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The Horadric Texts, Volume 1: An Introduction to the Lore of the Diablo Universe

The Horadric Texts, Volume 1: An Introduction to the Lore of the Diablo Universe


Diablo 3 has recently become one of the most popular Blizzard games.  With the introduction of Seasonal play, Hardcore Mode, Torment level Difficulty, Class Sets and Dungeons, and Adventure Mode / Bounties, Blizzard Entertainment has revived and revitalized an old genre of games – that of the Dungeon Crawler RPG.  Many of us started off playing through Diablo and Diablo 2 (and all of its expansions.)  But there are many new players who came in with Diablo 3 who might not know the story of Sanctuary, the war between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells, or its effect on the people of Sanctuary.

Well, this lore series is for you.  Together, we will take a step by step look at the history and creation of Sanctuary, the birth of humanity, the rise of the nephalem, and the Eternal Conflict.  We will discuss things that are commonly known and things that are hidden deep within the lore.  But first, we must start where all things must start: at the beginning.

In the beginning…

…. there was Anu.  Anu was the first being.  In the beginning of all things, there was a single, perfect pearl, an in it resided Anu, who was the sum of all things: good and evil, light and dark, physical and mystical, happiness and sadness, hope and despair, male and female.  Within the pearl, Anu lived in a dream-state, and mused about itself.  Wishing to become perfect, Anu banished all that was evil from itself, and for a time, all dissonance was gone from Creation.

The Eternal Conflict begins...

The Eternal Conflict begins…

This did not last.  Soon, those cast aside pieces coalesced into Tathamet, who took the form of a seven headed dragon and became the First Prime Evil.  Unfortunately for both Anu and Tathamet, they were trapped together within the pearl.  This caused them to wage war upon each other, an unending, yet balanced, clash of light and darkness.  Neither Anu nor Tathamet could ever gain the upper hand.


The Worldstone Chamber by Shadowlord Dante @dA

Eventually, the pair could no longer stand the constant flux of battle within the pearl, and each prepared a single, final blow.  When these blows met, the energies unleashed destroyed the pearl, light and matter scattering far and wide, a violent birth cry that became the universe as we know it.  The final blows had other effects as well – both Anu and Tathamet were killed, leaving behind only remnants of what they once were, and where the blow was struck, a hole was torn open in reality.  This hole became known as Pandemonium, a pocket realm outside of reality and it housed the single most important artifact ever created: the Eye of Anu, or as it would come to be known, the Worldstone.  This stone was the size of a mountain, an object of immense power and served as the nexus of all realities, the foundation of both time and space, and contained wholly within Pandemonium.

All but the spine of Anu ascended to some unknown plane of existence, free of earthly and physical bonds, a paradise.  Anu’s spine spun out into the primordial darkness and rose.  Over the millennia, it solidified, crystallized, and became the Crystal Arch.  It was around the Arch that the High Heavens formed after a long, long time, and from the Arch eventually was born the Angels and Archangels.  The Archangels of the Angiris Council are believed to be the physical embodiments of Anu’s virtues- Hope, Justice, Valor, Wisdom, and Fate.


From left to right: Tyrael, the Archangel of Justice; Malthael, the Archangel of Wisdom; Imperius, the Archangel of Valor; Itherael, the Archangel of Fate; and Auriel, the Archangel of Hope

Tathamet’s blackened husk fell down into the deep primordial darkness, and from its putrid, rotting flesh was built the Burning Hells, and the race of demons came forth from the flesh like maggots.  Each of Tathamet’s seven heads became one of the Lords of Hell, the three larges heads becoming the Greater Evils Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal, while the four smaller heads became the lesser evils of Azmodan, Belial, Andariel, and Duriel.

Being descended from Anu and Tathamet and fuelled with their hatred for each other, the Angels and Demons took up their progenitors’ war.  It did not take either side long to discover the Worldstone.  They realized it held immense power, and that the side that controlled the Worldstone could create and shape life in the universe with little to no restrictions.  Both angels and demons created worlds, but all such worlds were flawed and unstable, and only with the Worldstone could either side create stable worlds, allowing them to go so far as to alter reality itself.  So, the central point of the Eternal Conflict became Pandemonium and the Worldstone.  At some point in history, Tyrael, the Archangel of Justice, ordered a bastion to be built around the Worldstone which became known as Pandemonium Fortress.  The Fortress switched hands frequently, neither side able to hold it – orthe Worldstone – for very long.

Until, that is,  the Worldstone disappeared… but that is a story for another time.

If you liked this article, you should check out more of Inquisitor Aura’s work on Dalaran Academy, a d20crit podcast!  Don’t forget to follow her on Twitter and Facebook, and make sure you check her out on YouTube and over at Full Frontal Geekery!


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