- "You understand nothing. You are a degenerate remnant of a cursed race, doomed to walk the night as a parasite, your life as easily snuffed out as those you feed on to survive. My race is but a warped parody of our former beauty. We are, like you, fallen gods scratching for our former power. But we will prevail. We will cleanse this world of your kind, and bring about a new, glorious age. Die, Kain."
- ―The Sarafan Lord — Listen (file info)[src]
The Post-Banishment Hylden were the second 'generation' of Hylden in Nosgoth, effectively created when the Ancient Hylden were banished to the Demon Realm and that dimesion took its toll on them, rendering them "hideous" and "mad". In attempting to return to Nosgoth's Material Realm, the Post-Banishment Hylden have (through various means) been antagonists in Blood Omen, Blood Omen 2 and Defiance; although they have only appeared in their true form in Blood Omen 2.
After a millennium of conflict the Elder Wars reached a peak with the Ancient Vampires raising the pillars, banishing the Ancient Hylden to the Demon Realm. As they fell, the Hylden retaliated, casting the Blood curse upon their Vampire adversaries, which would eventually ensure that the pillars would fall from vampire guardianship into malleable Human hands. Over many centuries the effects of the Demon Realm took its toll on the Hylden, greatly deforming their appearance and rendering them insane. The Hylden's banishment, however ensured their Immortality and through as yet undisclosed means, the Hylden were able to see into Nosgoth's timestream and foreseeing their escape, they prophesied the coming of a Hylden champion, who would set them free and thus they set in motion a grandiose conspiracy to topple the pillars and return to the Material Realm.
The Seduction of the CircleEdit
With many centuries under human guardianship, the binding began to weaken and the Hylden were able to use their magic to begin to influence events in the Material Realm, eventually being able to temporarily possess a living (or dead) human host; often labelled as 'demonic Possession' by Humans. Some time after Nosgoth's early history, possibly lured by the Hylden, Human Circle of Nine Azimuth and Mortanius discovered something of great power beneath Avernus (what exactly it was they discovered is as yet unrevealed). The power they found seduced Mortanius and Azimuth away from the pillars and into the service of the supposed 'Dark God' "Hash'ak'gik", forming the Cult of Hash'ak'gik, with Azimuth using a Time-streaming devices to retrieve Turel from the Soul Reaver era to act as the dark god of the cult and mouthpiece for the Hylden. (It is likely that Azimuth was aware of the Hylden's role behind the cult- see Notes).
The cult and its god would inspire secret worship from the citizens of Avernus and others among the Circle, who donated a blood-sacrifice in accordance with the orders of "Hash'ak'gik" keeping the Vampire mouthpiece of the cult alive. In the Pre-Blood Omen era, the time was finally ripe for the Hylden to act and the actual leader of the Hylden Conspiracy, the Hylden Lord, was able to take possession of Mortanius and use his body to murder Ariel, the Guardian of Balance, circumventing the defence of conflict guardian Malek . As the Hylden had expertly calculated, the death of Ariel and discovery of her body by her lover, the Mind Guardian Nupraptor, drove him to insanity and a devastating psychic attack upon other guardians that would result in corruption of the Pillars themselves.
The Scourge of the CircleEdit
At the moment of Ariel's murder, Kain was born, destined to be her replacement as Balance Guardian, but corrupted from his first breath and ignorant of his destiny. Thirty years later in the Blood Omen era, Mortanius was able to momentarily break free of the Hylden Lord's control and had Kain murdered and used the Heart of Darkness to revive him as a vampire; apparently setting in motion the Ancient Vampires' messianic prophecies. Kain would be manipulated into a quest to restore the Pillars, though for most of the quest he would not be confronted by the Hylden (likely because his quest played into their hands) and he learnt little of the source of the corruption. In his travels, Kain discovered a book in the Willendorf Library which described a cult associated with human possession; and came perilously close to uncovering the cult itself, when in the Catacombs beneath Avernus Cathedral, Kain would discover a small hidden altar dedicated to Hash'ak'gik with a book describing bloody sacrifices to a dark god upon it. However, eager to confront Azimuth and restore the Pillar of Dimension, Kain did not explore the catacombs further.
Rites of the Hylden ChampionEdit
Though leaving Kain to uncover his destiny, the Hylden were far more confrontational with free-willed Raziel as they attempted to influence their champion into the choices that would save their race. As Raziel travelled through the Blood Omen era and learnt to possess corpses to enter the Material Realm, he was frequently assaulted by Hylden, using the same method to animate a variety of corspes to create powerful Revenant enemies (as well as using living hosts, the Possessed and the Transformed). When Raziel journeyed to Avernus, shortly after the younger Kain, seeking the Heart of Darkness, he was able to dig deeper into the Avernus Catacombs and uncover more evidence of the Hylden conspiracy and his role as their champion. At the heart of the complex, Raziel found the Cult of Hash'ak'gik itself, with its members led by Mortanius in a bloody ritual to appease an unseen god hidden in a pit below. Dragged into the pit and attacked by the dark god "Hash'ak'gik" (revealed to be his final brother, Turel, possessed by several Hylden), Raziel was urged by the Hylden to face and kill the champion of their enemies before Raziel killed Turel and consumed his Soul, gaining with it a small measure of the Hylden possession; and they were subsequently able to fuel Raziel's rage.
Raziel next confronted Mortanius, himself a host to the possession of the Hylden Lord. Whilst Raziel interrogated Mortanius on the location of the Heart of Darkness, the Hylden Lord was frequently able to take control; he confirmed Mortanius' belief that Raziel was the Hylden Champion but assured Raziel that regardless of his affiliation the Hylden would prevail and would soon have a stronger vessel. Mortanius would go on to reveal his atonement in creating the Scion of Balance and how he had hidden the heart inside Kain, so that Kain would guard it with his life. With the Hylden Lord predicting the long-awaited Hylden release, Mortanius left to face his destiny with the young Kain at the Pillars. As Raziel exited the Cathedral he was met by the Elder Kain, both of them aware of their apparent roles in the messianic prophecies of the elder races. With the Hylden fuelling Raziel's rage, he confronted and apparently killed Kain to recover the Heart of Darkness, acknowledging immediately that he had walked into a trap. After murdering the Scion of Balance, Raziel played further into the Hylden ploy by using the heart to revive Ancient vampire Janos Audron; setting the stage for the Hylden return to the Material Realm.
The Long Awaited HourEdit
As the young Kain finished his quest to restore the Pillars, the Hylden plan drew together and when Kain returned to the Pillars (summoned by Mortanius), he found the final guardians Anarcrothe and Mortanius arguing over Mortanius' decision to revive Kain as a Vampire (as well as the associated betrayal of the Cult of Hash'ak'gik). Kain watched unobserved as the two guardians clashed and when Anarcrothe was killed, Kain revealed his presence and confronted the Necromancer, who embraced his fate, but warned of "one more to take". As Kain defeated the Necromancer, the Hylden Lord manifested, fully taking control of Mortanius' flesh (and effectively killing him), transforming his corpse into a vaguely 'demonic' shape. This 'Dark Entity' (The Hylden Lord in transformed human flesh) mocked Kain's quest and revealed that he had merely been a pawn of a larger conspiracy. Ridiculing Kain as a puppet and the 'tragic hero' of his scheme, the Dark Entity encouraged Kain to "play on", and the two battled with Kain victorious and the Dark Entity apparently defeated. But as the dust cleared it became apparent that the Balance Pillar itself remained corrupted and Ariel finally revealed Kain's terrible destiny as the corrupted Balance Guardian (born as Ariel's successor) and that his sacrifice would be required to restore the Pillars. Recognising that his death would mean the elimination of the Vampire race, Kain refused the Sacrifice, playing into Hylden hands once again, as the Pillars, unable to take the strain any longer, collapsed into an eternity of decay.
Meanwhile Raziel's revival of Janos Audron had led him to the Vampire Citadel and the final reaver enhancement, the Spirit Reaver, at the Spirit Forge. Returning to Janos at the council chamber of the citadel, Raziel arrived just as the pillars collapsed and both he and Janos were thrown backwards by the blast. It soon emerged that the Hylden Lord had used the collapse to gain control of a new, stronger vessel - Janos himself. Reveling in his victory, the Hylden Lord mocked that Raziel had "played [his] part flawlessly" in providing both the "incorruptible vessel". and the ancient vampire blood that their escape required, gloating especially at Raziel's murder of the Scion of Balance. With the Hylden release at hand, Raziel battled to stop the Hylden Lord but was unable to bring himself to kill Janos and his physical manifestation was destroyed by the Hylden Lord, who flew away with Janos' body to begin the next stage of the Hylden plan.
A New EpochEdit
Taking advantage of the weakening of the binding caused by the collapse of the Pillars, the Hylden Lord used the Possessed Janos to open the Hylden gate to the Demon Realm and bring his natural body to the Material Realm. He used his magic to bring more of his race through, returning a Hylden presence to the Material Realm (but not totally overcoming the binding), but lacking the power to begin a full invasion and needing humans to drain of energy, the Hylden plans were more measured; they established a base in the Hylden City and uncovered the ancient super-weapon the Device, and intending to complete and use it, they imprisoned Janos within to feed the Mass.
Learning of the vampire-hunting crusades of the human Sarafan, the Hylden Lord, disguised behind a golden helm as 'the Sarafan Lord', founded a revived Sarafan to counter the rise of Kain's vampire army. The War between the two powers climaxed at the battle of Meridian, where the Sarafan Lord used the Nexus Stone and Hylden Glyph magic against the vampires, as well as arranging Sebastian's defection. The battle ended with the vampire army routed, Kain apparently dead and the Sarafan Lord in possession of the Soul Reaver.
Under the guise of eliminating the Vampire menace, the Hylden-controlled Sarafan Order would conquer Nosgoth under a tyrannical rule. During this stage, the final phase of the Hylden plans saw Hylden scientists in the guise of glyph wrights, constructing a Glyph magic network throughout Meridian; apparently a benevolent act by the Sarafan to aid the citizens of Nosgoth, the network was actually the final part necessary to complete the Device and once the network was complete the Hylden would be able to use the weapon to destroy all non-Hylden life in Nosgoth.
A Capable AdversaryEdit
Unknown to the Hylden however, Kain had not died at the battle of Meridian; his body had been recovered by the Cabal, with Kain ultimately revived by the post-Blood Omen era and working for the vampire resistance against the Sarafan. Kain's brazen approach meant that the Sarafan Lord had quickly become aware of Kain's return, but Kain would prove to be a significant threat to the Sarafan Lord's plans; rescuing Umah from the Sarafan Keep and recovering the Nexus Stone from the Main Factory in the Industrial Quarter, as well as learning of the existence of the Device from Sebastian.
With help from the Seer, Kain was able to enter the Device and found a monstrous beast within (actually the devolved Janos Audron), being drained to feed the Mass at the heart of the Device. Following the Beast's advice, Kain consulted the ancient Builder of the Device in the Eternal Prison and discovered the true significance of the Glyph magic network being constructed by the glyph wrights. Killing the Builder and drinking his blood, Kain returned to the Device with the knowledge that the Builder's blood flowing through his veins would poison the Mass and render the Device useless. Before he descended into the Device, Kain was warned by the Beast about the true nature of the enemies he would face; exposing the Hylden influence behind the Sarafan Order and the true race of the Sarafan Lord.
Descending into the Device, Kain was finally confronted by the Hylden themselves, in the form of the Hylden scientists and Warriors protecting the complex. Making his way to the heart of the Device, Kain poisoned the Mass, destroying the Device and rescuing Janos. As the Vampires planned a final assault to close the Hylden Gate, (taking advantage of the Hylden still being bound to the Demon Realm to kill all the Hylden in the Material Realm), the Sarafan Lord had plans of his own, seeking to bring the Hylden armies through the Hylden Gate. Once again however, Kain would appear at the Hylden City to threaten the Hylden plans (along with allies Janos and Vorador who would both be injured by the Sarafan Lord) and he would battle the Hylden Scientists and Warriors once again through the Hylden City.
When Kain confronted the Sarafan Lord above the Hylden Gate, their roles from the battle of Meridian were reversed, with Kain in possession of the Nexus Stone and the Sarafan Lord with the (negated) Soul Reaver. The unmasked Hylden General finally conceded that he had not expected Kain to last this long; Kain had been a far more "capable adveersary" than the Hylden Lord had thought possible. With the battle between them descending into a stalemate, Kain chose to give up the protection of the Nexus Stone, throwing it into the Hylden Gate to ensure its closure and the destruction of the Hylden in the Material Realm, regardless of his own fate. Enraged, the Hylden Lord turned on Kain with the Soul Reaver, but Kain's use of Immolate and the interference of Janos meant that Kain was able to recover the Soul Reaver at the cost of Janos himself (thrown into the Demon Dimension by the Hylden Lord). Without the Nexus Stone or the Soul Reaver, the Hylden General was no match for Kain. Dying as the Hylden Gate imploded behind him, the General admitted defeat, but, before being dispatched with the Soul Reaver, pledged that the Hylden would one day return.
- The power unearthed by Azimuth and Mortanius beneath Avernus is not explained, but it is presumably related to the Hylden's plans and the 'demonic possession' associated with the Cult of Hash'ak'gik; the power could be the cause of the possession (with Azimuth and Mortanius presumably seeking to use it to 'channel dark gods') or a consequence of it (with possession leading them to it). Interestingly one thing that does appear to have been similarly 'unearthed' beneath Avernus is the skeleton of a 'dragon' seen in Blood Omen.
- Mortanius seems to have been largely ignorant of the connection between the Cult of Hash'ak'gik and the Hylden conspiracy, and even after the murder of Ariel, Mortanius continued to play his role in the cult right up-to his own death (though it is possible that he recognised Turel as a Vampire). The same cannot be said of Azimuth however, whose powers to explore other dimensions make her notably unlikely to have been unaware of the true nature of the 'Dark God' she worshipped; She is also heavily implicated in the summoning of Turel from the Soul Reaver era (presumably using the Time-streaming devices she held in Blood Omen) - this likely means that she was one of the few truly aware of Turel's role in the Hylden's plans and that he was not the "the true hash entity"*
- ↑ Hylden Lord: "Ah, Raziel, we meet again. You have played your part flawlessly. It is gratifying to attain both freedom and vengeance in a single stroke. "' Crystal Dynamics. Legacy of Kain: Defiance. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation 2. (November 11, 2003) Transcript.
- ↑ ~ The Hylden Gate implodes further. The Sarafan Lord lies dying. Kain leans on his sword. ~ // Sarafan Lord: "You have won the battle….but the war….between your kind and mine…will never end. Our banishment…in the demon dimension…also ensures our immortality….one day…we will shall return…." Crystal Dynamics. Blood Omen 2. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation 2. (March 19, 2002) Transcript.