The Mage Clan Wars refers to the conflict between the three most prominent Mage Clans at the time of its occurence— the Vizjerei, the Ennead, and the Ammuit, though the Druids and Priests of Rathma also appear to have taken part.
In the decades after the Sin War, the Mage Clans reasserted the control they once held over the east. Taking heed of the events, the Ennead and Ammuit declared that no mage clan would ever summon another demon into Sanctuary, that Heaven and Hell had to stay out of mortal affairs however. In the midst of this period, the third clan, the Vizjerei, rose to greatest success. Operating under close scrutiny, the Vizjerei ranks soon included thousands of active Sorcerers.
In the year -264, the truth became known to the Ennead, as one of their sources within the Vizjerei reported seeing a ritual of summoning in the depths of the Yshari Sanctum. Assassins were assigned to target key Vizjerei members, where the Vizjerei targeted key Ennead and Ammuit figures in retaliation. The situation further deteriorated where a heated meeting in the Al'Raquish erupted into a battle that resulted in multiple deaths. With the violence coming out into the open, the Ennead and Ammuit stormed the main Vizjerei academy at Viz-jun. By the time the dust cleared, the academy had been leveled, and not a single Vizjerei mage was left alive.
The battle was over. But the Mage Clan Wars had begun.
"My mother told me not to join the mages' army. I should have listened. In the morning they're sending the infantry against the Vizjerei. I don't know how we're supposed to survive. Maybe we're not. It's so beautiful here. Maybe if I hid in the trees, they wouldn't notice me."
— The journal of a Mage Clans soldier during the war(src)
As battles raged across Kehjistan, the Vizjerei Ruling Council fled Viz-jun, went into hiding, and began consolidating its forces. Vizjerei summoned giant demons to guard their estates. Caldeum declared its neutrality and escaped the conflict unscathed. Over the next seven years, the combined Ennead and Ammuit forces won several victories against isolated Vizjerei pockets before directing the entirety of their combined might against the Vizjerei's main force. Regular soldiers were used by the Mage Clans. During the height of the war, the Vizjerei began feeling the stress of long struggle. One Vizjerei faction resolved to create an army of demon-possessed victims, and the peaceful Umbaru people of Teganze seemed to be the ideal subjects. Over the course of a few decades, as Umbaru were taken by Vizjerei and turned into khazra, the once peaceful Umbraru-Vizjerei relations had turned into outright war. Over the next two centuries, the khazra would continue to plague the Vizjerei.
After seven years of war, the Vizjerei were hopelessly outnumbered and on the verge of defeat. Thus, they played their trump card—summoned demons. In an instant, the tide turned as creatures of the Burning Hells cut their way through the Ennead and Ammuit ranks, allowing the Vizjerei to drive their foes all the way back to Viz-jun.
The Tale of Bartuc and Horazon
Although the Vizjerei were willing to utilize demons to achieve their goals, differences of opinion existed as to how this would be carried out. The siblings Horazon and Bartuc, both Vizjerei mages, exemplified this. Horazon believed that while demons were a great source of power, they had to be bent to one's will. The process of breaking a demon's will was a great delight to Horazon. In contrast, Bartuc grew to sympathize with the demons. With no small amount of influence from them, he believed that demonkind would be best understood through an outright alliance with them, so their secrets could be shared freely.
Nonetheless, Bartuc continued the war, earning the title of "Warlord of Blood." Demonic corruption spread through the Vizjerei and the hellspawn he summoned lacked any kind of control, and destroyed everything in their path. Bartuc was not dismayed though—he viewed demons as humankind's masters, and that loyalty to them would be genorously rewarded. Horazon, however, realized that Bartuc's path would only lead to ruin. Even if the Vizjerei won the war, there would be nothing of civilization left, that the clan's only legacy would be death or enslavement to the Burning Hells.
The Battle of Viz-jun
"At the gates of Viz-jun, carnage gave way to chaos as binding spells broke. Great horned monstrosities rent flesh, bone, stone, and mortar. Walls tumbled, corpse mounds rose, and a red haze obscured all. It is said by the most gifted necromancers that the horror of that final conflict left an indeliable stain upon the fabric of our world."
In the final stages of the war, as victory seemed assured, the Vizjerei Council resolved to remove Bartuc from command due to his acts of depravity. With the philosophical schism of Horazon and Bartuc coming to a head, the Vizjerei fell into civil war, as Bartuc turned his forces against his own people. He reguarly used the tactic of moving his forces in a circular pattern, trying to cause as much destruction as possible. He would raid undefended villages, cutting off support for walled towns before moving against them. After many hard fought battles, Bartuc's contingent gained the upperhand, and he set his armies against Viz-jun. Demons were unleashed upon the city, tearing through both men and the city's walls. Corpses piled up in mounds, and a red haze obscured the battlefield. The Vizjerei summoned their own demons to battle Bartuc, but they ended up turning on their summoners, and they found themselves unable to banish them from the mortal realm. The Vizjerei outnumbered Bartuc's army 10:1, but they lost one third of their number during the battle, and if not for the "lesser clans" that followed them, they would have been wiped out. But ultimately, the end of the war would be decided by Horazon and Bartuc themselves.
The battle between the siblings took place just outside the towering gates. Horazon, appearing at the eleventh hour, rose to answer Bartuc's challenge. The cataclysmic battle that resulted brought the walls of the city down around them. In the midst of this, the hero Telranden led a charge that saved many lives. Yet the city was leveled, and the death toll numbered in the hundreds of thousands. And yet the brothers battled, realizing too late that they had both been played for fools by demons. Yet as the smoke cleared, Bartuc lay dead, with Horazon standing over his brother's corpse.
The war was over.
Aftermath and Legacy
"But so many stories have been told since the Vizjerei started supposedly summoning demons from other worlds. Some of the stories are based on incidents that may or may not have involved demons, but many are total fabrications. Or a story has been fractured, retold, and made more current. Old wives' tales."
The grieving Horazon was aware that as long as the agents of the Burning Hells had access to Sanctuary, the corruption of hearts and civilizations would never cease. Following the battle, he crafted for himself the Arcane Sanctuary, a place where the agents of Hell could never find him. For their part, the Vizjerei resolved to forevermore spurn demonic magic and instead focus their studies on elemental magic. To further ensure that a tragedy of this magnitude would never be repeated, the Viz-Jaq'taar were formed, an order of mage slayers known as "assassins." Furthermore, a small number of academies were set up to faciliate the training of future Mages, so that the indiscretions of the Vizjerei could be avoided. A number of mage lords became wanderers after the war's end, trying to "rediscover what was real" (i.e. re-evaluate what they knew about magic).
Yet it was too little too late. Once, mages had been revered in eastern culture, but faced with the events that had occurred, the people of Kehjistan turned against them. Many mages were exiled, or even executed, and while the Vizjerei survived as a group, they were but a shadow of their former selves. With the exception of the Yshari Sanctum, the mages' holdings and bastions were pulled down and burnt by the angry citizenry, along with all the knowledge they had collected. Laws were passed against the use of magic and ultimately, the Age of Magic was replaced by what would become known as the Age of Faith. Even over a 1000 years after the war's end, there existed stories of corrupt Vizjerei who had once again turned to Hell as a source of power. But likewise, memories of the Vizjerei's actual summoning of demons faded, and some were attributed to more mundane events, or regarded as fabrications.
Kehjistan would never regain the glory it had possessed prior to the wars, and much of the land was left bristling with untamed magical energies. While much of this dissipated over time, some had effects upon the landscape and creatures of the land's jungles. Trees and vines would grow to unusual size, rivers and swamps would appear overnight, and once innocuous creatures would gain dangerous abilities with an appetite to match.
The demons the Vizjerei summoned to guard their estates continued to patrol the deserts of Kehjistan. After years of patrolling the desert sands, the demons' hides became thick as stone and caked with grit. Over a thousand years later, these demons could still be found wandering the desert, with only the glowing runes on their skulls belying their origins.
According to senior Necromancers, the events at Viz-jun 'stained' the fabric of reality in Sanctuary, said stain remaining even over a millennium after the conflict's conclusion. Tyrael claimed something similar, that the results of the war made it easier for demons to manifest themselves upon Sanctuary.
- The conflict bears resemblance to the War of the Ancients from Warcraft—both storylines are sparked by consorting with demons, and both involve a clash between two brothers/friends.
- In Diablo II, Drognan mentions that the wars (specifically Horazon's rise) occurred "nearly a thousand years ago." This roughly correlates with the novel Demonsbane, which puts the events at over 900 years before the events of Diablo II. This information was apparently retconned in Book of Tyrael, where, via absolute dates, pushes the conflict as occurring over 1400 years before the events of Diablo II.
- Book of Tyrael
- Diablo II, Lord of Destruction
- Oblivion Knight, The Arreat Summit. Accessed on 2014-09-25
- Book of Cain
- Diablo III, Sand Dweller
- Diablo III, An Abridged History of Caldeum
- Diablo III, Crumbling Journal
- Diablo III, On the Desolate Sands
- Diablo II: Lord of Destruction Manual
- Diablo III, Telranden's Hand
- 2018-11-06, DIABLO IMMORTAL: CLASSES, ABILITIES, WORLD, AND Q&A AT BLIZZCON 2018. Blizzpro, accessed on 2018-11-13
- Legacy of Blood
- The Black Road
- Legacy of Blood
- Frog Demon, The Arreat Summit. Accessed on 2016-07-18