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- "I don’t care what happens to them. Just get them out of my turf."
- — Vothriks, the Lost
- "It would seem that the Grasp of Nokris was not the only sect to turn away from the Sword Logic. These ones, though, I fear that they could prove to be far more troublesome. They have already developed their own new hideous morphs and acquired the power to Take. I shudder to think what else they could be capable of. Peacock."
- — Parvus-4
The Stygian Brood is a heretical sect of Hive operating in the Tangled Shore, identifiable with their black-colored armor with spikes. They are led by the former Blood of Oryx member, Viznoor, the Black. They can also be found in Old Chicago, attempting to carve a realm for themselves beyond the Tangled Shore, in which they are currently locked in a territorial dispute with the Scorn and, formerly, a mysterious faction of rogue Taken for control over The Wreck.
The Stygian Brood aims to be free of the hunger of the Worms, and to become the strongest Hive power in the system even if it means defying the Sword Logic, which they see as a constraint. As such, they have taken to practicing Necromancy, and have developed several new and threatening Hive morphs.
The Stygian Brood were formerly members of the Blood of Oryx. During the Battle of Saturn, the warship they were on was disabled and crashed into an asteroid on the outskirts of the Reef, much like the vessel that housed In Anânh, Brood Queen. A portion of the ship’s crew had survived, although few in number and marooned, with no way of contacting for help, essentially crippling the horde. The Hive soon went into hiding in order to rebuild their numbers for the duration of the Taken War.
Among the stranded Hive was the champion Viznoor. As they remained in isolation, Viznoor quickly rallied many supporters under him as they grew disillusioned from their brethren in their weakened state. Viznoor sought power at any costs, viewing the Sword Logic and Worms as nothing but restrictions to accessing new forms of strength and power. As a result, many of them cast off their allegiance to Oryx and founded the Stygian Brood, with Viznoor as its leader and Prince.
Breaking the Pact
Sometime after the formation of the Stygian Brood, Viznoor and his consort, Ir Azari, began working to find ways to free themselves and their brood from the Worms. They took to practicing necromancy as a possible first step to learning how to do so, perhaps even use it as a sort of building point to their liberation from the Worms. They hand-picked several of their most loyal followers for the experiments, which they willingly chose to partake in. After some time of their guinea-pigs being continuously slaughtered and resurrected in order to find new ways to circumvent the Worm’s constant hunger. Eventually, Ir Azari developed what could be a possible solution, and began performing her own experiments with her power of necromancy. She managed to develop a new form of necromancy, which allowed Hive to be reanimated without Worms in their bodies, but still retaining their immortality and power.
But without the Worms, the undead Hive would have no way of gathering tribute, to grow from Thrall, to Acolyte, to Knight/Wizard. Thus, Viznoor sought a way for newborn Hive to mature overtime without having to rely on the tithing system followed by the broods of Crota or Oryx. He, Ir Azari and their Daughters then worked together to concoct an elaborate scheme to meet this end.
Before they could subvert the Sword Logic however, they first needed to exploit it. Ir Azari and her daughters constructed a device from the remains of Hive from other broods, as well as emancipated Worms, which they named the ‘Kill Battery’, and sent numerous scouts who still had their Worms, magically transformed to appear as members of the Grasp of Nokris to the Hellas Basin of Mars. These scouts infiltrated the Escalation Protocol and would be repeatedly slain by Guardians participating in the event. The Kill Battery would draw power from the scouts’ continuous deaths, before finally being charged enough to be able to create a Throne World in the Ascendant Realm. The Kill Battery was then moved into this new throne world, so that they could begin the next phase of their plan.
The Daughters of Viznoor, through the Kill Battery, manipulated the passage of time in the throne world so that more tribute could be gathered at a much faster rate than outside. They then captured numerous Hive that were not a part of the Stygian Brood as well as Vex, and placed them within the throne world to fight each other. The abducted Hive were replaced with doppelgängers from the Brood to cover their tracks.
The Kill Battery continuously drew power from the acts of violence as the battle between the Hive and Vex raged, stealing more and more tribute from each kill made by the Hive until it became “fat with tithing”. The Kill Battery was then brought back into real space. Ir Azari and her daughters carefully extracted a piece from the Kill Battery and inserted it into a newborn Thrall, which was then sent into the throne world, where they could monitor its growth. Soon enough, it matured from a Thrall, to an Acolyte, to a Knight as time few by within the dimension, all without having to kill even once. This was certainly a sign of progress, but was only a stepping stone to achieve natural Hive evolution. Ir Vyrok, eldest of the Daughters, worked with her mother to find a way to imbue the Kill Battery with an infinite source of tribute. Using and experimenting with their necromancies, they destroyed the physical bodies of several Hive trapped within their throne world, and sent their soul into a constant cycle of oblivion before sealing them within the Kill Battery, thus feeding it with an infinite amount of tithing. They then extracted another piece from the Battery for their ritual, with which they also used their necromancy and the remains of a Hive Wizard. The spell required the combined efforts of all of them; Viznoor, Azari, their daughters and all their first test subjects gave their all to make it work.
And....they had done it. The fragment disintegrated and the spell had spread all throughout the Stygian Brood. Now, every Hive born under their sect would of course start as Thrall, who grow into Acolytes if they survive long enough, and eventually either Knights or Wizards if they have lived long-enough lives, all without having to commit a single act of violence to sustain them, although of course they still would under the order of Viznoor. Once the ritual had been complete, Ir Azari planned to have the Kill Battery dismantled, for it had fulfilled its purpose. Viznoor, however, thought differently, and instead had it locked in their throne world, for when they ever had to use it again.
Viznoor then promoted the six loyal servants they had used for their experiments and who helped them complete the evolution spell as his chief lieutenants: Balrok, Sardrok, Evizil, Enzok, and Kar-Ghul.
The Daughters’ Experiments
Inspired by their parents’ mastery in subverting and freeing themselves from the Sword Logic entirely, the 6 Daughters of Viznoor decided to perform some experiments of their own. They gathered remains of Hive from other sects and took them to a private chamber for experimentation. Viznoor soon learned of their activities, and came to them personally to ask what they were doing. Viznoor discovered that they were resurrecting the captured Hive, and altering their forms to design new twisted morphs. They had even managed to transform Ir Duzral, the youngest among them, into a form of female Knight. Impressed by their ingenuity and cunning, Viznoor appointed the Daughters to be in charge of designing new forms of Hive for the Stygian Brood to take and use to fight against their enemies. Slowly but surely, the number of new artificial morphs within the brood began to grow thanks to the Daughters’ sorcery in converting Hive.
Around this time, Kar-Ghul was transformed into a winged Hive at his own request.
Rise of the Taken Prince
Emerging from the Shadows
Some time after Viznoor gained the power to Take, the Brood would finally reveal themselves, spreading through much of the Tangled Shore and occupying several asteroids in the Reef. The Prince used his newly-acquired power to decimate enemy forces, Taking them and forming the Viznoor's Blight faction of post-Red War Taken. The Brood entered into large-scale conflicts with the Scorn, Fallen, Red Legion and non-Stygian Brood Hive, and their sudden activity would draw the attention of the Awoken and Vanguard. Guardians were sent to investigate and fight back against the heretical brood, but no matter how many of their soldiers and leaders were killed or the severity of the blows dealt against them, they would always come back, stronger than before.
It was also around this time when Zornok, Willbreaker’s Fragment, a rogue Taken champion, would become active around the solar system. The Stygian Brood briefly engaged with him and his Taken before he fled to blight the Cosmodrome and other worlds within the inner system.
Conflict with the Taken Kell
- "These Taken...they have been corrupted by weakness. They are broken, directionless. They turn against their sworn masters. I will not allow this to stand. I shall give these creatures new purpose. Bring them all to me!"
- — Viznoor, the Black
As the Stygian Brood continued to thrive and multiply across the Shore, they discovered a previously uncharted location, a massive abandoned shipyard known as ‘the Wreck’. Seizing the opportunity to claim new territory for his Brood, Viznoor ordered his forces to seize the Wreck, building large underground tunnels to it from Soriks’ Cut and the Jetsam of Saturn. They began to construct a large Hive nest under the new location while scouts were sent to patrol and secure the surface.
However, the brood would soon meet unexpected resistance, as their activity was noticed by Vothriks, the commander of a renegade faction of Taken that had broken hold of the Hive and regained their sentience. Vothriks and his Taken had already settled in the Wreck long before Viznoor had uncovered it, remaining in hiding for many years. Partially due to his hatred for the Hive and his fear of being discovered and forced back into servitude, the Taken Kell immediately ordered a counterattack to repel the invading sect. However the Stygian Brood was not easy to get rid of, and would continue to hold their fort in order to claim the Wreck from the rogue Taken, and possibly even the Taken themselves.
As the battle in the Wreck continued to rage, Avaka and the Wraths of Viznoor would be unleashed in order to corrupt Vothriks and his men back into mindless servants. Avaka’s blight spread through the area, and they had managed to enslave one of Vothriks’ commanders along with a sizable portion of the soldiers under him. Avaka was then sent deeper into Vothriks’ territory, in an attempt to blight his main base of operations from under his Ketch.
However, this attempt would be thwarted, as The Guardian would be sent to investigate the unusual behavior of the Taken in the Wreck, discovering Avaka’s activities and forcing him to retreat after a brief struggle. They would then work with Vothriks to hunt down and kill Vorn, before staging a full-on counterattack, pushing into the heart of the Brood’s foothold in the Wreck and facing Viznoor’s Will, Ir Azari, along with some of his other champions. Ir Azari was slain in the battle (although not permanently due to the Brood’s practice of necromancy), forcing the Hive into a temporary retreat as Vothriks’ Taken secured their stronghold.
A New Beachhead
- "The plot to claim the Taken Kell’s army has failed, but I remain unhindered. I will form a new plot and strike again.”
“That will not be necessary. They are not free from our wrath yet, but for now we must set our sights elsewhere."
- — Ir Azari and Viznoor
Sometime following their defeat beneath the Wreck, the Stygian Brood began deploying Seeder Ships into the swamps of Old Chicago in order to establish new territory beyond the edge of the Reef, although the main bulk of their armies remained behind in the Tangled Shore. Among those sent was the monster Voxnath and the spawn it led, in order to repel the Fallen and Red Legion forces who had also appeared in Old Chicago. The Stygian Brood soon began to spread throughout much of the area, transforming it into a new nest, despite the lingering Fallen and Cabal presence.
The Guardian would be called once again to look into the Hive presence in the derelict swampland, and a strike team was organized to eliminate Voxnath. After a hectic battle, with both Viznoor and Ir Azari taunting the intruding Lightbearers throughout the mission, Voxnath was slain, but the Stygian Brood’s necromancy allowed the Thrall to be resurrected over and over again, forcing repeated strikes to be carried out in order to suppress the Hive threat.
After the Pyramids arrived to the system and the disappearance of Savathûn, Viznoor took advantage of the newly-formed power vacuum among the other Hive broods, having recruited several members of the Hidden Swarm and the Grasp of Nokris, along with one commander of Savathun's Brood. However his campaign to unite the other sects under him would be largely outclassed by Xivu Arath, who had sent her High Celebrant to deploy Cryptoliths all across the system, corrupting Hive, Fallen and Cabal into her Wrathborn armies.
The Swordsman's Arrival
- "My loyal people, look at what this "Kirito" has done to our brood. Ever since he and Asuna set foot on this earth, the universe has been infected by their twisted ambition. Even worse, they and their heretical legions of cowardly filth claim to be the true champions of the Darkness... the saviors of the new world... the ones who can free our people from oppression and subjugation. Well... *laughs*...a mere delusion. We shall prove them wrong. Go, my fellow brothers and sisters! Hunt down the ones who betrayed us. Spread the gospel of my might."
- — Viznoor, the Black
Some time after the events of The Witch Queen, the Stygian Brood came under attack by the Shadowkeepers. Despite the brutality of the assault, most of the brood refused to pledge loyalty to Kirito despite his power; however, some did defect, which enraged Viznoor, who rallied an assault against them before retreating with his loyal soldiers and commanders. Setting up a base within the derelict Dreadnaught, he and his remnants have laid out plans to strengthen their defenses and would soon run into the Guardians again before teaming up with them.
The Brood has also formed a temporary alliance with the Taken led by Vothriks, who had also set up shop within the Dreadnaught in response to the Shadowkeepers’ arrival.
- Viznoor, the Black (Founder)
- Ir Azari, Will of Viznoor (Leader)
- Balrok, Might of Viznoor
- Sardrok, Fist of Viznoor
- Evizil, Eye of Viznoor
- Enzok, Hand of Viznoor
- Kar-Ghul, Thane of Viznoor
- Avaka, Chosen by Viznoor (Leader of the Viznoor’s Blight Taken faction)
- Wrath of Viznoor (Ogres empowered with Taken energy)
- Toruk, Wrath of Viznoor
- Zughol, Wrath of Viznoor
- Drazoth, Wrath of Viznoor
- Granorth, Wrath of Viznoor
- Voxnath, the Rabid
- Attrox, Tongue of Viznoor
- Verazul, Decree of Viznoor
- Baujal, Roar of Viznoor
- Korvul, Gaze of Viznoor
- Karas, Gauntlet of Viznoor
- Draneth-Ul, Wormless
- Morgul, Beloved of Viznoor
- Parax, Sword of Viznoor
- NarzuI, Agent of Viznoor
- Agrax, Call of Viznoor
- Varmul, Shadow of Viznoor
- Unhallowed Thrall
- Noxious Thrall - Thrall identifiable by their glowing green auras that inflict the Poison debuff with their claws.
- Cursed Thrall
- Dredge Exploder
- Frenzied Cursed Thrall - Cursed Thrall that are able to sprint towards their foes.
- Stasis Thrall - Ice-covered Thrall that inflict the Chilled debuff when they explode, temporarily slowing down enemies caught in the blast.
- Squire - Resemble bulkier and horned Acolytes that stand at their full height, and are taller than normal Acolytes but shorter than Knights. They have the ability to cast immunity shields over nearby allies and slowly heal them until they are killed. They wield Arc Rippers and Splinters. Any Knights they are near when they are killed will immediately go berserk.
- Unhallowed Squire
- Balrok’s Hand
- Crusader - Female, Cleaver-wielding Knights that can fire a volley of Solar projectiles from their free hand and can send out a swarm of homing Solar fireballs. They have Solar shields.
- Unhallowed Crusader
- Gargoyle - Winged Hive. They mainly attack from the air, flying around their opponents and firing Void fireballs from their hands. They can also perform swooping attacks which knock players back.
- Unhallowed Gargoyle
- Cursed Gargoyle - Gargoyles that don’t fire fireballs, but explode on impact when they dive bomb.
- Unhallowed Wizard
- Deathsinger - Appear as Majors with Void shields for the Stygian Brood. When a player enters their vicinity, they will perform the Deathsong, which will kill the player unless their shields are disabled and they suffer damage.
- Necromancer - Wizards with the ability to resurrect Hive that have killed near them.
- Watcher - Wizards with the ability to summon Vestiges. All Vestiges made by a Watcher disappear when they are killed.
- Rogue - Thin, female Hive morphs that act as stealthy assassins. They have the ability to turn invisible and teleport short distances. They can be seen with Soulfire Rifles, or a pair of Wormfang Daggers to slash at enemies up close, as well as poison them. They can also throw grenades that temporarily blind and poison enemies they damage.
- Unhallowed Rogue
- Unhallowed Ogre
- Enraged Ogre
- Unhallowed Troll