The Taken are Darkness-corrupted entities originating from multiple species warped into the Ascendant Plane and paracausally altered to serve their given purpose. Once used by Oryx, the Taken King as his personal army, they have more recently been utilized by other powerful Darkness-aligned entities in the wake of Oryx's defeat, including Savathûn, the Witch Queen; Quria, Blade Transform; Xivu Arath, God of War; and the Taken Ahamkara, Riven. The Drifter, a rogue human Lightbearer known for experimenting with the Darkness, has also managed to achieve a level of temporary control over the Taken.
The power to create Taken is granted by the Darkness itself, and is bestowed only to its most formidable servants. The process of Taking involves summoning a portal or aperture that rips an individual out of the universe and transports them to an unknown location within the Ascendant Plane. There, the Taken-possessed victim is met by the will of whomever Took them, who offers them a way to overcome their former weaknesses. The Taken being then returns to their original universe with new paracausal abilities and a compulsion to serve the one that Took them.
Taken resemble their former selves for the most part, but are ghost-like, shadowed and eerily glowing, with a blindingly bright orb typically obscuring their facial features. Many Taken are seen to shiver or twitch in a disturbing manner, and their vocalizations are warped into shrieks and howls. Over time, exceptionally powerful Taken have been seen to grow pairs of black, curving spikes from their bodies.
The Taken constantly exude a substance called Blight, which resembles a shadowy liquid or gas charged with energy. Wherever Taken have become entrenched, spherical aggregations of Blight are commonly seen; these seem to serve a variety of purposes, including shield generators, area-denial, and interdimensional communication nodes.
Taken versions of enemies have radically different behaviors from their standard counterparts, including new abilities designed to counter Guardian abilities. Groups of Taken can be mixed with members of different species, and can appear on Earth, Venus, Mars, Dreadnaught and Io in most activities; on the Moon, in select Destiny Story missions and certain Patrol activites in both Destiny and Destiny 2.
Taken are unwaveringly loyal to their master, and will turn on former allies without hesitation. Even strong-willed enemies such as Vex Axis Minds or Cabal commanders are incapable of resisting this change. Although new Taken can only be created through the Taking of new victims, existing Taken will remain (albeit aimless and disorganized) indefinitely if their master is killed. A sufficiently powerful being with the ability to Take can assume control of Taken previously generated by a different individual.
While all Taken are enslaved to their master's will, more powerful Taken retain a degree of independent thought and initiative, mostly at the discretion of the master themselves, to "keep them interesting." After Oryx's defeat, the Taken Knight Malok, Pride of Oryx, attempted to seize the vacant throne for himself. Other Taken, such as Noru'usk, Servant of Oryx, have aspirations to ascend while many, like Keksis, the Betrayed, are lost and leaderless. With the advent of the Red War, Taken activity spiked and was more coordinated. Ikora hypothesized that the Taken were no longer leaderless, with signs pointing to Savathûn being the one controlling the Taken, possibly claiming the power to Take for herself.
The Ancient Past
In the distant past, the Hive god Auryx sought to obtain the power to Take in order to help him defeat the Ecumene. He killed his two sisters to gain an audience with Akka, the Worm god of Secrets, whom he then slew in turn. Auryx stole the secrets from its flesh and wrote them upon a set of tablets he named the Tablets of Ruin. After speaking to the Deep directly, he returned, mantled as Oryx, the Taken King.
With this new power Oryx waged war upon the Ecumene and defeated them utterly over a period of one thousand, one hundred and forty years, in the process conjuring back his two sisters in the same way he had killed them.
During the Golden Amputation Oryx Took the Emperor Raven and assured the defeat of the Taishibethi When the Vex invaded his Throne world Oryx Took and turned them against one another, eventually expelling the cybernetic machines from his domain. Later, aboard the Nicha Thought-ship Oryx encountered and Took Quria, Blade Transform, the Vex mind which had orchestrated the organized invasion of his Throne, and later gifted it to his sister Savathûn as a present.
Main article: Taken War
The Taken War was a major, system-wide conflict fought between the Hive, led by Oryx, and all other races in the system. The war began as a direct result of the Guardians slaying Oryx's son Crota, to stop an attempted invasion of Earth. Oryx brought his fleet to Saturn and made free use of the power to Take in his assault on the Solar System. He Took Fallen, Vex, and Cabal in enormous numbers, besides his own Hive and began blighting the system with his Taken forces. When he unleashed his Dreadnaught's superweapon against Queen Mara Sov's fleet, he also Took the Techeuns Sedia, Kalli, and Shuro Chi, and through them was able to spread his Taken forces into the Dreaming City, where he Took the Ahamkara Riven.
With Oryx's defeat, his surviving Taken were released from his control and rendered independent but directionless.  Oryx was assumed to be the only known entity to date to have possessed the power to Take, but following the Taken War, others such as Malok developed the ability to manipulate Taken and their blights. In particular, with assistance from the Techeuns and Variks, the Reef was able to capture a large number of Taken within their Prison of Elders and developed a reliable method for infusing Taken energy into their arms and armor. 
Two years later, during the events of the Red War, the Taken invaded the European Dead Zone and corrupted a forest outside of the Traveler's shard. Certain Taken had also mutated physically, developing two large, curving spikes on their backs. A Red Legion commander was also somehow converted into a Taken, even though Oryx had been defeated prior to the invasion. Ikora commented that these Taken were no longer leaderless, but had to be acting under a new higher power.
During the events of the Dark Alliance Adventure, Red Legion Psions successfully used their powers to steal and infuse Taken energy into themselves and their superiors, empowering them with Taken-powered weapons and shielding. However, this effort was stopped by The Guardian.
On Io, it was discovered by Ikora and Asher Mir, that the Taken had established a foothold after being drawn there by remnants of the Traveler's Light. When they attempted to summon a large number of Taken to overtake the moon, but The Guardian intervened and disabled the portal they had conjured. They also found a way to turn the local Vex into more Taken, with the intention to take a Vex mind and breach the Vex's network to control the Vex as a whole. This plan, however, was discovered and stopped by The Guardian also.
The Taken would launch a major offensive by corrupting the EDZ through the use of Blights. However, this attempt was foiled by the Guardians who managed to destroy the Blights and slay the Taken in command of the infestation, Grask, the Consumed, a former soldier of the Red Legion. With confirmation that someone is assumed control over the Taken in Oryx's place, the Guardians and the Vanguard begin to suspect Savathûn, the Witch-Queen.
Meanwhile, back on Io, the Taken began to appear in greater numbers and were noted to have "interacted" with the Vex. The Guardians discovered that Taken affiliated with Quria have been kidnapping Vex to corrupt them as Taken to form a new army after their many losses in the Taken War. Quria would summon Ir Arok, Tongue of Quria to accomplish this plan, but would be foiled by The Guardian, in which they killed Elatiox and Erosus, Ir Arok's lieutenants, and dismantle the Taken's plans of corrupting the Vex. Ir Arok would then lead an assault into The Pyramidion but would be destroyed by The Guardian, and though a large number of Vex had become corrupted, their efforts prevented the Taken from forming a new army.
The Drifter, a rogue Light-bearer, managed to jury-rig his Ghost with parts salvaged from the Ghosts of his former crew, allowing it access to paracausal spectrums beyond that of the Light, including the Darkness-aligned powers of the Taken. With it, the Drifter is able to create Motes of Darkness and employed them as part of a game called "Gambit", pitting Guardians against their enemies and each other in a bid to harvest these Motes for himself. He is eventually gifted a subspace of the Ascendant Plane from the Nine which he dubbed The Haul, where he caged the leftover Taken from Oryx's army whilst building his own. Among these Taken summoned during these Gambit matches are exceptionally powerful and ancient Taken known as Primevals, which he can summon using Motes of Darkness.
In the years following the Taken War, the Dreaming City was infested by leftover Taken and their blights undisturbed until Oryx's sister reached out towards the Taken Riven and gave her a new purpose. Now able to exert her influence from beyond her prison, Riven manipulated Uldren Sov into unleashing an agent of hers from the City, which the Guardian quickly killed. Petra Venj, investigating the source of Uldren's corruption and the Taken within the city, surmised Riven as the cause after having made contact with Queen Mara Sov at the Oracle Engine. At the Queen's behest, Petra enlisted the support from the Vanguard to have Riven killed and her heart cleansed of her Taken essence.
A Guardian Raid team was quickly formed and breached their way into the corrupted Keep of Voices, where they freed the Techeuns Kalli and Shuro Chi from their Taken corruption. While the Taken Riven baited the Guardians into killing her, they inadvertently made a single collective wish, allowing Riven to alter the rules of ascendancy within the Dreaming City according to Toland. In ending the Ahamkara, Riven's wish cursed the realm; warping it in-between physical reality and the Ascendant Plane while Taken energies having saturated and engulfed huge portions of the city.
As the curse continued to blight the Dreaming City for three weeks, Petra was able to identify the true source of the city's Taken curse: Dûl Incaru, a daughter of the Witch-Queen and the mastermind behind her mother's scheme to access the Distributary using the Awoken secrets found within the City, commanding the curse from Mara's desecrated throne-world of Eleusinia. Upon the third week of the curse, the Guardians charged the dimensional rift generator of the Blind Well and opened a rift into Eleusinia, where they could confront the Witch and her Fatesmith bodyguards.
However, upon the death of Dûl Incaru, the Eternal Return, the Dreaming city reverted back to the state it was in when the curse was first unleashed. The curse then spread in the same manner it had previously, with it being revealed that the curse trapped the Dreaming City within a time loop that resets whenever Dûl Incaru is killed. Through messages left by an unknown sender, it is revealed that the loop was made possible through the wish Riven granted upon her "death", and modeled upon Vex simulations overseen by Quria, Blade Transform.
After the Drifter unveiled Gambit Prime and The Reckoning to the Guardians, the Praxic Warlock Aunor Mahal determined that he had obtained the ability to create "counterfeit" Taken Primevals by coupling his banks to the "haul" gifted to him by the Nine. Among these entities are the Likeness of Nokris, Likeness of Oryx, Counterfeit Servitors, Counterfeit Phalanxes and Counterfeit Hydras.
Undeterred by the fall of the Hidden Swarm and the Guardians hunting Nightmares on Luna—Savathûn unleashed a Taken army lead by Baurisk, Envoy of Savathûn upon a massive Vex computational array on Io, with the goal of corrupting and assuming control over the supercomputer. However, the Vanguard detected a power surge beneath the Pyramidion where the array is located and sent in a fireteam to investigate. The Guardians soon discovered the feud between the Vex and Taken as they fought for control over the array, and promptly made it their mission to prevent the Taken from assuming command over machine—refusing to give the Witch-Queen another advantage.
Fighting past the array's Vex defenders and the invading Taken, the Guardians made it the center of the array where the Taken infestation was anchored in order to remove the blight. There, the Guardians confronted Baurisk; slaying the Taken Incendior and clearing the array of blights, leaving to allow the Vex to finish off any lingering Taken.
Following the destruction of the Almighty, the Vanguard would confirm the arrival of the Darkness itself, with the Pyramids touching down on worlds all around the Solar System, even disabling Rasputin in the process. With their arrival, Eris Morn would attempt to meet the Pyramids on Io to learn of their intent. However, Savathûn would interrupt the communion and send her Taken and one of her Witnesses to further dilute the messages. Slowly, the Taken would begin to overcome her but the Guardian, who was ordered to follow her by Zavala, would save her from the servants of Savathûn while being saved themselves by Eris after being pulled into Savathûn's court. After pulling through her injuries, Eris and the Guardian would discover a tree of Silver Wings and harness the seed within its roots. After a heated meeting with Zavala, Eris would enact a plan to gather enough darkness for the seed with the help of the Drifter and help to clear up the messages with the elimination of the Witnesses corrupting them. Detecting the ploy, Savathûn would deploy her servant, Quria, Blade Transform, and its army to sabotage these darkness harvesting operations to prevent the Guardians from learning of the Darkness' messages to them.
Meanwhile, the Drifter would devise a plan to delve into the Nine's realm and meet with them once again to ask the question, "what is the Darkness?" With the help of the Guardian and Eris Morn, the Drifter's plan would then be set in motion. The Guardian would venture into a strange and paracausal portion of their realm, asked to venture deep into the bowels of this realm by the Emissary, eventually meeting with a visage of a Taken Kell and its simulated dark army. After bypassing its defenses and destroying its army, the Guardian would disperse the Kell Echo and finally gets the answer on the Darkness, learning that it isn't that different from the Light, and should be utilized as a means to survival as the Guardian did with the Motes throughout the inscrutable corners of the realm.
List of appearances