After a much too long break since the previous installation (and the one before that, in case you are new to this series) – covering both the good and the evil end of the Diablo universe – we have come to realize that while this covers a lot of things, there are still tons of things in-between those two extremes that has yet to be explained. That rings especially true in regards to the Black Soulstone and what will become of the remaining angels. However, what is missing might actually end up being able to make everything come together. After all, there can be no good without evil.
The In-Between: The Balance Beckons
We have already heard much about the whole Nephalem-side of things in the game. As such, it is time to move on from that as a main focus as there are is a major bit of “in-between” which has not yet been touched upon much in Diablo III: Necromancy.
While it is not known to many, the Diablo universe started out with the two giant dragons Anu and Tathamet, who were locked in an eternal struggle. Without going too much into detail, the struggle ended, they both died, and their corpses turned into the foundations for the High Heavens and Burning Hells, respectfully. While the eternal struggle continued, the extremes got slightly toned down – and later the whole in-between thing of humans (and thus, the Nephalem) was created. However, along the sidelines, the order of necromancers also started out in secret, given the task of upholding the balance.
The entity behind all this – the “world dragon” Trag’Oul – has been left out of the story so far. Completely. Necromancers are obviously still about, as we meet the apprentice of the one (presumably) from the previous game, and there’s the whole thing about the “Fall” of Jondar, very early in the game. Now, Jondar does not have to be a proper balance-neutral necromancer, but potentially a figure much like Nihlathak from Diablo II which was merely using the dark magic necromancers wield. Both humans and Nephalem can naturally be affected for good and evil, but the balance must persist.
Still, perhaps a new order is out there, potentially something to replace the Horadrim, or something. With everything that happened in “The Order”, and the death of Cain in the game, it seems that the Horadrim are truly extinct. I have not looked too much into the (more or less) new “The Order” book dealing with this, but so far I am willing to bet that this means that it was a dead-end, beyond the fake “Dark Horadrim” told of. In case there are more Horadrim out there, we would surely have been told. However, there are hints that something similar is happening. By following the side-story of Kormac – our Templar companion – we find scrolls that tells a few secrets of the order he was from, which was apparently what made Jondar “turn evil”. We never get a real chance to get verification of whether or not these texts are Horadric in nature or not, seeing as Cain was dead at the point of that reveal. Tyrael could maybe have confirmed it, but that line of thought was never really followed in the game, sadly. He does mentioned something very interesting:
These are plans for angelic weapons that will fit human hands. (…)
It implies that my brethren seek to destroy this world and that your order was created to stop them.
– Tyrael, “The Truth”-gossip
When asked by Kormac regarding if this is still happening, and Tyrael denies it, possibly in reference to The Sin War. But, as we know, Imperius is slowly starting to turn bad. The more interesting – and much more plausible – case, is that of Malthael. If he has been completely missing since the destruction of Worldstone, what has he been doing since then? Given the nature of the universe, he has hardly just been fiddling his thumbs or strode about looking for pretty flowers. It seems much more possible that he might have a connection to all this.
Before I put more focus towards Malthael, it is worth to add a further point to the whole “New Order”-theory of things. If the Templar order seems to exist, it would fit very well with a potential new class for one of the new expansion. We lack the “knight in shining armor”-archetype, which was seen in the warrior and paladin from the previous games: A class that fights for the balance between good and evil, holding his shield high, and potentially uses it as his weapon. If we base the idea upon the fact that this order already has casters in the form of necromancers, the melee-fighter would be an essential part in any form of army. Proper soldiers would be needed, not just casters.
If anywhere, this should also be the place to mention Zoltun Kulle. It would seem that he was indeed correct. His methods turned out to be slightly extreme, but I believe we have not heard the last of him. At least not of his theories and work with the Soulstones, which I will get back to, once again.
The Angel of Death … and Balance
I already mentioned Malthael earlier, but with the whole subject of necromancy in focus, his sinister dark looks is suddenly seen in a whole new light – so to speak.
Like Tyrael, Malthael could potentially have shred his wings as well, turning more to the “grim” side of the necromancers. His title “of Death” could prove to be a nice plot-twist, by him setting out to look for Trag’Oul, rather than partnering up with Imperius. I also mentioned Malthael along with the End of Days prophecy, but with him potentially going into allegiance with Trag’Oul, perhaps it could be Trag’Oul’s wings spreading, rather than Malthael’s.
The Book of Cain also has an interesting short bit of text, which Cain believed was the best way to understand Malthael.
In all things, there are two sides: motion and stillness,
emptiness and fullness, light and dark.
Alone each side is incomplete, but together they form the
totality of existence. Only through embracing the oneness
of all things can true wisdom be obtained.
I think it is fair to say that if the destruction of the Worldstone was indeed what finally drove Malthael to pursue true wisdom, he would surely find it in the form of necromancy. Especially given the fact that Trag’Oul – and the necromancers, to an extend – have attempted to remain hidden from the High Heavens, in order to be able to do their work undisturbed. Perhaps they chose that time to reveal themselves to him, to further strengthen the cause.
This further fits well together with the whole creation of heavenly weapons mentioned earlier, along with Tyrael’s conclusion of why they were made. Malthael could have realized – before anyone else – what was about to happen to Imperius, and begun the necessary precautions.
Bringing it all together
Finally time to make sense of everything. From the above, there are three main points that needs to be answered, on top of all the previous stuff. I deliberately chose to skip lightly over further details the Worldstone, as its role here is more or less the same as before, just with a minor twist.
- Is a New Order about to be formed, led my Malthael?
- Would it be possible to create a new Worldstone?
- Where in the World is Trag’Oul?
As described as the main point of this post, I throughout believe that a New Order is being founded, focusing on bringing the Balance back, containing Necromancers and a type of new Templars. Dragon Knights, if you will. Malthael would be in, and Trag’Oul would finally be making a full frontal appearance in Sanctuary.
Now, for all this to work out, they would need an essential plot to make everything work out. As I mentioned in the previous post, the Black Soulstone can contain both angel and demon. Seeing that it now contains all the prime evils, the goal of retaining the Balance would mean that the Archangels would – in an optimal scenario – either willingly be absorbed by the stone, be forced to do so, or side with the Nephalem and the New Order to retain the balance as neutral guardians. For now, only two could potential be those: Tyrael and Malthael for the Nephalem and New Order, respectfully.
Once the Black Soulstone was complete in that manner, and no true extremes of good and evil remained, the forces would forever be retained within the stone, essentially turning it into a new and improved Worldstone. A select group of individuals would be tasked with guarding it, succeeding the old cause the Horadrim had ages past. The goal of it all would be to never let it be destroyed, as that would mean that both extremes would be back, just as they had when their Soulstones were destroyed.
To brush up on a simplified version of how the story will unfold, I still believe that we will first have to obtain the Black Soulstone from Adria, eliminating her in the process – potentially in much weaker Prime Evil state. This would be a task given to us by the returned Malthael, who has then revealed what he has been up to all along. Imperius proves to be heavily against this, and because of that Auriel and Itherael are slain – or gives themselves up willingly – and later absorbed in the Black Soulstone. They could end up fighting alongside us to assist in defeating Imperius, but I do not really have a qualified guess regarding those specifics yet. Maybe, they could even be slain by the hands of Malthael, but I highly doubt that would help his diplomatic cause in getting our assistance. It would, on the other hand, certainly help explain Imperius’ final nudge towards complete wrath. Basically, anything can happen. Either way, with the defeat of Imperius, the Black Soulstone would be in complete balance, and the new Worldstone would be constructed.
So, when all comes to all, I believe that the Diablo franchise will end up with balance, after having gone from the two extremes of good and evil to more and more neutral matters. Good will not be the victor, as the classics would have it, nor will it be an utterly tragic tale filled with death and suffering. Sacrifices will be made, the High Heavens and Burning Hells will cease to be – and balance will be restored. Good will still exist – and so will evil.
Either way, there is plenty of content left to shape one or two magnificent expansions, dealing with things other than simply defeating the usual evil demon.