A preview of the Diablo III novel called The Order will be hitting shelves alongside the release of the game on May 15th. A preview of the book has just been posted on the official blog to give you a taste of what you’ll read. This excerpt seems to feature Cain fairly heavily, so beware of requests to stay awhile and listen.
Deckard Cain is the last of the Horadrim, the sole surviving member of a mysterious and legendary order. As Cain searches for the lost members of his order, he is thrust into an alliance with an unlikely ally: Leah, an eight-year-old girl feared by many to carry a diabolical curse. What is her secret? How is it tied to the prophesied End of Days? And if there are other living Horadrim, will they be able to stand against oblivion? These are the questions Deckard Cain must answer. . . . . . before it is too late.
Chapter Two – The Hidden Chamber
The air was cooler near the ruins. The reveal spell held within the looking glass had faded away by the time they reached the massive columns, but the two travelers had no need for it after they had passed the entrance.
The two columns cast deeper shadows across their path like black lines drawn in the dust. Beyond the shadows the veil gradually lifted away, and the ruins of the secret repository loomed all around them, coming into view like the rise of mountains through the mist. Broken stones thrust through the sands, swept clean in places by the wind. Ancient carvings of runes covered the sides of the larger blocks, marking this as a place of great Vizjerei power. Cain felt his heartbeat quicken, the palms of his hands growing moist. He could feel it thrumming beneath his feet, deep within the earth.
Or perhaps, he thought, he felt something else.
There was darkness here. Although the sun still touched the tops of these rocks, it did not warm them. Even the paladin sensed it now, his steps faltering as they moved deeper into the ruins. Before them lay the remains of the temple, its entrance covered in rubble, what was left of the roof all but collapsed upon itself. Massive timbers reached toward the sky like the ribs of a giant beast. This was where the ancient texts would have been kept, if they had existed at all. But it would be dangerous inside, possibly unstable.
A sound reached their ears like the rustling of leaves. Akarat stopped and drew his sword. “Do you hear it?” he asked. His voice was quiet.
Cain nodded, stepping to the young man’s side. “There may be something else here with us, after all,” he said.
“Like… what? An animal?”
“Perhaps,” Cain said. He could tell that the paladin was both scared and excited, and trying hard not to show it. Stories of demonic attacks were one thing, but actually facing something most people thought was only a legend was another. Cain knew that all too well.
The sounds swirled faintly around them, almost fading away before returning again like waves on a beach or the hushed muttering of a crowd. A curious prickling sensation warming his skin, Cain held his staff like a talisman as he moved ahead on the broken path, Akarat close behind. “Close your ears,” Cain said, “as if you were deaf. Should you hear voices, do not listen to them.”
“I don’t understand—”
“If something foul is present, it will try to corrupt you, find your weaknesses. Ignore anything it tries to say. Whatever it is, I promise you are not meant to hear it.”
He reached the edge of the tumbled rocks at the entrance to the temple and peered around them, looking for a way in. There was a space just large enough for a man. Darkness loomed beyond the narrow passage that was the height of his shoulders. Cain swung his rucksack down again and found a crumbling spellbook, searching the brittle pages for the right words. As he said them aloud, the glass sphere at the end of his staff came to life, taking on a blue glow and lighting the space within.
Beyond the reach of the wind, where the sand began to fade, the drifts held the faint impression of a footprint. Either a man, or something that walked like one, had passed through this place not long ago.
He tucked the book away and turned to the paladin, who stared at him and the glowing staff and back again, mouth agape.
“Magic? True magic?”
“A simple spell, nothing more. Like the looking glass, held within the objects themselves. I simply have the knowledge to unlock it. This is a place of sorcery, chosen, at least in part, because of the power in the soil. A spell is more useful in a spot like this.”
“Are you really the last of the Horadrim?”