This blog is part of my contribution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Every day has been assigned a letter of the alphabet. (Except for Sundays. We get Sundays “off” for some reason). You can pick any topic to write about that you want, so long as it fits into the daily letter. I have decided to use this challenge as an excuse to get started writing about Diablo III (and the “universe” it exists in).
D is for Demon. There are two sides to the Eternal Conflict in the Diablo “universe”. On the one side, you have the angels, who originate from The Crystal Arch in the High Heavens. The angels are really into order. This drive may, or may not, connect to things that can be seen as “good”. On the other side, we have the demons, who are all about chaos.
It wouldn’t be entirely correct to assume that the demons are “evil”. That being said, most of their actions do cause harm to the people of Sanctuary, to the angels, and even to each other. Most of them are really selfish, and put their own needs and desires above everything else. They have no ideological problem with fighting against each other – especially if they think the outcome of the battle will get them what they want. There is no order, only chaos.
The demons come from, and live in, the Burning Hells. In the blog that I wrote about the angels, I mentioned that The Crystal Arch was made from Anu’s essence. Without getting to far off the topic of demons, I will note that before Anu became The Crystal Arch, he spawned Tathamet. In short, Anu was experiencing both positive and negative emotions, and he decided to get rid of the negative ones.
Those darker emotions were cast out. They eventually combined and formed Tathamet. This seven headed creature has been described as a dragon, but probably looked more like a hydra. Tathamet didn’t have any good in him at all. He became the source of all evil. Anu and Tathamet fought each other to the death. Anu’s form became The Crystal Arch. Tathamet’s form fell, blackened, putrified, and became the Burning Hells.
In other words, the demons all come from the primary source of evil (in the Diablo “universe”). They literally “don’t have it in them” to… well, “be nice”. They can only “play nice with others” for a limited span of time. Often, when it looks like they are being kind and helpful, it is only because they needed to convince some pawn to do something that would ultimately benefit the demon itself.
A good example of this involves Emperor Hakan II in the Diablo III game. (If you have never played through Diablo III, this paragraph may be a “spoiler”). He is the only child of Emperor Hakan I, and takes the throne while he is still just a little kid. There is part of the game where the player’s character is in the sewers, and Emperor Hakan II appears. He offers to helpfully unlock a gate that the player’s character needed opened in order to complete a quest.
What a nice kid, right? Wrong! Players later learn that cute, little, harmless looking Emperor Hakan II was actually Belial (demon Lord of Lies) in disguise. He wasn’t helping the player character – he was hoping that he or she would venture further in the sewers and die (and therefore, be out of his way).
The Burning Hells is made up of ever shifting boundaries that mark the territory of different demons. The most powerful demons gather up minions and use them to fight against the minions of other demons. Ultimately, every demon is striving to become the Prime Evil, which is the most powerful position in the demon hierarchy. These battles have been going on since the start of the Burning Hells.
The demons are immortal. It is possible to “kill” their physical form. But, the souls of demons are always reborn in the Burning Hells. Tyrael makes this clear in a piece of lore that appears in Act V of Diablo III.
“The phantasms are unlike any spirits I have seen on Sanctuary. They bear a resemblance to lesser demons, but the souls of demons are always reborn in the Hells… I suspect the phantasms may be the remnants of some early nephalem, those born more demon than angel.”
This is why it is so important to capture the souls of Diablo, Belial, and the rest of the Prime Evils and Lesser Evils in a soulstone. Doing so keeps their soul from going back to the Burning Hells and being reborn. It also prevents demons like Diablo from obtaining a new body by possessing one of the people who is walking around on Sanctuary.
The bigger, smarter, demons realize this. If they are imprisoned or captured, their best tactic is to make their captor so angry that he or she kills the demon (or, the body the demon is inhabiting). Doing so enables the demon to escape, return to the Burning Hells, and be reborn. You can see this tactic played out in the video below. It is called “Wrath”.
Without giving away too many specific details, I will point out that by the time players reach Act V of Diablo III, most of the Prime Evils and Lesser Evils have had their souls captured in The Black Soulstone. Imagine the chaos going on in the Burning Hells, as the minions attempt to take power, own as much of the Burning Hells as possible, and attempt to become the next Prime Evil!