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Mortanius the Necromancer is a principal character in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, a member of the Circle of Nine and Guardian of the Pillar of Death. Mortanius was responsible for resurrecting Kain as a vampire, and served as an enigmatic benefactor throughout his quest to restore Nosgoth. Eventually, it transpired that Mortanius's body was a vessel to the malevolent Dark Entity; he had assassinated and resurrected Kain in an attempt to correct the imbalance caused by the murder of Ariel and the corruption of the Pillars. Mortanius was the final Guardian to perish in Kain's wake.

Mortanius's character is further revisited and explored in Legacy of Kain: Defiance. He, alongside Moebius, initiated the human crusades against the Ancient vampires, which led to the eventual corruption of the Pillars of Nosgoth. While struggling against the Hylden Lord's attempts to possess his body, Mortanius had attempted to atone for his crimes by creating Kain - the prophesied Scion of Balance - using the Heart of Darkness.


"Strange, isn’t it Kain? That one cannot quite accept that which sustains him: you in your death and me in mine. But death cannot reign in a world without life and soon you will find the quest ahead of you is yours and yours alone. I can assist you no longer."
―Mortanius — Listen (file info)

Wiki-Icon-BO1.png In a World Without Life[]

"If the Circle is to be destroyed, you have to die as well, Necromancer. I admire your cunning, but you will not escape your fate."

Mortanius condemning Malek in Nosgoth's early history.

The silhouette of the possessed Mortanius emerges behind Ariel.

Upon the demise of the preceding Death Guardian, Mortanius was born, supernaturally culled to inherit curatorship of the Pillar of Death.[Blood Omen/9][1][2] As a human Guardian, he was born some time after the genesis of the Pillars of Nosgoth, and - along with the longevity of life gifted to him by his birthright - he was "skilled in the arts of manipulating death".[1][3][4] Ancient and judicious, Mortanius was absent when Vorador launched his infamous attack on the Sarafan Stronghold in Nosgoth's early history, and was one of only three of the Circle of Nine's serving members to survive the vampire's onslaught.[4][5][6]

In the aftermath, Mortanius personally administered punishment to Malek, the disgraced protector of the Circle. He magically stripped Malek's spirit from his body and fused it to his armor, proclaiming to him that "you have but one purpose, damned one. You will serve us for eternity".[Blood Omen/1] However, Mortanius's own integrity would eventually be compromised. In the history preceding Blood Omen, he was seduced away from his service of the Pillars by a power beneath Avernus, essentially "inviting" malevolent forces to infiltrate and subvert the Circle.[2][7][Soul Reaver 2/5]>[8] The Dark Entity - an enigmatic force bent on destroying the Pillars - possessed him, and, controlling his body, murdered Ariel, the Balance Guardian.[4][Blood Omen/1]

"Wracked with grief and tormented by suspicions of treachery" upon finding her corpse, Ariel's lover Nupraptor - the Mind Guardian - vowed vengeance on Mortanius, and turned his telepathic powers against the Circle.[4][Soul Reaver 2/2] Plunging into madness and launching a furious telepathic assault, he ensured that "the minds of [Nosgoth's] sensitive and intellectual [were] blasted by relentless waves of hatred". Each of the nine living Guardians were left insane by the attack, "some raving like madmen, others maliciously in control of their actions"; the Pillars' veneer turned gray and cracked, reflecting the Circle's fundamental corruption.[4][Soul Reaver 2/2][Blood Omen/3]

Wiki-Icon-BO1.png Mercy and Judgement[]

"Oh, little vampire, the game grows interesting. But with so many pawns, can you find the true player?"
―Mortanius — Listen (file info)[src]

Mortanius preparing to release Kain from his bonds in the Underworld.

Mortanius removes the Iron Sword from Kain's chest.

Realizing the peril his unwilling actions had caused, and desperate to redeem himself and correct Nosgoth's imbalance, Mortanius was "in constant conflict" with the Dark Entity.[9] He understood that the current Guardians "had to be destroyed" and replaced in order to restore balance to the land, and conspired to purge the Circle.[Blood Omen/12][Defiance comic] Mortanius learned of the young nobleman Kain, Ariel's then-unwitting successor as Balance Guardian.[Blood Omen/12][10] He secretly hired a band of assassins to murder Kain in Ziegsturhl, then resurrected Kain as a vampire, guiding him towards vengeance.[Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen/2]

Though Kain's assassins were dead, Mortanius hinted that they "were merely the instruments of [his] murder, not the cause"'; he manipulated the vampire into slaughtering Nupraptor, a goal Ariel's specter reiterated when Kain visited the Pillars.[Blood Omen/2] As Kain journied Nosgoth and killed successive Guardians, under the impression that his curse would end if the Pillars were restored, Mortanius occasionally addressed him with symbiotic magic, subtly spurring him on.[Blood Omen/2][Blood Omen/6] When he failed in his attempt to destroy Malek, Mortanius commented that "the game grows interesting"; that "the true player" was elusive amidst "so many pawns".[Blood Omen/5] After Kain met Vorador, Mortanius guided him towards the Guardians operating in Dark Eden, claiming that "north is where your vengeance lies".[Blood Omen/7]

Mortanius issued his final words of advice as Kain traveled to Willendorf under the advice of the Oracle of Nosgoth, an insight into his philosophy: "one cannot quite accept that which sustains him", and "death cannot reign in a world without life".[Blood Omen/9] He did not address his "undead son" again until Kain emerged in the second timeline, having navigated and exposed the schemes of the Oracle - Moebius the Time Streamer. Mortanius heartily congratulated Kain, telling him that "Moebius did so love playing the trickster’s part", but that "with all his plots he failed to plan for you". He entreated for the vampire to return to the Pillars, promising that "the stage is set for the grand finale": Kain would have his vengeance.[Blood Omen/11]

Wiki-Icon-BO1.png The Sweet Dark Serenity of Death[]

"Come to me, my undead son. Make haste to the Pillars; the stage is set for the grand finale. You will have your vengeance."

Mortanius slays Anarcrothe using magical lightning.

Embracing his demise, Mortanius succumbs to the Dark Entity's possession.

When Kain arrived at the Pillars, responding to Mortanius's invitation, he found the Necromancer being confronted by Anarcrothe, the States Guardian. Kain observed their dispute, unnoticed, watching as Anarcrothe angrily accused Mortanius of betraying the Circle; the Alchemist contended that his peer had "had Kain killed and turned him into a monster". Mortanius justified his own actions, arguing that "the Circle had failed in its sworn duties" and "had to be destroyed" as a necessity. He attempted to destroy Mortanius, but the Necromancer easily resisted the Alchemist's magic, and brutally dispatched his foe with a combination of lightning, telekinesis and Shadows.[Blood Omen/12]

With all his adversaries destroyed save Mortanius, Kain emerged from hiding. He openly commended Mortanius's cunning, but assured him that he would "have to die as well" - he would not escape his fate. Mortanius embraced this truth, but told the "princeling" that "my death will leave one more to take". The two fought; Mortanius raised Skeletons, Zombies and necromancers to battle Kain, but, eventually, he succumbed. As Mortanius died, the Dark Entity crushed his mind and psyche, twisting his body into the shape of a huge demon. Claiming his Death Orb, Kain briefly restored the Pillar of Death before destroying this last remnant of his would-be benefactor.[Blood Omen/12]

"Revolted by the machinations of the human sorcerers and alienated from his former humanity" in receipt of the knowledge that he himself was the Balance Guardian, Kain ostensibly chose to undermine Mortanius's intentions.[10] He refused to sacrifice himself, ensuring the survival of the vampire race, but triggering the collapse of the Pillars and perpetuating the corruption of Nosgoth.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Soul Reaver/2][Soul Reaver/6] Over the years, however, he sought a means to restore balance to the world.[Soul Reaver 2/5][Defiance/13] Two thousand years after the Necromancer's death, when confronted by Raziel on questions of conscience, Kain invoked his name: "your life’s span is a flicker compared to the mass of doubt and regret that I have borne since Mortanius first turned me from the light".[Soul Reaver/6]

Wiki-Icon-DEF.png The True Player[]

"The Necromancer had offered me no warning as to what my resurrection would entail, and yet I must confess, in my haste, I had not sought one. Was his gift a curse? I would seek the Pillars for an answer."

A mural depicting the human Guardians' rebellion, led by Moebius and Mortanius.

Mortanius leading the worshippers of Hash'ak'gik in the Avernus Catacombs.

In the early history era of the fourth timeline, while attempting to track down Raziel after saving him from the Soul Reaver, Kain unearthed a significant facet of Mortanius's history for the first time. While exploring the Vampire Citadel, he came upon a mural recording the Circle of Nine's past.[Defiance] Before Nosgoth's recorded history, the sterile, cursed Ancient vampires, the creators and original Guardians of the Pillars, had "adopted - and, when necessary, abducted – the human Guardians, and made vampires of them when they came of age". Ultimately, the humans rebelled against the vampires, claiming the Pillars for their own: according to the image, Moebius and Mortanius had been the leaders of the "bloody revolt".[Defiance/9]

During the same timeline's events of Blood Omen, while exploring Avernus Cathedral in his search for the Heart of Darkness, Raziel chanced upon Mortanius in person, shortly prior to his fateful battles with Anarcrothe and Kain at the Pillars.[Defiance] Mortanius was the officiant leading the cenobites in the Avernus Catacombs, directing them in a liturgical chant to their Blood God, Hash'ak'gik. Offering tribute "upon the altar of the world", the cult sacrificed "the blood of [their] first born", casting bodies into a pit below. His god's wrath supposedly appeased, Mortanius affirmed that the "wrath of Hash'ak'gik has once more been averted", concluding the lurid ceremony.[Defiance/10]

Peering into the pit, Raziel was telekinetically thrust into its nightmarish darkness, where he discovered the creature's identity: Hash'ak'gik was Turel, his vampire brother from the events of Soul Reaver, transported back through time. The force Mortanius had fallen subservient to - the Dark Entity, or Unspoken - was a leading member of the banished Hylden race, exiled to the Demon Realm by the magic of the Pillars at the conclusion of the Vampire-Hylden war.[7][Defiance/10] After killing Turel, Raziel had the opportunity to question the Necromancer on this revelation. Above the pit, while he magically conveyed his "make haste to the Pillars" command to the younger Kain, Raziel accosted him.[Defiance/10]

Wiki-Icon-DEF.png Embracing Fate[]

"Ah, now you think of that. But as I told you, you are too late. The Heart has served its function. I have used it to set prophecy in motion. I created the champion foretold by my masters, who is destined to be your destroyer. The Scion of Balance will save Nosgoth -- the Pillars will return to vampire guardianship as intended, and your race will be cast down forever."

Before encountering Raziel, Mortanius commends Kain on the death of Moebius.

Mortanius struggles against Hylden possession and discusses Kain's creation before teleporting to the Pillars.

Mortanius was unaware of Raziel's identity: he immediately assumed that he was facing the Hylden champion, and remarked that "the Binding must be fragile indeed". Satisfied that the champion was "too late", Mortanius said he had "beaten" the Hylden. As they spoke, Mortanius's body was periodically possessed by the Dark Entity: the Hylden Lord, "nestled in the heart of the Circle itself". He had been used as a vessel by the Hylden to kill Ariel, in their long-calculated plot to free themselves from their imprisonment.[Defiance/10]

The Necromancer explained his own motives: in ages past, he had agreed with Moebius that "the vampires were simply a plague upon mankind, a pestilence [they] had to control", but only now appreciated that, during their rebellion, he "didn't understand what it was the Pillars were holding back". Seeking redemption for his part in the Pillars' destruction, Mortanius had resurrected Kain using the Heart of Darkness, bringing the ancient vampires' prophecies to fruition. He (incorrectly) believed that Kain embodied both the Scion of Balance and the vampire champion, taunting Raziel that "the Pillars will return to vampire guardianship as intended, and your race will be cast down forever".[Defiance/10]

Exhaustedly battling the Hylden Lord's violent attempts at possession, Mortanius knew that his enemy was "growing stronger". He trusted that Kain would "set it right" and restore balance, thus redeeming the Necromancer and all of Nosgoth, but he realized that his own time was short. As the Hylden Lord claimed he would "soon have a stronger vessel", Mortanius accepted his fate. With a groan, he uttered that he must "finish it. Now" to Raziel, before teleporting away to the Pillars, and his own demise.[Defiance/10]

"How else? I refused at first to believe the ancient myths. I thought the vampires were simply a plague upon mankind, a pestilence we had to control. But they were right, and we were wrong to overthrow them - Moebius and I. We didn't understand what it was the Pillars were holding back. I have made my atonement. I will continue to make it to the end, which will be soon, now. But I know - Kain will set it right, he will restore Balance --"


Mortanius, an ancient and learned magician, wields arcane powers accumulated over several centuries. He is one of the Circle of Nine, the guardian of the Pillar of Death. It is he who brings Kain back to life as a vampire.
Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain—Official Game Secrets[Blood Omen strategy guide]
Mortanius is an ancient sorcerer skilled in the arts of manipulating death. His power has accumulated over the centuries, arguably making him the most potent wizard in all of Nosgoth. His power is tempered with mercy and judgment, however, since he is one of the Circle of Nine ("the Protectors of Hope") - the magicians whose magic preserve the order of magical power in the world. The toils of his magical practices with the dead have made Mortanius little more than a skin and bone husk whose fragility belies his ultimate power.
―The Silicon Knights website[Silicon Knights website]
Mortanius is an ancient sorcerer, skilled in the arts of death magic. His powers have accumulated over the centuries, and he now stands as the most powerful wizard in all of Nosgoth, serving as one of the Circle of Nine (the Protectors of Hope).
―The Activision website[Activision website]
Mortanius like Moebius and Ariel was bound to the Pillars as a Guardian, specifically the Guardian of Death. While under the possession of a demonic creature referred to only as Hash'ak'gik, Mortanius struck down Ariel the Guardian of Balance. This single act started a chain reaction that eventually led to the corruption of the Pillars, their principles and their Guardians in some catastrophic plan to topple the Pillars completely. Fighting the possession of Hash'ak'gik, Mortanius sought out to discover the next Guardian of Balance chose by the Pillars to take Ariel's place and some 30 years later Mortanius found Kain. In his own carefully orchestrated plot, Mortanius had Kain assassinated and using a powerful vampire relic called the Heart of Darkness, Mortanius raised Kain from the dead as a Vampire.
Legacy of Kain: Defiance: Prima's Official Strategy Guide[Defiance strategy guide]
One of the most ancient members of the Guardian Circle, the necromancer Mortanius represents the Pillar of Death. Seduced by dark influences, Mortanius became possessed by a sinister entity bent on overthrowing the Circle and toppling the Pillars. While in the thrall of this dark entity, Mortanius murdered the Balance Guardian, Ariel – an event calculated to become the catalyst of the Pillars' destruction.

Struggling to exert his own shattered will, Mortanius used his powers to create a champion capable of defeating the Circle's dark enemy. He tracked down the nobleman Kain, still ignorant of his pivotal destiny, and had him cruelly assassinated. With an offer of vengeance, Mortanius then liberated Kain from the purgatorial agony of the underworld – resurrecting him as a vampire; Mortanius unleashed Kain upon the corrupted Circle in a last desperate bid to restore the Pillars.

―The Eidos Interactive website[Square Enix website]


Dialogue recorded for, but cut from, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain suggests that Mortanius's motives were significantly revised during development; his murder of Ariel was, at one point, supposed to be deliberate. In lines of exposition removed from his scene with Anarcrothe at the Pillars, Mortanius was to admit to having killed Ariel of his own accord, claiming full responsibility for the deed, and invoking her reckless love of Nupraptor as his justification:

"No Anacrothe, I am its Savior. The Circle was damned before my deeds. At the onset, I blamed Ariel.
She was the Balance of the Circle. She and Nupraptor with their
love threatened us all. With their union, how could there be balance? Yes, I killed her.
But Nupraptor's vengeance - for me, 'twas both blessing and curse. His pain split my soul in two. Part of me shared his anguish, a grief so fierce it would destroy the world. And yet the other found revelation.
For the first time, through the haze of madness, I saw truth. The problem did not lie in one of us, it lay in us all. We are relics, old friend, remnants of an era long gone, seeking to play gods in a world that no longer needs one. Our death shall resurrect the world."
―Mortanius (unused dialogue)[11][12][13][Blood Omen/Cut content]

A Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain concept sketch of Mortanius.

A sketch depicting Mortanius and Kain in the Underworld.

In the canonical storyline, culpability for the murder of Ariel is explicitly attributed to the Unspoken/Dark Entity; Mortanius is in conflict with it, and there is no indication that he resented Nupraptor and Ariel's romance - only the corruption it caused.[9][Blood Omen/12] However, one incongruous vestige of the excised plot remains in the finished game; Ariel brands Mortanius a "traitor" and a "beast", even though he was not directly guilty of causing her death.[9][Blood Omen/2] Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance retroactively provided an explanation for her comment in clarifying how Mortanius came to be possessed: that he was actually "seduced" away from his service by the Unspoken/Hylden, and practically invited these "dark forces" to compromise Nosgoth, only later realizing "what it was the Pillars were holding back" and striving to "correct the imbalance".[7][Defiance/10][Soul Reaver 2/5]

In Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Mortanius was voiced by Tony Jay.[Blood Omen] In the sequel, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Tony Jay voiced the Elder God, whose role emulated that of Mortanius's in the first game: both characters resurrected their games' respective protagonists, act as their telepathic advisors, and fuel their lust for revenge.[Soul Reaver] As such, following Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's release, it was very frequently speculated among fans that the Elder God and Mortanius were one and the same.[14][15][16] In a 1999 interview, then-series director Amy Hennig replied "maybe" when asked if they were connected.[17] 2003's Legacy of Kain: Defiance eventually refuted this possibility, however, establishing that the two characters were distinct individuals. In Legacy of Kain: Defiance, Alastair Duncan assumed the role of Mortanius, whereas Tony Jay voiced the Elder God.[Defiance] Hennig stated that the use of a new actor was to avoid confusion, explaining that "Tony has a great voice, but it's always clear that it's him, and the intention was not to make The Elder God and Mortanius sound the same". Upon casting Alastair Duncan, Hennig did not realize that he was coincidentally married to Anna Gunn, the voice actor for Ariel.[7]

The development staff of both Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Legacy of Kain: Defiance compared Mortanius's relationship with Kain to that between the Devil and Faust.[18][19]

A few additional lines intended for Mortanius in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain's cinematics were excised or altered. The game's epigraph, derived from Aleister Crowley's Magick (Book 4), was to be attributed to "A. Crowley or Possibly Mortanius", but it appears that Neil Ross spoke the lines in the final game rather than Tony Jay.[12][Defiance comic][Blood Omen] Upon the murder of Ariel, Mortanius was to say "so it begins...", and, just prior to dying (being fully possessed), he was to cry "kill me fool, before it returns"![12][Blood Omen/Cut content]

Mortanius is the only Pillar Guardian whose whereabouts remain unaccounted for during the slaughter of the Circle in Nosgoth's early history. Following the release of Soul Reaver 2, Amy Hennig was asked where he was during that event. She simply answered that "Mortanius' whereabouts have not been revealed", implying that they may be of greater significance to the Legacy of Kain story. In the same Q&A, Hennig said that there is also an underlying meaning behind Anarcrothe's demand that Mortanius must "stand with us [...] or die", but she did not explain what it is.[5] Given that it has since been shown that Mortanius served the Hylden, it is possible that Anarcrothe did too.[7]

The "Dark Castle" music theme plays during the battle between Mortanius and Kain in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.[Blood Omen]


A detailed promotional rendering of Mortanius from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.

Kory Heinzen's Legacy of Kain: Defiance concept art for Mortanius.

In Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Mortanius has a distinctively necrotic appearance; Silicon Knights specified that "the toils of his magical practices with the dead have made [him] little more than a skin and bone husk whose fragility belies his ultimate power".[4] He wears a sprawling, hooded black cloak and bone-like pauldrons, and his face - incredibly gaunt and skull-like - is a pallid shade of bone-white, and its sallow contours are clearly visible. His arms and body are dark red, composed of what appears to be exposed flesh or tissue, and his midsection exposes what appears to be an actual ribcage. His hands are spindly, also resembling naked bone, and his eyes are white, but turn red when he wields telekinesis in combat. He wears brown bangles on both wrists, and a black, robe-like raiment around his lower body.[Blood Omen]

For Crystal Dynamics' Legacy of Kain: Defiance, Mortainus underwent a re-design based on artwork by Kory Heinzen.[Defiance] His deathly appearance is toned down somewhat: his white, skull-like face in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain is revealed to be a Death's Head mask, a garment he can summon or dismiss using magic.[7][Defiance/10] Mortanius removes the mask for his main scene in Legacy of Kain: Defiance, revealing his actual face and skin, which is furrowed, gaunt and ashen in hue, but not skeletal. His flesh-like body and ribcage are re-worked into clothing, and his hands are clearly human and whole. His cloak is a desaturated red instead of black; he still retains a hood, but wears it down in both of his scenes, revealing his cropped blue-black hair and a long soul patch beard.[Defiance]

Like the Revenants and others who fall victim to Hylden possession, Mortanius's eyes flare with green energy when he is possessed by the Hylden Lord. However, in both incarnations, Mortanius's eyes are usually colorless and pupiless, as are those of the possessed Janos Audron in Legacy of Kain: Defiance.[Defiance][Blood Omen] It is possible that this is a symptom of his possession. Moebius and the devolved Turel also have desaturated, cataracted eyes, but theirs are not as pronounced as Mortanius's and Janos's.[Defiance][Soul Reaver 2]

Although he was a living being, Mortanius did not share the typical red Blood of other humans; his blood was black, like Nosgoth's undead. This was presumably a consequence of his role as Death Guardian.[Blood Omen][20]

Discussing his redesign Daniel Cabuco commented:

Any visual design has to support the storyline and it’s thematic “vibe” if you will. Soul Reaver took everything from Blood Omen in a more serious light visually, my usual saying to the artists was “if BO was the tv version, imagine we’re doing the movie version”
Mortanius’ original design didn’t lend power to the script and story, instead it took away by being a little simplistic it made his suit look like he was wearing a dead body or worse, that he *was* some kind of wraith. Which would only serve to muddle the narrative. (Was there some connection between Raziel and Mortanius then? Was Mortanius “unmade” at some point?) In order to better serve the story and not introduce unnecessary questions, we made him more human, more in-line with the circle, and using the death mask. (That “magical technology” was tied to the original Vampyres if you remember the murals in Vorador’s mansion. They used the death mask, too)
―Daniel Cabuco[21]


Mortanius was noted in Nosgoth for his senses of "mercy and judgment", which "tempered" his incredible power; by the end of his life, he was consistently portrayed as a benevolent, responsible and earnest individual, acting in the best interests of Nosgoth, but flawed and privately crippled with remorse for the crimes he committed in his youth.[4][Defiance/10][22] He was not obviously fickle, but his loyalties fluctuated over the years - originally acting as one of the foremost Guardians to champion humanity's dominion over the Pillars and the rise of the Sarafan, he later elected to serve the Hylden and the Hash'ak'gik cult, before coming to fathom his "sworn duties", despise the Hylden, and sympathise strongly with his "masters", the vampires.[Defiance/10][Blood Omen/6][Blood Omen/5][Defiance/9] His respect for ethics may have influenced his role in the revolt; the vampires' passing of the blood curse was described as an "evil", albeit a necessary one.[Defiance/12] Ultimately shouldering guilt on realizing the intent of the Hylden, and obsessed with atonement, he willingly accepted his imminent death, only ensuring that the rest of the Circle was eliminated before perishing himself.[Blood Omen/12][Defiance/10]

Among all the Guardians of the Blood Omen era, Mortanius alone did not exhibit overt signs of the insanity inflicted by Nupraptor.[4][9] Whereas his comrades wreaked havoc on the land, he sought to purge the Circle and restore Nosgoth to its former glory.[Blood Omen/12] He was also the only corrupted Circle member to acknowledge and fulfill his obligation to apprentice Kain into its ranks, albeit in an unconventional manner.[1] Nevertheless, the specter of Ariel - who shared his motives - still vitriolically described him as a "traitor" and a "beast" to Kain, possibly implying some prior bitterness between the two.[Blood Omen/2] Anarcrothe denounced him as an "idiot" when he learned of Kain's resurrection.[Blood Omen/12] Even Kain begrudged the Necromancer for his surreptitious actions and lack of openness; despite admiring Mortanius's "cunning", he essentially founded his empire because he was "pissed off because he was wronged", on the basis that "everything that happened to him was the result of someone else's machinations".[Blood Omen/12][10][23] The Necromancer, however, had strong fondness for Kain and the utmost faith in him, even describing the young vampire as his "undead son".[Defiance/10][Blood Omen/11]

Mortanius is never seen interacting with Moebius in person, but his dialogue suggested at least a mild, fraternal familiarity between the two: he spoke of Moebius's "guise as the Oracle" and his proclivity for "playing the trickster's part" with good humor, and uttered "Moebius and I" with no obvious bitterness or personal enmity when recalling their revolt.[Defiance/10][Blood Omen/11] It is uncertain, however, whether Mortanius was ever aware that the Elder God had orchestrated their rebellion, or that Moebius was responsible for delaying Malek during the slaughter of the Circle - two deceptions which perverted Mortanius's desire for justice and balance.[7][Soul Reaver 2/9] The Necromancer may also, temporarily or permanently, have shared amicable relations with Azimuth, given their shared allegiance to the Hylden and history as members of the Hash'ak'gik cult in Avernus.[7]


Mortanius utilizing telekinesis.

Mortanius was "one of the most ancient members of the Guardian Circle", serving the Pillar of Death for at least 2500 years before his demise in the Blood Omen era (this is based on Janos Audron's Soul Reaver 2 comment that he had been guarding the Reaver "alone" for thousands of years; Moebius and Mortanius were born at a time when the ancient vampires still controlled the Circle).[Defiance/9][24][Soul Reaver 2/8] Like all other Circle members, he was granted a supernatural longevity of life by the power behind the Pillars.[1][3]

By the Blood Omen era, "his power [had] accumulated over the centuries, arguably making him the most potent wizard in all of Nosgoth".[4] Deleted dialogue from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain suggests that he was considered more powerful than his peer Moebius, despite lacking the "certain level of omniscience" the Time Streamer possessed.[13][Soul Reaver 2/1] His Pillar token was his Death Orb, which granted him "dominion over the grave". Kain held Mortanius in high regard as a sorcerer, remarking that the powerful incantation Spirit Death was "a spell worthy of the Necromancer himself".[Blood Omen/Miscellaneous]

In his signature role, Mortanius's specific task was to "ensure the balance of life and rebirth", but, throughout Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, he wielded a myriad of abilities beyond this discipline.[25] He manipulated souls, stripping Malek's spirit from his body and fusing it to his armor - Malek's body was reduced to a skeleton in the process.[Blood Omen/1] He telepathically communicated with Kain on multiple occasions, seemingly anticipating the vampire's journey through Nosgoth, and could teleport.[Defiance/10][Blood Omen] When struck by the full force of Anarcrothe's magic, he emerged completely unscathed, apparently resisting the attack; he countered with his own offensive magic, first wielding and controlling a scything bolt of lightning, then following with telekinesis potent enough to lift and throw Anarcrothe's body.[Blood Omen/12]

More traditionally, given his title, Mortanius could summon various forms of undead. Against Anarcrothe, he called shadow spots, and against Kain, he raised zombies, shadow summoners and unique skeletons whose bones violently exploded into projectiles when raised.[Blood Omen/12] Legacy of Kain: Defiance indicated that one of Mortanius's powers had its restrictions, but whereas there was no particular evidence from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain that he was limited in his ability to raise vampires, the later game established that this was probably not one of his standard capacities. He had required the Heart of Darkness to resurrect Kain. In his battle against Kain, Mortanius showed a "resurrection" ability, receiving enough blows his body became dust and a pool of green blood; after this, he appeared elsewhere and continued to attack Kain, where he was able to do it twice before "The Dark Entity" finally possessed his body. However his body returned in a weakened state, being able to be destroyed in a single blow. This ability is not entirely clear, which is more likely that it is about resurrection than regeneration, since it fits more with the role of Guardian of Death.[Defiance/10][22]

As Death Guardian, Mortanius was capable of shifting between the Material and Spectral Realms. He was seen in the Underworld in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and in Legacy of Kain: Defiance, where it was possible for Raziel to approach him in either plane.[Blood Omen/1][Defiance/10][22] Mortanius's Death guardianship also enabled him to resist becoming Transformed by Hylden possession for an extensive period of time, longer than other humans.[7]


Mortanius's name is presumably derived from the Latin word for "death" or "mortality" - "mortis/mortalitus" - and "animatio", meaning "animation". This name was devised by writer Ken McCulloch. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain's marketers urged McCulloch "towards [choosing] more accessible and less flavorful names", but - although several other NPCs' names were revised - he stood his ground on calling this character "Mortanius", and the moniker made it into the final product.[26][27]

Mortanius's title in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain was Necromancer. Necromancy was a form of magic in which the practitioner attempted to contact the spirits of the dead, often to gain knowledge of the future.[22]


  • It is not clear exactly when Mortanius first began to serve the Hash'ak'gik cult. The timeline released with Soul Reaver 2 specifies that he was first possessed by the Unspoken/Hylden in the pre-Blood Omen era, but it is known from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain that the cult operated in Nosgoth's early history, and possibly before.[8][Blood Omen/9] A Q&A with Amy Hennig simply states that "Azimuth and Mortanius served the Hylden, who they knew as "Hash'ak'gik". They were seduced away from their service of the Pillars by the power they unearthed beneath Avernus".[7] Likewise, it is unclear whether Mortanius was aware of the link between his possession by the Dark Entity and the Hash'ak'gik cult, or the actual identity of Hash'ak'gik himself. Even during the Blood Omen era, he continued to faithfully serve the cult and its god.[Defiance/10]
  • Mortanius's telepathic communication with the younger Kain - "come to me, my undead son" - was originally uttered in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, immediately following the deaths of Vorador and Moebius.[Blood Omen/11] In Legacy of Kain: Defiance, Raziel encounters Mortanius speaking the line, but subsequently encounters Moebius in Vorador's Mansion, apparently before Vorador's execution.[Defiance/10][Defiance/12] Amy Hennig has admitted that the scene showing Moebius at the Mansion was "a bit of a mistake due to some shuffling of the story near the end".[7] The events can still be accepted, however; Moebius may have time-traveled beyond his death to gloat at Raziel, or, alternatively, Mortanius may simply be leaving a "recorded" message for Kain.


Wiki-Icon-BO1.png Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain[]

Wiki-Icon-DEF.png Legacy of Kain: Defiance[]

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Pillars at the Soul Reaver 2 official site
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wiki-Icon-NR.png GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #5 (by RazielFan)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Icon-Eidos.png Questions reguarding BO1. at the Eidos Forums (by TheElderGodofNosgoth), post #16 (by Anubis_Orr)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Wiki-Icon-DC.png The Players at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Icon-Eidos.png Warp's answers from Amy at the Eidos Forums (by blincoln)
  6. Icon-Eidos.png Chris@Crystal's Greatest Hits at the Eidos Forums (by Divine Shadow)
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 Wiki-Icon-TLW.png Question and Answer with Amy Hennig at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wiki-Icon-DC.png Soul Reaver 2: Historical Timeline at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Wiki-Icon-DC.png Miscellaneous Questions & Answers at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Wiki-Icon-DC.png Soul Reaver 2: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
  11. Wiki-Icon-TLW.png A Traitor in The Circle at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Wiki-Icon-TLW.png Blood Omen Scripts at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Wiki-Icon-DC.png Blood Omen: Unused Dialogue at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
  14. Wiki-Icon-NR.png Mortanius and the Elder God at Nosgothic Realm (by Innocent omniscient)
  15. Wiki-Icon-NR.png Possible Endings for SR2 at Nosgothic Realm
  16. Wiki-Icon-NR.png Turel...The Elder is....TTWND at Nosgothic Realm (by Infinite daremo)
  17. Wiki-Icon-NR.png GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan)
  18. File:BO1-Promotional-FrenchAdvert-1.jpg
  19. Icon-GS.png Legacy of Kain: Defiance Designer Diary # 3 at IGN (by Kyle Mannerberg), page 1
  20. Icon-Omnicide.png Enemies - Bosses at the Blood Omnicide site
  21. 'Legacy of Kain Fans' on Facebook
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Wiki-Icon-DC.png Mortanius the Necromancer at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
  23. Wiki-Icon-NR.png GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #4 (by RazielFan)
  24. The Legacy of Kain: Defiance fankit: Bios at Legacy of Kain.net (by Lee Davies)
  25. Icon-Prima.png Prima Games. Prima's Official Strategy Guide to Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Page 66. (2003)
  26. Icon-IGN.png Names? We don't need no steenking names! at IGN (by Ken McCulloch)
  27. Wiki-Icon-TLW.png Early Character Names at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)


Preceded by:
The original Guardian of Death
The Guardian of Death
Mortanius the Necromancer
Before Nosgoth's recorded historyBlood Omen era
Followed by: