Defiance: Lovecraft's Diary

A pre-release screenshot of Avernus Cathedral's altar

During Defiance's pre-release publicity, Eidos made a number of screenshots available through gamers' magazines and websites. One of these, appearing shortly before Defiance's US release, was a screenshot of Avernus Cathedral (see image, right).

Lucent, a member of the Eidos Forums - whose Map of Nosgoth can be found on this site - noticed a partial message hidden within the screenshot. Lucent shared his discovery with the rest of the forum external link. He had identified some of the symbols near the altar as Lovecraft's Diary, a font produced by Blambot Comic Fonts and Lettering external link.

Lucent summarized his findings graphically. Click on the thumbnail below for the full-size image of Lucent's translation or read a text summary of Lucent's translation.

Lucent's translation of the Avernus Cathedral altar inscription

Following the release of Defiance, it was possible to examine the Avernus altar in its entirety. A few other messages were also uncovered by players, although the longest text - located in the Spectral Underworld - is incredibly difficult to translate accurately. The visual effects of the Spectral Realm make it hard to make out the symbols, and the translation does not appear to be English (it's probably French). If you are interested in investigating this message further, a good starting point would be to look through these forum threads:

The simpler translations mentioned in these threads are illustrated on this page. The full Lovecraft's Diary alphabet, with its English equivalent, is shown below. Unlike Nosgoth's Blood Script - which was based on a real, historical alphabet - this one was made up, and designed to look 'alien'. There is no difference between lower and uppercase letters.

Lovecraft's Diary alphabet translation

The Altar Of Avernus Cathedral

This inscription appeared twice in Avernus Cathedral. It could be found near the altar, and also circling the Earth Reaver plinth (which Raziel used to create the platforms to the Dark Scripture). Some fans have theorized that the inscription is referring to is the Dark Scripture; it was a book and also the key that opened the portal to the Avernus catacombs. The catacombs held 'the ultimate knowledge': the secret blood god of Avernus (Hash'ak'gik/Turel) and the Hylden murals that depicted their champion.

The altar inscription says: The book is the key to the ultimate knowledge

The Avernus Cathedral altar inscription The Avernus Cathedral altar inscription translated: The book is the key to the ultimate knowledge

The Sarafan Stronghold's Entrance Gate

This inscription appeared on a couple of gateways within the Sarafan Stronghold. An example can be found at the very beginning of the game, when the player first takes control of Kain. The inscription's meaning isn't really a surprise, but it implies that the Sarafan understood this alphabet, or that the building had previously been a stronghold before becoming theirs. The Sarafan insignia appears frequently in the stronghold's masonry (and even moreso in Soul Reaver 2's version of the fortress). This makes the former seem most likely; there's no clear evidence of earlier inhabitants.

The gate inscription says: Stronghold

The Sarafan Stronghold's entrance gate The Sarafan Stronghold entrance gate inscription The Sarafan Stronghold entrance gate inscription translated: Stronghold

The Sarafan Stronghold's Prison Cells

This inscription appeared above each of the prison cells in the Sarafan Stronghold. Unlike the inscriptions translated above, this one is in French, not English.

The prison cell inscription says: Crime et chatiment (crime and punishment, in French)

A cell within the Sarafan Stronghold's prison The Sarafan Stronghold prison cell inscription The Sarafan Stronghold prison cell inscription translated: Crime et chatiment (crime and punishment, in French)

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