Not much is known of Raziel's past, only that he was born as a human during Nosgoth's early history and would join the vampire-hunting order of the Sarafan, becoming second-in-command to Malek.
Raziel was created for the Legacy of Kain video game series in 1999 by Amy Hennig from developers Silicon Knights and Crystal Dynamics. Raziel was voiced by Michael Bell.
"No, that beast had eluded us for far too long. It would have been a shame to end him too quickly. It’s ironic, really; the “great Janos Audron” turned out to be no challenge at all... thanks to you. Did you hear his cowardly screams when I tore that black heart out of his carcass?"
Raziel was one of the Sarafan Inquisitors and second in command after Malek. As a Sarafan, he ruthlessly hunted down the vampires from Nosgoth. As ordered by Moebius, he was to find and kill Janos Audron, the very first vampire, and retrieve his heart. Janos secluded himself in a retreat high up on a mountain, inaccessible to anyone. However, Moebius hinted to them that a creature would seek Janos and open the way to him. This “creature” was none other than the wraith Raziel, that came from the future seeking for answers. The wraith opens the way to the retreat and meets with Janos, unaware that he had been followed all along. Janos teleports him to another room, as the Sarafan Inquisitors break up on the place.
When the wraith Raziel finally manages to unseal the door, he watches when the Sarafan Raziel cuts Janos's chest and takes his heart. They run away to the Sarafan Stronghold, so the wraith Raziel goes after them, being stopped on the way by countless demons. When he finally arrives, he is tricked by Moebius and forced to grab the Reaver blade. He is then challenged by the Sarafan Inquisitor and defeats them all, finally facing his human self. The two argue, and wraith Raziel gets angry by the Sarafan Raziel's taunts, slaying him with the Reaver after a long fight.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
"Kain is deified. The clans tell tales of him, few know the truth. He was mortal once, as were we all. However, his contempt for humanity drove him to create me and my brethren. I am Raziel, first-born of his lieutenants. I stood with Kain and my brethren at the dawn of the empire. I have served him a millennium. Over time, we became less human and more... divine. Kain would enter the state of change and emerge with a new gift. Some years after the master, our evolution would follow. Until I had the honor of surpassing my lord. For my transgression, I earned a new kind of reward... agony."
A millennium later Kain revived them as vampires, ignorant of their previous life as with the Sarafan. Raziel was the first revived, receiving the largest portion of Kain’s soul, and became his master's right hand. Raziel helped Kain to build an empire in Nosgoth, creating his own clan of vampires as did his fellow lieutenants. Every few hundred years vampires enter a metamorphosis, emerging with a new dark gift. Raziel's latest gift was that of flight, in the form of bat-like wings. Kain, seeing this newest mutation, grew enraged and tore the bones from Raziel's wings. He ordered him cast into the abyss, the common fate of traitors and weaklings. None of Raziel's brothers spoke out against this and they dragged him to the cliffs above the lake with Turel and Dumah throwing him in without hesitation. Upon landing in the Lake, Raziel found himself in terrible agony, his skin burned by the water.
Finally, his pain faded away as he sank to the bottom, finding himself in the Underworld. Raziel got back to his feet, his body ravaged and changed, and was greeted by an otherworldly voice. This was a being known as the Elder God, who'd saved Raziel from complete annihilation. He told the newborn wraith of the Wheel of Fate and how Kain and his brood were keeping the souls of Nosgoth from entering the wheel, preventing them from completing their destinies. The Elder God told Raziel to have his revenge on Kain and his former brethren, calling him his "Soul Reaver".
Raziel emerged from the swirling depths of the abyss destroyed, but reborn as a devourer of souls. He retained many of his vampiric strengths, and gained new ones as he slew his former brethren in a quest for revenge. Raziel is immortal. When his body is destroyed he travels to the spectral plane, a twisted mirror image of the waking world. Even there, when his spirit is drained of energy he is drawn to various focal points in the spectral plane. He can posses the corpses of the dead to re-inhabit the world of the living, or abandon these bodies at will to travel the spectral plane. Guided by the enigmatic Elder God, Raziel consumed the souls of Nosgoth's vampire hordes and grew powerful.
Soul Reaver 2
Upon his emergence from the time portal, Raziel found himself in a time-streaming device in the Sarafan Order’s fortress, before the collapse of the pillars. The wraith was met by Moebius, the Guardian of Time, who explained that he'd taken him out of the time stream. Raziel remembered all that Kain had told him about Moebius and was instantly wary of him, which was only reinforced when Moebius' Staff disabled his Wraith Blade. The Guardian of Time offered to help Raziel, telling him that his former master was at the Pillars of Nosgoth. Moebius told him to destroy Kain and embrace his humanity and nobility of his past as a Sarafan.
After altering the flow of history, Raziel and Kain are forced to work together to restore the true flow of time to Nosgoth.
Raziel is a very upstanding and moral character, with a strong inherent sense of nobleness oblige; however, the conditions and situations he finds himself in (almost never of his own making) rarely lend themselves to unambiguous ethical judgments and he often ends up doing the wrong thing for the right reason. As a mortal man, he engaged in the systematic extermination of countless Vampires in his fanatical quest to rid the world of his perception of evil. As a Vampire he helped Kain establish his empire, under the controversial belief that Vampires deserved (as a higher form of life, and thus "knowing better") to rule the world.
He became The Soul Reaver, the state he found himself in after being "betrayed" by Kain and his brethren, then "saved" by the Elder God, by being thrown into the Abyss, a swirling vortex of water (its depth is such that it could almost be described as endless although its exact depth is not known for sure). He stalked Kain and massacred his former brethren, prevaricating that he was not only exacting vengeance, but just settling the balance of existence. He often finds himself the willing or unwilling pawn of those around him, for good or evil.
His systemic redemption is found in his final act, one of self-sacrifice. This puts him in harmonic opposition to the character of Kain (though he sacrifices himself not only to escape his curse of infinite death/rebirth cycle or to help defeat "the true enemy", but also for Kain - to whom he pledges allegiance), whose behavior is characterized by viciousness, manipulation and the belief that every person and thing is utterly expendable, but whose actions generally turn out to be right, because he defies those around him, most of whom turn out to be directly or indirectly in league with evil.
Kain proudly admits his actions are motivated by lust for power and revenge (but he truly was predestined to become a tyrant, only in a quest for survival and because of Nupraptor's curse, at his birth), while Raziel unrelently claims his sole motivation is a desire to save the world and that he is solely guided by morals. Raziel unrelentingly switches from one master (often a manipulator) to another (Moebius and the Sarafan, Kain, the Elder God, Ariel, Janos Audron, Kain - again, Raziel is either being lied to or being told half-truths or what they think the truth is), while Kain only follows orders when they suit him and never trusts anyone (not even his only love Umah, the female Vampire who cared for him during his comatose sleep in Blood Omen 2).
Powers and Abilities
"As my agent, you are beyond death, Raziel. Your enemies cannot destroy you. If you grow too weak, however, you will always be drawn here, to recover." --Elder God
In his Human life, Raziel was known as a formidable Sarafan Warrior Inquisitor, second only to Malek the Paladin (who was Guardian of Conflict). His warrior skills were extremely developed, able to evenly fight vampires and rise through Sarafan ranks. In his final duel (against his future self) he showed extreme durability, agility and technique, but ultimately it was all for nothing against regenerating powers of Blood Reaver handled by Raziel. He didn't show any magical skills, so we can't be sure if he could use any sort of telekinesis or any magic at all. This is an even greater testament to his fighting prowess, having no need for magic against Vampires which possessed a whole variety of skills.
As a Vampire, Raziel became the strongest son of Kain, receiving the greatest portion of his Dark Gift. This made him the strongest vampire in Nosgoth, second only to his creator. He possessed typical traits of his kin - augmented speed, strength, agility and fast regeneration of wounds. As 1st Lieutenant of Kain he would enter a state of evolution right after his master, granting him new powers and making him stronger or "divine". It is unknown what other traits he received, but we know about the most famous one: wings, a very powerful gift.
When he became a Wraith, Raziel gained access to unique powers of the Spectral Realm. He became truly immortal, his Material Realm body was only a projection and his "death" in the Underworld was only temporary, he would form himself in the lair of Elder God or at beacon points. His thirst of blood was changed into a deeper need: hunger for souls. He needed to feed to gain strength and maintain his Material Realm manifestation unless the Wraith Blade was active to sustain him (during his SR1 adventures). In the Spectral Realm, he was regenerating on his own; devouring souls only sped up the process. Despite his destroyed and skeletal body, Raziel retained his inhuman strength allowing him to easily move huge blocks or deal fatal blows with ease. With his agility and speed, he was even more dangerous than before. What was left of his wings allowed him to glide in the air, gaining him access to otherwise impenetrable areas.
Initially he retained some of his Vampire weaknesses, like vulnerability to water, but was able to overcome them by devouring the souls of his brothers:
- Melchiah's soul allowed him to phase through gates
- Zephon's soul let him scale walls
- Rahab's soul made Raziel invunerable to water allowing swimming
- Dumah's soul gave ability to constrict
- From the Tomb Guardian (not brother, to clarify) Raziel gained the Telekinetic force projectile relic which improved Raziel's telekinesis and gave him Reaver bolts
- Turel's souls further enhanced Raziel's telekinesis
"From this moment and ever afterward, you and this blade are inextricably bound. Soul Reaver and reaver of souls, your destinies are intertwined. By destroying the sword, you have liberated it from its corporeal prison, and restored it to its true form - a wraith blade." --Elder God
The Wraith Blade is the spiritual form of the Soul Reaver, created when Kain shattered the physical blade against Raziel. Liberated from its prison but still trapped in the form of the Soul Reaver blade, the Soul devouring wraith entity within bound itself to Raziel becoming his symbiotic weapon. Paradoxically, the wraith blade was ultimately revealed to be the future of Raziel himself, as he discovered he was destined to be consumed by an earlier version of the physical Reaver blade to originally create the Soul Reaver. The Wraith blade is capable of being endowed with many elemental energies which enhance the power of the blade.
- Spectral Reaver: A green blade used on the spectral plane, causes greater damages in combo and has the spiritual explosion
- Fire Reaver: A Orange blade, enhanced the pyrokinetic attacks
- Water Reaver: A light-blue blade, allow the user to use cryokinetic attacks
- Spirit Reaver: A white-blue blade; the strongest form of the Wraith Blade; it can kill all type of enemies and break walls with a single blow; causes serious damages to bosses with the spirit burst
- Air Reaver: A white blade, used to spin and disorientate targets and creates small whirlwinds
- Dark Reaver: A purple blade, can creates mini-shades that stuck the enemy, make the user invisible, can blind sentinels eyes
- Light Reaver: A yellow blade, effective against dark-based demons, illuminate dark areas and stun enemies
- Earth Reaver: A light green blade that can create small earthquakes
- Material Reaver: A llight-gray blade that can be fed on enemies Souls, interact with other objects and enemies in the Material Realm
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
In the Soul Reaver comic, just after Raziel emerged with his wings, he was visited by a disguised wraith and minion of the Elder God. She warned him of what Kain would sentence him to and that he would be reborn as the Reaver of Souls, but Raziel didn’t believe her. However, she is never once mention by Raziel or by anyone throughout the entire video game series, making this event non-canon.
Legacy of Kain: Defiance
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
- Soul Reaver 2
- Legacy of Kain: Defiance
- Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light