Melchiah in Soul Reaver

Vampire lieutenant Melchiah (in the background)
Vampire lieutenant Melchiah (in the background)

Melchiah first appeared in Soul Reaver. He was one of Kain's six vampire lieutenants, and therefore a member of the Council. He was the patriarch of the Melchahim clan.[1,2]

Melchiah was seen standing in the Sanctuary of the Clans at the start of Soul Reaver's opening FMV (Full Motion Video). He looked stocky and was bald. His shoulder cape was a golden yellow colour. Melchiah stood to the right of Kain's throne - in the closest position - with Rahab and Dumah to his right. There was a space - presumably for Raziel - opposite him, to the left of Kain's throne.

Raziel arrived at the the Sanctuary of the Clans, and presented his newly-grown wings to Kain and his fellow lieutenants. Melchiah did nothing to intervene when Kain ripped the bones from Raziel's wings, and ordered Raziel's execution. Melchiah travelled to the Abyss with Kain and his brethren, and witnessed Raziel being thrown in.

Raziel returned from the Abyss, seeking revenge on Kain and his lieutenant 'brothers' who had either stood by and done nothing, or had participated in Raziel's execution. He found that "centuries had apparently passed". Raziel travelled through his desolate, former stronghold, and into Melchiah's territory beyond (the Necropolis).[3,4]

The carved image of Melchiah in the Necropolis
The carved image of Melchiah in the Necropolis

In the Necropolis, Raziel saw an image of Melchiah carved into a wall. The image depicted Melchiah as he had looked at the time of Raziel's execution. Raziel reflected that - of Kain's six lieutenants - Melchiah "was made last, and therefore received the poorest portion of Kain's gift". Although Melchiah was immortal, "his soul could not sustain the flesh, which retained much of its previous human frailty". This weakness was apparently passed on to his vampire offspring, whose "fragile skins barely contained the underlying decay". To counter this, Melchiah and his clan flayed their victims and used the human skins to replace their own.[5,6]

The evolved vampire lieutenant Melchiah
The evolved vampire lieutenant Melchiah

Raziel found Melchiah in an underground chamber of the Necropolis. All of the lieutenants had evolved into monstrous forms since Raziel's execution. Melchiah's evolution had been cruel to him: he had turned into a huge mutated beast. He moved by dragging himself forward, using his powerful front limbs. It was possible to see the human shapes of his victims in his flesh. Melchiah admitted that he was revolted by what he had become.[7]

Raziel fought Melchiah. He found that his sibling's evolution had brought some benefits along with the shortcomings. Melchiah was very strong physically, and by accessing the Spectral Realm, he could phase through gates in the Material Realm to pursue Raziel. In the centre of the underground chamber there was a circular cage, with a vicious serrated wheel positioned above it. It was a giant meat grinder, presumably used to kill individuals (likely humans) en masse. Blood stained the floor in and around the cage.

The evolved vampire lieutenant Melchiah
The evolved vampire lieutenant Melchiah

Melchiah was not as agile as Raziel. Raziel lured him into two antechambers where switch-operated gates could be opened, then dropped onto Melchiah, piercing his flesh. Finally, Raziel got Melchiah to phase into the circular cage, then activated the grinder. Melchiah seemed to welcome his release as his hideous body was utterly destroyed. Raziel consumed Melchiah's unfettered soul, and gained the ability to phase through gates in the Spectral Realm. He expressed brief remorse about the circumstances of Melchiah's demise, despite the Elder God's praise. He had a need for vengeance, but the idea of fratricide was still repulsive to him.[8]

Raziel voiced his doubts again when he found the Tomb of the Sarafan. There he learned a shocking secret: Melchiah and all of Kain's lieutenants - including Raziel - had once been Sarafan warrior-priests. He was on a mission to kill those men who had been his brothers-in-arms, not only as vampires, but as humans too.[9]

Melchiah in Soul Reaver 2

The mural of Sarafan Melchiah
The mural of Sarafan Melchiah
Sarafan Melchiah
Sarafan Melchiah

In Soul Reaver 2, Raziel saw the mural commemorating the human Melchiah's martyrdom in the Sarafan Stronghold. Melchiah had been bald as a human, as well as being bald as a vampire.[10]

Raziel ventured further into the past, travelling back in time to meet Janos Audron, five centuries before the events of Blood Omen. He saw that Melchiah was one of five elite Sarafan who infiltrated Janos' Retreat, assisting in Janos' murder and the theft of the Reaver.[11]

Raziel followed the Sarafan to the Sarafan Stronghold to avenge Janos' death and reclaim the Heart of Darkness. He fought and killed Melchiah and Zephon in the open air courtyard, using the Reaver (which he had found in the stronghold). Melchiah had been armed with a polearm. His body was interred in the Tomb of the Sarafan, and there it remained until Kain's arrival, around a thousand years later.[12,13]

Further Observations

The Soul Reaver Game Manual (US version) stated that Melchiah was picky about his choice of victims. It said: Melchiah's vanity was such that he would search among the human slaves for the most stunning specimens. After feeding on them, he would skin them and don their flesh to cover his putrescence.'.[6]

As Melchiah wasn't seen close-up in the Soul Reaver opening FMV, it was difficult to make out some of the details of how he looked. A highly-detailed image of him (available on Boyd Lake's website external link) shows his neck and face were bloated, presumably from the underlying putrification of his flesh. An ugly network of stitches held his epidermis together.[14]

Referring to Melchiah's evolved form, the Soul Reaver Designer Diary said: 'His skin is made up of patches of skin from his victims including their tortured faces. A little inside information, the faces on the Skinner boss' body are composites of the [Crystal Dynamics external link] team members' faces.'[15]


  1. The Background Story, as given in the Soul Reaver Game Manual (UK and US versions)
  2. The Soul Reaver Game Manual (UK and US versions)
  3. [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..."
  4. [SR1] Raziel: "In the instant between my execution and resurrection, centuries had apparently passed..."
  5. [SR1] Raziel: My brother, Melchiah, was made last, and therefore received the poorest portion of Kain's gift. Although immortal, his soul could not sustain the flesh, which retained much of its previous human frailty. This weakness, it seemed, was passed on to his offspring. Their fragile skins barely contained the underlying decay.
  6. The Soul Reaver Game Manual (US version)
  7. [SR1] Melchiah to Raziel: "Do you think I feel no revulsion for this form? Do you believe for a moment that our Lord would risk his empire upon an upstart inheritance?"
  8. [SR1] The Elder God: "You have done well, Raziel."
    Raziel: "Am I reduced to this? A ghoul? A fratricide?"
    The Elder God (referring to bars that block Raziel's exit): "Elevated, Raziel, not reduced. Consuming Melchiah's soul has endowed you with a new gift. Insubstantial barriers such as these are no impediment to you in the Spectral Realm. Will yourself to pass through, and you shall."
  9. [SR1] Raziel (referring to the caskets in the Tomb of the Sarafan): "These crypts... defiled caskets of Sarafan saints... bearing my brothers' names... And my own...
    The irony of Kain's blasphemous act rushed in on me with the crushing force of revelation...
    Were my hands not as bloody as these? Worse, I had spilled the blood of my brothers - these very comrades whose tombs lay ravaged before me."
  10. [SR2] Raziel: "This chapel, I realised, was a memorial to my former Sarafan brethren, and myself, all of us martyred here, and then so cruelly profaned by Kain when he imposed his gift on our noble corpses."
  11. [SR2] Vorador to Raziel: "Janos Audron - the Reaver Guardian, the last of the Ancients, and my maker - was murdered by the Sarafan nearly five centuries ago."
  12. [SR2] Raziel: "I would pursue the Sarafan dogs to their loathsome fortress, and avenge Janos Audron's murder.
    Moebius would pay dearly for his treachery, and my Sarafan brethren would reap the horrors they had sown.
    I would retake the stolen Reaver, which was rightfully mine.
    And finally, when all these debts had been paid, I would reclaim Janos Audron's heart from their filthy, unworthy hands."
  13. [SR2] Raziel (referring to the Sarafan Dumah and Rahab): "For it was I who put these bastards in their tomb, thus providing the corpses for Kain to raise as his vampire sons a millennium from now."
  14. Boyd Lake's website external link
  15. The Soul Reaver Designer Diary

Like Dark Chronicle on Facebook:

Follow Dark Chronicle on Twitter: