Root of Nightmares

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Vow of the Disciple


Salvation's Edge

Root of Nightmares
Root of Nightmares.jpg


Destiny 2



Recommended Power Level:



Essence, Earth Orbit


Board the Witness’s terraformed Pyramid ship and stop a growing, ancient threat from haunting the citizens of Neomuna.

Enemy faction(s):

Shadow Legion
The Dread

Hostile race(s):


Destinypedia has a walkthrough guide for this level; see Root of Nightmares/Walkthrough.

A sinister threat has taken root.

Root of Nightmares is a Raid in Destiny 2, released in the Lightfall expansion on March 10, 2023.

In the aftermath of the Traveler's attack on the Witness, Guardians must confront the imminent return of an ancient enemy within its Pyramid ship; reviving from the roots of a newly terraformed Tree of Silver Wings with the powers of both Light and Darkness as his psychic presence torments the citizens of Neomuna in their dreams.

Unique enemies[edit]




Entrance of Cataclysm

The raid begins with introducing a mechanic that will appear repeatedly throughout the raid. In front of the rally flag exists a small floating seed with an aura surrounding it, and a ripple-like white flooring beneath it. Standing within the aura and firing upon the seed will grant Guardians within the Field of Light buff, and begin the encounter.

Once shot, the seed will display a thin white trail in the direction of another similar ripple-like white floor, with another smaller seed floating above it. A designated runner should go towards this, stand next to it and fire at it while holding the Field of Light buff to link this seed with the previous one. This will wipe the Field of Light buff from that runner. They should then return to the initial seed to re-obtain the buff in the same way, then follow the trail of white lines to discover the location of the next seed, repeating this until all seeds have been linked. The location where Field of Light is obtainable will change, so the Guardian taking this job needs to be aware of the positions of these areas to keep refreshing their buff.

Psion in Cataclysm

While the runner is performing their duties, the rest of the fireteam will have to deal with almost endless waves of Cabal units. As well as the regular mix of Legionaries, Phalanxes, War Beasts, and more, a pair of special bubble-enclosed Psions will spawn in various locations around the arena, which must be killed. Once killed, a Cavum of Nezarec Tormentor and a Barrier Colossus will spawn on opposite sides of the arena. Dealing with the Tormentor is top priority, as defeating this will extend the timer on Sweeping Terror via a message stating "His hatred is momentarily delayed...". If Sweeping Terror is allowed to expire, then the team will be wiped by a burst of energy from the sarcophagus in the midfield of the arena.

Four separate chains of Fields of Light must be made to complete the encounter.


Next up for the second encounter is a repeat of the first, this time with a new element thrown into the mix. As before, Field of Light is obtainable from shooting a floating seed above a white ripple-like flooring. To contrast this, a Flux of Darkness buff is obtainable from a dark seed floating above a yellow/orange ripple-like flooring. The arena is split into two sections made up of three separate floors, divided by a huge chasm, with the fireteam starting on the bottom floor. Split your fireteam up evenly on the left and right, nominate a runner for each side, and prepare to create chains between the Dark and Light seeds, as per their specific alignment. Your fireteam will have a time limit to complete the Dark and Light chains on each floor, indicated by the Imminent Expulsion timer on your HUD. Failure to complete them within the time limit will cause the walls to push all beings off the floors, into the chasm.

As these chains will require crossing the impossible-to-jump chasm, Guardians will need to utilize plungers located along the edges. In front of each plunger, there exists a small Pyramid technology switch. Upon being shot, the plunger will strike the Guardian and send them rocketing across the gap. Due to the nature of physics in the game, Guardians will need to make sure they are touching the plunger itself before shooting the switch. Without doing this, the plunger can fall short of providing the impetus needed to help cross the gap.

As runners perform their task of chaining the Light and Dark seeds to each other respectively, the other Guardians will need to deal with waves of Cabal. Occasionally, special Cabal units will spawn that are surrounded by a Light (Redolence of Splendor) or Dark (Redolence of Decay) aura. These units can only be damaged while under the influence of a Field of Light or Flux of Darkness buff respectively. When a runner refreshes their buff at a seed, Guardians not partaking in running should stand within the aura to obtain their sides` respective buff, so they can deal with these special units. Towards the end of the chain, a Barrier Colossus will spawn, so Guardians should prepare to deal with this using Anti-Barrier abilities or weaponry.

Once the two chains are complete for the floor currently being worked upon, the Imminent Expulsion timer will disappear temporarily, and a wave of aura-holding enemies will spawn. Defeating all of these enemies will require the corresponding buff. Once defeated, a switch will spawn for the plunger at the end of the floor, allowing the usage of the plunger to ascend to the next level of the arena, where the previous steps must be repeated to spawn another switch for another plunger, to reach the third level, wherein the final set of chains must be made to complete the encounter.


Zo'aurc, Explicator of Planets

To finish the Macrocosm encounter, Guardians must successfully defeat Zo’aurc, the Explicator of Planets. In order to do so, the team must work together to align planets correctly and break Zo’aurc’s shield

The first phase of the encounter starts off with two Solar-shielded Centurions spawning in the area Zo`aurc occupies to begin with. Once defeated, four Terrestrial Lieutenant Collosi will spawn on the four large triangular platforms on the sides of the arena. Guardians who defeat a Terrestrial Lieutenant will be able to see the indexed planets (glowing light or dark), and must communicate which planets are mismatched, and must be switched. Dedicating one Guardian on each triangular platform, these Guardians should call out which planet is mismatched on their side, interact with the small orb beneath that planet, and then interact with the mismatched planet on the other side of the room, called out by their compatriot. The two lower triangular platforms should coordinate with each other, with the two higher platforms doing the same with each other.

Once an orb has been interacted with, Guardians have a set timer on the left of their screen before the planetary shift concludes, and the planets begin moving.

If a planet is moved to a destination that is already occupied by another, it will return to its original position. This means that planets may only move to spots where the destination planet is also moving, forcing Guardians to essentially “swap” planets on the left and right.

If done correctly, the second phase will begin, and the indexed planets will reveal themselves in the center. Guardians must kill Terrestrial Lieutenants to see which of the three plates in the center requires a planet of what color. This time, Guardians must move planets of a certain color to the plate in the center with the corresponding color (light or dark).

Once the planets and destinations have been selected, the planetary shift timer will end, and the planets will move over the three plates. If the indexed para causal forces match (light or dark) the damage phase will begin. If the indexed para causal forces do not match, it will trigger a planetary collision and wipe the fireteam.

If Guardians take too long on either phase, Zo’aurc will attempt to align the planets incorrectly, causing three separate planetary collisions which emit a lethal wave of energy that destroys everything inside the arena.

With an alignment performed, Zo`aurc will return to their initial position, and hop down to the lower level of the arena to begin the damage phase. Depending upon the aura emitted by Zo`aurc, Guardians must touch a plate matching the aura to be able to damage Zo`aurc. There is no necessity to stand on the plate to deal damage, just to have touched it, so Guardians can move around and damage at will from any position. Once a short time has passed, Zo`aurc will power up a twister of flame and send it towards the fireteam, changing their shield alignment, meaning Guardians must observe its state, stand on a corresponding plate, and begin damaging him again. Once all three plates have been exhausted, Zo`aurc will become immune to damage and the fight repeats.

Once Zo’aurc reaches final stand, or if Zo’aurc becomes enraged, he will initiate a nonstop damage phase, Guardians will have to match shield alignment in the same way using the central three plates and will have a certain amount of time to defeat the boss before the planets collide and kill the entire team.


Nezarec, Final God of Pain — the purest light, the darkest hour

The final fight of the raid consists of combat against the newly reborn Nezarec. Now fed with both Light and Darkness by the fireteam, he is now able to break out of his sarcophagus and face the team in battle. Getting in close proximity to this will trigger him to shatter it, slam it to the ground and begin the encounter.

To open up Nezarec to damage, the team must link two sequences of Light and Dark seeds on the left and right sides of the arena respectively. Starting close to where the team enters this area are the first two usable seeds, highlighted by an aura surrounding them. Shooting this while inside the area of effect will grant the same buff as in previous parts of the raid. Similarly, a faint trail of Light or Dark will emanate from the shot seed, pointing to another which has just spawned and must be shot to create the link. Once linked, another aura will appear around a completed seed, and a Guardian must shoot this, obtain the buff, then travel to the next indicated seed to shoot it, and so on and so forth.

While this is being performed, many enemies will spawn in the arena. Colossi, War Beasts, and Legionaries will appear in waves to tarry the team. Also, Nezarec themselves will not sit idle, performing attacks similar to Tormentors. They will periodically throw Abyssal Cleaves at targets close to them, or spawn a floating pool of Void energy that will cast many of the same Abyssal Cleaves as it travels around the arena. Once enough time has passed, Nezarec will begin casting Nezarec's Hatred, which spawns a Psionic Blast beneath Guardians, which will blast them upwards after a set period of time, dealing damage. This will continue until Nezarec's chest weak point is broken. Once broken, Nezarec will jump down from their perch and begin chasing the Guardian who broke their chest, performing further Tormentor-like attacks, such as the Void suppression dive kick they are known for. The hunted Guardian will eventually lose the attention of Nezarec, then pick a new target and start to chase them, but it can be regained by once more breaking their chest.

The timer for the fight that determines failure or success revolves around a spell Nezarec will begin casting, wherein they begin to exhibit a strong white glow. Once enough time has passed, Nezarec will unleash a pulse of Overwhelming Energy or Overwhelming Light, wiping the entire team if they are not sufficiently protected. Similar to the platforming section before Macrocosm, Guardians must create a refuge of Light or Darkness, matching the spell Nezarec will cast. To determine this spell type, the shoulder weak points of Nezarec must be broken. Once both are broken, Nezarec will display a Light or Darkness colored tattoo across his body for a brief amount of time, matching the spell they will prepare. Shoot the matching seed while holding the opposite para causal affinity, similar to the pre-Macrocosm relay platforming, to create a field that will grant a 14-second buff that protects against being killed by Nezarec's spell. Be careful not to shoot a seed that currently holds an aura field around it, as doing so will not create a refuge. Instead, it will provide the Field of Light or Flux of Darkness buff instead. The protection buff can be refreshed repeatedly by getting close to the seed once the refuge has been created, and the refuge will stay until Nezarec casts the spell.

Once a side has fully linked their seeds, large pulses of energy will go off from them in sequence, indicating success. Once both sides have been completed, Nezarec will shortly become vulnerable, indicated by a blast of light striking them. During this vulnerable phase, Nezarec will display some new attacks, such as the ability to perform a teleport into a slam, a slam that spawns large spinning Void projectiles across the ground, mixed in with their regular Void slashes. As they are not inactive during the damage phase, it is advised to locate the team on the final seed spot on either the Light or Darkness sides, as Nezarec will be unable to teleport behind the group, ensuring that sight won't be lost during the short damage phase.

As Nezarec becomes immune, they will prepare a slam attack which will suppress any Guardian caught in the vicinity. This is the fireteams cue to return to their initial starting positions, from whence the fight repeats itself.

If Nezarec's health is depleted enough to reach Final Stand, Nezarec will roar, displaying more Resonant energy coursing through their body, turning black. Now it remains a race to deplete Nezarec's health before they prepare another Overwhelming Energy blast that will annihilate the fireteam.

Secret Deepsight Puzzle[edit]

Upon loading into the raid, traverse through the platforms until you see a patch of roots on the left side. Instead of turning right, turn left and you will see a bundle of flowers with a Light seed or a Dark seed on top of it. 3 seeds will be there; take note of the seeds that appear from left to right, then find the secret rooms containing those seeds that must be connected as shown. The first secret room can be found past the staircase, but instead of entering the rectangular hole leading into the first encounter, head straight and go down the staircase. Players will know they have connected the correct seed when the following text is displayed: "Your actions take root…". Connecting the incorrect seed will display the following text: "Your spoils have suffered irrecoverable damage." After completing the first 2 encounters, the second secret room can found during the traversal section where players must create Darkness shelters by shooting an active Light seed to obtain the Field of Light buff, then shoot an inactive Darkness seed while the buff is active, but instead of turning right to enter a temple-like complex, turn left towards a floating platform. The final secret room can be found by following a root below the one leading to the final encounter into a floating Pyramid turbine, then jumping onto the open trapdoor above them. Once players connect the correct seeds on all 3 secret rooms, the following text will be displayed: "A great harvest awaits…", and a reward chest will spawn containing a weapon with guaranteed Deepsight Resonance once the final encounter is completed.



Armor sets[edit]

Bite of Trepidation Suit (Hunter) Breath of Detestation Suit (Warlock) Palate of Agony Suit (Titan)
Mask of Trepidation Mask of Detestation Helm of Agony
Grips of Trepidation Wraps of Detestation Gauntlets of Agony
Vest of Trepidation Robes of Detestation Plate of Agony
Boots of Trepidation Boots of Detestation Greaves of Agony
Cloak of Trepidation Bond of Detestation Mark of Agony


  • Raid Armor Mods:
    • Chill Out - Defeating a combatant with a Stasis weapon spawns a Stasis crystal. Must have a Stasis subclass equipped.
    • Precise Jolts - Rapid precision hits with Arc weapons jolt the target. Must have an Arc subclass equipped.
    • Volatile Volleys - Defeating powerful combatants with a Void weapon gives your Void weapons Volatile Rounds. Must have a Void subclass equipped.
    • Radiant Heat - Powerful combatant final blows with Solar weapons grants Radiant. Must have a Solar subclass equipped.
    • Tangled Up - Defeating a combatant with a Strand weapon spawns a Tangle. Must have a Strand subclass equipped.
    • Cabal Extinguisher - When an ally gains Flux of Darkness or Field of Light, deal increased weapon damage to Cabal combatants for a short time.
    • Release Recover - When you lose Flux of Darkness or Field of Light, begin recovering health.
    • Focused Darkness - When you have Flux of Darkness, gain increased ability damage and mobility.
    • Focused Light - When you have a Field of Light, gain increased weapon damage and resilience.
  • Dream Demon – Exotic Sparrow
  • Gift of Cruelty – Exotic Jumpship
  • Emblems:
  • Shaders:


Mission Starts

The Guardians reach the ledge overlooking a bud of a Tree of Silver Wings.

  • Nezarec: Oh, you have arrived. Good.

The Guardians approach the Cataclysm encounter.

  • Nezarec: I'm glad my messages reached you. I considered you might leave me here to rot, but we both know you Guardians can't resist unanswered questions. Or a challenge.

After successfully completing Cataclysm.

  • Nezarec: Oh, these sensations! The tingle in my fingertips! This power is familiar, yet... different. Oh, it's invigorating!

The Team progresses through Scission, halfway through the transition.

  • Nezarec: If I had a modicum of my original power, I'd have killed one or three of those citizens to expedite your arrival. Instead, I suffer from the incompetence of these... new recruits.

After completing Scission, the team returns to an overgrown Cataclysm.

  • Nezarec: Mmm... I can hear the shifting roots across the Pyramid's architecture. Taste the para causality on my tongue. Progress.

The Fireteam progresses through the overgrown Cataclysm area.

  • Nezarec: After that witch killed me and cursed my remains, I assume that's when she whisked away the Veil to Neptune. The coveted key to the Witness's plans... and the sapid secret of its first victims. As much as I loathe her, I must applaud her efforts.

The Fireteam enters a temple-like complex.

  • Nezarec: As I've gathered, there was barely anything left of me for the Witness to collect. Hmm... has anyone suffered from the pieces they took? I wonder if I could track them down. Do you happen to know who took them. Consider the information reparations for my untimely death.

One of the Guardians bypasses the temple and approaches Macrocosm.

  • Nezarec: Lightbearers have always seemed... efficient at creating their own chaos. Your Warlords did a masterful job of that. Do you enjoy hearing the final screams of your enemies? Screams are the most delicious when they're wrenched directly from the throat. An echo that reverberates through eternity. Aah... beautiful.

The Guardians enter the Macrocosm complex and advance through it, encountering Zo'aurc, Explicator of Planets and his entourage of Psions.

  • Nezarec: Tear that useless sack of meat apart for me, won't you? He hasn't accomplished nearly as much as you in your short time here.

After defeating Zo'aurc and opening the floral door, the Fireteam approaches a fully grown Cataclysm.

  • Nezarec: Such tenacious adventurers. It's fascinating to see the lengths you'll go to reach your goals. Emissaries of pain and death. It's inspiring.

The fireteam begins their approach to the overgrown spike where Nezarec rests.

  • Nezarec: I have been trapped for a very long time. Such a cruel fate for simply fulfilling my duties... don't you think? Free me. I want to experience this world with my... new perspective.

Nezarec's spike is approached.

  • Nezarec: [laughs maniacally] Oh, a shame we can't entertain our one-sided conversations further! Ah, but this... this feels too good. Guardians! Let me devour your fear!

After a hectic battle with Nezarec and turning the Light and Dark against him, the fireteam vanquishes Nezarec.

  • Nezarec: My memory will never extinguish. In your calmest moments, your deepest slumber... you will remember me, Guardians.

Post-Raid Completion[edit]


A sketched reenactment of the battle over Earth is shown and the camera zooms in on the Traveler and the Essence.

  • Osiris: While our attention was drawn to Neptune, something wicked stirred in the Witness's Pyramid.

The beam of Light shoots from the Traveler and pierces the Essence, as the beam subsides, floral growths appear along the blast. The camera zooms into the hull.

  • Osiris: A life force thought to be lost, unknowingly revived by the Traveler's terraforming power.

The scene then cuts to the Cataclysm arena and zooms in on the spike where Nezarec rested. He is then sketched into view, eyes glowing.

  • Osiris: Its defensive display forever imprinted upon the vessel,

The growth then ravels itself into the shape of the Tree of Silver Wings within and begins to bloom.

  • Osiris: the infamous "final god of pain" sought to use this para causal power for his own curiosities.

Leaves begin to fall.

  • Osiris: But it proved to be his final mistake.

The roots then transition into live circuits as the camera pans towards where they converge, the center of Neomuna. Nezarec's claws are seen clutched around the city.

  • Osiris: The people of Neomuna may now be free of Nezarec's influence,

Nezarec's claws disintegrate as a blast of light emerges from the center. The circuitry then converge to sketch a stylized Vex Goblin head at it's center.

  • Osiris: but the Cabal and Vex remain at their doorstep, though an unanswerable question remains on all our minds...

Light glows from it's center and consumes the screen. It then shrinks to the scarred Traveler with the Witness's triangular portal at its center, Pyramid ships flanking it.

  • Osiris: Where has the Witness gone?

The camera zooms out to see the main planets of the Sol System

  • Osiris: We must begin our search in the pieces it left behind.

The Witness is drawn behind the Traveler and Earth

  • Osiris: It will not succeed for as long as we remain in existence.

The scene fades to black and ends

Following the cutscene, players can interact with the terminal in the Hall of Heroes and get the following dialogue.

  • Jisu Calerondo: [Neomuna News with Jisu Calerondo musical jingle] Vanguard forces recently engaged an independent provocateur identified as "Nezarec" within a derelict Black Fleet vessel. Described as "the final God of Pain" in pre-Collapse sources, he possessed potent psionic abilities. Authorities believe these abilities allowed him to access and disrupt CloudArk operations here in Neomuna.







  • Root of Nightmares is the second Raid in Destiny history to feature the Cabal as the main enemy, the first being Leviathan.
    • This is also the third Raid activity that has the Cabal as the central enemy, after Leviathan and Spire of Stars.
  • Root of Nightmares has been called "the Crota's End of D2" due to the simple mechanics.
    • This is supported by the fact that the World’s First race was completed very quickly, in 2 hours and 24 minutes, as well as the fact that the entirety of Root has been beaten by a single player, in one sitting, without a single death.
  • This is the second Raid in Destiny to not feature any items that put you in third-person. The first was Crown of Sorrow.