Empress Caiatl

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Empress Caiatl
Caiatl (Catharsis).jpg
Caiatl Desperate Measures.jpg
Neomuna (Hammer)
Caiatl Desperate Measures (Hammer).jpg
Biographical information

Other name(s):

Heir Apparent
Her Royal Tuskiness







Eye color:


Political and military information


Cabal Empire
Imperial Cabal



Notable info:

Daughter of former Emperor Calus
Co-conspirator of the Midnight Coup

Empress Caiatl
Caiatl, the Princess-Imperial.jpg
Biographical information

Other name(s):

Heir Apparent







Eye color:


Political and military information


Cabal Empire
Imperial Cabal
Red Legion (Formerly)
Emperor Calus (Formerly)


Cabal Heir (Princess)

Notable info:

Daughter of former Emperor Calus
Co-conspirator of the Midnight Coup
Confidant to Umun'arath


"Our future will not look the same as our past. With your trust, I will usher us into a new age, and I will not default on my promises, as my father did before me."
— Caiatl

Empress Caiatl, formerly known as the Princess-Imperial, is the current Empress of the Cabal and daughter of the exiled Emperor Calus.

She and a group of others staged a coup to overthrow her father and later succeeded Dominus Ghaul as leader of the Empire following his death during the Red War. After the Sol System was invaded by the Black Fleet, Caiatl sought to bring humanity into the Cabal Empire as subjects to aid in her war against the Darkness and Hive. As of Season of the Risen, Caiatl has become an ally, as the Imperial Cabal and the Vanguard have formed a provisional alliance to fight against the Lucent Hive, as well as her father's forces aboard the Derelict Leviathan and on Neptune.


Warrior Princess[edit]

"I will challenge Irkyn La to a battle and defeat her. Then my people will own everything in the universe."
"Yes, I think you would. But the empire has already defeated the Tiiarn. None of them are left. And with no one to believe in her, Irkyn La is dead as well."
"Then I will believe in her.
— A young Caiatl and Ahztja discussing the creation myth of the Tiiarn

As the daughter of Emperor Calus, Caiatl grew up surrounded by his decadence and extravagant pleasures. At birth she was named by her father after the brightest star in Torobatl's sky,[3], which itself was named after a loanword from the Hive language - as its base form, "aiat", means "it is this way because it can be no other way", "caiatl" means "it does not always go as it needs to go"[4]. Caiatl had also shown a curiosity for the world beyond, which Calus recognized having the same fascinations as him despite his worries for her.[5]

As her father was often busy in either his pleasures or depression, Caiatl spent much time in the company of the tutors and caretakers he sent to watch over her in his absence. One of them was the mythkeeper Ahztja, who would regale the young princess with stories of the worlds the Cabal Empire had conquered. One night she asked her to tell her a story of how another species claimed the universe was created. Ahztja told her of the Tiiarn how they believed Irkyn La, the First Host had thought herself into existence and then brought order to the chaos of the cosmos. Caiatl questioned where Irkyn La lived and Ahztja explained that the Tiiarn claimed she was woven into the very fabric of the universe and that the sky was her mouth. Contemplating this for a moment, Caiatl resolved to challenge Irkyn La to battle so that once she was defeated the Cabal would have claim over the entire universe. Her amused caretaker noted that the Cabal had already conquered and brought the Tiiarn to extinction, and that no one believed in Irkyn La any longer. Caiatl decided that she would believe in her so that she could be fought, amusing Ahztja further, who declared that she was so mighty a warrior she would wish her enemies into existence.[6]

As a child, Caiatl was gifted her own personal War Beast as a pet, whom she affectionately named Milos. She grew extremely attached to her newfound companion, spending every waking and dormant hour with Milos by her side as the pair became inseparable. Caiatl trained Milos herself and even fed him from her own plate. Calus, fearing her love for Milos threatened to eclipse his own, grown envious and had Milos butchered by one of their servants. Caiatl would be sent a correspondence from her absent father explaining the deed and delivered by the servant whose hand had slaughtered her War Beast much to their dismay. Instead, the princess chose to forgive the servant for their part on Milos' death, and started resenting her father henceforth. [7]

When Caiatl grew older she eventually became disgusted by her father's revelries and instead found a friend and mentor in Evocate-General Umun'arath, the Primus of All Legions. She played games of war and conquest with the general to learn strategy and soon embraced the military lifestyle, wearing pressure armor at all times, even on the capital of Torobatl.[8] Caiatl soon fell in love with flying and began training as a pilot. During one training session Umun'arath had her fly a simulation through the swampy world of Aark, which had been conquered by the Hive. She was fascinated by the alien landscape, and her distraction cost her when a simulation of a massive Wizard destroyed her fighter craft. The simulator mimicked death as part of the learning process and Caiatl emerged from it shaken and with a tremor in her arm. Umun'arath criticized her for being distracted and dismissed her as being weak and coddled by her upbringing, but Caiatl insisted she would not fail again. Her mentor disagreed, informing her that failure would teach her how to live and ordered her to run the simulation again.[9]

Eventually, Caiatl graduated from her training and became a pilot in the legions. While scouting the frontier of the Cabal Empire she saw numerous threats to its security which she did not believe Calus would be able to handle. Meeting with Umun'arath, who shared the same concerns about the exterior threats faced by the Empire, the two warriors made plans on how to deal with the situation.[8]

The Midnight Coup[edit]

"Father, I will not be weak."
— Caiatl to Calus during the Midnight Coup

Caiatl and Umun'arath soon joined a conspiracy led by Primus Ghaul of the Red Legion and the exiled Consul to overthrow Calus and end his negligent rule of the Empire. Knowing Calus' closest secrets, Caiatl was a key player in the Midnight Coup, securing the throne room and the Ahamkara bone he kept there as part of a special arrangement that helped secure his throne. As her father rushed into the throne room to utilize the bone in the midst of the coup, Caiatl greeted him and vowed never to be weak before crushing the bone, ending his chances of stopping the coup.[8] Calus' popularity with the common people prevented the plotters from executing him, and he was instead imprisoned aboard The Leviathan and exiled to the edge of the galaxy along with his Loyalists by the ascended Dominus Ghaul.[10]

Many years later, Caiatl sensed an assassin watching her. The assassin spoke and informed her they brought Calus's regards. Turning to face the assassin, Caiatl did not recognize their species but noted their pressure suit was styled with Calus's colors. She told the assassin her father could keep his regards, but they responded that the Emperor also had a message. Before they could relay it Caiatl charged them as they fired a Void weapon that tore into her bicep. Ignoring the pain, Caiatl knocked the assassin to the ground and grabbed them by the throat and inquired about the message. The assassin stated that she was nothing more than a child playing general and lacked the vision of her father and the drive of Dominus Ghaul. She was caught off-guard as the assassin plunged a knife into her side and finished the message by stating that she would not be remembered. Infuriated, she rolled away to remove the blade as the assassin leveled their weapon at her head. Caiatl quickly placed her palm over the weapon's muzzle and jerked it away as it fired, ripping a hole into her palm. With the assassin now unarmed, Caiatl grabbed them by the head and slammed it into the ground repeatedly until it cracked and blood began to pour from her foe's broken form. She questioned if her father was listening and warned him that she would come for him no matter how far he traveled. The assassin gasped out that his death would not stop the end from coming and that their gods had foreseen the end. Pondering those words, Caiatl crushed the assassins skull with a blow from her good hand and declared that their gods were dead.[11]

Rise of the Princess-Imperial[edit]

"The Red Legion will march again."
— Princess-Imperial Caiatl

Caiatl became the new ruler of the Cabal Empire after the demise of Dominus Ghaul during the Red War, though she did not initially claim the title of Empress. While making preparations in her war room to lead her fellow Cabal into a new age, Caiatl contemplated her bitterness towards Calus and Ghaul in lieu of their failings. She blamed her father for delving their people in vice and luxury, and Ghaul for his obsession with the Traveler and its Light. However, she also credited Calus for instilling within her an active imagination due to all the stories and plays he had subjected her to as a child, and now Caiatl planned on utilizing that imagination to save the Cabal and forge a better future for her people. She intended for this new future to be of war and conquest of rival nations under her direction so that the Cabal would rule the galaxy once more.[12]

Standing in Caiatl's way of full control of the Cabal Empire was her father Calus, who had emerged from his exile shortly after Ghaul's death in the Sol System. She directed her own emissaries to eliminate one of her father's Shadow agents operating in the Human's solar system that was using The Fourth Horseman, an infamous Cabal killer, to eliminate remaining Red Legion personnel.[13]

To aid in her ambitions, Caiatl began attempting to rally the remnants of the Red Legion back to her side and exhorted all loyal Cabal across the Sol System to prove themselves by capturing Calus. Although the remnants of the Red Legion on Earth, Nessus, and the Reef responded to her call and offered tribute, they could not comply with her orders, as following the arrival of the Black Fleet to that system, the Leviathan disappeared without a trace.[14] She dispatched emissaries and scouts to the system, however, they began to report abandoned Red Legion camps with signs of internal conflicts.[15] Additionally, a mysterious disease of Hive origin began to spread amongst the fringes of the Cabal empire.[16]

Fall of Torobatl[edit]

"Our people are not meant to flee our battles. But neither are we the Hive, throwing ourselves on the blade again and again. There is strength in tactical retreat."
— Caiatl, informing her war council of her decision to retreat from Torobatl

As the de facto ruler of the Cabal following the death of Dominus Ghaul, Caiatl presided over the Cabal Empire from the royal palace on Torobatl. When one of her generals came to her complaining of a horrendous stench coming from Umun'arath's quarters. Concerned, Caiatl visited her mentor's room and discovered it stank of death and poison. Instead of the neat and tidy war room of the Cabal's military leader she found the tables covered in papers and tomes which she did not recognize, and saw to her horror in the corner was a Hive Thrall chained to the wall. She questioned Umun'arath on what she was doing, noticing that the tome the general was currently reading was bound in flesh, and was disturbed as she explained that she saw the future of the Cabal in the ways of the Hive and their lack of fear towards death. Caiatl reminded Umun'arath that it was she who had taught Caiatl about how the bravery to defy death was what made soldiers. Her mentor dismissed that, and now proclaimed that with the rapidly deteriorating state of the galaxy they must embrace new ways and new gods to survive. After a long silence, Caiatl came to a decision and ordered Umun'arath to step down from her council.[17]

Some time later, Caiatl was alerted by Advisor Taurun that Umun'arath had been apprehended in the central square of Torobatl's weaponsmith district, in the midst of conducting what appeared to be a Hive ritual. Caiatl arrived on the scene to confront the disgraced Evocate-General and was disturbed to find her nearly naked with glyphs carved into her skin and a sickly green fire burning behind her. Dismissing the guards, Caiatl demanded to know what new god her former mentor was rambling about greeting. Umun'arath stated it was the the god of war, causing the ground to begin rumbling. Caiatl declared that her obsession had turned her into a threat to Cabal society and began to pronounce her sentence, but Umun'arath then raised her hands, which glowed with energy and made the fire burn brighter while a stranger chattering began. Concerned, Caiatl drew her ceremonial blade and drove it into Umun'arath's gut, seeking to halt the ritual, but the corrupted general only laughed. Disgusted, Caiatl kicked Umun'arath off her blade and into the fire, inadvertently completing the ritual and summoning Xivu Arath, the Hive God of War, and her army to Torobatl through a massive portal.[18]

A battle began to defend the Cabal homeworld, but the endless army of Hive ground down the Cabal's military. The capital city was quickly overtaken by Cryptoliths which emerged throughout its streets. Caiatl took to the skies in her starfighter to defend the world, but found that while every missile she fired destroyed one set of foes, they were soon replaced, and she was eventually shot down. Wounded and with her combat suit leaking gel, Caiatl reflected on her role in the invasion, reflecting that even if she had been unwitting it was still her blade that completed the ritual Umun'arath set in motion. Xivu Arath then spoke, declaring that the Cabal had long worshipped war and thus her, and that she had finally come to claim her tribute.[19]

Caiatl withdrew to her flagship, the Eligos Lex V, and met with her council of advisors. Taurun reported that the Hive's War moons were too powerful and overwhelming their defenses. As Ca'aurg and Tha'arec began arguing over the role Emperor Calus and Dominus Ghaul had played in weakening their society and defenses, Caiatl interrupted before a fight commenced. She noted that her father had built a mythology around himself and what the Cabal could be while taking only half-steps towards his goals, while Ghaul imagined slights and sought to use the Legion as a tool to entrench his own legacy. Declaring herself to be like neither of them, Caiatl stated that Umun'arath had misled them as well and that they could not be the Hive and throw themselves at their enemy without hope of victory. She decided they would evacuate the entire surviving population of Torobatl and undertake a tactical retreat to the Sol System to reclaim what remained of the Red Legion. Noting the worry and shame on her council's faces at the dishonor in retreat, Caiatl further declared that this was her first order as the new Empress of the Cabal Empire.[20]

Caiatl's coronation was held the next day as the Cabal fleet retreated from Torobatl.[20] Following her coronation, Caiatl addressed the entire Cabal fleet to address their concerns about the fall of their homeworld and their retreat, reassuring them that there was no shame in withdrawing to consolidate strength for future conflict. She urged them to remember that they found themselves in a war with the embodiment of war itself, and admitted that she now found conflict to be ugly and poisonous and that the Cabal must fight for a greater purpose than the fight itself. Caiatl declared they would fight for each other and the Empire and would do so with the remnants of the Red Legion in the Sol System. She vowed that she would lead the Cabal into a new age, one where she would fulfill promises that her father left incomplete. She began by announcing that all Psions were now free and full citizens of the Empire and any who wished to depart could do so and be granted a reasonable amount of supplies. Caiatl cautioned that those who remained would soon find themselves in another war, but that together they would build an army that fought for each other. She then ended her address by declaring that they would emerge victorious against the false gods of the Hive and would unite to draw strength from the past to forge a new united future for all Cabal.[21]

Clash of the Chosen[edit]

Aggressive Negotiations[edit]

"Join my empire. You'll keep your title and gain a seat on my war council. With my army and your Light, the Cabal will crush the Hive. Then... the Black Fleet. Bow."
— Empress Caiatl presents her offer to Commander Zavala

As the Cabal fleet traveled to the Sol System, Caiatl weighed what to do upon their arrival. Taurun entered her private quarters and informed her that the rest of the council was awaiting her word, Caiatl invited her advisor to sit with her and discuss their options. Noting that the Guardians of to the Sol System had slain Ghaul and many other powerful foes, including multiple Hive gods, with Xivu Arath's brother Oryx among them, Caiatl and Taurun wondered if the cost of continued war against humanity was too high when they needed all their resources to strike back against the Hive. She asked Taurun if war was needed to reclaim the Red Legion, and her advisor carefully asked if Caiatl did not believe they would win. Careful not to show weakness to her advisor, Caiatl stated that they would but only after a long war with many casualties that would leave them even more vulnerable to Xivu Arath. Instead, she suggested that the open negotiations with the Guardians, although she disliked doing so and knew that many of her advisors would also protest. Taurun advised that she would need to make a concession to the rest of the council to maintain their support after the retreat from Torobatl. Stressed and understanding that her position limited her options, Caiatl decided that she would need to demand the Guardians kneel before her, although she was resigned to the fact that they would most likely reject her offer immediately.[22]

Caiatl meets with Zavala and Savathûn, posing as Osiris.

Upon arriving in the Sol System, Caiatl extended an invitation to the Last City to secure an alliance against the Hive. Caiatl arranged a meeting with the Guardians where she parlayed with the Vanguard Commander Zavala and Osiris. As the meeting began, Caiatl admitted that the Cabal had a word for peace, which was not used often or lightly, and that they should take that as indicating her offer was sincere. Zavala was skeptical, but Caiatl argued that with the Darkness in their system and the Hive serving them, humanity would fall to one or the other just as Torobatl had. The Commander offered his sympathy for her loss, but Caiatl noted that they had all suffered against the Darkness and its forces. As she proposed her alliance, the Warlock Osiris interjected and noted that she had betrayed her father to Ghaul and that she could not be trusted. Caiatl dismissed her father as soft, but Osiris noted he only lacked ambition. She accused him of the same, declaring that humanity would not survive without expanding its horizons before officially offering them to join the Cabal Empire and that Zavala would keep his title and join her War Council to defeat the Hive and Black Fleet. However, to appease the rest of her advisors Caiatl demanded that they bow, a stipulation that Zavala rejected. As her bodyguards prepared to attack the two, Caiatl signaled for them to stand down. Understanding the rejection, Caiatl stated that she would sharpen her blade and meet them on the battlefield.[23]

The Vanguard began using Caiatl's own embrace of ancient traditions against her, challenging the potential members of her War Council to the Rite of Proving and slaying them. After Commander Dracus, Basilius the Golem, and Val Ma'rag were slain Caiatl requested another meeting with Osiris. The former Warlock kept her waiting and then mocked her by stating he had been managing the antics of her commanders. She informed him those "antics" were time-honored traditions that the Guardians had no right to interfere with and reiterated her offer to have Zavala join her council. Noting that Osiris seemed wise, Caiatl suggested that he knew the best victories were those won without a war and that her offer was a way out of one for humanity. Osiris was impressed by her offer of mercy and how it separated her from previous Cabal leaders, but turned down the offer once more and noted she leaned on tradition out of desperation and did not truly have a united Cabal Empire behind her any longer. Caiatl insisted that the Cabal had only lost their home and not their honor and vowed that if it came to war they would take much of humanity and their other foes with them before dying. She ended the conversation by asking Osiris to inform Zavala that her patience was quickly running out.[24]

In addition to her efforts to convince Osiris, Caiatl sent a private message to Zavala without the knowledge of her advisors. She told him that as a child she had believed rulers held absolute power to conquer and kill, but now understood that ruling was a form of servitude to ones people. Caiatl explained that she was beholden to the will of her people and that after the loss of Torobatl she could not retreat from the Sol System empty-handed in order to preserve their honor. Going into greater detail on her offer, Caiatl revealed that she saw the Guardians becoming the elite force of the Cabal Empire and promised that humanity would be free citizens just as the Psions now were. She asked once more for Zavala to reconsider and join the Cabal to gain revenge upon the Hive to ensure all of their survival against the Darkness.[25]

The Final Rite[edit]

"There's something more important than victory at stake here. We will honor tradition. We will accept the Rite of Proving. And we will win or lose it as Cabal."
— Caiatl, discussing the Vanguard's challenge with Advisor Taurun

After several more weeks of losses to the Vanguard and tensions rising as members of both sides pushed for open war, Caiatl was contacted by Zavala, who issued a challenge for one final Rite of Proving, with each side selecting a champion and the winner setting the terms of their treaty. She agreed to the challenge and declared that if the Cabal's chosen champion emerged victorious then Nessus would be ceded to the Cabal, humanity would support her claim to the throne of the empire, and Zavala would join her War Council as a Bracus and serve as a hostage to ensure the cooperation of humanity. However, should the Cabal lose the Rite, then she would cease all hostilities against humanity immediately and withdraw Cabal forces from Earth.[26]

Caiatl was pleased by Zavala's offer, which she considered clever and a way for both sides to avoid wearing themselves out before fighting the Darkness. As she considered who to select as the Cabal's Chosen champion, she reflected that her choice had to honor tradition to hold the Cabal together. She informed Taurun that she would select Ignovun, but her advisor cautioned that not all of her supporters would accept that choice or her agreeing to the Rite of Proving. Caiatl noted that Taurun had encouraged her to embrace tradition and thought she would have been pleased by her decision. Taurun warned that some warriors believed that Caiatl was denying them glory through a full-scale war and sought to follow in the footsteps of Ixel, the Far-Reaching in their quest for infamy. Disgusted by their lack of foresight, Caiatl reminded her that they must conserve their strength for the Hive. She was angered by Taurun stating that she was seemingly valuing conclusion over victory and declared that their honor was at stake and more important than victory, and that they would win or lose the Rite as Cabal.[27]

With Ignovun awaiting his challengers in the heart of the sacred Imperial Land Tank Halphas Electus, Caiatl hoped to wear down the challenging Guardians before they reached her Chosen champion. As three Guardians stormed the tank, Zavala issued the formal challenge to Caiatl and she accepted with a wish that their shared bloodletting would lead to unity. She warned the Guardians that they would not have safe passage through the Halphas Electus, which she claimed hungered for battle and questioned if they felt the same. Encouraging them to surrender, Caiatl promised to be merciful in their shame, but Zavala accused her of provoking the conflict that they would now end. Zavala questioned why she placed warriors between their Chosen combatants and wasted their lives, and Caiatl explained that they had sworn themselves to the Rite and were free to spend their lives as they saw fit. She was angered when the Guardians began sabotaging systems aboard the tank en route to Ignovun, warning that her warriors would defend the Halphas Electus as if its oil was blood. As the Guardians approached the ritual arena, Caiatl questioned if they enjoyed the act of killing and ritual combat. Zavala told her they would do what it took to secure the peace and offered mercy. Despite a fierce battle, Ignovun fell to the Vanguard's Chosen champions and Caiatl declared that she would honor their agreement while making arrangements for a meeting to finalize the treaty.[28]

Ending the War[edit]

"We are one Cabal, and we strike as one fist."
— Caiatl addressing the assassination attempt

Accompanied by two Blood Guards and the Psion attendant Valir, Caiatl met with Zavala on the surface of Nessus to ritually conclude their agreement. Valir handed her a ritual blade with which she cut her palm while declaring that their blood would be the last spilled in the conflict between humanity and the Cabal Empire and the ground upon which they stood would become hallowed. She handed Valir the blade back to present to Zavala, but as the Psion approached him the Guardian's Ghost Targe was suddenly disabled by a sniper with Light-draining tech. Caiatl was shocked by this ambush, and Zavala's bodyguard Crow barely saved him as Valir attempted to slay the Commander. With Crow injured and Zavala Lightless, Caiatl charged Valir and prevented him from finishing Zavala, lifting him into the air before slamming him back into the ground and ending his life. Swearing to Zavala that she did not order his assassination, she commanded one of her Blood Guards to hunt down the sniper and bring them to her for interrogation to discover who was behind the conspiracy before watching as Crow disabled the Light-draining tech and restored Zavala's Light to him.[28] Despite this incident, the treaty was concluded and Caiatl declared that any Cabal who maintained conflict against humanity were criminals in the eyes of the Empire and would be left to the Vanguard's justice.[29]

The other conspirator was caught and brought before Caiatl, and was revealed to be another Psion, Qalec. With the traitor before her, Caiatl broadcast another message to the Cabal Empire and declared that by adhering to the Rite of Proving they chose strength and honor over seeking personal glory. She denounced the Psion's attack on Zavala and condemned them for pursuing their own honor before the good of the Empire. Stating that Valir had at least faced death with honor, Qalec was a coward who ran rather than face consequences for his actions. Declaring him a stain on the history of the Cabal and revoking his name for his cowardice and treason, Caiatl executed the traitor. Vowing to find the remaining conspirators and deliver the same fate upon them, Caiatl stated they were one Cabal and would strike only as one fist.[30]

Alliance with Zavala[edit]

Several weeks after the treaty between the Cabal and humanity was established, Caiatl learned of political trouble in the Last City after her fleet intercepted broadcasts from Lakshmi-2 of the Future War Cult, who was stirring discontent against the Vanguard after they allowed the Eliksni House of Light to settle into the city. The fleet also detected a Vex anomaly known as the Endless Night afflicting the Last City. Caiatl contacted Zavala to discuss the issue, but the Commander was suspicious of her concern. Caiatl claimed not to be concerned and noted that if the Vanguard were destroyed she needed to be aware. Zavala retorted that they were still there, but Caiatl responded that was true for now. The Titan responded with an edge in his voice demanding to know why Caiatl was really calling. After a few moments of silence, Caiatl dropped her imperial tone and told Zavala that he was a proud hawk with a nest of vipers surrounding him and worried he might find a knife in his back soon. Zavala noted she had past experience with such issues, a fact she freely acknowledged while cautioning him that although Lakshmi was a politician her words of division were diminishing the Vanguard's authority and swaying minds against them. Caiatl worried that if he fell she could not trust whoever replaced him to honor their armistice. The Commander angrily stated that this was not the first challenge he faced and warned the Empress not to let her guilt for betraying her father delude her perception of the situation. Caiatl admired Zavala's fierce reply and admitted that she did not feel guilt for deposing Calus, but for allowing Ghaul to corrupt her people and set the stage for Xivu Arath's invasion. All she wished was to not see a fellow warrior she admired fall prey to the same trap, but noted he might not wish for her counsel. After a moment, Zavala inquired what she might advise. The Empress told him that Umun'arath had been her most trusted advisor and that the Darkness acted through many hands that he needed to recognize before it found his throat.[31]

On Savathûn and the Awoken[edit]

After the conclusion of the limited war against the City, Caiatl's advisors repeatedly urged her to launch a full-scale invasion of the Reef, believing its still-weakened state would result in a morale-restoring decisive Cabal victory.[32] However, Caiatl respected the Awoken, whose legends she had heard from the mythkeeper Ahztja while she was still a princess, and was reluctant to do harm to them.[33] As well, on the strategic level, she considered such warmongering a distraction from their struggle against Xivu Arath, whose forces remained a persistent threat even in the Sol system, and had to be engaged wherever they emerged. Caiatl's efforts, such as personally leading a fleet ambush and boarding action against one of Xivu Arath's Tomb Carriers, occupied enough of the Hive war god's attention and vice versa that Queen Mara Sov of the Reef believed neither would risk overextending themselves by attacking the Dreaming City in force. [32]

Nonetheless, when Caiatl learned that Savathûn, the Witch Queen, had revealed herself in the Dreaming City, she gathered her advisors and drew plans for just such an attack in order to destroy Savathûn while she was still vulnerable. Further intelligence from Lord Saladin (liaising on behalf of the Vanguard) and Psion agents relayed that Savathûn was a willing captive of Mara Sov, but Caiatl, aware of Savathûn's reputation for cunning and uncertain that Mara could outplay her, continued to weigh the decision to invade.[33]

Ultimately, Caiatl placed her trust in Commander Zavala, and sent Saladin back to him with a request for a secure meeting in the EDZ.[33] To this meeting, she sent a Psion volunteer briefed on her dilemma and a Legionary to record Zavala's response. After Zavala arrived, the Psion gave him a vision of the Cabal obliterating the Dreaming City with planet-crackers, killing Savathûn at the cost of countless Awoken (including Mara Sov and Petra Venj), and almost certainly leading the Reef to go to war with the Cabal. Zavala and Caiatl would bear sole responsibility for an atrocity in exchange for the final death of the Hive god of trickery and all her ambitions. [34]

Zavala's response was "No." To maintain secrecy, Caiatl's Psion committed suicide so that only Zavala and Caiatl would know what had been discussed, and the Legionary, who only knew that Zavala had said "no" to something, departed to inform Caiatl.[34]

Operation Elbrus[edit]

"Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack."
— Empress Caiatl quoting Sun Tzu.

After learning of the incident on Mars in which The Guardian would massacre her people while attempting to discover its return as well as the introduction of the Lucent Hive, she would arrange a meeting with Saladin Forge, Zavala, Crow, and the same Guardian responsible in the Tower Hangar. As the argument continues, Zavala defuses the situation and asks for Caiatl's help in stopping the Lucent Hive on Earth. She agrees and in return, she supplies Light-suppressing tech in the form of a Synaptic Spear.

Caiatl being informed of the Lucent Brood threat.

The Guardian receives the Synaptic Spear from Ikora Rey after learning more information about the Lucent Hive. Caiatl then briefs them of a plan to extract the different Lucent Hive lieutenants and bring them to the Psisorium in the H.E.L.M. to discover intel on the Lucent Hive's plans. She explains that in order to extract the Lucent Hive lieutenant, the Guardian would use her Psions to enter the Mindscape to connect the Guardian's Light to the Lucent Hive lieutenant's Light, and then use the Synaptic Spear to sever the latter's connection through the phantasms of Savathûn. The Psions would then lock down the lieutenant for extraction.

With the plan now set in motion and the coalition between her Cabal and the Vanguard forged, the Guardian would track down the first Lucent Hive lieutenant in the EDZ: a Lightbearer Acolyte named Mor'ak, Lightstealer, who is responsible for stealing the Light from missing Guardians patrolling there. Determining that more intel is needed, the Guardian would locate the second Lucent Hive lieutenant within the Cosmodrome: a Lightbearer Knight named Uul'nath, Lightcleanser, who would repurpose the stolen Light for a purification ritual and distribute Lucent Beacons throughout the battlegrounds that spawn Lighthoarders. When enough intel is gathered from both of them, Caiatl begins deploying her forces to the Scarlet Keep on Luna, with the Guardian following soon after. They discover an invasion force led by the third and final Lucent Hive lieutenant: a Lightbearer Wizard named Korosek, Thronebringer. The Guardian puts an end to the invasion force.

While the Guardian was deployed on Luna, Crow attempts to shut down the Psisorium out of concern that the experiments on the Lucent Hive were unethical, but he inadvertently kills the Psion running it. The Guardian and Saladin discover the destruction upon the Guardian returning from Luna. Saladin would inform Caiatl of Crow's actions there and they, along with Zavala, would meet back in the Tower Hangar to discuss Crow's life debt per Cabal tradition of a life for a life. Saladin repays the life debt on Crow's behalf by becoming a member on her War Council. Caiatl would name him "Bracus Forge" and they both depart from the Tower, although she would allow him permission to continue to run the Iron Banner in the Tower albeit with some new ideas of her own. Three days after this meeting, Caiatl gives Saladin a promotion to "Valus Forge" after he defeats another member of her War Council: Valus Guhrn Or'ohk.

The Growing Alliance[edit]

Following the events of Operation Elbrus, Caiatl discovers that a sect of Psions are using Psionic propaganda to force her Psions to defect to the forces of The Witness. She asks the Guardian to return to Mars, this time near the city of Freehold to stop the Psions responsible. The Guardian deploys to the abandoned Cabal bunker near Freehold with Caiatl and Zavala monitoring their activity and Amanda Holliday providing support for the assault on the bunker. The Guardian discover that Qabix was the Psion Flayer spreading Psionic propaganda, and Caiatl orders them to eliminate the Psion Flayer. They all learn that Yirix and her conclave has allied with her father Calus and to a certain extent the Witness. They would learn more of the Psionic propaganda on subsequent incursions, including the history of the Psions prior to Cabal enslavement, the supposed resurrection of Eramis, the Traveler's Light tainted with Darkness, and the return of The Leviathan. Caiatl declares that the existing alliances in The Last City must grow stronger if the possible futures are to be prevented from coming to pass and to fight against the forces of the Witness.

Personality and traits[edit]

Despite Caiatl's royal status, she did not share her father's appreciation for luxury. She instead embraced a militant lifestyle, which eventually led to her turning on her father and aiding Dominus Ghaul's rise to power.[8] However, she came to later view Ghaul with disgust and embarrassment as well due to his obsession with the Traveler and claiming the Light, viewing him as another weak ruler whose failings necessitated her rise to Empress to save the Cabal Empire from ruin.[12] However, Caiatl would later admit that she once viewed Ghaul differently when he first rose to power, finding him magnificent as he rose from nothing to become leader of the Red Legion. She once cheered for him the loudest when Ghaul was a gladiator. It was only after being left behind on Torobatl did she stop seeing Ghaul as an idol to emulate.

One of the few things that Caiatl did enjoy was flying, and she became a highly capable pilot to facilitate this love.[8]

In her debut in Season of the Chosen, Caiatl was shown to be an honorable and pragmatic figure compared to the Cabal foes faced by the Last City in the past. Knowing the power of the Guardians, she sought an alliance with humanity for their aid rather than risk massive casualties in a war against them. She makes it a point to preserve Cabal traditions and relics of their culture after the tremendous losses they have sustained in recent years in order to preserve the morale of her troops. However, this has also led to her making gestures to the Cabal's legacy as conquerors in order to not appear as weak to her people, such as demanding that the Guardians bow as opposed to negotiating with them as equals. Caiatl was fully aware that the Guardians would never actually bow to her or the Cabal, thus forcing her to conduct a gamble that, regardless of the outcome, would benefit her people in their chances of survival. If the Guardians lost then they would rally under her banner with Zavala on her council, if she lost then her people could not oppose the armistice she was seeking all along without looking like hypocrites. This also later gives her justification to hunt down the more extreme components of her empire, and leaves those unwilling to pursue peace to fend for themselves as outlaws.

Caiatl has shown complete contempt towards the deserters of her empire siding with the traitor Yirix, expressing no regret in having the Guardian put them down on her behalf. She views those who continue to pursue war with the Guardians as foolish and short-sighted, believing that their desire for vengeance and personal honor over the good of the empire will end up bringing their people closer to ruin.

Another example of Caiatl wanting to establish a permanent alliance with humanity would be shown during the battles against the Lucent Brood. Though the Guardian opened fire on her troops during their investigation on the Witch Queen, she clearly saw the Light bearing Hive the greater threat and she couldn't risk another war with the Last City. Most notably, after Crow accidentally kills her Psion envoy, who was as a close confidant to the Empress, this left her in the very unfortunate situation of having to demand recompense for the deed - a life for a life - even if it damages the alliance, because if she doesn't, it opens her up to factional infighting among her followers. Saladin offering himself in Crow's place allows Caiatl to "claim" Saladin's life in a way, making him a member of her War Council under her command, both preserving the alliance and gaining her the one man that could prove to the infamously stubborn Cabal High Command that humanity is a worthy ally, as well as improve her troops' prowess through the introduction of new training regimens and strategy.

Caiatl's most notable interactions would be with Zavala himself, having come to respect the commander for his leadership, strength of will and sheer determination. Slowly, their interactions would grow from respectful comradery to actual friendship, as both clearly desire to end the war between humanity and the cabal, and establish a permanent alliance. Both would even offer advice and condolences towards each other during trying times. Caiatl would also develop a respect with Zavala's mentor, Saladin, despite starting off at a rocky start, expressing optimism in his new position as a member of her War Council. Her interactions with the other members of the Vanguard are vague at best. She clearly respects the Young Wolf for their skills and power but largely maintains a gruff sense of professionalism towards them. With Crow, she has shown annoyance at the young hunter's arrogance and naiveté but nearly came to execute him when his recklessness killed her psion. Since then, Caiatl has opted to keep Crow at a professional distance. Recently, her interactions with Eris Morn has shown to be tense. While Caiatl appreciates Eris's blunt advice and knowledge of the Hive, she distrusts her usage of the Hive's magic to combat their shared foes she nonetheless understood, after speaking with Saladin, that her use of the enemy's power does not make Eris herself an enemy.

In Season of the Haunted, Caiatl's inner struggles are laid bare, as well as her open contempt for her father. She initially refused to take part in Eris's binding ritual as doing so had to mean she had to involve herself not as Empress of the Cabal but as Caiatl herself. Having given herself to her position, Caiatl felt she had to be someone worthy to lead the Cabal. However, Eris would state to her that she is not a crown but a woman with a burden, something which the Nightmare of Ghaul manifests as her insecurities for not living up to the Cabal's ideals and her fear of making the same mistakes as her fallen idols. Caiatl would nonetheless rise above these insecurities as she understands that the Cabal can be more than just conquerors and instead of simply emulating her idols, she can instead learn from their mistakes and become something more.

At the end of Lightfall, upon seen her father's corpse, she merely stated that "no more running away", and "rest now", to her late father. This shows that Caiatl, even though she despises her father for all he did, she still seems to retain a small amount of care for him.


  • Caiatl is voiced by Courtenay Taylor.[35]
  • Caiatl's headdress looks similar to the head armor for Titans from the Eater of Worlds Raid Lair.
  • Caiatl is the only antagonist in the series to end their war with the City via a truce where neither party's leader dies.
  • Much like Umun'arath's name contains the second part of the name of Xivu Arath, God of War, Caiatl's name contains within it the Hive word "aiat," an expression commonly used by the Hive to express inevitability. Whether this bears any significance or is merely a coincidence remains unknown.
  • Caiatl is the only Cabal leader so far to seek a direct military alliance with the Guardians (Calus does not count as his relationship with the Guardians was more of an entertainment/sport related one.)
    • Caiatl is also the second leader from an enemy race overall to seek an alliance with the Guardians, the first being Mithrax.
  • When spoken to through a hologram, one can see past the mask Caiatl wears and see the trademark triangular mouth the cabal possess.
  • Some concept art of Caiatl show her with three large feathers displayed from her back.[36] While these were not used in her final design, they were used initially by her Nightmare Counterpart and later her properly in the Catharsis mission.
  • Within the Caiatl book provided in the Lightfall Collectors Edition, Calus shows ownership of a suspected Ahamakara bone. He states that a daughter is a "wish to have something to love". This may mean Caiatl came about as a result of an Ahamkara fulfilling this wish, twisting it to result in Caiatl eventually becoming instrumental to her father's downfall.


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Destiny the Game Twitter: Without her hat, she's exactly 9'10.
  2. ^ Destiny the Game Twitter: Without her hat, she's exactly 9'10.
  3. ^ Bungie (2022/05/27), Destiny 2: Season of the Haunted - Duality | Enter the Dark Shrine: "The Brightest Star in Our Sky"
  4. ^ Bungie (2023/2/28), Destiny 2: Lightfall, Lore: Beloved
  5. ^ Bungie (2022/05/27), Destiny 2: Season of the Haunted - Duality | Second Repressed Memory: "Grow Up Knowing Only Celebration"
  6. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Lore: Empress: CHAPTER 1: STORYTELLER
  7. ^ Bungie (2022/5/24), Destiny 2: Season of the Haunted - Weapon Lore: Unforgiven
  8. ^ a b c d e Bungie (2017/9/8), Cabal Booklet - My Daughter: Caiatl, the Princess-Imperial
  9. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Lore: Empress: CHAPTER 2: STAR PILOT
  10. ^ Bungie (2017/9/8), Destiny 2, Midnight Coup
  11. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Lore: Empress: CHAPTER 3: ASSASSIN
  12. ^ a b Bungie (2020/3/10), Destiny 2: Season of the Worthy, Heir Apparent
  13. ^ Bungie (2020/3/10), Destiny 2: Season of the Worthy - In Rides A Pale Horse
  14. ^ Bungie (2020/11/20), Weblore: Immolant Pt. 2
  15. ^ Bungie (2020/11/10), Destiny 2: Beyond Light - Vanguard Communications
  16. ^ Bungie (2020/11/10), Destiny 2: Season of the Hunt, Wild Hunt Helm
  17. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Lore: Empress CHAPTER 4: SOLDIERS
  18. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Lore: Empress CHAPTER 5: NEW GODS
  19. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Lore: Empress: CHAPTER 6: BATTLE SONG
  20. ^ a b Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Lore: Empress: CHAPTER 7: CORONATION
  21. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Lore: Empress: CHAPTER 8: EMPRESS
  22. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Lore: Empress: CHAPTER 9: TRUCE
  23. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Battlegrounds: Behemoth
  24. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Quest: Challenger's Proving II - Impasse
  25. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - H.E.L.M. Radio Message: Caiatl's Message to Zavala
  26. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Quest: Challenger's Proving VII - Commander Zavala Challenger's Proving VII
  27. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Lore: From the Front: VII: The Imperial Throne
  28. ^ a b Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Proving Grounds
  29. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - Quest: Challenger's Proving VII - Commander Zavala Challenger's Proving VII 2
  30. ^ Bungie (2021/2/9), Destiny 2: Season of the Chosen - H.E.L.M. Radio Message: Qalec's Execution
  31. ^ Bungie (2021/5/11), Destiny 2: Season of the Splicer - Lore: Beneath the Endless Night: II - FRACTURES
  32. ^ a b Bungie (2021/8/24), Destiny 2: Season of the Lost - Lore: Ripples: I - Ambush
  33. ^ a b c Bungie (2021/8/24), Destiny 2: Season of the Lost - Weapon Lore: Vulpecula
  34. ^ a b Bungie (2021/8/24), Destiny 2: Season of the Lost - Weapon Lore: The Hothead
  35. ^ Courtenay Taylor twitter - 2021/3/11
  36. ^ https://www.artstation.com/artwork/YewJxw