— Lazarus to his foes(src)
Custodian of Hatred
Lazarus originally resided in Kurast, as one of the guardians over Mephisto's soulstone. He was a highly regarded member, but a shadow fell over him, and he began showing petulance to the senior members of the Church. Deckard Cain would later speculate that Lazarus was one of the first members of the faith to be irrevocably corrupted by the Lord of Hatred. Whatever the truth of the matter, his actions came to the notice of Que-Hegan Sankekur, who wrote him a letter demanding that he account for his insubordination. Sankekur threatened him with replacement if he did not live up to his expected duties.
In truth, Mephisto had been corrupting Zakarum for centuries. Sankekur became his embodiment on the mortal plane. Lazarus, under Mephisto's influence, was given the task of awakening Diablo, who had been imprisoned underneath a Cathedral in Khanduras.
The Darkening of Tristram
At the behest of the Zakarum Church, Leoric of Kehjistan traveled to Khanduras and declared himself king. Lazarus was among his entourage, and indeed, it was Lazarus who had convinced Leoric to make the journey in the first place. It was also at Lazarus's insistence that the Tristram Cathedral be appropriated as Leoric's seat of power. Not long after Leoric took power, Diablo awoke within the catacombs beneath the cathedral. Sensing that freedom was within his grasp, Diablo entered the nightmares of the archbishop and lured him into the dark, subterranean labyrinth. In his terror, Lazarus raced throughout the abandoned hallways until he at last came to the chamber of Diablo's soulstone. No longer in command of his body or spirit, he raised the stone above his head and uttered words long forgotten in the realm of mortals. His will destroyed, Lazarus shattered the soulstone upon the ground. Diablo once again came into the world of Man. Diablo told Lazarus of things few mortals knew of, namely of the existence of Heaven, Hell, and the Eternal Conflict that the two realms waged against one another: how this war had brought discord to the mortal realm, and how the Prime Evils had come to Sanctuary in the Dark Exile. He told Lazarus of his plan to reunite with his brothers, Mephisto and Baal. Deckard Cain would later speculate whether Lazarus had known of the agenda that had been given to him, but regardless, Diablo had been freed.
"We have just arrived in Tristram, and I must say I'm a bit dismayed. This place is a backwater filled with serfs and an ancient, broken-down monastery, hardly fit for the king of Khanduras! I cannot fathom why Lazarus was so intent on this becoming our new seat of power."— Leoric in his journal(src)
Although he was released from his imprisonment within the soulstone, the Lord of Terror was still greatly weakened from his long sleep and required an anchor to the world. Once he had found a mortal form to wear, he could begin to reclaim his vastly depleted power. The great demon weighed the souls residing in the town above, and chose to take the strongest of them - that of King Leoric.
"It was Lazarus - of that I am certain. He alone had the king's ear and whispered dark and evil magics into it, instilling the notion of an imminent attack by Westmarch. Afraid to speak against the archbishop, the councilors nodded their empty heads in agreement and sent us off to die."— Lachdanan(src)
Diablo's possession of Leoric took its toll on the king's pine. The king became irrational at first, but soon began to show signs of madness and paranoia. Lazarus, under Diablo's sway as well, kept close to the king at all times, hoping that the demon's power would grow unnoticed. However, Diablo's effects on Leoric's mind and body couldn't be hidden as he became increasingly haggard and deranged, ordering executions of any who dared question his methods or authority. The knight Lachdanan tried to ascertain the nature of Leoric's change of character, but Lazarus admonished him at every turn for questioning the actions of his king. As tensions grew between the two, Lazarus charged Lachdanan with treason against the kingdom. To the priests and knights of Leoric's court, the prospect of Lachdanan committing treachery was ridiculous. Lazarus's actions had now galvanized the court against their king, becoming increasingly suspicious of foul treachery. Seeking to contain the eroding situation, Lazarus convinced Leoric that Westmarch was plotting against him, seeking to annex his lands. Leoric flew into a rage and summoned his advisers to his side. Manipulated by the archbishop, the paranoid king declared a state of war between the two kingdoms. Those closest to the king tried to convince him that the war was unjust and unwinnable, but Lazarus was ever at his liege's side, and kept him convinced of the Westmarch's supposed intentions. The Royal Army of Khanduras was thus ordered to march to war, with Lachdanan leading it. With the absence of prying eyes, Diablo was now free to assert his control over the king.
Despite Diablo's free reign, he found that he could not take complete control over the king. Thus, he sought a new host, and settled on the king's son, Albrecht. Enjoined by his dark master, Lazarus dragged the terrified youth into the darkness of the labyrinth. Diablo easily took possession of the youth. Leoric, however, was still in a state of madness, and the absence of Albrecht only increased it. Eventually it came to pass that Lachdanan and his fellow knights (survivors of the ill-fated war against Westmarch) were forced to kill their liege. While this granted Tristram some respite, it began to come under siege by strange creatures—manifestations of Diablo's terror.
It was at this point that Lazarus emerged, assuring the townsfolk that he too had been ravaged by the evil that had gripped the cathedral. Reminding them that Prince Albrecht was still unaccounted for, and speaking of "holy retribution," he persuaded many of the men to follow him into the depths of the monastery to search for the boy. With their desperate need for assurance clouding their good judgment, they armed themselves with torches to light the way and farm tools to defend themselves, then boldly followed the treacherous archbishop into the cathedral depths. He led them into an ambush and disappeared into the depths as the townsfolk were left to die at the hands of demons.
"The vile staff of Lazarus was brought to me today, further confirming my suspicions. There is no longer any doubt that he is the one who kidnapped Albrecht and perhaps even freed Diablo from his ancient prison. Who knows what further treachery he has planned? Luckily I suspect Lazarus has not long to live if our champion has anything to say on it."— Deckard Cain(src)
Lazarus was confronted by Aidan, Moreina, and Jazreth, in the depths of the cathedral. They found him at a sacrificial altar with a young boy. It was not Albrecht as they had first suspected, but the archbishop was slain anyway.
Lazarus is encountered towards the end of Diablo. His boss fight cannot be avoided. He is surrounded by Succubi. It is recommended that after the cutscene plays, the player leave the area (in order to avoid the projectiles) and pick off the demons one by one. Afterwards, Lazarus himself can be dealt with.
Although his physical form doesn't make a return in Diablo III, the Nephalem does encounter a ghostly apparition of Lazarus, along with King Leoric during the exploration of the latter's castle. In addition, the Archbishop had created a very dangerous brood of spiders, led by Queen Araneae, which he used to infest an ancient ruin outside Leoric's manor at the request of the increasingly paranoid king. Twenty years later, these spiders were slain by the Nephalem, who passed through these caverns while trailing Maghda's Dark Coven to the manor in order to rescue the fallen archangel Tyrael.
Lazarus reappears as a boss in the Anniversary Dungeon of Diablo III, using a recolored model (complete with a high pope hat) of Zoltun Kulle. He appears in the Unholy Altar area after accessing both Books of Lazarus. This time around his name is spelled Arch-Bishop Lazarus.
Personality and Traits
Lazarus was a great orator. He was remembered by Gillian as being a kind man once. Adria, on her part however, sensed a conflict within his being right up to his last hours of life. Whatever the case however, Lazarus expressed full commitment to his master in his writings.
"There are times when I awake in the dead of night plagued by nightmares of Lazarus. What can I say of this despicable man?"— Deckard Cain(src)
- Lazarus may be named after the individual of the same name from the Christian New Testament. Unlike the Biblical Lazarus, Archbishop Lazarus never returned to life, although he did facilitate Diablo's return.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Diablo II Manal
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Book of Tyrael
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Book of Cain
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Diablo III, Leoric's Journal
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Diablo Manual
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Diablo, The Realms Beyond
- ↑ Diablo, Tale of the Three
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Diablo, Archbishop Lazarus
- ↑ Diablo, The Butcher