The Circle's gathering-room was a significant chamber in the Sarafan Stronghold, seen in cutscenes in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and featured as a playable location in Soul Reaver 2. The chamber was notably the site of Vorador's Slaughter of the Circle in Nosgoth's early history and later eras bore murals depicting this event.
The Circle's gathering room was a significant recurring location within the Sarafan Stronghold, presumably used as a meeting chamber for the Circle of Nine. The room was first featured in cutscenes Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain where flashbacks to Nosgoth's early history in Chapter 1 and Chapter 6 depicted several Pillar Guardians meeting in the room at the height of the Sarafan Vampire purge and observing the massacres through the central viewing basin. Whilst the guardians gathered, they were attacked by the Vampire Vorador, who slaughtered six of their numbers and defeated their protector - Conflict Guardian and Sarafan leader Malek.[BO1-C1][BO1-C6]
The gathering room returned as a playable location in Soul Reaver 2 as Raziel arrived in the Pre-Blood Omen era in one of the Time-streaming chambers adjoining the room. After meeting with Moebius, Raziel began Chapter 1 in the gathering room, which was now decorated with Murals depicting the Slaughter of the Circle and the martyred guardians.[SR2-C1] Raziel would return to stronghold in Chapter 5, attempting to use the Time-streaming chambers to travel to Nosgoth's early history, but Instead he was sent by Moebius to the Post-Blood Omen era. Emerging in the gathering room, the run-down and ruined appearance of the chamber allowed Raziel his first clues as to the era he now inhabited.[SR2][SR2-C5] The chamber could not be accessed when Raziel returned to Nosgoth's early history and was not present in-game.[SR2]
Design and LayoutEdit
Visually, the gathering room was consistently presented as an octagonal chamber dominated by the circular viewing basin at the center of the chamber. Initially in its Blood Omen appearance, the main door was the only entrance in the room and all the walls of the chamber were plain brickwork, with a few spiral textured pillars.[BO1-C1][BO1-C6]
Much of the general design of the chamber (and the nearby corridor) was retained in the Pre-Blood Omen era of Soul Reaver 2, though several small additions were seen in the - two formerly blank walls perpendicular to the main entrance now contained doors to Time-streaming chambers and the five remaining blank walls had been decorated with murals depicting the six fallen guardians (depicting in order the martyred Balance, States, Nature, Mind/Dimension and Energy Guardians). The number of spiral pillars around the chamber had increased and the high domed roof of the chamber was also seen for the first time.[SR2-C1]
When Raziel was transported to the Post-Blood Omen era he found the gathering room largely ruined, with the roof collapsing and several corpses littered around the chamber. The murals and design of the chamber had remained unchanged from the Pre-Blood Omen era, though the area was much darker and many textures were worn or eroded. Other subtle differences included the removal of the Light Crystal above the second Time-streaming chamber and the addition of a Checkpoint.[SR2-C5]
- The Main Door connects to the Gathering Room Entrance Corridor
In Soul Reaver 2:
- The Main Door connects to the Gathering Room Entrance Corridors ("Strong5") and onto the Font antechamber or Sanctuary entrance antechamber.
- Doors on the East and West walls connect to two Time-streaming chambers.
- The "Circle's gathering-room" is referred to as such in stage directions of Soul Reaver 2 scripts.[SR2-C5] Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Soul Reaver 2 simply notes the chamber as "the room where your adventures began" or "the room in which you first met Moebius". Debug menus and game files refer to the room and its Time-streaming chambers as "Strong1" and the nearby corridor entrance corridors as "Strong5".[SR2]
- In the cutscenes depicting the Slaughter of the Circle in Blood Omen, Vorador is directly shown to kill four of the Circle of Nine in the gathering room.[BO1-C1][BO1-C6] When he later meets with Kain, Vorador claims to have killed six of the guardians,[BO1-C6] and this count is referred to in later titles.[SR2] When questioned about this discrepancy, comments by developer Chris Bruno indicated that the Blood Omen cutscene was simply "an edited montage" of the Slaughter of the Circle and Vorador had indeed killed six guardians at this time.
- The Murals in the gathering room are one of the few major textures within the Sarafan Stronghold that are not presented as worn in any way in the Post-Blood Omen era of Soul Reaver 2. The textures used are identical to those seen in the Pre-Blood Omen era and only the lighting around them changes.[SR2]
- The murals in this chamber were designed by artist Daniel Cabuco and were annotated in his original online portfolio, providing insight into the design process. In these annotations Cabuco explained that he had deliberately demonized Vorador and that he originally "wanted to have a totally different mural appear when Raziel goes to spectral, but unfortunately he never goes back to that room ingame". Cabuco also commented on the reason two guardians share a mural: "I realized that I ran out of wallspace on this last one (six sided room with seven dead guardians [sic] ) So I decided to put two of them together. I can't tell you how much flak I got from the other team members on this one."
- The gathering room is only seen in the early history era in Blood Omen cutscenes, which do not feature the doors to the two Time-streaming chambers that are seen in Soul Reaver 2.[BO1][BO1-C1][BO1-C6][SR2] It is unclear if this implies that the chambers were constructed after this time, or if the were simply part of the redesign for Soul Reaver 2.
- Sarafan Stronghold
- Slaughter of the Circle
- Martyred Balance Guardian
- Martyred Energy Guardian
- Martyred Mind Guardian
- Martyred Dimension Guardian
- Martyred Nature Guardian
- Martyred States Guardian