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This is the moment when Kain realized who he is, and facing his own responsibility for Nosgoth.
The background represents the vision of the corrupted and healed land he had to chose between.
He made his decision by pure anger as he found himself used and betrayed, being made into the ignition of a genocidal war against his own kind, but did he ever had the chance to choose? "Free will is an illusion" as he said, and the further events proven he made the right decision, but he really had no other options to choose.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Story/character related rambling for Legacy of Kain fans
Because I meant to clear Kain's actions from the misunderstanding he's judged by as the Soul Reaver game shows him as a jealous, egoist disease on his world, and he's still being valued according to what's said about him in Soul Reaver, despite of other games tried to give his reputation back.
When he was murdered, and awakened as a vampire, he thought he was revived to take revenge on his assasins.
Vampiric life was a suffer for him until he accomodated to his new needs, and was searching for release only. He realized soon his destiny is far more than this.
"Keep your distance or Ill send you back to Hell, spirit! "
"There is nothing left of me to fear, vampire. I am only a shadow of my former self . . . Ariel - the Balance of the Circle of Nine. Even so, I can provide the answers you seek. "
"I seek only a cure. "
"There is no cure for death. Only release. You must destroy the sorcery that is now poisoning Nosgoth. Only then will you realize peace.
The Nine of the Protectors of Hope were sworn to use their powers to preserve our world. Now these pillars have been corrupted by a traitor.
My murder at the hands of this beast drove my love Nupraptor mad. Now he spreads misery and pain among the Circle, crumbling the very foundation of Nosgoth. You must restore balance. You must right the Pillars of Nosgoth. "
"I care not for the fate of this world. "
"Then for yourself Kain . . . "
"You betrayed us Mortanius! You had Kain killed and turned him into a monster! You set him upon us! "
"It had to be. Nupraptors insanity poisoned all of our minds. The Circle had failed in its sworn duties. It had to be destroyed"
"If the Circle is to be destroyed, you have to die as well, Necromancer. I admire your cunning, but you will not escape your fate. "
"Nay, I will embrace it. But my death will leave one more to take, princeling. Finish me! "
Kain defeats the Dark Entity, and Ariel appears:
"I am the last Pillar. The only survivor of the Circle of Nine.
At my whim the world will be healed or damned.
At my whim. " (quotes from Blood Omen)
"The repercussions of Ariel's assassination were expertly calculated...
The entire Circle descends into madness, and I am tainted at the moment of my birth - instantly rendered incapable of fulfilling the role destiny has prepared for me.
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.
But as the last surviving vampire in Nosgoth, this would mean the annihilation of our species.
If the coin lands on the reverse, I refuse the sacrifice and thus doom the Pillars to an eternity of collapse.
Either way, the game is rigged. " (quote from Soul Reaver2)
If Kain would choose self-sacrifise, as Balance Guardian, his death would restore the Pillars and would bring a short-termed peace to the land. But his death means the extinction of the vampires, and only his kind is strong enough to guard and serve the Pillars.
If he'd choose self-preservation, he'd damn the land. As long as his soul is not healed from corruption, he can't claim his role as Balance Guardian that was destined to him.
The left side of the background with the white Pillars symbolizing the healed land, and the right side with the cracked Pillars the corrupted Nosgoth.