Blood Omen 2.">
The image shows us what appears to be a female Hylden staring pensively. The character has a pale pink complexion which darkens around her nose, eyes and cranial ridges. She has misty-coloured eyes with white or dark grey pupils, with eyebrows similar to reptilian-like scales. She has pointed ears, similar to those seen on the Ancients and mature human-form vampires. From behind her ridges, a flow of material folds onto her chest, it is unclear if this is hair or some form of dark headdress. The protrusions coming from her back seem somewhat reminiscent of bat-like wings.
Story Speculation - Is this the Seer?
The presented female Hylden has significant similarities to the Seer, the mysterious and apparently benevolent figure that aided Kain in Blood Omen 2. Both have the same pale pink complexion, white irises, human-like facial features, long hair, mammary glands and tall back protrusions. The only distinction between the two characters is the differing arrangement of cranial ridges: the Seer's ridges curve around her scalp, whereas the Hylden in this concept piece has a crown of ridges that dominate her skull.
There are number of arguments we can explore that suggest this character could indeed be the Seer. If these ideas have merit, then perhaps the differences in cranial ridges could be the result of a different artistic interpretation of the character, or even the consequence of some form of physical change or evolution undergone by the Seer in between her appearances in Blood Omen 2 and The Dark Prophecy. We have after all seen other long-lived creatures of Nosgoth undergo dramatic physical changes, such as the radiant electric body of Dejoule the Energist, and the supposed "evolution" of Kain's Lieutenants. In comparison to the more dramatic metamorphoses seen elsewhere, the Seer's shift in cranial ridge formation seems relatively pedestrian.
Consider that there is indeed a "Dark Prophecy", a dark prediction of the future that is so pivotal to the story it becomes the title of the game. The Seer is the only known active prophet who exists in this era, making her the logical suspect to deliver it If we recall some of her interaction with Kain in Blood Omen 2, we can see that her appearance in this era would make a great deal of narrative sense:
The Seer: Be gone, Dark One. I did not send for you.
Kain: And yet, here I am.
The Seer: So I see. Kain, the disruptor, the pebble in the pond who destroys all he touches.
Kain: You know me, woman?
The Seer: Better than you know yourself.
— Blood Omen 2, Chapter 7: The Canyons
The Seer's appearance in The Dark Prophecy would certainly begin to explain some of her more cryptic statements, especially the "Better than you know yourself" declaration. The comment appears to confirm that she knows more about Kain's importance than he himself does, and could strongly suggest that she has encountered the elder Kain some point in her own past. Her "pebble in the pond" metaphor also relates to the elder Kain's "You and I are pebbles, Raziel, and have even less hope of disrupting the time-stream" metaphor, suggesting she shares his nuanced view of time and time travel.
Consider then the combination of evidence: Concept artwork that strongly resembles the Seer; The certainty of a prophecy being central to The Dark Prophecy's story; and dialogue in Blood Omen 2 confirming that further encounters with this character are almost certainly a narrative inevitability. The appearance of the Seer in the cancelled game begins to sound increasingly probable.
Story Speculation - Did the Seer somehow survive the Binding?
The character's sole appearance in Blood Omen 2 was extremely cryptic, and provided no explanation regarding her origins or intentions. It is evident that Vorador knows of her, and considers her to be an ally to his cause. He dispatches Kain through the hostile canyons outside of the city of Meridan, where he eventually comes upon her residence in a humble wooden shack. Following some foreboding dialogue, the Seer offers her blood to Kain to enhance him with telekinesis. When the Hylden General arrives, she uses her power to transport Kain away from her, sending him a considerable distance into the centre of Meridian.
In her appearance in Blood Omen 2 and The Dark Prophecy concept piece, the Seer appears to be a female Hylden who has been somehow spared the rigours of the Demon Dimension. Recall the disembodied Hylden in Defiance describing the horrors of their captivity:
The Hylden: You are still fair of form, vampire. That will go first. This realm will render you hideous. You will go mad and will not know it.
Kain: What is this place?
The Hylden: Do you not think of this place every day, vampire, or are we truly forgotten? This is the exile, into which we were driven!
The Hylden General also describes the corrosive effect of their imprisonment, in Defiance to the righteous Janos Audron's condemnations.
Janos Audron: But not for you, Hylden, who has dared to set a corrupting foot upon this world after your banishment. Return to the Demon Dimension in which you belong!
Sarafan Lord/Hylden General: And by what right, cursed one, did you send my kind to that place of evil?
Janos Audron: By what right did you lay on us the curse that drove us from the light, and made us predators of humankind?!
Sarafan Lord/Hylden General: It was justice for our banishment from the world. You see what it has made of our once fair race!
The post-banishment Hylden that we see in Blood Omen 2 are monstrous creatures, each trapped in a gaunt body identical to its peers with no individual traits setting them apart. Their empty eye sockets burn with the green flames of the Demon Dimension, while their faces and muscles seem atrophied. In combat, they make unpleasant and strained wheezing noises during sweeping movements. In conversation and dialogue, the race seems to have entirely lost the concepts of empathy and emotional depth, suggesting that the millennia of exile and torture forced upon them by the Ancients has lobotomised them of everything but bitterness and hate. The Hylden General himself has fared slightly better, conveying sadness when he explains to Kain about their lost "former beauty", but such moments are overshadowed by his intense rage and mental instability.
This contrasts greatly with the Builder, the character encountered in Blood Omen 2 who is the only absolutely confirmed member of the Hylden race to have been spared the Demon Dimension. In unclear circumstances the Builder was sent to the Eternal Prison millennia ago, a sentence that somehow spared him the Pillars' wrath. When Kain meets him, we see that the Builder has a more elegant appearance than the post-banishment Hylden, with organic eyes and an expressive face. He is of course significantly emaciated due to his horrific mistreatment by the prison jailers, but is nonetheless significantly less horrifying than the other Hylden seen in the game. When he speaks, it is apparent that despite the multitude of horrors he has endured, The Builder is capable of conveying a range of emotions. He shows regret, guilt, surprise and sadness during his encounter with Kain:
"Drink from me, vampire, and use my life's blood to kill that which I created out of arrogance and pride. Kill me so that the Mass will die, and the Device will be destroyed."
— The Builder, Blood Omen 2
Despite his imprisonment and torture, The Builder still wants to make a difference and save Nosgoth from The Device. To this end he begs for Kain to drink his blood, and allows himself to die for a greater cause. The character teaches us that before the Hylden's banishment, at least some members of the race were capable of selflessness and nobility. These traits have been seemingly burnt out of the species entirely by the Demon Dimension.
the Seer's physical appearance and ability to convey a range of emotions makes her far more comparable to The Builder than the other Hylden seen in Blood Omen 2, and further evidence that she too was somehow able to escape the exile of their race.
Story Speculation - Vorador's favour?
Recall the scene in which Vorador sends Kain to meet the Seer:
"I have heard tell of strange discoveries deep underground. Ancient legends speak of huge machines deep in the earth, left by the Gods in aeons past. And I know of one who can tell us the truth of this matter. She is a Seer, a being said to be older even than I. We are fortunate in that she owes me a favour. Go to her Kain, and learn what she knows."
— Vorador, Blood Omen 2
Considering what we know now about the Hylden and their nemeses the Ancients, these comments by Vorador are extremely puzzling. Vorador's Mansion contained statues of bound Hylden, which had to be impaled for certain areas to be accessed. This would suggest that Vorador views the Hylden with the same hatred that Janos and the rest of the Ancients possess. The statues would also suggest that Vorador is familiar with Hylden physiology, and would have therefore likely recognised the Seer as a member of this enemy race. His acknowledgement of her advanced age would seem to confirm that Vorador indeed knows what she is.
It seems somewhat contradictory then, that Vorador speaks of this Hylden as a friend and ally, and as a person that somehow owes him a favour. This is very challenging to reconcile.
Let us consider what little we know of Vorador's resurrection, and the differences in his personality before and after his apparent death:
To this day we do not understand how and why Vorador was resurrected. What we can observe however, is that this process apparently had a consequence for the old vampire - a dramatic shift in personality and priorities. The post-execution Vorador is mannered, calm, benevolent, proactive, and has gone from condemning Kain's "meddling in the affairs of man" to playing a vital role in Kain's army of conquest. He has gone from torturing humans in his basement and allowing Kain to kill his "brides", to condemning Kain as a "monster" for his execution of the impulsive Umah. He is very much a different man. Did his experiences beyond death shake him out of his complacency, perhaps? Or was the trauma of death and resurrection so vast, that he is experiencing some vampire equivalent of personality disorder? We can even consider the possibility that the resurrection was not performed correctly, and resulted in a revived Vorador so different in temperament that he may as well be a completely different person.
Vorador's hatred and bitterness seems to be significantly tempered by the time of Blood Omen 2, and it may be that he is able to put aside the hatred for the Hylden inherited from Janos and the Ancients. He may have met the Seer during Kain's two century slumber, and recognised in her a usefulness and honour that transcended his Hylden prejudice. Learning of her age and origins, the reformed Vorador was apparently able to develop a respect and trust for the Seer.
We may never know the nature of the "favour" the Seer owes to Vorador. However, from our look at Vorador's former reclusiveness and later reformation, it seems likely that this favour was earned during Vorador's Blood Omen 2 incarnation. This would suggest that the Seer is active in Nosgoth in the time following the collapse of the Pillars, during the centuries that Kain is recovering from his injuries received from the Sarafan Lord. During this time, she is presumably advancing a private agenda that is as yet unexplored.
Story Speculation - A powerful ally?
The Seer demonstrated considerable, somewhat understated power during her encounter with Kain. Consider her surroundings, a fragile wooden shack in the demonic canyons, completely intact in an extremely hostile environment. The demons have left her dwelling remarkably unscathed in their otherwise indiscriminate destruction. Two possibilities are suggested: The first is that any demons approaching the structure are immediately destroyed by her power. The second is that she has some has some influence over the demonic thrall, and is able to keep them away through application of magic or sheer force of will. Such powers would seem to outclass the other Hylden seen in Blood Omen 2 who were usually attacked by such demons on sight. The Seer's ability to control demonic life would suggest her powers are comparable to Azimuth the Planar, the powerful guardian of the Pillar of Dimension.
The Seer provided a more overt demonstration of power when she transported Kain across Nosgoth at the end of their encounter, materialising him in the heart of Meridian and directly before the entrance to the Device. Given that we know the Hylden were able to raise teleportation-inhibiting shields on their most vital complexes (as they did with the Hylden City), and considering the Device entrance is unguarded, it seems very probable that such shielding may have been in place here. If the Seer was able to transport Kain through this shielding, then her powers would exceed those of both Janos Audron and Vorador, who required Kain to take down the Hylden City's shielding manually before they could teleport to his location.
When Kain enters her shack, the Seer knows who he is without turning around. One possibility is that she is telepathic and read his intent, but given her title it seems more likely that she has insight into future events. Recall her final exchange with Kain:
The Seer: He has found you, your destiny draws even closer. I will transport you to the Device, from there use your newfound ability to gain entrance.
Kain: What of you Seer? Escape with me! I'm in need of allies.
The Seer: Am I your ally? My fate lies along a different path. Goodbye, Kain.
— Blood Omen 2, Chapter 7: The Canyons
There is a complete lack of surprise in her voice when the Hylden General appears and begins his onslaught. This could suggest that she knew in advance that this attack would take place. The Seer then confirms to Kain that she possesses foreknowledge of her own personal "fate" and the "different path" of her future. Such foreknowledge of future events would make her powers comparable to the ubiquitous Moebius the Time Streamer.
We do not see the Seer in any form of direct confrontation in Blood Omen 2, so we have no evidence of her physical strength, endurance and magical combat prowess. It is certainly interesting that when the Hylden General appears, she says "he has found you" to Kain, and not "he has found us". She does not seem to consider herself at risk from the Hylden General, and her actions are entirely calculated to protect Kain and not herself. Could she be so powerful that the General is unable to harm her?
The last power she demonstrates is an eclectic one, the ability to configure her own blood to infuse Kain with a potent new enhancement. Kain feeds from the Seer at her demand, and earns the power of telekinesis. Given that blood consumption does not normally pass on new abilities to vampires, and that Kain feeds off numerous other Hylden in Blood Omen 2 without incident, it seems possible that the Seer is somehow able to manipulate her own blood to specifically pass on abilities. Blood with such enhancing properties has only ever been seen in one context, within the various hidden blood fountains in the original Blood Omen. These fountains were extremely old and powerful places, apparently possessing their own form of sentience (demonstrated when they repeatedly speak to Kain). It is interesting that the Seer is able to replicate their function.
If we take all of these powers into account, then it seems very probable that the Seer is an extremely powerful creature. The feats shown in her short encounter with Kain suggest a being whose power is comparable to the great sorcerers of the Circle of Nine. It is clear that she is a considerable player in the world of Nosgoth. Her unrevealed intent could make her a powerful ally for Kain, or a very dangerous enemy.
Story Speculation - A second Hylden faction?
The Hylden General's rage towards the Seer was evident:
"Bathe them in fire! Let them learn - as they writhe in the flames and their bones dissolve - the futility of their actions!"
— The Hylden General/The Sarafan Lord, Blood Omen 2, Chapter 7: The Canyons
The General's reference to ongoing supposedly-futile "actions" suggests that the Seer represents a second faction of Hylden, one that is actively opposing his planned genocide. Consider that the Seer appears to be a Hylden spared the madness and corrosion of the Demon Dimension, and that various other concept pieces from The Dark Prophecy seem to introduce us to other non-corrupted Hylden such as the War Lords and the Hylden King. The possibility becomes apparent that somehow, a group of Hylden were able to protect themselves from the banishing effects of the Pillars, and remain in Nosgoth.
In the same way that the Eternal Prison was able to protect the Builder, could a structure have been made during the final days of the Ancient and Hylden War that was designed to protect its occupants from the inevitable activation of The Pillars of Nosgoth? A group of Hylden (including the Seer, the War Lords, the Hylden King, and others) may have sought refuge in this magical bunker, while the rest of their race was banished. Over the millennia this faction of surviving Hylden may have hibernated, waiting for the eventual day of the Pillars collapse, an event that would allow them to safely emerge back into the world.
The result would be a faction of preserved and sane Hylden, with an agenda different to their insane and monstrous kin who have been mentally and physically degenerated by their banishment in the Demon Dimension. The Seer would therefore be advancing the agenda of this pure Hylden group, and such an agenda would apparently involve cooperation with Vorador and Kain.
Story Speculation - The Hylden War Lord of Time
Let us summarise what we have discussed so far:
With these assertions, we can begin to construct a working theory that explains the Seer's origins and agenda, incorporating speculated events from The Dark Prophecy with known events from Blood Omen 2. There is substantial guesswork here, and speculation from numerous other essays has been included. The piece is best treated as a highly-speculative attempt to fill the gaps in the story and resolve unanswered questions.
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:
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-The Dark Prophecy(cancelled Game)concept artists (ag/dez) 2003-04
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.