The Awoken are a race of humanoids living in the City  and also the Reef. Ruled by a Queen and her brother, they were generally isolated from Earth, long avoiding contact with the City until the Wolf rebellion and later the Taken War.
Beyond physical appearances, the Awoken seem to possess powers and abilities beyond their human ancestors. The Techeuns are a particularly notable example, though ordinary Awoken can also experience visions in the form of dreams. This is a side effect of them being within Earth's universe-within the Distributary, the Awoken do not have paracausal abilities, but are so intertwined with the fabric of its existence that they do not age past a certain point.
It is said the Awoken were born in the Collapse, descended from those humans who tried to flee its wrath. Something happened to them out on the edge of the deep Black, and they were forever changed. After their race was formed, they took up residence in in the Asteroid Belt, constructing cities and habitats like the Dreaming City. Today many Awoken live in the Reef, aloof and mysterious, but others returned to Earth, where their descendants now fight for the City. Earthborn Awoken sometimes venture out to the Reef, hoping to learn its secrets—but find no special welcome from the reclusive Queen.
In Forsaken, it is revealed the Awoken are the descendants of the crew and passengers of the Yang Liwei, a generation ship that left Earth shortly before the Collapse in an attempt to find a way to live without the Traveler, and thus refused to take a side when the Darkness attacked the Traveler. During the initial sparring between the two acausal entities, the ship was at the centerpiece of an anomaly in space time that sucked it and all its inhabitants into a newborn universe, the Distributary, during which they lost their physical forms and reincarnated into their present ones under the direction of their captain and first queen Alis Li. Unbeknownst to Alis at the time, she was not the first to regain consciousness, but rather Mara Sov was, and it was Mara who quietly manipulated Alis into giving the Awoken physical forms that could be injured or die, as Mara believed truly omnipotent entities could not evolve or live meaningful lives. Later, Mara would lead some of her people back into Earth's universe and colonize the Reef, though some of them would go farther and emigrate to Earth itself.
The Reef Wars marks the first time the Awoken emerged from their isolation. Noticing the Fallen massing to destroy the Last City in an effort to steal back the Great Machine, the Queen chose to intervene and keep the oblivious outsystem House of Wolves from joining their brethren on Earth.
Striking suddenly, the Awoken fleet destroyed Ceres and scattered the Wolves across the Reef, beginning a several-year-long campaign that whittled the Fallen's numbers and nobility to insignificance. After Variks, a Wolf scribe defected over to the Queen's side, the remaining Wolves were defeated and Skolas, their leader, imprisoned.
The Queen later gifted Skolas to her allies, the Nine, for their role in defeating the Fallen but they released the Wolf Kell, beginning the Wolf Rebellion and forced the Reef to open itself to Guardian access.
The Taken War
The Awoken were among the first to respond to Oryx's invasion. Attacking his fleet out around Saturn, the Queen and her Witches sacrificed themselves to fire the Harbingers, mysterious weapons or entities of incredible power, at the Hive Dreadnaught. Despite destroying a good portion of Oryx's fleet there were no marks made upon the flagship, and shortly thereafter Oryx ended the battle with a single blow from his cannon.
Despite a significant loss of Reef leadership, including the Queen and a missing Prince, the Reef aided the City and its Guardians in destroying Oryx's Taken. Setting bounties upon several lieutenants the Reef oversaw their extermination and eventual rooting out of the Taken Blights in conjunction with the Vanguard. During this conflict Petra Venj, Acting Regent-Commander, continued to search for the missing Queen and preventing a resurging House of Wolves from regrouping on Mars. With the aid of Variks and the Guardians the nascent Wolf house was scattered again.
Betrayal of a Prince
Following the resurgence of Uldren Sov, he led a rogue Fallen house known as the Scorn against The Reef, betraying his own people, and driving the Reef-borne Awoken into complete chaos and disarray. Cayde-6 was murdered in the Scorn's escape from the Prison of Elders, and Reef agents were forced to work with Guardian forces to prevent the total collapse of their society.
Though the Guardian managed to topple the Scorn's chaotic reign over the Reef and brought Uldren to justice for his crimes, the Awoken's home remains a dangerous place as remnants of the Scorn's forces continue to prowl over the Reef. Petra, the remaining Paladins and Techeuns barely maintain what's left of the Awoken's Reef civilizations, even as the Scorn and a newly resurgent Taken force plague the Dreaming City, the mysterious homeland of the Awoken.
A Thousand Voices
As the Guardians and the Awoken worked together in maintaining the remaining Scorn within the Reef, the Dreaming City's opening and the darkness spreading from it was grim news for the Awoken. Knowing the danger the threat poses to the Solar System, Petra Venj was forced to reveal one to the Awoken's deepest secrets that lay within the City: Riven of a Thousand Voices, the last living Ahamkara. It was soon discovered that Riven had been Taken when Oryx invaded the Reef during the Taken War and partially brought the Dreaming City into the Ascendant Realm. However, after Oryx's death, Riven was aimless but soon gained a new master, Savathûn, the Witch-Queen of the Hive, and together, they sought to corrupt the homeland of the Awoken and eventually breach into the Distributary.
To accomplish her goals, Riven orchestrated the Scorn's rise to power and used Uldren as her puppet, corrupting the prince while posing as his sister. Though the Scorn failed against the Guardians, Uldren succeeded in his purpose of opening the way into the Dreaming City, giving Riven a chance to break free.
After confirming that Mara Sov is in fact alive, Petra and the Awoken were able to gain the Vanguard's support after the revelation of the Taken's return spurred them into action. Gathering a Raid team strong enough to kill Riven, the Guardians assaulted the Dreaming City. While proceeding through the City, the Guardians managed to free some of the Techeuns from Taken corruption and eventually confronted Riven herself in her true gigantic, draconic form.
Despite her vast Taken powers, Riven's physical form was destroyed and her blighted heart brought before the Techeuns to be cleansed. Unfortunately, before that could happen, Riven's scheme came full circle as she performed one last wish for her master: to curse the Dreaming City with a Taken plague.
Though Riven was silenced once and for all, her plan succeeded as Taken forces began to heavily corrupt the Dreaming City. Worse, the Hive and Taken managed to capture Eleusinia, Mara Sov's Throne World, as a staging ground. Savathûn then began the next stage of her plan by having her daughter, Dûl Incaru, the Eternal Return, find a way to invade the Distributary.
Wanting to prevent the birthplace of the Awoken from being invaded and defiled, Mara Sov tasks the Guardians to destroy the Hive and Taken infesting her Throne World. After a perilous struggle through the ruins of Eleusina, the Guardians managed to destroy Dûl Incaru and seemingly reverse the Taken corruption in the Dreaming City.
Unfortunately, this victory was short-lived, as the Taken corruption soon returned as it appeared the City was caught in a time-loop created by Quria, Blade Transform. This forces the Guardians to partake in the same battle over and over again.
List of appearances