Kingdom of Shadow - Lost City of Ureh

After reading Diablo: Demonsbane, I decided to start reading through Diablo: The Kingdom of Shadow. You can find both books in the Diablo Archive released a few days ago. I will be honest. My grammar is horrible, but hopefully you can find something that may catch your interest as to wish to read the book by yourself.

There was a specific reason I wanted to skip the first two books, and jump ahead to the Kingdom of Shadow. That is because this book talks about the ancient ruins of Ureh located at the jungles of the Necromancers, the guardians of balance. Why is all this important? Richard A. Knaak hinted back on October 2006 that Blizzard had great plans for Zayl the Necromancer. This was the same interview where he confirmed that the storyline of Diablo: The Sin War trilogy would impact the storyline of any future Diablo projects made by Blizzard -- coughs, Diablo 3.

Why am I reading about Ureh? Well, Atrumentis and Daemon had observed and speculated that what we see in the Diablo III cinematic teaser shown on June 28 at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals in Paris could very well be the ruins of Ureh. After both images comparing the cinematic teaser's building with the front cover artwork of Diablo: The Kingdom of Shadow (by Richard A. Knaak), one could debate whether both are similar. At the bottom, I wrote a small spoiler summary of what Ureh is and the story of the first few pages. This might encourage some fans to get their hands on the Diablo Archive (752 pages) which contains: Diablo: Legacy of Blood, Diablo: The Black Road, Diablo: The Kingdom of Shadow and Diablo: Demonsbane. The spoiler summary at the bottom of the page after both images:





SPOILER SUMMARY

This summary might be inaccurate, as I wrote it from what I remember. I did not summarize the entire book however. Merely the first 40 pages, and skipping a lot of stuff. Mostly summarized the most important details about Ureh.

The lost city of Ureh was once a central battleground for the war between Heaven and Hell in Sanctuary during the hundreds of years of the Sin War era. Ureh was a fount of light to those who followed and chose the path of the Archangels. This called the attention of the Prime Evils who sought to take Ureh. Diablo had overseen Ureh from his domain in Hell, and sought to destroy the city and its inhabitants for it offended him greatly its glorius existence. The people of Ureh were so pious they would not have fear. Something the Lord of Terror found intolerable and couldn't stand. Diablo grew determined to bring down the city and make its inhabitants the slaves of Hell.

Ureh was cut off from outside travelers and supply wagons, as the surrounding areas were overtaken by demons rallying toward Ureh. Juris Khan, lord of the city of Ureh, and his priests and mages attempted to save their people from the Prime Evils and their legions of demons. Juris Khan had a vision of an archangel who informed him the High Heaven had wished to grant them a haven from the incoming onslaught to protect them, the safety of Heaven.

The archangel opened the gates of Heaven to the mortals of Ureh, where the Prime Evils could not touch them. The archangel told Juris Khan in two more visions how to accomplish this. However, the archangel was not allowed to intervene or offer much help. It was up to Ureh to do the task. And thus the Mages of Ureh opened a way into the gates of Heaven. Gregus Mazi was the only inhabitant of Ureh who did not enter Heaven. Gregus Mazi was one of the mages at the service of Lord Juris Khan who performed the spellcasting to open the way. A crimson aura enshrouded the city of Ureh. Gregus Mazi faltered in his faith at that moment, and was left behind. He witnessed how the whole city of Ureh split into a twin ethereal city floating above the original one. To Gregus Mazi it was as if he had seen the soul of the city of Ureh leave the mortal plane. All inhabitants of Ureh becoming decaying corpses.

Gregus Mazi was found by followers of Rathma, the necromancers. They healed his broken mind and tended his needs for a time. However, the mage left to roam the world in search of something. He was one of the circle of mages to cast the spell that enabled the people of Ureh to ascend into Heaven, but he didn't know all of it. He became obsessed with joining his friends and family. Twelve years later, Gregus Mazi returned to Ureh with all the knowledge he needed to perform the spellcasting to ascend to Heaven, and he was never seen again.

Scrolls and books of his studies are all what remained. The mercenary who accompanied Gregus Mazi long ago to Ureh witnessed how Gregus Mazi chanted a spell that made the ruins of Ureh change, glowing golden as if the ruins had come to live. Humbart Wessel and his mercenaries did not follow Gregus Mazi into the ruins. That was the last they saw of him. In the morning, the ruins were no longer vivid. All was gone. Humbart wrote a scroll of what happened and delivered it to Lord Hyram of the Zakarum.

Hundreds of years later, a Vizjerei mage named Quov Tsin became obsessed with reading and analyzing Gregus Mazi's studies. Collecting all of his remaining scrolls, as well as the mercenary who witnessed his disappearance.

Vizjerei Quov Tsin hired a band of mercenaries led by Captain Kentril Dumon to ensure his safety through the jungle and his arrival to the city of Ureh with promises of gold and treasure bigger than that of Kings. Once every certain amount of time, the ruins of Ureh were said to come alive once more. Briefly. A faint echo of that day centuries ago when the spell to ascend to Heaven was casted by its people. The spellwork should be casted when the shadow of the mighty mountain Nymyr rested upon the ruins of Ureh. That time according to Quov Tsin would be the next day. Once at the ruins of Ureh, Quov Tsin began the chanting of the spellwork he had analyzed from the scrolls of Gregus Mazi right at the time when the shadow of Nymyr's mountain was covering Ureh. As he was about to end the spellwork, Zayl the Necromancer approached to warn them. To stop what could mean their deaths. The greedy mage put no mind to the intruder, and continued chanting the last words of the spellwork.

The shadow of mountain Nymyr covered all of the ruins of Ureh. Even with the sun on the sky, a dreadful darkness encompassed Ureh. The towers started to glitter, and slowly all of Ureh began to glow and radiate becoming alive, as it was hundreds of years ago. The ancient city was reborn again. The necromancer Zayl accompanied the Vizjerei Quov Tsin, Captain Kentril and his mercenaries into the city of Ureh. Voices, laughter and a non-stopping flute music were heard everywhere. After certain dangers experienced within, the mercenaries no longer wished to be in the ruins and headed toward the exit ... just to find the gates closed and guarded by two angels.

They could now see the people of Ureh. Suddenly, a plaza that wasn't there before was found, and the people of Ureh led them to a copy of mountain Nymyr at the center of the plaza. After walking a very long stairway, they found a gate guarded by two gargoyles. They allowed all but the Vizjerei to enter the gates unharmed. It took a lot of wit to get the mage inside as the gargoyles would come to life to stop him. Inside ... all of them met one who was thought disappeared many centuries ago: Lord Juris Khan.

Update: I have resumed reading through page 512. Seems the people of Ureh didn't reach Heaven afterall. The legends and scrolls concerning Ureh and Gregus Mazi's studies were false. Gregus Mazi betrayed them. During the casting of the spell to make the way to Heaven, was reversed by Mazi, who hoped to send Ureh into the Burning Hell realm. Lord Juris Khan attempted to counter the betrayal. The end result was, Ureh did not reach Heaven. And it did not reach the Burning Hells. It is floating in nothingness. A limbo. A place in-between. As far as I have read, with the help of Zayl, Tsin and the mercenaries they wish to find a gem that would allow them to remake the original spell to send the ethereal Ureh to its former destination: Heaven. More tomorrow.

Update: I am merely 70 pages from finishing the book. I can say this story is a heck of a rollercoaster ride. Things that might have seem the truth, turn out to be deceit. So anything I may have said in the summary could or not have a bit of truth. Things go from bad to worse. Worth of a tale of terror. And behind everything seems to be someone who lords it, one we all know well ... Diablo.

Update: Done reading the book. At the end some of the buildings crumble to dust, and the gem to light is destroyed. This could be seen by any reader as a hint that we won't be able to see Ureh again. However, the gem had been lost before and the city was still coming to life every certain time. Attana remains within the ethereal Ureh. That means Ureh might be able to return. Specially, if she manages to reanimate Vizjerei Quov Tsin with immortality. It could be up to debate. The city shown in the Cinematic could be Ureh, or not. We will have to hear from Blizzard what exactly they are showing in the cinematic. Regardless, I do know some who have read Kingdom of Shadow would like to visit Ureh in Diablo 3.

Diablo Archive available now, click the image to order it:

Comments

  • #1 Umpa
    my favorite diablo novel. loved this book soooo much. MY favorite part was when the barb sacrificed himself on the side of the mountain right before the main merc went to the top to find diablo. The barb frenzied all over some zombie ass and did some warcries, it was a cool moment, great book, and it made Zayle super swift making sense since they lived in the jungle, cool stuff
  • #2 $$$
    why would you read the books?
  • #3 jwest88
    "why would you read the books?"

    Because their good, and plus are set in the Diablo Universe.
  • #4 $$$
    but is the books different
  • #5 Umpa
    oh and btw thats an awesome find about the comparison. thats amazing,. i would LOOOVVEEE to go through that city and have like..normal people walking around, but when u go in the dark they turn into zombies and they just mass up and u have to kinda run around like in the novel
  • #6 $$$
    where can you buy them?
  • #7 Umpa
    Quote from "$$$" »
    where can you buy them?

    book stores? lawlz, go to the malll, those book stores will carry them. they are cool if you really like diablo lore. you get to experience a more personal level, delve into the peoples lives of sanctuary that are entangled with the epic stories of diablo lore
  • #8 $$$
    but is the book story different from the game story
  • #9 jwest88
    The books are just like any other books, have characters and tell a story, they do not completely follow the game.
    Their sold at book stores, and online, like barns & noble.com or borders.com, or you could check ebay or amazon.

    And yes they are different from the game, they just may include some of the prime evils or a familiar Demon from the game in one of the books. Like Bartuc the Bloody, and Diablo also.

    I haven't read the Sin War or Moon of the Spider yet, but I can tell you that the books in the Diablo Archive were good.
  • #10 Umpa
    Quote from "$$$" »
    but is the book story different from the game story

    RAWR at you :mad:

    they are books! how long is the game manual?!? of course they are different!!!read MD's thread post!!!it gives a summary, all the books take place on sanctuary, whether they be before after or during diablo 2 depends on the book
  • #11 $$$
    all i want to now is there a hero thats going to stop the dark wanderer and is baal going to mount arreat
  • #12 Umpa
    Quote from "$$$" »
    all i want to now is there a hero thats going to stop the dark wanderer and is baal going to mount arreat

    no dude! read the plot summary of this book!!!!!!!!!! its in the first post!
  • #13 Medievaldragon
    The games have not been novelized. These are stories that are considered canon by Blizzard, but are not based on the acts of Diablo II or its expansion.

    The importance of these books however is that material from them will be very likely used to develop Diablo 3. Now we will be exploring the world of sanctuary more thoroughfully than in the previous games, and NPCs will be more talkative of their past experiences.

    I got a feeling we will find Zayl the necromancer in Diablo 3. Whether as a playable character or as a NPC giving quests.

    As I said in a thread a few weeks ago, World of Warcraft quests and locations are based a lot on stuff that didn't exist in Warcraft II and III. Some came from the books which are considered canon by Blizzard.

    Hammerfall and Durnholde and the Caverns of Time: Old Hillsbrad existed in Warcraft: Lord of the Clans. Kalecgos and Anveena in the Sunwell Plateau, Jorad Mace and Tyri in the Celestial Ridge (netherstorm), Dar'Khan in Eversong Forest -- those characters are from Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy manga.

    The dragon aspects, Caverns of Time, The Nexus (Coldarra) -- those existed only in Warcraft: Day of the Dragon. Not in the games. Only Alexstrasza and Deathwing existed in Warcraft II RTS game.

    Most of the Burning Crusade quests are based on the book by Christie Golden World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde.

    Aegwynn at Theramore beside Jaina Proudmoore -- which showed up in the comic book World of Warcraft# 6 ... that's from Keith R.A. DeCandido's book World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred. It is said Aegwynn is in-game disguised as the night elf named Pained right in front of Jaina Proudmoore NPC.

    Tirion Fordring and his son Taelan existed only in Chris Metzen's eBook Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor. He is now the founder of the new Silver Hand in the MMO.

    Rhonin is only from Warcraft: Day of the Dragon and War of the Ancients Trilogy -- he is now an NPC in the MMO. He leads Dalaran in Northrend in Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

    The point of this newspost is that we might find a lot of details in the Diablo novels that we might recognize on the fly in Diablo 3. To those who don't read the Warcraft books, most of what happens in World of Warcraft means bleh ... but to those who read and know their stuff, once you see Kalecgos, or find Grim Batol in Wetlands, or experience Old Hillsbrad, or the Ata'mal crystals questline -- people gets excited.
  • #14 Umpa
    Quote from "Medievaldragon" »
    The games have not been novelized. These are stories that are considered canon by Blizzard, but are not based on the acts of Diablo II or its expansion.

    The importance of these books however is that material from them will be very likely used to develop Diablo 3. Now we will be exploring the world of sanctuary more thoroughfully than in the previous games, and NPCs will be more talkative of their past experiences.

    I got a feeling we will find Zayl the necromancer in Diablo 3. Whether as a playable character or as a NPC giving quests.


    MD what makes you think that TKOS is based during the current state of sanctuary? there may be hints and obvious instances but it has been YEARS since i've read tkos
  • #15 Horny_Goatman
    Quote from "$$$" »
    all i want to now is there a hero thats going to stop the dark wanderer and is baal going to mount arreat



    Take Legacy of Blood for example, I think its about that one guy in Baal's throne room, Bartuc the bloody. This is just my speculation, so correct me if I'm wrong.


    They are event that take place side by side with the game, or maybe some time apart.

    If you like Diablo stories, I recommend you pick up that book Archive!! I won't, as I already own them all seperately.
  • #16 Atrumentis
    Also, in the cinematic teaser just when we see the image of that mysterious city, the girl says "Once again the shadow crawls across our world". I think thats a big hint that the city is Ureh, seeing as Ureh comes alive when the mountain's shadow 'crawls across it'.
  • #17 Medievaldragon
    Quote from "Umpa65" »
    MD what makes you think that TKOS is based during the current state of sanctuary? there may be hints and obvious instances but it has been YEARS since i've read tkos

    Zayl the Necromancer is in The Kingdom of Shadow, so these are events that happen somewhere between Diablo II and Lord of Destruction (maybe). I haven't read all the book yet to find any clues as to the timeline.

    Diablo 3 happens 20 years after the worldstone is shattered by Tyrael. Maybe we get to visit the ruins of Ureh in Diablo 3. I won't say I am infallible, but I like to follow and stick to my hunches. I had a hunch Blizzard would announce Diablo 3 as a hack'n slash RPG at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals, instead of a MMO.

    This time around, although Knaak won't say a word when I ask him, I do have a hunch based on what he said back on October 2006. Knaak: "Zayl has been fun and has a big following. Blzzard has some ideas for him already..."
  • #18 Atrumentis
    Kingdom of Shadow is the hardest of the books to place in the timeline. The best evidence I could come up with was actually from a lack of evidence.

    Kingdom of Shadow is a prequel to Moon of the Spider. So we know it occurs before the Moon of the Spider but since there is no mention of the Worldstone (where as Moon of the Spider clearly talks about the Worldstone) it is assumed that this book takes place before it is destroyed. Zayl traveled from Ureh to Westmarch and would have likely had to pass through the Rogue Monastary (apparently the only path to Westmarch if traveling through the twin seas, which Zayl very likely would have). With Andariel and many other demons out and about during DII, and no mention of a hazardous journey to Westmarch, it is unlikely that he was traveling during the events of Diablo II, but was actually in Ureh at the time. Its more likely that Zayl left Ureh to travel to Westmarch after Diablo II, which means that the main events of The Kingdom of Shadow must have happened at the same time as Diablo II and the destruction of the Worldstone.

    As I said, I place Ureh here because it doesn't have a quote to support itself.

    But here is Moon's quote that places it in the timeline:

    "In truth, [Zayl] could actually not be certain that the Worldstone had been destroyed, but the evidence was certainly there. Mount Arreat - where legend claimed it had been hidden - had exploded, its entired top ravaged. The destruction had been heard about even here in the far-away Westmarch. More to the point, the rumors among those with the sight gave starker credence to the horrific claim. It was said that one of the Prime Evils themselves - Baal, Lord of Destruction - had been the cause, and if so, the mortal plane was in for far worse to come. The Worldstone had existed since time immemorial, created, so the teachings of Rathma said, to keep the mortal world protected. Now, both the powers of Light and Darkness reached out to fully claim humanity, and in their battles against one another the two cosmic factions threatened to destroy what they desired. Somehow, all that tied into Zayl's own urge to come to Westmarch. Somewhere in this vast kingdom, the repercussions of Baal's heinous deed would soon be felt."(pg 19)
  • #19 Medievaldragon
    Interesting bit. Moon of the Spider is the only Diablo book I don't have now. I am still reading Diablo Archive, but once I am done, I'm gonna grab that one too. Thanks for the quote.
  • #20 vanguardxx2
    Thanks Medievaldragon, this was a great read and I now plan on buying the Archive!
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