As was true for the main campaign in Diablo 3, the creations of the Horadric Mage Zoltun Kulle will factor prominently in the upcoming Season 3 of Diablo 4 called the Season of the Construct. Let’s take a look back at who this most notable figure was in Diablo lore.
The Sin War
The conclusion of the Sin War saw the end of Inarius’ dominion over the world of Sanctuary as a result of being defeated by Uldyssian, who was one of the re-emergent Nephalem of the Edyrem, and who was also Lilith’s pawn in her grand scheme to achieve dominion over Creation. As a consequence of having banished Lilith to the Void, Inarius was then taken to the Burning Hells by Mephisto and imprisoned there for millennia, until his eventual and mysterious escape to Sanctuary some years prior to the events of the Diablo 4 main campaign.
Inarius’ imprisonment was part of the bargain struck between Mephisto, the leader of the Greater Evils, and the Angiris Council of the High Heavens. The conditions on Sanctuary were reset to a time prior to the tampering of the Worldstone done by Inarius and Lilith, thus causing the Naphalem to revert to what we now call humanity. Beyond that, the High Heavens and the Burning Hells agreed to no longer meddle in the affairs of Sanctuary and its inhabitants.
The Dark Exile
However, Diablo, being Diablo, could not just sit idly by and allow this potentially powerful resource to go unexploited. Therefore, he orchestrated a coup with his brothers Mephisto and Baal where they precipitated a civil war in the Burning Hells, which resulted in them being banished to Sanctuary during a period known as the Dark Exile. Their ultimate plan was to corrupt humanity to their own ends in order to use them as a weapon against the High Heavens.
Tyrael, one of the members of the Angiris Council, became aware of the Prime Evils presence on Sanctuary. He knew that his fellow members of the Council would likely be indifferent to what was happening on Sanctuary or would be unwilling to intervene once again. Thus, he decided to act without the consent of the Angiris Council by waging a cold war against the Prime Evils. It was this decision by Tyrael that eventually contributed to his being ejected from the High Heavens by Imperius just prior to the events of the Diablo 3 main campaign.
Tyrael’s cold war strategy was to assemble a group of powerful mages, which he called the Horadrim. Tyrael fashioned three soulstones (red, blue, and yellow) from the Worldstone, and tasked the Horadric mages with tracking down and imprisoning the essences of the Prime Evils within the stones. One by one, the Prime evils were defeated and captured, and there is an epic cut scene in the Diablo Immortal campaign that depicts Jered Cain, Tal Rasha, and Zoltun Kulle in the final battle to imprison Baal, the Lord of Destruction, in the yellow soulstone.
The soulstones were then hidden in what were believed to be secure locations deep beneath the towns of Tristam (Diablo, red) and Travincal (Mephisto, blue), as well as in the Tomb of Tal Rash (Baal, yellow). Nevertheless, the Prime Evils, aided with information provided to them by the renegade angel Izual, managed to corrupt their soulstones from within, thus precipitating the events of the main campaigns in the Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 games.
As we have just learned, Zoltun Kulle was one of the founding members of the Horadrim, as well as the original custodian of the three soulstones. He had previously belonged to the Ennead Clan, a mage clan known for its mastery of transmutation, the construction of golems and constructs, and other similar arts. Like his brethren, he devoted himself to the pursuit of these sciences. Consequently, he was the only Horadric mage who was thoroughly familiar with the process by which the soulstones had been constructed and eventually became obsessed with their power.
This thirst for power eventually corrupted him and turned the great mage to the side of darkness. He took leave of the Horadrim and returned to Kehjistan in order to pursue his studies of magic in his secret library. Kulle crafted a series of unique constructs to endure the shifting sands. Their priority was to defend him and to curate and protect his knowledge, as was the custom for members of the Ennead Clan. However, their interpretation of this directive led them to vanquish many who traveled near the library (an early example of an AI gone rogue). Fearing this behavior would draw attention to his library, Kulle sealed the constructs away (until now). After he created the Black Soulstone, which had involved luring unwilling mages into his archives and subjecting them to gruesome experiments, the remaining members of the Horadrim banded together to eliminate him by severing his head from his body and putting his blood into jars in order to seal his fate, as it seems they were afraid he might return.
He did, nevertheless, return, although briefly, because of the party of heroes who first resurrected his spirit, followed by his corporeal form, in order to retrieve the Black Soulstone from beneath the Desolate Sands as part of the main campaign in Diablo 3. Kulle was, again, corrupted by the power of the Black Soulstone, and he attempted to persuade the heroes into ruling over Creation with him. The heroes refused, of course, and they annihilated his corporeal form once again. The Black Soulstone figured prominently in the Diablo 3 campaign as part of the quest to imprison all of the Greater Evils, an endeavor that was initially thwarted by Adria and then ultimately by the deluded angel Malthael.
Having been tasked by Tyrael to track down and capture the Prime Evils, the Horadric mages knew that they would need a powerful device of transmutation by which they could craft the implements and materials they would need to succeed in their mission. Not surprisingly, it was Kulle who designed a device called the Cube, which was then constructed by the mages. Following the capture of the Prime Evils within the soulstones, the Horadric mages deemed the Cube to be too dangerous to continue using. Over Kulle’s objection, they hid it away by entrusting its safe keeping to a secret order of Barbarians on Mount Arreat. The cube was guarded over by King Kanai as his most prized possession, and eventually became known as Kanai’s Cube.
The mages then set about crafting a weaker, and, thus, less dangerous, version of the device called the Horadric Cube. This second cube was, with the guidance of Deckard Cain, recovered and used to great effect in the Diablo 2 main campaign to, once again, defeat the Prime Evils. The original Kanai’s Cube was also recovered by the Diablo 3 party of heroes, with the aid of Zoltun Kulle’s spirit, from the Elder Sanctum within the Ruins of Sescheron. All Diablo 3 fans know that one of the first things you do after creating your first character at the beginning of a new Season is to go get Kanai’s Cube in Act III.
The Season of the Construct
We now know, in part due to the sleuthing done by Lore Master Neinball, that Zoltun Kulle’s dubious legacy will surface again as part of the Seasonal Questline for Season 3 of Diablo 4. It turns out that the Black Soulstone and the Cubes were not the only powerful devices designed and crafted by the infamous mage in his secret library.
A new threat lurks deep beneath the sands of Kehjistan, where the Loom, an ancient technology designed by Zoltun Kulle and Ayuzhan of Caldeum, has been usurped by the forces of evil. The Demon Malphas is responsible for twisting the Loom for his cruel whims. Malphas is a shapeless entity and a servant of Diablo who has possessed one of Zoltun Kulle’s prized constructs. Zoltun’s former companion Ayuzhan will lead you through the treacherous Vaults, desperate to stop the formidable Malphas and his deadly constructs from overtaking Sanctuary.
Players will travel to the Gatehall, a town center underneath Kehjistan that will serve as their base of operations in the fight against the Constructs. The Gatehall will be your conduit to access the deadly Vaults, which are riddled with elemental Hazards and Constructs and are the key to harnessing the true potential of the Loom. The Wanderer will have to travel to the Loom to stop the threat at its source and defeat Malphas in a new Boss fight.
Players can wield the power of the Loom by acquiring their very own Seneschal Companion (which hopefully will also be able to pick up gold drops, at least). It starts out as a broken construct that will be rebuilt and reprogrammed by Ayuzhan to follow the Wanderer’s commands, which will become available to the player during the Seasonal Questline. In Zoltun’s vision, the Seneschal will compliment your adventures by engaging directly in the fight or aiding you dutifully on the sidelines.
Disclaimer on Content Speculation
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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. All of this is, of course, still speculation right now based on the information shared thus far by the developers and anything could be changed or scrapped between now and the release.