Stillman returns this week with another character-examining column. After so neatly dissecting Tyrael last week, he’s giving equal time to the ladies, and taking time to strap Adria and Asheara to his slab this time. (And you know how Asheara likes that.) This examination is extra pertinent, since both of these NPCs are set to return in Diablo 3; Asheara was seen outside the gates of the starting city in this year’s Blizzcon demo, and while we’ve not yet seen Adria in the game, she’s featured in the Diablo 3 concept art you see to the right.

    Click through to read Stillman’s humorous, yet incisive take on these two femme fatales. But beware the double entendres fly fast and furious this time around.

    Today I will be covering two Diablo women…with oil. How else can I fit them into the same discussion? Adria the witch from Diablo 1 and Asheara the mercenary vendor from Diablo 2 are both down for some examination. They are two powerful women in the Diablo series that leave us too powerless to know what their future roles are in Diablo 3. Blizzard is known for its coldness leaving us fans clueless until release day. But until then we shall try to learn something about female characters in Diablo 3. Maybe Adria used witchcraft to retain her youth and Asheara is still single after 20 years. It’s a two girl fantasy, people, and you are all welcome to watch.

    We will start with a looking over of Adria to see if she has any markings of Satan or at least Sarah Jessica Parker. As a witch, Adria is pretty used to being strapped down to a table for close scrutiny. I asked if she had ever been burned at the stake before, and she told me what I could do with the stake. Adria is known as the ?friendly? witch NPC who will be returning in Diablo 3 for unknown reasons. Seeing a town vendor from an 11 year old game was the big highlight in Cain’s really boring journal.

    Adria would always greet you by saying, ?I sense a soul in search of answers.? I wonder if she sells sea shells by the sea shore. No, she would dabble in scrolls, staves, shrooms, sayings, and stuff. This was very bad news if you played a Warrior or Rogue because you had to stroll all the way to her shack across the river if you wanted to sell any staves you found. Nowadays we can teleport anywhere…except in freaking town. Oh, how far we have come along.

    I suppose she needed the river nearby to keep her cauldron full. The cauldron, by the way, is the same one from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. I asked Adria if she could recite a few lines, like the ?double double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble? one, but she just rolled her eyes.

    Good thing too; her voice is kind of spooky. She is your stereotypical witch with the eerie voice, oddly colored skin, dark clothes, and gnarled fingers who lives in seclusion a ways from town. I asked where her broomstick was, and she said the last guy who asked still has it. At that point I threw my hands up and accused her of being too much like the witch from The Wizard of Oz that girls keep dressing up as for Halloween. Apparently she agrees because of her glowing makeover in the concept art up top.

    Of course, Adria was a good witch, not evil as far as we can tell, and there are good witch stories out there to fetch ideas from. Even so, Blizzard made her look evil in Diablo 1. She actually reminds me of The Blair Witch Project when I think about Diablo 3. Just like in the movie we have no idea where the witch is, what she is doing there, or what her motives are. We just have to keep waiting to learn something. Blizzard picked the perfect character to keep us in suspense because Adria the witch was all about adding an element of mystery to Diablo 1. There are, after all, many mysteries to solve in Diablo 3, the meteor crash being just one.  Fans looking for Diablo 3 lore, completely lost for days on end in the tangled internet forest, probably look something like this:

    And remember in the movie how you would yell at the kids on the screen to each take a leg of the tripod and beat the tar out of the people messing around with their tent, or just follow the damn river because no river goes in a circle? Well all lore fans can do is yell at Blizzard to give us some lore. Adria in Diablo 3 is probably still all about mystery…and soccer mom makeovers.

    Now we are moving on to Asheara, the Diablo 2 leader of the Iron Wolves in Act 3. In the Diablo 3 demo she is still leader of the pack who sends you on a quest to Alcarnus. Funny thing about Alcarnus; If you rearrange the letters you get ?carnal us?. Well that must be coincidence. I must be rearranging them wrong. Ok, I got it now. After some careful scrambling of the letters I now get ?anal suc?. You just can’t take the jungle out of this woman, it seems. Anyway, most of us remember Asheara as a naked sex object sporting a boa constrictor with a lot of guys following her. The in-game picture is below.

    Oh sorry. That is clearly not Asheara, though the Witch Doctor can be seen crawling around. For those of you who prefer Britney impaled on spears you will be happy to know that Asheara’s purpose in Diablo 2 was actually part of Blizzard’s equalization-feminist-politically correct agenda thing they had going on. Asheara is one of those powerful business women you saw all the time in the dark ages when women were treated as men’s equals. About half of the classes and macho blacksmiths in LoD are women, and the whole game starts you off in the Act 1 all girls club. You see, a game about torture chambers and slaughtering trillions of demon children should be full of strong role models and fun themes for kids like anti-discrimination legislature and equalization payments?you know, fun stuff.  Hmm…could the Diablo 3 DiabloWikiBlood Money quest be about alimony?

    Blizzard has a funny way of showing their political correctness in Diablo 2 though, what with the Act 1 boss being a giant stripper and Act 2 having a whole Harem of dead party girls. And did I mention Asheara was naked? But despite all this, Asheara was all about equal power for women just like business women Kashya, Akara, Fara, Anya, Jamella, and Malah…and possibly Natalya. Even Atma had some power over the people and a suit of full plate armor, Atma’s Wail, for crying I guess. Gosh, it sure is hard not to objectify Diablo women when ALL OF THEIR NAMES END WITH A RELIEVING ?AHH? SOUND.

    Politics aside, Asheara had a fun side and quite a dirty mouth. She even has this to say: ?Things are getting wilder than Ladies Night at the Slippery Fist.? Um…the Slippery Fist? I know you are all wondering the same two things: Is Stillman joking and does he have any more pictures of Britney Spears that would be very fitting right now? The answers are no joke?check it out in the Diablo 2 wiki, and no more nice pictures for you until next week. Gosh, all Adria did was make everyone say ?Now that is big mushroom!? After reading this, players will want to go on a date with Asheara. A release date.

    In conclusion to this scatterbrained oily mess, we can ask what is with all the mixed messages, bizarre age gaps and old folks appearing in Diablo 3 anyway? The geezers are Cain, Abd al-Hazir, the male Witch Doctor and Barbarian, soccer moms Adria and Asheara, and almost certainly some other Diablo 2 heroes appearing as NPCs to tie up loose ends 20 years past their prime. And how old are Tyrael and Diablo? It’s a revelation people! We males are getting our prostates checked as and Act 1 quest reward.

    But don’t feel like you are about to get pwned when you see those rubber gloves snapping on. The person doing the poking and prodding will probably be an in-game hottie. The female heroes of Diablo 3, the Wizard, Barbarian and Witch Doctor, are all in their teens or close to it. Adria and Asheara won’t really be seen as much since the torch will be handed down to teenage girl heroes only. It will be just like in Hollywood where the female stars are all washed up after age 25. The Butcher TOLD you there would be fresh meat, and you thought he was talking about you. I guess the whole politically correct thing is going out the window. The very young female heroes of Diablo 3 will have a lot of clubbing to do. But as of now, the exact location of the Slippery Fist is still a mystery.

    Opinions expressed in columns and guest articles are those of their authors, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.

    Stillman’s Slab is where all Diablo characters are dissected and examined piece by piece. It is written by Nicholas Stillman to reintroduce Diablo series topics in a new light or put forth novel themes that have not been fully explored in the forums. Slurry collected from the centrifuge will always contain something new and unheard of at the time of publication. Post your comments below or directly.

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