The Legacy of Kain video games star titular vampire Kain, a flawed, headstrong man who cares about himself above everything else. But the world of Nosgoth has no choice. It is a world deep in peril, and Kain is all there is to save it.
Kain begins Blood Omen (the first game) as a spoiled nobleman thrown into the cold. He is impaled on his own sword by assassins. The next thing he knows, he is approached by the Necromancer, Mortanius, who offers him immortality through vampirism. Kain, thinking nothing of the consequences, accepts. Thus, his journey begins.
Kain thinks of himself as the master of his own destiny, while in reality he is but a pawn. He is offered salvation from his vampire curse by destroying the corrupted Guardians, servants of the Nine Pillars that embody the laws governing Nosgoth. In that pursuit, he tries and fails to raise an army against the tyrannical Nemesis, a conqueror who wishes total subjugation.
Fleeing for his life, Kain “stumbles” upon a time-traveling portal, which he uses to assassinate William the Just, the man who will grow up to be the Nemesis. He returns to the present to find that William’s death sparked the extermination of Nosgoth’s vampires. He is the last of his kind, by his own hand. The genocide’s leader is Mobius, a harmless old mystic who is in truth the Guardian of Time. Kain relishes killing Mobius, but even death cannot erase the humiliation of being played like a fiddle.
Blood Omen’s endgame features an even more elaborate manipulation. Kain is actually the successor of the Pillar of Balance. With all corrupt Guardians dead, Nosgoth needs one more sacrifice to return to its original bounty: Kain must kill himself.
Kain does not. He chooses to rule Nosgoth in its damnation.
Kain is next seen in the game Soul Reaver. A millennium after his fateful decision, Kain portrays himself as an arrogant man who sacrificed the game’s protagonist, Raziel, out of jealousy. His final appearance in the game tells otherwise. Kain has gained Mobius’ secret chambers and watched the future unfold. Sacrificing Raziel, goading him to murder his vampire brethren, was all according to his plan to undo the damage he wrought to the world. Yet Kain still finds himself outwitted: his saving Raziel from the Soul Reaver sword (in Soul Reaver 2) is exactly what the games’ antagonists want.
Kain shows a softer side in the game Defiance. He shows regret over his role in Raziel’s sacrifice. He realizes that role makes him more common to the forces he’s been fighting. He feels guilt for failing to change the one thing he knew was pivotal to the world’s redemption: Raziel’s death.
Kain is not a hero. But, like it or not, he’s all there is for Nosgoth. He started out as a pawn and became a man again. Perhaps Nosgoth’s future is not as bleak as it seems.
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