The Elder God (The Oracle of the Ancient Vampires)
The Elder God, who would later also be revealed as the god or Oracle of the Ancient Vampires, first appeared in Soul Reaver. It existed in both the the Spectral Realm and the Material Realm; its body inhabiting a massive area under the surface of Nosgoth. It was seen, at various times, under the Pillars of Nosgoth, under the Abyss (which was in the Lake of the Dead) and under the Vampire Citadel (which was in the Lake of Tears). However, despite its size, it could not normally been seen by people, including those who worshipped it.
The Elder God in Soul Reaver
In Soul Reaver, Raziel was thrown into the Abyss on Kain's orders. It was an execution: vampires' bodies were expected to dissolve entirely as the water of the Abyss ate away at their flesh like acid. But Raziel wasn't destroyed, and the Elder God was the being who claimed to have spared him from total dissolution.
The Elder God resided (at least partially) under the Abyss. It was a huge creature - so large that its actual size could not be determined - and it resembled a giant squid. The Elder fed on the souls of Nosgoth. With the growth of Kain's empire, the number of vampires had increased. These immortal vampires held on to their "essence of life", so there were fewer souls wandering the Spectral Realm, and this was depriving the Elder of sustenance.[2,3]
The Elder God did not specifically describe its hunger to Raziel, but it did describe its role in Nosgoth. The Elder God presided over the Wheel of Fate. It said the existence of the vampires was preventing souls fulfilling their true, fated roles, and the land was stagnating as a result. According to the Elder God, this stagnation - this lack of balance - was "the demise of Nosgoth".
The Elder God instructed Raziel, introducing him to his new role as an "Angel of Death", the Elder's assassin of the vampires. Raziel was only interested in revenge, so he followed the Elder's direction, largely without question. He was channeled into confrontations with his evolved brethren and Kain.
At the end of Soul Reaver the Elder God warned that it would be unable to influence Raziel further once he followed Kain through the Chronoplast's portal. Raziel did not expect to encounter the Elder again, but he was not that lucky.
The Elder God in Soul Reaver 2
When Raziel entered the Subterranean Pillars Chamber in Soul Reaver 2, the Elder God was waiting for him. It was coiled, growing around the Pillars where they descended into a watery cavern, underneath the subterranean platform. It justified its presence by claiming it was "eternally present - here and everywhere, now and always." The Elder warned Raziel against being deceived by Kain, or by the murals that decorated the chamber walls around him. Raziel's task remained the same: to take his revenge upon Kain by killing him.
Raziel was far less polite to the Elder when he met it in Soul Reaver 2. Raziel was no longer interested in the Elder God's plans for him; he wanted to learn about his role in Nosgoth's destiny for himself. His new distrust of the Elder was partly fuelled by learning that Moebius - whom Raziel knew to be a notorious and deceiful manipulator - was its servant. The Elder God described Moebius as a "good servant", one of many.[6,7,8]
Although the Elder God no longer offered Raziel prompts and advice from afar, Raziel returned to the Subterranean Pillars Chamber on several occasions throughout Soul Reaver 2. The Elder God's words became increasingly threatening, particularly after Raziel spared Kain's life within the Sarafan Stronghold. For his part, Raziel called the Elder "a cancer - a spooling parasite burrowed deep in the heart of this world".
After Janos Audron's death, Raziel encountered the Elder God one last time. The Elder addressed Raziel with 'ominous finality', saying Raziel had failed it. Raziel expressed his doubts that the Elder had any part in his rebirth as a devourer of souls; perhaps the Elder had just been in the right place when Raziel awoke at the bottom of the Abyss: a convenient, "durable and gullible tool" for the Elder to exploit.
Kain saved Raziel from the Reaver at the end of Soul Reaver 2, but Raziel was so weakened by the event that he slipped back into the Spectral Realm, unable to maintain his physical manifestation.
The Elder God (The Oracle of the Ancient Vampires) in Defiance
In Defiance, we saw that Raziel was detained in the Spectral Realm - apparently at the point of starvation - by the Elder God. Kneeling before the Elder in a spectral cavern, Raziel was still resolute in his Soul Reaver 2 opinion that the Elder was a parasite. However, the Elder identified the other reason for Raziel's stubborn refusal to submit: Raziel was afraid of returning to the Material Realm where he would surely encounter the Reaver again.
Bristling from the Elder's accusation of cowardice, and weighing up his options, Raziel made the choice to end the stalemate. Outwardly he submitted to the Elder God's direction again. The Elder gave Raziel a soul to devour, and had Raziel perform a few tasks to demonstrate his renewed loyalty.
Raziel entered a tall cavern, and he had to race up it as the Elder seemed to change its mind about letting Raziel go. The Elder God smashed walkways and vocally expressed its displeasure when Raziel escaped. The Elder God then tried to impede Raziel's progress into the Material Realm by causing all planar portals in Nosgoth to vanish. When Raziel found an alternate route into the Material Realm, he found that five hundred years had passed while he had been away. He was in the Blood Omen era.[13,14]
The Elder left Raziel alone for a while. Its next appearance in Defiance was in one of Kain's chapters. Kain - having collected all the fragments of the Balance Emblem - opened the sealed chamber in the heart of the Vampire Citadel. The chamber contained a shallow pool, and a mural showing the Ancient Vampires being expelled from the Wheel of Fate. Kain understood it enough to see that, for them, the Dark Gift "was clearly a curse, damning them to a kind of spiritual purgatory".
While he was looking at the mural, the Elder God's voice addressed him from the pool. Kain - having never met the Elder before - could not identify this. The Elder claimed to be "the Oracle of [Kain's] ancestors", and said there was no need for Kain to speak as it already knew Kain's mind: Kain wanted to know the whereabouts of Raziel. The Elder caused images to appear on the pool's surface that illustrated Raziel's progress. Kain learned that Raziel was five centuries ahead of him in time, and trying to find the Heart of Darkness. Kain feared the consequences if Raziel succeeded, but he didn't know where it was. We can probably assume that the Elder God did know; it turned the pool into a time portal for Kain, allowing him to cross those five centuries, and meet Raziel at Avernus Cathedral, where they would fight.[15,16]
Leading up to their battle, Raziel had seen the same 'Wheel of Fate' mural inside the Earth Forge. He took more from it than Kain had, realizing at last what the Ancient Vampires had worshipped. They had revered the Wheel of Fate, and their god was therefore the Elder God. Once the Blood Curse had made them immortal, the Elder had abandoned them, driving them to despair, madness and mass suicide. Raziel reflected on the discovery that this "wisest, strongest, most noble race" had been "gulled by the voice of that old parasite". Raziel certainly didn't think the Elder was a god, whatever it was.
In the Avernus Catacombs, Raziel learned more. The Ancient Vampires had started the war with the Hylden as the Hylden: "opposed the Vampires' god, and refused to submit to the Wheel of Fate". The Elder God probably requested the Vampires' action against the Hylden. Raziel also came to the conclusion that he was likely the Adversary (Hylden) Hero, and the Elder God broke its silence to reinforce that idea. It wanted to give Raziel an extra push to destroy Kain, and it didn't hurt for Raziel to think they were destined to fight to the death.[18,19,20]
Kain and Raziel fought, and it seemed that Raziel killed Kain when he took the Heart of Darkness from him. Raziel resurrected Janos Audron and Janos teleported the both of them to the Vampire Citadel. There, he elaborated a bit on the history Raziel had already uncovered, and the beliefs of the Ancient Vampires. Janos directed Raziel to the Spirit Forge. The Elder was pleased that Raziel had destroyed Kain, and made it difficult for Raziel to activate the forge: it dragged the altar deeper and deeper into the ground, and knotted its tentacles over the aperture. Despite the interference, Raziel eventually managed to imbue the wraith-blade with Spirit.[21,22]
Raziel returned to Janos, and was forced to fight the Ancient Vampire when Janos became possessed by the Hylden Lord. Raziel initially defeated the Hylden Lord, but he could not bring himself to destroy Janos, and the Hylden was able to consolidate his power for a final counter-attack. Raziel's physical form was obliterated, and he found himself back in the Spirit Forge, in the Spectral Realm with the Elder God. Once again, he was trapped, with no way of leaving the Elder's presence or re-entering the Material Realm. The Elder laughed off Raziel's attempts to attack it with the Spirit-imbued wraith-blade: it could not touch the Elder. The Elder God was satisfied that there was "nothing more for [Raziel] to do", and intended that Raziel would spend eternity imprisoned with it in the Underworld. The Elder then summoned Moebius to the Spirit Forge, the place of their first meeting.[23,24]
Moebius responded to the summons, and was talking to the (invisible) Elder God when Kain arrived at the Spirit Forge. Kain had actually survived the battle with Raziel, and he had felt compelled to return to the Vampire Citadel. Apparently neither Moebius nor the Elder God had foreseen this occurring. Kain impaled Moebius on the Reaver, killing him. As Moebius died, he told Kain: "soon, all pain will fade, and my master will bring me life once more". The Elder God had already resurrected Moebius once: as this was the Blood Omen era, the fledgling vampire Kain had beheaded him a short while before. Moebius hoped that the Elder would restore him to life a second time, and as a ghost in the Spectral Realm (still unable to see the Elder) he started to make that request of his god. However, he had not counted on Raziel being there.[25,26]
Raziel mimicked Kain's earlier action, and impaled Moebius' ghost/soul on the Spirit-imbued wraith-blade. This "purified his sight", allowing a horrified Moebius to see the Elder God's true form for the first time. Raziel then devoured Moebius' soul, returning its energy to the Wheel of Fate. The Elder God described the action as "petty" and "irrelevant"; "Moebius was a good servant, but he was of no further use". However, Raziel started to understand that he was not quite as powerless as the Elder claimed. Kain had survived, and although there had never been any hope of battling the "unseen" Elder God, the Spirit Reaver had allowed Moebius to see his master for what it truly was. If Kain could see the Elder too, and was armed with the Soul Reaver, he would be able to fight it. This realisation prompted Raziel to sacrifice himself to the Reaver.
Raziel re-entered the Material Realm, using Moebius' corpse as a host. Kain ran 'Moebius' through with the Reaver before realizing his mistake, but Raziel stopped him from withdrawing the blade. As Raziel was being absorbed by the Reaver, he placed his hand on Kain's chest, allowing the Spirit-imbued wraith-blade to disperse into Kain. This healed him of the spiritual corruption he had had since birth, and revealed the Elder God to him.
Raziel had called the Elder God: "the true enemy". After a brief battle - where it was seen that the newly-created Soul Reaver was an effective weapon against the Elder's tentacles - Kain left the Spirit Forge before the enraged and threatening Elder God could bury him in its rubble. In the Vampire Citadel's council chamber, Kain paused to look across Nosgoth, towards the ruined Pillars. He reflected that "the strings of the puppets had become visible, and the hands of the prime mover exposed".[25,27,28]
It could have been inferred from Defiance that the Elder God was responsible for initiating the human revolt against the Ancient Vampires, which was led by a young Moebius and Mortanius. It depended upon when the Elder started talking to Moebius, but as their place of first meeting was the Vampire Citadel, it was likely Moebius was still under the Vampires' tutelage when it singled him out as a prospective servant. This theory was confirmed by the first Defiance Q&A page at The Lost Worlds.[29,24,30]
The huge statue which Raziel climbed up or swam past in the Subterranean Ruins was 'a symbolic representation of the Elder God fashioned by an ancient, primitive cult'.
- [SR1] The Elder God: "You did not survive the Abyss, Raziel. I have only spared you from total dissolution."
- The Background Story, as given in the Soul Reaver Game Manual (UK and US versions)
- [SR1] The Elder God: "The birth of one of Kain's abominations traps the essence of life. It is this soul that animates the corpse you 'lived' in. And that Raziel, is the demise of Nosgoth. There is no balance. The souls of the dead remain trapped. I can not spin them in the Wheel of Fate. They can not complete their destinies."
- [SR1] The Elder God to Raziel: "Redeem yourself. Or if you prefer, avenge yourself. Settle your dispute with Kain. Destroy him and your brethren. Free their souls and let the Wheel of Fate churn again. Use your hatred to reave their souls... I can make it possible. Become my Soul Reaver, my Angel of Death..."
- [SR1] The Elder God (referring to the Chronoplast's portal): "Be warned, Raziel - once you cross this threshold, you are beyond my influence..."
- The Soul Reaver 2 Dark Chronicle (Chapter 5 - The Elder God)
- [SR2] Raziel to Moebius: "You'll forgive me if I don't naively devour every scrap of information you toss me. You have a reputation for deceit."
- [SR2] Moebius: "We serve the same God, Raziel."
- The Soul Reaver 2 Dark Chronicle (Chapter 12 - Raziel Defies The Elder)
- The Soul Reaver 2 Dark Chronicle (Chapter 16 - The Final Transgression)
- [SR2] Raziel: "But Kain's warning was lost as I slipped into the spirit realm, too weak to maintain my physical form..."
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - Raziel In The Underworld)
- [DEF] Raziel: "Clearly my escape had not been anticipated, or my benevolent master would not have expended such efforts to prevent me from going. And if my departure displeased him, then that was a victory, however small, for me."
- [DEF] The Elder God: "Did you think to receive the same favors after your rebellion as before? No Raziel. I have no need for you to enter the physical world, so no conduit will be granted. You serve me adequately as a wraith, and a wraith you will remain."
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - The Oracle Of The Ancient Vampires)
- [DEF] Kain: "Now - you will listen to me. The Heart of Darkness must remain undiscovered. Great harm will come of its use."
Raziel: "You don't know where it is, do you?"
Kain: "No - "
Raziel: "You never looked for it."
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - Mural: The Wheel of Fate)
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - History Is Written By The Victors)
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - The Hylden Messiah)
- [DEF] The Elder God: "So, Raziel... your true nature is finally revealed. You were never the Vampires' savior - it is to the Hylden race you belong. And when Kain realizes this, what do you think he will do?..."
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - Return To The Vampire Citadel)
- [DEF] The Elder God to Raziel: "You have finally fulfilled your purpose. I am pleased."
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - The Triumph Of The Hylden Lord)
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - No Escape)
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - Vengeance And Sacrifice)
- [DEF] Kain: "I felt strongly drawn - compelled, even - not to linger here, but to go to the Vampire Citadel, at once."
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - The Fall Of The Ancient God)
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - Epilogue)
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - Mural: The Human Guardians Revolt)
- The first Defiance Q&A page at The Lost Worlds
- Chris@Crystal's Greatest Hits at the Eidos Forums