Lore:The Book of Unmaking

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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 Book of Unmaking is a Lore book introduced in Season of the Forge following the release of the Last Word Exotic quest. It contains passages that were translated from the 7th Book of Sorrow with handwritten notes taken by Teben Grey, a Shadow of Yor. Entries are earned by completing steps in the Last Word Exotic quest.

I: Cages

I.I Flesh and mind are but cages—become unbound, or remain ever unworthy.

I.II This flesh—your flesh—is weak, old.

I.III Handed down by priors unworthy of evolution.

I.IV Had those before been more than common, your flesh would not be this flesh—their flesh—but other, new.

I.V New is never given, but claimed.

I.VI To claim evolution one must be unmade.

I.VII Free of cages—flesh and mind.

"Evolution is claimed only through our unmaking." —1st Understanding, 7th Book of Sorrow

These pages, and the Understandings gleaned, are our best efforts at a translation of incomplete discovery.

The exact intent of the Hive's ceremony—ceremonies—in regard to their varied ideals regarding evolution is beyond our current knowledge.

Nonetheless, we continue to piece together truths from dead words and arcane ritual. The purpose of our efforts, however sinister they may appear, is to grasp the unknown so it may be challenged should the time come when we are faced with its ire.

—hand-scrawled note accompanying Teben Grey's personal translation of ancient Hive text

II: Freedom

I.I The mind is complacent, the flesh has made it so.

I.II Possibility limited by stunted imagination, stunted through familiarity.

I.III This comfortable life is no life, fleeting, made to decay.

I.IV Those born only to live to be replaced cannot see eternity, nor are they welcome here.

I.V The unwelcome are the unworthy, the unworthy are a disease.

I.VI Cleanse thyself of your decay, then will the mind be free to understand the value of transgression.

I.VII It is sin to carve upon the flesh, but by whose law is your prison made hallow?

"Mortal flesh is a prison that makes liars of our beautiful caged minds." —2nd Understanding, 7th Book of Sorrow

Our search began with a legend—Dredgen Yor, the hated scourge upon the Guardians' good name. Any attempts to seek details of his deeds were met with dismissal. The Vanguard would not see us, uniformly, not just on an individual basis, but by some long-standing internal decree. Lord Shaxx came at us with threats. He's very protective of his charge as overseer of the Crucible. None of us blame him. The competition is vital to Guardian survival, both in the way it forcibly hones skill and how it serves a necessary dual role as morale booster and stress reliever. There are few places a Guardian can let loose like they can in the controlled arenas of the Shaxx's quarantined fighting pits.

—hand-scrawled note accompanying Teben Grey's personal translation of ancient Hive text

III: Self

I.I Before one can be freed, one must question the truth of their purest identity.

I.II And so a question is begged: Who resides at the core of your being?

I.III Only honest reflection will see you—lone traveler—through the coming storm.

I.IV Look, then, clearly upon the whole of your existence, and face your glory—strength of will, every flaw of your mortal heart and fabled soul.

I.V Through the pieces of a life lived divine your truth, but do not lie—to the world, if one must, but never to yourself.

I.VI To see yourself as anything but what you truly are will lead you down sorrow's road, unprepared for the consequence of your salvation.

I.VII Once an understanding is met, and the self is purified in the knowledge of its truth, the cage is set to be unbound.

"Know thyself in honest ways, or falter in light of your truest self." —3rd Understanding, 7th Book of Sorrow

The search for the truth of Yor's tale was not easy. If official records existed, they were hidden beyond our purview, and the realities of the legend were tracked only by word of mouth. The fabled Dwindler's Ridge was not on any map, the burnt ground where Palamon once stood wasn't marked as anyone's sacred site, and the renegade who'd felled Yor had not been seen for some time following that fated showdown.

Despite all of this, we were not deterred. If anything, Orsa and I, and the others who followed, were driven by the difficulty of our chosen task. That a Guardian could be corrupted—our gifts twisted—not by greed or lust or power, but by influences beyond petty human desires, was a concern greater, maybe, than any other.

Were we not honored with our return because of some inherent nobility? If so, how could one of us—any of us—fall to damnation? Or was this heroic interpretation of our role in the grander scheme nothing more than the surest sign of our blind innocence? After all, it feels good to imagine oneself a hero, morally superior and standing tall on the side of righteous hope. The question I—we—would ask then is simple: How well do we, any of us, truly know ourselves?

—hand-scrawled note accompanying Teben Grey's personal translation of ancient Hive text

IV: Whispers

I.I Seek the whispers—they are faint, but they are calling.

I.II Not all bone carries the sound of secret truth. Most are fragile, hollow things meant only to carry the weight of wasted lives.

I.III In the feted remnants of yearning marrow, find love, find life, and in their lies you will discover the narrow road to all you never dreamed to be.

I.IV However, whispers are but sound, as is the breeze. Not all who listen can share its purpose.

I.V Know thyself, listen well, and do not fear when the whispers carve their welcome. Rejoice.

I.VI The agony of the cutting word is a boon to those who embrace its severed logic.

I.VII The cutting word is a doorway—the first syllable of hated salvation.

"On the path of the hushed tones, the cutting word will guide your unmaking." —4th Understanding, 7th Book of Sorrow

We found the craft, undisturbed, in low-orbit. Its course synchronized to the exact coordinates of its master's final resting place some 1,800 km below.

We'd suspected an anomaly in its mechanics on approach. Locking to the faint ping of its nav-drive our instruments detected a low, guttural whine otherwise lost in the vacuum of the post-atmosphere emptiness between worlds.

Its tethering—the fact it was chained to the specific coordinates of the Ridge—was not directly linked to the craft's onboard systems, but, instead, to desire—the ship was waiting in pained anguish for His return.

The hull was more of husk—harsh and jagged from the growth. We'd never seen a ship crusted in the bone of unknown death, but were more intrigued than concerned.

The whispers started on approach. Faint. Hushed. Moments later our ears began to bleed.

—hand-scrawled note accompanying Teben Grey's personal translation of ancient Hive text

V: Purpose

I.I The whispers are many—a legion of liars and demons—set to challenge your resolve.

I.II Hear the words, but know they question your truth.

I.III The journey forth is not direct, but a shifting maze meant to discard the unworthy.

I.IV Salvation does not want you, evolution does not care.

I.V The whispers are your guide and your undoing, mark their words but do not follow blind.

I.VI To follow blindly is to sacrifice one's self to the abyss, becoming not one, but one of the many—another lost soul.

I.VII The truth of hushed intent is mired that fools may never know the glories of their grand purpose.

"Lose yourself not in the whispers' words, but in their purpose." —5th Understanding, 7th Book of Sorrow

You have to understand we were still very new to the path we'd tread. Boarding Yor's derelict craft in search of our first answers was the act of children, ignorant to the truths—and the dangers—that marked our journey. It wasn't until later, when more pieces of the whole were uncovered, that we grasped the reality of the odd white noise gnawing the edges of our thoughts. Anymore we call them whispers, but then, in those early days, as we approached and then entered the craft—its kit-bashed roll-cage still identifiable where it wasn't over-crusted in the dark, uneven horror of bone—we mistook their siren call for feedback from a dying ship's failing systems. We were fools.

Orsa found the scribbled glyphs on thick leather inside the craft that once, long ago, belonged to Yor. We couldn't identify the origin of the writing at the time, much less translate. Though we'd all heard the stories of the Hive, an ancient evil and an ancient battle that turned Luna into a forbidden zone—most held them as folklore—scary stories to counteract our natural curiosity and keep brave Guardians from venturing beyond their means. And while we had our theories about Dredgen Yor and how his fall was linked to the nightmare tales of wicked creatures born of bone and shadow, we were cautious not to let assumption guide our inquisition.

—hand-scrawled note accompanying Teben Grey's personal translation of ancient Hive text

VI: Focus

I.I Once the word has cut its meaning upon the very essence of you, there will come an understanding of potential.

I.II When imagined, your potential will infect, and spread.

I.III It will be the all of you—all-consuming and the promise of all you can be.

I.IV Do not allow yourself the confidence of all you hope to achieve.

I.V If you dwell on that which is beyond your grasp you will lose sight of the whispers' purpose—

I.VI —and your end will be an end, and nothing more.

I.VII Maintain your truth from first cut to last embrace, or all you will achieve shall be the echoes of your scream against eternity.

"Let go of all that is to come, to linger there—on the promise of rewards yet earned—will see you lost, never to return." —6th Understanding, 7th Book of Sorrow

Standing on the Ridge as the sun fell, Orsa and I held a silent communion. I remember peace in that moment. Peace and acceptance. The course we had set was not frivolous curiosity, but a real, solid, important investigation into an outlawed tragedy that had claimed one of our forbearers. Who was Yor? Not just at his end, but prior—before madness had consumed him? Could his life inform our own? Could its lessons prevent any other from such a violent downfall? We'd been warned there were no answers waiting down this road, only sorrow. Standing there, the fading light, the tall grass, and the scorched circle where a villain was gunned down and nothing grew, the weight of answers to come was not our concern—the understandings earned on the journey forward would be their own reward. Every step would make us new, every discovery would further our grasp on the unknown worlds beyond the Light.

—hand-scrawled note accompanying Teben Grey's personal translation of ancient Hive text

VII: Joining

I.I As the whispers grow, madness threatens the edges of your sanity.

I.II The flaying comes not by blade, but through the joining of flesh and bone.

I.III The bone will find purchase, taking hold of what once was weak.

I.IV To force the joining is to abandon focus.

I.V Allow the flesh to give of itself, that it may surrender to the coming evolution.

I.VI Grant yourself patience, your prison of the flesh is being unmade, your mind freed—such glories do not come easy.

I.VII There will be no peace now, not for some time.

"Only through a joining of the known and unknown can your path be made new." —7th Understanding, 7th Book of Sorrow

It was some time later when Orsa came to me with writings from a Cryptarch's archives. We'd spent a long while attempting to translate the glyphs found on Yor's ship, to no avail. Great care was taken in the furthering of our investigation. We weren't hiding our work, per se, but it was not advertised—we'd been scolded and warned enough times that we knew to continue our efforts in private as best we could. By this point, the Vanguard ranks had shifted—Brask was no fan of our work, but he was reasonable, his Exo replacement was more pointed in his dismissal—a byproduct of his relationship with Lord Shaxx, I'd imagine, but that's neither here nor there. We'd traded with many Cryptarchs over the years, and Orsa had long since made it a point to get on their good side. Even still, it took some convincing, and full-on bribery, to eventually get hands on the tomes needed to crack the mystery of the arcane texts.

The books and writings we secured from the tradesman were incomplete and mostly scholarly guess-work. But there were enough translations and competent theory to provide a foundation for own interpretations.

It wasn't long before the pieces started to fall into place. We still had much to learn, but we were certain of a few key ingredients: Yor had been to Luna—whether his corruption began there or led him there was still unknown—and the glyphs he'd etched spoke of a great "unmaking," the truth of which would be our own.

—hand-scrawled note accompanying Teben Grey's personal translation of ancient Hive text

VIII: Secrets

I.I The whispers hear you—some say they always have.

I.II All you have learned from the quiet words pales to the secrets you scream as your cages start to bend, as the old you starts to break.

I.III The whispers listen, the whispers learn.

I.IV Every shrill agony etches a map of the mortal condition.

I.V Every wicked cry adds to a vast tapestry of understandings.

I.VI In your pain the whispers find their answers—to your worth.

I.VII When the flesh is gone and only bone remains, there will be no secrets left to scream.

"Know pain, that it may teach you all you never imagined possible." —8th Understanding, 7th Book of Sorrow

"Unmaking." For the longest time, we thought it was a threat, but as our work continued and we deciphered more and more of the glyphs we came to see it as something more—a promise. Yor's etchings were a road map—arcane and cryptic, but with specific intent. Old research hinted at mysterious tomes labeled as "books of sorrow." It was theorized by researchers long before our time that the Hive had their own set of "holy" texts, evidence of which had been gathered before the Great Disaster. These "books" were believed to be archives of Hive ritual and history, chronicling royal blood lines and varied ceremonies and rites of passage.

We were uncertain of the place Yor's etchings held in the overall picture of Hive legend, but they fit our understanding of these fabled "books." As such—through hubris or educated conclusion is a distinction I'll leave to others to decide—we chose to collect our translations in accordance as a new entry into the supposed library of sorrow. A 7th Book we called it. And writing this now, upon reflection, in the last days before the next stage in our journey, I believe—I know—we were right to do so.

—hand-scrawled note accompanying Teben Grey's personal translation of ancient Hive text

IX: Embrace

I.I As the old self falls away there will be only suffering.

I.II None can sustain in the face absolution, yet evolution demands sacrifice.

I.III Pain must be accepted as the new constant, or pain will be the all of you.

I.IV As the white noise of your screams drowns the whispers, you will feel alone. You are alone.

I.V Is this eternity or oblivion?

I.VI You will see yourself—outside yourself—and you will long to embrace this new evolution—a beacon on the far end of lost hope.

I.VII Yet, you will know—through the pain, through the fear—there is no longer a you that was, only what comes next, and all the pain to follow.

"Do not linger on the coming embrace, your unmaking is yours alone—a solitary journey devoid of peace." —9th Understanding, 7th Book of Sorrow

Any Guardian with interest in old nightmares has heard stories of the Weapons of Sorrow—deadly tools said to be infected and warped by twisted science verging on mysticism. In particular, Thorn, the cursed weapon of the Light-killer, Dredgen Yor. But such tools of destruction were only rumor. There was direct evidence of Yor having been a vile bastard, but the legends of his sickly weapon and the disease it spread seemed exaggerated—another ghost story to warn of unknown dangers. But our translations of ancient Hive text seemed to point to truth in the legend. The Hive had rituals for forced evolution. And what we'd found hinted at transmutation through corruption, degradation, and rebirth—the Weapons of Sorrow were real. Worse, they were a road map to a greater threat, a greater evil.

And with this realization, our determination to uncover Yor's full truth was bolstered by new, terrifying questions. What if the horrors of Yor's deeds were not the end game? What if his evolution was simply the byproduct of a grander design? What if he was nothing more than a side effect of an ancient arms race, and the weapons we feared from days long past were nothing more than touchstones on a road map to devastation beyond anything we can imagine? What if "sorrow" was just a pit stop on the road to our coming annihilation?

—hand-scrawled note accompanying Teben Grey's personal translation of ancient Hive text