- "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."
- ―Kain — Listen (file info)[src]
Chapter 2: Decision at the Pillars is the second 'level', or chapter, of Soul Reaver 2. It followed Raziel in the history preceding Blood Omen as he pursued Kain to the Pillars of Nosgoth and explored the Subterranean Ruins beneath, unexpectedly encountering the Elder God along the way. The chapter opened as Raziel progressed along the trail to the Shrine and Pillars, and concluded as Raziel entered the Swamp.
- Name: Chapter 2 - Decision at the Pillars
- Classification: Soul Reaver 2 chapters
- Game: Soul Reaver 2
- Protagonist • Raziel
- Objectives: • Confront Kain at the Pillars
•Explore the Subterranean Ruins
•Reach the Swamp
- Setpieces: • The Pillars of Nosgoth (The Shrine • The Pillars)
• The Subterranean Ruins (The Subterranean Pillars Chamber)
• The Swamp
- Era: • the history preceding Blood Omen
- Timeline: • The second timeline
- Preceded by: A Reaver in Time
- Followed by: Through the Swamp
Departing the Great Southern Lake for the Pillars of Nosgoth Raziel ventured down a series of grassy and lightly wooded canyons to an open area where a notable Shrine|scaled shrine could be identified and discovered the impaled bodies of several of the victims of the humans crusade against the vampires of this era.[Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver 2/2][Blood Omen/11] These vampires, he mused, were humanoid and genuinely persecuted, unlike the deranged monsters he faced in the events of Soul Reaver.[Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver 2/2][Soul Reaver] Passing beyond this, Raziel was able to follow the canyons as they twisted upwards to a battlement and a set of giant double-doors which marked the entrance to the clearing of the Pillars of Nosgoth.[Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver 2/2]
As Moebius had previously indicated, here Raziel found Kain awaiting him at the heart of the Pillars, themselves pristine and whole in the era.[Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver 2/2] However instead of the expected battle, Kain began to reveal a greater quest, picking apart Raziel's vengeful motivation by revealing that he had actively encouraged Raziel's outrage to draw him into following and countering by unexpectedly agreeing that the health and restoration of the Pillars were of paramount importance.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Soul Reaver] As Kain recounted the stories of his youth and the tale of his birth and the Corruption of the Pillars, Raziel watched in horror as the events unfolded before him and off-screen Ariel's death and Nupraptor's madness led to the corruption of the ancient edifices.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen/2] Finally Kain discussed his fateful dilemma as Balance Guardian thirty years later as he was presented with a choice to sacrifice himself to restore the pillars or rule them in their damnation – analogizing the choice to a coin toss.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Blood Omen/12] Kain recounted how by choosing to preserve the vampire race the pillars had collapsed, but either way the game was rigged.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Blood Omen/12] Most shockingly of all, Kain hinted that the Pillars actually belonged to the vampire race and when Raziel countered that for the pillars to be restored Kain must die for new guardians to be born, Kain mysteriously hinted at a third choice – a way out of his dilemma, hidden in Raziel's presence – before teleporting away.[Soul Reaver 2/2]
Intrigued by Kain's words Raziel pushed onwards, noticing that several crows appeared to be watching him. Soon he found a passage hidden on a ledge high above the pillars which led downwards into an underground cavern - its main door marked by a huge mural of a blue skinned and winged figure with cloven hands, notably reminiscent of Raziel himself.[Soul Reaver 2/2] Passing through into the Subterranean Ruins beyond, Raziel discovered a number of ancient ruins in the caverns before he emerged in a chamber beneath the pillars where the pillars descended below ground level, which was undoubtedly constructed along with the Pillars. On the walls were several murals depicting an ancient war between two unknown species, the raising of the pillars by the blue winged race, an apparent curse causing blood-thirst inflicted on them and the forging of the Soul Reaver as a prophetic weapon.[Soul Reaver 2/2] As Raziel studied the room he discovered the Elder God in the Water beneath the pillars platform, wrapped around the Pillars.[Soul Reaver 2/2] With the earlier revelation that Moebius was a servant of the Elder God, Raziel was far more suspicious of his former benefactor and much less polite.[Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver 2/2] The Elder denounced the murals as "lies" and chastised Raziel for letting Kain "slip through [his] grasp". Parting on a distinctly sour note, The Elder encouraged Raziel to remember his rage and let it guide him before Raziel left and, passing through several further caverns, soon arrived in a dense forest area.[Soul Reaver 2/2]
The Pillars of Nosgoth
Raziel begins on a trail heading away from the Great Southern Lake and towards the Pillars of Nosgoth at a point where a small stream is crossed by a bridge. Raziel must initially continue on up the stream and over the bridge where an Vampire hunter attack dogs|attack dog will soon pursue followed by a Vampire hunter swordsman. Killing or evading them, Raziel could continue on to Ariel's Shrine in front of a small waterfall. Passing the shrine and heading to the west, Raziel was able to follow a trail that curved upwards around the nearby large rock formation, encountering another swordsman on the way.
At the top the trail opened out into a wider area atop the waterfall where a cannoneer, attack dog and a checkpoint awaited across the other side of the river. After dispatching or evading them Raziel could follow the river north into a cavern area and ascend the stairs in the west to reach the bridge crossing the top of the room heading east. Dispatching the cannoneer at the end of the bridge, Raziel would comment on the Vampires of this era before continuing to follow the path as it curved in an arc back towards the west before switching north to a wide avenue in front of a battlement. Defeating the two hunters and attack dog here allowed him to use the nearby lever freely and hold it down to open the way to the pillars.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
The Subterranean Ruins
After the meeting with Kain it was necessary for Raziel to head to the north of the pillars clearing where two of the standing stones were marked with spectral symbols. Shifting into the Spectral Realm here and the cliff between them would morph into a stairway upwards, enabling Raziel to progress beyond. Following the narrow twisting path revealed and dispatching or evading Sluagh until he reached the planar portal as the path widened, Raziel was able to restore his health from Souls or Sluagh and return to the Material Realm to activate the next checkpoint. Proceeding to the large mural-decorated double doors passing through after the cutscene allowed Raziel to enter the Subterranean Ruins.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
Entering the narrow corridor revealed led Raziel into the first underground caverns of the ruins and following as it curved east, he could discover several ruined arch structures, defeating or avoiding several Shades (or Greater sluagh in the Spectral Realm) along the way. Passing through the first archway and following the passage as it turned south/southwest then sharply east again led Raziel into a more architecturally structured area with paved floors and walls. Continuing east, the passage led down a stairway where Raziel would encounter several aggressive Shades before the path turned north into the Subterranean Pillars Chamber.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
After the cutscene, Raziel could activate the nearby Save altar then jump into the waters beneath the platform, swimming to the opening in the east marked by glowing stones. Following the submerged passages northeast - using the glowing stones to guide him in the darkness or switching to spectral if necessary to make out the darkened surroundings - Raziel was able to progress further through the ruins before surfacing in a chamber with three shades. Defeating the shades and following the ramp upwards led him to a gap which could be jumped and the trail then continued across a bridge as the path twisted towards the northeast to a high cliff-like ledge. Defeating or evading the shades at the top, Raziel could jump down to encounter another shade and then into the water, proceeding northeast through the flooded room with a notable statue at the center. Again following the glowing stones or switching to spectral to aid navigation through the darkened passages, Raziel was able to head northeast and ascend through a series of flooded caverns, passing two inactive plinth symbols before finally following a passage directly upward to surface in the Swamp.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
- Raziel has met with Kain at the Pillars[Soul Reaver 2/2] but instead of conflict Kain was able to persuade Raziel that he may not be completely culpable for the fate of the pillars;[Blood Omen/12][Soul Reaver/1] his choice was rigged either way.[Soul Reaver 2/2] Kain has also deliberately antagonized Raziel up to this point to make sure he recklessly followed and draw him backwards in time.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver 2/2] Ultimately Kain believes that there is a third way out of his dilemma regarding the pillars that is hidden in Raziel's presence which means he does not need to sacrifice himself for their restoration.[Soul Reaver 2/2] He also believes that the pillars themselves actually belong to the vampires.[Soul Reaver 2/2]
- The Elder God has a presence underground beneath the Pillars;[Soul Reaver 2/2] he continues to hold the vampires and Kain responsible for Nosgoth's fate[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver 2/2] and appears to be somewhat atemporal, able to resume conversation with Raziel even though it is several centuries earlier than their last meeting.[Soul Reaver/13][Soul Reaver/14][Soul Reaver/15][Soul Reaver 2/2]
- Murals indicate that an unidentified blue skinned, cloven handed and winged race appears to have been involved in a war with a green crested race in the time Before Nosgoth's recorded history; with the blue-skinned race appearing to erect the pillars to defeat their adversaries, being cursed with blood-thirst as a result - these beings were also responsible for the Forging of the Reaver. The Elder denounces these images as "lies" however.[Soul Reaver 2/2]
- Raziel believes he is being watched by an as yet unrevealed observer, manifested through several strange crows that disappear when approached.[Soul Reaver 2/2]
- Soul Reaver 2 is not formally divided into chapters or levels in-game.[Soul Reaver 2] The chapter names and definitions used at the Legacy of Kain Wiki originate from the supplementary Prima Guide, Soul Reaver 2: Prima's Official Strategy Guide[Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
- The dialogue transcripts used in this article are, wherever possible, adapted directly from the Dark Chronicle summary transcripts available in game. Scenes not included in the Dark Chronicle feature are instead adapted from Tenaya's transcript of Soul Reaver 2 at Nosgothic Realm - itself derived from the Dark Chronicle and an official game script provided by Crystal Dynamics' Kyle Mannerberg.[Soul Reaver 2]
- A cutscene was deleted from the beginning of this chapter - the only excised scene in Soul Reaver 2 for which dialogue was included in the game data.[Soul Reaver 2/Cut content] Before reaching the Pillars, just after commenting on the brutality of Moebius's mercenary army, Raziel was to witness the vampire hunters actually slaughtering a Female vampire in person. The Lost Worlds fansite covered the excision: "according to former series director Amy Hennig, the vampire slaying cinematic was deleted because it didn't fit in well with the rest of the story. [...] The dialogue as recorded was also deemed less than ideal; in particular, the "whuh-huh?!" exclamation of the vampire hunters became an in-joke at Crystal Dynamics".
- Some aspects of this sequence relate to other chapters in the series:
- This is the first appearance of the Pillars of Nosgoth in Soul Reaver 2.[Soul Reaver 2/2] The Pillars were seen throughout Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and in both titles they were a revisited location where Ariel dispensed hints to the next course of action.[Blood Omen][Soul Reaver] The pillars were first visited in Seeking Revenge of Blood Omen[Blood Omen/2] and Soul Reaver (chapter) of Soul Reaver[Soul Reaver/6] and served as the backdrop to the finale of Blood Omen.[Blood Omen/12] This chapter marks the first time since finale of Blood Omen when the pillars have been seen in their corrupted state when they are still standing;[Blood Omen/12] and the first time they have been seen in their 'pure' state since the beginning of Blood Omen[Blood Omen/1] - discounting the 'good' ending in the finale[Blood Omen/12] - which is itself thrown into doubt here.[Soul Reaver 2/2]
- Kain's suspicions of Moebius' duplicity relate to Find the Oracle, Stranded in Time and The Vampire Purges (chapter) of Blood Omen where Moebius manipulated Kain into eliminating William the Just, changing history and creating a renewed Vampire purge in the new timeline, led by Moebius himself.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Blood Omen/5][Blood Omen/10][Blood Omen/11]
- Raziel's comments about the "deranged jackals I left behind in Kain’s derelict empire"[Soul Reaver 2/2] - refers to the devolved remains of the Soul Reaver era vampires, seen throughout Soul Reaver and last seen in Oracle's Cave (chapter)[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/14] - vampires of this generation would subsequently appear in Seek Mortanius of Legacy of Kain: Defiance and Nosgoth[Defiance/10][NOS]. He also comments on the earlier generation of vampires, observed here as corpses, which have not been seen since The Vampire Purges (chapter) of Blood Omen.[Blood Omen/6][Blood Omen/7][Blood Omen/11]
- Kain's recounting of the Corruption of the Pillars[Soul Reaver 2/2] recalls Welcome to Hell and Seeking Revenge of Blood Omen, where the causes of the Pillars corruption - Ariel's murder and Nupraptor's subsequent madness - were seen and described.[Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen/2] Notably the Soul Reaver 2 scene takes place at the same time with the same location as the former source, with differing shots preventing the wider scene being viewed in Blood Omen.[Blood Omen/1][Soul Reaver 2/2]
- Kain's description of his dilemma at the Pillars[Soul Reaver 2/2] echoes To the End of Blood Omen where, Kain was made to choose between restoring the pillars by sacrificing himself and thus eliminating the Vampires; or to reject the sacrifice and rule the damned world - a decision which caused the Collapse of the Pillars. The decision was presented as a final choice in Blood Omen but Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver prologue of Soul Reaver revealed Kain's rejection of the sacrifice as the canonical version.[Blood Omen/12][Soul Reaver/1]
- The Elder God appears beneath the Pillars,[Soul Reaver 2/2] he appeared throughout Soul Reaver as a guide to Raziel and could last be seen before Raziel set off to the Oracle's Cave in Oracle's Cave (chapter).[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/14] Originally the Elder's voice was heard at the end of Raziel's confrontation with Kain at the Chronoplast in Showdown With Kain, but this was ommited from the recap in the Soul Reaver 2 Prologue.[Soul Reaver/15][Soul Reaver 2/Prologue]
- The Elder's control over the Wheel of Fate and opposition to the vampires, especially Kain, based on their immortality were first mentioned in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver prologue of Soul Reaver.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/1]
- The Elder's relationship with Moebius[Soul Reaver 2/2] was mentioned in the previous chapter[Soul Reaver 2/1] and Raziel's comments on Moebius's faith foreshadows it being tested in Return to the Guardian Citadel of Defiance.[Defiance/13]
- On the path between the Great Southern Lake and the Pillars, Raziel encounters a shrine which resembles a balance scales.[Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver 2/2] Though this is not confirmed in the game, this is the same shrine where Mortanius/the Dark Entity kills Ariel in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain's Welcome to Hell.[Blood Omen/1] Series artist and art director Daniel Cabuco said he "always thought that was where Ariel was murdered. [He] wanted to put up the decorations similar to Blood Omen's intro, but just didn't have time to implement it".[Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver 2/2]
- The cutscene with the Elder God is his first appearance in the Material Realm. The cutscene can be approached in either realm indicating that, although unseen, he exists in both realms simultaneously. The Elder can be heard repeatedly calling Raziel's name in the staircase corridor in the Subterranean Ruins.
- Chapter 2: Decision at the Pillars features the first appearances of several concepts, design elements and lore that will become important later in the series:
- The main Pillars area debuts a new set of abstract designs for the Pillars symbols that will be used through the rest of the series,[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/2][Blood Omen 2][Blood Omen 2/1][Defiance][Defiance comic] differing from the gameplay icons of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain[Blood Omen] and plain colored bands of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver[Soul Reaver] - these were expressly designed to give the pillars more gravitas. Placeholders for these designs can be seen in promotional artwork.
- Murals are first used to explore and tell the story of previously unknown history in this chapter.[Soul Reaver 2/2] Previous murals, including those of the last chapter were either open to interpretation or illustrated events that were known or inferred previously.[Blood Omen][Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver 2/1]
- The backstory of the era Before Nosgoth's recorded history is first explored in the Subterranean Ruins and Subterranean Pillars Chamber in this chapter, with the establishment and illustration of the Ancient vampires and ancient Hylden races and their conflict centuries before. Events first mentioned or hinted at include the Vampire-Hylden war, the Genesis of the Pillars, the Summoning of the Guardians, the Affliction of the blood curse and the Forging of the Reaver; the Passing of the dark gift may also be inferred.[Soul Reaver 2/2] Two of the major characters of the series that had already been seen or mentioned would later be explicitly revealed to be of these races.[Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver 2/3][Defiance/10]
- The mural designs give the first hints of the prophecies of the ancient races, with the prophecy of the Vampire champion perhaps most easily recognizable at this stage.[Soul Reaver 2/2] A complex prophetic design is also featured on the dais on the Subterranean Pillars Chamber which is seen in later chapters[Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/7][Soul Reaver 2/9] and reappears in Legacy of Kain: Defiance[Defiance][Defiance/8] - this design gives the first hints about the elemental associations of the Wraith Blade/Soul Reaver and the relationships between them and the Pillars of Nosgoth; ultimately foreshadowing the events of the climax of Defiance.[Defiance][Defiance/13]
- For a more detailed explanation of design elements and their background, see the location articles at Shrine, Pillars of Nosgoth (Soul Reaver 2), Subterranean Ruins and Subterranean Pillars Chamber.
- Several enemy types make the first appearances in this chapter, with the debuts of Vampire hunter attack dogs, Vampire hunter cannoneers, Shades and Greater sluagh.[Soul Reaver 2/2]
- One of the flooded chambers in the Subterranean Ruins is noticeably dominated by a large central statue covered in eyes and several other ruins, arguably more primitive constructions than those leading upto the Sub-Pillars room.[Soul Reaver 2/2] Though not revealed in the game, this was intended as "a symbolic representation of the Elder God fashioned by an ancient, primitive cult". Beyond their worship of the Elder, little else is known of the cult and it was not clear whether they were related to the Ancient vampires or Moebius (fellow Elder God worshippers); their race was unknown, and it is uncertain whether or not they survived into any of the eras explored by Kain and Raziel.[Soul Reaver 2][Defiance]
- Pre-Blood Omen era
- The Shrine
- The Pillars of Nosgoth
- The Pillars of Nosgoth (Soul Reaver 2)
- The Corruption of the Pillars
- Subterranean Ruins
- Subterranean Pillars Chamber
- Soul Reaver 2 - Dialogue at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni).
- Soul Reaver 2: Script (Dialogue) at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya).
- Raziel Witnesses a Vampire Slaying at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- Vampires at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- Soul Reaver 2 - Dialogue at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya)
- Raziel Witnesses a Vampire Slaying at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Weaponry and other questions at DCabDesign (by BazL), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Pillars of Nosgoth areas at DCabDesign (by Bazielim), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- The Pillar Glyphs at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Chris@Crystal's Greatest Hits at the Eidos Forums (by Divine Shadow)