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Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
When Tyrael realized that he was outnumbered in Lut Gholein, he ordered Marius to take the Soulstone of Baal to the Hellforge and destroy it. However, the unfortunate mortal had already endured unspeakable torment. He did not follow Tyrael's command but instead fled to Westmarch. There, the mortal completely lost his sanity. He was confined in an asylum, tormented by fear and nightmares, and etched his horrific experiences and nightmares onto the asylum floor.
Baal believed that to win the Eternal War, he must control the Worldstone, and to do so, his own Soulstone was essential (since Soulstones were made from the Worldstone). The Book of Cain speculated, "During Baal's imprisonment, the Soulstone was imbued with destructive power. With the fragments of this destructive Soulstone, Baal knew he could utterly destroy the Worldstone."
Thus, while the heroes battled the other two archdemons, Baal confronted Marius (as seen in the opening cinematic of Diablo II). Poor Marius, having lost his mind, thought the hooded figure was Tyrael come to question why he had disobeyed orders.
A great fire swept through the asylum where Marius resided. His body was found charred beyond recognition, with only mad scribbles on the ground. Such cruelty could only be attributed to Baal, the Lord of Destruction.
With the Soulstone in hand, Baal marched north towards Mount Arreat, where the Worldstone was now kept, guarded by barbarians. Along the way, Baal slaughtered nearly all the villagers and turned the dead into his demonic warriors. By the time he reached Mount Arreat, his army numbered in the thousands, and the Soulstone had grown even more malevolent due to Baal's actions.
At the foot of Mount Arreat, the barbarians engaged in a fierce battle with Baal's forces. Despite their bravery and determination, they could not halt the advance of the Lord of Destruction. Eventually, the barbarians retreated to their last bastion, the Barbarian Outlands fortress of Harrogath, which lay in Baal's path to the peak housing the Worldstone. The fortress was surrounded by Baal's army, and the elders within, seeing his forces, despaired. They resorted to sacrificing themselves to cast powerful spells to temporarily secure the fortress.
As Baal and the barbarians were at a stalemate, our heroes finally arrived. On their journey to catch up with Baal, two more joined the hero's ranks: a Vestian assassin tasked with killing the renegade wizard Vessona, and a Druid from the dream city of Scosglen.
The heroes fought valiantly to break through Baal's siege to support the barbarians, but a betrayal by a barbarian elder named Nihlathak changed the course of events. Convinced of the barbarians' inevitable defeat and wishing to prevent genocide at Baal's hands, he handed over an ancient tribal relic to Baal.
With the relic in his possession, no one could stop Baal. He quickly ascended the mountain and bypassed the Nephalem Sanctuary at the summit to destroy the temple housing the Worldstone. The heroes followed Baal's trail to the temple, where they confronted him. After a grueling battle, the heroes naturally triumphed over Baal, but to their shock, they discovered that Baal's Soulstone had merged with the Worldstone, achieving his goal.
Tyrael, devastated by the tainted Worldstone, knew he had to act or Baal's evil would fester within humanity through the Worldstone. He raised the Sword of Justice (the rune sword too precious to discard, likely a memento from the fallen Andariel) and threw it into the Worldstone.
The Worldstone exploded, obliterating the artifact that had created the realm of Sanctuary, along with Baal and Tyrael's physical forms. Fortunately, Tyrael had sent Cain and the heroes back to their homeland just before the explosion, sparing them from harm.
Fragmented rumors claimed that the sword of angelic justice survived the blast and was seen flying over Sanctuary. Legends say a young man named Jacob wielded the sword thereafter, using it to lift the curse around Travincal. Thus, the tide of the Eternal War was turned by the heroes, with five of the seven Lords of Hell defeated. Yet victory did not bring joy to Cain, who witnessed countless demons roaming the earth, attempting to influence humans, yet saw no movement from their true enemy—the High Heavens. What role did these "righteous" angels play in the war?
With that, the narrative from Diablo I to II concludes. Diablo III was not produced by Blizzard North, and apparently, the original creators of Diablo were quite dissatisfied with its plot. Indeed, there are significant gaps between Diablo II and III. Personally, I think the highlight of Diablo III's story is in the expansion Reaper of Souls, where the wise angel truly becomes the Angel of Death.
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