"The skies shall rain fire, and the seas will become as blood. The righteous shall fall before the wicked, and all of Creation shall tremble before the burning standards of Hell!"— Mephisto(src)
The Burning Hells, otherwise referred to as the Underworld, Netherworld, or simply Hell, are the birthplace of demonkind and the opposing realm of the High Heavens. All demons have their point of origin here and if struck down, will reform in time, namely from the Black Abyss.
A network of subterranean caverns runs throughout Hell. Molten rivers flow throughout the realm, and Hell features "vast planes" across which Siege Beasts rampage. The Hells are divided into seven realms, each corresponding to one of the Great Evils. These realms are located in the center of Hell, while the outer reaches of Hell are controlled by the Mallet Lords. Hell is rife with war, both external and internal.
Like all of Creation, Hell was created in the final battle between Anu and Tathamet, the corpse of the latter giving rise to the realm and demons erupting from it as maggots would from a corpse. Unlike Heaven, which has clearly defined borders, the realms of Hell were constantly shifting, the realms of influence varying under the seven Great Evils. Like Heaven though, Hell was indeed a physical location within the universe, though on the occasion that demonic incursions were launched against Sanctuary en masse, demons erupting from the ground is a common M.O.
It was due to Sanctuary's existence that Hell fell into internal conflict. Even after the Sin War, the Prime Evils believed that humans could be converted to their creed, while the Lesser Evils saw their focus on humanity as an unwanted deviation from the Great Conflict. The result was a civil war that resulted in the Dark Exile, though in the aftermath, Azmodan and Belial broke their alliance and fought one another.
Hell suffered another blow centuries after the Dark Exile. Diablo had managed to gather the essences of the six other Great Evils into himself and after calling all the legions of Hell to his side, assaulted the High Heavens. However, he was struck down and crumbled into dust. Hell's invasion had failed, and it had lost its former lords in a single blow in the process.
In Diablo II, the character(s) travel(s) into Hell to slay Diablo. The Hells seem to be similar to that described in Greek mythology, with the paths being made of black stone surrounded by lava and filled with horrible monsters and forgotten sinful souls trapped in their fate. Living up to its name, it is a nightmare. There are numerous ruined structures through the Hells, some of which are adorned with stained glass windows, which have been infused with evil.
In Diablo III, Azmodan's army emanates from the deeps of Mount Arreat, noted by the nephalem as "having brought Hell itself into the crater" in a short cutscene, despite the fact that the heroes were not in the actual Burning Hells. Also, in the High Heavens, the player(s) must destroy Diablo's demonic portals, which brings them into the Burning Hells. Lastly, when fighting Diablo himself, the Prime Evil turns to his true form and pulls his foe(s) into the Realm of Terror.
These are the seven realms of Hell, each corresponding to one of the Great Evils:
- Realm of Anguish (Andariel)
- Realm of Destruction (Baal)
- Realm of Hatred (Mephisto)
- Realm of Lies (Belial)
- Realm of Pain (Duriel)
- Realm of Sin (Azmodan)
- Realm of Terror (Diablo)
- Armories of Hell (weapon/armor storage area)
- Black Abyss (birthplace of demons)
- Chaos Sanctuary (located in the Realm of Terror)
- City of the Damned (located in the Realm of Hatred)
- Gates of Hell (entrance to the realm)
- Hellforge (located in the Realm of Destruction)
- Outer Steppes (unknown realm, located adjacent to the Pandemonium Fortress)
- Plains of Despair (located in the Realm of Anguish)
- River of Flame (located in the Realm of Destruction)
- ↑ Diablerie
- ↑ Wrath,
- ↑ Diablo II, The Harrowing
- ↑ Death Mauler, The Arreat Summit. Accessed on 2014-08-12
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 The Awakening
- ↑ Siege Beast, The Arreat Summit. Accessed on 2014-08-12
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Book of Cain
- ↑ Diablo III, Mallet Lord Lore
- ↑ To Hell and Back
- ↑ Moon of the Spider
- ↑ The Veiled Prophet
- ↑ Diablo Manual
- ↑ Diablo III, Act IV
- ↑ Diablo III, Act IV Ending Cinematic