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DiabloAug 27, 2020 6:00 pm CT

The Sightless Eye, the Askari, and the origins of Diablo’s Amazons

Once, when Sanctuary was young, an Angel and a Nephalem became lovers. The love story of Philos and Lycander did not end in a happily ever after for them, for the demoness Lilith had engineered the creation of the Nephalem for a reason. When that reason was threatened, Lilith reacted with violence, and rather than find herself one of the dead, Lycander fled Sanctuary and returned to the Heavens. Yet out of their love, and the consequences of it, were born the Askari, whose twin founders would in time create the Oracles of Skovos, famed for their prophetic gifts and their mastery of an artifact of unbridled vision — and the Amazons.

The Amazons would be the protectors of the Askari culture, the warriors and hunters, the soldiers and guardians who kept the Oracles free to gaze into the Sightless Eye and learn. It would be an Amazon who would leave Skovos and travel to find and seek an end to the Lone Wanderer in the events of Diablo 2.

But the Askari were not born from the union of Lycander and Philos. Indeed, once Lycander left for the Heavens, she and Philos would never see one another again.

The Amazons’ story begins with a lost love

We’ve talked about the Nephalem and their origins before.  But since it’s important in the story of the Askari, we’ll sum it up briefly. The powerful demoness Lilith, daughter of Mephisto, made common cause with the Angel Inarius, and the two of them stole the Worldstone from the Pandemonium Fortress. Together, they and other Angels and Demons who were tired of the Eternal Conflict created Sanctuary as a realm they could hide in, and after a time Angels and Demons — including Inarius and Lilith themselves — mated and produced offspring. These offspring were the first generation of the Nephalem, also called the Ancients, and figures such as Linarian (aka Rathma), Bul Kathos, Fiacla-Gear, Esu, and others soon showed their tremendous power to their Angelic and Demonic forebears.

Most were terrified. But one, the Angel Lycander, found herself fascinated by a first-generation Nephalem named Philos. Like all of his kind, Philios possessed a power unlike anything the Angel had seen before, and soon the two were in love. But when Lilith found that others among the Angels (and even some of the Demons that had followed her) were petitioning that Inarius do something before the Heavens and Hell became aware of Sanctuary’s existence, she decided to take action before her experiment was ruined. As the daughter of a Greater Evil, Lilith proved so powerful that none of the Angels or Demons could stand against her, save only one — and that one wasn’t Lycander. While Inarius used the power of the Worldstone to subdue and banish his lover, Lycander fled Sanctuary and returned to the Heavens, where she attempted to resume her previous existence.

Philios, however, found a way to remain in contact with Lycander. Using an artifact of still unknown origin, the Sightless Eye, Philios could reach out past Sanctuary and speak to his departed lover.

Philios, Askarra, and the twins who would be the Askari

In time, however, the Angels began to notice Lycander’s distraction, and believed her to be in communication with someone outside Heaven. Since this was exactly the case, Lycander told Philios to bury the Sightless Eye, and that this would be the end of their affair — a love that had survived the deaths of all of Lycander’s fellow followers and the rise of the Nephalem. But Lycander knew that if she and Philios continued, the Hosts of Heaven would find Sanctuary, and with Inarius having used the Worldstone to reduce the Nephalem in each new generation into powerless Humans, the world had no defense against them.

Heartbroken, Philios did as he was instructed and wandered the world for eons. Around him, while he suffered his misery alone, the other Nephalem had children, who themselves had children, and the Worldstone’s power made those children mere Humans deprived of the awesome power of the Ancients. In time, Philios met a mortal woman, Askarra.

Askarra was no Angel. She was a descendant of the Nephalem, a Human, with all the flaws and faults of a Human. But she was real, and she was there, and unlike Lycander she didn’t let fear stop her from claiming the man she came to love. In time, Philios returned Askarra’s affection and the two fell in love, and Askarra gave birth to twin daughters. They lacked the power of their father, due to the Worldstone’s interference, but they were brave, and upon learning of their father’s history and the existence of the Sightless Eye, decided to claim it as their birthright.

The Askari are born from the discovery of the Sightless Eye

Perhaps Philios agreed that they should do this. Perhaps he had left them. The legends do not say, no more than they said the names of the twins. Regardless, the twin daughters of Askarra went to Skovos, where Philios had hidden the Sightless Eye, and reclaimed it from the ground where their father had buried it.

If Lycander still existed by this time, she did not choose to answer the Twins. But while the Sightless Eye could not contact the Angel in the Heavens, it did show the Twins visions of the future. The more mystical of the two founded what would become the Oracle caste, who would use the Sightless Eye for many years to guide their society and help them rule the Skovos Isles. However, the other twin, who was more of a warrior than a seer, decided to found an order dedicated to the protection of the Isles and those that came after them, and so was born the Askari people, shepherded by the Oracles, but protected and defended by the Amazons.

Both Philios and Lycander would be worshiped as gods by the Askari over the centuries.

Betrayal by the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye

After many hundreds of years, a group of renegade Askari chose to repeat, unknowingly, Inarius and Lilith’s theft of the Worldstone — also known as the Eye of Anu. They seized the Sightless Eye and fled with it all the way to a fortress known as Eastgate Keep in Khanduras. These rogue Amazons, who called themselves the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye, believed that their former brethren back on Skovos were too weak to use the Sightless Eye properly.

One of these followers, who called herself a Rogue, ended up aiding Prince Aidan in his attempt to defeat Diablo and rescue his brother in the events of Diablo 1. He failed, and that Rogue ended up as the Blood Raven, a possessed and corrupted being serving the demon Andariel, one of the seven evils. But a true Amazon of the Skovos Isles had come to Khanduras, seeking the stolen Sightless Eye, and she joined the fellowship of heroes that hunted the Lone Wanderer and helped to defeat Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal — although not before the Worldstone was corrupted and then destroyed.

Today, the Amazons still serve as Skovos’ protectors, but there’s much we don’t know about the Isles. The Askari are matriarchal, with men capable of holding many positions but never ruling. Each caste has a queen, and these two queens rule the whole of the Askari and the Skovos Isles to this day.

What’s become of the Skovos Isles and the Askari in the years since Diablo 2 is hinted at but not yet shown. We know the Horadrim under Tyrael sent an expedition to Skovos that never returned, but we don’t know why. As we go into Diablo 4, the peerless ocean-going Amazons, the traders and spear-slashing, arrow firing warriors that guard the Askari may or may not make an appearance.

If they do, perhaps they hunt thew remnants of the Sisters of the Sightless Eye, those Rogues who stole their greatest treasure.

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