Her jaw aches. She used to imagine biting out his throat with armored teeth. The stone smokes around her where the arc fire lashes it and the shrapnel guns throw up leaves of obsidian like glass butterflies. She shoots her bandoliers dry and a team of Vandals in glassy stealth leap up to rush her with knives but she raises her hand and burns them down with the golden gun, laughing, crying out Draksis, Draksis, I am come!
She kills them all and takes the next ridge, high above the Cinders. She can see the blue-green pools and the cave mouths where the Vex lights dance. And there among them, gowned in smoke and ash, is the long shark shape of a Ketch, a Wintership, the Kell's ship, come down to nest. She could go down there now and finish this. But she made a promise. A Captain jumps her. She throws two knives into his armor and then staves his chest in with her own Ghost, wrapped up in her fist like a stone.
When she makes no move to go down the cliff towards the ship it blinks once, in its own way, and makes a soft sound, like a sigh, like relief. Warrior-scholars of the Light, Warlocks devote themselves to understanding the Traveler and its power. A Warlock's mind is an arsenal of deadly secrets, balanced between godhood and madness. On the battlefield, those secrets can shatter reality itself.
Why did I set her on the trail? You try and try and try to explain, but no one ever understands. No one who's not a Warlock. Who hasn't spent a dozen years scouring the ruins for one string of symbols, one clean code, one black talon. Titans just make a hmphing noise, if they've stayed awake. Hunters clean their nails with their knives and look at you like you've grown a third eye. But when you've spent your life searching through arcana for ancient power, you have the urge to reach out and educate others. Especially if you've had one too many.
Nah, she's not my type at all. We've played dice, cards, war games, you know, the usual stuff. I'd never tried to show off before. I don't know what came over me. I had a broken vertebrae in my pocket that I'd borrowed from - yes, borrowed, I was going to put it back - what do you think you are, my conscience? It was a fossil, that means mineral replacement, a rock, basically. They can survive a few hours in my pocket. Do shut up. The Cryptarchs weren't going to miss it. Everyone knows the Ahamkaras were hunted to extinction. There's nothing to be afraid of anymore.
Think of how mysterious this system is, I said. How much life sprang up when the Traveler came. Like the Ahamkara. Do you know the legends? The dragon that made promises? And I pulled out the fossil with a flourish - She pulled out her knife and started to pick the dirt from her nails. That set me off. You could never have brought down one of these, I said. Not the greatest Hunter, not the brawniest Titan. Her eyes narrowed. She said, Oh? Is that so? And I saw right then that she wasn't going to pass on the challenge. I've murdered a Guardian, I thought.
She's going to die. It'll be my fault. And I looked at the piece of spine in my hand and wondered - why did I say that? What moved me to such pride? We came here under one banner, united in a host of thousands, to claim the Moon. But the battle goes against us. I have taken a prisoner and this is the record of its interrogation.
If I transgress in your eyes I ask for your forgiveness. It responds to pain. It responds to the Light. Hurt it again. Monster, heed me. Who is your master with the sword? In my head. Record that. I think you're only feeding it. I will touch its mind. Ghost - help. They call you Wizard. You must be ancient. I think you value power very much. Will you still be powerful without this piece of your mind?
Tell me how to kill Crota. It showed me Wei Ning dead on Crota's blade. It showed me how Crota killed a Guardian with a screaming knife hammered out of his own Ghost. So I will take a piece of its mind, and ask again. Where is his throne? Where is the twilight world under the dead star eye? Crota is upon them. Half a hundred dead.
They need us. Tell me where! Tell me how! It said we were the same. They are dying in numbers I cannot bear to repeat. He kills them one by one with a sword that eats their Light. Eriana, we have to do something - Kill the Wizard. Scatter the ash. It has nothing but lies to offer. Get your Sparrows. We have Light and fury. That will be enough. All of the after-action reports I've shown you about the Taken War, the calm state of the system I've attached more details, if you want to read evaluations from the Vanguard.
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Just skim Cayde's. Humans are survivors, tough and resilient, descended from those who built a Golden Age only to see it ripped away. Now, after an age of retreat and desperate struggle, they fight to take back their solar system and claim a new future. There are those who believe the Traveler chose Earth for a reason. Now it is humanity's obligation to prove itself worthy of the Traveler's faith. The mission is a go. Crew of three: Mihaylova, Qiao, myself. Immediate departure at the next Hohmann window to Mars. The MREs and return ships will chase us out. How do I feel? I said at the press conference I felt privileged.
Historians will read this diary, but it won't take their insight to tell the world that I'm terrified. It's the human reaction. What I wish I could convey is the - the exhilaration. That's the biggest thing. I'm not a spiritual man, but I've always believed there's something transcendent about spaceflight. Something pure. We go out there because we can. Because it's who we are.
Now we go because we have to. Because the unknown came to us. In fourteen months we'll be face to face with it, and by the time we arrive, it should be active again - just like it was active on Jupiter, and Mercury, and Venus. I wonder what happens if it doesn't stop at Mars. I wonder if it'll leave us there in the sand, and come to Earth, and do here what it's done everywhere else. I hate that we're carrying weapons.
I understand the necessity. But I hold to my belief: there's something beautiful out there.
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It's up to us to reach it. Everybody asks about the words. The truth is I'm not much of a poet. Ares One didn't leave us with bandwidth for anything except blunt competence. We came in perilously hot, trying to select a landing site through the chaos of thickening atmosphere and turbulence that bloomed off the target. A twenty minute round-trip lightspeed delay to Earth meant we could only count on ourselves.
When the number three engine went diagnostic during the second course correction, I thought we might go catastrophic. But Qiao brought us in. Mihaylova brought us in. I just flew the ship. The Ares One excursion vehicle was built for thin winds and icy dust. We came down into a storm: the breath of God, a ripple of change rolling down off the artifact. We aborted on three sites and finally I took us into powered hover and brought us down on reflexes and instinct.
Then we ran the checklists, suited up, and left the vehicle. There was a script, and it's true, I botched it. I got my boots down and I made the most famous gaffe in human history. Said the first thing that came to mind: a warning to the others. I just thought it'd be useful to know. The hike from Ares One. You've watched it. Everything was recorded. I think you can get it in full immersion, now, and fly around like a hummingbird.
I'll add what I can. The route was planned. We all went together - the CEV and Ares One itself had enough automation to go home alone in the event of crew loss. Whatever we'd find at the artifact, it needed the human element. We carried rifles. They made us heavier and slower and probably less safe. I think the argument about the rifles can be left for another time. What's important is - It turned out well. Look at me. Look at us! You're talking to a ninety-year-old man.
A ninety-year-old who's never been sharper. I'm miles ahead of every cognitive benchmark. What's happened to me is good. What's happened to all of us is good. When we crested that rise and made visual contact with the artifact I don't think any one of us dared dream that it would end this well. We went to Mars at the cutting edge of human civilization. And it wasn't our weapons that won the day. It was our ship. Our training.
Our camaraderie. Our belief that if we just reached out to the universe, not to grasp for profit or security but with an open hand, we would be elevated. We were right. That makes me so happy. To this day. Three human beings stood on a high ridge and saw the shape of the future.
Saw rain strike a millennia-old desert. Felt the air sweeten with oxygen and warm water and the beginnings of life. I am sometimes asked if I felt something die. The end of the era of human self-sufficiency. I don't know how to answer that question. I do know that I was changed.
Nobody could experience that kind of wonder and remain unchanged. The decades since have proven that to me. I knew I'd never fly another mission like that. I recognized the need for a new love. That's why I threw my fresh cognitive skills into understanding the Traveler. How can one entity so quickly and utterly remake an entire world? Fifty years later, I'm conversant in high mathematics, particularly topological thoughts and the slippery irreality of Light.
I'm involved in a project to study the Traveler's terraforming actions right now. But I still enjoy the interviews. I like going back to that mission. It makes me unspeakably happy to see how well it all turned out. And it makes me happy to remember I was there. And standing with strangers. Hope churning beneath my skin, assuring me there was a place besides this place. A realm that would nurture us, not kill us. The Earth was ruin. Chaos and madness and death. We were standing on the Earth. Where I am now. But why am I still here?
It was my turn to leave. I remember. I was waiting with others like me, and the ships would soon take us away. But to where? Where was this hope? I must have known. There had to be a name, coordinates. Except all of that is forgotten. Other than my absolute conviction in salvation, nothing remains. The Traveler. I remember that now. Which was Something has stolen my words, the imagery. But I still remember what it promised us The universe. Creation held in our hands.
But I was here for a reason. And what would I surrender, just for the faint chance to remember what that good reason was. It is said that the Awoken were born in the Collapse, descended from those who tried to flee its wrath. Something happened to them out on the edge of the deep black, and they were forever changed.
Today many Awoken live in the distant Reef, aloof and mysterious. But others returned to Earth, where their descendants now fight for the City. Earthborn Awoken who venture out to the Reef, hoping to learn its secrets, find no special welcome from the reclusive Queen.
Eleven hundred meter length. Active gravity generation. Residual heat. Fast neutron scatter. Low-light foliage grown from terrestrial stocks, mirrors focusing starlight into growth chambers Surface heavily wooded until recently, unknown event triggering firestorm No distress calls noted. No evidence of crew or passengers on exterior. Interior scans inconclusive. Cleared to attempt approach. I was nothingness. If I existed before, I existed as possibility, as potential, stretched thin across the aether.
And maybe there was a body that looked like my body, complete with a soul that could be confused for someone rather like me. What I am now was not yet real. And then I was born, and the universe was free to begin. Others were present at my birth. A great ceremony had just begun. Because newborns are selfish beasts, I assumed I was the object of attention.
I didn't notice the singing until the singers fell silent. And then She appeared. She was above me. Ethereal and handsome and elegant. I assumed my face was like her face and that odd idea gave me strength enough to smile.
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It meant nothing but she understood it as a question. I stopped pretending to think. How I remained on my feet was a mystery, because the terror was bearing down on me, like a mountain about to crush my soul. The world around us had shattered, and it seemed vanishingly unlikely that we would outlive this one awful day. The source was inside my skin. I was utterly terrified of my own awful nature. And which part scared me? Inside me was an essence woven from beyond.
Was I Awoken before this? She was still in my head. I could hear her song growing fainter. Not yet. A new crippling terror was taking over. I was focused entirely on my fear. But I had to make an effort. And it occurred to me then that nothing in the universe was more dangerous than human hubris.
I still had this Other within? But the human side was what mattered: Weak and foolhardy, sure to fail in the next moment. Then someone spoke. Maybe it was me. I was trying to focus, and a new thought took me: My soul lay between those two entities. The friction. Built for a long-forgotten struggle, Exos are self-aware war machines so advanced that nothing short of a Ghost can understand their inner functions. They remain ciphers, even to themselves: their origins and purpose lost to time. Whoever built the Exos fashioned them in humanity's image, gifting them with diversity of mind and body.
Many of the City's Exo citizens live and work alongside their organic brethren. But others fight again, re-forged in the Light of the Traveler to serve as Guardians. It doesn't matter if the system thinks with flesh or superconductor or topological braids in doped metallic hydrogen, as long as the logic is the same. And our logic is the same. Yours and mine.
If I am a machine then so are you. If you are not a machine then neither am I. Exo minds are human. It is incontrovertible. You understand? I'm going to take that slack-jawed stare as understanding. Now here's the real question. Why are Exo minds human? What's the design imperative? Why does a war machine - yes, absolutely, I am a war machine, built by human hands; and you are a survival machine built by the engine of evolution.
Don't interrupt me. Why does a war machine have emotions? Why should a war machine have awareness? These are not useful traits on the battlefield. Don't flatter yourself. They are not useful. So why should the Exo mind mimic the human architecture so closely? You know what I smell on you? I smell the stink of anthropocentrism. I think you think that there's only one way to think.
That's why the Exo mind is so human, you presume. Because all higher thought converges. My friend, you should meet the Vex. There is nothing human in them. This is what I believe happened, back in the time before any Exo can remember. It explains everything. I think someone wanted to live forever. Thanks for your interest. I'm recording this for posterity. Warlock thanatonauts die and come back with insight.
I'm going to attempt the same process to get at buried memories. Specifically, I'm going to fire a charged particle beam into my head and see what comes out. We Exos have been around a very long time. I want to know what's in there. My Ghost is standing by to repair me. Everyone is on fire. There's a ship above us but it's coming apart just like a flower, alloy and fusion flash, pierced through and through - The voice says Atmospheric interface.
Trajectory nominal. Rabid two three you are outside the window. I think I am the voice I can see the whole earth below me and the sky we are falling out of is black without stars. Ghost, shoot me again. This is elsewhere and elsewhen. There is a mighty aurora and it is reflected in the ice so I walk between two fires although the one below is cracked and full of corpses. I have and am a weapon. Up in the sky there is a hole in Jupiter and it tears at me when I look at it. It tears at me. It is hungry.
Maybe the hole is not in Jupiter but in me. Did I ever suffer exhaustion? Someone asked the question. Or maybe I asked it of myself. Then it looked at me. This moment was real. I was forged by other hands and forced into the role of warrior. According to my scars, I fought and fought. Besides bits and flashes, every battle has been forgotten.
But I have this clear, awful sense that others died. In my unit, every soldier was killed except for me. Yet despite a thousand chances to be shredded and scrapped, here I stood, no weapon in my hands, making fists out of habit but with nothing to hit. That was my sense of things. But our world was collapsing around us, and every soul was doomed. Even cockroaches and microbes would die. And being an expert in the art of losing battles, I saw no ending to this battle but another loss. And I was ashamed. The shame took hold of me. It shook me. Shame stole my mass and my resolve.
Suddenly I felt like a feather, like a breath, like any small nothing ready to be lost in the first breeze. But in the midst of that despair, a fresh thought took hold. I was cursed. And do you know what a curse is? It is stubborn. A curse delivered by the gods will hold you when everything else has given up on you. And it was obvious that survival was my eternal curse.
A thousand battles and how many were won? Judging by the evidence, none. But despite the horrific losses, I had endured. Closing my eyes, I forced my fists to open. To this enemy, to myself. To the wind threatening to carry me away. Built from machinery and the Traveler's Light, Ghosts guide their Guardian companions in the quest to reclaim our solar system. Every Ghost seeks out its Guardian among the ancient dead. The Ghost serves as scout, librarian, and mechanic, waking ancient machinery and cracking alien codes.
In the right situations, a Ghost can even save a Guardian from death. But Ghosts are not immortal. As far as Guardians know, every loss is irreplaceable. Battered and drained of their Light, these Ghosts are nevertheless valuable for the information they preserve. Their recovered memories may well prove vital to the City's survival. The problem of dead Ghosts troubles the City's scholars. Are new Ghosts still being born? Or is the number of Ghosts dwindling? Will there come a day when no more remain - an end to the rise of new Guardians? If that day is coming, then the City faces a desperate race against time to heal the Traveler before attrition takes its toll.
It is a place, a place casting shadows and emotion. It's a real place, I know. One hot blue sun, say. And other suns too. I like seven better. What I'm recalling is a giant star with a family of six smaller suns, and you could spend days and nights counting all of the planets circling those suns Not anymore.
The powers in charge have carved up all of the worlds, and maybe a brown dwarf or two for good measure. With that rubble, they fashioned a topologically creative enclosure, a twisting of space and time sealed behind doors that admit only those who know the magic words. The bones of a hundred planets have been cut smooth and laid out like a floor, a polished and lovely floor creating vast living spaces.
A floor bigger than ten thousand worlds, catching the fierce glory of the seven suns. For light, for food. For beauty. And nothing escapes. Not heat, not gravity. Not even the faintest proud sound. It could be anywhere. It can live in the cold between galaxies, or folded up inside matter, near enough to touch right now I remember it and maybe it's exactly as I describe it. Seven suns wrapped inside magic. Or it's something else entirely, perhaps. A place still fat with life.
An abundance of sentient souls, some decent, maybe a few of lesser quality, and everybody stands about or floats about, or they bounce between dimensions. The point is that the residents of this hidden realm live inside a bottle so perfectly hidden that they can't see beyond their own borders. Which shapes a mind in very specific ways. But, Beyond is their name for a mysterious, doubtful realm that they can't see.
Which is us, of course. Two more scans and she could move on to the elevated grid. She didn't even pick up on another Ghost being this close. I'm sorry. Wow, how long has it been? It's been 6. It's just an expression. It HAS been a while. I guess you haven't found yours yet? But I haven't been looking on Mars for that long, at least! I'm optimistic. I was just at the City last year. A lot more of us are starting to find our Guardians latel— what's that?
Two Ghosts within twenty meters and she didn't sense either one? Something was off. The new arrival chirped and spoke up. I haven't been myself lately. He read as nervous. She probably did, too. It was fun! There were puzzles. No one was alive down there, though. It's gone forever, now! Then Obsidian spoke up, his words coming quickly. Good luck! Cassiopeia watched him disappear into the horizon. Only Guardians have the gift of the Traveler's Light - the ability to channel its energies to project vast power into the world.
Even without a firearm, a Guardian is a radiant engine of destruction. While these abilities rise from within, Guardians master their power in different ways. Titans understand the Light as a force to hone through practice and strict discipline. Hunters roam and explore in order to learn, using dangerous methods to survive the wilds. And Warlocks study the Light and its inner mechanisms, confronting unfathomable mysteries in the search for transcendent might.
Nothing born is born strong. I know I began weak, the same as you. I don't care if you're an Exo, staring at that number and wondering where you've come from. Or a Human hungry to understand the ancient world that left you for dead. Or an Awoken reborn in the very essence of what your people hide from. Together, we're the pointed end of a long stick of happenstance. Change one ripple in an ancient ocean and we would never have been granted the Light within us, or the good Ghosts that want to help us.
Humble origins. Every world begins as a big pebble lost among trillions of pebbles. Every worthy sun was once cold hydrogen spread thin across the vacuum. Even the universe, this cosmic garden that surrounds us and awes us And everything that's splendid and great stands at the end of incalculable chance and mayhem.
Yes, you have talents. Enormous, wondrous powers. But you should put the smirk away. Do you know what a Guardian is? Your name is another pebble. You are a cold apple seed. But you will grow. Striker Titans charge into close combat, armored in Light and wielding fistfuls of thunder. Striker tactics depend on shock and disciplined aggression. They must awe and scatter the enemy, or risk being overwhelmed.
Fellow Guardians prize their ability to draw fire as they shatter the enemy line. Defender Titans are immovable anchors, trained to absorb punishment and control the flow of battle. Armed with unflinching conviction and an armory of Void techniques, Defenders block the enemy's movements, shrug off their fiercest weapons, and rally fellow Guardians to strike back. Some Titan orders predate the City, born of a darker time, when Light was an untamed weapon.
The Sunbreakers brought honor to the wild, never seeking the safety of the City. Bound by an oath, they live as mercenaries, seeking battles and alliances beyond the Walls. Now the Light of their fire has at last found rank among the City. Wield the Hammer of Sol with honor, Titan, it is a thing of legend, both past and future. In the end, doesn't it all come down to you and your gun? Don't see much else to say about it. That's just truth. There's something to be said for the blade.
A knife won't jam. A knife won't run dry. A knife is very, very quiet. Leave the noise and fire to others. There's work to be done, out there in the dark - monsters that deserve death, delivered quickly, silently, and without mercy. A lone hunter stalks the night, firing arrows into the Darkness. There is no hiding, no escape. In the distance, the beast falters, tethered to the void. The killing blow comes without hesitation, without mercy. That truth is this: monsters need not fear the night.
Do not hunt the monster. Become the monster. The Traveler came out of the void that surrounds all things. Thus we know that the void is full of power. Thus we enter the void without fear. Small minds will call your abilities blasphemous. They will compare you to the abominable Wizards of the Hive. But you will not be held back. Gifted with the Traveler's Light, armed with the secret physics of a lost age, you will tear reality asunder.
You will fear nothing, and nothing will not fear you. These are dark times. Humanity stands on the brink of extinction. We will carry fire into that darkness - a beacon to guide the way, and a pyre to consume our great enemy. The Light saved us from death and forged us into weapons. We seek to understand it, to embrace it, to consume and be consumed by it. We hope to become radiant. Our fellow Guardians need our power. Our civilization needs our strength. Draw the static from within. The Arc is inside all life.
You must feel it take hold, let it flow through, but not consume you. You are a conduit. Between sky and earth. Electricity and matter. Life and death. You are a weapon. With their finely tuned reflexes, Hunters are naturally gifted with knives. The make and shape of the perfect knife is a matter of endless debate. Curiosity gets a Warlock into trouble, and force of will gets a Warlock out. Even novices can shear reality with a single deadly gesture. An explosive grenade that disorients the enemies it damages, leaving them vulnerable to gunfire and close combat.
A grenade that periodically damages enemies inside its explosion radius. An effective tool for area denial. A grenade that attaches to enemies and explodes twice. Designed to crack the armor of hard targets. An explosive grenade that sticks to surfaces and detonates when enemies pass through its laser trigger. The Fallen are antagonistic toward the Cabal , Taken , Hive , and Vex , and are known to be in conflict with the latter two over territory and technology. They have ordinarily avoided the Cabal until the Taken War , when the House of Wolves attempted to make their new home on Mars using abandoned Cabal bases.
They lack any type of established stronghold such as the Citadel or the Hellmouth , instead preferring to squat in ruins or inside their ketches, going from place to place in search of a potential home. A new faction of Fallen, the House of Dusk , became active during the events of Destiny 2. A Fallen crime syndicate under the control of The Spider operated within the Tangled Shore , and forged a working alliance with the Guardians and Awoken to end the Scorn threat.
The Fallen's name for their own race is " Eliksni ". Their ubiquitous cloaking technology was originally designed as toys for children. The Eliksni made during their Golden Age twice the advancement in space exploration than Humanity. Their homeworld and civilization would be destroyed by a unforeseen event called the " Whirlwind ". In the aftermath, the surviving Fallen became embroiled in a bloody civil war over their civilization's ruins, before achieving a tenuous peace and embarking on a journey into space to locate the Traveler in order to return to greatness. The Fallen eventually arrived at the Solar System shortly after humanity 's Collapse , and rediscovered the Traveler on Earth.
When the Fallen first arrived in the Sol System, they terrorized humanity, conducting raids and attacks against outposts. Very early into these attacks, they started to meet opposition in the form of Guardians , who fought back against them time and time again. This was the start of the Eliksni siege. In an attempt to take the Traveler, the House of Devils staged a coordinated attacked on The City in a battle that would later be called Six Fronts. During the battle four orders of Titans protected the newly constructed walls of The City against six enemy approaches, and not a single front faltered.
In what would become forever known as a the "Crusade of Saint", the brave Exo fought against Solkis, Kell of Devils , killing him with a headbutt and bringing the Fallen offensive to its final end. While on a mission, Andal was murdered by the renegade Fallen mercenary Taniks, the Scarred. The House of Wolves intended to join the Battle of Twilight Gap alongside the other houses, but were stopped at Ceres when the Reef intervened. Their Kell, Virixas was killed in the initial clash, along with a massive portion of the house, which would later be called The Scatter.
This started a period of time known as The Reef Wars. During the course of the wars, Skolas, the Rabid rose to the Wolf Kellship.
The wars ended when Variks , a member of the House of Judgment who lived among the Wolves, betrayed Skolas to the Reef resulting in his capture along with most of his House. Riksis met a sudden and unexpected end at the hands of a newly risen Guardian, while attempting to track down a missing warp drive.
With Sepiks' destruction, the Devils were now effectively leaderless. Leading the raid was Frigoris, Exiled Baron , who became a priority target due to his station in the Exiles, and was dispatched by the Guardian. Fighting through Draksis' Kell's Guard , a Guardian made their way onto the Fallen Ketch and faced Draksis in his throne room, killing him and beheading Winter's Leadership.
However, a fireteam of Guardians quickly ended him and the Fallen which broke him out, leaving them leaderless. Later, the Hive general Omnigul would lead a fireteam of Guardians through House of Kings Territory in an attempt to stop them from hunting her. Phyksin, King Baron personally attempted to stop the Guardians, but was killed in the resulting battle.
Initiated by the return of Skolas , now calling himself the Kell of Kells, the House of Wolves rebelled against the Awoken. While he set loose the Silent Fang to kill off the Devils remaining leaders  , he sent one of his Barons , Yavek to negotiate with the Kell of Kings.
Taniks, the Scarred was also hired by the Wolves to plunder the Hellmouth and steal from the dark. However a fireteam of Guardians arrived to kill him, pursuing the mercenary through his Ketch before meeting his end. Every Fallen house was devastated by Oryx's arrival, with great numbers of Eliksni being Taken and made to serve Oryx. The Wolves also suffered a loss in the form of Driviks, the Chosen , which forced the Guardians to re-enter the Traitor's Ketch and eliminate the swarm of Taken. As the Taken War progressed, the House of Winter managed to take advantage of the Reef's disorganization to break into the Prison of Elders and retrieve another Archon Priest.
However the Taken on Venus attacked and scattered their forces, Taking the Archon in the process, turning him into Nixis, Hunger of Oryx. Guardians managed to destroy Nixis, ending Winter's second raid on the Prison as easily as the first. Also during this time, the House of Devils attacked the Warmind Rasputin 's bunker, attempting to take control of the Warmind and its weapons.
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Rasputin send out a distress signal, causing a fireteam of Guardians to come to the Warmind's aid. The Guardians followed the Devils inside, and fought against S. Keldar offered the Wolves a new god to worship, the rebuilt Orbiks Prime , the Wolves' previous god. Orbiks Prime attempted to reassemble the House on Mars, directing its servants to seize Cabal outposts already weakened by the Taken invasion. The Splicer sect used SIVA to modify themselves, transforming themselves into cybernetic beings, with Aksis becoming wholly a machine.
Sepiks was cornered, and was destroyed once more. The Guardians descended into his lair and killed Kovik, along with a Hive Ogre he was vivisecting. With the Splicers backed into a corner, a larger fireteam attacked the Splicers lair directly. There they encountered Vosik, the Archpriest , second in command of the Splicer sect. They hunted him deep into the wall the Splicers had dug into and destroyed him.
The guardians continued to explore the Splicer lair and discovered the Devils had found a facility similar to Site-6 as well as their leader, Aksis, the Archon Prime of the Devils, lurking inside. Unfortunately, their efforts were discovered by Variks, the Loyal who relayed their plans to the Vanguard. Despite their efforts and Taniks' new abilities, they failed. Eventually the Fallen House of Devils withdrew completely from the Cosmodrome, leaving behind piles of ceremonially burnt banners and armor.
The other Fallen Houses—Winter, Exile, Wolves—appear to have done the same, withdrawing en masse everywhere and abandoning their former territories. Around this time, Prince Uldren Sov arranged a meeting with Kell of Kings in order to build a personal army of Fallen for his own purposes. These Fallen sport hoods, purple robes and armor, along with new equipment not seen prior to their resurgence. From Ghost scans of artifacts and tactics, it appears that the House of Dusk is a merger of all the other Houses. Apparently, so many losses and the deaths of so many leaders forced the Fallen to unite out of sheer desperation.
Even so, it is unknown who currently leads the House of Dusk as the identities of its Kell, Barons and Archons is also unknown. The emergent House of Dusk found themselves in a war with the invading Red Legion forces, later engaging in dogfights with Red Legion fleets in a dispute of the Shard of the Traveler. In addition, House of Dusk troops are battling a guerrilla war with the surviving Guardians in the European Dead Zone , battling for supplies, while also battling the Vex on Nessus.
They also follow the Vanguard's surviving fleet to Titan, hoping to scavenge from the fleet and the lost Golden Age facilities on the moon. Upon arriving, however, not only are they forced to fight the Vanguard's forces but also a newly discovered Hive brood that has infested the New Pacific Arcology. A three-way battle began between the Guardians, Fallen, and Hive for control of the facilities. No Fallen communications have been detected from their old territories on the Moon, Mars, or Venus.
Despite the Guardians being preoccupied with the Red Legion and liberating the Last City, they didn't turn a blind eye to the Fallen's activities. After defeating Ghaul and driving the Red Legion from the City, Guardian forces began missions that started disrupting Fallen operations that led to the deaths of numerous Servitors, Captains, Mining Crews, Fallen Walkers, valuable Ether supplies and even an Archon Priest. Even so, the Vanguard still don't know who truly leads this new House.
Capitalising on the lack of leadership in the post- Taken War Reef, a group of Dregs who collectively titled themselves the "Scorned Barons" banded together after they were cast out from the House of Exile. They waged a civil war against the Fallen Houses for practicing the old Eliksni ways and the terror they unleashed had grown as powerful as any Kell, even having driven the House of Wolves to extinction through the destruction of all their Servitors by the hands of Reksis Vahn.
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At a final standoff, the Barons were defeated and those not killed were thrown deep within the Prison of Elders. Only one at the scene, their Archon, Fikrul, the Fanatic , managed to escape. At some point following the Taken War , Prince Uldren ; who had been corrupted by Darkness and working with the House of Kings , discovered a mortally wounded Fikrul who was once a well-regarded Archon Priest of Kaliks Prime within the House of Wolves , but was cast out after speaking against the Great Machine and lamenting his species' dependence on Servitors for survival.
Wishing to save him, Riven granted Uldren's wish and part of Uldren's Darkness transferred into Fikrul's Ether, raising him as the first of the Scorn. Both Fikrul and Uldren found each other as kindred spirits and usurped Craask, Kell of Kings and immediately took over the House of Kings. Fikrul then docked and demoted the former Kell to Dreg status before slaughtering the House in a grand betrayal as Uldren decided that the Kings were too bothersome for his ambitions. With the use of Dark Ether , Fikrul began to hammer the Fallen society and raised the deceased Kings as a new undead army named the Scorn.
He tried to send a warning to The Last City under the name of Greenraven but was unable to do so as the Red Legion knocked out the City's communication capabilities. He also sent a warning to the Fallen Houses, including the Kell of Kings , to convince them to help him unify and save what was left of the Eliksni.
Variks watched in horror as his sensors showed the Traveler getting trapped within the Traveler Cage , and the Guardians fall . To his shock he learned that his former friend, Fikrul, was the leader of the so-called Scorn and was allegedly responsible for killing Craask, Kell of Kings  . With the last of the Kells assumed dead, Varik's hope of a united Eliksni crumbled as he locked all of the Barons into cryopod cells. Variks asked his old friend about the whereabouts of Kaliks Prime , whom both made a pact to hide away, and asked Fikrul if he had betrayed the last Prime to the Taken and if that is the source of his corrupted ether.
Fikrul replied that Kaliks had abandoned the Eliksni altogether. After much thought, Variks decided that he would become the Kell of House Judgement so that he could unify his race. To do so, he figured that he would need to cause a prison riot so that he could abandon his service to the Awoken without being noticed.
He prepared by running simulations on the prison security systems, making adjustments to them based on the simulation results and had a final talk with his High Servitor , deeming it the last Warden of the Prison. He then had a final talk with Fikrul and Uldren on the day of the prison break, informing Uldren that he had more service to do.
The Mad Warden , acting as Variks, then sent a message through the speakers announcing a malfunction in the security system and had commenced a shutdown and reboot, which resulted in the all the prison cells and cryopods opening. As the cells opened, Variks made his way through the secret passage way that Petra and Cayde used to smuggle in Fikrul and Uldren into the Prison, and recorded two messages to be sent through the prison's relay.
The first message he recorded was with his synth voice device turned off to talk in High Speak, to give commands to those Eliksni who would answer the call of House Judgement. The second message he recorded was spoken with his synth device about the the whispers he hears from all those around him of his insulting titles, and how he will become the Kell of the House of Judgement , an envoy for the Eliksni.
He boarded a ship full of the prison's ether supply and was saluted by a Vandal bearing the colors of the House of Wolves . A year after the Red War came to a close, the Guardian and Cayde-6 traveled to the Reef to investigate the unrest but were ambushed by Uldren and the leading seven Barons of the Scorn , along with their spiritual leader and Archon , Fikrul, the Fanatic. Cayde was then beaten, his Ghost destroyed and then killed by Uldren in cold blood. Outraged by the death of the Hunter Vanguard, The Guardians, acting upon their own accord and unsanctioned by the Vanguard, return to the Reef to start the hunt for the Scorn and the rogue Awoken prince to avenge Cayde Upon the breakout of the Scorn, the House of Dusk also began to fight the Scorn, beginning a new civil war within the Eliksni race.
The Spider provides information and bounties on the Scorn for the Guardian in return for taking out the Scorn's leaders and operations, thus allowing the Fallen mob boss to reestablish control and influence over the Tangled Shore. Ultimately, Uldren plotted to find his sister, Mara Sov, using traces of both Light and Darkness to open a gateway within the Awoken Watchtower, with the Scorn aiding him. However, the Guardian began to disrupt the Scorn's operations in spreading chaos in the Reef. The Guardian stormed the Watchtower which was corrupted with Taken forces, and battled with Fikrul.
They succeed in defeating the Archon but upon delving deeper within the Watchtower, they find a monstrous creature that is revealed to be the one of the forces behind Uldren's actions, the Voice of Riven. The creature, disguised as Mara Sov, used him to gain its freedom and soon captures him. As it turns out Riven , the last known of the wish-granting Ahamkara , became Taken after Oryx invaded the Reef but upon his defeat, appeared to serve a new master and aspired to break free of the Dreaming City.
Appearing as Mara Sov to corrupt Uldren's mind into opening the gateway, Riven has a chance to emerge and corrupt the material world. Fortunately, the Guardian arrives and battles with the twisted creature. After a long struggle and despite the creature's strange powers, the Guardian succeeds in destroying the Taken Chimera. The creatures destruction also frees Uldren but leaves him weak and defenseless in the face of the Guardian and Petra Venj.
In the end, Uldren Sov, former disgraced prince of the Reef and murderer of Cayde-6, is executed, avenging Cayde's death and all those who perished during the Scorn's rampage in the Reef. While remnants of the weakened Scorn remain in the Tangled Shore, the Guardians continue their vigilance over the region, both to keep their bargain with the Spider and to make sure the Scorn no longer pose a threat again. Though the Scorn was nothing more than a pawn to Riven into opening the gateway within the Dreaming City, the Scorn remain active in their efforts in spreading chaos within the Reef.
Over time, the Scorn's Archon, Fikrul, returns after his supposed death, swearing vengeance for the deaths of his fellow Scorn Barons. The Guardians track Fikrul back to the Scorn's lair and battle with the twisted Archon once again. Despite his Dark Ether powers, Fikrul was defeated once again but he swears that he will return to have his revenge.
In addition to the Guardians campaigns, the Taken have also managed to deal more damage to the Fallen as they continue to corrupt the Dreaming City and spread the Taken curse. Variks, the Loyal declared himself the Kell of Judgement after experiencing the tragic fall and hatred inflicted on his people, in the same way that Skolas declared himself Kell of Kells after the events of the Reef Wars. Variks, finding the Kell within himself, is now making stand for his dying race.
All the while Mithrax, the Forsaken has defected from the House of Dusk and sworn allegiance to the Last City , eventually joining a fireteam of Guardians and founding the House of Light. He argues that humanity, not the Fallen, are deserving of the Traveler and promises to Kell the mind-open Eliksni.
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The Spider still continues to work with the City by placing bounties on high value targets. Upon discovering that Mara Sov is still alive Yevik , a former House of Wolves member now working with the House of Dusk , begins plotting a return to his former Wolf Kell; who he is still loyal to . With the demise of the House of Wolves , former members of the house can be seen working with the House of Dusk including the Silent Fang , Queenbreakers , Pallas Siegebreakers and those affiliated with Beltrik and Irxis.
Although the House of Kings suffered a major loss in the docking of their Kell, remnants of the Kings still reside by the European Dead Zone near the Shard of the Traveler . With the Fallen in disarray, a new leader in the name of Siviks, Lost to None emerged to lead a newly-formed anarchist organization, the Kell's Scourge.
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At some point before Black Armory , Siviks fell out with his brother, The Spider , and formed his own rival syndicate upon escaping incarceration at the Prison of Elders. In his crusade to spread chaos, Siviks and his crew stole technology from the Black Armory and distributed it to the Fallen across the system. This forces Ada-1 to ally with the Guardians to end Siviks' threat before they can use the tainted weaponry to do some serious damage.
Fearless and growing fast, the Scourge gained the support of deserting House of Dusk members and made a push into the Spider's territory at the Tangled Shore , establishing themselves as his competition. After defeating several "anarchist" Fallen in the EDZ , a intercepted signal revealed Siviks's center of operations on Nessus. Siviks is found by The Conflux alongside Telksis the Pillager , but escapes and leaves Telksis alone to defend the Black Armory caches.
Guardians are then tasked with eliminating Serekis-9, Kell's Scourge who is guarding the Gofannon Forge and then dispose of Zevious Seeking the Black Armory Vault after their failure to secure the forge, the Scourge carries out the biggest Fallen attack on the Last City since the Twilight Gap , utilizing a terrifying, enormous war machine named Insurrection Prime to breach the city and occupy a desolate section in the Scourge of the Past Raid.
It is the most powerful Prime Servitor ever encountered, rivaling Aksis, Archon Prime in sheer power, and required a team of six to bring it down. After an immense battle between the Guardians and Insurrection Prime that reduces the area to ruin, the forces of the City succeed in destroying Siviks' army and Prime Servitor monstrosity, saving the Black Armory Vault from falling into the wrong hands. Siviks then met his end in a final standoff against the Guardian at Niobe Labs , marking the end of the Scourge's leadership.
Following Siviks' death and the dismantlement of the Kell's Scourge, the Last City's agents have conducted thorough investigations regarding the remaining strength of the Fallen. Chiefly, the House of Dusk continues to weaken and in the absence of leadership, they continue to splinter and radicalize. However, agents have noticed that in the wake of the contemporary houses dwindling strength, a new recent trend of Fallen "syndicates" has begun to emerge.
This is taken as a symbolic sign of the continuing eradication of the Fallen's old society. Likely an artifact of multi-generational colonization of human strongholds, the agents believe that because these syndicates have no relation to any indigenous Fallen culture, as young Fallen are appropriating and imitating human mythology in the absence of a strong cultural heritage of their own. In addition to the Houses's loss of status and power, several personalities have emerged as potential candidates as leaders.
Other agents have begun investigations in regards to the whereabouts and motives of Variks whose role in Uldren and the Scorn's release is now known. Despite once being a reliable ally and informant, the Last City's agents have discovered his part in the Scorn's early rampage and are aware that he is now styling himself as Kell of Kells, yet still representing the House of Judgement. Though some agents, like the Warlock Aurnor, have called for Variks's arrest, the Awoken under Petra's leadership claim jurisdiction and responsibility over the former scribe and thus have barred their attempts to apprehend Variks.
Another individual agents have investigated is Mithrax, leader of the so-called "House of Light. Regarding investigations into more aggressive figures among the remaining Fallen, Fikrul, the Fanatic, remains a threat. Though his reign over the Tangled Shore was limited, he possesses sufficient skill, hatred, and motive to warrant an on-going surveillance. Given Fikrul's propensity for self-resurrection, the Vanguard continues to deploy fireteams to suppress the Fanatic and have reached out to the Cryptarchy and the Gensym Scribes to request guidance as to find a way to make his destruction permanent.
Another Fallen that has emerged and caught the agents' attention is Eramis, or Eramis, the Shipstealer. Eramis is a classical Fallen pirate of the old ways: vicious, uncompromising, and possessing cunning of the highest degree. Field reports indicate that she has begun rallying violent dissidents to reconstruct the House of Devils from scratch. As a result of this, many agents believes Eramis to be the most viable candidate for universal Fallen reunification, and urge the Vanguard and others to prioritize her destruction.
Much later following Siviks' death and Eramis ' escape of the Prison of Elders , the Shipstealer called upon her House of Devils loyalists and agents to conduct a notorious raid on the Old Tower of the Last City. Her goal was to infiltrate the ruins of the Guardians old home and breach its Cryptarch Vaults for anything of value left behind during the evacuation at the beginning of the Red War and the subsequent efforts to rebuild.