What happened to Leah’s soul after we killed Diablo at the end of Act IV in Diablo III? There are no clear answers to this question. We can only speculate on where Leah’s soul went. That being said, we can also figure out some places where we know Leah’s soul couldn’t possibly have ended up.
For whatever reason, I seem to be haunted by Leah’s soul this week. I decided to share my thoughts on Leah’s soul mostly to get this stuff out of my head and into a blog post. Again, I’d like to point out that some of these thoughts are speculation and not “canon”.
Isn’t Leah’s soul mixed with Diablo’s?
My original impression was that Leah never had a soul of her own. Her mother, Adria, got pregnant from Aiden, who just so happened to have a cracked soulstone jammed into his forehead that contained Diablo. From the moment of conception, Leah was entwined with Diablo. I’m not sure that leaves room for her to have a soul of her own.
We have examples in-game (and in lore) where Diablo possessed someone. In every case, that person existed long before Diablo possessed them. Not so with Leah. In this way, she is completely unlike any other character in the “Diablo universe”.
At the same time, it is clear that Leah is not simply Diablo in disguise. She was abandoned by her mother at a young age, and never knew her father. For her entire life, Leah has been wondering why her mother left her. What was more important than raising her daughter? Even after bonding with her “Uncle” Deckard Cain, Leah still desperately wants to have her mother in her life.
When Adria returns, Leah honestly believes that her mother was off doing something noble – marking the souls of the greater and lesser evils – and that’s why she couldn’t take young Leah with her. Anyone who has played through Act IV in Diablo III knows that wasn’t really want Adria was doing. But, Leah needs to believe that her mother loves her. She convinces herself that her mother was protecting her by not taking her along on a dangerous task.
This certainly doesn’t sound like something Diablo himself would feel. He made some kind of pact with Adria, but he doesn’t actually need her anymore. He’s the Lord of Terror, and there really isn’t anything terrifying about pretending to be a little girl who wants her mom. This indicates that there is something in Leah that actually is her own self.
Could that part be Leah’s soul? I guess so. But, I’m not entirely convinced that Leah’s soul is not at least a little bit meshed with Diablo’s soul. Leah’s other father, Aiden, went mad from having Diablo’s soul in his head. Those that share a body with Diablo don’t stay entirely themselves for very long.
Could Leah have a soul all her own?
Tyrael certainly seems to think that Leah has a soul of her own. The above screenshot comes from Act IV right before the player character is about to fight Diablo. By this point, the player has gotten to know who Leah is, and has even done some adventuring with her in the party. The player watched Leah get “possessed” by Diablo, saw Leah’s body start to resemble a zombie, and watched a cinematic where “femme Diablo” fights with Imperius.
Tyrael: I fear that if we defeat Diablo, Leah’s innocent spirit will die with him…
This brings up an interesting question. Did Leah die when Diablo finally took over her body? Or, was Leah’s soul, her spirit, her consciousness, stuck inside “femme Diablo” the whole time that Diablo was fighting Imperius, wreaking havoc on the high heavens, and battling the player character?
Tyrael doesn’t know the answer to that question. He’s conflicted. It’s obvious that there is no choice other than to have the Hero fight and slay Diablo. He’s also worried that whatever remains of Leah’s soul will die when the body of “femme Diablo” does. The player kills Diablo, and absolutely nothing happens that gives any clue about whether or not Leah’s soul survived.
There’s a lot that isn’t clear. Was Leah’s soul still in “femme Diablo”? Did Leah’s soul “die” when Diablo completely took over her body? Where did her soul go, if it wasn’t locked inside “femme Diablo”?
Is this Leah’s soul?
In Act IV, the player has to run through what’s left of the High Heavens. It has become corrupted, is blackened in places, and overrun with demons. Play through this part of the game, and you run into the spirits of familiar characters who have died during the course of the story line that exists in the game. One of them is Leah.
Leah: How does it feel? Knowing you helped me become the Prime Evil? For all your mighty deeds, all you really accomplished was unleashing me upon the world. Some savior you are, nephalem.
Although this spirit appears to be Leah’s soul, it actually isn’t. Seconds after taunting the player, this spirit reveals its true self. It’s the Aspect of Terror, Diablo’s Herald. If you’ve been paying attention to the dialogue in the game, then you already know this.
It is my understanding that a whole lot of people prefer to zoom through the game and ignore the story aspect, so this part of my blog post is here for them. I’m also putting this in for those who mostly play in Adventure Mode, which removes quite a bit of the story parts of the game.
The Aspect of Terror, of course, immediately tries to kill the player (and Tyrael, and whichever Follower is in the party). The spirit wasn’t Leah. It wasn’t her soul. Instead, it was Diablo’s Herald, who was there to confuse and slow down the player character. Diablo’s Herald pretends to be Leah, and then has her say things that match the Hero player character’s biggest fears.
Where could Leah’s soul be?
We know that Leah’s soul wasn’t wandering the High Heavens moments before the player killed Diablo. Let’s assume that Leah’s soul not only survived that battle, but also managed to extract itself from Diablo’s soul when “femme Diablo” was slain. Where could her soul have ended up?
Could her soul be wandering around the High Heavens now (after it started healing)? Most of the ghosts in Diablo III are located near where their bodies have been buried. Queen Asylla’s ghost, however, stays in the cell she was imprisoned in before she was beheaded by her husband. If we assume that ghosts and souls are the same – then there is potential that Leah’s soul is somewhere in the High Heavens.
Matthew Rossi wrote a post at Blizzard Watch about things that might be included in the next Diablo expansion. I highly recommend you read it. Not only does he come up with some very interesting ideas, he’s also a great writer.
One of the ideas he mentions involves Leah. Rossi speculates about where Leah’s soul may have ended up. Could her soul be trapped somewhere in the Burning Hells? (I’ll leave you to go over and read what he wrote about how this concept could be played out in an expansion).
I think this idea has potential, especially if Leah’s soul and Diablo’s soul are as entwined as I suspect that they are. Dead Demons go back to The Burning Hells to be reborn. Was Leah’s soul corrupted enough to count as a demon? Would her soul automatically go there since it was …. well, more “demon” than the typical human who lives in Sanctuary?
What if Leah “died” the moment that Adria helped Diablo take over Leah’s body? If that’s the case, then it’s possible that Leah’s soul is wandering around at the top of Bastion’s Keep. As I mentioned earlier, many ghosts in the “Diablo universe” have a tendency to hang around nearby where their body was buried. Maybe Leah’s soul is staying near the spot where her body died.