Is Adria just a 'cultist' or corrupted mortal, or is she something more than that?
I'm skeptical that they were planning it way back then, but the townsfolk in D1 cast her as a super duper magic user, or something not human.
The witch, Adria, is an anomaly here in Tristram. She arrived shortly after the Cathedral was desecrated while most everyone else was fleeing. She had a small hut constructed at the edge of town, seemingly overnight, and has access to many strange and arcane artifacts and tomes of knowledge that even I have never seen before.
Adria is wise beyond her years, but I must admit - she frightens me a little. Well, no matter. If you ever have need to trade in items of sorcery, she maintains a strangely well-stocked hut just across the river.
While I use some limited forms of magic to create the potions and elixirs I store here, Adria is a true sorceress. She never seems to sleep, and she always has access to many mystic tomes and artifacts. I believe her hut may be much more than the hovel it appears to be, but I can never seem to get inside the place.
Adria truly bothers me. Sure, Cain is creepy in what he can tell you about the past, but that witch can see into your past. She always has some way to get whatever she needs, too. Adria gets her hands on more merchandise than I've seen pass through the gates of the King's Bazaar during High Festival.
Doesn't eat, drink, or sleep allegedly, able to get whatever she wants, most of the town is scared of her.. She seemed to know a lot about what was really going on too.
"No Mortal can truly understand the mind of the Demon. Never let their erratic actions confuse you, as that too may be their plan."
"There are many artifacts within the Labyrinth that hold powers beyond the comprehension of mortals. Some of these hold fantastic power that can be used by either the Light or the Darkness. Securing the Anvil from below could shift the course of the Sin War towards the Light."
"This is a place of great anguish and terror, and so serves its master well. Tread carefully or you may yourself be staying much longer than you had anticipated."
"You will become an eternal servant of the Dark Lords should you perish within this cursed domain. Enter the Chamber of Bone at your own peril."
"The Heaven Stone is very powerful, and were it any but Griswold who bid you find it, I would prevent it. He will harness its powers and its use will be for the good of us all."
So since we now know she was apparently an agent of Diablo, we can assume she was there to make sure things went according to plan. What is this plan?
From the D2:LoD instruction manual:
"And a child will cradle Terror in his breast as the heart of man falls under the shadow.
A Wanderer will pass through the ancient lands trailing chaos in his wake.
The Three Brothers will be reunited as the mortal world trembles before their might.
And so it was foretold that the Three, once reunited, would be shattered again—
And the last of them would set his sights on the holy mount. The warnings held that
Their defeat would be illusory—that the final gambit had yet to be played..."
+ + +
And now at last the storm surges forth from the southlands, and the hand of Destruction
Reaches out to undo the workings of the Ancients. The tides of Hell surge—ready to smash
Down upon the shores of the mortal world—to drown the guilty and the innocent alike.
That was from something called Prophecies of the Final Day by the way.
Druid lore excerpt:
At the Túr Dúlra, the greatest of the Druid Colleges, stands the magnificent oak Glór-an-Fháidha. This tree is the most revered source of the Druids guidance and teachings. Under its branches, for centuries, the Druids of Scosglen have been honing not only their powerful arsenal of natural magic, but also the martial skills they have retained from their Barbarian forefathers. They have done this because they believe themselves to be the world’s last line of defense when the time of the great conflict comes, a time they believe is at hand. Lashing out in fury at the recent insurgence of denizens of the Burning Hells, and at the Leathdhiabhala, demonic corruptions of the very creatures they have vowed to defend, the Druids have, at last, emerged from their forests, marching toward their final stand against the minions of Chaos.
In D3 we have the Prophecy for the End of Days, which is a 'warning about Hell's ultimate invasion of our world,' and the pieces of the puzzle mentioned in it seem to be coming true. We were also supposed to learn why the Hells didn't invade 20 years ago in the game.
And at the End of Days, Wisdom shall be lost (Malthael being gone, or the mortal Tyrael's demise in X1?)
as Justice falls upon the world of men. (Obvious events of D3, or that Tyrael became aspect of Wis., leaving Justice to Nephalem)
Valor shall turn to Wrath - (Imperius raging over Hell invading, or Imperius waging war on the impudent Nephalem)
as all Hope is swallowed by Despair. (In-game events, or tied to the above, Imp's betrayal. sends Auriel into despair)
Death, at last, shall spread its wings over all -(All these lines reference angels/aspects, Malthael returns as Death?)
as all Fate lies shattered forever. (In-game event of the Hero 'shattering' the fate that Heaven lost that day, or a future event where Ithereal gets destroyed, probably by Malthael/Imperius)
So we know the culmination of this storyline, which they have claimed will get resolved in D3, is this final battle/ultimate invasion of Sanctuary by Hell. Something that has been prophecized for centuries and something that the Evils themselves seem to know all about.
I think Diablo/Evils knew what would happen in D3 as well, I forget what he says exactly but why would he send Adria away to be used later if he, and the angels, were sure he would succeed in the attack on Heaven, since it was kind of 'written in stone' on the Scroll of Fate?
My answer, he wouldn't, he knew he would be stopped, in fact, he and Belial/Azmodan wanted to be stopped. Ever look at the various forums and see all the complaints about 'beLIEal more like beFAILal amirite?? lol y is azodon tellin me where he attack??? teh gaem say he the gr8est general. y iz diab0 tellin me bout his hell gaets????' They were leading you along to do exactly what they wanted you to do.
Sidebar: The Prime Evil, supposedly Diablo in the game. The following is said by Tyrael while on the quest, Prime Evil.
What do you speak of when you say the Prime Evil?
It is the sum total of all seven Evils housed within one body. There is an ancient legend, known only to a few, of the great Dragon, Tathamet, who was the original embodiment of evil.
The legend says that he was ripped apart during an epic battle with Anu, and that the Burning Hells are composed of his remains.
Who is Anu?
Just as Tathamet was the ultimate evil, Anu was the ultimate good. It is said by some that the Crystal Arch is all that remains of this great warrior.
Then Diablo seeks to become the Dragon once again?
In a manner of speaking, yes.
So, either one Nephalem can be more powerful than what is basically one of the (accidental) creator gods of the entire universe, or Diablo was merely supercharged with the souls of the other Evils, and not really the Prime Evil, which even the CE artbook shows as a hydra thing. (Coincidence, D3 was codenamed Project Hydra?)
Also said by Tyrael:
Obviously that didn't happen because for reasons we will likely only know in the expansion, Diablo's body was just tossed over the side of Heaven, and the Black Soulstone was left intact.
Now, I don't know if it means anything, but it's near the end of the artbook. They're either concept art for the Child Emperor, or possibly for the future plot. Right below what looks to be a Cultist drawing, there are 3 children sitting 'Indian style' with elaborate headdresses. The middle one has a mostly different clothing style than the other two, while the other two are almost identical to each other. They both have 'face paint' or tattoos in red and blue on their face and bare chests, their eyes are shut with the 'paint' filling in their eyelids, and have what looks to be a 'third eye' possibly tattooed on their forehead. They also have some black jewelry on around their neck, upper left arm, and wrists.
"There is much about the future we cannot see, but when it comes it will be the children who wield it." - Adria, Diablo, talking about Wirt
So, we know if the BS isn't destroyed, the evils will get loose. The Nephalem are super powerful. Diablo possibly wants to re-make the Tathamet hydra. Theory: the Evils will possess children that Adria and/or Triune cultists have been raising after the Worldstone was destroyed, giving them massive power. Enough power to reform into Tathamet and smash the Heavens once and for all. (We, of course, thwart this plan by rescuing Princess Leah (has to be a reason they retconned Warrior into Prince Aidan) and find out her family's destiny is to bring back Anu and/or defeat Tathamet, which is why Diablo and the Evils were working to corrupt and destroy the Leoric bloodline)
Update: Some support for Princess Leah/Leoric bloodline's greater purpose?
So as we know, Mephisto was soulstone'd under the Zakarum Temple of the Light and was eventually able to corrupt them. What did those manipulated leaders do? Proclaimed Leoric king of Khanduras. The Archbishop Lazarus (bastard led us into a trap!) was 'intent' on Leoric choosing the 'broken-down monastery' as his seat of power. (Hmm, wonder why.. )
However, the Diablo 1 lore almost seems to imply that Lazarus wasn't under demonic control until they had 'settled' and Diablo used his powers to coerce and eventually corrupt him.
Lazarus too, had fallen under the sway of the Demon, keeping close to Leoric at all times.
He also was apparently "a guardian of Mephisto's soulstone in Kurast" so it's up in the air, but I think he wasn't, as far as D1 is concerned, corrupted until they got to Tristram and Diablo reawakened, while in Diablo 3 he likely was corrupted from the get-go.
The wording is kind of vague, for what we are talking about here, but this piece also sounds like Leoric just came in on his own volition in D1 and was all 'For the glory of the Light! I am your king! I shall save you from the ever encroaching darkness! I claim this ancient Monastery as my seat of power in the name of the Zakarum!'
It could just as easily be interpreted as what we know from the D3 lore, (although it has been retcon'd that he is an eastern lord now) that the corrupted High Priests told him 'Go be king here, in the name of Zakarum' and Lazarus was all 'Hey look, this building looks cool, right? What do you mean it's a dump? Castles are like so last year, you should just pick this place, I mean, we're already here, no?'
Personally, I'm thinking it was some minor retcons to go along with their current plotline, if solely for the fact that they felt the need to give the Warrior a backstory as a son to King Leoric of all things. For all that we saw of it in the game, the Warrior might as well have been just some nameless Warrior or Gheed's brother, as from what I remember, the whole 'Oh my Heavens, Leah is actually the heir to the throne!' plot hasn't come into play....yet.
Possibly going along with the whole 'The Evils were/are playing you like a fiddle' theory, Jay Wilson in some 2011 interviews (although he's talking about Diablo 2's perspective of course):
What we really wanted was the idea of a story where we do have some time away, it’s about 20 years later, and things have actually gotten better because evil’s been “destroyed”. But the truth is that it’s actually all just been a ruse, it’s all part of the plan. It’s really just making sure everyone’s nice and complacent for the real war that’s coming.