Kain is a major character and the titular character that appears in the Legacy of Kain series of video games. Depending on the game and its viewpoint, Kain has been either the central protagonist, or an antagonist, but in all his depictions he is an anti-hero, interested only in his own goals. The character was designed by Denis Dyack and voiced in all his appearances by Simon Templeman.
An arrogant noble murdered and revived as a vampire, Kain went on a crusade to kill his assassins and then be restored to human form. When he came to revere his powers, Kain turned his back on his prophesied duty and became a vampire lord ruling over the land. Kain's attentions later turned to averting his destined doom at the hands of his lieutenant Raziel. Kain's manipulations of Raziel in the hopes of changing his destiny effectively set in motion the events that make up most of the Legacy of Kain series.
Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain Edit
Centuries before Kain's birth, Nosgoth was protected by The Circle of Nine, a group of sorcerers sworn to serve and protect the sacred Pillars of Nosgoth, nine ancient columns which preserved harmony and life throughout the world. However, the Circle was infiltrated by dark forces, and the Guardian of the Pillar of Balance, Ariel, was cruelly murdered. Upon learning of her assassination, her lover, Nupraptor, the Guardian of the Pillar of the Mind, projected his despair and anguish throughout the Circle. In their madness, the remaining Guardians turned their powers to dark purposes and left the Pillars to stand as silent, decaying sentries.
Born in the city of Coorhagen in central Nosgoth, Kain lived the privileged life of a nobleman, unaware that he had been marked from birth as Ariel's successor, the next Guardian of the Pillar of Balance. It is implied that the ambitious but directionless noble served in the Army of Hope under King Ottmar for a number of years until his fateful journey west. After stopping off at a country inn, he was ambushed by brigands and murdered, impaled on his assassin's sword.
In the Spectral Realm, Kain was plucked from the brink of oblivion by Mortanius the Necromancer, still transfixed by his murderer's sword. Tormented by searing pain and a thirst for vengeance, Kain recklessly accepted the Necromancer's offer of revenge. Heedless of the spiritual cost, his soul returned to his dead body, and he rose from his tomb to discover that he had been resurrected as a Vampire.
Leaving his mausoleum, Kain quickly tracked down his assassins and exacted his bloody revenge. With his vengeance and hunger sated, he sought only a cure for the vampiric curse that afflicted him. Guided by Mortanius and the spectre of Ariel (now bound helplessly to the decaying Pillars she once served), Kain hunted down each of the Pillar Guardians who were now poisoning Nosgoth. Only with their deaths could the Pillars be healed, and only by restoring Balance to the land could Kain apparently be released from his vampiric curse.
Originally reluctant to live the horror of an existence blighted by a thirst for human blood, Kain soon adapted to his state of undeath and discovered, within his darkened soul, a growing disaffection for humankind as he embraced his newfound immortality. Furthering his quest, Kain slew the corrupted Guardian Nupraptor at Ariel's behest, proceeding through his plague-stricken hometown of Coorhagen and travelling north to the abode of the vampire Vorador. Vorador advised Kain to steer clear from the troubles of humanity, granting the young vampire a ring capable of summoning him to his side.
Kain journeyed to the plaguelands of Dark Eden, encountering the Guardians DeJoule, Bane, Anacrothe and Malek. Summoning Vorador to deal with Malek, Kain pursued Bane and DeJoule, though Anacrothe escaped. With three more Guardians disposed of, Kain departed to southern Nosgoth. During his journey, he found and claimed the Soul Reaver, an ancient, enigmatic blade endowed with a ravenous soul. Within the heart of Avernus Cathedral, he destroyed the Guardian of the Pillar of Dimension, Azimuth, and also stumbled across a time-streaming device created by Moebius, the Guardian of the Pillar of Time.
Against the counsel of the ancient vampire Vorador, Kain journeyed to the city of Willendorf in the hopes of vanquishing the Legions of the Nemesis, a crazed conqueror from the north. Caught in a bloody battle between King Ottmar's Army of Hope and the ruthlessly advancing armies of the Nemesis, Kain watched on as Ottmar was slain by the Legions. As the tide of the battle turned, Kain used his only means of escape, the time-streaming device, which swept him nearly 50 years back into Nosgoth's past.
Hoping to alter the course of Nosgoth's history, Kain assassinated the young King William the Just, who would become the diabolic tyrant known as the Nemesis. Coincidentally, both warriors were armed with the Soul Reaver, Kain's sword being the exact same blade in its future incarnation. After breaking William's Reaver and sating himself on his victim's blood, Kain returned to the present, only to discover that his murder of the beloved boy-king had ignited a genocidal war against vampires, led by the Time Streamer Moebius himself.
Upon his return, Kain witnessed the future that he had wrought, and the final, triumphant act of Moebius's cold-blooded mob. Vorador, the last of the era's vampires, was guillotined before his eyes and his head held aloft for a cheering, bloodthirsty crowd, leaving Kain the sole surviving vampire in Nosgoth. Whether indifferent or not towards Vorador's death, Kain nonetheless proceeded to confront and behead Moebius before being called back to the Pillars of Nosgoth by Mortanius.
Watching on as the Necromancer attacked and killed Anacrothe at the Pillars, Kain was riled into destroying Mortanius, who was in actuality the Guardian of the Pillar of Death. As his quest brought him full-circle, with eight of the nine Pillars restored, Kain confronted the destiny that Mortanius and Ariel had hidden from him: that he was the Guardian of Balance, and that only by sacrificing himself could he restore the Pillars. Ariel presented him with a final, climactic decision - sacrifice himself to heal the land, but ensure the extinction of the vampires; or refuse the sacrifice, and seal the world's corruption.
Revolted by the machinations of the human sorcerers and alienated from his former humanity, Kain chose the latter path - opting to rule the world in its damnation rather than commit himself to oblivion. This apocalyptic act completed the Pillars' destruction. The mighty columns toppled as Kain sealed their ruinous fate, and damned Ariel to ceaselessly haunt the dilapidated Pillars she once served. Until the Balance is restored, she would never be released.
Kain concluded his quest with the epiphany that Vorador was right, that vampirism is not a curse, but a blessing, and that vampires are dark gods, whose duty it is to thin the human herd. But the Pillars, Kain ultimately realized, were more than just a human edifice. 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.
Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain Edit
After the fall of the pillars, Kain raised an army of vampires with the help Vorador, intent on taking all of Nosgoth for himself and declaring himself absolute ruler. (How Vorador is alive at this point is unknown, but it is speculated that the events of BO2 were created as a result of the paradox in Soul Reaver 2, possibly negating Vorador's execution.) Kain's campaign ran unchecked until his siege of Nosgoth's capital city Meridian. There, his army is scattered and he himself is struck a mortal wound by the Sarafan Lord, the general of Meridian's forces and leader of the Holy Order of the Sarafan, an order dedicated to the destruction of all vampires. During the battle, Kain's legendary Soul Reaver proves incapable of hitting the Sarafan Lord. Kain is left for dead.
Kain reawakens two centuries later, shadowy bits of memories about his army razing the land on their path to victory teasing the former vampire lord. Kain remembers he had been betrayed by members of his own legion, who have joined with the Sarafan Lord as his underlings since the failed final siege.
Kain has friends in his new world, however. The Vampire Cabal, a resistance group against the ruling Sarafan, has sent an operative named Umah to assist Kain and persuade him to help the Cabal defeat the Sarafan Lord. She quickly fills him in on the recent history, in turn, he vows vengeance upon those responsible for his fall, and ultimately to deliver the Sarafan Lord’s head on a pike.
Through his journey to regain his strength and power, he meets up with familiar faces. One is Vorador, the leader of the Cabal and Kain's erstwhile mentor. Within the Cabal are both humans and vampires trying to defeat the Sarafan Lord's plans of world domination. The plot runs much thicker, as Kain will eventually discover. Along his path, Kain meets and ultimately defeats the legionnaires (Sebastian, Marcus, and Faustus) that betrayed him long ago. Kain also discovers that the Sarafan Lord was not even a human but a Hylden, the enemy of the Ancients (those later cursed to become the first vampires), and his intent was to raze Nosgoth of all life so that his own race may attempt to colonize it once again. He discovers what happened to his finest warrior and prime lieutenant, Magnus, who had his mind destroyed and left to rot in the Eternal Prison, where all dangerous enemies of the Sarafan are kept.
Kain also meets the 'first' vampire, Janos Audron, who explains the history of the Ancients and the Hylden and their ages-long perpetual struggle for Nosgoth. Audron explains the Ancients repelled the Hylden and banished them into a chaotic realm referred to in the games as the Demon Dimension. Exacting vengeance, the Hylden cursed the Ancients with vampirism, forcing them to feed on the humans they loved and protected, and immortality.
Across the ocean within the Hylden City, a base of operations made by the Hylden in their guises as high-ranking Sarafan knights and the mysterious Glyph Wrights, Kain meets the Sarafan Lord in a final battle that closes the portal between Nosgoth and their realm, shutting out the Hylden and ending their deadly plot. Janos is thrown into the Hylden's chaotic prison realm in this conflict, and is presumed to be trapped there for eternity.
With Kain's enemy defeated, he resumes his quest to subjugate Nosgoth under his flag.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver Edit
Kain refused the sacrifice and Nosgoth was condemned to damnation. Kain built his empire in the land of Nosgoth and kept the ruined Pillar of Balance as his seat of throne. Kain raised 6 lieutenants from the fallen bodies of sanctified Sarafan warrior priests, with which to rule his empire.
At one point in his reign, his first born lieutenant, Raziel had inexplicably evolved wings surpassing Kain's own evolution. In an apparent act of jealousy, Kain ripped the wings from Raziel's back and ordered his execution. Raziel was dragged to a cliff by his brothers, the Lieutenants Turel and Dumah, and at Kain's order, was thrown over the edge into the Lake of the Dead - a deep and raging natural whirlpool.
Raziel returned to the Material Realm and after slaying his brother Melchiah, infiltrates Kain's former stronghold to encounter Kain at the fallen pillars. During the following battle, a strange paradox occurred when the Soul Reaver, a soul consuming blade, struck Raziel, who was also a soul reaver himself. The blade shattered, and the spirit within attached itself to Raziel as a symbiotic spectral weapon. Kain seemed strangely pleased with the event, and escapes.
After Raziel slays the remainder of his brothers (with the exception of Turel, who is not killed until Defiance), he turns his attention back to Kain. Raziel makes his way deep into the mountains and finds Kain in the Timestreaming Chamber of Moebius. Kain, through a series of riddles, hints that there is more at stake than Raziel could possibly imagine and that he thinks Raziel is the key to his dilemma (explained in Soul Reaver 2). Kain activates the time streaming device to Nosgoth's past and jumps through, with Raziel hot on his heels.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 Edit
Raziel fights his way out of the stronghold, and is shocked to see Nosgoth as a green paradise, and not the wasteland he remembered. He confronts Kain at the pillars, where Kain reveals his agenda to Raziel, explaining that he was cheated out of his true destiny. Kain explained that he brought Raziel to the past to try and find a third option to his dilemma, where he would not have to choose between his own death and the damnation of Nosgoth. Once again, Kain escapes.
Eventually, Raziel tracked down Kain in the Cathedral where Kain was tricked into killing King William The Just. Kain explains that he cannot simply accept his destiny to die and bring balance to Nosgoth, because there is a flaw in history, that if destiny is set in stone, "how can anyone explain what happened in this very room"? King William was destined to become the evil tyrant The Nemesis, but, history was changed when Kain came back in time and slew the king, thus Kain deduced that the "variable" that allowed this was the Soul Reaver. Both Kain and William were armed with the Soul Reaver (Kain with the "present" version, and King William with the "past" version). When the blades crossed, it created enough force to change history. Kain then notes that it was Moebius that made sure they both had Soul Reavers. Raziel picks up the Soul Reaver sword on King Williams tomb. Suddenly without warning, the Soul Reaver attached to Raziel unleashed itself and tried to kill Kain by itself. Raziel resisted and eventually managed to subdue the Soul Reaver. Violent ripples go through time, as history is changed. Kain explains that by refusing to kill him there, Raziel had altered a small part of history.
Later, Raziel meets with his past-self, a Sarafan priest, and murders him using the Soul Reaver. The Reaver, with all other enemies slain, then turns on Raziel. Kain arrives just after the Reaver impales Raziel, and pulls it out, saving him. As history meant for Raziel to go into the Reaver, the timeline is modified to accommodate the change; as such, Kain's mind suddenly recalls new things, and as Raziel slips back into the Spectral Realm, Kain enigmatically warns that Janos Audron must not be revived.
Legacy of Kain: Defiance Edit
After Kain prevented Raziel from being consumed by the Reaver and history reordered itself, Kain found himself alone in the Sarafan Stronghold. After an indefinite period of time, Kain breached the Stronghold's defenses and tracked down the Time Streamer Moebius, who, after some harsh banter, eventually directed Kain to the place where his destiny lay - the Vampire Citadel in the Lake of Tears.
Meanwhile, Raziel spent 500 years in the lair of the Elder God, refusing to serve the dark deity out of fear that he would still end up imprisoned in the Soul Reaver. After outwitting the Elder God and reaching the surface world, Raziel learned how to enhance the Spectral Reaver using elemental forges, the latter five forges coincidentally imbued with the souls of the original Circle of Nine. Continuing on his journey, Raziel encountered numerous murals depicting a cataclysmic battle between two champions - one a Vampire, the other a Hylden. Raziel was led to believe that he himself was the Vampire champion.
Encountering the same murals in a different period of time, Kain was under the impression that he, not Raziel, was the prophesied hero of the Vampires, and that Raziel was, in fact, the destined champion of the Hylden race. After assembling an artifact known as the Balance Emblem, Kain stole into a secure chamber within the Vampire Citadel and was confronted by the Elder God, who posed as the Oracle of the Ancient Vampires. The disguised Elder opened a portal to Raziel's time period, and Kain reluctantly passed through.
Travelling to Avernus Cathedral, Kain met Raziel in the main chapel. Attempting to convince Raziel not to raise Janos Audron out of fear for the wraith's grim destiny, Kain engaged in battle with his prodigal son. However, the tables turned as Raziel was slowly drawn into the Reaver after dealing Kain a fatal blow. Enraged, Raziel drove his claws deep into the Vampire's chest, ripping out his heart. Astonished, Kain backed away from Raziel, who blasted him into a dimensional rift using telekinesis. The rift closed, leaving Raziel with the impression that Kain was dead.
Kain later awoke, inexplicably alive, in the Demon Realm, a dark dimension wherein the Hylden had been banished following their defeat by the Ancient Vampires. Slowly recovering, Kain was able to fight his way out of the Demon Realm, making his way back to the Vampire Citadel. Returning to the Oracle's chamber, he made his way to the Spirit Forge, where he found Moebius, who was reporting to the Elder God at the time. Believing that Kain was dead at last, Moebius was shocked when Kain appeared to him, and even more shocked to discover that his powers had no effect on the Vampire now that he had no heart.
Kain confronted and killed the shocked Moebius. The Time Streamer's ghost entered the Spectral Realm, to be greeted by Raziel, who had earlier been trapped by the Elder God. After reaving Moebius's soul, destroying him once and for all, Raziel manifested himself through the Guardian's corpse, entering the Material Realm. Unsurprised to see Moebius's dead body acting of its own accord, Kain impaled the Time Streamer with the Reaver, only to see the body finish its transformation into Raziel's physical self.
Kain, shocked by what he had done, attempted to free Raziel from the blade, but Raziel finally submitted to his fate and entered the sword willingly. As his last act, Raziel merged the complete and purified wraith blade, with Kain's soul, restoring the Vampire; while Raziel himself entered the reaver blade which now became the Soul Reaver. The purification united Kain's soul again, healing his gaping wound and curing him of the corruption which had affected him since Nupraptor's telekinetic assault. Thus the true Scion of Balance was trully born. Finally able to see the Elder God, Kain proceeded to fight the ancient deity in single combat. With the true Soul Reaver in his possession, Kain was able to defeat the Elder God, but was unable to kill him.
After their battle, Kain turned a deaf ear to the Elder God's threats and returned to the council chamber above the Citadel's subterranean confines, where he looked out across the Lake of Tears to behold the fallen Pillars of Nosgoth. As he gazed out, Kain realized that Raziel had given him one last chance to heal the wounded lands of Nosgoth, making a remark about the last gift that Raziel had given him. He regarded Raziel's tragic sacrifice as "the first, bitter taste of that terrible illusion...hope."
Cunning and relentless, Kain has a large (apparent) lust for power, and originally seeks to conquer all of Nosgoth for his own, a quest that he eventually prevails in, as evident in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. Though he possesses an obvious relish for bloodshed and brutality, Kain is anything but stupid. While his apparent lack of diplomacy seems to stem from his short and violent temper, in reality it is a carefully cultivated tool. The true cunning and subtlety of his actions are only revealed to those smart enough to see past his endless deceptions. With his vampirism, coupled with his intellect, cultured palate and his extremely aristocratic tastes, he could best be described as a combination of Hannibal Lecter and Vlad the Impaler, with a compassionate side that becomes evident on many occasions (mostly throughout Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance, and also briefly in Blood Omen 2). In spite of this, Kain's justification is often thrust upon him in that he finds himself, sometimes by his own designs, in such a position that he becomes the lesser of two evils, and one often feels a sense of justice to see "the true enemy" get what they so richly deserve by falling to the mercy of his better graces. In fact, he invites comparison with sound-alike character Caine from another and unrelated series Vampire: The Masquerade, though the comparisons are only passing as Caine (WoD) is the progenitor of all vampires while Kain (LoK) is the latter architect of the vampire scourge dominating and destroying the world. However, his lust for power and destruction during his youth was not a result of his own personality: in fact, it was the result of a mind-afflicting disturbance emanating from another (as part of a greater visionary scheme) at his birth. Furthermore, in a world where so many factions and species are constantly at war (mostly against Vampires), Kain has no other chance of mere survival apart from attempting to become Emperor of Nosgoth. Throughout the ages, Kain grows from wisely arrogant to arrogantly wise. Also, throughout all the games Kain never lies; he tells many half and partial truth but never lies directly.
As revealed in Soul Reaver, rather than evolving slowly over time, vampires in the Legacy of Kain series - probably a trait restricted to the offspring of Kain - enter short periods of hibernation in which their transformations take place. As time goes by, these evolutions cause vampires to slowly lose their human features. Originally of a human-like appearance, Kain evolves throughout the centuries between the games to reach a point where he has lost all traces of his former mortal life.
Following his original revival as a Vampire by Mortanius, Kain adopted white flesh and white hair in contrast to his brown hair and Caucasian complexion as a mortal man. Centuries later, in Blood Omen 2, Kain's hands have developed claws, and his fangs are more noticeable. Further centuries later, by the time of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Kain's physique becomes heavier set, his hands and feet become cloven and tridactyl, and his face adopts a deeper yellowish hue.
As a "unique" vampire, Kain's offspring are fundamentally different to the original vampire race within Nosgoth. As he was created outside of the traditional methods, he and his children - the six Vampire Lieutenants - most likely followed a path of evolution uncommon to the former race. This is evident in that Kain originally raised the Lieutenants by splitting his soul into seven parts and imbuing each lieutenant with a portion: as such, the Lieutenants are closely attuned to his own evolutionary path of accelerated metamorphosis.
Imbued with the corruption within Kain's soul (brought about by Nupraptor upon his birth), the Lieutenants and their own vampiric children underwent drastic physical changes throughout their evolution dissimilar to those of the former vampire race. For example, the Lieutenants "devolved" into gargantuan animal-like monstrosities, whereas the original vampires retained much of their humanity all throughout their own states of unlife.
All vampires in Nosgoth 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 2 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 1 he had demonstrated the ability to teleport. In Soul Reaver 2, in the opening we see a display of massive 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. He also demonstrated an ability to transform into a flock of bats and travel great distances.