(First of I'd like to give a big thank you to all of you to so positively reviewed the prequel to this story, Blood Omen 3. I'm glad you all liked it so much. It took me a while but now we get into the second chapter of my Legacy of Kain saga epic. But like I said in chapter one of BO3, don't expect closure here. I plan on at least another 2 stories before I'm done. This is the big writing project for me boys and girls. Please by all means give plot suggestions in reviews. And of course, PLEASE read Blood Omen 3 before reading this story. thank you)
"Executed, tortured, imprisoned, dispersed… there is no pain which I have not endured. No torment which can be devised that I have not already been through. And yet I still live.
Paradoxically, impossibly, invigoratingly; I still live.
I stood the test of the Reaver and I prevailed. Am I indestructible? Is it possible for me to die? I am not sure I wish to test my hypothesis and have it set in stone one way or the other.
The hour is late and I stand on the cusp of yet another new eon, a fresh chance to correct the mistakes I have made.
I am Raziel and once more… I live."
The banners of the six clans hung from iron railings around the central room newly constructed Sanctuary, the first castle of the emerging Empire. The Pillars had been claimed by the vampires and the humans who had converted this place driven off, unworthy as they were to behold the seat of power for the land.
Sitting on his rightful throne was the ruler of the world, whose armies even now extended across Nosgoth crushing all in their path, uniting the land under the banner of the new emperor; Kain.
He sat there on his newly fashioned throne of obsidian rock, set around the base of the Pillar of Balance itself, one hand resting on the pommel of his dread sword, the Soul Reaver. The gold armour he wore had been adapted several times to accommodate his changing body as it underwent evolution in the state of change. Four hundred years since he had brought down the last human rule of Nosgoth, the Sarafan, his body was ascending to the divine. His fingers were already replaced by talons, his body toned and skin tough like leather. Around his hair line were a small set of developing spur like horns like some natural crown.
Standing before him, their heads inclined to him in deep respect and reverence were the six, the raised vampires whom Kain called his sons.
There was Melchiah the youngest, whom sadly had received less than a fair share of the dark gift, his face blemished by the scars were his flesh was tearing.
Beside him was Zephon, whose strange angular features and slicked back black hair made him unique among his brothers as did his perhaps unhealthy fascination with insect life.
Rahab was to the right, the most anti social of them all, who spoke only when spoken to and seemed distant and out of place, like a fish out of water.
Dumah stood proud and erect, his head bowed only slightly as if this was the own gesture of humility even his creator would receive.
Turel, who was the butt of many a practical joke for his sensitive hearing, was by far the tallest of them all; his face constantly set into a rigid and grim expression. Out of all of them he was by far the most dutiful and constantly on watch for even the slightest insult that might be directed towards his sire.
The eldest and the dearest of them all was the nearest, who stood there confident and content in the presence of his sire. Raziel's handsome face was framed by the bangs of his raven black hair.
All of them were vampires who were just coming into their maturity, their fingers almost talons but not quite. The set practise of procreation within the imperial vampires was that one created six, who in turn when on to sire another six and so on multiplying the numbers of the clan by six for every one each time. In this way they had each become a father in their own right to many vampires, long before many sires before them.
Currently the topic of discussion in the imperial council was the war effort.
Despite the vampire presence in the city, Meridian had been the hardest nut to crack of any city in all the human kingdoms. Its left over remnant of the Sarafan army formed its garrison and the city had endured. Its supplies had been cut of and before long they would be forced to surrender or starve.
Kain received intelligence from the front only half heartedly, his attention somewhere else more often than not.
Their sire had the peculiar habit of sitting for hours on end lost in thought. Kain had a reputation for causal savage brutality and indeed it was well earned by the sadistic methods of his rule, even by vampire standards. But more and more the ruler of Nosgoth was to be fond wrapped up in his thoughts, as if he were contemplating something he cared not to discuss with any of them.
"And if I might beg your indulgence, master…" Raziel began again, hoping to break his contemplation with something of importance. Kain blinked and then looked directly at his eldest son with a raise eyebrow.
Raziel stood back up and set his face into a triumphant grin.
"Your rival..." He paused then and quickly corrected himself. "…your upstart; has been brought low."
Kain looked up with a frown. Raziel side stepped and turned to face the door to the chamber.
"Bring him in." He called to the guards, vampires of his own clan who bore the banner of the Razielim. They both nodded in unison and moved to push open the door to the central chamber.
As the doors swung open, in marched a precession of troops in triumph escorting between two ranks of legionnaires a single figure.
Kain's eyes widened slightly and he sat up straighter on his throne at the spectacle before him, now fully diverted from his mental wanderings.
Since the rise of the empire, the vampires had been subconsciously divided into two factions, those who descended from Kain and those who belonged to the Cabal, the second race of vampires sired by another.
And now that other was being taken before the Emperor in chains. Vorador, the eldest living vampire. Only Janos Audron himself was of more dark prestige.
Vorador had refused to recognise the authority of the Emperor and for this he had been pursued across Nosgoth by the legions.
Kain's lips pursed as his face adopted his usual grim expression when he took when attending to official business. He did not seem overly surprised to see Vorador being led towards him this way.
His head hung low, the ancient vampire was directly to the centre of the Pillars and then forcibly made to kneel before the Emperor.
"We have the Cabal vampires awaiting execution, sire." Raziel said, turning to look at Kain who was slowly rising from his seat. "You need only say the word and you become the father of all vampires in Nosgoth."
Kain did not immediately answer but walked up to Vorador and stood over him, looking down at the top of the ancient's hung head.
Silence endured, dragging on for minute after minute and the guards on either side of Vorador began to look a tad nervous.
Then Vorador lifted his head and met Kain's gaze. His golden eyes were filled with a deep anguish and pain that made even the six lieutenants momentarily flinch as his gaze struck them all.
"So Kain…" He began in a low tone, his eyes half lidded. "You have the empire you craved for so long." Slowly his gaze wandered around the chamber, seeing the imperial banners of each clan and smiling ironically at them. "You remake this damned world in your image."
"I do." Kain said simply. "Do you blame me for it?"
Vorador, even so broken inside, maintained his sense of humour and chuckled lightly to some private joke.
"For that… no." Then he looked up at Kain, his gaze lingering on the evolved differences that his body had undertaken. "You took from me the last fragments of family I had left on this decomposing planet."
"I did." The Emperor said again without emotion. "And I feel absolutely no remorse for it."
Vorador managed a smile.
"Not now perhaps." He said; a strange satisfaction in his tone. "But one day you will regret it with every fibre of your being, of that I am certain. For that coming horror I will pity you more than hate you."
Briefly, there was a haunted look in the Emperor of Nosgoth's eyes but it passed and he straightened.
"I could have you killed right now and the Cabal destroyed…leaving me deified amongst my kin as the creator of all." He declared wistfully.
On this statement he paused, lingering on the tempting thought but then some other thoughts soured it and made him frown even deeper. He shook his head and walked back to his throne.
"But if I did, then I would be sinking a dagger into my soul which I would never be able to remove."
His six sons looked at him with clear surprise on their faces. Even the Razielim guards looked a tad confused at the words of their emperor.
Vorador kept his gaze fixed on Kain and Kain stared right back in turn.
"I will spare the Cabal, and you. But do not be simple in believing that this is some act of benevolence." He said, faintly disgusted. "I do it to prove Umah wrong."
Vorador flinched slightly at the mention of that name, although none of the six knew precisely who they were referring to.
"That was why she stole that stone from me." Kain carried on. "Because she feared I would view the Cabal as nothing more than another obstacle to my rise to power. If I kill you and your kin I will be hearing her words echo within my mind and soul from now until the end of days."
The look of disgust on his face was enough to tell that he was not prepared to entertain that idea.
"As such… my judgement upon you is that you and the Cabal will be exiled from the Empire." He swept his arm across his chest dismissively. "You will be taken to a remote landmass, far from the southern shore. You will have supplies and enough humans to harvest in a suitable crop. There you and your ilk will remain until I see fit to reinstate you as imperial citizens."
The unlikelihood of that event made the sentence as good as a permanent banishment.
Vorador simply set his expression into a flat emotionless stare when he heard the pronouncement.
"One day Kain... you will come to me on this island and during that hour we will settle the argument between us with its true tragedy known to us both."
The Emperor snorted and inclined his head sharply in a gesture to his sons.
"Raziel, your clan will escort him and his kin to their new home." He declared and his eldest son thumped his chest with a fist across his heart. "And ensure that they remain there."
"Are you command, sire." He said.
Vorador was turning to be led away b the guards but then stopped in mid step, his ears going suddenly erect.
"Raziel?" He repeated, suddenly awe clear in his tone. "Raziel!" Quickly he turned his head to look at the face of Kain's eldest creature and as their eyes met, the memory swung away from cohesion and Raziel started from yet another uncontrollable bout of recall.
"Memories, events that shaped by entire existence flowed before him like an undulated sea. With no linear frame to guide them I swung from past to present and back again, unable to focus."
He had no idea how long he had been lying there on the cold stone, unable to tell memory from real time. He swung back and forth from the days of his fledgling training to the quest that plunged from through the time streams in his futile attempt to find some way of escaping the fate of the Reaver.
"The Reaver… the Soul Reaver…"
As if mention of the blade in the vaults of his mind was like key in a lock, panic overwhelmed him and he scrambled from the floor. Wildly, his eyes glared around the ruins that had once been his own castle and capital of the Razielim clan. The dirty, rotting banners that bore the clans symbol still hung from the walls in a few places. The crumbled remains of a statue that had once stood there displaying his handsome face to the world had been reduced to the stumps of a pair of feet.
It was raining, a thick sheet of water coming down across the stone courtyard in which he had been lying.
Raziel paid no heed to any of it, his attention fixed on the palm of the right hand he held out in front of himself. Cohesion slowly came back to him and he remembered clearly now what mention of the Reaver blade meant to him.
His other hand went to his chest where he now remembered the blade had been lodged as he had…
His eyes widened and he shuddered at the recollection, blessed by the fact he could remember nothing after that.
"This…" He began blinking somewhat foolishly at his hand out in front of him. "This can not be…"
His eyes wandered down across his body, seeing him as he knew himself to me; blue scorched skin, near skeletal form with the welcoming cowl that had once been his clan's banner across his shoulders and face. The remains of his ruined wings hung from his back.
It was as if his consumption had been nothing but a dream and he just woke up.
An idea formed in his mind and Raziel began to breath hard as an impossible hope surged through his being. His hand trembling before him, he urged the wraith blade to manifest itself.
It did not.
As Raziel's mind began to grasp this possibility he reached out with his thoughts, trying to sense that presence that had been with him since the blade had bonded to him.
There was nothing there.
Slowly, he began to chuckle. Again and again he tried to summon the wraith blade and each time he failed the sound of his laughter increased. By the twentieth time that the blade had failed to respond Raziel was laughing hysterically.
He tumbled backwards and fell back down on the floor again, letting the rain fall on him as he laughed. His hand still held up in the air above his face, confirming the inertness of his weapon over and over.
Jubilant and ecstatic, Raziel lay there as he brought to himself the only conclusion to be drawn from this.
"I dared only belief this is my wildest fantasies; a lewd and deceptive impossibility. But there could be no denying what the absence of the Reaver from my arm meant."
If Raziel had still be capable of crying he would have, his laughter leaving him lying there in the rain weak and tired.
"The curse of the Soul Reaver was lifted from me. I…. was free."