[ Legacy of Kain: The Lost Worlds ]

Dragon Statue Reaver Forge

article by Divine Shadow



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The images show us a large chamber surrounded by large thick pillars. All of the architecture and features of the chamber are covered with carvings, images and statues of long slender dragons. The bases of pillars and torches seem to be use dragon-like claws as supports, and all of the pillars are wrapped with their coiled bodies. On some of the edges of the chamber, multiple-tiered walkways are visible, in a design somewhat reminiscent of the Chronoplast chamber. The walls and doors have been designed to look like they are covered in dragon-like scales.

In one of the pieces, there is a visible stairway between two heavy pillars. This ascends from an unseen lower area to an open doorway, though it is unclear if this leads to an exit or a deeper chamber.

In another of the pieces there seems to be a drop in the floor, the bottom of which appears to be a bubbling fluid, possibly water or lava. Over this drop is a platform holding a statue of a large dragon. The face of the dragon seems to be very detailed, and the lines connecting the jaw with the rest of the head suggest that its mouth may open, perhaps mechanically. The dragon seems to have two very small feet at the bottom of its body.

Throughout the forge are a number of pillars that are very similar in design to the individual Pillars of Nosgoth. These pillars incorporate influences of dragon anatomy, and appear to be cracked (in heavy contrast to the preserved surroundings). The symbols for the Pillars of Energy, Dimension and Mind seem to repeat in the designs.

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Story Speculation

Kain likely completed a puzzle or series of challenges in the Dragon Statue Reaver Forge. These could have included rotating and dragging the large pillars (via the mental handles seen in the concept art), manipulating a dragon statue (perhaps causing its jaws to open), and other activities. These would have likely activated the forge, and enhanced the abilities of the Soul Reaver. Kain would have then exited, and either returned to the Soul Machine Mine or the Soul Machine Core.

The revelation of a Reaver Forge in The Dark Prophecy is certainly an interesting one. We have seen three variants on the Reaver forges up until this point: The crude, hidden hallway buried in the Drowned Abbey in Soul Reaver, the ornate and monumental temples seen in Soul Reaver 2, and the repeating chambers buried in the Vampire Citadel in Defiance. The design of this forge would seem to suggest that The Dark Prophecy was moving back towards the Soul Reaver 2 model, of large decorated puzzle chambers that would require solving for the upgrade to be revealed.

Like the forges in previous games, the building seems remarkably well preserved for its age. The lack of Sarafan banners or Hylden technological influences could suggest that the forge has been entirely unnoticed by the Bastion's former and current occupiers. Perhaps the entry point is somehow shrouded from normal access, or buried behind rock, or even responsive to the presence of the Soul Reaver wielded by Kain.

Many questions are raised about the mythology of the series in these screenshots. The most obvious would be: What is the significance of the Dragons? The creatures are on display in a Reaver Forge, a place of immense importance to the Ancient vampire race. Their carvings are alongside the symbols of the Pillars of Nosgoth, and there seem to be carvings or etchings of winged beings in the walls staring at the creatures with reverence, possibly even worship. It is clear these creatures are of paramount importance to the Ancients.

We must consider the only moment in the Legacy of Kain series in which a literal dragon has been seen. The environment, context and circumstances of its discovery could not be further from the apparent tranquillity of this Reaver Forge:

[ A dragon skeleton in Blood Omen ]
A dragon skeleton in Blood Omen


We know from the murals in Defiance that the catacombs beneath Avernus Cathedral were a Hylden outpost before their exile from Nosgoth, and presumably served as a stronghold during the war. At the deepest level of this pit is a large skeleton of a dragon, half-excavated from the rock. The fact that the pit does not descend further could suggest that obtaining this skeleton was the reason for the Hylden descent under the earth, and consequently the pit is in itself a massive archaeological dig.

Given that the Hylden were fighting for their survival as a culture of total war against the Ancients, why would they commit valuable resources to a dig in such hostile territory? Consider the areas of Ancient origin such as the Pillars, the Vampire Citadel, Janos's retreat, the Reaver Forges, portals to the Vampire Citadel. Also consider structures of uncertain absolute origin such as Malek's Bastion and the Chronoplast, which contain enough winged being imagery that they could qualify as suspected Ancient territory. All of the structures tell us that northern Nosgoth was once under the dominion of the Ancients.

Now, juxtapose this observation with the positions of known Hylden facilities such as the Hylden City, Meridian, The Device and possibly the Eternal Prison. These places are all located in distant southern Nosgoth. The once anomaly here is Avernus, a Hylden facility located perilously close to the Ancients' territory.

[ Speculative map of Ancient Vampire and Hylden territory ]
Speculative map of Ancient Vampire and Hylden territory


During the conflict, the Hylden must have considered the Avernus dig to have been absolutely essential to the war effort. If we consider how close the dig is to known Ancient strongholds, and how distant it is from the Hylden cities in the south, the observation is that considerable resources and effort must have been committed by the Hylden to maintain control of the area.

A possible conclusion could be that the remains of the dragon could somehow win the Hylden the war. Perhaps the skeleton could be weaponised, or somehow be applied to give the Hylden a tactical advantage over their Ancient enemies. Whatever grand power the dragons possessed, it appears to be a strength recognised by the Ancients. Consider how the Dragon Statue Reaver Forge seems to hold the dragons in reverence. Could the spiritual and highly pious Ancients have built the forge as a shrine, as a place to worship the dragons and pray for their assistance during the darker days of the war?

What could it be about these creatures that prompted such dedication by the two most advanced species in Nosgoth? It must be a quality that appealed to both Hylden rational and scientific sensibilities, and the Ancient's mysticism. The creatures must have been both historically significant, yet extremely relevant to the war. The resources dedicated into recovering a single skeleton would also suggest that the dragons were long extinct.

Miscellaneous Theories

Here is a theory that attempts to explain the relevance of the dragons, including significant speculation that has been reasoned in other essays. The theory explores a possible origin of the Ancients and the Hylden, the history and extinction of the dragons, and why the recovery of the remains of a single one was the key to a Hylden victory. There is substantial guesswork here, and the piece is best treated as a highly-speculative attempt to fill the gaps in the story and resolve unanswered questions.

  1. In the time shortly after Raziel's execution, Kain knows through use of the Chronoplast that Raziel will return and come to believe that his clan has been exterminated. Seeing no reason to commit genocide of an entire subspecies of vampires, Kain manipulates the Razielim into using the Chronoplast and evacuating themselves into Nosgoth's past. The Razielim take what limited resources they can carry along with their human slaves, and descend into the facility beneath the Oracle's Caves. Walking past the figures of Winged Beings carved in the walls and doors of the underground time machine, they come to believe it is their destiny to follow this path. The Razielim also pass the star-filled time windows (seen towards the end of Soul Reaver) and see the visions of their sire returning one day. Holding onto this prophecy that Raziel will one day emerge from oblivion, they enter the time portal. Kain then razes the abandoned Razielim territory.
  2. The Razielim and their slaves emerge in Nosgoth's prehistory. The slaves are allowed to populate Nosgoth with its first humans for the vampires to feed on, and the first settlements and strongholds are built. Over time, the Razielim begin to devolve into winged feral creatures.
  3. The devolved Razielim begin to wipe out the humans and nearly destroy their own food source. With an animal pack mentality, the Razielim discover that in large numbers they can subdue the largest creatures to live in Nosgoth's prehistoric skies: the dragons.
  4. As one of Nosgoth's earliest species, the dragons possess the purest blood and souls ever known. The Razielim that feed on dragon blood enter metamorphoses and emerge as a more evolved creature, their corruption inherited from Kain and Raziel apparently cleansed. These former Razielim find that their bloodlust is gone, completely cured by the dragon blood. They find that they are now mortal (if extremely long lived) and can reproduce sexually.
  5. The last of the monstrous Razielim hunt the dragons to extinction, and all of the vampires are transformed into a noble and elegant race. These former Razielim are now winged creatures with some traits of their vampiric origins (such as wings, fangs, and extreme strength), but with enough qualities to be considered an entirely new life form. For the purposes of this essay, these new creatures will be referred to as the First Ones.
  6. Due to the rigours of their devolution into bestial creatures and transformation into their current form, the First Ones retain little memory of their history as Razielim. Small details (such as the prophesised figure of Raziel, the father of their race returning) are incorporated into their culture. The First Ones begin to expand their civilisation across Nosgoth. There is a deep social regret over wiping out the dragons to extinction, and the creatures are revered as their saviours. With no need to consume blood, the First Ones leave the humans alone, and let them thrive as a primitive civilisation.
  7. Over millennia, much scientific and spiritual advancement is achieved. The First Ones' culture begins to become polarised, with some devotedly following a pious and spiritual mythology, and others advancing towards scientific immortality. The two philosophies become mutually exclusive and a schism occurs. The spiritual First Ones inhabit northern Nosgoth, and their scientific kin occupy the southern territories.
  8. Over further millennia, the two become separate races. The spiritual First Ones become the Ancients. The scientific First Ones become The Hylden. The Hylden begin to experiment on themselves, to improve their race and make themselves immortal. These treatments are successful, but as a by product the race shifts radically in appearance over the centuries. Most Hylden are eventually born without wings, though occasional winged births still occur.
  9. The Elder God becomes a presence in Nosgoth. It is unclear if it evolved naturally, arrived from another realm, or had some other origin. The Elder God grows beneath Nosgoth, unseen by the Ancients, Hylden and humans. It begins to feed on the souls of Nosgoth, finding the old souls of the Ancients and the Hylden to be the most nourishing.
  10. The Elder begins to communicate with the Ancients, and is soon adopted as a God. Over time, it establishes itself into their society and achieves devout worship. With the intended purpose of depriving the Hylden of their immortality, it directs the Ancients to make the Hylden submit to its "wheel of fate".
  11. The war breaks out, with the Ancients dominating the north of Nosgoth and the Hylden dominating the south. Both sides have a highly distorted understanding of their history, but recall the vision of the father of their race (Raziel) returning from oblivion to save them. Each side constructs enhancements to arm their hero, with the Ancients building Reaver Forges, and the Hylden countering with the construction of Glyph Altars.
  12. Decades into the conflict, the Hylden detect the remains of a dragon buried deep beneath territory near the front lines. Theorising that they could use this as a weapon against the Ancients, they dedicate considerable resources to taking and holding the area, and exhuming the body. The Ancients also believe that the dragons could come to their rescue, and build shrines of worship to pray for their return.
  13. The Hylden are successful in exhuming part of the dragon at the Avernus dig site. Extractions are immediately taken to the Hylden City for study, and remnants of Razielim blood are found in tissue samples. The Hylden refine this blood into a large-scale biological weapon designed to reinfect the Ancients with their long-lost vampirism. The Hylden objective is to forcibly sever the Ancients from their "Wheel of Fate", and either force surrender, or cause enough social collapse and panic that the Hylden will have enough time to complete The Device and wipe out their enemies entirely.
  14. The Ancients begin to summon the Pillars of Nosgoth into the world, and a wave sweeps through the land banishing the Hylden into a demon dimension prison. The Hylden launch their biological weapon in the final moments before their entire race is banished.
  15. The Ancients are mass-infected with vampirism, and are now cursed with the immortality, sterility and bloodlust of ther long-forgotten Razielim ancestors. They are cut off from their "wheel of fate", and the Elder God ceases to communicate with them entirely.
  16. History plays out as the rest of the Legacy of Kain series depicts, with the Ancients experiencing societal panic and shame as they are rendered sterile and immortal. Eventually they become mostly extinct (through suicide, refusal to drink blood, rebellion by the human guardians and eventually being hunted down) and the humans begin to dominate Nosgoth. The Hylden begin to be horrifically changed by their prison and plot to escape from their torment.

Speculative Map

[ Speculative arrangement of this area in relation to others ]
Speculative arrangement of this area in relation to others
[ Speculative progression through the game world ]
Speculative progression through the game world



The concept art images were originally found in the DeviantArt account of Andez Gaston, and was later published on his official blog.

Andez and his brother Anderson were freelance conceptual artists hired by Ritual Entertainment in 2004 to work on The Dark Prophecy. Andez confirms his work on the game on their joint portfolio blog site, on his individual portfolio, and in image annotations in his DeviantArt account:

Legacy of Kain : Dark prophecy (cancelled game of 04)

while scoping YouTube I manage to run into a video of a project quite familiar and it brought back memories when we were still young.my brother and I had just been hired at a video game company at the time which was still known as ritual entertainment to work on a game that many people knew very well. though nothing came to fruition that project was to be legacy of Kain: Dark Prophecy for the PS2. for those of you interested in seeing some of the character/creature designs click on the link below


Ritual Enertainment-Legacy of Kain: the dark prophecy(cancelled Game)concept artists (ag/dez) 2003-04


Legacy of Kain : Dark Prophecy concept art

concept art done during our time at the company once known as ritual entertainment. for what was supposed to be the final chapter in the Kain series. the game was later cancelled for reasons unknown if given the chance i would work on this again in a heartbeat.- agartofgastonbros.blogspot.com


Legacy of Kain :Dark Prophecy game art(cancelled) the non interesting stuff about game development art. If you're planning to work in games be prepared to do a lot of breakaway concept art and props.


The words "Dragon Statue" and "Reaver Forge" are repeatedly used in the filenames of the released images of this area. Combined with the content of the images, the name "Dragon Statue Reaver Forge" has been assumed. The artwork and renders were originally published under the filenames kain-arches[a/b/c], kain-doorset, kain-dragonstatueset, kain-moduleset[1/2], kain-modulewalla, kain-reverforgea_areaclean, kain-reverforgea_areastairs, kain-reverforgea_entrance, kain-rotatepillars[a/b/c], and kain-wallmodules[b/c/d].


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