Part 6As a side note, I had always thought (until seeing it printed here) that it was "Avernus" - I could have sworn it was written that way elsewhere. Can anyone confirm/deny this?
Having seen it burning in the distance, we're now able to fly to Abernus, to investigate.
Rather then flying into the conflagration itself, we're forced to enter from the gates...
"The gate of Avernus opened slowly before me, daring me to cross the threshold. Who was I to reject such an invitation?"
"The city was paved in blood and flesh. Yet, what would have appalled in my life only tempted me in death. Once I would have felt horror; now only hunger remained."
"Avernus lay in ruins before me. Whatever hand slaughtered its people ravaged the city as well."
Look carefully on the left side of the shot - it's not very clear.
"The beast paused for a moment, drooling in anticipation of the fine meal he saw before him. To his disappointment, he would not find me such easy prey."
"I felt its eyes upon me, eager, hungry, as if it longed to rip my heart out and eat it before me as I died. I laughed as the onslaught began. Perhaps when it was over, it would be the other way around."
"Avernus was a religious autocracy, with the Cathedral as its dais of power. Though the city lay in ruins, the Cathedral remained untouched. The demons knew better than to bite the hand that feeds them..."
Here, then, we discover the source of the demons demolishing the town.
It should be noted that, as mentioned in the first post, long before this game's timeline, the ancient Vampires had banished the Hylden to an alternate dimension, using the Pillars as the lock on this makeshift prison. Demons - such as these - are native to the dimension to which they were banished. Their presence here suggests that the decay of the pillars has weakened the lock, allowing some of these beings passage into Nosgoth. This does not bode well.
The Cathedral is a giantic maze of teleporters, for the most part. Wholly annoying to navigate.
And to make matters worse, the whole of it is populated by these attrociously hard-hitting demons. "Hey, it's Diablo!"
Kain's clearly a whirlwind barb.
If you look carefully in the lower right corner of this room, you can see 2 pillars of sorts sticking out of the wall. These mark the tops of doors in the Cathedral - this is in fact a very well hidden one. That's interesting. Let's see where this leads...
The door, we find, houses some stairs which decend into the bowels of the Cathedral. The clean, holy interior, it seems, is a clever facade for something much darker...
...and darker still...
At the end of the hallway above, we come to a pedestal holding this book.
"And Hash'ak'gik spoke to the world, and all who heard trembled.
Bring me your first born, and shed their blood on the alter of the world, so I might take nourishment from them.
Do this without question, or suffer my wrath for eternity.
And its will was done."
Hash'ak'gik - we'll see that name again (much) later in the series.
Once we complete their ridiculous teleporter puzzle, we come to the chapel...
And beyond it, this enormous stained glass ceiling, depicting none other then Vorador and Malek, in their fated clash.
"Above me stood a memory, etched in stained glass."
Beyond it we find a pair of locked doors - but we'll return here later. First...
...we need to prepare.
After navigating that utter bitch of a room, we finally find our artifact:
"This armor was spawned in the most impure of spirit forges; tempered from the seething agony of tortured souls. The metal exists only partially in the human realm, causing it to fade between tangible and ethereal states."
And, we have one other relic to procure before we move on:
The Soul Reaver:
"Time fades even legend, and the origin of the Soul Reaver has been lost long ago. But its purpose remains - to feed on the souls of any creature it strikes. Kindred, this blade and I."
The Soul Reaver is the most powerful weapon in the game. Striking anything with it drains Kain's mana completely - but that mana is converted into raw damage, and that damage is frightful. This blade is the most important item we obtain in the game - it becomes Kain's signature weapon throughout the series, and as you're probably aware if you've been reading this thread, two of the games are in fact named after it.
There's a lot I could say about this blade, but I'll leave that for later. For now, just know that it's good. Real good.
Thus equipped, we're prepared to pay a visit to Azimuth - the entire reason for our coming here.
"Ah, what's this? I had not even realized the blade and the raiment were here. You wear those trinkets well, Kain. But I do believe that they would look better on me."
"The Matriarch of Avernus, the Lady Azimuth: her magical planing skills summoned demons through runes inscribed in human blood."
"Come to me my children! We shall ravage Nosgoth together!"
"So, little man, have they sent you to stop me?"
"My children shall rip you apart!"
"Come, my demons. Let us sup on vampire blood."
Azimuth summons powerful demons throughout the fight, and fires off a steady stream of homing projectiles. Luckilly, they're no match for Repel, and when we manage to get close enough, we find she's no match for the Soul Reaver.
In fact, it takes but a single hit to kill her (fueled by 3 runes worth of my mana!)
"For all her magic, the Lady Azimuth was little trouble; once her demonic thralls had been dispatched she fell quickly to my blade."
Actually, a more accurate description would be 'Once she was dispatched, her demonic thralls disapeared instantly', but I suppose his way is more dramatic.
For our troubles, we walk away with:
"Azimuth's third eye, a gift from the Pillar of Dimension, allowed the Planer sight into other realms. The Pillar reclaims its own."
Time Streaming Device:
"Strange runes litter its metallic surface. 'Tis with caution that I carry this mysterious device."
As we pick up the Time Streaming Device, Ariel chimes in:
"It will deliver you in time."
Hurray for double meanings.
We return, then, to the Pillars.
"Before the Dimension pillar, I lay the eye of Azimuth. The pillar accepted its offering; thus it was restored."
Yeah, that's not getting repetative at all, Kain.
"Well done. You have found Moebius' toy. Azimuth, not content with summoning demonic thralls, stole the Time Streaming Device in order to gather creatures from other ages as well. Take care of the device, Kain. It will deliver you in time.
The Legions of the Nemesis are on the march from the north, crushing all in their path. 'Twas not too long ago that the Nemesis was known as William the Just, a caring and gentle benefactor of the land. But, as his army grew in strength and he himself grew in power, the veil of tyranny fell and one kingdom was not enough. So many cities, so many dead. Willendorf will be sure to follow. The Nemesis must be stopped or all shall be lost..."
"How can one stop an army?"
"You must rally the forces of Willendorf; they are the last Hope of Nosgoth."
So now, so close to completing our quest, this Nemesis has shown up and complicated things. The remaining three Pillar Guardians will have to wait: we've got a war to win.
"The specter of Ariel led me to Willendorf. If I was to defeat the next member of the Circle, I needed to understand his machinations. With this vague advice in mind, I set forth on the road to Willendorf."
Mortanius chimes in as well:
"Strange, isn't it Kain? That one cannot quite accept that which sustains him: you in your death and me in mine. But death cannot reign in a world without life and soon you will find the quest ahead of you is yours and yours alone. I can assist you no longer."
"Willendorf, proud defender of the Realm, with its Warrior Elite and mighty ruler King Ottmar. The Lion Throne had once held my allegiance. But Willendorf's days of glory had passed; it was the last bastion against an unruly future."
But as we arrive, the way is barred to us:
"It would seem that only those of noble lineage were allowed to pass through the illustrious gates of Willendorf Castle. And the enchantment I had cast with my Disguise was not enough to fool these Soldiers of Hope. I would need a stronger illusion to beguile them."
Before we can do anything about that, we need this:
"With this spell I can tear a creature's soul from its body, leaving its vacant flesh mine to control!"
It's effectively the same as Mind Control, but it works on anything - not just humans. This provides us with some interesting opportunities.
"Mighty Willendorf had sliced open the belly of the earth, reaping a bounty of precious metals and unearthing ancient secrets.
Of these secrets, I had heard of a tomb that contained an ancient forefather of King Ottmar himself. Within the tomb, a fountain of blood would allow me to cast the most noble of illusions, and gain entry to the city of the Mighty Lion."
And here, we find our answer.
"Unlike the Mask of Disguise, this spell actually allows me to cast away the guise of death for a time, allowing me to walk among the living undisturbed. The spell also provides a visage of nobility, for there are many who would easily divulge more to those of highborn blood."
The kicker here is that the spell isn't actually a transformation at all - Kain can still attack and act as he normally would, but without drawing attention from humans.
Using this, we're able to walk among the humans unharmed...
Even right up to their King.
On the way there, we pass through the Willendorf Library.
"The great library of Willendorf. Filled with dull tomes of trite accounts by pompous historians about matters that could not possibly be of interest to anyone but themselves."
Though on the contrary, we find one interesting book among them...
"The book spoke of the birth of the Circle. The Circle served the Pillars, protectorates to the strange power that gives life to our land. At the unlikely death of a member, the Circle remains broken for a time, until the Pillars can cull a worthy successor.
I came upon another book of interest buried deep amongst the library's tomes. It spoke of a small cult that existed in Nosgoth, ages past. Wherever they traveled strange tales of human possession would follow. Little is known of the god they worshipped."
So this is why it's important that we kill off the members of the circle: Until they've all been killed, new replacements cannot be appointed. This is why the Pillars are falling into ruin: with Nupraptor's insanity infecting the existing members of the circles, the corruption has crept into the pillars themselves. Only by paving the way - in blood as it were - for new Guardians to take their place, can the pillars be restored and Nosgoth's future secured.
See the video here:
Video - Kain meets King Ottmar
"The court of King Ottmar; shades of my former existence. Proud and self absorbed, surrounded by all the finery of the realm. Secure in their ignorance. As I walked among them I smirked thinking of the carnage that would befall them at the hands of the Legions of the Nemesis... the glorious flames, the inevitable rape and pillage."
"Out of my way peasant! The stench of the fields hangs over you like a pall!"
"The King sees no one! He is in mourning for the princess!"
"He'll be in mourning for his kingdom soon. And he'll mourn for you even sooner if you don't get out of my way."
"And so I won my audience, such as it was, with Ottmar. He cared not of the invading armies from the North. Only of the plight of his child."
"A birthday present. To celebrate her birthday I declared a contest."
"Whoever created the finest doll in the realm would be granted a royal favor. Hundreds of dolls were brought, but the winner was obvious."
"Elzevir, the Dollmaker, created a toy of such beauty that all were captivated by it. And all he would take in payment was a lock of her hair."
"Soon after she became like this; a lifeless puppet. Whoever restores her to her former self shall have this kingdom!"
"Thus my hunt for the Dollmaker began."
"Ottmar slumped on his throne like a rag doll, his beard matted with the tears of his own self-pity. In my court, he would have long since been usurped by one stronger, but in Willendorf they worshipped him, even in his weakness. I wondered what Willendorf would do when Ottmar's death finally arrived."
"Through whispers of the court, I learned that the Army of the Last Hope, Willendorf's proud militia, was in no condition to fight the invading Legions of the Nemesis. They were busy scouring the lands to the north, in search of the Dollmaker and Ottmar's daughter.
I also learned of a tunnel, which would take me rapidly from Willendorf to the suspected area."
"This was once the most academic of cities, housing some of the most prestigious universities in all of Nosgoth. While I would not weep over lost tomes, I detested the sight of scars left upon the world at the hands of the Nemesis."
We discover the Dollmaker's refuge, on an island in the middle of nowhere.
The King's daughter's soul, we find, is trapped in a doll. So we'll have to retrieve it.
"Elzevir! I have come for the soul!"
"So, Ottmar sent you to kill me, eh? I can smell him on you - or is that the stench of the grave?"
"Dollmaker, I have no time for these games!"
"The soul is mine, I earned it, Ottmar gave it to me."
"Then you shall earn it with blood!"
Elzevir, at the time of his death:
"Farewell, my love... I was lucky to have made you..."
"What an odd little man. Now, to find the soul."
Well, considering it's right behind him when he says that, that's not a very difficult task.
"Elzevir imprisoned the girl's soul in a small fabric doll. The old man's intentions I shall never know.
Strange that such a tiny thing - a shred of burlap and silk with a single lock of hair nailed to it, could bring a kingdom to its knees. Small things frequently have enormous consequences."
We return triumphant to King Ottmar's court.
"I entered the Court with the Dollmaker's head in one hand, and the doll containing the girl's soul in the other. I placed them both before the King and watched his eyes catch fire. With the doll in their possession, the Court's sorcerers could restore his daughter's soul."
"I do not know that I can thank you enough, warrior. My kingdom is but a small price to pay for my daughter's life. Willendorf is yours, if you wish it."
"'Tis not your kingdom I desire, but your army, Ottmar. I require troops to vanquish the Horde that descends upon us from the North."
"Very well. Courtiers, fetch me my armor and mace. There is war to be waged!"
See the video here:
Video - Ottmar's Army Marches
There's not really much to see (and screenshots during that movie won't come out viewable, for whatever reason), but Ottmar gives a speech to his soldiers, as they march against the legions of Nemesis:
"The scourge of Nosgoth is upon us, friends! We shall die today as heroes, lest we live tomorrow as slaves!
Ready thine arms!
We find ourselves then on the battlefield.
"In the distance, I saw the Nemesis armies march forward, a black tide that would soon wash over the Armies of the Hope."
"I sated my thirst on warriors of Horde and Hope alike; the dying relinquishing their final moments to give me strength."
"They came at me in throngs, no fervor so strong as that inspired by a madman. The Nemesis armies were fierce and showed no signs of subsiding."
"The Nemesis and his Horde fall upon us, my friend. I fear I can defend Nosgoth no longer. The Nemesis must be destroyed. For my daughter, Kain; for the world..."
"The tide turned with Ottmar's death. watched as the remaining survivors of the Armies of Hope fled to the safety of the forest. The battle had decided its victor; the fate of Nosgoth now lay in the Nemesis' hands."
It seems Ariel's plan has failed... except...
"At once, the battlefield was gone. Where the ground was caked with blood and dirt, there was lush greenery. Where chaos reigned only moments before, this damning calm prevailed. Alas, it seemed I was stranded here - the Time Streaming Device lay in pieces at my feet."
Kain has used the Time Streaming Device at the last moment - transporting himself backwards in time... just in time to see Moebius, the Time Streamer - also known as the Time Guardian - giving a rousing speech.
Watch it here:
Video - Moebius Rallies a Crowd
"Would you stand idle as vermin destroyed your crops?"
"As your house burned?"
"Will you allow this evil to continue?"
"Will the wickedness end?"
"Do you believe?"
"Yes! Yes! Yes!"
"Then take me to your king, so that I can prepare you for the onslaught!"
Next time: The Finale