Mizor (Act V)
That stupid angel. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Baal was still in the mortal world, he had not joined his younger brother in Hell. While Mizor was making his way down to Diablo's fortress, the last of the Three had recovered his soulstone, and with his power complete, raised up an army and marched into the northern mountains. Tyrael knew perfectly what was hidden there, and that Mizor's people were sworn to protect it at all costs. So, once he discovered this, why hadn't Tyrael told Mizor? Diablo could sit in his fortress and raise armies forever, he didn't matter as long as the secret was intact. But if Baal fought his way into the sacred mountain, defeating Diablo and Mephisto would be meaningless.
Mizor grumbled and swore and snarled all the way into Harrogath, the Barbarian citadel which protected the least inaccessible slope of Mount Arreat. Of course, Mizor had never been there before. Druids were not welcome in Harrogath, they had severed their ties with the Barbarian tribes centuries ago, and only Barbarians are allowed on Arreat, under penalty of death. In his present mood, Mizor would have welcomed a fight, but they did not get one. The citadel was strangely empty. Looking around, fur bristling with exasperation, Mizor heard the clash of weapons and cries of pain, but they were faint and far away. Wait, there was someone moving over there. An old woman.
Malah: "I, Malah, welcome you to Harrogath. Another warrior will be very helpful in the siege, and when we must, which will be soon, we can eat your pet bears."
Paige: "Do I look that authoritative? The tall one's the boss. A Druid. Skinchanger. You know?"
Malah: "Oh, no, the Druids would not come to Harrogath. They will not come to Arreat until the final assault, which heralds the end of the world."
Mizor: "Wwiresess." (This lady needs glasses.)
Paige: "Don't you people kill lowlanders who come up here?"
Malah: "We kill anyone who comes here, that is our duty. We defend the sacred mountain against all who would even look upon it, for no one knows by what foul means evil may creep in."
Mizor: "Rrrrowllgehhs." (I told you Barbarians are a bunch of meat-heads.)
Paige: "Look, is there someone in charge we can talk to?"
Malah: "Qual-kehk is our senior man-at-arms. The last of our elders is Nihlathak. All of the others sacrificed themselves to place a spell over the citadel, which has prevented Baals forces from overrunning us."
Paige: "Ok, that explains why the place is still standing."
Malah: "Rather than the quick death of the sword, we are condemned to the slow death of starvation under siege. While Baal's forces cannot enter, we cannot leave to find food except under their blades and missiles. If you can help us, please, I beg of you, see Qual-kehk."
The central square had a well, Deckard Cain, and a huge man in bronze armor with a flowing white beard. He recognized Mizor for what he was, and was not happy about it, but there wasn't much he could do. His warriors were either dying in the field, or having their broken limbs and lacerated flesh mended by Malah. More warriors were desperately needed, even if they were outlanders, to catch Baal. The demon lord, seeing the spell protecting the citadel, had merely laughed and gone around it, leaving a token force to lay siege while he went up the mountain. Qual-kehk's forces had been unable to break the siege; Baal had great machines, with living flesh laced through steel and bronze, hurling magical bombs. His forces seemed numberless, and feasted on the dead all night while the Barbarians were lucky to come home with a few rabbits. Trapped in Harrogath, they couldn't even reach Baal, much less stop him from reaching Arreat's holy summit.
Off to one side of the square, a sickly-looking man stood sneering beside a fire. He looked older than Qual-kehk; this must be Nihlathak. On first sight, Mizor felt like smashing his head off and pounding him into jelly. But the others in town might take the open murder of their last remaining elder amiss, so Mizor simply refrained from speaking to him. A huge man, wider than Mizor but not nearly so tall, was the town's blacksmith; he told Mizor that the way to gain Qual-kehk's trust was to lift the siege by killing Shenk, the general overseer. He was leading from the rear, behind all the catapults. Gaining Qual-kehk's trust was not high on Mizor's list of priorities. His people were the true defenders of Arreat, the Barbarian tribes had chosen the wrong path centuries ago. But Baal must be stopped, for no better reason than the fact that he had no right to defile the sacred mountain with his presence.
Outside Harrogath's gates, the demons had taken over some old fortifications the Barbarians had built, and Qual-kehk's few remaining warriors fought singly against large groups of demons. It was pathetic. Stomping his way up the mountain, Mizor began collecting Barbarians, none of whom said a word of thanks, that would have hurt their precious pride. All of them eventually died, usually by charging headfirst into a group of demons far too large for them to handle. Some were killed by the catapults, which simply weren't a threat if you moved quickly enough. Moving steadily upslope, smashing catapults and collecting rabbits (there were a lot of very cute bunny rabbits hopping around in the middle of the war zone), they eventually found Shenk, a huge, corpulent, bloated pile of squealing blubber cowering behind a crowd of minions. The only difficulty in killing him was pounding through all the thick layers of fat. They practically had to strip him to the bone to reach vulnerable spots. Without exception, it was the single most disgusting kill Mizor had ever had to make; with any luck, he'd never see another such creature ever again.
Beyond the hills outside Harrogath, a frigid, windy highland held Mount Arreat's first waypoint. After returning to town, Qual-kehk sought Mizor out. The Barbarians Mizor had met spoke well of him when they returned to town. This was a bit surprising, they had seemed like a tight-lipped bunch while Mizor was saving their skins. Maybe it was just their wounded pride, seeing Mizor and Paige wade through Baal's forces, accomplishing what they could not. To keep peace, Mizor decided not to tell Qual-kehk that breaking the siege was actually fairly easy. He'd even been able to restock most of his potion supply.
The return of living, healthy warriors (as well as enough rabbits to feed everyone) should have cheered Qual-kehk, but he gave no sign. Instead, he imperiously informed Mizor that he had another test for him. Many of his men had been captured alive, and were being held in cages the Barbarians themselves had built in their highland fortifications. Not that they were going to be ransomed or anything; they were destined to be lunch. If Mizor freed them all... then perhaps Qual-kehk might be impressed. A little. Well, of course, impressing Qual-kehk was so terribly important, Mizor was perfectly willing to forget all about that business with Baal and hop right to it.
Grumbling, Mizor went back to the waypoint and started up the mountain. Immediately, they were set upon by... not the little sword swingers, but even littler teleporting guys with big foreheads. And boy, were they annoying! Mizor would run up to one, it would poot away and reappear elsewhere, throwing little balls of energy. They didn't hurt much, but it took forever to run them down. Hitting one with a shockwave first helped, but was very tiring. Paige was having a lot more luck with her bow; handy things, opposable thumbs. The teleporting imps were more dangerous when they had another creature to work with, huge, heavily armored horned beasts with a box up on their backs. Up there, they had magic things that shot jets of flame, and could hurt you if you stayed in one place.
Slowly making their way up the frigid highland slopes, they came to a line of fortifications, with walls, towers, and trenches full of sharp wooden stakes. They looked very old, like they'd been prepared centuries before. The imps had flame jetters up in the towers, but they were easy enough to knock over. In the middle of the fort, a fragile-looking cage held a bunch of men, who were crying out for help. The imps and some of the little sword-swingers were trying to kill them as Mizor approached; he obviously couldn't let that happen, so Mizor charged in and bashed into the cage wall. Ouch. Sturdier than it looked. The door wasn't so well attached, and once it was gone, the Barbarians left through a town portal. Hmmm. The prison must prevent them from reading portal scrolls with the door closed; where they'd hidden a scroll from the demons, Mizor didn't want to think about.
The highlands were extensive, but Mizor just led his company upslope, killing imps every step of the way. They were no real threat, but so annoying, Mizor wondered if their sole reason for existing was to irritate heroes. After fighting through some more forts, and freeing more prisoners, they found a long-overdue waypoint. Qual-kehk was grateful for the rescue of his men; he almost smiled, and gave Mizor some rune stones he wasn't using. Mizor couldn't see any use for them either; they did spell one of the sacred words, but in a shield, and shields were of little use to him. One of the rescued Barbarians offered his services.
Karnac: "Look at these muscles! (FLEX!!!) Look at that power! Why are ye takin' a wee slip of a girl with ye against the forces o' Hell? This is a job for men!"
Mizor: (Does his best to convey how unimpressed he is.)
Paige: "How good a shot are you? Can you fire chilling arrows?"
Karnac: "That's sissy stuff! Look at this!" (Breaks a solid beam in half with his head.)
Mizor: "Ageuusdrred." (Paige knows better uses for her head.)
Karnac: "What was that?"
Paige: "He says I know better things to do with my head."
Karnac: "No, he didn't. I don't know what he said, but it wasn't that!"
Mizor: (Raises an eyebrow.) "Oossnmmrrre?"
Karnac: (Looks confused.) "Could ye repeat that, maybe?"
Mizor: (Pats Paige's shoulder and grins.)
Paige: "Looks like I've got job security."
Mizor: "Hhwaraaoges?" (Do you want to go back to the Rogues?)
Paige: "Nah. Kashya's a bitch. Besides, none of them like to go shopping as much as you."
Beyond the highlands was a flat plateau, with more fortifications, imps, sword-swingers, and a lot of huge, fat commander beasts. This must be some sort of staging area, to have all these officers. Most of the fat bastards were no challenge, but they could whip their tiny minions into a frenzy; the minion's body actually swelled up with explosive energy. The resulting boom killed the little guy, of course, though this didn't upset them too much. Mizor didn't like it at all, that suicide blast really hurt him, but not Bear or Paige. On one return trip to town, Malah had a talk with Paige.
Malah: "There is a matter which I hesitate to speak of..."
Paige: "No sweat. Do you need some more superheals?"
Malah: "It is about Anya, the daughter of our chief elder. Her father sacrificed himself to place the protective ward around the citadel, and Anya was the only one left of the chiefly line. But she has been missing for some time."
Paige: "Well... a lot of people look like they're missing... I mean, a city needs more women than I've seen around here."
Malah: "One night, just before your arrival, I overheard her and Nihlathak arguing about her father's death. The next morning she was gone."
Paige: "What, that pale skinny guy? With the bones sewn into his clothes? I don't know why anyone wants anything to do with him, he gives me the creeps."
Malah: "He has his own story of what became of her, and claims that she is dead. The last daughter of the chief of Harrogath would not die easily."
Paige: "Chief's daughters die as easily as anyone else, that's not hard to imagine."
Malah: "I know that she is alive! You must find Anya, she knows many things which may be of use to you."
Mizor: "Hrrukn?" (Like Cain?) (Rolls his eyes.)
Paige: "Uh... yeah. We'll talk to Nihlathak. And find Anya."
Mizor: "Rrrrrwseor." (Or what's left of her.)
Mizor: "Aawwnakaakl." (I don't want to talk to Nihlathak.)
Paige: "Come on. Be nice to Malah."
Mizor: "Aawmmsls." (I don't like the way he smells.)
Paige: "Well, I don't like the way you smell. I don't like the way anyone up here smells. But I've got to admit, Nihlathak does smell pretty strange."
Mizor: "Sssmmrzbee." (He smells like a zombie.)
Paige: "Kind of. He smells more like a rat."
Mizor: "Rrrrmass." (I've met many much nicer rats.)
Paige: "They were probably poorer conversationalists. Look, Malah is old, even if we get Baal, she's not long for the world. It would be nice if she at least knew what happened to this Anya person. Someone should get some peace of mind, somehow."
Mizor: "Hwwme?" (What about me?)
Paige: "You get to make peace. Hello, elder Nihlathak."
Nihlathak: "Well, well, our little siege-breakers. So kind of you to deign to visit. How may I be of service to our illustrious guests?"
Paige: "We were kind of wondering, about someone missing from the citadel..."
Nihlathak: "Many are missing from our city. You may have heard something about them being dead. This happens, during war. However, we are not eager to repopulate with nosy outlanders, or their trained animals."
Mizor: (Oh so dearly and desperately wants to smash his smirking face in.)
Paige: "We heard about someone specific... named Anya?"
Nihlathak: "You've been talking with Malah, haven't you? What has she been telling you?"
Mizor: "Whaaookassd." (That you're a creepy, sneaky bastard.)
Nihlathak: "Never mind, I know what she's been saying. Yes, Anya. The darling daughter of our dear departed high chief. A true princess. She and I had an argument about 'daddy', and she stormed off when I did not agree that dying was the best thing I could have done for our land. Unfortunately, her temper led her outside the gates. She was a headstrong girl, and must have thought the invading army would never dare disturb her in her royal sulk."
Paige: "She stormed off outside the gates? She opened the gates?"
Mizor: "Hhhrronnaarnng." (Headstrong and arm-strong.)
Nihlathak: "I am quite sure she is now a nutritional supplement. Despite what Malah thinks, a poor temper is not a sign of an indomitable spirit. And neither will save you from a blade."
Further conversation seemed pointless. Mizor thought the rats were better company. With no idea what Anya looked like, they could never identify her among the mangled corpses outside the gates, so she might actually be there. But Nihlathak's saying she was dead was good evidence that she was really alive, in Mizor's opinion. Back on the plateau, they fought up to a glacial wall, solid ice blocking the path. At the base of the glacier was a small cave, and an urn. An evil urn, it looked like. What was so evil about it? When Mizor opened it, he found Tancred's Hobnails and a few large spiders, which wandered around on the ice and looked very sad before they froze to death.
Going under the glacier, into a long passage made of beautiful crystalline ice, Mizor looked at the Hobnails. They weren't great, but he'd found many artifacts of name on Arreat. The Arctic Furs (where else?), Death's Guard, Isenhart's Case, Angelic Raiment, the General's Tan Do Li something... the Barbarians had collected a lot of legendary equipment. There were bull-men under the glacier, heavily armored and swinging huge axes, one in each hand. Was there no shortage of evil animal people? More bulls appeared when Mizor opened an evil urn; maybe that's what was evil about them, the bulls were genuinely dangerous.
Down at the very base of the ice, by a river of meltwater, Mizor found another evil urn. After clearing the immediate area, he opened it, summoning up a lightning enchanted Yeti, but Bear ran off and found an extra-fast minotaur at the same time. Stupid bear. Stupid bear, have to fight both packs, stupid bear, don't die Paige, here's a potion, stupid bear, stay away from the lightning enchanted one, there goes the Spirit...
Paige: "Dammit, stupid bear!"
Paige: "No, the other one!"
Paige did not die, and neither did Bear, though it might have taught him some sense. Further up the river, near where it came out from under the ice, they found a huge pack of Yetis, led by a chief. Bear, by way of apology, killed the chief Yeti, Frozenstein, all by himself. Paige even scratched his ears to show he was forgiven. The Yeti were guarding someone, a Barbarian woman frozen in a shell of ice; it was Anya, and Nihlathak had done this to her to get her out of the way. Malah quickly whipped up a mega-thawing potion, and Anya went back to town through a portal. Everyone uses those things these days.
Malah: "Bless you and thank you, great hero. This is an ancient scroll of resistance I had at the bottom of an old trunk. I hope it will be of use to you."
Mizor: "Waaahgh! Waahttaihm?" (Wow! Can I go through your attic sometime?)
Anya: "And thank you, hero, for rescuing me. Here is a token of my appreciation, I had it custom made for you, by Larzuk." (Hands Mizor a fairly useless rare wolf pelt.)
Mizor: (Gee, I thought only we knew how to make these things.)
Anya: "Nihlathak negotiated with Baal. In exchange for sparing Harrogath, Nihlathak is going to give Baal our most holy totem, which would allow him to pass the summit of Mount Arreat unchallenged! He could just walk in!"
Anya: "Through this red portal, Nihlathak's... (Mizor grabs Paige and runs through the portal.) Uh, well, never mind, you'll find out."
Dammit, dammit, dammit! The Nephilim were at the summit, and Mizor had been counting on them to buy some time, surely they'd be able to at least delay Baal for a while. But if Baal didn't need to get through their challenge, and Mizor did, he'd never catch him! Maybe the Guardians would be sensible and ignore the totem, and attack Baal anyway. Maybe they'd be kind enough to let Mizor in, despite not having the totem. And maybe Mizor could grow wings and fly up to the summit, if he found enough magic pixie dust.
Beyond the red gate was Nihlathak's temple. The place was just dripping with zombies, real lively ones too. They'd even get up to a run occasionally, and you never knew when they were really dead for good. Down at the bottom of the temple, they found Nihlathak, with a crew of little sword-swingers and a huge group of Succubi. Mizor didn't ask what he was doing with so many Succubi -- you'd think one would be enough for any man -- he charged.
When the little guys started dying, Nihlathak laughed (a lot like Izual laughed) and the corpses started popping like overripe blueberries. Dammit, he wasn't an elder, he was a necromancer! Cursed filth-drenched unnatural unsanitary necromancer desperately needs to get some death of his own, and Mizor was just the one to dish some high grade carnage out, except that those corpse explosions hurt a lot... so he ran around, feeling no compunction about blindsiding necro-boy at all. Soon, even without Mizor on his scrawny behind, Nihlathak ran out of corpses, saw the light of reason, and kicked the bucket in a truly spectacular way. Hell opened up beneath him, stripped the flesh from his bones, and sucked him down into the inferno's maw. Unfortunately, he probably wasn't headed for real punishment down there. Most likely some kind of desk job. The Ancient's totem wasn't in the temple. Nihlathak had already given it to Baal.
Well, that's that. All hope is lost. Mizor knew far too much to think otherwise. The college of Druids was certain, inside Mount Arreat is the Worldstone, the very soul of Nature herself. How it was, no one could say, but it was, and that was the only thing that was important. Very soon, it would no longer be. Baal would enter unchallenged, leaving hordes of demons behind him to slow any pursuit to a crawl, and then... if the Worldstone was a soulstone, like the small ones used to contain the Three, Baal would corrupt it. Corrupting Nature at her very heart... the world was doomed, utterly doomed.
Sitting in Harrogath, drawing a bucket of icy water from their well, Mizor wondered if there was anything stronger to drink in town. When the end came, he didn't want to be awake and aware for it. He'd seen so much terror since he began the quest, surely he was entitled to a little peaceful oblivion before death swept over them all. Paige didn't seem to think so, she kept prodding him with her bow and telling him they had to go get Baal. Mizor explained that there was no point, but she just wouldn't listen; it was beginning to irritate him. They had nearly come to blows when Cain wandered by.
Cain: "Hello! I have been speaking with Anya. Ah, what a fine example of feminine strength. She reminds me of the priestesses of Zakarum I knew in my youth. They don't take vows of chastity, you know."
Mizor: "Wumph." (Whatever.)
Paige: "Cain, please, tell him we need to go! Baal has to be stopped."
Cain: "Of course he must be stopped. Even if Baal is able to pass the summit of Mount Arreat, he must not be given time within it. Though neither Anya nor you will tell me exactly what is inside Mount Arreat, surely, Baal will need time to do what he wants." Mizor: "Hmmm..."
Cain: "Baal has not had so much time as Diablo, and it is possible that even now, you will be able to catch him before he reaches his goal. You have been no more than one step behind him for so long, surely, you can overtake him with a little more effort."
Mizor: (Stands up.) "Rrrassoreaie!" (It's that or sit here and die!)
Paige: "Yeah! Come on!"
Off to the waypoint they went. Through the crystalline passage, they found a narrow trail under the glacier, which led out onto a high frozen tundra. They were all running now, shooting and mauling and chomping their way through hordes of monsters. There were big frozen creeping things that chilled them with their breath, more minotaurs and icy-cold zombies, and more imps than you could smash in one lifetime, though Mizor tried. Some of the little ones wound up getting eaten alive, literally, Mizor was that upset. Maybe Mizor, Paige, and everyone else in all creation would die. But what was the point of sitting and waiting for it? This way, there was a chance, and even if he didn't make it in time, Mizor could still smash Baal for fun, or revenge.
Another tunnel under a second glacier led steeply upwards. On a trip back to town, Qual-kehk spoke with Mizor, to warn him of what was ahead. The Ancient Ones would surely test him, before allowing him into the Worldstone chamber, and they were mighty indeed. While Qual-kehk had never dared venture to the summit himself, a very few others had; some now served within the Worldstone Keep, others, no one ever heard from again. The Ancients were the ancestors, and the gods, of all the Barbarian clans; only honorable combat would prove Mizor worthy to enter their realm.
Mizor: (Looks at Paige.)
Paige: "Should I stay home?"
Qual-kehk: "What do you mean?"
Paige: "You said honorable combat. Is hired help honorable?"
Qual-kehk: (Laughs.) "Your presence will make little difference to the Ancient Ones."
Paige: "Gee, thanks a lot."
Qual-kehk: "You are entirely welcome. Now go, and die bravely, if that is your fate."
How reassuring. After clawing their way through the tunnel, they came out onto the summit of Mount Arreat. The view from the summit was awesome; rings of fortifications surrounded the mountain on all sides, covering hundreds of square miles. On the summit, there was a gate, closed and locked, and an altar. Surrounding the altar were three statues, covered with snow; they looked like they were made out of solid metal, tarnished with incredible age. If these were the Ancients, Baal hadn't even taken the time to stop and spit in their faces. No, wait, he did. Blech.
There was writing on top of the altar; Mizor moved to brush away the snow, but when he touched the altar, three deep voices suddenly spoke up. "We are the spirits of the Nephalem, the Ancient Ones. We have been chose to guard sacred Mount Arreat, wherein the Worldstone rests. Few are worthy to stand in its presence; fewer still can comprehend its true purpose. Before you enter, you must defeat us." With that, the three statues burst open in a flash of golden fire, and three huge Barbarians leapt to the attack.
Mizor sighed. The name is Nephilim! Barbarians. Even their gods can't spell their own name right. But, gods or not, they were rather large and fast, and as the one with the sword spun through like a wolverine on speed, it seemed to Mizor that these guys were serious. Bear squared off with one swinging a halberd. Paige was being targeted by Mr. Cuisinart, so Mizor tossed her a potion and moved to distract him. A maul to the noggin makes for a good distraction. The other Ancient stood to one side, screaming and tossing tiny little axes.
After a short time, it became obvious that the axe thrower was the brains of the outfit, and his screaming was having some positive effect on the other two. Of course, being a weak support unit is about the same as painting a nice, big, fat bullseye on yourself. Mizor made him his new special friend, and Mr. Yelper ran like a scared little bunny. Barbarians. All this talk of honorable combat, and they scamper all over the place. Mizor pounded his head in. The swordsman went spinning through again, so Paige needed another potion, but he went down quickly once Mizor could afford to give him his full attention. And Bear beat the fellow with the halberd to death while Mizor wasn't looking. Good Bear!
The Nephilim (no matter what they say) congratulated Mizor, and told him Baal was in the Worldstone Keep, on his way to corrupt the Worldstone. So why didn't you do anything about it when you had a chance, Mizor snarled under his breath. Some gods you are, paying attention to some stupid little totem when a demon lord is strolling by, for crying out loud. Mortals, at least, have more sense. The gates to the keep opened, and Mizor went in.
Inside the Worldstone Keep, the halls were small, with strong stone columns and wide corridors. Bear sniffed at a dead man lying on the floor -- at least, it was probably a man, all that was left was part of a leg, and an arm clutching a saber. The floor was tiled, sort of, with huge slabs of stone interlocked like a god's jigsaw puzzle, but here and there a shard of glowing, fiery crystal had thrust up through the pattern. A very bad sign. They pressed on.
Inside the keep were several tombs, probably those of the greatest Barbarian chiefs. A few living Barbarians had been here, but now there were only Minotaurs, little sword-swingers, and some of the flying bimbettes Mizor had encountered in other interior areas. They didn't seem to like going outside, maybe they weren't wearing enough for the cold weather, though that didn't stop the little exploding guys.
On a trip back to Harrogath, Mizor found that his war chest was overflowing with gold. He doubted he'd be able to buy anything better than what he had, but Paige might want something, so he went to Anya to gamble. After a few tries, he got a very nice rare crown. The enchantments weren't anything he or Paige really needed, but someone might like it... and he hadn't repaid the Great Bear for the gift of his current hat. Larzuk put a socket in it, and Mizor offered it up. With something that sounded uncomfortably like "Oooh, shiny!" it vanished. Strange. Another gamble netted Paige a new bow, a Static Long War Bow of Damage Amplification. That should be useful.
At the lowest level of the Keep, Mizor paused, and wondered again why everyone who builds a fortress is so fond of cellars. He'd gotten used to it, but what was with all the deep, deep dungeons, anyway? After clearing the level, they found a columned hallway, leading up to a dais, on which sat... guess who? And he was laughing. All the evil guys laugh, either before you spray their brains all over a wall, or after. The ones who do it after are the worst.
Baal: "Pathetic fool! This race was won before you were born!"
Mizor: "AWWWAAHAAP!" (AAAH, SHADDUP!!)
In they charged, but Baal just laughed and threw down a big yellow ball of lightning. It burst open, and a pack of little demon shamans appeared, squeaking and tossing fireballs. How cute. STOMP! Then Baal tossed down a group of Greater Mummies, with an attendant crowd of Burning Dead Mages firing cold blasts. STOMP! STOMP! Stinky, the big one, had nasty poison breath, Mizor actually had to drink an antidote potion. Baal followed this performance up with a group of Kurast Councilmen. Mizor was beginning to detect a trend. STOMP! STOMP! STOMP! Next was a bunch of the big demon guys from hell. Mizor flicked them away with his index finger. Even Paige snickered.
What would the next pack be? Some of the Minotaurs? That might be bad. Maybe the fat whip-wielding guys, that wouldn't be too bad. Baal tossed out a group of... things. They were big ugly things, sure, but looked like nothing they'd ever seen before, with big toothy jaws, dead pink coloring, and entirely too many legs and arms. Well, something that clumsy-looking can't be a serious threat, so...
Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch ouch said Mizor, scampering out of the throne room like a widdle bunny wabbit, with his tail between his legs and a big yellow stripe blazing down his back. Paige came flying out soon after, leaving a nice bloody imprint on the wall.
Mizor: "Hwraooaopy." (So nice of you to drop by.)
Paige: "Oh, my spine..."
Mizor: (Pours superheal down Paige's throat.) "Hoaadadee?" (How about a strategy?)
Paige: "What, you don't want to just stuff our bodies down their throats and hope they choke on us?"
Instead, they opted for the less-fatal tactic of divide and conquer. Resummoning Bear, Mizor went just far enough into the throne room to attract one or two, then ran back to Paige and stunned them with a Shockwave when they came close. Getting back into the throne room, they were just in time to see Baal's unlovely posterior vanish into a gate. There was nothing to do but follow.
The gate led to a small chamber in the very heart of Arreat, filled with the most beautiful light... except where the giant, perfect crystal suspended in the center of the room was broken. Chips the size of houses flew away from its immensity, their perfect edges slicing through the stone walls. A few bits of gold were scattered here and there, but Baal took higher priority. And there he was, with one finger resting on the Worldstone. Laughing.
After all the trouble he'd given the world, you'd think he could put up a better fight. Mizor smashed and mauled him, resummoning Bear to take the brunt of his attack. Baal's only strategic move was to teleport next to Paige and try to eviscerate her, but she, blessed girl, had apparently learned something and ran behind Mizor every time he tried it. When Baal died, Mizor danced up and down on his puking, wretching corpse with abandon until Tyrael, who'd shown up just when he could be at his most useless, told him to stop.
The Worldstone was corrupted. In its present state, all its energy would soon drain away and it would become a conduit for dark energies to enter the world. If the Worldstone were allowed to exist, then Mount Arreat would become a permanent entry point from hell, so Tyrael had to destroy it.
Mizor: "WO! Ahhuualaeeor!" (NO! You can't destroy the soul of the world!)
Tyrael: "You do not understand the true nature of the Worldstone; the force of nature and the living things you cherish will not suffer by its loss."
Mizor: "Hrrr?! Whaawuuais?" (What?! Then why'd we go through all this?)
Tyrael: "There is more on heaven, and on earth, than is dreamt of in your philosophy. Though I cannot predict the consequences of destroying the stone, green things will still grow, and life and death will triumph, so long as guardians of the light come forth when needed. Go now, I have prepared a portal to take you to safety."
Mizor: "Bub..." (But...)
Tyrael: "There is nothing more that can be done. Go."