Bite-sized Backstory 1: Fundament
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Mon, 26 Sep 2016
Destiny's history starts some fifty thousands years ago within the layers of a gas giant called Fundament. Unlike the gas giants in our solar system, Fundament is host to well over five hundred different alien races.
Most of these species live in the dark beneath the outer gas layers of Fundament on a large number of continents all floating on a massive sea that is suspended between storms and gas clouds overhead and the gas giant's increasingly thick oceans, liquid metals, and solid layers below.
We don't learn much about the numerous inhabitants of Fundament. Only one of the five hundred plus species gets much detail.
This race of three eyed humanoids are described as the smallest, weakest things on the seas of Fundament. Living gas clouds with glowing balls at the end of long tentacles reach down from the storms above like flying anglerfish and try to eat them. Acidic rain and deadly lightning storms occur frequently and kill many of them. And even though they have cities and science and some level of seafaring technology, they sometimes wage war on each other and demand sacrifices and eat their own. Maybe worst of all, this smallest of races usually only live 8 - 10 years.
There are a few other interesting things we learn about this three-eyed race:
Unfortunately, this weak, short-lived, three-eyed race is never given a name, but they eventually rise up above their lowly station and do much to shape the world of Destiny.
Bite-sized Backstory 2: The Brave Exiled Sisters
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Mon, 26 Sep 2016
The king of the Osmium Court, one of the nations of the short lived, three-eyed creatures adrift on the seas of Fundament, was old. He was senile. He was dying. His three daughters, Xi Ro a warrior, Sathona a leader and thinker, and Aurash an explorer, were skilled in their own fields, but it would have been difficult for any one of them to assume the throne.
Their teacher, the sterile mother Taox certainly thought this, which is why she made a deal with the Helium Drinkers, a nearby warlike nation of their own species, to overthrow the sickly king and kill his heirs.
Fortunately, the three sisters managed to escape. Xi Ro distracted the attackers with the bright glowing "bait stars" that her combat skills had previously allowed her to cut from the tentacles of the predators that inhabited the clouds above. Sathona's tricks and cleverness allowed the sisters to evade their enemies, flee their home, and reach their nation's coast. And once there, Aurash's exceptional sailing skills allowed them to escape their enemies by fleeing their home and country on her personal sailing ship.
For over a year, a good tenth of their lives, the three sisters sailed away from home. They sailed passed many dozen foreign continents. They lived off the sea, catching and eating creatures they'd never seen before. They encountered and escaped powerful monsters through skilled sailing and risky maneuvers.
And they explored.
And they explored.
And they explored.
And what these brave seafaring sisters found out in the vast ocean in the heart of a powerful maelstrom would not only change their fates, it would change the fates of thousands of races and hundreds of trillions of lives spread across the spiral arms of our galaxy.
Bite-sized Backstory 3: The Hesitant Oath
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Thu, 29 Sep 2016
Shortly after the three sisters escaped their overthrown kingdom, but long before they found something incredible in a far away maelstrom, Aurash suggested that each of them take an oath in response to what had happened to them. They each, in turn, stabbed themselves through a fleshy part of their left hands with their knifes and carved a short, blood-soaked line down the sides of the mast of Aurash's ship as they swore their oaths. The damage to their hands would not be debilitating or permanent, but it would be painful and it would leave a lasting reminder in the form of a scar.
Xi Ro, the up and coming warrior who was the youngest of the three royal sisters, swore to take back the Osmium Court and kill their former instructor Taxo who betrayed them and their kingdom.
Sathona, the clever thinker, pledged to become a mother and breed her spawn on the corpse of the king of the Helium Drinker mercenaries who Taxo had conspired with.
And Aurash, the sailor and explorer and who was oldest of the sisters... hesitated. It wasn't until her sisters provided her their help that she was was able to stab her hand and swear her oath. But why? After all, it was Aurash who told her sisters they should all take oaths in the first place. And they hadn't needed her help. It seems unlikely that Aurash feared the physical pain of making the oath, so what then? Let's read her oath together and find out:
I am Aurash, first daughter of the dead king. I will chase my father's last screamed warning. I will know what changed the motion of our moons. If the end of the world is coming, I will understand why.
On my center eye I swear it. I will understand.
There are two things here:
What is this? What is going on?
It turns out that the Osmium King might not have been as mad and as senile as he had seemed. Turns out, there was something he discovered and shared with his oldest daughter shortly before his death... something that would ultimately spur Aurash and her brave exiled sisters to become three of the worst monsters the galaxy had ever seen!
III: The Oath
Bite-sized Backstory 4: Familiar Ideas
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Mon, 3 Oct 2016
Some weeks before her father was overthrown, and she and her two sisters escaped into exile, Aurash, the eldest of the three heirs to the Osmium Court, was sent on an expedition by her father, the king, to a distant site called the Tungsten Monoliths.
The Osmium King had certainly been acting strangely of late, pouring over ancient texts and locking himself in the royal orrery, a room-sized mechanical model of Fundament and its moons. Sometimes he would emerge and quietly wander the halls of his palace talking only to his familiar, a dead white worm from deep beneath the sea that he'd encased in glass. Other times, he would emerge to rant and rave about the orbits of the moons to anyone and everyone who would listen.
His argument amounted to the idea that Fundament's moons had been shifted out of their natural orbits. That now their paths would cross near each other and their combined gravities would tug on a section of Fundament's vast inner ocean. As the moons continued along their new paths they would separate, and the massive bulge they had created would be released resulting in a "God-Wave" that would sweep over all the continents spread across the gas giant's sea. All the civilizations of Fundament, amounting to trillions of lives, would be destroyed.
Some, like Taox, thought the king had gone mad. She arranged his overthrow for just that reason. But Aurash must have still believed her father. Though we are not told exactly what the Tungsten Monoliths were, we can guess they were located at a place of meeting, or a place of learning, or a place of science, since it was there that Aurash somehow confirmed her father's theories about the moons and the God-Wave. Before she returned from her trip she sent her sister Sathona a message to tell their father that he had been right!
For several months following their exile, Aurash, Sathona, and Xi Ro sailed and explored far from home. It would seem likely that Aurash, the sailor and navigator, would have been leading her younger siblings, but oddly, more and more often it was Sathona's crazy ideas that saw the three sisters through their troubles. She would hide herself away from the other two insisting that she needed to be alone to think and would come back with insane, risky plans that worked time and time again.
Curiously, she never told her sisters that one of the last things she did as she fled with them into exile was steal their father's familiar right out of his hands...
In her journal at sea, Aurash wrote that it seemed like Sathona manufactured good luck by sheer force of will. That is probably why after a year in exile, Aurash and Xi Ro followed their sister's crazy advice and sailed blindly into a violent maelstrom.
Except, Sathona wasn't crazy and wasn't blind. Somehow, she knew what they would find inside!
Bite-sized Backstory 5: The Ancient Needle
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Sat, 8 Oct 2016
After an exhilarating year exploring Fundament's seas, the three brave exiled sisters found the most extraordinary thing adrift in the turbulent waters of the Shvubi Malestrom: A long, slender, gray colored ship that was obviously built by a species with skills and technology far beyond that of the Osmium Court.
Sathona's dead familiar whispers to her that it has been there since long before her people arrived on Fundament millions of years ago.
A small debate broke out among the sisters. Xi Ro, true to her nature, spoke up for immediate revenge. She wanted to tow the ship back to the multi-species trade center at Kaharn Atoll and use the money it would sell for to hire an army large enough to retake their homeland. Aurash disagreed. Ever the explorer, she wanted to open the ship up and see what was inside. Sathona, who of course already knew what was inside since her father's dead familiar had told her, sided with Aurash.
With the votes two to one, the three sisters entered the alien ship.
Much of the needle ship's interior is left to our imaginations. The only real physical description of it we get is that it had glistening halls. One might imagine that it's interior was large, beautiful, and advanced. We do, however, learn some troubling things about the ship:
For the next two years, Aurash, Xi Ro, and Sathona worked to repair the needle ship and to understand what it was meant for and how to operate it. They were five years old by the time they finally finished. Half of their short lifespans were already spent and by now they'd lived more of their lives in exile than they had as heirs to their father's throne.
Once again, the three sisters had to decide what to do with the needle ship and what to do with the remainder of their lives. Retaking their home might still have been possible, but Aurash still could not shake free of the idea that their strange new ship might hold the key stopping the God-Wave that would soon destroy everything and everyone.
Xi Ro, who had done the bulk of the work to clear the needle ship's birthing chamber of what remained of its crew, warned against the idea. Whatever had killed the crew had been found beneath Fundament's inner metallic layers. Going there themselves would only serve to get them killed as well.
Sathona, who had again spent time alone listening to her familiar's helpful whispers in secret, once again sided with Aurash. The only way they would be able to fulfill their oaths now, she argued, was to use the ship for its intended purpose and dive deep towards Fundament's core.
And so, together, the three brave sisters dove their needle ship towards the innermost depths of Fundament...just as the things waiting for them in the dark, hot, crushing spaces below had planned...
Bite-Sized Backstory 6: The Cryptic Leviathan
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Mon, 10 Oct 2016
We aren't told how long the three brave sisters' initial dive towards the core of Fundament took, but given that it is a gas giant, we can probably assume that it took days or weeks. During that time, they passed through several layers far beneath their suspended ocean. They encountered vast creatures swimming through the increasingly solid layers of gas and liquid metal. Xi Ro even took some delight in piercing down through a few anemone-like creatures that reminded her of stormjoys from their surface.
They dove and dove until they broke through a layer of metal somewhere deep near Fundament's core. Here, the needle ship could hear and detect everything. From the slow grinding of the drifting continents, to acid rains that could kill with little warning, to the struggles of creatures as large as cities far far away. It also detected the distant groans and distortions caused by Fundament's moons lifting up a vast section of Fundament's inner ocean. Here, perhaps for the first time, Sathona and Xi Ro finally had their own proof that Aurash's God-Wave was real.
But there was something else down with them. A giant Leviathan that we are told was as large as all the continents they'd known in their childhood before their exile. This massive thing must have been spectacular. We're told, for instance, that it is propelled by giant fins cracklings with lightning and energy. This Leviathan finds the sisters' small needle ship and sends powerful bursts of microwave energy booming against its hull... not to attack them but instead to speak to them.
What follows is a conversation between the Leviathan and the three sisters that is split into three parts:
She then pits the Leviathan and its cryptic ideas against the worm's plainly stated whispers of hope. Then, Sathona utters what may very well be one of the most frightening and far reaching phrases in all of Destiny. Almost certainly at the urging of her familiar, she says:
Let us dive, oh sisters mine.
We'll see this type of phrase several more time and will come back to its vast importance a bit later. For now, the three brave exiled sisters start their final dive towards Fundament's core and the creatures that have been calling to them for the better parts of their lives...
Bite-Sized Backstory 7: The Go[o]d Worms
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Thu, 13 Oct 2016
After leaving the Leviathan behind, Aurash, Sathona, and Xi Ro finally complete their journey towards Fundament's core. They had done some pretty crazy things over the past few years. Exploring wrecks, eating food from the sea, sailing into stormy waters... and all while in exile and on the run for their lives. But what Aurash does next, almost certainly at the behest of Sathona's familiar, is downright insane.
Aurash exits the needle ship! Deep within the crushing pressure and ferocious heat of the innermost core of a gas giant! But she is not crushed or vaporized. Instead she is somehow protected. And very quickly her protector comes into view. A giant jawed winged worm approaches past her. It speaks to her calling itself Yul and points out how powerful it is and how it is the only thing keeping her from harm. It then introduces her to more of its kind: Eir, Xol, Ur, and Akka. It must have been quite the sight for Aurash to see these giant creatures surviving in the harshest climate imaginable.
Yul explains that itself and the others have been trapped in the Deep of Fundament for millions of years and that they have been calling life to Fundament in order for it to evolve into suitable hosts that will allows the worms to escape. It tells Aurash that the Leviathan and the forces of the Sky are arrayed against her and her sisters, and that it was the Sky who rearranged Fundaments moon and caused the approaching God-Wave because they were afraid of the potential of Aurash's race.
Fortunately for Aurash and her sisters, the worms want to help them in the struggles. Yul offers them a deal. If they ingest some of the worms' newborn larva they will gain eternal life and enough power to right anything they find wrong with the world. There is one catch, Yul explains, but it seems to be a very minor one. From now on, each of the sisters will have to follow their true nature or their inner worm will consume them. And, as they grow in power, their inner worms will grow ever more hungry.
All the sisters of the Osmium Court every wanted to do was explore and seek knowledge, or strength, or cunning. Now, all they have to do is keeping doing what they would have done anyway in exchange for great power and eternal life? It seems like such a simple choice to the three brave exiled sisters! So simple, apparently, that none of them think to ask what Yul might have meant by calling life to Fundament or what their inner worms would actually hunger for.
Recall, that at some point, long ago, the homeworld of the short lived three-eyed race crashed into Fundament. Did the worms somehow bring it there? How could they have done that if they were trapped? And wouldn't that have caused millions or billions of deaths? Unfortunately, instead of asking these questions, Aurash and her sisters take the deal offered by Yul and the other worms.
It's at this point that each of the sisters finally well and truly makes the transition to adulthood. Aurash takes on the king morph just like his father. He renames himself Auryx which we learn means Long Thought. Similarly, Sathona at long last transitions from her childhood state to that of a mother and renames herself Savathûn and Xi Ro becomes a powerful knight and renames herself Xivu Arath.
From here on out, the worms take on the role of gods to the three siblings. And their first instructions to Auryx and his two sisters are to, essentially, plunge all of Fundament into a holy war!
Bite-sized Backstory 8: The Conquest of Fundament
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Mon, 17 Oct 2016
With the help of the worm gods, Auryx, Savathûn, and Xivu Arath load their deep diving needle ship with worm larvae and return to their Osmium Court. They begin to offer the worms' larvae to any and all of their kind who will accept it. Those that refuse are killed or forced to flee!
With the new might of worm-enhanced followers, the royal siblings lead an army against Taox. They push her invading Helium Drinkers, and any of their own people who refused the worm larvae, out of the Osmium Court and surrounding territories. They don't manage to kill Taox, but after more than three years in exile they have finally retaken their home.
At this point, it seems that Auryx, Savathûn, and Xivu Arath probably slowed or stopped their conquest, but their new gods are not content with this. They insist that Taox, and the Leviathan, and all the forces of the Sky will still oppose them, and that the only way to be truly free of suffering and injustice is to defeat their enemies. And so, the war continues and soon Taox and her forces are driven all the way back to Kaharn Atoll.
We know from a bit of conversation back when the sisters were repairing the needle ship that Kaharn Atoll is probably some sort of cross-species port or trade destination. This is a place that the vengeful siblings used to regard warmly. For instance, Sathona used to buy Aurash stories written in other races' languages and read them to her. It was something that they both enjoyed and found relaxing... but now Kaharn is a place where their sworn enemy has begun rallying all the races of Fundament against them.
Meanwhile, the Leviathan and whatever contacts it has within Fundament's races begin destroying any kind of ship or rocket or spacecraft that might be able to help the worms and their newfound hosts leave the gas giant. This effort is successful enough that the worms come up with a new plan. They tell the vengeful siblings to attack and slaughter everyone at Kaharn! By doing so, they will gain the power to cut wounds in the fabric of space that will let them achieve orbit. They instruct Xivu Arath to lead the attack, saying:
Reality is a fine flesh, oh general ours. Let us feast of it.
Again, we see the "oh ______ mine" type phrasing, this time coming directly from the worm gods. This will be important later...
Very few of the holdouts at Kaharn survive the battle. We are never told how large a port Kaharn is, but we can imagine that it was not a small place since some five hundred races interacted there. Perhaps thousands or millions, military and civilian alike, were slaughtered in the battle. Those that do somehow manage to survive flee into orbit, but the worm gods are true to their word and help the murderous siblings build ships and use their ever growing powers to cut their way into orbit.
We see Hive Tombships use this type of travel all the time in Destiny, but this is the first time it was ever used, it seems.
Once in orbit, the worms spot Taox, and the few survivors of Kaharn, fleeing into the welcoming arms of the Ammonites, a highly advanced spacefaring race of cephalopods that live among the oceans of Fundament's fifty-two moons. They also spot a fifty-third moon, a Traveler, which they say is a divine presence of the Sky!
Bite-sized Backstory 9: Auryx's Sadness
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Thu, 20 Oct 2016
Auryx had done it! He had managed to get himself, his sisters, and a large number of his people off of their inhospitable, unforgiving world. They had traded the Stormjoys, and burning seas, and lightning storms, and the ever enveloping pitch black they'd been forced to live in for the serene beauty of space. As a navigator and astronomer, one would think Auryx would be ecstatic, but he was anything but.
Instead, Auryx knew he was only where he was because he had lead a war that started with the slaughter of people from his own country. A war that had expanded across continents and across races and had laid waste to everything he had ever know. And then there were the worms... his gods. Not only had they urged and insisted upon the war. Not only were they now demanding he and his sisters attack the Ammonites who lived on Fundament's moons. All the while the philosophy they espoused time and time again went against almost everything he believed...
Over and over the worms tried to explain how the Sky built civilizations and safe places, but those rules and right actions that prevented war and lead to harmony were, in reality, a great lie. How life was nothing more than a wasteful engine that burns up energy and produces rot and decay. And that the only rule that actually is right and good is that the worth of a thing can be determined only by that thing's ability to exist and go on existing at the expense of everything and everyone else around it.
Is it any surprise, then, that Auryx now shirked away from war with the Ammonites? After all, he was the royal sibling who had hesitated to swear an oath of revenge against Taox. He was the sibling who had, at times, sat frozen in fear in the cabin of his ship as his sisters sailed away from their overthrown kingdom. And he was the one who needed his sisters to read him stories in new languages to keep his mind off of everything that had happened in the years since their exile.
Without Auryx's leadership and strength, his people were driven back by the Ammonites and were forced to burrow deep into some of Fundament's moons in order to survive. Even though his sisters were doing their best, they were slowly losing their new war all while their brother remained detached and, at times, catatonic because of everything he had done.
Then something new happened. As his sisters spread and grew their forces among the interiors Fundament's moons, the Ammonites began deploying paracausal weapons. That is, they began using weapons that did not make sense with regards to the ordinary flow of time or rules of physics. It probably means they began using weapons based on the concepts of Light, since the worms tell Auryx that these new weapons were given to the Ammonites by the Traveler.
Auryx in his curiosity and his need to explore and understand is drawn back by the novelty of these new weapons deployed first by the Ammonites and then by his sisters as the worm gods teach them to arm themselves in a similar fashion. But he is also forced by the hunger of his worm as it begins to eat away at him. His pact with his gods was, after all, that he either explore and understand or be consumed...
But then, two completely unexpected things occurred:
1. Auryx betrays his sisters and meets with the Ammonites on neutral ground to try to broker a peace between them and his people.
2. Savathûn, always one step ahead, somehow manages to breach the Ammonite's defenses and strike at the peace conference.
By the time the dust settles and Savathûn's forces make their escape, both the Ammonite Satellite Congress and her own beloved brother are very very intentionally dead!
Bite-sized Backstory 10: The Birth of the Hive
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Thu, 3 Nov 2016
Auryx was dead. Murdered by his sister Savathûn along with all the members of the Ammonite Satellite Congress...
Except, he wasn't dead!
Instead of being no more, he finds himself, minus his physical body, inside what the worm gods described to him as a cyst universe created by his own might. A "Throne World" they called it. All three royal siblings, the worm gods told him, now had this power to survive death... as long as they were not killed in their own Throne World.
From his new found Throne World, Auryx watched as his sisters pressed their advantage against the (now leaderless?) Ammonites. Their strategy of digging into the available moons and breeding their armies back to strength seem to have worked.
At some point, as the battle turned in favor of Savathûn and Xivu Arath, the Leviathan emerged from Fundament's depths and made for the safety of what was left of the Ammonites' fleets. We aren't told why it decided to break cover. Was it no longer safe? Was it trying to protect the Ammonites? We just don't know.
The worm gods continue to poke and prod at Auryx in every way they can in the hopes of getting him to return to the fight. They again try and contrast their plain, honest "truths" against the Leviathan's harsh realities. They point out that Taox was not killed alongside Auryx and the Ammonite's Satellite Congress and is still out there somewhere. And, of course, they point out that Auryx is in effect immortal now thanks to their power. Unfortunately for the Ammonites, the worms' constant manipulations and gifts (of immortality and dark magic) end up convincing Auryx to make peace with his sisters and rejoin the battle.
The Ammonite's fleets that once danced circles around Xivu Arath warriors and warships were now burdened with defending their remaining moons and the Leviathan. Soon, Chroma-Admiral Rafriit, the Ammonites' greatest military leader, is killed and not long after that their forces are completely defeated and Savathûn is busy poisoning the seas of their homemoon. And that's the last we hear of the Ammonites...
In the aftermath, the worms feed upon the corpse of the Leviathan and we also find out that the Traveler fled the Fundament system rather than, say, sacrificing itself. Curious that.
Under the worms' direction, Auryx and his sisters hollow out some or all of Fundament's 52 moons into giant ships capable of journeying to new stars. Here we also see Auryx's followers take on the name "the Hive" and we get a glimpse at how they organize themselves:
A mother Wizard gets fertility from a mate, or from herself. From the Wizard the spawn, from the spawn our Thrall, from the survivors our Acolytes who contend. If they contend well, their worm is fed, and from the well fed worm come Knights and Wizards and Princes.
Interesting that little to nothing is mentioned about being curious or clever anymore. If anything, all the hive and their worm gods are focused on now is strenght and destruction. As happens, this will become more important soon.
And, with the destruction of the Ammonites and the exodus of the Hive, we've reached our first major end in Destiny's backstory. We learned the tragic tale of three smart, talented royal sisters of a very short lived race trapped on the inner seas of a gas giant who were forced into exile and then corrupted into monsters by strange, powerful worm gods. We saw Aurash, Sathona and Xi Ro, become the xenocidial Auryx, Savathûn, and Xivu Arath, the three leaders of what we now know for sure is the Hive.
The worst part? The end of the Ammonites' civilization is just the beginning of the devastation the Hive will wreck on the galaxy!
Bite-Sized Backstory 11: Rampant Speculation 1
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Mon, 7 Nov 2016
There are a few interesting questions I've put off until we could reach a good stopping point in the Hive's timeline. A lot of little nuggets that don't really have directly supported answers but are ripe for a little good ole fashioned Rampant Speculation. No sources this time (Calcified Fragments: Curiosity - XX: Hive if you must) as I'm trying to draw some fun possibilities from that which isn't entirely there. Perhaps you'd care to join me? :)
1. The worm gods say that:
For millions of years We have been [trapped|growing] in the Deep.
Ok. So who trapped them there. Well, the Leviathan, apparently:
For millions of years the Leviathan caged us here. It is a pawn of the Sky, a philosophy of cosmic slavery.
A little later the worm gods say that
the war rages on.
Could these worms have lost a battle millions of years ago and been held prisoner ever since? And if so, why hold them prisoner instead of killing them? Could it be because killing them isn't all that effective? Sathona's familiar communicated with her and her father even though it is described as being dead...
2. Who were the creators / previous owners of the needle ship? They are at one point referred to as explorers, but clearly they were more than that. They didn't just map Fundament, they dove into its core and brought back a chrysalis to a room dedicated specifically to birthing it. They seem to have succeeded but were then all slaughtered for their efforts... If they were allied with the worm gods why didn't the worms escape millions of years ago?
I propose this: The explorers on the needle ship were deceived into retrieving a unborn worm or possibly worm larvae and were offered the same choice Aurash and her sisters were, but they rejected the worms' offer.
I think the worms could not leave Fundament's core on their own but rather had to spread into the three royal sisters and later their followers in order to gain enough power from directly participating in the slaughter of the races of Fundament. Only then did they finally gain enough power to tear wounds to orbit. Perhaps when the needle ship explorers refused to do this they were killed so the worms could use their ship to lead the next potential hosts to them even though it took millions of years to do so?
My guess is Sathona's familiar was what the needle ship explorers brought back, but it killing the small number of explorers wasn't anywhere near the number of deaths the worms needed to take direct part in to escape their prison.
3. The Osmium King and Aurash independently verified the changed orbits of Fundament's moons. The three sisters used the needle ship's sensors to hear the distant approach of the god wave. I think its safe to assume the moons really were rearranged and a civilization destroying wave really was on its way... but who really caused it?
The worm gods, upon reaching orbit, say:
Our organs detect a fifty-third moon in orbit of Fundament. A Traveler. Divine presence of the Sky. Now we know what arranged the syzygy.
But, the Leviathan talked of how the Sky creates safe places and when the Leviathan flees Fundament it says:
—Sisters of Aurash, open your eyes++
++Who made you monsters? Who summoned the wave?—
—Make peace. Join with me in golden renewal.++
Clearly it is referring to the worm gods as the ones who summoned the god wave. Which would mean it is saying that it was the worm gods, and not the Traveler, who rearranged the moons. Who is right here?!
I think the Leviathan is right. For two reasons:
First, it didn't sugar coat the way the universe works when it told the sisters that struggle and death is sometimes part of living, and it also was exactly right about the worms and their motives. Looking through everything the Leviathan says I don't think it even comes close to telling a lie. It relates unhappy truths, yes, but never a lie.
Second, the worm gods come very close to directly admitting they have the power to move planets:
From across the stars We have called life to Fundament, so that it might contend against extinction. For millennia We have awaited you... our beloved hosts.
What happened millennia ago? Aurash told his sisters he had proof that:
The plate of stone we live on, our Osmium Court, is one fragment of a rocky planet that crashed into the Fundament and broke apart. All the other nearby continents — the Helium Drinkers, the Bone Plaza, the Starcutters — came from the same world.
Perhaps the other races of the Fundament are migrants too.
If the worm gods really had the power to crash entire planets into Fundament surely they had the power to rearrange its moons. So why lie about it? Well... give it a bit and we'll find out that the worm gods' bargain with the three royal sisters wasn't exactly entirely truthful either. As a brief preview, here's what Auryx had to say when he found out the entirety of the bargain he and his sisters had agreed to:
Savathûn! Xivu Arath! My siblings
We are betrayed. We will never live eternal.
I think the worm gods grant power and knowledge through bargains. They seem to know the answers to questions no one had known to ask. But I also think in the end, time and time again, their price is ultimately revealed to be too high as we'll soon see, oh speculators mine.
Bite-sized Backstory 12: War on Life
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Mon, 14 Nov 2016
After their defeat of the Ammonites, the Hive hollow out some or maybe even all of Fundament's 52 moons turning them into giant spaceships capable of traveling to distant star systems. I wonder if this process looked anything like what Crota was doing to our moon?
For a very long time, the Hive's fleet of moons travels through the cold dark between the stars. Interestingly, even though they are more or less immortal, the three murderous siblings still have practical concerns. At one point during the journey, Auryx openly wonders how he and his people will eat and breath, among other science facts. Fortunately his sister Savathûn tells him that he should really just relax.
She has been studying both the way the worm gods use wounds to travel and the way her brother returned after she had killed him. She has figured out not only how to travel bridge great distances with wounds but also how her and her siblings can return to their throne worlds without having to die first. Now, instead of being scattered across their moons with limited ways to communicate or share food or resources, the Hive now have the means to quickly and easily come together as a society united in the cause of challenging and destroying all those weaker than themselves.
Over the next 20,000 years, the Hive journey towards new star systems. During this time, Auryx, Savathûn, and Xivu Arath wage constant war against each other, each discovering and teach the others new aspects of their power and new ways to kill. They must have killed each other hundred or thousands of times over as they grew in power.
Finally, near the end of their long journey, Auryx declares to his siblings and his people that he is establishing a court called the High War. And along with this court he creates a series of rules for the Hive beneath him to learn the sword logic that has given him and his sisters such power. He also sets up a way for lower Hive to challenge him and take his position as the leader if they are able to defeat him. This is the beginning of what we will eventually know as the Court of Orxy. We'll hear a bit more about this Court soon.
Interestingly, Savathûn also creates a court called the High Coven which likely has a similar function of teaching cunning and killing to those Hive seeking to gain the power of the sword logic. Oddly, Xivu Arath does not create a court and instead claims that her court exist anywhere there is war.
At last, the Hive have come across new species and begin destroying them just as they destroyed the Ammonites. Over the next hundred years the Hive obliterate at least (and likely many more than) 18 separate races including one called the Qugu which are said to protect four different solar systems.
Auryx finds the Qugu interesting because in some small way they are like the Hive in that they exist in symbiosis with another organism. Apparently, the Qugu evolved in such a way that even though they are now space faring, they still offer their limbs to enormous sessile (stationary) jaw-beasts. It's actually a virus living within the Qugu that compels them to do this possibly horrific thing, but the relationship between the Qugu and the jaw-beasts seems to be mutually beneficial.
The jaw-beasts, which are treated like gods by the Qugu, reproduce through this strange, violent process and in return they produce some sort of nectar that give the Qugu brilliant visions. We aren't told if these are visions like being drugged out or actual visions of new ideas and technologies and glimpses into the future. I kinda suspect it was the former but kinda hope it was the latter... because a violently symbolic culture driven forward by reality defying visions just seems darn cool to me.
Unfortunately for the Qugu, Savathûn liberates them from their jaw-beasts and indeed from existence. As she does so, Auryx takes the opportunity to vaporize his sister and some of her underlings to remind her to guard her flank. Normal physical death to Auryx and his sisters is, at this point, a game or teaching opportunity and not an actual threat to their wellbeing. It might not be comfortable for them to be forcibly returned to their throne worlds, but they've become so powerful that it is no huge setback for them anymore.
As the Hive continue destroying civilizations, Auryx muses about how he and his people are helping the universe find its final shape free of parasite civilizations that are not worthy enough or powerful enough to continue existing. At this point he has long since moved past his timidness and horror at being asked to destroy lives and species. Now, he feeds the hungry worm within him with entire worlds without so much as a second though.
Except... what would happen if he and his Hive came upon a culture that they were not able to defeat?
Bite-Sized Backstory 13: The Amiable Ecumene
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Thu, 17 Nov 2016
With more than three hundred worlds in ashes behind him, Auryx should have felt mighty and powerful. Instead, he felt trapped and he felt afraid and he felt betrayed. He wasn't sad or or ill at ease with the destruction he'd caused. This time, he called his sisters to him and cried out in grief because he'd finally proven something that had been nagging at him for some time: His worm's hunger was growing faster than the power he could draw from it.
The more he and his sisters fed their worm with destruction the faster their worms hungered for it. Soon, Auryx admitted to his sisters, their worms would be so hungry that they would not be able to feed them even if they tried to do so with all of their considerable might! If things kept going as they had been, they and the entirety of the Hive would be consumed by the very worms that had given them so much power.
And then things got worse for the royal Hive siblings!
Far away from the Hive's contingent of interstellar moons, the ministry of war of a race called the Dakaua came together to address a critical threat. The Dakaua, it seems, play a major leadership role in some sort of alliance of several species spread among the stars that collectively call themselves the Ecumene. (Note that ecumene means something like "the known world" in Greek.)
Over the last hundred years, and despite the efforts of the Ecumene Status Army's perimeter fleets, seventeen of their client races had fallen to a previously unknown race calling itself the Hive. The Hive's power had grown so great that the Dakaua were now looking at the possibility that the entire Ecumene faced extinction at the hands of the Hive. Fortunately, they had just gotten a big break.
Mercenary explorers had discovered an ancient interstellar ship fleeing from the Hive's advance. An analysis of the ship put its construction at around 24,000 years prior... around the same time that the Ecumene had lost contact with the Ammonites in the Fundament system! It seems very possible that the Ammonites were in fact a client race of the Ecumene.
Inside this ancient ship the explorers found a member of a proto-Hive individual frozen in some sort of stasis. Once revived, she identified herself as Taox! Recall, that it was Taox who had betrayed the brave royal sisters of the Osmium Court and lead those sisters to swear an oath of revenge against her. One might even argue that she was (somewhat indirectly) responsible for the birth of the Hive and the death of hundreds of worlds...
Now though, during her debriefing, Taox provides the Ecumene with an account of the fall of the Ammonites and vitially important intel about the motives and biology of the Hive. She also tell them, who their leaders are. With this new information, the Dakaua are able to supply Ecumene forces with new orders and three high priority targets: The siblings who once called themselves Aurash, Sathona, and Xi Ro.
The Dakaua Ministry of War instructs its combined forces to target the Hive's three leaders with "maximum theater overkill" and authorizes the use of Caedometric (possibly Light based or anti-matter based) weapons. Given what they now know, the Dakaua believe that the Hive will crumble once their leaders are destroyed. Soon, these new orders are put into action and finally, after the loss of seventeen worlds, the Ecumene seem to have the upper hand.
For Auryx and his sisters, this reversal of fortunes couldn't have come at a worse time. Already they were reaching the limits of their power and now the Ecumene somehow knew to target them specifically. Take a moment to read just how desperate things had become:
"I am at my end," Savathûn says. "I plot and plan. But I cannot gather enough bloodshed to feed my worm. And the harder I try, the hungrier it becomes."
"I slaughter and kill," Xivu Arath says, "but the harder I fight, the more my worm demands. I too am at my end."
"The Ecumene war angels have killed me so many times," Auryx says, "that I dare not go out into the universe, lest I need my might to protect myself. My worm chews at my soul in hunger."
As mighty as the Hive have become, they are forced to admit that the Ecumene are more powerful than they are. At one point, Xivu Arath even calls the Ecumene "lords of matter and physical law" all but admitting defeat! Savathûn, unable to plot and plan her way past the Ecumene's superior tactics and firepower desperately suggests that they beg the worm gods to tell them what to do!
Auryx, however, rejects the weakness of his two sisters and tells them he knows a way that they might still be able to defeat the Ecumene. What Auryx does next to his sisters, and even to one of his gods, will change his position among the Hive forever!
Bite-sized Backstory 14: Oryx - The Taken King
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Wed, 23 Nov 2016
The Hive were all but beaten. Thanks to Taox's information, the Ecumene knew exactly where to strike and exactly who to target. Before long, Auryx, Savathûn, and Xivu Arath could not even emerge from their throne-worlds for fear of being killed again and again. Worse, hiding and waiting was not an option, either. Each of the siblings felt the gnawing of their worms inside them. Without a supply of destruction, the bargain offered to the Hive by their worm gods so long ago would soon destroy them from within.
After much debate and despair between the three ascendant siblings who had gathered within Auryx's throne-world, it was Auryx who came up with a solution. What they needed to defeat the Ecumene was the power of the Deep that their worms gods had long kept from them. And the only way to get it was to become far more powerful himself by claiming the power held by his sisters.
By truly killing them.
So, Auryx took up his sword and gained great power by beheading his sister Xivu Arath who willingly allowed it. He then turned and killed his sister Savathûn who at the last second had tried to trick him by pretending to give up her life willingly but who actually was intending to kill him with a dagger she had in her hand hidden behind her back.
By killing his two sisters, each of whom had participated in the deaths of billions spread across well over three hundred worlds, Auryx gained enormous power. So much so that he was able to seek out Akka,one of his worm gods, and demand the secrets he needed to call upon the deep directly. Akka refused to give him those secret, so Auryx killed it and took the secrets for himself. He forged these secrets into what he called the Tablets of Ruin then returned to his Hive and proclaimed himself to be Oryx, The Taken King since he now had the power to take life and make it his own.
Within the year, the Ecumene Crisis Council (and not the Dakaua Ministry of War? Was this bigger than just a war now?) met in an emergency session. Somehow the war that had been going so well had unexpectedly reversed itself. Where before the three leaders of the Hive had been forced into hiding, now the one they recognized as Aurash / Oryx had reemerged in possession of a staggeringly powerful new weapon. He somehow had the ability to abduct individual targets from the physical world then return them drastically changed. These "Taken" came back completely under Oryx's control and possessed "physically illegal" abilities.
Oryx's ability to "take" and alter individuals greatly concerned the Ecumene, and why wouldn't it? He had found a way to do something that they, as "lords of matter and physical law," could not even conceive of. With Oryx now able to turn their own forces against them, the Ecumene Crisis Council predicted that their civilizations would be extinct within 220 years unless some countermeasure to Oryx's new power could be found.
The leaders of the Ecumene directed all of their client races to immediately dedicate all of their economic and technological resources to stopping Oryx, but in the end it would not be enough.
Bite-sized Backstory 15: War and Trickery
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Fri, 2 Dec 2016
For the next hundred years, Oryx fought the combined forces of the Ecumene. Where as before he and his Hive were unable to stand against these "lords of matter and physical law," Oryx was now able to turn the Ecumene's own units against them. We've seen some pretty devious Taken enemies as Guardians, and that's with Oryx just subverting Fallen, Hive, Vex, and Cabal. I like to imagine that a Taken Ecumene War Angel must have been a beautifully terrifying sight!
After a century of pushing back the Ecumene, Oryx's forces overran the Ecumene Council located on something called a Fractal Wreath. We don't know exactly what this was, but I like to imagine the Ecumen's center of government was located on some sorts of awe inspiring megastructure hanging in space that only an empire that had bent math and physics to its whim could even hope to build. Maybe this Fractal Wreath could have looked like a cross between a Halo and one of these:
As Oryx finally reached and destroyed the Ecumene Council he also did something just as impressive and frightening: He somehow brought Xivu Arath back to life even though he had killed her in his Throne World! She arose from the destruction of the Ecumene saying to Oryx: "I am war, and you have conjured me back with war."
For the next forty years, Oryx and Xivu Arath continued their battle against the Ecumene until they neared the Dakaua Nest. Remember, it was the Dakaua Ministry of War that first tried to rally the client races of the Ecumene against the Hive. And it was the Dakaua whose mercenary explorers discovered and revived Taox from her long twenty thousand year stasis. Wiping out the Ecumene council may have been a major victory, but if the Dakaua were the lead race of the Ecumene, nearing their Nest may have been an even more significant event. Its likely that the Dakaua knew this and put up one heck of a fight!
Maybe the Hive's conquest of the Dakaua Nest was proceeding too slowly for Oryx's liking or maybe he was just feeling devious one day, but for some reason Oryx contacted the Dakaua and asked for their support in killing his sister. He told the Dakaua he had become jealous of her. Oddly enough, the Dakaua agreed to help him!
It sounds a bit silly, but we have to conclude that Oryx request appeared genuine. It must have been more than him just sending a quick text message. We aren't told exactly how he convinced the Dakaua to agree to help him, just that they were desperate enough to do so. Maybe he offered them a cease fire and actually ordered his forces to stop their advance? Or maybe he turned them away from attacking the Ecumene forces and instead had them attack his sister's forces?
Whatever Oryx did to earn the trust of the Dakaua was apparently convincing enough that he and Xivu Arath were able to lure them into so cunning and deadly that soon the entire Dakaua race was erased from the galaxy! And again, something just as shocking happened: With the destruction of the Dakaua, Oryx was somehow able to bring his middle sister Savathûn back to life! "I am trickery, and you have conjured me back with trickery," she told her brother. But she too had been killed in Oryx's Throne World, so how is it possible she could be brought back? Shouldn't both she and Xivu Arath be dead?
The best explanation I can come up with is this:
When Oryx was first killed by his sister during the war against the Ammonites the worm gods told him: "From this day forward, Auryx, you and your sisters will each survive death - so long as you aren't killed in your own throne."
Look carefully at the beginning of XXVI: star by star by star, the book where Auryx killed his sisters to gain Akka's power to speak directly to the Deep. It specifically says: "Beneath a gree fire sky, in the throne-world of King Auryx, or lords embrace." See that? Savathûn and Xivu Arath were not in their own throne, they were in their brother's when he killed them.
At some point in the future Xivu Arath will have this to say about her death at the hands of her brother:
Once, I permitted Oryx to kill me so that he could gain the sword logic and overcome Akka our God. This left me trapped deep in my throne. But Oryx my brother made war upon the Ecumene and in that war he described me, for I too am war. Thus I was resurrected.
Many many hundreds or thousands of years later Ikora Rey will have this to say about Crota:
...is his world the apex of Hive power, or is it the youngest and most accessible of a string of netherworlds, each host to a more terrible Hive archentity?
So maybe killing an Ascendant Hive in the Ascendant Plane is not enough? Maybe they have to be killed in their specific throne world? Is this how Akka can be still alive even though Oryx killed it? Maybe it too was outside of its own throne-world? We killed both Crota and Oryx within their throne-worlds, but what about the War Priest, or Golgorth, or Oryx's twin daughters?
In the end, what was left of the client races of the Ecumene knew the reappearance of Xivu Arath and Savathûn, along with the extinction of the Dakaua, was so unbelievably bad that they each fled into hiding only to be hunted down by Oryx and his sisters over the next thousand years. We're told that the Hive exterminate the races of the Ecumene so completely that the only record of them at all is the Books of Sorrow... and curiously, within the mind of Taox.
Wait... Taox escaped again?!
Bite-sized Backstory 16: Oryx's Pyramid Scheme
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Thu, 8 Dec 2016
For a thousand years, Oryx and his sisters must have killed billions and maybe even trillions of thinking beings who were once members of the Ecumene. We know the numbers they slaughtered were so great two ways:
1. When the Dakaua War Council first met to address the Hive threat the Hive had only destroyed somewhere around 300 worlds, and only seventeen (17!) of those were part of the Ecumene. By the time our Guardian steals data from the World's Grave that number has risen to "thousand of worlds" and there are not many foes left for the Hive. Or at least not many that we are told about.
2. When the Ecumene had forced the Hive to a standstill, Savathûn lamented that they would need to be killing Ecumene by the billions in order to feed their worms the destruction they hungered for. But they seem to have no more hunger pains that we know of during this 1,000 year period.
Speaking of those hunger pains, Savathûn asked about them once the last of the Ecumene were extinguished. "King Oryx, how will we feed our worms? Did you use my plan?" she asks. We don't hear Oryx's direct answer, but we do get to hear his announcement of a plan to end the Hive's hunger pains once and for all.
Oryx commands that his Thrall and Acolytes are to take enough killing to feed their worms plus a little more to grow their own power. The rest of the destruction they cause is to be tithed up the chain. The Thrall will tithe to the Acolyte that commands them. The Acolytes will tithe to the Knights or Wizards that command them.
Oryx's command to his Knights and Wizards is much the same, with one exception. They too are to take enough killing to feed their worms, and a little more to grow. But before they tithe the rest, they are expected to take another portion, as much as they dare, to use for their own purposes. They then tithe whatever is left to the Ascendant Hive that they server under. So, they are expected to forge their own paths with the catch being that if they get too far out of line or too devious then their fellow Hive will get jealous and kill them in order to take possession of the excess of destruction they are keeping for themselves.
Why do the Knights and Wizards get this exception, this command to branch out and do their own things as much as they are able? Probably, Oryx wants to make sure his Hive don't fall into a rut of all fighting the same way. More than that, though, I think it has to do with Knights and the Wizards being the final adult form the Hive. Essentially, Thrall and Acolytes are children that have to do as they are told, but Knights and Wizards (and Kings presumably, but we never hear of any other Hive Kings) are free to achieve or squander their power and earnings as little or as much as they want. This, of course, also calls back to the the way Aurash, Sathona, and Xi Ro made their own journey of destruction from childhood to adulthood back on the seas of Fundament so long ago.
Next, the Knights and Wizards who manage to steal and hold on to enough power will become Ascendant Hive once they are able to create their own throne worlds. These Hive too are commanded to tithe upward, but they are the last link in the chain as the only ones above them are Oryx, Savathûn, and Xivu Arath. We also know that Ascendant Hive are still free to do their own thing, as we know of at least one, Alak-Hul (the Darkblade from the Sunless Cell Strike) who attempts to challenge Oryx for leadership of the Hive.
Finally, the three leaders of the Hive, the three royal siblings we know so well, will use the vast flow of tribute flowing up to them to feed their own worms, grow their own power, feed the Hive's worm gods, and to study the powers of the Deep.
I think this plan, this pyramid scheme of destruction, was the plan Savathûn spoke of. There's no real proof of this, but it feels a bit too clever for Oryx to have come up with it on his own. Either way, this is how the Hive operate from this point on. This plan is both their command structure and their supply line. Ultimately, it will be their greatest strength and, for at least one of the three murderous royal siblings, their greatest weakness... But we won't see that second part for quite a while.
(Many of you have seen and exploited this weakness first hand, however!)
Bite-sized Backstory 17: The End of an Age
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Thu, 15 Dec 2016
Some 10,000 years after their defeat of the Ecumene empire, and more than 30,000 since the brave exiled sisters were betrayed and fled to the inner seas of Fundament, the Hive have finally reached what Oryx says is the edge of the Deep.
We first learned that Oryx was chasing after the Deep after he and his sisters eliminated the Qugu so many thousands of years ago. Back then it was Oryx's astronomers who told him that he was conquering his way towards the Deep. And now he's at its edge? Does that mean that the Deep has boundaries? Or that it is, or exists at, a physical location? Or could reaching the Deep be as much about reaching a certain power level or slaughtering enough alien races?
Regardless, there is one final obstacle between Oryx and the Deep, a powerful race called the Tai. Collectively, their people who likely control several star systems are known as the Taishibethi. Like most of the races the Hive destroyed, we only know a little about the Tai. Similar to the Dakaua and the Ecumene, they too built impressive space based megastructures. In their case we see that the Hive's opening move is to ram the Tai's "star-webs" and orbital (stations) with their war moons. It also seems that the Tai were a race that somehow resembled ravens, as their children as referred to as "sun ravens" and their Emperor is described as having talons and wings.
The rest of the Hive's war against the Tai is told in time to Oryx pacing in his throne world. Over the course of ten paces we learn a little about key moments of the war. Obviously, this entire war didn't take place over the short course of ten literal footsteps. Rather, we are seeing that Oryx's ability to defeat even powerful races has become so routine it is not much different to him now than pacing back and forth.
The Hive's defeat of the Tau is another one of those great if a little vague moments in the Grimoire that is fun to read and let your imagination run free. There is mention of Tai battleplates and arsenal ships. At one point, the Ascendant Hive knights Mengoor and Cra'adug (the knights you fight in the Court of Oryx who you have to lead close to each other to cancel out their invincible shield) spend a decade killing the Tai on what is referred to as the "Raven Bridge". Is this another orbital megastructure or a Near Light Speed transit lane between star systems? Or is it a literal bridge? We just don't know, so it can be anything we imagine!
Besides the two knights from the Court of Oryx, we also get to see Kraghoor (also known as Krughor) lead his accursed Thrall against the Tai. Kraghoor, if you recall, is the Ogre in the Court of Oryx that can only be killed by detonating Thrall near it to pop its shield. Oryx's Warpriest, the same one we fought against in the King's Fall raid, also makes an appearance and seems to be the member of the Hive that takes on and defeats the bulk of the Tai's military.
After the Hive have been ravaging the Taishibethi for more than a decade, the Tai emperor returns and in a stunning show of force she attacks and apparently single handedly destroys one of the Hive's war moons! Whatever the Tai actually are, it seems some of them were extremely powerful!
Unfortunately, Oryx is completely unfazed by the Tai Emperor Raven's attacks. He, almost as a matter of course, pulls her into a wound in space. When she emerges from the wound, we find that she has been Taken and now serves Oryx and now assists the Hive in destroying her own people!
In their final moments (which may very well represent years, we don't have a good sense of time here) the Tai turn to cursing the Hive. "We had a good thing. Our clothes were nice, our food was famous. With one of her feathers our Emperor could have tickled the gods," they figuratively say to Oryx.
Oryx replies with by relating the Hive's philosophy of the need to exist to the Tai, and in a showing of humor we'll see from him from time to time, he wryly replies that the ability to dictate what will and will not exist is the Tai's true god... and it is never ticklish, he tells them. And with that, the Hive's conquest of the Taishibethi is complete.
With this final obstacle eliminated, Oryx goes into his Throne World to speak with the Deep directly. Meanwhile, his sisters make plans of their own!
Bite-sized Backstory 18: Majestic Battles and Waves
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Mon, 2 Jan 2017
After defeating the Taishibethi, Oryx returns to his throne world and makes preparations to have his first direct meeting with the Deep. He creates a special alter for the Deep and prepares an unborn ogre for it to possess. We've seen unborn ogres several times in Destiny. You might know them better as Tomb Husks.
When he is ready, Oryx calls out to the deep saying:
I can see you in the sky. You are the waves, which are battles, and the battles are the waves. Come into this vessel I have prepared for you.
This call might seem trivial, or just a fancy greeting, but at the very least Oryx's words here are a clever call back to one of Bungie's earliest game series. In 1996's Marathon Infinity, we learn of a creature or creatures called W'rkncacnter. They are described like this:
In primordial space, timeless creatures
made waves. These waves created us and the
others. Waves were the battles, and the
battles were waves.
Later one or more of these W'rkncacnter attack a powerful race called the Jjaro, killing one of them. After this, a second Jjaro somehow flings these powerful ancient beings into a star where they are trapped by the intense gravity and burned by the star's heat but somehow survive and wait to somehow be released to once again cause chaos.
Part of last game in the Marathon series, Marathon Infinity, involves jumping across timelines in an effort to prevent the W'rkncacnter from being released when a militant race tries to detonate the star they are trapped on.
It's also worth nothing that in an even earlier Bungie game called Pathways Into Darkness you are a member of a strike force tasked with using a nuclear weapon to temporarily stun an enormous, ancient, mostly dead god-like alien long enough for the Jjaro to arrive and help remove it from the Earth. The opening to Pathways Into Darkness describes the alien and situation like so:
Sixty-four million years ago, a large extra-terrestrial object struck the Earth in what would later be called the Yucatan Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico. The dust and rock thrown up by the resulting explosion caused enormous climactic changes in the ensuing years, and many of the Earth's species became extinct during the long winter that followed.There's a few Destiny links here:
The object itself was buried thousands of feet below ground, its nearly two kilometer length remarkably intact. It remained there, motionless, for thousands of years before it finally began to stir- and to dream. It was a member of a race whose history began when the Milky Way was still a formless collection of dust and gas- a powerful race of immortals which had quickly grown bored of their tiny universe and nearly exterminated themselves in war.
This particular being, whose name no human throat will ever learn to pronounce, was part of the cataclysmic battle that formed Magellanic Clouds, billions of years ago. It died there, or it came as close to dying as these things can, and drifted aimlessly for millions of light years before striking the Earth.
The heat of impact liquefied the rock around it, which later cooled and encased the dead god's huge body far below ground. As it began to dream, it wrought unintentional changes in its environment. Locked deep beneath the Earth, strange and unbelievable things faded in and out of reality. Vast caverns and landscapes bubbled to life within the rock, populated by horrible manifestations of the dead god's dream.
When the Deep arrives at Oryx's alter it possesses the Ogre he prepared for it and speaks to him. Mostly the Deep repeats the philosophy we've heard from the worm gods, but interestingly, it does so with a lot more... or at least different... personality. The way it talks is much more conversational that the worm gods distant and almost haughty style of speech. It even refers to Oryx as a friend at one point.
One of the interesting things that it tells Oryx is that if life is going to survive past the end of all things it will have to do so not by kindness or with a smile but by violence and sword. In time, we'll see at least one other major power in Destiny express a desire to survive past the end of the universe.
In the end, the Deep tells Oryx that two sides pitting themselves against the other until one prevails is the way the universe figures itself out. And it says that this process is not barbaric or evil but is actually majestic. Could it be right? When viewed on on a long enough timeline, is what the Hive and Deep are doing actually beautiful and majestic, even if it causes some suffering along the way?
Bite-Sized Backstory 19: Betrayal & Dreams of Teeth
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Mon, 16 Jan 2017
Coming out of the Deep's friendly monologue to Oryx, we immediately move into an odd dream sequence. This dream is told form Oryx's point of view and takes us back to his childhood back at the Osmium Court.
In this dream, Oryx (or should we can him Aurash?) is heading to his father's orrery when he notices his sisters are chasing after him. They are ripping up the road behind him with their swords. And the road stones they are ripping up are shaped like tablets with odd writting on them. Oryx runs from them only to be tripped and slammed to the ground by his father who asks him why he wasn't prepared for his sisters to move against him. Oryx starts crying, wanting to know why his dad won't help him, but all his father does is prepare to tip some strange "black sun" into his son's throat.
Oryx sees his jaws and teeth in the reflection of the anti-glare goggles his father is wearing and, with no other choices left, begins to eat his father! All the while his father tells him what he is doing is good and majestic. When he is done, Oryx looks back and realizes that his sisters have torn up the road behind him and that he has no way to get back where he came from.
Obviously, this dream is highly symbolic, though not confusingly so. There are several parts we can identify:
- The road stones covered in writting that Oryx's sisters are tearing up are Oryx's Tablets of Ruin he laid down in his Throne World to allow him to approach and commune with The Deep. It's telling that these tablets in Oryx's dreams are held up by or overlaid on worms, much as the Hive's power is based on the power of the worm gods.
- Could the goggles that Oryx's father is wearing to save his vision during lighting storms and sea fire have been to preserve his "night vision" for watching Fundament's moons? He was at or near his orrery in the dream so that makes some sense.
- I'm not aware of any direct correlation between the black sun that Oryx's father attempts to force feed him and anything within Destiny's universe. In this instance it would probably seem to represent poison or death.
- What Oryx does to his father, eat him in self defense, is pretty much what the worm gods and the Deep have been telling Oryx to do for tens of thousands of years now.
- One minor but interesting thing is that this dream about teeth is that it is referenced in the description of the Warlock's Voidfang Vestments which says: "YOU WILL DREAM OF TEETH AND NOTHING ELSE - scratched behind a buckle" That's kinda creepy. Maybe the Voidfang Vestments were made by a Guardian who survive the assault on the moon? Or by Toland the Shattered who we'll learn a good deal about later?
- And finally, given that his father is telling him that he should be prepared for betrayal and that his father calls being eaten in self defense "majestic" we can pretty easily conclude that Oryx's father here represents the Deep itself. It is something of a father figure to him at this point and it has been teaching him that existence is defined by ones ability to exist.
Waking up, Oryx muses that he is glad to know that the universe is a thing that run on death. He realizes that the races he and his Hive have destroyed hate him but he is, perhaps now more than ever, firmly committed to the Deep's view that the only way to make something good that can't be broken is to break everything else first.
But Oryx also soon realizes that he has been stranded and cut off from his flow of tribute. In fact, he says he is lost somewhere strange. I submit that Oryx has actually been killed just as dead as he previously killed his two sisters when the Hive was losing the war against the Ecumene. I think he is trapped in such a deep dark corner of his Throne World that he does not recognize it and cannot find a way out.
I think this for two reasons:
1. Soon after this, Xivu Arath writes one of her declarative missives like the one she wrote near the very beginning of the Books of Sorrow. Remember the outlaying of all the dangers of Fundament? This time, Xivu Arath notes that she once allowed Oryx to kill her and that she was resurrected only when he described her. In the very next section titled "RESURRECTION" she declares that she will now describe Oryx. Her description is neat and a bit frightening to read (go do so if you have time) but I think the important part here is that she had to make this description of her brother at all.
2. We'll cover this more next time, but Oryx describes making his way back from this strange place he was lost in as fighting his way out of hell. By now, Oryx has been killed many many times. First by his sister during the war against the Ammonites and later several times by the forces of the Ecumene, but each time he was just thrown back into his Throne World. A place where he is generally untouchable and has a great deal of power. A place that is hardly a hell. So I think his saying that he had to fight his way out of hell is very significant.
Ultimately, trapped in this hell, Oryx decides that he can no longer sit alone at the top of his pyramid as one of three equals leading the Hive. He decides he needs children to guarantee that he alone is the most powerful at the top of the Hive.
Bite-sized Backstory 20: The Eater of Hope and His Sisters
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Sun, 29 Jan 2017
Following his meeting with the Deep (which Destiny players would know better as the Darkness) and his betrayal by his sisters, Oryx somehow manages fight his way back to his throne world and the physical world. This may have been possible because, as mentioned last time, Xivu Arath described the nature of her brother just like he once described her and her sister after killing them during the war against the Ecumene.
Interestingly, Oryx says that he had to fight "the swarming corpse of Akka" the worm god who he killed to gain the power to forge his Tablets of Ruin which allowed him to contact the Deep. This is once again proof that killing a worm god is not really enough to... uh... kill it. And this fact, of course, brings us back to the worm familiar that showed the three brave sisters the way to the needle ship even though it was dead.
Once Oryx makes it back to his court he once again goes to war against his sisters. He records crippling Savathûn's tribute so badly that she will never again be able to challenge him. Then he tricked Xivu Arath and poisoned her tribute so she too could no longer challenge him. We can only imagine that neither of these campaigns Oryx engaged in were short. These two wars may have taken hundreds or even thousands of years for Oryx to secure his position at the top of the Hive.
Following all that, Oryx found a mother to make spawn with. Who was the mother Oryx told and what happened to her? We are never told. All we learn about are their children. First, there was Crota. When Crota is born, Oryx give him his name and his first sword, but other than that, Crota has to kill his way to a position in Crota's court. Apparently Crota did this pretty well because he becomes the Hive god that nearly defeats the City some time in the future. For now, though, Oryx explains the meaning of Crota's name. It means "the Eater of Hope" because they both are fighting a war against the false hope that the Traveler gives to the younger races.
Oryx also tells Crota about the oath he and his sisters took against Taox but he tells Crota that the oath does not apply to him. Does Oryx really believes that after having destroyed hundreds or thousands of races that Taox has still managed to stay ahead of his Hive? That seems incredible and unbelievable, but then Oryx seems quite serious about it. Maybe we'll meet Taox someday? I wonder what she would be like now, tens of thousands of years later... Or is she just frozen in a stasis pod somewhere?
After Crota, comes Oryx's two daughters Ir Anûk and Ir Halak. Of Ir Anûk, Oryx says that Savathûn is so impressed with her that she cackles and rages at her brilliance. Oryx notes that Ir Anûk has declared that she will kill one of the eleven axioms that make up Hive's ascendant places (throne worlds) and will use the power she gains to defeat Akka as he once did and become a god as he is. Does this mean that she would be able to construct Tablets of Ruin? Either way, Oryx says he may kill her to stop her or he might applaud her for her achievements.
As for Ir Halak, she developed a song so powerful that it was able to kill everyone who heard it when she sung it in Xivu Arath's throne world. (Aside from Xivu Arath, apparently, since she is still around later.) Oryx wonders if the Hive might soon employ death songs instead of swords and boomers. Oryx then sees that she has charted the course of the Nicha Thought-ship. This is not a ship we have heard of before, but it is one that will soon be very important to both the Hive and to Humanity as well...
...all because of a race of time traveling robots known as the Vex!
Bite-Sized Backstory 21: The Origin of the Vex
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Wed, 8 Feb 2017
As Oryx's daughters grow older, they continue to increase their knowledge and dig deeper into their powers and abilities. At some point a few years or maybe centuries later after their birth, Oryx came across his daughters experimenting with death and a Hive wound that they cut between places. When questioned about what they were doing, Oryx's daughters tell him that they are working on a way to separate an Ascendant Hive's soul from its body. By storing its soul in its Throne World, they think that they can both make it harder for an Ascendant Hive to be killed and make their songs of death more powerful.
What they created was what we will eventually know as an Oversoul. They even call it that. How does this thing work? What's it's real purpose? Here's my guess: Perhaps even Ascendant Hive have some vulnerabilities in the physical world. Maybe a powerful enough Guardian could kill one outright even in the real world? Or if not a Guardian, maybe something even more powerful like the Traveler could? But if their Oversoul is already stored in their throne world, maybe nothing can be powerful enough to kill an Ascendant Hive in the physical world?
Oryx is impressed by his daughters and instructs his son Crota to watch them in the hopes he might learn some cleverness from them. Then something interesting happens. Oryx leaves his daughters and travels somewhere far away to watch the Deep destroy an unnamed ancient fortress world. We've heard of the Deep acting on its own at least one other time, but this is the clearest indication we have that the Deep is able to move and attack and destroy all on its own. If there was any doubt before, it is clear now that the Deep (which we know better as the Darkness) is something more than just a another term for the Hive and their ongoing conquest.
After Oryx leaves, Crota follows his instructions to watch his twin sisters and begins experimenting with wounds to other spaces similar to what his sisters were doing. He cuts into a new space that neither he nor his sisters had observed or traveled to before, but instead of finding a new way to resist death or gain secret power, Oryx finds a strange race of intelligent machines. What he accidentally discovered was the Vex!
Vex come pouring into Oryx's throne world and immediately begin trying to understand this new strange reality they've found their way in to. At first they can't understand the physics and rules of the throne world. We're told they try and construct problems, by which I think it means they're trying to process and simulate the physics of this new reality with little success. But then, as Crota prepares to destroy them, the Vex start to figure things out. Specifically, they create a new Vex mind called "Quria, Blade Transform" that beings to understand the Hive's Sword Logic. It somehow learns or deduces that killing things can grant it power. So the Vex begin to build units meant for war.
Corta moves to attack these new Vex soldiers, but the Vex teleport away from Crota and instead attack and defeat some 2,000 of Oryx's Acolytes and 10,000 Thrall. By doing this they begin to gain power within Oryx's throne world. So much so that even after Crota enlists the help of his sisters, they are unable to destroy the Vex. Oryx's daughters even create annihilator totems and are able to destroy the Vex within Oryx's throne world, but the Vex keep pouring through Crota's wound and are even able to reinforce it so that Corta and his sisters are unable to close it.
Soon, a stalemate exists between the Vex and Crota, his sisters, and their Hive followers. Within Oryx's throne world, the Hive are dominate. But each time they try and attack the Vex outside the throne world the Vex prove to be too powerful and are able to drive them back. Then, something very very dangerous happens.
The Vex steal some worm larvae from the Hive and quickly learn that by worshiping the worm gods they too can obtain powers similar to the Hive's. The Vex being to alter reality with their worship and soon construct a priesthood dedicated to worshiping the worm gods. The worm gods Motive this and very quickly the worm god Eir demands Oryx return home and deal with the Vex himself. We'll take a look at how Oryx reacts next time, but first I think we need to consider what just happened.
I think maybe the Vex started by worshiping the worm gods but that's not what they ended up worshiping by the time our Guardians encounter them. We haven't seen any worm gods in the Black Garden, but we have seen the Vex bowing and praying before a big blob of Darkness. I think what happened here is that the Vex, like Oryx, were smart enough to go over the heads of the worm gods and worship the Darkness itself. The Hive and even Oryx are all bound to the worm gods, but the Vex figured out that the worm gods were just middlemen standing in their way!
Ultimately, I think the worm gods were scared that they were going to lose their hold on the Hive. If the Vex proved it was possible to draw power from the Darkness without needing a worm growing inside them, how long would it be before Oryx or Savathûn or Xivu Arath realized it as well?
This is why Eri called to Oryx and demanded he put his house in order. They (the worm gods) saw that they were one step away from being pushed out as the power that controls the Hive. Oryx already partially stepped around them with his Tablets of Ruin and by speaking with the Deep directly. The worm gods have been telling the Hive that they must kill everything to prove their worth. Up until now, "everything" never included the worm gods. And they wanted to make sure it never does by having Oryx destroy the Vex before he or his sisters realize what is really going on.
There's one other wrinkle in all of this. After Oryx comes back and drive the Vex out of his throne world, we are told that Savathûn was laughing because she tricked Crota into cutting his wound to the Vex's space in the first place... But that would mean that Savathûn knew about the Vex before Crota or even Oryx did! So, not only did Crota not create the Vex, it seems almost certain that he wasn't even the first Hive to encounter the Vex. I think what we're seeing is Savathûn being one step ahead of everyone else like she has been in the past and like she will be in the future.
Bite-sized Backstory 22: Crota's Punishment and Oryx's Plans
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Mon, 20 Feb 2017
Upon hearing Eri's call to set his house in order, Oryx returns home and quickly overwhelms the Vex pouring into his throne world. The power the Vex had gained through killing and worship was nowhere near a match for the powers that Oryx possessed. As is typical, Oryx took some of the Vex and turned them against each other. We are told that Quria, Blade Transform, the Vex mind in charge of the attack, tried numerous different strategies but none of them were effective against the power Oryx had.
We aren't told how much longer this miniature war between the Hive and Vex lasted, but Oryx noted that he had finally found a worthy rival, so it would probably be safe to assume it went on for several more years after he returned. Once it was all over and the attacking Vex were defeated, Oryx took a few important actions:
Oryx probably made a mistake by telling Savathûn about how the Vex invaded his throne world. She very quickly leaked this information to Xivu Arath in the hopes that one of them could accomplish what the Vex had. If they could invade Oryx's throne world there was a chance they could defeat him, but Oryx was already a step ahead. He decided that it was no longer safe to simply rely on his throne world to protect him from death. He needed to make sure it was much more safe from being found and breached, so he decided to reinvent his throne world into the form of a mighty dreadnaught.
Creating his dreadnaught was one of the most difficult tasks we ever see Oryx accomplish. It took the combined power of him, his court, and a verse from his Tablets of Ruin to do it. We are told that Oryx's dreadnaught is built from a piece of the remains of Akka (the worm god who Oryx previous killed but who we are now told is dead but far from gone) combined with pushing Oryx's throne world inside out so it protrudes into our normal space. That Oryx's dreadnaught, which is still orbiting within Saturn's rings in the current day, is at least partially made from a piece of a worm god should scare the heck out of the City!
Oryx and his court complete the construction of his dreadnaught, and Oryx once again commands his forces to go out and conquer and send him his demanded tribute... but something strange happens here. Alongside Oryx's little speech we see what are essentially scribblings in the margin of the text by Savathûn! She writes:
I am Savathûn, insidious. I graffiti this notice for you. These Books are full of lies!
Who is Savathûn writing to? And what does she mean? Which part or parts of the Books of Sorrow are lies? Is anything we've learned about the Hive true?! Yes, I think a lot of what we think we know about the Hive is true. We eventually see the Hive's philosophy and past corroborated by other sources like Eris Morn and Toland the Shattered. Still, it does seem we need to be cautious in believing every single thing the Books of Sorrow tell us about the Hive. And we should probably be looking for gaps or contradictions.
With his dreadnaught completed, Oryx once again feels safe from attack and in fact goes on the offensive. His target? The mysterious Nicha Thought-ship!
Bite-sized Backstory 23: End of Failed Timeline
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Fri, 24 Feb 2017
With his new, powerful Dreadnaught complete, Oryx sets out to accomplish two of the last objectives we'll hear about: Hunting down the Nicha Thought-ship and discovering the location of the Gift Mast.
These last two objectives are... interesting... because we've so heard very little about them. The first we hear of the Nicha Thought-ship is after Oryx's twin daughters have grown up and become powerful wizards. Ir Halak gifted her father with a charting (prediction?) of the Nicha Thought-ship's course. so Was this ship something Oryx had know about previously? Likewise, we only hear of the Gift Mast as Oryx's Dreadnaught nears the Nicha Thought-ship. We're not really sure why he thought it might contain the Gift Mast's location.
So, what has really happened here? Is this Gift Mast some kind of fantastic legend Oryx and the Hive have heard of but have not yet been able to find? Is the Nicha Thought-ship similar? How did Ir Halak chart the Thought-ship's course and how was she able to do so when Oryx, the First Navigator, was not? Unfortunately, there are no answers to these questions. At least not yet. And that feels a bit odd to me here so close to the end of the Books of Sorrow. Perhaps we'll learn more about this point in the Hive's history later? Or the Vex's? I hope so, because right now this part of their story feels a little short changed and incomplete to me.
Anyway, having likely used Ir Halak's predictions, Oryx approaches the Nicha Thought-ship only to find it guarded by a fleet of ships known as the Harmonious Flotilla Invincible. A battle presumably ensues, though we are not told that specifically, and one way or another Oryx's Dreadnaught ends up surrounded. As it turns out, this is just fine by Oryx. He thrusts his sword into the hull of his Dreadnaught and further extends his Throne World into the real world destroying the Harmonious Flotilla Invincible. This is the same super attack we see him use against the Awoken fleet at the beginning of The Taken King. All that is left is the Nicha Thought-ship... which turns out to be an ill conceived trap.
On the Nicha Thought-ship, Oryx is ambushed by Quria, Blade Transform, the Vex mind that first deduced the Hive's sword logic and discovered that worshiping the worm gods could lead to physics breaking paracausal results. Was the Nicha Thought-ship some kind of Vex ship? If so, was the Harmonious Flotilla Invincible a Vex fleet? Or was a Vex ship being protected by one or more non-Vex races? Another possibility is that the Nicha Thought-ship is not a Vex ship, but Quria, Blade Transform somehow convinced its owners to allow it to wait in ambush. Again, we have a lot of interesting possibilities but not a lot of information, much less answers.
Next, Oryx advanced on Quria, Blade Transform even as it springs its trap. It looks like Quria, Blade Transform once again tries to invade and take over Oryx's throne world. We can see its thought process in a series of short, three part codes:
Oryx advances on Quria, Blade Transform's Hydra platform seemingly immune to the Vex's onslaught of weapon fire. In a last ditch effort to accomplish something before it is defeated, Quria, Blade Transform sets in motion the closest best guess simulation of Oryx that it could come up with. This incomplete simulation isn't of the present day Oryx who has vast power after conquering hundreds of worlds and ending trillions of lives. Instead, what Quria, Blade Transform has come up with is Aurash, the oldest of the three brave royal sister who were once exiled from the Osmium Court long, long ago.
The simulated Aurash expresses shock and outrage at what Oryx and the Hive have become. Oryx responds by boasting about all the mighty things he has accomplished. Quria, Blade Transform spends its final moments observing Oryx's reaction and transmitting the data it records to the rest of the Vex in the hopes that it will be useful at other points in space and time. It knows that its fellow Vex will use the data it has gathered to further study Oryx's power. In the end, Quria, Blade Transform gains one last glimpse of Oryx's power as The Taken King takes it, just as he has done to so many other powerful foes.
I really liked this sequence. In a way, Aurash get to see the end result of her folly. Turns out the old Leviathan was right, after all! She did become a monster!
We do learn one other very interesting thing from Quria, Blade Transform's demise: The Vex were in some way or another present around the same time that the Hive destroyed the Ecumene many thousands of years prior. The simulated Aurash knew to question Oryx about his sisters Sathona and Xi Ro because the Vex learned about them from the intelligence given to the Ecumene by Taox...It makes you wonder where else have the Vex been present and what else they might know.
Oh, and one last fun tidbit. The Grimoire Card where Quria, Blade Transform is defeated is named: "End of Failed Timeline" This a reference to the timeline hopping that happened in Marathon Infinity... except "End of Failed Timeline" does not actually appear in Marathon Infinity's terminals. As far as I can tell, it only appears on the Marathon.Bungie.Org Story Page making the title of this Grimoire card one of the most awesome Bungie.org in-jokes ever! :)
Bite-Sized Backstory 24: The Gift Mast and Dragons?!
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Tue, 28 Feb 2017
Oryx had gotten what he wanted. What he'd been seeking for a long, long time. In the wake of his victory over Quria, Blade Transform, he finally had the location of the Gift Mast. Soon, he has all of the Hive gather for a major assault. When his sister Savathûn arrives at their staging area, Oryx goes to visit with her. I think the only way to describe Oryx's mood as he converses with his sister is... giddy!
Oryx brings his clever, deceitful sister a gift: What remains of Quria, Blade Transform after he took it at the end of their battle on the Nicha Thought-ship. Savathûn expresses caution and some dry skepticism, but Oryx seems in too good a mood to let her bring him down. When Savathûn ask Oryx if the Vex is meant explode and kill her or invade her throne like it did his, he just replies that if it does kill her then she deserves to die. This is the now very familiar philosophy of the Hive and their worm gods, and again, Oryx seems almost giddy as he repeats it... but Savathûn is not amused. What she says in reply is very, very interesting:
I don't have a strict proof yet, you know." Savathûn strokes the void with one long claw and space-time groans beneath her touch. "This thing we believe — that we're liberating the universe by devouring it, that we're cutting out the rot, that we're on course to join the final shape — I haven't found a strict, eternal proof. We might yet be wrong.
Oryx tries to explain to her that they, the Hive, are that proof. They are so intent on killing everything in the universe that if they succeed then the proof is verified. And even if they fail, whatever kills them must be even more ruthless than them so in a way they still win even if they lose. Basically, Oryx is completely convinced he is in the right no matter what happens. But once again we see that Savathûn isn't so sure:
I like that," she says. "That's elegant." Although of course she has had this thought before.
That's very much veiled sarcasm coming from Savathûn. What we're seeing here is Savathûn realizing that even though her brother is more powerful than she is, he isn't smarter. Oryx thinks he has it all figured out, but clearly Savathûn has considered the Hive's reasons for killing everything and has some sort of legitimate doubt about whether what they are doing is actually correct. This is quite the role reversal from how these two siblings were back during their war with the Ammonites. Remember, back then it was Oryx who had grave doubts about the correctness of killing everything!
Soon, the Hive make their move to capture the Gift Mast. We learn that the Gift Mast is an absolutely massive megastructure left behind by the Traveler for a race or group of races called the Harmony. Somehow, at some point, the Harmony's star died and collapsed into a black hole, but the Traveler seems to have altered the physics of this black hole in order to keep the Harmony safe. We are told that it changed the orbits of the Harmony's ten planets so that they would orbit the black hole and that it changed the black hole so its accretion disk, the spiral of matter the black hole is sucking in, gave off warm light to those ten worlds. If we ignore the Gift Mast for a moment, what the Traveler did for the Harmony might already be the one of the most impressive acts we've yet heard about.
The Gift Mast itself is said to be some sort of hollow structure built within the relativistic jet of the Harmony's black hole and that it is absolutely massive in scale, so much so that it towers over the Harmony's star system! If this is to be taken even half way literally, then the Gift Mast might be ten of millions of miles tall! (Also, if you don't know about black hole jets, do a bit of reading, 'cause they're awesome!)
We're told a couple of times that the Gift Mast "...sings a radio lullaby, made of soothing lies." What could that mean? Could the Gift Mast simply be reacting to the force of the black hole's jet streaming around it and through it? Perhaps it is literally emitting soothing sounds at radio frequencies? Or maybe it's doing something else entirely? Could these "radio lullabies made of soothing lies" be an ongoing communication from the Traveler to the Harmony? Or some sort of ranged extension of the Traveler's power?
As Xivu Arath's begins her assault on the Harmony, she utters a few thoughts and warnings about the upcoming battle:
Then, lastly but nowhere near leastly, Xivu Arath makes mention of "THE DRAGONS", saying:
Our gods should be ours alone. Their smug freedom is an insult to me. I'd shut them all in cells. Bring them to me!
These final four sentences almost certainly are the key to the most important and far reaching thing we learn from the Hive's Books of Sorrow...
...so, of course, we'll take a break here and examine these "dragons" in depth next time! :p
Bite-sized Backstory 25: The Harmony and the Ahamkara
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Tue, 4 Apr 2017
The Defeat of the Harmony
We don't know if the Harmony knew about the Hive, or the hundreds of civilizations they'd made extinct. It's possible they saw the Hive coming and prepared as best they could. One day the Harmony must have been at peace, and the next they faced one of the greatest threats the galaxy has ever seen. And to be honest, they did pretty well, all things considered. But then, as we'll see, the Hive weren't fully committed to the fight, and the Harmony... and, well, the Harmony had some special help.
Xivu Arath leads the initial wave of the Hive's assault on the Harmony and their ten worlds. We are told that she fights with strategies and discipline but is held at bay for fifty years. Strangely, it's not the Harmony's Sting superweapon that holds back the Hive's god of war. Instead it is the Harmony's "wishful bishops" who are able to fight Xivu Arath in the ascendant plane by obtaining power from "dragon-wishes." Consider that for a moment. Only four races that we know of at this point have ever made it to the ascendant plane: The worm gods, the Hive (by ingesting the worm gods' larvae), the Vex (because Savathûn tricked Crota into letting them in to Oryx's throne world), and, of course, the Darkness. That the Harmony's bishops were able to enter and fight the Hive there is extraordinary, which means these dragons the Harmony directed their wishes towards must be as well!
With Xivu Arath locked in a stalemate against the Harmony's fleets (and their dragon-wish powered bishops, and their Traveler infused blackhole superweapon) Savathûn move in. But, instead of attacking the Harmony, she and her followers somehow disguise themselves and trick their way onto one of the Harmony's worlds. And instead of spreading disease, or sabotaging the Harmony's defenses, Savathûn moves to study the Harmony's dragons in secret. She doesn't just take scans of them or some such things, she and her followers vivisect them! That is, they experiment on these dragons and cut them open and take them apart while they are still alive!
Vivisection today (in the real world) often requires special procedures to limit the amount of pain experiments cause. It often takes the approval of an entire ethical review before a study involving vivisection can even be started. It seems extremely unlikely that Savathûn and her people were so high minded... Interestingly, we're told that the Hive's worm gods laugh and laugh at Savathûn's actions, though not why they do so. The apparent joy shown by the Hive's worm gods at Savathûn's actions might have something to do with who or what the Harmony's dragons actually are...
And then, of course, there's Oryx. He and his Court hide and grow within the accretion disc of the Harmony's blackhole. Oryx leaves the traditional combat to Xivu Arath and instead terrorizes the Harmony's worlds by bombarding them with asteroids and comets. He also launches Seeders to grow his forces on the Harmony's worlds much like Crota grew his followers into a powerful fighting force capable of taking on the House of Devils in the Cosmodrome. I can't imagine that Oryx didn't also use his power to Take key members of the Harmony's defense and leadership, but we are not specifically told that he did.
We are told that this is not exactly a hard battle for the Hive. In fact, we are told that the Hive's campaign against the Harmony is merely routine. Yes, they were slowed by the Harmony for a time, but soon enough Xivu Arath and Oryx's forces emerge triumphant and Oryx and his Court tear down the Harmony's Gift Mast. Interestingly, Savathûn is only said to have achieved her secret purpose, but we are not told what that purpose was or if it helped her brother and sister defeat the Harmony. It could be that she helped weaken the Harmony's bishops with her experiments, but we just don't know.
Oryx, by his right as the most powerful of the Hive, divides up the Gift Mast and its Light. He claims he is being generous in only keeping 2/5ths of it for himself, but do the math and you'll see that even though he gives up more than he keeps, neither of his sisters will gain more from the Harmony's defeat individually than he does. In everything he does, Oryx always makes sure that he comes out ahead... and his sisters recognize it.
Soon, Savathûn takes her forces and departs from Oryx and Xivu Arath saying: "Siblings, listen, we must part ways a while, so that we may grow different." While her statement may seem straight forward, I can't imagine that Savathûn is telling the whole truth. Xivu Arath also leaves Oryx, saying: "King Oryx, you take up too much space, your power constrains too many choices. I must go away from you." I think she is being truthful. Xivu Arath's stated plan was to beat Oryx to the Gift Mast and she failed.
The Hive achieved victory over the Harmony, but it is the last of their victories we hear about in the Books of Sorrow, and one can't help but wonder if by going their separate ways the Hive as a whole was significantly weakened.
There is another, larger issue here though. That of the true identity of the Harmony's dragons. I think we have enough evidence to make a good guess at who these dragons were, and, if my guess is right, I think the presence of these dragons reveal something very sinister in Destiny's universe. Yeah... more sinister than a race of near immortals who's stated goal is to kill everything so they alone can survive.
First, here's my theory in full:
The Hive's worm gods are just one example of this type of creature in the Destiny universe. The Hive themselves stumbled upon the Harmony's dragons which they immediately recognized as being similar or the same as their worm gods. There is a third known set of these creatures in the Destiny universe: A group of wish granting dragons called the Ahamkara that appeared in Humanity's solar system after the arrival of the Traveler. I propose these three sets of creatures are part of the same vastly ancient race and that they ultimately working towards the same sinister end.
Now, lets break this down:
1. The Hive's worm gods and Harmony's dragons are the same type of creatures pursuing the same goals.
2. The Hive's worm gods are the same type of creatures as Humanity's Ahamkara.
We have several instances of a shared speech pattern between the Hive's worm gods and things said by the Ahamkara remains that Guardians have fashioned into powerful armor:
Contrast this with Humanity's Ahamkara:
And thus the Ahamkara were made extinct, their call silenced, their solipsistic flattering erased, their great design - if it ever existed - broken.(Meaning the entire card was dictated by an Ahamkara?! )
Of this you can be assured, oh reader mine
The tunnels were geologic in nature, or had to be. That's what we thought until twelve hours into the second sub-lunar expedition, when we found the bones. A single long rib cage, the size of an aircraft fuselage.
The living creatures themselves, we found a hundred meters down. They might have been worms, if worms had scales and teeth and moved more quickly than a man could run.
This would seem to be a transcript or log perhaps from a Guardian just before the Hive and Crota killed thousands on the Moon. That long rib cage the size of an aircraft fuselage? We've seen something very similar! In the area where we have to kill Crota's crystal! It has a vaguely dragon-shaped skull and the bones of its body stretches along the right edge of the room? Is that the remains of an Ahamkara?!
Beyond these things, we have multiple examples of gear that various Guardians fashioned out of Ahamkara parts speaking to the Guardians in the same way that the worm gods often spoke to the Hive:
We also have a couple of pieces of armor that don't directly speak as a worm god / Ahamkara but seem related nonetheless:
I love all these things because like with the weapons named after the Iron Lords, most of these have been around since Destiny's launch or were added in The Taken King and when linked together with all the other information paint a cool bit of backstory that is hard to uncover at first.
3. Despite being separated by thousands or millions of years, the Hive's worm gods / Harmony's wish dragons / Humanity's Ahamkara act very similar and are possibly pursuing the same goal:
My best guess is that the Ahamkara are playing a similar long game to the one they sold to the Hive, but they are playing it better by playing all sides. They think that the Darkness will be victorious, but they themselves do not have the power or skills to oppose it. They fear allying themselves with a single race only to see some cataclysm or foe destroy that race and them along with it. So they spread themselves out all across the galaxy and seem to have been following closely on the heels of the Traveler. In each case we see the Ahamkara we also see that the Traveler either was nearby at the time (as with the Hive and Humanity) or had certainly been around at some point (as with the Harmony and their massive Gift Mast.)
Is there some other possibility? Could the Ahamkara be present all over the galaxy after some great war between Light and Darkness, and the Traveler in doing its space magic terraforming is accidentally waking them up? All except the Hive's worm gods who were trapped in Fundament's core?
It's clear we don't have the whole story regarding what went on with these Hive worm gods / Harmony Dragons / Humanity's Ahamkara, but I fully believe that they are actually a huge part of Destiny's past and will play a large role its future. I think that the Fallen, and Vex, and Cabal, and Hive, and Humans are merely pawns in a much bigger ongoing war between the Light and Darkness. Hopefully, with Destiny 2, we'll begin to see a bit more of that hidden war.
Oh, and there's one last weapon description that I think is very relevant to this whole discussion of the Ahamkara:
Those who doubt the existence of dragons are always the first devoured.
All over the Grimoire. Several are listed above. If you have questions just ask. (AKA: It'd take another hour or two just to properly link everything!)
Bite-sized Backstory 26: The Last Musings of Oryx
Originally posted on the DBO Forum, Mon, 17 Apr 2017
First we see (Oryx's?) Hive restate their belief in the form of an open letter to the things they plan to kill. It's the same basic thing where they say that building safe spaces for cooperation is a fatal lie because the universe only offers two paths: Being ruthless or being extinct.
Next, we see Oryx musing a little about where he is now. How his Hive and Crota keep him and his worm sated with rich tribute. And how he is now using his power to learn more about the Deep. Oryx briefly wonders about his sisters and has come to suspect that they might be hiding secrets and power from him since they went their separate ways, but as is typical Oryx is fine with that because "the only meaningful relationship is the attempt to destroy." He also states that the Deep dosen't want everything to be the same, but rather it was strong life that can live forever. This seems to have a few logical flaws, like what happens when there are only two forms of life left, but Oryx seems committed to his way of thinking now...
Then, we see Oryx thinking about his past and about returning to Fundament. But he concludes there is no point because he knows what happened to everything on that gas giant. He became that world's ultimate descendant and learned the answer to the questions about the universe his people had been asking. We also see that Oryx is actually aware enough to know that he doesn't yet fully understand the natures of the Deep and the Traveler, but he does want to learn.
And finally, Oryx considers all he has done. He thinks of his goals as to become so closely associated with death that if the universe ends he will survive as a part of the nothingness the universe becomes. He also relates the Hive's philosophy in perhaps the most understandable terms yet:
Far better to have a savage universe with a happy end than a happy universe with no hope.
Oryx himself goes on to think through the process something would have to go through to defeat him. He reasons that someone would need to kill his echoes, defeat him in the material world, defeat his count, and then confront him in his throne world. He realizes that while he is vastly powerful, a lot of that power is now derived from the tribute flowing from his daughters, and Crota, and his court, and if all of those are defeated he would no longer be able to feed his worm god.
As cruel and destructive as Oryx is, he still acknowledges that if something is able to defeat his Hive and his court and his children and him then that thing deserves to win. As bad as Oryx is, he is at least honest about the whole thing.
We know he was honest when he wrote this final Book of Sorrow because if we track forward to the time of our Guardians we take this exact path to killing Oryx. We first killed Crota, then we eliminated the key players of Oryx's court (namely the Warpriest, then Golgoroth, then Oryx's daughters) and finally we cut Oryx off from the tribute of corrupted Light he has stored up. As Oryx said, if all these things were to happen, if he was to fail, then let him become wormfood. And so he did.
Of course, as all great villains, Oryx's isn't quite done. Even in defeat he is confident that whoever defeated him will ultimately be forced to carry on his work. He believes that no matter what happens, he, in the form of his ideas and his cruelty, will live on forever. And so far, we don't have much to prove him wrong!
But, just as Oryx came to an end, so too has our in depth look at the Books of Sorrow! We've come a long long way!
We'll eventually revisit the Hive and their exploits as we explore their attempts to conquer Humanity and defeat the Guardians of The City. But first we have some new and exciting topics to cover, starting with:
I hope you'll join me as I attempt to trace a proud race as they are forced from the heights of their Golden Age down to becoming scavengers on the edge of extinction.