- "The frozen surface of the lake had bound the gates of the stronghold shut. The Sarafan surely had some other means of entry, but this was the only one known to me. To infiltrate the fortress, I would need to find some way to release these gates from their icy bonds."
- ―Raziel — Listen (file info)[src]
The Great Southern Lake, also known as the Great South Lake, Southern Lake, or simply The Lake, was a body of water in the south of Nosgoth. Waters of the lake bordered the Sarafan Stronghold, Ziegsturhl, Provance, the Cemetery and the Light forge, with the ruins of the unused Spirit forge also present at the bottom of the lake. The Lake was included on maps in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Blood Omen 2 and featured as a playable Location in all of the eras visited in Soul Reaver 2.
The Great Southern Lake was first featured in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, where it was shown and named in maps of the Blood Omen era, depicting it as a large body of water to the south of Nosgoth, roughly situated between the Pillars and Willendorf's Lake of Serenity.[BO1] The lake itself was unseen and largely inaccessible in Blood Omen, though streams apparently connected to the lake could be traversed around the Cemetery and Ziegsturhl.[BO1][BO1-C1][BO1-C2]
The Southern Lake was featured in a greater role in Soul Reaver 2, where it was a significant playable location and one of the main areas on the map, shown with the main body of the Sarafan Stronghold on its southern banks.[SR2] After emerging in the Time-streaming chambers of the Sarafan Stronghold in the Pre-Blood Omen era, Raziel spent much of the first chapter seeking a way to escape the stronghold and eventually found a passage leading from the upper levels of the Chapter House to a high balcony overlooking the lake. Surveying the babbling waterfalls leading into the lake and contrasting this "abundant life and vitality" with the wasteland he had seen in the Soul Reaver era, Raziel reflected "that the world [he] had left behind was nothing more than the corpse of Nosgoth". Dropping to the 'inner' lake area below the stronghold, Raziel noticed several features, including the first checkpoint and the sealed door to the Light Forge, but also noted that the balcony area he had left was high enough to prevent re-entry to the stronghold. Using a wheel-like mechanism in the 'inner' lake, Raziel was able to use an underwater gateway leading beneath part of the stronghold to another 'outer' lake area which contained the first save altar and the large double-doored entrance to the stronghold dock area, sealed by a Light crystal.[SR2-C1] Following a pathway away from the Lake, Raziel continued toward the Pillars and a meeting with Kain.[SR2-C2]
After investigating Nosgoth and uncovering the Dark Forge in the Swamp, Raziel was able to imbue the Dark Reaver and return to the Lake in Chapter 3. Passing through into the 'inner' lake, Raziel used the Dark Reaver to unlock the sealed door to the Light forge in the cliffs on the banks of the Lake,[SR2-C3] and solved the puzzle of the forge gaining the Light Reaver enhancement for the Wraith Blade.[SR2-C4] This enhancement gave Raziel the means to activate Light crystals, allowing him to use the crystal atop the doors of the 'outer' lake to re-enter the Sarafan stronghold's dock area in his attempts to return to the Time-streaming chambers and travel back into Nosgoth's early history.[SR2-C5] As Raziel returned to the stronghold in Chapter 5 he was tricked by Moebius and instead of being sent to the past, he found himself over a century into the future to the demon-infested Post-Blood Omen era. Once again seeking to escape the stronghold, Raziel now found that the 'inner' lake area was inaccessible and he was forced to exit the stronghold using the dock area, whose doors had been physically ripped off and crystal removed.[SR2-C5] Investigating Nosgoth in this era, Raziel eventually found the Air Forge and the means to unlock another of Moebius's Time-streaming chambers in the swamp and finally travel back to Nosgoth's early history.[SR2-C6]
When Raziel arrived in the Nosgoth's early history, he could travel to the 'outer' Southern Lake at will, but found that the lake itself was frozen over, preventing the dock area of the stronghold from being accessed.[SR2-C7] Travelling to Janos Audron's Retreat and meeting Janos Audron, Raziel uncovered much of his own history and after imbuing the Fire Reaver in the Fire Forge, Raziel pursued the Sarafan commanders back to the stronghold attempting to avenge Janos's murder.[SR2-C8][SR2-C9] Returning to the lake in Chapter 9, Raziel was able to use a nearby Fire Plinth to melt the ice around the dock doorway, allowing him it to be opened using the Light crystal, and giving Raziel access to the stronghold once more, where he would face his sternest encounters.[SR2-C9][SR2-C10]The Southern Lake was once again featured in Blood Omen 2, much like its appearance in Blood Omen the lake was again inaccessible during normal gameplay and was only seen in the initial cutscenes, which depicted a map of southern Nosgoth in the Post-Blood Omen era and the conquests of Kain's vampire army. Here the lake retained a similar shape and scale as had featured previously, though some of the surrounding area had changed, with western tributaries extending further south towards the Great Southern Sea and a previously unknown settlement, Provance, now appearing on the southern banks of the lake, opposite Ziegsturhl. In the early stages of the conflict with the later Sarafan order, Kain's army apparently crossed part of the lake between Ziegsturhl and Provance, heading south towards Meridian [BO2][BO2-C1] In Legacy of Kain: Defiance, several of the areas around the Southern Lake were revisited by the protagonists: the lake itself was not explicitly among the revisited areas, but given the geography of previous titles it would appear that some of the waterways seen were connected to the lake - with those seen beneath the Sarafan Stronghold and in the trail between the Cemetery and the Pillars of Nosgoth particularly suspected of being connected.[DEF][DEF-C3][DEF-C6]
Design and LayoutEdit
The main body of the Southern Lake was only encountered as a playable location in Soul Reaver 2 and could be broadly be divided into two large water-filled areas, divided by a battlement wall of the Sarafan Stronghold which crossed over the lake and could be navigated by an underwater passage leading between the two lake areas.[SR2]
The 'inner' lake was the first area encountered by Raziel in the Pre-Blood Omen era and consisted of a large body of water, apparently fed by many small waterfalls. This area of the lake was bordered on the western side by the high walls (and balcony) of the main Sarafan stronghold, whilst the battlement wall crossing the lake covered the northern side of the area. A small surface area next to the stronghold provided access to the gear wheel necessary to open the passage under the stronghold, a checkpoint and a Dark Reaver font. The remaining walls of the area were covered in cliffs, often with small waterfalls flowing down them, while a small island along one of the cliff-faces provided access to the Light Forge through a sealed door. Beneath the surface of the water of this area, a set of ancient ruins was visible, broadly consisting of a circular altar marked with the Spirit symbol and an aisle leading up to it decked out with Spiral symbols; with these remains representing the ultimately removed Spirit Forge. The 'inner' lake area was only present in the Pre-Blood Omen era and could not be accessed in other eras.[SR2][SR2-C1][SR2-C3][SR2-C4]
The 'outer' portion of the lake area was again dominated by the main body of the lake, cliffs and the walls of the Sarafan Stronghold. The high battlement wall separating the two parts of the lake was on the southern side of the lake decorated by several large banners, while the rest of the stronghold continued along a south-western wall to a grand set of half-submerged double-doors activated by Light crystal, serving as the entrance to the stronghold dock area. A grassy bank ran along the north-west of the lake leading westwards away from the lake down a small passage to a Save altar and across a gap to another passageway leading north-east towards the Shrine and pillars. Cliffs surrounded the eastern and northern walls of the lake, with a ledge on the east holding a Fire Reaver font and a set of grassy ledges on the north wall which led to a Light Reaver font. A Fire Plinth was situated at the banks of the lake alongside the dock doorway and served to melt a section of ice around the dock doors when the lake was frozen. The 'outer' lake was present in all eras visited in Soul Reaver 2 and had only subtle differences between eras; with grass replaced by rock and ice respectively, the large banners missing and trees in varying states in other eras. In the Post-Blood Omen era the Light crystal atop the large dock doorway was missing, with the doors themselves apparently ripped off and deposited at the bottom of the lake. Perhaps the most noticeable change however was in the water of the lake itself, which was frozen over and could not be entered in the early history era except for a small pocket outside the dock doorway.[SR2-C5][SR2-C9][SR2][SR2-C1][SR2-C3][SR2-C7]Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, the waters associated with the lake began in south-central Nosgoth and passed north-west through a narrow channel up to the 'head' of the wide main body of the lake. The main body bulged and narrowed as it curved south-west and descended into a small stream east of the Pillars of Nosgoth, flowing south-west before breaking into several smaller tributaries; one went west to the Cemetery, another headed north to into Ziegsturhl and broke into smaller forks, with the final tributary heading east before turning south and breaking into smaller forks.[BO1] The Soul Reaver 2 map depicted the Lake and surrounding water identically, with area labels suggesting that playable area was located at the main body of the lake, with the Light Forge positioned at the south-east 'head' end of the lake, just north of the unseen channel; and the Sarafan stronghold on the southern or south-western bank. The Soul Reaver 2 map also presented the lake with an island in the middle, which was not in other maps and did not appear to be present in game - though this may represent the stronghold battlement wall or the (cut) submerged Spirit Forge.[SR2] Blood Omen 2 map presented the east end of the lake similarly, but at the western end the lake appeared to widen encompassing the previous eastern tributary (other tributaries were not seen) and flowing south-west between the settlements of Ziegsturhl and Provance before breaking into several smaller rivers which entered the Great Southern Sea. It is not clear whether these changes reflect the changing course of the waters in the Post-Blood Omen era or simply design inconsistencies.[BO2][BO2-C1] Simplified 'in-world' maps of Nosgoth are also found in Blood Omen on the floors of the Stronghold of William the Just and Avernus Cathedral's Heaven dungeon: in these the Southern Lake appears quite differently, shifted westwards and depicted as somewhat squashed and rotated, with courses flowing north-east from the lake towards the Swamp and Termogent Forest areas and another course heading north-west towards the Lake of Tears.[BO1-C8][BO1-C10]
The Lake appeared to have many streams and rivers flowing to and from it and it is likely that many nearby waterways were connected to lake - the bodies of water south of the Cemetery and around Ziegsturhl in Blood Omen were explicitly connected on maps;[BO1] while in Defiance the stream Raziel followed from the Cemetery to the Pillars and the waters around the Stronghold (particularly those flowing beneath the high 'bridge' and in the cavernous 'cistern' areas) were placed in areas that suggested they were connected to the tributaries of the lake.[DEF-C6][DEF-C3][DEF-C1]
In the 'Inner' Lake ("Lake3")
- The underwater doors to the north lead under the Sarafan stronghold battlements and out to the 'outer' lake ("Lake2").
- The Sealed door on a small island to the south leads to the Light Forge entrance ("Lake9") and into the "Light20" Light Forge room
- The high western balcony leads into the Sarafan stronghold Balcony corridors ("Strong10") (cannot be re-entered)
In the 'Outer' Lake ("Lake2")
- The underwater doors to the south lead under the Sarafan stronghold battlements and out to the 'inner' lake ("Lake3").
- The large partially-submerged double-doors to the south-west marked by Light crystal leads into the Sarafan stronghold Dock ("Strong7")
- The passage heading north-east away from the lake leads to a Save altar
- The passage heading north-west away from the lake leads to Lake exit passage ("Lake4") and on towards the Pillars and Shrine area ("Pillars1")
- The Lake is referred to as the "Great Southern Lake" in Blood Omen maps,[BO1] but later titles seem to drop the 'great' prefix, with the maps of both Soul Reaver 2 and Blood Omen 2 identifying it simply as the "Southern Lake".[SR2][BO2][BO2-C1] Descriptive terms used in this article to distinguish sections of the lake, such as the "main body", "inner" and "outer" lake areas are entirely conjectural.
- As the most significant body of water featured in Soul Reaver 2, the Southern Lake is often referred to simply as "The Lake" within that title. Dialogue directly refers to the area as "the lake",[SR2-C3][SR2-C7] whilst stage directions refer to it both as "the lake"[SR2-C1][SR2-C7] and "the moat that surrounds the Stronghold".[SR2-C1] The area is named "Lake" in Debug menus and both debug menus and game files split the area into four 'rooms'; "Lake2" - the 'outer' lake area save altar path, "Lake3" - the Light forge 'inner' lake area, "Lake4" - the path leading towards the Shrine and Pillars and "Lake9" - the Light Forge entranceway. Each room is given a separate entry for each era, with room names amended to "LakeB" to denote the Post-Blood Omen era and "LakeC" for Nosgoth's early history. The "Lake3" and "Lake9" areas are only accessible in the Pre-Blood Omen era.[SR2]
- The ruins at the bottom the lake are all that remains of the planned Spirit Forge removed from Soul Reaver 2, with both the Soul Spiral (The symbol for the deleted Spirit Glyph from Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver) and the Spirit symbol featured upon its ruins.[SR2]
- In common with the Lake of Tears, Blood Omen era maps place sea serpent symbols in The Southern Lake.[BO1] With the apparent placing of the Vampire Citadel within the Lake of Tears, Legacy of Kain: Defiance hinted that these symbols may be related to the presence of Ancient vampire architecture.[DEF-C5] The symbols on the Southern lake may therefore also have similar origin considering that both The Light and Spirit Forges were in the Lakes vicinity.[SR2-C4]
- Directions and orientation of the lake appear to vary slightly between the lake seen in Soul Reaver 2 gameplay and on maps. On Soul Reaver 2 maps, the Southern Lake is also seen to almost directly border the southern extremes of the Swamp area, perhaps suggesting that the marshy terrain in that area fed the waterfalls around the lake.[SR2]
- Fish-life can be observed swimming freely in both lake sections in the Pre-Blood Omen era. The fish are missing from the lake in the Post-Blood Omen era and are not present in the early history era either - though this is arguably because of the conditions of the lake at this time, as with the lake frozen over and only a small section melted during the course of the game, most of the bottom of the lake is not present in this period.[SR2-C5][SR2-C9][SR2][SR2-C1][SR2-C7]
- Sarafan Stronghold
- Light Forge (SR2)
- Spirit Forge (SR2)
- The (Great) Southern Lake at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn).
- Soul Reaver 2 Bonus Material - The Lake at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Prima Games / Ian Osborne. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Official Game Secrets. (1996)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain - Map of Nosgoth at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Blood Omen: Map of Nosgoth at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Prima Games / Demian Linn and David Hodgson. Prima's Official Soul Reaver 2 Guide. (2001)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Soul Reaver 2 - Map of Nosgoth at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Soul Reaver 2 - Map of Nosgoth at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Blood Omen 2 - Maps at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 The (Great) Southern Lake at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn).
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 The (almost) definitive Legacy of Kain maps thread at the Eidos Forums (by Shrykull/Bazielim)
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Deleted Reaver Forges at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).