Adria is a character that has been in the “Diablo universe” for as long as Deckard Cain. Parts of her story have been scattered through Diablo III, in the form of journals that players can pick up as they go through Story Mode (or by doing Bounties). Those journals leave a lot out, though. More of her story can be found in the Book of Tyrael.
In this blog, I will put all the pieces together, in chronological order, as best I can. The thing to keep in mind about Adria is she has spent her life seeking power. Her desire for power is the motivating factor behind everything she does.
The Book of Tyrael has a portion that describes Adria as having a faint accent, and a way of speaking, that indicated that she was born and raised along the docks of Kingsport. Adria was an only child. Her father, Severin, came from a long line of powerful merchants. He had amassed (or possibly, inherited) a great deal of wealth. Sevrin was described as “unstable” and prone to sudden acts of violence.
Adria’s Journals can be found in Act V of Diablo III. In one, Adria wrote about the first time she saw a witch.
Adria’s Journal, Part 1: The first time I saw a witch, she burned. Father took me to the town square to see it. “Look,” he said. “That is the face of evil.” But she looked like any other woman and burned like anything else. Then the flames engulfed her, her eyes found mine, and she laughed.
This event was a significant one in Adria’s life. It’s easy to see why a child, who was brought to the town square by her father specifically so that she could watch a witch being burned alive, would remember that gruesome event. Adria’s father described the witch as “the face of evil”, but Adria didn’t see her that way. She just saw a woman.
As the witch burned, she stared into young Adria’s eyes, and started laughing. Most people who were being burned alive would be screaming, not laughing. The implication is that the witch noticed that Adria was also a witch. Adria was probably too young to know that about herself yet. The event shows Adria that the people of Sanctuary hate the women whom they consider to be witches, and that her father also hates witches.
The other significant thing about this event is that it may have been one of the only times that her father paid any attention to her.
Not much is known about Adria’s mother. The Book of Tyrael never mentions her name. When Adria was a child, her father lost a small fortune when some of his trade ships were destroyed in a storm. He was filled with rage and strangled his wife to death. This left Adria without a mother. She was about 10 years old at the time, without friends, and longing for her father’s attention.
Adria’s Journal, Part 2: My father could never understand. He was born into privilege and wealth, and he spent every moment of his life trying to protect it. I was his flesh and blood, but he cared more about the faces of the paintings on the walls than his living daughter.
This page of the Adria’s Journal shows how much she wanted her father’s attention. He was born into a rich family, and had lost a fortune. From her perspective, her father spent all of his time and energy trying to regain the wealth he had lost. She obviously felt slighted, and offended that she was less important to her father than “names in books and the faces of the paintings on the walls”.
Eventually, the law caught up with Sevrin. The town constable and the city guards arrested him for the murder of his wife. The crime of murder was punishable by hanging. He was brought to prison. Adria stayed outside around the jail, waiting for him. Part 3 of her journal gives a glimpse into what she might have been thinking while she waited outside the jail.
Adria’s Journal, Part 3: Do you know what fear is? The fear of who you are, the fear of what your own blood would do if they knew what you were. No, you could never understand it. People look to you as a savior. Have you ever thought about the lives you’ve taken? They were fathers, lovers…daughters.
Adria has started to figure out that she is a witch, and this knowledge makes her very afraid. She fears that her father, her “own blood”, will find out she is a witch and have her burned in the town square. Adria feels a lot of resentment towards her father, in part because she knows he will never understand what it is like to live with the fear she feels.
“People look to you as a savior”, she writes. She’s talking about her father. She and her mother must have looked upon him as the person that would keep them safe and comfortable. Instead, he took that life away from them. He, quite literally, killed Adria’s mother. In doing so, he ended up in jail, where she stands waiting for him. Her short life had changed very quickly. “They were fathers, lovers… daughters”, she writes. It is though she is saying that her father’s actions have taken away what was once a good life from not only her mother and herself, but also from himself.
Sevrin was able to buy himself a pardon with the last of his wealth. This option would not have been available to a person with less money and influence. He was released from prison, and went back home with his daughter. The constable that watched them leave together concluded that Adria was very loyal to her father.
Things got worse from here. Sevrin was now out of money, and in a lot of debt. He was making dangerous enemies of those whom he owed money to. Imagine the stress that young Adria must have been under while this was happening. She started setting small fires and staring into the flames.
Adria’s Journal, Part 4: They asked me what I see when I look into the fire. I see a burning man. I see a burning witch. I see terror and hunger that will consume everything. What hope do the works of men have against such an all-consuming hunger? I gave myself to the flames.
Who is the “they” she wrote about? Adria didn’t have any friends, and her only family was her father (who ignored her). I think this part of her journal describes the first contact that Adria had with Diablo. The Lord of Terror started talking to her through the flames, while she was still a child. It seems like Adria either did not yet fully understand exactly who she had been listening to, or didn’t think much about it at the time.
Diablo told her stories that played upon her fears. He reminded her of the burning witch her father took her to see. She may have believed that this was her fate as well. She became aware of “a terror and a hunger that will consume everything” and that men were powerless against. This lonely girl, who had lost her mother and who was resentful that her father chose to ignore her, had no one in her life.
She “gave herself to the flames”. This doesn’t mean that she literally jumped into the fire. Instead, it signifies that she made a pact with Diablo. It’s unclear exactly what she promised him. It seems that he immediately gave her some power that protected her in ways that her father never could.
Not long after this, Sevrin’s home caught fire, in the dead of night. Adria set the fire while she was inside the home with her father.
Adria’s Journal, Part 5: My father burned. He screamed as the flames consumed him, and the smell was… sickly sweet. He had found me – for once in his life he had noticed me – and when he saw that the flames did not touch me, he breathed one word. It was his last.
Sevrin’s last word was “witch”. Adria left the house while it was still burning and stood outside, staring intently into the flames. The city guards arrived to try and put out the fire. The Book of Tyrael mentions the official report about this fire. It “burned with unnatural wrath”. Two guards were roasted alive in their armor while trying to fight the fire. Water didn’t have much of an effect on the flames, and it took a full day to put the fire out. The report mentions that all that remained of Sevrin was “charred bone”.
Adria fled. She took off into the wilderness around Kingsport. It is suspected that she joined a secretive group of witches that were living in the wilderness. Over time, Adria became a very powerful figure in this group of witches. This was where she met Maghda.
This is the point where Adria got involved with The Coven, a cult that was formed from the remains of the Triune. It fell in and out of power over the years. Adria and Maghda has become close. They decided to join The Coven, not because they wanted to be a part of it – but because they wanted to rule it. They poisoned the leaders and took over. Under their leadership, The Coven started practicing torture and summoning demons.
Adria and Maghda believed that they were destined to become the mortal heralds of the Burning Hells. Maghda started sacrificing her followers in an effort to achieve her own goals. Adria and Maghda shared a lot of power. Their followers viewed them as though they were one entity – bound together in the same way that two Lesser Evils, Duriel and Andarial, were.
Duriel is the Lord of Pain. Andarial is the only female Lesser Evil. She is the Maiden of Anguish. She was a confidante of Diablo’s. Obviously, Adria and Maghda were not actually Duriel and Andarial, nor were they possessed by them. The comparison shows how much power these two women had while they were the co-leaders of The Coven.
It was said that Adria and Maghda shared styles of clothing, spoke in a similar way, and shared some other traits. Adria would probably have been a teenager by then, and it is possible that Maghda was close to the same age. It isn’t unusual for two teenage best friends to decide to wear similar clothing, or to make up phrases that mean something secret that only they understand.
One day, Adria left The Coven. She simply walked away without a word and was gone. Adria traveled to Tristram. Why would she leave The Coven, where she had so much power, to start a new life in a town she had never been to? The answer was simple. Diablo was in Tristram, deep within the Cathedral. Diablo and Adria somehow were able to “hear” each other even if they were physically far away.
Tristram was a small town where everyone knew everyone else. Adria chose to build a hut that was outside of town, but not far away. Adria sold healing potions, and scrolls of town portal, from her hut. Adventurers had started coming to town to venture into the demon infested Cathedral. She was not welcomed by the townspeople.
Adria’s Journal Part 6: “Witch”, they called me. But I turned it against them. When their daughter had a child that needed to disappear, when there was a sickness that none of the healers could cure, who was it they pleaded with? When they needed me, the morality they flaunted in the daylight disappeared. It always does.
Why would Adria help people who obviously hated her? The answer, once again, has to do with power. Adria wasn’t in Tristram to make friends – she was waiting for Diablo. The townspeople had identified her as a witch, and had started calling her that. Adria knew what happened to witches.
It would seem that the townspeople, who didn’t accept Adria because she was a witch, would have a lot of power over Adria. They could run her out of town, or burn her alive. She was able to take that power away from them.
People who could not be cured by healers came to Adria, hoping she could heal them. She may have saved their lives. These people are now in a position where they might feel that they “owed” Adria something. They feared that Adria would one day ask them for a favor – one that they may not want to do, but would feel obligated to.
“When their daughter had a child that needed to disappear”, she writes. Adria wasn’t talking about a three year old who needed to find foster parents. Mothers of teenage daughters, who had unfortunately gotten pregnant, came to Adria. She was the only one in Tristram who could preform abortions (and make the child disappear).
This gave Adria a lot of power. She knew which daughters had gotten pregnant – and probably knew who the fathers were. Adria saved the reputation of the pregnant teens and their families. At any time, Adria could choose to share those secrets with the entire town and ruin the lives of the teens she helped.
The only person who got along with Adria was Deckard Cain. The two would sit in the tavern and have conversations about the history of Sanctuary. Adria asked a lot of questions about Zoltun Kulle and his black soulstone.
One night, a man named Aiden ventured into the Cathedral and captured Diablo in a cracked soulstone. (I’ll save his story for another blog). Long story short, Aiden jammed that soulstone into his forehead in an effort to make sure that Diablo didn’t escape. In short, Diablo was pretty much inside Aiden’s head, and attempting to drive him mad.
Something happened between Adria and Aiden that is alluded to in the Journal page that Leah finds when she explores Adria’s hut (located outside the remains of the original Tristram) with the player character.
Adria’s Journal: Aidan came to me last night. I suspected what was lurking within his troubled heart. I consoled him as best I could. Regardless, wherever he’s headed, Hell will surely follow in his wake.
The shadows close in on Tristram once again. But, like Aidan, I’ll be gone before they fall.
Adria was one of the few people who would talk to Aiden after he came out of the Cathedral (and was losing his mind). He came to the conclusion that he couldn’t stay in Tristram. Before he left, he came to Adria’s hut and the two had sex. Adria wasn’t in love with Aiden, but she did have a strong connection to Diablo, who just so happened to be inside Aiden’s head at that moment. Adria became pregnant with a child that was intended to become a vessel for Diablo. That child was Leah.
Later, after it was obvious that Adria was pregnant, she decided to leave Tristram. She took Gillian, who was a barmaid at the Tavern, with her. The two women traveled to Caldeum. They found a home to live in. Gillian had been taking care of her sick mother. The fact that she decided to leave Tristram with Adria means that her mother must have passed away. It also meant that Gillian had at least a little bit of nursing skills. She probably helped Adria to give birth to Leah.
Adria wasn’t the slightest bit interested in her daughter. Adria knew that Leah had Diablo inside her, and that it would take time for Leah to grow big enough to be a useful vessel for Diablo. She ignored her daughter in the same way that her own father had ignored her. Adria decided to abandon her daughter with Gillian. She put a protective spell on the house, and walked away.
She was in search of Zoltun Kulle. She wanted the black soulstone that he had created. Adria wanted to use the black soulstone to trap Azmodan and Belial, the last of the lesser evils who had not been captured. (Five lesser evils are already trapped in the black soulstone). Why would she want to bother with this task? The reason probably had something to do with whatever it was she promised to Diablo when she was a child.
Gillian attempted to raise Leah. Unfortunately, when Leah was still a young child, Gillian began losing her mind. Deckard Cain had set out to check on Leah, and arrives at the door of Gillian and Leah’s home not long after Gillian had attempted to kill the girl. This is when Deckard Cain becomes Leah’s Uncle. The two travel together, and once in a while Adria would see them. She stayed in the shadows and avoided being seen.
Twenty years after abandoning her daughter, Adria returns to Caldeum. By then, the city has been taken over by Belial. He knows what Adria is up to. She gets captured.
Play through Diablo III, and your character will rescue Adria. This brings us to the point in the game where the player is working on finding the missing parts of Zoltun Kulle. This leads up to the part where Zoltun Kulle tries to use the black soulstone, but something goes wrong. The player has to kill him. Adria arrives to collect the black soulstone.
In Act III, Adria is pushing her daughter to use her burgeoning magical abilities on the black soulstone. Adria tells Leah that she is the only one who can keep the lesser evils from breaking out of it. That might be the case, but it’s also possible that Adria is making Leah do something to the black soulstone that will make it easier for Diablo to use it.
At the end of Act III, and the start of Act IV, Adria finally achieves her goal. She ties up her daughter, uses the black soulstone, and helps Diablo break free. He possesses Leah… sort of. I mean, Diablo was inside her from the moment of her conception. The difference is he has now taken over her body, and changed it into what players have been referring to as “femme Diablo”. Diablo is free, and supplemented by the power of all the other evils.
Diablo dismisses Adria. She opens a portal and disappears. Later, when the player gets to Act V, he or she gets to fight Adria. It is clear that Diablo gave her the power she was seeking. She learned how to use her own blood to make Golems. She stands by a huge pool of her own blood right before the fight starts. Her body changes from human to demon. Adria got the power she had been seeking her whole life – but not for long. The Hero slays her, and this is the end of her story.
UPDATE: (August 27, 2015) I found a 7th Journal of Adria in the Blood Marsh when I was trying to level my softcore Wizard today. Either this journal was there all along, and I somehow missed it – or it’s been added to Diablo III after patch 2.3.0.
Adria’s Journal. Part 7: The first time I heard him, his voice pierced my skull. It reminded me of the cold and haughty sound of my father, but it was more, a crush of thousands of voices. When I heard him, I saw the flame, and I knew fear. – Adria.
Considering that this Journal dropped from a satchel in the Blood Marsh, I think it fits into Adria’s story right after she fled through a portal after helping Diablo posses Leah. She had to have written it before the player killed her. It seems to me that in this Journal page, Adria is reflecting back upon when she first got involved with Diablo. She is admitting to herself that she saw something of her father in Diablo. She also admits to herself that Diablo frightened her.
Adria’s Journal, Part 8: It was a man who came to my bed that night, but when I looked into his eyes, I saw the other, though even he did not know at the time. I did not hear the man’s voice, no. I heard the other, the one that has been with me for all these years. I gave myself to him.
Part 8 of Adria’s Journal confirms that Adria was very aware that Diablo was inside Aiden when Aiden came to her bed. It confirms that Adria gave herself to Diablo – not Aiden. It also indicates that Adria thinks that Diablo did not know that Adria could see him inside Aiden at that moment.
Adria’s Journal, Part 9: Leah was never my daughter. She was Diablo’s daughter in truth. I felt blessed to have given the product of my body to my master. He had no interest in me, but in the product of my womb, he found life again. I never flinched when I knew her purpose. Daughters are a cheap thing.
This last part of Adria’s Journal is very revealing. She clearly states that she does not consider Leah to be her daughter. Instead, she consider’s Leah to be Diablo’s daughter. Adria has thought of Diablo as her master for a very long time, and it seems that she feels proud to have given Leah over to him.
The last line is heartbreaking. “Daughters are a cheap thing.” One interpretation is that Adria didn’t think Leah was worth much and that made it easy for her to give Leah to Diablo. It indicates that Adria would as soon have more children if Diablo wanted her to, knowing that Diablo would have a nefarious purpose for those children.
“Daughters are a cheap thing” also shows how little Adria thinks of herself. She never got over the fact that her father mostly ignored her (in favor of the paintings on the walls and the money he could earn.). She knew her father could never accept her because she was a witch. Considering this, it is no surprise that Adria never felt motherly toward Leah.
Diablo III Players will eventually have to kill Adria. They either are directed to do this though the story mode of the game, or are given a bounty to kill her. After the player kills Adria, she drops “Adria’s Note”.
Adria: Diablo will return I have done what I can to ensure it. He always finds a way. In your heart of hearts, you know this.
It is an ominous note to receive from a now-dead women who has literally turned into a monster. (She resembles a spider when the player fights her, and has been making monsters from a giant pool of her own blood.)
Adria wasn’t a person who was known to joke about things, or pull pranks. She says she has done what she can to ensure Diablo’s return, and there is no reason to doubt this, considering the other things she has done.
The player is left wondering not if Diablo would return to Sanctuary… but when.