Meridian was a city in Southern Nosgoth. In the Era following Blood Omen, Meridian was the political and industrial capital of Nosgoth,[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2 manual (UK)][Blood Omen 2 manual (US)][Blood Omen 2 strategy guide] One of the finest and largest cities in Nosgoth, it was also a port city and bordered the Great Southern Sea. Much of Blood Omen 2 was set in Meridian.
Location and Layout
Meridian was a large, walled[Blood Omen 2/6] city in southern Nosgoth, it was located south-east of Freeport and south of the Pillars of Nosgoth,Ziegsturhl, Provance and the Great Southern Lake. The city was also surrounded by many natural boundaries and was bordered to the west and south by the Great Southern Sea, to the east by a mountain range and to the north by a set of Canyons that apparently isolated Meridian from the rest of Nosgoth.
Although little is known about Meridian's layout prior to Blood Omen 2, it appears to have been much smaller and simpler in earlier times, with expansion presumably driven by the Glyph magic-powered 'industrial revolution' of Meridian. By the time of Blood Omen 2, the city had become much more complex and 'labyrinthine'[Blood Omen 2/1] and had grown onto a nearby peninsula and some nearby islands, with a large wall surrounding the main parts of the city.
At this time, the city was divided into separate parts:
- the Slums and Smuggler's Den - Set on an island (linked to the Lower City), apparently North/North-West (see notes) of the mainland Meridian peninsula and 'opposite' Meridian's 'northern' Canyons. They appeared to be older and more run-down than other parts of Meridian; populated by mainly Peasants, Thugs and Thieves.
- Lower City - Situated at the tip of the Meridian peninsula, the main residential area forlower class citizens and Sarafan troops. Bordered by the The Device and the Upper City, the Lower City had bridges providing access to the islands containing the Wharves, Slums and Smuggler's Den.
- Upper City - Situated at the start of the Meridian peninsula and the heart of the city itself, main residential area for upper class citizens and Sarafan troops. Bordered by the Industrial Quarter, Sarafan Keep, Canyons, Lower City and Device. Nearby the bridge leading to the Slums and Smuggler's Den and the trail leading to the Eternal Prison.
- the Device - A large (Hylden) edifice at the heart of the city that had lain dormant beneath the city for centuries,[Blood Omen 2/7] presumably excavated and 'built' by the Sarafan or glyph wrights, situated on the Meridian peninsula between the Upper and Lower city areas.
- Industrial Quarter - A workers area, dedicated to heavy industry and glyph magic, containing many factories and mines. Situated alongside the Sarafan Keep (and Meridian's 'eastern' mountain range) and nearby the Upper City.
- the Wharves - Situated on an island (linked to the Lower City) apparently South/South-West (see notes) of the mainland Meridian peninsula, controlled a large amount or trade and seafaring pursuits, a major Sarafan stronghold (presumably due to the areas 'proftiability' and links to the Hylden City[Blood Omen 2/9]), but outside of the walls surrounding much of the rest of Meridian.
- The Sarafan Keep - Headquarters of the Sarafan and apparent home of the Sarafan Lord. The only part of Meridian shown to have existed as far back as the battle of Meridian (and the only construction shown on early maps of the city) hence presumably the oldest part of the city. A major Sarafan fortress, backing onto Meridian's 'eastern' mountain range, alongside the Industrial Quarter.
Other major locations in Blood Omen 2 were explicitly identified as outside Meridian, but close-by; with the Canyons cutting through the eastern mountain range immediately to the 'North' of the city[Blood Omen 2/6] and the Eternal Prison apparently to the 'South', where the mountain range met the Great Southern Sea (see notes). The Wharves of Meridian also provided the only known access to the Hylden City, which was presumably situated somewhere westward across the Great Southern Sea.[Blood Omen 2/9]
The known history of Meridian starts nearly two hundred years after the Collapse of the Pillars of Nosgoth, by which time the city was already a base for the Hylden incursion into Nosgoth, with the Hylden Lord in the guise of the Sarafan Lord and holding power over the Human vampire hunting Sarafan. (at this time the city was shown in maps as consisting simply of the Sarafan Keep). With the rise of Kain's vampire army, the Sarafan and the Vampires clashed for many years for domination of Nosgoth,[Blood Omen 2 manual (UK)][Blood Omen 2 manual (US)] until the final battle of the war took place alongside the Sarafan Keep. In the battle, Kain was betrayed by Sebastian, who set up a Sarafan ambush that cost him the war. The vampire army was scattered by the Sarafan with the aid of their new Glyph magic[Blood Omen 2/1] and Kain himself (unable to use the power of the Soul Reaver due to the interference of the Nexus Stone held by the Sarafan Lord) was defeated by the Sarafan Lord and thrown off a cliff to his apparent death.[Blood Omen 2/1] Kain's unconscious body would be recovered by agents of the Cabal.[Blood Omen 2 manual (UK)][Blood Omen 2 manual (US)]
With Kain's army defeated, the Sarafan triumphed in the wars and the order conquered Nosgoth and began hunting down the remaining vampires. Meridian as the base of the order (and with its secret links to the Hylden City) likely grew in status, becoming the capital city of the Sarafan Order's Nosgoth.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2 manual (UK)][Blood Omen 2 manual (US)][Blood Omen 2 strategy guide] In the two hundred years that followed, technological updates (possibly aided by some of the applications of Glyph magic) and industrialisation, resulting in the rapid growth of Meridian and it becoming a highly urbanised environment.[Blood Omen 2/1] During this time, Glyph magic saw widespread use; originally used to hunt and combat the remaining vampires,[Blood Omen 2/1] the technology was adapted to provide a number of applications and benefits to the people, such as lighting, heating and operation of machinery - the technology was even seen used in the same manner as electricity.
Over time, the relationships between the humans and the Sarafan became strained in Meridian. The initial warm response faded away as Sarafan rule revealed itself to be extremely fascistic[Blood Omen 2 manual (UK)][Blood Omen 2 manual (US)] and humans found conditions diffiicult under their "iron rule";[Blood Omen 2 strategy guide][Blood Omen 2/1] Kain could often overhear humans expressing dissent to each other in private and more infrequently, in public, about the Sarafan rule.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/3] The Vampires who had survived the genocide at the end of the wars (and were not in service to the Sarafan) had banded together to form the Cabal and organised a resistance to the Sarafan rule, but with vampires numbers greatly depleted by the war and subsequent vampire hunts,[Blood Omen 2/1] the Cabal was forced to use the support of many disaffected humans.[Blood Omen 2/1] Ultimately seeking to eliminate the Sarafan Lord and overthrow the order, The Cabal remained in Meridian,its headquarters hidden under the Blue Lady Curios shop in the Lower City.[Blood Omen 2/3]
Two Centuries after the battle of Meridian, with vampire numbers down to just a handful of known faces, the Cabal was forced to resurrect Kain[Blood Omen 2/1] as a perfect agent for the resistance.[Blood Omen 2 manual (UK)][Blood Omen 2 manual (US)] As Kain worked for the Cabal he explored much of Meridian, uncovering Sanctuary in the Lower City, rescuing Umah from the Sarafan Keep and stealing the Nexus Stone from the Industrial Quarter. Eventually Kain descended into the Device at the heart of the city and uncovered the Hylden conspiracy behind the Sarafan Order, killing the Mass Kain was able to destroy the Ancient Hylden weapon. After infiltrating the Wharves of Meridian, Kain made his way to the Hylden City and killed the Sarafan Lord, closing the Hylden Gate and preventing a Hylden invasion of Nosgoth. The fate of Meridian after this time remains unknown, though it seems likely Kain would return to the city to crush the remains of the Sarafan Order[Blood Omen 2/11] or (as Umah feared) the Cabal.
Meridian was heavily involved in the background story to the cancelled title Nosgoth which indicated that Meridian was still a major city and human capital into the events of Soul Reaver, where it continued to boast advanced infrastructure and technology: "fresh running water, gilded monuments and numerous columned bridges were alien to visitors more accustomed to Humanity’s isolated towns built of straw and wood. More than just a living space, the city of Meridian cultivated learning at its universities, training philosophers and architects, alchemists and generals to shape the world in their image." However Meridian's comfort also bred an ideal of wiping the vampires from the face of Nosgoth - a dream which was crushed when the hordes of Kain's empire descended on the city at the fall of the Major human kingdoms and Meridian was virtually destroyed becoming a "a scar on the landscape" - its inhabitants rounded up into Blood farms and slavery.
Over the years Meridian's "legendary splendour" attracted the few humans who escaped the Blood farms and slowly the city grew again, out of sight and unknown to the vampires. By the time the vampires realized, the walls of the city were rebuilt and it was just barely defensible again. With the disappearance of Kain and the Vampire civil war internal squabbles meant that the vampires were unable to raise an army and mount a serious attempt to retake the city, leaving the humans to rebuild further and almost recapture its past glories building a defensible city of high walls, deep waterways and narrow causeways with access points at four fort settlements representing the seasons - Hochburg, Tür des Tages, Winternacht and Sommerdamm. As the vampires fell into an uneasy truce and the War for Nosgoth began, the last of Meridian's fort-settlement defenses to be rebuilt, Sommerdamm, was targeted by the vampire forces and breached. The red sisters of Anacrothe were noted to have particularly set up many chapters in Meridian and Sommerdamm was a playable mare area in the game.
Meridian's involvement with the Vampire-Sarafan war and potential later involvement with the War for Nosgoth notably were said to have occured on different timelines - with Blood Omen 2's events taking place in the Fourth timeline and Nosgoth's taking place in the Second timeline - and so the two histories cannot be definitively reconciled. Presumably as Kain's vampire army and the revived Sarafan Order are products of the Third paradox, they cannot have met in Meridian in the Second timeline :- on the other hand as the events of the events of Soul Reaver have not been subject to change due to Paradoxes, it is possible that Meridian's capture by Kain's empire at the fall of the Major human kingdoms and subsequent recapture by the Humans did occur in the Fourth timeline. Interestingly Nosgoth's second timeline background lore does link Meridian with the conception of ideas to eliminate the vampires prior to the emergence of Kain's empire and it may be that even without the benefit of the Hylden controlled Sarafan, Meridian was destined to be heavily involved in efforts to eliminate them in the Era following Blood Omen.
- Meridian has many similarities to the Human Citadel from Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and the epynomous City from the Thief series, another game series owned by Eidos, The City and Meridian both have technology such as steam powered machines and engines fused with magic, both cityes have ghotic architecture and both cityes features diffrent types of social classes, ranging from commoners to nobles.
- Many of the compass directions given in Blood Omen 2 are disputed or contradictory, resulting in several characters giving directions that, when matched up to maps, appear to be misleading (notably Janos' interpretation of the Eternal Prison as being 'North'[Blood Omen 2/7] when it appears to be 'South' in actuality). This is further complicated by the two known maps of Blood Omen 2 seeming to be rotated to different orientations.
- The age of Meridian is not conclusively discussed, but several factors suggest it was much smaller and simpler before the time of Blood Omen 2; it is mentioned on the map shown in the opening cutscene uses the Sarafan Keep and its walls to depict the entirety of Merdian (the map depicts some detail of the villages Freeport and Provance), suggesting Meridian was not much more complex at this time - The later Blood Omen 2 map shows Meridian covering a peninsula outside of the extent of the city in the earlier map, suggesting some large scale growth in the interceding years. Furthering this, the initial opening cutscene shows some minor details of the battle of Meridian, depicting it taking place in front of the Sarafan Keep, on a rocky clearing near a wooded area - the later map for Blood Omen 2 depicts the area in front of the Sarafan Keep as part of the urbanised Upper City, perhaps suggesting the area was yet to be built at the time of the battle. Umah's comment "let me show you the future... this is what has become of Nosgoth." suggests many cities in Nosgoth may have encountered similar industrial urbanisation[Blood Omen 2/1]
- Despite being identified as the 'Capital city' of Nosgoth, Meridian is not mentioned in any previous games, either set before or after Blood Omen 2. With the supposed 'rapid growth' of Meridian it may be that the title 'capital' related being the power-base of the ruling Sarafan Order and the city did not enjoy such high status before this time. Nosgoth's background story makes the case that it was still considered the human capital until the rise of Kain's empire.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2 manual (US)][Blood Omen 2 manual (UK)][Blood Omen 2 strategy guide]