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During the Great War, Zeratul allied with the Khalai Tassadar, despite his hatred for the Conclave that once banished his forbears. The Dark Templar personally slew the cerebrate Zasz, but in turn accidentally gave the Overmind the location of Aiur.
These events, and the discovery of the hybrids, led Zeratul to go into seclusion to contemplate his actions and investigate. As the Second Great War approached he began to take a more active role once again.
When Zeratul reached the rank of prelate, he was presented with a custom set of armor, as was tradition among the Nerazim. This was the Shadow-walker's Embrace. However, he would rarely don the armor, as he preferred less formal attire.
The Great War
On Char, Zeratul met the former protoss executor Tassadar, a member of the Templar Caste, and the terran Jim Raynor. Tassadar reacted badly upon his meeting with this leader of a forbidden caste and attacked Zeratul. However, Zeratul refused to take offense, even attempting to teach Tassadar the art of combat (while avoiding being struck). Eventually Zeratul overcame Tassadar's prejudice, beginning to heal the rifts between the Khalai and the Dark Templar. The two leaders (and Jim Raynor) came to an understanding, joining forces and hiding from the zerg.
After the rebirth of Sarah Kerrigan as the Queen of Blades, Tassadar distracted her long enough for Zeratul to slay Zasz, cerebrate and leader of the Garm Brood. This created a connection between Zeratul and the Overmind, which enabled Zeratul to discern the Overmind's motives and the Overmind to discern the secret location of Aiur. Not all the Overmind's secrets were learned at the time, as its mental defenses were still active.
As their friendship grew, Zeratul also began teaching Tassadar how to use the Dark Templar's Void-based psionic energies, a task that was considered blasphemous by Judicator Aldaris. During the teachings, Tassadar underwent a Shadow Walk. He would meet the preserver Zamara and revealed to her a pair of secrets; that Dark Templar could store memories and that he sometimes used a pink-skied world as a sanctuary.
Kerrigan led a devastating attack against the protoss on Char. Kerrigan and Zeratul exchanged words and insults during the battle. Zeratul told her of a prophecy: "Your coming has been foretold... You are part of the culmination. But not the end of it. You shall show the way, the path that must be taken, the realigning of old truths no longer valid. Yours is not the hand, but your very existence provides necessary instruction."
Rescue and Rebellion
- Zeratul accepts Tassadar's request to return to Aiur(src)
Tassadar, reinforced by protoss troops sent from Aiur (in order to arrest him), launched an attack on the zerg guarding the infested installation. Once inside, he allied with stranded terran troops, fought his way past the zerg inside, and found Zeratul and his Dark Templar. Tassadar convinced him to return with him to Aiur.
Together they fled to Aiur, where they gained the support of Praetor Fenix. The Conclave had branded Tassadar a traitor and sought to arrest him and execute Zeratul. Tassadar was shocked that they would "cling to their failing traditions" even as the zerg threatened them with annihilation. Tassadar decided he would fight the Conclave, as they threatened the very warriors that could defeat the zerg.
Zeratul and his Dark Templar vanished, leaving the new Executor and Fenix to continue their rebellion with little support. Fenix's forces, with the help of Raynor, attacked the stasis cell in which Tassadar was incarcerated and was awaiting trial and execution. Fenix and Raynor defeated the Conclave forces and destroyed the cell, freeing Tassadar. Aldaris then reappeared, leading a last-ditch attack to recapture Tassadar, but he was in turn ambushed by Zeratul and his Dark Templar. Zeratul demanded that Aldaris's guards stand down and Tassadar be released. Aldaris was not forthcoming, but Zeratul and Tassadar were able to depart.
The Fall of the Overmind
Zeratul and his allies survived Aldaris' attack, and plotted their attack on the zerg. Zeratul told the allies the real reason the Overmind was so dangerous; it had attacked the xel'naga, and if it defeated the protoss it would consume all sentient life throughout the stars.
Fenix planned to lead his forces against the primary zerg hive clusters, thinning out their numbers, while Zeratul would infiltrate the clusters and slay a pair of cerebrates. Zeratul successfully assassinated the cerebrates, weakening the Overmind's defenses. As the protoss led by Zeratul and his allies, along with Raynor and his troops prepared the final assault, Aldaris apologized to Tassadar, admitting that the Dark Templar really were required for fighting the zerg.
The Brood War
"Just as your Conclave did? They are dead now, Aldaris, dead because they allowed their pride to blind their reason. Only if we learn from their mistakes can we live to avenge them. Now, Executor, I know of a place where we can find solace. It is Shakuras, the secret homeworld of my people the Dark Templar."
The zerg ran rampant over all of Aiur, killing almost seventy percent of its population. Zeratul, striking an alliance with Aldaris and the new Praetor Artanis, concluded that the protoss must retreat to the Dark Templar homeworld of Shakuras through the last remaining warp gate, abandoning Aiur. Aldaris reluctantly agreed, after Zeratul convinced him that the Dark Templar would be more welcoming of him than the Conclave would have welcomed the Dark Templar. Zeratul personally led the refugees to the warp gate, where Fenix and Raynor, were awaiting their arrival. They stayed behind to protect the refugees.
The zerg followed the protoss through the warp gate to Shakuras. Zeratul eventually met with Matriarch Raszagal and informed her of the fall of Aiur. Both Raszagal and Aldaris agreed that the zerg were a great threat to Shakuras, and Raszagal proposed a solution; activate the xel'naga temple which could scour the zerg from Shakuras. However, activating it required using the lost twin crystals, the Uraj (laced with Templar energies), and the Khalis (which used Dark Templar energies). First, she required that the zerg, especially their two cerebrates, be removed from the grounds of the temple.
Following the deaths of the two cerebrates at the hands of the Dark Templar, Kerrigan made an appearance, saying she had information to deliver. Zeratul and Aldaris were not trusting of her, but Raszagal wished to speak with Kerrigan at her Citadel.
Kerrigan told the protoss that a new Overmind was growing on Char, created from the merging of a number of cerebrates. Zeratul found this hard to believe, and in any event his first priority was protecting Shakuras. Kerrigan offered to help him in this task. Meanwhile, Aldaris had stormed out the meeting because Raszagal was willing to listen to Kerrigan. Raszagal insisted the former enemies worked together. She told them to find the Uraj crystal on the world of Braxis, and "let nothing stop you from recovering it."
Uraj and Khalis
Kerrigan personally assisted in the mission on Braxis, an icy world recently settled by the Terran Dominion; the crystal was recovered. When the protoss tried to leave Braxis, however, they met a surprise: the United Earth Directorate. Vice Admiral Alexei Stukov had constructed a series of missile turrets on a space platform over Braxis, which would prevent the protoss from escaping. Stukov demanded the surrender of the protoss.
Artanis, incensed at Stukov's attitude, personally lead the protoss forces against the UED from his Scout. However, his assault bogged down as the UED defended the fusion reactors which powered the missile turrets, with Zeratul dispatching reinforcements when necessary. With this aid, Artanis destroyed the fusion reactors, shutting down the missile turrets, and allowing the escape of the protoss.
The next destination was Char, where Zeratul had felt the emanations of the powerful Khalis crystal during his previous adventures there. Unfortunately, the Overmind had nestled quite close to it. Kerrigan suggested snatching the crystal, while Artanis preferred doing enough subdual damage to the Overmind in order to pacify its minions. Zeratul complimented Artanis on his plan, saying he had as much courage as Tassadar. The protoss descended on the world, and, after Kerrigan granted them assistance by taking control of a zerg hive cluster, retrieved the crystal.
Upon his return, Zeratul found Shakuras in a state of uproar. Aldaris had taken control of the Judicator and Templar refugees, and led them in an attack against Raszagal herself.
Raszagal claimed they were being driven by their old prejudices, and ordered Zeratul and Artanis to terminate Aldaris. She would tolerate no dissent while the zerg were poised to strike. Zeratul felt that something was wrong. Raszagal had always been a gentle soul, he told Artanis. Still, he followed her orders.
Aldaris' forces were defeated, and Zeratul and Artanis closed in on him. They tried to convince him to return to the fold. However, Aldaris revealed that someone was manipulating Raszagal... but Kerrigan arrived and killed him before he could say more. For this act, Kerrigan was ordered to leave the planet. Kerrigan boasted that she had manipulated the protoss into killing her enemies, the cerebrates of the new Overmind, and told them she would see them "real soon". Raszagal assured him that, now that Kerrigan had left, she was back to herself.
Fury of the Xel'Naga
The final assault was made against the zerg on Shakuras. While the main forces would surround and protect the temple, Zeratul would personally bring the Khalis inside it, while Artanis would bring the Uraj. The protoss successfully defended the temple from the zerg as it "powered up".
The temple was activated, destroying the zerg invaders.
It is you who are the traitor! You call yourself a Dark Templar, and yet you sit in judgement of our actions!"
Following the scouring of the zerg from Shakuras and the destruction of the warp gate on Aiur, Zeratul took part in a conflict with the Fist of Ulrezaj, a Dark Templar terrorist movement devoted to the destruction of the Templar Caste.
Zeratul and Artanis planned to retrieve a number of fallen heroes stranded on Aiur. The warriors had been stored in a trio of stasis cells which were now surrounded by renegade zerg broods, and so Artanis ordered Zeratul and Executor Selendis on a covert mission to rescue who they could and ascertain if a greater rescue mission was possible. Zeratul's forces cut through to the stasis cells, but when they did so a quartet of Dark Templar appeared, destroying two of the cells and cursing the high-born Templar before they were arrested. The remaining hero, Eredas, was rescued. Zeratul, Artanis and Selendis became aware of protoss survivors stranded on Aiur but, believing they could not be rescued, let them be and kept their existence a secret.
At Shakuras, Zeratul and a Tribunal deliberated on the fate of Ulrezaj and the other three captured Dark Templar. Zeratul called Ulrezaj a traitor to his race for murdering the warriors, and was angry at him for clinging to his old hatreds. Ulrezaj and his warriors were sentenced to death. However, a mysterious terran force attacked the protoss, interrupting the conversation.
Zeratul's forces pursued the stolen crystal, tracking its signature to Korhal. It was guarded by a number of zerg, who were working with renegade terrans. Zeratul was surprised by this development, and after being told that the terrans may be using the crystal to control zerg, ordered it retrieved. The crystal was successfully retrieved, only to reveal a shocking development; it wasn't the stolen crystal. Instead, it was a "dark copy" made from a fusion of Dark Templar and Zerg energies.
Five strange copies were tracked to Char, where they were being used to control several zerg hive clusters. Zeratul wanted to destroy the crystals, and stated that only a dark archon was capable of this. A small force of heroes, including a Dark Archon Hero, were inserted onto Char while Zeratul's main forces distracted the enemy. Zeratul believed he could only keep the enemy away from an hour. The five crystals were destroyed.
Meanwhile, Ulrezaj and his terran minion, Alan Schezar, had hatched a second plot. They created a powerful EMP generator, placing it on a space platform over Shakuras. The Generator weakened the shields and energies of Shakuras' troops. Zeratul asked Ulrezaj to give up his hatred of the protoss of Aiur, stating that he had learned to fight alongside them, but Ulrezaj replied that the wounds could never truly heal.
Zeratul ordered his forces to destroy Schezar's Scavengers and the Fist of Ulrezaj forces. Slaying Alan Schezar caused his forces to surrender. Zeratul's forces were victorious, destroying the Generator and defeating the Fist of Ulrezaj.
"You ask me to aid this vile creature?"
"I do not ask this for myself. Nor do I ask it on Kerrigan's behalf. I ask you to do this for our people, Zeratul. Obey me as you always have... Trust in my judgement."
Kerrigan wasn't done with the protoss yet. Her forces, led by Samir Duran, invaded Shakuras and kidnapped Raszagal from the well-fortified city of Talematros (and destroying it in the process). This drew an immediate reaction from Zeratul, who appeared at Char in an "unidentified" Carrier.
Zeratul demanded an explanation from Kerrigan. She replied that she wasn't really interested in Raszagal, but in him and his brethren. She intended to use Raszagal as leverage; if Zeratul's Dark Templar slew the Overmind, she would "allow" the Matriarch to return to him. Zeratul didn't trust her, but Raszagal convinced him to work with Kerrigan, stating that the Overmind was their common enemy.
Kerrigan's forces launched a joint attack with the Dark Templar against the second Overmind, which was protected by its Zerg minions and the UED forces which had taken control of it. The zerg/protoss "alliance" was successful; Zeratul personally slew the Overmind, then demanded the return of the Matriarch. However, Raszagal refused to return. Zeratul's forces whisked Raszagal away, infuriating Kerrigan.
Zeratul placed her in a stasis cell as he awaited dimensional recall, which took at least half an hour. However, this was enough time for Kerrigan to defeat his forces, but forced her to place the majority of her forces on the surface of Char, and away from the space platforms (her first line of defense).
In anguish, Zeratul broke the stasis cell and killed the Matriarch. With her dying thoughts, Matriarch Raszagal made Zeratul the leader of her people. Nonetheless, the death of Raszagal caused Zeratul immense guilt and had prolonged psychological effects. Kerrigan derived sadistic pleasure by allowing him to live with that burden. Zeratul felt unfit for Raszagal's gift of leadership.
"All I behold is an abomination."
"Your violence, young prodigal, is typical. As is your inability to comprehend the greater scheme of things. You can destroy all of the specimens here. It will do you no good. For I have seeded the Hybrid on many, many worlds. You will never find them all before they awaken... And when they do... your universe will be changed... forever."
Zeratul fled with his small warband, attempting to find Artanis and other protoss warriors, but failed. Instead, he located a dark moon with protoss energy signatures.
On the moon he fought terran mercenaries and rescued several protoss prisoners, including an archon. He also discovered experiments performed on zerg for the creation of a zerg/protoss hybrid. He was even more surprised when Samir Duran revealed himself as the mastermind of this grand experiment, despite his former status as a member of the Zerg Swarm.
Duran told Zeratul that Kerrigan was not in charge of his experiment, "although her rebirth into the Zerg Swarm has sped up [his] progress." Duran also told him that he was "a servant of a far greater power". Zeratul felt the hybrid was a great threat, and Duran agreed, saying "this creature is the completion of a cycle. Its role in the cosmic order was preordained when the stars were young. Behold the culmination of your history." Its coming would "change the universe ... forever."
Zeratul left the dark moon, troubled and unable to tell the other protoss what he had experienced. He returned to Shakuras, made his farewells to Raynor, then departed. He entered a self-imposed exile with only a handful of followers at his side as he began searching for the truth of the xel'naga's apparent return. He believed that this prophecy of their return had been imparted by a benevolent force in a bid to provide assistance to the protoss (and perhaps, multiple races) in a time of need. He came to suspect that the zerg had fallen under the control of dark forces.
Travels in the Dark
"Less so than he appears. Armor is not worn solely on the body."
In 2503, a soul sick Zeratul was found on a pink-skied planet by an unlikely pair: Jake Ramsey, a terran archaeologist, carrying within his brain the mind of Zamara, a protoss preserver. Zamara's presence was killing Ramsey. The duo convinced the solitary dark templar to talk by recounting how they had been merged. In return Zeratul shared a Nerazim tale about Adun and the Nerazim belief that Adun would one day return to save the protoss.
When told of Rosemary Dahl, Zeratul wondered if she was trustworthy. This was a sentiment shared by other protoss on Shakurus as the only noteworthy terran female they had encountered was Sarah Kerrigan. This led to a discussion about Matriarch Raszagal. A reluctant Zeratul eventually revealed to Ramsey and Zamara that he had killed the Matriarch upon her request, which he considered an act of dishonor forced upon him by Kerrigan. Ramsey's shock at this revelation was tempered by the reasoning behind the act; he believed it was an honorable act because Raszagal requested it in order to be freed of Kerrigan's influence. Zamara repeated Raszagal's final words and shared them with Ramsey. The archaeologist angered Zeratul by insisting Raszagal would have been disappointed with the dark templar, as he hadn't taken her place as leader of the Nerazim as she had requested. Zeratul lost control, strangling Ramsey but not killing him. He sent them away.
In time, Zeratul realized the truth of Ramsey's words and went to find the pair in the jungle. The prelate told them of his first encounter with the dark archon Ulrezaj, and then requested Zamara to share a secret she had been safeguarding. The preserver revealed xel'naga were long-lived but not immortal, and could no longer breed. They intended to preserve themselves by uplifting two species, embodying the purity of form and the purity of essence, and then over eons peacefully merging the two to create the xel'naga "reborn". This was "as natural to them as breathing is to [terrans], or as gathering nutrients is to [protoss]". This put some perspective on Zeratul's experience with Samir Duran at the end of the Brood War.
Zeratul, Ramsey, and Zamara traveled together for the settlement of Alys'aril on the moon Ehlna. Alys'aril was where the Dark Templar stored their memories in special khaydarin crystals and Zamara could be removed. Once there the preserver shared with Zeratul the location of a xel'naga temple with a live energy creature still inside. Ramsey was familiar with the nearby planet and identified it as Pegasus. Zeratul arrived on Pegasus just in time to witness the energy creature emerge and depart into space. The prelate followed it to a gathering of dozens, possibly hundreds, of other energy creatures. The creatures then created a wormhole through which Zeratul traveled to the mysterious planet at the other end. He found something that put him on the path to finding the prophecy he searched after.
Resuming the Search
As the Second Great War approached, Zeratul returned to the stars aboard Void Seeker to search for clues into the hybrids and Samir Duran. He dedicated himself to finding the prophecy he sought, believing it could aid his people in the dark times to come. He tracked the prophecy he sought to Ulaan, where it was stored in fragments. Kerrigan was searching for the prophecy as well and arrived before him. The two sparred briefly. The prelate learned Kerrigan was pessimistic that the coming darkness could not be stopped, but eventually slipped away after inflicting superficial damage on the Queen of Blades. With the aid and sacrifice of a protoss force led by High Templar Karass, Zeratul escaped the zerg with the prophetic fragments. He took them to the archive world of Zhakul where preservers would be able to decipher the fragments' meaning.
However, darker forces reached the preservers before Zeratul. Upon arriving at Zhakul, he encountered his greatest fear: a hybrid. This hybrid destroyer, Maar, had imprisoned the three preservers the prelate sought and was leeching their energies. Maar had also corrupted the Zhakul Guardians to serve him. Zeratul's forces fought and defeated Maar and freed the preservers. The mystics deciphered more of the prophecy. It mentioned the "Great Hungerer", which Zeratul took to mean the Overmind. Zeratul departed for Aiur to extract the memories from the dead creature's cortex.
When he attempted to commune with the cortex, Zeratul was surprised to be met by Ouros using the guise of Tassadar who conveyed the Overmind's memories. The Overmind was an unwilling pawn of Amon, the same entity behind the recent rise of the hybrids, driven to destroy the protoss by an overriding directive implanted when it was young. It had foreseen that final victory for the Dark Voice and the hybrids would result in the destruction of the terrans, protoss, and zerg. To prevent that future, the Overmind created the Queen of Blades. Zeratul was only convinced when, through who he believed was Tassadar, he experienced the Overmind's apocalyptic vision of the future and the last stand of the protoss. Without Kerrigan, the Dark Voice had taken control of the Swarm, and used it and the hybrids to destroy the protoss.
The Second Great War
Zeratul recorded what he had learned into an Ihan crystal. During the Second Great War, he clandestinely boarded the Hyperion and gave the crystal to Raynor. Zeratul warned Raynor to ensure Kerrigan's survival, and cryptically alluded to both her pivotal role and the coming struggle with the hybrids. He urged Raynor to review the crystal's contents and then departed.
When Zeratul boarded Kerrigan's leviathan, she attacked him on sight. After enduring a brief beating, Zeratul telepathically showed her Zerus, the birthplace of the zerg. The primal zerg that reside there constantly fight to survive and evolve. He told her to go there to gain the power to challenge the fallen xel'naga, Amon. On the surface, Zeratul explained that the xel'naga wished to see her restored as the leader of the Swarm. He acted on behalf of the greater good, even if his actions would earn him the hatred of his people. When they were done on Zerus, he would return to his kind and face their judgment.
Whispers of Oblivion
Having delivered his warnings to both Raynor and Kerrigan, Zeratul was left to wonder what part the protoss would play in the looming conflict. Before returning to his people, he embarked on a search to find the last part of the prophecy, hoping they would provide insight into how to stop Amon. It was said that on the world were Amon was reborn, the last light would be revealed. At some point, he learnt of the death of Duran (or Narud, as he had called himself at the time of his death). With the end of the Second Great War, Zeratul learnt of Artanis's intent to reclaim Aiur. He set off alone in his search, hoping that Artanis was not making a terrible mistake.
One year later, as Zeratul's search continued, he was contacted by Praetor Talis, who requested his aid. An unknown force had been abducting Templar from Daelaam worlds. They had traced them to a Moebius Foundation base, but were under attack by the zerg. Zeratul took the Void Seeker to her location.
Arriving at the base, Zeratul was contacted by Kerrigan, demanding to know why he was here. He gave his reasons, but Kerrigan did not stay her attack—the facility was being used to breed hybrids for Amon, and she would destroy it. She warned Zeratul to stay out of her way, and continued the assault. Not discouraged, Zeratul and Talis led their forces to free their breathren, timing their attacks so they avoided being caught up in the Swarm's rampage.
As they freed their breathren, they learnt that the Templar had been captured for experimentation. Moving on, Kerrigan contacted Zeratul, who told her that slaying the hybrid was meaningless, and that they had to awaken the xel'naga. Kerrigan fell silent for the rest of the battle. Reaching the last group of prisoners, the protoss learnt that the Tal'darim had been behind the abductions, delivering the Templar to terran stations for transformation into hybrids. Zeratul realized that Amon was involved. The Templar told him that they had been held in the Temple of Erris, and by using the station's data, Zeratul was able to deduce that the structure was located on Atrias. The planet where Amon was reborn. Talis pledged her services to Zeratul, intent on repaying him for his aid.
The Battle of Atrias
The protoss arrived at Atrias, finding the planet in its death throes. They deployed outside the temple, finding the Tal'darim in force under the command of Highlord Ma'lash, intent on repelling them. The Daelaam fought their way to the temple entrance. Talis and her forces held the entrance against counterattack, while Zeratul and a force of stalkers entered the temple. They made their way through as Talis and her forces came under counterattack. Despite this, she offered support to Zeratul if he could take out the temple's particle cannons.
Eventually, Zeratul caught sight of the central chamber. There, he observed Ma'lash communing with Amon via void catalyst. Amon ordered that the Tal'darim make ready for war, and await his command. At Talis's suggestion, Zeratul decided to destroy the conduit, as through doing so, it would cripple the Tal'darim's command structure long enough for him to warn Artanis of the coming invasion. Zeratul and his warriors fought their way to the Void conduit, but Ma'lash escaped at the last moment. With all resistance eliminated, the Nerazim proceeded to destroy the conduit.
With that done, a ghostly figure appeared before Zeratul, bearing the voice of Tassadar. Telling him that "the Keystone shall usher you unto hope." He was granted a vision of the device's location on Korhal. Returning to the present, Zeratul declared that he had seen the means to his people's salvation. But then, Amon's voice boomed across the chamber. Salvation would come by his hand alone. And on that note, the temple began collapsing, as Amon dispatched shadows of the Void against the protoss. Zeratul and his companions were forced to flee, as Amon mocked them all the while. Zeratul managed to make it to the Void Seeker in time, as Talis and her forces stayed behind to hold off the Tal'darim.
Zeratul departed, and gave thanks to Talis. As he piloted the Void Seeker, he reflected on what had transpired, believing that he had been given a vision from the xel'naga. While he mourned her loss, he resolved to find Artanis, and make the protoss understand the threat they faced. For in his mind, only Artanis could unite the protoss factions before Amon's wrath engulfed the galaxy. As he now had all the information he sought, he felt he could now warn Artanis of the threat.
The Return to Aiur
Believing that time was running out, Zeratul headed out to warn the protoss of the threat Amon represented. As the Golden Armada stood ready to launch its reclamation of Aiur, he appeared on the bridge of Artanis's ship. Executor Selendis ordered her zealots to arrest the prelate, but Artanis held them back, willing to hear Zeratul out. Zeratul warned them of Amon's return, and asked that the invasion be stopped so they could focus on the larger threat. Selendis refused to listen, calling Zeratul a traitor, and mentioning how his actions in the Great War had allowed the zerg to find Aiur all those years ago. Artanis, while more cordial, stated that too many had already given their lives for them to back out now. Thus, he ordered that the invasion commence.
Zeratul observed how the protoss fought their way through the feral zerg in Kherrisan. He noticed, however, that one brood was showing signs of coordination, and that an unseen hand was guiding them. Artanis agreed, and the hand was soon revealed as hybrid reavers, much to Zeratul's shock. Nevertheless, the protoss were able to overcome their foes and gain control over the warp conduits on the surface. Artanis turned control of the invasion over to Selendis while he discussed matters with Zeratul further.
Zeratul and Artanis came down to the surface of Aiur. He told Artanis of the Keystone, and how the prophecies spoke of xel'naga aiding the protoss in the end times. He believed that the Keystone would lead the protoss to their makers. Artanis instructed Zeratul to go to Korhal and obtain the Keystone from Raynor, while he marshaled his forces for the looming conflict.
- Zeratul's epitaph(src)
Zeratul and his forces headed for the Void Seeker, only to find it had been destroyed by the zerg. Zeratul was perturbed—the zerg in the area should have been eradicated. He ordered his stalkers to head to the nearest nexus point while he investigated further. Coming across the base, they found it abandoned, and the Templar without presence in the Khala. Something that should have been impossible without the severing of their nerve chords. To make matters worse, Selendis informed Zeratul that Artanis too was absent from the Khala. Selendis ordered Zeratul to raise an army to find Artanis, which he did so with the aid of Phase-smith Karax.
As they moved on, Zeratul and his forces came under attack by corrupted protoss. Zeratul suspected that a hybrid had enslaved them. He contacted Selendis, but she too had fallen silent. He was contacted by Artanis, who was in the midst of succumbing to Amon's corruption of the Khala. Zeratul's own Khalai allies turned on him, and he was forced to flee. He headed for Artanis, forced to battle against his former allies. Eventually, he made it to Artanis.
Zeratul urged Artanis to sever his nerve cords, as they were the Khalai's gestalt to the Khala. Zeratul moved to remove them, but Artanis parried his blow. With red eyes and a red psi-blade, Artanis rose, as Amon spoke through him. Soon, Amon had the upperhand. With a final blow, Zeratul was able to sever Artanis's appendages, freeing him from Amon's grasp. However, it was at the cost of Zeratul's life. Artanis rushed over and cradled Zeratul's body, watching as it collapsed to dust in his arms. All that was left was Zeratul's warp blade gauntlet, which Artanis took with him and wielded on his right hand until the end of the war.
- Artanis at Zeratul's grave(src)
Artanis carried the burden of Zeratul's death throughout much of the End War, and swore to carry out what he had begun. He retrieved the Keystone from Korhal after wresting it out of the control of Moebius Corps, and followed it to the xel'naga temple of Ulnar in hopes of gaining the aid of the xel'naga. However, when he arrived there he found the xel'naga had already been slain by Amon.
Through much of the conflict, Matriarch Vorazun would to talk down on Zeratul's legacy, blaming him for the death of her mother Raszagal in spite of Artanis's protests. As the End War dragged on and the influence of Zeratul's intervention came clear, Vorazun began to concede that he was closer to the truth than anyone. By the conflict's end, Zeratul was mentioned via the "en taro" honorific, as Tassadar, Adun, and Khas had before him.
Artanis would gather allies, destroy Amon's host body on Aiur and use the Keystone to remove Amon from the Khala. In the aftermath of the protoss victory, Artanis stated that it was all due to Zeratul. His warp blade gauntlet was placed on a grave overlooking one of the first cities to be rebuilt upon Aiur. Years later, as Raynor was reminiscing on his friends who had fallen, Zeratul's words from their last encounter ran through his head.
In Utter Darkness
- Zeratul rallies the troops(src)
In the Overmind's apocalyptic vision of the future, Zeratul was present on a distant, shadowed world for the protoss' last stand against Amon. He led the initial army of the protoss. As several protoss heroes led reinforcements to Zeratul's position, he greeted each of them warmly. For all of their efforts, it was useless, as the protoss fell bravely. As he died he felt remorse that the protoss didn't act sooner against Amon.
Zeratul appears in StarCraft as a playable dark templar hero.
- For the Wings of Liberty unit, see: Zeratul (Wings of Liberty).
- For the Legacy of the Void unit, see: Zeratul (Legacy of the Void).
- For the commander in Co-op Missions, see: Zeratul (Co-op Missions).
Zeratul is playable as a hero unit in the protoss mini-campaign in Wings of Liberty.
In Legacy of the Void, Zeratul appears in the Whispers of Oblivion prologue as well as in the main campaign. He is also set to be a commander in Co-op Missions.
Heroes of the Storm
Personality and Traits
- Character description(src)
Zeratul has been warrior, vagabond, and mystic. Much of his life was spent in solitude, but this gave him unique insights into the art of battle, and the forces at play beneath the surface of any conflict.
An enigmatic individual, Zeratul was somewhat secretive and calculating, but was nevertheless honorable and loyal to his species. He would have gladly risked anything to safeguard Aiur. He often spoke in riddles, preferring that others come up with the answers to the questions he put forward rather than answering them himself. He was a master of protoss psionics. He preferred to wear informal attire, and rarely donned his personal armor. Birthmarks were located on Zeratul's chest.
- DC Direct sells a 10 inch tall Zeratul figurine. Zeratul in cloaked form was available as part of Blizzard's Cute But Deadly range at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con.
- Zeratul's eyes glow with different colors: green, red and yellow. In StarCraft II, his eyes have always been green.
- Zeratul appears in New Folsom Prison (in a cell next to Jim Raynor) in an Easter egg screenshot.
- Zeratul was originally the protagonist of StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void—he had featured prominently in the previous installments of the StarCraft II trilogy. However, the protagonist role was changed to Artanis, as the developers felt that as Legacy of the Void was a protoss story, Artanis was in a better position to represent the protoss race as a whole. It was decided that Zeratul's role was best served as a mentor figure in the game's story, said role likened to that of Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars universe in this regard.
- In the 2013–2018 period, Zeratul's article was the most visited protoss character page on the wiki, alongside Artanis.
- In an alternate timeline in Co-op Missions, Zeratul survives his encounter with Artanis, and proceeds to fight in the End War, using the constructs of the xel'naga to augment his forces in the fight against Amon.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Characters of StarCraft#Zeratul.
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