This blog is part of my series that was supposed to be completed as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge that took place in April of this year. The rules require all participating bloggers to write one blog that fits with each letter of the alphabet and to post the blog on the correct day. I failed to complete the Challenge on time.
My plan was to use the Challenge as a way to get started writing about Diablo III (and its “universe”). The amount of detail that I wanted to put in the blogs proved to be too overwhelming for the time span I was allotted. I still wanted to write about the ideas I selected, so I’m going to keep working on them. The only difference is that they will be posted when I am able to (instead of within a certain time span).
V is for Virgil. He is a non-player character (NPC) that players run into extremely briefly during one of the quests to collect the sword pieces for “the Stranger”. Poor Virgil! We hardly knew you.
Players in Diablo III start out with one main goal “to seek the Fallen Star”. As you work your way through Act I, you discover that the “Fallen Star” isn’t a meteor, comet, or star at all. Instead, it is a man who fell from the sky. He cannot remember who he is and only has a vague idea of his own purpose. This character starts out being called “the Stranger”. (His true identity is eventually revealed).
The player character is then sent on a quest to find the three pieces of “the Stranger’s” sword. Eventually, this quest chain requires the player character to take a boat ride from New Tristram to Wortham. Upon arrival, it is obvious that most of the town is on fire. The first time I went through that part of the game, I found it to be really disturbing. Wortham is a small town, and the buildings appear to be made entirely of wood. There is no fire department in Wortham to put out the fires. This town is done for.
The player character has to fight his or her way towards the Wortham Chapel. Or, rather, the player is aiming towards what is left of it. Not even the Chapel was spared from the fire.
The player character ends up talking to a priest from Wortham Chapel – who is given the imaginative name of “Priest”. He stands in front of the burning Chapel. He watched the player character fight and kill a whole bunch of bad guys. His Chapel is on fire, and there is no way to put it out. I suspect that “Priest” is as overwhelmed as the few townspeople who have survived and are standing around.
The screenshot above shows my Hardcore Witch Doctor, Una, as she speaks with “Priest”. She’s the one that looks like she is on fire. (Those are the wings that you get if you have the Collector’s Edition of the Reaper of Souls expansion.) The odd, purple, dogs belong to her, and so does the giant who is standing nearby. Behind the dogs stands Leah (an NPC) and behind “Priest” stands the Templar (another NPC who is a Follower).
Off to the side stands a woman who lives in Wortham. She survived the fire, but seems shocked and dazed. If you watch her, you will see that the wind blows her skirt a bit. It moves as she stands perfectly still. Did her house burn down? Did she lose loved ones in the fire? There is no way to know.
Una, my Witch Doctor, tells “Priest”: I seek a sword hilt fallen from the sky. It glows with powerful magic.
“Priest” responds: We found it a few days ago. I wish we’d never brought it here. Come, I left Virgil to guard it. We will be glad to be rid of it.
Shortly after you enter the Wortham Chapel, you find the body of poor Virgil. He died while guarding the sword hilt.
Who was Virgil? Players aren’t given any further information about him. All we know for certain is that “Priest” assigned Virgil to guard the sword hilt, and that Virgil died while he was trying to do his newly assigned job.
There are other things about Virgil that we can surmise. He is the only person in Wortham who was giving a proper name. The priest is “Priest”. None of the dazed and overwhelmed NPCs who are standing around outside have been given names. This makes Virgil rather special. But, why?
We know that “Priest” was on a first name basis with Virgil. He knew Virgil well enough to trust him to guard the sword hilt while the Chapel (and all of Wortham) burned and was being attacked. “Priest” believed that Virgil would bravely do his job. The two of them were not strangers.
I get the feeling that Virgil must have been the equivalent of a novitiate in whatever religion “Priest” was. Virgil must have spent the majority of his time with “Priest” (and whatever other priests there were) learning about the religion, practicing the rites and prayers, and studying. Virgil wanted to become a priest. He may have viewed the assignment of guarding the sword hilt as a test, of sorts, that would get him that much closer to completing his “apprenticeship” (for lack of a better term).
This paints the picture of Virgil, excitedly guarding the sword hilt, dreaming about finally being able to achieve his career, and spiritual, goal in life. Instead, he died. It is difficult to say whether Virgil died of smoke inhalation, or if Magda killed him when she teleported in to steal the sword hilt. Either way, he is gone.
I think that Virgil must have lived in Wortham. Maybe he grew up there, too. The nearest town is New Tristram. It seems incredibly inconvenient for Virgil to live in New Tristram and commute by ferry to Wortham every day (and back again every night). He must have been a resident of Wortham. Yet, there is no one standing outside the Wortham Chapel, looking for him, hoping to find him alive. Did Virgil lose his whole family in the fire? Or, was he alone in Sanctuary, without attachment to anyone except for “Priest” (and whatever other priests there may have been)?
The sad story of Virgil is one that stays with me after I go through that part of the game. I think I react that way because Virgil had a name. “Priest” who doesn’t have a name, tells the player character that he had Virgil guarding the sword hilt. We expect to run into Virgil in the Wortham Chapel and relieve him of his duty by taking the sword hilt from him. Instead, we find his body on the floor – and there is nothing we can do to save him.
This short scene would not have been as dramatic if Virgil was some anonymous NPC. “Priest” could have said that he assigned an acolyte, or novitiate, to guard the sword. Players would have found a body on the floor of the Chapel, assumed it was the novitiate that “Priest” was talking about, and moved on. Instead, we end up wondering about who Virgil was, and what his life was like, before his unfortunate death.