Raziel is a central character in the Legacy of Kain
franchise and the protagonist & tragic hero of the Soul Reaver
story arc. The character was created by Crystal Dynamics
, primarily written by Amy Hennig
and voiced by the veteran voice actor Michael Bell
Raziel was resurrected as the most powerful of Kain's
vampire lieutenants. Over time, he evolved and developed a pair of wings before his creator. For his transgression, Kain condemned him into the abyss and created the wraith creature, that sought righteous vengeance on his former master and his vampire brothers. Over the course of the series, Raziel's true destiny is revealed to be closely tied to the blade Soul Reaver
. He is frequently manipulated by Kain, who wants to avoid his own destruction and use Raziel's gift of free will to save the land of Nosgoth.
Considered handsome during his vampiric unlife, Raziel was taller and stronger than his brethren. He used to wear his clan's mark on his right shoulder, much like Kain. His most distinct features before he was thrown into the Lake of the dead were his recently developed bat-like wings. After emerging from the abyss, Raziel was more like a shadow than a being. Blue in color, he lost most of the muscles in his body, including his lower jaw. He covers this big, gapping hollow with his clan's symbolic cape and opens it up only to devour souls. His wings are just a shadow of their former self, ruined and without bones. After the events in Soul Reaver
, he always carries a wraith version of the Reaver blade - coiled around his right arm.
In a world full of dark and vicious characters, Raziel is possibly the only creature with a sense of nobility. He is a righteous being who puts Nosgoth's good before his. This puts him in direct contrast to his maker, Kain. Raziel's strong sense of morality makes him hate the vampires and anyone/anything that takes advantage of others. In a way, it makes him despise his own existence as a soul devouring fiend. Once onto something, Raziel is very persistent. This obsessive nature means he rarely questions his own choices, since he is always sure that he is doing the right thing. Kain, however, describes Raziel as a creature of anger and thinks he is driven by his righteous indignation rather than his morality.
Raziel's most important trait is his free will and his disregard for fatalism. He hates the idea of a predestined world and wants to make his own choices. Due to his unique resurrection, he is actually the only being in all Nosgoth who is not bound to the "wheel of fate
" and therefore he actually has free will. Because of this, every other character in the franchise tries to mislead him and bend him to their will, which annoys him to no end.
Power and abilities
Because of his unique remaking, Raziel is different from vampires. He has a hunger for souls and gains their abilities when he devours them. It results in him constantly gaining more power as he slays his enemies. In spite of his shadowy figure, Raziel possess incredible physical strength. He is also a very cunning warrior and uses his environment well to deal with his foes. Even though they were ruined by Kain, Raziel can use his wings to glide while in air. Over time, Raziel gains the ability to swim under water, scale large obstacles using his claws. He also has the ability to pass through minor obstacles like doors and windows in the spectral realm. Raziel's biggest advantage in combat is that he can't be killed by any normal being. When weakened, he merely shifts back into the spectral realm.
Raziel mostly wields the wraith version of the Soul Reaver
, which can be imbued with various elemental powers of it own. There are forges spread throughout Nosgoth
, built specifically to enhance Raziel's wraith blade.
Role as the Vampire and Hylden champion
There is often confusion over Raziel's role as the hylden champion. According to Amy Hennig, the games creator; because of his free will Raziel is both the vampire and the hylden champion. He helps the hylden indirectly by killing Kain and resurrecting Janos, thus providing them an indestructible vessel. This would lead to the events of Blood Omen 2
. But in the end, he proves himself to be the vampire champion as well by sacrificing himself to purify Kain and help him fulfill his role as the Scion of Balance. This is the reason Raziel is referred to as: Redeemer and Destroyer. Pawn and Messiah.
It is a fair assumption that Kain knew exactly what he was creating when he threw Raziel into the Abyss. He intended to correct history by using Raziel's gift of true free will.
Raziel is introduced in Soul Reaver
as the most powerful of Kain
's six lieutenants. Because they were created directly by Kain himself, these six lieutenants would evolve over the years like him. Kain would enter a stage of metamorphosis and emerge with a new gift. The rest would follow suit soon after. All of this changed when Raziel developed bat-like wings before Kain. In an apparent act of jealousy, Kain tore down Raziel's wings and ordered his lieutenants, Raziel's own brothers, to cast him into the Lake of the Dead
. It is later revealed that Kain did this to reanimate Raziel and give him free will, so he could manipulate the wraith to save Nosgoth and himself.
After falling for centuries in the Abyss, Raziel is reanimated by the Elder Gold in the Spectral realm as his "angel of death". He is created to serve as the deity's soul reaver, to destroy and consume the souls of all the vampires and their master, Kain. His vampiric blood-thirst has been replaced by a thirst for souls. Motivated to take revenge on his brethren for casting him away, Raziel accepted this form and set about on his personal vendetta of vengeance and redemption.
Looking for his clan, Raziel comes across the ruins of the city once populated by his clan, the Razielim. It is later implied that Kain had all of them killed. He is next led to the weakest and youngest of Kain's lieutenants, Melchiah
, who has horribly devolved into a primitive animal. Raziel kills him and on absorbing his soul, Raziel gains the ability to pass through small obstructions in the spectral realm.
Next, he has a fateful meeting with Kain at the ruins of the Pillars of Nosgoth. Raziel questions Kain's conscience which infuriates the vampire. Kain tries to strike him down with the Reaver
, which destroys the physical form of the blade and leaves Raziel weakened. Kain's cackle at the end of their confrontation indicates that he knew the blade would be shattered when he tried to strike Raziel. Slipping into the spectral realm, Raziel finds the wraith version of the Reaver. The blade quickly binds itself around Raziel's right arm, to become his symbiotic weapon.
Soon after, Raziel encounters the ghost of Ariel
at the Pillars; she then leads him to the locations of Kain's lieutenants.Raziel goes on to face Zephon
, and Dumah
as he continues his revenge against his former brethren. He gains the power to climb walls by killing Zephon, a resistance to water by absorbing Rahab's soul, and the power of telekinesis from Dumah. Mysteriously, Turel
could not be found.
Underneath the Sarafan stronghold, he comes across the tombs where he and his brothers were once buried. Enraged by the revelation that he was once a Sarafan priest, Raziel looks forward to making Kain pay for his betrayal. As he pursues Kain into the chronoplast
chamber, Raziel finds the vampire flipping switches in preparation for his escape. He stops Kain and questions his conscience in turning a Sarafan priest into a vampire. Kain in return tells him how the Sarafan crusaders were no different from the vampires. He goes on, hinting at their intertwining destinies, before escaping through a time portal. Raziel follows him in spite of the Elder God
's warning. As Raziel arrives on the other side of the portal, he is greeted unexpectedly by Moebius
, the Timestreamer.
Soul Reaver 2
Moebius welcomes Raziel to Nosgoth
's past. We find that Raziel has traveled almost 2000 years back in history, to the time when the Pillars are still uncorrupted. Moebius tries to recruit Raziel as Kain's assassin but he bluntly refuses to be anyone's pawn. Nonetheless, Moebius directs him towards the Pillars where Kain is hiding.
This hunt finally ends when he meets Kain at the Pillars. Fatalistic as ever, Kain convinces Raziel to give him one more chance to explain his actions. They bear witness to a crucial moment, as Ariel is murdered by dark forces bent on overthrowing the Circle. A young Kain is born to take her place as, Ariel's former love - Nuptraptor, descends into madness. This spreads to all the other Guardians – who are symbiotically bound, rendering Kain incapable of fulfilling his destiny as the Scion of Balance at the time of his very birth. Kain continues the tale and reiterates the events of Blood Omen
, how he was tricked into slaying King William and the ultimate choice at the end, which would shape his and Nosgoth's entire history. Kain is adamant that the Pillars belong to their makers - the vampires. He urges Raziel to discover his destiny by exploring the landscape further. To his own surprise, Raziel actually begins listening to Kain's advice and allows him to escape.
As he explores the ancient vampire structures around the Pillars, he meets the old vampire Vorador
. Cynical and reclusive, Vorador questions the wraith's motives and his origin. Raziel denies having anything to do with the Pillar's recent corruption and continues on his quest to learn more about his destiny. He comes across a room full of murals beneath the Pillars that tell the story of the war between the Ancients and the Hylden.
During his adventures, Raziel comes across various forges built specifically to enhance his wraith blade with different elemental powers. These prehistoric forges help Raziel in realizing the importance of his wraith blade.He finally returns to the Sarafan keep and confronts Kain, who is waiting for him near the tomb of Willam the Just
with the material Reaver in his hand. Continuing his reiteration of past events, he reveals how the Reaver
is the key to their dilemma. Two incarnations of the Reaver in the same place and time create a paradox, strong enough to divert the course of history. As he hands Raziel the blade, the wraith is overcome by it and unwillingly starts swinging the blade at Kain. According to Kain, history dictates that Raziel must kill him here, now. But exercising his free will, Raziel refuses to do so and leaves to set his own path. Irritated by the whole event, he walks away from Kain to find some answers about his destiny.
After travelling back and forth in time, Raziel finally meets Janos at his mountain refuge. He is told how the Reaver was forged to be wielded by the champion of the vampire race, and Janos believes Raziel is this champion. They are ambushed in the middle of their conversation by the Sarafan Inquistor Raziel and his brothers, who would later become Kain's trusted vampire lieutenants. Janos teleports Raziel away to safety and on his return, Raziel finds his former Sarafan self ripping out Janos's heart and making away with the Soul Reaver.
Filled with an overwhelming sense of self loathing, Raziel renounces the Sarafan order and decides to take up the mantle of the vampire hero. He raids the Sarafan stronghold and recovers the stolen material Reaver. Meanwhile, an enraged Vorador
breaks into the keep to kill the Circle of Nine for supporting the Sarafan Crusades. Taking advantage of the chaos caused by Vorador, Raziel goes on to slay the Sarafan brotherhood. As he leaves behind their corpses, he realizes the sweet irony of it all, as Kain would later resurrect them to be his lieutenants. Finally, he faces his human self to retrieve the Heart of Darkness
. The righteous Sarafan warrior priest insults Janos in response, and the wraith Raziel impales him with the Reaver, renouncing his former self and bringing his history to a full circle.
As he is standing over his human corpse, Raziel's wraith blade leaves him and coils itself around its corporeal twin. Having exhausted all possible enemies, the conjoined blades turn on their wielder – Raziel himself. At this very moment, a terrible revelation dawns on Raziel. The Reaver was never meant to be a soul devouring weapon. The ravenous entity trapped inside the blade was and always had been him. As Raziel's soul is hovering both inside and outside the blade, Kain intervenes and pulls the blade out. This act saves Raziel, but changes the course of history. Kain is flooded with new memories as he realizes they walked into a Hyldren trap. Too weak to sustain himself, Raziel slips into the spectral realm as Kain warns him that Janos must not be raised.
The story in Defiance
picks up where Soul Reaver 2 left off. Raziel has been trapped in the underworld for ages, afraid of the fate that awaits him in the physical world. But irritated by the Elder God's continued talk, he escapes the spectral realm in an act of defiance. As Raziel manifests himself in the physical realm, he finds out that five centuries have come to pass since the fateful meeting with his Sarafan self. This is the time when a young Kain was killed and resurrected as a vampire.
Still trying to raise Janos
, Raziel seeks out Vorador
in his mansion, who shows him the preserved body of the ancient vampire. He is told that the heart must still beat somewhere and Avernus Cathedral might hold clues to its location. During his journey, Raziel comes across many murals, depicting a duel between the Hylden and vampire heroes, and he begins to believe that he was actually meant to be the Hylden champion, not the vampire hero Janos said he was. While exploring the catacombs underneath Avernus Cathedral, Raziel finds his long lost brother Turel
. He was being worshiped as a god, under the name of Hash'ak'gik
and presented with blood offerings. Raziel defeats the beast and absorbs his soul, enhancing his power of telekinesis. While there ,he finds Mortanius
, now possessed by the Hylden. Mortanius informs him that he used the Heart of Darkness
to resurrect Kain before being destroyed by the Hylden possessing him.
On his way out of the cathedral, Raziel finds Kain who warns him about the consequence of resurrecting Janos Audron
. He sees Kain wielding the Reaver and interprets it as a threat to his life. Kain tries to reason with him and make Raziel realize the gravity of his decisions as the only creature with free will. But under influence of the Hylden, Raziel refuses to listen and engages him in combat. He defeats Kain and rips out his heart, before banishing him to the demon realm.
Raziel travels back to Vorador's mansion and resurrects Janos. Explaining all the events while he was dead, Raziel shows him the wraith blade he wields and tells him how the Reaver tried to imprison him. This makes Janos doubt his own interpretation of the ancient vampire prophecies and they go to the vampire citadel to resolve the situation. Inside the citadel, Raziel finds the spirit forge and the Elder God coiled around it. After defeating his tentacles, he meets the purified soul of Ariel. She tells him how every Balance guardian is summoned here for the final baptism of the Reaver blade. She also reveals that Raziel is destined to enter the physical Reaver and purify it of all corruption so Kain can fulfill his destiny as Scion of Balance. After releasing Ariel's soul and gaining the Spirit Reaver, a confused Raziel returns to Janos.
As a young Kain refuses the sacrifice, the bindings of the pillar fail.The Hylden are finally free and their first move is taking over Janos. As the possessed vampire tries to get away, Raziel stops him and defeats him in combat. But being a righteous soul, Raziel decides not to kill Janos.The possessed creature takes advantage of this and banishes Raziel back to the spectral realm and escapes. With no nearby corpses to inhabit, Raziel is trapped in the spectral realm as the Elder God ridicules his decisions. The Elder God summons Moebius to the citadel for a meeting but this is where it all goes wrong for the giant squid. Kain is somehow still alive and follows Moebius to the Citadel. A few moments later, when Moebius
is killed by Kain, Raziel sees his opportunity and impales the Timestreamer with the Spirit Reaver before devouring his soul. In his death, Moebius finally sees the horrible creature he served as he is released to the wheel of fate. Realizing that he must purify Kain's soul for him to see the Elder God, Raziel reanimates Moebius's corpse. Thinking it to be Moebius, Kain leaps forward and impales him with the Reaver. As Raziel completes his transformation, Kain is shocked and tries to pull the Reaver out. But Raziel refuses it and is absorbed by the sword.
In a final act of redemption, Raziel purifies the blade and frees Kain's soul of the corruption infecting him since his birth. He becomes Kain's right hand and his sword. Unlike the other victims of the Reaver, Raziel is not trapped as a tortured soul. His willing submission allows him to enter the blade peacefully, in essence giving his soul to the weapon. As Raziel fades away, the Elder God is revealed to Kain - who goes on to defeat the false god. Raziel's terrible sacrifice provides Kain with hope, for his and Nosgoth's future.
[Beginning of Soul Reaver]- I am Raziel, first-born of his lieutenants. I stood with Kain and my brethren at the dawn of the empire. I have served him a millennium. Over time, we became less human and more ...divine. Kain would enter the state of change and emerge with a new gift. Some years after the master, our evolution would follow. Until I had the honor of surpassing my lord. For my transgression, I earned a new kind of reward... agony. There was only one possible outcome - my eternal damnation. I, Raziel, was to suffer the fate of traitors and weaklings - to burn forever in the bowels of the Lake of the Dead.
[On meeting Janos in Soul Reaver 2]- Raziel
: I really am some kind of unholy vampire messiah.Janos
: Unholy? No... messiah, perhaps.Raziel
: I don't like that word. It smells of martyrdom.
[At the fateful meeting in the Avernus Cathedral]- Your pawn has reached the end of the board, Kain. And now my powers may even surpass yours. How ironic if the creature that you made should prove your own undoing. Now, we finish this.
[His Last Words in Defiance]- The Soul Reaver -- pure of all corruption -- this is what it is for. This is what I am for -- The two become one - both Soul Reavers - together - and the Scion of Balance is healed. And I -- am not your enemy - not your destroyer - I am, as before, your right hand. Your sword.