Kain’s rise to power was brutal and absolute. A mere century after bestowing his six Lieutenants with the dark gift of Vampiric un-life, Humanity had been thoroughly subjugated and a new Vampire civilisation came to reign over the land of Nosgoth.
The six Lieutenants themselves were essential to Kain’s ascension, their instruments of power being the Clans they each raised to form Kain’s Vampire legions. Needing a place to rear fledglings in safety, the Clans constructed underground compounds. Here newly sired soldiers could mature, away from the deadly effects of sunlight. One by one, Nosgoth’s major Human kingdoms fell – mortal soldiers slain in battle were dragged to these dark places beneath the ground, only to awaken with inhuman purpose, hungry for the blood of their former comrades.
As Nosgoth’s hinterlands also began to fall under Kain’s rule, these complexes expanded to become fortified subterranean cities. Prior to the construction of the smokestacks that would come to blot out the sun from the sky, these cities were used to house armouries, gladiator pits and hunting mazes, as well as storehouses full of plunder. Thousands of Human slaves laboured and died to build each cavernous metropolis.
As the fledglings matured, their bodies would undergo metamorphosis. Once turned, their previously Human-looking bodies would change form and develop certain characteristics of the Ancients, the mysterious forebears of Vampire-kind. Over time, fangs would replace eyeteeth, ears would acquire a distinctive peak and eyes would change colour. By the point they had reached the status of Clan Elder, a Vampire would sport cloven claws and hooves where once they had Human hands and feet. Living side-by-side, a Clan’s younger, less altered Vampires would often make up the legions’ lower ranks, while those further along their path of physical evolution took on more trusted positions, providing council to their Lieutenant-patriarch and ensuring the proper execution of his orders.
It was Kain and his Lieutenants, however, who would display the most marked transformations. Periodically, Kain would enter a state of pupation and emerge more powerful than before. His Lieutenants would follow a decade or so later with each receiving ever more individual dark gifts, facets of which would in turn go on to be exhibited by their Clan. Before each state of change, a Vampire would need to gorge on vast quantities of Human blood to sustain them while they underwent their transmutation. Eventually emerging ravenous and disorientated, Vampiric ‘midwives’ would be on hand to supply even greater amounts of fresh blood while they came to their senses.
Kain, now the sole progenitor of the Vampire race, would experience this progress before all others, his enormous power remaining unchallenged. Until, that is, his first-raised Lieutenant – Raziel – was gifted with wings. The most talented and obedient of all the Lieutenants, Raziel was unmatched in beauty but also in vanity and as Kain’s most favoured son, was respected and loathed by his brothers in equal measure. When word first reached the Razielim that their Lieutenant-patriarch had the audacity to evolve ahead of his god-like master, grave concerns fermented amongst the Clan’s elders. Some took it as an act of blasphemy, others as a blessing. While a schism threatened to divide those who sided more with their Lieutenant-patriarch than their Emperor, all were united in their concerns over how – or even if – Raziel should present this development to Kain.
Raziel, either oblivious or unconcerned by his progeny’s fears, marched to the Sanctuary of the Clans to present his new assets. For what everyone assumed to be his impertinence, Kain struck Raziel down. His punishment was to be cast into The Lake of the Dead, Kain’s execution ground for traitors and weaklings.
Shocked and bewildered by Raziel’s apparent execution, the elders of Clan Razielim recognised that they too were now under threat. Taking precautions to secure their future, they began to move those Razielim already pupating in their state of change to a secret vault deep within an underground city beneath the mountains to the east of Coorhagen. They would be safe there, for now.
Kain’s disappearance, however, was to change everything.