Raziel is the protagonist of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2, and one of the two lead characters in Legacy of Kain: Defiance, alongside Kain. Once a vampire – Kain's lieutenant, "prodigal son", and second-in-command – Raziel evolved to such an extent that he surpassed Kain, a transgression which seemingly prompted his execution. Cast into the Lake of the Dead, Raziel was, like Kain before him, revived by a mysterious benefactor, and returned to Nosgoth as a wraith, to exact his revenge.
Driven by this new master, the Elder God, Raziel systematically eradicated his former brethren in the wasteland of Kain's empire, obtained the Wraith Blade, and unearthed his own ironic past; originally a human born in Nosgoth's early history, he had become a leading commander in the vampire-hunting Sarafan brotherhood before his death and resurrection. Lured through time and confronted by revelations, Raziel realized his terrible, inevitable future: he was destined to become the captive, ravenous spirit trapped within the Soul Reaver – later the Wraith Blade itself. Temporarily rescued from this fate by Kain, his lust for vengeance was gradually tempered, superseded by a higher quest for knowledge and freedom.
Finally exposing the Elder God's parasitic nature through several twists and turns, Raziel ultimately accepted his fate, and achieved respite from his cyclical destiny. Dually sacrificing himself to the Soul Reaver and dispersing the Wraith Blade – his future soul – into Kain, he simultaneously trapped himself within the sword, and freed himself from thousands of years of torment. This act cleansed Kain of the corruption of the Pillars, enabling him to see, battle, and oppose the Elder God at last.
- "Redeemer and destroyer. Pawn and messiah.
Welcome, time-spanned soul.
Welcome... to your destiny."
- "I am Raziel, first-born of His lieutenants. I stood with Kain and my brethren at the dawn of the empire. I have served Him a millennium. Over time, we became less human and more... divine. Kain would enter the state of change and emerge with a new gift. Some years after the master, our evolution would follow. Until I had the honor of surpassing my lord. For my transgression, I earned a new kind of reward... agony."
Raziel was born a human in Nosgoth's early history, and went on to join the vampire-hunting order of the Sarafan.[Soul Reaver/9][Soul Reaver 2/1] As one of the faction's most elite warrior-priests, he rose to the rank of Sarafan commander, and later head inquisitor, with seniority over fellow commanders Dumah, Melchiah, Rahab, and Zephon.[Soul Reaver 2/5] Although he was the youngest of the commanders, his ambition, talent, and cruel nature drove him to become the leading member of the brotherhood. His eldest peer, Turel, served as his second-in-command, and together, the six comrades operated as the "pride of the order".[Soul Reaver 2/5][Defiance comic]
Upon his death in combat, Raziel's corpse was interred within a sarcophagus in the Tomb of the Sarafan alongside the others, where it would lay memorialized, sanctified, and undisturbed, for a millennium.[Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver/9] In the era following Blood Omen, five centuries after the collapse of the Pillars, Kain – the vampire Guardian of the Pillar of Balance – sought to recruit a cadre for his conquest of Nosgoth. Having discovered a method of raising fledgling vampires, he raided these "sacred crypts", breathing portions of his soul energy into the commanders, and thus drawing their own souls back into their bodies.[Soul Reaver/9] Raziel was raised first, inheriting the greatest portion of Kain's gift.[Soul Reaver/1]
"Too long dead" to remember his Sarafan roots, Raziel served as Kain's "right hand" for a thousand years, raising a vampire clan of his own and partaking in the rise of Kain's empire. As time passed, and the vampires physically evolved, they became more "divine". Kain would always "enter the state of change and emerge with a new gift" first, and the lieutenants would follow "some years after the master".[Soul Reaver/1] Raziel, though, committed the ultimate blasphemy by pupating beyond Kain, surpassing him by fledging bat-like wings.[Soul Reaver/1] At the Sanctuary of the Clans, he revealed these to the Council, and Kain – in what seemed an act of callous jealousy – shockingly tore the bones from his back for this transgression, before the assembled lieutenants.[Soul Reaver/1]
- "Tumbling, burning with white-hot fire, I plunged into the depths of the abyss. Unspeakable pain... relentless agony... time ceased to exist... only this torture... and a deepening hatred of the hypocrisy that damned me to this hell."
None of his brethren questioned Kain's order: that Raziel "burn forever in the bowels of the Lake of the Dead".[Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver/1] The Council journeyed to the cliffs of the Abyss, dragging Raziel's wounded body with them, where his brothers Turel and Dumah "cast him in" without hesitation. He plunged into the Lake's depths, his vampiric skin scorching with "white-hot fire", his flesh agonizingly burning away. The pain was unspeakable, but, at length, his "torment receded" as he settled to the bottom. This was the seat of the Underworld, and his surroundings shifted.[Soul Reaver/1] "The descent had destroyed me... and yet I lived," he ascertained as he rose.[Soul Reaver/1]
The reverberations of an otherworldly voice greeted Raziel, pronouncing him "worthy". It was the Elder God, who had "spared [him] from total dissolution".[Soul Reaver/1] He spoke of the Wheel of Fate, and how Kain's "abominations" hindered the souls of Nosgoth, ensuring they "could not complete their destinies". Encouraging the newborn wraith to avenge himself against Kain and his former brethren, he pronounced Raziel his "Soul Reaver - [his] angel of death". As he acclimatised to his new existence as a denizen of the Spectral Realm, Raziel learned that his blood-thirst had been "replaced by a deeper need"; he was now a devourer of souls, galvanized by his lust for revenge against the apostate vampires.[Soul Reaver/1]
Progressing through the Underworld, Raziel learned of warp gates, gliding, and the Sluagh before uncovering a planar portal, by which he could return to the Material Realm.[Soul Reaver/1] Nosgoth, he discovered, had changed for the worse in his absence - it was a desolate, near-lifeless wasteland.[Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver/2] The Dumahim had devolved into "foul, scuttling beasts", and the Sanctuary of the Clans was "reduced to ruin". Since his execution, "centuries had apparently passed".[Soul Reaver/2] Only one landmark had remained largely constant - the Abyss itself. Eager to learn how his own descendants had fared over time, Raziel traveled west, towards his clan territory.[Soul Reaver/2]
- "I swore I saw a glint of satisfaction in Kain’s eye when the Soul Reaver was destroyed. I did not understand the game that Kain was playing. But I knew the finishing move."
Returning to his former stronghold, Raziel found the place desolate and long-abandoned; apparently, his children had been the victims of genocide initiated by Kain, "wiped from this world like excrement from a boot".[Soul Reaver/3] Further infuriated by this discovery, he was able to enter the Necropolis, the territory of his youngest brother, Melchiah. Disgusted to learn that the Melchahim were recruiting fledglings from corpses, he fought the "flayed wracks of flesh" as he progressed.[Soul Reaver/4] Deep within these "gardens of the dead", he was ambushed by a hideously-bloated, deformed creature. To his horror, it revealed its identity: Melchiah himself.[Soul Reaver/5]
"You should have stayed where the master sent you, Raziel", Melchiah warned as he discussed the fall of Nosgoth. After a battle, Raziel was able to outsmart his devolved sibling, and activated a grinder to seal his fate. Melchiah refused to divulge Kain's whereabouts as he was annihilated, but consuming his brother's soul enabled Raziel to phase through gates. Though slightly remorseful at the "fratricide" he had just committed, he was applauded by the Elder God.[Soul Reaver/5] At last, he could enter the Sanctuary of the Clans, where he found Kain, apparently waiting for him at the Pillars of Nosgoth.[Soul Reaver/6]
The two argued, with Raziel decrying Kain's "unconscionable" behavior. His former master declared that "this place has outlasted its usefulness - as [had Raziel]", and drew his ancient blade - the Soul Reaver. Raziel attacked Kain, but with trepidation, recognizing that the sword was "older than any of us, and a thousand times more deadly". Soon, Kain gained the advantage, and attempted to strike Raziel down with the Reaver, but - inexplicably - instead of consuming his soul, the blade shattered into pieces. Amazingly, Kain was unconcerned by this, departing with "a glint of satisfaction" as Raziel slipped into the Spectral Realm.[Soul Reaver/6]
- "Yes, Raziel - you were Sarafan... born of the same force that all but destroyed your race. Before the dawn of the Empire, you were chosen."
- ―The Elder God[src]
Before him, Raziel discovered the Wraith Blade: the true, spectral form of the Soul Reaver, released from thousands of years of imprisonment.[Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver/6] As he touched it, it bonded inextricably to his right arm, becoming his symbiotic weapon. Moments later, he was approached by the specter of Ariel, still bound to the collapsed Pillars.[Soul Reaver/6] Her plight only served to provide Raziel further motivation against Kain and his empire, and - throughout the rest of his journey in the Soul Reaver era - she would act as guide to him, much as she had two millennia earlier for Kain himself.[Blood Omen][Soul Reaver]
Raziel next targeted his brother Zephon, and used the Wraith Blade to unseal the entrance to the Silenced Cathedral. Within, he fought the arachnean Zephonim and their human Vampire worshippers, ascending to the tower's upper chambers. Zephon taunted the "prodigal son", but Raziel was able to immolate and kill him before long.[Soul Reaver/7][Soul Reaver/8] Consuming Zephon's soul granted him the ability to scale walls, and with this new gift, he was able to progress beyond the Sanctuary of the Clans and into the Tomb of the Sarafan. "Once impenetrably sealed", it had been exposed by Nosgoth's upheavals.[Soul Reaver/8][Soul Reaver/9]
Completely unaware of the "forgotten history" which lay within, Raziel reflected that the Sarafan had been "merciless", righteous crusaders, committing "unspeakable and indiscriminate acts of violence" - "murderers enshrined". Entering, however, he discovered a terrible secret: defiled caskets bearing his brothers' names, and his own. He and the Council members had been these Sarafan commanders in life, resurrected as Kain's "favored sons" in death. The epiphany, confirmed to him by the Elder God, outraged Raziel. His entire existence, and "all [he] ever believed", had been undermined; more than ever, he longed to destroy Kain.[Soul Reaver/9]
- "Who better to serve me than those whose passion transcends all notions of good and evil?"
Continuing on his quest, Raziel killed the Tomb Guardian, and obtained the ability to wield telekinetic force projectiles from a relic in his possession.[Soul Reaver/9] With this, he entered the Drowned Abbey - Rahab's territory - and overcame the Rahabim vampires and hazardous abundance of water to confront his third brother.[Soul Reaver/10][Soul Reaver/11] Rahab was nonchalant when Raziel revealed they had both been Sarafan priests, cryptically remarking that Kain had simply "saved" them "from [themselves]". Shattering the windows in his lair, Raziel exposed Rahab to sunlight, destroying him. He consumed his brother's soul, attaining the ability to swim.[Soul Reaver/11]
North of the Abyss, Raziel traveled to the Ruined City of the Dumahim where the Dumahim once reigned, but found it abandoned and strewn with corpses. At first, he suspected that Kain was culpable, but the Elder God revealed that vampire hunters had caused Dumah's death.[Soul Reaver/12] Finding his brother impaled in his throne room, Raziel removed the stakes from Dumah's body. Revived, Dumah was thankful, but Raziel spurned this gratitude: he had "not forgotten whose hands bore [him] into the abyss". By luring Dumah to a nearby Furnace, Raziel scorched the fourth of his siblings to death, and received the Constrict ability by devouring his soul.[Soul Reaver/13]
On the advice of Ariel and the Elder, Raziel pursued Kain into the Oracle's Cave, recalling the story of Moebius the Time Streamer.[Soul Reaver/Miscellaneous][Soul Reaver/13][Soul Reaver/14] Passing through the Chronoplast, he saw several visions of potential futures, but dismissed these as "Kain's deceptions".[Soul Reaver/15] In the "bowels" of the clockwork, he met Kain at last. Raziel fought with furious passion, defending the name of the Sarafan as "saviors", but Kain knew better. Unfazed by Raziel's attacks, he activated the Chronoplast's portal, and strode through, into Nosgoth's past. Raziel followed in close pursuit, but emerged from the ether in an unfamiliar chamber - met by Moebius.[Soul Reaver/15]
- "For the first time, I beheld the image of my Sarafan self, memorialized here among my fallen comrades.
It tortured me to see how noble and pure I had been – and what a vile phantasm I had become.
And a profound sense of injury – of loss and betrayal – welled up in me, so overwhelming I could barely contain it.
All I wanted at this moment was to find Kain, and destroy him."
- ―Raziel — Listen (file info)[src]
Raziel, snatched out of the time-stream by Moebius, found himself in the history preceding Blood Omen, within the Sarafan Stronghold he had operated from as an commander, centuries ago. Having heard Kain's tales about the Time Streamer, Raziel was instantly suspicious of the old sorcerer, and became doubly alarmed when Moebius's Staff unexpectedly disabled his Wraith Blade, its energy temporarily receding. Nevertheless, Moebius offered to help Raziel, and they discussed his Sarafan past - Moebius claimed that they had been "close" when Raziel was human, and urged him to "re-embrace the essence of [his] humanity". He directed Raziel to Kain, who was waiting at the Pillars.[Soul Reaver 2/1]
While exploring the Stronghold, Raziel discovered "evidence of [his] former nobility". Away from the influence of Moebius's Staff - which was capable of incapacitating vampires - the Wraith Blade soon returned, but Raziel wondered as to why it, an insubstantial weapon, would be affected by the Staff at all. In a chapel commemorating King William the Just, Raziel found the Soul Reaver of that earlier time period, "laid out like a holy relic", but broken in the battle between William and a younger Kain two decades earlier. As Raziel touched the Reaver, its future self - the Wraith Blade - manifested, and began to leech his soul energy. This re-fused the blade, but Raziel was now aware that the Wraith Blade was a "sentient parasite competing for control".[Soul Reaver 2/1]
Raziel turned to find Moebius, disarmed and watching the process, and threatened him with the conjoined blades. However, Moebius's surprising revelation that he, too, served the Elder God persuaded Raziel to spare him; Moebius concluded that not even Raziel would risk "striking God’s own attendant". Leaving the physical Soul Reaver behind, Raziel journeyed out of the fortress, and witnessed the bounty and vitality of Nosgoth in this era. On his approach to the Pillars, he discovered the impaled corpses of several vampires, and surmised that - though vampirism was a plague - the crusades of Vampire hunters were nothing but "ruthless persecution".[Soul Reaver 2/1]
When he arrived at the Pillars, Kain and Raziel debated the extent of Kain's guilt and culpability. As Kain discussed his birth and the corruption, Raziel was able to witness The Pillars themselves corrupting first-hand; Kain moved on to explaining that his fateful decision was 'rigged' - neither his refusal nor his sacrifice would properly solve anything. Kain surprised Raziel by agreeing with him that The Pillars were "crucial and must be restored" and hinting at both Vampire ownership of The Pillars and a 'third way' out of his dilemma (which apparently had something to do with Raziel); intrigued by Kain's words, Raziel allowed him to teleport away. Shortly afterward, Raziel discovered a large Sealed Door inscribed with an image of a blue-skinned winged creature alongside the symbol of The Reaver. Following the sealed passageway Raziel discovered a strange Subterranean Pillars Chamber along with several murals depicting an Ancient War that led to the creation of the Pillars (The Elder God also resided here and he derided the ancient legends as "lies").
Raziel progressed beyond the Pillars Chamber into The Swamp and soon found that his journey was being watched by the Vampire Vorador. Finding ancient ruins in the swamp, Raziel was able to open the sealed Dark Forge; where he found several Murals depicting the Ancient-Hylden War and was able to imbue the Wraith Blade with the elemental power of Darkness (this also activated the first elemental Fonts). When Raziel exited the forge he found Vorador waiting for him and though the Vampire clearly acknowledged him as something of a "savior", he was also somewhat suspicious of him. Vorador conceded that he believed Nosgoth was now beyond redemption and that Raziel was "simply too late" - all Raziel's answers lay with the long-dead Janos Audron. As Vorador teleported away, Raziel realised he had a method of reaching Janos with the Time Streaming Chamber in the Sarafan Stronghold and he resolved to re-enter the fortress. Uncovering the ancient Light Forge hidden in the cliffs of the Great Southern Lake, Raziel was able to imbue the Light Reaver, whose projectiles could be used to activate Light Crystals and allow him to re-enter the Sarafan Stronghold.
As Raziel passed back through the Stronghold, he found Kain waiting for him in William's Chapel, This time Kain revealed more about the very nature of history and destiny; explaining that "history is irredeemable" unless two versions of the Soul Reaver "meet in space and time" - a situation which causes a paradox that allows alterations to history (this is what happened when Kain killed William). Kain gave Raziel the physical Soul Reaver blade (hilt first) causing the Wraith Blade to manifest, enabling the Paradox necessary to kill Kain. The Wraith Blade unexpectedly lunged at Kain and Kain confessed that this was the moment he was destined to die - but urging Raziel to prove his free will and spare him. Raziel fought the Wraith Blade and at the last second, he managed to divert the blade, sparing Kain and changing history (from the Second to Third timelines), though once again leaving the Soul Reaver behind. When Raziel reached the Time Streaming Chamber he found Moebius there, greatly alarmed by Raziel's refusal to kill Kain. Once again, though, Moebius was without his staff and Raziel threatened the Time Streamer with the Light Reaver, making him activate the Time Streaming Chamber to take him backwards in time to Nosgoth's early history.
When Raziel emerged from the Time Streaming Chamber, he found himself in a ruined Sarafan Stronghold assailed by Demons. Shortly afterwards he found and met the (supposedly) martyred spirit of Moebius himself, who confirmed that he had sent Raziel to the Post-Blood Omen era, a century after the collapse of The Pillars and stranded him there as a way to prove to Raziel the horrors unleashed by Kain's decision. Raziel doubted the Time Streamer's motivations and that he "even [was] a Spirit" (the 'spirit' would later be confirmed as one of Moebius' illusions). Exploring this era, Raziel found it overrun with Demons and that humans had adapted to their presence, becoming Demon Hunters. Travelling to The Pillars, Raziel met the bound spirit of Ariel, trapped there for over a century and still bitterly lamenting her fate; angry at her successor Kain for his decision to abandon The Pillars and keep her imprisoned. Debating the extent of Kain's guilt with Ariel, Raziel found himself defending Kain's actions to her, before he grew weary of tormenting the captive Spirit and left.
In the Subterranean Pillars Chamber, Raziel also discovered The Elder God who chastised him for his failure to kill Kain, Raziel however was beginning to question the motivations of The Elder God, seeing how he thrived "as Nosgoth descend[ed] into madness and misery". Accusing the Elder of being a greater parasite than the vampires he despised, Raziel rejected his authority and began his defiance of the Elder. Pressing North in the Mountains, Raziel passed through Uschtenheim and soon after discovered the ruined retreat of Janos Audron; where he was met by the time travelling Kain (who was "biding [his] time"). Kain and Raziel discussed Moebius's motivations and the apparent conspiracy confronting them, before Kain teleported away. Nearby, Raziel found the Sealed Air Forge and (after finally learning that the Ancients were "Nosgoth's first Vampires") he was able to imbue the Wraith Blade with elemental Air. Using the Air Reaver, Raziel was able to 'blow-open' the Cracked Door to an abandoned Time Streaming Chamber in The Swamp and activating the mechanism, Raziel travelled through time once more.
Finding himself in Nosgoth's early history, Raziel returned to Janos' Aerie and found the retreat "intact and unblemished" - with the Sarafan amassing their forces below in Uschtenheim. Desperate to reach the Ancient Vampire before the Sarafan found him, Raziel entered the Aeire, and discovered it was clearly built for winged beings, but using the Reaver Bolts and a set of Blood Basins and Bloodstone bridges, Raziel was able to ascend to Janos' balcony at the very top of the building. Finally meeting with Janos, Raziel discovered that the ancient Vampire had been waiting for him - apparently as some sort of Vampire Champion. He tried to give Raziel the Reaver Blade (not yet the Soul Reaver), but before he could do so, the Sarafan commanders burst into the chamber (led to Janos by Raziel's 'blazing' through the retreat). Armed with Moebius' Staff, they had Janos at their mercy. Janos attempted to save Raziel from the Sarafan, teleporting him away to the Sealed Fire Forge; Raziel hurriedly imbued the Fire Reaver and was able to unseal the door to return to Janos' chambers.
Returning just in time to witness Janos' murder, Wraith Raziel watched in horror as the Human Sarafan commander Raziel (his former self) committed the deed; ripping out Janos' heart and ordering Dumah to recover The Reaver, before the commanders retreated to the Sarafan Stronghold. Following Janos's last words, Wraith Raziel resolved to recover The Reaver Blade (apparently forged "for [him] alone") and the Heart of Darkness (realising the ultimate purpose of the relic; in restoring Janos Audron to 'unlife'). Strangely assailed by Demons from the far future (who now taunted Raziel about his destiny), Raziel passed through the Subterranean Pillars Chamber once again, where the Elder God addressed him with "ominous finality". Re-entering the Sarafan Stronghold (at the same time as Vorador's attack on the Circle there), Raziel found the Reaver Blade conveniently laid across his path and though suspicious of the blade, the entrance of Malek and Moebius along with Moebius' Staff (which disabled the Wraith Blade) left Raziel with no other choice of weapon. With Moebius and Malek's retreat, Raziel found he was unable to put down The Reaver; though its powers had also "made [him] invincible".
Fighting his way through the Stronghold, Raziel was confronted by his former human Sarafan commander (and vampire) brethren and Raziel was finally able to "appreciate the delicious irony of Kain’s blasphemous, private joke" as he killed them in turn; killing Melchiah and Zephon in the Courtyard (see Melchiah and Zephon), Rahab and Dumah in 'Sanctuary' (see Rahab and Dumah) and Turel in the Sanctuary choir (see Turel (Soul Reaver 2 boss)) before confronting his former human self in the Chapter House and dispatching him as well (see Raziel (Soul Reaver 2 boss)). As the Human Raziel died, the Wraith Blade manifested and the conjoined blades turned on Raziel, impaling him on The Reaver, prompting Raziel to realize that The Reaver had not been forged as a Soul consuming weapon - the Soul devouring entity trapped in the blade "was and always had been" Raziel; and that imprisonment in The Reaver was his destiny. However at that moment, Kain appeared; using some precise timing he was able to ignite a Soul Reaver Paradox and change history; creating the fourth timeline and temporarily sparing Raziel from his fate. Too weak to maintain his physical manifestation, Raziel dropped into the Spectral Realm (missing Kain's warnings about raising Janos) and here he found the Wraith Blade - his "own Soul twinned and bound eternally to [him]" - proof that his destiny had merely been postponed.
Weakened to the point of exhaustion, Raziel had returned all the way to the Elder God in the Underworld, but he still maintained his defiance; refusing to submit to its will. When The Elder accused Raziel of cowardice (by staying there rather than go and meet The Reaver blade), Raziel resolved to "face his destiny" and temporarily feigned submission to The Elder, assisting in the elimination of some Sluagh. When the opportunity presented itself however, Raziel escaped the Elder's Lair into the Spectral Realm, but found that his 'escape' was merely a relaxing of his restraints as The Elder removed the Planar Portals providing Raziel access to the Material Realm. Exploring The Cemetery, Raziel found that he could take Possession of corpses to re-enter the Material Realm (tearing their flesh away to reveal his wraith form) and returning, he discovered that once again his long stay in the Underworld had cost him five centuries and he was now in the Blood Omen era; at the time of the crusades of Moebius' Mercenary Army and the fledgeling Kain's quest.
Unable to leave The Cemetery without the elemental powers of Light and Darkness, Raziel found that the Reaver Fonts he had previously used were gone (with the Elder God responsible); he would have to find new, more permanent enhancements for the Wraith Blade. Exploring The Cemetery further, Raziel found some ancients ruins and was able to transport himself to the sealed Dark Forge in the Vampire Citadel where he was able to imbue the Dark Reaver. Passing through Kain's Mausoleum, Raziel found some other ancient ruins and was able to warp himself to the sealed Light Forge in the Vampire Citadel. Imbuing the Light Reaver, Raziel was able to leave The Cemetery on the path to The Pillars, hoping that the Spirit of Ariel would be able to provide some of the answers he sought.
Near the pillars, Raziel found the warp to the Fire Forge and with the Wraith Blade absorbing the Souls of the original ancient Nature and Original Guardian of Conflict Guardians (see Vampire Conflict Guardian (boss) and Vampire Nature Guardian (boss)), Raziel imbued the Fire Reaver. The murals of the forge also gave him the first clues about his imprisonment in The Reaver; showing that Vorador was the creator of the blade (and more significantly the first 'turned' vampire). Meeting Ariel at The Pillars (at the earliest point in her history that Raziel had met her) Raziel found her to be less than helpful in this era; she refused to help Raziel, seeming to view him as a member of the Hylden race and serving the conspiracy that corrupted the Pillars. Ariel did however, provide Raziel with directions to Vorador's Mansion in the Termogent Forest. Along the way, Raziel discovered the warp to the Air Forge and by absorbing the Souls of the original ancient Original Guardian of the Mind and Dimension Guardians (see Vampire Mind Guardian (boss) and Vampire Dimension Guardian (boss)) into the Wraith Blade, he was able to imbue the Air Reaver; but the murals of the forge proivded a significant discovery - that the Vampire Champion that Raziel had believed he was, had an adversary - a Hylden Champion, and the two were destined to battle to the death.
Arriving at Vorador's Mansion, Raziel found the estate abandoned (aside from a few Revenants), but he was able to activate a secret warp to the Water Forge, where the Wraith Blade absorbed the Souls of the original Ancient Death and States Guardians (see States and Death Guardians), imbuing the Water Reaver (the murals of the forge allowed Raziel to clearly see the Hylden Champion and recognize some of its features as his own). Using the powers of the Water and Fire Reavers, Raziel unlocked a strange crypt in the graveyard behind the mansion and here he found Vorador, apparently awaiting the arrival of Moebius' Mercenary Army. Vorador displayed the same suspicion of Raziel that he had in their last meeting, he confirmed that he "crafted The Reaver blade" but told Raziel that it was Janos and the other Ancients who enchanted it; Vorador did not know its purpose. Revealing that he had retrieved the body of Janos Audron, Vorador suggested that Raziel should "redeem [him]self" by restoring Janos using the Heart of Darkness (and that perhaps he alone could complete the task), telling him that the last known location of the heart was the city of Avernus. Before Raziel proceeded, Vorador told him that Avernus was in flames and warned him of the ancient 'Unspoken' evil that dwelt there.
Finding his way through to Avernus Cathedral, Raziel soon discovered the warp to the Earth Forge hidden in the Cathedral and once at the Earth Forge he was able to absorb the Souls of the original Ancient Time and Energy Guardians (see Energy and Time Guardians) into the Wraith Blade, imbuing the Earth Reaver; from the murals in the forge Raziel was also able to work out that the Ancient vampires had worshipped the Elder God and it was his abandonment after the Hylden Curse (which made the ancients immortal) that had led them to suicide in attempts to return to the Wheel of Fate. Returning to the Cathedral, Raziel was able to use the Earth Reaver to summon Earth Platforms enabling him to find a Dark Scripture hidden in the upper levels and returning the scripture to the main altar, Raziel opened a portal to the Avernus Catacombs. In the catacombs Raziel discovered murals depicting the Hylden side of the ancient war; how the Ancients had persecuted the Hylden for their "refus[al] to submit to the Wheel of Fate" and one particular image showed the Hylden Champion as they saw him - the image unmistakably depicted Wraith Raziel and The Elder God confirmed to Raziel that he was indeed the Hylden Champion (implying the Kain therefore must be the Vampire Champion).
Pressing further into the Catacombs, Raziel discovered the source of the murals - the Cult of Hash'ak'gik (represented by Mortanius and several Cenobites), performing 'dark rites' to their god "Hash'ak'gik". As the ritual finished, Raziel ventured too close to the pit and was telekinetically attacked by "Hash'ak'gik", dragging him into the pit. As they talked Raziel realized that "Hash'ak'gik" was in fact his last remaining Vampire brother Turel, somehow taken back in time form the Soul Reaver era, and Possessed by several Hylden to command their disciples. When Turel attacked Raziel, Raziel defended himself (see Turel (Defiance boss)) and eventually killed his brother, consuming his Soul and finally gaining Enhanced TK (he also unknowingly absorbed a measure of the Hylden Possession and they were able to 'fuel Raziel's anger'). Confronting Mortanius (himself possessed by the Hylden Lord), Raziel learned from him that he had used the Heart of Darkness to raise Kain as a Vampire (creating the Scion of Balance - who he believed was the Vampire Champion) and had hidden the heart inside him; as well as learning from the Hylden Lord that the Hylden would "soon have a stronger vessel". Mortanius teleported away to his final confrontation with the fledgling Kain.
As Raziel arrived back in the Cathedral he ran into the elder Kain; who had been looking for him - expressly to prevent the resurrection of Janos Audron. As the two argued about his fate, Kain told Raziel more of his free-will (due to his remaking in The Abyss), but angry at being directed by Kain, especially given their apparent roles (and Kain's possession of the vacant Reaver blade), Raziel goaded Kain into a battle. In this vicious grudge match, Raziel's Soul began to be taken into the Reaver and in desperation he used his bare claws to rip the Heart of Darkness from Kain's chest before blasting him through a portal to Kain's apparent death (see Raziel (Defiance boss) and Kain (Defiance boss)).
Making his way back to Vorador's Mansion, Raziel now found the estate overrun with Moebius' Mercenaries and a conversation with Moebius (presumably time travelling beyond his Blood Omen death) confirmed that "it didn't matter to us which [champion] either of you thought you were" as long as Kain died. Moebius left to see to Vorador's execution and his own death (seen in Blood Omen). Raziel returned to Janos' Crypt and was able to use Heart of Darkness (and the Wraith Blade) to resurrect Janos Audron; Janos recalled Raziel from their last meeting identifying him as the Vampire Champion once more; but this time Raziel would not be hurried into action, he revealed to Janos that five centuries had passed since his 'death' and demanded answers as to why the Vampires would forge a weapon to imprison their saviour. Janos believed that Raziel had been misled, but Raziel's summoning of the Wraith Blade shocked Janos and caused him to fundamentally reassess the complexity of the ancient prophecies, leading to him teleporting himself and Raziel to the council chamber of the Vampire Citadel.
At Raziel's insistence, Janos clarified some of the events of Ancient Vampire history to Raziel, before persuading him that he would find the answers he sought in the Spirit Forge. Opening the way using Janos' Golden Ouroboros Key, Raziel found the Spirit Forge protected by the Elder God, who like Moebius before him, confirmed that it was Kain's role as Scion of Balance that was significant. Using his previously gained gifts, Raziel was able 'fight off' the Elder God and activate the forge; which called the Souls of all the previous Balance Guardians (represented by a restored Ariel) for "the final baptism of the blade". Absorbing the Souls of Ariel and her predecessors, the Wraith Blade became imbued with the 'cleansing' elemental power of Spirit and as she faded, Ariel advised Raziel that he must "unite what has been set asunder...Only then will the Scion of Balance be armed for his true endeavor". But with Kain dead, Raziel was more confused than ever and he returned to Janos in the council chamber of the Vampire Citadel.
- "Do you so enjoy death--"
Finding Janos staring intently at The Pillars Vista, Raziel realized that they had reached the time of the fledgling Kain's decision (from Blood Omen) where he doomed the Pillars to Collapse. With the 'explosive' Collapse of the Pillars, both Raziel and Janos were knocked clean across the room by the blast and when Raziel regained his footing, he found that the Hylden Lord was now in Possession of Janos. The Hylden Lord reveled in his manipulation of Raziel; revealing that by resurrecting Janos, he had provided the "more durable vessel" that the Hylden required for their further plans (seen in Blood Omen 2); and that in resurrecting Janos he had already been forced to murder the Vampires savior, the Scion of Balance (Kain), to retrieve the Heart of Darkness. Desperate to prevent the Hylden's further plans, Raziel battled the Hylden Lord possessing Janos (see Possessed Janos) but was unable to bring himself to kill Janos. Taking advantage of Raziel's weakness the Hylden Lord counterattacked, dissolving Raziel's Material and Spectral manifestations (sending him back to the Elder God in the Spirit Forge) and flew away with Janos' body - starting "a new epoch". Trapped once again in the Underworld, The Elder God taunted Raziel that, however endowed, the Wraith Blade could not touch him; before calling (and resurrecting) Moebius to him in the Spirit Forge.
But Kain was not dead and presumably feeling the 'calling' of the Spirit Forge, he returned there and quickly dispatched the revived Moebius. With Moebius' Spirit appearing before Raziel in the Spectral Realm, Raziel repeated Kain's actions, relishing as the Spirit Reaver cleansed Moebius' sight allowing him for the first time to see the true horror he had worshiped and taking particular pleasure as he consumed the Time Streamer's Soul, returning him to the Wheel of Fate. The Elder God dismissed Raziel's actions as "irrelevant", but Raziel began to see the truth - he was both the Vampire and the Hylden Champions, Redeemer AND destroyer (with Kain's role as Scion of Balance completely separate) and that the 'unseen' force that had manipulated "All the conflict and strife throughout history" was the Elder God himself. Realizing what he had to do, Raziel Possessed Moebius' corpse to return to the Material Realm, prompting Kain to 'instinctively' run him through with The Reaver. As Raziel fully manifested, Kain attempted to free him but Raziel had made his choice and he resisted, finally reaffirming his loyalty to Kain as he sacrificed himself; arming Kain, once again, with the Soul Reaver. As Raziel faded, he dispersed the Spirit Reaver Wraith Blade (his own future self) into Kain, cleansing him of the the corruption that had plagued him since birth, healing all of his physical injuries and allowing him for the first time to see "the true enemy" - The Elder God. Using the Soul Reaver, Kain was able to 'defeat' the Elder God and after the battle, Kain contemplated Raziel's last gift to him - "hope".
- "And now you will see -- the true enemy --"
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
The character of Raziel was created by Crystal Dynamics, "through a close internal collaboration" between designers Amy Hennig and Seth Carus, and concept artist Arnold Ayala. Conceptually, he originated as the eponymous protagonist of Shifter, a game proposal independent of the Legacy of Kain series which had been devised by Hennig and Carus, and inspired by angelic themes and Biblical lore; in the story, he would be "thrown down" by his master and brothers, but would return to destroy them. At the invitation of Crystal Dynamics' executives, Hennig and Carus reworked Shifter into a Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain sequel, set in Nosgoth, before production on it began. The antagonistic master was merged into the character of Kain. It took "many, many iterations of character design" before his three creators were able to collectively stand back and say, "yep, that's him". His personal backstory helped to establish "his missing jaw and cadaverous appearance", but real-world mythological associations also served to define his visuals and story arc, including the Hindu deity Vishnu (who influenced his blue skin) and fallen angels (which influenced his broken wings).
Milton's Paradise Lost had inspired "the idea of a fallen vampire who becomes an eater of souls", and of some design elements were derived from the 1920 German Expressionist silent film The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari: the team drew on "the haunted, sunken look of the central character Cesare--a cadaverous, sleepwalking mystery man" in creating Raziel.
Soul Reaver 2
Legacy of Kain: Defiance
As a human Raziel was finer in appearance with short black hair and wore red and gold ornate armor but as a vampire his skin tone became grey but still fair. Like some others of the council he wore his hair in a pony tail fashion and wore the red banner of his clan on his shoulder and wore armor that was silverish in color. His wings were visible even when they were not open. As a wraith his appearance drastically changed, his skin became a light blue, his muscles and bones were exposed, his jaw was completely gone leaving only his upper fangs which caused him to use his clans banner as a cloak and mask of sorts to hide his hideous disfigurement. His eyes lacked pupils leaving only a white glow and his hands were completely lacking skin leaving only bones to use like claws. Finally his wings that had shown his surpassing of Kain and the cause of his execution were now only flaps of skin, a shadow of what they had once been.
Raziel is a very upstanding and moral character, with a strong inherent sense of noblesse oblige; however, the conditions and situations he finds himself in (almost never of his own making) rarely lend themselves to unambiguous ethical judgements and he often ends up doing the wrong thing for the right reason. As a mortal man, he engaged in the systematic extermination of countless Vampires in his fanatical quest to rid the world of his perception of evil. As a Vampire he helped Kain establish his empire, under the controversial belief that Vampires deserved (as a higher form of life, and thus "knowing better") to rule the world.
He became The Soul Reaver, the state he found himself in after being "betrayed" by Kain and his brethren, then "saved" by the Elder God, by being thrown into the Abyss, a swirling vortex of water. (Its depth is such that it could almost be described as endless although its exact depth is not known for sure.) he stalked Kain and massacred his former brethren, prevaricating that he was not only exacting vengeance, but just settling the balance of existence. He often finds himself the willing or unwilling pawn of those around him, for good or evil. His systemic redemption is found in his final act, one of self-sacrifice. This puts him in harmonic opposition to the character of Kain (though he sacrifices himself not only to escape his curse of infinite death/rebirth cycle or to help defeat "the true enemy", but also for Kain - to whom he pledges allegiance), whose motivations are more selfish but generally turn out to be the right thing.
Kain proudly admits his actions are motivated by lust for power and revenge (but he truly was predestined to become a tyrant, only in a quest for survival and because of Nupraptor's curse, at his birth), while Raziel unrelentingly claims his sole motivation is a desire to save the world and that he is solely guided by morals. Raziel unrelentingly switches from one master (often a manipulator) to another (Moebius and the Sarafan, Kain, the Elder God, Ariel, Janos Audron, Kain - again, Raziel is either being lied to or being told half-truths or what they think the truth is.), while Kain only follows orders when they suit him and never trusts anyone.
In his Human life, Raziel was known as a formidable Sarafan Warrior Inquisitor, second only to Malek the Paladin (who was Guardian of Conflict). His warrior skills were extremely developed, able to evenly fight vampires and rise through Sarafan ranks. In his final duel (against his future self) he showed extreme durability, agility and technique, but ultimately it was all for nothing against regenerating powers of Blood Reaver handled by Raziel. He didn't show any magical skills, so we can't be sure if he could use any sort of telekinesis or any magic at all. This is an even greater testament to his fighting prowess, having no need for magic against Vampires which possessed a whole variety of skills.
As a Vampire, Raziel became the strongest son of Kain, receiving the greatest portion of his Dark Gift. This made him the strongest vampire in Nosgoth, second only to his creator. He possessed typical traits of his kin - augmented speed, strength, agility and fast regeneration of wounds. As 1st Lieutenant of Kain he would enter a state of evolution right after his master, granting him new powers and making him stronger or "divine". It is unknown what other traits he received, but we know about the most famous one: wings, a very powerful gift.
When he became a Wraith, Raziel gained access to unique powers of the Spectral Realm. He became truly immortal, his Material Realm body was only a projection and his "death" in the Underworld was only temporary, he would form himself in the lair of Elder God or at beacon points. His thirst of blood was changed into a deeper need: hunger for souls. He needed to feed to gain strength and maintain his Material Realm manifestation unless the Wraith Blade was active to sustain him (during his SR1 adventures). In the Spectral Realm, he was regenerating on his own; devouring souls only sped up the process.
Despite his destroyed and skeletal body, Raziel retained his inhuman strength allowing him perform feats such as dealing fatal blows with ease, throw objects some distance with one hand casually kicking open metal doors, and he was easily able to move and in some cases topple even huge stone blocks. With his agility and speed, he was even more dangerous than before. What was left of his wings allowed him to glide in the air, gaining him access to otherwise impenetrable areas.
Initially he retained some of his Vampire weaknesses, like vulnerability to water, but was able to overcome them by devouring the souls of his brothers:
Raziel is an archangel within the teachings of Jewish mysticism (of the Kabbalah of Judaism) who is the "Keeper of Secrets" and the "Angel of Mysteries". This matches perfectly with his clan's symbol and the bones of his wings; that looks like a question mark. The name translates appropriately as "secret[s] of god".
In Soul Reaver 2, Raziel as a Sarafan commander was met and confronted on several occasions by a 'demon' who was in fact the future Wraith version of Raziel himself. Though the Wraith Raziel was aware of their shared identity, the Human Raziel was apparently unaware of it and made several unknowingly accurate taunts ("You're a righteous fiend aren't you?" - "apparently I am") regarding Wraith Raziel (Wraith Raziel's reply could also be referring to his Sarafan past life's less-than-honorable cold-blooded righteousness). The Human Raziel's reactions to the Wraith Raziel may suggest that by the time of his death he may have guessed the link between them, but if he did, the knowledge would be lost as Raziel was kept ignorant of his Human history into his vampire unlife.
The Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver comic suggests that after emerging from growing his wings (but before the council meeting that decided his fate), Raziel was visited by a "witch" who was in reality a wraith and agent of the Elder God; she forewarned Raziel about his coming execution and resurrection as 'Reaver of Souls' (though Raziel rejected her claims and pledged his alliegance to Kain) - the witch would refer to several events seen only in the Original Soul Reaver Storyline and which did not feature in the final game.
Raziel was intended to have killed Kain (and apparently restored Nosgoth) in the original ending to Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, but much of the post-Chronoplast plot material was cut - leading to Soul Reaver's cliffhanger ending. Notably along the way he would have killed Turel and the Priestess and absorbed both Ariel and Kain into the Wraith Blade (creating the Ariel and Amplified Reavers respectively), before ascending to the pinnacle of the Silenced Cathedral and opening the sounding pipes; killing every Vampire in Nosgoth.
As a Wraith Raziel shares elements with several of the Spectral Realm-native species; he is blue like the Archons, feeds like the Sluagh, and is able to inhabit and reanimate corpses in the Material Realm like the Vampire Wraiths. He also bears a resemblance to the Ancient vampires, though their features are "beautiful" and "angelic" where Raziel's are "grotesque" and "demonic".
Soul Reaver 2 shows that in the third timeline (and possibly previous timelines), Raziel is imprisoned in the Reaver blade; creating the Soul Reaver; in the Sarafan Stronghold in Nosgoth's early history.
At the end of Defiance, by sacrificing himself whilst dispersing the Wraith Blade into Kain; Raziel is (somewhat uniquely) imprisoning himself, whilst simultaneously freeing himself from centuries of torment.
Though not made explicit in Defiance, Raziel was in-fact both the Vampire and Hylden Champions, as hinted by the repeated phrase "Redeemer and Destroyer" (indeed it is implied that Raziel's free-will 'shrouding his path' led to the assumption there were two conflicting champions instead of one 'conflicted' individual). Fulfilling the role of Vampire Champion, he activated the Spirit Forge, armed the Scion of Balance for "his true endeavor" and 'killed' the Hylden Champion (himself); and fulfilling the role of Hylden Champion, he provided the Hylden with "durable vessel" Janos Audron (allowing their Blood Omen 2 escape from the Demon Realm), he (apparently) killed the Scion of Balance and he killed the Vampire Champion (himself), the Hylden Champion was also credited with "destroy[ing] the shackles of the Vampires' tyrannous god" and this could apply to the Hylden's escape or the (ongoing) battle against the Elder God.
Raziel is perhaps the most represented character (within Nosgoth) seen in the series; alongside numerous depictions of the Vampire and Hylden Champions in Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance; he is depicted as a Wraith in Soul Reaver 2's Fire Forge and as a wraith (demonized behind Dumah) and a human (statue) in the Sarafan Stronghold's Chapter House and could also be seen as the human Sarafan commander on the Janos stained glass window. This is discounting images of the Soul Reaver, which could also be considered depictions of him.
Strangely, in promotional artwork for Defiance, Raziel is depicted as wearing black boots, while he is barefoot in the actual game.
- Soul Reaver 2: Historical Timeline at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Raziel_inquisitor at spectraljin.com (by Daniel Cabuco)
- GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #5 (by RazielFan)
- Some questions about SR2 Sarafan at DCabDesign (by Lexy), post #3 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Soul Reaver: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Warp's answers from Amy at the Eidos Forums (by Blincoln)
- Soul Reaver 2 (Raziel) (archived at Dark Chronicle)
- Soul Reaver 2: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Blood Omen 2 Q&A at GameSpot (by Sam Newman)