Avernus Cathedral, also known as The Great Cathedral of Avernus, was the focal point of the city of Avernus and the centre of worship for the religion of the inhabitants. Unknown to most, the catacombs beneath the cathedral were home to a different type of worship, that of Hash'ak'gik Cult. The Cathedral was a playable location in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Legacy of Kain: Defiance.
Avernus Cathedral was first seen in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain in the chapter Defeat Azimuth when Kain went after Dimension Guardian Azimuth to cleanse the pillar of Dimension in the Blood Omen era. Originally advised by Ariel that he would have to "rise and fall and find [his] salvation in between" Kain travelled to Avernus to find the city in flames and being attacked by Demons, but none of the devastation outside touched the Cathedral itself, which was apparently the source.
Kain entered the Cathedral to find that it was split into several realms which were navigated between by teleporters - Alongside the normal Cathedral interior was a murky alternate realm, a 'heavenly' realm which was decked with bright cloud imagery; and a 'hellish' realm which was dark and foreboding with a bloody, skeletal theme. Hidden inside the catacombs, Kain also found Hash'ak'gik's altar and his first clues as to who was responsible for the corruption of the Pillars.
In the Heaven realm, Kain ascended through a series of cloudy rooms and stairways, finding and claiming the legendary Soul Reaver Blade. Afterward he descended down through the underground chambers of the Hell realm, ultimately finding the Wraith Armor.
Returning to the main area of the Cathedral, Kain was finally able to enter Azimuth's chambers to confront the Dimension Guardian. Both of the items he had recovered from the Cathedral would come in useful against Azimuth who - unaware of the presence of both devices in her Cathedral - summoned Demons from bloody runes to combat Kain. When she was within range, a single strike of the Soul Reaver was sufficient to Kill Azimuth. Defeating Azimuth, Kain claimed her Third Eye Pandant pillar token and along with it found a time streaming device she had stolen from Moebius in order to gather demons from other ages. Kain immediately understood what Azimuth had been intending to do with the device, but did not realize that she had used it already, or why it was his salvation. Kain would subsequently use the time-streaming device to escape the Battle of the Last Stand in Stranded in Time, while the Soul Reaver went on to become Kain's iconic weapon.
The Cathedral returned in Defiance where Raziel travelled through the Blood Omen era and on the advice of Vorador arrived at the cathedral looking for the Heart of Darkness so that he could resurrect Janos Audron, apparently shortly after the visit of the younger Kain. Exploring the Cathedral Raziel found Ancient vampire ruins and was able to enter the Earth Forge and ultimately imbue the Wraith Blade with elemental Earth, forging the Earth Reaver. This allowed Raziel to summon Earth platforms so he could reach the higher balconies of the Cathedral where he could discover the Dark Scripture. Using the scripture on the altar opened a portal leading to the 'hellish' Avernus Catacombs, where he found evidence of Hylden involvement in the secret religion of Avernus and their side of the Elder Wars and 'dual champion' prophecy.
Now virtually convinced he was the Hylden champion, Raziel ran into Mortanius who was conducting a ceremony worshipping the unseen Hash'ak'gik over a murky pit along with a group of Cenobites. Curious to see the entity, Raziel approached the edges and was telekinetically dragged into the pit with to find his monstrously devolved brother Turel - periodically possessed by several Hylden and used as the voice of 'Hash'ak'gik to command their disciples. Battling with possession by the Hylden, Turel vaguely explained the circumstances of his capture while various Hylden struggled to communicate with Raziel and warn him of the coming of the Vampire champion. Believing he needed blood to gather the strength to get rid of the Hylden influence - and not aware that Raziel was no longer a creature of flesh and blood - Turel attacked his brother but was defeated: finally gifting Raziel the Amplified Force Projectile or Enhanced telekinesis ability. Afterward Raziel got the chance to talk to Mortanius, intermittently possessed by the Hylden Lord, who told him that he had placed the Heart of Darkness inside Kain to turn him into a vampire in the first place, believing he was creating the vampire champion.
The Elder Kain, however, had travelled through time, worried about what would happen if Raziel found the Heart and followed Raziel inside the Cathedral. As Raziel left, he found Kain entering the Cathedral. Supposedly fulfilling the prophecy of the champions final battle, Raziel attacked Kain and won, tearing the heart out of Kain, blasting him through a portal between realms and leaving him to die before returning to Vorador's Mansion to use the heart to attempt to bring Janos back to life.
Kain would later wake in the Demon Realm, finding himself in Turel's pit assailed by demons. He was able to escape and return to the Material Realm and after battling his way out of the Cathedral, Kain returned to the Vampire Citadel, feeling the pull of the Spirit Forge.
Ancient History and BackstoryEdit
The history of the Cathedral is murky at best. The Cathedral contained both Ancient Vampire and Hylden ruins on the site, with the catacombs bearing murals depicting the Vampire-Hylden war from the pre-banishment Hylden point of view, perhaps suggesting that it was once the site of a Hylden stronghold, as well as bearing the warp room leading to the vampire-associated Earth forge.
At some point in its more recent history The matriarch of the city and owner of the cathedral, Azimuth was used a time streaming device she had stolen from Moebius to bring Turel back from around 2000 years in the future. Turel - possessed intermittently by various other Hylden - was then used an impressive mouthpiece by the Hash'ak'gik cult to command their human followers, eventually seducing key members of the Circle itself and allowing the Hylden to possess Mortanius so that they could use him to murder Ariel and set the Corruption in motion. It is likely that Azimuth's actions were orchestrated and commanded by the Hylden.
Design and LayoutEdit
The Main Cathedral and the Alternate RealmEdit
The main area of the Cathedral appeared as a number of square and rectangular chambers linked by door - which were mostly locked - and numerous Teleporters. Many of the rooms appeared to be evocative of medieval cathedral architecture.
The initial area of the Cathedral is effectively mirrored in the first 'alternate' dimension area, with the layout resembling a selection of small square and rectangular rooms joined by doors and Teleporters that led to different realms. Most of the details of the Cathedral were reduced to bare rooms with creme walls and with floors resembling cloudy skies in the heaven realm, while The Wall buttons were made of a material like stained glass and the Black fire mages of the Material Cathedral were replaced by Giant demons.
When the Cathedral returned in Defiance it was given a much more open and traditional Cathedral appearance with a large open area surrounded by naves and a high vaulted ceiling concealing two second floor balconies. The area was dominated by a tall series of organ-like pipes above an altar upon which the Dark Scripture could be placed. A hint of the complexity of the previous Cathedral remained with a number of side doorways and a sinlge set of branched pathways that joined behind the altar in from of the Earth forge portal room.
The Heaven realmEdit
The Heaven realm was one of the apparent alternate realms of Avernus in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and the first of the themed dungeons of the cathedral visited by Kain. The realm contained much 'heavenly' imagery and featured a slow 'ascent' apparently through the clouds into the sky. Kain's progression through the realm led him to discover the legendary Soul Reaver blade within.
The Hell realmEdit
The Hell realm was one of the apparent alternate realms of Avernus in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and the second of the themed dungeons of the cathedral visited by Kain. The realm contained much gory 'hellish' imagery and featured a slow 'descent' down into the underground. Kain's progression through the realm led him to discover the Wraith Armor within. The underground nature and theming potentially linked the area to the Avernus Catacombs.
Hash'ak'gik's altar was a secret area within Avernus Cathedral, visited by Kain during the Blood Omen era. It was a perverse, occult shrine to the god Hash'ak'gik, and contained battle artifacts and a tome recounting his commands to human worshippers. The altar could be visited in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.
The Avernus Catacombs were an underground area beneath the Cathedral that was seen in Legacy of Kain: Defiance and was briefly seen in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain with the Hell realm potentially being part. The Area featured many underground chambers populated by demons and their worshippers. At it's heart, Raziel found a pit housing the dark god 'Hash'ak'gik' being worshipped by a cult, and also found chambers used by Mortanius.
The Earth Forge Portal roomEdit
The Earth forge was a sealed chamber within the Vampire Citadel where the Wraith Blade could be forged with elemental Earth to imbue the Earth Reaver. Like all the forges of Defiance, the forge was linked to the outside world via a secret warp gate in a sealed room. The warp gate for the Earth forge was hidden in and underground chamber of bare rock hidden behind the altar of the Avernus Cathedral. [DEF][DEF-C10]
Azimuth's chambers were the last area of the Cathedral visited by Kain and positioned behind the central locked door behind the main altar. The chambers opened with an area containing a large stained glass window of the confrontation between Malek and Vorador after the latter's Slaughter of the Circle in Nosgoth's early history. The Chambers consisted of a number of smaller rooms eventually emerging in a large rectanmgular chamber with a raised marble plinth on which Azimuth stood, summoning purple ogre Demons from bloody runes on the ground.
The Avernus Cathedral and Catacombs in Defiance had several areas removed from the game before completion due to timing and budgetary constraints, with some of of these deleted areas visible in concept art and Bonus materials. Ultimately the Defiance version of Avernus Cathedral and Catacombs is left as a much smaller area than the Blood Omen version of the Cathedral, and one of the smallest areas in the game.[DEF][DEF-C10][DEF-C13][BO1][BO1-C8]
The destruction of Avernus was mentioned in the backstory to Nosgoth with the background of the Lost Seers of Avernus revealing them as descendants of a divinatory order of Cenobites known as "the Prophets" who had fled Avernus in shock at Azimuth's actions - taking rare treasures and artefacts from the cathedral and catacombs as they did.
The origins of the Prophets mean they are related to the religious groups and Cenobites seen in Avernus, particularly the Fire mages and Black fire mages seen in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and the Cenobite acolytes and Cenobite summoners seen in Legacy of Kain: Defiance.[DEF][DEF-C10][DEF-C13] They are also related to the Witches and Witches' coven deleted from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and the Demon worshippers removed fron Soul Reaver 2.[BO1-Cut]
- Avernus Cathedral is simply referred to as "The Cathedral" in Blood Omen dialogue and stage directions in scripts, and is similarly named in the Silicon Knights' Blood Omen FAQ The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain. The official guide Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Official Game Secrets gives the full title "The Great Cathedral of Avernus" and also uses derivative variants like "the Cathedral". Title screens, dialogue and stage directions in Defiance refer to "Avernus Cathedral" along with the usual "the Cathedral" derivatives, with Raziel on occasion referring to it as a "The Great Cathedral of Avernus" or a "great cathedral" generally. Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Legacy of Kain: Defiance refers to the Cathedral alternatively as "Avernus", "The Cathedral" or simply "Cathedral".
- Avernus is one of the largest areas in Blood Omen and is listed under several different map designations in files. The main area of the city and its interiors are labelled under "Map 0035", the regular Cathedral interior is "Map 0036", the Heaven realm is "Map 0037" and the Hell realm is "Map 0038" and the secret altar of Hash'ak'gik is "Map 0009" - with the final areas of the Cathedral listed under the "Map 0005" designation used for bosses (specifically "Sect 11", "Sect 02" and "Sect 13"). In Defiance the cathedral areas are split into several distinct map areas, with "Avernus 99a" relating to the main area of the Cathedral, "Avernus 1a" referring to the main Cathedral as it appears in the Raziel/Kain boss battle, "Avernus 2a" relating to the Earth forge warp gate room. The areas from "Avernus 3a" to "Avernus 6a" all refer to the Avernus Catacombs, with "Avernus 3a" refers to initial corridors and trails surrounding the first clearing area, "Avernus 4a" refers to the corridors and trails surrounding the second clearing area, "Avernus 5a" refers to Turel's pit and Mortanius's chambers, and "Avernus 6a" refers to the Demon Realm alternate of Turel's pit.
- The main areas of the Defeat Azimuth chapter of Blood Omen are listed under the "OL7" section in the Developers' level select. The entries within led to the start of Avernus Cathedral ("AVCL"), the initial area of Avernus ("AVCI"), the Heaven realm ("HEVN") and the Hell realm ("HELL"). Other entries leading to Avernus Cathedral included "AZ" under the "BOSS" section - which led to Azimuth's chambers and her boss battle - and the Secrets ("SECR") number "38" -which led to the altar of Hash'ak'gik.[BO1]
- The official Blood Omen guide Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Official Game Secrets labels the main part of the Cathedral under the heading "The Great Cathedral of Avernus". It also lists the Heaven realm and Hell realm as "Stairway to Heaven" and "Highway to Hell" respectively - probably referring to popular songs by Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. The final areas of Azimuth's chambers are simply labelled as "Azimuth". Hash'ak'gik's altar is listed here among the main Cathedral areas and is given no special treatment or designation.
- The official guide mentions the Avernus Catacombs in passing but refers more to Avernus and The Cathedral as the main start points of the area - in contrast to other areas of the game the only individual room areas listed are "Cathedral", "Earth Forge Portal Room" and "Turel's pit" (which includes Mortanius's chamber and the demon realm variant of the room) - all of the other catacombs chambers are listed as under the single title of "Connector". The main Cathedral area, Earth forge portal room and Turel's pit are the only areas which have maps provided.[DEF]
- Mortanius's chamber and Turel's pit in Defiance bear a resemblance to the area where Malek was punished by Mortanius in the initial cutscenes of Blood Omen[DEF][DEF-C10][DEF-C13][BO1][BO1-C8][BO1-C1] A similarly appearing area with a golden circular floor symbol and nearby pillars is also seen in the final area of the Hell realm in Blood Omen with a skeleton chained between two pillars - the skeleton is referred to in the official guide as Malek's remains, however the guide also claims the remains in Malek's Bastion as his - as does Malek himself.[BO1][BO1-C8][BO1-C4] It is ultimately unclear if the areas were literally intended to be the same area or just similar chambers.[BO1][DEF] Similarly the throne seen in Mortanius's chamber in Defiance bears a remarkable resemblance to the throne Kain is seen sitting on in the bad ending of Blood Omen - perhaps hinting that Kain found the catacombs and took it before toasting his victory at the pillars.[BO1-C12][DEF-C10][DEF-C13]
- The correct usage of the term "Hask'ak'gik" is notably kept somewhat vague throughout the series. It is initially implied (but not categorically stated) that the Dark Entity confronted at the end of the Blood Omen is the demon "Hash'ak'gik" with it also taking on the image from the floor of Hash'ak'gik's altar at the end of the game.[BO1][BO1-C8][BO1-C11] Some sources actively refer to the entity controlling Mortanius as such. Later titles however cast doubt on this: showing that the Hash'ak'gik cult actively worshipped the Possessed Turel as "Hash'ak'gik";[DEF][DEF-C10] showing a different explanation for the transformation of flesh seen at the climax of Blood Omen;[DEF][DEF-C12] showing the Dark Entity was a Hylden (the same individual as the "Sarafan Lord" from Blood Omen 2) and addressing him specifically as "Hylden Lord" and not "Hash'ak'gik" - with him not one of the trio controlling Turel.[DEF][DEF-C12] The Defiance design team addressed the complication as follows:"Hash'ak'gik" is the name the human worshippers use for their god. The actual Hash entity is a leader among the Hylden, who has his own agenda. In Defiance, he possesses Janos. In Blood Omen, he uses the transformed body of Mortanius as a vessel. In Blood Omen 2, he appears as the Hylden Lord (AKA Sarafan Lord). When Raziel meets Turel, Turel is actually being possessed by a number of other Hylden (not the Hylden Lord). Many different Hylden did so in order to command their disciples.―Amy Hennig
Within the story only Turel is directly addressed as "Hash'ak'gik"[DEF][DEF-C10][DEF-C12] and it is ultimately unclear whether "Hash'ak'gik" is the actual name of the Hylden Lord, a story created by the Hylden to inspire worship, or an actual myth or legend adapted and co-opted by the Hylden.
- It is unclear whether the tome on Hash'ak'gik's altar was supposed to relate to the Dark Scripture in Legacy of Kain: Defiance. The maroon, leathery covers of the tome and the Scripture greatly resemble each other, but they were discovered in what seemed to be very different areas of the Cathedral.[BO1-C8][DEF-C9]
- Turel's Pit in the Avernus Catacombs has the dubious honor of being one of the only places in the entirety of Nosgoth that is seen in the Material Realm, Spectral Realm and the Demon Realm, allowing something of a comparison between the realms and their effects - and one of the few places in the series where the Demon Realm is directly seen. This highlighted that the Demon Realm was even more warped than the Spectral realm, featured a large amount of wispy smoke, a distinct orange hue and several deep red cracks. It did not strictly mirror the other two realms with the area above the pit appearing to have a much lower ceiling and the areas above the pit appearing to be entirely absent of completely changed. Later developer interviews confirmed that the Demon Realm only intersected with the other two in certain weak areas like Avernus.[DEF][DEF-C10][DEF-C13]
- In the Cathedral in Blood Omen, Kain was attacked by many Priests who wielded magic, it is likely these were the same people who were dressed in masks as Cenobites when worshipping Hash'ak'gik. Just before Azimuth 's battle the 'normal' Cathedral also contained a large stained glass ceiling which depicted the battle between Vorador and Malek.The 'heavenly' realm of the Cathedral has yet to be seen again in the series.
- The external appearance of Avernus Cathedral is not presented consistently and even varies within the same title, leaving the actual canon appearance and features of the Cathedral unclear.
- In Blood Omen the map view presents a large structure with a green sloped roof and a transept with no towers or spires, the bat flight cutscene meanwhile shows no roofs but does feature two tall spires atop the building and several lower down on the sides.
- Defiance also has several variants, with concept art presenting a building with two towers atop one front (with a potential third tower in the background) - each tower with several spires atop its corners - an apparently sloping roof and notably a large rose-stained glass window in the center of the face. In game a variant of this view is seen in The Elder's pool within the Spirit Forge which shows an apparently smaller building with two towers which have no spires and sloped roofs on the individual towers as well as on the main part of the cathedral - which retains a smaller rose window. Finally the city can be seen in the background textures of Vorador's Mansion, which show it as with a completed dominated by a single tower or face with no rose window and very little else of the cathedral visible.
- Like a lot of Blood Omen, Avernus ' geography does not exactly match that shown on maps. This is especially noticeable in Avernus' case as the outside of the Cathedral can barely fit into the space given for the entire city, let alone considering the internal layout. This could be considered canon however, given that Azimuth the Planar, Matriarch of Avernus, was guardian of dimension and could presumably have manipulated this effect with her powers.
- The External area of the Cathedral in Blood Omen conserves memory by using several exact copies of the same map area appear to be identical but each only contains active elements in the areas immediately around the player - with "Map 0035 Sect 06" and "Sect 07" presenting alternates of the top of the Cathedral and "Sect 16" and "Sect 17" presenting alternates of the bottom of the Cathedral.[BO1][BO1-C8] Similar tricks are used in areas such as the ruined area of Avernus town, the main 'descending shaft of the Hell realm and the Spirit Wrack Dungeon.[BO1][BO1-C8][BO1-C9]
- Potentially because of the dimension associations of the area, the exact divisions of the areas of Avernus Cathedral are unclear with some potentially being in separate dimensions, or greatly different elevations, and there may be a certain amount of crossover between them. Potentially this could implicate as many as six different dimensional realms making an appearance within the Cathedral (if one counts the Material Realm, 'alternate' realm, Spectral Realm, Heaven realm, Hell realm and Demon Realm as separate) or as few as three (if they are considered to over lap and only represent variants of the Material, Spectral and Demon realms:
- The alternate realm could be considered to represent the Spectral Realm or another unexplained dimension. It is specified as an alternate dimension however
- The Heaven realm could also be considered to represent the Spectral Realm. It could be seen as an outdoor area high in the clouds or simply rooms decorated as such. It could be seen as a separate dimension or simply decorated rooms of the same cathedral and could also literally be Heaven.
- The Hell realm could be seen as an underground area of the Cathedral or part of the Catacombs. It could be considered to represent an alternate dimension - perhaps even the Demon Realm - or simply decorated rooms, and could even be considered to literally be Hell. The altar of Hash'ak'gik could also be considered to be located here.
- The Avernus Catacombs appear to be another part of the underground area beneath the Cathedral - as with other they could be considered to represent an underground area or different dimension. They could be considered to represent an updated version of the Hell realm and could be considered to house the altar of 'Hash'ak'gik'.
- It seems curious that Ancient Vampire and Hylden relics would be seen so close to each other. It has been theorised that Avernus and It's Cathedral may have been built on top of one or both, though for what purpose remains unclear.
- The design of the statue at the bottom of the altar in the cathedral in Defiance is repeated in a statue in the garden of Vorador's Mansion.
Maps and ScreenshotsEdit
Concept Art and Bonus materialsEdit
Tiles and TexturesEdit
- Heaven realm
- Hell realm
- Avernus Catacombs
- Earth Forge (Defiance)
- Azimuth (boss)
- Turel (Defiance boss)
- Raziel (Defiance boss)
- Kain (Defiance boss)
- Azimuth's Eye
- Time-streaming devices
- Soul Reaver
- Wraith Armor
- Dark Scripture
- Defeat Azimuth
- Seek Mortanius
- Return to the Guardian Citadel
- ↑ Avernus Cathedral Deleted Areas at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 'New Human Class - The Prophet, aka The Lost Seers of Avernus at the Nosgoth official blog (by George Kelion) preserved at Tales of Nosgoth/Nosgothic Realm
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Prima Games / JDP and Gerald Guess. Prima's Official Legacy of Kain: Defiance Guide. (2003)
- ↑ Blood Omen Scripts at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Electronic Gaming Monthly, August 2000 issue
- ↑ Vampires (Soul Reaver 2) at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Blood Omen Developers Level Select Page at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Prima Games / Ian Osborne. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Official Game Secrets. (1996)
- ↑ Legacy of Kain: The Plot at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)
- ↑ Chris@Crystal's Greatest Hits at the Eidos Forums (archived at the Square Enix Forums) (by Divine Shadow/Chris Bruno).
- ↑ Warp's answers from Amy at the Eidos Forums (archived at the Square Enix Forums) (by Warpsavant/Blincoln/Amy Hennig).
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Question and Answer with Amy Hennig at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Hash'ak'gik and Hash'ak'gik's Altar at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
- ↑ Blood Omen 2 at DCabDesign (by Divine Shadow), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)