Art from The Book of Cain

Most cultures, if not all of them, have their own creation myth. These myths are symbolic, and told in a narrative form. Often, the story connects to a group’s religious beliefs.

The story is about the creation of the world, and it explains how the people got there. Creation myths cannot be proven, because there are no artifacts, written history, or first-hand observers of the events in the story.

When it comes to the Diablo “universe”, however, some parts of their creation myths still linger. The first part of the story is about Anu and the Dragon.

Information about the creation myths of the Diablo “universe” can be found in The Book of Cain. I haven’t seen any of it pop up in the journals that are scattered across Diablo III.

In The Book of Cain, Deckard Cain wrote that many mystics and tribal storytellers tell somewhat different versions of Anu and the Dragon. He chose to go with the version written by Lam Esen. Deckard Cain describes him as “as skilled sage renowned for his knowledge of Skatsimi mysticism and folklore.”

Diablo Wiki posted that Skatism is also called “The Old Religion”. It was practiced in Kehjistan. The religion pre-dates the rise of the Zakarum religion.

Lam Esen wrote his findings in Lam Esen’s Tome. Diablo Wiki states that it is a quest in Diablo II. The tome is described as “magical”. It was lost when the Zakarum took over, found the tome, decided it was full of blasphemy, and hid it away somewhere. Rumors suggest that Lam Esen’s Tome was hidden inside one of the temples in Kurast.

Deckard Cain definitely did a lot of research before deciding which version of the Anu and the Dragon creation myth to inscribe in his book. He picked the one that was written down by a scholar of one of the oldest religions in Sanctuary.

So, what did Lam Esen write about Anu and the Dragon? It starts with this:

Before the beginning, there was no void. Nothing. No flesh. No rock.

No air. No heat. No light. No dark.

Nothing, save a single, perfect pearl.

The spirit was “The One” – Anu. They were genderless and made of shining diamond. Anu was all things – good and evil, light and dark, physical and mystical, joy and sadness, in one being. All of these things were reflected across their crystalline facets.

At some point, while Anu was dreaming inside the pearl, they started considering themself. Anu desired a state of purity and perfection. They attempted to achieve that goal by casting out all of their negative qualities.

In short, Anu ripped the evil out of themself. Doing so worked. Anu noticed that the “dissonance was gone.” One would assume that this experience would have made Anu feel at peace. There was no more potential for an internal struggle between light and dark, good and evil, joy and sadness.

Before moving on to the next part of the story, I want to point out a few things. So far, we’ve learned that the oldest creation myth known to Sanctuary emphasizes precious gems.

All of creation started inside a pearl. “The One”, Anu, the first “god”, for lack of a better term, was literally a diamond.

Knowing this explains why the people of Sanctuary found ways to use precious gems to fortify their armor and weapons. Part of why that works might be due to the skill of the artisans who fashioned the jewels. The rest might be little more than the power of believing that a shiny rock helps you hit monsters harder. Either way… it seems to work.

The connection between a god, and precious gems, also provides a subtle hint towards Covetous Shen the Jeweler’s past. (But, that’s a story for another time).

The concept of Anu removing the evil parts of themself, in an effort to be pure, reminds me of Malthael. After Malthael decided that the people of Sanctuary were dangerous because they were made of both angels and demons – he decided to rip the evil out of them. I cannot help but wonder if Malthael was inspired by what Anu did. (And, that’s also a story for another time).

Ok, so… what happened to the evil that Anu removed from themself? Well, it didn’t disappear. All that darkness, sadness, hate, pridefulness, and other negative stuff was suddenly on its own. All these pieces – of what once was Anu – squished together and formed a new being.

This is how an entity called “The Beast” or “The Dragon” came to be. His name was Tathamet. He was a dragon with seven heads, which breathed unending death and darkness. Tathamet was the first Prime Evil. He is the source of all the evilness that would eventually spread through existence.

There were now two beings inside the pearl. Polar opposites in every way. Of course, they started fighting with each other. It is described in The Book of Cain (taken from Lam Esen’s writing) as: “There they warred against each other in an unending clash of light and shadow for ages uncounted.”

There’s a lesson here. One cannot simply toss out all the imperfections, character flaws, bad takes, horrible moods, and evilness inside themselves and expect it to simply disappear. Doing so may bring a moment of peace. But eventually, the darkness returns and wants to pick a fight. And then, you have some work to do.

It’s too bad that Anu wasn’t very enlightened when he made that choice. Even “gods” make mistakes.

Anu the diamond warrior, and Tathamet the seven headed dragon, fought against each other for “countless millennia”. The two used to be one spirit. Now, they were perfectly matched opponents. Neither side won, or lost, and the battle continued.

Eventually, the two slayed each other. It happened at the exact same time, and their energies ignited in an explosion and matter so vast that it birthed the universe. Lam Esen described it this way:

All the stars above and the darkness that binds them.

All that we touch. All that we feel. All that we know.

All that is unknown.

All of it continues through the night and the day in the ebbing and flowing of the ocean tides and in the destruction of fire and the creation of seed.

Everything of which we are aware, and that of which we are utterly unaware, was created with the deaths of Anu and the Dragon, Tathamet.

Anu and Tathamet died. But, this isn’t entirely the end of their influence. Most of the people in Sanctuary would know a version of the story of Anu and the Dragon. It is the sort of that parents might tell to their children, who will grow up and tell it to their own children.

Along the way, small pieces of the story will change. That’s how creation myths go. The original version gets altered as it spreads from one person to another. Eventually, someone (in this case Lam Esen) writes it down.

Deckard Cain finds it, writes it down in his own book, (making sure to give credit to the source as all good scholars do), and the creation myth lives on.

This is not, however, entirely the end of Anu or Tathamet. Their spirits moved on, but their bodies remained. (But, that’s a story for another time).

Anu and The Dragon is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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