- "The Reaver is the key.
Two incarnations of the blade meet in time and space – a paradox is created, a temporal distortion powerful enough to derail history."
The Reaver-convergence is a temporal event caused by two versions of the Soul Reaver blade meeting in space and time. Such a meeting presents a temporal paradox which makes the Time-stream vulnerable to change. At least four convergences have been seen in the Legacy of Kain series, with three resulting in history-altering paradox events. The first Reaver convergence was seen in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and they were central to the plot of Soul Reaver 2.
Nosgoth's time continuum was extremely rigid and resilient, and did not normally allow for the introduction of paradoxes: the map of each individual's destiny was fully outlined and immutable, accommodating for time travel events and preventing contradictions.[Soul Reaver 2/5] Even to characters who knew the future and were aware that "free will is an illusion", resisting history was usually an impossibility: they did not possess the intrinsic free will necessary to defy "the rules of fate and predetermined events".[Soul Reaver 2/1] This theory of predestination was a fundamental, indiscriminate constant, and applied to almost all entities within the Material, Spectral and Demon Realms alike.
There were however loopholes to this process - and these were related to the wraith Raziel, who could make choices freely, unhindered by the predestination others were subject to.[Soul Reaver 2/5][Defiance/11][Defiance/12] Only vague descriptions as to why he was singular in this regard were afforded: his free will was usually attributed to "his remaking into the world" at the hands of the Elder God, and his resultant liberation from the Wheel of Fate.[Defiance/11] It may also have been connected to his destiny to become the captive, soul-devouring entity within the Soul Reaver, and to later wield a future incarnation of his own soul - the Wraith Blade; the meeting and constant presence of two incarnations of the same soul-devouring entity, crucial to the timeline, in close proximity - and the very possibility that one might attempt to devour the other - may have contributed to his unique exemption.[Soul Reaver 2/Epilogue]
On the rare occasions where two incarnations of Raziel's soul met, in either the forms of the Soul Reaver or the Wraith Blade, a Reaver-convergence was the result: "reality itself" would tangibly warp and bend slightly, creating a sense of vertigo, or displacement.[Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/Epilogue][Soul Reaver 2/1] At such points, there was a window of opportunity in which it was possible to create a paradox, potentially sufficient enough to derail history and rewrite the timeline.[Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/Epilogue][Blood Omen/11] Kain analogized these junctures to the flipping of a two-sided coin: "suppose you throw a coin enough times... suppose one day, it lands on its edge".[Soul Reaver 2/1]
Only relatively slight diversions could be triggered; most major events remained constant in Nosgoth between each timeline. If a paradox blocked the time continuum, history would always follow "the path of least resistance while admitting only the slightest alterations". Defying the force of history was always a dangerous gamble - "if events [could not] be reshuffled to accommodate the change", the irritants responsible for the contradiction would simply be expelled from the time-stream.[Soul Reaver 2/5] Such a fatal paradox did not overtly happen in the Legacy of Kain series, but the concept served as a looming danger which Kain and Raziel were forced to acknowledge and remain wary of.[Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/Epilogue]
A number of Reaver convergences were seen in the series, with the first occurring in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain chapter Stranded in Time, when Kain was manipulated into going back in time and eliminating William the Just, though it was not explicitly labelled as such at the time. Time Travel and the inherent paradoxes involved would become a central theme of Soul Reaver 2 which would go on to feature Reaver convergences in A Reaver in Time, A Fateful Meeting and epilogue as Nosgoth's historical continuum was explored - and the convergence ultimately explained by Kain with reference to the first convergence. Kain subsequently persuaded Raziel to use such a convergence to spare his life and later used another convergence to temporarily spare Raziel - changing history significantly in the process. Two further possible Reaver convergences were seen in Legacy of Kain: Defiance both in the same brief manner as the finale of Soul Reaver 2, however history was not obviously changed in these circumstances.[Blood Omen/10][Blood Omen/11][Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/Epilogue][Defiance/12][Defiance/13]
Known and observed convergences
Confirmed Reaver Convergences
The following are explicitly confirmed in dialogue to be times when a Reaver-convergence was triggered.
- The First paradox - The young vampire Kain travels to the history preceding Blood Omen, seeking to eliminate the future tyrant ' The Nemesis. He battles the boy-king William the Just, with both armed with the Soul Reaver. The resulting paradox creates the Second timeline - wiping the Legions of the Nemesis from history and replacing them with Vampire hunters.[Blood Omen/10][Blood Omen/11][Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver 2/5]
- The Reaver convergence - Time travelling wraith Raziel finds William's blade broken in the Sanctuary chapel of the Sarafan Stronghold. His Wraith Blade incarnation of the Reaver manifests and leaches his soul to restore the physical Reaver. Raziel unknowingly rejects a potential to change history by eliminating Moebius.[Soul Reaver 2/1]
- The Second paradox - Raziel returns to the Sanctuary chapel to find Kain awaiting him with the physical blade. Kain hands the physical blade to Raziel causing the Wraith blade to manifest. Revealing the nature of the Reaver convergence to Raziel, Kain persuades Raziel to spare his life, changing history and creating the Third timeline.[Soul Reaver 2/5]
- The Third paradox - Raziel travels to Nosgoth's early history and is tricked into using the physical Reaver as a weapon when his wraith blade is disabled. When all enemies are exhausted and the wraith blade returns it turns the physical (vacant) Reaver on Raziel, impaling him and dragging his soul into the blade to create the Soul Reaver for the first time. Kain arrives and uses some precise timing to take advantage of a brief convergence and change history, spawning the large scale changes of the Fourth timeline that allow the Hylden escape from the Demon Realm, the resurrection of Vorador and the conflict between the new Sarafan and a new race of vampires in the post Blood Omen era.[Soul Reaver 2/Epilogue]
Other Potential Convergences
The following occasions are not treated as Reaver-convergences but each did feature possibility of a brief convergence; as with the Third paradox. However these events did not include any of the temporal distortion observed and no changes in the timeline - potential or realised - were associated.
- The 'Heroes Confrontation' - Raziel and Kain battle in Avernus Cathedral, with their battle leading to a short period where the vacant Reaver begins to absorb Raziel's soul. As with the third paradox, there may be a brief moment when there are two 'Soul Reavers' and a convergence is possible. [Defiance/12]
- The Purification of Kain - As with the third paradox, this is a potential brief convergence seen at the creation of the Soul Reaver in the fourth timeline in the Spirit forge within the Vampire Citadel of the events of Blood Omen. This time Raziel knowingly rejects Kain's aid and sacrifices himself to the blade - in the process purifying Kain of his corruption - with no paradox ensuing.[Defiance/13]
While both William and Kain had versions of the Soul Reaver in their battle in Stranded in Time in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, the full circumstances were not explained by Silicon Knights - although in the official FAQ they did acknowledge the presence of two versions of the blade and the necessity of using the Soul Reaver against William to defeat him.[Blood Omen/10]
The paradox created by the meeting of two versions of the Soul Reaver was ultimately developed by Amy Hennig in the course of the development of Soul Reaver 2 both to satisfy the previous alteration of history in Stranded in Time against their concept of history and time travel, but also to account for the further changes to the background that would be introduced in the upcoming Blood Omen 2 by finding a loophole already existing within Blood Omen to justify the historical changes. As Daniel Cabuco explained:
- "the Paradox was created to help explain some of the inconsistencies of BO2, and to create the ability to change fate. It was entirely Amy's creation: she found a way to use coincidences in BO as a way to explain the ability to change time. I thought it was a brilliant solution!"
- ―Daniel Cabuco
Retroactively these developments made the meeting between William and Kain in Stranded in Time a juncture point where history was changed and a new timeline was created; while the convergence seen in A Reaver in Time became a point where history was not altered (by the possible death of Moebius at Raziel's hand). The term "Reaver convergence" ultimately comes from the Dark Chronicle chapter title and stage directions of the latter.[Blood Omen/10][Soul Reaver 2/1]
- Kain explicitly confirms that the Reaver convergence depends upon two versions of the Soul Reaver meeting in space and time - meaning that only the possessed Soul devouring blade, and not the 'vacant' Reaver blade can create such a paradox. The revelation at the end of Soul Reaver 2 that Raziel is the entity within the blade, complicates things, suggesting that it is not necessarily the blade that is the cause of the paradox, but Raziel's own soul. Kain later hints in Legacy of Kain: Defiance that Raziel's remaking as a Soul devouring wraith may be the cause of his Free will, perhaps hinting that the Reaver convergence is actually the result of two versions of Raziel trying to consume the other[Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/Epilogue][Defiance/11]
- The distortion effects of the convergence are only seen in Soul Reaver 2 and it is ultimately unclear why this is the case. Presumably Blood Omen developers did not intend to specifically highlight the First paradox as a juncture point in history (see 'background' section), but the absence from the potential convergences in Defiance is more complicated. It may be that as there is not struggle against the flow of history at these times, no distortion is experienced. Alternatively it may be that the distortion effects are only associated with Raziel's point of view as he observes the interaction of two versions of his future soul. The absence of the effects may also simply be a design oversight. [Blood Omen/10][Blood Omen/11][Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/Epilogue][Defiance/12][Defiance/13]
- The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain, written by Silicon Knights (before the introduction of Crystal Dynamics' time mythology and principles to the series), mentions a "previous timeline", prior to those observed in the series, in which "William the Just was exactly as his title suggested", exempt from Moebius's influence. Hints as to this "previous timeline" continue through the series as in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Kain accuses Moebius of "going back in time, and altering the past".[Blood Omen/11] In Soul Reaver 2, Kain infers that both the first and second timelines are "artificial" destinies, and that his original, unaltered fate was always "to assume the role of Balance Guardian in Nosgoth, while [Raziel was] destined to be its savior".[Soul Reaver 2/5] As Raziel's free will and Reaver convergences are the only known loopholes to Nosgoth's immutable history, it is presumable that any "previous timelines" were expunged by as yet unknown Reaver convergences.
- Answers to questions from the Defiance team at the Eidos forums (by Chris@Crystal)
- Question and Answer with Amy Hennig at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Question and Answer with Jen, Richard, and Kyle at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Miscellaneous Questions & Answers at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle) Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; name "SKFAQ" defined multiple times with different content
- Initial Soul Reaver Plot at DCabDesign (by Boltar), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #4 (by RazielFan)
- The Players at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)