- ""I can feel pain, I can be hurt, I am human.....save for a human ending"."
- ―Jacob to Lara when she confronts him about his identity.[src]
Jacob (born Iacobus, also called the Deathless Prophet of Constantinople Greek: Ιάκωβος), was a Byzantine prophet who used the Divine Source to inspire a religious movement. The following persecution by the Roman Catholic Church and the Order of Trinity, Jacob, and his followers fled Constantinople eventually settling in Siberia, founding the legendary city of Kitezh.
Jacob was born in the year 843 as Iacobus, in the suburbs of the Byzantine capital of Constantinople. As the son of free laborers, he seemed destined to follow in their footsteps, despite insatiable curiosity and obvious intelligence. Around the time of his birth, the Iconoclasm period which had lasted for a hundred years came to an end, once again leading to proliferation and renaissance of religious art and mosaics.
In June of the year 860, the pagan Rus invaded Constantinople. Attacking as sudden and unexpected as "a swam of wasps", they raided the suburbs outside the city, committing great atrocities. The Byzantine army and navy were absent from the city, split in previous conflicts with the Normans in the Mediterranean and the Arabs in the Aegean, and were unable to defend the city. Iacobus' family was killed in the first day of the siege, and he only survived by fighting alongside the city guard. In August, when the Rus retreated, Iacobus was left without a home or family. He was requested to join the Byzantine army, but having seen inglorious truth of war personally, and driven by his own desire to find purpose in life, he instead entered the seminary.
In the year 863, Iacobus was a novice in the Church and accompanied a Bishop of Constantinople on a mission to Kiev to bring the word of Christ to the Rus, and to persuade them to renounce their pagan ways. Iacobus did not return with the Bishop. Already chafing and the restrictions and formalities in Christian theology, he became obsessed with the direct mysteries of God, here on earth. In his discussions with the pagan kings and chiefs of the Rus, he was exposed to tantalizing hints and evidence of truths beyond and contradictory to the teaching of the church.
In the year 866, Iacobus traveled across the North, to the borders of the Baltic Sea. On the island of Rügen, near modern day Poland, among altar stones and ancient megaliths, he discovered the Artifact and series of cryptic messages carved in the rock. For many years, he lived among Slavs that inhabited the island, seeking to unlock the mystery of the Artifact. At last, after more than a decade of trial and error, he was successful in unlocking its purpose, and his soul was bound to it.
Granted with immunity to death, illness, age and injury, Iacobus began to preach the word of God as a Prophet, while using the powers given to him by the "Divine Source" to heal the sick and wounded. His seemingly miraculous ability to heal, as well as his natural charisma, led to him being seen as a "Messiah" sent by God himself, with many flocking to his side.
This put him in a conflict with the Roman Catholic Church, which sent the Order of Trinity to eliminate him for heresy and blasphemy. While fleeing from Constantinople to the deserts of Syria, a contingent of Trinity knights set upon the Prophet's followers and killed many. The Prophet himself was fatally impaled by the spear of the knight's commander. Distraught, the Prophet's surviving followers transported his corpse to an oasis near Aleppo and began work on a tomb for him, but during construction Iacobus miraculously returned to life. This led to him becoming known as "The Deathless Prophet."
His "death" only rallied his people. In addition to the tomb, his followers built a city in the oasis, thinking themselves safe from further persecution. New followers came from far and wide to heed the Deathless Prophet's message, but this activity was noticed by Trinity. Unwilling to believe that the Prophet had truly returned from the dead, Trinity's leaders assumed the Prophet's movement was perpetrating a hoax and supporting an imposter. They sent a small army under the command of the knight who had originally killed him to raze the oasis and exterminate the movement. More of the Prophet's followers perished in the attack, and the survivors, including the Prophet, barricaded themselves in the tomb. With Trinity thinking that the Prophet and his followers were trapped with dwindling supplies, the Prophet and his followers surprised the knights and killed them to the last man. The Prophet led his remaining followers then journeyed eastward, seeking a new safe haven.
After traveling thousands of miles, across harsh environments, the Prophet and his followers, found a hidden Valley, which they decided was the perfect place to settle. So began the construction of a massive city, which was named Kitezh. Within the city, the Prophet created the Chamber of Souls, a vault used to seal away the "Divine Source". The Prophet led his people for many years, and Kitezh prospered due to the skilled disciples he had gathered, constructing a massive cathedral, a pantheon within the mountain, an acropolis, an observatory, an orrery, and a temple honoring the founders of Kitezh in a nearby vale. The Prophet was presented with an artifact, known as the Atlas, which acted as map of Kitezh, so that he would know his city.
During his rule over Kitezh and its denizens, there are indicators across various documents and tombs that Jacob became somewhat of a theocratic despot. This was evident as how a massive city like Kitezh also had several areas containing torture devices, forced labor camps and horrific exorcism chambers. It was also implied by the conversations between the Deathless Ones that he personally instructed them to zealously guard the Divine Source even before he granted them immortality. He even killed off members of his old tribe to protect the secret of the Source and then lied about its importance to prevent people from getting their hands on it.
Fall of Kitezh
Decades later, Trinity learned the truth of the Prophet's survival, and of the Divine Source. Seeking its power, Trinity dispatched their forces to locate Kitezh, kill the Prophet, and retrieve the Divine Source. In order to ensure their victory, they aligned themselves with a Mongol army by promising its Khan the riches of Kitezh, and used it to ravage the Siberian countryside in search of the city.
When Trinity and the Mongol army finally found Kitezh and attacked, the Prophet's followers first tried to hold them back with conventional means, using their city's vast defenses, but as the Mongols pushed and making defeat seem likely, the Prophet; in an act of desperation, allowed thousands of his elite warriors to be exposed to the Divine Source, turning them into the Deathless Ones. Now armed with superior strength, durability, regenerative abilities and an immunity to permanent death, the Deathless Ones, were able to fight the invading legions on equal terms. As a side effect, the Deathless Ones also became devoid of emotions save for zealous desire to protect the Divine Source. Even with Deathless Ones tirelessly fighting, the siege dragged on, and eventually even they would start to loose footing to sheer legions of invading Mongol armies and hordes of Trinity's knights.
The Deathless resolved to keep the Divine Source safe and prevent it from falling into anyone else's hands by any means. To the Prophet's horror, the Deathless chose to sacrifice Kitezh and turned their weapons en masse to the mountains surrounding the city, starting a massive avalanche, causing all the ice from the mountains to bury the city. Thousands of Kitezh's citizens and entire legions of Mongol soldiers were killed in this genocide, and the Prophet was thought to be lost as well. Whatever Deathless Ones fell during this genocide resurrected and resumed their duty to guard the Divine Source. The few knights of Trinity that survived the genocide also became horrified at the power of the Divine Source and chose to abandon it, fearing what Trinity might do if they get their hands on it. These survivors too perished in Kitezh eventually.
The survivors of Kitezh eked out a living among the ruins of the city's outskirts in the geothermal valley. The first years were difficult and casualties mounted, as the people were used to living in luxury and had no knowledge of how to survive in the wilderness, but eventually, they adapted. Almost a decade after Kitezh's fall, the Prophet unexpectedly returned to them, albeit ill and at first unrecognizable to most of his people. After recovering, he assumed leadership of his people once more. He knew that as Trinity had, other outsiders might come seeking the power of the Divine Source, and therefore decided that it was better off lost. He and the Remnants of Kitezh began a new mission: protecting the secret of the Divine Source.
For hundreds of years, the Prophet, now known simply as Jacob, led his people as a wise leader, as well as a healer. In the 1950s, the Red Army arrived in the area seeking to mine the mountains for their resources, but they found Kitezh's ruins. They built several massive structures, including a factory a sawmill, a weather station, a mill, and a gulag as well as the miles of railway needed to reach the area. They brought dozens of prisoners to use as slave labor.
Jacob and his followers spied on the invaders, to find out their intentions, specifically whether they sought the Divine Source. However, the Soviets captured many of Jacob's people and imprisoned them forcing them into the Gulags and to work as slave labor. With a peaceful solution impossible, Jacob knew that the only way to protect his people was to go to war with the Red Army. Seeing the prisoners in the Gulag as potential allies, Jacob and the Remnants began to plot to overthrow the invaders.
Jacob ordered the railway be destroyed in order to prevent a possible retreat by the Soviets, before launching a full scale revolt on the Soviets, freeing the prisoners in the gulag, all of whom were willing to side with the Remnants in exchange for their freedom.
The revolt was a success with the Remnants killing most of the occupying soldiers, with the survivors now stranded, without supplies or back up, dying in the wilderness. Jacob offered the prisoners who had fought alongside them a home as they could not return to their former lives. Among the prisoners was a former guard who had been imprisoned after conspiring against his former comrades, and his infant daughter.
Some time later, Jacob met and fell in love with a young woman named Alya. He attempted to abstain from his lusts, and told her that they could not be together, however he was unable to deprive himself of the desire and the two became lovers, resulting in the birth of a daughter, Sofia. Jacob feared that Sofia would lead the people to believe him as weak and unworthy of leading them, however, the people didn't seem to mind, and Sofia herself would go on to become the respected military leader of the Remnants.
Main Article: Rise of the Tomb Raider
Trinity returned to seek out the Divine Source once more, having found the link between the Deathless Prophet and Kitezh from Lara Croft. They arrived in the area capturing or killing any of the remnants they came across. Jacob himself was captured and taken to the Gulag.
He is interrogated by Konstantin who knows he is the Remnant leader. Jacob refuses to give up any information to Trinity. He is summarily thrown into a cell in case Trinity find a use for him as leverage against the rest of the village.
Some time later, Konstantin arrives with another prisoner, Lara Croft. Jacob tries to make small talk, however Lara is dismissive of him and proceeds to break free from her restraints. Jacob asks Lara if she can get them out, though Lara says there is no "us". Lara manages to escape her cell. Jacob again asks her to get him out, though she claims he will only slow her down. Jacob tries to persuade her to help him though Lara stubbornly rebuffs him. Knowing he would need to convince Lara quickly or be trapped for a longer period of time he offers her information, saying "I know what you're all after." Lara pauses for a moment, before reluctantly unlocking his cell, giving him a radio.
During their escape, Ana and Konstantin send their forces after them, including a gunship. Jacob saves Lara's life after she nearly drowns. He brings her to a cave to recover, when she wakes up he asks why she would risk her life for the Divine Source. Lara tells him about her father and how she came to realize he was right after seeing something she thought was impossible. Jacob asked her to help them fight Trinity instead, which Lara agreed to but refused to give up her search for the artifact.
Later, Jacob and Lara traverse through the old copper mines, however, they are separated and Lara is forced to make her way to the Remnant Valley alone where she encounters a hostile Sofia, who nearly kills Lara when she suspects she killed Jacob. However, Jacob arrived just in time to vouch for Lara, ordering his people that "no harm will come to her."
Jacob suggests Lara help around the village to earn the trust of the people, to prove herself, Lara obliges, helping gather resources and destroy Trinities drones. Jacob asks Lara to light one of the signal beacons in order to alert the other settlements in the area. He heads to the upper village to help them, and is captured as Trinity storm the area. Spotting Lara sneaking into the area, he disarms a guard using his own weapon to kill him before giving it to Lara.
After Trinity's forces have been repelled Jacob tells Lara that Trinity will be searching for the Atlas in the ruins of a tower which is in an area heavily populated by his people. Lara volunteers to go and help them while he tends to the wounded.
He later joins Lara after she has helped fend off Trinity's forces yet again. Lara asks to know the truth, he tells her that the Prophet had brought the Divine Source to the Valley years ago to protect it from Trinity, and that he and his people were bound by duty to protect the location of the city, and the artifact. Lara asks him to help her find it, however he refuses, telling her she cannot fill the emptiness and must let it go. Lara storms off after telling him she's going to find it with or without his help.
Jacob goes to the old observatory to wait for Lara's return, meeting Jonah, Lara's friend who was rescued from the wilderness by some of his scouts and taken to the village. When Lara returns, Jacob explains the function of the observatory and how it is used to view the map. Lara uses it to discover the location of Kitezh, and that it is not beneath the lake as Legend suggested, but rather under the glacier, and that the Observatory itself holds a secret path into the city. Lara realizes that Jacob had known where Kitezh was all along, and Jacob admits this.
Suddenly Trinity attacks, destroying the observatory, Jacob is shot and Jonah kidnapped after Lara is knocked out the window. Lara manages to climb back in, she rushes to Jacob's side and tells him that she cannot lose Jonah. Jacob tells her to save her friend and Lara departs. Jacob heals himself whilst Lara is gone, and waits for her to return.
Lara arrives back later, accompanied by two Remnants she freed, and a dying Jonah, she begs Jacob to save him, Jacob heals Jonah and tells a man nearby to keep pressure where Jonah's wound had been. Lara follows Jacob outside, and confronts him about how he had recovered so quickly from the gunshot wound, having figured out he is the Deathless Prophet. He tells Lara that he can still be hurt, and the truth about how he had used the artifact on his own army, and how they had caused an Avalanche to bury Kitezh beneath ice to protect the Divine Source.
Suddenly they spot Trinity's helicopters fly past, Jacob realizes they are going to use brute force to smash through the ice to get into the city, Lara reminds him that she had seen the secret passage. Jacob tells her that it's too dangerous, but Lara insists there is no more time to worry about caution. Jacob has the path opened and wishes her luck, before he and the rest of the Remnants go to hold Trinity off in an effort to buy Lara time.
After Trinity finally manage to destroy the ice atop the glacier, and get inside the city, Jacob makes his way to the chamber of souls where the Divine Source was hidden. He kills a Trinity soldier with a Halberd, as Lara and Ana argue over the Source. Ana shoots Jacob three times and he collapses. The Deathless Ones arrive at the chamber to kill the trespassers. Ana uses the source but is overwhelmed by it and drops it. Lara takes it, looks to Jacob in approval to destroy the Source, to which he nods. Lara destroys the Source, killing the Deathless Ones and taking away Jacob's immortality.
Lara rushes to Jacob's side, telling him to hold on, but he tells her he's held on far too long, and that he's met few as extraordinary as her in all his years. Feeling his death finally draw close, he begins to laugh, Lara apologizes, saying she only wanted to make a difference. He tells her that she already has, before peacefully disintegrating, his ashes fading away into the night.
Jacob's most defining trait is his dedication to the well being of his people, so much so that when he learned he was to be a father, he worried that his people would consider his judgment would be compromised as a leader and that he would be unfit to lead his people as he believed he should.
Jacob also seemed to be a very understanding man. He suggested that Konstantin may not know how to be anything other than the threatening presence he is, it is possible that Jacob knew that Konstantin was the product of Ana's manipulation, given that he had manipulated his own people before the fall of Kitezh.
Jacob is incredibly repentant. His deeds from the earliest centuries of his life still haunts him. Knowing the power the Source contains, and the horrors that would be wrought if an army with the goal of conquest could unleash, he is resolved to ensuring that it never be found. He had also become a more compassionate and cautious man, since he ruled Kitezh as a theocratic despot. The genocide orchestrated by the Deathless Ones filled Jacob with survivor's guilt, turning him into a deeply repentant man.
Powers & Abilities
- Divine Empowerment: He was exposed to the "Divine Source" and therefore gained supernatural capabilities. Unlike everyone else exposed to the Divine Source, Jacob retained his sense of self, becoming a charismatic and prosperous leader to all his people for hundreds of years.
- Enhanced Condition: These "Divine" powers have made him much stronger as well as more mobile & resilient than an average human being.
- Immortality: Due to his "Divine" powers, he has not aged ever since exposure to the Divine Source, appearing to be in his late thirties or early forties despite being over a thousand years old. He doesn't require sustenance to survive either.
- Regeneration: Any wounds, amputations or infections will always be healed within a short timespan. When he was crushed by big boulders, he returned an hour or so later, with no visible injuries. He even healed from ballistic wounds and was able to walk around as though he'd never suffered the injury in less than a day (which was what lead to Lara finally deducing his true identity.)
- Self-Resurrection: Should he disintegrate or be beheaded, his death will not be permanent, as he will automatically resurrect within a short time span & all injuries will be healed by his "healing factor".
- Superhuman Stamina: Jacob can exert himself for long periods of time, he also is also unaffected by cold, being able to swim through a freezing river to save Lara and suffer no ill effects.
- Restoration/Healing: Via practice over his powers, he learned how to heal any mortal being within several seconds, just by using the "Divine" energies his body produces. They are so potent, that they will not even leave scars. He can even use such an ability to restore deceased beings. However, beings who has been dead for some time will not be able to be resurrected.
- Weapon Proficiency: Like most of his people, he too is a highly skilled guerrilla fighter. He is proficient with melee weapons such as halberds and knives, even being seen to be very accurate throwing knives. He is at least a competent Marksman, although he appears to prefer not using guns, giving a stolen shotgun to Lara rather than keeping it.
- Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Due to his centuries of combat experience, combined with his superior physical attributes, he is a formidable Unarmed combatant, and even able to easily disarm opponents.
- Polylingual: While only seen speaking English, Jacob is almost certainly fluent in multiple languages: his native language is presumably Greek, and documents suggest that he spoke multiple other languages as if he were a native speaker.
Jacob was involved with a woman named Sofia at some point in his past, presumably during the time he was in Kitezh. Jacob loved Sofia deeply, and was saddened by her death. She may have died during the siege of Kitezh. Jacob would later name his daughter after her.
Jacob began to develop feelings for a woman named Alya. Jacob attempted to repress his feelings, as he believed he could no longer have a relationship with anyone, lest he compromise his judgment as leader. However, he was unable to deny his attraction to her, and the two became romantically involved, leading to the birth of a daughter.
Jacob loved his daughter unconditionally and trusted her judgement and skill, even appointing her as the leader of the Remnant's militia. Though he did have to quell her temper from time to time, as seen when he had to stop her from killing Lara.
Prior to her birth, believed that Sofia would be a symbol of his weakness and show he was unfit to be the leader his people needed. However, his people did not seem to mind.
Upon first meeting Lara, he is quickly impressed by her skill and ingenuity. He convinces her to help him escape and the pair evade Trinity's forces. After witnessing Lara's fall into the icy river, Jacob rescues her and takes her somewhere safe to recuperate.
Jacob deems Lara a friend of the Remnants, and orders that no harm is to come to her by them.
Jacob admires Lara's resolve and skill, and to a lesser extent her stubbornness, and cites her as being one of the most extraordinary people he's met in his 1000+ year life.
- While Jacob's backstory is largely shrouded in the game, much of it was revealed in a Game Developer's Conference panel held on 15 March 2016 by Crystal Dynamics where an internal document on supporting narrative was shown .
- It is possible that Jacob is inspired by the Russian folktale of "Kozchei the Deathless." The story of Kozchei says that a spell of protection was cast upon him, which removed his soul from his body, and placing it into nested objects. This is very similar to how The Divine Source would remove the souls of those who beheld it granting them longer life.
- After finishing the game, some villagers around the valley can be overheard talking about Jacob and the source, one saying "Jacob and the source are gone, what are we protecting now" meaning they all knew about Jacob, he hadn't tried to keep himself and his immortality a secret to his people.
- At the end of the game, when the player returns to the ruins of Kitezh, the Deathless Ones are still encountered instead of Trinity soldiers. Either this means that some power of the Divine Source is still active, or the game developers overlooked this so the player could fight the Deathless Ones at anytime making it highly unlikely Jacob survived.
- Jacob's voice actor is Philip Anthony-Rodriguez, also provided his voice for Fallout 4, which had come out at the same time as Rise of the Tomb Raider (The same day in some territories).
- Jacob may be named after the biblical figure of the same name, who was the grandson of Abraham, who God made a covenant with.
- Despite Jacob's statement of the Deathless Ones wanting to keep the power of the Divine Source for themselves, it appears that this is not the case. Listening to the Deathless General talking to his men, reveals that they are still following Jacob, saying "We must obey the order of the Prophet", which can mean that Jacob told them to keep the Source safe at all costs, which is what lead to their decision to bury Kitezh.
- Iacobus is a name trying to get close to the Greek name Ιάκωβος, which means Jacob.