Savathûn, the Witch Queen
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Savathûn, the Witch Queen, formerly known as Sathona, is a Hive god and sister to Xivu Arath, God of War and Oryx, the Taken King. Together with her two siblings, she was a progenitor of the contemporary Hive species and one of its chief gods, having made a pact with the Worms of Fundament. She is driven to understand the deepest secrets of the universe, and gains power from the deception and confusion of those who seek to understand her unfathomable schemes.
Savathûn was born Sathona, on the planet Fundament. She was one of a short-lived species whose homeworld had crashed into Fundament millions of years earlier, with the shards of the planet forming Fundament's continents. The Osmium Court was one such continent, ruled by the Osmium King, and Sathona was his second-born daughter, older sister to Xi Ro and younger sister to Aurash. The three sisters were tutored by Taox, a sterile Mother, the proto-Hive morph capable of spawning children, which also allowed them to live longer by eating "Mother-jelly" at adulthood. The proto-Hive's harsh lives convinced Sathona at an early age to become a Mother, not because she wanted children or feared dying, but because she wanted to live long enough to have meaning in her life.
However, by the time her father turned ten Fundament years (a lifetime by the standards of their species), he had discovered a dead Worm on the shores of the Osmium Court, which he started tending to it as a familiar, and began raving that the Syzygy, a prophesied disaster, would soon occur. While Aurash took her father's warnings to heart, Taox concluded that the King was falling to senility in his old age, and that none of his daughters, which were two years old at the time, could properly rule the Osmium Court and protect it from the Helium Court, a rival kingdom. While acknowledging that Sathona was a brilliant thinker, Taox noted that she could not fight. In desperation, Taox sent a message to the rulers of the Helium Court, the Helium Drinkers, saying that she would help them assassinate the King and his daughters if they installed her as their regent. The Helium Drinkers accepted Taox's proposal and attacked, killing the King but failing to kill his daughters. In the confusion, Sathona managed to steal her father's Worm in their escape. Reaching Aurash's ship, the three sisters made a blood oath to return and take vengeance, with Sathona vowing that she would become a Mother and raise her spawn on the corpses of the Helium Drinkers.
Over the next year, the three sisters sailed the oceans of Fundament. During this time, Sathona began to hear her father's worm speak to her, guiding her to acts that would save the sisters over the year. Finally, the three sisters found a ship they named "the needle", built of high technology, but whose crew had died obscenely after hatching an egg from a creature that they could not recognize. Xi Ro insisted that they sell the ship at the Kaharn Atoll, where the species of Fundament gathered, saying that an auction could raise them enough money to hire mercenaries to fight the Helium Drinkers. However, Sathona told Xi Ro that the ship was worthless. Aurash instead suggested that they repair the ship. With prompting from the Worm, Sathona agreed with Aurash and convinced Xi Ro to repair the ship.
Over the next two years, the sisters repaired the needle, but by this point, the sisters were five years old. Sathona raised her fears that she would soon be too old to eat mother-jelly, and that the sisters would be unable to fulfill their oath. Aurash said that the sisters had to dive beneath the oceans of Fundament, traveling to the planet's core. Xi Ro warned that this was how the crew had died, but Sathona, urged on by the Worm, agreed with Aurash. The sisters took the needle into the deep. They finally reached a point where they could use the ship's sensors on the oceans. To their horror, they discovered that the Syzygy was real, and that Fundament's moons had already aligned. Just then, they were encountered by the Leviathan, a creature long spoken of in proto-Hive myth. The Leviathan warned the sisters that they needed to turn back, or else would unleash disaster upon the universe, saying that they faced a choice between the Light, which offered civilization, and the Darkness, which offered only violence. However, the Leviathan offered no hope to the sisters to avoid the Syzygy. Sathona then revealed the Worm's help to her sisters, and how it urged them to go down. Rejecting the Leviathan's entreaties, the sisters dove into the core.
Reaching the very center of Fundament, the three sisters found the Worm Gods: Akka, the Worm of Secrets, Eir, the Keeper of Order, Ur, the Ever-Hunger, Xol, Will of the Thousands, and Yul, the Honest Worm. The Worm Gods offered the three sisters a chance for the proto-Hive to escape Fundament as well as achieve immortality. All they had to do was take the Worms larvae into them as symbiotes and spread them among the proto-Hive. The Worms posed the caveat that the sisters must never cease their natures: Xi Ro must always test her strength, Sathona must always be cunning, and Aurash must always try to understand. The sisters accepted the pact and became the first Hive: Xi Ro took the Knight morph and became Xivu Arath, Sathona took the Mother morph and became Savathûn, and Aurash took the King morph, transforming into a male and became Auryx, the King of the Hive.
Campaign of Destruction
As Auryx and his sisters forced an ultimatum on the remaining proto-Hive to accept the worms or perish, Auryx turned his attention to Fundament's moons, and the Ammonites there who had allied with the Traveler and gave asylum to Taox. Initially he was willing to negotiate with the Ammonites, but his sister Savathûn, under pressure from the Worms, killed Auryx as punishment. Rather than dying, Auryx's soul instead passed to his Ascendant realm, or throne world, where his soul resided until he returned to the mortal realm. Rebuked, Auryx purged what sympathy and goodwill he had left, becoming a merciless tyrant. He and his sisters warred with and killed one another on a regular basis after the defeat of the Ammonites, as part of their worship of the Sword-Logic and their attempt to become the sharpest blades in the universe, heading to their Ascendant realms when defeated. Their war of revenge against Taox had transformed into a campaign of genocide, when they slew the Ammonites and other interstellar civilizations to feed their worms. When Oryx established the Court of Oryx to study the sword logic, Savathûn was inspired to establish a court of her own, known as the High Coven.
During the war with the Ecumene, Auryx came to realize that the Worm Gods had deceived him and his sisters: their worms appetites were growing past their ability to feed with death. Meeting with his sisters in his ascendant realm, surrounded by their servants (some of which despised them for showing weakness) they despaired over their dilemma. When his sisters offered their power to help Auryx find a way to save them, Auryx killed them, then used that power to confront his patron god Akka, the Worm of Secrets. He killed Akka so that he could steal its ability to call upon the Deep and created the Tablets of Ruin, which gave him the power to Take. His transformation complete, Auryx was now Oryx, the Taken King. During the subsequent war with the Ecumene, Oryx revived Xivu Arath in an act of war, and revived Savathûn in an act of cunning. He then decreed the tithe system: each Hive would kill their enemies, take some to feed their own worm, and tithe the rest to their superior. Thralls would tithe to Acolytes, Acolytes would tithe to Knights or Wizards, the Knights and Wizards would tithe to the Ascendant Hive, those who commanded legions of warriors and earned the right to enter the Hive gods' Ascendant realms. All of this violence would eventually reach Oryx, Savathûn, and Xivu Arath, allowing their worms to feed on violence while continuing to invoke their inner natures.
Following the Golden Amputation, Oryx declared to his sisters that the Hive had conquered its way to the edge of the Deep, and that it had granted him a personal audience.  As Oryx retreated into his throne world to commune with it, Savathûn conspired with Xivu Arath to strand him there and steal his Tablets of Ruin by cutting off the tribute flowing through his tithe system.  They were ultimately unsuccessful, and on returning, Oryx waged war on Savathûn and crippled her own tribute.
In the aftermath of this attempted betrayal, Savathûn learned of one of Oryx's daughters, Ir Anûk, and was both enraged and delighted by her brilliance. 
While Oryx was off studying the Deep, his son Crota was deceived by Savathûn into using his Cleaver to cut a portal inside his throne world, allowing the Vex to invade it. This amused Savathûn. Her daughter alerted Eir to the situation, who alerted Oryx in turn. After Oryx dealt with the incursion, Savathûn told Xivu Arath that Oryx's throne had been compromised and showed her where to cut into it so she could kill him. However, Oryx had recognized that his throne world was vulnerable, so he moved it into a mighty Dreadnaught scrimshawed from the remains of Akka, stealing from Savathûn her Scalpel to make it.
After Oryx confronted and captured Quria for the last time, he presented the Vex to Savathûn as a gift, hoping she would be pleased by its simulations. When she asked him what proof they had that what they were doing was right, Oryx simply replied that the Hive's existence was proof enough in their convictions to live eternal by the Sword-Logic. Following the war with the Harmony, Savathûn decided that her fleets would enter the black hole that the Harmony lived around, claiming that they would become stronger for it, while Xivu Arath took her fleets away from Oryx's as she felt he constrained her too much.
Around the same time that the Hive's tribute system was established, Savathûn, unsatisfied with the established method of Worm-feeding, embarked on a project that would allow her to escape the trap feeding the Worms created. To do so, she attempted to increase the rate at which her subordinate Hive gathered tribute for her, by placing several Ascendant Hive in orbit around a black hole. In doing this, she hoped that because time would pass more slowly for the Ascendants relative to the outside universe, the Ascendant's Worm would perceive an increased rate of tribute produced by lesser Hive elsewhere in the cosmos, and thus be satisfied without a true increase in tribute.
However, this plan was unsuccessful, as the Ascendants' Worms understood what was happening and increased their hunger. Consequently, Savathûn resolved to try another approach, in which her subordinate Hive would gather tribute in a region of space where time passed faster than the rest of the universe. She planned to use the power and insight attained through this method to completely overhaul the way in which she gained tribute through the Sword Logic, going from a system where tribute was obtained through violence to one where tribute was obtained through the failure of other beings to understand her schemes. This new system of acquiring tribute would be known as "Imbaru". To achieve this, she purposely led Crota to let the Vex into his father's Throne World, in order to compel the Vex to create Quria, Blade Transform. Later, when the campaign against the Harmony was complete and Quria was Taken and given to her as a gift, Savathûn left her siblings behind and entered the Harmony's black hole, hoping to further her plans and prevent the Taken Vex Mind from reporting her work to Oryx. While in the black hole, She taught Quria to harness Hive magic and apply it to computational problem-solving. Using this, Quria learned how to navigate and engineer the singularity, then format the information for Savathûn to understand. Now able to understand the singularity's inner workings, she began moving forward with her grand scheme.
Savathûn explained the details of her plan to a confused Thrall, as per a rule of the High Coven that a Wizard's schemes should be incomprehensible to a Thrall. She then recorded her conversation and encrypted it with the assistance of Quria, along with a message for a future reader. This message would remain unread for an untold span of time, until the Guardian stumbled upon it, encrypted within Glimmer, while exploring the Dreaming City.
From the Shadows
Two years after the apparent death of Oryx in the Taken War, a previously unknown Hive brood infested the abandoned Golden Age arcologies on the moon of Titan, led by powerful Hive such as Naktal, Fury of Savathûn, Kudazad, Binder of Savathûn, and Vanbaluk, Trusted of Savathûn. Ghost scans of various Hive artifacts further linked the new brood to Savathûn. Most disturbing of all, a fireteam of Guardians was lost during an incursion into the New Pacific Arcology, Operation Caliban, and were discovered to have been converted by the Hive into crystals containing Void Light. These crystals were intended to feed a summoning ritual for her, the centerpiece of which was a massive Shrieker titled "Savathûn's Song". With the aid of the Praxic Warlock Taeko-3, the Guardian fought through the depths of the Arcology and destroyed the crystals and the Song, disrupting the summoning ritual.
Evidence from elsewhere in the solar system indicates that Savathûn has taken control of the remnants of the Taken through Quria; having learned the power to Take through its perfected simulations of Oryx.. On Io, Taken forces led by Ir Arok, Tongue of Quria have attempted to corrupt the Vex collective at the Pyramidion, only to fail due to the Guardian's intervention. Furthermore, a Red Legion commander, Grask, the Consumed was encountered as a Taken; the Red Legion only had a presence in Sol after Oryx's death, so this serves as further indication that Savathûn has achieved domination over the Taken.
After the awakening and fall of Nokris and the Worm God, Xol, Guardians found the Hive on Mars sending messages to Savathûn, pleading her to arise from the Deep and "claim their power". Envoys of Savathûn have also been seen emerging from Ascendant portals in Hellas Basin.
As Savathûn neared gaining complete control over the Taken, within the Reef, the Witch-Queen gained a new and powerful ally in the form of Riven, the last known Ahamkara in the Solar System; Taken by Oryx during the onset of the Taken War and the first invasion of the Dreaming City. However, unlike most Taken, Riven retained her sense of self and free-will. With Oryx's passing and the Taken leaderless, Savathûn made contact with the Taken within the City and Riven, giving the Ahamkara a new purpose to serve the Witch-Queen. Through Riven, the Taken were prepared to corrupt the whole of the Awoken and launch an invasion of the Reef, using proxies like Uldren Sov and his Fallen Scorn. Though Riven succeeded in opening the gateway to the City, it left her vulnerable to the Guardians sent to kill her. The Guardians, aided by their Awoken allies and the formerly Taken Techeuns, managed to kill Riven and cleanse her Taken essence. Nonetheless, her death served a purpose as the Ahamkara transcended death and granted one last wish: cursing the Dreaming City with Taken energies and altering its rules of ascendancy.
Whether Savathûn was implied to have aligned with her sister or not, Xivu Arath has taken measures to assume control over the Taken and Hive within the Dreaming City. Entities sworn to the Hive's God of War have appeared stealing Awoken relics of dangerous knowledge, with powerful Taken creatures supporting them. Though the Guardians put a stop to this scheme, it proves that the two scheming sisters have shared a seemingly mutual alliance to seize their brother's Taken army for themselves.
To further her goals and maintain her advantage, Savathûn entrusted her daughter, Dûl Incaru, the Eternal Return to command the Taken Curse within the Dreaming City and find a way to invade the Distributary, the true origination of the Awoken, to reach new bounds of godly strength. Despite having the backing of Xivu Arath's Hive and the Taken at her command, Mara Sov called upon her Guardians allies to fight back against the Taken corruption. Battling their way to the center of Eleusinia, the former corrupted Throne World of the Awoken Queen, the Guardians fought with Dûl Incaru and killed the daughter of the Witch-Queen.
However, this seeming failure was all part of Savathûn's greater plans for the Dreaming City. After Dûl Incaru's death at the hands of the Guardians, the Dreaming City reverted to the state it had been in upon first being unsealed by the Guardian, progressing again through the same process of becoming corrupted by the Taken and culminating in another battle between Dûl Incaru and the Guardians. This apparent time-loop, spun by the Taken Vex mind Quria and realized by Riven's wish, both furthers Savathûn's long-term goal of amassing tribute for herself through her subordinates committing violence within spaces with looped or dilated time, and also presents the Guardians with a dilemma: they can either repeatedly strike down Dûl Incaru and relive the same series of events, or they can refuse to do so and allow Dûl Incaru to complete her mission to find the Distributary.
The Witch's Trap
Savathûn would later face a contender in her attempts to undermine the Guardians: the former Cabal Emperor Calus. During one of the Shadows' conquests of the Hive's war moons, Savathun laid a trap out for them to find the Crown of Sorrow, an ancient Ascendant Hive relic believed to imitate Oryx's power to compel wills. In reality, it was a surveillance device meant for the Witch-Queen to spy on Calus from the Ascendant Realm, in the hopes of putting him under her control when worn.
Instead, Calus had Gahlran, the Sorrow-Bearer wear the Crown in an attempt to command the Hive; only to trigger Savathûn's enchantments that drove Gahlran insane and unleashed the Hive within the Leviathan's Menagerie. Gahlran's terror was only short-lived as Calus had him put down by a raid team of Guardians with the aid of Savathûn's magic and the Crown retrieved to be cleansed of the witch's wards.
The Witch-Queen would go on to torment Calus by infiltrating the minds of his Loyalists, through the use of what Calus described as a "viral language". She also left messages within the Chronicon, a document Calus commissioned as a record of his and his Loyalists' past and future deeds.
Steering the Spawn
When three sibling Hive heretics of the Spawn of Crota, Malkanth, Akrazul, and Azavath, sought to rebel against the daughters of Savathûn's nephew, Crota, who had taken over the leadership of the Hidden Swarm, Savathûn was revealed to be the master behind their situation. As the Wizard Malkanth performed a ritual to put the essence of Akrazul, a crippled Knight, into the body of her fellow Wizard Azavath, the plan backfired. Akrazul's rage was so great that it became unbridled within Azavath's body, leading him to slay Malkanth and assault the Swarm. As Malkanth's essence had left her body in her death, Savathûn whispered to Azavath's essence and instructed her to take up the mantle of Deathsinger. Placing her essence into Malkanth's body, Azavath would become Ir Airâm, Deathsinger, killing both Akrazul and the Swarm's champion Zulmak with her Deathsong. Savathûn captured Zulmak's essence as he died for her own purposes, and discussed with Malkanth's essence, without a body, before she died. The Witch-Queen told Malkanth of her dismissal of gods and "absolutes" such as time, space, and death, when they are all so easily broken. Believing that when the final absolute falls reality will face a final and complete ending, Savathûn said she wished to ensure that end would not come to pass as Malkanth's essence faded away into nothing.
The Witch-Queen would then make contact with the Daughters of Crota. As part of her greater schemes, she made a deal with the four offering two boons: the essence of Zulmak, to be reanimated as a puppet champion for the Daughters' nefarious purposes, and the reformation of the Choir, a legendary group of Deathsingers to be lead by Ir Airâm. In turn, the Daughters would invest in the construction of the Scarlet Keep to draw the Guardians to the Moon and set the events that would come to pass. However, the Daughters failed to realize that this deal was another deceit of Savathûn's; the Witch-Queen was aware that even with the Choir and Zulmak the Guardians would decimate the Hidden Swarm. In truth, The Witch-Queen wanted the Scarlet Keep built as bait to lure in Guardians so that Oryx's bloodline would go extinct, believing it had run its course.
Extending her Reach
Following her rivalry with Calus and the conflict on Luna, Savathûn enacted a new scheme to further her plans. The Witch-Queen soon found an opportunity in a massive Vex computational array found on Io - as Savathûn sought knowledge to inform her plans and pawns to carry them out, the array would be able to fulfill both. She sent a large Taken Blight into the array to corrupt and bring it under her control, to which the Vex responded with violence. The Vanguard detected a massive surge of power beneath the Pyramidion where the array was located and sent a Guardian strike team to investigate. They soon found the Vex and Taken, commanded by Baurisk, Envoy of Savathûn, battling each other for control of the array; the Guardians recognized the Taken Blight to be similar to those found in the Dreaming City, causing them to suspect Savathûn as the one behind this Taken offensive. Eris Morn warned Zavala the Witch Queen was not as foolhardy as her brother as she would not risk a direct confrontation, and the City must be prepared and wise enough to know when Savathûn would play her hand.
Shortly prior to the Pyramids’ arrival, Nokris attempted to enter the Ascendant Realm by way of trickery, instead of the Sword-Logic. This attracted the attention of his aunt. Savathûn drew her nephew into her throne world and struck a bargain: in her plans to defy the Pyramids, she had taken notice of his necromantic power. Knowing that the Pyramids would soon converge on Sol, she instructed Nokris to interfere in any of their attempts to communicate with the Guardian.
To aid her nephew, she ordered the Taken under her command to attack Io. The moon had been chosen by the first Pyramid to make contact, and the vessel had taken position above the Cradle, where a Tree of Silver Wings had grown in the wake of the Traveler’s departure. Savathûn’s forces invaded the site in order to interfere in any communication attempts. As the Pyramids invaded Mercury, Titan and Mars as well, multiple Eyes of Savathûn appeared in these locations; Eris Morn believed they were a way the Witch Queen spied on the assailed planets and could only be destroyed by the Ruinous Effigy - a rifle gifted by the Darkness from the Tree's branch.
Though Nokris was able to delay the Guardians' attempts to communicate with the Darkness for weeks, he was ultimately slain, ending Savathûn's interference.
The Witch Queen's efforts to subvert the Pyramids would not go unanswered; the Hive broods that previously sworn to Savathûn would brand her a heretic for having conspired against the Darkness with the exiled Nokris and defected from her ranks as the Black Fleet invaded Sol, sending the former into hiding. Due to this her own court was left in the dark of her whereabouts.
This granted her sister, Xivu Arath, the opportunity to consolidate the Hive in the Solar System into her power and release her Wrathborn corruption with the Cryptoliths. Xivu would also send her champion, the High Celebrant, to hunt the excommunicated Witch Queen and wrestle control of the Hidden Swarm free from her schemes.
Her absence did not impede her Taken forces, however, as they swarmed upon a new piece of the Traveler in the EDZ, which was calling out to the Guardian and the Crow through the form of a paracausal hawk. The Witch Queen shrouded the shard in her interference much like the Tree of Silver Wings on Io, and apparently watched the fight that ensued. Observing Crow and the Guardian celebrate their victory at a bonfire, she was hit with a sudden wave of nostalgia, remembering her father, sisters, and their shared past on Fundament.
Titles of the Taken commanders she sent to battle the Guarian under the shard - Akorith, Lightdrinker of Savathûn, Ishrasek, Lightbinder of Savathûn, Korusk, Lighteater of Savathûn and Tarusk, Lightstealer Savathûn - imply she might be trying to siphon the Light from the Traveler in some way.
At some point after Dominus Ghaul's defeat, Savathûn began to meddle with the Evocate-General Umun'arath's mind and fuel her obsession with the Hive. Umun'arath started to believe the worship of Hive gods and deployment of their battle techniques was necessary for the Cabal's survival. Under the Witch-Queen's influence, she began conducting a ritual in the central square of Torobatl's weaponsmith district, and when Caiatl approached her, she tried to coax her into kneeling before the "god of war". Caiatl slew the former General, but her death only fueled Savathûn's plan to conjure Xivu Arath in Torobatl and gift her another system to wage war upon.
Through years of trickery and deceit, Savathûn was able to produce what was described as a viral language capable of infecting the minds of her adversaries. This tune has been incorporated into various soundtrack pieces, most notably the Shadowkeep title music. Its connection to the Shrieker of the same name is as of now unknown.
As Savathûn's presence was looming ever closer, instances of a strange, recurring tune would be noticed among the Guardians and Lightless alike. When the Drifter asked Eris Morn about a song Lord Shaxx claimed she had taught him, she revealed the melody was actually a viral chant, unable to be unheard, spread by the Witch Queen. She also suggested it might have been sung to Shaxx by the Ahamkara skull he kept hanging over his spot. Savathûn is implied to be using the skull to spy on the Guardians in the Tower, most importantly Zavala.
List of appearances