Zephon is a recurring character in the Legacy of Kain series, appearing in both Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2. He was born a human in Nosgoth's early history, and rose to become one of the leading commanders of the Sarafan. A millennium after his death, he became the penultimate vampire lieutenant to be resurrected by Kain, and continued to serve Kain's empire as a member of the Council, until his final death, at Raziel's hands, centuries later.
The Insect MindEdit
Zephon, originally human, was born in Nosgoth's early history, and went on to join the devout Sarafan brotherhood.[SR1-C6][SR2-C9] Proving himself as an elite warrior-priest, he ascended to the rank of Sarafan warrior commander, serving under his superiors Malek, Raziel, and Turel; these commanders, alongside Dumah, Melchiah, Rahab, and Zephon himself, were considered "the pride of the order".[SR2-C9][SR2-C10][DEF-Comic] When Zephon died, he was ordained a "Sarafan saint", and his corpse was interred within a sarcophagus in the Tomb of the Sarafan, with those of his other brothers-in-arms. It would lie here, well-preserved and undisturbed, for a millennium.[SR1-C6]
As the post-Blood Omen era came to an end, Kain – the vampire Guardian of the Pillar of Balance – decided to recruit a cadre to assist his conquest of Nosgoth. He had discovered a method of creating vampires single-handedly, and raided the Sarafan crypts in an act of "calculated blasphemy".[SR1-C6] By breathing a portion of his soul energy into the corpses of these "murderers enshrined", he drew their own souls back into their bodies, resurrecting them as vampires completely ignorant of their past life.[SR1-C6] Zephon, the fifth of the six lieutenants he raised, was among the "weakest of Kain's brood" which formed this Council, senior only to Melchiah.[SR2-C9][SR1-C3]
Zephon assisted in the creation of Kain's empire, and raised his own descendants – the Zephonim – who notably seized control of the Silenced Cathedral from Nosgoth's vampire hunters.[SR1-C5] As the years passed, the vampires physically metamorphosed, and the corruption which they had inherited from Kain's soul led to their accelerated devolution.[SR1-C1] Zephon was present at the Sanctuary of the Clans when Raziel revealed his final "gift", a pair of bat-like wings – thus surpassing Kain. Kain ordered Raziel's execution after this transgression, and though Zephon did not directly take part in the deed, he did not question his master when Raziel was thrown into the Lake of the Dead.[SR1-C1]
A Pupating WorldEdit
- "...and you are not His handsome Raziel anymore. His precious first-born son, turned betrayer.
You have missed so many changes, little Raziel. Look around you. See how the humans' weapon of destruction has become my home...
Indeed, my body. A cocoon of brick and granite from which to watch a pupating world..."
- ―Zephon — Listen (file info)[src]
As Nosgoth slowly became a wasteland, further declining in the wake of the collapse of the Pillars, the clans scattered to the corners of the land, and their leaders rapidly devolved into monstrous beings.[SR1-C4] Zephon's clan had adopted insectoid and arachnidan features, but their patriarch underwent a particularly dramatic and grotesque transformation. His upper limbs took on mantis-like traits, and his lower body malformed into a large egg-sac. From his lair in the upper Silenced Cathedral, he pupated and grew to the extent that he became immobile, his form occupying an entire chamber. The "humans' weapon of destruction" had become more than his "home" – it was now his "body".[SR1-C5]
The human vampire worshippers revered the Zephonim, and when Raziel returned to Nosgoth some five centuries after his execution, he was forced to contend with them to reach Zephon's lair.[SR1-C5] He eventually prevailed, and confronted his younger brother. Zephon taunted Raziel on his appearance, jeering that there would be "no returning" for him, but Raziel retorted on the same basis, stating that Zephon's appearance was an "appropriate reflection" of his soul. Despite his incredible "stature", he failed to impress Raziel, who considered him "cowardly", and mocked the Cathedral as nothing more than "a crevice in which to cower".[SR1-C5]
Promising that Zephon would "succumb" to his will, Raziel fought his sibling. Zephon's "appetite" was supplemented by his powerful limbs, but his inability to move proved his downfall. Using the still-active flamethrower of a dead vampire hunter in the chamber, Raziel used Zephon's eggs against him. He set them alight, and threw them at their progenitor. Zephon screamed as he burned to death, and Raziel promptly consumed his "apostate soul", earning the ability to scale walls which his descendants had mastered.[SR1-C5] With this new power, Raziel was able to enter the Tomb of the Sarafan, where he was horrified to discover the truth behind his heritage. He had spilled the blood of his Sarafan "brothers".[SR1-C6]
Raziel's interactions with Zephon did not end in the Soul Reaver era, as he found himself traveling through time in pursuit of Kain and his own destiny.[SR2] He journeyed to Nosgoth's early history in search of the ancient vampire Janos Audron, and beheld the Sarafan vampire purge firsthand.[SR2-C5] The "cold-blooded righteousness" of their crusade subverted the reverence he had developed for his former brothers-in-arms, but it would soon be shattered.[SR2-C5][SR2-C8]
After meeting Janos, his "new-found mentor", Raziel personally witnessed the human Zephon and the other commanders – including Raziel's former self – murder the ancient vampire.[SR2-C9][SR2-C8] He realized that he had paved the way for them to infiltrate Janos Audron's Retreat, and was powerless to stop them from tearing the Heart of Darkness from Janos's chest. Absconding with the Reaver blade, the commanders retreated to the Sarafan Stronghold; Raziel swore to track down these "loathsome dogs".[SR2-C9]
His arrival in the Stronghold coincided with Vorador's slaughter of the Circle, and, in the chaos, Raziel recovered the Reaver and confronted the human Zephon, who was flanked by Melchiah, in the Cloister. Zephon mocked Raziel's lust for revenge, calling him a "demon", but "had no idea what future lay in store for [him]" – "how [he] would become the very thing [he] so despised". Raziel was "eager to see what the Reaver would do to these two", and quickly dispatched them, tidily ensuring that they became the entombed martyrs whom Kain would resurrect a millennium later.[SR2-C9]
In the early beta version of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, one line in the conversation between Raziel and Zephon differed from later, final versions of the game: Raziel was to say "perhaps things have not changed as much as you'd like to believe. You were always weak, Zephon, and once again you will bend to my will".[SR1-Cut]
Zephon was voiced by Tony Jay in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.[SR1] He also spoke a single line of dialogue in Soul Reaver 2, but his actor in this game was uncredited.[SR2] The Cathedral theme plays during the encounter with him in the former game.[SR1-C5]
The younger vampire Zephon in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is only glimpsed briefly, but his features can be discerned. He wears the same outfit as his fellow lieutenants: bare-chested, with leather trousers and metallic boots, greaves, and pauldrons, and with a cloth bearing his clan symbol hanging from his right shoulder. His face is slightly elfin, with sharp, pointed features, and his build seems to be slighter than Turel's. His black hair is tall and spiked up.[SR1-C1] The color of the flags of Zephon's clan symbol subtly change from dark green to grey between Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's intro sequence and the game itself; in the cinematic, his cloak is dark green, whereas in the game all Zephonim flags are black.[SR1]
As he devolves, Zephon develops insect or arthropod-like traits, growing to resemble a large mantis-like creature. By the time Raziel encounters him, he is easily the largest of the clan leaders, with long, thin forearms, an abominably spindly body, and a crested skull. His appearance is comparable to the queen of the Xenomorphs from Ridley Scott's Alien, with his body taking on brown, gray, and red pallors, and having expanded to encompass an entire chamber, with six further limbs hanging from a mass of his flesh on the ceiling. Though he cannot move, all eight of his limbs are capable of attacking from close range. His eyes, and the bone connected to them, can detach from his head to reveal his mouth, filled with a myriad of abnormally-long and spiky teeth.[SR1-C4]
Zephon's legs appeared to have been fully replaced by a grotesque, pulsing egg-sac; if Raziel destroyed one of his limbs, or attacked the egg-sac, it would expel an egg. Whether due to his gender, the nature of the vampires' blood curse (which caused sterility), or other factors, these seemed to be infertile. Nothing hatched from them, and they would explode after a short time, releasing purple gas. The entrance to the chamber had the consistency of a sphincter-like door, which closed up if Raziel attempted to escape. It had apparently been used presently to sever a hostile vampire hunter in half.[SR1-C4]
The human, Sarafan Zephon appears in Soul Reaver 2, portrayed in a mural in the Sarafan Stronghold, and later seen in person. He wields a long sword, and wears black clothing beneath his armor, with the symbol which would later be adopted by the Zephonim clan visible on his lower vestment. His helmet is adorned with a plume, but no other features, and his pauldrons are light.[SR2] His hair is tall and spiked-up, much like his future vampire incarnation, but it is red instead of black.[SR2-C1] Series artist and art director Daniel Cabuco explained that "his hair was red as a human, and turned black as his soul when he turned into a vampire".
Zephon is described as "cowardly" by Raziel, who recognizes his evolution into an insect-like creature as becoming of him, and "an appropriate reflection of [his] soul".[SR1-C5] Their interactions with each other are consistently acrimonious and mocking, possibly implying bad blood between the two even before Raziel's execution. Contrasting against the brief remorse he expressed after killing Melchiah, Raziel was silent after Zephon's murder, expressing no qualms over his death. This adversity remains when he encounters Zephon as a human; he brands Zephon a "bastard", and looks upon him with disgust, eager to see him die.[SR2-C9][SR1-C5]
Zephon's activities are analogized on multiple occasions to cocooning, and Raziel finds his "scuttling from the shadows to devour a victim" typical of his personality, insinuating a strategic, self-preserving, and arguably dishonorable disposition.[SR1-C5][SR1-Misc] Like Rahab, he seems to take neither pride nor discomfort in his devolved form, but does express delight at the "pupating world" of the Soul Reaver era. An impulsive and, perhaps, devious individual, he considers himself equipped with an "insect mind", either unable or unwilling to distinguish between will, instinct, and reflex action.[SR1-C5]
Daniel Cabuco has characterized Zephon as insidious, with a cunning nature, and confirmed that his personality influenced his physical transformation. Comparing Zephon to his lieutenant peers and brethren, he wrote: "Zephon isn't necessarily the smartest, or the best fighter, but he is one of the most cunning. Working the politics with expert precision as a spiderweb of lies. [...] this eventually led to his dark gifts and mutation direction." and further elaborated: "Zephon is less about proving himself and more about letting the others fight and kill each other as he built up a massive defense with many traps to ensnare the others. All the Bretheren were jealous of Raziel, and Zephon was the only one who was as manipulative as Raziel. He had spies everywhere, and knowing the relative strength of his clan better than anyone, he was content to stay out of big conflicts and play all sides against each other. His spies at some point tell him about a human weapon developed to kill all the vampires at the great cathedral where he decides to investigate."
Zephon, like his fellow lieutenants, was afflicted with both the blood curse and the corruption of the Pillars by Kain, resulting in a unique vampiric heritage. He possessed sterility, immortality, and a constant thirst for blood, and his soul gained its "advantage from the powers of the underworld".[DEF-C5][DEF-C12] In recruiting new members for his vampire clan, he would "turn" the corpses of his human victims to do his bidding. Though his body was vulnerable to fire, and presumably sunlight, water, and certain other elements, he was immune to the Force Glyph, and possibly other glyphs as well. He could not be significantly harmed by weapons, Raziel's claws, or even the Wraith Blade; the only means of defeating him entailed the use of his eggs.[SR1]
Zephon is the only vampire lieutenant who arguably does not (or, rather, cannot) actively use his unique ability – scaling walls – against Raziel. Presumably, though, he was capable of this feat when he was mobile.[SR1] Like the other devolved clan leaders, he is described as having "a limited ability to shift between planes, but only momentarily". If Raziel approached him in the Spectral Realm, Zephon would appear or manifest, but was apparently unable to see Raziel, and did not attack him there, as Melchiah could.[SR1]
The name Zephon translates to "A Looking Out". In Biblical mythology, Zephon was a cherub and "guardian prince of paradise" who was sent by Gabriel and Ithuriel to discover the location of Satan. Instead, Zephon joined Satan's rebellion, and was eventually cast out of Heaven as a "fallen angel" after the battle was lost, forever charged with fanning the flames of Hell.
During the development of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Zephon was codenamed "Wallcrawler" or the "Wallcrawler Boss", based on his clan's ability to scale walls.
- When Zephon is killed and has his soul devoured in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, his dead body remains intact in his lair throughout the rest of the game.[SR1] This is not true of common Soul Reaver era vampires whose souls are devoured, nor of any of the other lieutenants, including Turel, who appears in Legacy of Kain: Defiance; their corpses always immediately disintegrate or disappear.[SR1][DEF-C10]
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #5 (by RazielFan)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Soul Reaver: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn )
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn )
- ↑ Warp's answers from Amy at the Eidos Forums (by blincoln)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Question and Answer with Jen, Richard, and Kyle at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2 (Raziel) (archived at Dark Chronicle)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Zephon at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn )
- ↑ Blood Omen 2 Q&A at GameSpot (by Sam Newman)
- ↑ Beta Comparison - Gameplay at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Zephon at deviantART (by SpectralJin)
- ↑ The Clan Leaders at DCabDesign (by Onatu), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- ↑ Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver manual (UK version). Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (August 16, 1999) Download.
- ↑ Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver manual (US version). Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (August 16, 1999) Download.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Character Names at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)