Chapter 1: Welcome to Hell is the first "level", or chapter, of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and the introduction to the Legacy of Kain series as a whole. It briefly establishes the Nosgoth setting, the characters of Vorador and Malek, and the history of the Circle of Nine, before following Kain's murder in Ziegsturhl and subsequent resurrection.
- "There is a magical operation of maximum importance: the initiation of a new aeon. When it becomes necessary to utter a word, the whole planet must be bathed in blood..."
- ―Aleister Crowley[src]
In Nosgoth's early history, it is sunset, and somewhere in the countryside, a vampire is witnessed being hoisted onto a stake by human warriors, amongst countless others in the distance.[Blood Omen/1] Members of the Circle of Nine congregate in the Sarafan Stronghold, magically observing and guiding the movements of these vampire slayers - the Sarafan.[Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen/6]
Suddenly, a much older, green-skinned vampire bursts into the Stronghold, and begins slaughtering the Pillar Guardians: it is Vorador.[Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen/5][Blood Omen/6] In the chaos, he uses various weapons and spells to murder the Balance, Energy, and Nature Guardians, and three others.[Blood Omen/1] As they perish, the Guardians cry for their protector, Malek, who rushes to the chamber in response. He is struck from behind by Vorador's sword, and the scene goes blank.[Blood Omen/1]
Some time later, Malek finds himself in a darker chamber beneath Avernus Cathedral, bound and stripped of his armor.[Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen/8] From a lofty perch, the Necromancer Mortanius addresses him, condemning his failure to defend the Circle. Mortanius magically wrenches Malek's soul from his body, and fuses it to his armor, proclaiming that Malek has but one purpose: to serve them for eternity. Malek, now a wraith, examines his new form before the scene cuts again.[Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen/4]
In the history preceding Blood Omen, at Ariel's shrine, Ariel is seen magically igniting braziers suspended on balance scales, oblivious to the distinctive shadow moving purposefully towards her. She turns too late, and is fatally stabbed by the attacker; her scream is penetrating. With a final motion, her bloodied hand reaches towards the scales, brushing against it before dying; it is knocked out of balance, and the scene ends.[Blood Omen/1] Elsewhere, a crack emerges in one of the Pillars of Nosgoth, and they each turn corrupt and decay in quick succession.[Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen/2]
Passing through the small town of Ziegsturhl, a young nobleman - Kain - stops at a tavern in hopes of sating his thirst. The Barkeep turns him away, noting the time and the looming danger the night brings. Disheartened, Kain leaves the bar to resume his journey, but is immediately set upon by a large group of armed brigands. Unable to fend them off, he is quickly knocked to the ground, and one of his attackers consummates this inexplicable assassination attempt by stabbing him in the back with an Iron Sword.[Blood Omen/1]
Transfixed with the blade and shackled to two posts in the fiery Underworld, Kain's soul struggles incessantly to escape. He despairs, profoundly tormented by a singular lust for vengeance. Mortanius approaches from behind, and twists the Iron Sword free from Kain's back, freeing Kain of his captivity; he has been offered the chance to kill his assassins.[Blood Omen/1]
Peering with contemplation into the roaring fires behind him, Kain jumps at this chance for revenge, heedless of any costs. He accepts the Iron Sword from Mortanius, and coruscating magic ripples across his body, transforming his living skin to dead, vampiric flesh. Mortanius, his benefactor, laughs facetiously as Kain strides away, promising him the blood he hungers for.[Blood Omen/1]
This chapter contains only a single, scripted playable sequence in Ziegsturhl, which begins after the introductory cinematic, and depicts the human Kain's assassination. The player's input is limited to guiding Kain out of the tavern and losing the battle against his assassins; there is no need to fight off the brigands, nor any reward in attempting to do so. Once Kain is killed, the story progresses to the next cinematic, which shows his resurrection, and then the next chapter.[Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen/2][Blood Omen strategy guide]
- This chapter has marked the first appearance (in order) of the characters of Vorador, Malek, Mortanius, Ariel, the Dark Entity and Kain. It has also marked the debut of Nosgoth, the Sarafan Stronghold, Avernus Cathedral, the shrine, the Pillars of Nosgoth, Ziegsturhl and the Underworld. Only the names of Malek and Mortanius have been revealed in dialogue; those of all other characters and locations, including Kain, have not.[Blood Omen/1]
- The Circle of Nine has been introduced, and an outline of its immediate history has been presented, but most details have been intentionally left unclear for now. The crusades of the Sarafan have been briefly witnessed.[Blood Omen/1]
- Ariel's murder at the hands of an enigmatic Dark Entity has been witnessed, as has the subsequent corruption of the Pillars.[Blood Omen/1]
- Kain's murder has been witnessed. He has been revived from the dead by Mortanius, a Necromancer whose motives are uncertain, to seek his revenge. The nature of Kain's resurrection is not made explicit until the next chapter.[Blood Omen/1]
- 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.
- According to the official script, a few elements and lines of dialogue belonging to the opening cinematic - The Failure of the Circle - were removed or changed, including the following:
- The scene in Nosgoth's countryside was supposed to pan out from the impaled vampire's face; he would be screaming. As the vista became clearer, Sarafan warriors chasing down fleeing vampires would become visible. In the final product, the Sarafan are seen before the impaled vampire is, and no fleeing vampires are visible.
- One of the Pillar Guardians was supposed to deliver the line "the plague infecting our land is finished!" just before Vorador's attack. This line is omitted in the final version.
- The Balance Guardian, who is blasted by a Flay artifact, was specified as being male in the script. In the final version she is female.
- In the script, Malek was to immediately see Vorador and begin fighting as soon as he reached the Circle's gathering-room. In the final version, Vorador uses his Mist Form to ambush Malek before they battle.
- Mortanius/the Dark Entity was to say "so it begins..." just before slaying Ariel in the first pre-Blood Omen era scene. This line is omitted in the final version, probably as an undesired holdover from Mortanius's original, more malevolent role in the story.
- The corruption of the Pillars of Nosgoth was less subtle in the script: only one Pillar would be witnessed, but it was to partially collapse, and chunks of it were to explode, with dust clouds being kicked up from underneath it. In the final version, the Pillars' veneer simply cracks, and they turn black.
- One additional scene was planned, to be shown just after the corruption scene. The view would suddenly flash to a marble or stone background; blood would spatter against this surface, forming the words "Blood Omen". Small rivulets of this blood would trickle down to form the subtitle, "Legacy of Kain". The final version cuts to gameplay directly after the corruption scene, with the preceding main menu serving as the game's title sequence.
- Likewise, the assassination sequence in Ziegsturhl was not originally intended to be playable. It was planned to be a rendered cinematic like the rest of the introduction scenes, with play beginning for the first time in Kain's Mausoleum. The assassination portion of the cutscene was replaced with a scripted playable scene because it had not turned out as well as the development staff hoped. The few images available of this excised scene portray Kain with blond hair; the developers had not yet decided to change his hair to black by the time it was made.[Defiance] In the official script, it is referred to as "Kain Kill", and has only one line of dialogue, attributed to Kain: "Vae victis" (screaming this as a battle cry).
- The second cinematic sequence, Kain in the Abyss, is very faithful to the official script, and no dialogue was changed or excised.
- 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, The Failure of the Circle is the only cinematic which used one of these original compositions.
- The thematic guidelines for this scene read as follows:
"Anyone watching this cinematic will not have a clue about what is going on. Thus, confusion, mystery and excitement are very strong themes. This is piece [sic] is meant to serve the same purpose as the prelude to "The Wheel of Time" series by Robert Jordan."
- For the Kain in the Abyss scene, the guidelines read:
"This is a very somber and retrospective moment. It is not entirely clear that Kain is turned into a vampire when he chooses to take the sword. However, the choice that he made eternally damns him (not that he really had a choice). Anger and frustration are prevalent in Kain's heart, since he is powerless to do anything."
- The thematic guidelines for this scene read as follows:
- The same document stipulates that the slaughter of the Circle was supposed to be 5000 years before the beginning of the game. Soul Reaver 2 instead specifies that it was 500 years ago.[Soul Reaver 2]
- Kain is equipped with a sword in the Ziegsturhl playable sequence, and can fight his assassins. Even without the use of cheats, it is possible to slay all of them, but there is no reward or purpose in doing so aside from a higher kill count. Kain cannot leave the town, as both exits are blocked by toppled carts, and he has to die for the story to proceed. If all his assassins are dead, there is one accessible house, containing more enemies, which Kain can enter and leave at leisure to spawn more of them.[Blood Omen]
- The Legacy of Kain: Defiance comic explicitly attributes Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain's epigraph to Aleister Crowley (the game itself does not), and also revisits Kain's assassination.[Defiance comic]
- The slaughter of the Circle
- The corruption of the Pillars
- the events of 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).
- Murdering Kain FMV at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- Blood Omen Scripts at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Warp's answers from Amy at the Eidos Forums (by blincoln)
- All Pillar Guardians at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Legacy of Kain: The Plot at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)
- Blood Omen: LoK - Dialogue at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya)
- Murdering Kain FMV at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Theme Outlines for Cinematics at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)