- "They fear what they don't understand; and they despise what they fear.
But no – I do not hate them."
- ―Janos Audron — Listen (file info)[src]
The humans were, like the vampires and the Hylden, one of the three sapient species in Nosgoth. Despite their perceived frailty and inferiority in comparison to either of the other races, they reigned as the land's most populous and dominant creatures in the eras between Nosgoth's early history and the history preceding Blood Omen.
Humans are a constant feature in the Legacy of Kain series, and have been both allies and enemies to both Raziel and Kain. They have the potential to become powerful sorcerers as well as formidable warriors, and have launched numerous crusades against the vampires, nearly bringing them to extinction at least three times.
After the war, vampires became predators of humans, and were forced to pass on the blood curse to them in order to preserve their species. As a result, all vampires created after the war were born human. In addition, as the vampire guardians died off, the Pillars of Nosgoth called human guardians, who were in turn adopted - and, when necessary, abducted - by the vampires, who would turn them when they came of age.
Eventually worship of vampires died out. Their predatory nature, tendency to abduct the human guardians and turn them against their will, undead nature, and the passage of time resulted in the history of the vampire race becoming little more than myths and legends among the humans, who inevitably revolted against them. Lead by Moebius the Time Streamer and Mortanius the Necromancer, the humans over threw their former masters and claimed the Pillars for their own, eventually forgetting their origins entirely. Surely, Moebius' Staff aided them in their revolt and subsequent crusades immensely.
Though they did not know it, humans were in fact slitting their own throats with every vampire they killed. Having forgotten why the pillars were raised in the first place, the humans didn't understand that they were physically unfit to serve as guardians, and that so long as they did, the binding decayed. The human's revolt would eventually lead to the total collapse of the Pillars and the return of a threat far worse than the vampires: The Hylden.
Age of the Sarafan
The second known war against vampire kind was waged by a faction of humans known as the Sarafan. By this time the humans ruled Nosgoth and vampires existed primarily hidden throughout Nosgoth, hunted wherever they were found. The Sarafan apparently ruled during this time, and in turn were lead by the united Circle of Nine, who supported the Sarafan in their purge of the vampire menace.
The Sarafan Crusade ironically came to an end in the wake of their greatest victory. After some years of trying, the humans - led by the Sarafan inquisitors - led by Malek's right hand man, Raziel - finally killed Janos Audron, the last of the ancient vampires, the creator of the modern vampire race. The humans of the time had popularly believed that killing Janos would topple the whole of the vampire bloodline, though this proved false. Instead, killing Janos lead to the downfall of the Sarafan order.
The vampire Vorador and the time traveling wraith Raziel separately attacked the Sarafan Stronghold in an act of vengeance for Janos' murder; Vorador killed six of the Circle of Nine and left a seventh, their protector Malek, high lord of the Sarafan, defeated, disgraced, and humiliated. Raziel, meanwhile, slaughtered the six Sarafan inquisitors, including his human self. The loss of much of its leadership, coupled with an assault by the time traveling vampire Kain some time later that resulted in heavy casualties, had disastrous consequences on the order and indeed the political structure of the time.
The most profound result was that with the decimation of the Circle, mankind lost its unifying leadership and instead splintered into numerous townships and city states. The guardians, likewise, fragmented, and would never again be unified in a common cause.
It is believed that Hylden worship, in the form of the Hash'ak'gik cult, started during this era. Practiced by the very members of the circle itself, notably Mortanius, this cult would be the direct cause of the Pillars' eventual collapse.
Blood Omen Era
By the time of the Blood Omen era, humans remained the dominant race in Nosgoth. The land was ruled by nobles, who in turn were loyal and answerable to the King. There were two known Kings during this era; Ottmar of Willendorf and William the Just, also known as the Nemesis. It is unclear exactly how much territory either king was able to claim as theirs; Ottmar is known to have the loyalty of the nobles of distant Coorhagen - including the mortal Kain - whereas the Nemesis conquered and slaughtered everyone and everything that stood in his path. Both Ottmar and William (before his transformation into a power-hungry tyrant) were beloved by their subjects.
The Circle of Nine operated largely independently of each other during this era. Azimuth and Mortanius apparently ruled Avernus together, acting as religious leaders as well as operating the cult of Hash'ak'gik in secret. Moebius posed as the Oracle of Nosgoth in order to influence rulers; in this way he manipulated William into becoming the Nemesis. Nupraptor was famed throughout Nosgoth and counseled those coming to him seeking aid from his mental powers. How much influence the other guardians had on the political and social aspects of Nosgoth is unclear.
This era, too, began its downfall due to death among the Circle of Nine. Ariel, Balance Guardian and lover of Nupraptor, was murdered by Mortanius. In retaliation, Nupraptor unleashed a mental attack upon the circle that drove them all-including an infant Kain- into madness. Their Pillars, and the very land, descended into corruption. Nupraptor's attack affected not only the circle, but the minds of several sensitive and intellectual individuals, causing even more widespread corruption. It is possible that William's change from beloved and just king into the Nemesis was a result of this, as well.
By the time Kain reached adulthood, the human race was in dire straits. Nupraptor terrorized Vasserbünde, Anarcrothe, Bane, and DeJoule were attempting to spread a dome of mutating energy throughout Nosgoth to twist all life into strange abominations, Azimuth was unleashing demons to slaughter her people and burn her city, and Moebius was further manipulating the march of the Nemesis, propelling his forces to war with Willendorf. Ottmar sat helpless with grief over his daughter's affliction, and offered no resistance against the coming Horde.
With one king in a stupor and the other on the war path, the people of Nosgoth were divided into small city states with little protection from the numerous monsters, wild animals, and bandits that roamed the roads. Brothels and taverns flurished and gypsies roamed the country side. Coorhagen, once considered the most beautiful city in Nosgoth, was nearly annihilated by a plague.
As Malek was the last of the Sarafan, the humans of Nosgoth had no organized defense against vampires. Ironically, however, the vampire menace proved to be the least of the threats posed to humanity at the time, as they still hadn't recovered from their slaughter at the hands of the Sarafan, and had decided to stay out of human affair and hide away, interacting with humans only to feed.
This all changed thanks to Moebius. The time streamer propelled Ottmar and William against each other in war, with Kain as a central figure on Ottmar's side. Ottmar's Army of Hope was defeated at the Battle of the Last Stand, which would have meant the doom of all Nosgoth if Kain hadn't been there with a timestreaming device that he used to escape the Horde. Arriving in the past, Kain assassinated the young William the Just before he could become the Nemesis, thus completely changing the future.
In this alternate timeline, Nosgoth was once again united. Moebius made William a martyr to rally the common folk of Nosgoth together as his citizen army, becoming arguably the most politically powerful figure in the world. With this army at his command, he saw to the slaughter of ever last vampire in Nosgoth with the sole exception of Kain.
Having witnessed the corruption of humanity and the destruction of his people, Kain saw no reason to sacrifice his self for the good of the world, and instead chose to damn the Pillars. As they fell, a rift formed between the dimensions, opening the return to the world for Hylden and demons, while Kain began to muster a force of vampires. Humanity's success once again lead to its darkest hour yet.
Blood Omen 2 Era
Roughly a century after Kain's choice, humanity was in something of a dark age. Many of its former cities and towns were abandoned to lay in ruin as the remnants of Moebius' vampire hunting army turned their focus to fighting the demons that now threatened them now that the Pillars no longer held the lock on the dimensions. The land fell into rapid collapse and the weather took a turn for the worse. Nosgoth became a savage and hostile land, and humans had to struggle to survive.
Years later, humans would face another threat. Their old enemies, the vampires, were back with a vengeance. Kain lead an army of newly created vampires, sired by the resurrected Vorador, in a bid to conquer Nosgoth. They took several cities, razing them to the ground and slaughtering or turning all the inhabitants. Their victory seemed assured.
Until the Hylden Lord, in the guise of a human, re-founded the Sarafan Order, using the threat of vampires to rally all humans in Nosgoth to his cause. Using glyph magic, which was as deadly to vampires as water or sunlight, the Hylden Lord was able to defeat Kain and halt his armies, and thus establish dominion over Nosgoth for himself.
Two hundred years later, roughly four hundred years after Kain's refusal to sacrifice himself, the Sarafan ruled all of Nosgoth once again, with an iron fist. They imposed heavy taxes, denied citizens basic rights, abducted people off the streets, and killed any who opposed them. This harsh rule ironically enough drove some humans to side with the vampires in hopes of opposing the Sarafan.
Free of the vampire threat and likely with the guidance of their unknown Hylden masters, the humans of this era underwent something of an industrial revolution. While some degree of mechanical technology had been present in Nosgoth since the Blood Omen era, the Blood Omen 2 era had steam engine vehicles, gondolas, advanced factories, and even used glyph energy like electricity, providing light and heat. Magic wasn't nearly as common in this era as the use of technology was, however.
It is hard to say what life in cities outside of Meridian was like. It is known that the roads were very perilous to travel, demons and bandits still roamed free and bridges were often in poor repair. The land, suffering from the collapse of the Pillars, suffered cataclysms, and landslides were common.
In places like the Hylden City and the Device, humans were kept as slaves by the Hylden, often driven to insanity. Slaves were forbidden to speak to one another, and were allowed only to "work and die". They were also used as test subjects in Hylden experiments. Humans had apparently been living on the islands where Hylden City was located for centuries, perhaps even since the Hylden were banished to the Demon Realm. The Hylden noted that at one point the humans had been nothing "but hairless apes cowering in caves", and that they had given them "all that they had".
Eventually Kain killed the Sarafan Lord and banished the Hylden back to the demon dimension. With their leader dead and their puppet masters defeated, the Sarafan would be put down by Kain, and mankind would be ruled by the newly vampires as its slaves.
Soul Reaver Era
The eventual fate of the human race in Nosgoth is unclear, but Raziel's fight against his former brethren and his killing of all the vampires lieutenants: Melchiah, Zephon, Rahab, Dumah and Turel likely saved the human survivors from extinction.
They will modify their behavior toward Raziel depending on how he behaves — if Raziel preys on them, they will see him as a demon, and flee in terror. If he spares them, attacking the vampires that plague them instead, they will see him as a savior, an avenging angel, and worship him.Humans' souls are not as deeply rooted as the vampires' — the humans do not have to be killed before Raziel can draw energy from their souls. If Raziel gets close enough, he can grasp a human and draw its soul energy directly from its body. If he chooses only to "sip" at a human's soul — recovering his health slightly, but not draining the victim completely — the human will faint, but recover. As long as Raziel does not drain his victim completely, he will not be villified by the humans.
They will modify their behaviour toward Raziel depending on how he behaves - if Raziel preys on them, they will see him as a demon, and flee in terror. If he spares them, attacking the vampires that plague them instead, they will see him as a saviour, an avenging angel, and worship him.Humans' souls are not as deeply rooted as the vampires' - the humans do not have to be killed before Raziel can draw energy from their souls. If Raziel gets close enough, he can grasp a human and draw its soul energy directly from its body. If he chooses only to 'sip' at a human’s soul - recovering his health slightly, but not draining the victim completely - the human will faint, but recover. As long as Raziel does not drain his victim completely, this will not count against his notoriety.
The background materials for the multiplayer spin-off Nosgoth elaborate on the history of the events of Soul Reaver and vampires of that age, showing that in the wake of Raziel's execution Kain disappeared, abandoning his empire and using the Chronoplast to search for a way to restore the pillars.[NOS]
The resulting power vacuum sparked infighting and mistrust among among the lieutenants and their clans - which devolved into open conflict, the near extermination of the Razielim and ultimately led to a bloody civil war.[NOS]
With the vampires distracted by their own affairs the formerly subjugated humans were allowed the chance to rebuild and rise to present a credible threat to the vampires.A particularly devastating attack awakened the vampires to the renewed threat posed by humanity and the clans reunited in an uneasy alliance aiming to put down the resistance of humanity once and for all in the War for Nosgoth.[NOS]
- 'Nosgoth – A Land in Turmoil' at the Nosgoth official blog (by George Kelion) (preserved at Tales of Nosgoth/Nosgothic Realm)
- 'Vampires – A Legacy Under Threat' at the Nosgoth official blog (by George Kelion) (preserved at Tales of Nosgoth/Nosgothic Realm)
- 'Humans – From Slaves to Soldiers' at the Nosgoth official blog (by George Kelion) (preserved at Tales of Nosgoth/Nosgothic Realm)