List of Legacy of Kain characters
This is a list of characters in the Legacy of Kain series of video games, created and produced by game developers Crystal Dynamics and Silicon Knights. The franchise, which comprises five action-adventure games—Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (1996), Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (1999), Soul Reaver 2 (2001), Blood Omen 2 (2002), and Legacy of Kain: Defiance (2003)—takes place in the fantasy land of Nosgoth, and follows the protagonist, Kain, a vampire destined to preserve the balance of the world. He and Raziel, the series' secondary playable character, are supported by a variety of non-player characters and bosses.
Inspired by the literary style of playwright William Shakespeare, Silicon Knights president Denis Dyack and writer Ken McCulloch made an effort to subvert ideas of moral absolutism when conceiving Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain's main cast, feeling that the video game industry lacked a story addressing issues of good and evil, propaganda, and fate. Crystal Dynamics' Amy Hennig, who directed subsequent games, continued this trend in the sequels, aiming to avoid two-dimensional, uncomplicated characters. She felt it ideal to ensure that each one was given depth, flaws and realistic motives corresponding to their belief systems.
Legacy of Kain's roles were voiced by a range of veteran film, television and theater actors. Both protagonists received positive critical and user reception, being regarded by publications as memorable and complex antiheroes. Though individual coverage of the series' supporting characters was less extensive, commentators praised their collective story, motivations and visual design as compelling and well-conceived, and attributed acclaim to the ensemble voice cast as a whole.
- 1 Concept and creation
- 2 Main characters
- 3 Recurring characters
- 4 Other characters
- 4.1 Blood Omen
- 4.2 Soul Reaver
- 4.3 Blood Omen 2
- 5 Races and factions
- 6 Reception
- 7 References
Concept and creation
When devising Blood Omen's characters in 1993, director Denis Dyack, writer Ken McCulloch, and the Silicon Knights team were heavily inspired by Clint Eastwood's 1992 Western film, Unforgiven. Dyack appreciated its moral ambiguity: he said that "this movie was more about people then anything else. This movie was the ultimate definition of gray. There were no real "good guys" or "bad guys". Everyone had a good side and everyone had a bad side and every action had a price. I knew instantly that after seeing this movie that our industry needed a game that addressed these issues". Vampire mythology and William Shakespeare's plays affected the characters' and plot's development—Dyack noted that "when he wrote a play he targeted his story at several levels. For the drunken commoners in the front rows he would insert dirty jokes to keep them entertained but for the aristocracy in the balconies he would write very cerebral metaphors. For Silicon Knights the gore is our dirty jokes, but for those who want more there is a real story behind Kain [...] We tried to address morals, evil and good, propaganda and fate in ways that have never been explored in a computer game before". Novels such as the Necroscope books, The Wheel of Time series, and the Elric of Melniboné saga influenced Dyack's team.
Silicon Knights received warnings that their main character, Kain, would not prove popular with players: "in 1993 an anti-hero was not the norm in action adventures, especially when you consider that a developer outside of Japan was creating it". However, producer Lyle Hall of Crystal Dynamics was highly impressed by "this unbelievable character and [his] epic story", and both companies reached an agreement to publish the first Legacy of Kain game. Following a legal dispute with Silicon Knights, Crystal Dynamics obtained the rights to continue the series, and they developed successive Legacy of Kain titles with publisher Eidos Interactive. Amy Hennig, the director and writer of sequels Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2, and Defiance, explained her philosophy: "in my opinion, characters painted as 'true villains' just aren't interesting. They're too two-dimensional; no one is ever really so uncomplicated. Everyone always has their motives for what they're doing - everybody believes they're doing the right thing within their belief system". Thematic inspiration came from ideas in Gnosticism, and the works of Joseph Campbell, T. S. Eliot, and James Joyce.
Taking cues from the style established in Blood Omen, Hennig wrote florid and Elizabethan dialogue for the cast, motivated by the plays A Man for All Seasons, Becket, and The Lion in Winter. The dynamic between Kain and new character Raziel gave the plot a focus. Hennig said, "as in any conflict-driven story, the crisis that develops is that ultimately someone is going to have to change, to reach an epiphany. So we need to look at who is the steadfast character that's going to alter the protagonist's perception of reality. When you look at it this way - when you make the 'villain' the steadfast character and the 'hero' the character who has to have the epiphany, it exposes the inadequacy of these terms". A separate team within Crystal Dynamics concurrently developed Blood Omen 2. Its producer, Sam Newman, commented on their approach: "I think it's fair to say that none of the vampires in the Legacy of Kain universe are like those of other popular fiction. They're not monsters trapped in the ordinary cycle of sleeping in coffins by day and hunting down virgins at night. Like all good characters they have goals, relationships, strengths and flaws".
During Blood Omen's production, McCulloch clashed with marketing and user experience teams on the subject of character names. He recounted that the "marketing censor" forced him to create more accessible, less flavorful monikers. For example, the characters of Anacrothe, Ariel, Azimuth, Bane, Malek, and Moebius—members of the antagonistic Circle of Nine, who collectively act as the game's boss enemies—were, at first, called "Nauzhinger", "Adonathiel", "Hericus", "Orzach", "Guillaume", and "Bridenal" respectively, and supporting character Vorador was named "Infernum" at one point. Classically trained actors were recruited to voice the roles, and, in spite of initial apprehensions, their delivery "blew [Dyack and McCulloch] away". According to Dyack, Simon Templeman (Kain) "and the other actors went through the script like it was a casual talk at a coffee table". Crystal Dynamics utilized the same cast in their sequels, and they reprised their roles and voiced new characters under the auspices of voice director Gordon Hunt and casting director Kris Zimmerman. The directors pioneered techniques in which the actors recorded their dialogue together rather than in isolation, a method which later influenced the performance capture process used in Naughty Dog's Uncharted series.
Kain is the central character and eponym of the Legacy of Kain series. He is voiced by Simon Templeman. The player controls Kain in Blood Omen, Blood Omen 2, and Defiance, while he acts as the main antagonist in Soul Reaver, and as a non-player character in Soul Reaver 2. Legacy of Kain series art director Daniel Cabuco designed Kain as he appears in Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2, and Defiance, whereas lead artist Steve Ross designed his Blood Omen 2 incarnation.
Originally a human nobleman, Kain is assassinated and brought back from the dead as a vampire in Blood Omen to take revenge against his murderers. In hopes of restoring his lost humanity, he agrees to destroy the now-corrupt Circle of Nine—an oligarchy of immortal sorcerers sworn to guard the nine Pillars of Nosgoth, which preserve the health of the world. At the conclusion of his quest, having killed eight of the deranged guardians, Kain learns he is both the final Pillar guardian and the last surviving vampire in Nosgoth. He faces a dilemma: sacrifice himself to restore the world but thus ensure the vampires' extinction, or refuse the self-sacrifice but consign the land to irredeemable decay. Kain chooses the latter option, and embraces his vampirism as the Pillars collapse. Between Blood Omen and Soul Reaver, he revives the vampire race and asserts himself as the despotic ruler of Nosgoth, but develops a legitimate desire to save his homeland by defying his predestined fate and restoring the Pillars.
When Kain's lieutenant, Raziel, surpasses him in Soul Reaver, Kain executes Raziel. After Raziel is resurrected as a creature with free will by The Elder God, Kain lures him through a time machine into the past, attempting to find a third option to the quandary he faced in Blood Omen. Manipulating Raziel, he triggers temporal paradoxes in a bid to subvert his destiny. In Blood Omen 2 and Defiance, Kain discovers and confronts the respective forces which orchestrated his dilemma—the Hylden, who engendered the downfall of the Pillars; and The Elder God, who advocates the vampires' destruction. By the end of Defiance, though the Pillars remain unrestored and his nemeses continue to hinder his ambitions, Kain is cured of the spiritual corruption he inherited as a member of the Circle, and fosters a hope that Nosgoth can still be redeemed.
Dyack said that, in Blood Omen, Kain was partially modeled on the main character of Unforgiven, William Munny. He was written as "the ultimate pawn" in an attempt to determine how players would react in "a world where you had to kill innocents to survive". The Blood Omen 2 team looked to video game villains Kefka Palazzo (of Final Fantasy VI) and Revolver Ocelot (Metal Gear) for their representation of his "powerful, arrogant, calculating, and ruthless" personality, and Defiance designer Kyle Mannerberg acknowledged that aspects of Oedipus, the Fisher King, Neo (The Matrix), and John Murdoch (Dark City) fed into the character's backstory. Critics have described Kain as an "intriguing", "memorable", "likeable", and "cool" antihero, and he has featured as a contender in lists and polls comparing popular video game characters.
Raziel is the protagonist of Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2, and a playable character alongside Kain in Defiance. He is voiced by Michael Bell. Raziel was created in a "close internal collaboration" between Hennig, her fellow game designer Seth Carus, and concept artist Arnold Ayala of Crystal Dynamics, with Ayala defining his visual appearance in Soul Reaver. Cabuco directed Raziel's character design for Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance.
Introduced in Soul Reaver, Raziel is described in the games' fictional universe as an "ex-vampire" or "wraith". He debuts as one of six vampire lieutenants sired by Kain at the outset of his conquest of Nosgoth, and his second-in-command. After being executed for surpassing Kain, he is resurrected by The Elder God to seek vengeance by reaping the vampires' souls and destroying his former master. When he confronts Kain, Kain attacks him with an ancient sword he obtained in Blood Omen—the Soul Reaver—but the Reaver mysteriously shatters when it strikes Raziel, and the spirit formerly captive within the blade binds itself to his arm as his symbiotic weapon. While pursuing Kain through Nosgoth, Raziel discovers that he and the other lieutenants commanded the vampire-hunting Sarafan brotherhood in their human lives: Kain raided their tombs and raised them, unawares, as vampires in an act of blasphemous irony. Upon killing his fellow lieutenants, Raziel follows Kain into Nosgoth's past.
In Soul Reaver 2, both Kain and The Elder God attempt to manipulate Raziel, but he spurns both sides to explore his own history further. Raziel travels back in time to the era of the Sarafan, where he finds that he was responsible for murdering the Sarafan leaders—including his former, human self—and that he himself will eventually become the spirit imprisoned within the Reaver blade, living out the same destiny repeatedly in a time loop. Kain helps him to postpone, but not fully prevent, this fate, and, at the end of Defiance, Raziel rebels against The Elder God by willingly surrendering himself to the Reaver. Before doing so, he disperses the wraith-blade's purified energies into Kain, simultaneously curing Kain's corruption, dooming himself to millennia of torment in the Reaver, and releasing his future self from that same imprisonment. This enables Kain to perceive The Elder God, and after he uses the newly created Soul Reaver to battle this "true enemy", he silently thanks Raziel for his sacrifice.
The character of Cesare from the 1920 silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and the Hindu deity Vishnu helped the artists to formulate Raziel's appearance, and Biblical lore and John Milton's Paradise Lost inspired his story. Hennig ensured, as had been the case with Kain, that Raziel's personality encompassed heroism and villainy alike, saying he "is a more tragic figure, a pawn, and that makes him sympathetic – but he's also a deeply flawed character, blinded by self-righteousness and vengeance". Players and critics generally reacted positively to Raziel, his story arc, and his design, listing him as an influential and well-realized protagonist.
Vorador is a supporting character who gives assistance and direction to the protagonists. He is voiced by Paul Lukather. In Blood Omen, Vorador is characterized as an old, hedonistic vampire who enjoys the advantages that vampirism grants, but the loss of his people to vampire purges has left him bitter. Five centuries before the events of the game, he infamously slaughters six members of the Circle of Nine, making a personal enemy of the Sarafan leader, Malek, in the process. During the story, Vorador acts as a decadent "father figure" to the young Kain, and helps him to destroy the incumbent Circle by eliminating Malek. The end of Vorador's tale is unglamorous; after the Pillar guardian Moebius tricks Kain into altering history, Nosgoth's vampires border on extinction, and a mob led by Moebius captures Vorador and beheads him.
In Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance, Vorador makes brief appearances, where he provides Raziel with information in scenes set prior to his death. Soul Reaver 2 reveals that his sire is the ancient vampire Janos Audron, and, in Defiance, he is explained to have been both the first human in Nosgoth to become a vampire and the crafter of the Reaver blade, the sword which becomes the Soul Reaver. In Blood Omen 2, Vorador revives the vampire race, and, when the vampires are oppressed by a new Sarafan order, he guides Kain as the leader of a resistance movement known as the Cabal. Paradoxically, Blood Omen 2 is set hundreds of years after Vorador's execution in the original Blood Omen. Crystal Dynamics planned to include a subplot concerning the resurrection of Vorador in Defiance to resolve this discrepancy, but it was scrapped due to time constraints.
Dyack and McCulloch conceived the character of Vorador, and only a small portion of the backstory which they wrote for him was revealed in Blood Omen. They directed Lukather to play him as an "arrogant, egotistical braggart"; he was intended to serve as "an example of what [Kain would] become", and his vendetta with Malek was supposed to represent the ongoing clash between Kain's vampirism and humanity. For their sequels, Crystal Dynamics used his appearance as a basis to design the devolved vampires in Soul Reaver. Cabuco cited Edgar Allan Poe as an influence on Vorador's portrayal in Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance.
Vorador was well received by players on his debut in Blood Omen—Dyack reported that he appeared to be "one of the [game's] most popular characters" judging from online feedback, and wished to fully explore his history in future games, such as a prequel. Crystal Dynamics' Richard Lemarchand later described Vorador as a "fan favorite". Critics have also praised the character; PixlBit's Jesse Miller said that he "would certainly be well serviced by a game or two of [his] own", while Gergo Vas of Kotaku ranked him one of "The Most Notable Vampires In Video Games", and praised his design as "so much cooler" than those of the protagonists.
Malek the Paladin is an antagonist character introduced in Blood Omen as the ward of the Circle of Nine and Guardian of the Pillar of Conflict. He is an enemy to vampires, and must be destroyed before Kain's quest can succeed. Malek's largest role is in Blood Omen, in which he is a boss character, but he makes cameo appearances or is mentioned in most games in the series. In Blood Omen Neil Ross provides his voice, while his voice actor in Soul Reaver 2 is uncredited. Early in the production of Blood Omen, Malek was known as "Guillaume".
Malek is the last of the Sarafan, an order of vampire slaying warrior-priests. As one of the seven Sarafan Inquisitors, he first appears in a flashback in the opening of Blood Omen and near the end of Soul Reaver 2 - 500 years prior to the game events he failed to protect the six Guardians of the Circle of Nine from the vampire Vorador, due to being waylaid by Moebius the Time Streamer, who attempts to force him to destroy Raziel. As punishment for his failure, Mortanius the Necromancer tore the soul from Malek's body and fused it to his armor, damning Malek to everlasting unlife in the service of the Circle. During the game proper, Malek appears first in Nupraptor's Retreat, and is presented as too strong an enemy for Kain to destroy single-handedly. Early in the game, their battle in Malek's mountainous bastion ends in a stale-mate, forcing Kain to pursue other options. Eventually Malek dies at the hands of his old adversary, Vorador, rather than Kain.
Alongside Rahab, Malek is the only Sarafan inquisitor who does not partake in the storming of Janos Audron's retreat. Malek is also mentioned in Soul Reaver - his name appears in the Tomb of the Sarafan along with those of Raziel and his brothers. Apparently, Malek was the only one of the seven Sarafan inquisitors not raised by Kain, as his human remains had been destroyed by Mortanius during the events of Blood Omen. His likeness also figures in a puzzle in Defiance.
Mortanius the Necromancer is a character in Blood Omen initially as an enigmatic benefactor and guide who delineates the player's goals in the game. Later in the game he is revealed to be Guardian of the Pillar of Death; one of the insane sorcerers whom the main character must kill, and is fought as a boss. Mortanius' motivations are murky and his character is revisited in Legacy of Kain: Defiance. In Blood Omen he is voiced by Tony Jay, while in Defiance he is voiced by Alastair Duncan.
Mortanius appears in the opening scenes of Blood Omen, first cursing Malek the Paladin for failing the Circle of Nine, and then resurrecting the newly murdered protagonist, Kain, as a vampire. During the game Mortanius is heard more often than seen, speaking to Kain directly through occasional voice-overs. In the end Mortanius is revealed to be the agent responsible for many of the game's pivotal events - the murder of Ariel and the resulting madness of the Circle, and the assassination of Kain as well as his rebirth as a vampire. The penultimate battle in Blood Omen takes place against Mortanius, whom Kain kills, and the concluding one is fought against the Dark Entity, a demon-like monster created out of Mortanius' corpse.
Legacy of Kain: Defiance interprets Mortanius' actions in Blood Omen as the result of a conflict among his own will and that of the Hylden "Dark Entity" possessing him. He is forced to lead the cult of Hash'ak'gik, an organization which his Hylden possessors use to control their human followers, against his wishes. When met by Raziel, he explains that he revived Kain as a vampire with the hope that as the Scion of Balance, Kain would restore the Pillars of Nosgoth and renew the seal on the Hylden. Welcoming death, Mortanius goes to the Pillars of Nosgoth to confront the younger Kain, coinciding with his death in Blood Omen.
A recurrent support character in the Legacy of Kain series, Ariel appears almost exclusively as a ghost. She offers enigmatic advice to the main characters, which, in the first Blood Omen and Soul Reaver games, inform the player of her/his next objective. While Ariel continues to provide clues and guidance in later games, they are mainly of a plot-advancing nature. Ariel is voiced by Anna Gunn throughout the series. Early in the production of Blood Omen, Ariel was known as "Adonathiel".
Ariel's death, first depicted in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, is a background event to which other characters often refer and a keystone element of the overall Legacy of Kain plot. In life, Ariel was a powerful and beautiful sorceress, the Guardian of the Pillar of Balance and leader of the Circle of Nine. Her assassination by dark forces was the catalyst for the downfall of Nosgoth. Nupraptor the Mentalist, Ariel's lover and fellow Guardian, fell into a paranoid madness upon finding her corpse, and he psychically inflicted this madness on all the other members of The Circle of Nine. The insanity of the Guardians causes the corruption of their Pillars and the gradual decay of Nosgoth, motivating Kain's quest in Blood Omen and forming the basis of Kain's subsequent dilemma.
In the games, Ariel is encountered with few exceptions at the Pillars of Nosgoth, to which her spirit is bound. Her appearances across the series do not occur in chronological order and her behavior toward the main characters, particularly Raziel, varies widely. In Blood Omen, she guides Kain as a fledgling vampire while concealing the fact that he is her replacement as Balance Guardian and must sacrifice himself to succeed in his quest. In Soul Reaver she is an ally to Raziel, offering him cryptic advice, while in her brief Soul Reaver 2 appearance, which precedes Soul Reaver chronologically, she treats Raziel with ambivalence. Ariel goes back to a more substantive role in Defiance, in which she initially identifies Raziel as an enemy but she later guides him to undo the harm caused by her murder, resolving her subplot.
- The scrapped original ending of Soul Reaver was to include an event in which Raziel strikes down Ariel to absorb her soul into the Soul Reaver, intended to enable new powers in Raziel's weapon. A scene describing this event is used in the final version of Soul Reaver to foreshadow future plot lines, and the concept is adapted into the plot of Defiance where instead of being struck down by Raziel, she holds his hand and is absorbed through his body into the Soul Reaver. Upon baptizing the blade with pure spirit energy, she is subsequently released from her limbo imprisonment at the Pillars.
Moebius the Time Streamer is an antagonist character introduced in Blood Omen; one of the insane sorcerers whom Kain must kill in order to progress in the game. Alongside Kain, Moebius is the only character who makes at least a cameo appearance in every single game in the series, and serves as a major antagonist. He is used as a boss character in Blood Omen, but is more frequently used to advance the plot of the games in which he appears. Within the context of the story he has power over time, and his foreknowledge of events allows him to interact with the main characters in a consistent manner despite his chronologically inconsistent appearances. Throughout the series he has been voiced by Richard Doyle. According to bonus features in the games, Moebius was known as "Bridenal" in the early development of the series.
Moebius is introduced in Blood Omen under the title of "Oracle of Nosgoth". Later he is revealed to be the Guardian of the Pillar of Time; his prophetic ability is based on his power to travel through and observe diverse time phases. Described as "intensely devious and conniving", Moebius is behind King William the Just's turn to tyranny. Moebius later manipulates Kain through his alter-ego as the Oracle, and through time traveling devices left in Kain's path, into assassinating King William in the past, before he becomes a threat. Kain's act inspires outrage against vampires among Nosgoth's human majority, which Moebius leads in bloody crusade against vampires. Kain battles and kills Moebius, but by this point Kain is the last surviving vampire in Nosgoth.
In Soul Reaver, Moebius appears to Raziel in the final scene of the game, leading into the events of Soul Reaver 2. Soul Reaver 2 adds new layers to Moebius' character. Over the course of the game he urges Raziel to kill Kain several times from behind a facade of ineffectualness, revealing to Raziel that they serve the same master, the Elder God. As he did with Kain in Blood Omen, Moebius uses time traveling devices to manipulate Raziel, who unwittingly enables the slaying of Janos Audron. At the end of Soul Reaver 2 Moebius almost succeeds in goading Raziel into imprisoning himself in the Soul Reaver.
Moebius returns in Defiance, following on from his role in Soul Reaver 2. Initially encountered in the Sarafan Stronghold, he provides the elder Kain with dubious guidance, later appearing towards the end of the game. Following his death at the younger Kain's hands in Blood Omen, he was resurrected by the Elder God and traveled to consort with his master at the Vampire Citadel.
However, the elder Kain - whom Moebius had thought to be dead - attacked and killed Moebius, whose soul was subsequently devoured in the Spectral Realm by Raziel, permanently preventing any further resurrection. Raziel then used Moebius' corpse to enter the Material Realm, allowing Kain to imbue the Reaver with Raziel's soul and battle the Elder God.
Moebius is one of few characters in Defiance that interacts with both of the protagonists. He does not personally appear in Blood Omen 2, although an enormous statue of Moebius is found in the Eternal Prison and is used by Kain to crush the vampire Magnus.
The Hylden Lord
The Hylden Lord is a recurring antagonist in the Legacy of Kain series, known variously as the Hylden Lord, Sarafan Lord, the Hylden General and the Dark Entity. In Blood Omen 2 he is voiced by Earl Boen, and in other games he is portrayed by René Auberjonois, Tony Jay, and Alastair Duncan when possessing other characters.
In Blood Omen, the Dark Entity appears to be in control of the Hash'ak'gik cult, he is mentioned only as a recipient of sacrifices performed by a mysterious cult. The developers of the game revealed later that the Dark Entity is the identity of the being that masterminded the fall of the Circle of Nine by possessing Mortanius the Necromancer and using him to assassinate Ariel. In the final battle against Mortanius, the Dark Entity transforms the necromancer's dying body and manifests as the Dark Entity - the game's demonic final boss.
The Dark Entity returns in Blood Omen 2, now referred to as "the Sarafan Lord" and appearing to be a new enemy, but it is later explained to be another name of the Dark Entity. The Sarafan Lord is shown in the game's opening sequence as the leader of the reformed Sarafan Order, which destroys Kain's vampire army, halting his conquest of Nosgoth. He defeats Kain with the help of an artifact known as the Nexus Stone. The Sarafan Lord goes on to rule Nosgoth's capital, Meridian, for 200 years. However, he is eventually thwarted by a revived Kain, who takes control of the Nexus Stone. During the course of the game the Sarafan Lord is revealed to be leader of the Hylden, a race banished from Nosgoth in ancient times, who is plotting to break the seal over his people. Kain ruins his plans by casting the Nexus Stone into the gate to the Hylden's place of banishment, sealing it and preventing any Hylden from entering Nosgoth.
In Defiance Turel finally appears, worshipped by the humans of the Hash'ak'gik cult as their leader "Hash'ak'gik", but the real Hylden leader appears as well, referred to by the main characters as the Hylden Lord or Hylden General. Encountered firstly as the possessor of Mortanius, the Hylden Lord goes on to possess Janos Audron after the collapse of the Pillars of Nosgoth. Raziel tries to prevent him from using Janos to enter Nosgoth but the Hylden Lord proves too powerful, flying away to commence the Hylden plan for dominance described in Blood Omen 2 in the unwilling body of Janos.
Turel is an antagonist character first shown in Soul Reaver as the head of the Turelim vampire clan, standing as second eldest of Kain's brood under Raziel. Turel goes on to appear in several games in the series, and is voiced by Richard Doyle in Soul Reaver 2 and by Gregg Berger in Legacy of Kain: Defiance.
Turel appears in the opening of Soul Reaver as one of the two vampire lieutenants (the other being Dumah) who carry out the execution of Raziel, but he is only seen in the opening sequence. Turel was originally intended to reappear as a boss like the other lieutenants, but while the game does include certain references to him (such as a sarcophagus bearing his name in the Tomb of the Sarafan), his in-game appearance was cut due to time constraints. The remains of his vampire clan serve under Kain in his absence and are encountered primarily in the Timestreaming Chamber where they act as its guardians for their master.
During the development of Soul Reaver Turel's development codename was "Morlock Boss", derived from the cave-dwelling humanoids of H.G. Wells's The Time Machine. The codename "Morlock" was later applied to a Turelim vampire guarding the Sarafan Tomb, who was added to the game in place of Turel and speaks some of Turel's originally planned dialogue.
Soul Reaver 2 explores early points in the series timeline - Turel appears in this game as a human warrior-priest, prior to his death and resurrection. A prominent member of the vampire-slaying Sarafan Order, Turel aids in the murder of Janos Audron. The wraith Raziel encounters and kills Turel at the end of the game, providing the corpse which Kain will reanimate as a vampire centuries later.
The omission of Turel in Soul Reaver created a loose end in the series plot, and Defiance addresses it by including the vampire version of Turel in a monstrous bat-like form. Defiance takes place earlier in the series timeline than Soul Reaver, but Turel's presence is explained as being the result of Dimension Guardian Azimuth the Planer's experiments in time-travel. Trapped in the catacombs beneath Avernus Cathedral, Turel is worshiped by the cult of Hash'ak'gik, and the cult's Hylden masterminds in the Demon Realm use him as a vessel to command their human followers in the Material Realm. Raziel discovers and kills Turel, gaining enhanced telekinetic abilities by consuming his soul.
The Elder God
The Elder God is a non-player character in the Legacy of Kain series, voiced throughout the series by Tony Jay. Although not named in-game, the title of Elder God is given in the manual of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and a variety of other sources. The Elder God's role in Soul Reaver is that of an ally to the game's protagonist Raziel, but subsequent games in the series portray the Elder God in a less beneficent light. The Elder God is the final boss of Legacy of Kain: Defiance, and arguably the main antagonist of the series overall.
The Elder God is first depicted in Soul Reaver as the entity that revives the main character Raziel after his execution by Kain. He is depicted in this game as a huge squid-type creature in the opening cinematic, but otherwise in that location in-game, only part of one his tentacles can be seen. In this game, he talks to Raziel anywhere he is, but in subsequent games he only talks to him when Raziel meets him physically. It claims to preside over the Wheel of Fate, a cycle of birth, death and rebirth to which all souls are drawn. Vampires, being immortal, are exempt from this cycle and the Elder God seeks to destroy them in order to free their souls. The Elder God bids Raziel to take revenge against his destroyers and guides Raziel in locating them. At the end of the game, he tells Raziel that he will be beyond his influence if he goes through the time portal after Kain.
The events of Soul Reaver 2 take place at an earlier point chronologically in the series, but the Elder God, being omnipresent, recognizes Raziel and chastises his refusal to kill Kain. In this game, he is also a giant-squid type creature (even so-called by Raziel), though he resides in a pit of water in the material world rather than the spirit world, and only that location. There is no apparent animosity between the Elder God and Raziel throughout the first Soul Reaver game and he seems to be an ally to Raziel, telling him the locations of his brothers and Kain who conspired against him, but in Soul Reaver 2 Raziel greets him with disdain upon their first meeting, having learned of the Elder's ties to Moebius the Time Streamer. At one meeting Raziel questions whether or not the Elder had truly resurrected him, or was simply present upon his awakening after he had been cast into the Abyss. Raziel, being indestructible would be a convenient tool for the Elder God, and thus not his agent at all.
In Legacy of Kain: Defiance the Elder God continues to exhort Raziel to serve him. At the end of Soul Reaver 2, Raziel, weakened after the soul reaver sword turned against him, fades into the spectral realm (spirit world). But, at the beginning of Defiance, we find him in the spectral underworld part of the Spectral Realm and the Elder God is a giant elaborate mass of tentacles and eyes rather than a Squid. Over the course of the game it is revealed that the Elder God was worshiped by the Ancient Vampires, and it encouraged the Ancients to wage war with the Hylden, who did not share their faith. When the Hylden afflicted the Ancients with blood-thirst, sterility and immortality, the Elder God abandoned them, eventually orchestrating the rebellion of the humans against the Vampires by manipulating Moebius. The final battle in Defiance ends with Kain defeating but not killing the Elder God, who warns Kain he is immortal and will return, remarking "and on that inevitable day, your wretched, stagnant soul, will finally be mine."
Janos Audron is first mentioned in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain as the backstory for the game's continue item, the Heart of Darkness - a long-dead, legendary vampire whose heart continues to beat after it is torn from his chest. Janos is introduced as a character in Soul Reaver 2; reaching him in a time period before he is killed is a major goal of the game. When found, Janos gives information to the main character Raziel, revealing himself to be the secret tenth guardian of the Pillars; guardian and keeper of the Reaver. Feared by humans as source of the vampire bloodline, Janos is hunted down and murdered by five of the Sarafan inquisitors.
Janos also appears in Blood Omen 2 despite the fact that this game occurs after his death. First encountered in a monstrous form as a result of being drained of his blood to power the Hylden's doomsday weapon, Janos is only identified as "the Beast". After Kain destroys the Mass, Janos reverts to his normal form and aids Kain and Vorador in defeating the Hylden. During the final battle, the Sarafan Lord casts Janos into the Nexus Portal and he is presumably trapped in the demon dimension, his final fate thus far in the series.
In Defiance, Raziel returns the Heart of Darkness to Janos' body, bringing him back to life. After his revival, the ancient vampire took Raziel to the Citadel of the Ancients. Soon after their arrival, the younger Kain of that time line made his fateful decision, and the Pillars collapsed. The Hylden Lord was then able to take control of Janos' body. Raziel is defeated by the Hylden-possessed Janos, who then leaves the wraith seeping into the Spectral Realm as he leaves. This leads into the events of Blood Omen 2, in which Janos is an unwilling tool of the Hylden's scheme to dominate Nosgoth.
Janos is referred to as "the father of the vampire race" and stands as the last of the Ancient Vampires, living on beyond the death of his race out of a sense of obligation to safeguard the Reaver and keep the Hylden sealed away.
Anacrothe the Alchemist is an antagonist character in Blood Omen, one of the insane sorcerers whom Kain is tasked with killing in order to proceed in the game. Anacrothe appears only in Blood Omen where he is voiced by Richard Doyle.
A member of the Circle of Nine, Anacrothe serves as the Guardian of the Pillar of States. His experiments in the art of alchemy have left him with unsightly scars. After the Circle was driven mad, Anacrothe used his magic to create the Dark Eden area along with fellow Guardians Bane the Druid and DeJoule the Energist. During the course of the game Kain confronts them there, but Anacrothe proves to be elusive, summoning Malek the Paladin and making an escape. At the end of the game Mortanius the Necromancer does Kain's work for him, killing Anacrothe during a dispute and enabling Kain to purify the Pillar of States.
An antagonist character in Blood Omen, Azimuth the Planer is one of the insane sorcerers whom the main character must kill in order to progress in the game. Voiced by Anna Gunn, she appears only in Blood Omen; her actions are revealed to have repercussions in later games, however. During the pre-production stages of Blood Omen, Azimuth was known as "Hericus".
Azimuth is the Guardian of the Pillar of Dimension, ruling over the city of Avernus from the cathedral in its center. Sadistic even before Nupraptor's insanity poisoned her mind, during the events of Blood Omen she allows the extra-dimensional thralls that she summons to ravage Avernus. When Kain reaches her she also possesses a time-streaming device which allows her to summon creatures from other times in addition to her demons - a key item in future plot points - which Kain recovers after killing her. Kain also receives Azimuth's "third eye" as a key item, which allows her vision into other worlds or dimensions. This is used to restore the Pillar of Dimension, which she serves.
- Blood Omen encourages assumptions that Azimuth is involved in the sacrificial cult of Hash'ak'gik via a bloodstained book that the player can examine in her cathedral, and the time-streaming device found in her possession suggests that she experiments in time travel. Both of these possibilities are further developed in Defiance, in which the cult of Hash'ak'gik is shown to be centered in catacombs beneath Avernus Cathedral, and the future evolved vampire Turel is present there as a fixture of the cult.
Bane the Druid is an antagonist character in Blood Omen; one of the insane sorcerers whom Kain must kill in order to progress in the game. He appears only in Blood Omen, and is voiced by Paul Lukather. In the early stages of development Bane's name was "Orzach".
Bane serves as the Guardian of the Pillar of Nature, giving him power over flora, fauna, terrain and the weather. Bane, DeJoule the Energist, and Anacrothe jointly created the magical Dark Eden area, which Kain infiltrates during the course of Blood Omen. His primary game function is that of a boss with the ability to transform earth into water. Upon defeating Bane, Kain receives his antler head dress as a key item, which is used in the restoration of the Pillar of Nature.
DeJoule the Energist is an antagonist character in Blood Omen; one of the insane sorcerers whom Kain must kill in order to progress in the game. She only appears in Blood Omen, in which she was voiced by Anna Gunn. Her name is a reference to the SI unit of energy, the joule.
DeJoule serves as the Guardian of the Pillar of Energy. Her experiments in the harnessing of energy have altered her physical makeup, and she emits a magical aura that harms anyone in proximity to her. Due to this she wears a cloak of insulating material to protect her close associates. This is later obtained by Kain as the key item to restore the Pillar of Energy. Driven mad with the rest of the Circle members, she used her powers to create Dark Eden, a twisted parody of nature, with fellow Guardians Bane the Druid and Anacrothe the Alchemist. When Kain arrives at Dark Eden during his quest to eliminate the Circle of Nine, DeJoule unleashes her powers on Kain, but is soon overcome once and for all.
Elzevir the Dollmaker is a dollmaker who has mystic abilities to animate his creations. He was responsible for King Ottmar's melancholy, as he had stolen the soul of his daughter (the Princess of Willendorf) through enchanting a lock of her hair he had won in a contest the king had held to create toys for her.
Nupraptor the Mentalist is an antagonist character in Blood Omen; one of the insane sorcerers whom the main character must kill in order to progress in the game. He only appears in Blood Omen, in which he is voiced by Richard Doyle, but he plays a significant role in the backstory of the series and is mentioned in later games.
Nupraptor is the Guardian of the Pillar of the Mind, and his mental powers make him susceptible to fierce attachments to others, as well as irrational actions. Nupraptor was the lover of Ariel, the Balance Guardian, and he goes mad after her death, sewing his eyes and mouth shut to deny the outside world. Because of Nupraptor's psychic link to the rest of the members of the Circle, he forces the other Guardians to share his madness, contributing to the downfall of the Pillars and of Nosgoth as a whole.
When Kain sets out to kill the members of the Circle, Nupraptor is his first target. When the young vampire confronts Nupraptor, Malek the Paladin appears to protect him. Nupraptor dismisses Malek and fights Kain himself, a battle which ends in Kain's victory and Nupraptor's death.
Ottmar is the King of Willendorf, Nosgoth's wealthiest city. During Blood Omen, Kain has an audience with Ottmar in the hopes of rallying the army of Willendorf against the Legions of the Nemesis. Ottmar is mired in grief due to his daughter, who has become a lifeless puppet. Ottmar grants Kain a royal favor in return for healing his daughter, and the young vampire requests the army of Willendorf to fight the Nemesis. Ottmar personally leads his army in the battle and is slain, inspiring Kain to travel back in time to rewrite the past. Ottmar is not mentioned in the game after this point.
William the Just
William the Just is an antagonist character who appears only in Blood Omen, voiced by Tony Jay. William's death becomes a major aspect of the series, as it suggests that it is possible to change history.
William was a young king who came to power before Kain's birth. In the original history, Moebius the Time Streamer caused a transformation in William from a kind ruler to a warmongering tyrant known as the Nemesis. During the events of Blood Omen, the Legions of the Nemesis defeat the forces of King Ottmar of Willendorf, driving Kain, who is allied with Ottmar, to travel back in time and change history. Kain kills the younger version of William, preventing him from ever becoming the Nemesis. The fact that both Kain and William are armed with the Soul Reaver is key in creating a paradox strong enough to "derail" history (apparently orchestrated by Moebius the Time Streamer). Upon returning to the present, Kain discovered that Moebius leveraged King William's assassination into a crusade against vampires.
Dumah is an antagonist character introduced in Soul Reaver, in which he is a boss character. He also appears in Soul Reaver 2 in an akin capacity, voiced in both appearances by Simon Templeman. In the early stages of production he was code-named "Ronin Boss", and at another point his name was rendered in a truncated form, "Duma".
Dumah first appears in the opening scene of Soul Reaver as one of Kain's vampire lieutenants, the third eldest, under Turel, of Kain's brood. He is the peer of the main character Raziel and leader of a vampire clan, the Dumahim, which are the first brand of fledgling vampires Raziel encounters upon his resurrection as a wraith. When Kain ordered Raziel's execution, Dumah is one of the two lieutenants (the second being Turel) that physically threw Raziel to his death. When Raziel finds Dumah during the game events, he has mutated into a giant with armor-like flesh and great physical strength, but has been left impaled in the ruins of his fortress by human vampire hunters. Raziel allows Dumah's wandering soul to return to his body after removing the spears - Dumah thanks his brother, but Raziel rebukes him, goading Dumah into combat. In his mutated form Dumah is impervious to ordinary attacks. Only by leading him into a furnace chamber does Raziel succeed in killing him and devouring his soul, from which Raziel gains the Constrict ability, that allows the player to interact with certain puzzles.
The human version of Dumah makes a short appearance in Soul Reaver 2 at a much earlier point in the series timeline. A prominent member of the vampire-slaying Sarafan Order, Dumah aids in the murder of Janos Audron. The wraith Raziel encounters and kills Dumah as part of a non-optional battle, providing the corpse which Kain will reanimate as a vampire years later.
Unlike every other ability gained in Soul Reaver, Raziel lacks Dumah's Constrict ability in later games in the series. This is because this skill was put into the game primarily as it was hard to make a suitable animation for Raziel moving certain switches. In Soul Reaver 2, on the PlayStation 2, this limitation did not exist so the ability was no longer required. It could be said that Raziel still has the ability and simply never found a need to use it after he began time traveling.
Melchiah is an antagonist character in the Legacy of Kain series, which Raziel fights as a boss. He appears in Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2, in which he is voiced by Michael Bell. During the development of Soul Reaver his code-name was "Skinner Boss".
Melchiah first appears in the opening scene of Soul Reaver as one of Kain's vampire lieutenants. He is the leader of a vampire clan, the Melchiahim, and a peer of the main character Raziel. As the last of the lieutenants to be raised, Melchiah is the weakest of Kain's sons and his flesh continues to decay despite his immortality. During the game events Melchiah is shown to have mutated into a large mass of rotting flesh, forced to stitch on the hides of his victims to maintain his form. Melchiah's offspring also share this quality, though despite their slow movements, they are capable of quickly digging themselves into and out of the ground around the cavernous and tunnel areas in which their master rules. Raziel fights Melchiah first, and gains the ability to pass through barred gates while in the spectral realm by consuming his soul.
The human version of Melchiah makes an appearance in Soul Reaver 2 at a much earlier point in the series timeline. He became an inquisitor of the Sarafan Order, one of those who storm Janos Audron's retreat and aid in his murder. The wraith Raziel encounters and kills Melchiah as part of a non-optional battle, providing the corpse which Kain reanimates as a vampire centuries later.
Rahab is an antagonist character that appears in both Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2 as a boss, voiced by Neil Ross in Soul Reaver, while his voice actor in Soul Reaver 2 is uncredited. In the early stages of production he was code-named "Aluka Boss".
Rahab is one of Kain's six vampire lieutenants who first appears, with the others, in the opening scene of Soul Reaver. He is the leader of a vampire clan, the Rahabim, and a peer of the game's main character, Raziel. Unlike other vampires, Rahab is immune to the harmful effects of water, but suffers from a severe weakness to sunlight, even by vampire standards. When encountered several centuries after Raziel's execution, he has mutated into a sea-monster form, capable of submerging himself in water to avoid the sun. Having evolved into an aquatic state with the lack of legs, he rules over the Drowned Abbey, though his offspring still retain the ability to venture forth on land. During the game's events, Raziel kills Rahab by shining sunlight into his lair, scorching him to death. Upon devouring Rahab's soul, Raziel obtains his resistance to water and ability to swim. Interestingly, the name Rahab comes from Jewish folklore and is described in the Book of Isaiah as a sea-demon, a dragon of the waters, the "[demonic] angel of the sea;" true to his water-conditioned form in Soul Reaver.
The human version of Rahab makes an appearance in Soul Reaver 2 at a much earlier point in the series timeline. He is prominent in the Sarafan Order; his armor is decorated with the images of seahorses that foreshadow the eventual outcome of his vampiric unlife. The wraith Raziel encounters and kills Rahab as part of a non-optional battle, providing the corpse which Kain will reanimate as a vampire centuries later. Alongside Malek, Rahab is the only Sarafan inquisitor who does not participate in the storming of Janos Audron's retreat.
Zephon is an antagonist character introduced in Soul Reaver, in which he is a boss character. He also appears in Soul Reaver 2 in a parallel capacity. He is voiced by Tony Jay throughout. During the development of Soul Reaver his code-name was "Wallcrawler Boss".
Zephon first appears in the opening scene of Soul Reaver as one of Kain's Vampire lieutenants. He is the leader of a vampire clan, the Zephonim, and a peer of the game's main character, Raziel. During the game proper, following centuries of evolution, Zephon appears in a mutated form as a massive, stationary insectoid monster where his body has melded with the Silenced Cathedral, an abandoned human citadel once used against the vampires. His offspring are spider-like creatures who entangle their ensnared victims within webbing, and attack with deadly claws. Raziel uses fire from the weapon of a dead slayer to destroy Zephon, and devouring his soul gives Raziel the ability to climb on certain surfaces.
The human version of Zephon makes an appearance in Soul Reaver 2 at a much earlier point in the series timeline. As one of the leaders of the Sarafan Order, he participated in storming Janos Audron's keep and aided in his murder. The wraith Raziel encounters and kills Zephon as part of a non-optional battle, providing the corpse which Kain will reanimate as a vampire several centuries later.
Blood Omen 2
Faustus is an antagonist in Blood Omen 2. He is briefly visible in the opening cinematic as a legionnaire in Kain's armies, making his first prominent appearance early in the game. Formerly one of Kain's reluctant allies, he is described as "an indifferent soldier", caring only for those on the winning side.
He is the first boss encountered in the game. As Kain departs an area in Meridian known as the Smuggler's Den, Faustus ambushes and taunts him before instigating battle. Faustus reveals that he has betrayed Kain, his former commander, to side with the Sarafan Lord, concerned only for the pursuit of power. The character may have been inspired by a German legend, in which a man makes a pact with the devil in exchange for knowledge.
After a brief struggle, Kain proceeds to scorch Faustus using various nearby furnaces, then engages in melee combat with the vampire. As Faustus attempts to flee into the air, he loses his grip and falls to the ground, lifeless. In killing Faustus, Kain obtains the "Jump" Dark Gift.
Magnus is a character in Blood Omen 2, and the game's fourth boss. He is the only one of the game's bosses who does not appear in the introductory cinematic. As Kain's champion and closest ally, he participated in the war with the Sarafan, departing Kain's camp in the night before the final battle to make an attempt on the Sarafan Lord's life. Defeated, Magnus was transported to the Eternal Prison south of Meridian.
Kain encounters his former lieutenant during his mission in the Eternal Prison. Driven almost entirely insane from two hundred years of torturous imprisonment, Magnus attacks Kain numerous times throughout the Prison, seemingly immune to vampiric weaknesses such as water and fire. Kain battles Magnus before leaving the Prison, defeating the vampire by causing a large statue of Moebius to collapse upon him.
Though Kain first assumed that Magnus had betrayed him and joined the Sarafan Lord when he did not return to his war camp centuries before, the dying Magnus explained his failed attempt to assassinate the Sarafan Lord. Reconciling with his ultimately loyal lieutenant, Kain granted the thankful Magnus a swift death, obtaining the "Immolate" Dark Gift from his corpse before departing the Prison.
Marcus is a minor antagonist in Blood Omen 2. He is seen in the introductory cinematic during Kain's battle against the Sarafan Lord, and appears in the early stages of the game. Kain encounters him in Meridian's upper city.
Marcus converses with Kain, claiming that Kain is no friend of his and tried to murder him, alluding to background events. Marcus attempts to foil Kain's search through the city for the Bishop of Meridian, charming Sarafan guards into attacking him on sight. Once Marcus reaches the cathedral, he possesses the Bishop.
Kain attacks Marcus, using the cathedral's bells to harm the vampire. Resorting to melee combat, Kain defeats and kills Marcus, obtaining the "Charm" Dark Gift from his corpse.
A vampire and an agent of the Sarafan Lord. A former lieutenant of Kain, Sebastian is revealed to have orchestrated the ambush which cost Kain the war against the Sarafan. He is met early in the game, when Kain happens upon a courtyard filled with bodies. After the vampire seems to know Kain, Kain gives chase, only to ultimately lose his trail. In the Industrial Section of the city, when Kain is searching for the Nexus Stone, he encounters Sebastian for the last time. Despite constantly taunting Kain, and attempting to foil his plans, Kain continues on his journey. When they meet in the chamber that houses the Nexus Stone, Sebastian and Kain fight, and Sebastian finds himself extremely outmatched. He attempts to break the Nexus Stone when he cannot kill Kain, but is stopped. As Sebastian lay dying, Kain asks him what the Sarafan Lord is doing, and it is then that Sebastian tells Kain of a powerful weapon beneath Meridian, known only as "The Device". Kain obtains the "Berserk" Dark Gift from his corpse.
A Hylden architect imprisoned in the Eternal Prison, where the condemned can be punished for eternity. The Builder created "The Device" which houses a being called only "the Mass", a creature so powerful it can kill everything in Nosgoth with a thought. Kain learns that The Builders people created "The Device", and "The Mass" to win a war against their ancient enemy (later, learned that the Enemy was the original Vampires, of which Janos Audron is the last). In exchange for the information about the Device, and The Mass's weakness (Hylden Blood), Kain grants the Builder his final wish....death.
A Hylden witch soothsayer that lives in the wastelands outside of Meridian and aids Kain. She tells Kain of the Devices location and how to get around in the Devices halls. Soon after, the Sarafan Lord sets upon her home with Archers and fire. She tells him to drink of her blood, and grants him the "Telekinesis" Dark Gift. It is unknown what her fate was.
Umah is a supporting NPC in Blood Omen 2. She narrates a tutorial for the main character Kain (and thereby the player) at the beginning of the game in the context of reminding him of his vampiric abilities, and introducing him to Meridian, the fictional city in which the game is set.
Umah is a member of the Cabal vampire resistance group who watches over Kain in his 200-year recovery. She guides Kain around Meridian and directs him toward the Cabal Sanctuary. Later Umah discovers the Nexus Stone artifact during a reconnaissance mission, but is captured by Sarafan knights. Once she is rescued by Kain, the pair meet the Sarafan Lord and narrowly avoid death thanks to a spell Umah uses to bring them back to Sanctuary.
Late in the game when Kain has possession of the Nexus Stone, Umah steals it from him, fearing his ambitions. Kain later finds her losing a fight against Sarafan troops and kills her. He remarks that she "could have been [his] queen, now [she] have left [him] alone.", hinting at an attraction. In the game's closing scene Kain reflects on Umah's claims that his rule would not differ from that of the Sarafan Lord.
Races and factions
The Vampires are an immortal race who have populated Nosgoth throughout the events of the Legacy of Kain series in which they are found. Strongly similar to the traditional portrayal of the Vampire, there are a number of defining characteristics which render their race unique. Vampires "evolved" from a race known as the Ancients, after their rival race, the Hylden, forced the curse of immortality and bloodlust upon them.
Unlike traditional vampires, the species in Legacy of Kain has numerous means of progeneneration. While never explicitly seen to turn humans into vampires by the 'traditional' means of biting them, it is quite possible that they are capable of doing so. Normally, they appear to implant their 'gift' into their children, as described in the backstory of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. A third means of vampiric imbuement involves use of a relic known as the Heart of Darkness and necromantic rituals.
Notable vampires throughout the series include Kain, Vorador, Umah, Raziel and the Vampire Lieutenants. Janos Audron is often mistaken for an ordinary Vampire, but is actually the last surviving Ancient Vampire. Vampires have many known weaknesses, such as sunlight, fire, water (which has an acidic effect) and impalement.
The vampiric descendants of the vampire Vorador come in numerous varieties. For the most part, they do not 'evolve' in a similar manner as the descendants of Kain, instead harnessing their inner strengths and manifesting these powers as 'Dark Gifts'. Every Vampire possesses their own unique Dark Gift, and other Vampires can effectively steal these Gifts by killing others and drinking their blood, as performed by Kain throughout Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain.
On the other hand, the vampiric descendants of the vampire Kain are less diverse than their predecessors. As Kain was not a descendant of Vorador, instead raised using Janos Audron's Heart of Darkness in a necromantic ritual rather than traditional means, he began an entirely new heritage of vampirism upon founding his empire. Due to the corruption in Kain's soul, the vampires descended from him literally 'evolve' over long periods of time into monstrously grotesque forms, true personifications of the Dark Gifts they are granted from birth. There are six known clans of vampires, each of whom take on traits highly similar to that of their father Lieutenant, rather than developing new traits of their own.
They were first introduced in Soul Reaver 2, where the protagonist Raziel saw murals depicting them in the subterranean chamber under the Pillars of Nosgoth, as well as in the Reaver forges. Ancient history depicted them as the bitter enemies of the winged Ancients, the original vampires. They were similar to the Ancients in power, but "different in method and intention." Both wanted dominance of Nosgoth, and warred for a thousand years to claim it. The Ancients won the war, banished the Hylden to a demonic dimension, and created the nine magical Pillars of Nosgoth to keep them sealed in place. The Hylden did not go quietly. In a final act of vengeance, they managed to curse the Ancients with sterility, a thirst for blood and eternal life turning them into Nosgoth's first vampires.
In their prison, the Hylden plotted a way to escape. Their opportunity came millennia after their banishment. The Circle of Nine, immortal sorcerers called to serve the Pillars at birth when they were raised had by now been replaced on their death by human successors (since vampires were no longer born). These successors overthrew the ancient vampires and because humans were not 'competent to serve', they fell to the corruption introduced by one of the Circle, Nupraptor, the Guardian of the Mind, when his beloved Ariel, the Balance Guardian, was murdered. His madness corrupted the Circle and thus the Pillars themselves. Another member of the Circle, Mortanius the Necromancer, realized what was happening and devised a plan to correct the disaster. He used the death and unlife of a nobleman named Kain to set prophecy in motion and restore the Pillars to their rightful inheritors - the vampires, but at the final moment (in the first Blood Omen game), Kain's choice not to sacrifice himself upon discovering that he is the final member of the Circle to die seals the fate of the Pillars "[causing] a rift throughout the world, sufficient to breach through the dimensions".
This was enough for a strong Hylden (specifically the Hylden who earlier possessed Mortanius and murdered Ariel in his body, and fought Kain at the end of Blood Omen) to re-enter Nosgoth and take the guise of the Sarafan Lord. He established the Hylden City as a home and base for his kind, and began to draw other Hylden back into Nosgoth. Two centuries later, the Sarafan Lord defeated Kain's vampire army outside Meridian. He seized control of Nosgoth, and used the reformed Sarafan Order as a tool to hunt down and destroy vampires. The human inhabitants of Nosgoth suffered high taxes, harsh laws and brutality under his rule, for the Sarafan Lord's agenda was to eventually purge Nosgoth of all non-Hylden races.
200 years after his defeat at the hands of the Sarafan Lord, Kain came back to challenge him again. This is where Blood Omen 2 begins. The Hylden are depicted as "the authors of the demons, and the Device, and all else that threatens the land". The apparent disregard of the writers of Blood Omen 2 for the established canon calls this into question, as it is known that the 'demons' are native to the dimension the Hylden were banished to and only used as their tools. The Hylden favoured technology and machinery over sorcery.
The history of the Hylden in Nosgoth is affected by the plot of the games, which uses time travel a great deal to affect the course of recorded history. In the original timeline (post Blood Omen 1, which itself had history being changed), the Hylden were utterly defeated without Kain even truly learning of their existence. The events of Blood Omen 2 and Kain's memory of having experienced those events were only brought into existence at the end of Soul Reaver 2, when Kain saved Raziel's life, thus allowing him to resurrect the ancient Janos Audron, whose blood was required to open the Hylden Gate, a portal between the Demon and Material Realms. After using Janos to open the Gate, the Sarafan Lord then used his powers to draw other Hylden into the Material Realm.
The Circle of Nine
As there are nine Pillars, there are nearly always nine guardians at any given time. Guardians are endowed with limited immortality (e.g. infinite life span, though not invulnerability), the ability to teleport and given magical powers related to the Pillar they serve. Should a guardian die, their place will be taken by a person who is born at the precise moment of the previous guardian's death. It may, at a first glance, appear that the members are symbiotically bound, because, when Nupraptor the Mentalist fell into madness, the rest of the Circle did as well. However, this is not entirely true, since the rest of the Circle "did not fall into" madness (just like Raziel "did not fall into" the Abyss) : they were voluntarily cast into madness by Nupraptor himself, as a means to punish Ariel's murderer (whom he knew was a member of the Circle).
Still, the Pillars themselves are symbiotically bound. Furthermore, it may be that the true reason why one of the Guardians lost his magical powers during Vorador's attack on the Circle Of Nine is because the Vampire had just killed the then Guardian of Balance - hindering magical power to be delivered to other Guardians (this may also explain why Malek had to run - instead of simply teleport - to his murdered fellow Guardians, when Moebius finally let him go).
When the Pillars were raised, the original nine Guardians were vampires. Since vampires could no longer reproduce, a result of the Hylden curse, they would turn any new human guardians that were called to serve into vampires. This tradition continued until Moebius and Mortanius, who had been called to serve as Guardians of Time and Death, revolted against them and claimed the Pillars for humankind.
The Sarafan are a group of sorcerer priests in the Legacy of Kain series of video games. They were an order dedicated to the eradication of vampires. Their crusade ended about 500 years before the start of the first game, when their leaders were killed shortly after destroying the ancient vampire Janos Audron. Their forces consisted of Paladins, Inquisitors and Sorceresses, most of whom had some magical ability, especially with the elemental force of Light. The symbol of the Sarafan was similar to an eagle with outstretched wings.
In the games, many Sarafan have been shown, but only seven have been named. Raziel was once a high-ranking member of the Sarafan and personally killed Janos Audron before his death, although the Paladin Malek, Guardian of Conflict, was in control. Malek, Turel, Dumah, Rahab, Zephon and Melchiah served as generals alongside Raziel during their crusade. After failing to defend the Circle of Nine from the wrath of the vampire Vorador following his sire, Janos Audron's death, Malek, as the only surviving Sarafan, was punished to serve as an undead Paladin and Guardian of Conflict for eternity by Mortanius, the Guardian of Death. He was eventually slain at Dark Eden by Vorador with the help of the fledgling Kain, five hundred years later.
Roughly a thousand years after their deaths at the hands of the time-traveling wraith Raziel, Kain raised Raziel, Turel, Dumah, Rahab, Zephon and Melchiah as his vampire sons in an act of ironic blasphemy.
The name of the order was taken up again seven hundred years after the original order was disbanded by a mysterious entity known only as the 'Sarafan Lord'. In contrast with its benevolent appearance, the order was really concerned with the conquest of all of Nosgoth (which they apparently achieved about 200–400 years after the conclusion of the first game) at which point they proceeded to instate a dictatorial rule over the land which was only broken when a revived Kain killed the Sarafan Lord (who was actually a Hylden in disguise using the order to try and free his race and destroy their enemies the Vampires). This Sarafan Order shares nothing with the original save its name and desire to destroy the Vampire race.
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- Kain: Vae Victus – suffering to the conquered. Ironic that now I was the one suffering. Not anything as pedestrian as physical pain. Rather the cruel jab of impotent anger – the hunger for revenge. I didn't care if I was in Heaven or Hell – all I wanted was to kill my assassins. Sometimes you get what you wish for. The Necromancer Mortanius offered me a chance for vengeance. And like a fool, I jumped at his offer without considering the cost. Nothing is free. Not even revenge. Silicon Knights (November 1, 1996). Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. PlayStation. Crystal Dynamics.
- Ariel: There is no cure for death. Only release. You must destroy the sorcery that is now poisoning Nosgoth. Only then will you realize peace. The Nine of the Protectors of Hope were sworn to use their powers to preserve our world. Now these pillars have been corrupted by a traitor. Silicon Knights (November 1, 1996). Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. PlayStation. Crystal Dynamics.
- Kain: Nupraptor was but the genesis – forever tainted by his madness, the Circle was beyond redemption. For them absolution lay only in death. In me, they would find their deliverance. But first I had to defeat their shepherd – Malek, defender of the Nine, lay in a keep far to the north, past Vasserbünde. It was time for me to test the wrath of the Pillar of Conflict. Silicon Knights (November 1, 1996). Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. PlayStation. Crystal Dynamics.
- Kain: I am the last Pillar. The only survivor of the Circle of Nine. At my whim the world will be healed or damned. At my whim. Silicon Knights (November 1, 1996). Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. PlayStation. Crystal Dynamics.
- Kain: Thirty years hence, I am presented with a dilemma – let's call it a two-sided coin. If the coin falls one way, I sacrifice myself and thus restore the Pillars. But as the last surviving vampire in Nosgoth, this would mean the annihilation of our species. Moebius made sure of that. If the coin lands on the reverse, I refuse the sacrifice and thus doom the Pillars to an eternity of collapse. Either way, the game is rigged. Crystal Dynamics (October 31, 2001). Soul Reaver 2. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Kain: Once I embraced my powers I realized that Vorador was correct. We are Gods – dark gods – and it is our duty to thin the herd. Silicon Knights (November 1, 1996). Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. PlayStation. Crystal Dynamics.
- Elder God: This world is wracked with cataclysms – the earth strains to shrug off the pestilence of Kain's parasitic empire. The fate of this world was preordained in an instant, by a solitary man. Unwilling to martyr himself to restore Nosgoth's balance, Kain condemned the world to the decay you see. In that moment, the unraveling began... now it is nearly played out. Nosgoth teeters on the brink of collapse – its fragile balance cannot hold. Crystal Dynamics (August 16, 1999). Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. PlayStation. Eidos Interactive.
- Raziel: I am Raziel, first-born of His lieutenants. I stood with Kain and my brethren at the dawn of the empire. I have served Him a millennium. Over time, we became less human and more... divine. Kain would enter the state of change and emerge with a new gift. Some years after the master, our evolution would follow. Until I had the honor of surpassing my lord. For my transgression, I earned a new kind of reward... agony. There was only one possible outcome – my eternal damnation. I, Raziel, was to suffer the fate of traitors and weaklings – to burn forever in the bowels of the Lake of the Dead. Crystal Dynamics (August 16, 1999). Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. PlayStation. Eidos Interactive.
- Elder God: You are reborn. The birth of one of Kain's abominations traps the essence of life. It is this soul that animates the corpse you 'lived' in. And that Raziel, is the demise of Nosgoth. There is no balance. The souls of the dead remain trapped. I can not spin them in the wheel of fate. They can not complete their destinies. Redeem yourself. Or if you prefer, avenge yourself. Settle your dispute with Kain. Destroy Him and your brethren. Free their souls and let the wheel of fate churn again. Use your hatred to reave their souls... I can make it possible. Become my soul reaver, my angel of death... Crystal Dynamics (August 16, 1999). Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. PlayStation. Eidos Interactive.
- Kain: You nearly had me, Raziel... But this is not where – or how – it ends. Fate promises more twists before this drama unfolds completely. / Elder God: Be warned, Raziel – once you cross this threshold, you are beyond my influence... / Moebius: Raziel... Redeemer and destroyer... pawn and messiah. Welcome, time-spanned soul... Welcome... to your destiny... Crystal Dynamics (August 16, 1999). Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. PlayStation. Eidos Interactive.
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- Raziel: We agree then that the Pillars are crucial, and must be restored? / Kain: Yes, Raziel – that's why we've come full-circle to this place. / Raziel: So after all this you make my case for me. To end this stalemate, you must die so that new Guardians can be born. / Kain: The Pillars don't belong to them, Raziel... they belong to us. / Raziel: Your arrogance is boundless, Kain. / Kain: There's a third option – a monumental secret, hidden in your very presence here. But it's a secret you have to discover for yourself. Unearth your destiny, Raziel. It's all laid out for you here. Crystal Dynamics (October 31, 2001). Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Kain: This isn't a chase, Raziel – we are merely passengers on the wheel of destiny, describing a perfect circle to this point. We have been brought here for a reason. I have seen the beginning and the end of our story, however – and the tale is crude and ill-conceived. We must rewrite the ending of it, you and I. Crystal Dynamics (October 31, 2001). Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Kain: If you truly believe in free will, Raziel, now is the time to prove it. Kill me now, and we both become pawns of history, dragged down the path of an artificial destiny. I was ordained to assume the role of Balance Guardian in Nosgoth, while you were destined to be its savior. But the map of my fate was redrawn by Moebius, and so in turn was yours... Crystal Dynamics (October 31, 2001). Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Janos: Now we come to your part in this story. When you chose to destroy the Pillar of Balance, you caused a rift throughout the world, sufficient to breach through the dimensions. / Kain: Was it I, then, who had engendered this war? No, I had been set, step by step, upon the path that led to this outcome. Hadn't this all been a Hylden plot from the beginning? My mind reeled at the implications. Crystal Dynamics (March 21, 2002). Blood Omen 2. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Elder God: You cannot destroy me, Kain – I am the Engine of Life itself. The Wheel will turn... The plague of your kind will be purged from this world... And on that inevitable day, your wretched, stagnant soul will finally be mine. / Kain: In the meantime, you'd best burrow deep. Crystal Dynamics (November 11, 2003). Legacy of Kain: Defiance. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Raziel: The Soul Reaver – pure of all corruption – this is what it is for. This is what I am for – The two become one – both Soul Reavers – together – and the Scion of Balance is healed. And I – am not your enemy – not your destroyer – I am, as before, your right hand. Your sword. / Kain: No, Raziel – this can't be the way... / Raziel: And now you will see – the true enemy – Crystal Dynamics (November 11, 2003). Legacy of Kain: Defiance. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
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- Kain: Now, at last, the masks had fallen away. The strings of the puppets had become visible, and the hands of the prime mover exposed. Most ironic of all was the last gift that Raziel had given me, more powerful than the sword that now held his soul, more acute even than the vision his sacrifice had accorded me – the first bitter taste of that terrible illusion: Hope. Crystal Dynamics (November 11, 2003). Legacy of Kain: Defiance. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
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- Elder God: Did you think to receive the same favors after your rebellion as before? No, Raziel. I have no need for you to enter the physical world, so no conduit will be granted. You serve me adequately as a wraith, and a wraith you will remain. Crystal Dynamics (November 11, 2003). Legacy of Kain: Defiance. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Raziel: The Soul Reaver, Kain's ancient blade – older than any of us, and a thousand times more deadly. The legends claimed that the blade was possessed, and thrived by devouring the souls of its victims. For all our bravado, we knew what it meant when Kain drew the Soul Reaver in anger – it meant you were dead. Crystal Dynamics (August 16, 1999). Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. PlayStation. Eidos Interactive.
- Elder God: From this moment and ever afterward, you and this blade are inextricably bound. Soul Reaver and reaver of souls, your destinies are intertwined. By destroying the sword, you have liberated it from its corporeal prison, and restored it to its true form – a wraith blade, its energy unbound. No longer a physical blade, it can only manifest itself in the material realm when your strength is fully restored. Once manifest, it will sustain you. Crystal Dynamics (August 16, 1999). Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. PlayStation. Eidos Interactive.
- Raziel: These crypts... defiled caskets of Sarafan saints... bearing my brothers' names... And my own... The irony of Kain's blasphemous act rushed in on me with the crushing force of revelation.... Were my hands not as bloody as these? Worse, I had spilled the blood of my brothers – these very comrades whose tombs lay ravaged before me. / Elder God: Yes, Raziel – you were Sarafan... born of the same force that all but destroyed your race. Before the dawn of the Empire, you were chosen. Kain – Nosgoth's solitary, self-declared monarch – plundered this tomb and raised you from these crypts. Breathing his vampiric gift into your defiled corpses, he resurrected you as his favored sons. Crystal Dynamics (August 16, 1999). Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. PlayStation. Eidos Interactive.
- Raziel: I don't know what game you and Moebius are playing, Kain – but I refuse to be your pawn. Unlike you, I still revere whatever shred of humanity I've managed to preserve. You will not use me as the instrument of your messianic delusions. Crystal Dynamics (October 31, 2001). Soul Reaver 2. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Raziel: My former brethren Dumah and Rahab confronted me next – this all seemed so elegantly choreographed. Exhilarated by the Reaver, I was drunk with revelations... I could finally appreciate the delicious irony of Kain's blasphemous, private joke – and I reveled as I colluded with him across the centuries. For it was I who put these bastards in their tomb – thus providing the corpses for Kain to raise as his vampire sons a millennium from now. Crystal Dynamics (October 31, 2001). Soul Reaver 2. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Raziel: With all other foes exhausted, the conjoined blades turned themselves on me. And I realized, finally, why I had sensed nothing when Janos offered me the blade. The Reaver was never forged to be a soul-stealing weapon... the ravenous, soul-devouring entity trapped in the blade was – and always had been – me. This is why the blade was destroyed when Kain tried to strike me down – the Reaver could not devour its own soul. The paradox shattered the blade. So – this was my terrible destiny – to play out this purgatorial cycle for all eternity... I could not bear it – despair overwhelmed me. Crystal Dynamics (October 31, 2001). Soul Reaver 2. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Raziel: But Kain's warning was lost as I slipped into the spirit realm, too weak to maintain my physical form... And there, waiting for me as always, was the Reaver... the wraith blade – my own soul, twinned and bound eternally to me. And I realized that I could never escape my terrible destiny... I had merely postponed it. History abhors a paradox. Crystal Dynamics (October 31, 2001). Soul Reaver 2. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
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- Vorador: After slaughtering six of the sheep I defeated their pathetic little shepherd – Malek. Since then our kind has not bothered with the cattle, except to feed. And I suggest you do the same. Meddling with the affairs of man can do us no good. Sarafan witchhunts are much too tedious to concern ourselves with. Am I understood Kain? Silicon Knights (November 1, 1996). Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. PlayStation. Crystal Dynamics.
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- Kain: 'Twould seem the folly fell upon my own shoulders. With their sainted King William dead by my hand, the people of the land were consumed by a hunger all their own – for vampire blood. Silicon Knights (November 1, 1996). Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. PlayStation. Crystal Dynamics.
- Kain: I had been betrayed. In my haste, I had not realized it before. That sigil on his forehead. The Oracle of Nosgoth was in fact the Time Streamer Moebius. And I had followed his advice! How much of my quest was of his design? Willendorf? The Battle of the Last Stand? William the Just? Was this the trap he had fashioned for me? Silicon Knights (November 1, 1996). Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. PlayStation. Crystal Dynamics.
- Vorador: But you see, even if you are who you appear to be, it no longer matters... You're simply too late. Janos Audron – the Reaver Guardian, the last of the Ancients, and my maker – was murdered by the Sarafan nearly five centuries ago. He alone would have the answers you seek, but his secrets died with him. I don't know how you've come even this far without his guidance – or without the Reaver, stolen these 500 years ago by the Sarafan. I am afraid, my friend, that you – and all of us – are out of luck. Crystal Dynamics (October 31, 2001). Soul Reaver 2. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Raziel: I sought to unravel the mystery of my fate, and in this image lay my first clue. For this scene depicted the forging of the Reaver – the weapon destined to become my prison – and I recognized its maker. The years had changed him, but this was unmistakably the vampire, Vorador – and in this era, he still lived. If I could reach him before Moebius' mob hunted him down, he would provide the answers I sought. Crystal Dynamics (November 11, 2003). Legacy of Kain: Defiance. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Raziel: These images chronicled Vorador's creation. As I already knew, he had not been born a vampire, but had been turned by the infamous Janos Audron. But this mural suggested that Vorador's origins were even more significant – apparently, he was the first human to whom the dark gift had been passed. This was the Vampires' desperate bid to preserve their bloodline... for their enemies had cursed them not only with blood-thirst, but with sterility as well. Crystal Dynamics (November 11, 2003). Legacy of Kain: Defiance. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
- Kain: They thought once before they had destroyed us. Yet you proved them wrong. You created a new race, something I could never do, and from that race, I had my army. / Vorador: Now we are divided, and dying. / Kain: Then rouse yourself – make more of our kind. Crystal Dynamics (March 21, 2002). Blood Omen 2. PlayStation 2. Eidos Interactive.
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