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Raziel emerges from the Stronghold and sees past-Nosgoth for the first time.

Raziel V.O.
I emerged... and for the first time beheld Nosgoth in its former glory.  The land overflowed with abundant life and vitality.
(then steely)
And I knew with certainty then that the world I had left behind was nothing more than the corpse of Nosgoth – a lifeless husk, bled dry by the corruption of Kain’s parasitic empire.
This was the fragile world Kain sacrificed to preserve his own petty life and ambition, heedless of the profound cost.
The sight only deepened my resolve...
I sensed that the Pillars lay to the northwest – if Kain truly waited to confront me there, I would not disappoint him...


Raziel discovers a sealed door on the edge of the lake.

Raziel V.O.
I did not yet possess the means to unlock this barrier... but this enigmatic symbol was clearly the key.

Raziel encounters his first checkpoint-marker.

Raziel V.O.
As I passed this arcane landmark, a wisp of the Reaver’s energy was drawn into the ring, illuminating it. This created a beacon of sorts in the spirit world – if ever I found myself depleted in the spectral realm, and my soul tossed on the ethereal winds, these beacons would draw me back to safety and restore me.


Raziel discovers the first save-point milestone in the game.

Raziel V.O.
These ancient obelisks were mysteriously attuned to my spiritual essence.
By simply touching the symbol, I could safely preserve an imprint of my soul – and thus create a milestone to which I could return when weary, and from which I could resume my journey.


Raziel climbs up to a plateau overlooking the moat that surrounds the Stronghold.

Raziel V.O.
While I had only just escaped the Stronghold, I sensed that in time my journey would return me full-circle to this place.
Infiltrating the fortress, however, would be no small feat.
The balcony that had provided my escape was now well beyond my reach – leaving this massive gateway as the only means of entry.
The gates were sealed, but like the time-streaming chamber I had seen earlier, their operation was undoubtedly linked to that odd crystal mounted above the entrance...


Raziel sees the vampires of past-Nosgoth, and the Vampire Hunters’ barbarity –

Raziel V.O.
These vampires had nothing in common with the deranged jackals I left behind in Kain’s derelict empire – they seemed to retain much of their former humanity.
In this era, vampires were clearly not the uncontested predators we had been... these creatures were hunted mercilessly, and oppressed.
And while I still believed that vampirism was a plague, and had to be wiped out, there was nothing noble or righteous in this crusade – this was simply ruthless persecution.


The Corruption of the Pillars

Raziel reaches the Pillars clearing, the site where Moebius told him Kain would be waiting. Raziel pauses momentarily, struck by the beauty of the Pillars – he has only previously seen them in their dilapidated state.  In this era, the columns stand straight and rise infinitely into the sky, their white marble gleaming in the sunlight.

Raziel V.O.
The Pillars of Nosgoth... pristine, whole, and uncorrupted.
I had never beheld them in this undefiled state - yet something profound and indelible resonated within me at the sight.
(then, seeing Kain)
And there, waiting at the very heart of the Pillars, was the canker that was destined to destroy them.

Kain stands in the center of the Pillars platform, his back to the clearing’s entrance.  He appears to be surveying the Pillars calmly, waiting for something.
Raziel stalks up behind him, readying the wraith-blade.
Kain addresses Raziel without turning around, completely composed, and slightly amused. 

(calmly, smirking to himself)
I know you are there, Raziel.

Moebius led me to you, Kain – though I might have guessed you’d meet me here.

Kain continues to speak with his back turned to Raziel, turning his head only slightly.

And if Moebius told you I was hidden on the underside of hell, would you throw yourself into oblivion to pursue me?
Moebius trawls for the ignorant and unwary, hauling his gasping prey from the streams of their destinies.
Stay out of his net, Raziel –

Raziel interrupts – he is impatient and tired of this chase.

Spare me your elaborate metaphors, Kain.
I have pursued you here for one purpose - you will pay for your betrayal, and Balance will thus be restored to Nosgoth.

And whose will is satisfied then, the will of Raziel, or Moebius?

Would I be better manipulated by you, Kain?
Now turn and face me; the chase is over.

Rather than turning, Kain starts to walk slowly forward, gently placing his hand on the central Balance Pillar while he speaks.

This isn’t a chase, Raziel – we are merely passengers on the wheel of destiny, describing a perfect circle to this point.  We have been brought here for a reason.
I have seen the beginning and the end of our story, however - and the tale is crude and ill-conceived.
We must rewrite the ending of it, you and I.

Face me, Kain.  Even you shouldn’t die a coward’s death.

Kain finally turns to respond; he has delayed Raziel as long as he needed to.

Isn’t it customary to grant the condemned a final request?

I recall no such courtesy from you.

Indulge me, Raziel.
All I ask is that you listen.

At this moment, an unearthly wailing begins to be audible, increasing in volume as it fills the clearing.

This is the sublime moment of our undoing, Raziel – the ineffable fulcrum upon which swings the entirety of our history.
This is where all of Nosgoth is betrayed.
In this instant, Ariel – the Balance Guardian – is murdered by dark forces bent on overthrowing the Pillars.
Her spirit is just now tearing free, lost in the ether, trying to find its way here.
You have already seen how she comes to haunt these Pillars –

(interrupting; angry)
bound here by your refusal to die.  You are the reason this land becomes diseased – as long as you remain alive you condemn Nosgoth to an eternity of decay.

Kain gently raises his hand to silence Raziel, and intently urges him –

Be still, Raziel.  See this.

The sky darkens, the wind begins to gust, and birds scatter from the clearing in alarm.  A low, nearly sub-audible rumble swells, as though a massive storm is gathering.
Kain continues, with some urgency

As Ariel dies, I am being born to take her place as Balance Guardian.
Such is my destiny.

Suddenly, the entire clearing is rocked by an indescribable force – A telepathic blast bursts across the landscape with a thunderous rumble, and distorting waves of energy ripple across the clearing.
Kain visibly tenses as he absorbs the onslaught of this psychic attack.
The Pillars, initially white and pristine, begin to crack and corrode as they turn gray with corruption.

Raziel god...

Kain begins to speak again as the telepathic assault recedes.

At the moment of my first cry, Ariel’s beloved – the Guardian Nupraptor – finds her corpse.
Wracked with grief and tormented by suspicions of treachery, Nupraptor plunges into a madness which overflows and infects all of the Guardians, who are symbiotically bound.
Including me.
The repercussions of Ariel’s assassination were expertly calculated...
The entire Circle descends into madness, and I am tainted at the moment of my birth - instantly rendered incapable of fulfilling the role destiny has prepared for me.

Shall I show you the same mercy you showed the rest of the Circle, then?
You blithely murdered them to restore their Pillars, yet your hand faltered when it came to the final sacrifice.
What makes you exempt, Kain?  You’re merely the last man standing.
Why condemn me for simply carrying out what you hadn’t the courage to do yourself?

(getting angry)
Let’s drop the moral posturing, shall we?  We both know there’s no altruism in this pursuit.
Your reckless indignation led you here – I counted on it.

Kain sees that Raziel is bristling at this insult.

There’s no shame in it, Raziel – revenge is motivation enough.  At least it’s honest.
Hate me, but do it honestly.

Kain resumes his account of Nosgoth's history –

Thirty years hence, I am presented with a dilemma – let’s call it a two-sided coin.
If the coin falls one way, I sacrifice myself and thus restore the Pillars.
But as the last surviving vampire in Nosgoth, this would mean the annihilation of our species.  Moebius made sure of that.
If the coin lands on the reverse, I refuse the sacrifice and thus doom the Pillars to an eternity of collapse.
Either way, the game is rigged.

We agree then that the Pillars are crucial, and must be restored?

Yes, Raziel – that’s why we’ve come full-circle to this place.

So after all this you make my case for me.  To end this stalemate, you must die so that new Guardians can be born.

The Pillars don’t belong to them, Raziel...
On “them,” Kain gestures derisively, indicating humanity in general.
...they belong to us.

Raziel pauses briefly, absorbing what Kain is saying.

Your arrogance is boundless, Kain.

(chuckles softly)
There’s a third option - a monumental secret, hidden in your very presence here.  But it’s a secret you have to discover for yourself.
Unearth your destiny, Raziel.  It’s all laid out for you here.

You said it yourself, Kain – there are only two sides to your coin.

Apparently so.  But suppose you throw a coin enough times...
...suppose one day, it lands on its edge.

Kain dematerializes, leaving Raziel standing in the clearing alone.