- "You were a great general, commanding an army of vampires, but the powers you opposed were too strong for you. You were struck down, your armies defeated, scattered and destroyed. Everyone believed you to be dead."
- ―Umah — Listen (file info)[src]
The vampire-Sarafan war was a conflict waged between two fledgling factions – Kain's vampire army, and the revived Sarafan order – in a latter iteration of the era following Blood Omen. Precipitated by Vorador's resurrection and the rise of a new generation of vampires, it culminated in a battle at Meridian, where the Hylden Lord struck Kain down and routed the vampires. Both sides sought to rule Nosgoth for the benefit of their respective races.
Much of the war played out in the southern regions of Nosgoth, and its events saw Kain and the vampires hindered by repeated suspicions of betrayal, both accurate and perceived. Its outcome, decided roughly two centuries after the collapse of the Pillars, resulted in total Sarafan domination of Nosgoth for another two centuries, which motivated the creation of the Cabal. The events of the war were outlined and depicted within Blood Omen 2.
To Conquer and Rule
- "You dare dream of killing me? That fantasy was quenched in blood long ago when I defeated you. And yet you have learned nothing."
- ―The Sarafan Lord — Listen (file info)[src]
In the post-Blood Omen era, since the breaking of the Circle of Nine and the collapse of the Pillars of Nosgoth, Kain – the only surviving Guardian and vampire – asserted his intention to rule over the land, but was unable to create new vampires until the raising of the lieutenants.[Blood Omen 2/3]
A temporal paradox caused by Raziel and an older incarnation of Kain changed some aspects of Nosgoth's history, introducing the resurrection of the elder vampire, Vorador, in the resultant timeline.[Soul Reaver 2/Epilogue][Defiance/12][Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/11] In addition, it enabled the Hylden Lord, a leader among the Hylden within the Demon Realm, to take advantage of the Pillars' collapse by possessing the ancient vampire, Janos Audron, whom he used to open the Hylden Gate.[Defiance/12] Although the Gate enabled them to shift into the Material Realm, the Hylden Lord and his followers "had not yet the power to begin a full invasion".[Blood Omen 2/9]
In this timeline, Vorador "created a new race" of vampires to replace those destroyed by Vampire hunters, and "from that race", the young Kain recruited an army.[Blood Omen 2/3] Those who joined his ranks included his champion, Magnus, his close ally, Sebastian, and the legionnaire, Faustus.[Blood Omen 2/2][Blood Omen 2/6][Blood Omen 2/8] When he asked Marcus to fight at his side, Marcus refused, and Kain responded by making a failed attempt on Marcus's life.[Blood Omen 2/4]
Meanwhile, the Hylden Lord, hoping to exact revenge upon the vampires for the historical banishment of his own kind, "learned of a legendary order whose purpose was to purge the world of vampires long ago. He revived this order, and the Sarafan were born again".[Blood Omen 2/9]
Traitors to Our Kind
- "You arranged the ambush that destroyed my army. You sold yourself to our enemy."
- ―Kain — Listen (file info)[src]
Formed in response to Kain's ascension to power, the Sarafan were composed primarily of "militant humans", and operated from the Sarafan Keep at Meridian.[Blood Omen 2/5] Now styling himself the Sarafan Lord, the Hylden General commanded this faction; "determined to wipe out the vampire threat", they wielded the Glyph magic he bestowed to deadly effect.[Blood Omen 2/1]
The war between the vampires and the Sarafan endured for "decades", and entailed much "Blood-stained and internal conflict". Eventually, hostilities narrowed down to a direct confrontation between the bulk of both armies. Perusing maps of Nosgoth within Kain's castle, Kain and Vorador charted a path for the army, leading progressively south through the human settlements of Ziegsturhl, Provance, and Freeport.[Blood Omen 2/1]
Annexing each town, the vampires continued southeast to launch an assault on the Sarafan Keep.[Blood Omen 2/1] However, shortly prior to the final skirmish, Sebastian sold himself to the Sarafan, and "arranged the ambush that destroyed [Kain's] army". This betrayal resulted in a large toll of vampire deaths, crippling Kain's forces, and – by Sebastian's account – "cost [them] the war".[Blood Omen 2/6]
Before the battle at Meridian took place, Magnus secretly "went to kill the Sarafan Lord, alone", believing he could "strike a blow that would end the war" single-handedly. The assassination attempt failed, further depriving Kain's army; Magnus was defeated by the Hylden Lord, "helpless at his feet", then robbed of his sanity, and transported to the Eternal Prison.[Blood Omen 2/8]
Ignorant of the meaning behind Magnus's disappearance, Kain simply assumed that his champion had "left [his] camp in the night to join with [his] enemy, like all the others".[Blood Omen 2/8]
Those Destined to Die
- "I dealt the blow that cost you the war. Glorious, was it not? So many killed, so quickly. And all my doing."
- ―Sebastian — Listen (file info)[src]
The Sarafan were already considered "finally triumphant", but the remnants of the vampire army persisted toward Meridian. The Hylden Lord unleashed his Glyph magic to "destroy [Kain's] army and kill most of the vampires". By the battle's end, "Kain and the Sarafan Lord [were] locked in mortal combat", fighting in melee with their swords.[Blood Omen 2/1] Unbeknownst to Kain, the Hylden Lord wore the Nexus Stone, an artifact capable of deflecting the power of Kain's blade, the Soul Reaver. Unable to harm his enemy, Kain was struck down, his body thrown off a cliff "to his apparent death".[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/6]
In the aftermath, the Hylden Lord claimed the Soul Reaver for his own, and Kain's few surviving loyal vampires – led by Vorador – quietly recovered their general's near-lifeless body.[Blood Omen 2/3][Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/5]
Now indomitable, the Sarafan proceeded to conquer Nosgoth. Alongside Sebastian, a few of the vampire survivors – Faustus and Marcus – were given a chance at survival, should they cooperate by helping to work against their renegade kindred. These traitor vampires would rise high in the Sarafan chain of command.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/2][Blood Omen 2/6][Blood Omen 2/4][Blood Omen 2 manual (US)] The vampires who resisted their oppressors' rule covertly united in the form of the Cabal, and, two centuries after his defeat, Kain awoke in their care in Meridian's Slums.[Blood Omen 2/1]
Bent on taking revenge against the Hylden Lord and the Sarafan, Kain agreed to help the Cabal "for the time being".[Blood Omen 2/1] He suffered from "slight amnesia" during his quest, and was gradually reeducated on the details of the war in his encounters with other vampires – Umah, Vorador, the traitors, and Janos Audron.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/9][Blood Omen 2/2][Blood Omen 2/6][Blood Omen 2/8][Blood Omen 2/4] He also encountered murals of the war when he infiltrated the main hall of the Sarafan Keep, being scornfully remarked upon by the nobleman Artemis.[Blood Omen 2/5]
- "Have you changed so much? The Sarafan Lord defeated you. Don't you want to kill him? When you have destroyed him, you can continue your ascent to power, restore your army, rule the land at last. Does the lust for vengeance and power no longer stir you? Are you so dead?"
- ―Umah — Listen (file info)[src]
The vampire-Sarafan war was a consequence of the third paradox, and thus took place in the fourth timeline. The existence of both Kain's vampire army and the revived Sarafan order relied strongly on this timeline's particular iteration of events, such as the collapse of the Pillars and Vorador's resurrection, and thus the war was not previously part of Nosgoth's history.[Blood Omen 2/3][Blood Omen 2/9]
The war occurred in the post-Blood Omen era, and spanned a period of multiple "decades", but concluded with the decisive battle at Meridian, which transpired roughly 200 years after the collapse of the Pillars.[Blood Omen 2/1]
- Kain's vampire army: Mustered and led by Kain, the vampire army earned a reputation as a "powerful" force.[Blood Omen 2/3][Blood Omen 2/1] Even so, it fell victim to internecine subterfuge and misfortune.[Blood Omen 2/6][Blood Omen 2/8][Blood Omen 2/5] The legions were "all slain" by the Sarafan, with the exception of only a few survivors.[Blood Omen 2]
- The Sarafan (era following Blood Omen): Revived by the Hylden Lord after his arrival in the Material Realm, the reformed Sarafan order's purpose echoed that of its original namesake.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/9] It existed to quell and exterminate Nosgoth's vampire "scourge". Glyph knights were among those troops which participated in the war.[Blood Omen 2/1]
- Kain: The "general" and leader of the vampire army, Kain wielded the Soul Reaver, and was "fixated on ruling the Land of Nosgoth". His defeat at Meridian signified the end of the vampire army's exploits.[Blood Omen 2/1]
- Faustus: An "indifferent soldier", Faustus served as one of Kain's legionnaires, and partook in the march south toward Meridian.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/2]
- Magnus: Kain's champion and "finest warrior", Magnus was defeated by the Hylden Lord. Previous to that event, "the Sarafan fell before him by the score", and "together, he and [Kain] were invincible".[Blood Omen 2/8]
- Sebastian: Sebastian betrayed Kain's confidence and sabotaged the army by selling himself to the other side. He facilitated a Sarafan ambush which decimated Kain's forces.[Blood Omen 2/6]
- Vorador: Vorador was the patriarch of the generation of vampires who formed Kain's army. He formed and led the Cabal after the war's conclusion.[Blood Omen 2/3]
- The Hylden Lord: Organizing and leading the reformed Sarafan armies, the Hylden Lord proved "too strong" for Kain. Equipped with the Nexus Stone, he overcame the vampire in single combat.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/9][Blood Omen 2/5]
- Kain's castle: The headquarters was the base of operations for the vampire army.[Blood Omen 2/1] After his revival in Meridian, Kain said that "my castle lies in ruins"; if he meant the headquarters, this suggested its destruction at the hands of the Sarafan during the war.
- Meridian: Meridian, "capital of the Land of Nosgoth", hosted the Sarafan Keep. The Sarafan dug in to defend the city from the vampire army's assault, and emerged victorious.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/5]
- Freeport: A larger human settlement in Nosgoth, Freeport lay on the edge of the Great Southern Sea. The vampire army diverted west to capture it before departing for Meridian.[Blood Omen 2/1]
- Provance: Provance lay near the Great Southern Lake. The vampire army captured the settlement after passing through Ziegsturhl, and then continued to Freeport.[Blood Omen 2/1]
- Ziegsturhl: The village where Kain was murdered as a human was the first to fall to the vampire army on its campaign south to Meridian.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen/2]
Though the vampire-Sarafan war functions as the main backstory to Blood Omen 2, it is also entirely novel to that game, neither explored nor mentioned in any previous Legacy of Kain titles.[Blood Omen][Soul Reaver comic][Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver 2] The war was added to the mythos of the series by the Blood Omen 2 development team, who faced a creative challenge in trying to "take a character already as powerful as Kain is from LOK: Blood Omen and let him grow".
One of the game's writers and designers, Bret Robbins, explained, "we were part of a larger franchise (the Legacy of Kain series), but we also wanted to separate from that franchise and possibly start a new series. So we wanted the previous games to serve as a backdrop to our game, to provide texture and a common history, but we needed to establish our own story as well. If we were to explain to the player everything that had happened in Blood Omen or in Soul Reaver, it would have taken hours. So we only included some vital bits of history and then moved forward from there, setting up our own back story".
Some dialogue from Magnus and Marcus, divulging minor additional aspects of their involvement (or lack thereof) in the war, was omitted from the game.[Blood Omen 2/Cut content]
- Aside from the Sarafan Keep's murals, the only depiction of the vampire-Sarafan war arises in Kain's "dreamed" recollection in the introduction cinematic of Blood Omen 2.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/5] Some of the details revealed within this portrayal are muddled or contradicted later in the story.[Blood Omen 2/3][Blood Omen 2/6][Blood Omen 2/4] Kain mentions that he remembers only "fragments" of his past, and admits that his "memory at present has its flaws", which may account for the discrepancies.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/7]
- The Injured Cabal Vampire appears at Kain's side in the battle at Meridian, but neither he nor Kain recognize or acknowledge each other as past allies when they meet in Sanctuary.[Blood Omen 2/3][Blood Omen 2/1]
- Marcus slaughters humans in an overlay as the vampire army's progress through Ziegsturhl is tracked on the map behind, and he accompanies Kain at the battle. However, in the narrative, Marcus attests that he was never a member of, nor an ally to, the vampire army.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/4]
- Sebastian's character model is used to represent many of Kain's followers, and also appears with Kain in the scenes at the battle. However, in the game, Sebastian's model is unique, and he states that he sold himself to the Sarafan before the final clash.[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/6][Blood Omen 2]
- Vorador appears as an earnest ally of the vampire army, both within Kain's castle and at the battle. In the game's narrative, Kain says that he had only "met [Vorador] once before in his new role of patriarch", and "still knew not to trust him".[Blood Omen 2/3][Blood Omen 2/1]
- The matter as to whether Umah and the other Cabal vampires – the bald, female, injured, and twin vampires – took place in the war remains unaddressed.[Blood Omen 2] Kain does not express recognition of any of the Cabal members aside from Vorador, and of all of the others, only the most senior vampire, Umah, ever discusses the war.[Blood Omen 2/3][Blood Omen 2/6][Blood Omen 2/5][Blood Omen 2/7][Blood Omen 2/10] She says that "Vorador has told me all your stories, Kain. He said that you would stop at nothing to achieve your great ambition: absolute power", perhaps indicating that she did not personally witness the conflict and may not yet have been born during its events.[Blood Omen 2/10]
- Fourth timeline
- Kain's vampire army
- Era following Blood Omen
- Sarafan (era following Blood Omen)
- Blood Omen 2: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn).
- ↑ Soul Reaver: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 My Visit to Crystal Dynamics at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Question and Answer with Amy Hennig at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 FAQ at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 The Resurrection of Vorador at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 Blood Omen 2: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
- ↑ 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 Bloodomen 2 (Story) at the official Blood Omen 2 site (archived at Dark Chronicle)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Freeport and Provance at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Blood Omen 2 Designer Diary #1 at GameSpot, page 3 (by Bret Robbins and Mike Ellis)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2: Historical Timeline at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Blood Omen 2 Designer Diary #1 at GameSpot, page 1 (by Mike Ellis)