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.
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, 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 You shall show the way, the path that must be taken, the realigning of old truths no longer valid.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)
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 held an aggressive conversation with Aldaris.
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.
During the battle, the Gantrithor, was critically damaged, and the Overmind attempted to escape. Tassadar sacrificed himself to destroy the Overmind, using the Dark Templar techniques taught to him by Zeratul.
"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."
- Aldaris and Zeratul(src)
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."
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, retrived 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 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. 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 Matriach. With her dying thoughts, Matriach 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.
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 together. 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 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...
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 learned of a prophecy foretelling the return of the xel'naga and tracked it 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. 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, the prelate was surprised to be met by Tassadar's spirit who conveyed the Overmind's memories. The Overmind was an unwilling pawn of the Dark Voice, 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 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.
Legacy of the Void
This article or section contains information from StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void.
The content may change substantially over time.
Expecting to find part of the prophecy that would allow him to stop Amon, Zeratul found a Moebius Foundation base that was experimenting on Templars. His forces saved the captured Templars before the zerg destroyed the base.
Zeratul's forces then attacked a xel'naga temple on Atrias that was defended by the Tal'darim.
Believing that time was running out, he returned to warn the protoss of the threat Amon represented. He contacted Artanis, delivering a similar prophecy to the one he had imparted to Raynor. He requested that Artanis travel to Korhal. He later came to blows against Artanis.
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.
100 (+1 bonus per upgrade)
Zeratul appeared in StarCraft as a playable dark templar hero. Like all dark templar he retains the permanent cloaking ability. He has the strongest attack of all StarCraft units (besides the reaver), and appears in Episode III and Episode IV. With an attack power of 100, Zeratul can kill nearly every unit in the game in a few strikes and is capable of tearing structures apart in a matter of seconds. He has powerful shields but low hit points.
Wings of Liberty
85 (+25 vs armored)
Zeratul appears in StarCraft II as a dark templar hero with special abilities. In Wings of Liberty he only appears in the Zeratul Flashbacks minicampaign.
Imprisons the enemy in psionic energy, stunning it and suppressing its ability to detect for 12 seconds. Can imprison air and ground units.
Whispers of Oblivion
Zeratul and allies in a radius gain 100 shield points for 10 seconds.
Zeratul makes a melee attack against a ground unit. The target takes 500 damage.
The following section contains information from a previous version of StarCraft II which is no longer valid.
Heroes of the Storm
Personality and Traits
Zeratul has been both warrior, vagabond, and mystic. He is somewhat secretive and calculating, but is nevertheless honorable and loyal to his species. He would gladly risk anything to safeguard Aiur.  He often speaks in riddles, preferring that others come up with the answers to the questions he puts forward rather than answering them himself. He is a master of protoss psionics. He prefers to wear informal attire, and rarely dons his personal armor.
- 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.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Characters of StarCraft#Zeratul.
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