Chapter 12: To the End is the twelfth and final "level", or chapter, of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. It concludes the game's storyline, and offers a multiple-choice ending. The final cinematic is determined at the player's discretion.
Having defeated the Dark Entity and restored eight of the Pillars of Nosgoth, Kain finally realizes a monumental truth: he himself is the final Pillar Guardian, representing the Pillar of Balance. He is presented with a fateful choice: sacrifice himself to heal the world, or refuse the sacrifice and doom Nosgoth to eternal decay.
The Dark Entity has been defeated, and, with the deaths of Anarcrothe and Mortanius, eight of the Pillars of Nosgoth have been healed.[Blood Omen/11] Kain stands at the juncture of the Pillars' dais, on the threshold of a terrible revelation.[Blood Omen/12] He, himself, is the ninth member of the Circle of Nine - the Balance Guardian, Ariel's replacement and successor.[Blood Omen/12] The Balance Pillar is the last remaining corrupted edifice. The fate of Nosgoth rests on Kain's shoulders: "at [his] whim", he muses, "the world will be healed or damned". Ariel appears, and enables him to choose his fate: sacrifice himself, and restore the world, or refuse the sacrifice, and doom the Pillars, and Nosgoth, to collapse.[Blood Omen/12]
Damn the World
Refusing the sacrifice, Kain causes the Pillars to collapse, prolonging his own life, but allowing corruption to seep into the land and transforming Nosgoth into a wasteland. Celebrating the blood curse as a blessing, he sets his throne in the ruined Pillars dais, and drinks Blood from a goblet beneath an incarnadine sky. Raising the chalice in triumph, he laughs to himself, concluding his quest with the epiphany that Vorador was right - that vampires are gods, whose duty is to thin the human herd.[Blood Omen/12]
Heal the World
By electing to sacrifice himself, Kain commits himself to oblivion, but heals Nosgoth, restoring the world to abundant life and vibrancy. Panning through healthy fields, trees, mountains and lakes, Ariel's visage appears, contemplating Kain's existence. Ariel remarks that he was "unknown", both in life and death, but that his sacrifice ensured the constancy of Balance in the land. She finishes, cryptically, with the remark that "shades cast no shadows".[Blood Omen/12]
To complete the chapter, and the game, the player needs only to choose one of the two endings by having Kain pick up the desired "card". The westernmost one triggers the "damn the world" ending, whereas the easternmost one triggers the "heal the world" one. Following the concluding cinematic, the player's statistics and final prestige ranking will be displayed, and the credits will follow.[Blood Omen/12][Blood Omen strategy guide]
- Kain has realized that he is Ariel's successor as Balance Guardian and as the final corrupted guardian, he must Sacrifice himself to restore Nosgoth.[Blood Omen/12]
- Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain is not formally divided into chapters in-game.[Blood Omen] The chapter names and definitions used at the Legacy of Kain Wiki originate from the supplementary Prima Guide, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain—Official Game Secrets, with one exception - the Prima Guide positions Kain's murder and resurrection in Seeking Revenge instead.[Blood Omen strategy guide]
- The dialogue transcripts used in this article are adapted from Tenaya's original transcript of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain at Nosgothic Realm, and the pair of official Silicon Knights/Crystal Dynamics scripts hosted at The Lost Worlds as of 2012. As in the Nosgothic Realm transcript, some scene descriptions have had to be manually revised to reflect the finished product, but these edits are intended to be as slight as possible.
- The chapter's opening cinematic - Damned if you do (named in reference to the proverb "you'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't", coined by Lorenzo Dow) - is faithful to the official script, with no changes to dialogue. However, the script recommended in stage directions that "it is daytime, to heighten the feel that Nosgoth has almost been restored to its former glory". In the final product, the scene is set at night instead.
- The "damn the world" ending - named Kain Kong (in reference to King Kong) - also remains unchanged but for one detail. The official script dictates that he should drink blood from a skull, but in the final version he drinks from a goblet instead (possibly the same goblet from Vorador's Mansion (chapter)).
- The "heal the world" ending - named Happy Happy Joy Joy (in reference to Stimpy's catchphrase from The Ren & Stimpy Show) - was subjected to two alterations:
- Stage directions advised that the cinematic should end with a cut to "the haunted spot, perhaps shot of mausoleum wreathed in vines and creepers". The final product simply depicts rolling fields and trees before fading to black after Ariel's monologue ends.
- The script also adds that the story should conclude as follows: "roll credits and cheesy flute/war drum music..." In the finished game there are no such effects.
- Silicon Knights created a document for composer Steve Henifin to use in creating original music for each cinematic in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain; in the final product, only one cinematic used one of these original compositions.
- The thematic guidelines for Damned if you do simply recommend "dead silence".
- For the Kain Kong scene, the guidelines read: "Kain has become a monster and destroyed everything around him".
- For the Happy Happy Joy Joy scene, the guidelines read: "sadness, loss, finality, melancholic over the loss of "Hero" (Kain), despite the salvation of the world as a whole. This music should cater to Kain rather than Nosgoth".
- Some aspects of this sequence relate to other chapters in the series:
- Kain invokes Vorador's metaphor that humans are effectively livestock, from Chapter 6: Vorador's Mansion, when referring to thinning the herd.[Blood Omen/6]
- The introduction of Blood Omen 2, Welcome to Meridian, depicts Kain walking away from the Pillars as they collapse, coinciding with the events of this chapter. However, Blood Omen 2's cinematic depicts the fourth timeline, not the second timeline (in which this chapter takes place).[Blood Omen 2/1]
- Kain's epiphany at the end of this chapter that vampires are "dark gods" is contradicted in later chapters of Blood Omen 2, where Kain expresses a belief that "the curse of vampirism is no mark of divinity". As such, his motives for refusing the sacrifice may have been altered in the newer timeline.[Blood Omen 2/9]
- Ariel's description of Kain as a "petty noble" is later referenced in Blood Omen 2 by the Hylden Lord, who comments on Kain's lust for power: "your ambition to rule this world is but the youthful craving of a petty noble who has gained too much power, but never enough".[Blood Omen 2/11]
- Legacy of Kain: Defiance's Battle Kain also depicts the collapse of the Pillars, which occurs once Kain makes his decision, but similarly in the fourth timeline, not the second.[Defiance/12]
- Although this chapter, and the backstory synopsis included with Soul Reaver 2, both suggest that Kain came to the conclusion that he is the Balance Guardian by himself, the Nosgoth timeline released with September 2000's Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine states that Ariel in fact revealed this to him (presumably in an unseen conversation between the end of The Vampire Purges (chapter) and the beginning of this one).[Soul Reaver 2 manual] A line of dialogue for Ariel which addressed this point is present in the game's data, but was not implemented. She was to say: "Yes, Kain. The Necromancer spoke truth. For Nosgoth to be restored, one more must die. You are the Balance, Kain. Make your choice".[Blood Omen/Cut content]
- This chapter represents the only point in the Legacy of Kain series where the storyline branches. In all other games (and chapters), the core of the story follows a linear path.[Blood Omen][Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver 2][Blood Omen 2][Defiance]
- Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain makes no attempt to declare either of the two endings canonical: the game, and Silicon Knights, left it ambiguous as to whether Kain denied or accepted the obligation to sacrifice himself.[Blood Omen] Only when Crystal Dynamics announced Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was it cemented that the "damn the world" ending was true, and the other false.[Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver 2/2] Crystal Dynamics' Amy Hennig explained: "At the end of Blood Omen, Kain was presented with a decision: he could sacrifice himself and thereby save the world; or, in choosing to preserve his own life, he could damn the world. For the sequel, we assumed the latter - Kain embraces his vampire nature, and establishes himself as a "dark god", subjugating Nosgoth to his rule. We thought it would be interesting to fast foward [sic] a millennia [sic] or two, to see what Kain's decision engendered".
- Towards the end of the credits, in the Special Thanks section, "Coffee Guy!" is humorously yelled by an unidentified voice. According to Crystal Dynamics' Chris Bruno, the phrase was shouted by Denis Dyack, who "would yell out "Coffee Guy" to the team when the guy with the catering truck would show up in the parking lot".
- The Legacy of Kain: Defiance comic revisits the events of this chapter, covering the Pillars' collapse.[Defiance comic]
- The sacrifice
- The collapse of the Pillars
- the events of Blood Omen
- The era following Blood Omen
- Legacy of Kain: The Plot at The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle).
- Blood Omen: LoK - Dialogue at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya).
- Blood Omen Scripts at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- Blood Omen Scripts at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Miscellaneous Questions & Answers at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)
- Soul Reaver 2: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Blood Omen: LoK - Dialogue at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya)
- Theme Outlines for Cinematics at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)
- GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #5 (by RazielFan)
- GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan)
- Coffee Guy???? at the Eidos Forums (by Chris@Crystal)
- Coffee Guy???? at the Eidos Forums (by Chris@Crystal), post #7 (by Chris@Crystal)