Bite-sized Backstory 17: The End of an Age (Destiny)
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!