|The Ignis Fatuus|
Ignis Fatuus as it appears in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.
|Introduced in||Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (1996)|
- "The Ignis Fatuus lights the path to Hell, nobleman. Your path."
The ignis fatuus (plural: ignes fatui) was a form of mystical light present in the Termogent Forest and the swamp areas. Lighting paths throughout the marshy realms, the fatui appeared as skull-adorned braziers wreathed in supernatural green flames. First introduced in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, they reappear in Soul Reaver 2, and can be briefly seen in the exterior of Vorador's Mansion when Raziel infiltrates it in Legacy of Kain: Defiance.
Ignis Fatuus first appeared in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, where they were used as a form of guidance for the young Kain to find Vorador's Mansion in the Blood Omen era. First mentioned in Find the Oracle, Moebius claimed that the ignes fatui lit the path to Hell (apparently referring to Vorador's home) when counseling Kain under the guise of the Oracle of Nosgoth.[BO1][BO1-C5]
Following this advice, Kain travelled into the Termogent Forest in the Vorador's Mansion chapter and found a trail of them winding through the swamp terrain and spiralling in towards Vorador's Mansion. Following the trail, Kain was guided to the home of the legendary vampire.[BO1][BO1-C6]
The Ignis Fatuus returned in Soul Reaver 2, although they were notably less functional and more decorative, used purely to provide lighting to the darkened swamp terrain and did not lead anywhere in particular. First appearing in Through the Swamp as Raziel explored the Pre-Blood Omen era, they were featured in the swamp area, which bordered the Termogent Forest and shared the same swampy terrain (as well as an appearance by Vorador).[SR2][SR2-C3] The Igniis Fatuus could be observed in the same area in the Post-Blood Omen era as Raziel travelled through time in A Fateful Meeting and again in Nosgoth's early history in On to the Past and Blade of Vengeance.[SR2][SR2-C5][SR2-C7][SR2-C9]
Ignis Fatuus were last seen briefly in Legacy of Kain: Defiance as Raziel travelled to Vorador's Mansion in the Blood Omen era in Find Vorador. Here the braziers could be briefly observed as Raziel came thorough the trail from the Termogent Forest but were not seen afterward unless Raziel backtracked.[DEF][DEF-C8]
- Ignis Fatuus is a real world phenomena, known also as Will-o'-wisp and Jack-o'-lantern, where glowing lights are seen over marshy land, caused by ignited swamp gas and often attributed in folklore and mythology to mischievous spirits attempting to lead travelers astray. The same folklore root is shared by the Blood Omen enemy class the Will-o-wisps.[BO1]
- Ignis Fatuus is directly named as such in dialogue in Kain's first conversation with Moebius - which is accompanied by a 'vision' of the lanterns. After this, they are never spoken of again and are not acknowledged in either stage directions or dialogue. likewise do not acknowledge them and they are only mentioned in passing in the Soul Reaver 2 prima guide as "burning braziers".[BO1][BO1-C5][BO1-C6]
- The Ignis Fatuus lanterns seen in the Swamp in Soul Reaver 2 are notably extinguished in the Post-Blood Omen era and are often accompanied at this time by other, more conventional fire-light lanterns. This perhaps suggests that they are somehow related to Vorador and are extinguished in periods beyond his death. Similarly Vorador's crows are absent from the era.[SR2][SR2-C5]
- Though hinted to lead in a trail through the Termogent Forest to Vorador's Mansion, the Ignis Fatuus lanterns in Blood Omen actually follow a more complicated pattern. A line leads along the north of the western map area and heads into the eastern area - following the spiralling path around to the mansion - however just before it reaches the eastern map a secondary trail of lanterns branches off to the south west towards the three 'keep' dungeons. Presumably this serves to guide the player to visiting each of the keeps before pressing on towards the mansion. Though the lanterns in Blood Omen (and apparently Defiance) clearly lead to Vorador's Mansion it is unclear whether the lanterns are intended to lead anywhere in Soul Reaver 2 - their placement seems more intended to highlight certain pathways and buildings than to guide to any particular one, however if this was the case then they could well point to the Dark forge (or the time streaming chamber nearby). Although it is not featured in the Soul Reaver 2 swamp area, Vorador's Mansion - which would be off the map to the north east - could also be a potential candidate. The Defiance version is little more than a decorative addition outside the playable map area of Vorador's Mansion.[SR2][SR2-C3][SR2-C5][SR2-C7][SR2-C9][DEF][DEF-C8]
- Ignis Fatuus notably undergo a subtle redesign between titles. Those seen in Blood Omen use human skulls, however those in Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance are bear fangs suggesting they are crafted from vampire skulls.[BO1][SR2][DEF]
- The origin of the Ignis Fatuus is never discussed and their appearances would seem to associate them with Vorador and his mansion. However the vampiric nature of the later skulls and the potential association with the Dark Forge may suggest an older origin.[BO1][SR2][DEF] The green flames are also somewhat reminiscent of the Glyph magic seen in Blood Omen 2.[BO2]