LIBERARIUS EX HORADRIM
OF HEAVEN AND HELL
THE GREAT CONFLICT
Since the Beginning, the forces of Light and Darkness have engaged
in an eternal war: The Great Conflict, whose victor will rise from
the apocalyptic ashes to hold sway over all creation. To this end,
the Angels of the High Heavens adhere to strict militaristic disciplines.
Seraphim warriors strike at the enemies of Light with swords imbued
with righteous wrath and justice. The Angels believe that only absolute
discipline can properly restore order to the myriad realms, while the
demonic denizens of the Burning Hells hold that absolute chaos is the true
nature of all things.
The battles of the Great Conflict rage across both time and space, often
infringing upon the very fabric of reality itself. From the Crystal Arch at the very
heart of the High Heavens to the arcane Hellforge of the Underworld, the
warriors of these eternal realms journey to wherever their timeless conflict
carries them. The legendary deeds of the heroes of the realms beyond elicit
both veneration and insight.
The greatest of these heroes was Izual, lieutenant to the Arch-Angel
Tyrael and bearer of the Angelic Runeblade Azurewrath. He once led a fierce
attack upon the Hellforge as the creation of the dark demonblade Shadowfang
was nearing completion. His quest was to destroy both wielder and weapon - a
charge that he was destined never to complete. Izual was overcome by the
legions of chaos and, tragically, was lost to the Darkness. His fate stands as
testament to the fact that Angels and Demons alike shall fearlessly enter into
any domain - so long as their hated enemies dwell within.
Although the Great Conflict burned hotter and longer than any of the
stars in the sky, neither side could gain dominion over the other for long.
Both factions sought some way to turn the tides of the war to their favor. With the
ascension of Man and his mortal realm, the Great Conflict ground to a
mysterious halt. Both armies paused in a breathless stalemate, waiting to see to
whose side Man would eventually turn.
Mortals had the unique ability to choose between Darkness and Light,
and it was held that this would be the deciding factor in the outcome of the
Great Conflict. Thus, the agents of the nether-realms descended to the mortal
realm to vie for the favor of Man…
THE SIN WAR
The coming of the Great Conflict to the mortal realm is known as the Sin
War. Angels and Demons, disguising themselves while traveling amongst men,
attempted to secretly lure mortals to their respective causes. Over time, the
forces of Darkness discovered that mortals responded much more to brute
force than to subtle coercion, and so began to terrorize Man into submission.
The Angels fought to defend humanity against this demonic oppression, but all
too often their austere methods and severe punishments succeeded only in
alienating those whom they sought to protect.
The violent battles of the Sin War occurred often, but they were seldom
witnessed by the prying eyes of Man. Only a few “enlightened” souls were aware
of the supernatural beings that walked amongst the huddled masses of humanity.
Powerful mortals arose and accepted the challenge of the Sin War, allying
themselves with both sides in the Great Conflict. The legendary deeds of these
great mortal warriors served to earn both the respect and hatred of the netherworlds.
Although lesser demons kneeled before those possessing power and
strength, they also cursed the very existence of mortal man. Many of these
fiends believed that the deadlock brought about by the emergence of Man was
a perverse offense to their “higher” role in the great scheme of things.
This jealousy of Man led to harsh, atrocious acts of violence by the demons
against the mortal realm. Some men learned of this deep hatred and used it
against the denizens of the Underworld. One such mortal, Horazon the
Summoner, delighted in summoning demons and then breaking them to his
will. Horazon, along with his brother Bartuc ,were members of the Eastern mageclan
known as the Vizjerei. This mystic clan studied the ways of demons and
had catalogued their lore for generations. Empowered by this knowledge,
Horazon was able to take the work of the Vizjerei and pervert it for his demented
purposes. The denizens of Hell sought revenge against this bold mortal, but
Horazon managed to keep himself well protected within his arcane sanctuary.
Bartuc, the brother of Horazon, was eventually lured to the side of
Darkness. He was granted exceptional strength and longevity, and fought
alongside the legions of Hell against the cursed Vizjerei, and eventually his own
brother during the Sin War. Although Bartuc was renowned amongst the warriors
of many realms, his dominance in battle came with a terrible price. An insatiable
lust for mortal blood pervaded his every thought and deed. Bartuc soon became
as fond of bathing in the blood of his enemies as he did of shedding it, and in
time he came to be known only as the Warlord of Blood.
THE DARK EXILE
“Seven is the number of the powers of Hell, and Seven is the number of
the Great Evils.”
Duriel, the Lord of Pain
Andariel, the Maiden of Anguish
Belial, the Lord of Lies
Azmodan, the Lord of Sin
These are the true names of the lesser of the Great Evils. For ages
uncounted each have ruled over their own domains within the Burning Hells,
seeking absolute dominion over their infernal brethren. As the Lesser Four
continuously vied for the control of those forces that dwelled within their realms,
the Greater Three held absolute power over the whole of Hell. The Lesser Four
used dark and evil measures in their quest for power, and herein begins the
legend of the Dark Exile.
Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred
Baal, the Lord of Destruction
Diablo, the Lord of Terror
These are the Prime Evils of Hell that wielded their power as a dark,
sovereign triumvirate. The Three Brothers ruled over the Lesser Four by brutal
force and malicious cunning. Being the eldest and strongest of the Evils, the
Three Brothers were responsible for countless victories against the armies of
the Light. Although they never held sway over the High Heavens for long, the Three were justly feared by enemies and subjects alike.
With the ascension of Man and the subsequent standstill of the Great
Conflict, the Three Brothers began to devote their energies to the perversion
of mortal souls. The Three realized that Man was the key to victory in the war
against Heaven, and thus altered their rigid agendum that they had propagated
since the Beginning. This change caused many of the Lesser Evils to question
the authority of the Three, and so brought about a great rift between the Prime
Evils and their servitors.
In their ignorance, the Lesser Evils began to believe that the Three were
afraid to continue the war with Heaven. Frustrated by the cessation of the war,
Azmodan and Belial saw the situation as their chance to overthrow the Prime
Evils and take control of Hell for themselves. The two demon lords made a pact
with their minor brethren, assuring them that the wretched plague of humanity
would not deter the ultimate victory of the sons of Hell. Azmodan and Belial
devised a plan to end the stalemate, achieve victory in the Sin War and ultimately
ride the bloody crest of the Great Conflict straight into the very arms of
Armageddon. Thus, a great revolution was set into motion as all of Hell went to
war against the Three Brothers…
The Brothers fought with all of the savagery of the Underworld, and to their
credit, annihilated a third of Hell’s treacherous legions. In the end, however, they
were overcome by the Horned Death led by the traitors Azmodan and Belial. The
Prime Evils, weakened and bodiless, were banished to the mortal realm where
Azmodan hoped that they would remain trapped forever. Azmodan believed that
with the Three set loose upon humanity, the Angels would be forced to turn their
focus upon on the mortal plane - thus leaving the Gates of Heaven abandoned and
defenseless. Those few demons who still pledged allegiance to the Three Brothers
fled the wrath of Azmodan and Belial, escaping to the realm of Man to seek out
their lost Masters.
As the warfires died out upon the battlefields of Hell, Azmodan and Belial
began to argue over which of them held the higher authority. The pact that they
had made quickly fell to ashes as the two demon lords took up arms against
each other. The legions of Hell that remained were polarized behind either warlord,
launching themselves into a bloody civil war that has lasted to this day…
THE BINDING OF THE THREE
In the ancient days, before the rise of the Western Empires, the dark and
terrible entities known as the Three Evils were exiled to the world of Man. These
eternal entities wandered throughout the waking world and fed upon the lusts of
men, leaving chaos and attrition in their wake. The Evils turned father against
son and prompted many great nations into brutal and petty wars. Their Exile
from Hell left them with an insatiable hunger to bring suffering and pain to
all who would not kneel before them, and so the Three Brothers ravaged the
lands of the Far East for countless centuries.
Eventually, a secretive order of mortal magi was gathered together by the
enigmatic Arch-Angel Tyrael. These sorcerers were to hunt the Three Evils and
put an end to their vicious rampage. The order, known as the Horadrim, consisted
of wizards from the diverse and numerous mage-clans of the East. Employing
disparate magical practices and disciplines, this unlikely Brotherhood succeeded
in capturing two of the Brothers within powerful artifacts called Soulstones.
Mephisto and Baal, trapped within the swirling, spiritual constraints of the
Soulstones, were then buried beneath the dunes of the desolate Eastern Sands.
The powers of Hatred and wanton Destruction seemed to diminish in the
East as a nervous peace began to settle over the land. Yet, for many decades the
Horadrim continued their grim search for the third Brother, Diablo. They knew
that if the Lord of Terror was left untamed there could never be any lasting
peace within the realm of humanity.
The Horadrim followed in the wake of terror and anarchy that spread
throughout the Western lands. After a great battle which claimed the lives of
many brave souls, the Lord of Terror was captured and imprisoned within the
last of the Soulstones by a group of Horadrim monks led by the Initiate Jered
Cain. These monks carried the cursed stone to the land of Khanduras and buried
it within a secluded cave near the river Talsande. Above this cave the Horadrim
constructed a great Monastery from which they could continue to safeguard the
Soulstone. As ages passed, the Horadrim constructed a network of catacombs
beneath the Monastery to house the earthly remains of the martyrs of their Order.
Generations passed in Khanduras, and the numbers of the Horadrim slowly
dwindled. With no quests left to undertake, and too few sons to sustain their
guardianship, the once powerful Order faded into obscurity. Eventually, the great
Monastery that they had built fell to ruins as well. Although villages grew and
thrived around the shell of the old Monastery, no one knew of the dark, secret
passageways that stretched into the cold earth beneath it. None could have
dreamed of the burning red gem that pulsed within the labyrinth’s heart…
THE RETURN OF TERROR
THE LANDS OF KHANDURAS
Years after the last of the Horadrim had died, a great and prosperous
society grew in the lands of the West. As time wore on, many
Eastern pilgrims settled in the lands surrounding Khanduras and
soon established small, self contained kingdoms. A few of these
kingdoms bickered with Khanduras over holdings of property or
routes of trade. These squabbles did little to upset the lasting peace
of the West, and the great Northern kingdom of Westmarch proved
to be a strong ally of Khanduras as the two lands steadily engaged in
ventures of barter and commerce.
During this time, a bold, new religion of the Light known as Zakarum
began to spread throughout the kingdom of Westmarch and into many of its
northern principalities. Zakarum, founded in the Far East, implored followers
to enter into the Light and forsake the darkness that lurked within their
souls. The people of Westmarch adopted the statutes of Zakarum as their
sacred mission in the world. Westmarch began to turn towards its neighbors,
expecting them to embrace this “New Beginning” as well. Tensions rose
between the kingdoms of Westmarch and Khanduras as the priests of Zakarum
began to preach their foreign dogma whether they were welcomed or not.
It was then that the great northern lord Leoric came unto the lands of
Khanduras and, in the name of Zakarum, declared himself King. Leoric was
a deeply religious man and had brought many Knights and Priests with him
that comprised his Order of the Light. Leoric and his trusted advisor, the
Arch Bishop Lazarus, made their way to the city of Tristram.
Leoric appropriated the ancient, decrepit Monastery on the outskirts of the town for
his seat of power and renovated it to match its time-lost glory. Although the
free people of Khanduras were not pleased with being placed under the
sudden rule of a foreign King, Leoric served them with justice and might.
Eventually, the people of Khanduras grew to respect the kind Leoric, sensing
that he sought only to guide and protect them against the oppression of Darkness.
Not long after Leoric took possession of Khanduras, a power long
asleep awakened within the dark recesses beneath the Monastery. Sensing
that freedom was within his grasp, Diablo entered the nightmares of the
Arch Bishop and lured him into the dark, subterranean labyrinth. In his
terror, Lazarus raced throughout the abandoned hallways until he at last
came to the chamber of the burning Soulstone. No longer in command of
his body or spirit, he raised the stone above his head and uttered words
long forgotten in the realm of mortals. His will destroyed, Lazarus shattered
the Soulstone upon the ground. Diablo once again came into the world
of Man. Although he was released from his imprisonment within the
Soulstone, the Lord of Terror was still greatly weakened from his long
sleep and required an anchor to the world. Once he had found a mortal
form to wear, he could begin to reclaim his vastly depleted power. The
great demon weighed the souls residing in the town above, and chose to
take the strongest of them - that of King Leoric.
For many months King Leoric secretly fought the evil presence
that twisted his thoughts and emotions. Sensing that he had been
possessed by some unknown evil, Leoric hid his dark secret from his
Priests, hoping that somehow his own devout righteousness would be
enough to exorcise the corruption growing inside him - he was sorely
mistaken. Diablo stripped away the core of Leoric’s being, burning away
all honor and virtue from his soul. Lazarus too, had fallen under the sway
of the Demon, keeping close to Leoric at all times. Lazarus worked to
conceal the plans of his new Master from the Order of Light, hoping that
the demon’s power would grow, well concealed amongst the servants of
Zakarum. The priests of Zakarum and the citizenry of Khanduras recognized
the disturbing change within their liege. His once proud and rugged form
became distorted and deformed. King Leoric became increasingly
deranged and ordered immediate executions of any who dared to question
his methods or authority. Leoric began to send his Knights to other villages
to bully their townspeople into submission. The people of Khanduras
who had once grown to see great honor in their ruler began to call Leoric
the Black King.
Driven to the brink of madness by the Lord of Terror, King Leoric
slowly alienated his closest friends and advisors. Lachdanan, Captain of
the Knights of the Order of Light and honored Champion of Zakarum,
tried to discern the nature of his King’s deteriorating spirit. Yet at every
turn the Arch-Bishop Lazarus would waylay Lachdanan and admonish
him for questioning the actions of the King. As tensions grew between
the two, Lazarus charged Lachdanan with treason against the Kingdom.
To the Priests and Knights of Leoric’s court, the prospect of Lachdanan
committing treason was ridiculous. Lachdanan’s motives were
honorable and just, and soon many began question the reason of their
once beloved King.
Leoric’s madness was growing more obvious with each passing
day. Sensing that the advisors of the court were becoming increasingly
suspicious of foul treachery, Lazarus desperately sought to contain the
eroding situation. The Arch-Bishop masterfully convinced the delusional
Leoric that the kingdom of Westmarch was plotting against him, secretly
planning to dethrone him and annex Khanduras into its own lands. Leoric
flew into a rage and summoned his advisors to his side. Manipulated by
the Arch-Bishop, the paranoid King declared a state of war between the
kingdoms of Khanduras and Westmarch.
Leoric ignored the warnings and admonishments of his advisors and
the royal army of Khanduras was ordered to the North to engage in a war
that they did not believe in. Lachdanan was appointed by Lazarus to lead
the armies of Khanduras into Westmarch. Although Lachdanan argued the
against the necessity of the coming conflict, he was honor-bound to uphold
the will of his King. Many of the high-priests and officials were forced to
travel to the North as emissaries on errands of diplomatic urgency, as well.
The desperate ploy of Lazarus had succeeded in sending many of the King’s
more ‘troublesome’ advisors to their certain deaths…
THE DARKENING OF TRISTRAM
The absence of prying advisors and inquisitive Priests left Diablo free
to assume total control over the King’s battered soul. As the Lord of Terror
attempted to strengthen his hold upon the maddened King, he found that
the lingering spirit of Leoric fought with him still. Although the control over
Leoric that Diablo held was formidable, the Demon knew that in his weakened
state he could never take complete possession of his soul as long as a glimmer
of his will remained. The demonlord sought a fresh and innocent host upon
which to build his Terror.
The demon relinquished his control over Leoric, but the King’s soul
was left corrupted and his mind crazed. Diablo began to search throughout
Khanduras for the perfect vessel to act as his focus, and found such a soul
easily within his reach. Enjoined by his dark master, Lazarus kidnapped
Albrecht - the only son of Leoric - and dragged the terrified youth down into
the blackness of the labyrinth. Flooding the boy’s defenseless mind with the
essence of pure Terror, Diablo easily took possession of the young Albrecht.
Pain and fire raced through the child’s soul. Hideous laughter filled
his head and clouded his thoughts. Paralyzed with fear, Albrecht felt the
presence of Diablo within his mind as it seemed to push him down, deeper
and deeper into darkness and oblivion.
Diablo gazed upon his surroundings through the eyes of the young prince.
A lustful hunger still tortured the demon after his frustrating bout for control over Leoric,
but the nightmares of the boy provided ample substance to sate him. Reaching
deep into Albrecht’s subconscious, Diablo ripped the greatest fears of
the child from their hiding places and gave them breath.
Albrecht watched, as if out of a dream, twisted and disfigured
forms appeared all around him. Unholy, writhing visages of terror danced
about him chanting choruses of obscenities. All of the ‘monsters’ that
he had ever imagined or believed that he had seen in his life became
flesh and were given life before him. Large bodies comprised of living
rock erupted from the walls and bowed to their dark master. The ancient,
skeletal corpses of the Horadrim arose from archaic crypts and lumbered
off into the red washed corridors beyond. As the cacophony of madness
and nightmares hammered its final blow against Albrecht’s shattered
spirit, the bloodlusted ghouls and demons of his mind scattered and
scrambled maniacally into the lengthening passageways of his waking
The ancient catacombs of the Horadrim had become a twisted
labyrinth of raw, focused Terror. Empowered by Diablo’s possession of
young Albrecht, the creatures of the boy’s own imagination had gained
corporeal form. So strong was the terror that grew inside of Albrecht,
that the borders of the Mortal realm began to warp and tear. The Burning
Hell began to seep into the world of Man and take root within the labyrinth.
Beings and occurrences displaced by time and space, and long lost to
the history of Man were pulled screaming into the ever-expanding domain.
The body of Albrecht, fully possessed by Diablo, began to distort
and change. The small boy grew and his eyes blazed as tendril-like spines
ripped through his flesh. Great, arched horns erupted from Albrecht’s
skull as Diablo altered the form of the child to match that of his demonic
body. Deep within the recesses of the labyrinth, a growing power was
being harnessed. When the moment was right, Diablo would venture
once more into the mortal world and free his captive Brothers Mephisto
and Baal. The Prime Evils would be reunited, and together they would
reclaim their rightful place in Hell.
THE FALL OF THE BLACK KING
The war against the zealous armies of Westmarch ended with a
horrible slaughter. With the army of Khanduras ripped to shreds by the
superior numbers and defensive positions of Westmarch, Lachdanan
quickly gathered together those who were not captured or killed and
ordered a retreat back to the safety of Khanduras. They returned to find
the town of Tristram in shambles.
King Leoric, deep within the throes of madness, went into a
rage when he learned that his son was missing. After scouring the
village with the few guards that remained with him at the monastery,
Leoric had decided that the townsfolk had abducted his son and hidden
him somewhere. Although the townsfolk denied any knowledge of Prince
Albrecht’s whereabouts, Leoric insisted that they had crafted a conspiracy
against him, and that they would pay the price for such treachery.
The mysterious disappearance of the Arch-Bishop Lazarus left no
one in Tristram with whom the King would take council. Overcome by
grief and dementia, Leoric had many of the townsfolk executed for the
crime of high treason.
As Lachdanan and his fellow survivors returned to confront their King,
Leoric sent his few remaining guards against them. Believing that Lachdanan
was somehow part of the townsfolk’s conspiracy, Leoric decreed that he
and his party were to die. Lachdanan, finally realizing that Leoric was
beyond salvation, ordered his men to defend themselves. The ensuing battle
carried them down into the very halls of the darkened Monastery, bringing a
final desecration to the once holy sanctum of the Horadrim. Lachdanan won
a bittersweet victory as his men were forced to kill all of Leoric’s deceived
protectors. They cornered the ravenous King within his own sanctuary and
begged him to explain the atrocities he had committed. Leoric only spat at
them and cursed them for traitors against both his crown and the Light.
Lachdanan walked slowly towards his King and sorrowfully drew his
sword. Full of grief and rage, all honor having been cast to the winds,
Lachdanan ran his blade through Leoric’s shriveled, blackened heart. The
once noble King screamed an unearthly death-cry, and as his madness finally
overtook him, he brought down a curse upon those who had so betrayed
him. Calling upon the forces of Darkness that he had spent his entire life
combating, Leoric condemned Lachdanan and the others to eternal
damnation. In that last, fleeting moment within the heart of the Monastery,
all that was ever virtuous or honorable about the stewards of Khanduras was
THE REIGN OF DIABLO
The Black King lay dead, slain at the hands of his own Priests and
Knights. The young Prince Albrecht was still missing, and the proud defenders
of Khanduras were no more. The people of Tristram looked about their
lifeless town and were greatly dismayed. Awash in feelings of both relief and
remorse, they soon realized that their troubles had merely begun. Strange,
eerie lights appeared in the darkened windows of the Monastery. Misshapen,
leathery-skinned creatures were seen venturing forth from the shadows of
the church. Horrible, wounded cries seemed to linger on the wind, emanating
from deep underground. It became apparent that something quite
unnatural had infested the once holy sight…
Travelers on the roads surrounding Tristram were accosted by
cloaked riders that seemed to now constantly roam the deserted
countryside. Many villagers fled Tristram, making their way to other towns
or kingdoms, fearing some unnamed evil that seemed to wait in the
shadows all around them. Those few who chose to remain seldom ventured
out at night, and never tread foot upon the grounds of the cursed
Monastery. Whispered rumors of poor, innocent people being abducted
in the night by wicked, nightmarish creatures filled the halls of the local
inn. With no King, no law, and no army left to defend them, many of the
townsfolk began to fear an attack from the things that now dwelt beneath
The Arch-Bishop Lazarus, frayed and disheveled, returned from
his absence and assured the townsfolk that he too had been ravaged by
the growing evil of the Monastery. With their desperate need for reassurance
clouding their good judgment, Lazarus whipped the townspeople into a
frenzied mob. Reminding them that Prince Albrecht was still unaccounted
for, he persuaded many of the men to follow him into the depths of the
Monastery to search for the boy. They gathered torches and soon the
night air glowed with the flickering light of hope. They armed themselves
with shovels, picks and scythes and so prepared, they boldly followed the
treacherous Arch-Bishop straight into the fiery maw of Hell itself…
The few who survived the horrible fate that awaited them returned
to Tristram and recounted what they could of the ordeal. Their wounds
were terrible, and even the skills of the healer could not save some of
them. As the stories of demons and devils spread, a stifling, primal Terror
began to consume the hearts of all of the town’s inhabitants. It was a
Terror that none of them had ever known…
Deep beneath the foundations of the ruined Monastery, Diablo
gorged himself upon the fears of the mortals above him. He slowly sank
back into the welcoming shadows and began to harness his depleted
He smiled to himself in the sheltering darkness, for he knew that the time of his final victory was fast approaching…
THE NATURE OF THE
It was long ago that the enigmatic Arch-Angel Tyrael bestowed upon us the secrets of the mysterious Soulstones. Tyrael bequested upon our Order three of these Stones so we could contain the vile essences of the Three Prime Evils who had been let loose upon our world. Although the artifacts were constructed in realms far removed from our own, we found that they were simple to understand.
The Soulstones effect only beings that are non-corporealand thus have no power over living, breathing creatures. When invoked, the Soulstones bring into being a strong “spiritual” vacuum. Any non-physical entities caught within this vacuum are drawn into the burning recesses of the Soulstone and are forever trapped within. These spirits are released only when the Soulstone is deactivated or destroyed.
The power of the Soulstones proved to be much more difficult to employ when used against the great Prime Evils. Voraciously disposed to possessing hapless mortals, the Three Brothers found that they were immune to the effects of the Stones while occupying human souls. Sadly, we were forced to hunt down and kill the innocent victims of the Prime Evils so that their demonic essences could be subject to the effects of the Soulstones.
Mephisto and Diablo, once found, were easily lured into the Soulstones. The capture of their brother Baal, however, became complicated when the Soulstone that was to be his eternal prison was shattered and fragmented. We found that while the shards still held the power to lure the demon to them, they could not properly contain it. Tal Rasha, a fellow Initiate who has been since immortalized in Horadrim lore, theorized that a mortal of strong will might be able to contain Baal within his own mortal soul. This sacrifice meant that the essence of any mortal so chosen would be forever tortured while locked in eternal conflict with the enthralled demon. To this end, Tal Rasha volunteered to contain the raging Lord of Destruction.
Piercing his breast with a shard of the Soulstone, Tal Rasha took within himself the essence of Baal, the Lord of Destruction. The Initiate’s body was shackled, chained and buried deep within a tomb under the desert. The sacrifice of Tal Rasha has kept Baal imprisoned for many years now, and although the demon was imprisoned without the use a whole Soulstone, we believe that our victory may be a hollow one. Should Tal Rasha ever escape, he would have the formidable powers of Baal added to his own. By ridding the world of this present Evil, we may have created a nightmare worse than that which we first sought to contain…