The Collapse of the Pillars was a seminal event in the history of Nosgoth. It signalled the end of the Circle of Nine as a force in Nosgoth as well as effectively 'sealing' the corruption of the Pillars of Nosgoth. After the collapse, the health of the land of Nosgoth itself began an inevitable decline, slowly becoming a wasteland.
With Ariel's murder in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (at the hands of the Dark Entity) leading to the corruption of the Pillars, Kain was sent on a quest to restore the Pillars by murdering each of the corrupted guardians in turn and returning their pillar token; thus restoring each pillar. When Kain fought the final Guardian,Mortanius, and apparently defeated the Dark Entity possessing him, Ariel appeared and revealed to Kain that he was the last guardian (born to replace her as balance guardian) and that to restore the pillars, he must sacrifice himself; presenting him with a choice to sacrifice himself and restore the pillars; or refuse the sacrifice and likely rule the damned Nosgoth. Realising that, as the last vampire in Nosgoth, sacrificing himself would mean the elimination of his species, Kain rejected the sacrifice. Unable to take the strain, the Pillars 'collapsed' and Nosgoth was damned.
The collapse has severe effects, initially the resulting 'explosion' sends out a 'psychic shockwave' through Nosgoth (as seen in Legacy of Kain: Defiance) and creates a rift which "breaches through the dimensions", (a rift which in the fourth timeline allows the Sarafan Lord to reach the Material Realm and set up the Hylden Gate - setting up Blood Omen 2). The corruption of the Pillars is sealed into the land itself, leading to a slow but inevitable decline with much of the vegetation dying within a few centuries and the land a desolate wasteland by the events of Soul Reaver.
- The Collapse of the Pillars was originally part of Kain's Decision ; the choice ending to Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. At the end of Blood Omen, Ariel presented Kain with two 'cards' representing Kain's choice, the 'good' ending portrayed the restored Nosgoth with a tribute from Ariel; whilst the 'bad' ending showed Kain seated on a skeletal throne drinking Blood from a chalice in front of the collapsed pillars. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver continued this theme; developing the ruined pillars as the Sanctuary of the Clans, Kain's throne room; and setting the 'bad' ending as canon (later games would also cast doubt on whether the 'good' ending was possible).
- The pillars' collapse, though implied heavily in Blood Omen and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, was not actually depicted in the series until the 'dream' opening to Blood Omen 2, where the pillars are shown to 'topple' - physically falling over (this version of the event is also shown in the Legacy of Kain Defiance comic). This was later shown to be another of the 'dream' versions errors, as Defiance depicted the event as much more 'explosive' in nature with a 'psychic shockwave' powerful enough to knock both Raziel and Janos Audron over and propel the Dark Entity/Hylden Lord from the Pillars to the Vampire Citadel[Defiance].
- Kain's decision and the resultant collapse of the pillars was not demonstrated in the first timeline, but given the nature of history it is likely that Kain still refuses the sacrifice and the pillars collapse still occurs there, despite the fact Kain is not the last vampire in Nosgoth in that timeline.
- The Collapse kept Ariel bound as a spectre at the Pillars, supposedly until balance was restored - Ariel would eventually be restored after the activation of the Spirit Forge cleansed Kain of the Corruption of the Pillars.
- Kain: "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." Crystal Dynamics. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation 2. (October 31, 2001) Transcript.
- 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." Crystal Dynamics. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation 2. (October 31, 2001) Transcript.
- Kain: "How strange to see this place long before my birth... centuries before the corruption set in that would poison the land, and put me on the treacherous path I still followed. In the future, these edifices would be condemned to darkness and decay. I would cause their fall, and build my empire upon their ruins. Was it still possible that with the right knowledge, the right moves, I might one day see Nosgoth restored, the Pillars pure once more? My answer - according to Moebius - lay somewhere to the west of this place. I could restore the world, perhaps. But never again could I give Nosgoth back her innocence." Crystal Dynamics. Legacy of Kain: Defiance. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation 2. (November 11, 2003) Transcript.
- / The Fateful Dilemma: "As his quest brought him full-circle, Kain confronted the destiny that Mortanius and Ariel had hidden from him – that he was the Balance Guardian, 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 can never be released." Crystal Dynamics. Legacy of Kain: Defiance manual. Page 10.(Eidos Interactive). (November 11, 2003) Download/Prima Games. Prima's Official Strategy Guide to Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Page 4. (2003)
- Kain: "The Sarafan Lord. It was he that broke through.But how?"//Janos: "Now we come to your part in this story. When you chose to destroy the Pillar of Balance, you caused a rift throughout the world, sufficient to breach through the dimensions."//Kain: (V/O:)"Was it I, then, who had engendered this war? No, I had been set, step by step, upon the path that led to this outcome. Hadn’t this all been a Hylden plot from the beginning? My mind reeled at the implications."//Janos: "It was in this way that the Sarafan Lord was able to enter the world, by building a magical gate. This is the Hylden Gate. Close this gate, Kain, and all the Hylden within Nosgoth will perish."//Kain: "The gate sustains their existence?"//Janos: "Precisely. It is their umbilical cord to the other world. When it is closed, they cannot dwell in our world."//Kain: "And so all the Hylden will die, and the Sarafan Lord, as one of them, dies as well. I see."//Janos: "Close the gate and kill the Sarafan Lord, Kain. Close the gate and shut the Hylden from the world once again." Crystal Dynamics. Blood Omen 2. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation 2. (March 19, 2002) Transcript.
- Elder God: "This world is wracked with cataclysms - the earth strains to shrug off the pestilence of Kain’s parasitic empire. The fate of this world was preordained in an instant, by a solitary man. Unwilling to martyr himself to restore Nosgoth’s balance, Kain condemned the world to the decay you see. In that moment, the unraveling began... now it is nearly played out. Nosgoth teeters on the brink of collapse - its fragile balance cannot hold." Crystal Dynamics. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation. (August 16, 1999) Transcript.
- The Terrible Decision: "Kain now faces a terrible choice. He's told he is now the keeper of the Pillar of Balance. It is for him to decide the fate of the world. Does he sacrifice himself and allow the last Pillar to be righted, or disregard the world and rule it in its death? You must now make that choice. Do You heal or Damn the world?"//Damn the World: "Choose the card showing corpses, skeletons and desecration to save yourself and rule Nosgothin its death. Once you have embraced your power, you realize Vorador was right. Vampires are dark gods and it is your duty to thin the herd." Prima Games / Ian Osborne. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Official Game Secrets (1996). Page 128.ISBN 0-7615-0363-3
- ~A millennium has passed since Lord Kain set his capital in the ruins of the Pillars of Nosgoth and began his conquest of the world. His first act was to recruit a cadre. Dipping into the underworld, Kain snared six souls and thus birthed his lieutenants, of which I, Raziel, was one. We, in turn prowled the twilight of purgatory building six legions of vampires to pillage Nosgoth.~ Crystal Dynamics. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver manual. (Eidos Interactive). (August 16, 1999) Download.
- Crystal Dynamics. Blood Omen 2. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation 2. (March 19, 2002).
- "Four hundred years after the nobleman Kain was cursed to walk the night as a vampire, and centuries before Kain would rule the wasteland of Nosgoth with his Lieutenant Raziel, his path of conquest is stopped by a new enemy.THE PILLARS OF NOSGOTH LIE IN RUIN. VAMPIRES ROAM THE LAND ONCE AGAIN. AND THE LEGACY OF KAIN CONTINUES!" Crystal Dynamics. Blood Omen 2. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation 2. (March 19, 2002)Transcript.
- "Four hundred years after the nobleman Kain was cursed to walk the night as a vampire, and centuries before Kain would rule the wasteland of Nosgoth with his Lieutenant Raziel, his path of conquest is stopped by a new enemy.THE PILLARS OF NOSGOTH LIE IN RUIN. VAMPIRES ROAM THE LAND ONCE AGAIN. AND THE LEGACY OF KAIN CONTINUES!" Prima Games. Prima's Official Strategy Guide to Blood Omen 2(2002). Page 2. ISBN 0-7615-3774-0
- Possessed Janos: "Janos is the last surviving member of the ancient original Vampire race, bearing the blue skin and black wings of his long dead brethren. Upon the collapse of the pillars, he becomes possessed by the Hylden Lord and turns on Raziel. While possessed, Janos is practically invulnerable to attack; however, after expending energy, the spirit possessing him can be momentarily fought back by Janos allowing him to become vulnerable if just for a moment to further assault. Prima Games. Prima's Official Strategy Guide to Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Page 83. (2003)
- Ariel: "Until balance can be restored, Ariel is fated to be bound eternally to thePillars as a disembodied specter. She failed to persuade her successor, Kain, to sacrifice himself in order to heal the Pillars. His refusal causes the Pillars to an eternal stasis of near- collapse, and damned Ariel to ceaselessly haunt the dilapidated Pillars she once served. Unless the Pillars are restored, she will never be released. Prima Games. Prima's Official Strategy Guide to Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Page 8 (2003)/Prima's Official Strategy Guide to Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2. Page 6. (2001)
The Battle of the Last Stand
|Nosgoth's historical events
The collapse of the Pillars
The events of Blood Omen
The purification of Kain