Janos Audron

Janos Audron in Blood Omen

The Heart of Darkness
The Heart of Darkness

Janos Audron didn't appear in Blood Omen, but he was mentioned.

In Blood Omen, Kain was a fledgling vampire. He relied heavily on the Heart of Darkness Battle Artefacts. Kain collected many hearts, each imbued with the gift attributed to the original, legendary relic: they could restore his vampiric unlife (basically, they functioned as 'extra life' items in that game). The original Heart of Darkness was said to have been ripped from the body of Janos Audron, the "greatest vampire to have ever existed". Later, as Kain reached the village of Uschtenheim, he commented that Janos had hunted its people mercilessly until his execution. Janos was said to have been born in Uschtenheim.[1,2]

Janos Audron in Soul Reaver 2

The Sarafan Stronghold's stained glass window depicting the murder of Janos
The Sarafan Stronghold's stained glass window depicting the murder of Janos

In Soul Reaver 2, Raziel pursued Kain into Nosgoth's past. He ended up in the Sarafan Stronghold thirty years before the events of Blood Omen.

Although Janos was demonized in the stained glass of the stronghold - the fortress of the order that had killed him centuries before - Raziel wondered if he "could truly have been as monstrous" as he was depicted. Raziel was aware of the folklore surrounding Janos: that "he lived high in the cliffs of Nosgoth's northern mountains, and preyed mercilessly on the defenseless villagers below." He also knew of Janos' demise at the hands of the Sarafan; how they "tore his throbbing heart from his still-living body", and guarded the relic - which came to be called 'The Heart of Darkness' - from their vampire enemies who would seek its restorative power.[3,4]

Raziel explored Nosgoth's ancient sites, finding that the Soul Reaver was the key to open doors sealed for centuries. Inside the Subterranean Pillars Chamber and the Dark Forge there were murals that depicted a blue-skinned winged race, who bore some resemblance to Raziel.[5]

Meeting Vorador outside the Dark Forge, Raziel learned that Janos was the last of the winged race depicted in the ancient murals. Also, Vorador revealed that Janos, his maker, had been the guardian of the Reaver. The bloodline of the Ancients had "trickled away", until only Janos remained, "sustained solely by obligation and his unfaltering faith in the old prophesies". Raziel had noticed the similarity between his appearance and that of the winged race. He was convinced that Janos alone could explain his role in Nosgoth, now that he had become disillusioned and unsatisfied with the prompts he was receiving from Moebius and the Elder God. But to reach Janos, Raziel had to journey even further back into history; Vorador said Janos had been killed by the Sarafan nearly five centuries earlier, and they stole the Reaver around the same time.[5,6]

Raziel coerced Moebius into operating a Time Streaming Device for him, to "see the world in a simpler time - before the Sarafan began their crusade". Moebius sent Raziel to the future instead of the past. The Time Guardian's deceit only strengthened Raziel's conviction. He was sure that finding Janos really was the right thing to do. Kain confirmed Janos' importance when he and Raziel met outside the ruins of Janos' Retreat.[7,8,9]

Raziel eventually found his own way back to the era he sought: the era of the Sarafan crusade against the vampires, approximately five hundred years before the events of Blood Omen. The Time Streaming Device he used had been suspiciously set, and although he was wary of Moebius' possible involvement and further deception, he didn't fully consider the implications.[6,10]

Janos discusses Raziel's destiny with him
Janos discusses Raziel's destiny with him

Raziel entered Janos' Retreat, located in the canyons north of Uschtenheim. He used his unique powers to make a path for himself up to the vampire's library-chamber. There he found a striking winged individual, very different from the demonic creature legend had taught him to expect. Janos was 'darkly beautiful', and radiated 'a sense of priestly detachment, and long-suffering patience'. He was blue-skinned, with short black hair and angelic black-feathered wings. He had yellow/amber-coloured eyes and his hands were tridactyl and taloned.[11]

Janos knew Raziel by sight (although he was surprised to see what a mess Raziel was), and had awaited his arrival for thousands of years. They briefly discussed the history of the vampires and their relation to the Pillars of Nosgoth. Janos explained how he was called to be the protector of the Reaver, the tenth Guardian. While the rest of his race had died out, he alone remained, sustained by his duty. He presented the Reaver to Raziel, but - overwhelmed with a feeling of dread in the blade's presence - Raziel refused to take it.[11]

They were interrupted by the arrival of a party of Sarafan. The vampire-hunting warriors had followed Raziel's path through Janos' Retreat, and Janos could no longer elude them. More concerned for Raziel's safety than his own, Janos teleported Raziel into the adjacent Fire Forge. Raziel could do nothing to aid Janos against the Sarafan until he imbued his wraith-blade with fire.[11]

Raziel returned to Janos' chamber too late to prevent the inevitable. The head Sarafan Inquisitor hacked open Janos' chest and pulled out his still-beating heart. The Inquisitor's second-in-command held Moebius' Staff. They were using it to immobilize Janos and leave him at their mercy. Raziel recognized with horror that Janos' murderer was none other than his former, human self: the Sarafan Raziel. The party of Sarafan fled with the heart and the Reaver as Janos began to die, his retreat collapsing around them.[12]

Raziel moved to where Janos was laying, wracked with grief, guilt and self-loathing. Compassionate to the last, Janos did not blame Raziel, he only urged him to reclaim to Reaver and fulfill his role as the saviour of Nosgoth. Raziel left the retreat intent on avenging Janos' murder by killing his assassins. Raziel planned to take back the Reaver and Janos' heart. He would then use the heart's legendary power to restore Janos' life. Raziel followed the Sarafan back to the Sarafan Stronghold. He managed to kill the men, and reclaim the Reaver, but the heart was nowhere to be found.[12]

Raziel was not the only one who sought vengeance for Janos' assassination. Vorador had entered the Stronghold around the same time as Raziel, although their paths did not cross, and their targets were different. Vorador killed six of the Circle of Nine, but Moebius - the individual that orchestrated Janos' murder - escaped his wrath. Officially Vorador's motivation was wanting to punish the Circle for supporting the Sarafan's Vampire Purge; Kain said that in Blood Omen. However, the timing of Vorador's attack was surely too perfect to be a coincidence. It seems almost certain that Janos' death triggered Vorador's action.[13,14]

Janos Audron in Blood Omen 2

Janos devolved into a beastly form as his body was drained to feed the Mass
Janos devolved into a beastly form as his body was drained to feed the Mass
Janos, restored to his normal form after the destruction of the Mass
Janos, restored to his normal form after the destruction of the Mass

In Blood Omen 2 it appeared that Raziel had managed to carry out his pledge to restore Janos. If not, someone else had. The younger Kain encountered a large, demonic-looking creature trapped within the Device. The Beast was being drained of its blood - and therefore its life energy - in order to feed the Mass, the living heart of the Device. It longed to escape its prison, and told Kain what measures were necessary to destroy the Device. Kain returned later with the blood of the Builder in his veins, and descended into the Device. He poisoned the Mass, killing it, and thus rendered the Device useless. He was leaving the ruined machine when he passed the Beast again. However, the creature was much changed, and Kain did not immediately recognize the winged vampire that stood before him. Janos identified himself through Kain's knowledge of his legend.[15,16]

Janos spoke of the Hylden race, and the Sarafan Lord's intention to lead them back into Nosgoth through a magical gate. Kain and Janos then returned to Sanctuary. Vorador was understandably shocked to see his maker alive, nine hundred years after his murder. He allowed Janos to share his knowledge of the Hylden City, and Kain acted on the plans they made. Janos remained with Vorador, arriving at the Hylden City only after Kain had deactivated its magical shield.[16,17]

Kain finally faced the Sarafan Lord in battle. He dropped the Nexus Stone into the Hylden Gate, and it began to close. The fight continued, and Kain started to get the upper hand. However, he still couldn't regain possession of the Soul Reaver. Janos arrived to confront the Sarafan Lord. He could not contain his hatred for the Lord and his race - the mortal enemies of his own kind for aeons, the cause of their blood-thirst, and the ones who had held him captive for centuries. He flew at the Sarafan Lord, but still weakened by his long imprisonment, he was easily defeated. Lifting Janos by the throat, the Sarafan Lord threw him down into the closing gate, sealing him in the Demon Realm (the dimension the Hylden had been banished to so long before). Janos was now trapped in a hell of his own people's making, but his intervention allowed Kain to seize the Soul Reaver and destroy the Sarafan Lord. There are currently no clues to Janos' fate after this event, we will have to wait for a future game to tell us.[18]

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  1. [BO1] Kain (referring to the first Heart of Darkness battle artefact): "Reputed to have been ripped from the chest of the greatest vampire to have ever existed, Janos Audron, the Heart of Darkness restores vampiric unlife. Life is precious, Janos discovered - as it was torn throbbing and bleeding from his own body."
  2. [BO1] Kain: "In my travels, I learned much about the legend of Janos Audron. Here, in this quaint pastoral village of Uschtenheim, that dark enemy was born. Janos preyed upon its peasants until he was finally hunted down and executed."
  3. [SR2] Kain to Raziel: "Thirty years hence, I am presented with a dilemma - let's call it a two-sided coin.
    If the coin falls one way, I sacrifice myself and thus restore the Pillars."
  4. The Soul Reaver 2 Dark Chronicle (Chapter 3 - The Heart Of Darkness)
  5. [SR2] Raziel (referring to the door that led to the Subterranean Pillars Chamber) "From the look of it, this door had been sealed for centuries. I began to realise it was no mere coincidence that I found myself standing here beneath this winged figure with blue skin and cloven hands so like my own, and bearing this unique key."
  6. The Soul Reaver 2 Dark Chronicle (Chapter 6 - The Vampire Vorador)
  7. [SR2] Raziel to Moebius (referring to the Time Streaming Device): "This era is of no further use to me. You will operate this device to provide me passage. I want to see the world in a simpler time - before the Sarafan began their crusade."
  8. [SR2] Raziel: "Far from channelling me into Nosgoth's past, Moebius had propelled me over a century into its ghastly future.
    The intent behind this little detour was unmistakable.
    Having failed to make me his obedient assassin, Moebius intended to keep me ignorant of my true destiny, which clearly lay in Nosgoth's past. While his deception only reinforced my purpose, Moebius had effectively stranded me here."
  9. [SR2] Kain to Raziel: "Janos is indeed the key to your destiny, but you'll need to find your own way back into Nosgoth's past."
  10. [SR2] Raziel: "Beyond all hope, and against all probability, it seemed that the device had unerringly delivered me to the era I sought. For these were Sarafan banners, and these vampires apparently the victims of their crusade.
    The coincidence seemed too convenient to naively ascribe to fate, but whether my opportune arrival had been orchestrated by Moebius or some other influence, I didn't know. If Janos Audron still lived, I would find him.
    I was wary of further deception and resolved to tread carefully."
  11. The Soul Reaver 2 Dark Chronicle (Chapter 14 - The Tenth Guardian)
  12. The Soul Reaver 2 Dark Chronicle (Chapter 15 - The Death of Janos Audron)
  13. The 'Character Biographies' page of the Silicon Knights Blood Omen FAQ
  14. Warp's answers from Amy external link at the Eidos Forums
  15. The Blood Omen 2 Script (Dialogue) (Chapter 7 - The Canyons - Wild Places: The Beast)
  16. The Blood Omen 2 Script (Dialogue) (Chapter 9 - The Device - Into The Depths: Return To the Device)
  17. The Blood Omen 2 Script (Dialogue) (Chapter 9 - The Device - Into The Depths: The Restoration of the Beast)
  18. The Blood Omen 2 Script (Dialogue) (Chapter 9 - The Device - Into The Depths: Sanctuary)
  19. The Blood Omen 2 Script (Dialogue) (Chapter 11 - The Hylden City - The Living End: The Sarafan Lord)

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