We’ve just learned about the Fall 2016 Story Expansion for Destiny titled “Rise of Iron”, which will pit the Guardians against a new breed of Fallen. With new armor, weapons, quests, raids and enemies this update seems to be on par with the Fall 2015 Expansion known as “The Taken King”. And whereas “The Taken King” introduced all these new additions as well, there was one additional item that has yet to be mentioned for “Rise Of Iron”: Grimoire Cards – specifically a Book Of Sorrows-style set.
For those who don’t know, the Book of Sorrows is a set of Grimoire Cards discovered through the acquiring of Calcified Fragments. So why is this important? Well when assembled, the Book of Sorrows tells the history of the Hive & Fallen from the point of view of Oryx. For a game that might have “fallen” short of story content, this Book of Sorrows offers story content so rich that it transcends most in terms of lore, symbolism and getting us to actually feel sorry for such a savage race. So before Fall 2016 arrives, perhaps we should take a look back at the incredible origin story – and motivations – for the Hive and Taken.
So without further to do, I present to you the full – and approachable – story of The Hive & Taken, as well as what the April Update (Malok) and this new Fallen-threat could mean for the future of the series.
Primer – A Tale Of (Changing) Destinies:
As one reads through all of the Enemy Grimoire Cards, you slowly start to see a pattern and why this game might be called “Destiny”. For you see, it’s not only the Guardians who are trying to fight their destiny and overcome the Darkness; but also each of the enemy races as well. I may go into this more in a future article – especially if the Fall 2016 Update gives us a Fallen story similar to the Fall 2015 Update on the Hive – but for the sake of this article I’ll summarize. The Fallen used to be the “chosen race” of the Traveler, until it abandoned them. The Vex are a living construct that exists through seemingly all space and time that runs countless simulations of outcomes; but to what end? The Cabal are an incredibly powerful military force who despite all their conquering seem to be fleeing from something themselves.
Each member of this war is on a mission to change their side’s “destiny”, and the Hive – as you’re about to see – are no different. In fact, they’ve already changed their fates once, but it’s their desire to change it again that truly brings their tale front and center… STORY TIME!
Humble Origins – The Weak & Humble Proto-Hive:
We now know the Hive to be a frightening, powerful and relentless race of monsters with savage rituals. Well it might surprise you – or make perfect sense – that originally the Hive were the complete opposite (seriously). The Hive – or rather the aliens that would eventually go on to become the Hive – used to live on a planted known as “The Fundament”, which was a massive gas giant surrounded by moons and covered with floating continents. The Proto-Hive were a refugee race that came (and/or crash landed) on the Fundament to hide as they were the lowest and most fragile of creatures. Between being hunted, raided and forced into slavery – not to mention having a life span of only 10 years – the Proto-Hive quickly adapted to this life at the bottom of the food chain and saw each cycle of Life and Death as a chance to learn collectively as a species. It is because of this adaptability that they grew in consciousness and even developed a society ruled by the Osmium King.
As the Osmium King grew towards the end of his life, a Proto-Hive known as Taox worried about the future of the race as none of the King’s three daughters (Aurash – the curious; Sathona – the thinker & Xi Ro – the fighter) seemed like suitable leaders. The King himself had recently gone mad and kept ranting about a “God Wave” that would arise to destroy everything. So Taox – who happened to be the teacher of those three daughters – conspired with a neighboring race to start a coup and kill the heirs and seize power in order to restore balance. Sadly, like many stories, the destiny Taox wanted to avert “would be found on the path she took to avoid it” for the sisters escaped. And so the sisters fled with only a ship and a memento of their father – his pet Worm. They vowed to take revenge and find a means to prevent the massive wave from destroying their planet. After sometime, Aurash decided they should dive down to find the answers they sought – a descent not only into the sea, but also the darkness to come.
The Battle For Their Soul – A History Of The Light vs The Darkness:
As the sisters dived into the depths, they encountered a massive creature known as the Leviathan, a servant of the Traveler. The Leviathan begged them to turn back towards the surface and live in the Light as even though they were the lowest of creatures, the Leviathan and Traveler saw them as hope.
Quick-breeding krill people, I tell you
For eons I have watched your struggle
Clinging to the sharp edge of survival
Balanced between the Deep and the Sky.
You were my treasure
My proof against despair – VIII: Leviathan
Sadly, the sisters wanted no part of this as the Leviathan’s soft poetic words offered no end to their misery. They no longer wanted to live at the mercy of every creature and wave, but rather affect change and get revenge on a world so cruel to them. They were driven by a lust for power, revenge and their father’s pet worm who’d been whispering to them the whole time. It was because of this worm that they found the ship and told them to move forward when all was lost. Who would they trust a “voice that wants [them] to live and suffer as [they] have lived and suffered?… Or the plain, honest worm?”
What the sisters didn’t know was that the worm was a part of something much bigger, as they soon encountered the Five Worm Gods – Yul, Eir, Xol, Ur and Akka – who unlike the Leviathan before spoke plainly and were in fact beings second only to The Darkness. “Look upon us, and know that We are go(o)d”, they said. These Worm Gods played the sisters into foolishly thinking they were both Gods and Good. They spoke of how it was them who initially brought life to the Fundament and how the Leviathan and the Sky (Traveler/Light) were the ones orchestrating the God-Wave to kill them all because they feared their potential. The Worm Gods hit every emotion the sisters were feeling and thus offered them a bargain: Eat the flesh of their children and not only obtain eternal life but also the power to right wrongs. In return, they must always obey their natures or else the worms will devour them from the inside out.
With these covenants made – and more Judeo-Christian parallels than you can count – the sisters took on new names and promised to honor their natures while spreading the “Good News” to the rest of their kind and beyond. Xi Ro became Xivu Arath and pledged “eternal conquest”. Sathona became Savathûn and vowed “eternal cunning”. And Aurash promised to always ‘explore and inquire’ and thus became Auryx (and switches to male pronouns). The sisters fought and fought slowly taking over the Fundament unchecked until they began spreading to the moons that orbited it. It is here that they then met an alien race called the Ammonites, who were not only harboring their former teacher/betrayer Taox but also at the time were the “Chosen Race” of the Traveler. The superior forces of the Ammonites pushed the Hive back and whenever they began to lose ground, the Traveler would aid them. In response to this, the Worms taught the sisters how to call upon dark rituals – “small minds might call it magic” – and this is where the tide of battle turned and the sisters became victorious (XVI: The Sword Logic). The sisters fought back and defeated the Ammonites and the Leviathan until the Traveler fled. While the Worm Gods fed on the flesh of the Leviathan, Auryx and his sisters continued to wage war and conquer for tens of thousands of years. But after all this conquering they learned the dark side of their bargain, they were cursed.
The Cursed Deal – A Cycle Of Betrayal, Rebirth & Darkness:
Through the initial years of combat, Auryx wasn’t happy and took much goading from the Worm Gods. He began to see fault in what was going on and despite all the Gods words that this was “divine work”, he actually left the battle completely during the war with the Ammonites until his curiosity for their Traveler powers brought him back into the fight. But it wasn’t just his curiosity alone that brought him back but also the hunger of the worm growing inside him. For as the deal said, if he betrayed his nature – and ignored his curiosity – the worm that gave him powers and grew with him would also devour him from the inside out if ignored. This was ample incentive to keep the sisters fighting, and should one ever waiver from that path then they would be set straight (ie: such as the time Savathûn killed Auryx for showing the Ammonites mercy). By killing each other over and over again, the siblings worshipped death and it became synonymous with love. For as long as their spirit remained in their “Throne World”, they could once again return to the material world. It was because of these experiences that the sisters saw cruelty as ‘good’; but even they could find no happiness in the secret cruelty of their deal with the Worm Gods.
For since they were originally such humble beings with short life-spans, they could never fathom the “eternity” promised by the Worm Gods. It wasn’t until battle with the Ecumene race that the sisters realized “We are betrayed. We will never live eternal.” They had grown so large, that it was impossible to feed their worms’ hunger. With each kill and death, they not only grew stronger but so too did their worms. And soon it got to a point where they had to starting killing by the billions in order to break even. With their worms starting to devour their souls, they hatched a plan where Auryx would kill both of his sisters in their Throne Worlds – making it permanent – and thus gain so much power from them that he’d not only satisfy his worm, but become strong enough to take on one of the Five Worm Gods, Akka. Unlike the Traveler, the Darkness doesn’t “give” power but feels it must be taken and so Auryx took what he wanted from Akka, the power to speak to the Darkness and make things his own.
And so Oryx, The Taken King was born. Soon after, Oryx had killed so many of the Ecumene, that he was able to bring back his sister Xivu Arath for she was “eternal conquest”. Similarly, Oryx had tricked another alien race – the Dakaua Nest – into thinking he wanted to kill his sibling Xivu Arath; but this was a trap and he destroyed an entire race with his trickery. And with that he was able to bring Savathûn back to life. Finally, so that they siblings may never go hungry again Oryx set into law a rule for all Hive: That each should take what they need to feed their worms, what they need to grow a little (ie from Thrall -> Acolytes -> Knights/Wizards -> Ascendant Hive) and then give the rest to their higher ups so that at the end of the food chain the siblings could take what they need and still have enough to feed the Worms Gods and study the Darkness.
Though this was not an end to all their sorrows as Savathûn now wonders what’s next for them. And whereas Oryx feels that “Sword Logic” will be there forever, and even if they lose they prove Sword Logic is right (as the one who beat them is revealed to be ‘more right’) Savathûn feels this still isn’t enough. Perhaps that is why the Hive is always trying to learn more, not just to feed their worms but also to find a way to overcome their curse. In the end, with Oryx having become so powerful, Savathûn and Xivu Arath have no choice but to leave his presence, conquer other worlds and develop their own powers – but still never stopping to spy on and plot against the other. At one time in the past, Savathûn tricked Oryx’s upstart son Crota into opening a portal near Oryx’s throne, which resulted in the first interaction with the Vex. More recently, in the April 2016 Update, we learn that Savathûn sent one of her Thrall to live under Oryx and take some of his ‘tributes’ and send them to her instead. Fittingly, the Thrall kept the tribute for itself and grew into a knight so powerful that it managed to maintain its own will despite being Taken. This powerful half-Taken Knight was of course Malok, the Pride of Oryx whom he used as a symbol of his sister’s failure.
Looking Ahead To The Fall 2016 Update & Destiny 2 – SIVA, Savathûn, Xivu Arath & Oryx’s Return?:
So where do we go from here and why was hearing this Hive story so important for talking about the future of Destiny? Well for starters, we have to remember that all this Hive story came from the Fall 2015 Update. As you’ve seen, there’s tons of stories and even character development in these Grimoire Cards. So could the Fall 2016 Update give us a Book of Sorrows for the Fallen, which details their first meeting with the traveler, how they fell from grace and why they are so set on worshipping technology? We’ve heard some slight tales from Variks; but never a full heart wrenching account – and some mini-collectible-tied Grimoire Cards could do just that. Although, there’s more than just that.
Destiny 2 is coming next year and you can be sure it’ll be full of expansions as well. We’ve yet to hear a deeper story about the Vex and Cabal – which could be 2 major expansions for Destiny 2 – but there are still plenty of Hive enemies to go around. We know Savathûn and Xivu Arath are still out there, and the recent April release introduced us to one of Savathûn’s former minions. Will they come to avenge their sibling the way Oryx came to avenge his son? Additionally, we know Taox – the Proto-Hive – is still out there. Could she return and help the Guardians defeat the siblings once and for all?
Furthermore, is Oryx really dead? We’ve heard about how he was able to revive his siblings by playing to their natures (wiping out a race to revive Xivu Arath, and betraying another to revive Savathûn). Could Oryx be revived as well by appealing to his nature: curiosity and forethought? Or did our curiosity already give us the tool to his resurrection?
Touch Of Malice – A Touch Of Oryx & The Key To His Resurrection? :
The final chapters of the Book of Sorrows detail Oryx’s musings on death. He knows if his armies are defeated, his worm will starve and it’ll kill him. He also knows that every time he used his Taken powers, he’s making a wager with his soul that he’s the strongest. So when you defeat Oryx the first time, is that him actively taking himself or an unintentional rebound because he lost? Regardless Oryx actually admits that he’s okay with dying because if he does, the idea of “Sword Logic” still stands. If he loses, then it just means the other person was the right path all along and “Sword Logic” was on his side, meaning if he’s to lose, it’ll be to ‘someone who loves the things he loves’.
“So I will prepare a book, which is a map to a weapon. And my vanquisher will read that book, seeking the weapon, and they will come to understand me, where I have been and where I was going. And then they will take up my weapon, and they will use it, they will use that weapon, which is all that I am.
And armed thus with my past, and my future, and my present (which is a weapon, a weapon that takes whatever is available, a weapon bound to malice), they will mantle me, Oryx, the Taken King.” – Insight
These lines prove that Oryx made the book for a reason, to continue his legacy in both word and form. Eris might have built you Touch of Malice, but its form came from Oryx’s life story. It was your curiosity that compelled you to finish collecting the Calcified Fragments. It was your love of combat above all else that makes you use it. In time to come, could we see that the Touch of Malice is the very tool that brings Oryx back to the world of the living? Or could we see something darker transpire as our Guardian falls to darkness in a quest for power much like Oryx and his siblings originally did. It wouldn’t be the first time a Guardian has fallen. If rumors of Destiny 2 involving Osiris and exploring Guardians who use darkness, then that would be the perfect time for all these warnings to come to fruition.
Again, there are plenty of other great stories in the Book of Sorrows, such as the life of Crota and his sisters. You can hear how the Vex once tried to make a copy of Oryx and succeeded – but was still inferior due to its lack of worm covenant/magic. Or how because of this breach, Crota was banished into one of the Vex portals and fought through all of time to try to make his way back to his father. So if you ever get the chance, read the Grimoire cards for yourself as at the moment they are still the best course of story in Destiny. The Ishtar Collective has gone about collecting and organizing each and every card, and offer fan an easy way to read them – and were instrumental in me writing this article.
So I hope you enjoyed learning about the extensive history of the Hive and I hope to see you back for the next Destiny: Story Time.
Additional Answers Given:
- The oaths the sisters made at the start of their adventure was with knives, which explains why the phrase “there’s a knife for you” appears in all the Taken Grimoire cards. Oath-taking with knives was one of their traditions.
- The Pocket Universe (aka Throne World) where Auryx and his sisters go after death is the same arena you must defeat them in in-game. They must be killed in their Throne World.
- Thrall represent the newly born Hive after they’ve made the contract with their own worm. This is why the Thrall look so emaciated. If they survive this initial pact and can feed their worm, they become Acolytes and become more armored and powerful as their worm is fed.