- "As I entered the chamber, I sensed that it had been sealed for hundreds – perhaps thousands – of years. And while this room was clearly built when the Pillars were erected, I knew that no human hand could have shaped this place – and that perhaps it had never been seen by human eyes.
The surrounding murals depicted a winged race, their features so like my own – but beautiful, where mine were grotesque... and angelic, while mine were demonic. I tried to decipher these images...
...a great war, but with combatants like none I had ever seen...
...the Pillars, raised by this winged race, who thus defeated their adversaries...
...the winged beings again, writhing in agony, apparently afflicted with the same blood-thirst I had so recently suffered...
...And throughout the chamber, inscribed everywhere, images of the Reaver itself.
Was this what Kain had urged me to discover? I wondered..."
- ―Raziel — Listen (file info)[src]
The Subterranean Pillars Chamber, also known as the Sub-Pillars Room, was a significant room in the Subterranean Ruins hidden directly beneath the Pillars. It was presumably created by the Ancient vampires and was visited by Raziel several times through the course of Soul Reaver 2. The chamber was the residence of the Elder God in Soul Reaver 2 and notably contained the first of many ancient murals discovered by Raziel - depicting the seminal events Before Nosgoth's recorded history.
The Subterranean Pillars Chamber was arguably the most significant room within the larger Subterranean Ruins consisting of a circular chamber placed directly underneath the Pillars of Nosgoth through which the Pillars descended underground. The Sub-Pillars room was first encountered by Raziel in the history preceding Blood Omen in Decision at the Pillars, shortly meeting with Kain at the Pillars at the beginning of Soul Reaver 2. In the Spectral Realm Raziel was able to find a hidden passage which led to a Sealed Door beyond the Pillars which was decorated with a large mural of a blue winged Ancient Vampire. Unsealing the door with the Wraith blade, Raziel found the passage led to a series of Subterranean Ruins and a chamber beneath the Pillars, where the Pillars descended into the ground. Upon opening the chamber, Raziel speculated that the chamber had been built along with the Pillars and sealed shortly afterward, probably never having been seen by Human eyes. The walls of the chamber were decorated with the first murals of the period Before Nosgoth's recorded history that Raziel had seen, depicting the Elder Wars and the Elder God resided in the water beneath the platform. Spurred on by the revelation that Moebius was a servant of the Elder, Raziel would show his first doubts about the Elder God here before passing through to the Swamp.
Raziel would return to the chamber on several occasions, often confronting the Elder God regarding his revelations and the Elder's role. Raziel would first return after gaining the Dark Reaver in Through the Swamp, where Raziel questions about the murals in the chamber and the ancient civilization that created them provoked the Elder to issue the first of many threats towards Raziel.
Raziel would visit the chamber again in other eras, with Raziel's conversations with Elder continuing on regardless of era. When Raziel entered the chamber in the Era following Blood Omen, he found the bloated mass of the Elder God, tentacles wound up and around the Pillars' shattered stumps and across many of the murals, in a "guilty scene" which prompted Raziel to wonder that "one would think [he'd] torn down the Pillars single-handedly". On this occasion, Raziel disregarded the Elder's attempts to blame Kain for the Collapse of the Pillars and Raziel and the Elder entered something of a stand-off: with the Elder again threatening Raziel, and Raziel openly opining that the Elder was simply "a spooling parasite burrowed deep in the heart of this world."
Raziel visited the chamber for the final time when he traveled to Nosgoth's early history in On to the Past. The chamber could be entered at will, but contained two Shade enemies and was of little significance until Blade of Vengeance, when Raziel passed through whilst chasing the commanders back to the Sarafan Stronghold. On this occasion, the conversation between the Raziel and the Elder God was slight and confrontational, with the Elder addressing Raziel with "ominous finality" (likely knowing his upcoming fate) and Raziel responding in kind, rejecting all that the Elder had taught him and embracing the defiance of his former mentor.
Design and Layout
The design and layout of the Subterranean Pillars Chamber was largely consistent through it appearances in the various eras of Soul Reaver 2, though several minor variations in features were seen. The room was presented as a large circular chamber with a prominent circular platform at the center containing an underground portion of the Pillars of Nosgoth which was surrounded by water. A small domed chamber containing only a save altar was directly across from the entrance which led up a grand staircase to the main Subterranean Ruins. The walls of the Sub-Pillars room were decorated with several murals depicted the events that took place Before Nosgoth's recorded history. Eight murals were seen, with four distinct designs each repeated twice - the murals were presented in two identical sets of four along each of the side walls, both progressing along in the same order from the entrance toward the save altar chamber. The murals were bordered by above and below two different colored bands of arcane symbols and several torches hung down from chains. The pillars platform itself was decorated with a texture containing many of the symbols associated with the pillars and the elemental wraith blade enhancements. Beneath the platform the chamber continued underwater in a cavernous expanse, roughly cylindrical in shape, with The Pillars continuing on beneath the platform, descending underwater and passing directly through the bottom. The Elder God resided at the bottom of the chamber alongside the pillars, seemingly placed directly beneath the center of the platform above him. A rocky opening in the east marked out by two of the Subterranean Ruins' distinctive crystals led onward underwater to the rest of the ruins.
When Raziel first entered the Subterranean Pillars chamber in the history preceding Blood Omen, the Pillars were visibly corroded (with the recent death of Ariel and Corruption of the Pillars), but most of the other features of the room were intact and only the pillars platform texture showed any signs of being worn. In this era, the Elder occupied a fair amount of the chamber beneath the water and was partially coiled around the pillars, but did not reach above the waterline. When Raziel returned in the Era following Blood Omen, many features of the chamber were ruined, with the Collapse of the Pillars leaving the pillars as a series of broken and smashed columns, held in place only by their connections to the ceiling and floor of the chamber. The murals of the chamber were heavily worn in this era and the bloated mass of the Elder God (larger in this era than the others) was coiled around several pillars, reaching several tentacles above the water and placing them above the across murals and around pillars, giving Raziel the impression he had personally torn down the pillars and was attempting to obliterate the murals. When he entered the chamber in Nosgoth's early history, he once again found it in a pristine condition, with the Pillars restored to their non-corrupted state and all of the murals intact. Beneath the platform, the Elder was smallest in this era, its tentacles barely able to reach the pillars it was positioned next to.
- The northern exit lead to a small chamber containing a Save altar ("Pillars12")
- The southern exit leads up through a staircase and ruins to the initial subterranean ruins ("Pillars8" and "Pillars7") through the back Pillars trails ("Pillars4" and "Pillars5") and onto the Pillars of Nosgoth ("Pillars4")
- An underwater passage in the east leads beyond the Pillars into further chambers in the Subterranean Ruins ("Pillars9", "Pillars10" and "Pillars11") ultimately rising into the Swamp ("Swamp1")
The four murals around the walls of the chamber were originally part of a single image representing the events Before Nosgoth's recorded history, which was ultimately broken down into four separate murals. The mural and its component pieces were explained more thoroughly by artist Daniel Cabuco:
- "This is the Mural I created which depicts the Vampyre[sic]/Hylden war, the creation of the pillars, the fall of the Vampyre and the creation of the Reaver. In the third mural, I imagined the poor fellow screaming "WHY?! Why must I kill a little calf?!" and in the last one its like "Hey man, don't worry that you've gone from nature loving stewards to blood sucking immortals. 'Cause I've got this cool sword!!":) Incidentally, these were totally scarred and ripped up for the ingame, so I didn't bother rendering every little bit out, but focused on getting it to look nice and weathered".
In game, Raziel also speculated a similar identification of the murals:
- "a great war, but with combatants like none I had ever seen...the Pillars, raised by this winged race, who thus defeated their adversaries...the winged beings again, writhing in agony, apparently afflicted with the same blood-thirst I had so recently suffered... And throughout the chamber, inscribed everywhere, images of the Reaver itself."
These suggest that the four images represent the Vampire-Hylden war, the Genesis of the Pillars, the casting of the Blood curse and the Forging of the Reaver. Within this structure, the murals contain several notably unusual features: with the Reaver present during the war (which would appear to pre-date the creation of the blade) and with the creator of the Reaver blade appearing as an Ancient vampire who is clearly not the vampire Vorador (credited as the creator of the Reaver in the Fourth timeline seen in Legacy of Kain: Defiance) - official timelines had previously hinted that before the Third paradox, Vorador was not the creator of the blade and was instead born after its forging.
The Subterranean Pillars Chamber was also significant for another reason, as the Subterranean Pillars Platform texture contained a large graphical diagram of the process required to 'restore balance' to Nosgoth, showing the relationship between the various principles and elements associated with the Pillars of Nosgoth and the elemental Reaver enhancements. The implications of the diagram were fully realized in Defiance, where Raziel absorbed the souls of two of each of the original ancient vampire Circle of Nine into the Wraith Blade to create his elemental reavers; with the Conflict guardian and Nature guardians creating the Fire Reaver, the Mind guardian and Dimension guardians creating the Air Reaver, the States guardian and Death guardians creating the Water Reaver, and the Energy guardian and Time guardians creating the Earth Reaver. Combined with the associated elements of the Light Reaver and the Dark Reaver, Raziel was able to use all six enhancements to activate the Spirit Forge within the Vampire Citadel, calling the souls of all of the former Balance guardians (represented by Ariel rather then the original balance guardian) for "the final baptism of the blade", creating the powerful Spirit Reaver. This enhancement was ultimately used to purify the Scion of Balance - Kain - healing him of the corruption that had plagued him since birth and negating the need for his Sacrifice to restore the pillars. The design was seen again in Defiance on the door to Vorador's Crypt in Vorador's Mansion.
- The Subterranean Pillars chamber is referred to by several similar terms: in stage directions the room is called the "Subterranean Pillars Chamber", the "Subterranean Pillars grotto" or simply the "Subterranean chamber", but in dialogue it is given less clear titles, usually referred to simply as "this chamber" or similar variants. Prima's Official Soul Reaver 2 guide refers to the room as alternatively as "Sub-Pillars", the "Sub-Pillars chamber", the "Sub-Pillars room", or the "Elder God's lair". Under Debug menus and game files, the Sub-Pillars room and its adjoining Save altar chamber are referred to as "Pillars12" and for later eras these are modified with the addition of a "B" to denote the Era following Blood Omen and "C" to denote Nosgoth's early history - this debug listing is notably out of sequence with the chambers around it in the ruins as the room is located between "Pillars8" and "Pillars9".
- The size of the Elder god in the Subterranean Pillars Chamber changes throughout the different eras of Soul Reaver 2 - he appears smallest in Nosgoth's early history and largest in the Era following Blood Omen, suggesting that he is growing with chronological time. The Elder's appearance in the early history era also the earliest time he is seen in the series and his relatively modest size and placement may imply the pillars are the 'source' of the Elder. In his appearance in the Post-Blood Omen era, the Elder seems to be in the process of destroying the murals in the room.
- Raziel's comments upon entering the Sub-Pillars room suggest that the room was entirely unknown to him before he entered the chamber in Soul Reaver 2. This would imply that with the building of the Sanctuary of the Clans around the collapsed Pillars in the events of Soul Reaver, the Sub Pillars room remained undiscovered, despite the construction work carried out around it by human slaves.
- Each time Raziel approaches the "center" of the Elder God at the Subterranean Pillars Chamber in Soul Reaver 2 (in either the Material or Spectral Realms), the Elder will speak to him, issuing a taunt from a small pool of quotes. His sound bytes become increasingly sinister as Raziel progresses through the game (new quotes are added in each era).
- The Save altar chamber within the Sub-Pillars room is decorated with a black and red material similar to the final form of the Bloodstone bridges seen in Janos Audron's Retreat.
- Despite the changes in water level further on in the Subterranean Ruins, the waterline in the Sub-Pillars room remains constant across the various eras and beyond the Sub-Pillars room, the presence of architecture which is obviously Ancient vampire in origin drops sharply. A chamber further on in the Subterranean Ruins contained a large statue identified by developers as "a symbolic representation of the Elder God fashioned by an ancient, primitive cult", but the creators of this relic are not known and beyond the apparently significant placement of the statue it is unclear if the cult had any connection to the Ancient vampires or the Pillars.
- The Subterranean Ruins
- The Pillars of Nosgoth
- The Elder God
- Before Nosgoth's recorded history
- The Vampire-Hylden war
- The Genesis of the Pillars
- The Blood curse
- The Forging of the Reaver
- The Purification of Kain
- The Subterranean Pillars Chamber and the Subterranean Ruins at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn).
- Soul Reaver 2: Pillars' Platform Diagram at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn/Corpse87).
- Spectral Jin Archives (by Daniel Cabuco)
- GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #5 (by RazielFan)
- Soul Reaver 2: Pillars' Platform Diagram at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn/Corpse87)
- The Subterranean Pillars Chamber and the Subterranean Ruins at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
- Chris@Crystal's Greatest Hits at the Eidos Forums (by Divine Shadow)