William the Just (The Nemesis)

William the Just (The Nemesis) in Blood Omen

In Blood Omen, Kain returned to the Pillars having killed Azimuth. Ariel told him of the Legions of the Nemesis: an army advancing from the north who were "crushing all in their path". She echoed the Oracle of Nosgoth's earlier revelations: King Ottmar's Willendorf army was the only force that could perhaps stop their progress.[1,2]

The tyrant known as the Nemesis had once been called King William the Just, and he was a fair monarch, "a caring and gentle benefactor of the land". However, with Moebius' manipulation and encouragement, William increased his army in might and number. As his ruthless army grew, William ceased to be content with his own northern kingdom. He sought to conquer all of Nosgoth. Kain knew of the bloody and brutal methods William's legions employed, seeing the effects firsthand when he travelled through Stahlberg. The people had been massacred, impaled and left to rot in the streets. William had become a torturer, and a vicious executioner of anyone who stood in his way.[2,3]

Kain rescued the soul of the Princess of Willendorf, and initiated a confrontation between the Army of the Last Hope and the Nemesis' troops. Ottmar died during the Battle of the Last Stand, and the Nemesis' domination of Nosgoth became inevitable. Kain used the Time Streaming Device he had found in Avernus Cathedral to escape from the battle before he was overwhelmed by the victorious legions.[4,5]

Kain overhears William and Moebius talking
Kain overhears William and Moebius talking

The Time Streaming Device carried Kain fifty years into Nosgoth's past. In this time, William was still young: a beloved but relatively weak king. Kain saw his chance to save the land from the Nemesis. Against the earlier council of Vorador (not to meddle in human affairs), he entered William's castle, intending to confront him.[6,7]

Kain kills William, breaking William's Soul Reaver
Kain kills William, breaking William's Soul Reaver

Kain witnessed a conversation between Moebius and William, and learned that Moebius was acting as an advisor of sorts for the youthful king. He didn't appear to have William's complete trust, but the Time Streamer had provided the king with weapons, and warned him of the vampire assassin - Kain - who would come to kill him.[6]

Kain found and fought William with four of his soldiers. Both he and William were armed with the Soul Reaver, and Nosgoth's history was changed as William died before his natural time. William's Reaver was broken in two, and Kain drank his blood.[6]

Kain returned to the the present using a second Time Streaming Device. To his surprise, he found Nosgoth even less welcoming than he remembered. His hasty actions had triggered a genocidal war against the vampires. Moebius, who had planned this from the start, had led William's grief-stricken subjects to hunt them. Vorador was executed, and Kain was left as the last vampire in Nosgoth.[8,9,10]

William the Just in Soul Reaver 2

The battle between William and Kain, memorialised in the stained glass of the Sarafan Stronghold
The battle between William and Kain, memorialised in the stained glass of the Sarafan Stronghold
William the Just's sarcophagus
William the Just's sarcophagus

In Soul Reaver 2, Raziel saw the tomb of the martyred William in the Sarafan Stronghold. It was in the stronghold's main hall, and there was a fantastic stained glass mural behind it. The mural depicted Kain in battle with the saintly boy king. William's likeness was carved in stone, laid upon his sarcophagus. His broken Soul Reaver was mounted on top of his effigy.[11]

As Raziel approached William's tomb - carrying the wraith-blade - he felt the temporal distortion the Reavers caused, being in such close proximity to each other. His soul energy was leeched to repair the sword.[11]

Later, Raziel encountered Kain in the Sarafan Stronghold, near William's sarcophagus. Kain described the immutable nature of history, and related the story of how he journeyed back in time and killed William the Just. Kain commented that he had destroyed a tyrant by killing William the Just, only to create one far worse: Moebius, who profited from it all. The Reaver, he said, and the paradoxical meeting of two incarnations of the blade in time and space, was the key to changing history. Raziel chose to spare Kain's life in that chapel, altering history again, and unintentionally impaling William's effigy and tomb with the Reaver.[12]

Further Observations

In Blood Omen, it seemed impossible to kill William the Just with any weapon other than the Soul Reaver (and it didn't dramatically dismember him, unlike most of its victims). Although Soul Reaver 2 stated that both Kain and William wielded the Reaver in their battle, Blood Omen didn't establish the necessity of the Reaver to initiate a change in history. The player could arm Kain with any weapon they liked, so they wouldn't necessarily choose the Reaver unless that was the only thing that worked. It's nice to see that Blood Omen forced this event to happen in the way described in the later games, even if it's more by coincedence than design.

On his own website, Daniel Cabuco (Art Director for Defiance who also worked on Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2) explained the reasoning behind William's design in Soul Reaver 2's stained glass mural, and the rose iconography. He wrote:

This stained glass depicts the fight between William the Just and Kain the Vampire. An interesting design note: the original design of William from LOK had him with red armor and black horns. It didn't make much sense, and I spent a few hours trying to think of why a guy called 'the Just' would have evil red armor and black horns. Then it hit me: ROSES! They're red and have thorns, so I restylized the armor to have more thornlike horns and rose designs on it. I just love coming up with visual solutions.[13]

Some fans think that William's voice in Blood Omen is curiously deep and man-like for the 'boy king' depicted in Soul Reaver 2's stained glass mural.


  1. [BO1] The Oracle of Nosgoth to Kain: "King Ottmar - the only hope to defeat the Legions of the Nemesis."
  2. [BO1] Ariel: "The Legions of the Nemesis are on the march from the north, crushing all in their path. 'Twas not too long ago that the Nemesis was known as William the Just, a caring and gentle benefactor of the land. But, as his army grew in strength and he himself grew in power, the veil of tyranny fell and one kingdom was not enough. So many cities, so many dead. Willendorf will be sure to follow. The Nemesis must be stopped or all shall be lost..."
    Kain: "How can one stop an army?"
    Ariel: "You must rally the forces of Willendorf; they are the last Hope of Nosgoth."
  3. The 'Character Biographies' page of the Silicon Knights Blood Omen FAQ
  4. [BO1] Ariel (referring to the Time Streaming Device Kain found in Avernus Cathedral): "Well done. You have found Moebius' toy. Azimuth, not content with summoning demonic thralls, stole the Time Streaming Device in order to gather creatures from other ages as well. Take care of the device, Kain. It will deliver you in time."
  5. [BO1] Kain: "The tide turned with Ottmar's death. I watched as the remaining survivors of the Armies of Hope fled to the safety of the forest. The battle had decided its victor; the fate of Nosgoth now lay in the Nemesis' hands."
  6. Blood Omen Dialogue: William the Just external link at Nosgothic Realm
  7. [BO1] Vorador (referring to his attack on the Circle): "Since then our kind has not bothered with the cattle, except to feed. And I suggest you do the same. Meddling with the affairs of man can do us no good."
  8. [BO1] Kain: "'Twould seem the folly fell upon my own shoulders. With their sainted King William dead by my hand, the people of the land were consumed by a hunger all their own - for vampire blood."
  9. [BO1] Kain: "I had been betrayed. In my haste, I had not realized it before. That sigil on his forehead. The Oracle of Nosgoth was in fact the Time Streamer Moebius. And I had followed his advice!
    How much of my quest was of his design? Willendorf? The Battle of the Last Stand? William the Just? Was this the trap he had fashioned for me?"
  10. [BO1] Moebius to the spectators at Vorador's execution (referring to Kain): "He is the last! Destroy him!"
  11. The Soul Reaver 2 Dark Chronicle (Chapter 2 - The Reaver Convergence)
  12. The Soul Reaver 2 Dark Chronicle (Chapter 8 - History And Destiny Collide)
  13. Daniel Cabuco's Soul Reaver Portfolio external link

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