"I commanded you not long ago. Do you forget this so soon?"— Tyrael and Balzael(src)
"You taught me well enough to know when to be suspicious."
Balzael served under Tyrael for many years. He became a member of the Luminarei. At some point he visited the Halls of Valor; he saw Imperius's trophies as being a source of inspiration for angels to fight with courage and rightousness.
Storm of LightEdit
The Black SoulstoneEdit
"An angel without wings. You are like a bird with clipped feathers that cannot fly. Perhaps we should put you in a cage."— Balzael mocks Tyrael(src)
Balzael fought in defense of Heaven during Diablo's assault on the Silver City. He demonstrated great heroism during the battle and slew more demons than any other angel. However, he lost many fellow Luminarei in the battle, and the ordeal left him shaken. That the Nephalem had succeeded where the Luminarei had failed did not do his pride any favors, and he rationalized that the Nephalem had transcended their human origins. He became determined to never let such a thing happen again. In the aftermath of the battle, Imperius granted him a position of being his "right hand." Auriel noted that Balzael grew more arrogant after being granted the position. Imperius also entrusted him with training a small group of angels to become Sicarai, who Balzael sent on missions to clean up rogue packs of demons wherever they could be found.
Balzael was also assigned to guard the Black Soulstone. At some point he fell into league with Malthael, whom he referred to as "the Guardian." It was Malthael's plan that the Black Soulstone corrupt the Council long enough so that they would decided to unleash the Heavenly Host upon Sanctuary, eradicating humanity. It was a goal that Balzael was happy to help reach fruition. In his mind, Heaven's survival depended on the eradication of Man. In the meantime he spied on Tyrael, his opinion of the angel declining as he saw him carry out the ordeals of mortal life. He tried to convince Imperius that Tyrael should be imprisoned in the Fist for his crimes, but Imperius refused. He nonetheless mocked Tyrael when he attended a Lightsong.
The following day, Balzael denied Tyrael entry to the Angiris Council Chamber in which it was held, his contempt for the former archangel shining through. Auriel dismissed him and he left the two to speak. He watched from the shadows as the two discussed the revisiting of the Council's decision to spare Sanctuary during the Sin War. He resolved to contact the Guardian on recent events.
Balzael encountered Tyrael as he left the session without leave. Balzael mocked him, and Tyrael drew El'druin. The two angels dueled until the fight was halted by Imperius. Balzael stated that Tyrael should be thrown into the Ring, but Imperius ordered Balzael to let Tyrael go.
Death in HeavenEdit
"A clipped bird in a cage. I promised you that not so long ago, did I not? I had hoped you would return here voluntarily. I must admit, I still had my doubts. I imagined you to be too much of a coward to do it. But you came here even earlier than I expected, and you brought some friends."— Balzael and Tyrael(src)
"Release these bonds, and see how much of a coward I am."
"I think not. Although I would enjoy making you bleed, mortal. You disgust me. Do you know the Council discussed your archangel status in the last meeting. They do not know what to call you. Traitor, perhaps. You will stand trial, if you live that long. Your crimes are punishable by death. I may take it upon myself to carry out justice a bit early and save us all the time."
Tyrael disappeared soon after. It didn't take Balzael long to track him to New Tristram in Sanctuary, in the company of a group of humans. Imperius ordered that Tyrael be retrieved, and that while killing the humans was permissible, Tyrael was to be taken alive. Balzael tried to sway Imperius's judgement, but the archangel had none of it, and Balzael, on the face of it, acquiesed to his orders, telling him that he would send his best Sicarai. In that, he obeyed. But instead he ordered the Sicarai to kill Tyrael and all his companions.
The Sicarai failed, and returned to Heaven wounded. Aggrieved, he considered unleashing the Luminarei then and there upon humanity, but abstained, as the Council had not yet darkened enough to agree with his plans of genocide. Balzael demanded that the Sicarai tell him everything.
Balzael watched a Lightsong before the Sicarai returned, having failed. Again. Tyrael and his companions had retreated into Corvus, which no non-mortal could enter due to the nephalem shielding that protected it. The Sicarai informed him that it was likely Tyrael and his companions were planning to steal the Black Soulstone. In the Pools of Wisdom, Balzael contacted the Guardian on this turn of events. The Guardian informed him of a change in plans—the stone was working too slowly. He would bring about the end of humanity in another way.
The Sicarai turned out to be right in regards to Tyrael's plan. As the Horadrim infiltrated the Silver City, Tyrael was captured. Balzael came down to his cage, mocking him, but let slip that he had ulterior motives. Balzael didn't elaborate, but it was clear that he intended Tyrael to be a distraction while the stone was stolen. He planned for the Horadrim to steal the stone, and they would intercept them in Sanctuary before they reached Corvus.
The drama began, as Balzael took Tyrael and one of his companions to the Column of Tears. He planned to have Imperius come in and watch Tyrael kill his human companion in a forced display, where Balzael would be given no recourse bar killing Tyrael. Imperius would be distracted from the Horadrim, and he would see that Balzael would truly have no choice. In spite of it all, he gave Tyrael one chance to join them. Tyrael refused, but was spared from being executioner, as the Horadrim mounted a rescue.
In the commotion, Tyrael pursued Balzael to the Courts of Justice. Balzael remained defiant—the Black Soulstone would enter Sanctuary, and the Reapers stood ready to enact the Guardian's plans. The two did battle, with Balzael gaining the upperhand. Before he could finish off his foe, he was impaled from behind by Imperius. Balzael screamed with such force that the room's crystal dome shattered. His wound grew brighter and brighter until he faded away to nothing. As Imperius later explained, he had never intended Balzael to be Tyrael's executioner.
Personality and TraitsEdit
"He has grown arrogant after his promotion."— Auriel and Tyrael discussing Balzael(src)
"Bravery and arrogance are close cousins."
Balzael saw himself as a fierce warrior, battle-hardened and afraid of nothing, though even he could be cowed by Imperius. He despised humans, to the extent that even Tyrael's mortal form (e.g. presence of flesh) disgusted him, and saw them as being akin to animals. In his mind, they also cared far too much about each other. He saw the Nephalem as being an exception to baseline humanity. He had a low opinion of fellow angels in regards to their adherance to tradition, feeling that far too many times, they let it get in the way of progress.