This blog was supposed to be for the A to Z Blogging Challenge that took place in April. The rules require participants to write one blog for each letter of the alphabet, and to post them on the correct day. My intentions were good, but my choice of subject matter turned out to be overwhelming.
I used the challenge as a “jumping off point” so I would finally push myself to start writing about Diablo III (and its “universe”). I’m still interested in writing about the topics I selected. The difference is that I can do it on my one time frame now.
U is for Urzael. Players had not heard of him until they got far enough along in the Reaper of Souls expansion to be “introduced” to him. Who is this new angel, what is his history, and why do we care?
Tyrael: He is Malthael’s lieutenant, much the same way that Izual was mine. He is doing his master’s bidding without question.
Urzael is an angel. He is not one of the angels on the Angiris Council, but he was connected to an angel who was part of it. Urzael was Malthael’s most loyal servant. All of the angels on the Angiris Council have “helpers” (or “minions”, or angels that they rank higher than and are in charge of). The highest ranked one gets the title of Lieutenant.
Malthael, the “big bad” of the Reaper of Souls expansion, started out as the Aspect of Wisdom. It was he who looked into the “living light” in the Chalice of Wisdom (also called Chalad’ar). His job, as the Aspect of Wisdom, was to obtain knowledge and wisdom and share it with the Angiris Council. That knowledge was important to their decision making process.
Let’s skip ahead to the point in time where the angels of the Angiris Council discover the existence of Sanctuary. They learn that Inarius secretly created Sanctuary, intentionally kept it hidden from (most of) the angels, and gathered up renegades of both angels and demons who wanted to be done with the Eternal Conflict. In short, Inarius’s actions were pretty much considered treason (and he was held accountable).
Even worse, Inarius, and his fellow angels and demons, managed to spawn beings that had never existed before. These angels and demons fell in love with each other and produced offspring that were a mixture of both angels and demons. The first generations were called nephalem. Later generations were intentionally weakened and eventually produced offspring that were rather fragile in comparison to their ancestors – humans.
Malthael became obsessed with the humans/nephalem. At the beginning of the Diablo III game, players choose a character that looks like a human – but is really a nepahlem. He or she has awakened their powers, become strong, and was more than capable of killing off demons. That worried Malthael, who had concerns about whether or not the humans/nephalem, who were both angel and demon combined, would side with the light (angels) or the darkness (demons).
Then he disappeared. He just up and left the High Heavens, without telling anyone where he was going or when he would return. Urzael desperately wanted to go find him. He could not do that unless he had the permission of the Angiris Council – and they didn’t give it for a very long time. Eventually, Malthael’s extended, and mysterious, absence started to make the Angiris Council concerned. Urzael insisted that The High Heavens needed Malthael and the Wisdom that only he could provide.
The Angiris Council was aware of Malthael’s obsession with the humans/nephalem. Tyrael suggested that Urzael look for Malthael on Sanctuary. That’s where the humans/nephalem are at… so it made sense to start looking there. Unfortunately, no one knew exactly where to look for Malthael.
Urzael’s Journal, Part 1: After years of my pleading, the Angiris Council has finally agreed to send me in search of Malthael. I will not fail in this, as my master’s presence is sorely needed in the High Heavens. Owing to Malthael’s growing fascination with the humans, Tyrael suggested I begin my search on Sanctuary. – Urzael
Urzael left the High Heavens with the best of intentions. His entire motivation was to find Malthael and convince him to return to the High Heavens. Things did not go as planned.
Urzael’s Journal Part 2: I did not find Malthael on Sanctuary. But I did find humans, far too many of them. They murder and cheat one another while allowing their brothers to starve. If their true power is ever released, we are all doomed. They have a choice between good and evil, and they overwhelmingly choose evil.
While he was searching, Urzael had the opportunity to observe many humans/nephalem. At first, he was surprised that there were so many of them – too many. He watched as the mortals did horrible things to each other. They murdered their own kind, cheated each other, refused to help those who were less fortunate. He became completely disgusted with the humans/nephalem. Urzael now believed that these mortals would surely choose the side of evil if they ever unlocked their birthright (their nephalem powers).
After that, he found Malthael. Of course, by this time, neither one of them had any desire to return to the High Heavens. Urzael learned that Malthael felt the same way he did about the mortals on Sanctuary, and both decided it would be best to destroy them all. They believed that killing off the humans/nephalem would prevent the demons from using them against the angels. Malthael (and Urzael) strongly felt that now was the time to end The Eternal Conflict by defeating and destroying the demons.
Tyrael: I may be mortal, but I am not nephalem. I have no demon blood in me, and therefore, Malthael does not see me as his enemy.
Demon Hunter: And I am? I have dedicated my life to killing demons.
Tyrael: That is of no consequence. You are half demon to him and, therefore, on the wrong side of the Eternal Conflict.
While on Sanctuary, Malthael had been gathering up new forces, which he called Reapers. Each was altered from his or her original form into something more useful for Malthael’s purpose. Urzael changed form – he became larger, fleshy, and brutish. His main job was to help Malthael by commanding the Reapers that were attacking Westmarch, reaping the souls from the bodies of the mortals, and collecting them in soul crucibles (as a source of energy for Malthael).
Players in Diablo III first learn about Urzael in Act V when he sets fire to a large portion of Westmarch. Urzael did that after realizing that the soul crucibles had been destroyed. Unable to store any more mortal souls, he decides to kill all the humans with fire. This action gives the player characters the motivation to get in a fight with Uzrael in the hopes of being able to stop him. This, of course, means the player needs to kill Urzael.
Tyrael: Urzael has done this to finish collecting the souls of Westmarch!
The player then goes off to fight against Uzrael – Harbinger of Death. His new title is very fitting. He’s loyal to Malthael – now the “Angel of Death”, and he is following Malthael’s orders by gathering souls for him.
By this point in the game, the players have gone from having no clue who (or what) Urzael was, to wanting to kill him as quickly as possible. We have strong (negative) feelings about Urzael and cannot wait to attack him. Killing Urzael is the only way to prevent him from continuing to set fire to Westmarch and from moving on to the rest of Sanctuary. And, let’s be honest. It’s really easy to hate someone like Urzael, who not only thinks you are unredeemable and vile, but also intends to scour the planet and destroy all of your kind.