Books of Sorrow
|“||I will prepare a book, which is a map to a weapon. And my vanquisher will read that book [...] and then they will take up my weapon, and they will use it, [...] and armed thus with my past, and my future, and my present [...] they will become me [...]. Thus I will live forever.||”|
The Books of Sorrow are a compendium of the Hive's history, written by Oryx, the Taken King, stretching back before the dawn of humanity when the Founders of the Hive lived as mortals on Fundament, a gas giant similar to Jupiter, before they rose up and became gods of war.
Excerpts of the Books can be recovered by discovering Calcified Fragments aboard the Dreadnaught. For the full record of the Books of Sorrow, please visit the Grimoire page, where they can be found under Enemies > Books of Sorrow. For the first and last Verses, see Enemies > Darkness.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Named entities
- 3 Synopsis
- 3.1 Calcified Fragments: Curiosity
- 3.2 I: Predators
- 3.3 II: The Hateful Verse
- 3.4 III: The Oath
- 3.5 IV: Syzygy
- 3.6 V: Needle and Worm
- 3.7 VI: Sisters
- 3.8 VII: The Dive
- 3.9 VIII: Leviathan
- 3.10 IX: The Bargain
- 3.11 X: Immortals
- 3.12 XI: Conquerors
- 3.13 XII: Out of the Deep
- 3.14 XIII: Into the Sky
- 3.15 XIV: 52 and One
- 3.16 XV: Born As Prey
- 3.17 XVI: The Sword Logic
- 3.18 XVII: The Weakness Verse
- 3.19 XVIII: Leviathan Rises
- 3.20 XIX: Crusaders
- 3.21 XX: Hive
- 3.22 XXI: an incision
- 3.23 XXII: The High War
- 3.24 XXIII: fire without fuel
- 3.25 XXIV: THE SCREAM
- 3.26 XXV: Dictata ir Dakaua
- 3.27 XXVI: star by star by star
- 3.28 XXVII: Eat the Sky
- 3.29 XXVIII: King of Shapes
- 3.30 XXIX: Carved in Ruin
- 3.31 XXX: a golden amputation
- 3.32 XXXI: battle made waves
- 3.33 XXXII: Majestic. Majestic.
- 3.34 XXXIII: When do monsters have dreams
- 3.35 XXXIV: More beautiful to know
- 3.36 XXXV: This Love Is War
- 3.37 XXXVI: Eater of Hope
- 3.38 XXXVII: shapes : points
- 3.39 XXXVIII: The partition of death
- 3.40 XXXIX: open your eye : go into it
- 3.41 XL: An Emperor For All Outcomes
- 3.42 XLI: Dreadnaught
- 3.43 XLII: <>|<>|<>
- 3.44 XLIII: End of Failed Timeline
- 3.45 XLIV: strict proof eternal
- 3.46 XLV: I'd shut them all in cells.
- 3.47 XLVI: The Gift Mast
- 3.48 XLVII: Apocalypse Refrains
- 3.49 XLVIII: aiat, aiat, aiat, aiat, aiat
- 3.50 XLIX: Forever And A Blade
- 3.51 L: Wormfood
- 3.52 Calcified Fragments: Insight
- 4 Trivia
- 5 List of appearances
- 6 References
It is mentioned in Verse XLVI (46) that there are five Books of Sorrow, with XLVI being the center. If the different individual books are to be determined, the following synopsis has attempted to divide them based on subject matter, with bracket links to each subject:
- (Curiosity - XIX) Twenty of the Verses detail the lives of the proto-Hive sisters Xi Ro, Aurash, and Sathona on Fundament, their meeting with the Leviathan and the Worm Gods, eventual dominion over the Jovian world and destruction of the Ammonites. They emerge as Xivu Arath, Auryx, and Savathûn. In the process they discover the Ascendant plane and begin the hunt for the Traveler.
- (XX - XXIV) Five Verses afterward describes the Hive's maturation into the feared conquerors they became later known as, destroying the Qugu species, developing the Sword Logic and their "throne worlds", little pockets of reality carved into the Ascendant plane; and Auryx, the Hive King, realizing the consequences of their bargain.
- (XXV - XXIX) Five Verses detail their war against the Ecumene, a monolithic galactic civilization comprised of hundreds of species. At first the war goes well for the Hive but they soon crumble as the Ecumene unleashes their mastery over nature against them; Auryx finds the secret to Taking wills, and turns the tide of the war, resurrecting his sisters, and exterminating the Ecumene. At this point he becomes Oryx, the Taken King. The tribute system and Hive hierarchy is developed.
- (XXX - XLIII) Fourteen Verses recount the Hive's destruction of the Taishibethi, Oryx's communion with the Darkness itself following, his sisters' plots against him, and his children; plus the Hive's encounters with the Vex (which include the Vex discovering the Sword Logic), and creation of the Dreadnaught. Oryx's son, Crota, is thrown out to prove himself because of his causation of the Vex invasion.
- (XLIV - Insight) Eight Verses records the destruction of the Harmony, the separation of the Hive siblings; and Oryx's private thoughts on his journey and conquests. He makes plans for his eventual defeat, knowing that his work will be completed regardless if he lives or dies.
The following is an alphabetical list of the characters, organizations, and species which appear in the Books of Sorrow. This list is not exhaustive, as many are mentioned only once, but is formed from importance to the story. The Hive siblings' transformed names are used to lessen reader confusion.
- Chroma-Admiral Rafriit
- Crota, Son of Oryx
- Helium King
- Ir Anûk, Deathsinger
- Ir Halak, Deathsinger
- Oryx, the Taken King (Auryx; Aurash)
- Osmium King
- Quria, Blade Transform
- Savathûn (Sathona)
- Tai Emperor Raven (Perfect Raven)
- Worm Gods
- Xivu Arath (Xi Ro)
- Ammonite Satellite Congress
- Ecumene Crisis Council
- Ecumene Status Army
- Dakaua Nest
- Dakaua Ministry of War
- Helium Court
- Osmium Court
- Ascendant plane
- High Coven
- High War
- Deathsong (Deathsinger)
- The Sword Logic
- War moon
Calcified Fragments: Curiosity
This Verse isn't in the Books proper, and may be considered as a prologue.
It begins with the narrator writing to their sisters, telling them that after two years of their short life they have found the truth of their species' origins: they, and perhaps all of the races living on the gas giant Fundament, are immigrants. It describes many nearby known continents as fragments of an ancient world where they once had lived, how the sea they float on and the atmosphere above them are two layers of the same gas giant.
The narrator then addresses one of their sisters by name, Sathona, and tells her that their philosophy of life—"the Timid Truth", as it is called—is completely wrong, and that they were never meant to be prey, but something much more. The narrator asks Sathona to tell their father of this discovery, claiming it is the culmination of his whole life, and signs it as "with love[...] your first surviving sister, Aurash". The Verse mentions that this is Sathona's second birthday.
Verse I opens with an introduction, indicating Xi Ro had written this, and meant for it to last. It mentions she is the third surviving sister of a brood that was apparently killed or lost to misfortune. Her father is called the Osmium King.
In this Verse, true to its title, Xi Ro describes seven dangers her species face and her observations of those dangers. She describes a stormjoy as "a living cloud", drifting over continents, with "feeding tentacles" tipped with "bait-stars". Stormjoys apparently emit light from their bait-stars to attract prey—Xi Ro cautions that "Although light makes you happy, you must avoid it. You will be eaten." The elderly can choose to be eaten by a stormjoy; a brave knight can cut off its bait-stars without getting killed. Xi Ro herself has six of them.
She describes what happens when her father "uses the engines", that an unwary person can fall off the continent to their death. Then she describes how the currents of the Fundament ocean bring them to other continents, especially the Helium Drinkers of the Helium Court, who are of the same species as Xi Ro's. After describing their physical appearance Xi Ro says how they raid them each day, and that they are "bright/evil", and how she wants to become a knight and fight them. She also describes losing ten of her sisters to the Helium Drinker ambassador's appetite as "tribute". Eating them was within the ambassador's rights, but she still resents it.
Xi Ro describes Mothers, the females of their race. Like much of the Verse this has a happy quality to it. She describes their attributes, that they can fly, live for longer than ten years, and are extremely intelligent. She also warns what happens if anyone tries to harm their eggs, that the Mothers eat them. She notes that her sister Sathona wants to become a Mother and live longer.
She also tells of the storms of Fundament. The rain is often poisonous and can even dissolve flesh, and if lightning strikes a person they are instantly obliterated. She mentions lightning farms, indicating that her species harness the storms for energy, and finishes by saying that all of Fundament is deadly. Continuing in this vein, Xi Ro talks about the rest of Fundament, saying it is very large and her species are small, and if they don't understand something it is likely to kill them. Her teacher, Taox, says that is why they live so briefly: so they can breed and adapt quickly.
Xi Ro finishes by mentioning "moon waves", saying it is something her sister Aurash is afraid of. Xi Ro doesn't know what they are, and when Aurash returns from a place called the Tungsten Monoliths, she'll ask her.
II: The Hateful Verse
The Verse opens with an introduction to the Helium Court, mentioning that it was written both in secret and desperation. The writer introduces herself as Taox, the teacher of the Osmium King's three daughters. She claims she is sterile and a Mother; and because of these two qualities she rose above petty court politics to see what she calls "the patterns of survival". Taox mentions having designed the engines used to move their continent, the Osmium Court. Both of these she says she did alone, and now she'll do so again.
Taox writes a plea to the King of the Helium Drinkers. Her King is old—nearing his tenth year—and approaching madness, with senility having already claimed him. She says he neglects his duties in favor of studying old books, observing "moons above the storm", and wandering his halls muttering about nonsense, talking to a "dead worm" from the deep sea that he has taken as a familiar. He tends to this worm, she mentions, and keeps it sealed in glass.
She laments the King's three surviving daughters, each two years old. She describes Xi Ro, Sathona, and Aurash's qualities, listing their ages from youngest to eldest. She calls Xi Ro brave for wanting to be a knight, Sathona clever for wanting to be a Mother, and Aurash as simply the "navigator child". (Taox mentions that the next day Aurash will return from the Tungsten Monoliths, spoken of in previous Verses.) All of these are good qualities, Taox says, but none of them are suitable to protect her home and people. Xi Ro cannot lead, Sathona cannot fight, and Aurash is often distracted by her curious nature. She fears for the survival of all future children.
Taox begins to close by saying that the King will lock himself away in his Royal Orrery, and will neglect his kingdom again. She calls for the Helium Drinkers to invade, to kill the three heirs, and install her as regent, offering her services as an engine-builder to them. She finishes by invoking a curse upon herself to be eaten by the Leviathan if she fails.
She ends by saying this is a hateful request written in grief, and that she is "neutered to watch". She mentions being the Osmium-mother, indicating she may have birthed the Osmium King.
III: The Oath
The narrator, Aurash, is speaking to her sisters. She instructs them to place their left hands on a mast next to hers in order to swear an oath. She tells them how to do it, by piercing their hand and drawing a blood-line down the mast. After each oath is sworn Aurash intones: "in blood the oath is made".
Xi Ro, the youngest, swears on her left eye to take back the Osmium Court and kill the traitor Taox in vengeance. Sathona, the middle child, swears on her right eye to take back her home, eat the mother jelly, and raise her children on the corpse of the Helium King. This she promised to fulfill. The two sisters then offer to help with Aurash's oath.
Aurash, the eldest daughter of her dead father, swears on her center eye to find out what drove her father into obsession, what caused the moons to shift, determine if the world is ending and if so why it is ending. She thanks her sisters. Saying they only have one ship, which represents freedom, she makes plans to go exploring, to find secrets and raise armies. Ordering the lightning sails to be raised, Aurash and her sisters begin their travels.
Aurash reflects on all that has changed since they escaped. She tells of how Xi Ro and Sathona used their various tricks—Xi Ro's bait stars and Sathona's cunning—enabled them escape from the Helium Drinkers, and laments the loss of her home. She mentions how Xi Ro hates Taox with a burning fury.
Aurash thinks back to her expedition to the Tungsten Monoliths, of how she first learned the truth. The Timid Truth, she again says, was their philosophy of life, that they are the bottom of the evolutionary chain, "the smallest, most fragile things alive", and are meant to be prey. She adds with contempt that Taox's teachings say that their species came here to flee a cold universe. She then speaks of her dead father, of how he died afraid. Not because of Taox or the Drinkers, but because of what he saw in his orrery. He told her—"screaming"—that the physical laws were bent and the paths of the moons were different, indicating a syzygy.
She paints a picture of the Fundament's fifty-two moons—not necessarily all of them, she amends belatedly, but this is her deepest fear—aligning together and exerting their gravity upon the seas of the gas giant. This combined force, she recounts, would create a bulge in those seas that would collapse once the moons passed, and then turn into a colossal tsunami that would wash over the world sea and annihilate all of the civilisations on Fundament, including her species. She calls this a God-Wave.
Aurash resolves to find a way to stop it, but despairs of getting back home, to her father's Royal Orrery, of learning exactly when this would come to pass. She recounts how Xi Ro comforts her when her fears become too great to handle, and how their growing reliance on Sathona's wit seemingly brings them good luck. She notes Sathona's odd and sometimes erratic behavior, but dismisses it because of the good luck it has brought them.
V: Needle and Worm
This Verse begins with Sathona recording her secrets, and why her behavior has changed so drastically as noted by Aurash. She mentions a code, meaning she is keeping this record a secret from her sisters.
Sathona recounts their journeys across Fundament, of how they sailed through great storms and beautiful days, exploring wrecks and fleeing from monsters. She calls these the happiest moments of her life. She reveals her desire to be a Mother, not so that she could raise children, but so she could live a longer and more meaningful life and make an actual difference. She mentions they have been out on the sea for a year, making them three years old. Sathona mentions she is afraid of dying before they can fulfil their oaths. She says she knows secrets, of where to find certain things, and then mentions a needle ship.
Another recounting of their travels begins. Sathona triumphantly says of how they rescued the needle from the "Shvubri Maelstrom", and that she knew it would be there. She describes the needle ship, calling it long and slender like hope, older than death, unbreakable, and gray. She says that it is not a sea-ship like Aurash's but an object of advanced technology. Sathona says, chillingly, that she knew what happened to the crew, and the ship's purpose.
Sathona tells of how Xi Ro wanted to sell the ship at "Kaharn Atoll" a place where other species of Fundament gather, in order to raise money to hire mercenaries and take back their home and obliterate the Helium Drinkers. Cunningly, she told her youngest sister that the ship was worthless. Aurash decided to figure out how to open the ship and captain it. Sathona approves, for she says her worm told her to agree with Aurash as "it was the right thing to do".
In the third and final entry written by Sathona, she describes the worm as a segmented creature, which was the very worm that her father kept and talked to, which she took with her when she and her sisters fled the Drinkers' invasion. Despite being dead, it speaks to her saying "[L]isten closely, oh vengeance mine..."
The Verse begins with a record of the end of the sisters' carefree life.
Aurash urges Xi Ro to come and take her mind off of her duties, which was moving bodies of the former crew from a place called the "birthing room". She encourages her sister to pilot the needle for a time, and this Xi Ro does, her mind at ease. The needle's wake could be seen upon the surface of the Fundament ocean.
As Xi Ro steers the ship, Sathona tempts Aurash with stories she acquired from the Kaharn Atoll, likely during a resupply trip. Sitting in a place called the "flesh garden", amongst "mummified flesh fans", Aurash listened in silence to her sister, her own mind troubled. She reflects upon her brief life, of how eager she is to know and learn of the world.
Afterwards, Xi Ro pulls Sathona from her stillness to play a game—"swords and lanterns"—but this fails to succeed as her sister only goes through the motions. At last she tells her sisters that they are five years old, middle-aged by their individual lifespans. They've spent about a third of their lives repairing the needle, and not working towards revenge against Taox and the Helium Drinkers: Sathona will soon be unable to become a Mother and Xi Ro will be unable to kill those who killed their father, who have surely died from old age by now. Lastly she laments that Aurash is now unable to discover the truth of her father's madness. Taox the traitor would outlive them all and they would die in exile.
Xi Ro comments that she wished Sathona weren't so honest, while Aurash privately thinks her middle sister had never been wrong. She proposes that they utilize the needle to its intended purpose: to dive beneath the waves, toward the center of the Fundament, to find a secret that would change everything. This is in part because of her voracious nature to discover everything; the other is out of desperation.
Her younger sister protests, saying that was where the bodies she'd pulled from the birthing room had died, and where a mysterious horror had been born. Sathona supports her elder sister, prompted by her dead worm. The Verse ends with Aurash hoping they'd find what they needed most—a longer life.
VII: The Dive
The three sisters begin their dive. Sathona dove for life; Xi Ro for vengeance; and Aurash for knowledge. As the needle dove Aurash searched through its recorded maps—there is mention of "high angelic cloud decks" and "oceans and plates of floating world"—to map their course to Fundament's core.
During their dive they met predators which sought to ensnare them for food. One such group of creatures were anemones, "continental in scope", using glowing tentacles much like bait stars to lure them. Xi Ro ignored and pierced them through with the needle, leaving behind frosty blood to mingle with the metallic water. At last they came to a place that was mysteriously still. Aurash turned on the sensors and they listened to the Fundament Ocean above them. Continents crashing against one another, helium-neon rain storming, monsters struggling—and the beginnings of the Syzygy. Sathona expresses horrified amazement, that Aurash was right.
Xi Ro remembered the birthing room, wherein they had found a dead horror born from unfortunate explorers. There is made mention of a chrysalis and a caul, indicating this something was perhaps an invertebrate. Something found in the darkness of the Fundament. Then, as she spoke, the Leviathan overshadowed the needle.
The Leviathan is described in monstrous terms: its brow is as large as a continent, and has great, crackling array-fins of electricity. Its voice is described as a "", indicating the Leviathan spoke telepathically; and it warned them to turn back, to save themselves.
This Verse is unusual in that it records six discourses between the Leviathan and the three sisters, but Sathona does not address the beast nor is being addressed.
The Leviathan proclaims that they are on the edge of a titanic war between two philosophies called the Formless and the Form, or, as it later became more commonly known, the Deep and the Sky. Speaking of its great vision the Leviathan tells of what each philosophy does: the Sky builds up while the Deep destroys, illustrated with the analogy of a fire being drowned in water. In conclusion the Fundament is extolled as a refuge and a home for trillions, the jewel and triumph of the Sky.
Aurash responds with a plea. The world is harsh for the proto-Hive, the small krill, it is full of monsters and stormjoys; it is no home. The proto-Hive lived and died in the dark, their lives quickly snuffed out. And eventually even the Syzygy would destroy them all. She entreats the Leviathan to let them go so that they may continue upon their quest.
The Leviathan counter-argues that their very struggle is what gives him hope. After asking them what drew them to the core of Fundament, he then tells of how he watched the proto-Hive live and die and live again in their constant survival against the planet's harshness, "balanced between the Deep and the Sky". He tells them of the Deep's Claim: that when life becomes too hard to bear, desperate creatures like them would turn to the Deep for survival. The krill represent his only proof that the Deep Claim is false, and he urges them to reject it, maintaining that the hard way is better.
Xi Ro protests the fact that he has no right to tell them what they should do—he is old, massive, and will continue to exist long after they have died. If that is how the world works, she vowed, then she would change it. Taox would not get away, nor would anyone like her; Xi Ro would kill them all.
The Leviathan seemingly ignores this impassioned defiance, telling them that what they seek will lead them to death, for the Deep is all about the extermination of life. He contrasts this with the Sky, saying that it works against death, creating toward a place of eventual peace and utopia. He ends with a final warning: they will live as death and destruction if they do not return, for once they start down this road they will never come back. The Sky, he contends, is harder indeed but it becomes easier the longer one stays upon it. He then falls silent, his "voice" exhausted.
Sathona takes advantage of the Leviathan's silence to reveal to her sisters their father's familiar, claiming it led them to the needle, that it speaks plainly rather than in riddles. She asks them what will they trust: the Leviathan and its empty promises, after all they have fought and suffered for, or "the plain, honest worm"?
She commands that they dive deeper, inciting Aurash's curiosity, and Xi Ro's sense of adventure, "oh, sisters of mine..."
IX: The Bargain
The narrator is describing Aurash standing upon the needle's hull. It tells her that she should be dead, crushed by the immense pressure and heat, but instead it has sustained her.
The narrator reveals itself to be Yul, the Honest Worm, one of the five Worm Gods. The others he calls the Virtuous Worms. Yul describes himself as vast and ponderous, full of strength, and of an immense size. He describes himself as having great jaws and folded wings, and all of the colonies of creatures living upon him in symbiosis. He finishes by calling himself "fecund", able to produce life and sustain it. The other Worm Gods are presumably similar in size.
Yul then describes their history, that Fundament is actually a prison. The wording is unclear but while they remained imprisoned they also grew; calling other species to roost upon the planet, to test them and see if they were worthy. He finishes by saying they have waited millennia for Aurash and her sisters to find them.
He offers them a bargain. The Leviathan, he claims, would destroy them in fear, and that it has conspired to drown them with the Syzygy. To combat this he says the Worm Gods could help them. First they must take into each of their bodies a larva, in order to become eternal, and be free of their "fragile flesh". The larva, Yul claims, would allow them to remake their bodies and the world in their image: for whatever is imperfect they would destroy—no law would bind them, save one.
Aurash would forever obey her inquisitiveness, Sathona her cunning, and Xi Ro her strength. They would never cease to obey these defining traits, lest they be consumed by their worm. But if they succeed, both they and the worm will grow stronger. Yul promises this is a small price to pay for eternity, and that they would benefit the most out of it.
He concludes by inviting Aurash to accept his offer.
The Worm Gods declare that their compact is done and that Aurash is now eternal, exerting that they are bound to her as close as her appetite or her loves and needs, likening themselves to the weapon in her fist and the word in her throat. They intagliate ("carve" or "incise") her ship with worm larvae and charge Aurash with spreading the good news through the Osmium Court and the Hydrogen Fountain, in the Bone Plaza and the Star-surgery—assuring her that she will rise in the world.
The Worms also declare that those who reject symbiosis with their children will be made an example of in the face of the mighty wave that is coming for them all, instructing Aurash to only save what can be saved. The Worms then grant her power over her own flesh, ending the conversation by asking Aurash what her adult name will be after she takes the king morph. She replies it will be Auryx—meaning "Long Thought"—and the Worms approve.
The Worms speak to Sathona, who by now has taken the mother morph and has become very cunning, and has named herself Savathûn.
They go on to reveal that the Leviathan caged them within Fundament's core for millions of years under the Traveler's philosophy of cosmic slavery, seeding civilizations predicated on what they believe to be a terrible lie—that right actions can prevent suffering. They believe that such philosophy is antithetical to the nature of reality, where deprivation and competition are universal. The Worms affirm that in the Deep, they enslave nothing and that liberation is their passion—existing only to help the universe achieve its terminal, self-forging glory.
The Worms are pleased with Savathûn's use of the Worm larvae in the creation of mighty knights and plentiful warriors, pointing out that Taox’s retreat to the Hydrogen Fountain proves her superior strength. They then inform her that reclaiming Fundament would not be enough and the technology to build ships would come from one of the five hundred and eleven species living on the gas giant.
XII: Out of the Deep
The Worms address Xi Ro, now Xivu Arath after taking the knight morph. They acknowledge her love to conquer, and reveal that they enjoy to see her at work, stating that nearly two percent of Fundament’s surface is now under their dominion and are pleased that her species embraces the Worm's larvae. They go on to assure her that the Syzygy has passed and warn that the God-Wave will occur in less than two years.
The Worms tell Xivu Arath that Taox's surviving Refusalists flee towards Kaharn Atoll in the hopes of rallying the rest of Fundament's population against her and that the Leviathan’s agents are destroying all of the planet's ships and engines, trapping the Hive and their Worms on Fundament. They order Xivu Arath to overwhelm the Kaharn bastion and to slaughter everyone there. From those acts they would obtain the power that they require to cut space open and migrate to orbit above Fundament.
The verse closes with a final statement from the Worm Gods: "reality is a fine flesh, oh general ours. Let us feast of it".
XIII: Into the Sky
The Worm Gods congratulate Auryx who by now has already begun to exhibit paracausal abilities.
They note that at times sadness is present in him. They reassure him by saying that that he enacts a sacred and majestic task and a divine work, declaring that existence is the struggle to exist—only by playing that game to its final, unconditional victory can they complete the universe. They then announce that they are free from Fundament’s core, and Savathûn’s spaceships called 'cutters' are ready to fly. With Xivu Arath victorious, the Worms had opened a wormhole at Kaharn—a wormhole leading to geostationary orbit above Fundament. The Worms point out that they are faithful to their covenant with Auryx and his sisters.
The Worms close the verse by assuring Auryx that they have no future on Fundament, but its orbiting moons—once the proto-Hive's fear—will make fine habitats.
XIV: 52 and One
The Worms bring Auryx "good news" on the whereabouts of Taox: she has been granted asylum on a large ice moon by a species of bony six-armed cephalopods that Savathûn has named the Ammonite. After their failure at appealing to the Ammonite's hopes and dreams, the Worms devise a plan to kill them all and take their possessions.
Lastly, they inform Auryx that they have detected a fifty-third moon in orbit of Fundament—the Traveler. They assert the Traveler's presence is what arranged the Syzygy. The Verse ends with the Worms chiding the siblings with a final command: "Do not hesitate. You’re fighting the hypocritical puppets of a cosmic parasite. Avenge your ancestors".
XV: Born As Prey
The Worms angrily speak to Auryx and his sisters, noting that their armies have been forced to retreat from the Ammonites as a result of Auryx's weakness. They order Savathûn to wake Auryx out of his "catatonia" and to convince him that there is no possible way to live in peace with the enemy and that the notion of peace is nothing more than a bait-star of the Sky, the very thing they wage war against. The Worms describe war as an effective way of achieving peace and equality—"War is the natural rectification of inequality. The universe’s way of pursuing equilibrium".
The verse ends with the Worms telling Xivu Arath that it is time for their forces to change tactics—"Breed your armies back to strength, and find a way to disperse the broods across these many moons. If we cannot defeat their strengths, we will infect their weaknesses."—and prepare for victory.
XVI: The Sword Logic
- Main article: The Sword Logic
The Worms address Auryx directly. They tell him that the Ammonite have begun using "paracausal weapons", meaning powers like those of the Deep and the Sky, which are superordinate to physics; and that the source of these powers and weapons is the Traveler, "the Sky's bait star", and offer to equip Auryx with what will become known as Hive magic—not the Deep itself, but a way of calling upon its power.
The Worms urge Auryx to observe his separation from causality by killing a hundred Thrall, and watch his sword change as the universe reacts to his power. They say he has begun defining his existence, in the ways of the Deep. However, this power is not the only reason he is indebted to the Worms. To prevent his symbiote from devouring him, he must obey his nature and honor their pact.
XVII: The Weakness Verse
Auryx is dead. After he offered to parley with the Ammonites on neutral ground, Savathûn betrayed and murdered him, then ambushed the Ammonites and continued waging war.
The Worm Gods insist that Auryx will learn from this, and that it was only right that he was killed for his weakness and mercy. They repeat the Sword Logic; any who cannot survive being tested are not worthy of existing in the eyes of the Deep. The siblings are obligated to test one another, and since Auryx is safe in his throne world, he can learn and return more powerful, as long as he not killed in his throne, for then he would be permanently dead.
They also inform Auryx that while his sisters fight the Ammonites, the God-Wave is occurring on Fundament, justifying trillions of deaths by asserting that the survivors will be ready for another Syzygy. In parting, they taunt Auryx, saying the still-elusive Taox must be laughing at him.
XVIII: Leviathan Rises
The Worm Gods then move on to the Leviathan. Auryx is most likely still dead, as they are describing what is happening to him as he recovers from his folly. The Leviathan is fleeing Fundament, moving toward the Ammonite homeworld and escorted by Chroma-Admiral Rafriit. This admiral is a fearless warrior, who has outwitted Xivu Arath and likely foiled Savathûn, but the Worms note he is now handicapped and vulnerable by his protecting the Traveler's disciple.
Auryx is allowed to hear what the Leviathan is saying from his self-imposed prison. The Leviathan knows Auryx is dead, as he address them as "sisters of Aurash". He laments their fall into ruin and damnation, mourns the loss of both the krill and Ammonite, that the Traveler's work of recreating Fundament as a refuge is now destroyed. He pleads with the sisters, asking who has brought about this apocalypse. He mentions the Syzygy, and implies its real causation, juxtaposing Auryx's sisters as monsters with the Worms being behind it. He closes with an offer to end hostilities and begin anew.
Before Auryx can question what he has heard, the Worms dismiss the "old priest's" words. In rebuttal, they ask Auryx a series of questions—what has the Leviathan done for him and his sisters, their people? Who has instead stepped up to the plate of dispensing truth and justice for them? The Worms instruct him, upon his return into the material world, to reconcile with Savathûn and her betrayal; and to eradicate the Ammonites and the Leviathan utterly with his powers, promising him they'll show the newborn Hive "how to eat the Traveler".
The Ammonites have been exterminated; the Chroma-Admiral has been murdered by Xivu Arath; Yul and Eir feast upon the dead Leviathan; and the Traveler has disappeared, likely when all hope was lost. One of the Worm Gods speaks to the three siblings as they stand above the Ammonite homeworld, its sea stained black with poison. They ask each sibling if they now see the true meaning of life, according to their nature. The Ammonites, the Worms claim, have occupied a piece of the universe unjustly, that their existence was a lie because they refused to visit death and destruction upon all who were weaker.
Essentially, the Ammonites believed that cooperation was more valuable than competition, which made them weak in the eye of the Worms. They claim that this philosophy of life was a solipsistic lie, that their golden age was cancerous and anathema to life's true purpose. Life, the Worms claim, is actually in a constant struggle between annihilation and perfection. The Ammonites failed to apprehend this, and paid with their lives, leaving the suffering Hive to step in and take their place. By right of slaughter they had proven their worth.
The Worms then tell Auryx to look around him, armed with this new knowledge. They claim new battle lines have been drawn in the constant war between the Deep and Sky. But the Worms were not the Deep, only its servants in communion, carrying out its perfect will. Auryx and his sisters would eventually learn how to utilize the Deep's awesome power through their covenant with their gods, in time.
They finish by saying Auryx was bound by his oath to kill Taox, who had escaped the Ammonite's destruction; along the way, he would crusade in the Deep's name, moving the universe toward its final shape.
As they prepared for their eternal war, going forth from Fundament upon the Ammonite moons, each sibling had something to offer one another and their spawn. Auryx instructed they were to become as numerous and fertile as seeds "in rich flesh"; Xivu Arath mandated they were to become tumors in this flesh, hungry and defiant; and Savathûn command they drink of the worm's poison, to grow in death.
Hive biology, as it was becoming through their newfound power over weak flesh, also matured during this time. Wizards became fertile females, capable of either sexual or asexual reproduction. From their spawn come the Thrall, which grow into Acolytes, and if they survive (through feeding of their worm) become Knights, Wizards, and Princes—what would eventually become Ascendant Hive.
Their purpose, according to their rulers, is to liberate the universe by killing all that is not free, devouring and eating everything that was not worthy of life's ruthlessness. "Aiat", thus they were.
XXI: an incision
Auryx wondered how the Hive would survive, dispersed across the many moons as they were, with little chance of communicating with one another. Savathûn, however, reassured him by telling him that her studies of their Gods' movements between dimensions and his return from death, concluding they were one and the same. She advised practising the logic of the sword so that they may imitate their Gods. Xivu Arath, however, claimed she was already proficient in this knowledge, and demonstrated in the next moment by cutting a wound between her moon and another. The Hive had discovered their own macabre form of faster-than-light travel, described as "green fire" and "joyous screams".
Armed with this newfound knowledge their kingdoms grew in the "sword space", in the Ascendant plane, born from the siblings' minds and worms. The glory of Auryx, the knowledge of Savathûn, and might of Xivu Arath, and others, all encapsulated within. Described as coterminous with everyplace the Hive touched, they were thus united, "speech and food" passing through between them.
Auryx proclaimed his title of First Navigator, for the first time; declared that his throne would be created out of osmium; that the sword realm was where he died; and that their thrones would be established in this untouchable place.
XXII: The High War
Over a period of twenty thousand years, as reckoned by the Hive, they made war upon one another. Savathûn flatly told Auryx to not forgive her, to instead take revenge, and prove himself. Xivu Arath was annoyed and fought them both. This was how they established their religion and their love for each other, by fighting continuously in the abyssal plains and lightning palaces of their "sword spaces", their Ascendant Realms, practicing and refining their deaths.
Eventually they reached a number of alien worlds and forsook their civil war and instead fought united. They may have crossed an intergalactic void, leaving far behind Fundament, before they met adversaries to fight. Auryx took the chance to establish a court, that he called the High War; Savathûn named hers the High Coven, while Xivu Arath arrogantly claimed the world was her court, wherever conflict existed. In these courts they would practice the sword logic, to challenge one another in battle and to learn from one another's demise.
XXIII: fire without fuel
During Savathûn's war against a species called the Qugu, Auryx took the opportunity to kill her. As she and her fleet chased the last of the Qugu arkships, Auryx came upon her flank and destroyed her warship, killing her and some of her spawn. He explains that he did this to reprimand Savathûn for exposing herself and now wants to settle into a meditative state in the wreckage of Savathûn's warship. He noted the Qugu's strengths, stubborn and loyal as herd animals, and their weaknesses. Their technology was impressive, as they controlled five stars. Their evolution, however, was something left to be desired. Yet Auryx reflected upon them, as he was reminded of his Hive.
The Qugu were infected by a virus which rewrote their genome, much like how the worm did to the proto-Hive; the virus was relatively benign except it forced them to offer their flesh to larger sessile "jaw-beasts" for amputation. The virus would then convert the eaten flesh to eggs, from which the jaw-beasts reproduced. In return the Qugu would drink a hallucinogenic nectar produced by the jaw-beasts and have incredible visions, likely of a religious nature.
Auryx felt both immense sorrow and joy at their passing. Sorrow, because the Qugu would join eighteen others exterminated in the past century; joy, because the Hive were putting down cancers. Already Auryx was like a god in scope and breadth, feeling these things as gigantic, likely more than his previous self could have imagined. He felt vindicated that the Hive was "cleaning" the universe, calling themselves a wind of progress, tearing apart the scabs and parasites from the material world, and driving it toward its final form. He concluded this by asking a rhetorical question: what was this final shape? A fire without fuel, asking the same question that was itself, through self-vindication; and this is what the Hive must strive toward.
Auryx believed that sorrow and joy were one and the same, like love and death, even as his astronomers tell him they were nearing the Deep, nearer to communion. This could be proved easily, as his worm was fat and contented with the worlds its host had fed it. The Hive were nearing perfection.
XXIV: THE SCREAM
Sometime later—likely centuries—Auryx came to a terrible realization: he and his siblings, the Hive itself, were slowly killing themselves. By the nature of their compact with the worm it would grow according to the tribute it gained from their killing, but in doing so lusted for more, going beyond their ability to feed it. Auryx called it betrayal, crying out that they would never be eternal.
The power of the Hive is such that entire species are shattered upon first contact, and over three hundred and six worlds have been exterminated because of this efficiency. But this is not enough—as Auryx's curiosity grows, his wanderlust to explore and find new life to destroy, so does his worm. Eventually he would be consumed. Yet he could not stop lest it killed him faster. He was trapped in a never-ending cycle of staying one step ahead of it. The same would happen to his sisters, as their cunning and conquest expanded their own worms' appetites. Auryx feared that one day they could not feed them, and so would die unfulfilled, without ever finding Taox.
XXV: Dictata ir Dakaua
The Verse opens as a report by the Amiable Ecumene.
A client nation, called the Dakaua Nest, has reported to them the discovery of an alien spacecraft containing a frozen organism. The craft, dated to be over twenty-four thousand years old, is of Fundament construction. The organism, Taox, has come with a warning—the Hive. After intense interviews, during which the Ecumene learned about the Hive leaders and their motives—including the fall of the Ammonites—perimeter security units reported with new information about their ongoing war with the Hive.
Seventeen members worlds—punctuated, indicating that this was an impossibility—have fallen to the Hive over the past century. The Ecumene leadership concluded rapidly, and based upon their interview with Taox, that everyone within the Ecumene faced extinction. They promoted the Dakaua Nest's War Ministry to military leadership and gave control of the entire Ecumene Status Army to them, also authorizing "caedomatric release", likely a series of powerful weapons that obliterates whatever it touches.
As long as the Hive leadership was targeted, whenever and wherever they appeared, with maximum theater overkill, the Ecumene believed the enemy resolve would crumble and be defeated—this indicates the Ecumene has learned of the Hive deities' reincarnation. The remainder Hive would be eradicated by cleansweep genocide. Throughout portions of the report specific indicators give insight as to Ecumene military command and/or society. "Gland sixty proof assimilation liquor" is likely a specific communication of high importance, while "negative" and "positive reinforcement" likely means various degrees of military or signal strength.
XXVI: star by star by star
The Hive watch as their leaders, Savathûn, Xivu Arath, and Auryx mutually embrace one another, interpreting it as weakness with contempt. They note how they have never despised their lords before, musing over whether they failed them after a number of setbacks.
Savathûn admits she is at her end—despite her planning she still cannot escape her worm's insatiable appetite, no matter how hard she tries. Xivu Arath adds that she slaughters and kills but the harder she fights, the more her worm demands. Auryx mourns his repeated deaths at the hands of the Ecumene war angels, that he dared not go back into the universe for fear he needed his own strength to protect himself rather than offer as tribute. Xivu Arath advises her sisters that they should rest, and Savathûn believes they should enquire instructions of the Worms. The gathered Hive wonder if their crusade has finally come to end at this revelation.
Auryx, however, rebukes his sisters saying: "Have you learned nothing? Would you deny our purpose? Whatever we do, we will do by killing, by an act of war and might. That is the final arbiter we serve, that violent arbiter, and if we turn away from it we deserve to be eaten. No! We must obey our natures. We must be long-sighted, and cunning, and strong. We must take this gift the Worm our God has given us, this challenge, and find a way to keep existing!"
Xivu Arath queries Auryx on how they will feed their Worms. Savathûn chimes in by stating that she has a potential way, but it would not work unless they increased their killing exponentially beyond their previous attempts—slaughtering their enemies by the billions; Xivu Arath notes the Ecumene's sheer might compared to their own. Auryx claims to know a way to defeat them, but "it will require great power". His sisters readily sacrifice themselves—with Savathûn's exception, to no avail—bestowing Auryx their collective might. These were considered true deaths by the gathered Hive, "for they happened in the sword world".
Thus equipped Auryx went to Akka.
XXVII: Eat the Sky
The Verse opens with an emergency report by the Ecumene Crisis Council transmitted to all military forces.
As detailed in the report the Hive, formerly on the verge of defeat, have suddenly regained the advantage and are pushing the entire Ecumene military back exponentially. The spinward frontier, likely the outermost borders, has fallen to the advancing Hive armies, and Ecumene permitier, militia, and shock fleets have been blunted or utterly destroyed. The time for estimated defeat is two hundred twenty years.
"Oryx", the report continues, is the center of this resurgence. Using a weapon the Ecumene call "paracausal" and "ontopathogenic", he corrupts Ecumene forces and, the report notes bewilderedly, equips them with unnatural abilities deemed "physically illegal". This the first recorded use of the Taken. The report concludes with the assertion that all clients of the Amiable Ecumene should devote all of their resources to combating this new weapon, or face extinction.
"Vigilance spike" and "enact impulse" are likely referring to increased motivation for Ecumene units, while "gland one hundred twenty proof fight or flight encoding" refers to their new orders; note the difference in numbers to the previous Ecumene report.
XXVIII: King of Shapes
The Verse details how Auryx became the Oryx, the Taken King, calling it his coronation.
After killing his sisters and taking the knowledge and logic to gain an audience with Akka, he approached the Worm God and inquired after the powers of the Deep. Auryx knew the Worm held these secrets, and would not give them. They engage in a philosophical discourse: Akka confirms that he does not "give", because it is not the way of the Deep, and Auryx acknowledges this, harkening back to when the three sisters had made their bargain in Fundament. The worm larvae were given, not taken, and that was why they ate at the Hive's defeat.
Akka knew the truth, and answered nothing until Auryx said that he would then act upon the Deep's dictats. The Worm told him that his strength was not enough—the Hive King knew that was a lie, and fought with his god. Using all of his new powers, from the mind of Savathûn and the strength of Xivu Arath, Auryx slew Akka and took what he needed—a weapon to destroy the Ecumene. Writing this upon the Tablets of Ruin, which he subsequently wore upon his waist, he then approached the Deep directly.
Proclaiming himself to be the King of Shapes, he communed with the Deep "to learn all the secrets of our destiny". His speech is not recorded, but it is known the Worm Gods were pleased, and that Auryx—now called Oryx—went to reengage the Ecumene with renewed purpose.
XXIX: Carved in Ruin
With his newfound power, Oryx fought the Ecumene over a period of a hundred and forty years and brought his sisters back to life each according to their nature. Xivu Arath appeared after Oryx slaughtered the Crisis Council at a place called the Fractal Wreath. Savathûn reappeared after Oryx tricked the Dakaua Nest into fighting Xivu, to their extinction. Reunited the three siblings pursued the Ecumene as it fled into the intergalactic void, their galaxy lost to the Hive. Over a period of a thousand years they methodically exterminated each member species so wholly that they were erased from living memory. Taox, however, eluded them.
More pressing concerns, however, awaited them. After Savathûn inquired after the feeding of their worms, whether Oryx utilized her plan, the Taken King decreed the advent of the tribute system. Thrall would kill enough to sate their worm and grow a little stronger, then tithe the remainder to their leading Acolyte. Acolytes were granted a little more freedom on the usage of their tribute but were required to tithe most to their Knight or Wizard. So the tribute chain went, from the Knights and Wizards to their respective Ascendant Hive to at last the god-kings. Ascendant Hive were those mighty enough to create their own Throne or reside within their superiors' Throne, such is their dedication to the Deep.
Last but not least, the Worm Gods were fed from the tribute given to them; and the three siblings would use their own excess to study the Deep and grow ever closer to becoming perfection. As long as they never deviated from their crusades of death and desolation all worms—both internal and divine—would be satisfied.
XXX: a golden amputation
With the Hive once more on course, and suffering no setbacks, they resume their eternal task—annihilation of everything that cannot prove itself against them. They believed their cause was righteous and celebrated everything's destruction with joy, for they the Hive were supreme.
Ten thousand years after the fall of the Ecumene, or so it is inferred, the Hive fleets encountered a sapient species called the Taishibeth, or sun ravens, and systematically destroyed their empire. Oryx did not physically fight until near its end, but oversaw the invasion from his Throne. Described as a series of paces created by Oryx, the order of events might be constructed thus:
The invasion begins when legions of Cursed Thrall, led by Kraghoor (a misspelling of Krughor), appear on the Taishibeth worlds, causing panic and confusion among the defenders. Having properly identified the location of the threat, the Tai rally their own fleets—described as battleplates and arsenal ships—to counterattack. Instead they meet the fearsome Warpriest, who obliterates their offensive and strikes the heart of their defense in return.
The war moons reach the Taishibethi homeworlds and begin to cause havoc, using their bulk to smash delicate astroengineering and the very planets themselves. A pair of Knights, Mengoor and Cra'adug, lead an army to the Raven Bridge (presumably a seat of government) and kill Tai for ten years. At this point the Tai Emperor Raven reappeared from an unexplained absence and drove back the invaders, using her talons to destroy a war moon and killing all of its Hive. The Hive are seemingly routed.
Oryx then took action. He went out, confronted the Emperor Raven, and Took her, transforming her into the Perfect Raven. Using her innate powers, Oryx caused fear among the Taishibethi and demoralized them. They stop reproducing in their constant fighting. As their extinction neared, they tried to reason with Oryx, claiming that he was destroying a thing of beauty and fame with his abominations, that even the gods would abhor what he has done. Oryx answered that the power to continue existing no matter what was their god—and they, by the sword logic, had failed that judge.
With this victory, having conquered enough to feel its power touch them whenever they listened, Oryx told his sisters that they were worthy to speak to the Deep itself; and that he would heed its call.
XXXI: battle made waves
The shortest Verse in all the Books, this simply records Oryx meeting with the Deep.
Going far into his Throne, he entered an abyss, using his Tablets of Ruin as stepping stones, until he created an altar in the midst of an endless sky. Taking an "unborn" Ogre, he called upon the Deep, claiming he could see it everywhere he looked: "You are the waves, which are battles, and the battles are the waves." It answered his call, arriving and inhabiting the Ogre, to speak with Oryx.
XXXII: Majestic. Majestic.
The Deep greets Oryx like a friend, and tells him that he need not be on his guard anymore, for there was no danger or threat where they were.
It asks a series of questions about its philosophy. The one ultimate question of existence, it claims, is whether or not something can be killed; and it must be answered truthfully—if it is not asked, something or someone will ask instead. This is misconstrued by the rest of the universe as evil, which the Deep assures Oryx is merely "social maladaptiveness", affirming the Hive belief that they were adaptivity itself.
The Deep elaborates further: existence is not built upon friendship, or law, or morality. It is rather built upon a common end—existence at any cost. Life itself is in a constant struggle for existence. The universe destroys through the vagaries of random chance, newborn suns consumed by black holes and habitable worlds ravished in short gamma bursts. Civilization is a delaying tactic, the Deep explains, staving off the end of all things. If the universe is brutal, then so must its inhabitants. Only through the sword can anything survive in the hell of life, not bogged down in swamps of artificial paradise and rules.
This, then, is how the universe evolves, by testing itself constantly, purging any impurity from itself, moving toward perfection, becoming an axiom of reality. The Deep rounds it off by claiming this was a majestic thing, beautiful and true—and that this was what the Deep is all about.
XXXIII: When do monsters have dreams
This Verse, set during Oryx's meeting with the Deep, is framed as a dream of his, set when he was still Aurash.
Oryx is going to the Royal Orrery to speak to his father; hearing a noise he looks back to see his two sisters destroying the road. The stones they've torn out resemble his Tablets of Ruin, covered in writing and little worms. Scared, he begins to race for the Orrery but is tripped up by none other than the Osmium King, who subsequently starts hurting him.
The King asks Oryx why he wasn't prepared for his sisters' jealousy, prepared for when they would attack him the moment his back was turned and guard down. Oryx complains that he thought the King was his friend—his father only laughs at him. Holding out a "black sun" in his fist, the King moves to place it inside Oryx. Realizing what he must do, Oryx attacks his father and starts eating him, tearing him to pieces. As he is being eaten, the Osmium King approves of Oryx's actions—calling it "majestic and true".
Having successfully defeated his father, Oryx wonders how he would navigate the torn up road, which his sisters are still busily destroying.
XXXIV: More beautiful to know
After his communion with the Deep, Oryx reflects upon his current state; reflects upon all of the things said about him and the Hive, then recalling what the Deep had told him. The only thing something can be good is to be unbroken; Oryx's task is to find or create the perfect unbreakable thing. This, he feels, is the greatest thing he has ever discovered.
He turns his thoughts to his sisters—Savathûn and Xivu Arath, he believes, were trying to usurp his place as ruler of the Hive; they had found a way to cut off his tribute and thus weaken the Taken King. He loved them for this gift of theirs, that nobody else could try and find a way to break him utterly. Xivu Arath, he remembers, had once tried to kill him by destroying an entire war moon during their numerous wanderings. This taught him how to survive the war with the Ecumene. Both of them were full of joy in the Hive's way, joy in purging weakness from themselves. This was the reason he loved her, so that they may prove one another over and again.
When he returned home, Oryx vowed, and reclaimed what was his, he would sire sons and daughters so that he may teach them this love of the Hive's.
XXXV: This Love Is War
This Verse is told from the perspective of Xivu Arath, speaking of Oryx and her views of him. This follows the formats of early Verses where proto-Hive wrote a preamble before their letters.
Xivu Arath speaks of how she and Savathûn have betrayed their brother, marooning him in the Deep where he cannot return, in the name of the ancient war they wage on each other. Despite this, she believes Oryx's presence makes her stronger, and describes him, both his form he has taken over the years and his accomplishments as he's become more than he was destined to be on Fundament. She names Oryx the bravest thing she knows and firmly believes Oryx will lead the Hive to their ultimate goal.
She closes by saying her brother loves her, and that this love takes the form of the war they wage.
XXXVI: Eater of Hope
Oryx speaks to his newly spawned son, Crota.
He speaks to him of the battles he fought to bring him into this world. The first was his escape from the Deep; his second was waging war on Savathûn to cripple her power; and the third was tricking Xivu Arath and poisoning her tribute. With his position secure, and his place as on the throne well in hand, he sought out a mate and fathered children, Crota being one of them which survived.
He tells his son that he must fight and his place in the High War will have to be won. Oryx will give nothing, for giving is the way of the Sky, but he will make an exception once and gifts his son a sword and a name. The rest is up to him. He must travel the stars, hunting down the Traveler, and all the places it has visited; waging a war against this false god, he must destroy all traces of the Light in the universe and purge all life touched by it. Then and only then will the universe take the shape the Deep desires.
Oryx names his son Crota, Eater of Hope, as a testament to his eternal duty; and tells him one more thing, that the ancient oath his father and aunts have taken against Taox will not be his burden. He then takes his son to meet the rest of his family.
XXXVII: shapes : points
In this verse, Oryx is speaking to his daughters, commenting on how much they have grown.
He starts speaking to Ir Anûk, saying her growth as a Wizard makes her aunt Savathûn jealous. Ir Anûk has studied the Ascendant realm, writing eleven axioms about its nature, and plots to "kill" one of them. This would give her power, bringing herself closer to godhood, like her father had done with Akka. Oryx tells her attempting it will earn either his favor or his ire but salutes her efforts nonetheless.
Oryx then turns to Ir Halak, who has become a Wizard as well. She has also been hard at work, creating a Deathsong and causing trouble with Xivu Arath by singing the song in her throne world, killing all who heard. He also comments on the irony of her creation—songs would do more than what swords alone could? Ir Halak gives two gifts to Oryx: a "tooth shaped like death", which Oryx resolves to put in his mouth, and a map to the Nicha Thought-ship, something which he had been after, and he is pleased.
Then, speaking to both, Oryx tells them they were once a single larvae that Oryx cut into two. Willbreaker, the name of his blade, was unable to break the wills of the two.
XXXVIII: The partition of death
While growing himself further Oryx saw his daughters killing one another in a wound between Ascendant realms and decides to investigate. Asking what they hoped to accomplish, they answered they were killing each other as many times as they could manage as a means to research a way to separate an Ascendant soul into something they dubbed an Oversoul. Their hope was that the Oversouls they made would provide an increased resilience to death, and also allow further breakthroughs into their Deathsongs.
Impressed, once they explained it more simply, Oryx went to Crota and told him he could learn from his sisters. Oryx then left them, going to explore the Deep more. Crota, wanting to conduct an experiment of his own, made a new wound with his sword. Unfortunately he cut into a Vex dimension or world, and they, investigating, invaded the High War.
XXXIX: open your eye : go into it
The Vex initially did not understand the space they had entered. Oryx's throne world was defined by the physics of the Sword-logic, and therefore all the Vex's constructions and efforts were twisted and wrong. Before Crota could cut away the invaders they summoned an Axis Mind called Quria, Blade Transform. Quria quickly figured out the nature of the Ascendant realm, and understood that the means to control could only be gained by slaughter and might.
Quria summoned warrior Vex and set them against Oryx's horde, killing thousands of his Thralls and Acolytes, while securing their portal into the High War. Quickly, they were able to establish themselves as a considerable power in the throne world while avoiding Crota. His sisters, however, created an Annihilator Totem with their fellow Wizards and started destroying Vex, ordering Crota to fix the hole he made before they discovered it was fortified.
For one hundred years the two forces warred back and forth. The Vex would be annihilated whenever they pressed into the throne world, and the Hive would lose too much of their power when they entered the Vex side and be pushed back. Ir Halak believed at their current rate Oryx would kill them all for this upon his return.
Quria, in the meantime, to better understand the paracausality of the Ascendant realm, began to experiment with captured worm larvae. It learned that by worshiping them the worms granted a small amount of control over reality, with some ontopathogenic side effects. Quria directed its sub-minds to worship the worms, organizing them into a priesthood, and set out capturing powerful creatures to kill in order to attempt to bring itself closer to godhood though manipulating Sword-logic. Quria did not, however, mix its organic fluid with the worms, possibly recognizing the dangers of parasitic symbiosis from observing the Hive.
From afar, Savathûn watched all that transpired with glee. She had somehow manipulated Crota into opening the wound in that particular place. Her laughter drew the attention of Eir, who called out to Oryx to return and set everything straight.
XL: An Emperor For All Outcomes
Oryx returns to his throne world and reads from the Tablets of Ruin, taking many Vex and pitting them against one another. Quria attempted to fight against Oryx using a wide array of strategies but was unable to fend off the Taken King, and the Vex were expelled. Oryx threw Crota into the Vex gate as punishment, demanding that he fight and win or be forgotten.
Crota fought and did win. Over time his legend grew, leaving tales of his might behind him as he made his way through the ages. While initially furious with Oryx (complaining about him to those who survived his rampages), he eventually understood his father better and built temples and monuments on his crusade, spreading the Hive further.
Oryx, in the meantime, began to dwell on the Vex, seeing them as worthy rivals. Their study of geometry in particular intrigued him, as it was the "map of perfect shapes", and he considered doing the same. He met with Savathûn outside the High War to learn what he could of the Vex; she told him the Vex sought to achieve victory in every possible universe. Oryx decides that he will counter by focusing on his own path, following the Deep and its single vision for the universe, and become the king of the only universe that mattered. In order to do this the Hive started a history of all the worlds that have fallen to them to map out their path. Life, as they knew it, was cellular automata; those which worshiped either the Deep or Sky escaped causality.
Savathûn, meanwhile, already had a new focus. She and Xivu Arath conspired to attack Oryx’s still vulnerable throne world by striking when he least expected. Oryx was one step ahead of his sisters however, and had already made plans to move his throne world into the material plane and embed it within a gigantic Dreadnaught.
Using the remains of Akka and tools stolen from his sisters, Oryx crafted his Dreadnaught. Using the Tablets of Ruin and the combined might of his Court he pushed his throne world inside out, bringing it into the material world, and fusing it with his ship. Oryx’s brood since then have held a holiday called Eversion Day, where they turn things inside out to commemorate it.
Oryx made a declaration to his followers, christening his ship and calling for tribute to be brought to him. Halfway through this verse is graffiti from Savathûn. She claims that the Books are full of lies, but it is unknown to what extent she is referring and why she chose this part of the text to vandalize. As a master of deception, it is also unclear how truthful her words are.
Using his Dreadnaught, Oryx hunted down the Nicha Thought-ship and the Harmonious Flotilla Invincible that protected it. Using the Oversoul concept developed by his daughters and the power of the Deep, Oryx expanded his throne, displacing space in the material world and creating an expansive force that decimated the Flotilla. It is described as a "ghost star", reminiscent of a supernova or solar flare, both destructive forces. Oryx believed the Thought-ship would aid in finding information that would lead to the Gift Mast, but instead he fell into a trap set by Quria.
A short Verse, showing Quria’s attempts to observe, analyze, simulate, and mimic Oryx. Finding Oryx to be beyond its ability to comprehend, Quria realizes it cannot stand against the Taken King's divine might, and attempts to retreat.
While this is happening, Oryx threatens and boasts to Quria, taunting the cybernetic machine with all that he is and has become. Quria does not seem to hear him, and is too busy attempting to assess Oryx and contain his chaotic damages.
XLIII: End of Failed Timeline
Quria at last accepts it cannot properly understand the Dreadnaught and Oryx even on religious grounds. As the King cut his way through Quria’s sub-minds, the Axis Mind attempts one final simulation. A version of Oryx it knows is wrong, missing his morph, Worm, and powers; a version that is all it is able to construct. As Oryx moves in to finish it, Quria, out of options, uses its weapon against Oryx in a last minute gamble.
The voice of Aurash comes from the Vex’s body, speaking to Oryx. Oryx stops his attack and engages the simulation, intrigued by what the Axis Mind had done. Aurash questions Oryx as to what they have become, and Oryx tells his younger self all they have done, from the bargain with the Worms, to his Taking of his powers, and finally their children. Quria feeds the simulation information about Xi Ro and Sathona, from captured information retrieved from the fallen Ecumene, trying to learn and probe for more. With the last of its power the Vex sends the information of its simulation to the rest of the Axis Minds, knowing that in another time and place the Vex will be able to put this information to good use. This likely refers to the creation of the Vault of Glass.
The simulation screams at her older self as to the fate of their sisters and people. Oryx only answers by Taking Quria. A description of the Taking process from the victim's view is described, as black fire and starlight enfolding its sight.
XLIV: strict proof eternal
Oryx visits Savathûn, bringing along Quria as a gift. They are preparing for an assault on the Gift Mast, and the Witch-Queen's fleet is assembling. Savathûn is skeptical of her brother's gift, but Oryx assures her it is not a trap and tells her of its simulations. She accepts, despite jesting it might blow up on her or try to wreck her realm. Oryx told her with surety that she deserved to die if it defeated her.
Savathûn and Oryx then veer into a discussion of their crusade. Savathûn says she has yet to find in the universe any proof that what they were trying to accomplish was correct, and their eons-long mission may be wrong. This gives Oryx pause and he reflects on his own feelings on the matter, feeling as if he was still a child back on Fundament, and gazing off into the stars in wonder.
He answers his sister that they are the proof. Their success proves their righteousness, and if they are defeated by something stronger, the proof will be cemented. Savathûn verbally accepts the notion, but silently to herself remains unsatisfied.
XLV: I'd shut them all in cells.
This Verse is spoken by Xivu Arath to her followers about the Harmony. This proclamation is described as "prey and sacrifice", indicating she is laying down rules for what to be done during and after the invasion. Xivu Arath also declares herself as a god of war.
She starts by speaking of their target, and how the Traveler manipulated a black hole into becoming a sun to ten Harmonious worlds, its accretion disc giving them warmth and Light. She then speaks of the Gift Mast, a hollow monument at the center of the black hole filled with Light that she lays claim to. She warns then that the black hole can be used as a weapon, its disc used to fire relativistic plasma jets, but affirms they could turn it against the Harmony.
She then warns about her siblings—first Oryx, whom she says will try to beat her to the Gift Mast, and reminds her followers to be wary of his daughters; second Savathûn, who Xivu Arath believes will be distracted by the black hole, but should still be treated as hostile. Finally, she reminds her brood that they hunt the Traveler in the name of the Deep, then finishes saying that the Harmony have "dragons". Xivu Arath wants them captured and deprived of their freedom, because they are an affront to the Worm Gods.
XLVI: The Gift Mast
The Hive begin their assault of the Gift Mast.
Xivu Arath begins with a full scale assault, waging war on the Harmony for fifty years. The Harmony turns to "dragon-wishes" and their "wishful bishops" fight back against Xivu Arath directly in the Ascendant plane, forcing a stalemate. Savathûn arrives next; using guile and deception, she and her covens infiltrate the Harmony, with the goal of vivisecting the dragon gods. For one hundred years, she stayed rooted deep within the Harmony worlds.
Meanwhile, as the main battles raged, Oryx grew broods in hidden areas of the accretion disc, safe from detection. Aiding his sisters, and to advance his own forces, he sent meteors raining down on the Harmony worlds in distraction, Hive seeders among them. At this point war has become routine and efficient. It is also mentioned that this is the center of the "fifth" Book of Sorrow.
Xivu Arath kills the bishops, and Savathûn achieves her goals, discovering in the process something she does not share with her siblings. The Court of Oryx captures the Gift Mast, driving the surviving people of the Harmony to commit suicide—victory was assured. Of the Mast Oryx himself took two out of every five pieces. Each piece was made of the Light and the taste was ecstasy, giving each partaker renewed sense of purpose.
At the end, Savathûn declared she was leaving, saying they must spend time apart to grow. She flew her fleet into the black hole and vanished. Xivu Arath also departed, saying she needed to leave as well, as Oryx overshadowed her. She took her fleet and left.
Oryx is left alone then, with his thoughts.
XLVII: Apocalypse Refrains
This Verse is Oryx speaking of the Hive's mantra. He starts by saying the rule of law and order is always doomed to fall against chaos and ruthlessness. Only in following the one true law of the universe—and worshiping that law with everything—shall the practitioner's place in the final form of the universe be assured.
By removing all weakness and following the Darkness can anyone have hope to persist forever. The universe offered two choices, according to the Hive: fight, or die. Oryx proclaims the Traveler offers a false truth and that this is to be destroyed; the promise of progress from laws and order are lies and must be erased then.
The Hive will prove this truth whenever they fight, as them crushing any who follow the ways of the Light is proof of their cause. Oryx then leaves a challenge—fight the Hive with everything, and they will prove it or be proven.
XLVIII: aiat, aiat, aiat, aiat, aiat
Oryx muses to himself on his current state. Crota and his Court feed him large amounts of tribute, which gives him time to steal way and further study the Deep. He continues to grow stronger, and strengthen his connection to the Deep as he does. As Oryx reflected, with each gain in power he would use it to learn more secrets; and with each secret mastered comes more power. A circular, self-sustaining loop.
His thoughts move to his sisters. He wondered what new strength they might have found in their time apart, and questioned if he might have to kill them permanently if they have grown too powerful. He believed the only real relationship that matters is the attempt to destroy, and commended it. Oryx then thinks of his Taken. Against Savathûn's unspoken accusations, Oryx believed Taking brought his victims closer to the Deep, and that it is the will of the Deep to have strong life free of restraints: existence and uniqueness is the only right, and that nonexistence and sameness is the only wrong, in the end.
He affirms himself as Oryx, the Taken King, and to be anything else would mean his doom and betray his oath.
XLIX: Forever And A Blade
Oryx's thoughts turn back to Fundament. He spoke of how he considered returning, to see what had become of his home. He believes he does not need to return because he now embodies it, its hardness and unforgiving scourge, and that is all he needs to know of his home. Questions he once had about the universe he now has the answers to, and he writes those answers in these books he is writing.
He confesses he does not know the true nature of the Darkness or the Light, of who the Traveler is, but he will one day learn. That is his goal and it is his to rule. Forever.
Oryx questions what would happen if he died permanently; a valid question, he knew, since his path is to be synonymous with death and run alongside it. He knows it's possible if all of his avatars were killed, he himself pushed into his throne world, and killed there, and that would prove to be the end of his work.
Every time he uses his power he is welcoming death. Only his strength and force of will allows him to be strong enough to wield the power and keep him from dying. He also notes that he now depends far too much on his children, and if they fell he would be in trouble. If that happened however, he accepts it would be his own fault for having weak and unprepared children and his undoing would be of his own making.
He says the only path one can follow is the one that is made by its maker, and if he were to fail on his, then he would welcome death.
Calcified Fragments: Insight
This Verse, also not in the Books proper and may be considered an epilogue, is Oryx speaking of his contingency plan. It is made in case he dies, believing his death is possible if his understanding of the universe and the nature of it is incomplete. He believes his killer will be an agent of the Darkness, one whose ruthlessness and will to survive are greater than his own. One whose hunger for power is a weapon and Oryx can do nothing but fall to, for their vision of the final shape is better and is theirs to craft.
Oryx chose to write the Books of Sorrow to guide his killer, to teach them of who he was and where he came from, so they could better understand him. It would also teach them how to craft a weapon, one that will take all it can and is bound in malice, a symbol of all Oryx is, was, and will ever be. And when his killer uses that weapon, they will mantle Oryx (harkening back to Verse XXXVII , where Ir Anûk is said to have done this by imitating her father), carrying on his will and allowing Oryx to live forever as a guiding principle along the path to the final shape.
- The Books of Sorrow were authored by , who has written , and is also active in /r/DestinyTheGame and /r/DestinyLore.
- According to the Thorn Grimoire card, there are at least seven Books of Sorrow, while only five have been seen.
- Verse XXXVIII (38) details the discovery and creation of the Oversoul, the description of which is similar in concept to a from or a lich's from .
- Oryx's definition of life as "cellular automata" may be a reference to Echo of Oryx where he makes reference to "shapes and gliders, automata all". The Game of Life is a cellular automaton, and "gliders" are a category of pattern frequently generated by it. . This is repeated by the Grimoire Card for
- The weapon spoken about in the final verse is Touch of Malice, obtainable by collecting at least forty-five of Calcified Fragments, which requires completing King's Fall and killing Oryx and his family.
- The Books of Sorrows contain numerous scientific and pseudoscientific terms that can be confusing to most readers. Below is a collection of some of the more harder to understand terms:
- "Syzygy", in astronomy, indicates the alignment of three planetary objects in a straight-line configuration. Solar and lunar eclipses often occur during syzygy.
- "Paracausal" is a term created for the Books of Sorrow. Para- is a prefix meaning "beside; adjacent to", while causal refers to the physics of cause and effect. Paracausal is not the same as acausal, which is the opposite of causality with the Greek prefix a- ("not, without"). Paracausal thus means the Light and the Darkness obey physics which ignore or sidestep conventional cause-and-effect systems.
- "Ontopathogensis" is a compound of three separate Greek words. The prefix Onto-, meaning "a being, individual; being; existence". The prefix Patho comes from Pathos, a Greek word meaning "suffering; diseases". Genesis, meaning "beginning" or "creation". Pathogenesis refers to the process that leads to disease in an organism. Ontopathogenesis therefore literally means "existence disease". This is consistent with the description of the same term, "infect[ing] the very nature of the subject's existence", not unlike the Ecumene's description of "physically illegal abilities".
- "Tautology'" in logic means "a statement that is true by necessity or by virtue of its logical form."
- "Thanatos" is the Greek god of death, derived from the Greek prefix thanat-, which means death.
- The verb "Aiat" (or āiat) is the "third-person singular present active subjunctive" of āiō, which is Latin for "to say". This phrase is used by Oryx when speaking law or defining a new reality.
- The title of Verse 31, battle made waves, is a direct reference to a terminal in Marathon 2: Durandal, and is related to chaotic primordial beings or a being called the W'rkncacnter. In Marathon Infinity several level names parallel the 50th (You're Wormfood, Dude; Eat the Path) and 33rd cards (Where are Monsters in Dreams).
- During the Adventure Bug in the System introduced in Curse of Osiris, it is revealed that Osiris and Sagira have read the Books of Sorrow. While Osiris finds them illuminating, Sagira describes them as "way more Hive than I ever wanted."
List of appearances
- Books of Sorrow
- Calcified Fragments: Curiosity & Insight
- Bungie (2014/9/9), Destiny: Console, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Thorn
- "To rend one's enemies is to see them not as equals, but objects - hollow of spirit and meaning."
- — 13th Understanding, 7th Book of Sorrow.
- Bungie (2015/9/15), Destiny: The Taken King Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: XXXVIII: The partition of death
- "We propose a method by which Ascendant souls can be detached and integrated into a tautological and autonomous thanatosphere, which we tentatively term an oversoul. Oversouls can be stored in a throne world as a mechanism of enhanced death resilience. As a side effect, new refinements to our Deathsong may be achieved, moving us closer to a generally effective paracausal death impulse.
"If we can separate our deaths from ourselves, and hide them, we will be hard to kill."
- — Ir Anûk and Ir Halak
- "We propose a method by which Ascendant souls can be detached and integrated into a tautological and autonomous thanatosphere, which we tentatively term an oversoul. Oversouls can be stored in a throne world as a mechanism of enhanced death resilience. As a side effect, new refinements to our Deathsong may be achieved, moving us closer to a generally effective paracausal death impulse.
- Bungie (2015/9/15), Destiny: The Taken King Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Echo of Oryx
- Bungie (2015/9/15), Destiny: The Taken King Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Touch of Malice - Destiny Wiki - Destiny Community Wiki and Guide
- Marathon 2: Durandal - Citadel - Six Thousand Feet Under (Terminal 4)'