Though it remains unknown what exactly sparked the Great Conflict to erupt, it has been assumed that the Conflict began shortly after both celestial realms were created. Ever since both the armies of Heaven and Hell have been at war.
The ultimate aim of the Conflict is never discussed, but it appears that the goal of Hell is to overthrow, occupy or destroy Heaven, while Heaven's aim seems to be the maintenance of the status quo. Despite great efforts from both sides, the conflict seems to be in a stalemate. Though both sides still launch new assault upon the enemy, the gain (or loss) is always minimal. Entire regiments of angels and demons may perish in a single battle. When a breakthrough is achieved, for instance the destruction of a single temple, the other side usually retaliates with swift vengeance. Even without any apparent success both planes continue to scheme, plot and counter-plot.
The rules of engagement, if any, are never discussed but can be inferred to exist. With the conclusion of the Sin War, both Heaven and Hell promised not to intervene in the world of humans - however, both sides broke that promise without remorse. The forces of Hell seem least concerned about their actions as scores of demons befoul the mortal realm to this day and even the great Evils have walked among humans; the High Heavens seem to refrain from interference. Only the Archangel Tyrael has been known to aid humanity in its struggle against Evil, and Tyrael is viewed as a "rebel" by the Heavens due to his actions in this regard, although he still is very much part of the High Heavens. The only true rebel known to exist was Inarius, who left the High Heavens with a band of like-minded individuals (both angels and demons) in order to establish their own realm, later known as Sanctuary. The only known Fallen Angel is Izual, who fell to the forces of Hell after an ill-fated assault upon the Hellforge. There have been no accounts of demons defecting to the High Heavens; this could be because the Angels do not accept them.
It seems unlikely the Great Conflict will ever subside; a ceasefire seems highly improbable, and both sides are too evenly matched for one side to defeat the other. As Trag'Oul foresaw, this is probably for the good: though good must always outshine evil, there has to be evil - or else good would fade into darkness itself. Trag'Oul also hinted that, though both Heaven and Hell seem themselves as the just rulers of the realms, they will someday learn the limits of their power. What this exactly means is unknown, but it's possibly linked to the afterlife and the Balance.
Excerpt from the 'Librarius Ex Horadrim, Book One: Of Heaven and Hell'Edit
Since the Beginning, the forces of Light and Darkness have engaged in an eternal war: the Great Conflict, whose victor will rise from the apocalyptic ashes to hold sway over all creation. To this end, the Angels of the High Heavens adhere to strict militaristic disciplines. Seraphim warriors strike at the enemies of Light with swords imbued with righteous wrath and justice. The Angels believe that only absolute discipline can properly restore order to the myriad realms, while the demonic denizens of the Burning Hells hold that absolute chaos is the true nature of all things.
The battles of the Great Conflict rage across both time and space, often infringing upon the very fabric of reality itself. From the Crystal Arch at the very heart of the High Heavens to the arcane Hellforge of the Underworld, the warriors of these eternal realms journey to wherever their timeless conflict carries them. The legendary deeds of the heroes of the realms beyond elicit both veneration and insight.
The greatest of these heroes was Izual, lieutenant to the Arch-Angel Tyrael and bearer of the Angelic Runeblade Azurewrath. He once led a fierce attack upon the Hellforge as the creation of the dark demonblade Shadowfang was nearing completion. His quest was to destroy both wielder and weapon - a charge that he was destined never to complete. Izual was overcome by the legions of chaos and, tragically, was lost to the Darkness. His fate stands as testament to the fact that Angels and Demons alike shall fearlessly enter into any domain - so long as their hated enemies dwell within.
Although the Great Conflict burned hotter and longer than any of the stars in the sky, neither side could gain dominion over the other for long. Both factions sought some way to turn the tides of the war to their favor. With the ascension of Man and his mortal realm, the Great Conflict ground to a mysterious halt. Both armies paused in a breathless stalemate, waiting to see to whose side Man would eventually turn.
Mortals had the unique ability to choose between Darkness and Light, and it was held that this would be the deciding factor in the outcome of the Great Conflict. Thus, the agents of the nether-realms descended to the mortal realm to vie for the favor of Man…
Excerpt from 'The Great Conflict'Edit
On Level 4 in Diablo I, a tome titled "The Great Conflict," surrounded by sconces, will voice you the following as soon as you open it:
"Take heed and bear witness to the truths that lie herein, for they are the last legacy of the Horadrim. There is a war that rages on even now, beyond the fields that we know--between the utopian kingdoms of the high heavens and the chaotic pits of the burning hells. This war is known as the great conflict, and it has raged and burned longer than any of the stars in the sky. Neither side ever gains sway for long as the forces of light and darkness constantly vie for control over all creation."
Angels and DemonsEdit
In the outline of the scrapped e-book The Fate of Siggard, it was eventually revealed that angels and demons originated from a common being. Some of these creatures settled in Hell as they were intrigued by its chaotic nature, whilst others chose the Heavens as their abode. The former became demons whilst the latter ascended to become angels. If this plot proves to be true it would explain a lot regarding the origins of the conflict.
- ↑ Diablo I Manual, p. 60-61