The Silenced Cathedral
The Silenced Cathedral was located in eastern Nosgoth. It could be seen, in the distance, in Soul Reaver's opening FMV (Full Motion Video).
The cathedral was Zephon's keep in Soul Reaver; inhabited by Zephon himself, his descendants - the Zephonim - and a number of Vampire Worshippers. Impressively, a couple of Vampire Hunters had broken in too (although one was dead, just inside Zephon's chamber).
The cathedral had once been a place of worship for humans, although - as with the public-facing parts of Avernus Cathedral - there's little evidence of what, exactly, they were worshipping there. The cathedral was once "a testament to mankind's defiance of Kain's empire". Conceived by its human architects as "a holy weapon against the vampire menace", its pipes were "once tuned to blast a deadly hymn". Vampires in Soul Reaver were vulnerable to sound.
In what was likely a pre-emptive attack against this threat, Zephon and his clan killed the "human guardians" of the cathedral. They took the cathedral as a fortress for themselves, and ensured it remained silent. This is where the name 'the Silenced Cathedral' came from. It isn't actually used in-game, but appears Prima's Official Soul Reaver Strategy Guide and other sources.[1,2,3]
The Elder God directed Raziel to the Silenced Cathedral after his encounter with Kain in the Sanctuary of the Clans. The outer door of the cathedral was sealed, and could only be opened with the Soul Reaver. A moat surrounded the building, where it was not already protected by rock cliffs.
Getting in the front door was only the first step in infiltrating the cathedral. A descending, spiralling corridor led to an open-air courtyard area inside. The courtyard contained several buildings - roughly cylindrical and different heights - with shallow, domed roofs. Raziel had to jump between these to reach the proper entrance to the cathedral's interior, high above the ground. The position of this doorway presumably wasn't a problem for the Zephonim, as they could scale walls.
Once inside the cathedral, Raziel had to negotiate puzzles that generally fixed gaps in its pipes (some of the cathedral's many block puzzles served this purpose) or opened air vents. The updraft of large vents provided enough lift to carry Raziel up the building, if he held his tattered wings outstretched. There was one puzzle where sound was important: Raziel shattered a glass wall with the vibrations from two bells.
The lower levels of the cathedral were fairly clean, but the upper levels showed more evidence of Zephonim occupation. The spider-like vampires had turned the upper cathedral into a nest of sorts, covering the walls and pipes with webbing. Although Raziel had seen humans cocooned in thread earlier, the upper levels had many more. Amongst them, some appeared to be still alive, hanging from pipes and ceilings, wrapped from head to toe in thread.
Zephon's chamber was the top of the Silenced Cathedral. His lower body was a bulging egg-sac. He had long, thin forelimbs and a crested skull. Zephon also had additional limbs hanging from the ceiling of the chamber; he claimed the cathedral had become his body, and it looked like he had grown into it somehow. He called it a "cocoon", but Raziel retorted that the cathedral was Zephon's "crevice in which to cower, only scuttling from the shadows to devour a victim already ensnared in [Zephon's] cowardly trap."
Raziel killed Zephon, and left the Silenced Cathedral. In the released version of Soul Reaver he had no reason to return (although one of the Eldritch Energy Power-Ups could be found there once Raziel gained the Telekinetic Force Projectile ability).
The Zephonim conquest of the cathedral likely happened shortly after Raziel was thrown into the Abyss. Raziel knew the original purpose of the cathedral, as intended by the humans, but it's unclear if he knew of the Zephonim's actions before being informed by the Elder God. Assuming he and the rest of the Council gained that intelligence before his execution, it seems unlikely they would have left the cathedral alone for long.[1,2]
Vulnerability to sound is an unusual weakness for vampires in popular culture. However, vulnerability to religious symbols is a common theme. Perhaps the sound from the cathedral's pipes - the "deadly hymn" - was only deadly because it was a hymn? This doesn't seem likely, however. The Zephonim had no trouble residing inside the cathedral. In Blood Omen, Kain explored Avernus Cathedral with no ill effects. Religion was a bit of a hazy subject in the games, except for the defined faiths centred around the Elder God, Hash'ak'gik and Kain himself (in his Soul Reaver empire). Religious iconography appeared harmless to Nosgothic vampires.[2,4]
It seems that sound generally - at just the right frequency - was harmful. The Sound Glyph could be found in the Silenced Cathedral. It could temporarily stun vampires. Also, in one room, Raziel could kill two Zephonim simply by lifting the lids from three of the cathedral's pipes; the combination of the three sounds was lethal to them. This illustrated, on a small scale, just how devestating a weapon the cathedral could have been, had the humans managed to use it.
Soul Reaver changed quite drastically during its development, and several aspects of the storyline were eventually omitted (Legacy of Kain: The Lost Worlds is the place to visit if you want to know more about this). Evidence suggests that in the unused, original conclusion for Soul Reaver, Raziel would have returned to the Silenced Cathedral - having killed Kain - and opened its sounding pipes to purge Nosgoth of all vampires. The released game had a cliffhanger ending instead, which permitted a sequel.[6,5]
Blood Omen 2 featured another weapon designed to kill all vampires in Nosgoth. The Silenced Cathedral was built by humans and would have left humans unharmed, but the Device - an invention of the Hylden - would have destroyed all living creatures except for their race.
- [SR1] The Elder God to Raziel: "Your brother Zephon's keep lies far to the east, beyond the ruins that greeted your first exit from the Underworld.
He and his brood have cocooned themselves in a derelict cathedral, having murdered its human guardians."
- Soul Reaver Dialogue: Silenced Cathedral at Nosgothic Realm
- Soul Reaver: Prima's Official Strategy Guide (ISBN 0761517960)
- [SR1] Raziel: "Kain is deified. The clans tell tales of Him. Few know the truth. He was mortal once, as were we all."
- The Soul Reaver: Opening the Sounding Pipes page at The Lost Worlds
- The Soul Reaver: The Pinnacle of The Silenced Cathedral page at The Lost Worlds
- [BO2] The Builder to Kain (referring to the Mass): "The Device was to channel the mental energy of this creature, and direct it onto Nosgoth. It would attune the creature's mind to kill all living creatures except for my race."