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"You must seek Azimuth the Planer at the heart of Avernus.
Three instruments await you, to aid you in your quest, but first you must rise and you must fall and find your salvation in between.
"
―Ariel — Listen (file info)[src]

The Heaven realm was one of the several supposed dimensional realms that divided the cathedral of Avernus in the Blood Omen era as Dimension Guardian Azimuth attacked her city. Visited by Kain in the Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain chapter Defeat Azimuth, the area consisted of much 'heavenly' imagery and acted as something of a dungeon for the legendary Soul Reaver blade.

RoleEdit

The Heaven realm was one of the several apparent dimensions that split Avernus Cathedral when Kain visited in the Blood Omen era of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.[BO1][BO1-C8]

After defeating the triad of Pillar Guardians at Dark Eden in Threaten the Circle, Kain was directed by Ariel to Avernus and Dimension Guardian Azimuth and cryptically advised that "Three instruments await you, to aid you in your quest, but first you must rise and you must fall and find your salvation in between."[BO1][BO1-C7]

Travelling to Avernus in the chapter Defeat Azimuth, Kain discovered that the city had been overrun by Demons originating from the Cathedral. Entering the building Kain discovered that Azimuth had split the internal area into several dimensions, with the regular Material Realm joined by a murky alternate dimension and subsequently another two areas - the cloudy Heaven realm and the fiery and skeletal Hell realm.[BO1][BO1-C8]

Pushing his way through the Cathedral, Kain was periodically teleported to the alternate dimension and back again before finally reaching the Heaven realm and following a rising "Stairway to Heaven" until discovering a chamber containing the Soul Reaver blade along with a angelic statue.[BO1][BO1-C8]

Soon after Kain found the other artifacts, descending to the Hell realm to recover the Wraith Armor and confronting Azimuth in the regular Material Realm to gain a time streaming device.[BO1][BO1-C8] The Soul Reaver was necessary to defeat Azimuth and later to defeat William in the Pre-Blood Omen era in the chapter Stranded in Time,[BO1][BO1-C8][BO1-C10] going on to become one of the trademarks of the series in subsequent titles, which revisited the significance of the blade in Blood Omen.[SR1][SR2][BO2][DEF]

Design and LayoutEdit

BO1-Map0037-Sect10-AvernusCathedral-Interior-Heaven

The 'Heavenly' realm of the Cathedral is based in the upper western part of the building. The environment in the Heaven realm consists of a white, creme and golden colorscheme - with white tiled flooring, creme walls and containing a number of white columnade pedestals with golden fonts and multicolored stained glass windows, along with occasional icy patches. Numerous Shooters were positioned around the outside of the playable areas in the darkness. All of the area featured in a gradual 'ascent' towards the clouds.[BO1][BO1-C8][1]

The Heaven area could broadly be split into five map areas:

  • The first map area consisted of a long rectangular room heading stretching northward with a red carpet down the center of the room and a Save altar in the center. At the top of the area a white stairway flanked by two stained glass windows headed up to a higher balcony which consisted of a square room with a mural of the Soul Reaver on the floor in the center, with a pedestal and golden basin on each of its corners. At the top of the balcony area two doors either side of a stained glass both led through to another wider room with two teleporter pads (one active, one inactive) either side of a small pool of water. A blood vial was positioned just north of the inactive eastern pad, with three golden basin pedestals and four stained glass windows along the back wall. The active western teleporter led onto the next map area.[BO1][BO1-C8][1]
BO1-Map0037-Sect22-AvernusCathedral-Interior-Heaven
  • The next area began the long 'stairway' aspect of the area, with many rooms linked by staircases or ramps gradually ascending upwards and giving gradual 'pushback' effects if Kain did not push forward on them. Many of these areas were surrounded by invisible or barely visible Shooters that could only be pinpointed by the arrows shot from them which had to be carefully avoided. Kain arrived on a teleporter in a square room with a stairway leading upwards to the north to another small rectangular room with another stairway leading north in the top-right corner of the room. The room at the top of the stairway was again a small square room, but this time had a floor of Ice and Snow - five pedestals were dotted around the room with a gold basin on the central one and the room was guarded by a katana wielding Sarafan warrior. Another stairway north led to a small rectangular room with guarded by a Sarafan warrior wielding daggers and beyond this was another stairway leading northward through a small icy room and up another stairway to a small room with a teleporter pad. The teleporter moved Kain to another square room nearby with a staircase leading down to the south into another rectangular snowy icy room. In the southeast a stairway led down to the south again into another rectangular snowy ice room - following the room eastward and passing a pedestal Kain could reach another stairway leading up to the north. This stairway led to a small corridor heading east and up another set of northern stairs into another small room, this time flanked by two pedestals with two golden basins. Another northern stairway led up to a rectangular room guarded by two Sarafan warriors and a stairway leading up to the north from the northeast of this room led to a square room with a square gap in the middle, with a blood vial in the northwest of the room and a Sarafan warrior patrolling the room. A stairway in the north of this room led up to the final room of this area which contained a pedestal in the east alongside a teleporter which led to the next area.[BO1][BO1-C8][1]
BO1-Map0037-Sect20-AvernusCathedral-Interior-Heaven
  • The next area was again a series of interconnected rooms, stairways and teleporters surrounded by barely visible shooters and beginning in a square room with an inactive teleporter. Following the staircase down to the south, Kain could reach and icy fork where the path branched. The western fork led down through a series of spiraling corridors and stairways to a blood vial - the route to it protected by three Sarafan warriors. The eastern fork meanwhile led southward down a long straight icy corridor to another room with a square teleporter. This transported Kain to another inactive teleporter in a rectangular room, with a stairway leading down to another room with a basin-pedestal, where an isolated rectangular room could be seen to the east. A stairway led further down to the south to an icy corridor that led east to another teleporter. From the receiving pad A short corridor led westward to a stairway heading down and to to the south which passed through an icy room with two basin-pedestals and another staircase before zig-zagging up to the northwest and heading up a staircase leading north. Another stairway slightly to the east led further up to the north and passed two Sarafan warriors at a zig-zag in the corridor before heading further up to a square room with a teleporter. The receiving pad in a small square room led up a northern staircase to a wide corridor leading to a teleporter in the east which led onto the next area.[BO1][BO1-C8][1]
BO1-Map0037-Sect21-AvernusCathedral-Interior-Heaven
  • The next area was a complicated arrangement of enclosed rooms and interconnected teleporters forming something of a maze.[BO1][BO1-C8][1]
    • The first receiving pad was positioned in the northern-most central room which was decorated with grey cobbled floors with six yellow runes in the corners - two white teleporters were positioned in the room with the top one inactive and receiving only and the bottom one outgoing. Directly beneath this was positioned a '+'-shaped room with the same grey floor with runes at the diagonal corners - a receiving pad was positioned in the northern arm with sending pads in the eastern and western arms and two smaller sending pads in the south. Below this was another grey room, this time with a squared 'X'-shaped room and the same yellow runes in the corners, with teleporter pads in the arms - white receiving pads were positioned in the two northern arms, with blue sending pads in the southern arms and an additional two smaller red pad positioned along the east and west walls. Directly below this was another grey rectangular room with four runes and two active teleporters - a blue one in the north and a white one in the south. Directly below this was a 'T'-shaped room with an active teleporter in the center, flanked by two winged-sword-bearing statues, with a receiving pad beneath it.[BO1][BO1-C8][1]
    • A series of tiled floored rooms in the eastern side of the area were mirrored in the west. The northern-most room consisted of three interlocking squares forming a diagonal line, with a teleporter in the middle of each square - a receiver in the northern square, a sender in the southern square (colored blue in the west and white in the east) and a smaller red receiver in the middle. Beneath this was an upside-down 'T'-shaped room with teleporters in each arm - all three were active in the west while the top one was inactive in the east. Beneath this was a '+'-shaped room with teleporters in each of the arms - on the west side the northern and western arms bore blue active pads, the southern was inactive and white with a smaller red inactive pad in the east; on the east side the north and south were inactive white pads, the east was an active blue pad and the west was an inactive red pad.[BO1][BO1-C8][1]
    • Kain began at the receiving pad in the central-northern room and needed to reach the active teleporter between the statues in the central-southern room. With the teleporters leading to varying places it could be challenging to progress through the area. The quickest route was to take the bottom pad in the first room, the bottom-left in the second (the central '+'), the bottom in the third (the eastern diagonal squares), the right in the fourth (the eastern 'T'), the bottom-left in the fifth (the central 'X'), the bottom pad in the sixth (the bottom rectangle) and finally the top teleporter between the statues, which led to the next map area.[BO1][BO1-C8][1]
BO1-Map0037-Sect23
  • The final area was a large square room with two teleporters down staircases off the main room. The receiving pad in the southwest led up a northern staircase to the main room which was backed by a large top-down view of Nosgoth from above. At the center was an angelic statue with the Soul Reaver sword place directly in front of it. A second stairway led down in the southeast to another small square room with a teleporter leading back to the receiving teleporter in the first area.[BO1][BO1-C8][1]

NotesEdit

"From the heavens, the tears of angels danced around me in a frenzy of fire. "
―Kain — Listen (file info)[src]
BO1-Heaven-WarpedPrecipitation-Sarafan

Warped precipitation and Sarafan warriors in the Heaven realm

  • The Heaven realm is listed in the official guide under the heading "Stairway to Heaven" - presumably referencing the Led Zeppelin track of the same name.[1] In other instances - including the Silicon Knights Blood Omen FAQ The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain - the area is referred to simply as "Heaven", although it is also acknowledged that Azimuth is "an explorer of alien realms" and that the "cathedral exists in two planes of existence.". Whether or not the Heaven area is one of these realms is not elaborated.[2]
  • Avernus is one of the largest areas in the game 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" - with the final areas of the Cathedral listed under the "Map 0005" designation used for bosses (specifically "Sect 11", "Sect 02" and "Sect 13"). Most of the Heaven realm itself is listed as "Map 37" with "Sect 10" referring to the area with the Save altar and Soul Reaver floor mural, "Sect 22" referring to the first 'N' shaped icy cloud area, "Sect 20", referring to the second ice cloud area "Sect 21" referring to the 'teleporter maze' area with the central grey gravel, and "Sect 23" referring to the area with the Soul Reaver and the World map.[BO1][BO1-C8][3]
Defiance-Enemy-Archon-Storyboard

Legacy of Kain: Defiance storyboard suggesting that souls could 'ascend' to a higher plane - the original script is even more explicit

  • The Developers' level select uses the label "HEVN" for the Heaven realm dungeon under the "OL7" designation that relates to the Defeat Azimuth chapter. The labels "AVCL", "AVCI" and "HELL" under the same entry relate to the Cathedral, City and Hell Realm respectively. Additionally the the "AZ" designation under "BOSS" can be used to reach the Azimuth boss battle and the Secrets ("SECR") entries numbered "38" and "82" to "86" all lead to areas inside Avernus, although none lead to the Heaven realm specifically.[BO1][4]
  • It is ultimately unclear whether the realm is intended to literally be Heaven - which clearly exists as a concept within Nosgoth - although the presence of members of the supposedly long defunct Sarafan order (who are Blue-blooded but not ghosts) along with the theming may bolster its claims and may also imply some overlap with the Spectral Realm.[BO1][BO1-C8] The presence of an alternative afterlife distinct from the Spectral Realm and the Elder God's Wheel of Fate has been hinted from the beginning of the series with mentions of "Heaven" and "Hell".[BO1][BO1-C1] Confirmations of the Elder's "false god" demiurge status also hint at alternatives to the Wheel.[SR2-C5][DEF-C13][5] The original script and artwork of the Archons debut in Legacy of Kain: Defiance made it explicitly clear that Souls in the Spectral Realm could ascend to another plane - potentially heaven - but this is less clearly communicated in the final scene.[DEF][DEF-C2]
  • Like the other "realms" of Blood Omen, it is unclear how the Heaven realm relates to the realms in later games. Presumably the 'ordinary' Material Realm is the same but it is ultimately unclear how the heaven, hell and 'alternate' realms of Avernus in Blood Omen relate to the Spectral and Demon realms seen later in the series. The different realms could conceivably be themed areas or represent as few as three or as many as six different dimensions in total - the Material Realm, 'alternate' realm, Heaven realm, Hell realm, Spectral Realm and Demon Realm - depending upon how the Avernus area are interpreted.[BO1][BO1-C8][SR1][SR2][BO2][DEF]
  • Although the Heaven realm appeared to be an internal area of the Cathedral, it was in fact counted by the game as being outside. Despite not being on the main 'overland' maps list it was possible to Bat Form, the lighting changed according to the Day/night cycle and it was possible to encounter Rain - the latter being particularly significant as the Heaven realm was one of the few areas where rain manifested as fiery Warped precipitation - making its description as "From the heavens, the tears of angels" particularly appropriate. This may also contribute to the 'heavenly' attributes of the realm.[BO1][BO1-C8][6][7]
BO1-Tile-AvernusCathedral-Map

The bare 'Soul Reaver' tile featuring a map of Nosgoth

  • The Heaven realm is perhaps most significant in the series for the original appearance in the series of the Soul Reaver blade and the location where it came into Kain's possession. Later games in the series however - specifically Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance - feature earlier versions of the blade, and as of the end of Defiance it is yet to be revealed how the blade left the Elder Kain at the end of the Blood Omen era and returned back in time to its meeting with William or the younger Kain here. As with other items in Blood Omen there is no indication of how it came to be in the Heaven realm, without the knowledge of Azimuth, with Moebius or the Elder Kain potentially topping the list of suspects.[BO1][BO1-C8][SR2][DEF]
  • The chamber where Kain obtains the Soul Reaver contains a notable floor mural of a somewhat distorted version of the Nosgoth World map, somewhat implying the room is high up in the clouds. A similar map is later seen in the Stronghold of William the Just with a different appearance.[BO1][BO1-C8][BO1-C10] These maps were the basis for a later Soul Reaver era map planned to be included with Nosgoth.[8]
  • As with other weapons related dungeons, the floor mural of the Soul Reaver seen on the entry to the keep does not match the image on the card that Kain collects, instead bearing the icon that Kain carries when it is equipped in the full inventory.[BO1][BO1-C6]
  • Avernus Cathedral contains perhaps the largest collection of religious themed imagery in the series, with no other building approaching its size or significance.[BO1][BO1-C8][DEF][DEF-C10][DEF-C11][DEF-C12][DEF-C13][SR1][SR2][BO2] The content and practice of the religion is not elaborated upon but superficially seems to bear a number of parallels to Medieval European Christianity.[BO1][DEF][6] The introductions of the Hylden and Ancient Vampires and their conflict later in the series may suggest a basis for this religion potentially implying that early humans may have worshipped the previous races - like the Feral humans of the Vampire Citadel - with this developing on the mainland into an organized religion.[SR2][BO2][DEF][9][6] Thus the angelic imagery seen throughout the Heaven realm may be based upon the appearance and beliefs of the Ancient Vampires.[6]
  • At least one enemy and room of the Heaven realm appear to be unused in the final game. The far-eastern (penultimate) section of the second stairway map area contains an isolated room in the far-east that can be seen from the usual pathways but not accessed. Files show a wench enemy in the room, but she is not present in game.[BO1][BO1-C8]
BO1-Icon-Weapon-Equipped-SoulReaver

The equipped Soul Reaver icon seen in the Heaven realm floor mural

  • The teleporter maze in the Heaven realm has a complicated teleporter arrangement. The full connections are as follows:[BO1][BO1-C8][1]
    • west squares:bottom>top in west 'T'
    • west 'T':left>top-left in mid 'X', right>bottom in west +', top is inactive despite its active appearance.
    • west '+':left>right in east '+', top>top in east '+', right>mid-right in mid 'X'
    • mid-top rectangle:bottom >top in mid '+'
    • mid '+':left>top in east squares, right>top in west squares, bottom-left>mid in east squares, bottom right>mid in west squares
    • mid 'X':bottom-left>top in mid-bottom rectangle, bottom-right>top in top-mid rectangle
    • mid-bottom rectangle: top>bottom-left in mid 'X', bottom>bottom in mid-bottom 'T'
    • mid 'T':top>exit
    • east squares:bottom>top in east 'T'
    • east 'T':left>bottom in east '+',right>top-left in mid 'X'
    • east '+':left>mid-left in mid 'X', right>left in west '+'

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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