"Seven is the number of the Powers of Hell, and Seven is the number of the Great Evils."
The event known as the Dark Exile refers to the banishment of the Prime Evils to the mortal realm of Sanctuary by the Lesser Evils. The uprising was led by Belial, the Lord of Lies and Azmodan, the Lord of Sin.
Excerpt from the 'Librarius Ex Horadrim, Book One: Of Heaven and Hell'Edit
The Dark ExileEdit
The Lesser Evils, Andariel, Duriel, Azmodan and Belial, can be considered the minor deities of Hell. For ages uncounted each have ruled over their own domains within the Burning Hells, seeking absolute dominion over their infernal brethren. As the Lesser Four continuously vied for the control of those forces that dwelled within their realms, the Greater Three held absolute power over the whole of Hell.
These Three are the Prime Evils of the Burning Hells that wielded their power as a dark, sovereign triumvirate. The Three Brothers ruled over the Lesser Four by brutal force and malicious cunning. Being the eldest and strongest of the Evils, the Three Brothers were responsible for countless victories against the armies of the Light. Although they never held sway over the High Heavens for long, the Three were justly feared by enemies and subject alike.
With the ascension of Man and the subsequent standstill of the Great Conflict, the Three Brothers began to devote their energies to the perversion of mortal souls. The Three realized that Man was the key to victory in the war against Heaven, and thus altered their rigid agendum that they propagated since the Beginning. This change caused many of the Lesser Evils to question the authority of the Three, and so brought about a great rift between the Prime Evils and their servitors.
In their ignorance, the Lesser Evils began to believe that the Three were afraid to continue the war with Heaven. Frustrated by the cessation of the war, Azmodan and Belial saw the situation as their chance to overthrow the Prime Evils and take control of Hell for themselves. The two demon lords made a pact with the Demon Queen Andariel and Duriel, the Lord of Pain, assuring them that the wretched plague of humanity would not deter the ultimate victory of the sons of Hell. Azmodan and Belial devised a plan to end the stalemate, achieve victory in the Sin War and ultimately ride the bloody crest of the Great Conflict straight into the very arms of Armageddon. Thus, a great revolution was set into motion as all of Hell went to war against the Three Brothers...
The Brothers fought with all the savagery of the Underworld, and to their credit, annihilated a third of Hell's treacherous legions. In the end, however, they were overcome by the Horned Death led by the traitors Azmodan and Belial. The Prime Evils, weakened and bodiless, were banished to the mortal realm where Azmodan hoped that they would remain trapped forever. Azmodan believed that with the Three set loose upon humanity, the Angels would be forced to turn their focus upon the mortal plane - thus leaving the Gates of Heaven abandoned and defenseless. Those few demons who still pledged allegiance to the Three Brothers fled the wrath of Azmodan and Belial, escaping to the realm of Man to seek out their lost Masters.
As the war-fires died out upon the battlefields of Hell, Azmodan and Belial began to argue over which of them held the higher authority. The pact that they had made quickly fell to ashes as the two demon lords took up arms against each other. The legions of Hell that remained were polarized behind either warlord, launching themselves into a bloody civil war that lasted to this day...
The Binding of the Three
In the ancient days, before the rise of the Western Empires, the dark and terrible entities known as the Three Evils were exiled to the world of Man. These eternal entities wandered throughout the waking world and fed upon the lusts of men, leaving chaos and attrition in their wake. The Evils turned father against son and prompted many great nations into brutal and petty wars. Their Exile from Hell left them with an insatiable hunger to bring suffering and pain to all who would not kneel before them, and so the Three Brothers ravaged the lands of the Far East for countless centuries.
Eventually, a secretive order of mortal magi was gathered together by the enigmatic Arch-Angel Tyrael. These sorcerers were to hunt the Three Evils and put an end to their vicious rampage. The order, known as the Horadrim, consisted of wizards from the diverse and numerous Mage Clans of the East. Employing disparate magical practices and disciplines, this unlikely Brotherhood succeeded in capturing two of the Brothers within powerful artifacts called Soulstones. Mephisto and Baal, trapped within the swirling, spiritual constraints of the Soulstones, were then buried beneath the dunes of the desolate Eastern Sands.
The powers of Hatred and wanton Destruction seemed to diminish in the East as a nervous peace began to settle over the land. Yet, for many decades the Horadrim continued their grim search for the third Brother, Diablo. They knew that if the Lord of Terror was left untamed there could never be any lasting peace within the realm of humanity.
The Horadrim followed in the wake of terror and anarchy that spread throughout the Western lands. After a great battle which claimed the lives of many brave souls, the Lord of Terror was captured and imprisoned within the last of the Soulstones by a group of Horadrim monks led by the Initiate Jered Cain. These monks carried the cursed stone to the land of Khanduras and buried it within a secluded cave near the river Talsande. Above this cave the Horadrim constructed a great Monastery from which they could continue to safeguard the Soulstone. As ages passed, the Horadrim constructed a network of catacombs beneath the Monastery to house the earthly remains of the martyrs of their Order.
Generations passed in Khanduras, and the numbers of the Horadrim slowly dwindled. With no quests left to undertake, and too few sons to sustain their guardianship, the once powerful Order faded into obscurity. Eventually, the great Monastery that they had built fell to ruins as well. Although villages grew and thrived around the shell of the old Monastery, no one knew of the dark, secret passageways that stretched into the cold earth beneath it. None could have dreamed of the burning red gem that pulsed within the labyrinth’s heart…
The Masterplan RevealedEdit
In Diablo II it is revealed that the Prime Evils, together with the Fallen Angel Izual masterminded their own exile. They allowed themselves to be captured and imprisoned within the Soulstones, as Izual had told them about the Stones' power and how to corrupt them. With the combined power of the Soulstones at their command, the Prime Evils had become more powerful than ever before.
The particulars of the origins of the Dark Exile are few, with only a few scraps of information gleaning any insight. It is known that Belial, the Lord of Lies, was once a protege of Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred. Under Mephisto's tutelege Belial honed his powers of deception and manipulation. Eventually, Belial put Mephisto's teachings to traitorous use, manipulating Azmodan into leading a revolt against the Prime Evils. However, Belial himself may have been indirectly tricked into doing so by Mephisto, as the Prime Evils devised the Exile themselves.
Duriel and Andariel fell into league with the traitorous legions of Hell. With information derived from Belial; Andariel's associations with Diablo; and his twisted Fallen Ones; Azmodan finally led the charge against the Prime Evils. His competency as a battlefield commander was unparalleled, allowing the Lesser Evils to gain traction against the Prime Evils and eventually reach victory.
Excerpt from the Dark ExileEdit
- "So it came to be that there was a great revolution within the Burning Hells known as the Dark Exile. The Lesser Evils overthrew the three Prime Evils and banished their spirit forms to the mortal realm. The Demons Belial (the Lord of Lies) and Azmodan (the Lord of Sin) fought to claim rulership of Hell during the abscence of the Three Brothers. All of Hell polarized between the factions of Belial and Azmodan while the forces of the High Heavens continually battered upon the very gates of Hell."