Raziel emerges from the Swamp time-streaming chamber into Nosgoth’s
Beyond all hope, and against all probability, it seemed that the device
had unerringly delivered me to the era I sought.
For these were Sarafan banners – and these vampires, apparently the
victims of their crusade.
The coincidence seemed too convenient to naively ascribe to Fate –
but whether my opportune arrival had been orchestrated by Moebius, or some
other influence, I didn’t know.
If Janos Audron still lived, I would find him – but I was wary of further
deception, and resolved to tread carefully.
Raziel sees the vampire-victims of the Sarafan
for the first time
For all the butchery of Moebius’s crusade, this massacre was somehow
The killing fields of the Sarafan betrayed a kind of orderly ruthlessness
– the cold-blooded righteousness of the true believer.
Raziel sees Sarafan warriors for the first
time. They regard him with hostility as he approaches.
Here at last, in the flesh, I beheld my former brothers-in-arms – the
warrior-priests of the Sarafan order, their lives devoted solely to the
annihilation of the ‘vampire plague.’
And while I confess I felt a twinge of longing, a pang of grief for
what I had believed was my lost virtue, I regarded them now with none of
the reverence I formerly felt.
For I had seen the human face of the vampires - and now I beheld the
monstrousness of these men.
Raziel realizes that the frozen lake prevents him from entering the Sarafan Stronghold.
The frozen surface of the lake had bound the gates of the stronghold shut.
The Sarafan surely had some other means of entry, but this was the only one known to me.
To infiltrate the fortress, I would need to find some way to release these gates from their icy bonds.
Raziel sees the pristine exterior of Janos
Audron’s Retreat for the first time
After my long journey, I finally stood on the threshold of enlightenment. For here was Janos Audron’s mountain retreat, intact and unblemished.
The upheaval that would one day topple this ancient edifice had not yet
occurred. And while I had no certainty that Janos still lived, this scene boded
well – for I presumed that the collapse of the retreat must have followed
the ancient vampire’s demise.
There was only one obstacle: how to reach the balcony suspended at
that maddening height, so far beyond my reach?
For this was the architecture of winged creatures, and the tattered
ruins of my wings were of no use.
I would need to devise some other means into that mountain...
Raziel enters the Retreat Interior, and sees the
balcony leading to Janos’ chamber
The mountain’s interior was hollow, I discovered, and graced with soaring
architecture unique to its creators.
As with the outer facade, these balconies and galleries could only
be reached by those gifted with flight.
With only my ruined wings to carry me, this towering labyrinth seemed
impassable... while the object of my quest lay just beyond my grasp.
For here, suspended at the apex of the chamber, was the threshold that
surely led to the great vampire himself.
I didn’t know whether Janos Audron was the monster depicted in the
Stronghold, or one of the noble creatures memorialized among the ruins
of the ancient vampires – and I didn’t care.
Demon or angel, he alone held the key to my destiny.
The Tenth Guardian
Having finally reached the summit of Janos Audron's balcony chamber, Raziel opens the double-doors and enters the room cautiously. As he enters, he discerns a striking winged figure standing at the far end of the chamber, his back turned to Raziel, silhouetted by the wintry morning light filtering in from the canyon below. Raziel is a bit uneasy – he has crossed the
world, and crossed time, to meet this being; but he doesn’t know what to
expect from Janos. The only things he knows about him are the rumors
and legends which demonize him. He has seen only the image of Janos
in the Stronghold, which depicts him as a demonic beast. Raziel addresses the winged figure tentatively –
Janos turns slowly at the sound of Raziel's voice – he wonders if this could actually
be “the one” that he’s been waiting for all these centuries.
(wondering who this visitor is)
It is heartening, after all these years, to hear my name spoken without
As he turns, his features are illuminated by the fire-lit glow of the chamber. This is no demon; he
is darkly beautiful. Janos has a priest-like demeanor, and radiates
a kind of infinite, long-suffering patience.
Janos appears to recognize Raziel, but regards him with horror and pity. Janos is clearly disheartened – this is not
the heroic figure described by the prophesies. His features are right
– the blue skin, cloven hands, and wings – but this ragged specter looks
like he has been nearly destroyed. Janos approaches Raziel gently, almost paternalistically
My child, what have they done to you?
I have been dragged through hell and back – all, it seems, to reach this moment.
But I don’t yet know why.
Janos wants to explain it all to him, but speaks haltingly, as though not sure where to begin –
For thousands of years, I have waited... alone here, losing faith...
At the time of the Binding, nine guardians were called to serve the
Pillars. And I was summoned as the tenth guardian – the keeper
of the Reaver, the weapon of our salvation.
Over time, our race died out. Until I alone remained... sustained
only by my obligation to you, and by my guardianship of the blade.
Janos turns and walks contemplatively away toward the balcony, gesturing for Raziel to follow –
And the other nine? Why did their guardianship not sustain them?
Janos considers for a moment, then responds wistfully –
I don’t know.
Janos gazes beyond the balcony pensively as he recounts the vampires' history –
As our race dwindled, the humans prospered. I have watched, over
the centuries, as our history faded into myth, and finally receded altogether. The humans have forgotten us entirely, and claimed the Pillars for
themselves - wholly ignorant of their true purpose. To them, I am merely a devil; the origin of their vampire ‘plague’.
Raziel approaches inquisitively –
Why would the Pillars summon human guardians, then, if they
are meant to be served by vampires?
Janos walks to the edge of the balcony as he replies –
The Pillars choose their guardians from birth, Raziel – and vampires
are no longer born.
This is the crux of our dilemma.
And this is the terrible irony – with their vampire purge, the
members of the Circle have assaulted the very architects of the Pillars
they are sworn to protect.
They have embarked on a treacherous path. With every vampire
they kill, the humans are slitting their own throats.
Janos and Raziel stand together at the edge of the balcony, looking down at the canyon below.
They know I’m up here, beyond their reach, and it terrifies them.
Janos gestures to the killing fields of the
Sarafan, below. A forest of impaled vampire corpses litters the canyon
below, planted here to defy and intimidate Janos.
You can see how they flaunt their kills to torment me... or perhaps
simply to lure me out.
They have this foolish notion that destroying me will somehow topple
our entire bloodline.
Thankfully, we’re not that fragile.
I have seen them mustering their forces in the village, below.
Yes. I don’t know what they’re plotting... but I fear our time
may be bitterly short.
Mankind seems to have brought you only torment and grief.
You must hate them.
Janos responds slowly, considering –
They fear what they don’t understand; and they despise what they fear.
But no - I do not hate them.
(considering for a moment)
He has suffered much. He cannot forgive them.
Should they be forgiven?
(thinks for a moment)
They don’t understand what they’re doing.
They are simply unenlightened... and vulnerable to manipulation.
Raziel considers this silently for a moment,
then asks the question that’s been tormenting him
(half to himself)
So it’s all true, then – what Kain and Vorador have told me – I really
am some kind of unholy vampire messiah...
(gently correcting him)
Unholy? – no. Messiah... perhaps.
I don’t like that word – it smells of martyrdom.
Raziel, your role in this world’s destiny is more crucial – and more benevolent – than you’ve allowed yourself to believe. Your journey will not be easy – dark powers are allied against you.
(considers Raziel’s ragged appearance)
But I think you already know this... you appear to have been cruelly
Janos turns back to the interior of the chamber.
The Binding must be secured, Raziel.
The Pillars are the lock –
Following him, Raziel completes the thought –
– and the Reaver is the key.
Janos turns to a decorative chest set against
the wall, and opens it – revealing the Reaver, laid out like a holy relic.
Raziel is uneasy – every time he has encountered
the Reaver during his journey, he has felt the “convergence-effect”, the
temporal distortion created when two Reavers meet in time and space.
And now – nothing. As disconcerting as the convergence-effect feels,
this nothingness is worse...
The Reaver is here? Why do I feel nothing?
Janos lifts the blade gingerly and turns to Raziel, presenting it to him.
The most formidable weapon ever forged by our swordsmiths...
They infused the blade with vampiric energy, empowering the Reaver
to drain our enemies of their precious lifeblood.
As Janos presented the blade, an inexplicable sense of dread crept
over me, more palpable than anything I’d felt before. I was at once horribly repelled by the sword and yet irresistibly compelled
to touch it, to take it up.
Raziel reaches out but then withdraws his hand, refusing to take the blade.
Please – take it away from me.
At once, from the hallway beyond the double door comes
the unmistakable sound of
armored soldiers rapidly approaching.
With a sudden sick recognition,
Raziel realizes that by blazing a path for himself through the Retreat, he has unwittingly exposed Janos to the Sarafan.
(dismayed; but resigned)
I fear you have been followed...
With this, the door crashes open, and a squad
of Sarafan warriors burst into the room. Their leader is armed with
a cruel-looking weapon, and they are bearing Moebius’ staff.
Raziel charges forward to defend Janos from the Sarafan, but Janos restrains him –
You must save yourself, Raziel.
Laying his hands upon Raziel, Janos teleports
him to safety, away from the chamber. Raziel resists, not wanting
to leave Janos to face the Sarafan alone –
Janos – no!
But it’s too late. The room recedes dizzyingly – and Raziel finds himself
transported to an adjacent chamber within the Retreat – safely away from
the Sarafan, and helpless to save Janos.
My surroundings whirled sickeningly, and I found myself transported
safely away from the ambush, to an adjacent chamber.
Janos had delivered me from the Sarafan, selflessly forfeiting his
own safety to preserve my life.
And now I feared that my newfound mentor would be slaughtered by the
very crusaders I had so recently revered.
The irony pierced me, and with dawning horror I realized that I had
been duped by Moebius from the beginning...
For the Sarafan had simply followed the path I gullibly blazed through
this sanctuary, and had arrived bearing Moebius’s staff. Thus armed,
they had Janos at their mercy.
Through the door, I could hear them battling, less than a dozen paces
away – but it may as well have been a thousand miles, for this barrier
was sealed by elemental forces I did not possess.
It seemed Janos had conveyed me into the heart of the Fire shrine.
I thought perhaps if I could galvanize the forge and imbue the Reaver in
time, I might have a slim chance of saving Janos from his grisly fate.
Raziel forges the Reaver with Fire, and can
now return to Janos’ chamber
I plunged the Reaver into that furnace, and forged the blade with elemental
With the Reaver thus imbued, I was now armed to unlock the elemental
barrier, and rescue Janos from his executioners.