Lore Tuesday – Diablo’s Backstory and What Happened to The Archbishop?

by on May 8, 2012


Archbishop Benedictus of Stormwind is evil now, apparently – but why? Plus, All Of T3h Lore from Diablo’s backstory, just in time for release.

It’s a good day for lore today, with several bloggers taking on the challenge of explaining Blizzard’s ever-more-sprawling plots and backstories for those of us who are, frankly, just mired in confusion at this point.

First up, Blog of the Treant has started a series off discussing the lore of Diablo, in time for D3′s release in a few days. Normally we wait for a series to be complete before featuring it, but the first part of this one alone is such a massive undertaking that it’s worth getting started right now -

“Demons are by nature rather quarrelsome beings. So it should come as no surprise that eventually civil war broke out within the Burning Hells. The four Lesser Evils rebelled against the three Prime Evils and won, casting the Prime Evils out of Hell and exiling them to Sanctuary. This would have bode ill for humanity, but the Archangel Tyrael was keeping an eye on things and quickly went into action. Tyrael founded the Horadrim, a group of humans dedicated to capturing and imprisoning the Prime Evils. (One of these Horadrim was a man named Jared Cain, most notable because one of his descendants would be Deckard Cain, the NPC that assists players in all three Diablo games.)

The Horadrim decided to imprison the Prime Evils within fragments of the Worldstone called soulstones. By binding the demons within the stones they could be confined and imprisoned indefinitely. This plan was successful and all three Prime Evils were confined within the stones and then hidden away with various guardians and protective measures taken to ensure the Evils would not escape.

Mephisto and Baal were captured at the same time, though Baal’s destructive force managed to damage his soulstone to the point where it could not sufficiently confine him. A Horadric sage named Tal Rasha volunteered to take Baal’s soulstone within himself and use his own body and spirit to confine the demon. Tal Rasha plunged Baal’s soulstone into his own chest, was sealed up inside the tomb meant for Baal, and then was left alone to struggle with the demon for all eternity.

I don’t know why anyone thought that was a good idea.”

Like I said, this post’s looooong – and the story it’s describing feels like it should have chapter and verse numbers next to it, or at least big illustrated chapter headings like a 12th century scripture. But it’s all interesting stuff, and Khizzara has done a hell of a job assembling all of it for us.

Meanwhile, I can’t imagine I’m the only one who greeted the big reveal of Archbishop Benedictus’s sudden – yet inevitable – betrayal in Hour Of Twilight with a “wait, what?”. Once again, Blizzard have succeeded in not so much burying the lede on this potentially fascinating story as shovelling the entire damn newspaper into a landfill.

But fear not – Tzufit of Tree Heals Go Whoosh is on the Case of the Missing Backstory, and it turns out she can indeed handle the truth -

“The figure of the Twilight Father (sometimes called the Twilight Prophet) emerges during the Twilight of the Aspects novel. After we disposed of Cho’gall, the Twilight Father rose to become the next leader of the Twilight Hammer cult. This new leader hatches a pretty crazy plan to abduct a blue dragon, Kirygosa, the pregnant mate of another blue dragon who was a likely candidate to become the new Aspect of Magic. What follows is something of a comedy of errors with the Twilight Father failing again and again at the tasks Deathwing sets before him.

Benedictus’ primary success as the Twilight Father is that he manages to secure the center of Dragonblight for the Twilight Hammer’s forces, taking over Wyrmrest Temple in the process. After this, things start to go wrong. Kirygosa’s mate sacrifices himself to save a large number of unhatched dragon eggs that the Twilight Father had planned to twist into chromatic dragons. Though he does eventually succeed in awakening a giant chromatic dragon who he intends to “mate” with Kirygosa, she escapes before he can go through with this plan. In his final failure, the Twilight Father fails to prevent a ritual performed by Thrall and the dragon aspects that grants them substantial new powers (perhaps the powers they end up using to defeat Deathwing in the Dragon Soul raid).

All along, Deathwing is furious with the Twilight Father for his constant shortcomings, though he continues to give Benedictus additional chances to prove himself. Finally, after the disaster with Thrall, Deathwing basically tells Benedictus that he needs to “lie low” in Stormwind for a while until the time is right for them to strike again. Most importantly, though, this direct communication between Benedictus and Deathwing finally establishes some idea of the chain of command from the Aspect of Death to the Twilight’s Hammer cult. I’ve mentioned before that this, to me, is one of the most confusing elements of Cataclysm’s story – how exactly are the cultists, Deathwing, and the Old Gods related? We knew that the cult worshipped the Old Gods and that Deathwing was influenced by them, but seeing that Deathwing is giving orders directly to the Twilight Father – the head of the cult – at last gives us an explicit sense that the cult is not randomly spreading chaos across Azeroth, but is a part of the greater plan. Unfortunately, none of this is revealed in-game.”

It turns out that Benedictus’s story is actually rather good and interesting, and if Blizzard had chosen to reveal it in game would have been a really fun experience! However, barring that, Tzufit has done a really good job summarising and collating the story here. Read it if you want to find out what was really happening during all that rather confusing and sudden role-reversal!

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If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: Diablo 3,World of Warcraft

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Redbeard May 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Benedictus’ flip-flop is yet another example of Blizz putting stuff into novels that ought to have been put in-game.

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