This blog is part of the series I am writing for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. The goal is to create a blog that fits with each letter of the alphabet. You are supposed to post these blogs on specific days (that have been assigned the letter the blog matches with). I’m starting to fall behind due to my chronic illnesses making me sleep way too much.
The topic for the blogs written as part of the challenge can be about anything at all. If you feel a particular topic or subject fits well with a certain letter – go for it. I have decided to write all my blogs about the Diablo video games (and the “universe” it exists in). I’m starting to think this may have been too ambitious a goal for the time limit.
L is for Leah. Poor, doomed, Leah is one of the most tragic figures in the Diablo III video game. Her fate was decided before she was born. No matter how much effort she put into trying to create the life she wanted for herself, it was never going to work out. This post may be considered to contain “spoilers”. Read at your own risk.
Leah’s mother was a witch named Adria. Players discover this shortly after they begin playing Diablo III. However, players first encountered Adria back in Diablo I. She was the character you needed to visit in order to buy scrolls and potions. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve trekked out of the cathedral dungeons to Adria’s Hut swearing I would remember to buy some scrolls of town portal before I returned to battle. Adria is a character that has been part of the Diablo “universe” for as long as the beloved Deckard Cain.
I’m going to skip over the information about Adria’s childhood. Some of it is mentioned in Act V of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, and the game hasn’t been out long enough for me to feel good about intentionally revealing the lore aspects of the expansion yet. Some of the same information can be found in the Book of Tyrael. For now, I’ll just say that Adria figured out that she was a witch while she was still rather young.
When she got older, she joined the Coven. It was being run by Magdha. The two women quickly became close enough to be considered “as one” by the other members of the Coven. Adria became a co-leader along with Magdha. The Coven wasn’t something new in Sanctuary. It’s origins go back to the Temple of the Triune that was powerful around the time of the Sin War. In short – demons are behind it!
Around the time of the Darkening of Tristram, Adria removed herself from the Coven. She set up shop in Tristram and made money by selling potions and scrolls to adventurers. Adria and Deckard Cain knew each other. (Tristram was a small town). At the time, Adria told Cain that her goal was to wage war against the evils of the Burning Hells. She was charismatic, and he felt that he had every reason to believe her. Adria kept her past a secret, and didn’t seem too interested when Cain mentioned the Black Soulstone. (Later, it becomes clear she was actively trying to learn more about it).
Leah’s father was a man named Aidan. (Later on in the history of Diablo was referred to as “The Dark Wanderer”). He came to Tristram with a Rogue and a Sorcerer. The party traveled into the depths of the Cathedral in an effort to destroy Diablo. (Those who played Diablo I will realize that Aiden must have been a Warrior. There were only three classes to choose from, and the other two were “played” by his companions).
Aiden was the oldest son of King Leoric of Khanduras. He returned to Tristram to rescue his younger brother, Albrecht from whatever evil forces had caused their father to go mad. By the time he arrives in Tristram, mad King Leoric had become the undead Skeleton King. Deckard Cain urged Aiden not to go into the Cathedral, pointing out no one knew how many demons were down there or what they were up to.
Aiden went in anyway. He found the Skeleton King, the form that his undead father had taken. That would be disturbing enough all by itself. Aiden had to slay his undead father. One can only imagine the psychological difficulties that would cause.
To make a long story short, Aiden returned to the Cathedral and discovered that the Bishop Lazarus was the one who betrayed the people of Tristram. He led a group of them through the Cathedral labyrinths to be slaughtered. Lazarus kidnapped Aiden’s younger brother Albrecht. Aiden found an alter where a young boy had been sacrificed – but it wasn’t his brother.
Later, Aiden returned one more time to the labyrinth under the Cathedral to fight Diablo himself. Diablo made himself appear to be Albrecht in order to mess with Aiden’s mind and convince him his brother could still be saved. It was a lie. When Aiden slayed Diablo, it became clear that the demon had used the body of young Albrecht as his host.
Diablo’s soul was now trapped in a soulstone. Unfortunately, it was cracked, and Aiden feared it would not contain Diablo forever. So, he shoved the soulstone (and Diablo’s soul) into his forehead. He hoped that would keep everyone safe. He must have been quite desperate, and somewhat insane, to figure that this was the best plan.
As you might expect, the entire experienced changed Aiden for the worst. He became dark and disturbed. Not only was he psychologically traumatized about what happened in the Cathedral, he also had become the vessel that held Diablo’s soul. Adria had her own connection to Diablo. She could see Diablo in Aiden after he came out of the Cathedral for the last time. Her plan was to become pregnant from Aiden/Diablo in order to create the perfect vessel for her “master”.
That vessel was Leah. Aiden left Tristram shortly after, on a quest of his own. Adria decided to leave as well. She told Deckard Cain that she was heading to the east in the hopes of finding a mystic that could stop her nightmares. A very pregnant Adria left Tristram with Gillian, the barmaid. They traveled to Caldeum where Adria gave birth to Leah.
Adria didn’t form any kind of bond or attachment to her daughter. She may have considered Leah as Diablo’s daughter instead of her own. She left young Leah with Gillian, who made a new home for herself in Caldeum. Leah went through childhood without ever knowing her mother and without knowing anything at all about who her father truly was.
In Diablo III, Leah tells the player character that the other children didn’t like her. They considered her to be “strange”. It wasn’t only because Leah had a tendency to trek around in sewers. She was different from all the other kids. The other kids picked up that something wasn’t quite right with Leah.
In Diablo III: The Order there is a part of the book where Deckard Cain comes to find Leah. He realizes that Gillian has gone mad as a result of what happened while she was in Tristram. It was as though the evil of the demons under the Cathedral, and of Diablo himself, tainted everyone who was in town. Cain realizes he has to take Leah with him. Gillian was no longer a good guardian for the girl.
This catches us up to the Leah we encounter in Diablo III. She has a strange power that she cannot control. She never knew her mother (and barely has the opportunity to get to know Adria before … let’s say Act IV). Leah has absolutely no idea that her father was Aiden and also Diablo himself. Her plans to open up a nice little inn somewhere were never a possibility. Part of Diablo was always an intrinsic part of Adria’s daughter.