Ziegsturhl, also known as Ziegsturchl, was a small town in Nosgoth, located south of the Pillars of Nosgoth and east of the Cemetery. It was notable as the site of the human Kain's murder, at the hands of assassins hired by Mortanius. It only appeared as a playable location in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, but was depicted in the introduction of Blood Omen 2.
- "And so I left – cold of heart and soul. Forced to the road, and the long, bitter night."
- ―Kain — Listen (file info)[src]
In the history preceding Blood Omen, Ziegsturhl was considered a "violent and seedy" place, secluded and undesirable.[Blood Omen strategy guide] On one of his aimless journeys across Nosgoth, Kain passed through the little hamlet, stopping at a tavern to sate his thirst.[Blood Omen/1] Its Barkeep shunned him, however, urging him to be on his way; despite Kain's offer of high reward, the tavern landlord would "stay open for no man in these dark times". "Things come with the night", he claimed, "that no sane man would welcome".[Blood Omen/1]
Thus forced back to the road and his travels, Kain left the bar, "cold of heart and soul". He did not get particularly far, though; as soon as he left the establishment, a band of brigands recognized the nobleman, and swarmed him. Finding all exits from the town blocked by carts, he was surrounded and outnumbered.[Blood Omen/1] There, in the streets, he was murdered, "cruelly impaled on his assassin's sword".[Blood Omen/1] Little did he know that these killers had been hired by the man who would soon offer him resurrection and vengeance - Mortanius, the Death Guardian, and fellow member of the Circle of Nine.[Blood Omen/2][Blood Omen/12]
After returning to life as a vampire and killing his assassins, Kain was forced to pass through the grim village once again, disgruntledly regarding it as the place where "the bloody deed of [his] murder took place". At his leisure, he could choose to slay or feed upon its inhabitants - who offered minimal resistance - and infiltrate some of the homes, where there were a few Flay artifacts for him to collect.[Blood Omen/2] The Barkeep was still manning his post, and, if Kain wished, he could exact revenge in a variety of ways - one entailed using Control Mind on him, and sending him to be sacrificed at the Flay Spirit Forge (curiously accessible via a secret door in the tavern).
When Raziel explored the desolate wasteland of Nosgoth after his resurrection, he was unable to travel as far as the former Ziegsturhl region; the closest landmark he could access was the Tomb of the Sarafan.[Soul Reaver] Nonetheless, there was little evidence to suggest that Ziegsturhl had survived into the events of Soul Reaver; many larger towns from the events of Blood Omen had vanished without a trace. It may have been destroyed during the reign of Kain's empire; the Human Citadel was considered one of humanity's last major bastions in this time period.[Soul Reaver/City][Soul Reaver/Miscellaneous]
After the third paradox he introduced much later in life, some of Kain's history was changed.[Soul Reaver 2/Epilogue] In the fourth timeline he had created, his younger self collaborated with Vorador in raising a vampire army to take control of Nosgoth during the era following Blood Omen.[Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen 2/3] Ziegsturhl, though still a relatively small settlement, remained intact in this time. On its path of conquest south towards Meridian - the capital of their enemies, the Sarafan - the army apparently passed through Ziegsturhl, and slaughtered its inhabitants, before moving on to Provance, and then Freeport.[Blood Omen 2/1] After the vampire army's defeat, the town presumably deferred to the Hylden Lord's regime, before Kain returned to power centuries later.[Blood Omen 2/1]
In the Blood Omen era, Ziegsturhl was a rudimentary forested settlement, and the smallest of the human dominions visited by Kain. Like Stahlberg, its few homes and buildings were constructed from wood, but its roofs were thatched, not tiled. The place had no paving, having been constructed on bare dirt and earth, though interiors had tiles and floorboards. A stream stemming from the Great Southern Lake separated the town property from the wildernesses to the east. Wooden bridges allowed travelers to cross these waters, and lanterns lit the town by night.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/1]
Ziegsturhl was depicted with a total of five structures in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, three of which could be entered (though this is arguably not literal, and instead symbolic of a larger town, as Uschtenheim - with eight buildings in the same game - becomes significantly more elaborate in its Soul Reaver 2 portrayal). Only one business was identifiable: the unamed tavern in which Kain was killed.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/1][Blood Omen/7][Soul Reaver 2/5]
Businesses & Landmarks
- Ziegstruhl contained one unnamed Tavern in the northwestern building - this is the bar Kain begins the game in.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/1]
- Two additional building could be entered: a small house in the northeast and a larger house in the southwest. The larger house is locked in the prologue.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/1]
- The grassy clearing after the town is a campsite for Kain's assassins in alpha builds.
- One of the invisible switches to open the way to the HMCS Bitter area can be found in Ziegsturhl. It is found in the trees below the southwestern lamppost and can be activated with the use of Energy Bolt.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/1]
Kain's assassination in Ziegsturhl is a playable sequence in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, but was originally intended to be conveyed in the form of a cutscene, bridging the introduction and the game's second full-motion video. The cutscene was replaced in the final product because it had not turned out as well as Silicon Knights and Crystal Dynamics hoped. Still imagery from this deleted cinematic was included in Legacy of Kain: Defiance, and other frames can be seen at The Lost Worlds. The human Kain was depicted with blond hair in the excised FMV; at the time it was made, the developers had not yet decided to change his hair to black.[Defiance]
Kain is unable to leave Ziegsturhl during the assassination sequence; both exits are blocked by toppled carts. One house can be accessed, but it is filled with Brigands and Men-at-arms who will quickly kill him. Kain can fight and slay the brigands, and it is possible to exploit the game in such a manner that he can fend them off indefinitely, but they continually respawn, and the scene is scripted so that Kain has to be murdered for the story to proceed. The entire town in that scene is counted as a separate map area to the town seen in the rest of the game[Blood Omen/1]
When Kain revisits Ziegsturhl as a vampire his introduction varies slightly depending upon the platform. Both versions have him state "This was where the bloody deed of my murder took place.", however the PC version contains an extended passage where Kain continues "I would not be kind to the denizens that lurk here. They would taste my steel, and I their blood."[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/1]
Variations on Ziegsturhl's name appear in The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain and Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain—Official Game Secrets, including "Ziegsturchl", "Ziegstruchl" and "Ziegturl".[Blood Omen strategy guide] The map of Nosgoth seen in Blood Omen 2 also names it "Ziegstruchl".[Blood Omen 2/1] Like Dark Chronicle, the Legacy of Kain Wiki opts to name it "Ziegsturhl", the variation used on signposts in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.
The version of the town seen in the Blood Omen alpha is very similar to the town seen in the retail version but there are several differences:
- There are minor differences in signage and lampposts positions.
- The tavern in the alpha is missing the backdoor to the Flay Spirit forge and has a square alcove on the bar rather than the flat bar seen in retail - this alcove actually persists into retail where it can be seen during the prologue but thereafter bar is flat for the rest of the game.[Blood Omen]
- The tavern is the only interior that can be entered during the Kain's murder sequence.
- The rest of the regular interiors seen in the alphas have some subtle reordering of items and one house has its theming changed, with walls, floor and windows all changing style.
- As Kain leaves town he comes across his murderers - who were met just before the town in retail - at an encampment just east of the town that is changed to a simple grassy patch for the retail version. The confrontation ends with a particularly gory piece of deleted dialogue: "As the last of the brigands fell, I leapt upon him, ripping his throat with my teeth and drank of the hot blood that gushed forth. As the torrent of blood ended, his body collapsed to the floor. I was forever changed... I knew what I had become."
- At least one copy of the town map area during the prologue exists in the alpha that is apparently unused: in that map area the assassins are placed differently to their final locations - but their position in the far northeast of the map does match the environment seen in the deleted murder cutscene.
Ziegsturhl can be briefly seen in the introduction to Blood Omen 2 which shows the path of the initial conquests of Kain's vampire army - with a map overlaid with images of a town and a massacre taking place there. Close observation reveals these are in fact using the roofs of the Smugglers Den as a stand-in and is possibly intended to represent a generic town on Kain's path to conquest.[Blood Omen 2][Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2/2]
- Ziegsturhl is the first playable location in the Legacy of Kain series, but not the first to be seen; that honor belongs to the Sarafan Stronghold, viewed in the game's introductory cutscene. The first playable location in the "proper" or "main" game is Kain's Mausoleum.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/1]
- Outside of the games, Ziegsturhl can also be seen in the Legacy of Kain: Defiance comic, which portrays Kain's murder outside the tavern.[Defiance comic]
- Welcome to Hell
- Seeking Revenge
- Ziegsturhl at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni).
- Murdering Kain FMV at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- Ziegsturhl at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Soul Reaver 2: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Legacy of Kain Secrets: Page 8 of 9 at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)
- Map at Nosgothic Realm (by Guilherme Coelho, Tenaya and Andrew Fradley)
- Soul Reaver: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Freeport and Provance at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (Jul 12, 1996 prototype)
- Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (Jul 15, 1996 prototype) Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; name "BO1Alpha2" defined multiple times with different content
- Murdering Kain FMV at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Legacy of Kain: The Plot at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)