In the first part of the series we dug down into the lore examining the most likely candidate of who Keyzer Soze the Reaper would be, Malthael. A single boss wouldn’t be enough for an entire expansion though, there needs to mini-bosses to add sustenance for gameplay reasons. Today we’re going to look into some possible candidates for the line-up.
Before we get into further theorizing I’d just like to point out that this article is very heavy on the speculation side of things. I’m pairing characters to a potential narrative I’ve started so there isn’t much precedence for this speculation. If you think I missed anyone or I’m going off the mark please sound off below, I love lore discussions/debates and welcome criticisms.
Imperius, when Valor turns to Wrath
I almost feel sorry for Imperius. All he wanted to do was save the High Heavens, but he let his ego and vanity get in the way. Not only was he incapable of stopping Diablo at the Diamond Gates he wasn’t able to stem the tide of demons into Heaven during the rest of the assault, worst yet he was crippled and forced to sit in the sidelines as the nephalem hero saved the day. We already know he harbors a special hatred for the nephalem seeing as he wanted to wipe out our entire existence upon first learning of our existence. He’s shown nothing but contempt and anger at humanity. We are nothing more than abominations to him, impure creatures wrought from the sacrilegious coupling of angels and demons. If that wasn’t enough his best friend and ally, Tyrael, turned his back on him and joined sides with nephalem.
Now it’s easy to see how his motivations will lie in sync with those I put forth for Malthael. If suddenly Malthael returned to Heaven and appeared before Imperius with an offer to end the nephalem, wouldn’t he gladly accept? I could even see Imperius turning on Tyrael, but there would have to be some other motivation or drive to get Imperius to turn on the rest of Heaven. I think anyone who’s played through Act Four had the feeling we’re going to have to fight this guy at some point and in an expansion revolving around Malthael’s fall it’d be an easy narrative to continue into Imperius. If we don’t fight Imperius now, we probably will in the rumored second expansion unless they add a bit more depth to his character and turn him around in RoS, which is what I really hope they do. I would love to see Imperius get some character development and accept the nephalem instead of us having to take him down, but we’ll have to wait and see what Blizzard has in store for the Archangel of Valor.
Inarius, the Fallen Lord of Sanctuary, Angel of Vanity
There isn’t a single being in all of Creation that hates the nephalem more than Inarius. He was the undisputed Lord of Sanctuary. He controlled all the power of the Worldstone, a feat few have ever shown the ability to do. The nephalem were an unexpected anomaly, a blight on his perfect world and ultimately they were the cause of his downfall. The once proud and incredibly vain angel is now a prisoner of Hell, his body twisted and contorted into grotesque shapes as he is forced to watch in a prison of mirrors. He was willingly given up by the Angiris Council as a peace offering to the Prime Evils in exchange for the neutrality pact in Sanctuary. Woe be to those who would come across his path should he ever be freed, but who would free him?
He, like Imperius and Malthael, shares a hatred for the nephalem, but I think Inarius at this point would just hate everything. All would be guilty of sins against him. Could he look pasts Malthael’s ‘betrayal’? Could Malthael look past Inarius’s theft of the Worldstone that sent him down the path towards Death? I doubt it, in my mind these two just wouldn’t get along but different writers will have different ideas for character development and since their motivations are similar I can’t help but draw connections between Malthael and Inarius despite their differences. The one thing I could see bringing Malthael to free or ally with Inarius would be his knowledge of the Worldstone.
Blizzard stated many times at Blizzcon 2011 that the Worldstone isn’t really destroyed but that it still exists in some form or another. Maybe it took a different shape or merged with the essence of Sanctuary, no one knows at this point and no hints were given in Diablo 3 at all, a story point I felt was missing in the game. If the plot of RoS has any focus on the Worldstone then Inarius is a very closely related character to bring into the story. Maybe Malthael found a remanent of the Worldstone in Pandemonium or some other clue to its whereabouts and he now seeks out Inarius to use him for his knowledge of the Worldstone. As with Imperius though, if we don’t see Inarius in RoS I still expect him to pop up at some point later down the road as there were some breadcrumbs laid out for an eventual trip to Inarius’s current place of residence, the Burning Hells.
Lilith, Mother of the Nephalem
Lilith is the daughter of Mephisto and the scorned lover of Inarius and she ‘cared’ about her children. Not in the loving sense, she recognized the potential of the nephalem and sought to use them as a weapon against both Heaven and Hell that could set her up as the ruler of all creation. This didn’t sit well with Inarius and it started a civil war of sorts between him and those that despised the nephalem and Lilith’s followers who supported them. Needless to say Inarius won but he couldn’t bring himself to kill his lover and instead banished her to the Abyss, an empty void that exists outside of Creation. Inarius spared the nephalem who survived but used the Worldstone to reduce their power.
After thousands of years in exile, Lilith somehow found a way back to Sanctuary and tampered with the Worldstone to allow humans to tap into their ancestral powers. She had planned to reawaken the powers of the nephalem and recreate her army once more, but things turned out much differently this time. The leader of the nephalem, Uldyssen, rebeled against her and guided the nephalem towards their own freedom, but then end of it Lilith was defeated and left for dead only to be found by Inarius who still would not kill her. He banished her back to the void and there she cursed him and the nephalem. The daughter of the Lord of Hatred is not someone I’d want on my bad side and despite her initial plans for using the nephalem she could easily now want them all destroyed; finally seeing them as the abominations that Inarius claimed they were all along. She’s already escaped from the Abyss once and with much of Inarius’s power tied to the now destroyed Worldstone it’d be a very easy sell to have her show up once more. She’s already shown no love for either Heaven or Hell and has all the motivations to signup with Malthael in a quest to spread death over all.
Other Players in the Eternal Conflict
There are many other players that could be brought forth. Blizzard provided many new faces in Diablo 3 such as Rakanoth, Cydaea and Zoltun Kulle and there is nothing stopping them from creating even more. We have five other lieutenants of Azmodan unaccounted for that could show up as peripherals to the story looking for the one who killed their master. Rathma, a nephalem and patron of the Necromancers has strong ties to the Grim Reaper and Death motifs. He could very easily get fit into the story somehow, but it’d be rather doubtful he’d show up as a bad guy since he helped free humans from the oppression of the Worldstone. By association, if Rathma gets involved Trang’oul undoubtedly would get a little presence in the game. There’s also dialogue with Shen about the Dirgest gem and some demonic force tied to it, very minor, but could they move that story forwad? Legions of other angels and demons could be handcrafted for the situation. Need an angel that tends to the souls of other fallen angels to go rogue? Done. Need an army of demons who sought shelter in the Pandemonium Fortress and got conscripted by Malthael? Easy. The list is endless for possible new characters to be created.
In my next piece I’m briefly touch on one of the focal elements of my speculation that ties a lot of this together, the Worldstone.
Neinball is currently leveling a Demon Hunter in hardcore to better understand what death means in Diablo.