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Alright, so there is a character (among many) in the game that many people hate. I thought, thought, that she just lacked a good back story, an origin. So here it is. Please, ignore my blatant disregard for the timeline...I assumed that that Diablo 2 took place 7 years after the original, or had to to make the story work. Here goes! (This is not a multi-part story so far)
I alone see the Horadrim emerge from the sands with the rising sun, his worn rags clinging to his skeletal frame like aged paper. He takes slow, uneven steps, supporting himself with a long oak staff. No one notices him but me until he is within the town gates. I felt him coming, in some strange manner, like a small bell in the back of my mind.
I am seven when he arrives. He does not stop at the inn for relief from the brutal heat of the Aranoch Desert, nor does he converse with any of the townsfolk save for one question.
“Where is the girl with the raven hair?”
From my advantageous position at the water well, I hear him asking for me, of course. But instead of coming to him, I watch with violet-tinged eyes as a man points the old traveler in my direction. Water droplets cascade over my hands, transformed into miniature suns by the midday light. And still I stare. Waiting for him to find me. For I know that this is what I have been waiting for. This is what has been keeping me awake in the chilled air of the nights, lying on my cot and staring up at the mud brick roof of my tiny home. My tired and overly old parents have grown worried for me, but I have given them little attention. As far as I am concerned, they have done their duty, which was conceiving me. They are just tools to me now, a façade to put on to keep people from whispering about me.
And yet, they do. From the moment when I came into this desert shrouded life, my eyes, the color of amethyst stones like those the traders from the East sometimes brought, supposedly bewitched the birthing maidens, and they had fled the room. As I have grown, townspeople have taken to calling me Witch Child, for my pale skin that never tanned, for my eyes, for my quiet and watchful demeanor, and most of all, although unbeknownst to them, my unusual perception of the world. It is a strange thing to have. Sometimes I am not sure I am not simply imagining it. Other times, like my notion that something was about to happen, that someone like the Horadrim was going to come, my sense was strong. It is as if my vision is a little sharper than most, as if I can see a little bit more, a little past things, into the truth. It doesn’t make much sense, even to me.
But I am strange, and that is what defines me.
At last, the traveler finds me. He approaches, and I notice he is breathing heavily, and that he is old, much older than I had first thought. His brown, freckled skin sags beneath his washed out grey eyes, and his scraggly beard that might once have been white trials miserably off his chin. I also see that he periodically glances up at the sky, as if expecting demon carrion to drop from the sky. Not long ago, I muse, they would have.
“So you are the girl.” His voice is not deep, but it is captivating, rich, and might once have charmed many a farmer’s daughter into a kiss, if this man had so desired.
“So you are the last of the Order,” I say, staring openly at him, taking care not to blink. I wipe my wet hands on my skirts, and pick up the water bucket and drink, not offering him any even though he must be dehydrated. I do not care.
The old man returns my stare, and soon it turns into a sort of competition, me showing him that I am not afraid of him, and him much the same. I am less than a decade old, and yet I stand almost a full half head taller than this stooped stranger. Finally, he winks and beckons slowly towards my small home.
“I am the last, but I am also an observer, much like you. But come, let us retreat into your house, young mistress. I think we have much to discuss.” It takes me aback for a moment, that this man would invite me into my own home, the place where I sleep and change my clothing. I blink, unsure for another moment still, and then follow him inside, my eyes slowly adjusting to the shadows within, the afterimage of the sparkling water on my hands still burned into my eyelids.
“Tell me, have you heard of the destruction of Mt. Arreat?” He is sitting at our only table now, in my usual place. I sit in my father’s chair. He won’t mind because he and mother are off crossing the seas to sell their goods in Caldeum. And even if he were here, I would not tell him.
“Who are you?” I say, ignoring his first question. Of course I have heard of the destruction of the mountain; I almost fainted when I awoke that morning, when I felt that something huge had happened. It had taken weeks for the details to emerge, helped along by news from beyond the desert. I smirk. What a fool, thinking that information beyond one such as I.
The old man studies my face for several seconds, and then grunts.
“I thought so.” He reaches back behind his neck and scratches for a long time, his fingers creaking in protest to the movement. This man is ancient, I think. Older perhaps than my grandparents, had they still been alive. When he is finished, he closes his eyes and seems to nap for a few minutes more. Finally, after a long while, he speaks.
“I am Deckard Cain.” He leans back in his chair and opens his eyes, the large lump in his throat bobbing as he swallows noisily. “And I have come all this way to find you, dear child. I had heard things about a strange girl far away in the middle of the desert, the one beyond Lut Gholien, surrounded by the tombs of the Horadrim. The one with the raven hair and uncanny air about her. I had heard that she could tell when things were going to happen, and what things were transpiring as they did so, and where.” More cracks and groans from his back as he leans forward and puts his hands on the table. “After I had learned of your existence, I had a hunch that you were connected to the…unfortunate events of late.”
“You mean the return of the Prime Evils.” I say, keeping my voice even. “Of Diablo, and Mephisto, and Baal.”
Cain blinks rapidly and nods his head.
“Yes, yes. But I would advise you not to speak their names, child. Names are powerful, and the brothers are not yet long gone from this world.”
“Names are just words, and the brothers are at the bottom of the Black Abyss, or in the Void, no matter for how long.” I spit the words, defying him. Daring him to argue. But he does not anger. Simply looks at me.
“Have you had your abilities since birth?”
“You already know the answer to that question.” He does know it. I know it. But I do not know why, and I wonder if he does.
“Do you ever wonder?” His staff is still tight in his grip, and the several beads that are tied to it with colored strings clack against each other as he shifts in his seat. “Do you ever wonder how you came to be?”
“I know how children are made, Cain.” It is no secret to me. I am a spy, and that talent is not limited to overhearing other men’s conversations. I am curious about all aspects of life, and that particular one holds no taboo for me.
“Not that, young one. I mean you…as in what makes you yourself. The unusual aspects of your person. Your hair or skin, for example. Your eyes, and of course your ability.”
“No.” It is hard for me to admit that I am lacking in knowledge of something, even as limited as my education has been. But I am curious. I have always wanted to know, and that is one of the only things I have not been able to find out, even with my talents, arcane or otherwise.
Cain seems to brace himself, to struggle with his next words, as if he is unwilling to say them. A soft breeze comes in through the doorway, and it sends chills down my spine, despite the heat. Answers are at my fingertips. I don’t need to be special to know that.
“After I learned of your existence…I went in search of an old friend. A sorceress that lives in Caldeum. She has been keeping an eye on you as well, friend. And she shared some interesting suspicions of hers…”
“Tell me. Tell me now.” I am ready to burst, to explode. Why must Cain be so infuriating?
The shadows in the room lengthen, and the breeze coming through the door picks up, blowing in sand from the flagstones outside. Cain looks uneasy, and I see a thin sheen of sweat has formed on his brow, but he continues.
“Seven years ago, the Lords of Hell were banished into Sanctuary in an event known as the Dark Exile, led by two Lesser Evils; Azmodan, the Lord of Sin…and Belial, the Lord of Lies.” Cain is very agitated now, but he also seems consumed by his own story, the fantastic horrors it holds. “Belial wanted to keep an eye on the Prime Evils, to have a spy in our world. So, he chipped off a small part of his soul and sent it out of the Burning Hells. The soul fragment was naturally drawn to the single greatest lie being committed in the world at that exact moment in time…”
I frown. Seven years ago, I was born. Nine months before that…
My parents have always been strange folk. Mother seems to be in a perpetual daze which only worsens whens she sees father. She goes head over heels for him each time he enters the room. I have never thought much of it, but now I wonder.
Once, a mage from Caldeum came to our town to offer the sale of potions and spells wrapped in paper bags. Among those spells was a love charm; a folded square of paper with an intricate, glowing symbol drawn by a charcoal stick. I had stalked the mage back into his wagon the following night, and had made him tell me the purpose of the love charm. He had said, under the cover of the moon and stars above and the howling sandstorm outside, that the charm, once put on a man or woman, would make that person love the caste. And if cast properly, would last for decades, the victim none the wiser.
“My father made my mother love him with magic. Made me under a lie.” It is a profound revelation, but it does not shatter me. Does not even make a crack in my armor. I feel no love for the people who call themselves my parents. None.
“Very good, child.” Cain absentmindedly fiddles the beads of his staff, his worn fingers spinning them like a spider spins a web. “The night your father shared his bed with your mother, who was under the effects of that charm, Belial’s soul shard merged with your father, but did not stay there. It was transferred into the new life created in that moment.”
“Me.” Belial’s soul is within me, I realize. I am a part of a Lord of Hell. A tiny, tiny part, but a part. My power, my talents, come from him. I am different, I am shunned-
I stop thinking. I am shunned not because of Belial, who had no control over where his soul shard flew. I am different, I am hated and feared….because of my father. My father, who did unspeakable things to my mother and forced Belial’s soul upon me.
I am suddenly filled with a strange feeling that makes my chest feel hot, and my eyes burn. Fury. I do not hate being different, and if I had a choice I would not change it. But I was not given a choice. I could have been one of the children who runs and plays in the sand, laughing and screaming at each other. But no, I am the one who hides in the shadows, watching them play because they won’t let me. I am the one who had to bury her grandfather because he tried to burn me at the stake for who I am.
And now I will bury my father.
Cain is saying something, and I only catch the last half end of sentence. My mind is busy making plans, discarding ideas that would not work. How to do it? When he arrives home from his journey across the seas to Caldeum? Poison? A knife? I do not care. I only know that I want him dead.
“Child?” Yven?” I turn my head at the mention of my name. “I was saying…that inside you is great power, even if it is that from a demon of Hell. I-“
“I do not care if it is demonic,” I spit. “I do not have a choice, do I? I do not have a choice now as to what I will become. A vessel of Belial. “
“You always have a choice,” Deckard says, taking my question the wrong way. What a fool! He actually believes I fear my talents. I do not. If they help me get what I want, so be it they come from Belial. I do not fear him, either. “I can help you. Take you to my friend in Caldeum and rid your body of Belial’s soul fragment. You would be an ordinary child then.”
He would take me to Caldeum, where my father is. That is all I hear. I can kill him there and return home with my mother, freed from the charm that has bound her for seven years. For a moment, something strange happens. When I think of my mother, robbed of her free will, I feel…pity for her. Sorrow.
And it drives my hatred for my father even further.
“Yes, I will go with you.” I say, staring at the floor, suddenly the perfect child, the picture of innocence.
“Wonderful!” Cain is suddenly very happy, and he stands, animated and full of life. “We will begin our journey to the seas in the morning, and from there to Caldeum. Perhaps even meet your parents there, aye?”
“Perhaps.” I smile, feigning excitement at the prospect of seeing them there, wondering for a split second as to how Cain knows where they are. But I file that away in the bottom of my mind. My plan, my revenge, only minutes old, will come to see success immediately. But…
“I only have one condition,” I say on impulse.
“Oh?” Cain turns, silhouetted in the doorway, the winds blowing his ragged clothes towards me.
“I ask that you do not call me Yven. That is not my true name.” This also has been nagging me for some time. At night, a name would suddenly come into my mind, asserting itself over my old one. And I have felt that this is what I was meant to be called. Saying it aloud for the first time will only prove it, make it real.
“And what is, child?”
I pause, my violet eyes shifting to a tiny moth that is crawling across the table. I reach out to it and extend my index finger. Slowly, the moth crawls onto my hand and flutters around my wrist. I watch, fascinated, as the sunlight shines through the tears in its wings.
And that is it! Please tell me what you think!
Oh, well...shove 7 years in there then.
Thanks dude(ette?)! I feel like I should make a second part about her in Caldeum, murdering her father and meeting Adria and whatnot...but this was just intended to get the ball rolling, you know? Anyway, thanks for reading!
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