More exceedingly dark screenshots!
We backtrack a bit, since Janos' aerie is decidedly useless at this point (being as he's been dead for, at this point, 600+ years).
Eventually, this badass motherfucker pops up. Doesn't look too bad from that distance, but let me assure you, he's a badass motherfucker.
And there's 2 of them! They proceed to brutally rape the vampire hunters, as long as we stay back far enough - if we get too close, they all decide to put their differences aside for the timebeing and kill Raziel.
Once they kill the hunters, they promptly kill Raziel, who promptly kills them when he runs back from the last checkpoint. D'oh.
We find this door a ways back, which previously was inaccessible (before we came into the future that is). We unlock it with the Dark Reaver, and find...
...a horrible screenshot. This is actually Raziel looking at more murals - the camera is directly behind his neck, that's the back of his cowl.
"The scenes I discovered here were unambiguous."
"This race of winged beings, the architects of the Pillars and the creators of the Reaver, were Nosgoth's first vampires. Their blood thirst appeared to be a curse inflicted upon them by their vanquished enemies."
"These images confirmed the truths that Kain had divulged to me, but I had been too incredulous to accept."
"I struggled in vain to see how the pieces fit together, how Kain intended to escape the dilemma of his destiny, and what role he had plotted for me, and why Moebius and the dark powers with which he seemed to be allied were so desperate to see Kain dead, and so intent on me being the instrument of his execution."
Beyond the murals, we come to the next elemental forge.
This one's actually rather fun. It revolves around air vents, much like we experienced in the cathedral in SR1.
The puzzle revolves around 3 tunnels at the bottom of the area, which all lead to a seperate sub-puzzle, and upon completion, give us a colored heart (which squeeze from these murals of winged creatures holding them on the walls).
We take the hearts to similarly color coded rooms containing a person, mummified, bound, and strapped across an alter, with their chest torn open.
Placing the heart into the poor wretch's chest causes it to convulse and writhe, then die, it's soul releasing.
The massive stone head on the wall then opens it's mouth and devours the soul...
...then starts regurgitating a steady flow of air. The first time we do this, it catches Raziel off guard...
The other two times, he's sure to be more careful.
Once we get all three air vents flowing, we can ride it up to the top, where the forge awaits. It springs into action.
"As the Reaver drained the forge of its vital energy, the tempest receded. I recovered myself, and paused to admire my newly-forged weapon, now imbued with the elemental power of air. Thus armed, I hoped that I now possessed the means to escape this wasted land."
"This elemental Reaver, I discovered, had the power to obliterate barriers that were cracked or compromised. At last I had the means to open that ruined Time Streaming chamber I discovered so long ago in the swamp. Now perhaps, I could leave this wasteland and return to an era when Janos Audron still lived."
Wait for it...
Deep within, we discover a familiar sight.
Watch it here, though there's not a lot to see:
Video - Raziel enters the Time Streaming Chamber
Video - Raziel exits the Time Streaming Chamber
Sorry about the two-part video. I hit the button to stop recording too soon, and hadn't saved for a really, really long time.
"I had no choice but to act purely on blind faith. There was no way to tell what era the device was tuned to, and I had neither the knowledge, nor the means to set the machine myself."
"I hesitated only briefly, then, throwing the switch, I hurled myself into oblivion, and relinquished my will to the hand of fate."
"Beyond all hope, and against all probability, it seemed that the device had unerringly delivered me to the era I sought. For these were Sarafan banners, and these vampires apparently the victims of their crusade."
"The coincidence seemed too convenient to naively ascribe to fate, but whether my opportune arrival had been orchestrated by Moebius or some other influence, I didn't know. If Janos Audron still lived, I would find him."
"I was wary of further deception and resolved to tread carefully."
As we proceed away from the Time Streaming Chamber, we encounter the precursor to the vampire hunters: Sarafan.
"For all the butchery of Moebius's crusade, this massacre was somehow more chilling."
"The killing fields of the Sarafan betrayed a kind of orderly ruthlessness, the cold-blooded righteousness of the true believer."
"Here at last in the flesh, I beheld my former brothers-in-arms, the warrior-priests of the Sarafan order; their lives devoted solely to the annihilation of the vampire plague."
"And while I confess I felt a twinge of longing, a pang of grief for what I had believed was my lost virtue, I regarded them now with none of the reverence I formally felt. For I had seen the human face of the vampires, and now I beheld the monstrousness of these men."
Text doesn't really convey the significance of this scene. Up until this point, Raziel loathed his current form, despised Kain and all he stood for, and longed to be human once again. However, now, knowing the truth behind the vampires, and has seen first-hand the slaughter the Sarafan represented, he comes to realize that he wants nothing to do with them - the vampires are in fact the righteous ones, and maybe, just maybe, Kain isn't so bad after all...
We come, shortly, to the city once more (and Raziel gets stabbed in the pack with a pike while he stares at the sign).
Proceeding quickly through it...
...he comes at last to his destination.
"After my long journey, I finally stood on the threshold of enlightenment. For here was Janos Audron's mountain retreat, intact and unblemished. The upheaval that would one day topple this ancient edifice had not yet occurred, and while I had no certainty that Janos still lived, this scene boded well, for I presumed that the collapse of the retreat must have followed the ancient vampire's demise.
There was only one obstacle, how to reach the balcony suspended at that maddening height, so far beyond my reach? For this was the architecture of winged creatures. The tattered ruins of my wings were of no use. I would need to devise some other means into that mountain."
With nowhere else to go, Raziel takes an icy swim.
...but what's this? Is that... the symbol of the Spectral Realm?
It's almost as though his visit here was foreseen, expected, and prepared for.
Inside, we come to...
...a really shitty puzzle.
"The mountain's interior was hollow, I discovered, and graced with soaring architecture unique to its creators. As with the outer façade, these balconies and galleries could only be reached by those gifted with flight. With only my ruined wings to carry me, this towering labyrinth seemed impassable."
"The object of my quest lay just beyond my grasp, for here, suspended at the apex of the chamber, was the threshold that surely led to the great vampire himself. I didn't know whether Janos Audron was the monster depicted in the Stronghold, or one of the noble creatures memorialized among the ruins of the ancient vampires, and I didn't care."
"Demon or angel, he alone held the key to my destiny."
The puzzle revolves around taking these chalices, filling them with blood from fonts located all over the complex...
...carrying the chalice up a little ways to another, empty font...
...emptying it into the empty font...
...which causes these creepy blood-wrought ramps to form.
You ultimately have to do this about 8 or 10 times, as you progress up, and there's not a lot of variety - just finding the way from one font to the next. To make it worse, you have to drop to the bottom and come up again at least 5 times during the whole mess, as you have to switch between the three Reavers periodically to bypass obstacles.
But after all of that is complete...
Raziel reaches his goal.
Next time: Raziel finally meets the Vampire Ancient himself, and receives some long-overdue answers.
I'm not stopping here just to be a prick, honest. From here, it's a pretty long jaunt to the end of the game, but once the momentum starts building, I don't want to cut off. Further, I don't want to make this a 400 screenshot update and get complaints about browsers crashing when the thread is clicked. So, later tonight, we'll conclude Soul Reaver 2.