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For those who didn't know, I posted a thread in the Story forum about the possibility that Aidan was still alive. This is my story on how that could have happened. This is my first crack at fan-fiction so go easy on me if there's lore problems or contradictions. Also, sorry about the length, a lot of thought went into this. I used this to answer some questions that still remain unanswered in the lore, i.e. Marius, and made this video far less contradictory to the lore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxnWjyvmpnI
I envied the days, merely a few weeks prior, where the worst of my troubles were terrifying nightmares that woke me up in a cold sweat. It was then that I knew there was something dark within my very soul, clinging to my sanity, trying to shake it with terrifying visions and dreams. What I saw and experienced below the Tristram cathedral, I knew, would haunt me forever, however, the burden inside me had proven to be much worse. Diablo is said to be the Lord of Terror. That is what I would have to live with the rest of my days. Terror itself living within me, fighting to take over.
When I confronted Lazarus, trying to stop him from sacrificing what I thought at the time was my brother, he revealed to me that my father's maddening and fall into insanity was the work of Diablo, trying to take over his soul. Thanks to my father's deep involvement in the Zakarum faith, he was able to resist, but at the cost of his sanity. After I killed Lazarus, I realized the sacrificed boy was not Albrecht. This put a rage in me that was yet unequaled. I was going to find Diablo and kill him for what he had done to my father. Maybe then, also, I could have found out the fate of my brother. Little did I know, my rage toward Diablo would only be exponentially increased after his death, when I found out he had possessed Albrecht's body, and subsequently caused me to kill him by my own sword.
The realization of everything came together at that moment, when I was holding the crimson soulstone in my hand, standing above my brother's lifeless body. My father lost his sanity and nearly destroyed Tristram. Lazarus and Leoric killed my mother in paranoia. I had to kill my father's reanimated body. Albrecht was kidnapped and turned into a being of pure Terror. My quest to vanquish Terror caused me to take the life of my own brother. All this because of the influence and deeds of Diablo. In my hand I held his essence. I knew my fight with him couldn't be over. My hatred towards him knew no boundaries. I needed revenge, even if it meant eternally. Unknowing of his presence, Diablo was able to corrupt my father. Albrecht never had a chance to resist. Such a young boy couldn't ward off such a heinous evil on his own. However, I knew of Diablo and I knew what he was capable of. I thought at the time, my hatred of him gave me strength.
Diablo brought Lazarus under his influence while still in the soulstone. Just because Diablo was contained didn't mean he was defeated. He could still influence people's subconscious. The battle now was no longer physical. That's when I got the idea that I must contain him myself, and then I would be able to fight and suppress his essence forever. It was here that my battle with him would really begin. With Diablo inside me, I could exact revenge upon him forever. So without any more thought, I threw the soulstone into my forehead.
The eerie red glow that went through my vision was almost unnoticeable at the time, due to the pain of the soulstone. I knew there would be much pain caused by shoving the stone in my head, but the pain I felt was more than physical. I felt agony at that moment in my soul, my spirit, and my emotions as well. Terror immediately crept through my mind. Being in hell itself was haunting, but weirdly enough, with the soulstone, the fear of that place quickly resided. I could hear whispers that I knew weren't audible to my ears. They were whispers of the damned. I was optimistic about containing Diablo, but it was then that I worried about keeping my sanity.
When I came back to town, the windows of the cathedral were all broken. No doubt because of the deafening scream of Diablo as I plunged my sword where I assumed his heart was. It took awhile for the denizens of Tristram to put together what had just happened. I wasn't much for speaking anymore. My head was held low, I was covered in blood, mostly Diablo's. When they realized what happened, the town became quite jubilant. Cain went to hug me but as I lifted my head, everyone noticed the soulstone gleaming within my forehead. No one could quite understand why I sought to contain Diablo in this manner. "Clearly," I thought, "they aren't of sound enough mind to understand." Not even Cain, the one man I thought would get it, understood. Instead he expressed concern. I didn't listen. I was sure what I did was best.
Edited by Deak2112#1705 on 4/2/2013 5:12 PM PDT
The town celebrated for quite some time. If I was around anyone at all, I was secluded in a corner or dark ally, watching. Observing. I was mournful of my family. All taken from me so quickly. Killing Diablo brought some relief, but not as much as I would have liked. Within such a short amount of time, I lost my parents and my only brother; my younger brother, whom I always swore to protect, even when we were little. Maybe if I wasn't fighting Westmarch, I could have kept Lazarus from taking him. I know I could have kept my mother alive. My father, however, was out of my hands. No one could have possibly conceived of what was happening to him. I mourned many days for my losses, but no tears came. I don't think I was capable of that anymore.
The nightmares began quickly after my victory. I wouldn't exactly call them dreams. It felt more like an out-of-body experience, or a sleeping hallucination. What I saw in my dreams seemed so real that some nights I would lose grip on what was real and what was dream. Only the morning light would bring me clarity. Conflicting was that feeling too, since I began to be uncomfortable with the light. Sleepless nights went by quickly, and soon I began to stay awake at night and try to sleep at the morning dawn. The whispers became more real to me. I was certain that other people could hear them if they'd listen for them. I would walk around at night, trying to find their origin. I don't think any townsfolk noticed me.
One night I was walking behind the Tavern of the Rising Sun. I heard the most clear, distinct sound of something saying my name from behind me. I turned around to see nothing but darkness and faint lights in the tavern's windows. I looked for several seconds. I saw nothing. No movement. The sound couldn't have been further than a couple feet behind me, but my eyes beheld only a still, motionless view. As I turned to keep walking, I was startled at the sight of Adria, the witch, merely a foot in front of me. I gasped loudly, heart racing in my chest.
"What are you doing here?! How did I not hear you?!" I said.
She didn't seem to even notice my surprise or my startled questions.
"You've been troubled lately. I can feel it. What a mighty burden you've been given." She said. "Let me see it."
She began to pull back the hood on the cloak I was wearing. I resisted slightly, but her phlegmatic movements were unthreatening and calming. As my hood was taken all the way down, I couldn't resist bowing my head to hide my burden. Without pause she slowly lifted my head, and I watched her take in the sight. It was almost as if a feeling of tranquility overcame her. I saw the crimson glow of the stone on her face. She was undoubtedly a very beautiful woman.
"Has there been no rest for you?" She asked.
"Is it that obvious?" I responded. In recent days, I was able to catch my reflection here and there. I had bags under my blood shot eyes, which she had surely noticed.
"Come to my hut. Perhaps my company can ease the pain." She said, and then turned around to lead the way.
"I wish pain was the problem." I said as I began to follow her
She lead me behind Griswold's barracks and to a bridge over the river. It was then that I smelt the now familiar smell of brimstone. I looked up and saw Adria's hut with a large culdron in front of it. The smoke rising from the culdron settled my wonderings of why brimstone would be anywhere near. One can only guess the kind's of concoctions Adria put together. I learned not to ask because it wouldn't make sense to me anyway.
Making my way to Adria's hut became a nightly occurrence after this. It never really settled the burden of the internal battle I was constantly fighting, though. The nightmares were no better or less frequent. However, there was a relaxing aura about Adria which quickly became my only means of distraction from what was coalescing within my soul. I grew to love Adria like I had never loved a woman before. In my mind she symbolized relief and sanity, something I found ironic since witches aren't known for those qualities. When I would awake from nightmares screaming, she was there next to me, comforting me. Some nights I would wake to her conversing with me. I have no idea what I was saying to her, or if I was even the one saying it. I couldn't shake the feeling, however, that she was fascinated with the soulstone in my head and my attempts to contain the Lord of Terror.
Edited by Deak2112#1705 on 8/19/2013 5:52 PM PDT
As the nights passed, my nightmares grew worse. I could feel the toll they were taking on my body. I felt spiritually weaker each day. I found myself mumbling things under my breath that weren't my words. I thought I knew what I was getting into, but maybe I wasn't as equipped as I thought to contain Diablo. Adria was there for me, but could offer no help. This was beyond anything she knew how to deal with. Maybe that's why she was so enraptured by my whole situation, the mystery. One night, the idea came to me out of nowhere. I wasn't going to be able to win this conflict. I needed to go to the mystics to the east, beyond the desert sands of Aranoch. Maybe there I could find answers, or perhaps salvation. Maybe somehow they could exercise the demon from me. Somebody somewhere had to know.
Once the idea of traveling east came into my mind, it latched on and I couldn't shake it. I needed to go as soon as possible because I knew I wouldn't be able to keep Terror at bay for much longer. When I broke the news to Adria, I was met with no resistance. If anything, she encouraged me to go. I swore to her that I would be back as soon as I was relieved of my burden. Since I was a hero to the townsfolk, a nighttime departure would've been most wise to avoid the risk of any intransigent refusal to allow me to leave.
Later on, dusk was settling in. That night would be the night I would leave Tristram to travel east. As I was loading the horse and carriage I heard whispering again. Without thinking, I followed the mutterings all the way to Farnham's home. As I stood on the side of his house, I paused and recollected the mortifying memories of Farnham's daughter fighting for her life, only to slowly and painfully die right in front of Farnham, me unable to help her, despite my efforts. The Butcher's carnage would never be forgotten to so many of these townsfolk. As I looked into the town square, I saw Cain standing next to the well in the center where he would frequently visit. I would have hid from his eyes but he was already looking at me. As soon as I made eye contact he called for me.
"Aidan, what are you doing over there?"
With a sigh, "Just revisiting a few unpleasant memories," I answered. Cain began to walk towards me.
"Ah, yes. Farnham's daughter, no doubt."
"Be thankful you didn't have to behold the monster that caused that," I said.
"Aidan... I'm truly sorry for your loss," he began. "I can't imagine how hard it's been."
"Trust me, my friend, it goes beyond my losses," I managed to look up, into his eyes. A slight dip in his head implied he desired further inquiry.
"What happened down there, Aidan?," he asked.
"No words could even scratch the surface." I answered.
"Follow me to my house, let me hear the story," he said. Unresistant, I began to walk with him. We made it to his house and sat at the table in his front room. I began the story from when I first entered the cathedral. I recounted every detail of all the events that occurred below the surface. All leading up to the final defeat of Diablo in, what I could only describe as, the threshold of hell itself. Telling him the whole story became one of the hardest tasks I'd ever done. With the nightmares and whispers I was experiencing, recalling all the feelings and images of what I had seen added exponentially to my pain. As the story went on, I felt my sanity slipping, but I just kept going. When I was done I was shaking and could barely hold my head up. My voice was cracking and weak and my thoughts were scrambled. My memory, from that point is quite vague. Cain said something to me that has slipped my memory.
"I thought I could contain it. I thought... I could contain it," is all I remember saying back to him. I also remember the look on his face at this point. Wide-eyed and motionless. I began to say things under my breath. They weren't my words, but for whatever reason, I kept thinking I had 2 brothers waiting for me to save them.
I don't remember leaving Cain's house or starting the carriage toward the east. First thing I remembered was great terrors in my dreams, big shadowy figures coming at me and shaking me. I woke up screaming, only to realize the shaking feeling was due to the motion of the carriage on the rugged path. I tried to recall the previous night, but my thoughts were still scrambled. I was seriously disturbed and knew I was slipping from my sanity. Hopefully I could reach the eastern mystics before the last traces of my sanity were gone. I was hopeful of my journey, but not only was Terror following me wherever I went, it was becoming part of me.
Edited by Deak2112#1705 on 8/19/2013 5:55 PM PDT
I stopped off on the side of the road one night. Something was calling me outside. I had to investigate. When I climbed out of the carriage, whispers came at me from seemingly all directions. It was almost too much to bear. I put my hands over my ears in a feeble attempt to make the voices go away. I was beginning to grow weak at the knees. Just before I fell to the ground, I big flash of light in front of me knocked me off my feet and pushed me backward. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I began to make out a man-like silhouette in front of some light source that I couldn't identify.
"Aidan," the voice called to me. My stomach churned at his words. His voice was unlike any other vocals I had ever heard. There was a slight reverberation of his words that almost seemed to echo. I slowly got to my feet and stared ahead, letting my eyes adjust to what was before me. Slowly, I began to realize this figure was quite tall compared to me. He was wearing runic, clad-grey armor that was slightly glowing. Then it hit me. The light from behind this figure was actually bright, waving wings coming from his shoulder blades. They seemed almost ethereal and fluidic. This was no man. This was an angel. Only legends and stories spoke of them. After seeing Diablo, I figured there had to be a counterpart to the evils of the Burning Hells, and here was my confirmation. Or was this an hallucination?
"Aidan," he said again.
"Yes, angel," I answered.
"Do you know who stands before you?" he asked.
"You are an angel of the High Heavens, are you not?" I was able to muster.
"I am Itherael, Archangel of Fate," he said. My eyes lit up at his words. I was wrong. This was no angel, it was an archangel. I knew very little about Itherael. During my time in Tristram, fighting the evils in the catacombs, I came upon tomes that spoke of an Eternal Conflict and the Sin War. It mentioned the Prime Evils, Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal. After reading of them I talked to Cain and he also told me of the Angiris Council in the High Heavens. He didn't elaborate much on them since Diablo was the only one that was relevant to my mission. The thought of ever meeting an angel, let alone an archangel of the Angiris Council, had never crossed my mind, but here was one right in front of me, calling my name. Why had he come to me?
I had to ask, "Itherael, why have you come before me this night?"
"You are a valiant warrior, Aidan, but there is a great evil within you. It is beyond anything you could ever imagine. I have seen your fate and must come to warn you, in order that this world might be saved."
I struggled momentarily with his words. Could this burden actually have the potential to cause great harm, not only to myself, but to the rest of this world? Now it became more apparent than ever that it was useless for me to attempt to contain such an evil. With the potential to destroy this world, surely it couldn't be contained by a single human. And apparently I was doomed to fail. Why else would Itherael come here to warn me? He'd already seen what would happen. Then a thought hit me.
"Answer me this, Itherael: legend says that you are unable to see the fate of humans. How is it then that you've seen my fate. Are the legends not true?" I asked.
"These legends you speak of are correct. I've tried many times but Talus'ar has so far been unable to show me anything regarding the outcome or actions of the human race." He lifted a large, glowing scroll from his side and paused to look at it. This must've been Talus'ar, the tool he used to see the future. He continued, "However, Aidan, you are no longer human. Diablo has become a part of you, whether you realize it or not. His very essence is taking over. I know you can feel the madness. Your sanity is slipping. Your father, Leoric, went through a similar transformation. Diablo is corrupting your mind and soon your last traces of humanity will be gone forever and you will fully become the Lord of Terror."
Yes, this had to be exactly what my father felt. Diablo was pulling on his mind, although much more slowly than my own. This had to be because Diablo was essentially present within me and not just influencing me from afar. It seems my task to contain and exact revenge on Diablo was actually only leading to my destruction. I could barely move at this point. It was a lot to take in. I felt as if I should say something, though.
Looking down, "I thought I could contain it," was all I could say.
"Those thoughts were not your own," Itherael said. Immediately, my head shot up and I looked at him.
"What do you mean?" I questioned.
"Are you sure you want that question answered? It won't be easy for you," he said.
"Yes, I must know," I pleaded.
Edited by Deak2112#1705 on 8/19/2013 5:56 PM PDT
Itherael's tone got more serious as he said, "I don't know if you've heard the legends of my ability to slow time. They are true. Both in the sense of your perception of time and in a way that you could never comprehend. This ability allows me to almost instantaneously move around the battle field, catching my enemies off guard. But my ability goes beyond just slowing time. As the Archangel of Fate, I can see that which is and that which will be, but I can also traverse time, allowing myself to see events of the past with absolute precision. But keep in my that I may only see these things. There's nothing I can do to alter the past."
"Why do you tell me these things?" I queried.
"Take my hand, Aidan." Itherael stretched out his long arm and open his gauntleted hand, inviting me to take a hold. As soon as I touched his hand, the entire setting around me changed. I looked around and saw corpses of bodies stuck on stakes. A fowl stench overcame me. This was an all too familiar smell. I looked around some more and saw the bodies of many Steel Lords and Succubi all over the ground. I was back in Hell. I looked at Itherael and noticed his attention was on something else. When I turned to see what he was looking at, I was stunned to see myself, standing above Diablo's corpse, soulstone in hand. I watched as his body twisted and turned into the body of my brother. I watched as he gasped for one more breath of air and looked at me. I thought retelling this story was hard enough, now I was watching it happen again. It was almost too much to bear. I watched as the realization had hit me that I just killed Albrecht.
I witnessed myself say, "What?! No! Albrecht!" I knew then as I knew at the time, he was dead. I watched me hover over his body, tears streaming down my face. Screaming into the empty air. I watched the frustration build up.
"Itherael, why have you brought me here again?" I said with an obviously shaky voice.
Itherael kept watching, "You asked for the answers," he responded. "I have allowed you to see more than you could have seen when this originally happened to you. This way you'll understand what really occurred."
"I don't understand," I said.
"Watch," he whispered back.
As I looked upon myself, I remember the feeling of when everything came together. I watched myself look at the soulstone. This was when I had the idea to contain Diablo. However, something happened at that point that caught me quite off guard. As I saw myself looking at the soulstone, a large demonic figured appeared before me. It was Diablo. Then I understood what Itherael meant. I was seeing what I couldn't see at the time. Diablo. He started to whisper.
"Take me upon yourself. Remember all the trouble I've caused you. The battle can't be over yet. I deserve to be tortured further. Only you can contain me."
I then saw myself shove the soulstone into my forehead, confident I could contain the beast. At that moment, I was back to the original setting where Itherael and I had been.
"So... Diablo caused me... to..." I tried saying.
"Yes, Aidan. Diablo wanted you to try to contain him. He was too weak to take over your father so he had Lazarus kidnap Albrecht. With Albrecht he could possess his body easily. However, he still wouldn't have been strong enough since Albrecht was just a boy. Diablo made it so only the most valiant, skilled warrior could survive to take him on. You proved to be just the person he was looking for, motivated by your father's death and your missing brother. Diablo influenced you to take him upon yourself so that he might possess you and have the strength he desired."
"I can't believe I fell for it," I said disparagingly. "What was my fate you saw?”
Itherael held out Talus'ar towards me, "I'll show you," he said. Making it apparent for me to grab on to the scroll. As soon as I did we were once again transported. This time, not just to one place, but several. I saw myself walking alone across the desert sands. The horse from my carriage lying dead from exhaustion behind me. I saw the town of Lut Gholein. Then I was in some sort of tomb with a deathly old man chained to a wall. He had a sickly yellow crystal in his chest. I saw myself pull the stone from him. Then I was in Kurast. I saw what I believe was Travincal, just how Lazarus once described it. Below Travincal, I saw a monstrosity. He was terrible and had two great, curvy horns sticking from his head. Below his two sets of arms was what I can only describe as a skeletal tail. He hovered above the ground menacingly. There, the three of us opened an eerie portal. I, then, was seized with horror as I watched myself transform into a giant demon with massive horns all over my body. The other beasts referred to me as Diablo. The portal lead to what could only have been the Burning Hells themselves. There we collected an innumerably large army of demons. As the demons were laying waste to Sanctuary, the three of us made our way up a mountain range and stood before an indescribably large, red stone. The stone was corrupted and turned black at our hands. I watched as the skeletal beast turned around and said, "This world is now ours."
Next thing I knew, I was standing before Itherael again. I was completely out of breath. I fell to me knees trying to gasp at what little air I could. This was too much to stand. I couldn't believe that my quest to avenge my father and brother would lead to the destruction of this world. How could I have deserved such a fate. I had to stop this. I was feeling light-headed but I managed to start breathing again. I tried to stand but was unable. I looked at Itherael and managed to say,
"Is there any stopping this?"
Itherael knelt before me and said, "That is why I've come to you, to stop this."
"What must I do?" I asked.
I heard the archangel give out a sigh, "You will be unable to do anything as long as that stone is in your head."
Something hit me at that moment. A new strength began to course through my veins. I quickly looked up at Itherael. Suddenly, instead of feeling awed by this angel, instead of being appreciative of the chance I was being given, I looked upon him with hate. The mere sight of him sickened me greatly. I yelled back at him.
"What is this deception?! How dare you attempt to strike fear into me so that I might obey your commands!" I stood up and started towards him. "You are no Archangel of Fate, but lies!"
Itherael held up a hand to halt my movements. "Aidan, this isn't you speaking! You must resist!"
"You shall not stop me!" I shouted. I wanted him dead. I had beaten the Butcher, my father's reanimated body, the Warlord of Blood and Diablo. Surely I could take on an archangel too. "You're going to pay for your crimes, angel!"
At that moment, I pulled out the knife I had been carrying. I charged toward Itherael with a ferocity I had never known. Itherael stayed calm and pulled out his sword. As I ran at him he swung and hit me in the face with the broadside. I flew several feet to the side, unable to feel any pain. I quickly got up and Itherael shouted to me.
"Aidan! Diablo is influencing you. Just as he did when you put the soulstone in your head. He knows you're going to pull it out if given the chance so he's using all his strength to make sure you don't!"
His words had no effect. With blood trickling out of my mouth I yelled loudly and charged towards him again. He disappeared and reappeared several feet behind me. He called out once more.
"Aidan, please, don't become as Albrecht did!"
With these words, I stopped dead in my tracks. Itherael had said probably the only thing that could have penetrated Diablo's influence. Albrecht. An innocent young boy. Kidnapped, possessed, and killed. My heart ached. For the first time since defeating Diablo, a tear fell from my eye. My hatred once again turned back towards Diablo. All I needed to do was gather the strength to pull the soulstone out and I would be free. With only the very last ounces of my humanity, I quickly reached up and yanked the soulstone from my head.
Edited by Deak2112#1705 on 10/7/2012 9:19 PM PDT
I immediately felt the sharp pain and the heavy flow of blood come from the wound. I screamed at the top of my lungs at the pain. The amount of blood coming from my head was sickening and frightful. I was sure I was going to die, but at least the world would be saved. Without realizing it, Itherael had reached his hand to my head and touched the wound. Immediately, the bleeding stopped and so did the agony. Itherael pulled his gauntleted hand away and my head quickly slumped down. I caught my breath and went to touch my forehead. The wound was completely healed. I stood up and let myself regain my thoughts. I was astounded, I was thinking as clear as ever. I felt like I had just dropped a thousand pound weight from my body. I was definitely no where near the physical caliber I was when I killed Diablo, but in comparison to how I had been, I might as well have been the strongest man alive. I felt great physically and spiritually, but I could tell some damage was still there. I looked at Itherael, tears in my eyes, and grabbed him up in my arms in a thankful embrace.
"This is incredible!" I exclaimed. "Today you are my saviour. I'm forever indebted to you!"
"The fight still isn't over, Aidan," he said. These words immediately brought my focus back to the task at hand.
"What's left to do?" I asked.
"No one in this world will be able to contain Diablo, as you have experienced. As long as the soulstone remains intact, he'll still be able to influence those around him."
"So, I need to smash the soulstone?" I interrupted.
"Yes," he answered, "but not like you think. If you smash it here, Diablo will only be released. There is a place within the Burning Hells called the Hellforge. Only there can the stone be smashed, and only with the Hellforge Hammer. This will ensure Diablo's demise."
My optimism quickly turned skeptical. Did Itherael really expect me to go into the depths of the Burning Hells? alone? This task was impossible. I was merely able to defeat demons and the walking dead here on Sanctuary. I couldn't be expected to fight well enough to take one the armies of Hell.
"How can this mission be possible? I am only one man. I needed help to defeat the evils below Tristram, I can't take on Hell myself?"
"You're right," he started, "such a mission wouldn't be possible. However, an elite group of fighters from around Sanctuary are being gathered. They'll be meeting at the the rogue encampment of the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye near the monastery of the Eastgate. They will accompany you. Go to the encampment and wait for them."
As soon as his words were said, he disappeared. I am forever thankful for the salvation he lead me to. We humans really are in the middle of an eternal conflict. My side had been chosen. Now, I just needed to do my part to help sway it in favor of the High Heavens. I didn't like that there was still more to do. As a warrior, a good fight is always quite alluring, however, what I'd gone through the last few weeks had taken its toll. I had seen and experienced more than I could have ever imagined. My greatest wish at this point was for it all to be over so I could patch up what was left of my sanity.
Thankfully, I didn't have to change directions to get to the Eastgate. I would've had to go through it in order to get to Lut Gholein. Day began to break. The uneasiness I'd been feeling about the daytime was absent, however, fatigue still struck. During the couple hours I was able to sleep, I was shocked to realize the nightmares didn't stop. These were different, though. They were closer to the dreams I experience in Tristram as I was making my way down deeper into the labyrinth. Obviously, Diablo had been in my subconcious longer than I had thought. I just assumed my nightmares then were caused by the horrible images I was forced to see. Diablo really is the Lord of Terror. From the beginning he knew exactly which fears to manipulate. Not only that, he knew the perfect time and method to use them against me. I was probably the only person in the world who could've beaten him. Not because of my strength, revenge and finding my brother kept me going when I wanted nothing more than to stop and run.
Edited by Deak2112#1705 on 10/7/2012 9:19 PM PDT
As the day wore on, I was appreciating the beauty of the world that I had been unable to see and, earlier, unable to appraise. I listened to the melodies of the area around me. My vision seemed to be brighter than ever. Unfortunately, something was still weighing me down. The burden was lifted but not gone. I still had dark thoughts and terrifying dreams. Diablo still called for me. Our power together had much potential. The synergy of our union was virtually boundless. I can understand why Diablo fought so hard to get me and keep me. I couldn't deny that the power was appealing. There was a part of me, deep down, that wanted the power back. I looked at the soulstone across from me. It began to glow. At that point I thought back to my encounter with Itherael. At first it seemed as though he was doing a good thing, lifting the burden, saving the world, saving my soul. But all at the cost of furthering my journey. Maybe what I thought was Itherael was actually a deception of some kind. Maybe it was an hallucination from Diablo, trying to stop me from reaching the mystics of the east who would rid me of him. My grip on reality hadn't exactly been strong at the time. There were many possibilities I was allowing my mind to entertain. The more I thought of each one, the more confused I became. I started to hate what Itherael had done. Even if he was real and what he said was true, I needed to forever be done with Diablo and this horrible burden. I didn't want to go to the Rogue Encampment. I didn't want to venture to Hell, no matter how much assistance I was given. I'd seen more than I thought I could bear. Why would I go off to see more and possibly worse?
I held the soulstone in my hand. I could feel the dark energy in my hands. I was able to taste the power I once had with Diablo. There was no logical reason to merge with him again, but more and more I contemplated going through with it. I didn't know what I would do with it, but it' allure became almost irresistable. Then a thought crossed my mind; Diablo was influencing me again. He wanted me to put the soulstone back so he could possess me as he did Albrecht. The thought of sharing a fate with my brother was maddening. I could feel the vexation throughout my body. Diablo would never leave me alone as long as the soulstone was near. Who knew how much longer it would be before I met the elite fighters and was able to make my way to the Hellforge. I didn't think I would be able to keep Diablo from coaxing me into putting the soulstone back in my head. After only one day he already had me seriously considering it. I was still fighting a losing battle. I began to feel claustrophobic, like the world was closing in around me. I couldn't do it anymore. I needed to rid myself of that onus. It was the only way I would ever find freedom. I thought, "If Itherael can really see the fate of Diablo, I'll leave it to him to worry about this."
At that moment I took the soulstone and threw it out of the carriage. I had no intentions of ever looking back. I sat back in my ride and closed my eyes. I thought I would be able to feel the weight lifted. But something was wrong. I didn't feel better at all. In fact, I felt much worse. I tried to understand what was going on, but my thoughts were so scrambled I couldn't even put together a single cogent thought. I felt like I was looking through my eyes but unable to control my body. I was possessed. I halted the carriage and jumped out. Franitcally, I started running towards the soulstone. At first I couldn't see it but then the familiar crimson glow caught my attention. I ran up and snatched the soulstone in my muddy hands, wiped it off and gazed into it. I knew what was going to happen next and there was no stopping it. Then, at that moment, I heard a voice.
I turned quickly in a fright to see a man walking towards me. He had a stupor about him that suggested he'd been drinking.
"Aidan, is that you?" he asked.
I focused in on the man. He was quite familiar. I couldn't place him right away since my thoughts were still a mess. After a few seconds of rallying my mind to focus on this one task, I realized it was Zoran. A valiant warrior that fought with me against Westmarch. We met and trained together in Kurast several years back. He was an impressively skilled fighter who awed many of the generals. Lachdanan himself held him in pretty high regard. His family was killed in Tristram during my father's insanity. He had turned to the drink in order to ease the pain. I could mostly relate. Last time I saw him he told me about trying to track down his last living relative. An uncle of his named Marius. He had never met him and only knew of his existence. I understand the comfort he was most likely trying to seek.
"Zoran?" I said to him.
"What are you doing out here?" he asked. I was holding the soulstone behind my back to where he couldn't see it.
Edited by Deak2112#1705 on 10/7/2012 9:19 PM PDT
"What am I doing?" I thought as the stone began to call to me again. Diablo was using everything he had at that moment to possess me into putting the stone back into my body. For the most part, any resistance was futile. I was about to shove the red glowing stone into my head in front of one of my former comrades. I began to pull the stone from behind my back as Zoran said,
"I'm sorry about your father. I know..." He stopped at the sight of the soulstone. Fortunately, his words didn't fall on deaf ears. My father. A victim of Diablo. Killed by the head of his Royal Guard in order to protect the lives within the kingdom. Fallen again by my own sword. As those thoughts went through my mind, I regained control. I had to rid myself of this evil once and for all. Nothing I did had worked. Terror stayed with me through it all. There was only one way to liberate myself for good. I looked at Zoran and with all my strength, I took the soulstone and threw it deep into his forehead. He hit the ground and immediately let out an earth-shattering cry.
I looked down at him as he lost consciousness. "This is your burden now," was all I could manage to say. I got back into my carriage and started in the opposite direction. Once I was far from the soulstone, my mind went to Adria. I was going to go back to Tristram to see her. I desired desperately the comfort she once gave me.
The trip back to Tristram seemed much longer due to my anxiousness. When I arrived I saw the smoke. As I got closer I saw the whole town in shambles and buildings on fire. At that moment I saw something I wished I would never have to see again; the Fallen. Ugly little demons who were hard to keep dead with the Shaman they always stayed close to. The town had been overrun by demons. My heart sank. All the people who had been a help to me as I went below the cathedral had all been killed. Was there no stopping the misfortune of this town? My thoughts, once again, went to Adria. I ran across the river, hopeful that she might be there for me to save. I saw her hut utterly destroyed, the large culdron in front knocked over. I wanted to mourn my losses right then, but I had to get away from that town immediately. I ran back to my carriage and started off with urgent haste.
I lost everyone. There was nothing left in this world for me anymore. Again, I asked myself, "What have I done to deserve this?" A question that would never be answered. Diablo had taken everything away from me. The only thing I was able to salvage was my own life, but what was that worth now? I couldn't even mourn over everything that had happened. It's as if it was too much for one person to let out.
Eventually, I made my way to a small secluded village in the mountains just south of the Eastgate monastery. This is where I made my home and still live today. The people here keep to themselves so being a recluse goes unnoticed. The simplicity of this life has made it easier to regain my sanity. The scars I have left are much more than physical. It's amazing any traces of my humanity were able to survive. Maybe one day I'll be able to leave this place and see what became of my old life. There's so many questions I would like answered. Why was Tristram run down? What happened to it's denizens? and Adria? What became of Zoran... or Diablo?
The idea of leaving my home still puts a cold fear in my heart. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to leave. Only time will tell.
Edited by Deak2112#1705 on 10/7/2012 9:20 PM PDT
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