Vae Victus (Vae Victis)
Vae Victus was Kain's battle cry in Blood Omen. He used it often when he performed swing combos with his weapons: when he was inflicting the maximum damage on his opponents. He explained its meaning after his assassination, while he was in the Underworld: 'Suffering to the conquered'.
Silicon Knights (the creators of Blood Omen) admitted that the phrase was actually mispronounced. Also, it appears that Vae Victis is a more common spelling.
Kain occasionally said 'Vae Victis' in Defiance, when he fed the Reaver during battle. However, it was Raziel who spoke the words as if he really meant them, giving them an entirely new resonance. In Avernus Cathedral, Raziel ripped the Heart of Darkness from Kain's body. With intentional, bitter irony he used Kain's favourite phrase against him, telling Kain "Vae Victis - 'Woe to the conquered' - I have found the Heart of Darkness. And you - go to oblivion."
'Vae Victus/Vae Victis' is most commonly translated as 'Woe to the Conquered', as Raziel said. It seems to be attributed to a Celt leader, Brennus, who threatened Rome with his army around 390BC. The Romans offered to pay the Celts a sum of gold if they would leave, and the Celts accepted. While the gold was being measured, some Roman officials accused the Celts of using unfair weights to cheat, and take more gold than had been agreed. Apparently, the Celt leader then added his sword to the scales - saying 'Vae Victis' - reminding them that they had been beaten and couldn't complain. The Romans had no choice but to add enough gold to balance the Celts' weights and the extra weight of the sword.
Considering how often Kain (over)used the phrase in Blood Omen, it was a noticeable omission from Blood Omen 2. Variations of the phrase were recorded - presumably trying to strike a balance between pronounciation accuracy, and what actually sounded good - but they weren't used in the released game.
- [BO1] Kain: "Vae Victus - suffering to the conquered. Ironic now I was the one suffering. Not anything as pedestrian as physical pain, rather the cruel jab of impotent anger - the hunger for revenge. I didn't care if I was in Heaven or Hell. All I wanted was to kill my assassins..."
- The 'Miscellaneous Q&A' page of the Silicon Knights Blood Omen FAQ
- The Defiance Script (Dialogue) (Dark Chronicle - The Heart Of Darkness)
- The Gallic Sack of Rome page at www.unrv.com
- The Blood Omen 2: Miscellaneous Deleted Dialogue page at The Lost Worlds