Archangel Auriel is one of the members of the Angiris Council. Players encounter her in Diablo III, but very briefly. There’s a quest to rescue her. (She is taken prisoner by Rakanoth). After that, Auriel helps the player character by opening portals from one zone to the next.
There is more to Auriel than what you see in-game. Some of her story is found in The Book of Cain, and a small piece of it is in The Sin War trilogy. There’s also some online websites that give a brief story about who Auriel is. I decided to put all of that together in one place, in order to give people a clearer view of who Archangel Auriel is.
Auriel is the only female member of the Angiris Council. I’m not really troubled by this because the Angiris Council is rather small. At its largest, it included five Archangels. (There have been some vacancies.) One female angel on the Council is better than none.
The main reason why I’m not so concerned about the gender ratio in the Angiris Council is because I don’t think gender matters much when it comes to angels. All of them are born from the Crystal Arch. Each individual angel is made of a particular wave of light and specific sound wave. New angels are born from the Crystal Arch during moments of perfect harmony among the angels.
In addition, angels do have what resembles a physical body. It’s not like what mortals on Sanctuary have. The angels would have to be more substantial than a combination of light and sound, or else they wouldn’t be able to battle the demons in the Eternal Conflict.
This is a society where it is extremely unlikely that gender matters. The angels don’t pair up, breed, and produce more angels. They wouldn’t have any reason to segregate job assignments by gender. Auriel happens to be the only female member of the Angiris Council, but the reason isn’t because angelic society prefers male angels over female ones as their leaders.
The Angiris Council can be viewed as the leaders of the angels. They aren’t elected. The angels that are part of the Angiris Council were born to take those posts. Each one is the embodiment of one aspect of Anu. Auriel is the Archangel of Hope.
In Diablo III, players enter the Gardens of Hope – and fight demons. In-game, the area is corrupted and falling apart. Previous to the events in Diablo III, The Gardens of Hope were a beautiful, peaceful, place where angels could come to relax, refocus, and feel better. Each Archangel has a section of the High Heavens, and the Gardens of Hope are Auriel’s domain. In the book Diablo III: Storm of Light, the Gardens of Hope seem to be more beautiful than mortals can stand. The sheer beauty of it can drive a mortal insane. The angels, however, see the area as a place of serenity and tranquility.
The Book of Cain describes Archangel Auriel as “the most beloved of all the angels”. She has a sweet nature, and believes in the potential for good in all things. It is this deeply held belief that guides her.
Sanctuary was created by a group of renegade angels and demons. They basically created a space where they could opt-out of the Eternal Conflict. The angels and demons fell in love with each other and produced children. Those children were part angel and part demon. They were also strong. These were the first nephalem. Future generations were weaker. I’m going to leave the description at that for now, in order to avoid going off on what could be an extremely long tangent.
When the Angiris Council discovered Sanctuary, they needed decide what to do about the nephalem. Should the nephalem be allowed to continue to exist? Or, should these abominations be destroyed? Auriel voted to save the nephalem. She obviously knew that they were part angel and part demon. Some other members of the Angiris Council focused on the demon side and noted that the nephalem could choose to become evil. Auriel believed that the nephalem also had the potential to do good – and that was reason enough to spare them.
Auriel’s weapon is called Al’maiesh, The Cord of Hope. It is unique because it can both harm and heal. She uses it in battle by whipping it across ranks of demons, burning them with righteous fire. She can also use the Al’maiesh to heal fellow angels who have been injured while in battle, or to grant emotional strength to angels who are faltering. In this way, Al’maiesh is said to be the manifestation of Auriel’s positive qualities.
In many ways, Auriel is the connecting force on the Angiris Council. She sometimes drapes the Al’maiesh across the shoulders of the other Archangels when a discussion becomes heated. The effect from Al’maiesh enables the angel that is wearing it to regain clarity of mind, thought, and emotion.
Auriel herself can be very effective at diffusing anger. It is she who “talks down” Imperius and Tyrael when they get into an argument. She does this without scolding anyone, or taking a side. Auriel must have “the patience of a saint”. Somehow, Auriel is able to make others see the positive side of possibilities that they were previously unable to recognize.
At first glance, being the Archangel of Hope sounds almost passive. However, Auriel is more powerful than some might realize. She is the embodiment of hope itself. It is this hope that keeps the angels motivated, energized, and having a positive outlook. Without hope, they may have given up their belief that the Eternal Conflict could end with their side victorious.
Auriel is able to see the harmony in the midst of discord much more clearly than the other angels can. She helps them to understand that a victory for one side does not always mean defeat for the other. She opens their eyes to the potential good that could come from any situation, no matter how dire it appears to be at first glance.
In many ways, being the embodiment of hope is the most important “job” on the Angiris Council. In real life, every single one of us has been in a situation where they felt hopeless. That loss of hope often makes people feel stuck. No matter what they do, nothing will change. When hope returns, everything starts to look much brighter. The solution to the problem becomes apparent. Auriel brings the power, clarity, and comfort of hope to her fellow angels.