Khanduras is one of the Western Kingdoms of Sanctuary. It is bordered by the Gulf of Westmarch to the west, Westmarch to the south, the Sharval Wilds to the north, and is separated from Aranoch by the Tamoe Mountain Range. Khanduras is best known for the events surrounding Diablo's return and the darkening of Tristram.
Years after the last of the Horadrim had died, a great and prosperous society grew in the lands of the West. As time wore on, many Eastern pilgrims settled in the lands surrounding Khanduras and soon established small, self-contained kingdoms. A few of these kingdoms bickered with Khanduras over holdings of property or routes of trade. These squabbles did little to upset the lasting peace of the West, and the kingdom of Westmarch proved to be a strong ally of Khanduras as the two lands steadily engaged in ventures of barter and commerce.
During this time, a bold, new religion of the Light known as Zakarum began to spread throughout the kingdom of Westmarch and into many of its northern principalities. Zakarum, founded in the Far East, implored followers to enter into the Light and forsake the darkness that lurked within their souls. The people of Westmarch adopted the statutes of Zakarum as their sacred mission in the world. Westmarch began to turn towards its neighbors, expecting them to embrace this new beginning as well. Tensions rose between the kingdoms of Westmarch and Khanduras as the priests of Zakarum began to preach their foreign dogma whether they were welcomed or not.
It was in 1262 then that Leoric came unto the lands of Khanduras and, in the name of Zakarum, declared himself King. Leoric was a deeply religious man and had brought many knights and priests with him that comprised his Order of the Light. Leoric and his trusted advisor, the Archbishop Lazarus, made their way to the city of Tristram. Leoric appropriated the ancient, decrepit monastery on the outskirts of the town for his seat of power and renovated it to match its time-lost glory. Although the free people of Khanduras were not pleased with being placed under the sudden rule of a foreign King, Leoric served them with justice and might. Eventually, the people of Khanduras grew to respect the kind Leoric, sensing that he sought only to guide and protect them against the oppression of darkness.
What Leoric didn't know was that his throne of power was right above where Diablo, Lord of Terror, had been sealed by the Horadrim centuries ago. After being freed by Lazarus, the demon chose Leoric as his mortal host. Leoric kept this a secret, convinced that his piety would allow him to overcome the ordeal, but nonetheless, Diablo was able to influence the king's behavior. His rule became increasingly tyrannical, and the people took to calling him "the Black King." Lazarus, who was secretly in league with Diablo, attempted to remove Leoric's closest allies by convincing the king that Westmarch was plotting against him. The paranoid monarch thus ordered that his armies march on Westmarch and his advisors be sent as "emissaries." It was a war that no-one in Khanduras wanted, but nonetheless, his armies were bound to serve their king and marched to battle.
The outcome was a boon for the demon lord. Khanduras's army was torn apart by Westmarch's superior numbers and defensive positions. In Tristram, Leoric was left with no-one, his wife dead by his own deranged orders, his elder son gone with the army, and his younger son now Diablo's host. The knight Lachdanan, having returned from the disastorous war, confronted his king. Beyond salvation, Leoric fell to Lachdanan's blade.
Thus, Khanduras was left without a ruler. Darkness came to Tristram and the surrounding countryside. Eventually, Diablo was defeated, by a returned Aidan, along with two other heroes. Yet the cost included Albrecht's life, and after attempting to bind the Prime Evil within himself, Aidan's soul.
Returning Light, Returning DarknessEdit
Diablo's acts had a foul legacy on Khanduras—his journey to the east left Tristram destroyed in his wake, the Sisters of the Sightless Eye temporarily lost their monastery, and demons and khazra roamed the countryside. Yet in the years following the defeat of the Prime Evils, merchants slowly began to return to the region, looking to profit from adventurers who plumbed the depths of the Tristram Cathedral. The town of New Tristram arose, but fell into decline.
Twenty years after the defeat of Baal at Mount Arreat, evil once again touched Khanduras. The Coven had infiltrated the region, and with the fall of Tyrael from the High Heavens, the dead themselves rose to attack the living. Ultimately, New Tristram and the surrounding countryside were saved, but not without cost to its people. Months afterwards, roving packs of demons can be found roaming Khanduras.
"There are no homicidal heifers. There is no invasion. And, more specifically, there is no cow level. Anyone who claims otherwise is full of bull and simply milking this terrible prank for all that it's worth."
— An advisory issued to the people of Khanduras(src)
Around this time, rumors spread through Khanduras of bipedal bovines overruning various townships throughout the country. Artistic renderings of these creatures were placed in various inns. One terrified farmer even referred to this surge of sightings as the "Cowpocalypse." The sightings were decried as a hoax, but citizens were issued an advisory to stay clear of the wilds, and not enter any strange portals that may or may not lead to alternate planes of existence.
Khanduras has featured in all three Diablo games, though in the first installment, the player is confined to Tristram. In its sequels, more of the countryside is available.