The Spectral Realm was one of three known planes of existence within Nosgoth. It was the world of the dead, and a darker, more twisted version of the Material Realm. Lost souls wandered its endless twilight.
In the spirit world, terrain was distorted, physical actions were ineffective, and time was irrelevant. The pervasive Elder God inhabited this realm, as did discorporated entities such as archons, Sluagh, and wraiths.
- "Sustain your strength to prolong your manifestation in the physical world. If you fail to feed, or absorb too many wounds, this fragile matter will dissolve."
- ―The Elder God[src]
The souls of all beings drift into this world after mere moments in the Material Realm. There they linger until they are claimed by the realms inhabitants, who in turn feed the Elder God(minus the Sluagh).
The Elder God maintains the Wheel of Fate ( the "purifying cycle of Life, Death and Rebirth to which all souls are bound") and presumably eventually resurrects these souls in the Material plane ( although this was doubted in Soul Reaver 2 by Raziel, the Elder does demonstrate his power of life and death by the resurrection of Moebius at the end of Defiance )
Time appears to operate differently in the Spectral Realm as regardless of the amount of time he spends there, when he returns to the Material Realm, it's as if he never left. Water in the Spectral Realm has neither heft, nor lift, it's as thin as air.
Portals and traversal
- Traveling between the planes is rarely an easy feat. Raziel acquires the ability naturally upon his death as a vampire and resurrection as a "Reaver of Souls". The Elder God grants him portals with which to cross over, and without them he is unable to move from the Spectral Plane to the Material Plane. He can, however, move in the reverse at will, or upon the destruction of his physical body.
In Defiance, Raziel displeases the Elder God and is no longer granted access to the portals. He does, however manage to find a way to project himself into rotting corpses in the Material Realm and use them to grant him a physical body. Other characters utilise the spectral realm in other ways:
due to his fragility, Melchiah is able to partially dematerialize himself and phase through certain objects. Melchiah is technically taking his body with him as he shifts between planes.
Mortanius demonstrates the ability to cross realms at the beginning of Blood Omen, when he offers Kain the chance of revenge, although the spectral plane observed here is very different from those observed in later games, notably instead of being blue, it is distinctly red and covered in flames, more closely resembling the Demon Realm seen in Turel's pit or classic views of Hell.
It is also likely that Kain himself, like his maker, had access to the Spectral Realm in order to capture the souls he would revive (although this ability has, thus far, not been seen by the audience; and the Defiance Comic even contradicts this, implying Kain has never visited the Spectral Realm), indeed, the ability that Raziel would originally have gained from Kain would have enabled him to Shift At Will.
The Spectral Realm exists alongside the Material Realm and is inhabited by many different species including:
- The Sluagh a species of Soul devouring creatures whom the Elder God refer's to as parasites and scavengers, The Elder God also accused the Sluagh of stealing people's destinies but this was likely used by him to get Raziel to hate and kill the Sluagh without question.
- Archons are also Soul Devourers and come in different varieties. For example there are wraiths under the employ of the Elder God too (known as the Dreadnaughts and Reapers) who have become "mindless hunters" (but are actually quite intelligent) of Souls.
- Vampire Wraiths are the souls of Vampires whose souls have remained too long in the Spirit World and their feeding methods have adjusted to the new plane allowing them to feed on the souls of others. If their mode of death is reversed, they may re-enter their bodies and reanimate their corpse in the Material Realm. For example, if a stake is removed from a vampires corpse, the wraith may enter the body and begin to heal as a normal vampire would. They would also regenerate with the Soul Siphon ability.
- Raziel himself and his other incarnations (the ravenous spirit within the Soul Reaver or as the Wraith-blade) have elements of Wraiths and the Sluagh;. Raziel is blue like the Archons, feeds like Sluagh, and can reanimate a corpse in the material plane like a vampire wraith.
- The Elder God inhabits both the Spectral and Material Realms and is thus unable to be harmed by Physical or Spirtual Weapons alone but is powerful enough to attack in both realms. This has been evidenced when directly attacking or incapacitating Raziel on occasion. However he can be attacked by a combination of the two types of weapons such as the (Purified)Soul Reaver, such as when Kain fought the Elder God.
In the alpha builds of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver the Spectral Realm is quite different to its retail equivalent. Perhaps most notably its much more colorful and bright compared to the muted blue-green tones of the retail. In addition many of the Spectral warping effects are incomplete: some places have none at all while others a much more exaggerated - this can lead to gaps in the geometry of the levels.
• Time flow is a bit confusing in the Spectral Realm. While shifting into the spectral realm would mean time based switches would freeze, as if nothing happened, Raziel was able to be trapped in the Spectral Realm with time passing (In Defiance, 500 years passed while Raziel was trapped in the Spectral Realm. However, since he was somehow moved from the the Stronghold of the Sarafan to the Cemetery, and that Raziel was not in the same time as Kain any more (he had to travel 500 years into the future to when Raziel was, it's possible Raziel was not held with the Elder God for 500 years, but for a shorter time after being called to the Elder God, much like what happens when he runs out of Energy (in Soul Reaver). It can be more confused by the way Dumah claimed "The centuries in limbo have honed my strength". If time was static, he would have been in the same state as when he was first sent there. Since he, and all Vampire Wraiths, show time has past, it seems 'Personal' time does indeed past for any soul in the realm. And since there appears to be some flow between the time in the Spectral and the time in the Material realm, it's possible time moves much slower in the Spectral realm, more then not at all, compared to the Material Realm.