Disclaimer: I don't own Legacy of Kain.

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"Raziel?" Kain wandered through his eldest childe's old clan holdings: as pristine as they were before the Abyss, but with no trace of Raziel's multitude of loyal fledgelings. "I know you're here, you might as well come out."

"Come to visit the madman, Kain?" And Raziel was suddenly there, his wraith form wrong in these surroundings. That would have to be remedied.

"Madman?" Kain smiled. "Ah, it seems my good news is not old news."

"What do you mean?"

"Honestly, Raziel. The purified Reaver, whose purity you absorbed into yourself in the moment you devoured the wraith blade and entered the physical sword, cured my insanity. It is, in truth, the instrument of Balance. How could you, yourself, become inbalanced? The new Pillar of the Mind assured me it was impossible."

Raziel seemed to relax. "That is good news. Though I suppose going mad might have been a release from boredom, considering that I am imprisoned for eternity."

"Oh, you haven't figured it out?"

"Figured what out, Kain?" Kain seemed to be delighting in this: he was in rare good humor. Raziel wondered if part of that was relief that he could indeed communicate with Raziel.

"I assume there is only one Raziel in here?"

"Yes, I am alone."

"A pity." Kain sighed. "I had so looked forward to an infinite collection of intelligent servants on my retirement before the new Pillar of Time had the rudeness to shatter my dreams."

"What mean you by that?"

"Apparently, if every time you entered the blade you did not leave, there would first be one Raziel, then two, then three, than an infinite number, if first you entered the sword, then you and the wraith blade, then you and a wraith blade composed of two Raziels… it would be a paradox."

"So I am not imprisoned here for eternity?"

"Raziel, you free souls when you devour them. You devoured the wraith blade to gain its attributes, such as purity. Please, you are making me ashamed of my tutoring of you in such things as logic. Stop acting like Dumah." Kain folded his arms. "And is there a third thing I must tell you, or are you looking like that out of a feeling of martyrdom?"

"This form?" Raziel regarded it. Kain's words hinted he could… "I am indeed a fool." He had shaped his clan's home, why not… this was a world in his mind. Could he regain his lost…

"Good, Raziel. And I had feared my sword had grown dull." Kain smiled at Raziel's transformation and his own shape changed.

"You look like Janos!"

"Yes, well." Kain regarded a black-feathered wing. "With the 'curse' aspect of the Hylden's magic lifted, all vampires began to evolve into Ancients instead of other forms. I'm just worried that one day it will try to turn my hair black."

"You have succeeded even in that?" It was too good to be true!

"Are you really so unaware of what goes on outside the sword? I would have thought you would sense so massive an undertaking as using the blade's powers to purify the madness of the remnants of an entire race?" Kain arched an eyebrow.

"So that was what that was," Raziel breathed. "But the hatred, so deep, surely merely removing the madness did not solve everything."

"Of course not. But a common enemy works wonders and having been mad myself, I know how people so warped think." Kain shrugged. "No worse than arguing with Vorador…" He grinned evilly. "Oh, I must tell you. Vorador is a father."

"A father?" Not a sire?

"Yes. In order to restore the Ancient race so Pillar Guardians could once more be born to vampires, I brought forward children from the past before they could be killed by their deranged parents and had them completely freed from the Hylden's magics. Apparently, once one is sufficiently transformed, one becomes enough like a true Ancient to be fertile with them, now that the curse is lifted. Quite a surprise to Vorador, and more so to the girl, who had dallied with him to avoid such an outcome." Kain laughed. "The irony of Vorador being the father of Malek's successor: ah, delicious."

"I must agree," Raziel murmured.

"All the other pillars are born vampires as well. I have no desire to repeat the Ancients' mistake with Mortianus and Moebius." A scowl at the name.

"How did you arrange that?"

"The first replacement pillar guardians to be born were human: I killed them at the correct times that their powers would go to vampire children," Kain said without any trace of remorse. Some things hadn't changed.

"Clever." Raziel hadn't either. A few human deaths to prevent another Moebius? A small price to pay. "What of the true enemy?" He wouldn't call it the Elder God, it was no god.

"Ah, that was where the Hylden came in. Unfortunately, the thing is unkillable at this stage, even by the Reaver, though it can be severely injured enough it loses its powers." Kain smiled. "That took some rather enjoyable experimentation."

"What of the Hylden?"

"Well, I simply exchanged one set of prisoners in that dimension for another prisoner." Kain smiled. "Apparently the demons find the Elder quite appetizing, pay no heed to its voice, and being both physical and spectral can harm it just as the Reaver can. They shall feast upon it eternally as it once feasted upon our souls, unless the injuries eventually are enough to kill even it."

Raziel laughed with joy. "Ah, Kain, you are truly the master of vengeance."

"Of course. That is what Scion of Balance implies, is it not? Balance, fairness, karma, vengeance…" Kain smiled, showing still-deadly fangs. "The same thing, Raziel. The Ancients who strove so hard to cause the Blood Reaver to become the Soul Reaver… they wanted justice for the fate of their people: to be used and then thrown away to their destruction."

"I thought it was odd that the Ancients would end up creating a weapon that could hurt their God." Raziel nodded. "Janos had no notion of any of this: he seemed very uninformed for the Reaver Guardian. I wonder if he was himself a pawn."

"Of course, Raziel. We all were." Kain smiled. "But we crossed to the end of the board, as you said."

"Yes, I remember." Your pawn has reached the end of the board, Kain, to become your… the Queen used to be called the Advisor. The right hand, the most powerful piece.

"May I have a tour, Raziel?"

"Of course," Raziel gestured and led the way. "There is nothing you have not seen before."

"That will have to be remedied."

"Why?"

"Because I shall be spending a considerable slice of eternity here and I never did approve of your decorating."

"Better than your reflecting pools."

"They were quite amusing."

"But what do you mean?"

"Raziel, Raziel, it seems I am always instructing you." Kain smiled, and Raziel as well. Sire and childe. "What does one need to fight an immortal?"

It came to him in a flash. "Another immortal."

"Every time some common weapon: a sword, your hand, kills me I simply end up in the Hylden dimension. As much as I enjoy ruling as the beloved savior of all, eventually it shall grow boring." He touched a wall hanging, one similar to Raziel's cowl. "You are the only weapon that can kill me."

"You? Beloved savior?"

"Even mad, I was still considered a god, Raziel." Kain laughed.

The changes in him… how long had he been without the madness? How long had it taken for all this to be accomplished? Raziel had no way of telling time in his imprisonment.

"You spoke of retirement."

"Pieces of my soul linger within you: the pieces I gave you and your brothers when I raised you."

"So you think that when I… you kill yourself with me, you will end up here?"

"I know it. Think, Raziel. Before we reshaped history, what was the inevitable fate of the soul within the blade?"

"Insanity. The desire to kill, to dominate, to…" Raziel blinked. "Your insanity."

"Yes, Raziel. If you had killed me in the chapel, still afflicted by Nupraptor's curse, and then been devoured by the blade, we both would have been lost. Elegant, was it not? To remove me from the playing field in a way that prevented us from resisting being used to further their ends: quite clever of Moebius and his master." Kain smiled, appreciating both the scheme and Raziel's unraveling of it.

"So you must be released as well as me, when I become the new soul of the Reaver?"

"Or perhaps earlier." Kain shrugged. "The Pillars of Time and Mind are studying it."

"And together, we can keep the blade from being used to create paradoxes that will undo your triumph."

"Exactly, or that is my hope." Kain's lips twisted wryly at that last word.

"Of course, that's if you don't force me to kill you permanently, after too much time together."

"We shall see, Raziel."

"After all, I did spend a long time craving your painful demise at my blade for what you did to me."

"And you shall have it, Raziel." Kain looked away from the surroundings to meet his eyes. "That, too, is balance."