That giant bulbous red thing we saw previously is actually an enormous magical projection from a tower, wherein lie our next victims.
So, we head through this fairly ordinary valley, looking for it.
Contending with vicious foes like... scarecrows, and...
"Such strange creatures that had been spawned by this dark magic; things half insect and half mammal - human torsos grafted onto abominations of the flesh. Sick as it was, I could not help but admire its creator's ingenuity."
"If it could be said that a land descended into madness, 'twould be an accurate account of Dark Eden. A garden of horrors, seeded with sick perversion of nature's design. I knew that this Dark Eden I had trespassed upon would continue to grow, until all of Nosgoth was consumed."
Perhaps this is what the vision we saw through the eye of Nupraptor's Keep foretold?
As we approach the dome itself, Kane comments:
"Magic seethed and shifted. I watched the dome of energy as it expanded, absorbing and recreating, consuming life and leaving behind only a twisted parody."
"I passed through the wall unharmed. It seemed the magic only preyed on things that were alive and pure. Or, perhaps it simply decided that I was twisted enough."
"A tower stood in the distance. From its apex spewed the vortex of energy that shaped the lands below."
"The surface of the castle belied its interior, for it was far larger inside than out. With the powers the Circle had at its disposal, 'twould have been simple to distort space to accommodate this strange structure."
"The sorcerer's sanctuary, his laboratory. Inside was all manner of items arcane: pickled bodies, dissected corpses, both man and beast, and metal constructs that heaved arcs of energy into the air. I sensed more than one force being manipulated in this place.
Strange. Rarely did a sorcerer condescend to work with others."
This place is chock full of unpleasantries, such as this. The spikes rise and fall in patterns, so passing it isn't too problematic.
Oh, now this is interesting...
"How convenient. This armor, wrought with the blood of noblemen, drains the blood from my enemies for me, leaving me to focus on the slaughter at hand."
This is by far the best armor in the game. When you kill something while wearing it, the blood is automatically consumed. This means we can use The Axes with abandon, as their brutally efficient slayings no longer cause us problems. We just have to be careful - slaying a skeleton while wearing it, for example, will damage us as the black blood is consumed. This is where the flame sword comes into play - we can switch it in as needed to kill nastier foes.
And the other gem to be found here, Spirit Death:
"'Tis a spell worthy of the Necromancer himself. This allows me to dissect a creature's soul from its vessel of flesh. For these poor wretches, only oblivion awaits."
Instant kill, plain and simple.
Let's try it out...
You can see its soul, torn from it's body, languishing off to the side, before the body falls and the soul dissipates.
Before long, we come to the tower's inhabitants: Bane, DeJoule, and Anarcrothe. Three for the price of one!
"Ah, not one but three - DeJoule the Energist, Bane the Druid, and Anarcrothe the Alchemist. How considerate of them to hasten my search."
"So, the scourge of the Circle has arrived..."
"Fear him not, Bane - he is but a whelp; his soul is ours for the taking."
"Don't be ridiculous! Malek! To our aid!"
As Malek appears, Anacrothe teleports out.
"Damn you, Alchemist! I had not come this far only to have my quarry escape!"
View cutscene here:
Video Vorador confronts Malek
Kain immediately uses the ring he was given to summon Vorador to his aid.
"Vengeance! Vengeance for my eternity of suffering!"
"Whelp! As if you knew what eternity was! Grovel before your true master."
"Never! I'll hack you from crotch to gizzard and feed what's left of you to your brides..."
Bane and DeJoule flee into the next room, and Kain gives chase, leaving Vorador to deal with Malek.
Malek uses his deadly energy attack, but Vorador simply teleports out of the way.
Turns out Vorador has Wolf Form, too!
He dives at Malek, who reels backwards.
"As Vorador clashed against Malek, I gave pursuit to the fleeing wizards DeJoule and Bane... I danced their dance. When the time came, they would dance upon my sword!"
DeJoule stands at the top of the room and flings homing magical bolts, while Bane runs around turning the ground to deadly water. Repel takes care of DeJoule, and the flame sword takes care of Bane.
With Bane dead, DeJoule revises his tactics, using this spinning shield of energy.
So we unload about 40 Flays, pop his energy balls, and ultimately...
...pop him as well. Very simple. Don't even have to move.
"The cloak was made from an alloy akin to lead: heavy and malleable, woven into fine links. The energy she controlled was stored in this garment."
Bane's Antler Headdress:
"The antler headdress had broken in the fight, but power still resided in its ivory form."
Upon leaving the room, we discover the aftermath of Vorador's clash with Malek: Malek's Helmet, lying on the floor.
"I found Malek's helmet amongst the scattered remnants of his armor, whole and intact. Vorador had finally laid his old adversary to rest."
We return to the Pillars, where Kain takes his sweet time explaining...
"The Helmet of Malek, I placed before the Pillar of Conflict. The Pillar accepted its offering; thus it was restored.
The act had taken on the feel of ritual. Isn't it strange how we must bribe our gods to stay?
At the foot of the Energy Pillar, I set the cloak of DeJoule. The Pillar accepted its offering; thus it was restored.
The antler headdress of the Druid Bane I lay before the Nature Pillar. The Pillar accepted its offering; thus it was restored. "
"You must seek Azimuth the Planer at the heart of Avernus. Three instruments await you, to aid you in your quest, but first you must rise and you must fall and find your salvation in between."
We fly back to Dark Eden, where this cave is now open to us.
Exiting the cave, this cryptic sign awaits us...
And an excellent ledge from which to view Avernus:
"Avernus consumed itself before my eyes."
Next time: We investigate Avernus, uncover a dark truth, and procure Kain's signature weapon: the Soul Reaver.