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Diablo Lore: The Soulstones Saga, Part 3

Soulstones epitomize the eternal struggle between good and evil.

Diablo Lore: The Soulstones Saga, Part 3


Previously on The Soulstones Saga

Part 2 of the Soulstones Saga concluded with Tyrael flinging El’druin into the Worldstone and blowing it, the Amber Soulstone, and himself into tiny bits, in thy mercy. He did this to protect humanity from the evil that Baal had infused into the Worldstone.

We also learned in Part 1 of this series that the souls of the demon lords are immortal. Well, it turns out that the same is true for the members of the Angiris Council. Fast forward about twenty years after Mount Arreat was transformed into a crater, and Tyrael, the Archangel of Justice, miraculously rematerialized in the High Heavens.

Imperius, Archangel of Valor

Judgement Day

Tyrael barely had an opportunity to check himself in the mirror when he was abruptly confronted by Imperius, the Archangel of Valor. Imperius charged Tyrael with violating the sacred laws of Heaven by intervening on the behalf of humanity.

The Angiris Council had always considered Sanctuary to be an abomination that should be eradicated. Nevertheless, Tyrael had successfully advocated for sparing humanity at the end of the Sin War. Tyrael had also been guilty of covertly waging an unsanctioned cold war against the Prime Evils during the Dark Exile.

However, destroying the Worldstone was the last straw, as far as Imperius was concerned. Tyrael held his ground and stood by the decision he had made to intervene in the fate of Sanctuary, once again. Despite his resolve, the Council voted against him, and he was promptly ejected from the High Heavens. He fell to Sanctuary in a ball of flames, which the people of Khanduras believed was a Fallen Star.

Nephalem Heroes

Rise of the Nephalem

Once Tyrael had fully regained his senses, he learned that the destruction of the Worldstone had an unanticipated effect on humanity. Centuries earlier, Inarius had become fearful of his children because they were growing more powerful than he was. To compensate for this, he modified the Worldstone in order to dampen their powers. As a result, the Nephalem eventually devolved into the humans we know today.

However, the obliteration of the Worldstone had reversed its dampening effect, thus causing some of those ancient Nephalem powers to reemerge. It was not long after Tyrael’s expulsion from Heaven that one such Nephalem hero arrived in New Tristram to investigate what had happened. The Hero met with Deckard Cain and his ward Leah, both of whom had been searching for answers about the Prophecy of the End of Days.

Back in Black

Zoltun Kulle
Zoltun Kulle, Horadric Mage

You will recall, of course, that, long ago, Tyrael had tasked the Horadrim with tracking down the Prime Evils and imprisoning their essences within Soulstones. In a previous article entitled Zoltun Kulle: The Mage and His Machinations, we also learned that it was Mr. Kulle who was given the responsibility of curating the stones. It took many years for all three Primes to be captured, which had given Zoltun a great deal of time to study the stones in more detail.

One of the results of his research was a new and improved vessel called the Black Soulstone. Kulle believed that, one day, humanity would need a weapon against both the High Heavens and the Burning Hells. Therefore, he created this upgraded Soulstone, which could simultaneously contain a virtually limitless number of demon souls and angel souls, alike.

Nevertheless, when his fellow mages discovered what he had been doing in his spare time, they considered him to be a threat rather than a potential savior. Their final solution was to behead Kulle and to contain his head and blood in jars, which were then hidden in various secret locations throughout the Dahlgur Oasis and Desolate Sands. If we’ve learned one thing by now, though, it’s that secrets in Sanctuary do not remain secret forever.

The End of Days

After years of searching and studying, Deckard Cain, with the assistance of his “niece” Leah, had surmised that the Prophecy foretold the end of humanity’s existence on Sanctuary. The prophecy first manifested itself when Belial, the Lord of Lies, usurped the throne of Emperor Hakan II in Caldeum. Following that, Belial’s brother Azmodan, the Lord of Sin, spewed forth his demon army from beneath the Arreat crater. It was the brothers’ intention to pick up where the Prime Evils had left off in their attempt to conscript the inhabitants of Sanctuary during the Dark Exile.

Adria with the Black Soulstone

It was around this time when Leah discovered that her mother, Adria (yes, that Adria), was actually still alive and being held captive by the Imperial Guard in Caldeum. The Hero would have none of that and proceeded in haste to the sewers beneath the city to rescue Adria. In time, Leah and her mother were reunited and finally had a chance to do some catching up.

It was then that Adria divulged her knowledge of the Black Soulstone. She explained that the vessel could be used to trap the souls of Belial and Azmodan, just as the Horadrim had done many years before. She also told the Hero that Zoltun Kulle would be the only one who knew where the Black Soulstone had been hidden.

There was just one small problem, though, which was that Zoltun was long dead, and his head and blood had been hidden in secret locations. Undeterred, the party, through a series of quests, succeeded in resurrecting the ghost of Kulle and obtaining the Black Soulstone. To their surprise, however, the stone, for some inexplicable reason, already contained the souls of Diablo, Mephisto, Baal, Andariel, and Duriel.

The Long Con

In time, the Hero succeeded in defeating Belial and Azmodan, thus capturing their essences within the Black Soulstone. Everyone felt happy and relieved that they had, at last, triumphed over all seven of the Greater Evils. Which, of course, could mean only one thing – a plot twist.

Adria wasted no time in revealing to everyone what her true purpose had been all along. It turns out that Prince Aidan, after defeating Diablo in Tristram, had popped by her hut one night. By the next morning, he had not only transformed into the Dark Wanderer, but he was also Leah’s baby daddy. Of course, being the deadbeat dad that he was, he skipped town and set off to find the Tomb of Tal Rasha. In the years that followed, Adria had set off on a quest of her own and had entrusted the care of her daughter Leah to Deckard Cain.

But wait, there’s more. Diablo, without the knowledge of his brothers Mephisto and Baal, had also concocted a secret plan with Adria. Diablo knew that the Black Soulstone was capable of instantaneously capturing marked souls. So, it was he that had sent Adria on her quest to mark the souls of the other six Greater Evils before they were defeated by the Heroes of Sanctuary.

Heaven’s Gate

Crystal Arch
Crystal Arch

It was right there on the roof of Bastion’s Keep that Adria got ahold of the Black Soulstone and unveiled Diablo’s long con. The Lord of Terror had not only wanted to corrupt the Worldstone, his ultimate goal had always been to transform himself into Tathamet incarnate, or the Prime Evil reborn. Adria then merged the Black Soulstone, containing the souls of all seven Greater Evils, with Diablo’s daughter, Leah, thereby consummating the grand scheme of her demonic master.

Diablo, in the form of his mortal host Leah, quickly escaped through a portal into the High Heavens, for there was one more crucial task that still needed to be accomplished. Diablo, as the reincarnated Prime Evil, had intended to claim dominion over all creation for himself. In order to achieve that, he would have to destroy the Crystal Arch, the wellspring from which all angels are birthed.

Diablo unleashed his evil minions into the High Heavens and then marched on the Crystal Arch. The one thing that he had failed to account for, however, was that this was a Diablo game and Act IV wasn’t finished yet. The Nephalem hero followed right behind him into Heaven, and, with the help of Tyrael, managed to defeat the demon lord before he could destroy the angelic crucible.

Thanks to our Hero, Diablo had been recaptured within the Black Soulstone once again, along with the rest of the Greater Evils. However, the High Heavens wanted nothing to do with the abominable relic and entrusted its safekeeping to Tyrael on Sanctuary. The New Horadrim, including Lorath Nahr, hid the Black Soulstone far beneath the Ruin of Covrus. However, the capture of the Greater Evils had, unbeknownst to Tyrael, caused something dark and sinister to stir deep within the soul of Malthael, the former Archangel of Wisdom.

Expansion Time, Cha-Ching!

Malthael, Angel of Death

Malthael, the original leader of the Angiris Council, had become dismayed with his brethren long before the events described above. Therefore, he had remained in a self-imposed exile for as long as anyone could remember. That is, until the souls of the seven Greater Evils had been imprisoned all together in the Black Soulstone. Malthael saw this as an opportunity to turn the tables on Diablo. However, rather than merely eliminating the demon lords once and for all, he decided to take it a step further by cleansing all demonic influence from Sanctuary.

Every inhabitant of Sanctuary was the progeny of Inarius and Lilith, and, thus, they still possessed the blood of both angels and demons. Malthael concluded that the only way to purify Sanctuary, and the rest of the universe, was to begin by purging humanity. His plan was to capture the souls of all the people still alive in the world and imprison them forever in the Black Soulstone.

Malthael succeeded in seizing the Soulstone from the New Horadrim and then he fortified himself within the Heart of Pandemonium. From there he unleashed his legions of reapers, thereby decimating much of the world’s population. Something had to be done, of course, so Tyrael again enlisted the assistance of the Nephalem hero.

Through a series of quests and trials, the Hero found Malthael at the center of the Fortress. In a final desperate attempt to vanquish our Hero, Malthael fused his body with the Black Soulstone. Nevertheless, the Nephalem was still too powerful and managed to defeat the self-proclaimed Angel of Death before humanity had been completely wiped out. Malthael’s death triggered a cataclysmic shock wave, thus releasing the souls of all the demon lords once more.

The Vessel of Hatred

Neyrelle Soulstone 006
The Vessel of Hatred

This brings us back to our story’s prologue, where we last saw Neyrelle boarding a boat at the Kurast docks. Having been released upon the death of Malthael, the immortal essence of Mephisto was, again, in the process of being resurrected during the Diablo 4 main campaign. However, Neyrelle decided to delay that process by recapturing Mephisto’s essence in a Soulstone. That’s because she needed to buy herself more time to figure out how to prepare for the eventual return of the other Prime Evils.

Neyrelle now carries with her another Sapphire Soulstone, the Vessel of Hatred, just as the Horadrim had once done centuries earlier. Will she succeed in preparing for the second coming, or will she be corrupted and consumed by evil? Only time will provide the answer to this compelling question. In the meantime, all we can do is to wish her godspeed on her quest for the sake of Sanctuary.

See You Next Time

This concludes the final chapter of The Soulstones Saga, and I want to say thanks very much for joining me on this journey. I’ve always enjoyed Diablo lore and I appreciate having the opportunity to share that pleasure with you.

If you missed any of the previous installments, read these:

I am also delighted to announce that I’m on the schedule for Phoenix Fan Fusion again this year on Memorial Day weekend. To make the weekend even more special, I will be joined on stage by none other than Diablo streaming luminary WyzeFool! Together we will be presenting three Diablo 4 panels, the first of which will feature even more of Neyrelle’s story as part of the Vessel of Hatred lore. Additional details will be announced here at PureDiablo over the next few weeks, including some exclusive giveaways. Diablo fans in the Metro Phoenix area will not want to miss this exciting event and we hope to see all of you there!

We would love to hear your feedback on this topic, so please sound off in the comments section below, or contact me on Twitter. Do also let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions for future topics here at PureDiablo. In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye on the news feed so you’ll have all the up-to-date info you need to get the most out of your game.

If you believe that any of the information shared above is inaccurate in any way, please let us know, along with a reference for the correct information, so we can update this document accordingly.

Gazerrick ArmsGazerrick is a staff writer for PureDiablo who focuses primarily on casual gaming interests and lore for the Diablo community. When not hacking and slashing his way through a new Season, he can be found participating in, and presenting at, various pop culture conventions in southern Arizona. You can follow him on Twitter @Gazerrick9000 for even more of his gaming indulgences. A collection of his creative media is also available at Cactus Palm Perspectives.

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