- "Fairy tales, boy.
The delusions of an ancient culture, clinging to hope long after the world had discarded them.
Their bloodline trickled away, until only one of the Ancients remained – sustained solely by obligation and his unfaltering faith in the old prophesies."
- ―Vorador — Listen (file info)[src]
The ancient vampires, also referred to simply as the Ancients or the winged race, were one of the three original sapient species known to exist before Nosgoth's recorded history. Considered Nosgoth's most pure, wise and noble civilization, the ancient vampires came to worship the Elder God and exalted his doctrine, preaching their belief in his purifying cycle of birth, death and rebirth through his Wheel of Fate. When the Hylden refused to submit to the Wheel, the two races became bitter rivals, resulting in the catastrophic Vampire-Hylden war, which lasted for a millennium. It led to the raising of the Pillars of Nosgoth, the inception of the Circle of Nine, and, effectively, the eradication of both species from Nosgoth's Material Realm.
Originally, the Ancients were mortal creatures, but when they were afflicted with the blood curse by their Hylden adversaries, they became sterile immortals with supernatural powers, forced to drink blood to survive. Desperate to preserve their bloodline in some form, they passed their curse on to Nosgoth's humans before becoming extinct. Though vampires were prevalent in the Legacy of Kain games from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, the ancient vampires were not introduced to the series' mythology until Soul Reaver 2, in which their last surviving specimen - Janos Audron - made his first appearance. Ancient vampires subsequently figured into the storyline of Blood Omen 2 and, most prominently, Legacy of Kain: Defiance.
As devout worshippers of the Elder God, the Ancient Vampires believed in his doctrine completely. Unquestioning followers of his every word, they converted the other races of Nosgoth to worship their Elder God.
Unwilling to accept a religion they deemed wrong, the feud they had quickly grew into a war that after a thousand years of battle proved equally devastating for both races.
To end the war both sides devised a way to finish the war once and for all. While the Hylden designed a Device capable of eliminating all life on Nosgoth except them, the Vampires used their magical skills to tear a hole in the fabric of reality to a parallel realm known as the Demon Dimension in order to cast their adversaries in.
Countless generations of Vampires and Hylden had died in this war and yet to end the war both races plotted to completely erase the other from Nosgoth altogether. Nine sorcerers among the Vampires banished the Hylden to the Demon Dimension and, to ensure they could not return, raised the Pillars of Nosgoth to seal the passages between the two realms shut for as long as they stood. As the banishment was completed the Hylden cursed their enemies with their final breath.However they did not fully understand the true nature of their curse until after the dust had settled. They had been made sterile, effectively making their race unable to rebuild and prosper after the war, as well as being given a horrible bloodlust.
It was the final part of the curse that truly condemned the Vampires as a race as it struck them with immortality. The effects of this were felt immediately as their Elder God, and his Wheel of Fate, turned his back on them falling silent.
The now immortal Vampires, having never been cut off from their God, slowly went mad with anguish. Many committed suicide in order to return to the Wheel of Fate. Those that choose to carry on immortal and godless where governed by the original members of the Circle for a time.
In time the Ancient Guardians also met an end, although it is not known if they committed suicide as their past brethren did or in an as yet unknown feud which resulted in them being entombed, which caused the Pillars to select new Guardians at birth. Since the Vampires did not give birth anymore the Pillars selected Human replacements which caused distress amongst the Vampires .Knowing that the Pillars had to remain under their rule they discovered a means of passing their curse on to Humans and the human born Guardians.
But inevitably the Human Guardians opposed this ritual forced upon them and rebelled. In the end, Mortanius the Guardian of Death and Moebius the Guardian of Time, led the revolt against the vampiric members of the Pillar Guardians and overthrew them along with their Ancient forefathers.
The Ancients and their history slowly died out over the ages, and the only one to survive long enough to be seen in the games was the secret tenth Guardian (of the Reaver), Janos Audron, who commissioned and guarded the Soul Reaver, a weapon intended to be used by a prophesied hero who would one day restore the Pillars to the rule of the Vampires.
The Ancients were almost identical to the traditional imagery of an Angel just with very striking differences.
- The Ancients had blue skin which ranged from baby blue, turquoise and slightly darker blue.
- Their hair was usually black while the colour of their eyes may have been as varied as humans. However the eyes of the Tenth Guardian, Janos Audron, were yellow so their eyes may have been far more varied than human eyes could have ever been.
- Their most distinguishing features was their magnificently beautiful black feathered wings that extended from their lower back which effortlessly provided them with flight, a testament to just how powerful they were along with the three finger claws and two toe claws
- Another defining feature of the Ancients, albeit possibly after the infliction of the curse, was their fangs. These fangs could have easily punctured flesh allowing quick access to blood.
- An interesting development was the devolving of Janos Audron into The Beast. When consistently drained of blood by the Hylden in order to sustain the Mass his weakened body transformed into the Beast. If this solely happened as a side effect of being denied blood, something his and his race become dependant on due to the blood curse, is highly possible as it is highly unlikely this would have happened to the benevolent Ancients of the past. It is also highly probable that, if put through the same trauma, other Ancients may have also become beasts just like Janos.
Though not the direct creators of the legendary blade the Reaver, it is known that they sanctioned its creation at the hands of the weapon smith Vorador. They also fused it with their curse, giving it their blood lust effectively making it into the Blood Reaver, a weapon that drained its opponents dry and destined to be the weapon of the Scion of Balance.
They may have also been the creators, or again ordered the creation of, three spears that murals have suggested were wielded by the Vampires. The spears were named the 'Blood Drinker' Artifact, the 'Heart Puller' Artifact and the 'Soul Stealer' Artifact. Much like the Blood Reaver, which became the Soul Reaver, they may have had vampire energies as well. Centuries later they were all in the care of Vorador in his Mansion and they were used by Raziel to create a portal to the Water Forge.
- The term "Vampire" has been hinted to be the original name of the species before they were inflicted with the Blood curse. Feral humans in the Vampire Citadel clearly use the name,[DEF-C7][DEF-C9] and it seems that over time it has became associated with the 'children' created by the Ancients when they passed on their curse. Daniel Cabuco subsequently confirmed that this was the case, commenting that during development he had deliberately referred to the Ancient vampires as "Vampyres" to distinguish them from later generations.
- Interestingly, the murals of the Ancients bear some resemblance to the classical depictions of angels in many religions as winged humans. Given how the ancient vampires were the original defenders of Nosgoth, the Ancients could be seen as the angels while the Hylden could be seen as demons or rebel angels who were casted into Hell as punishment for their rebellion (particularly due to their demonic associations), while Kain could be considered a messianic figure in the Nosgoth universe.
Vampires (second generation)