The Corruption is a concept as important to Legacy of Kain as the Pillars themselves, because the Corruption drives much of the series’ plot.

In the climax of Defiance, the Hylden Lord claims responsibility for the “Seduction of the Circle,” and throughout Raziel’s portion of the game we’re given evidence to suggest the Circle was corrupt before Nupraptor’s Curse.

And strangely, in spite of his “Corruption,” Mortanius possesses the strength of will to fight the Hylden possession long enough to not only orchestrate Kain’s murder, but also his revival with the Heart of Darkness (likely not a “simple” procedure), and then finally sacrifice himself to redeem the Pillars.

That’s an awful lot of good intentions for one so “corrupt.”

Finally, what is the Scion of Balance, what triggered the prophesied Scion’s coming, and what was the Scion intended to do?

Forever Memorialized
Returning to the idea I put forth in “Riddle of the Pillars,” that the Pillars are formerly-mortal, quasi-sentient, magic-granting war memorial — their true “purpose” is, like every creature in Nosgoth — to sustain themselves.

The Pillars sustain themselves via living memory — initially through the winged race, then through the Pillar Guardians. I propose that this is the reason the Pillars empower their guardians with magic — to sustain themselves.

And this is why the Pillars are “corrupted” when the guardians turn their powers to selfish uses — because they have “forgotten the Pillars.” The Pillars are dying first because the winged race, their “living memory,” has died out — and then because the Guardians have turned from them.

You Had One Job…
And that was to keep the Hylden locked away in the Demon Dimension.

Raziel asks Janos Audron why the original guardians weren’t “sustained” as he was, and I would argue that Janos Audron was a special case. He was unusually devoted to his calling, perhaps because he felt empowered by his destiny.

Much as the vampires, the Hylden, the humans, and the Elder God grew in power with the passage of time, I would argue that the Pillars did as well. The longevity of later guardians, and the power they received via their guardianship, was likely the result of the Pillars becoming more powerful with age.

Age Equals Ass-Kicking
The original vampire guardians likely didn’t posses great powers like their successors did — they likely changed little when they became guardians.

And the older the Pillars became, the greater power they conferred to their respective guardians. The more powerful the guardians, the greater the Pillars relied upon them to sustain their “living memory.” Until we finally reach the modern era when the Pillars begin to crumble.

Holding Out For A Hero
I would argue that the Scion of Balance is not a vampire hero, he is the hero of the Pillars, called by the Pillars themselves. When the Pillars were corrupted, they selected one who would turn the Circle back to their duties.

Raziel accuses Ariel in SR2 — for having blithely turned Kain against the Circle. Were it not for the Corruption, it seems as though the Circle may have been reasoned with — “martyring” the guardians seems to have been a last resort.

Janos comments that humans are not “competent” to serve the Pillars — and certainly, the humans throughout the series seem suicidal-ly preoccupied with revenge, bloodshed, and at its most extreme — genocidal warfare.

So we’ve talked a bit about where the Pillars may have come from, what their purpose is, and what happened to them. There’s a lot still to cover, and with regard to the Scion of Balance and the so-called “Savior of Nosgoth.”