Cabal Booklet

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"...three words, nine word bursts over and over..."
This article is based on canon information, but the article title is conjectural, as there is currently no official name for the subject. See the talk page for more information.
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"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."
The following is a verbatim transcription of an official document for archival reasons. As the original content is transcribed word-for-word, any possible discrepancies and/or errors are included.
The cover art of the Cabal Booklet

The Cabal Booklet is an untitled lore book included in the Destiny 2 Collector's Edition, written by Seth Dickinson. It consists of a formal invitation written by Calus, the former Cabal Emperor, to an unidentified prospective champion to assassinate the Cabal leaders who overthrew him in a coup. The invitation reveals significant details about the history, government, and culture of the Cabal.[1]

An Invitation[edit]

YOU'RE LIKE ME, AREN'T YOU? YOU WON'T SETTLE FOR WHAT YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN. YOU WANT MORE.

Do you desire eternal greatness? Do you seek true freedom? I, alone, hold the power to grant you these gifts... if you prove yourself to me.

Know that I am Calus, the last and greatest emperor of the Cabal. For centuries, I led the revels of my empire, and the stars themselves burnt sweet and clear. But in time the jealous and the tight-fisted rose up and sent me into exile. And when the people called out for me, these envious rebels battered my Cabal down into grey submission.

Now I offer my gifts and delectations to you, young celebrant! Together we might restore laughter and great excess to the golden halls of Torobatl and all the stars beyond!

But before we feast together, I must know your quality. Can you bear the weight of my favor? Are you capable of executing my vengeance?

I seek equals, and they are few. I've seen more than a thousand years of war and trouble. I fought the Sindû escadrilles, put down the Clipse revolt, and interpreted the mad prophecies of the OXA Machine. But might is not enough - for through all of this struggle, I kept the bonfires lit and the sweet wine flowing. To be emperor, you see, is to be the model of perpetual joy! A good ruler must live the life that everyone craves. For if an emperor cannot be happy, then what hope has anyone?

In you I also seek the capacity for wonder and the appetite for greatness. When I took the throne, my people bled to feed a corrupt military elite. I chased those Praetorate scum from their dens of iniquity. I offered their stolen riches back to my Cabal! And I vowed to celebrate our existence in the highest luxury, to set an example for my empire - no privileged few, but decadence for all!

Friend, I was betrayed.

I could have forgiven the traitors, for I am an emperor of limitless cheer. I swear on my own silk and treasure that although my betrayers were as close to me as my own daughter, still I would have forgiven them - had they not also betrayed my people.

It was not enough for this vile council to overthrow me. These mendacious and murderous villains, these dear companions who I kept so long at my side: they gave my Cabal to brutal military rule. Now armored tyrants stain golden Torobatl with their dark designs. Ghaul is the epitome of their creed. An innocent orphan simmered in their poison hate. He will infect the whole Cabal with his emptiness - I have foreseen it! His life will be a quest to fill the hollow in his soul!

They would have killed me, but I was too beloved and too glorious. So they sent me away into resplendent exile upon this Grand Leviathan.

And from that exile I call on you, the brave, to execute my justice upon the traitors. Save the Cabal from grey enslavement. Join me in my search for the glorious and absolute powers of the universe!

Bring me the end of my enemies, and prove yourself worthy of the prize Ghaul will never claim. True power. True purpose. These things I offer you, and weapons, and knowledge, and glory. I have pulverized moons into beautiful rings of ruin! I have snuffed out stars to improve the harmony of the constellations! Think of the monuments I can make for you.

I promise you everything. All I ask is death.

These are the names of the traitors:

The Bodyguard: Lictor Shayotet, the Emperor's Protector[edit]

Shayotet the Uncleft. My eternal companion, my shield and my trust. Whatever good I did, he owns a piece of it, for I did it all under his protection. How many bullets he took for me! How many poisons and piercing thoughts! When I spoke to the people at Dau'uss, and told them I had repossessed the wealth and plunder of the Praetorate elite, it was Shayotet who stood by my side. The Legions could have bombed our hides to leather! But he stood!

He loved me through all the hard times. Oh, friend! How could my happiness turn you against me? How could you grow disgusted with my joy and revelry? How bitter to lose a friend because your friendship was made only of shared pain.

On the dark day, Shayotet led the soldiers into my house. Shayotet let the soldiers plunder my collections, feast on my larders, and shoot down those who tried to save me. Shayotet said he was doing this in the name of the man I'd once been, but I knew he was jealous of the emperor I'd become.

Shayotet must die.

He's a bodyguard, centuries old and always vigilant. He has only one weakness: he will stand and fight. He doesn't know how to run. Make him feel like he's protecting something, and he'll battle to end.

Without me, what has Shayotet to protect? Why, brave adventurer, he's like you. He does love his guns.

The Scientist: Freeborn Otzot, Psion Savant[edit]

Centuries after we destroyed the Psions' clairvoyant OXA Machine, word reached me that it had been rebuilt on the moon of Brand. The Evocate-General sent her ships to bomb the moon. In my imperial forgiveness, I stopped her ships. I asked myself: who but a true genius could reconstruct the OXA? Who but a Psion who craved the OXA's power to see the unseen? Surely we could use that mind!

I invited the builder to join me at a fete in her honor. She was called Otzot, freeborn Psion, and she glowed with the power of her thoughts. She said, "Is this not Calus's new Empire, an empire of achievement? Can't the Psions grow fat in thought, as you grow fat with power?"

I said, you have a deal! I name you Imperial Dreamer, and you will have all that you need. All of us are stronger when we join hands in song - Cabal and Psion, Sindû and Clipse, Arkborn and all the others.

If only I could have sensed her thoughts, as she so ably sensed mine. When I moved to free the indentured Psions, I threatened Otzot's superior status as a freeborn. She joined the conspiracy against me. She used the OXA to transmit messages in secret - the military's plans for their coup.

Otzot must die.

She can sense the hostility and focus of an assassin. Somehow you must reach her undetected. Approach her in joy and trust, as I once did. Then you have hope.

The Celebrant: Aedile Moli Imoli, the Everjoy[edit]

Ah, Moli the Everjoy, Chief of Festivals! He named himself for the grand wallowing flats of Moli Mith, where bathers snack on floating oysters, and the rising tide carries sweet flowers to tickle the hide. As those waters soothe the body, so Moli of Moli soothed my Empire. How the children love his holidays! How could a year go by without the Tusking Challenges, or the Resignation Day championships, or the qualifiers for the All-Imperial Whale Kayaking?

If only Moli hadn't soothed the people after my exile. If only he'd let them rise up in rage.

But that's Moli, isn't it, my brave champions? He just can't bear to see the people angry. Unhappiness leads to uprising, and uprising leads to bloodshed, and few know this: Moli was once the Colossus of Bru'unth. As a loyal soldier of the old corrupt Praetorate, he drove the republicans into the sea. He massacred innocent citizens for the crime of supporting me.

He renounced war forever, and devoted himself to joy and revelry as Aedile. Oh, Moli, what happiness you brought to us all! Now the Everjoy celebrates false happiness. He paints a smiling face on the grim legionary helm.

Moli Imoli must die.

Let his death come on a day he, himself, invented.

The General: Evocate-General Umun'arath, Primus of All Legions[edit]

My dear companion, let me confess this: to know true joy, one must also experience true sorrow. I am sorry for Umun'arath, the worst mistake I ever made.

In ages past the emperor ruled alongside the Praetorate, the degenerate and venal military aristocracy. The Legions made an iron wall around them, and the people suffered so the Legions could grow. I cast down the Praetorate! I gave the Legions the right to speak as citizens! But I still needed armies, and armies need a leader. So I chose a combat veteran to serve as Evocate-General.

I thought I could show Umun the great works and delights of our Cabal, and thus teach her that war is only a way of protecting happiness. But she would say to me, "The war is all there is. All this" - the crowds, the triumphal architecture, the gardens in the sky, everything I'd built - "this is just logistical support."

I watched her. I wasn't a fool. But when at last she betrayed me, she acted through a simple consul and his protégé - damnation upon the name of Ghaul! Umun'arath would consign my people to an eternity of fear and strife. She would pillage and tax my people in the name of their "protection", and yet it will be the soldiers that she protects.

Umun'arath must die.

Her flagship's hull is adamant, her weapons crack planets, and she stands ever vigilant. For Umun sees terror all around her: machines who can eat her worlds, barbarians who corrode her frontiers, wizards who thirst for her soul, and worse.

Umun is afraid of the outside. See that her doom comes from within.

The Confidante: Iska'al of Fantor[edit]

Poor sweet Iska, who sold me teas! In the first days of my great purge against the Praetorate, we moved the capital to Torobatl to be near the people. Every day I would go out to parade myself in public view, buying in the markets and gifting to the poor, so that all would know I was unintimidated and still of vigorous appetite. At the end of my route, I would stop by Iska's cart to sniff at his baskets of tea. He'd listen to my troubles: who I'd offended among the housekeepers, where my growth ached, and how my allergies reacted to the dry plains air. In all things an emperor must be excessive! With Iska I was excessive in my trust (and my prices: how well I paid him for the petals I used in the nectar!)

Iska was a poor businessman, and simple. But he never shared a word I said. I am told he still sets up his tea-cart on the same corner. I am told that Iska'al from Fantor sells his tea to a clique of the Dominus's general staff, soldiers who tease him with the nickname Imperial Informant, as if he sends word to me in exile. His teas have found popularity at official wallowings. He has swelled up with growth, which happens, usually, when someone feels they're smaller than their status deserves. He goes on as if he has forgotten our friendship. As if nothing has changed.

Poor Iska must die.

Give him opiates. Let him die of contentment. I cannot bear to imagine the tyrants pouring their poison into his ear. I cannot let them have him. Poor Iska, he breaks my heart. I trusted him so.

My Daughter: Caiatl, the Princess-Imperial[edit]

Oh, beloved, what have you done?

I only wanted an heir who would love what I love. Sweet air, and song, and the grand work of architects. Feasts and ecstasies! Worlds of delight! Are these things not best?

Was I inattentive, child? No I was not. But the more I tried to show you what I loved, the more you turned away. First those games of war and conquest that you played with Umun. Then the pressure armor you took to wearing at home - as if the palace were an alien world, and the revels toxic.

I was so happy when you became a star-pilot. I thought you'd see our great Cabal in all its glory and variety, and understand the joy of peace! But when you returned to Torobatl, you would hide away with Umun, whispering about threats that gathered on our frontier...

I could have stopped the coup. You alone knew of my special arrangement. But when I raced to my throne to give the signal, you were there...

You sat on my throne with the signal in your fist. And when I reached out to beg, you crushed the bone in your gauntlet. "Father," you said, "I will not be weak."

You mistook my joy for weakness. You understood nothing of who I am.

So my dear daughter must die.

Only in flight is she ever happy. Only when she's happy can she be reached. I could never reach her. Perhaps you will.

The Consul[edit]

How small a man must be to seek greatness in the shadow of others. How pitiful the man who raises up a great soul and cowers behind it.

I will not dignify this leech with a name. Think of him as a roach, a roach who scurried out from the ruin of the old Praetorate. He'd grown fat on the scraps they fed him, the wealth and influence and favor. And when I took his scraps away to enrich my throne and inspire my people, he wanted them back.

Like any roach, this Consul has a low cunning. He found the perfect vessel to carry his poison: a lonely, crippled orphan child. Into that child he poured his jealousy, his cruelty, and his desire to see the great brought low.

Imagine his venomous whispers - look at how happy they are! Look at how they revel and thrive! While we crack our hides in the filth, and pine for days of fear and gunfire...

Had the child only escaped him, had little Ghaul only crawled off the heap where he was found, so much might have been saved.

How terrible the man who sees an orphan as a hollow weapon, and who loads that orphan with the munitions of his revenge. How pathetic the man who wishes only to be a fat parasite again.

The vile Consul must die.

I sentence him to death by his own weapons.

Ghaul, The Dominus[edit]

At last, the arch-traitor.

Let me tell you a story from the OXA Machine. Once upon a time, a small people lived on a dangerous world. By nature they were petty and fearful. But they strove to be better, and together they overcame their fear.

Unto these people came a king, who said, "We are surrounded by enemies, we are weak and frail. But I have an answer. Eat these larvae, my people, and with their strength we will rise up." Whenever anyone protested the king, the king said, "Are you working with our enemies? No? Then why are you afraid of our strength?"

Thus the king led the great people into slavery to their fear. Ghaul will do the same.

The Praetorate chose Ghaul to overthrow me, but they could not master him, for he had a fearsome strength. They tried to control him, to temper and delay his coup; now he drags them forward by their own reins. Anyone can be great, Ghaul says, if they work their hardest. But what he means is no one can be great, except in the way I approve. He says I was born to luxury and corruption; I say he was made only to fear and hate! Whose universe would you choose to live in, I ask you? Ghaul's miserable slog? Ghaul's age of closed fists? Or my world of plenty and delight? Do not mistake my joy for weakness, oh just one! I fight to make a haven in a bloody cosmos. Ghaul fights so that he can keep fighting forever.

He has refused the title Emperor, although some of his soldiers call him so. He says there will be no more emperors. I am the last emperor, the epitome of the true Cabal.

The Dominus must die.

To the one who kills Ghaul, I offer an audience before my throne.

Should You Succeed[edit]

THOSE ARE THE NAMES OF THE TRAITORS.

May I never hear those names again. Not until the day when you, oh brave supplicant, come to claim your reward. And such reward! I promise that your name will be envied even in the bright heart of the galaxy, where the stars are thick as honey.

Upon my ship I have prepared a welcome befitting an emperor's champion! I have baths and gardens, arenas and halls, arsenals of arms and armor, libraries of legends and documents, specimens, treasures, beasts to slay, games to quicken the heart or stimulate the circuitry or whatever you please. But most of all, I have prepared tests.

For I offer to the worthy a place at my side.

I say this to you, oh champion mine, and I say it from my heart: there are those who would bargain away their souls just to live a little longer. I am not them. Life must be worth living. Life must be lovely and delicious and enviably sweet! Nothing has ever lived that will not die, so what matters is how we use our time.

I will gather the mighty to protect my empire, an empire of hard-working scientists and clever engineers. Where there is war, legions of my citizen-soldiers will bring peace. Where there is hurt, my armada of golden ships will bring hope. And when greater powers intrude on my domain, I will greet them as their sovereign.

For in my exile I have plumbed the secret places of the cosmos. Even my grand Cabal is only a single tooth in the great jaws of time. The universe is strange beyond reckoning and dangerous beyond courage. I have voyaged beyond the edge of reason, into the dominion of cold screams. I have seen our future written in the ruins of ancient fortress worlds. I have gathered up the moon-sized bones that tumble on the precipice of ancient singularities, and I have tossed them to scry our fate.

When everything has been taken from you, nothing remains to you. And when you roar into nothing, nothing sometimes answers.

So when you succeed, I invite you to walk in my gardens, and to wash yourself in my pools, and to test your might in my arenas. At the end of the game I just may await you, with treasure and with opportunity. For our work is not yet done. No, my champion, my work is not yet done.

Emperor Calus

Trivia[edit]

  • A lictor was, in Ancient Rome, a bodyguard to an important civil authority. This furthers the similarities between the Cabal Empire and the Roman Empire of old.
  • Similarly, Aedile was a term applied to Ancient Roman officials who oversaw public projects and festivals.
  • Escadrille is a French term meaning squadron.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]