The Prince of Khanduras
Aidan was part of what would become the ruling family of Khanduras, accompanying his father, mother, brother and their court from Kehjistan to the Western land. Their court was set up in an abandoned monastery at Tristram and over time, Leoric gained the respect of the people. Aidan was tutored by Deckard Cain.
Over time however, Leoric's mood became increasingly erratic, his rule brutal and in the throes of such madness, he sent his army against the neighbouring kingdom of Westmarch. Aidan was among the soldiers sent into battle.
Return to Tristram
"Thank goodness you've returned! Much has changed since you lived here, my friend. All was peaceful until the dark riders came and destroyed our village. Many were cut down where they stood, and those who took up arms were slain or dragged away to become slaves - or worse. The church at the edge of town has been desecrated and is being used for dark rituals. The screams that echo in the night are inhuman, but some of our townsfolk may yet survive. Follow the path that lies between my tavern and the blacksmith shop to find the church and save who you can. Perhaps I can tell you more if we speak again. Good luck."
The war against Westmarch was a disaster, the armies of Khanduras being cut to shreds. Aidan survived however, and made his way back to Tristram, already suffering under whatever evil was plaguing it and drawing numerous adventurers to the town because of it (that, and gold). By the time Aidan arrived, things had gotten even worse. His father had been struck down by the knight Lachdanan, Albrecht was missing and his kingdom was in shambles.
Aidan vowed to rescue his brother and banish whatever power had gripped the kingdom, though Cain urged caution. He warned Aidan of the demons beneath the cathedral and of the undead, how he might have to face those he once knew. Cain also pointed out that there were others who could aid him and as such he was joined by a Rogue named Moreina, who was part of the Sisters of the Sightless Eye and a Vizjerei Sorcerer, Jazreth.
Venturing into the cathedral, Aidan and his companions faced the horror and might of the Burning Hells. Quickly dispatching a demon called the Butcher, they soon encountered Leoric, now the Skeleton King. Witnessing the reanimated visage of his father was a harrowing encounter for Aidan, made even more heartbreaking by the fact that he was forced to strike him down. Aidan brought news of the king's death before returning into the labyrinth.
The heroes pressed on, making their way into the catacombs under the monastery, eventually discovering the Staff of Lazarus, which belonged to the bishop that had been Leoric's advisor. The same bishop had led Tristram's people into the labyrinth to be slaughtered before disappearing. Returning to Tristram, Aidan presented the staff to Deckard Cain, claiming that it was clear that Lazarus had deceived his people. Cain was not sure what to make of it, but realized that Lazarus himself must have kidnapped Albrecht. With this knowledge, Aidan and his companions made their way to the Unholy Altar.
Lazarus was powerful and had many demons at his side, but in the end, he was struck down. A youth had been sacrificed to whatever dark power he served, but it wasn't Albrecht. Returning to Cain again, the scholar told Aidan of what lurked beneath the labyrinth—Diablo, Lord of Terror. With this knowledge, Aidan and his companions ventured back into the labyrinth for one last battle.
As Aidan would later put it, Diablo's realm was "the threshold of Hell itself." It was a realm fitted for Diablo certainly, for not only was their struggle physical, but mental as well. The demon forced Aidan to relive his worst nightmares, his greatest failures, and his fears that he would never live up to the expectations of his father. But, driven by the belief that his brother could still be saved, Aidan pressed on. He and his companions wore the demon down until, ultimately, Aidan struck the final blow...only for it to be revealed that Diablo had used Albrecht as his host.
Deckard Cain would later speculate that Aidan seeing his brother's body before him would have shattered his mind. Regardless, whatever may have run through Aidan's head, there was one last loose end: Diablo's soulstone. Broken by Lazarus, it could not contain the demon indefinitely. Believing he could contain Diablo's essence, he plunged the soulstone into his forehead. Blood filled his vision, the whispers of the damned echoed in his ears and Aidan could feel Diablo himself clawing his way up from the dark recesses of his soul. But he had done it. Diablo had been contained.
"Many moons have passed since I left the town of Tristram behind me. Since then I've tried to forget the terrors I beheld beneath the cold earth. And the twisted nightmares that have haunted my every waking moment. There's something dark within me now. I can feel it. Driving me towards the east. Assuring me that my salvation lies within the ruins of ancient kingdoms. Though I know the way, I know not what perils will rise to hinder my journey. And as I pass through the first gate, I know that the better part of my soul will remain behind. Forever..."
— Aidan's reflections(src)
Aidan emerged from the bowels of the cathedral, coated in his own blood and all manner of demonic ichor. It was a victory to Tristram, but it was clear that Aidan was not the same person he once was. He increasingly shunned the company of others, spending the day in isolation and the night wandering the streets, seemingly without direction or purpose. Ultimately, the witch, Adria, seemed to be the only person who could offer him comfort, and the two spent long nights behind closed doors. This, however, was not of Aidan's intent, but of Diablo's. Adria saw the truth, that Aidan had not contained Diablo at all, and pledged herself to the Lord of Terror's service. Through Aidan, Diablo impregnated Adria, conceiving a child who would be his vessel. It would be over two decades, but when the time was right, Diablo would return to claim his prize.
Aidan was cordial to those who approached him, but his mood didn't improve. In an attempt to liven it, a celebration was thrown in his honor. However, he slipped away during the event. That same evening, Cain visited him, finding Aidan muttering to himself, wearing a dark garb and a hood that covered his face. Aidan eventually related his story to Deckard Cain, telling him of his battle with Diablo. After the tale, he kept mumbling, whispering "I thought I could contain it, I thought I could contain it..." before mentioning his "brothers" awaiting him in the east. Cain could see that Aidan was disturbed, but at the time, saw it as meaningless ramblings. The next day however, Aidan was gone, armed only with a sword and some provisions. According to Adria, he had traveled east, to seek out mystics who might exorcise the waking nightmare that plagued him. A half-truth. But as demons descended on Tristram after Aidan's departure, it was clear that there would be no-one from the town capable of following him.
Journey to Aranoch
"Why did I follow him...? I don't know. Why do things happen as they do in dreams? All I know is that, when he beckoned... I had to follow him. From that moment, we traveled together, East. Always... into the East."
Aidan, or what was left of him, now had a new moniker—the Dark Wanderer. A vessel for Diablo and little else. Heading east, he sought passage to the port of Lut Gholein. Passing through the Eastgate Monastery, the Wanderer encountered the Sisters of the Sightless Eye, many of whom had recently been corrupted by Andariel, now come over to the cause of the Prime Evils. The monastery desecrated, the Wanderer stopped at a tavern situated in the mountains that separated Aranoch from Kehjistan. Summoning demons and the forms of the undead to his side, the Wanderer set the tavern ablaze and everyone in it, apart for one—Marius, who had fled the Rogue Monastery. For whatever reason, the Wanderer beckoned to Marius to follow, and he did.
For many weeks, the pair traveled across Aranoch. During the trip, the Wanderer told Marius of his past as a warrior, and that a burden had been placed on him. Eventually, they came within sight of Lut Gholein. The pair made camp, and Marius shared the Wanderer's dreams. Dreams that were more akin to memories, depicting the Horadric mage Tal Rasha being bound to contain the essence of Baal. As the Wanderer explained, it was Baal who he sought. They set out with the dawn, searching for the Tomb of Tal Rasha.
Finding the tomb, the Wanderer appeared to gain strength. Or rather, as Marius observed, appeared to be losing what was left of his humanity, his visage becoming more demonic. Either way, the Wanderer led the way into the tomb, undeterred by the gloom. Eventually, the pair reached the Binding Stone where Tal Rasha, barely containing Baal, stood. The Wanderer moved forward to release the Lord of Destruction but it was here that the archangel Tyrael intervened. The Wanderer and angel did battle but Marius, manipulated by Baal, released him. Marius promptly fled with Baal's soulstone, but it mattered not. Baal was free. Tyrael was imprisoned in his place. And with that, the Wanderer and Baal set sail to Kurast.
"Now my young brother, the time has come to assume your true form! Arise Diablo, Lord of Terror!"
The Wanderer had a close shave at Kurast with a band of heroes that had been pursuing him, but managed to escape their grasp. Soon afterwards, the Wanderer and Baal arrived at Travincal, entering the Temple of Light. Zakarum had already been partially corrupted by Mephisto's influence, but Diablo used his powers of fear to cause the uncorrupted defenders to flee and/or turn on each other. Regardless, Mephisto's soulstone was found, and the Lord of Hatred quickly took possession of Que-Hegan Sankekur. After centuries, the Prime Evils were reunited.
Within a chamber, the Primes devised a final stratagem to retake the Burning Hells, claim vengeance on those who had turned on them and use their corrupted soulstones to corrupt the Worldstone, thereby enslaving humanity to their will. The Infernal Gate was opened and Diablo took full control over the Wanderer's body, assuming his true form. The Wanderer had served the Lord of Terror well, and Aidan seemed to be lost forever. However, the heroes that had pursued the Wanderer over the months had not given up, and confronted Diablo himself. Cain would speculate that even then, some small part of Aidan's old self remained, that as the heroes fought the demon without, Aidan fought him within. Regardless, Diablo was defeated, his essence returned to his soulstone and like Albrecht before him, Aidan's body was left behind. In honor of his memory, the champions ceremonially wrapped his broken body and threw it into the infernal fires that raged all around them.
"Your ghosts are many, old man, and they are active."
— The demon prior to taking Aidan's form(src)
Years after his death, Cain remained guilt-ridden by what had happened to his former friend. Eight years after Aidan's death, while in a Vizjerei repository, a demon briefly took Aidan's form in order to psychologically torment Cain.
Two decades after Aidan's death, when walking the path to the Tristram Cathedral, Li-Ming reflected that it was as if she was stepping back in time, following in the footsteps of the Dark Wanderer.
Main article: Warrior
The Wanderer is briefly encountered in the third act of Diablo II, right upon leaving the Kurast Docks, where he disappears before summoning some Flesh Beasts. The player cannot interact with him in any way. If the player listens carefully, they can hear the Wanderer laugh as he teleports away.
Aidan's journey is charted through flashbacks in the form of the game's cinematics.
Aidan is mentioned multiple times in Diablo III.
Messerschmidt's Reaver description implies that it may be the very same weapon he used to defeat Diablo with back in the first game.
To similarly commemorate the anniversary, a Dark Wanderer player icon was made available in Overwatch.
Personality and Traits
"I am not the scared boy you once knew, my friend. I have studied and trained with the best teachers in Kurast. I have fought the brave soldiers of Westmarch. I will face the demonspawn, and I will strike them down one by one until I find the source and let them taste the edge of my blade."
Aidan was originally full of life and promise, but was also self-absorbed, though had some insecurities in regards to what his father expected of him. His experiences in war against Westmarch tempered him. However, he was broken physically and mentally due to Diablo's influence, and while shards of humanity remained within him, he steadily lost them over time as Diablo asserted his control.
Aidan was considered handsome before his fall.
The concept behind Aidan is effectively retroactive, as up until the conception of Diablo III, he was never given a name besides the "Dark Wanderer," In the first game, he was never given a name and did not conceptually exist.
Come Diablo II, it was established that the warrior class was the hero to canonically slay Diablo, and was given the title of the Dark Wanderer. However, his backstory remained the same as the warrior class, that he was a nameless hero. One fact was retconned: Deckard Cain spoke of the Dark Wanderer as though he was foreign to Tristram, but NPCs in the game speak to the player as though the player is a villager returning from a long journey. This was also added to in the game's manual, as written by Deckard Cain. A warrior/thief character named Qarak appears in The Awakening as a possible take on giving the Wanderer a name, but can still conceptually exist as his own character.
By Diablo III, and the warrior's background had been altered/added to, being given the name of "Aidan" with the backstory that he was Leoric's elder son. This is effectively a retcon, as previous lore had stated that Leoric only had one son (Albrecht) not to mention that the people of Tristram knew who he was the whole time, a contrast to the "nameless hero" spoken of previously. This is slightly amended in Book of Cain, where Deckard explains that he used the term "Dark Wanderer" to describe Aidan because he could not bring himself to use his name after his fall. Marius and other characters used the term "Dark Wanderer" as well, likely because only a handful of people outside of Tristram knew the truth of the Wanderer's identity .
- The Order
- Book of Cain
- Diablo Manual
- Diablo Ending Cinematic
- Diablo III, Act III
- Diablo II Manual
- Diablo II, The Sightless Eye Intro Cinematic
- Diablo II, The Secret of the Vizjerei Intro Cinematic
- Diablo II, The Infernal Gate Intro Cinematic
- Diablo II, The Infernal Gate
- Diablo III, Act I, The Legacy of Cain
- 2014-03-24, Heroes of the Storm: Unique Hero Kill Voiceovers. 2P, accessed on 2014-08-03