"Malthael's fallen angels have brought death to Westmarch, raising an army of reapers from the city's slain defenders." - Lorath Nahr
Following the defeat of the Prime Evil, the mortal realm of Sanctuary should have an entered an age of hope and prosperity. Instead, this event has drawn out a being of immense power, one more sinister than any demon: Malthael.
Having plucked the Black Soulstone from its tenuous hiding place, the Angel of Death now moves on Westmarch, the great martial and mercantile capital of the west. It is there that your heroes will encounter the first of his forces, a macabre combination of ghastly lieutenants and baleful constructs.
Little is known of these creatures, as most who have encountered them have perished. Fortunately, a Horadrim under the command of Tyrael by the name of Lorath Nahr has experienced the foul reapers of Westmarch first-hand and survived to tell the tale, documenting both their behavior and perceived origin.
It is some of his accounts which we'll examine today, offering just a glimpse at what horrors await you within the cobbled streets and abandoned homes of this once beautiful, thriving city.
"After Malthael's disappearance, the Angiris Council appointed his most loyal servant, Urzael, to find him and bring him back to the High Heavens. Urzael, accompanied by the sect of maidens who were Malthael's closest followers, set out to find their absent master. They never returned."
"These monsters were once the most notorious and reviled criminals in Westmarch, drawn up from the deepest, darkest cells of the city's prisons. Each was worse than the last: heartless murders who had butchered countless men, women, and children. In death, Malthael birthed them in forms that matched their twisted, callous souls, creating perfect instruments of slaughter. The executioners have earned their name."
"All know the reputation of the exorcists of Westmarch, those spiritual warriors specialized in removing demonic possession. By custom, they arrive in darkness, clad in cloaks as black as the night that conjured them. They work in secret, extracting the demons that dwell within their subjects. Now Malthael has turned them, and they roam the city in their inhuman forms, stripping the souls from all they encounter."
"The seraph was on me before I knew it, the mass of its bloated flesh soundless as it floated above the ground. When I finally noticed it, I could not move: it was as though I was trapped in a waking nightmare. I looked down and saw tendrils of energy wrapped around my feet and realized it was not fear that held me, but the seraph's magic."
"As Malthael has imbued them with the ability to sense the living, revenant archers do not rely on their vision to find their targets. There is no place safe from their sightless gaze. They will find you through stone, wood, and even the ground itself. And once they have their quarry, they do not miss."
Revenant Shield Guard
"The revenant shield guards were once the personal guard of King Justinian IV. Appointed to the position for bravery and skill at arms, they accompanied the king at all times, resplendent in their ornate armor, wrought by the finest craftsmen in Westmarch. But most spectacular were their shields, which they unerringly employed in the protection of their king."
"I watched in horror as the guard was struck by the maiden's magic. I heard the sound of his screams until his flesh had dissolved to nothing, and only his armor-clad skeleton remained, his jaw unhinged. Blue mist swirled around his bones, coalescing into new flesh. When at last I cut him down, the phantasmal flesh exploded, leaving only a pile of armor behind."
Shadow of Death
"The shadow touched me, and darkness spread across my vision until all I could see was blackness. It gave way to a pale light that sapped my strength. It seemed so easy, but instead, I drew upon the last of my will and fought back. Color flooded back into my sight. The shadow was right before me, and I drove my spear through it."
Summoner of the Dead
"When I first came face to face with a summoner of the dead, it was surrounded by reapers and brought forth more by the moment. I cut a path through them, but for each that I struck down, another appeared in its place. Their numbers seemed limitless; however, when I killed the summoner, the remaining reapers fell to ash."
"Malthael's influence taints man and beast alike. Even the dogs of Westmarch, once tame and gentle, have been transformed into wild, savage creatures. They hunt in packs through the streets, tearing apart their prey with ravenous hunger. I saw them rip a soldier limb from limb. When his screams stopped, they came for me."