"That's right. Direct descendants of the great mages, tasked with protecting Sanctuary from the demons that stalk this world."
The Brotherhood of the Horadrim, at times referred to as "the Order," "the Crusaders of Light," and the "Horadric Order" were an ancient brotherhood of mages and wizards that were formed by the archangel Tyrael to combat the three Prime Evils Diablo, Mephisto and Baal when they were banished to the mortal realm.
As decreed by Tyrael, the Order's most basic tenet is to stand for justice and light. An oath existed for the original Horadrim. Its symbol is a figure eight with an amber gemstone in the middle. However, it has been said that while the Horadrim were a powerful order, they were maybe too prideful.
Of the original group, every aspect of their dress was carefully chosen to augment their magic abilities. Many Horadric members wore crowns made of unearthly metals to reflect their status, and often these crowns were enchanted for superior protection. The greatest Horadric alchemists were able to brew potions that permanently affected the drinker. The time of the Horadrim is considered to be the greatest age in magic and were the greatest group of mortal spellcasters the world has ever known. They were skilled enough to create torches that burn with an eternal flame and the use of telekinesis was but a small exercise for them. They also created waypoints between their fortresses so that they could react quickly to any demonic incursion.
High-ranking Horadric mages were mummified, and their tombs protected by spells. Horadric mummies were also created to protect the tombs. Certain Horadric funereal priests altered the bodies of their dead mages with magical and surgical techniques, often replacing body parts with those of animals. This was thought to augment their powers, and raise their status in the afterlife.
The original Horadrim order were known for hiding their meeting places in plain sight, in an area that people would least expect to find them. Such meeting places would be protected by a spell of concealment.
The Horadrim made efforts to record local legends, cautionary tales, and "stories of the most twisted horror," in the hope that some innocents might be saved by their knowledge.
The Horadrim was formed by the archangel Tyrael in the wake of the Dark Exile, their members taken from the various mage clans of the East. Their membership was not selected due to any particular wisdom or reverence, but because they were the most likely to succeed in carrying out Tyrael's mission. The mage Tal Rasha was appointed as their leader and Tyrael entrusted a trio of soulstones to the order, each with the power to contain the essence of a Prime Evil. The mage Zoltun Kulle was entrusted with carrying the stones and using them to capture the demons.
The Hunt for the Three
At the beginning of their hunt, the Horadrim realized they would need an artifact of immense power. Such an artifact came in the form of a device simply called "the Cube." Designed by Zoltun Kulle, the Horadrim agreed that it would be necessary if their hunt was to be successful. Believing they understood the dangers, the Horadrim forged the Cube over a period of weeks, as smiths hammered and Mages chanted, feeling their sanity slipping all the while. The Cube was completed, but was marred by the dark methods used to complete it, and disastrous results.
For an extended period of time, the Horadrim used the Cube as they hunted the Prime Evils. In time, the Cube became the center of Horadric works. Every initiative or action required it, and those who survived its creation became increasingly haunted by its presence. Aware of the dangers of corruption, and of the Cube's marred design the Order determined that it was too dangerous for anyone to continue using it. That it had to be hidden from anyone, including them. Of all the Horadrim, only Kulle objected to the abandonment of the device. As such, they created the weaker Horadric Cube in its stead, and entrusted the first Cube to a secret organization of Barbarians on Mount Arreat, who kept it safe from everyone, including the rest of their tribe. Throughout the years, these Barbarians served as guardians over the Cube, keeping it safe from prying eyes and those who would use its powers for evil.
Securing a Legacy
At some point during the Hunt for the Three, prior to their confrantion with Baal, the Horadrim's founding members imbued their essence into vessels. They imbued their memory, power, and accomplishments. While the Horadrim had conquered Sanctuary's greatest evils, they could not conquer death. It was intended that the crystal pass on the original members' traits to future Horadrim.
Hatred and Destruction
The first of the Prime Evils to be captured was Mephisto. Prior to this, the Horadrim had made a costly assault on the demon's Fortress of Bone, succeeding only due to being imparted with the knowledge of magical resurrection. But regardless, they did battle with Mephisto, in or around one of the great urban centers of Kehjistan. Mephisto was defeated and his essence was contained, but the fight cost many innocent lives, prompting the Horadrim to vow to avoid confronting a Prime Evil in a populated area.
The task of hunting the Primes was a daunting one, and the mages often lost the demons' trail before picking it up again. In time though, Diablo and Baal ventured across the Twin Seas to the deserts of Aranoch. Baal took refuge inside the city of Lut Gholein for three days, Tal Rasha ordering the Horadrim to wait so that no innocents would be caught in the crossfire. He then headed north into the desert for a few miles before the Horadrim, undeterred by the harsh environment, attacked him again.
Accounts differ on what happened next. The main account states that during the fight, one of Baal's attacks shattered the sacred soulstone that was supposed to imprison him. Tal Rasha however, subdued the raging demon lord and, gathering the largest of the soulstone's shards, trapped Baal's destructive essence within it. Another states that it was Kulle's inability to properly handle the stone in battle that led to its breaking. In truth, the first account appears to have more weight, as Kulle and Tal Rasha jointly wielded the soulstone against Baal, but it was shattered. Baal fled, with Tal Rasha in pursuit, who engaged him in battle until Kulle and the rest of the Horadrim arrived. In a second, equally vicious battle, Baal was subdued, and sealed inside the fragment. Whatever the case, Baal was imprisoned, but the fragmented soulstone could not contain his essence forever, and there wasn't enough time to reformulate it.
While accounts again differ as to whether it was Tal Rasha or Kulle who made the suggestion, the idea was put forward that a human body might be able to contain the demon's essence by fusing a shard to their body. Unfortunately, the host would be left to wrestle with the demon for all eternity. But an instant later, Tal Rasha stepped forward to volunteer. It was at this point that Tyrael appeared, leading the Horadrim to an old burial chamber. A binding stone with runes of containment was built, and Tal Rasha ordered his brethren to chain him to it. As the mages looked on in sorrow, Tyrael jammed the soulstone shard into Tal Rasha's heart, sealing his fate. Sorrowfully, the Horadrim sealed the chamber and departed.
With Tal Rasha's sacrifice, Jered Cain became leader of the Horadrim. He and his surviving brethren began their search for Diablo, following the trail of terror the demon lord left for nearly a decade. Their hunt took them into the western lands of Khanduras where Diablo, along with a demonic army, was finally confronted and imprisoned within his soulstone. The stone was hidden in a labyrinthine cave system near the River Talsande. Tyrael, appearing before the Horadrim for a final time, commended them for their victory, but declared that Diablo's site would have to be guarded for all time. The remaining Horadrim built a small monastery and a series of catacombs within the caves. It was within these catacombs that members of the Horadrim would also be interred.
Their task complete, the Horadrim debated as to what the order should do now that their quest had been completed. Jered declared that records be kept. Rules of conduct were devised, and the rudimentary formalization of the order began in earnest. Some members returned to their homes while others continued to seek out evil in all its incarnations. For all intents and purposes however, the Horadrim as they once were, were no more. Once an order of warrior mages, they steadily made the transition to a society of stoic academics.
At some point some Horadrim trekked up Mount Arreat. They were never heard from again, though Deckard Cain would later reflect that it was unlikely that they met their end at the hands of the Barbarians.
The Hunt for Zoltun Kulle
An exception to the Horadrim's shifting nature was the matter of Zoltun Kulle. Following Diablo's capture, he took leave of the order and returned to Kehjistan to pursue his studies of magic. Little of him was heard for years until reports reached the Horadrim that he had built an archive beneath the desert sands and had begun a number of strange experiments. Experiments that centered around an object called the Black Soulstone. The Horadrim believed that Kulle sought to duplicate the power of the soulstones and wield it for his own ends, an act that would draw the attention of Heaven and Hell and doom them all. They thus agreed to hunt the renegade down. Horadric Mages entered the Library of Zoltun Kulle, but were struck down by Kulle, and resurrected as undead slaves.
Later, the Horadrim entered Kulle's archives. They found traps waiting for them, but they still pressed on. However, they could not kill Kulle himself, as his experiments had granted him immortality, and his soul refused to leave the mortal plane. As such, the Horadrim separated his body, storing his blood at two sites and sealing his body (head removed) in the Shadow Realm. The Horadrim never recovered from the losses Kulle had forced them to bear, and they made an effort to expunge all of Kulle's knowledge from the world.
As the generations passed in Khanduras, the Horadrim diminished in number. With no quests to undertake, and too few sons to replenish their numbers, the Horadric order faded into obscurity. Their greatest fear was that the three Prime Evils would one day reunite. However, they took squabbling among themselves over petty differences, leading to the dissolution of their brotherhood.
It was foretold that the Horadrim would rise again when Sanctuary needed it. By the thirteenth century however, only two Horadrim remained. Aderes Cain and her son, Deckard. One a storyteller, the other unbelieving of his heritage. Over time, he began to see the truth in the tales his mother had told him, but by then, it was too late. The Prime Evils arose, and while a new group of heroes (with Cain's help) were able to defeat them, it was not without great cost to the world.
Legacy of the Horadrim
In 1270, the Memory of Iben Fahd contacted and guided a hero/group of heroes to his sanctum, located under Westmarch. It was there, Fahd explained, that the Horadrim had imparted their essence into the crystal in preparation for new Horadrim to follow them. The hero(es) engaged in a series of trials, as other Horadric memories were restored to the sanctum. In doing so, the aspirants' knowledge and power grew.
Last of the Horadrim
The principles of the order survived with the First Ones. However, with the deaths of Deckard Cain and his adopted daughter Leah however, twenty years later, the Order appeared to cease to exist.
After the defeat of the Prime Evil at the hands of the Nephalem, Tyrael refounded the Horadrim order. After perusing Deckard Cain's journals, Tyrael discovered the existence of a group of scholars calling themselves the First Ones. These reclusive scholars, based in Gea Kul, had dedicated their lives to the study of ancient and hidden Horadric texts. Tyrael recruited the First Ones, along with mages and warriors from other orders, to reform the Horadrim. They aided him in hiding the Black Soulstone, but were attacked shortly afterwards by Malthael, former Archangel of Wisdom. Despite their efforts, many fell to the fallen angel's blades, and the soulstone was taken. One of their number was sent to find Tyrael's nephalem ally and aid in stopping the Reapers.
By this time the group had also sent an expedition to the Skovos Isles which had failed to return. It also maintained a chapter in Khanduras, which advised its citizens to stay indoors in light of sightings of demonic bovines.
Some time after the defeat of Malthael, the Horadrim received word of a new evil that had stirred in the Shrouded Moors, drawing in followers with unsettling desires. The Nephalem traveled to the Moors and entered the Temple of the Firstborn, where they uncovered and defeated Vidian.
A Second Decline
The new order of Horadrim quickly declined, and its numbers dwindled.
Decades after their reformation, the Horadrim remained active, but only to a point. By the time of Lilith's return to Sanctuary, the Horadrim had been reduced to "mad old men talking to themselves, talking to graves, clutching their bottles as hard as they want to clutch their swords."
The Horadrim gathered relics from the far reaches of the world. So many, in fact, that many were never identified. Within their monasteries, the Horadrim amassed treasures great and small. But as the Order was forgotten, so were its secrets.
Tomes and Literature
The Horadrim compiled a vast deal of lore, but while the libraries of the East keep guard over many magical tomes, it is believed that much Horadric knowledge has been lost, though much was compiled by Deckard Cain. Known Horadric tomes include:
- Book of Cain
- Ex Libris Horadrim
- Horadric Bestiary
- Horadric Scroll
- Librarius Ex Horadrim
- The Nature of the Soulstones
The first group of Horadrim were small in number, accounts differing as to whether that number was seven or twelve (both may be correct if one includes escorts and apprentices among the tally). The Dark Exile Scrolls mentions ten Horadrim in the original group, and mentions blacksmiths being part of the group. It appears that in addition to the magic-users, the Horadrim made use of foot-soldiers, equipped with spears.
- Iben Fahd
- Jered Cain (rank of initiate, leader after Tal Rasha)
- Nor Tiraj (acolyte)
- Tal Rasha (rank of initiate, original leader)
- Tyrael (founder)
- Zoltun Kulle
Subsequent Members/Descendents (Original Group)
New Order Members
- Tyrael (founder)
- Jacob Staalek
- Lorath Nahr
- Thomas (deceased)
- Prior to retcon by the Sin War novel trilogy, the Horadrim were present and played a role during the Sin War.
- In the Sin War tome found in Diablo I, angels who were in search for of the Three Brothers allied themselves with a secretive order of mages called the Horadrim (which was founded by Tyrael).
- This is further supported by the Diablo II manual, where the Horadrim devised waypoints during the Sin War. Additionally in game, Deckard Cain mentioned the Horadric Malus was also forged during the Sin War.
- Following the Diablo I and II lore retcon, the Dark Exile was demarcated as a separate event after, instead of a part of, the Sin War.
- In a 2019 update post for Diablo Immortal, it was stated that the player character(s) would ally with the "remnants of the Horadrim." This does not appear to be the case in the final product, though the line could refer to Deckard Cain and/or the Horadric memories encountered in the Legacy of the Horadrim system.
- Horadric cosmetic sets will be available in Diablo Immortal if the game's pre-orders surpass 30 million. To don the set, one must pre-order the game, and complete the game's tutorial within 30 days of the game's release.
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- Diablo: Tales from the Horadric Library, Amazon.com. Accessed on 2022-01-22
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- Book of Cain
- 2015-07-28, Patch 2.3.0 Preview: Kanai's Cube. YouTube, accessed on 2015-08-31
- 2015-07-28, PATCH 2.3.0 PREVIEW: KANAI'S CUBE. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-08-02
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- Cite error: Invalid
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- Diablo Immortal, Fallen Horadrim
- Diablo III, Hunter's Journal
- Diablo III, Act II, Betrayer of the Horadrim
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