Kain as he appears in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.
|Introduced in||Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (1996)|
|Race||• Human (birth)|
• Unique vampire
|Birth era||• The pre-Blood Omen era|
|Status||• Inactive: time travel (as of the Soul Reaver era)|
• Inactive: deceased (as of the pre-Blood Omen era, pre-fourth timeline)
• Active (as of the Blood Omen era, fourth timeline)
|Titles||• Guardian of the Pillar of Balance|
• Leader of the Council
• De-facto emperor of Nosgoth
• The Scion of Balance (fourth timeline)
|Aliases||• The scourge of the Circle|
• The last Pillar
• The only survivor of the Circle of Nine
• Lord Kain
• The Balance Guardian
• The disrupter
• The pebble in the pond
• The Savior of Nosgoth
|Affiliation||• The Lion Throne|
• The Circle of Nine
• The Council
• Kain's empire
• Kain's vampire army (fourth timeline)
• The Cabal (fourth timeline)
|Binding item||• His soul|
|Native realm||• Material Realm|
|Voiced by||• Simon Templeman|
|Appearances||• • • • • •|
- "I knew what ominous hour this was in Nosgoth's history. For here was the event that had shaped my entire existence... I had cast my fate, refusing the sacrifice, damning the Pillars, and founding my doomed empire upon their ruins. I would raise the Sarafan priests to be my closest lieutenants, and would one day cast the strongest of them, my servant Raziel, into the abyss - dealing one last hand to play against Fate. But in the end, had it made any difference? Had I misread the signs, as Moebius told me? In my arrogance, had I missed my cast at destiny?"
Kain is the eponymous lead character and main protagonist of the Legacy of Kain series, who serves as a playable character in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Blood Omen 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance, and as the main antagonist of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. He is the Scion of Balance, and the last Guardian of the Pillar of Balance. Born into the privileged life of nobility, he was transformed into a vampire by the Necromancer Mortanius, and eventually came to embrace his unlife as a gift rather than a curse.
Transcending political manipulation and supernatural assailment, Kain would rise to become the de facto monarch of Nosgoth. Upon destroying the corrupted Circle of Nine and claiming the legendary Soul Reaver blade, Kain, as Nosgoth's last surviving vampire, was presented with a fatal dilemma; sacrifice himself to restore the world, or refuse the sacrifice to topple the Pillars of Nosgoth but ensure the survival of the vampire race. Resolving to find a means of escaping this rigged destiny, he spurned the former option, instead choosing to rule Nosgoth in its miasmatic state. When his first-born lieutenant, Raziel, transgressed against Kain, Kain reacted violently, ordering Raziel to be cast into the Lake of the Dead.
Unbeknownst to Raziel, Kain was dealing one last hand to play against his fate; by executing Raziel and ensuring his unique resurrection, he created a creature with free will. In manipulating Raziel and goading him through the past, he sought to alter history and redraw the map of Nosgoth's destiny, intending to see the Pillars restored and their ownership returned to their rightful vampire inheritors. As of Legacy of Kain: Defiance, he has yet to realize either goal, but bears hope for the future.
A Weary TravelerEdit
- "Vae Victus - suffering to the conquered. Ironic that now I was the one suffering. Not anything as pedestrian as physical pain. Rather the cruel jab of impotent anger - the hunger for revenge. I didn’t care if I was in Heaven or Hell - all I wanted was to kill my assassins."
Born a human in the pre-Blood Omen era, Kain - the son of an aristocratic family - grew up oblivious of his own momentous destiny within Nosgoth. Hailing from Coorhagen, the ambitious yet unknown and directionless nobleman lived a privileged life, in the shadow of a dying world. As he matured, he witnessed the rise of the Legions of the Nemesis in the north, aware of the impending threat they posed to the court of his allegiance, the Lion Throne.
Kain roamed the land, but one fateful journey would spell his demise. While he was a young man, thirty years old, he stopped at a tavern in Ziegsturhl, but was unable to secure a place for the night. "Forced to the road", he was ambushed by a band of brigands and cruelly murdered, impaled on his assassin's sword. Emerging trapped in the Underworld, still transfixed by his enemy's blade, his soul was offered a chance for vengeance by the Necromancer Mortanius, who guaranteed him "the blood [he hungered] for". Tormented, desperate, and heedless of his benefactor's ulterior motives, Kain recklessly accepted the offer without a second thought.
Awakening "to the pain of a new existence" in his own mausoleum, Kain realized the nature of his resurrection: he had been reborn as a vampire, finding "no comfort, only malice" in the embrace of the sun. Undeterred by hunger and weakness, he soon hunted down his assassins, killing each one and sating himself on their blood. Though certain that his quest was over, he was quickly corrected by Mortanius, who assured him that "these fools were merely the instruments of [his] murder, not the cause". Enticed by the Necromancer's words, and determined to seek a cure for the vampiric curse that afflicted him, Kain ventured to the Pillars of Nosgoth.
The Fate of this WorldEdit
- "My murder at the hands of this beast drove my love Nupraptor mad. Now he spreads misery and pain among the Circle, crumbling the very foundation of Nosgoth. You must restore balance. You must right the Pillars of Nosgoth."
When Kain arrived at the nine Pillars, he was met by the specter of Ariel - the former Guardian of the Pillar of Balance - bound there by the edifices' symbiotic corruption. Ariel told Kain that "there is no cure for death. Only release", but instructed him to destroy the sorcerers poisoning Nosgoth if he sought to realize peace. The Circle of Nine - the Pillars' sworn Guardians - had been driven to insanity by Nupraptor, the Mind Guardian and Ariel's bereaved lover, and now spread misery throughout the land. Though unconcerned for the fate of the world, Kain silently accepted the task before him, beginning his quest as the scourge of the Circle. As he departed, Ariel enigmatically warned him to "beware the Unspoken".
Seeking to eliminate Nupraptor, Kain passed through the humans' cities, commenting on Nosgoth's evident decay as he progressed, and gradually adapted to his new abilities; he could wield arcane spells, and could magically adopt the forms of the wolf and the bat at will. From Vasserbünde, he observed Nupraptor's Retreat, and resolved "to cut the cancer from its heart". After a short battle, Kain was able to decapitate Nupraptor. He returned to Ariel and placed her beloved's head before the Pillar of the Mind, cleansing it of corruption.
Kain next targeted Malek, the Conflict Guardian and Ward of the Circle. He returned to Coorhagen on his travels northward, with "no delusions" as to the impending welcome; the city had been struck by the Plague, offering him what he cynically described as "a perfect homecoming". Upon flying to Malek's Bastion via Bat Form, he found little respite in the harsh environment. He battled his way to Malek, but after a brief combat, the Paladin unleashed an unassailable spell of holy magic, forcing Kain to retreat. The vampire knew he would need further guidance to overcome his assailant, and, on Ariel's counsel, pursued the wisdom of the Oracle of Nosgoth.
The Path to HellEdit
- "A nobleman? Seeking wisdom? Death has taught you well."
In the Oracle's Cave, Kain refuted the elderly soothsayer's cryptic philosophy, angrily willing "a pox upon [his] tricks and babble", and demanding answers. Hinting at the plight of King Ottmar of Willendorf and the quandary of the Legions of the Nemesis, the Oracle explained that his path lay with that of Vorador - the vampire who defeated Malek in battle, centuries past. At Kain's urging, the old man steered him towards the Termogent Forest, inviting him to follow the glow of the Ignis Fatuus to Vorador's Mansion. He claimed it "lights the path to Hell, nobleman. Your path".
Kain was simulataneously impressed and repulsed by Vorador's decadent and luxurious tastes. The hedonistic elder vampire provided him "something worse than Hell. A vision of what [he] was becoming". Though Kain considered his newfound ally "boorish" and a "decadent old fool", Vorador was congenial, and quickly grew fond of the fledgling "despite [his] youthful arrogance". He instructed Kain not to concern himself with the affairs of man - the "cattle" - and offered him his Signet Ring, to summon him if in need of aid.
Kain's resolve to find a cure was only strengthened by this meeting. He now had "clear knowledge of what sort of monster [he] would become if [he] let my curse consume [him]". Traveling to Dark Eden, he pursued more of the Guardians; there, he encountered Anarcrothe, Bane and DeJoule, the Guardians of States, Nature and Energy, engaged in a plot "to twist the world". Though Anarcrothe escaped his blade, calling upon Malek, Kain was able to summon Vorador in retaliation, who overcame his old enemy once and for all. With the subsequent deaths of Bane, DeJoule and Malek, Kain restored three more of the Pillars.
One Wolf in the PackEdit
- "Gift? Pah! Vorador thought my curse a blessing. That we were gods and that mortals offered their blood as sacrifice so that we could enjoy our supernatural powers. And somewhere deep inside my new self I knew he was right. That mortal dreams were prayers. Prayers to us - begging for our power."
The autocratical city of Avernus, ruled by Azimuth the Planer, was Kain's next destination. Within its walls, he encountered demons setting the place, "paved in blood and flesh", on fire. "What would have appalled in [his] life," he observed, "only tempted [him] in death. Once [he] would have felt horror; now only hunger remained". Diligently cutting a path through the ruined metropolis to Avernus Cathedral, Kain could never have predicted the gravitas behind the weapon he would discover within. In the Cathedral's Heaven realm, he fatefully discovered and claimed the legendary Soul Reaver - his "kindred", he unwittingly mused.
Traversing the building, Kain confronted Azimuth, and, with "little trouble", felled her with a single blow from his newfound blade. Before restoring the Pillar of Dimension, he - not so coincidentally - recovered, from her person, a time-streaming device. His attention diverted by Ariel towards the Legions of the Nemesis, Kain chose to disregard Vorador's counsel. Growing increasingly "embroiled in human events", he accepted that he would need to explore the machinations of Moebius - the Guardian of Time - if his quest was ever to reach its end.
Drinking blood from the tomb of one of King Ottmar's forefathers in the Provincial Mines, Kain utilized his newly-gained Beguile enchantment to adopt the visage of a living nobleman. His audience with the beloved yet despondent Ottmar made his course clear; he would need to reclaim the soul of the Princess of Willendorf, trapped within a doll, from Elzevir the Dollmaker. In exchange, Willendorf's Army of the Last Hope would aid him against the Legions. After infiltrating the House of the Dollmaker in northern Nosgoth, Kain returned to the court with the soul and Elzevir's head; "Willendorf [was his], if [he] wished it".
The Tragic HeroEdit
- "The court of King Ottmar; shades of my former existence. Proud and self absorbed, surrounded by all the finery of the realm. Secure in their ignorance. As I walked among them I smirked thinking of the carnage that would befall them at the hands of the Legions of the Nemesis... the glorious flames, the inevitable rape and pillage."
Kain refused rulership of Willendorf; all he desired was Ottmar's army, to vanquish the descending Legions in the north. Ottmar immediately consented. Not long afterward, the Army of Hope and the Legions of the Nemesis met in the Battle of the Last Stand. Kain watched on as the "black tide" of his enemies marched forward, sating his thirst "on warriors of Horde and Hope alike" in the clamor. The fierce Nemesis armies "showed no signs of subsiding", and killed Ottmar before long, routing Willendorf's troops. Cornered and sure of defeat, Kain used his only means of escape - the time-streaming device.
Swept away from the Blood Omen era, Kain found himself fifty years in the past, in a time where the tyrannical Nemesis was but a benevolent boy-king: William the Just. Killing and reading the thoughts of a man-at-arms, he witnessed Moebius rallying William's people for an "onslaught". An idea blossomed in Kain's mind; if he assassinated William in this time, the Nemesis would never rise to threaten Nosgoth. Infiltrating the stronghold of William the Just, Kain overheard as Moebius warned William of his approach, and provided him weapons before departing.
Kain battled William, who was - unexpectedly - armed with the Soul Reaver. Though the battle was trying, Kain overwhelmed the future Nemesis with his own version of the legendary sword, breaking the blade of his enemy's Reaver and slaying William. The historical paradox created a new, altered timeline as he replenished his strength with the young king's blood. As William's guards rushed into the room, Kain recovered a second time-streaming device, which activated - sending him back to the Blood Omen era. Even with Moebius's pawn "removed from the game", Kain knew that there was "something amiss".
The Wreckage of HistoryEdit
- "Aye - you have seen my plan, vampire, as I have seen your destiny. The future says you die!"
Departing the ruined stronghold, Kain wandered south beyond Stahlberg. He smelled cheering and the scent of vampire blood, and was dismayed to learn "the folly fell upon [his] own shoulders. With their sainted King William dead by [his] hand, the people of the land were consumed by a hunger all their own - for vampire blood". Kain arrived at the scene just as Vorador, the last of the era's vampires in this altered timeline, was guillotined before a bloodthirsty mob at Moebius's command.
Kain now realized that Moebius had been the Oracle of Nosgoth; he had been manipulated all along. "How much of my quest was of his design?" he snarled. "Willendorf? The Battle of the Last Stand? William the Just? Was this the trap he had fashioned for me?" He fought off Moebius's mercenary army, and battled the Time Streamer himself. On his defeat, Moebius admitted to his role in altering history, and warned Kain of his destiny: he would die. Unconcerned, Kain answered "but I am dead", and beheaded Moebius: "as are you".
Mortanius congratulated Kain and summoned him to the Pillars. There, Kain witnessed a confrontation between the last of the Guardians - Mortanius himself, Guardian of Death, and Anarcrothe. Anarcrothe revealed that it was Mortanius who had "had Kain killed and turned him into a monster", setting the vampire upon the Circle. It had been "poisoned" by Nupraptor's insanity; only in its destruction could Nosgoth be redeemed. Mortanius killed Anarcrothe, and was confronted by Kain. The Necromancer embraced his fate, but warned the "princeling" that his death would "leave one more to take".
At My WhimEdit
- "I am the last Pillar. The only survivor of the Circle of Nine. At my whim the world will be healed or damned. At my whim."
On his defeat, Mortanius's flesh was transformed by the "Unspoken" Ariel had warned Kain of: the Dark Entity, who had murdered Ariel and orchestrated the corruption of the Pillars. Kain battled and defeated the monster, and eight of the nine Pillars stood restored. Finally, Ariel revealed the truth to him. He himself, all along, had been an ordained member of the Circle of Nine, its "only survivor": the Balance Guardian, born as Ariel's successor upon her death.
At the moment of his birth, Kain had been corrupted by Nupraptor's insanity; he too would need to die for the Pillars to be restored. Ariel presented him a fateful decision: sacrifice himself to redeem Nosgoth, but - as Nosgoth's last surviving vampire - ensure the vampires' extinction - or refuse the sacrifice, prolonging his own life and that of the vampire race, but securing Nosgoth's damnation. Disgusted by the machinations of the human sorcerers, Kain refused the sacrifice and embraced his curse at last, triggering the collapse of the Pillars.
Concluding with the epiphany that Vorador had been correct all along - that vampires were "dark gods" whose duty was "to thin the herd" - Kain established the unrestored Pillar of Balance as his throne, the seat of his new empire. He set out to reclaim his birthright to rule over all Nosgoth, but realized too late that "the health of the Pillars was tied inextricably into the health of the land. With the Pillars left unrestored, corruption seeped slowly into the land like a poison, turning his empire into an irredeemable wasteland".
- "Once I embraced my powers I realized that Vorador was correct. We are gods - dark gods - and it is our duty to thin the herd."
Seeking a third optionEdit
A Solitary ManEdit
- "Kain is deified. The Clans tell tales of Him. Few know the truth. He was mortal once, as were we all. However, His contempt for humanity drove him to create me, and my brethren."
Five centuries after the collapse of the Pillars, Kain's conquest of Nosgoth began in earnest: he had discovered a method of raising vampires, and "his first act was to recruit a cadre". Fostering an abject sense of contempt for the Sarafan and the holy wars they had engendered in humanity, he indulged in a well-calculated "blasphemous, private joke". Uncovering and plundering the Tomb of the Sarafan, he breathed portions of his soul energy into the ancient corpses of the six Sarafan commanders there interred, one by one. Kain's "gift" of energy drew their own souls back into their bodies: they were revived as fledgling vampires, wholly ignorant of their Sarafan roots due to the weathers of time.
The Council was formed. Under Kain's auspices, the reborn Raziel, Turel, Dumah, Rahab, Zephon and Melchiah raised vampire clans of their own, giving rise to a new generation of vampires. Within a century, humanity was "thoroughly domesticated", and the vampires' empire fully took hold, with Kain considered the ruler of all Nosgoth. Slaves were utilized to construct the Sanctuary of the Clans - an appropriate shrine to commemorate this "new renaissance" - around the Pillars. The Smokestack was crafted to shield the land "from the poisonous effects of the sun". As time passed, Kain's own history passed into tales and legend; the emperor was deified by vampire worshipers, with very few in Nosgoth aware of his origins as a mortal human.
Over the centuries, Kain and his vampire progeny pupated through evolutionary hibernation, "becoming less human" and more divine. Always, "Kain would enter the state of change and emerge with a new gift. Some years after the master, [his sons'] evolution would follow." One fateful day, however, a millennium after his resurrection, Raziel surpassed Kain, growing a set of batlike wings. Apparently acting on a "jealous whim", Kain violently tore the newly-fledged bones from Raziel's back before the Council, ordering his firstborn to be cast into the Lake of the Dead. Turel and Dumah obeyed his command as he turned away, bearing Raziel into the Abyss without question.
The Full Gravity of ChoiceEdit
- "Conscience...? You dare to speak to me of conscience? Only when you have felt the full gravity of choice should you dare question my judgment!
Your life's span is a flicker compared to the mass of doubt and regret that I have borne since Mortanius first turned me from the light... To know that the fate of the world hangs dependent on the advisedness of my every deed -- can you even begin to conceive what action you would take, in my position?"
- ―Kain — Listen (file info)[src]
After Raziel's demise, Kain retreated even further from life in Nosgoth, making himself "known only when he [saw] fit". He intervened little in the affairs of his vampire descendants, who became increasingly monstrous over their centuries of devolution. With the passing of time, he had grown more and more convinced of the irredeemable nature of the wasteland. He viewed his empire, descending into chaos and "wracked with cataclysms", as fundamentally "corrupt and failing". Though still bent on ruling Nosgoth, he appreciated that restoring the Pillars, and the health of the land, was crucial to his ambition.
Unbeknownst to Raziel, Kain had always been anticipating his son's return from the Abyss. Five centuries after his execution - roughly two millennia after the collapse of the Pillars - Raziel was resurrected by the Elder God, and returned to Nosgoth's Material Realm as a wraith, galvanized with rage against his former master's "hypocrisy". By all appearances, it seemed that Kain had had his clan eradicated, leaving behind only "a world of fear". After slaying the highly-devolved Melchiah, Raziel was able to gain entry to the Sanctuary of the Clans, where he found Kain, clearly awaiting his arrival.
Raziel denounced Kain's "act of genocide" as "unconscionable", but Kain remarked that "what [he had] made, [he could] also destroy". Riled, he belittled Raziel's talk of conscience, decrying that "only when you have felt the full gravity of choice should you dare to question my judgment". When Raziel stated that he would choose integrity in Kain's position, Kain responded with laughter. He invited Raziel to "see what [had] become of [their] empire" - to "witness the end of an age. The clans, scattered to the corners of Nosgoth". Proclaiming that both his empire and Raziel had "outlasted [their] usefulness", he drew the Soul Reaver.
To Know the FutureEdit
- "To know the future, Raziel - to see its paths and streams tracing out into the infinite...
As a man, I could never have contained such forbidden truths.
But each of us is so much more than we once were.
Do you not feel with all your soul how we have become like gods?
And as such, are we not indivisible? As long as a single one of us stands, we are legion..."
A brief battle ensued, and Kain gained the upper hand, bringing Raziel to his knees with magical lightning. He smashed the Soul Reaver down against Raziel's body, and the blade, which was believed indestructible, shattered on impact - unable to consume its own soul, as Kain knew. Not stunned, but "strangely satisfied with this shocking outcome", Kain disappeared with the assurance that they were now "a step closer to [their] destinies". Raziel was encouraged to destroy Kain by both Ariel and the Elder God, and driven to even deeper indignation upon learning of his Sarafan heritage.
Rahab claimed that Kain had forewarned him of his own destruction, but only when Raziel pursued Kain to the Chronoplast, having murdered four of his brothers, did the two meet again. Kain joked that he imagined Raziel would have arrived sooner, and revealed more of his motivations. He had first stolen into the Chronoplast centuries ago, some time before Raziel's execution, and saw Nosgoth's history and future: "its paths and streams tracing out into the infinite" revealed "forbidden truths" he could never have contained as an ordinary man. Fatalistically certain that "free will is an illusion", and resolute in the belief that "we each play out the parts fate has written for us", he was now aware of the truth behind Moebius's prediction. The future was always predestined, he argued, activating the Chronoplast's mechanisms as he talked.
Raziel, focused only on vengeance, fought Kain, but Kain effortlessly held him off. In response to Raziel's condemnation of Kain's actions, Kain knowingly replied: "who better to serve me than those whose passion transcends all notions of good and evil"? He stated with confidence that the agenda of the Sarafan had been the same as the Council's, mocking Raziel before passing through the active Chronoplast portal, into the pre-Blood Omen era of his birth. "Fate promises more twists before this drama unfolds completely", he affirmed as Raziel chased after him. When he emerged, Kain traveled to the uncorrupted Pillars, certain that Raziel would follow.
Crude and Ill-conceivedEdit
- "You said it yourself, Kain – there are only two sides to your coin."
Warning Raziel not to trust in the designs of Moebius, Kain addressed his former lieutenant moments before his own, human birth. The Pillars stood "pristine, whole, and uncorrupted" as he spoke, advising the wraith to "stay out of [Moebius]'s net". Moebius had snatched Raziel from the time-stream and attempted to conspire with him in Kain's murder; though Raziel distrusted the Time-Streamer, he was prepared to slay Kain, believing that "Balance [would] thus be restored to Nosgoth". Foreshadowing his own fate, Kain divulged that he had "seen the beginning and the end" of their story, and that the tale was "crude and ill-conceived". He wished to "rewrite the ending of it".
Kain delayed Raziel, entreating for him to listen as he narrated the corruption and collapse of the Pillars. Elsewhere in Nosgoth, as Ariel died at the Dark Entity's hand, he urged Raziel to "be still" - to "see this". Before their eyes, the Pillars cracked and corroded, turning gray. The Elder Kain tensed, absorbing the psychic attack of Nupraptor's insanity once more. He regarded the repercussions of Ariel's assassination as "expertly calculated", believing that the game was "rigged". Raziel admonished his lack of courage, contending that Kain's hand had "faltered when it came to the final sacrifice", but the angered Kain challenged Raziel's own morals, responded that he had counted on his "reckless indignation".
Analogizing his future dilemma at the Pillars to the fall of a two-sided coin, Kain surprised Raziel by confirming that he, too, wished the Pillars to be restored. He claimed that they belonged to the vampires, and hinted at his quest to find a "third option" - "a monumental secret, hidden in [Raziel]'s very presence here". Raziel uniquely possessed free will due to his resurrection; Kain wished to manipulate Raziel into triggering further historical paradoxes, derailing Nosgoth's timeline in hopes of reclaiming his original destiny. This "edge of the coin" was his gambit against Moebius's artificial fate for him, he suggested, before disappearing once more.
The Rapture and the TragedyEdit
In the same era, when Raziel returned to the Sarafan Stronghold after obtaining the Light Reaver, he discovered the fresh corpse of a vampire hunter swordsman; he knew that Kain was nearby. Standing before the sarcophagus of William the Just, the Soul Reaver laid across it, Kain assured Raziel that "everything is decided here". He justified his sense of fatalism, explaining that "history is irredeemable" - that their presence here did not "alter history", that they had "always met here". Calmly describing his murder of William the Just in a reverie, and explaining the Reaver-convergence, he handed the material Soul Reaver to Raziel.
Kain knew Moebius had been right: that he was historically destined to die here, slain by Raziel. Realizing he had the power to kill Kain, but not really intending to do so, Raziel brandished the blade. Suddenly, the pull of history took hold, trying to force the free-willed Raziel to strike Kain down. Kain desperately appealed to Raziel to fight it. "This moment does not have to be an ending", he argued: "it can become a prelude". Raziel struggled to maintain control of the sword, and sundered it downward, violently. Kain winced - sure that he had failed - but, as the dust settled, they realized that the sword had missed Kain by mere inches, embedded in William's sarcophagus.
In disbelief, his destiny altered, Kain could only issue a weak joke: "poor William". Raziel's monumental refusal to kill Kain at the Stronghold derailed the continuum of history again, which was altered to form a third timeline. Recovering, Kain was sure that they could "restore" themselves and "reclaim [their] intended destinies" - that he could "assume [his] role as Balance Guardian and return the Pillars to their rightful inheritors". Disgusted at Kain's congratulations, Raziel stalked away. Kain amicably urged him to discover his own truths, and continued that "there is much more for you to unearth, if you have the heart for the truth and the will to see it".
The Descent into MadnessEdit
- "Well, they’re certainly trying to eliminate you, Kain, there can be no doubt of that.
I am assaulted relentlessly with demands for your demise.
Whatever it is that you’re plotting, they’re scared to death of you.
As for me, I suspect they made a grave error when they allowed my unique resurrection.
I don’t think they know how to destroy me."
- ―Raziel — Listen (file info)[src]
Kain met Raziel once again when they crossed time to reach the post-Blood Omen era, a century after the Pillars' collapse. Raziel's lust for vengeance was now somewhat tempered, and, with good humor, they jested that there would be "no drama this time" - Kain was simply biding his time. They stood before the collapsed facade of Janos Audron's Retreat; Kain confirmed that Janos Audron was the key to Raziel's destiny, but warned that they were both "in great danger". They were "irritants" to be eliminated, both historically and in the eyes of their enemies. Though aware of these malevolent forces, Kain was still unsure who was "pulling the strings", and advised Raziel to "tread very carefully".
He traveled back in time to Nosgoth's early history, to coincide with the slaughter of the Circle - planning a final dramatic alteration to time. In the Stronghold's Chapter House, he watched on with intense fascination as Raziel's destiny came full circle. On killing his own, human former self, Raziel was transfixed by the Reaver and the wraith blade, his soul being drained away. Straining, he realized his torturous fate - he, all along, had been the ravenous soul-devouring entity within the blade. Kain approached, with intensity, and - amidst Raziel's agonized condemnations - urged the wraith to "give in" to the Reaver's pull.
As Raziel's strength failed, his soul hovering outside and inside the sword, a moment of temporal distortion was generated: the "edge of the coin". With a massive effort, Kain paradoxically wrenched the Reaver from Raziel's body, postponing his fate and changing history once again. Exhausted, but triumphant, Kain cried that now Raziel was free to reclaim his true destiny. However, as the timestream warped around them, this third paradox replacing the third timeline with a fourth, a look of dawning horror presented itself on Kain's face. New memories bloomed and died as Kain's - and Nosgoth's - history was revised, and he realized he "may have just made a terrible mistake".
My Cast at DestinyEdit
- "And then... a growing sense of vertigo, and the familiar displacement –
– the paradoxical moment when my twinned soul hovered both outside and inside the Reaver blade...
This was the instant – the glimmer of temporal distortion – Kain had been counting on all along.
This was the edge of the coin – the minute flicker of probability upon which Kain had gambled everything."
- ―Raziel — Listen (file info)[src]
History settled, but Kain remained awestruck and horrified, realizing the fatal price that had been paid to restore Raziel's future. "My god... the Hylden... we walked right into their trap..." he whispered, aghast. With a sudden realization, he attempted to warn Raziel not to revive Janos Audron. "Janos must stay dead", he commanded, but his effort was futile. Drained to the point of near-annihilation, Raziel sank into the depths of the Spectral Realm, beyond Kain's sight. Still confounded by his own folly, and frantically determined to prevent Janos's resurrection, the Elder Kain collected the vacant Reaver blade and departed.
The paradox Kain had triggered introduced severe revisions to his past. Following the collapse of the Pillars, he had sought to gain control of Nosgoth, but found that he did not yet possess the means to raise vampires. At some point, he encountered and allied with the mysteriously-resurrected Vorador, who sired a new generation of vampires, providing him with an army. Their exploits incited the rise of opposition: the revived Sarafan order was formed, and a vampire-Sarafan war ensued between both factions which endured for decades. Within two centuries after the Pillars' fall, Kain and his army had begun their path of conquest through southern Nosgoth, taking Ziegsturhl, Freeport and Provance in quick succession.
At the battle of Meridian, Kain was betrayed by his lieutenant Sebastian, whose ambush cost him the battle against his rival - the Sarafan Lord. Defeated and knocked off a cliff to his apparent demise, Kain was stripped of the Soul Reaver, his ambitions thwarted. However - not for the first, or last, time - he was not dead. His unconscious body, with "the barest thread of life", was recovered by agents working for Vorador, and nurtured. The Sarafan redoubled their purge, reducing the vampire population to a small resistance movement known as the Cabal. Two hundred years after his defeat, the Cabal - distrustful of his ambitions, but driven by necessity - revived Kain.
A Petty NobleEdit
- "From the shards of tattered dreams I rose, unwilling, tossed upon tides of pain that flowed and ebbed, and left me – searingly – awake, and – more revoltingly – alive."
Awakening in a tower within Meridian, with his mind and memories "in fragments, like shattered glass", Kain met Umah - one of the Cabal's lieutenants - for the first time. Barely recalling his past, and deprived of most of his skills, he was wary of manipulation, but bent on destroying the Sarafan Lord and the vampires who had pledged allegiance to his cause. Umah took him through the Slums to feed, re-training him in combat, traversal and the use of dark gifts as they went.
As they tried to enter the Lower City to meet her leader, they were spotted by a glyph guard. Separated from Umah by a ward gate, Kain was left to his own devices. Though he was "alone at last, in a city changed beyond all recognition, in a land that was under a curse", he conceded that the answers promised to him in Sanctuary were currently preferable to going his own way. As he made his way towards the Grand Hotel and through the Smuggler's Den, he was unwittingly being followed by Faustus, a former legionnaire in his army turned Sarafan agent.
Confronted near the entrance to the Lower City, Kain easily slew the traitor, and proceeded impatiently towards his goal. On his passage through the city, Kain encountered - but failed to recognize - Sebastian, who was feeding messily on humans next to the City Reformatory; the "sloppy butcher" escaped Kain after a brief conversation. On reaching Sanctuary beneath Blue Lady Curios, Kain finally discovered the identity of Cabal's leader: it was Vorador himself. The two exchanged harsh words, somewhat distrustful of one another, but united in their common goal to eliminate the Sarafan. Before they could discuss much, an injured Cabal vampire burst in, announcing that Umah had been captured.
The Lust for Vengeance and PowerEdit
- "How sickened I had become with weary admonitions of safety and care. How I longed to rend the flesh of my one true enemy, how I thirsted for the taste of his life's blood on my lips."
Desiring the information Umah had obtained from the Industrial Quarter, Kain agreed to infiltrate the Sarafan Keep, using "the power to disguise [his] presence". Sent to the Upper City by Vorador, he sought to meet with the Bishop of Meridian, who knew of a way into the fortress. As he negotiated the streets, he found his path blocked by Marcus - another "old friend" who had offered himself to the Sarafan Lord's cause. Kain resisted Marcus's attempts at controlling his mind, but the "novice" succeeded in gleaning his objective - finding the Bishop.
Chasing him across the city and fending off Sarafan guards, Kain stunned Marcus using the bells of Meridian Cathedral, then killed him and saved the Bishop from his ensorcelment. Guided to a secret entrance, he was able to infiltrate the Sarafan Keep. Disregarding Vorador's warnings "of safety and care", he breached the uppermost reaches of the building and freed Umah from her chains. As they escaped, they were met by the Sarafan Lord himself; Kain recognized the Soul Reaver, the "prize [he] had won a lifetime ago". Incredulous that Kain still lived, the Sarafan Lord blasted his old foe with a Reaver bolt, professing that the vampire's "death [was] fated at [his] hands".
Enraged and eager to fight the Lord, Kain resisted Umah's cautions. Before he could draw battle, Umah teleported the two of them to safety in Sanctuary, where he admitted that his enemy was "a touch more powerful than [he] expected". Umah revealed her findings: she spoke of the Nexus Stone, an artifact the Sarafan Lord had used to nullify the power of the Reaver in the Battle of Meridian. Now understanding how his defeat in the war had been facilitated, Kain resolved to steal the Stone from the Industrial Quarter. In its Main Factory, he would cross paths with Sebastian for the final time.
The Pathos of the ProtagonistEdit
- "So I see. Kain, the disrupter. The pebble in the pond, who destroys all he touches."
- ―The Seer[src]
"Once again", Kain "began to feel the obligations of power, to deal justice fairly to all". His memories were largely restored by now; he knew Sebastian's visage in the light, and recalled his betrayal. They battled for the Nexus Stone, and Kain emerged victorious. He offered to spare Sebastian's life, but the dying vampire refuted his mercy. Sebastian's final words warned him of a Device buried beneath Meridian that would spell victory for the Sarafan Lord. Disappointed in his betrayer - lamenting that "not everyone shared [his] vision" - Kain claimed the Stone, and narrowly survived the factory's destruction thanks to a Cabal ally.
In the Canyons, Kain pursued the Seer for knowledge on the Device. She claimed to know him "better than [he] knew [himself]", presciently addressing him as "the pebble in the pond". Although initially reluctant to help him, she quickly sensed his conviction, and allowed him to drink her blood before teleporting him to the Device. As Kain entered, he was greeted by "a being whose existence was entwined with [his] far more than [he] could ever imagine". The imprisoned Beast, though monstrous, was complicit; it knew and admired Kain by reputation, and assisted his plans to destroy the Device.
The Beast informed Kain of the Device's Builder, and he visited the "timeless" Eternal Prison. He met the withered creature deep within, and drank his blood, attaining the capacity to destroy the superweapon. On his retreat from the hellish place, he was dogged by a mad vampire, who forced him into combat before he could leave. It transpired that this was Magnus, his former champion, whom he had mistakenly considered another traitor. On learning that Magnus had instead secretly tried (but failed) to assassinate the Sarafan Lord before the Battle of Meridian, he granted his "champion" an amicable death. "Go, my friend. Be free. As the rest of us, living or dead, can never be", he uttered.
Seared to Smoke and AshesEdit
- "Vorador has told me all your stories, Kain. He said that you would stop at nothing to achieve your great ambition: absolute power. And when you control Nosgoth, are we to believe that you would let us vampires live, and "do what we wish?" We are the only ones who could stand in your way. No, you will have to hunt us down and kill us, and how is that different from the rule of the Sarafan Lord?"
Descending into the Device, Kain managed to poison the Mass within, and thus ensured the weapon's destruction. When he returned, he found that the Beast, now unsuppressed, had regained its true form: that of Janos Audron. Janos explained Kain's folly: the Sarafan Lord was a leader among the Hylden, a race which opposed the ancient vampires of yore, and were banished to the Demon Realm with the summoning of the Pillars of Nosgoth. When Kain had refused the sacrifice and destroyed the Pillar of Balance, he had enabled this Hylden Lord to enter the Material Realm and pursue his conquest of Nosgoth.
Returning to Sanctuary, the vampires convened. Janos compelled Vorador to plan a final assault on the Hylden City, while Kain and Umah traveled to the Wharves in hopes of deactivating the City's shield. Kain was displeased by Umah's accompaniment, wary of further treachery - he felt that "help offered when not needed is usually no help at all". At the Wharves, Umah voiced her doubts over Kain's potential empire, and stole the Nexus Stone from him. Outraged, and mistakenly convinced that Umah, like the other vampires he had slain, was a Sarafan spy, he pursued and killed her for her treachery, lamenting that she "could have been [his] queen".
Once at the Hylden City, Kain exchanged slander with the Hylden Lord, shocking his adversary by producing the Nexus Stone. He deactivated the Shield Generator, enabling Janos and Vorador to teleport inside. An argument developed between Vorador and Kain regarding Umah's fate, but as their dispute escalated, the Hylden Lord attacked, temporarily disabling Janos and Vorador. Kain was forced to progress alone, and soon reached the Hylden Gate. There, the Hylden Lord commended his enemy's perseverence, but refuted any affiliation with Umah. Denying his words, Kain attacked.
To the Victor go the SpoilsEdit
- "The war was over. And yet there was another still to be fought. The cruel masters of Nosgoth, the Sarafan, now leaderless, still had to be put down. There were cities to be rebuilt, and order be restored. And a new rule, my rule, would then begin. To the victor go the spoils. At last, Nosgoth would be mine."
Unable to force the Hylden General back into the Demon Realm, Kain "made [his] choice": he cast the Nexus Stone into the Gate, ensuring that the Hylden invaders would perish, but forgoing his protection against the Soul Reaver. They fought as the structure collapsed, Kain holding his enemy at bay using his Immolate powers. Just as the Reaver went sprawling, Janos Audron teleported into the fray, and grappled with the Hylden leader, but was cast into the Gate himself. Finally in possession of his sword, Kain was able to dispatch the Hylden Lord. As the Gate exploded, he strode away, contemplating Umah's distrust, and his plans for empire.
Just as in previous iterations of history, Kain would raise the long-deceased Sarafan warrior inquisitors a century later, and dominated Nosgoth within a millennium. He came to believe he was the mythological Scion of Balance; seeking a third option, he would save Raziel from entering the Reaver at the pivotal moment in the Sarafan Stronghold. However, in this fourth timeline, with this revised history, the Elder Kain was compelled to prevent Raziel from resurrecting Janos Audron. "Much more [was] at stake in this" than Raziel knew: Kain felt that Janos's resurrection would lead to an unacceptable resolution for their respective fates.
Having failed to find Raziel in Nosgoth's early history, Kain returned to the Stronghold a few years after the slaughter of the Circle, hoping to extract information from Moebius. Inside, he discovered and claimed the Balance Emblem. When he met Moebius in his subterranean chamber, though, the Time-Streamer gained the advantage, using his staff to disable the elder vampire. Joking that it had been a long time, he berated the incapacitated Kain, "still so arrogant after all these years". He dismissed Kain's beliefs in the role of the Scion as "messianic delusions", left him armed with the Reaver, and exited.
That Myth of Vampire ProphecyEdit
- "There was a time when you might have heeded wise counsel when it was offered. Now, your vanity has made you witless. You will have to learn the truth for yourself."
Undeterred, Kain obtained the Flame fragment of the Balance Emblem, and followed Moebius to the Stronghold's tower. He set the agenda this time, using telekinesis to rip away Moebius's Staff. Discussing Raziel's free will, Moebius chided Kain's manipulation of history as "pathetic", assuring him that he had "written [his] own death sentence": driven by fate or not, Raziel would kill him. Before its end, Kain's interrogation yielded an inkling of proof: Moebius sent him "west of the Pillars", where he would find "a testament written in stone". Dubious, Kain reflected that "stones, too, can lie".
At the Pillars, Kain considered his path. He happened upon the Dimension fragment, and, following Moebius's directions, he was able to find a vista overlooking a shrouded lake. With the Balance Emblem, he cleared the waters' mists to reveal the hidden Vampire Citadel at its heart. Therein, seeking information on his own destiny as Scion of Balance as well as Raziel's, he discovered a mural depicting two champions who would determine the fate of Nosgoth: one aligned to the vampires, the other to the Hylden. "The foretold outcome was unambiguous: the vampire hero would fall."
Exploring the Citadel further, Kain unearthed an image of the Human Guardians' revolt which divulged a "surprising discovery": Moebius had led the revolt against the ancient vampires, which resulted in their downfall. "Now I understood why Moebius hated me so intensely", Kain commented: "I was the first vampire Guardian in all these centuries – and he knew what my coming signified… or perhaps I reminded him of all he had forsaken". With the Lightning and Dimension fragments in tow, Kain proceeded to unseal the Citadel's inner chamber, which proffered even further revelations.
My Role as Scion of BalanceEdit
- "'Woe to the conquered' - I have found the Heart of Darkness. And you - go to oblivion."
Inspecting a mural depicting the Wheel of Fate, Kain was suddenly addressed by an unfamiliar, disembodied voice. It was a being claiming to be "the Oracle of [his] ancestors", offering him knowledge of his "creature". It revealed that, as Kain feared, Raziel had found Janos Audron's body in the Blood Omen era and was journeying to Avernus in search of the Heart of Darkness. Summoning a portal, it offered to transport Kain to the time of Raziel's arrival. Kain knew that the so-called Oracle was "not to be trusted", but resigned himself to its help, fearing the implications of Raziel's actions.
Arriving at Avernus Cathedral at the appropriate hour, Kain encountered Raziel, who was now also aware of the foretold vampire and Hylden messiahs. Fuelled by influence from recently devouring Turel's soul, Raziel believed he was the Hylden champion, and - fearing his destiny to enter the Reaver, which Kain possessed - was set on fighting Kain. Goaded, and believing they were the "prophecied heroes", the two clashed. At length, Raziel wounded Kain, and they gripped one another. Raziel's soul began to drain out through Kain and into the Reaver blade, astonishing them both.
Though Kain had "no intention" of imprisoning Raziel in the sword, Raziel reacted with horror and rage. He tore his claw into Kain's chest, aborting his absorption, and ripping out the Heart of Darkness. "Woe to the conquered", Raziel cried, condemning Kain to "go to oblivion". Stunned by agony and the revelation that he had possessed Janos's heart all along, ever since his resurrection at Mortanius's hands, Kain was powerless to prevent Raziel from telekinetically blasting him backward. Swallowed up into one of Avernus's dimensional rifts, Kain disappeared, apparently slain.
However, unbeknownst to his enemies, Kain lived. Though robbed of his heart, he soon awoke, alive and still armed with the Reaver, in the Demon Realm. Haunted by the voices of several Hylden and assailed by demons, he battled his way to a portal, and emerged in the Material Realm in the Avernus Catacombs.
A Protector of HopeEdit
- "The two become one - both Soul Reavers - together - and the Scion of Balance is healed. And I -- am not your enemy - not your destroyer - I am, as before, your right hand. Your sword."
Unknowingly drawn by the pull of the activated Spirit Forge, Kain returned to the Vampire Citadel in haste. There, he discovered Moebius, recently resurrected from the battle with Kain's younger self in this era. The Time-Streamer was shocked by Kain's inexplicable survival, and his immunity to the Staff; Kain delighted in his dismay, quipping that "I always was considered heartless". He killed Moebius once again, sending the old "deceiver" to the Spectral Realm. Soon afterward, as Kain examined the Staff, Moebius's corpse rose again. Kain impaled it on the Reaver just as it transformed, to his great distress: the body was a vessel for Raziel.
Ultimately reaffirming his allegiance to a shocked Kain, Raziel sacrificed himself to the Reaver. As his soul leeched into the blade, he placed his right hand on Kain's chest, allowing the wraith blade to disperse into his body. Its purifying energy finally cleansed Kain of the corruption of the Pillars, healing him of all injuries, and enabling him to see the "true enemy": the oracle of the ancient vampires, now revealed as the Elder God. As Raziel proclaimed himself "not [Kain's] enemy - not [his] destroyer", but instead, as before, his "right hand. [His] sword", his soul was drained completely, and the Soul Reaver was formed.
Horrified by the monstrosity he faced, Kain slashed at the Elder God, severing its tentacles. They skirmished briefly as the Spirit Forge began to collapse, sundered by the "false god". Defeating, but not destroying, the Elder, Kain teleported out of the Forge, ignoring its threats: he advised it only to "burrow deep". Safe, but melancholic, he looked out upon the landscape of Nosgoth, and at the "smoldering wreck of the Pillars in the distance". With his enemy revealed to him, and his goal made clear, he could only reflect on Raziel's sacrifice and the gifts it had bestowed; on the Soul Reaver, his newfound vision, and - "most ironic of all" - how it had finally given him hope.
- "Now, at last, the masks had fallen away. The strings of the puppets had become visible, and the hands of the prime mover exposed. Most ironic of all was the last gift that Raziel had given me, more powerful than the sword that now held his soul, more acute even than the vision his sacrifice had accorded me - the first bitter taste of that terrible illusion: Hope."
Blood Omen: Legacy of KainEdit
- "The game was rich in drama and mythology, and it cast the player in the role of Kain, an intelligent and cynical medieval nobleman, who is turned to the accursed life of a vampire. His destiny becomes inextricably entangled in a plot to control the fate of a world, named Nosgoth, that, over the coming years, gamers all around the world would find themselves increasingly drawn to."
- ―Richard Lemarchand
The character of Kain was originally conceived circa 1993 by Silicon Knights' president, Denis Dyack, as the protagonist of The Pillars of Nosgoth, an initial outline and concept for what would become Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. He was modeled in part on William Munny, the protagonist of Clint Eastwood's 1992 film Unforgiven, with the intention of creating an anti-hero suitable to "a game where the player is put in the position where everyone believes you are evil, perhaps even yourself", in "a world where you had to kill innocents to survive [...] [in which] you are the ultimate pawn".
During development, his role and personality were further expanded and revised by scriptwriter Ken McCulloch, Silicon Knights' employees, and publisher Crystal Dynamics' Sheatiel Sarao, Seth Carus and Jon Curry. Early concept sketches suggest a more elderly and grotesque depiction of Kain was considered in contrast to the final result. For some of the production phase, his human incarnation had blond hair, before being changed to black for the retail release. The character was not named Kain at first; this rename was a revision from McCulloch's first drafts of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain's script, though the original moniker is not publicly known.
Legacy of Kain: Soul ReaverEdit
- "For the sequel, we assumed the latter - Kain embraces his vampire nature, and establishes himself as a "dark god", subjugating Nosgoth to his rule. We thought it would be interesting to fast foward a millennia or two, to see what Kain's decision engendered."
- ―Amy Hennig
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver introduced the Elder Kain incarnation of the character. Elder Kain conceptually originated as the unnamed "master", the antagonist of a game proposal independent of Legacy of Kain named Shifter, devised by Crystal Dynamics' Amy Hennig and Seth Carus, and inspired by angelic and Biblical themes. In Shifter, this master was to be the overlord and leader of the main character and his brethren; after being "thrown down" by these individuals, the main character would return "to hunt them down". A variety of concept artworks for the protagonist and the antagonist were produced by artist Arnold Ayala before the Shifter project was reworked into the Legacy of Kain universe. The protagonist character became Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's Raziel, and Kain returned to adopt the antagonist's role.
For this sequel, Hennig explained the choice to abandon Kain as the lead character: "At the end of Blood Omen, Kain was presented with a decision: he could sacrifice himself and thereby save the world; or, in choosing to preserve his own life, he could damn the world. For the sequel, we assumed the latter - Kain embraces his vampire nature, and establishes himself as a "dark god", subjugating Nosgoth to his rule. We thought it would be interesting to fast foward a millennia or two, to see what Kain's decision engendered." She clarified, however, that "Kain is by no means a monster or mustache-twirling villain, though - in many ways, he's a more complex and sympathetic character than Raziel himself."
Kain's symbol was introduced in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, and was conceived by artist Daniel Cabuco "to represent his arrogance (the Crown) and his vamprism (the Fangs)". In early production stages, Kain was depicted with Raziel's symbol. Cabuco commented on his finalized appearance: "I designed old Kain to be a reflection of many apects. One was that he is sees himself as a 'Dark God' and that revealed itself as a crown. That's what the deal is with his bony forhead and ears." According to Cabuco, Elder Kain is about 6'8 feet tall. In an attempt to aesthetically tie him back to his Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain past, Cabuco portrayed Kain with Vorador's Signet Ring, with Hennig's approval.
As covered by the Gaming Intelligence Agency and The Lost Worlds, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver initially called for Kain's death at Raziel's hands. The originally-designed intention, truncated due to time constraints, was for Raziel to pursue Kain further into Nosgoth following the Chronoplast events; he would ultimately slay his former master with the Soul Reaver at Kain's Mountain Sanctuary. Dialogue was fully recorded for these events, and remains unused in the retail product's files. Hennig confirmed to GameSpot that "for reasons that seem to be infamous, that was not the originally intended ending for the first game": "I would've liked to have ended it more elegantly than we did. I really wanted to end the game with a final confrontation between Raziel and Kain." She felt, however, that the change in plan "ultimately [...] turned out to be a very good thing for the series".
Soul Reaver 2Edit
- "Crystal has a huge investment in Kain as a character, we're not writing him off as some sort of villain, a nasty villain guy. Hopefully we'll get to this in Soul Reaver 2 and people will understand, but I mean there's a lot more to this story than would meet the eye."
- ―Amy Hennig
Despite fans' expectations, Kain stepped back from the role of antagonist for Soul Reaver 2. By then, Hennig's "personal perception of Kain himself [had] actually changed over the years", such that "in some ways [she found] him an even more attractive and interesting character than Raziel because there's more complexity to him".
Dissatisfied with the term "villain", she described his function in the game as "the steadfast character that's going to alter the protagonist's perception of reality", coming to the story from a position of knowledge in contrast to Raziel's position of ignorance. In interviews, she explained that "Crystal has a huge investment in Kain as a character, we're not writing him off as some sort of villain, a nasty villain guy". Drawing from Joseph Campbell's ideas, she perceived that "the only way a hero can ever succeed is by following his own path. As long as he's following a path laid out by someone else, ultimately he's going to fail. He's not going to reach the 'grail', so to speak. That's one way I've chosen to interpret the first game. Kain, because of his decisions, was doomed to failure. Even if inadvertently, he was always carrying out other people's wishes and failed to forge his own path - even when he thought he was".
Prior to release, Hennig re-iterated: "there's villainy in Raziel, and there's heroism in Kain", but assured fans that "Kain is very much the focus of the series, though". Analyzing his portrayal in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, she rationalized: "if you remove the melodrama and just look at the human elements of his character, you can see that he's flawed. Depending on how you look at things you could call him a tragic hero or an anti-hero. In my opinion, characters painted as 'true villains' just aren't interesting. They're too two-dimensional; no one is ever really so uncomplicated. Everyone always has their motives for what they're doing - everybody believes they're doing the right thing within their belief system. Kain is basically screwed by his own character flaws - which is more interesting than the idealized hero figure".
When reminded that Kain's "been a pretty nasty sonofabitch", she elaborated that "no bad boy ever thinks he's a bad boy [...] Basically Kain is just pissed off because he was wronged. He realizes that he was really screwed over again and again. Everything that happened to him was the result of someone else's machinations. That's why he's such a fatalist. That's why he believes there is no such thing as free will".
Blood Omen 2Edit
- "Kain was again shown as a "younger" vampire--a vampire who was lithe, devious, and thirsty for blood."
- ―Richard Lemarchand
Blood Omen 2 reintroduced the younger Kain as a playable character. Its developers elected to place more emphasis on Kain's "powerful and ruthless" personality traits than previous games; lead designer Mike Ellis interpreted him as "powerful, arrogant, calculating, and ruthless, not to mention a megalomaniac", and compared him to Final Fantasy VI's Kefka Palazzo and Revolver Ocelot of the Metal Gear series. Producer Sam Newman described him as "a very unique character. He doesn't fit to the generic character molds you find in many other games, books and movies. He's not good, he's not necessarily evil -- Kain does as Kain believes. If that happens to help or hinder others as a side effect is of no concern to him."
Intending to showcase Kain's rise to power, and faced with design issues - considering his wealth of abilities and equipment by the conclusion of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain - the developers expanded on his backstory, placing the game 400 years after the events of the original title, and adding the vampire-Sarafan war and the vampire army to his history. As a result, "the most powerful weapon in the LOK universe wasn't freely available", and his "near-death experience and a 200-year hibernationlike period also provided [them] with a reason why Kain didn't retain all of his original powers". Meridian's humans served to "demonstrate just how frightening and powerful Kain was" to the player: "Kain would manipulate the humans as if they weighted nothing to him, as well as stalk his prey like the most cunning of lion".
Newman explained that "Kain is still rather young in BO2 as opposed to the aged, chitinous Kain in Soul Reaver, so we maintained his regal and arrogant style but still kept one foot in humanity". [...] "Character and dialogue wise Kain is a balance between the young vampire of Blood Omen I and the fatalistic power monger of Soul Reaver. He is still learning things about himself and the secret wars of Nosgoth, but his is also more ruthless and determined in recreating his former glory. Physically Kain is also showing his transformation from human to ancient vampire. His skin is changing, and his clothes are adopting a decadent appearance."
Kain's stylized appearance in Blood Omen 2 was designed by art director Steve Ross, "a cross between what he wore in the original and the styles worn in Soul Reaver". Ross had previously worked on 1992's Chakan: The Forever Man for the Sega Genesis, and more recently its cancelled sequel, Chakan, for the Sega Dreamcast. Ben Lincoln of The Lost Worlds fansite noted striking similarities between the appearance of the Chakan character and Blood Omen 2's Kain, surmising that "Chakan himself differs from the Blood Omen 2-era Kain only in that his body and face are harder-worn and he wears a hat". Ross responded to this, stating that "yeah, some of the themes are the same simply because they came from the same artist (me). [...] I did about 20-30 full color concepts in 2 weeks and it was all kind of a blur".
Legacy of Kain: DefianceEdit
- "Among the large cast of characters who populate the world of Nosgoth, Kain has remained constant as the most important character in the series. He made many appearances in the Soul Reaver series as one of Raziel's main antagonists and continued to further explore his own unique destiny in Blood Omen 2. What it is that has kept Kain so vitally important to the series, and where did his journey start?"
- ―Kyle Mannerberg
The Elder Kain became playable for the first time in Legacy of Kain: Defiance, alongside Raziel, a decision made very early on in pre-production. Senior designer Richard Lemarchand described the character's progression to that point: Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain had established "the role of Kain, an intelligent and cynical medieval nobleman, who is turned to the accursed life of a vampire", Blood Omen 2 featured him again "as a "younger" vampire—a vampire who was lithe, devious, and thirsty for blood", and in Soul Reaver 2, "Kain's role was brought to the forefront". Lemarchand noted that "we were all very excited to finally play as the craggy, regal, and, frankly, ass-kicking Soul Reaver incarnation of Kain".
Designer Kyle Mannerberg performed an analysis of Kain's character and his evolution in a developer diary with GameSpot. "Among the large cast of characters who populate the world of Nosgoth," he said, "Kain has remained constant as the most important character in the series." Mannerberg highlighted Kain's parallels to the characters Neo of The Matrix and John Murdoch of Dark City - a gnostic hero who "struggles in a world veiled in lies and illusion that is dominated by a tyrannical deity (the "Demiurge," or Elder God)", and his similarities to the maimed king of Arthurian legend: "as long as he remains corrupted as a Guardian, the Pillars cannot be restored, and, therefore, Nosgoth will remain blighted and poisoned. Only by healing his own corruption will Nosgoth be saved from its similarly linked fate".
He also opined that "what also makes Kain an imposing and memorable character is his weapon, the Reaver, and the power with which he wields it". For Legacy of Kain: Defiance, Kain's Balance Emblem abilities and Reaver spells were intended to pay homage to his spells from the original Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. His telekinetic powers were set as more advanced than Raziel's at the beginning of the game, with the rationale that "he has had hundreds of years to master his telekinetic abilities and starts the game off with a much higher level of mastery". Mannerberg concluded with the promise that the team had "put a lot of effort and time into refining all the things that make Kain the eye-catching and attention-captivating antihero he has evolved into over the years".
- "Kain has always been such a powerfully compelling character, not only because of the depth of his story but also for his inherently archetypal nature. People familiar with classical mythology might recognize Kain as an Oedipus figure. Not in the motherly sense, but in that he struggles against the shackles of a dark fate that was predetermined long before his birth. Though the unseen hands of gods and demons manipulate his path along this destiny, he refuses to surrender to it."
- ―Kyle Mannerberg
Voice acting and audioEdit
In all of his appearances, Kain has been voiced by Simon Templeman. Prior to recording for Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Dyack and McCulloch were initially apprehensive "that the actors would not be able to communicate the complicated dialog that Ken created", but later stated that "after five minutes with Simon Templeman (who had many years of theatre experience) we knew that there was no problem. We learned never to underestimate the talents of the Actors' Guild".
Kain's catchphrase is his battle cry, Vae victis, which is a real-world Latin expression meaning "suffering (or woe) to the conquered". He utters the line with abundant frequency in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain - twice in cinematics, and also crying it out upon performing triple-swing combo attacks in gameplay. In Legacy of Kain: Defiance, he occasionally spoke it when slaying an enemy to feed the Reaver. The phrase, however, was conspicuously absent from Blood Omen 2. Simon Templeman recorded two variations for the game - one with its typical Legacy of Kain pronunciation, one in a different style - but neither were included. It has been surmised that they were probably omitted by the Crystal Dynamics team due to concerns over pronunciation accuracy (Silicon Knights had earlier admitted that Vae Victus was mispronounced in the original game, but Legacy of Kain: Defiance settled on using the same variation).
In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Ozar Midrashim plays in both of Raziel's boss battles against Kain. In Kain's battles against all bosses in both Blood Omen 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance, the Blood Omen 2 main theme plays.
As a young human in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Kain is black-haired and fair-skinned, lithe but well-built, and garbed in white Iron Armor with gold trimmings, a red hauberk, red gloves and brown boots. In Legacy of Kain: Defiance, he is similarly portrayed, wearing white plate mail with an accompanying helmet and red, regal finery. On becoming a fledgling vampire, his hair, skin and flesh are visibly transformed by Mortanius's corruscating magic; his armor becomes black, his living skin becomes dead flesh, his hair turns white and his eyes turn yellow. His chiropteran form resembles vampire bats, and his lupine form is black-furred, bulky and hunched, with red eyes.
Blood Omen 2 features a slightly older Kain, midway between his original appearance and his Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver depiction. By this point, Kain's face is more elongated, and his ears and canine teeth are distinctively pointed. His skin is muscled and hardened, with a desaturated gray/white pallor, and his hands - though still five-fingered - are evolving into the tridactyl claws he will possess in the future. His default costume is bare-chested, and consists of bronze metallic boots with straps, black, leathery trousers with a stylized red and black skirted garment, a pauldroned bracer covering his right arm, and a bronze bracer on his left with a red sleeve.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's Elder Kain is similarly clothed, with studded, black leather trousers, studded black metal gauntlets with short sleeves, a shoulder-harness, and a red tabard emblazoned with his symbol in white, clasped to the harness with two golden medallions (on the front and back). He wears greaves instead of boots, exposing his highly-evolved didactyl claws in place of feet, and his tridactyl claws in place of hands. His face is aged and sallow-cheeked, and the bones of his forehead and ears have risen upward into a crown-like shape; on his left ear, he wears Vorador's Signet Ring. His skin is chitinous and layered: "the 'designs' upon his chest are merely the thousands of years of vampiric unlife and slow evolution showing upon his body making it more hard, rigid and scaly". In response to debate as to whether Elder Kain is green or not, Daniel Cabuco established that "Kain is not green, he's actually a tan/gold color. His evolutionary path was influenced by his arrogance, thus the crown and golden tone of his skin. It also protects him from damage, sunlight, etc".
A feature which remained constant in Kain's appearance from his debut until Legacy of Kain: Defiance is the impalement scar he sustained from his assassination as a human in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. The scar was added to Elder Kain's model sheet by Daniel Cabuco during Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's development, and was deliberately repositioned: "like most scars, it moved down his body a little over the milennia. It's also a symbol of his tainted nature. Because of that all of Kain's gifts and creations will eventually fall to dust". It is absent from some artwork of the younger Kain's chest in Blood Omen 2, but is seen in most of his renders; the scar can also be seen on his back, "but it tends to align with the design of the back muscle lines, so it's not easy to make out". It was ultimately healed when the wraith-blade dispersed into Kain during Raziel's sacrifice at the conclusion of Legacy of Kain: Defiance, as "a visual representation of the physical and spiritual healing and purity that Raziel confers".
Though the Elder Kain represents the eldest and latest incarnation of the character, Amy Hennig has stated that he has not necessarily reached the peak of his evolution, and could continue to be redesigned: "Kain continues to evolve, like all vampires". However, contrary to the Scion of Balance mural in Legacy of Kain: Defiance, she confirmed that he will not grow wings - "that's an evolutionary development unique to Raziel and his descendants".
Kain is described as a cunning and relentless individual, characterized by his heroism, ambition, nobility and fatalism, who grows from wisely arrogant to arrogantly wise over the centuries. Frequently regarded as "a petty noble" in life and youth, he initially shuns vampirism and seeks to uncover a cure - "reluctant to live the horror of an existence blighted by a thirst for human blood". Over the course of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, though, he grows to embrace his curse and the ideals of Vorador - his father figure - and expresses disgust and a "growing disaffection for humankind" and the Circle of Nine's machinations. Hastily accepting Mortanius's offer of revenge, and desperate to prevent his vampiric nature from consuming him, Kain fell into the role of an "unwilling pawn", failing to forge his own path.
Having been wronged time and time again, he strives to escape manipulation, engendering his desire to conquer all of Nosgoth for his own - a quest that he eventually prevails in. His fatalism and lust for power is fuelled by Nupraptor's curse; as the corrupt Balance Guardian, Kain realizes that "never again could [he] give Nosgoth back her innocence". However, though he possesses an obvious relish for bloodshed and brutality, he is anything but stupid: the true cunning and subtlety of his actions are only revealed to those smart enough to see past his endless deceptions. Although Raziel initially perceives his own execution at Kain's hands as the result of jealousy, Kain later reveals that his supposed hatred of Raziel was a complex ruse, part of his "cast at destiny" - a "quest for knowledge and freedom". Only through Raziel's rebirth as a creature with free will could Kain further his attempts to change history, and revise their respective fates.
As a young vampire, Kain is cynical, and initially apathetic about saving Nosgoth. Following his refusal to sacrifice himself, though, he is internally burdened by his conscience, shouldering a "mass of doubt and regret" in the knowledge that "the fate of the world hangs dependent on the advisedness of [his] every deed". This is balanced by his prevalent sense of irony and dark humor; he raises the corpses of his Sarafan enemies to unwittingly serve as his trusted lieutenants, believing that "one must keep his friends close [...] and his enemies even closer". Even so, Kain frequently shows strong hints of compassion for his sons and others; throughout Legacy of Kain: Defiance, he does everything within his power to secure a resolution that he and Raziel "both can live with", and is distraught and resistant at Raziel's ultimate sacrifice in his name.
Though Kain possesses numerous character flaws, he appreciates honesty to a fault, and - except when working covertly in Blood Omen 2 - has never consciously lied to another individual throughout the Legacy of Kain series, only telling half or partial truths when necessary. As a leader, he values loyalty, and despises insubordination, arguing that "cowards and traitors deserve no second thoughts, only their complete annihilation". While his apparent lack of diplomacy seems to stem from his short and violent temper, in reality it is a carefully cultivated tool. Above all else, Kain's ultimate agenda - to return the Pillars to the vampires and ensure Nosgoth's restoration to glory - are partially moral and benevolent at the very least, but he realizes his goal may be beyond his reach. Only when purified - with "the hands of the prime mover exposed" - does he receive "the first bitter taste" of hope.
- "I confess, I did not expect to find you here, at the heart of my endeavor. You are, indeed, a more capable adversary than I had thought possible."
- ―The Hylden Lord[src]
All vampires in Nosgoth are stronger, faster, and more agile than mortal men. In addition to their physical superiority, vampires each have their own unique Dark Gift; a supernatural power. Kain's Dark Gift was the ability to use surrounding mist to assume a mist form, which allowed him to be virtually invisible and intangible. He also had a fury ability where he could use a single charged attack against an enemy. While he acquired a number of abilities as a young vampire in Blood Omen, defeat at the hands of the Sarafan Lord in Blood Omen 2, which took two centuries to recover thanks to care from the Cabal, made him lose most of his previous powers. Some speculate this loss of power was a result of the Hylden weapon used against him, as the Glyph technology was precisely designed to be used against vampires.
In Blood Omen 2 when he woke from his slumber he retained his mist and fury abilities. Like all vampires Kain could attain weaker variations of other vampires Dark Gifts by drinking their blood. By killing Faustus he gained the power to jump great distances and to inhuman heights. By killing Marcus he acquired the ability to charm the weak-willed and bend their minds to his will. By killing Sebastian he acquired super-speed and often used this ability to perform high speed combos on his enemies. By drinking the blood of the Hylden Seer, his natural telekinesis was heightened. By killing Magnus, he gained the ability to immolate matter with pyrokinesis.
The many centuries after Blood Omen 2 had given Kain plenty of time to evolve his powers. In Soul Reaver he had demonstrated the ability to teleport. In Soul Reaver 2, in the opening we see a display of physical strength far beyond Raziel, as well as Kain showing off an ability to generate lightning in his palms. In Defiance we see his telekinetic powers having evolved beyond simply knocking opponents as now he could lift them and cast them away. His mist ability had evolved where now he no longer needed mist to assume the mist form. Another power he has developed is the ability to shape shift into a swarm of bats to travel quickly from one location to another-as most likely his ability to teleport could possibly only be used for short distances, this is never confirmed though.
- "Ah yes, Kain... I fear he shoulders a greater burden than he realizes."
Kain is a Biblical name of Hebrew origin, meaning "acquire". It is directly linked to its homophone "Cain", who was one of the sons of Adam in the Book of Genesis (recorded as early as the 1st century Dead Sea Scrolls). Cain was the first human born, and became the first murderer upon killing his brother, Abel, when God rejected his offerings of produce but accepted Abel's sacrifice from his flock's firstborn.
- "That bastard can claim no allegiance from me."
Kain has frequently been independently praised by videogame critics and users, appearing on several sites' lists of favorite videogaming characters. He has generally been lauded for his nature as a memorable anti-hero, his portrayal as an antagonist in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, and for Simon Templeman's vocal delivery. In a 2000 GameSpot Readers' Choice poll to determine the Top Ten Video Game Villains, he was ranked as #10. In 2010, he was included as one of 64 candidates in All-Time Greatest Game Villain contest, where he was eliminated by The Master from the Fallout series in the first round, winning 45.8% of the ballot (28,723 user votes).
In IGN's 2005 Battle of the Badasses user vote, Kain was inducted as one of 32 contestants, reaching the final 8 (where he was defeated by Wolverine). He was also included as a candidate in a 2008 IGN Reader's Choice to determine a list of ten heroes desired to appear in a Soulcalibur game, alongside Raziel. A 2010 list to determine IGN's Top 100 Videogame Villains ranked him as #34. 1UP.com showcased Kain as #2 on a list of the Top 5 Videogame Characters Named Kain/Kane. GameDaily ranked him as #17 of their Top 25 Anti-Heroes. GamingBolt listed him as one of 35 Characters We Want To See In Sony’s Super Smash Bros, and Joystick Division included him as #2 among the Top 10 Best Vampires in Video Game History. PLAY Magazine have praised him as a "character who [needs] to be revived".
- The essence of human Kain's vague life story can be deduced trough analysis from pieces of dialogue from the first game: Born as an aristocrat in Coorhagen, he then became a knight in service to the Lion Throne (Villagers of Ziegsturhl would comment the recent death of a knight that came to their hearing, refering to Kain's assassination at the hands of the highwaymen issued by Mortanius) until his favor to Willendorf weakened in the face of Ottmar's decadence. Abandoning his duty at the Lion's land, he would had probably returned to Coorhagen only to find his homeland devastated by the plague that had previously ravaged some villages to the far east. He was likely fleeing this plague when his journey brought him to meet his fate in distant Ziegsturhl.
- Despite being a playable section, Kain cannot escape his death in Blood Omen; the brigands attacking him will continue to spawn and all of Ziegsturhl's exits are blocked. Kain's Human Death was originally planned to be shown in a video, but this was cut and changed to a playable section; images of the video do exist depicting Kain with blonde hair as a human rather than the black hair shown in the finished game.
- Given Vampires quick healing capabilities, it seems odd that the Cabal in Blood Omen 2 took two hundred years to sufficiently heal Kain enough to revive him. Since many members of the Cabal (including Vorador and Umah) show evident mistrust of Kain, it may be that Kain's revival was a 'last resort' and the Cabal fearing his ambitions did not want to revive Kain. (It might also be the case that it wasn't physical injuries that was the reason why it took so long to revive him)
- Many fans believe that after the events of Blood Omen 2, Kain would have (as Umah feared) hunted down the remains of the Cabal - seeing them as a threat - before beginning to raise his own empire; this would also fix the continuity between Blood Omen and Soul Reaver , with Kain as the last vampire. It may possible however, that Kain allowed Vorador and his vampires to survive in some form into his empire.
- At the climax of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver , Kain claims to have 'stolen into' the Chronoplast centuries earlier (though he doesn't specify exactly when, it could presumably be at any time after the end of Blood Omen until Raziel's return) this is probably how Kain learnt of Ancient Vampire history and prophecy and his own and Raziel's destinies. The Legacy of Kain: Defiance Comic also suggests this possibility.
- Kain seems to survive largely unchanged in the centuries following Raziel's execution, though his empire greatly devolves - this may be due to the 'proportion' of Kain's Soul inherited by their resurrections (Kain supposedly breathed part of his Soul into the corpse to snare souls) as those with the greatest proportion (Kain and Raziel) retain most of their humanoid appearance (with the exception of Turel's appearance in Defiance, though he was intended to be humanoid in his deleted Soul Reaver appearance). On the other hand, Kain could have used time travel to 'skip to' Raziel's return; Indeed as Kain is an antagonist in Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2, we cannot be sure of large passages of his journey, though he would seem to use time travel to follow Raziel . A Beast Mode Kain was depicted in concept art for The Dark Prophecy.
- Kain was originally to have died in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, but the final section of the game was cut due to timing and budgetary constraints. Originally after the battle at the Chronoplast, Kain would have accepted his fate to die at Raziel's hand and Raziel would have gained a 'partial victory' over him, gaining the Shift-at-Will Ability. Later Raziel would have met Kain in a third boss encounter at Kain's Mountain Retreat, where Raziel would have defeated and killed Kain with the aid of the Ariel Reaver, taking his Soul into the Wraith Blade to create the all powerful Amplified (Kain) Reaver. Similarly Soul Reaver 2 demonstrates that in the second timeline (and maybe previous timelines) Kain meets his end at Raziel's hand in the Sarafan Stronghold in the Pre-Blood Omen era, when "history and destiny collide".
- Kain's habit of impaling his victims with the Soul Reaver mirrors the very same execution method used by the real life Vlad Tepes Dracula (AKA Vlad the Impaler), who would execute his enemies by impaling them on a spear or other sharp object.
- Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver comic
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
- Soul Reaver 2
- Blood Omen 2
- Legacy of Kain: Defiance comic
- Legacy of Kain: Defiance
- Legacy of Kain: The Dark Prophecy (canceled)
- Tomb Raider: Legend (depicted only)
- Tomb Raider: Anniversary (depicted only)
- Tomb Raider: Underworld (depicted only)
- Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (Raziel and Kain Character Pack)
|Guardian of the Pillar of Balance|