his tortured spirit rest, and then finally face Diablo himself. For those playing the "complete" campaign of Diablo II (including Lord of Destruction), Tyrael opens the gateway to Harrogath to begin Act V after Diablo is defeated, and appears after the player defeats Baal at the end. With the Worldstone of Mount Arreat corrupted by Baal's power, Tyrael shatters the stone, causing Mount Arreat to explode.
In the events leading into Diablo III, Tyrael is condemned by Imperius, the head of the Angiris Council, for his actions in Diablo II, seen as violating Heaven's law by interfering in the affairs of Sanctuary. Briefly battling his fellow angel, Tyrael declares that he cannot be judged, for he is the personification of Justice itself. He states that angels "were meant for more than this - to protect the innocent". Seeing that his brethren would be shackled by Heaven's law against interference, Tyrael renounced his angelic power and fell to earth, now a mortal man, to warn of the coming invasion from Hell led by the remaining two Great Evils, Belial and Azmodan. Appearing in the skies above Khanduras as a "fallen star", he crashed into the abandoned cathedral of Tristram, setting the stage for the beginning of the game. The player characters, later called the Nephalem, are drawn to the Tristram area by the fallen star, and eventually discover his identity. Tyrael accompanies the Nephalem as they wander the world to halt the depredations of the forces of Hell, including the battles against Belial in Caldeum in Act II and Azmodan in the shattered remnants of Mount Arreat in Act III, before hunting Diablo in Heaven itself throughout Act IV. After Diablo is defeated, Tyrael remains a mortal as he returns to the Angiris Council, now as the Aspect of Wisdom, declaring that Heaven and Sanctuary would stand together.
In Reaper of Souls, Tyrael takes the Black Soulstone to the lost tomb of Rakkis, the first King of Westmarch, where he and a newly formed group of Horadrim are ambushed by Malthael. Though Malthael claimed the stone, a sliver of it broke away, and Tyrael attempts to use it to discover Malthael's plan. He also reveals that the Pandemonium Fortress, built to watch over the Worldstone, was his idea.
This character has also inspired two additions to World of Warcraft. One, an in-game pet, is simply a miniature version of Tyrael. The other, called Tyrael's Charger, is a flying mount usable by the player character. Tyrael is also a playable hero in Heroes of the Storm.
Imperius, the Archangel of Valor (voiced by Rick D. Wasserman) is the commander of the hosts of the High Heavens. Portrayed as being wrathful and distrusting of mortals, Imperius was the strongest voice urging the destruction of Sanctuary upon its discovery. Imperius is also the nemesis of Diablo, and they often battled one another throughout the Eternal Conflict between Heaven and Hell. In the animated short film "Wrath", Imperius duels Diablo within a hellish fortress, where the Lord of Terror taunts him with his fear of allowing the other members of the Council to see that "[his] anger makes [him] powerful". Shortly after, Diablo is shackled by the other members of the Angiris Council, who plan to imprison him; goaded by his enemy to "take [his] vengeance", Imperius slices Diablo in half, declaring "there can only be blood for blood". This act of destroying Diablo's physical form allowed his essence to return to Hell, so that he could return again - precisely as Diablo intended. With Malthael's unexpected departure, Imperius now rules the Angiris Council with an iron fist.
In the cinematic at the beginning of Act II of Diablo III, a flashback is shown of Tyrael before the Angiris Council, with Imperius condemning Tyrael for brazenly violating Heaven's law to intervene on behalf of the mortals of Sanctuary. In reply, Tyrael sheds his angelic status and falls to earth, an act Imperius condemns as "sacrilege" - ironically, a charge that had been levelled against Imperius himself for slaying Diablo's physical form in "Wrath".
In Act IV's cinematic, Imperius confronts Diablo at the Diamond Gates leading into Heaven itself, where Diablo - now possessing the power of all seven Great Evils, reigning supreme as the Prime Evil - impales Imperius with a spine protruding from his wrist and shatters his spear, declaring that soon "nothing [of Heaven] shall remain but my laughter". Throughout Act IV, Imperius bitterly decrys the presence of the Nephalem (the player characters) in the High Heavens, blaming Mankind - and Tyrael, their staunchest advocate - for Diablo's invasion of Heaven. Though briefly mollified by the rescue of Council members Itherael and Auriel, Imperius swears he will kill the Nephalem the next time he sees them. Just before the final confrontation with Diablo, Imperius and a section of angels confront the Nephalem and Tyrael at the Pinnacle of the High Heavens, preparing to carry out his threat. However, Diablo at that moment corrupts the Crystal Arch, the source of Angelic power, which causes Imperius and his cohorts to collapse. He is restored following Diablo's downfall.
In Reaper of Souls, Malthael's Reapers attack the Pandemonium Gate, leading to the Pandemonium Fortress where Malthael is hiding, and the Nephalem returns to Heaven to stop them. Imperius is enraged that Malthael dares to attack Heaven itself, while lamenting the loss of a brother whom he had fought countless battles alongside. He reluctantly concedes that the self-styled Angel of Death must be stopped, though he admits that he would not care a whit if Malthael wiped out Mankind. He leads the Nephalem into Pandemonium and advises using an ancient battering ram at the gates of the Pandemonium Fortress.
Auriel, the Archangel of Hope (voiced by Cree Summer) is the only archangel who appears to be female. She was the first to object to the destruction of Sanctuary. She is first encountered in Act IV of Diablo III when she is rescued from Rakanoth, the Lord of Despair. Auriel was later added as a playable hero in Heroes of the Storm.
Itherael, the Archangel of Fate (voiced by James Horan) reads from the Scroll of Fate to see the future, and embodies balance and neutrality. He is first encountered in Act IV of Diablo III during the siege on the High Heavens.
Malthael (voiced by Paul Nakauchi), formerly the Archangel of Wisdom and later known as the Angel of Death, is the main antagonist of Reaper of Souls, the expansion to Diablo III. Known as the "Silent Angel", Malthael was the leader of the Angiris Council until the destruction of the Worldstone at the end of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, whereupon he suddenly vanished, believed to have abandoned the Heavens on a quest for knowledge. His departure resulted in the fracturing of the Angiris Council's unity, with tensions rising between Imperius and Tyrael due to the latter's frequent intervention on behalf of the mortals of Sanctuary, resulting in Tyrael shedding his angelic status to become human.
Twenty years later, after Diablo was defeated at the Pinnacle of the High Heavens in Diablo III, Malthael re-emerged as the Angel of Death, confronting a now-mortal Tyrael and members of a restored Horadrim in the lost tomb of Rakkis, where Tyrael had intended to hide the Black Soulstone, within which all seven of the Great Evils were contained. Easily slaying all but one of the Horadrim (who fled at Tyrael's order to find the Nephalem, the mortal champion who defeated Diablo in Diablo III), Malthael took the Black Soulstone for himself. His intention was to end the Eternal Conflict, the great war between angels and demons, by destroying humanity - the last known vestige of demonic power due to their descent from the original Nephalem, born of angels and demons long ago. Gathering his power in the Pandemonium Fortress, Malthael manages to alter the Black Soulstone in order to consume all demonic essence on Sanctuary, including that which made up the bloodline of humanity, ultimately wiping it out. The Nephalem, guided by the spirit of a mentor from their past, manages to take on an aspect of death in order to fight Malthael in the heart of the fortress.
Though the Nephalem could fight Malthael on his own terms after becoming "one with death", the fallen angel tipped the scales by shattering the Black Soulstone and consuming the power trapped within. Ultimately, the Nephalem managed to triumph over the Angel of Death; however, the shattering of the Black Soulstone had the effect of releasing Diablo's essence from the stone, allowing for his potential return, as Adria had prophesied before the Nephalem killed her.
Malthael inspired the addition of a mount called "Malthael's Phantom" in Heroes of the Storm, made available for players who reached level 70 with a Seasonal character in Diablo III. Malthael himself was also added as a playable hero.
Inarius, The Rebellious, plays a vital role in the creation and lore of Sanctuary, but is mentioned little-to-none in the actual games. Instead, he is spoken of briefly in the Diablo manual and greatly expanded on in the novels that supplement the series. According to the novels, Inarius is the brother of Tyrael and was once an advisor to the Angiris Council. However, he grew tired of the Great Conflict and, together with other rogue angels and demons, created the world of Sanctuary. With Lilith, a daughter of Mephisto, he also spawned some of the Nephalem, the first generation of humans, but the two fought bitterly for control over this powerful new race. Eventually, Lilith was banished from Sanctuary and Inarius used the Worldstone to diminish the powers of the Nephalem and their offspring, slowly changing them into the relatively weak humans that appear in Diablo and Diablo II. However, the Angiris Council made a deal with Mephisto, capturing the rebellious Archangel and handing him over to Mephisto to be tortured in Hell for eternity.
Izual, The Betrayer (voiced by Ed Trotta) is first mentioned in the Diablo manual as having once been a great hero of the Light and lieutenant to Archangel Tyrael. However, he was captured by the forces of Hell, twisted by their dark powers and trapped within the body of a terrible creature, which is how he appears when encountered in Diablo II and Diablo III. After the player defeats this demonic form, Izual's angelic spirit seems to be released and he reveals that he helped the Prime Evils mastermind their supposed exile to the mortal world and told them how to corrupt the Soulstones, which sheds a new light on the entire Diablo storyline. Izual reappears as a boss character in Diablo III joining Diablo's forces during his attack on the High Heavens and being ultimately destroyed by the Nephalem.
Characters of Sanctuary
In the Diablo universe, mortals are born into the world of Sanctuary and are descended from the Nephalem, who were themselves offspring of demons and angels. With such powerful beings as ancestors, these mortals possess great strength, although much of their power was held at bay by the Worldstone, which was shattered by Tyrael at the end of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction.
Adria (voiced by Lani Minella in Diablo and Alyson Reed in Diablo III) was a mysterious witch that lived on the outskirts of Tristram in the first game. She sold and bought potions, scrolls and staves. She also recharged staves with their magical charges. She was not in Diablo II, having fled Tristram in anticipation of the attack on the village. Adria is the mother of Leah, who was adopted by Deckard Cain after Adria's supposed death. As for what Adria had been doing since the events of the first game and her apparent death, beyond her fleeing of Tristram to the desert jewel of Caldeum, are currently unknown.
In Diablo III, the Nephalem (the player character) finds out that Leah is Adria's estranged daughter. The Nephalem rescues Adria in Caldeum's sewers in Act II, after which she helps the Hero throughout specific portions of the act as well as teaching Leah to control her "power". Adria helps both Leah and the hero trap Belial's and Azmodan's soul in the Black Soulstone, a profane artifact created by the mad Horadric wizard Zoltun Kulle, and is revealed to have prepared the souls of the other Evils, including Diablo himself, to be trapped within the stone as well upon its completion. Adria claims that her purpose for doing this is to destroy all the Evils forever in vengeance for the destruction of Tristram. Unfortunately, when all seven Evils are contained within the Black Soulstone, Adria reveals herself to be pursuing a much darker agenda: she reveals the events of the previous games to all be part of Diablo's master plan to become the Prime Evil, the sum total of all seven Great Evils in one being; Leah's father was Aidan, the warrior son of King Leoric, who was possessed by Diablo after defeating him in the first game. She then unleashes the power of the Black Soulstone upon Leah, turning her into a vessel for Diablo to be reborn as the Prime Evil. Adria then disappears through a portal per Diablo's instruction.
Adria reappears in Reaper of Souls as the second boss of Act V. Myriam Jahzia, the mystic rescued by the Nephalem in Westmarch City, reveals that Adria is searching for Malthael, and thus the Black Soulstone, in order to reclaim it and resurrect her master once more. Despite desiring vengeance for her betrayal, the Nephalem goes to find Adria and discover what she knows of Malthael's location. Encountering her in the ruined city of Corvus, in the Blood Marsh outside Westmarch, the Nephalem witnesses Adria summoning an image of the Pandemonium Fortress, where Malthael is hiding. She then takes on a demonic form with massive wings, and reveals that Diablo granted her a vision of his return, and that the Nephalem would be the one to bring it about. The Nephalem replies that Adria will die alone regardless, and proceeds to kill her. Adria's prophecy was fulfilled shortly after, when Malthael shattered the Black Soulstone and released Diablo's essence during his confrontation with the Nephalem.
Deckard Cain the Elder (voiced by Michael J. Gough) is the only character aside from the title villain, Diablo, to appear in every installment of the series. Through in-game interactions in Diablo, the player learns that Cain is the last surviving member of the original Horadrim, an ancient order of mages charged with trapping the Prime Evils within Soulstones and guarding them thereafter; his ancestor, Jered Cain, had led the party that had pursued and captured Diablo. Cain acts as advisor and guide, accompanying the player's character through each act of the games and providing a great deal of the lore to be found in-game. Despite appearing very old already in Diablo II, Cain returned in Diablo III, which takes place twenty years after the second game, as a somewhat darker character.
Cain remains in Tristram for the entirety of the first game, standing next to the fountain in the middle of town, where he provides his wisdom and identifies items for a small fee. In Diablo II, he is rescued by the player character (or by the Rogues, if the player defeats Andariel without first going to rescue Cain) from a gibbet next to that fountain, and travels with the player throughout; he continues to identify items for the player, but only charges a fee if he is rescued by the Rogues - if rescued by the player, he offers his service free of charge "as a token of my gratitude". In Diablo III, he is rescued from the ruins of Tristram's Cathedral (having fallen into its depths as a result of the "fallen star" impacting the Cathedral in the opening cinematic) as the Skeleton King, reanimated by the "fallen star", sends his guards to attack him. Directing most of the major quests of Act I, Cain is fatally wounded by the witch Maghda and her Dark Coven, who seek the "fallen star" (revealed to be the fallen archangel Tyrael) and his broken sword, recovered by the player. Cain's last act before dying is to use his Horadric magic to reforge the sword, and determine it is angelic in origin. At the cinematic leading into Act II, Cain is cremated on a pyre in the graveyard outside the Cathedral. The player's first quests in Act II involve hunting down Maghda and slaying her as retribution for Cain's death.
Cain gives written and voice narration for a vast number of lore items found in Diablo III, and is also the credited author (narrator) for Blizzard's 2012 book Diablo III: Book of Cain.
Leah (voiced by Jennifer Hale) is the daughter of Aidan, the Dark Wanderer, and Adria, a powerful witch. She was raised by her adoptive uncle Deckard Cain from the age of eight, as her mother disappeared shortly after giving birth in Caldeum, and her father was supposedly slain while defending Tristram from Diablo. Leah, while interested in her uncle's works, did not share his obsession with demons, secretly believing that his prophecies about the end times coming were just stories. Leah also has an unknown power within her that manifests violently when she is enraged (such as when she sees Cain killed by Maghda); while it is originally established that she cannot control it, when she is reunited with her mother Adria, Leah learns to focus her power, even though it drains her immensely. In the opening of Diablo III, Leah and Cain are in the Tristram Cathedral when a fallen star hits the cathedral, taking Cain with it. Leah refuses to believe he is dead, and recruits the help of a hero to help her find him. After Cain's death, and learning that the fallen "star" was actually the fallen archangel Tyrael, Leah swears to finish what her uncle started and banish all evil from the world.
While in Caldeum, Leah learns that her mother, Adria, is still alive, and rescues her from Caldeum's prisons. With the hero's help, Leah retrieves the Black Soulstone, a powerful artifact, and uses her newly controlled power to seal Belial within the stone. Shortly thereafter, Leah experiences a vision of the last Lord of Hell, Azmodan, and how he plans to invade Sanctuary, capture the Soulstone, and become the Prime Evil, the combination of all the Lords of Hell. However, the powerful hero defeats Azmodan and Leah manages to also seal him inside the Black Soulstone, thus capturing all the seven Lords within the stone. However, Adria betrays Tyrael and Leah, revealing that she had been working for Diablo since he was first sealed inside the stone, and that Leah's extraordinary power comes from her father, revealed to be Diablo himself (when Adria was impregnated by Aidan, who at that time was possessed by Diablo). Adria uses her magic to fuse the six other evils together with Diablo inside the Black Soulstone, and then transfers the single Prime Evil, Diablo, inside Leah, making her his new vessel. After a battle with Imperius at the gate of the High Heavens, Leah's body appears to have been destroyed.
Leoric (voiced by Chris Metzen in Diablo I and Joe J. Thomas in Diablo III) was originally a lord from the eastern lands and a follower of the religion of Zakarum. Some time before the events of the first game, Leoric came to Khanduras and, in the name of Zakarum, declared himself King. Establishing his manor near the decrepit town of Tristram, Leoric brought along his family - his wife, Asylla, and his sons, Aidan and Albrecht - as well as many knights and priests. The people of Khanduras were initially not pleased to be under the rule of a foreign King, but Leoric proved to be a noble and just ruler, earning their respect and adoration.
Unbeknownst to Leoric, the Cathedral of Tristram was where the Horadrim had imprisoned Diablo within his Soulstone centuries before. By the time Leoric arrived in Khanduras, the High Council of the Zakarum had become corrupted by Diablo's elder brother, Mephisto; indeed, Leoric's closest advisor, the Archbishop Lazarus, had been the custodian of Mephisto's Soulstone. Reawakened by Lazarus and seeking a new physical body to inhabit, Diablo sought to possess the strongest soul present - that of Leoric himself. Leoric secretly battled the dark influence hoping his faith would be enough, but Diablo all but destroyed his soul, burning away any vestiges of honor or nobility within him. Though Lazarus stayed close at his side and sought to keep his condition secret, Leoric began to change in both appearance and demeanor, becoming deformed in body and crazed in mind. The people of Khanduras, disheartened by this change in their lord, began to call him "the Black King". Even members of his own family were not immune to his paranoia; Leoric oversaw the beheading of his own wife for perceived treason.
Seeking to remove "meddlesome" members of the King's court, Lazarus convinced the paranoid Leoric that the neighboring Kingdom of Westmarch planned to annex Khanduras. Among the warriors that served in Leoric's army was his eldest son, Aidan. The warriors of Westmarch easily defeated the army of Khanduras, and the survivors returned to find their homeland in total chaos. Diablo had not been able to fully take control of Leoric, a shred of his soul fighting against him still, and so he released the broken King. With the aid of Lazarus, Diablo took possession of Leoric's younger son, Albrecht. Upon learning of Albrecht's kidnapping, Leoric flew into a paranoid rage, declaring the people of Tristram and even the returning warriors to be traitors. With no choice left, Lachdanan, captain of Leoric's army, drew his sword and ran his King through the heart. With his dying breath, Leoric cursed Lachdanan and his warriors. Despite his corruption, Leoric was given a proper burial in a tomb beneath the Cathedral. However, Diablo raised Leoric from his grave to command the legions of skeletons that had begun to rise within the labyrinth; he thus became known as the Skeleton King.
In the first game, Leoric (as the Skeleton King) is a boss in multiplayer games; his tomb is located on level 3 of the labyrinth. When defeated, the Skeleton King drops a powerful helm known as the Undead Crown. During the events of Diablo III, set twenty-two years after the first game, his essence is reanimated by the "fallen star" that crashed through the Cathedral, and is the first major boss fight of the game.
Marius (voiced by Frank Gorshin) is the narrator of the cinematics in the first four acts of Diablo II, and plays a small but vital part of the story of both the main game and Lord of Destruction. He is initially encountered wasting away in a sanitarium when he is visited by a hooded stranger. Believing his visitor to be the Archangel Tyrael, Marius recounts his story, beginning when he resided at the monastery of the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye in Khanduras until it was overrun by demons. Fleeing to a small tavern, he encountered the Dark Wanderer, who seemed to be a broken man barely able to lift his own sword. But suddenly, power burst from him and burned the tavern to the ground, summoning hellish beasts and skeletons to kill everyone inside - all save for Marius, who inexplicably followed the Wanderer east into the deserts of Aranoch. As they travelled, the Wanderer spoke of his past, telling Marius that he had been a great warrior once and that he now carried a dark burden.
Camping outside the port city of Lut Gholein, Marius slept for the first time in weeks, witnessing a vision of the Horadric mage Tal Rasha being bound in a great tomb in the desert by the Archangel Tyrael, after electing to take the essence of Baal, Lord of Destruction, within himself after the breaking of his Soulstone. When Marius awoke, the Wanderer cryptically stated that he had seen his "brother", and that the Wanderer was seeking him. Locating the Tomb of Tal Rasha, Marius followed the Wanderer inside against his better judgment, where he witnessed the Wanderer attacked by Tyrael before he could remove the Soulstone shard from Tal Rasha's ravaged body. The spirit within the decrepit mage - either Tal Rasha himself or Baal manipulating his "host" - pleaded with Marius to release him, and Marius pulled the Soulstone from Tal Rasha's body. Chastising him for releasing Baal, Tyrael charged Marius to go east to the city of Kurast and enter the Temple of Light, where a gateway to Hell would be waiting, and to take the stone to the great Hellforge to destroy it.
Arriving in Kurast and entering the great temple of the Zakarum, Marius witnessed the dark gathering of the Wanderer, Tal Rasha, and Mephisto, Lord of Hatred. As the three opened the gateway to Hell, the Wanderer shed his mortal form and arose again as Diablo, Lord of Terror. Utterly horrified by what he had seen, Marius could not step through the gate and instead fled, where he eventually ended up in the sanitarium, his body wasting away from the malignant influence of the stone. He heard later that Diablo was defeated, and that his and Mephisto's Soulstones were destroyed at the Hellforge; knowing Baal's had not, he wept and asked for forgiveness. His visitor told Marius to give him the stone, and all would be forgiven, which Marius did gladly. However, the visitor revealed that he was not the Archangel Tyrael, shining the stone towards his face and revealing the ravaged visage of Tal Rasha. Realizing that he had given the stone back to Baal, Marius broke down weeping and babbling before Baal "rewarded" him - killing him with tentacles emerging from his robe, and burning the sanitarium to the ground.
Marius is briefly mentioned by Deckard Cain in Lord of Destruction, who states that if Marius had not intervened, Baal would still be imprisoned within Tal Rasha. He also appears briefly in Act IV of Diablo III, as a vision invoked by Diablo to demoralize Tyrael.
Zoltun Kulle (voiced by Steven Blum) was a powerful sorcerer who became one of the founding members of the Horadrim centuries before the events of the first game. He worked along with his fellows - including Tal Rasha and Jered Cain - to hunt down the three Prime Evils after their "Dark Exile" to Sanctuary. During the hunt for the Three, Kulle was the custodian of the Soulstones, the artifacts granted to the Horadrim by the Archangel Tyrael to contain the Prime Evils. Kulle became obsessed with the power of the stones; after the Three were contained, he worked to create his own "Black Soulstone", which could contain both angel and demon alike and restore humanity's power to that of the original Nephalem. He created his own Archives in the deserts of Kehjistan to create his Soulstone and experiment on other magi to discover their "Nephalem essence". His fellow Horadrim, fearing that his mad experiments would bring agents of both Heaven and Hell to Sanctuary, confronted Kulle in his sanctum and defeated him, finding that he had become immortal through his experimentations. His head was severed and hidden in the Dahlgur Oasis, and his body contained within a shadow-realm within his Archives. Two vials of his blood, necessary to unlock the gateway to the shadow-realm, were hidden within vaults beneath the Desolate Sands.
Centuries later, during the events of Diablo III, the now-mortal Tyrael - aided by the witch Adria, her daughter Leah, and the new generation of Nephalem - sought to use the Black Soulstone to contain the last two Lords of Hell, Belial and Azmodan, and end their influence once and for all. To do so, they located Kulle's head in the oasis and awakened his spirit. With no option to them, they reluctantly agreed to Kulle's bargain: to restore his living body in exchange for the stone. Locating the vials of his blood, the Nephalem unlocked the shadow-locks and rejoined Kulle's head to his body, and Leah used her power to bring his body back to life. Inside the chamber that contained the Black Soulstone, Kulle realized that the spirits of the other five Lords of Hell - slain by mortal champions years before - had been marked and drawn into the stone (by Adria, it was revealed later, to resurrect Diablo as the Prime Evil), and called the Nephalem to join him in reigning over Sanctuary; the Nephalem refused, and destroyed his body once more. After the defeat of Malthael in Reaper of Souls, in the game's Adventure Mode, Kulle's spirit resurfaces to point the player to Kanai's Cube, an artifact he created as a Horadrim, hidden in the ruins of Sescheron (destroyed by Baal in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction).
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