The Zephonim are a clan of vampires irst encountered in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and revisited at an earlier stage of evolutionary development in cancelled title Nosgoth. They are the descendants of the lieutenant Zephon.
The primary territory of the Zephonim is the Silenced Cathedral, and they are encountered exclusively in and around it.
As with all the clans seen in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, the Zephonim are split into two distinct active types: the older, stronger and more evolved adult Zephonim, and the younger, weaker and less evolved fledgling Zephonim. They are also encountered in their inactive pupating state.[Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver manual (UK)] For their return in Nosgoth a less devolved Deceiver variant was among the available classes.
As a clan, they were exclusive to employ Vampire Worshippers around themselves as servants or guards. Zephonim (and their master) somehow evolved to showcase arachnoid traits. They all have long thin clunky but lethal limbs, which they can use to a variety of advantages. First of all, their most prominent aspect is their ability to climb walls. This makes them well equipped to follow prey over vertical surfaces. Strangely they preferred doing it backwards, facing away from the wall. Later, in Soul Reaver 2, it is seen that when Raziel uses his claw to climb, or to notably hang onto a surface in wind, he uses his acquired wall climbing ability which he got by literally sticking and sinking his long nail-like claws into suitable stone surfaces where he can hang onto.
The other prominent thing about them is their visual appearance, and stance. All individuals keep and make use of their humanoid trousers, but sport a bare chest. They are skinny, pale, with rather elongated heads and prominent teeth. They are frequent users of their teeth in battle, biting their foes, just like the Rahabim. They also can choose between bipedal and quadruped locomotion at will. (Later, a highly devolved Turel, a completely different separate lieutenant needed to fully use four limbs for walking.)
They are among those who present the fastest fighting movements in game, relatively on par with the Turelim. In game, they did not showcase any means of ranged attacks, they and the Dumahim were the only two clans who absolutely needed to move to the location of the prey on foot when it was distant. (But then again, Zephonim had their wall walking ability.) In some rare occasions, they took upon some opportunities, and jump-ambushed some prey, when they were in a climbing hold and the prey showed up underneath.
They were the only ones who were seen being affected by sounds created with primitive technology made in Nosgoth. Some Cathedral pipes emitted certain sounds that killed a few individuals.
Interestingly, no Zephonim were encountered outside of the main gate of the Silenced Cathedral, this makes them the most secluded clan.
The inner, higher, and more personal reaches of their territory – naturally centered around the stationary clan patriarch – was covered on the walls by a strange fleshy substance that resembled some unusual kind of layer similar to spider webs. These webs helped support placing different things on them, like the following:
It was frighteningly revealed that they frequently cocooned their prey, and hanged them on some walls, ceilings, or stuck them onto the pipes of the cathedral. The player actually sees a room that is suspected to be one of these prey vaults. Another completely different race, the likewise insect-like Lesser Demons also bound humans in threads. Zephonim pupating was grotesquely witnessed. They sleep in webbed cocoons stuck to walls, placed facing back away from the walls, their faces mostly visible through the tight web, showing occasional grins. They could ambush from this state when awake. It was near impossible to differentiate cocoons bearing sleeping and awake specimens. Although, to be fair, none of the above two cases were exclusively only on webbed walls.
Another type of incubation has been seen in the Zephonim territories, mostly if not exclusively, in the personal chamber of Zephon. Some walls showed unmistakable forms of humanoids there interred, but it wasn’t clear that if they were vampires or human victims, or something temporarily in-between.
Membership and forces
along with clan leader Zephon, two types of Zephonim were seen in game - Fledglings and Adults. A third class - the Deceivers - was playable in Nosgoth representing a stage before the devolution of the clan.
Deceivers were the class of Zephonim encountered in the mid-events of Soul Reaver War for Nosgoth seen in Nosgoth.[NOS] They would briefly evolve into a deadly shape before the corruption of Kain's gift would send into the bestial state they possessed in Soul Reaver.
Fledgling Zephonim are a type of enemy in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. They are vampires and the descendants of the lieutenant Zephon. They are the younger, less evolved members of Zephon's clan, in contrast to adult Zephonim.
They are devastated by sunlight’s touch, even the weaker rays of Nosgoth’s daylight, which is filtered by smoke. Which means, some of them may be executed when thrown into a small area where daylight has broken into, but otherwise know better than to go near it. These young ones look more pale and sleek.
Adult Zephonim are a type of enemy in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. They are vampires and the descendants of the lieutenant Zephon. They are the older, more evolved members of Zephon's clan, in contrast to fledgling Zephonim.
They can walk through areas of Nosgoth’s smoke filtered daylight without danger of being burned. Adults of the clan have red glowing eyes. They appear to have grown some skin flaps on their shoulders, which resemble collars on the sides, these have unclear purpose. They have a clan sigil on their chests.
- The US and UK manuals describe the Zephonim as "spider-like monsters" that "descend upon their victims from the dark recesses of the walls" and "use their stealth to ensnare their prey".[Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver manual (UK)]
- Background materials to Nosgoth noted that in the early-mid events of Soul Reaver "The Zephonim in particular, eager to compete in raw power with the elder Clans, attempted to artificially shape and force their metamorphoses through ritual self-torture, alchemical engineering and twisted breeding programs."
- Daniel Cabuco further elaborated that "the Deceivers revealed in their emerging powers and abilities, fully embracing the advantages bestowed upon them by their master Zephon. As time wore on, their insect influenced gifts evolved into physical ones. Beneath their skin a hard chitinous armour began to form, pushing out and slowly causing their flesh to peel away. Their bodies lengthened and any semblance of humanity began to give way to a more efficient killing form, one that reflected their instincts, their will, and their reflex actions. They embraced the changes to their form that their dark gifts wrought, binding their new skin under a tapestry of insectoid styled armour. Zephon's ability to hide his true face beneath an exoskeletal mask was seen as the height of evolution for the Decievers: they chose to imitate their master with the split mask to reflect their duality between vampire and predatory insect. Soon their cocoons began to resemble spider nests, their homes that of a large hive, and their method of feeding a twisted abomination of arachnids. They would leave their victims alive for weeks hanging in prisons of web to be fed upon at leisure. Woe to any who stood against them, for death by their hands would not be quick or neat, but a slow lingering torture..."
- Adult Zephonim
- Fledgling Zephonim
- Silenced Cathedral
- The Zephonim at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn ).
- 'New Vampire Class - The Deceiver of Clan Zephonim' at the Nosgoth official blog (preserved at Tales of Nosgoth/Nosgothic Realm)
- ↑ 'Alchemists - Arcane Cultists with a Thirst for Revenge' at the Nosgoth official blog (by George Kelion) (preserved at Tales of Nosgoth/Nosgothic Realm)