Decision at the Pillars

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Raziel attempts to ambush Kain at the Pillars of Nosgoth.
"This isn't a chase, Raziel – we are merely passengers on the wheel of destiny, describing a perfect circle to this point.
We have been brought here for a reason.
I have seen the beginning and the end of our story, however – and the tale is crude and ill-conceived.
We must rewrite the ending of it, you and I.
―Kain — Listen (file info)[src]

Chapter 2: Decision at the Pillars is the second 'level', or chapter, of Soul Reaver 2. It followed Raziel in the Pre-Blood Omen era as he pursued Kain to the Pillars of Nosgoth and explored the Subterranean Ruins beneath, unexpectedly encountering the Elder God along the way. The chapter opened as Raziel progressed along the trail to the Shrine and Pillars, and concluded as Raziel entered the Swamp.



Departing the Great Southern Lake for the Pillars of Nosgoth Raziel ventured down a series of grassy and lightly wooded canyons to an open area where a notable scaled shrine could be identified and discovered the impaled bodies of several of the victims of the humans crusade against the vampires of this era.[SR2-C1][SR2-C2][BO1-C11] These vampires, he mused, were humanoid and genuinely persecuted, unlike the deranged monsters he faced in the Soul Reaver era.[SR2-C1][SR2-C2][SR1] Passing beyond this, Raziel was able to follow the canyons as they twisted upwards to a battlement and a set of giant double-doors which marked the entrance to the clearing of the Pillars of Nosgoth.[SR2-C1][SR2-C2]

Raziel and Kain witness the Corruption of the Pillars

As Moebius had previously indicated, here Raziel found Kain awaiting him at the heart of the Pillars, themselves pristine and whole in the era.[SR2-C1][SR2-C2] However instead of the expected battle, Kain began to reveal a greater quest, picking apart Raziel's vengeful motivation by revealing that he had actively encouraged Raziel's outrage to draw him into following and countering by unexpectedly agreeing that the health and restoration of the Pillars were of paramount importance.[SR2-C2][SR1] As Kain recounted the stories of his youth and the tale of his birth and the Corruption of the Pillars, Raziel watched in horror as the events unfolded before him and off-screen Ariel's death and Nupraptor's madness led to the corruption of the ancient edifices.[SR2-C2][BO1-C1][BO1-C2] Finally Kain discussed his fateful dilemma as Balance Guardian thirty years later as he was presented with a choice to sacrifice himself to restore the pillars or rule them in their damnation – analogizing the choice to a coin toss.[SR2-C2][BO1-C12] Kain recounted how by choosing to preserve the vampire race the pillars had collapsed, but either way the game was rigged.[SR2-C2][BO1-C12] Most shockingly of all, Kain hinted that the Pillars actually belonged to the vampire race and when Raziel countered that for the pillars to be restored Kain must die for new guardians to be born, Kain mysteriously hinted at a third choice – a way out of his dilemma, hidden in Raziel's presence – before teleporting away.[SR2-C2]

Raziel converses with the Elder God after finding ancient murals beneath the Pillars

Intrigued by Kain's words Raziel pushed onwards, noticing that several crows appeared to be watching him. Soon he found a passage hidden on a ledge high above the pillars which led downwards into an underground cavern - its main door marked by a huge mural of a blue skinned and winged figure with cloven hands, notably reminiscent of Raziel himself.[SR2-C2] Passing through into the Subterranean Ruins beyond, Raziel discovered a number of ancient ruins in the caverns before he emerged in a chamber beneath the pillars where the pillars descended below ground level, which was undoubtedly constructed along with the Pillars. On the walls were several murals depicting an ancient war between two unknown species, the raising of the pillars by the blue winged race, an apparent curse causing blood-thirst inflicted on them and the forging of the Soul Reaver as a prophetic weapon.[SR2-C2] As Raziel studied the room he discovered the Elder God in the Water beneath the pillars platform, wrapped around the Pillars.[SR2-C2] With the earlier revelation that Moebius was a servant of the Elder God, Raziel was far more suspicious of his former benefactor and much less polite.[SR2-C1][SR2-C2] The Elder denounced the murals as "lies" and chastised Raziel for letting Kain "slip through [his] grasp". Parting on a distinctly sour note, The Elder encouraged Raziel to remember his rage and let it guide him before Raziel left and, passing through several further caverns, soon arrived in a dense forest area.[SR2-C2]


The Pillars of Nosgoth

The Pure Pillars of Nosgoth in the Pillars area

Raziel begins on a trail heading away from the Great Southern Lake and towards the Pillars of Nosgoth at a point where a small stream is crossed by a bridge. Raziel must initially continue on up the stream and over the bridge where an attack dog will soon pursue followed by a Vampire hunter swordsman. Killing or evading them, Raziel could continue on to the shrine area in front of a small waterfall. Passing the shrine and heading to the west, Raziel was able to follow a trail that curved upwards around the nearby large rock formation, encountering another swordsman on the way.

At the top the trail opened out into a wider area atop the waterfall where a cannoneer, attack dog and a checkpoint awaited across the other side of the river. After dispatching or evading them Raziel could follow the river north into a cavern area and ascend the stairs in the west to reach the bridge crossing the top of the room heading east. Dispatching the cannoneer at the end of the bridge, Raziel would comment on the Vampires of this era before continuing to follow the path as it curved in an arc back towards the west before switching north to a wide avenue in front of a battlement. Defeating the two hunters and attack dog here allowed him to use the nearby lever freely and hold it down to open the way to the pillars.[SR2-C2][1]

The Subterranean Ruins

The entrance to the Subterranean Ruins

After the meeting with Kain it was necessary for Raziel to head to the north of the pillars clearing where two of the standing stones were marked with spectral symbols. Shifting into the Spectral Realm here and the cliff between them would morph into a stairway upwards, enabling Raziel to progress beyond. Following the narrow twisting path revealed and dispatching or evading Sluagh until he reached the planar portal as the path widened, Raziel was able to restore his health from Souls or Sluagh and return to the Material Realm to activate the next checkpoint. Proceeding to the large mural-decorated double doors passing through after the cutscene allowed Raziel to enter the Subterranean Ruins.[SR2-C2][1]

Entering the narrow corridor revealed led Raziel into the first underground caverns of the ruins and following as it curved east, he could discover several ruined arch structures, defeating or avoiding several Shades (or Greater Sluagh in the Spectral Realm) along the way. Passing through the first archway and following the passage as it turned south/southwest then sharply east again led Raziel into a more architecturally structured area with paved floors and walls. Continuing east, the passage led down a stairway where Raziel would encounter several aggressive Shades before the path turned north into the Subterranean Pillars Chamber.[SR2-C2][1]

The Subbteranean Pillars chamber

After the cutscene, Raziel could activate the nearby Save altar then jump into the waters beneath the platform, swimming to the opening in the east marked by glowing stones. Following the submerged passages northeast - using the glowing stones to guide him in the darkness or switching to spectral if necessary to make out the darkened surroundings - Raziel was able to progress further through the ruins before surfacing in a chamber with three shades. Defeating the shades and following the ramp upwards led him to a gap which could be jumped and the trail then continued across a bridge as the path twisted towards the northeast to a high cliff-like ledge. Defeating or evading the shades at the top, Raziel could jump down to encounter another shade and then into the water, proceeding northeast through the flooded room with a notable statue at the center. Again following the glowing stones or switching to spectral to aid navigation through the darkened passages, Raziel was able to head northeast and ascend through a series of flooded caverns, passing two inactive plinth symbols before finally following a passage directly upward to surface in the Swamp.[SR2-C2][1]


Players (in order of appearance)

Dark Chronicle: The Corruption of the Pillars

[Raziel reaches the Pillars clearing, where Moebius told him Kain would be waiting. Raziel pauses briefly, struck by the pristine beauty of the Pillars. In this era, the Pillars stand straight and rise infinitely into the sky, their white marble columns gleaming in the sunlight.]
Raziel V.O.: The Pillars of Nosgoth... pristine, whole, and uncorrupted.
I had never beheld them in this undefiled state – yet something profound and indelible resonated within me at the sight.
(then, seeing Kain)
And there, waiting at the very heart of the Pillars, was the canker that was destined to destroy them.
[Kain stands in the center of the Pillars platform, his back to the clearing's entrance. He appears to be surveying the Pillars calmly, waiting for something.
Raziel stalks up behind Kain, readying the wraith-blade. Completely aware and composed, Kain addresses Raziel without turning.]
Kain: I know you are there, Raziel.
Raziel: Moebius led me to you, Kain – though I might have guessed you'd meet me here.
[Kain continues to speak with his back to Raziel, turning his head only slightly.]
Kain: And if Moebius told you I was hidden on the underside of hell, would you throw yourself into oblivion to pursue me?
Moebius trawls for the ignorant and unwary, hauling his gasping prey from the streams of their destinies.
Stay out of his net, Raziel –
[Raziel interrupts, impatient and tired of this long chase.]
Raziel: Spare me your elaborate metaphors, Kain.
I have pursued you here for one purpose – you will pay for your betrayal, and Balance will thus be restored to Nosgoth.
Kain: And whose will is satisfied then, the will of Raziel, or Moebius?
Raziel: Would I be better manipulated by you, Kain?
Now turn and face me; the chase is over.
[Kain doesn't turn, but walks slowly forward, approaching the central Balance Pillar while he speaks.]
Kain: This isn't a chase, Raziel – we are merely passengers on the wheel of destiny, describing a perfect circle to this point.
We have been brought here for a reason.
I have seen the beginning and the end of our story, however – and the tale is crude and ill-conceived.
We must rewrite the ending of it, you and I.
Raziel: (frustrated)
Face me, Kain. Even you shouldn't die a coward's death.
[Kain finally turns to respond, having delayed Raziel as long as he needed.]
Kain: Isn't it customary to grant the condemned a final request?
Raziel: I recall no such courtesy from you.
Kain: Indulge me, Raziel.
All I ask is that you listen.
[At this moment, an unearthly, disembodied wailing begins to be audible, increasing in volume as it fills the clearing.]
Kain: This is the sublime moment of our undoing, Raziel – the ineffable fulcrum upon which swings the entirety of our history.
This is where all of Nosgoth is betrayed.
In this instant, Ariel – the Balance Guardian – is murdered by dark forces bent on overthrowing the Pillars.
Her spirit is just now tearing free, lost in the ether, trying to find its way here.
You have already seen how she comes to haunt these Pillars –
Raziel: (interrupting)
bound here by your refusal to die. You are the reason this land becomes diseased – as long as you remain alive you condemn Nosgoth to an eternity of decay.
[Kain gently raises his hand to silence Raziel, and intently urges him –]
Kain: Be still, Raziel. See this.
[The sky darkens, the wind begins to gust, and birds scatter from the clearing in alarm. A low, nearly sub-audible rumble swells, as though a massive storm is gathering.
Kain continues, with some urgency –]
Kain: As Ariel dies, I am being born to take her place as Balance Guardian.
Such is my destiny.
[Suddenly, the entire clearing is rocked by an indescribable force –
A telepathic blast bursts across the landscape with a thunderous rumble, and distorting waves of energy ripple across the clearing.
Kain visibly tenses as he absorbs the onslaught of this psychic attack. The Pillars, initially white and pristine, begin to crack and corrode as they turn gray with corruption.]
Raziel: god...
[As the telepathic assault recedes, Kain begins to speak again –]
Kain: At the moment of my first cry, Ariel's beloved – the Guardian Nupraptor – finds her corpse.
Wracked with grief and tormented by suspicions of treachery, Nupraptor plunges into a madness which overflows and infects all of the Guardians, who are symbiotically bound.
Including me.
The repercussions of Ariel's assassination were expertly calculated...
The entire Circle descends into madness, and I am tainted at the moment of my birth – instantly rendered incapable of fulfilling the role destiny has prepared for me.
Raziel: Shall I show you the same mercy you showed the rest of the Circle, then? You blithely murdered them to restore their Pillars, yet your hand faltered when it came to the final sacrifice.
What makes you exempt, Kain? You're merely the last man standing.
Why condemn me for simply carrying out what you hadn't the courage to do yourself?
Kain: Let's drop the moral posturing, shall we? We both know there's no altruism in this pursuit.
Your reckless indignation led you here – I counted on it.
(Kain sees that Raziel is bristling at this insult.)
There's no shame in it, Raziel – revenge is motivation enough. At least it's honest.
Hate me, but do it honestly.
[Kain resumes his account of Nosgoth's history –]
Kain: Thirty years hence, I am presented with a dilemma – let's call it a two-sided coin.
If the coin falls one way, I sacrifice myself and thus restore the Pillars.
But as the last surviving vampire in Nosgoth, this would mean the annihilation of our species. Moebius made sure of that.
If the coin lands on the reverse, I refuse the sacrifice and thus doom the Pillars to an eternity of collapse.
Either way, the game is rigged.
Raziel: We agree then that the Pillars are crucial, and must be restored?
Kain: Yes, Raziel – that's why we've come full-circle to this place.
Raziel: So after all this you make my case for me. To end this stalemate, you must die so that new Guardians can be born.
Kain: The Pillars don't belong to them, Raziel...
(Kain gestures derisively, indicating humanity in general.)
...they belong to us.
Raziel: (disgusted)
Your arrogance is boundless, Kain.
Kain: (laughing softly)
There's a third option - a monumental secret, hidden in your very presence here. But it's a secret you have to discover for yourself.
Unearth your destiny, Raziel. It's all laid out for you here.
Raziel: You said it yourself, Kain – there are only two sides to your coin.
Kain: Apparently so. But suppose you throw a coin enough times...
...suppose one day, it lands on its edge.
[Kain vanishes, leaving Raziel standing in the clearing alone.]

Dialogue: The Pillars of Nosgoth

[Raziel proceeds to explore Nosgoth after his encounter with Kain at the Pillars –]
Raziel (V.O.): I didn't know what impulse stayed my hand – why I had so willingly allowed Kain to escape me, when I had pursued him for so long.
I had no reason to trust Kain, after he had valued me so little.
And yet I found myself intrigued by his words.
I had been too cruelly used to so gullibly play his pawn – but if this world truly had secrets to divulge, I was determined to expose them.
Raziel (V.O.): From the moment of my arrival, I had the constant and palpable sensation of being watched. Someone, it seemed, was keenly interested in my presence here.
[Raziel discovers a large stone door, painted with a familiar effigy–]
Raziel (V.O.): From the look of it, this door had been sealed for centuries. I began to realize it was no mere coincidence that I found myself standing here – beneath this winged figure, with blue skin and cloven hands so like my own... and bearing this unique key.
[Raziel inserts the Reaver into the door's lock–]
Raziel (V.O.): And so it was with a sense of gravity and trepidation that I unsealed that ancient door, and crossed the threshold.

Dark Chronicle: The Elder God

[Raziel cautiously descends an ancient, subterranean passageway, and finds himself at the threshold of a magnificent underground grotto. The Pillars descend into this chamber, intersecting a platform engraved with arcane symbols. Water surrounds the dais, and reflected light dapples the surrounding walls.
Raziel walks along the platform, surveying the murals on the surrounding walls. He recognizes his own ragged form in these heroic figures, and holds up his hand, mentally comparing his anatomy to theirs. He's trying to put the pieces together.]
Raziel V.O.: As I entered the chamber, I sensed that it had been sealed for hundreds – perhaps thousands – of years.
And while this room was clearly built when the Pillars were erected, I knew that no human hand could have shaped this place – and that perhaps it had never been seen by human eyes.
The surrounding murals depicted a winged race, their features so like my own – but beautiful, where mine were grotesque... and angelic, while mine were demonic.
I tried to decipher these images...
...a great war, but with combatants like none I had ever seen...
...the Pillars, raised by this winged race, who thus defeated their adversaries...
...the winged beings again, writhing in agony, apparently afflicted with the same blood-thirst I had so recently suffered...
And throughout the chamber, inscribed everywhere, images of the Reaver itself.
Was this what Kain had urged me to discover?
I wondered...
[The voice of the Elder God bubbles up from the depths of the chamber, as if in answer to Raziel's unspoken question –]
Elder God: Lies, Raziel...
[Raziel recognizes the voice, and realizes that it's rising from the watery depths beneath the platform. As he steps to the edge, he sees that the Pillars descend into the murky depths of the chamber – and coiled around them are the tentacles and amorphous mass of the Elder God itself.]
Elder God: Do not be deceived.
Raziel: Ah, my ancient 'benefactor'...
And I dared to hope we had parted ways forever. Your silence was refreshing, while it lasted. No doubt you have a conveniently inexpressible reason for your presence here?
Elder God: Do not be insolent, Raziel.
I am eternally present – here and everywhere; now and always.
I am the still center of the turning wheel, the hub of this world's destiny.
Raziel: But perhaps not so omnipotent as you'd have me believe.
Your hold on me appears to be tenuous. I no longer seem to need you, yet I'm guessing you still need me.
Elder God: This impudence is unworthy of you, Raziel.
Do not forget that you have a task to fulfill here.
You are indebted to me.
Raziel: Indebted? You would have me show gratitude for a 'gift' I didn't ask to be bestowed?
Do you forget that you forced me to inhabit this vile carcass –
Elder God: – I restored you to yourself, Raziel.
It was Kain who destroyed you. The very enemy you have just let slip through your grasp.
Do not fail me, my servant...
Raziel: I serve no one – not you, not Kain... and not your lackey, Moebius.
Elder God: (ominously)
Moebius is my good servant. I have many.
Raziel: And if I tell Moebius that he's worshipping a giant squid, do you think his faith will falter?
Elder God: You have grown willful, Raziel.
But beware – to embrace a serpent is to invite poison into your heart.
Kain is a sinuous beast; he will seduce and deceive you.
You pride yourself on your free will, yet you let that degenerate deter your resolve.
Raziel: I harbor no illusions about his integrity, nor anyone else's.
In fact, I am beset by manipulation on all sides. I merely seek the truth.
Elder God: These are the fathomless truths, Raziel:
The agony of birth and death and rebirth – this is the Wheel of Fate, the purifying cycle which sustains all life.
Vampires are an abomination, a plague which leeches this land of its spiritual strength.
They obstruct the flow of life and death – their souls stagnate in their wretched corpses.
But the Wheel must turn; Death is inexorable and cannot be denied.
Your destiny is irresistible, Raziel – you are my soul reaver, the scourge of the vampires, reaper of their apostate souls.
Remain steadfast. End the vampires' parasitic curse, and restore Nosgoth.
Kain's blood belongs on your hands.
Raziel: Kain indeed deserves to die, for condemning me to this repugnant form.
But if and when I kill him, it will be for me, alone, to decide.
Elder God: Kain destroyed you without a flicker of remorse.
He tore the soul from your noble corpse, and after you had served him faithfully for a thousand years, he discarded you in the Abyss on a jealous whim.
Remember your rage, Raziel – let it guide your hand.



  • The dialogue transcripts used in this article are, wherever possible, adapted directly from the Dark Chronicle summary transcripts available in game. Scenes not included in the Dark Chronicle feature are instead adapted from Tenaya's transcript of Soul Reaver 2 at Nosgothic Realm - itself derived from the Dark Chronicle and an official game script provided by Crystal Dynamics' Kyle Mannerberg.[SR2][2]
  • A cutscene was deleted from the beginning of this chapter - the only excised scene in Soul Reaver 2 for which dialogue was included in the game data.[3] Before reaching the Pillars, just after commenting on the brutality of Moebius's mercenary army, Raziel was to witness the vampire hunters actually slaughtering a female vampire in person. The Lost Worlds fansite covered the excision: "according to former series director Amy Hennig, the vampire slaying cinematic was deleted because it didn't fit in well with the rest of the story. [...] The dialogue as recorded was also deemed less than ideal; in particular, the "whuh-huh?!" exclamation of the vampire hunters became an in-joke at Crystal Dynamics".[4]
The cut female vampire
  • The cutscene with the Elder God is his first appearance in the Material Realm. The cutscene can be approached in either realm indicating that, although unseen, he exists in both realms simultaneously. The Elder can be heard repeatedly calling Raziel's name in the staircase corridor in the Subterranean Ruins.
  • One of the flooded chambers in the Subterranean Ruins is noticeably dominated by a large central statue covered in eyes and several other ruins, arguably more primitive constructions than those leading upto the Sub-Pillars room.[SR2-C2] Though not revealed in the game, this was intended as "a symbolic representation of the Elder God fashioned by an ancient, primitive cult".[9] Beyond their worship of the Elder, little else is known of the cult and it was not clear whether they were related to the ancient vampires or Moebius (fellow Elder God worshippers); their race was unknown, and it is uncertain whether or not they survived into any of the eras explored by Kain and Raziel.[SR2][DEF]


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Icon-Prima.png Prima Games / Demian Linn and David Hodgson. Prima's Official Soul Reaver 2 Guide. (2001)
  2. Icon-NR.png Soul Reaver 2 - Dialogue at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya)
  3. Wiki-Icon-SR2.png Soul Reaver 2 deleted dialogue. Crystal Dynamics. Soul Reaver 2. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation 2. (October 31, 2001)
  4. Wiki-Icon-TLW.png Raziel Witnesses a Vampire Slaying at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  5. Icon-DCab.png Weaponry and other questions at DCabDesign (by BazL), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
  6. Icon-DefianceComic.png Top Cow. Legacy of Kain: Defiance comic. (Eidos Interactive). (January, 2004)
  7. Icon-DCab.pngPillars of Nosgoth areas at DCabDesign (by Bazielim), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
  8. Wiki-Icon-TLW.png The Pillar Glyphs at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  9. Icon-Eidos.png Chris@Crystal's Greatest Hits at the Eidos Forums (by Divine Shadow)
Preceded by:
Wiki-Icon-SR2.png A Reaver in Time
Soul Reaver 2 chapters
Wiki-Icon-SR2.png Chapter 2: Decision at the Pillars
Followed by:
Wiki-Icon-SR2.png Through the Swamp
The Legacy of Kain series