- "The Pillar of Balance, once defended by Ariel. The Pillars choose their own."
- ―Kain — Listen (file info)[src]
The Pillar of Balance is one of the nine Pillars of Nosgoth, and the central pillar on the dais. Attuned to the property of Balance, it was preserved by various guardians before coming under the protection of the Human Guardian Ariel, and was eventually sundered in the Collapse of the Pillars following the refusal of her successor - Kain - to sacrifice himself. Its pillar token was the soul of the Balance Guardian. The Pillar appears throughout the entirety of the Legacy of Kain series.
Profile[edit | edit source]
As one of the Pillars of Nosgoth, the Pillar of Balance appeared throughout the Legacy of Kain series, debuting in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. The Pillar was present along with its peers in the Pillars of Nosgoth areas of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Legacy of Kain Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance and could be revisited in all titles after its initial appearance.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/2][Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/6][Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/2][Defiance][Defiance/5] The Pillar could also briefly be seen in the Blood Omen 2 introduction and was featured in illustrations in comics.[Blood Omen 2][Blood Omen 2/1][Soul Reaver strategy guide (Eidos)][Defiance comic]
Constructed in the period Before Nosgoth's recorded history, the Pillar of Balance was the hub of the pillars and was known to have been served by an unnamed Balance Guardian in Nosgoth's early history before her death at the hands of Vorador at the Slaughter of the Circle. By the history preceding Blood Omen the mantle of Balance Guardian had been inherited by Ariel, but the Pillar was corrupted along with its peers when she was murdered by the Dark Entity. Upon finding her corpse, her lover - the Guardian of the Pillar of the Mind, Nupraptor - was driven mad by grief and unleashed a frenzy of mental energy, which drove all of his fellow Guardians insane and simultaneously corrupted their Pillars.[Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen/6][Blood Omen/2][Blood Omen/3][Soul Reaver 2/2]
The Pillar of Balance was the ninth and last the Pillars remaining corrupted during Kain's initial quest to restore them. Upon the restoration of the previous eight pillars, the appearance of the specter of Ariel prompted Kain to realize that he was the Balance Guardian - chosen from birth to replace Ariel - and only by his sacrifice could he restore it. Kain chose to refuse the sacrifice and triggered the Collapse of the Pillars. Now rotten to its core, the festering stump of the Pillar of Balance was all that remained, alongside its eight counterparts, and it would serve as Kain's throne in the centuries of his empire. Lasting in this state into the late events of Soul Reaver the pillar would be visited by Raziel in pursuit of his vendetta against Kain and he too would return to gather advice from Ariel.[Blood Omen/12][Soul Reaver/6]
As Raziel and Kain traveled through time in Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance they would encounter the pillar several more times in different states in different eras - pristine in Nosgoth's early history and the history preceding Blood Omens,[Soul Reaver 2/2][Soul Reaver 2/7][Soul Reaver 2/9][Defiance/5] corrupted in the Pre-Blood Omen and events of Blood Omens,[Soul Reaver 2/2][Soul Reaver 2/3][Defiance/6][Defiance/12] and collapsed in the Blood Omen and Era following Blood Omens.[Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/7][Defiance/12][Defiance/13] Ultimately it was revealed that the Pillar of Balance - like its peers - was constructed by the Ancient vampires to bind the banishment of their enemies, the Hylden race, into the Demon Realm.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Soul Reaver 2/4][Defiance/4] It was originally guarded by an Ancient Vampire - the unseen original Balance Guardian - and its creation marked the close of the Vampire-Hylden war.[Soul Reaver 2/2][Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2/4][Defiance/4]
Development[edit | edit source]
In Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, the Pillar of Balance was decorated with a 'smoky' motif set against a dark orange color.[Blood Omen] In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, this was replaced with a simple grey-colored band.[Soul Reaver] Further games have depicted the Pillar with the triangular balance symbol introduced in Soul Reaver 2, though the band has changed color from a steel-blue in Soul Reaver 2, sky-blue in the Legacy of Kain: Defiance comic and indigo in Legacy of Kain: Defiance[Soul Reaver 2][Defiance] Explaining the changes, series art director Daniel Cabuco commented: "The symbol designs themselves from Blood Omen 1 were pretty craptastic wallpapers. I don't believe they served the intention of making the pillars look serious and powerful. So we designed symbols, just like we did for the clans, the runes, and everything else that was important. There's not that much of a story other than all of us looking at each other as we went over the original designs and saying 'Seriously?! We can't move forward with these as originals.. no way!'" One instance of what may be an alternative symbol is seen in Soul Reaver 2's Light Forge.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/4]
The exposure of the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver alphas in 2020 showed that the process of redesigning the Pillars symbols had originally been tried during the development of Soul Reaver - with prototype symbols for each pillar visible in the earliest builds. The prototype Balance symbol was not seen again - although other prototype symbols were reused in a promotional capacity. The prototype Balance symbol is the same as the prototype Death symbol but flipped over.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- The Pillar of Balance features in all of the Legacy of Kain comics. It appears along with the other pillars in a yellow shade in Vorgeschichte, is the only pillar to feature (as Kain's throne) in the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver comic, and is seen along with its peers in flashback illustrations in the Legacy of Kain: Defiance comic, where its position and symbol make it one of the easiest pillars to identify.[Soul Reaver strategy guide (Eidos)][Soul Reaver comic][Defiance comic]
- The Pillar of Balance is the only pillar which remained unrestored during Kain's initial quest in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/12] This led to some confusion as it was unclear what represented the Pillar token of the Balance Guardian. Later interviews clarified that the token was the guardians soul. With the conclusion of Legacy of Kain: Defiance and the Purification of Kain, Kain's soul has been cleansed of corruption, however the greater obstacle of the collapsed state of the pillars presumably remains.[Defiance][Defiance/13]
- The Pillar of Balance is the only pillar whose original pillar guardian is not seen in the course of imbuing the Wraith Blade in Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Instead, a restored Ariel is seen at the Spirit Forge "united with the souls of [her] predecessors".[Defiance][Defiance/12]
- Like its peers, the Pillar of Balance is seen underground in the Subterranean Pillars Chamber of Soul Reaver 2. Here it bears no identifying marks and only its position allows it to be pinpointed.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/2]
- The corrupted Balance Pillar throne can be seen in both the introduction cutscene and gameplay of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, however its appearance is slightly different between the two, perhaps due to the passage of time. In the intro the pillar and its backing 'claw' protrusions have a sandy, almost bronzed effect due to the sunlight in the chamber, with the coloring similar to the other pillars. In Contrast, the gameplay section depicts the Balance Pillar with a dark mustard-green shade with deep charcoal claws, in comparison to the other pillars which are a lighter shade of grey.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/1][Soul Reaver/6] The Balance Pillar throne also reappears briefly in flashback in the Legacy of Kain: Defiance intro cutscene using footage from the Soul Reaver intro.[Defiance][Defiance/1]
- The Pillar of Balance appears in its role as Kain's throne as a stand for the first wave BBI Kain action figure.
- Something of a prototype for Kain's usage of the Balance Pillar as his throne is seen in the bad ending to Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain with Kain seated on a skeletal throne positioned in front of the remains of the collapsed Balance Pillar.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/12]
Gallery[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
- Pillars of Nosgoth (BO1/SR1/SR2/Sub/DEF)
- Balance Guardian (Original Balance Guardian/Martyred Balance Guardian/Ariel/Kain)
- Balance Glyph
- Balance Emblem
- Balance fragment
- Balance Reaver
References[edit | edit source]
- Pillars of Nosgoth areas at DCabDesign (by Bazielim), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Warp's answers from Amy at The Eidos Forums (preserved at the Square Enix Forums) (by Warpsavant/Blincoln/Amy Hennig)
- Answers to questions from the Defiance team at The Eidos Forums (by Shadow Man/Chris Bruno)
- Retail Action Figures at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Prototype Action Figures at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)