Malek the Paladin
Malek in Blood Omen
Malek the Paladin first appeared in Blood Omen. He was the Guardian of the Pillar of Conflict; one of the Circle of Nine. He was a fanatical Sarafan priest. He was also the Ward of the Circle of Nine, sworn to defend and protect them from their enemies.
Five hundred years before the events of Blood Omen, the Sarafan were powerful, and Malek led them to many victories. He was thought to be a ruthless and cold-blooded murderer; particularly by the vampires he hunted. His helmet was 'crowned with a plume of braided hair, torn from the scalps of his victims'.[1,2,3]
Unbeknownst to Malek, the success of the Vampire Purge would lead to his downfall. Vorador attacked the Circle of Nine for supporting the Sarafan's crusade. Malek did not get there in time to save them, and six Guardians perished before he arrived. He fought with Vorador, but the vampire left him defeated and shamed. Mortanius, the Guardian of the Pillar of Death, punished Malek on behalf of the Circle. He fused Malek's soul to his armour, depriving him of his body, humanity and all "pleasures of the flesh". Over the next five centuries, Malek's wrath continued to grow against Vorador, who had damned him to his pitiful fate.[1,3,4,5]
When Kain became a vampire in Blood Omen, the Sarafan order had almost disappeared. Malek was the last of the Sarafan sorcerer-priests. Kain met the disembodied Paladin when he infiltrated Nupraptor's Retreat, and although Nupraptor promptly dismissed Malek, Kain realized he was a formidable foe.[6,7]
Ariel told Kain the Circle would not fall until Malek was destroyed, so Kain travelled to Malek's Bastion to confront him properly. Unfortunately, Malek proved far too resilient for him - Kain could not inflict any permanent damage whatsoever - and Kain was forced to leave or be killed when Malek unleashed a devastating wall-of-energy attack.
Kain went to the Oracle of Nosgoth for advice. The old soothsayer (actually Moebius) told him about Malek's embarrassing past, blaming Malek's 'vanity' for his failing. Malek had not allowed another Circle member to fall since, or so the Oracle said. He neglected to mention Ariel and Nupraptor's deaths for some reason, presumably not counting murders committed within the Circle against the Paladin. Although Kain didn't know it yet, he was the new Guardian of Balance, and Ariel had been murdered by Mortanius (under the influence of the Dark Entity).
On the Oracle's advice, Kain visited Vorador to request his help against Malek. The older vampire was amused by Kain, and gave him his signet ring, allowing Kain to call on Vorador in a time of need.
Kain continued to Dark Eden and found Bane, DeJoule and Anarcrothe working together. Anarcrothe summoned Malek, and then vanished, leaving the other two behind. In response, Kain called upon Vorador. Suddenly Malek was faced by his old adversary. They exchanged words insultingly, and then they fought while Kain pursued Bane and DeJoule outside. Kain returned victorious and saw that Vorador had disappeared again, but not before laying the Paladin to rest once and for all. Kain collected Malek's helmet from the lifeless armour and took it back to the Pillar of Conflict.
Malek in Soul Reaver 2
In Soul Reaver 2, Raziel encountered Malek in the Sarafan Stronghold. After following the Sarafan who murdered Janos back from Janos' Retreat, Raziel was trapped in a room by Moebius and Malek. Malek was clearly subservient to the Time Streamer - he referred to him as Lord Moebius - and followed his commands.
Raziel saw that Malek's vanity had nothing to do with his failure to protect the Circle. Vorador arrived at the Stronghold while Raziel was being detained, and began his massacre. Malek heard the cries for help, but Moebius would not allow him to leave until Raziel took up the Reaver. It was Moebius' fault that Malek was unable to get there quickly enough to save them.
Malek in Soul Reaver and Defiance
Aside from these appearances, Malek had small mentions in Soul Reaver and Defiance. In Soul Reaver, Malek's name was carved in the Tomb of the Sarafan.
In Defiance, Kain had to return a sword and shield to the Malek statue in the Sarafan Stronghold's courtyard. He found it a distasteful task, but it was necessary. Pickier Legacy of Kain fans might assume the statue was made for the Sarafan by a sculptor who didn't really know their subject: Malek used a polearm; he's never been seen using a sword, or shield for that matter.[12,13]
Malek's strange deferral to Moebius in Soul Reaver 2 might be an indication that he, like Kain, remained ignorant of his Guardianship into adulthood. Perhaps no one ever told him, because he was more useful as an unquestioning servant of the Circle, than as a questioning 'equal', upsetting the status quo. The 'Miscellaneous Q&A' page of the Silicon Knights Blood Omen FAQ says: 'Originally "recruited" to protect the Circle, he came to embody the spirit of conflict, and became that pillar's "representative" in Nosgoth.'
We know from Janos' comments in Soul Reaver 2 that Malek could not become the Conflict Guardian; he had to have been born into the position as "the Pillars choose their guardians from birth". The theory of ignorance seems to bridge both scenarios.
A theory: Malek was always the Guardian of Conflict, but maybe he didn't gain the full responsibilities and knowledge of his role until a point in his life where he was already behaving like a Conflict Guardian. Some fans have said that as leader of the Sarafan, Malek must have known about his birthright: how else could he command the order? However, Raziel was apparently nothing special as a human, yet he reached the lofty rank of head 'Sarafan Inquisitor'. It seems equally possible for Malek to have attained his rank through his battle skills alone. Malek's magical abilities would not have instantly marked him as a Guardian either. Nosgoth was full of sorcerers of varying power.
At some point during the development of Blood Omen, Malek was going to be named 'Guillaume'.
- The 'Character Biographies' page of the Silicon Knights Blood Omen FAQ
- [SR2] Vorador: "Janos Audron - the Reaver Guardian, the last of the Ancients, and my maker - was murdered by the Sarafan nearly five centuries ago."
- [BO1] Kain (reading 'an ancient chronicle' in Moebius' Museum): "It was during these dark times infested with the plague of the undead, that the Circle brought the Sarafan to existence. Trained to be devoutly loyal to the Circle, and the perfect exterminators of the undead scourge, they were led to many victories by the righteous paladin, Malek."
- [BO1] Kain: "I pondered this as the decadent old fool prattled on about his past; a boorish account of how he defeated Malek of the Sarafan and took his vengeance upon the Circle of Nine for supporting the Sarafan’s holy war to exterminate us..."
Vorador: "After slaughtering six of the sheep I defeated their pathetic little shepherd - Malek."
- [BO1] Mortanius: For failing the Circle, Malek of the Sarafan, you are hereby damned! The pleasures of the flesh are no longer yours. You have but one purpose, damned one. You will serve us for eternity.
- [BO1] The Oracle of Nosgoth to Kain: "Malek - defender of the Nine and last of the Sarafan sorcerer-priests. His vanity led to the slaughter of the Circle at the hands of the vampire Vorador. For his failing, his spirit was fused to a hellish set of magical armor. He has allowed no member of the Circle to fall since."
- [BO1] Nupraptor: "So, Malek, have you come to fail the Circle once more? Leave, paladin! I do not need your protection."
- [BO1] Ariel to Kain: "But to reach a warrior, you must first breach his ward. Find Malek and destroy him. Only then will the Circle fall."
- [BO1] Vorador: "Good. Take this ring. If you ever need assistance it will summon me. Despite your youthful arrogance, you amuse me, Kain - it would be such a pity to lose you to the abyss."
- Blood Omen Dialogue: Dark Eden at Nosgothic Realm
- [SR2] Malek: "Lord Moebius, there is trouble within. The Circle is under attack -"
Moebius (referring to Raziel): "Hold fast, Malek. This one is the real danger to us."
- [DEF] Kain: "Malek's missing shield. I hated to restore his dignity, but I would need to return this to his monument before I could progress."
- [DEF] Kain: "Malek's sword belonged in his right hand. However distasteful this errand was, I would return it to its proper place."
- The 'Miscellaneous Q&A' page of the Silicon Knights Blood Omen FAQ
- [SR2] Janos: "The Pillars choose their guardians from birth, Raziel - and vampires are no longer born."
- The Soul Reaver 2 Dark Chronicle (Chapter 15 - The Death Of Janos Audron and Chapter 19 - Renunciation)
- The Blood Omen: Early Character Names page at The Lost Worlds