The Burning Hells
The Burning Hells are the home of the Demons, chaotic beings devoted to evil. The Burning Hells themselves sprang from the rotten, stinking husk of the great seven-headed dragon Tathamet, the Beast, a being of perfect evil formed from the discarded dissonance of the One, Anu. They are a series of tortured realms, ranging from dead and dusty ruins, to lava engulfed, burning chasms. The Hells are host to trapped souls, variously chained and writhing in endless torment or burning in endless lakes of fire.
Demons are born from the hide of the Tathamet. They are creatures of chaos, the antithesis of the angels of the High Heavens. They take many forms; from huge, corpulent mountains of stinking flesh to towering, muscular fire-breathing engines of death to hideous insect-like scything terrors. As angels inspire a sense of awe in mortals, so too do demons exude an aura of menace or dark seductiveness.
The Lords of the Burning Hells
Demons scheme and fight amongst themselves for power and also the favor of those demons more powerful. The most powerful demons were formed from the seven heads of Tathamet, and are known collectively as the Great Evils. Beings of supreme viciousness, infernal strength and devious cunning, the Great Evils are comprised of the three most powerful, the Prime Evils and their four brethren, the Lesser Evils.
The Prime Evils, also known as the Three Brothers, are:
Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred
Dul’Mephistos, the Lord of Hatred is regarded as the de facto leader of the Burning Hells – a first-among-equals. It is Mephisto’s greatest desire to sow discord and mistrust, to pit societies against each other and to fuel the flames of hatred in eternal conflict. A master strategist, Mephisto’s seething hatred is directed at all around him, but he sees the inhabitants of Sanctuary as weapons to be forged in his likeness and eventually directed at those he loathes most – the Angels of the High Heavens.
Baal, the Lord of Destruction
Tor’Baalos, the Lord of Destruction revels in the annihilation of the world around him and all those who inhabit it. Baal assaulted the barbarian protectorate of Mount Arreat and corrupted the Worldstone contained there which ultimately led to its destruction at the hands of the Archangel Tyrael.
Diablo, the Lord of Terror
Al’Diabolos, the Lord of Terror is generally accepted as the youngest of the Prime Evils, though such things as ‘age’ as humans know it cannot really be said to apply to demons. He is also the most creative and farsighted of the Three. He is devoted to inspiring pure terror in those around him and chief amongst his tools to achieve this aim is his ability to plumb the depths of his victims’ minds and latch onto their most primal fears. An artist of fear, Diablo takes great pleasure in the terror he is able to instill, counting it a greater reward than the pain his victims suffer when they are finally broken.
Compared to the Prime Evils, little is known of the so-called Lesser Evils. The demons known collectively as the Lesser Evils are:
Belial, the Lord of Lies
Belial, the Lord of Lies is a master of deception, with the goal of controlling others’ perceptions of what is real. His weakness is, perhaps, that his machinations also sometimes entrap him in his own deceptive web.
Azmodan, the Lord of Sin
The Lord of Sin, Azmodan, is a master of vice and corruption. He is, by far, the most seductive of all the Evils. He exists only to shred morality; to push boundaries to their outermost limit of depravity, but his greatest satisfaction is reserved for the gratification he derives from the failure of others.
Andariel, the Maiden of Anguish
Andariel, the Maiden of Anguish is concerned with the infliction of emotional torment and agony. She delights in manipulation and loves seeing creatures reduced to wrecks by their own inner torments. Andariel abhors isolation and seems driven to sustain herself on the suffering and tragedy of others.
Duriel, the Lord of Pain
Duriel, the Maggot King, brother to Andariel, is the Lord of Pain. His prime interest lies in pure physical torment. It is said of this said of this sadistic creature, that if there are no nearby victims upon which to inflict his torture, he will subject himself to the most excruciating pain and thus be sated.
One should not lightly dismiss the Lesser Evils as mere lickspittles of the Prime Evils. Each of them are mighty beings of infernal strength, cunning and ferocity. Indeed, by their combined might, the forces of the Lesser Evils and their subordinates were able to drive the Prime Evils from their positions as the Rulers of the Burning Hells and banish them to the mortal realm of Sanctuary. This event, the culmination of the terrible civil war in the Hells, is known as the Dark Exile and concluded in the events of the first two Diablo games.
At the beginning of the events of Diablo 3, the only remaining Lords of Hell are Belial and Azmodan. The others, as a result of the events in the preceding games, have had their physical forms destroyed with their fates being revealed in the events of Diablo 3.