Chapter One

Lut Gholein

"…Rumour says it that Andariel's Slayer is arriving at Lut Gholein today."

Nathaniel did not look up. He knew his co-worker Fara too well: she was trying to make him interested. Well, I'm not. Fara gave up her sword because she was disappointed that the Church of Light, which they both served, was corrupted by injustice; however Nathaniel knew very well that his boss still loved stories of heroes slaying monsters and standing up to evil to protect the weak. But Nathaniel was different. Nathaniel hated hero wannabes. So he decided not to look up, but asked his boss, "Do you want me to make something to give to him as a present? If so, what do you want me to make?"

Fara was a woman with bright red hair that looked like it was on fire, and leaf green eyes that were greener than any plant in the desert. She was beautiful, but tough, which may scare a man from approaching her. In the way she speaks, you would know that she was highly educated; and from the way she moves, you would know that she was not a typical woman. She was trained to be a holy warrior, and before she left the Order she was a champion. In combat Fara could take down many men. Now, she made a living selling the weapons that Nathaniel made and repairing armour for the city's guards and mercenaries.

"I heard the hero used magic to defeat the demoness, so maybe we should make a light dagger or sword, something easy to carry." Fara said, with a slight hint of a titter, "And he is a she, so make sure it's pretty."

This seemed to have caught Nathaniel's attention, as he looked up to her with his eyebrows folded together. "I'm sorry, I don't think I heard you right. You want me to make it pretty?" He then looked back down, concentrating on sharpening the blade of the unfinished sword, "Seeing that you were, and still are, my boss, I'm not hugely surprised by women with great achievements. So don't try to make me interested with her gender, you know I won't be." He said, with a tone to show that he did not care at all.

Just like Nathaniel knew Fara, she also knew him too well. After all, she trained him when he was younger. Since then he was under her command, and Fara always talked about how he was no doubt one of her best soldiers when she worked for the Order of Zakarum. "I didn't mean to piss you off, or purposely catch your attention for that matter." She said, while examining the quality of his work on the sword, "I'm just excited that there's a hope that our world could return to peace. Atma lost her husband and son last month, and I can see that beneath her forced smile there is great sorrow, and all of us hope that such tragedy will not repeat itself. Maybe she can stop it happening again."

"Maybe," Nathaniel said, "Or, maybe she will die, like all the others."

Fara was stunned by his reply. She did not say anything but blinked, and a few moments later quietly, "Or maybe, you'd stop being so negative." The comment obviously upset her. She turned around facing away from Nathaniel, but Nathaniel knew that perhaps he has gone too far. However, he was not about to apologise either. Before Nathaniel could think of anything to say, Fara already decided to send him out of the workshop, "Why don't you take these swords to Greiz? He ordered them for his newly recruited men."

Nathaniel knew that this was an order, not a favour. And since he also knew he had ruined her day, such punishment was probably one of the lightest.

Greiz was the captain of the town's hired guards. The sellsword was very tough, stubborn and would probably beat one up to prove a point. Though he was secretly a kind man, and in such business it was difficult to be kind, Nathaniel did not get on with him due to the fact Nathaniel hated chivalrous attitudes, and Greiz was always telling his men to be heroes.

After he put the swords in a sack, Nathaniel stepped outside into the heat. Although a blacksmith often stood next to the fire and dealt with molten iron, the temperature of the desert was still ridiculous. The dry sand offered no cooling effect once the sun was up in the sky, if anything Nathaniel wondered if the sand actually reflects the sun's heat. But compared to the deserts outside of Lut Gholein, the fact it was next to the sea made the town relatively cool. People call Lut Gholein the "Jewel in the Desert", as it prospered in such harsh terrain.

The city built its wealth on trading and tourism, but recent events of monsters appearing all over the World of Sanctuary did Lut Gholein enormous damage, both in the subjects of economy and welfare. Jerhyn, the young leader of Lut Gholein, refused to open up the city until the both city and desert were safe, as he did not want to risk more lives. But Andariel's death meant that the trade route to the west would be again opened and free to pass, which Nathaniel guess was probably why the heroine now travelled here.

When he arrived at Greiz's place, the captain was busy training new mercenaries. Nathaniel swore that each recruit the men were getting younger. "Here you go Greiz, ten brand new crystal swords." Nathaniel put down the swords from his back, "Test them later and tell Fara if there is any problem. I doubt it, 'cause I made them."

Greiz signed to receive the order, and said to the young men standing in the training yard, "This man is the best blacksmith I've ever seen, and he used to be a holy warrior! He used to slay hundreds of monsters that rise from the graves without effort and injury." Greiz said, "Though, he has given up his sword, but you will still respect him none less."

"Greiz, stop it." Nathaniel quietly said, "I don't care about how you want to train your new men, I just don't want you to put wrong ideas into their head. They'd only lose their lives if you keep pushing them to be heroes."

"Or they actually become heroes and receive the glory and respect that they deserve." Greiz gazed into Nathaniel's eyes with both respect and contempt. "Just because you don't fight anymore, doesn't mean you forgotten what it feels like needing a dream to survive the battlefield; what it feels like to need a purpose when you are facing those horrific monsters."

Nathaniel looked away, "How can I forget? I lost my sister because of it." He took the signature from Greiz's hand and said, "I hope those swords can protect your men a little better than you can."

He walked away. He could not bear to look at those young men, as he was once like them. He had seen death many times, but no matter how many times he had, one can never get used to it and that was what he saw on their faces. He used to have a dream, but it did not matter, because one cannot survive a deadly strike no matter how big a dream they had.

Nathaniel knew that his negativity brings everyone down, as everyone else lives on the hope that the world would be saved by some sort of hero. The idea of everyone would die, of children could not live to experience romance, were so terrifying that only made Diablo, the Lord of Terror grown stronger. But Nathaniel could not fool himself anymore. He lost his poor little sister because he wanted to be a hero, so he knew better than anyone how naive and selfish the dream was.

"Surely there must be somewhere I can find a guide, or at least someone who know the land which they live in?"

"My job was to take you here safely. Why don't you rest for a bit first?"

"And I thank you for it, but you know full well that I don't have the luxury nor do I have the time. The faster I finish our business here the sooner we can move on and I'm sure this is what the people want as well."

As Nathaniel walked past, he overheard the conversation between a middle-aged man and a teenage girl that did not look older than eighteen. The young girl had fair skin and long dark hair falling down her back, but she was wearing a stone coloured hood so he could not see her face. Standing next to the two was an old man in grey cape, and he looked full of wisdom but weary in his eyes, maybe from a mixture of old age and travelling. Nathaniel assumed that they are tourists or traders from the west.

The girl seemed to notice Nathaniel as well. She approached him, "Excuse me. Do you know where I can find a guide into the desert?"

Only when she was closer did Nathaniel noticed that her hair covered the right side of her face, but the left eye that was looking at him was a beautiful shade of pale blue with hints of lilac and grey. It reminded him of the colour of dusk and of cloudy sky that rarely appeared in Lut Gholein. Nathaniel wondered why she would keep her hair on her face like that, she was obviously divine, and though her only exposed eye covered a large part of her face, the rest of the features created a perfect harmony of beauty.

Before Nathaniel could reply, the girl looked back at the old man, "And perhaps a tavern to rest. We just travelled from the west across the desert, I'm sure Deckard Cain is very tired."

"Hayleigh, I insist that you rest a few days first. You barely slept for the last few months, and even though you are young, your body can not survive on no sleep or strength." The old man said to her, "Please, you were thin the first time I met you in Tristram and you have lost weight since. At least have something to eat."

Only after the old man mentioned it, Nathaniel noticed how skinny the girl was. Even under a cape, one could see that she was nothing but skins and bones; she was not tall but she appears to be long. She must weigh nothing. "There's a inn near the town centre, the best in Lut Gholein ran by a kind woman called Atma. I'm sure she will be able to sort out something for you guys." Nathaniel said, "As for a guide it will depends on where you want to go. I wouldn't recommend the desert though; there are dangerous monsters out there." Nathaniel thought about flirting a little, as the girl was so beautiful, "Besides, with skin so fair, you'd get sun burns, and that is very painful, believe me."

He heard the middle aged man chuckled, and the old one smiled mysteriously. "You don't need to worry about me. If you would be so kind and show us the way to the inn, perhaps the best blacksmith as well after, we would appreciate that greatly." The girl said while trying not to laugh, as if Nathaniel made a joke he did not realise. "My name is Hayleigh. That is Deckard Cain whom I'm travelling with and that is Warriv, the man who guided us from the west."

Hayleigh, what a lovely sounding name, certainly suits her beauty. Deckard Cain was a familiar name in Nathaniel's mind, but at the moment he could not place it, or where he had heard the name. "I'm Nate Al'keen. Lucky for you, I'm the blacksmith you're looking for. I'll be more than happy to show you around Lut Gholein." He shook their hands but for the girl he gently pecked the back of her hand instead. Nathaniel did not claim to be a man surrounded by women, but he wanted to impress her somehow.

"Also, we're looking for a woman called Fara." Deckard Cain said, "She deals weapons and armours if I remember correctly, perhaps you know her?"

"You are even more fortunate. Fara is indeed my boss." Nathaniel said, looking at the girl, "If you wish I can take you to see her first. May I ask what you want to see her for?"

Hayleigh smiled, though tiredly with a hint of sorrow. Nathaniel could not quite tell what was sad about her. At that second it looked like she was slowly dying inside, but with determination that was like burning flames. It was a strange feeling. "Nothing much, except any information on Baal and where Tal Rasha's tomb is." She said, "Let me reintroduce myself. I'm Hayleigh, and it was I who killed Andariel."

That was an even stranger feeling. Now Nathaniel remembers where he had heard the name Deckard Cain. Around here, everyone talked about the last of the Horadrim who travelled with the hero that killed Andariel.

To be quite honest, Nathaniel still could not believe that a girl, who looked like she could not even lift up a chair, and so young, could have slain the Lady of Anguish. Nathaniel had met many warriors and heroes in his life time, but never had he met such surprising character. Maybe she has a baby face that makes her look much younger than she is, he thought to himself, even I'm considered young, when last year, before I gave up the sword I was only twenty-four.

He continued to stare at the girl as she sat opposite Fara. She looked very elegant and graceful, which made him doubt her identity further. After she took off her cape, one could see that she was even thinner than estimated, maybe that she was naturally small boned but Nathaniel was sure that one cannot be that small and still healthy. The girl was wearing a long blue skirt with beautiful patterns and a split on the side, showing off her nice legs and allowing mobility. Her top covered her chest but showed skin on the waist and shoulders, and she was wearing refined jewelleries on her fingers, arms, ears and her neck.

"I still can't believe that you are Andariel's Slayer." Fara said. Clearly Nathaniel was not the only one in shock, "You are so beautiful, and so young! One would never imagine you'd kill the demoness by yourself. How did you do it?"

Maybe it was because Fara was a woman she sounded somewhat protective instead of amazed, even if her words were full of compliments. Nathaniel knew that she had similar tone of voice when he first met her as a student, when he was barely sixteen and she was in her late twenties. Even as a champion, Fara much preferred to be in a role of teacher. Nathaniel always felt that Fara liked him partly because to her, he is always that teenage boy, forever her student.

Hayleigh smiled politely, "I look younger than I am. I'm almost twenty." That is still very young, Nathaniel thought. However she continued, "But I did have some help from the Sisters of the Sightless Eye. Her name was Marvina and she was a great archer, without her I wouldn't have made it to Andariel's lair. Unfortunately she died from Andariel's poison, and I lost my eye in the battle."

She gently lifted her dark hair to expose her right eye, and Nathaniel heard Fara gasp. It was green where it was meant to be white and white where meant to be pale blue, Nathaniel could see the bloodstreams of the eye through where was meant to be pupil. Around the eye, it looked like the poison was spreading through the veins and arteries which showing through Hayleigh's pale skin with a very unnatural bright green colour. It was horrific, and completely opposite to the left side of her face. Now Nathaniel understood why she covered her face with her hair.

"Does that hurt?" Before Nathaniel realised it, he already asked the question which made him a little embarrassed.

Hayleigh puts down her hair, looked at him momentarily as if she was surprised at his question. Why wouldn't she be surprised? Nathaniel thought, it's hugely humiliating that I even said it, not to mention it is inappropriate. But the girl only replied gently, with a hint of a faint smile, "Well, I can manage."

"Unfortunately for Hayleigh Andariel's poison has no antidote." Deckard Cain said slowly, with his hoarse voice, "However fortunately, she can use her magic power to suppress the poison and prevent it from spreading to the rest of her body. The poison-"

"My eye is not important. Like Deckard Cain said, I can control it." Hayleigh interrupted him, "I understand that there are monsters appearing here just like in the west, and I think we can stop them from appearing. You see, Deckard Cain and I are convinced that someone is trying to wake up and free Baal from Tal Rasha's tomb, and the only way to stop this happening is if I get to it first."

Everyone knew the legend of Tal Rasha. He was the leader of the Horadrim who hunted down the second of the three Prime Evils, Baal, Lord of Destruction, and bound the devil within himself with a damaged soul stone. The other mages sealed Tal Rasha in a tomb with magic power and separated the only key to enter the tomb.

"So you are looking for the key... You need it. You need to find the pieces of the Horadric Staff, and the Horadric Cube to put them together." Fara mumbled, "But even if you do manage to find all three items, you don't know where Tal Rasha's tomb is? It is hidden in one of the seven tombs what were built; and the other six are full of dangers to punish those that dare to seek Baal... How would you know which one it is?"

"Let me worry about that. In the meanwhile, I need a guide." Hayleigh said with a heavy tone. It was hard to imagine a girl so young and radiant could sound so serious and demanding, "I need to go to the Halls of Dead, the Sand Maggot's Lair and the Claw Viper's Temple. And someone to assist me and this guide, as a kind man has informed me that it is extremely dangerous out there." Her eye moved to Nathaniel, "And perhaps something to shield me from the sun, apparently sun burn is very painful."

Nathaniel felt he blushed a little. C'mon, he told himself, you're a grown man now, don't blush like a little boy. "I was only trying to warn you. Seriously, you are insane." He channelled the embarrassment and discomfort into some sort of... frustration and rage, "You sacrificed your eye and you gave up your youth... And now you want to risk someone else's life? You're endangering two lives just to achieve something that is almost impossible. Maybe your youth has made your arrogant, but Tal Rasha's tomb was not discovered in over a two hundred years for a very good reason."

He was not quite sure why he was so angry or where the irritation came from; nor was he the kind to be scared of danger and to hide in a safe bubble. It just kind of happened. Unexpectedly, Hayleigh replied to his outrageous comment, "Well, someone has to do it. Or do you enjoy watching villagers die? I'm only wondering." You could not hear anger or viciousness from her voice, but you could sense contempt and attitude, "Maybe if you had done it, which I assume wouldn't be too difficult for you considering those arms of yours, I wouldn't have to risk mine, or anyone else's life."

That's it. "So because I don't want to go out and slit some monsters throat, I become a monster myself and enjoy watching people die? Just because I'm not insane like you, I'm automatically considered as a coward? You may have slain Andariel, doesn't mean you have the right to insult everyone, little girl."

Hayleigh gently laughed for a few seconds, "I didn't insult you or call you a coward; you did that yourself." She said, "And maybe I'm young and I'm insane, but at least I have a goal to live for. What's yours?"

"Stop talking already, it's not going to get the job done." Deckard Cain used a surprisingly loud voice, considering he could barely stand up, to interrupt the two. "You two are both young, so I can understand that you have the urge to argue. Fara, about this guide," He made the two turn their head to look at Fara, "The last time I heard there were no survivors returning from the desert, nor is there anyone who has been to all three locations that is still alive. But there must be a way? Perhaps a document of some sort?"

Maybe it was just Nathaniel's imagination, but for that moment Hayleigh lost all her energy that she had when she was arguing, but still retained a hint of sadness in her eyes.

"Even with a document the locations are still difficult to find." Fara replied to Deckard Cain's question, "But your information was wrong and there is someone that fits perfectly to your description. And you're looking at him now." She nodded towards Nathaniel's direction.

"W-what?" When all heads turned to him, Nathaniel was stunned and surprised, more surprised than he was earlier today, mostly because he never thought Fara would do this to him. He startled, "You are joking right, Fara?"

"You are perfect. When you were helping around two years ago, you have been to all three places, and I trust you still remember the way. And since I trained you in combat, I have faith that you would be able to assist Hayleigh in this dangerous quest." Fara folded her arms together, "Why aren't you happy? You're travelling with a very pretty girl."

He felt Hayleigh's judgemental stare, which he was trying to avoid and ignore. Deep down Nathaniel knew that he could not refuse. Fara spoke the truth. He had indeed returned from all of those places. She knew that because she sent him out there. And it was also true that he was a good fighter in combat, after all she taught him how to use a sword and shield.

Most importantly, Fara was not only a mentor to him, but also his family. When his sister died, he lost the last of his family and those were his lowest days, but Fara invited him to be her partner, gave him a job and trusted him with the business. Throughout this time, she never judged him for giving up his sword. He had known Fara for nine years now, and he knew that Fara still spread the justice that they both believed in, in the hope of finding someone like Hayleigh to end all misery in the world. Not to mention her respect for Deckard Cain, the wise Horadrim that knew more ancient arcane knowledge than anyone alive.

I really don't have a choice. If he did not accept it now, Fara could force him with threats and commands, which would only make their relationship awkward. "Fine." He sighed, "But only as a guide, nothing else. I don't want to be named in any celebration if we were to return."

"As long as you are able to locate the three items it is more than good news. It is reassuring that Hayleigh will be travelling with someone that would able to keep her safe, or at least safer than she would be alone." Deckard Cain said very quickly, almost as if he was trying to change the subject before Hayleigh could think of anything to say. And the girl was sharp. "Well I'm glad that this is sorted, we are truly fortunate. Now, if you don't mind, this old man needs some rest. Fara, would you be so kind to show us the way to the hotel?"

"Certainly." Fara said, Nathaniel thought that she caught the hint.

"Why would you do that to me, Fara?"

Fara had known full well that as soon as she returned to the workshop, Nathaniel would fire questions at her. She knew him too well, he could never had keep quiet when he felt unfair and his short temper had gotten him into trouble many times when he was a teenager. She knew his hatred towards the likes of Hayleigh, so she was prepared with replies that even though would not satisfy him, would at least answer him, "It's nothing personal, I only wanted to help them as much as I can."

"So you decided to sell me out to do so? You know that I couldn't refuse!" Nathaniel was furious, and Fara knew she was guilty. "You knew that I hate all this and I hate people who are arrogant enough to think that they can beat evils. She thinks that she can find Tal Rash'a tomb to defeat Baal!"

"Well maybe she can, have you ever thought of that? And the only way to give her a chance, or any of us for that matter, is to help her find it." Fara's voice started to rise quite rapidly, "You saw determination in her eye, don't you dare lie, you saw it as well. She was able to kill Andariel, which proves that she has the ability; she was willing to sacrifice her eye for what she believes in, which shows that she has faith and drive. Why can't you see that? Why can't you just stop being so selfish and think of others?"

"I'm selfish? Listen to yourself, woman, I don't want to be a hero and that makes me selfish?" Nathaniel was filled with rage, perhaps the anger came from a misunderstanding but Fara knew that she has triggered something that he had been trying to suppress, "I was selfish when all I wanted was to be a hero, to have songs dedicated to my bravery and poems about my legacy, and how did that end? Avanessa's death! So don't you tell me I'm selfish!"

Fara folded her eyebrows. She knew that he had taken his sister's death so hard, and though it saddened Fara as well she did not think it was right for him to give up on life. "She didn't die because of you, why do you always blame yourself for that? She would want you to save your people from the evils that are spread throughout the world-"

"She would want her family to be with her when she was lonely. She would want to stay alive!" Nathaniel said, "She was my sister, my only family, how do you not get it?"

"Because I want to stay alive too!"

The line stunned Nathaniel, Fara could see it, and maybe it was because he never thought of it like that. He was always too stubborn to think like that. "I know exactly why you refuse to pick up the sword again… Damn it Nate, you talk about it all the time." Fara said, "But have you forgotten the reasons why you picked up the sword at the first place? Was it all because you want the glory, and none was because you wanted to protect the people… to protect your sister, your family?"

She saw Nathaniel sighed, and took a deep breath. She continued, "This is your chance, not to be a hero, but to protect everyone from the fear that walks outside the city. This is your chance to do what you were meant to do, a chance to show that your sister didn't die for nothing. Here," Fara turned around and carefully took out the sword that she prepared for him, "I want you to have this. Do you recognise this?"

"Of course I do. It's your old sword, after all these years it still doesn't need to be sharpened." Nathaniel gazed upon the perfection of the sword. The sword was in its crimson leathered scabbard with rubies, garnets and gold embedded upon; the hilt was wrapped with black leather for perfect grip and at the top there was a red crystal. Nathaniel did not need to take it out to know that the blade was made of the steel from Arreat Summit. "I remember the day you received it to become a champion… The Great Sword, the Atlantean, which is enchanted with magic that gives great strength to its master… You really want me to have this?" He looked up, and stared straight into her emerald eyes, "This sword defines you, it is the evidence of you legacy! You said so yourself when we first left the Order."

Fara smiled, and handed him the sword, "Pray to it as if it has life, and it will give you power when you most need it in return. Take it, I trained you to fight and now I'm giving you the last piece of help. Use this to protect the girl. When you are out there you'll be the only person who can save her, and we all need her to stay alive." She said, "May my legacy be enough to protect you, and her."

"These are the documents I know of regarding the Horadric Staff. They are dated but since no one has entered the tomb ever since it was built I would safely assume they are still accurate." Deckard Cain pointed out the maps, "They build them like a maze and created powerful creatures to guard them. The idea that no one would be able to find all three items there you must be very careful."

He wanted to give Hayleigh everything he knew before she set off on this dangerous journey. Unfortunately he knew that he did not know enough to completely ensure her safety. It saddened him, to see a girl so young carry so much on her back, risking her life in her youth and losing opportunities to live. "You will come to the Halls of Dead first. As named, the dead will walk in these halls, and god knows what they are capable of." He said, taking a drawn picture of a cube with detailed patterns on its side, "You will find the Horadric Cube here. It is a-"

"It's a powerful magical cube that can create wonders if you put the right items within. To put together the staff you will need its power. It is located in the second level of the hall." Hayleigh finished his sentence for him, and smiled softly, "You've told me a dozen times already, Cain, I'm sure I'll know what to do when I'm out there."

From the few months he has spent with the girl, Deckard Cain had learnt that even though she was beautiful with a gentle heart, she was also tough and impatient; after all she was still a child. But there was one thing she was not: she was not as strong as she appeared, even if she tried to cover her vulnerability with her attitude. In his life Deckard Cain had learnt how to see through one's heart and desire, yet he had never met anyone as good as Hayleigh when it came to hiding true emotions. However, after what happened in Tristram he had some ideas on who she was: she was a girl who was terrified.

"Be sure that you pass on the information to Mr Al'keen. You wouldn't want him to die before you find all the pieces, since he's your only hope of catching up with Diablo." He knew that he should not mention it, but he was afraid that Hayleigh would try to complete the task by herself again as she did with Andariel, since she lied about Marvina's death earlier. The truth was that Hayleigh had sent the archer to return the Horadric Malus they found in the Barracks of Rogue Monastery to Charsi, the smith girl in the Encampment of Sisters of Sightless Eyes, while she battled through the Catacombs to Andariel's Lair herself.

Hayleigh slowly rolled up the documents that Deckard Cain had given her, and placed them in a backpack. She mumbled, "I don't need anyone else's help. That man doesn't even want to come with me, maybe I should just ask him to draw a map."

Deckard Cain understood that Hayleigh did not want to risk anyone else's life; she was one of the kindest souls he had encountered in his life, he suspected that it ran in the family as her older brother was also sweet and nice. It was very difficult not to like them; since the day the pair of siblings and their companion arrived at Tristram, Deckard Cain thought he had never met anyone so extraordinary like them: who upon the first gaze, not only made you want to approach them immediately, but also made you want to believe in them before they even spoke. Perhaps it was the faith they had in their eyes, or their smiles that could bright up the darkness; even now Deckard Cain could not place on what of their features made them so trustworthy and radiant.

Especially Hayleigh, the youngest and the only girl of three, with such a beautiful face and a pair of big, pale watery eyes that could make any man melt. She was only eighteen then, and though she was powerful and filled with arcane knowledge that surprised him, she had a sort of innocence and charm that only made one want to protect her, instead of placing even the slightest danger on her.

But time has changed, and Deckard Cain could not stop relying on the hope that this heroine would be the one to defeat Diablo for good, even if he knew that by doing so he increased her stress.

"You know he is the fastest way to get to Tal Rasha's tomb." He said, "You would be lost in the desert without a guide. There's no landmark unlike the West, and your trail would be covered and invisible within hours. You know you can't die here."

"But he doesn't even want to help. He has some sort of anti hero attitude that I just don't understand, besides he hates me." Hayleigh said, somewhat childishly, "I don't understand why that red headed woman believes in him so deeply. To me it looks like a guy who has the body and the power, but is just a coward inside. 'Don't want to be named in any celebration'? What kind of request is that? Does he really think that I cared to be named as hero?"

"Fara was once a champion and she only left the Church because it was corrupted. I would value this woman's opinion if I were you." Deckard Cain said, "Everyone has a story, Hayleigh, just like you have yours. Our ultimate purpose is to defeat Diablo, before he reaches his brothers. So you need to stop being so short sighted, and try to achieve these goals as soon as possible."

He knew that Hayleigh might not value Fara's words, but she would follow his guidance. Sometimes Deckard Cain thought that perhaps her power made her arrogant, as her rare gift was so well taught and from such a very young age that it made her more powerful and skilled than sorcerers who were twice her age and experience. But other times, Deckard Cain thought that she knew of her youth and its disadvantages, so she used knowledge from education to make up for her lack of experience. He always thought she was a very smart girl, but she was still young, not fully matured yet; he could not imagine the pressure that she carried and what it would do to the poor girl.

"…Do you think Diablo was already woken up Baal from Tal Rasha's body?"

A sudden question that Deckard Cain was not expecting to hear from the young girl, and a question he was afraid to consider. He turned around to look at the girl, but she was already staring at him with her big eye. She had such liveliness in her eyes when she first arrived in Tristram and now, a year later all the sparkle had fled. He saw both despair and hope from her eye, and that was basically her character: conflicted.

"I truly hope not." It was the best answer he could give, "But Diablo will need to rescue both his brothers in order to open the gate to Hell. He would not stop for anything to achieve it, as he needs to be in Hell to regain his immortality."

Hayleigh looked down. She had heard this answer many times, but Deckard Cain thought that maybe she still hoped that he would say something more positive. "Thank you, Cain," A few moments after she looked up, this time she had warmth in her eyes, "you travelled such long journey with an aging body, that must be so tiring, I can't thank you enough. You helped us so much, all three of us."

"Don't thank me, this is the least I can do. I just wish-"

The words were difficult for Deckard Cain to say: she and her companions had suffered so much already yet he knew so well that the suffering would only get worse. They were all so talented, yet these talents did nothing but ruin their lives. He could not tell her that, because he hoped that she would never understand how fortunate and unfortunate they were.

"I… I just pray that God could give you some more blessing."