Looking back, I realize I have to go back and rewrite this concept in greater detail. Now I'm thinking of this first time through as the rough draft..so I'll go ahead and finish it up before I start a rewrite. I want to be more creative and included LOTS of excerpts from character journals and official records to round out the perspective of the whole thing. So this is the conclusion of my rough draft. As always, enjoy and Reviews Welcome!!

A Desperate Union
The Orue Agea saw no reprieve from the war, for soon they received a visit from an archangel who asked for their assistance. The Orue Agea never sought allegiances with otherwordly forces –Hell or Heaven –as they felt that man’s potential lay within himself…the arrival of the angel was met with skepticism. Although initially very distrustful, the Guiding Body –now including Sri-Kurah –agreed to hear Tyrael, who told them of the current affairs of the rest of the world. Bartuc the Bloody had been defeated and Horazon had gone into reclusion from the world while the Mage clans had reached a temporary truce. The High Heavens had witnessed the works of the Orue Agea as they bravely bound Run Azar, and Tyrael gave an offer the them. Civil had erupted in Hell, and the Prime Evils had been banished to the mortal realm. Tyrael was assembling an order of wise ones from all clans and orders to hunt down the three Brothers. He had seen the binding spells they had used, and asked them to join this order of Horadrim to seal away the Prime Evils in special stones of great power using these spells. Determined to do everything possible to protect his people from demonic forces, Sri-Kurah volunteered himself and any willing to join to Horadrim’s quest after much debate and discussion. Those who chose to set out on this crusade brought with them their binding spells and, as a sign of goodwill, a special device that could transmute any objects placed within it. After this, the story is well known.

A group of Orue Agea joined the Horadrim, who pursued the three Prime Evils in their dark exile. Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred, was first captured and imprisoned in a Soulstone, a mystic stone that contained the power of the mortal soul and used it to power the binding spells. He was buried beneath Kurast and came under the guard of the Zakarum. Diablo and Baal fled to the west across the ocean into Aranoch. Baal fell in the deserts beyond Lut Gholein, although he shattered the Soulstone meant for him. A courageous mage named Tal Rasha offered to bind himself to the Soulstone shard and use his mortal energy to complete the binding. Thus, Baal, the Lord of Destruction, was too sealed, forgotten in an ancient tomb. It took several more years of pursuit to defeat Diablo, and finally he was subdued in Khanduras, where he was ensconced beneath a Horadrim monastery. Their task completed, the Horadrim faded into legend and, most unfortunately, eventually forgot their duty to watch the soulstones. The Orue Agea, however, never forgot to watch over the Dreamless Monolith and ensured that the evil Nightmares within it would remain sealed. If only the Horadrim had heeded to the cautions of their Orue Agean brothers and remained diligent.

Mephisto, first captured, was also the first to corrupt his soulstone and reestablish his power. After bringing the Zakarum council under his influence, he sent the Archbishop Lazarus to Khanduras to secretly release his younger brother. Diablo awakened beneath the monastery of Tristram, now a Zakarum church, and regained form as he terrorized the town. Brave souls ventured into the catacombs and slayed him, yet he in truth succeeded to possess the hero would seek to slay him. In his new body, he traveled to Lut Gholein and freed Baal, and then the two to Kurast to reunite with Mephisto. Together they open a portal to Hell, to which Diablo returned to take back command of the armies of Hell. Mephisto remained in Kurast to consolidate power of the Zakarum and prepare for the arrival of the armies. Baal journeyed to the northwest, preparing for an invasion on the Barbarian homeland. Once more, a group of heroes arose and defeated the three: Mephisto as he guarded the portal, Diablo in Hell itself, and Baal in the midst of his siege. The soulstones were destroyed, as was the treasure of the Barbarians: Mount Arreat. Whatever lay within that mountain (an object called the Worldstone according to Deckard Cain) was of great importance, and apparently had been corrupted –necessitating that Tyrael destroy it. Many feared the apocalypse following the destruction of Arreat, as if Hell itself would flood the world. Yet twenty years have passed, and life continues. Only now, after years of research, have I pieced together what I believe to be the truth behind the invasion of Melatras and the dark exile of the three Prime Evils. I will soon reveal my studies when I write again. My eyes are weary from the flickering candlelight, I must rest and collect my thoughts.

Though examining the writings of scholars ancient and recent, too many to record here, I believe I understand to underlying motives behind recent events. Perhaps the most useful of all was what I learned from speaking with the self-proclaimed last of the Horadrim –Deckard Cain. He claims to have conversed lengthily with the archangel Tyrael during the war against the three Prime Evils, thus I greatly value his knowledge. I am quite certain of the veracity of my findings, although I wish I were mistaken –as the underlying truth is far more terrible than its outward appearance. Let me begin with the great conflict between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells.

Long ago, before man came into being, these two forces forever fought an unending war for the destruction of each other. In those times, angels and demons waged direct war with each other. After our world was formed, the Archangels and the Prime Evils realized the potential presented by mortal man. The mortal realm contained its own energies that kept angels and demons from holding their form there; they would quickly dissipate if they stayed for long. This energy flowed through the mortals and if either side gained the support of these souls they would have a great advantage over the other side. Thus, the direct war between Heaven and Hell ended a war of subtle influence took its place –with each side trying to gain more followers. The Prime Evils were masters of manipulating the mortals, yet the lesser Evils became dissatisfied with the lack of direct conflict and viewed this as a sign of weakness in their masters. Little did they know that the Prime Evils were aware of their thoughts of revolt, and used it to their advantage.

Heaven can count no greater loss than that of Izual, a headstrong angel that led an ill-advised assault on the Burning Hells and came to be a prisoner. The Prime Evils twisted his mind and forced him to reveal all that he knew in regards to the secrets of Heaven. In this way the Prime Evils learned of the existence of soulstones. The source of the life-giving energy of the mortal realm rested within mount Arreat since the creation of it, and these soulstones originated from the object in that mountain. They each contained a small but powerful amount of the object’s energies…and presented an amazing opportunity for the Prime Evils. From Izual they learned that Heaven hoped to use these stones to trap the Prime Evils by restricting them the mortal realm. If their bodies were destroyed, their spirits could be trapped within the stones with the right spells. Though this seemed detrimental, the Prime Evils saw a possible advantage to being trapped in the stones: they would be tied to the mortal realm and could move about it without fear of their energy dissipating. Demons could be bound to a mortal to draw strength from his energy, but be slaves to his will, or exist on their own at the cost losing the majority of their power. To be bound to a soulstone would mean that, in essence, they could bring their demonic powers with them to our world by tapping into the mortal energy without having to obey a human master. The last key information came from their own kind; the creation of the Gilded Misers proved that a mortal had learned how to bind a demon to a particular object other than a mortal–something that had never been accomplished before. If the brothers could bind themselves to particularly a soulstone, then they could retain their power and amplify it with the energy of mortals. Thus Diablo, Mephisto and Baal set forth a master plan.

The Mage Clan Wars erupted in the mortal realm. Through careful manipulation the Prime Evils corrupted Horazon and Bartuc and manipulated them into beginning their war as a distraction. At the same time, Prime Evils stirred the discontent of the lesser Evils and ensured that they rose up against them in civil war. In the midst of these wars, Diablo learned of the binding spells of the Orue Agea from the Gilded Misers. He tasked his lieutenant, Run Azar, with a most important mission: he was to take his Nightmares to Melatras and steal the secret art of binding for Hell –using Bartuc’s ravaging invasion to create despair and grief and thus gain a foothold in the minds of the scholars. As we know, the mission failed and the Nightmares were sealed within the Dreamless Monolith. This, however, I now believe that this was Diablo’s plan: he betrayed one of his closest followers. I also believe the Prime Evils somehow surreptitiously informed Sri-Ajota of Fen-rah Vost’s possession and allowed the angels to know of the battle that ensued. They never planned to have the secrets for themselves –they wanted the angels to have the binding spells so that they would use the binding spells against the three. Only an angel could acquire the soulstones, thus the binding spells alone would be far less useful for Hell. Deception would be their greatest strength in the events to come. We were all manipulated into serving the interests of the Prime Evils.

The civil war of Hell supposedly resulted in the “success” of the lesser Evils in which they defeated and exiled the Prime Evils onto the mortal realm. Using the biding spells of the Orue Agea, the Horadrim did exactly what was wanted and imprisoned them in the soulstones. Though weakened, they had access to the well of mortal energy and a connection to this realm. Now tapping into the stones’ vast energies, they slowly corrupted the stones and influenced the mortals close to them. Through their exertions, they had expended vast amounts of their energy; thus they were unable to escape the soulstones alone. By placing the soulstones in the bodies of mortals, the three could possess people and take fleshly form. Manipulating their connection to mortal energy, they hoped to bring their armies onto our world and establish dominion by corrupting the very source of the soulstones and our mortal energy. Imagine, our world as an outpost of hell: a supply of vast power, a breeding ground for demons, a bastion of darkness in which angels could not enter. The wicked cunning of this plan was masterfully executed. However, by the grace of courageous mortals, they failed and –with the destruction of the soulstones –they lost all connection to the mortal realm and were banished powerlessly into darkness.

I imagine the civil wars of Hell still continue, as Diablo did not have enough time to reconsolidate his authority over all of the lesser Evils. The destruction of mount Arreat has unleashed great energy on our world. I remember those twenty years ago when every mortal that touched magic in some way felt the raw power flood our world and forever change it. Now I understand the reason why: this Worldstone –as it is said to be –that lay resting in Arreat both gave us our mortal energy and kept it in check. Now it flows free in its entirety, and even I cannot be certain what the end result of this will be. Yet my greatest fear is this: The brothers planned the failed assault on Melatras, their exile to the mortal realm, their capture by the Horadrim. I wonder, deeply fearful, of what it would mean if they had planned even their defeat here on our world. Above all reasons –historical truth, dispelling misconceptions, education –I have recorded what I have learned to prepare for the future. I believe that the machinations of the Prime Evils have not ended and only by understanding the past can mankind hope to be ready for what may come upon us soon. A shadow creeps across the world even now, who can say what lies ahead of us?

-Arlore Geid, High Librarian of Cedurnem