Darkness

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Darkness
Biographical information

Other name(s):

"The Deep"
"IT"[1]
"The Flower Eater"[1]
"The Queen of Final Shapes"[1]
"The Black Edge"[2]
"The Formless One"
"The Winnower"[3]
"Clarity" [4]
"Luster"[5]

Species:

Paracausal force

Affiliation:

Hive (Worm Gods)
Vex (Black Heart, Sol Divisive, Sol Progeny, Nexus Collective, Vex Champion)
Taken (Ascendant Realm)
Scorn (Dark Ether)
Pyramids (Nightmares, The Witness)
Fallen (Splinter of Darkness, House of Salvation, Fallen Champion)
Cabal (Loyalists, Red Legion, Corrupted Bonded Psion, Shadow Legion, Cabal Champion)[6]
Humanity (Stasis, Strand, Clovis Bray)[7]

Notable info:


Confers paracausal abilities to users
Seeks the reduction of the universe to a simplified, eternal form
Desires to subvert and convince the Guardians of its mission

 

"Ah, Oryx, how do we explain it to them? The world is not built on the laws they love. Not on friendship, but on mutual interest. Not on peace, but on victory by any means. The universe is run by extinction, by extermination, by gamma-ray bursts burning up a thousand garden worlds, by howling singularities eating up infant suns. And if life is to live, if anything is to survive through the end of all things, it will live not by the smile but by the sword, not in a soft place but in a hard hell, not in the rotting bog of artificial paradise but in the cold hard self-verifying truth of that one ultimate arbiter, the only judge, the power that is its own metric and its own source—existence, at any cost. Strip away the lies and truces and delaying tactics they call 'civilization' and this is what remains, this beautiful shape.

The fate of everything is made like this, in the collision, the test of one praxis against another. This is how the world changes: one way meets a second way, and they discharge their weapons, they exchange their words and markets, they contest and in doing so they petition each other for the right to go on being something, instead of nothing. This is the universe figuring out what it should be in the end.

And it is majestic. Majestic. It is the only thing that can be true in and of itself.

And it is what I am.
"
— The Darkness to Oryx, the Taken King

The Darkness[8], also known as the Winnower or the Deep, is a powerful,[9] paracausal force inimical to the Light. It is the main antagonist of the Destiny series.

Overview

The Darkness as depicted in the Grimoire.

"It is the nature of life to favor existence over nonexistence, and to prefer the fertile soil to the poisoned wind. Because those who open their mouths to that wind pass from the world and leave no descendant, whether of flesh or of thought.
But imagine the abomination of a world where nothing can end and no choice can be preferred to any other. Imagine the things that would suffer and never die. Imagine the lies that would flourish without context or corrective. Imagine a world without me.
"
— The Darkness[10]

Like the Light, the Darkness is a cosmic paracausal force that has existed since before the beginning of time. Similarly to the Light, it enacts its will in our universe indirectly through various beings whom it empowers with its paracausal gifts, with some of the most powerful being worshiped as deities unto themselves. Its foremost servants and wielders are the entity known as the Witness and its Disciples, who collectively command an armada of Pyramids known as the Black Fleet. The Hive, Taken and Scorn are also influenced by the Darkness to varying degrees, as are a subset of the Vex. The Darkness grants paracausal abilities to those who wield it, among them elemental powers such as Stasis.

Perhaps counterintuitively, the Darkness is associated with memory, whereas the Light is associated with forgetting. This is exemplified by Deepsight, which allows one to, among other things, experience memories associated with an object's past. In contrast, when the Light is bestowed upon an individual via resurrection by a Ghost, they forget all details of their past life. The Hidden agent Sen-Aret hypothesizes that the Darkness connects individuals with the past so that they may strategize defenses against threats they have previously encountered, whereas the Light wipes away memories in order to enable forgiveness and the possibility of new beginnings.

The Darkness seemingly has the ability to 'infect' individuals. Though it is unknown if Uldren's infection was caused by fallout from the Dreadnaught weapon or Riven's influence, he began to display symptoms on Mars (in his unique case, irritation of the eyes), and gradually descended into mood swings, bouts of lethargy, extreme sensitivity to Ahamkara influence, bloodthirsty tendencies, and almost completely forgetting and turning against those he once considered close friends (Jolyon and Petra, respectively). In a similar case, Dredgen Yor fell due to being heavily seduced by the Darkness.

Philosophy and Goals

"Think about it. Do you mourn the uncreated? Do you grieve for those who were never born in a nation that never developed around an ideology no one ever imagined on a continent that never formed? No!

And from that self-evident truth, you must raise your eyes to the ultimate revelation: those who cannot sustain their own claim to existence belong to the same moral category as those who have never existed at all.
"
— The Darkness

In addition to being a fundamental paracausal force, The Darkness is intelligent and capable of communicating with sentient beings. In the Books of Sorrow, Oryx is described as directly communing with the Deep through an unborn Ogre[11][12]. The Lore Book Unveiling is unambiguously written from the Darkness' perspective, and clearly indicates that the Darkness possesses sentience and motives of its own[13]. Whereas the Light rarely communicates with its followers, the Darkness has shown itself to be all too willing to speak directly to sentient beings in their own languages. In such communications, it has typically demonstrated an informal, friendly tone, and will expound at length on its philosophy. It is utterly convinced of the incontrovertible truth of its convictions, and expresses disdain for anyone or anything that objects to its worldview.

The Darkness is fundamentally driven to reduce complexity and diversity within the universe, and to eliminate any entity which cannot survive in the face of adversity; its philosophy is tied to that of the Sword Logic, though not necessarily identical to it. From the Darkness' perspective, only beings which exist have any moral value, and any being that is unable to prevent its own destruction has the same moral worth as a being that never existed to begin with- that is to say, none whatsoever. For this reason, the Darkness seems especially willing to grant its favor to those who commit acts of genocide, such as Oryx, the Taken King or Rhulk, Disciple of the Witness, both of whom are among the most powerful Darkness-wielders yet encountered (with the possible exception of the Witness itself).

The Hive believe that the Light must be consumed for the Darkness to reclaim the universe, but knowledge gained from Unveiling seems to declare that it never had ownership of it in the first place[14]. Its ultimate goal is to bring about an end-state of the universe in which the only entities that exist are those that have overcome all possible obstacles to their survival, and which have the strength to continue existing forever. It refers to this goal as the "final shape".

Veiled Figures

A veiled figure found in the Black Garden.

The Guardians' explorations of the Pyramids, as well as a newly-discovered region of the Black Garden and the Clovis Bray facilities on Europa, have revealed another motif that appears to be representative of, or at least associated with, the Darkness: statues of humanoid, veiled figures. All statues thus far encountered are identical in shape, have seemingly feminine features, and are posed with faces turned upward and arms slightly outspread. The significance of these statues is currently unknown, but they appear to be loci of Darkness-related power. Clovis Bray I had access to one of these statues in the Golden Age, which he named Clarity Control and used in the production of Exos.

History

Origins

"Once upon a time,* a gardener and a winnower lived** together in a garden.***
* It was once before a time, because time had not yet begun.
** We did not live. We existed as principles of ontological dynamics that emerged from mathematical structures, as bodiless and inevitable as the primes.
*** It was the field of possibility that prefigured existence.
"
Unveiling: Gardener and Winnower
A Pyramid

According to the Lore Book "Unveiling," which is seemingly narrated by the Darkness itself, both the Light and the Darkness have existed since before the beginning of time, and thus before the universe came into existence. Being unbound by the laws of causality, neither the Light nor Darkness can be said to have a beginning. Rather, they are emergent properties of even more fundamental "mathematical structures" that in turn underlay reality itself.[15]

In the allegorical story recounted in the Lore Book, the Darkness and Light are referred to as the "Winnower" and "Gardener" respectively. The Winnower and Gardener occupied themselves by engaging one another in a game, analogous to a vastly more complex version of the "Game of Life" devised by Earth mathematician John Conway. This game would consistently arrive at an end-state dominated by a single, self-perpetuating pattern, which subsumed all others in the game. The Winnower found this to be a pleasing outcome, but the Gardener felt the pattern to be boring and desired that the game endlessly produce novel patterns instead. In order to promote this novelty, the Gardener transformed itself into a new "rule" within the game; the Winnower did the same, to counteract the Gardener's efforts. These new rules were "set aside" from the other rules of the game, so that they could not be limited or influenced by them, but could manipulate the other rules to bring about their intended outcomes.

While the story above is laden with metaphor and open to interpretation, it appears to suggest that the universe is the "game" which the Light and Darkness played in the garden, that the rules of the game are the laws of physics as they are commonly understood, and that the "new rules" that the Light and Darkness became are the basis of paracausality.

The Witness

At an unknown point in the ancient past, The Witness was gifted with the Darkness, and embarked upon its eons-long crusade to destroy the Traveler and bring about the Final Shape.

Lubrae's Ruin

Billions of years ago, the Witness visited the planet Lubrae, where it met a young warrior named Rhulk who had become disillusioned with his family and clan following a series of perceived betrayals. The Witness granted Rhulk the use of the Darkness, which would later enable Rhulk to bring about the total annihilation of his own people by causing his homeworld's Sapphiric Sun to implode. Rhulk was subsequently taken in by the Witness and anointed the first of its Disciples.

The Birth of the Hive

"Oryx went down into his throne world. He went out into the abyss, and with each step he read one of his tablets, so that they became like stones beneath his feet.
He went out and he created an altar and he prepared an unborn ogre. He called on the Deep, saying:
I can see you in the sky. You are the waves, which are battles, and the battles are the waves. Come into this vessel I have prepared for you.
And it arrived, the Deep Itself.
"
— The Books of Sorrow, XXXI: Battle made waves

One of the earliest recorded mentions of the Darkness known to the Guardians comes from the Books of Sorrow, a collection of records discovered aboard the Dreadnaught of Oryx, the Taken King. The books describe the origin of the Hive on the gas giant Fundament, where three daughters of a deposed king, Aurash, Xi Ro, and Sathona, set out to save their world from a prophesied apocalypse, and in their quest encountered the massive being known as the Leviathan. The Leviathan warned them against the temptation of "The Deep," a philosophy which held that "existence is the struggle to exist," and which it claimed would lead them only to ruin and calamity. It instead told them to pursue the philosophy of "The Sky," which encouraged collaboration to build a kinder, more prosperous world, even if it meant that some deaths and misfortunes must be allowed to occur. The sisters rejected the Leviathan's advice, and dove deep into the core of their world to find the five Worms: Eir, the Keeper of Order, Ur, the Ever-Hunger, Yul, the Honest Worm, Xol, Will of the Thousands, and Akka, the Worm of Secrets.

The Worm Gods promised to lend the sisters their paracausal powers, which they drew from the Deep, in return for the sisters becoming hosts for the Worms' larvae. The sisters agreed and became the founders and God-rulers of what would one day become known as the Hive. The Worms taught the nascent Hive Gods of the Sword Logic, which they used to become ever more powerful.

Much later, the Hive God Auryx (who was once Aurash) slew the Worm God Akka in order to obtain enough power to learn more about the secrets of the Deep, and he obtained the power to Take[16]. He became thereafter known as Oryx, the Taken King. Sometime later, he sought to commune with the Deep directly and prepared an Ogre as a sacrifice, which the Deep inhabited and used to converse with Oryx.[17][18]

The Cambrian Explosion

"And then—one day—the fall occurred. So much earlier and so much more necessary than your myths remember. (...) This was the Cambrian Explosion, the great birth of complex life on your world. I caused it. I, the defector, the destroyer, the one who takes."
— The Darkness

According to the Darkness itself, the Cambrian Explosion (i.e. the rapid appearance and diversification of complex life on Earth) was one of innumerable examples across the history of the universe where the Darkness played a role in bringing about complex life, by virtue of curtailing the existence of weaker organisms and thereby driving biological evolution.[19]

The Whirlwind

"Where is the Great Machine? Where is the Great Machine?"
Chelchis, Kell of Stone

At an unknown time in the past, the Eliksni homeworld of Riis was visited by the Traveler, who ushered in an era of great prosperity and technological advancement. However, as with so many others before them, the Eliksni's Golden Age was ended when the Darkness found their civilization and decimated it, sending the Traveler fleeing and reducing the Eliskni to a race of interstellar nomads. This cataclysmic event became known in Eliksni history as the Whirlwind.

Pre-Collapse

"Heaven is invaded and its territories are afire and all its mountains have been shattered into thrones. This is the inevitable and perfect shape of the truth.
It is magnificent. Majestic. Majestic.
"
— Thoughts of a K1 researcher meditating in the presence of the Anomaly

Prior to the Collapse, a Human mining expedition on Luna was commissioned by Clovis Bray to discover the source of a mysterious wavelength buried beneath the Moon's crust. They discovered nearly twelve hundred meters deep a black sphere, emitting neurochemical cascades which caused intrusive thoughts, insomnia, narcolepsy, nightmares, and auditory and visual hallucinations. The sphere was studied due to an outbound signal that was believed to be connected to a second Traveler, or even the origins of the Traveler. However, the expedition team, despite their best efforts, were eventually driven to madness without being fully aware of it and perished.[20][21]

Clovis Bray I later communed with the artifact, which urged him to go to Europa to seek the secret of immortality. He mounted a personal expedition to the icy moon, where he discovered the source of the paracausal power he called "Clarity": an entity he named "Clarity Control".

The Collapse

The Darkness closes in upon the Traveler.

"Something hit us. Killed our Golden Age. Nearly wiped us out. Only the Traveler saved us, and at a shattering cost."
Grimoire description.

The only solid information on the Darkness gathered by humanity itself comes from an ISR report from centuries ago.[8] At that time, the Darkness appeared just beyond the edge of the Solar System in what was termed as a "TRANSIENT NEAR EXTRASOLAR EVENT", with the only means of determining that a transient event had even occurred was through the detection of a 0.3 second displacement of gravity waves, as well as anomalous interactions in the local Higgs field traced to sterile neutrino scattering. An AI observing the event, the Warmind Rasputin, was able to derive some information, based solely on the phenomena that it could detect, but was unable to ascertain its mechanism. Rasputin conducted an "Omnibus analysis" of the event's effects on local spacetime, measuring a wide range of data points including direction, distance, range, speed, and size as well as a comprehensive pattern analysis of the event itself. This last set of data showed, to a certainty of "9 Sigma", a definite and measurable pattern that had a complex, almost linguistic, structure that demonstrated both intelligence and intent.

In an attempt to better understand the phenomenon by recreating all of its known variables (also known as a "bootstrap simulation"), Rasputin reran the data through a series of iterations which included a number of randomized inputs, in a process known as a Monte Carlo analysis. Despite this, it was unable to derive any definitive information about the event or its source; however, it was able to determine that whatever was behind the event was clearly a complex structure, acting with clear purpose. Rasputin concluded that the source of the event not only failed to conform to any known phenomena in the Standard Model of particle physics (thus labeling it "acausal"), it was also directed, acting with anger, and almost certain to reach the solar system in a short amount of time. As a result, the previously issued Skyshock alert was upgraded to OCP:EXTINCTION, and a number of defensive protocols were added.[22]

The Darkness nonetheless swept through the Solar System, devastating human civilization in an event called the Collapse. Very little concrete is known about the collapse, with those few recollections that are ever shown implying the presence of terrible creatures and a uniform sensation of being smothered in darkness, despite being able to perceive the carnage around them. The Darkness intentionally created a gravitational disturbance that caused the ocean of Titan to experience massive waves, rendering the planet unfit for human habitation even in their advanced arcologies. Only due to the Traveler's intervention did humanity survive, with a large fragment of the Traveler being left in what would be the European Dead Zone.[8] Seven centuries later,[23] the Darkness was set to return.[24]

Events of Destiny

The Black Heart, an aspect of the Darkness.

Centuries after the Collapse, a lone Guardian encountered the Exo Stranger on Venus, and was subsequently sent on a quest to find the Black Garden. After battling through the Sol Divisive Vex and reaching the center of the Garden, the Guardian discovered an entity, the Black Heart, that the Vex seemed to revere as an object of worship. The entity could not attack the Guardian directly but attempted to defend itself by taking control of the Sol Progeny, three enormous Vex Minotaurs. After a protracted battle, the Black Heart was apparently destroyed along with its three Sol Progeny vessels. Upon the defeat of the Black Heart, the Black Garden was relocated to Mars from its prior location, and Light began to return to the dormant and damaged Traveler.

Following the battle in the Black Garden, Ikora Rey hypothesized that the Black Heart had been an aspect of the Darkness itself.

Events of Destiny 2

A mysterious fleet awakes outside the Milky Way

After the death of Dominus Ghaul and the restoration of the Light, a fleet of pyramid-shaped ships activated in response and started moving en masse toward the Milky Way. The shape of these ships bore a resemblance to the black tetrahedrons featured in the vision the Guardian experienced upon losing their Light, as well as the triangular shadow used to represent the Darkness in the opening cinematic.

Curse of Osiris

In the Simulant Future, Osiris encountered a massive shadow-like entity on Mercury.[25]

Warmind

"There is no Light here. You are alone. You shall drift. You shall drown in the Deep."
Xol, Will of the Thousands

Following the reawakening of the Grasp of Nokris on Mars, the Guardian encountered the Worm God Xol, Will of the Thousands in the Penumbral Depths beneath Hellas Basin. There, the Worm God addressed the Guardian telepathically, claiming that the Guardian would "drown in the Deep".

Forsaken

Mara Sov's star map of the Darkness ships.

The Scorn, a faction of undead Fallen first encountered by the Guardians in a mass breakout from the Prison of Elders, were created through the use of Darkness-tainted Ether by Fikrul, the Fanatic. This "Dark Ether" was first generated when Riven drew upon Uldren Sov's internal Darkness and infused it into Ether, bringing Fikrul back from death.

Mara Sov has a star map in the Queen's Court that is actively tracking the Darkness as it travels toward the Solar System.

The Nine also seem to be aware of the Darkness' approach to the Solar System.[26]

Shadowkeep

"You made it...we have heard your cries for help. And soon, we will answer."

"Who are you?"

"Don't you recognize us? We are not your friend. We are not your enemy. We are your... salvation. "
— The Witness and The Guardian
Ikora looking at the Luna Pyramid

Eris Morn, after going missing prior to the Red War, stumbles upon a derelict alien vessel in the shape of a pyramid beneath the surface of the Moon. She discovered that the Darkness originating from the Pyramid was triggered into unleashing phantasmal Nightmares and that the Hidden Swarm are harnessing them in a crimson citadel built above the ancient structure, near the Hellmouth, dubbed the Scarlet Keep. With Eris Morn as their guide and having the Vanguard's approval on handling the situation, the Guardians made efforts in combating the Hive and the Darkness-powered Nightmares. Using the Hive's knowledge and the essence of the most powerful of Nightmares, Eris was able to forge armor that was capable of resisting the Nightmares.

Now prepared and with the Nightmares pushed back, the Guardian descends beneath the Scarlet Keep to the Pyramid. There, the Witness manages to possess the Guardian's Ghost and opens the Pyramid, drawing in the Guardian. Inside, the Guardian faces off against Nightmares of their most dangerous foes: Ghaul, Crota and Fikrul. As they combat against the powerful Nightmares, the Witness lectures the Guardians, through their Ghost, on the Light's failures and weaknesses. Despite this, the Guardian manages to overcome the Nightmares and reaches the center of the Pyramid.

The Guardian is presented with an Unknown Artifact and is subjected to a vision from within the Black Garden, where they encounter the Witness as taking the form of themselves. The Witness addresses the Guardian having heard humanity's cries for help and that they would soon answer, claiming that they are neither the Guardian's friend nor enemy, but instead their "salvation".

The Guardian brings the artifact to Eris and reports what they encountered in the Pyramid to the Vanguard. Utterly suspicious of what the Witness speaks as their salvation, they take it as a confirmation that the Darkness is preparing to return. At the same time, Eris identifies a signal emitting from the artifact that leads deep within the Black Garden, to which a fireteam of Guardians was sent to investigate. What they found were remnants of the Pyramids that the Vex were attempting to harness with Vex Minds, which the fireteam destroyed and triggered the artifact to unlock. Eris began receiving messages directly from the Darkness which she dismissed as attempts of manipulation, but nonetheless provided potentially valuable information into the origin of the Light, the Darkness, the Vex, and the Universe itself.

When Osiris confronted Rasputin regarding his allegiance to the Light or the Darkness, the Warmind directed him to an anomalous signal located in the Kuiper Belt. Upon arriving at the coordinates, Sagira reported feeling strange (in a manner similar to the Guardian's Ghost when approaching the Pyramid). Osiris then entered "an anomalous Maw" and returned with a "cold metal seed" before setting his ship on a course to return to the inner Solar System.

Rasputin showing Zavala the incoming threat

Later in Season of the Worthy, Rasputin shows the Guardian and Zavala a holographic image of the solar system, only to show them that the fleet of Pyramid ships seem to be surrounding the system from all directions. From there on, Zavala, convinced that the Warmind knows the stakes, exclaims that the Vanguard and Rasputin will stand together to face these pyramids head-on. Further, maps of the Solar System within Rasputin's bunkers all reveal a disturbing discovery - the Pyramids have finally arrived near our system and are on final approach towards Earth and the Traveler. By the final reset of the Season of the Worthy, the number of Pyramids displayed on Rasputin's bunkers had increased to fifty-four in number.

Season of Arrivals

Rasputin shuts down.

"The day we've been dreading has finally arrived. The Darkness is here."
Commander Zavala

Several days after the Almighty's destruction, the Darkness would assert its fleet of mysterious Pyramid Ships and push into the solar system, with one ship accompanied by Pyramid Scales going to Io. Detecting the oncoming threat, Rasputin uses his Warsat network around the moon of Jupiter in an effort to shoot down the vessel. Sadly, his countermeasures have no effect, and the Pyramid responds by completely disabling the Warmind and his systems, leaving the Guardians to fend for themselves.

The Pyramids would be drawn to Io as it is the last place to be touched by the Traveler and station itself over a strange tree that has grown in the center of the collection of raised rocks. Both Eris Morn and the Young Wolf are also attracted to the moon, with Eris arriving in an attempt to commune with the Pyramids once again and the Young Wolf being sent by Commander Zavala to retrieve the lightless Hunter.

A Pyramid stationed on Mercury

Upon arrival, the Guardian is drawn to a small disturbance on the edge of the cliff overlooking the largest of the Pyramids, where they are once again ensnared by the vessel, with it communicating through their Ghost. However, before the Pyramid could do anything else, they are saved by an intervention from Savathûn who transports them to the Ascendant Realm where they are forced to fight both Taken and Hive. They fight the Witch Queen's forces back and forth through realities until Eris brings them to the Tree of Silver Wings directly under the Pyramid. Here, after another bout with the Taken, the Guardian retrieves an artifact called the Seed of Silver Wings that, once charged, will allow Eris to listen to the Darkness' messages without the Witch Queen's interference.

Soon, the Pyramid ships would spread further beyond Io, with three more ships now above Saturn's moon of Titan overseeing the New Pacific Arcology, near the BrayTech Futurescape on Mars, and above the Caloris Basin in Mercury. The Pyramid on Io also began rapidly deploying Pyramid Scales, which could be seen flying to and from the vessel, in order to presumably prepare the moon for terraforming. It is unknown where the rest of the fleet was at the time. In response, Zavala had deployed the Young Wolf to their allies on the four planets and moons with the presence of the Pyramids to begin preparations for a mass exodus and retreat back to The Last City. However, after completing a series of tasks Commander Sloane, Brother Vance, and Asher Mir would opt to stay with Ana Bray being the only V.I.P to return to the City but not after saving what remains of Rasputin with the help of the Young Wolf.

In the following weeks, Guardians were pulled into the Ascendant Realm, reminiscent of the Court of Oryx on the Dreadnaught, this time encountering Nokris, Savathun's supplicant. Upon defeating him, the Darkness was able to complete its message, while forcibly transporting the Guardians aboard a room within the Io Pyramid, telling Guardians there is an ancient power deep beneath the surface of Europa and that it must be embraced, displaying each race with a shadow of a Pyramid, with one shadow lingering over the Fallen.

Almost half a year after the Pyramids returned, the worlds of Mercury, Mars, Io, and Titan had all disappeared from the system, presumably being consumed by the Darkness. The status of the Pyramid Fleet is unknown, but it is presumed that they are holding position along the outer reaches of the system after being driven back by the Traveler healing itself.

Beyond Light

The Europa Pyramid silently hovering above the Europan ice fields.

"The Light believes you thankless. Nothing more than a soldier asked again and again to do its bidding.
So we want to thank you. With a gift. To help you finally take control.
"
— The Pyramids to the Guardian

Sometime during or after the Arrival, a sixth Pyramid touched down on the icy moon of Europa. It remained unknown to the rest of the system for a time, until Eramis, Kell of Darkness and her newly formed House of Salvation touched down on Europa and discovered the Pyramid. There, she attempted to harness the Pyramid's dark energy to rebuild the Eliksni Empire and finally destroy the Traveler.

Later on, Variks broke off his loyalty to Eramis and sent a distress signal before being captured, leading to the Guardian's conflict with the House of Salvation.

The Nature of the Darkness

Theories and Speculation

Because so few survived the Collapse, the exact nature of the Darkness has long been a mystery to most living within the Last City. Several theories as to what the Darkness actually is have been proposed by various scholars among the Guardians and other people of the City. The most well-known of these are listed below:

  • Pujari claimed that the Darkness is both a physical and moral presence, evil made tangible. It was a storm of corruption emerging from the Golden Age.[27]
  • Saint-14 argued that the Darkness was an invading armada of aliens. Some suggest that these aliens had been previously rejected by the Traveler for their sins. In reality, the most likely explanation is the Fallen.[27]
  • Ulan-Tan suggests that the Darkness is the necessary symmetry to the Traveler as part of a cosmic balance.[27]
  • The Monists believe the Darkness is a technologically superior force, to the point of post-singularity, and that the universe is just a simulation. Such an advanced intelligence could mimic acausality by bending the rules of the universe's programming.[27]
  • The Acataleptic Clause, and the Praxic Order, believe that not only is the Darkness unknowable, but that people shouldn't bother trying to understand it and instead simply fight it.[27]
  • A heretical position from the Binary Star Cult states that the Traveler itself triggered the collapse, and used humanity as a sacrifice/proxy army in its war against the Darkness.[27]

It is now known that most of these proposed explanations are actually true to some extent: the Darkness is a paracausal force that is the counterpart to the Light, it is closely associated with a philosophy that most would consider deeply immoral or evil, and its principal wielders and servants are the Witness and its Disciples, a collective of aliens that at least in part were abandoned by the Traveler and make use of supremely advanced technology in the form of the Pyramids of the Black Fleet.

Toland's Understanding

Toland, the Shattered understands the Darkness as the natural evolutionary endpoint of the entire universe. Since the beginning of time, everything has been in competition with everything else for no reason, other than that is the way of the universe: the law of the jungle. As atoms came into being, they defeated the "primordial broth" that preceded it. From atoms came stars, from stars came galaxies, worlds were created, and finally life arose, all due to the eternal competition.

Toland envisions a future where three archetypal "nations" compete with each other: the first represents the perfect rule of law, the second represents knowledge made paramount, and the third represents sheer, total conquest. The third nation will succeed, inevitably, and in time will lead to a greater conflict between other nations which all represent the desire to conquer and dominate. The universe thus becomes a place where only the most ruthless entities succeed, to the point where they actively hunt and exterminate other life long before it can ever be a true threat. Finally, at the end of time there will be only one entity that rules the universe so absolutely that nothing will ever exist except by its consent, so it will rule forever. In essence, Toland asserts that this incontestable supremacy is the goal or driving force of the Darkness.

An alternative way of life, where law and knowledge and might worked together rather than competed, as in the case of humanity and the City, is little more than "the dream of small minds", and is unlikely to succeed against an entity of pure conquest.[28]

Rasputin's Testimony

Rasputin monitoring the Pyramid Fleet.

Rasputin was the one to first discover the coming of the Darkness which he termed "IT".[29] At the time, Rasputin's original core programming was to protect humanity. To be allowed to be this, he was designed to be stronger than the enemies of Earth and to survive anything that was thrown at him.

When Rasputin detected a faint signal on the outskirts of our Solar System, he jumped into action. Unable to identify the source or type, he believed there was evidence to suggest there were traces of dark matter. Upon further analysis of multiple findings, he postulated that "IT" had a structured intelligence and purpose and flagged it as not operating by the laws of cause and effect. Using the minimal data that he had, he concluded that "IT" was hostile and capable of an interplanetary extinction event. He activated the correct protocols and sent messages to the other Warminds to prepare for defensive actions.

As "IT" entered our Solar System, he commanded the Warminds to stop the Darkness and protect all humans. The Warminds fought against the Darkness and one by one, began to fall. Realising he could do nothing to stop it, Rasputin had to make a choice: to fight against the Darkness or survive. Once it became clear that no conceivable action could be taken to fulfill his core programming, he implemented a protocol known as MIDNIGHT EXIGENT and reconfigured his core programming to that of long term survival, abandoning his previous function and going dark, while simultaneously ordering all remaining forces at his disposal to do the same.

Dreams of Alpha Lupi

The Dreams of Alpha Lupi poem contains a verse related to the Darkness and possibly representative of the Darkness's own perspective. The verse explains that the universe, despite its vastness, is beholden to simple, enduring laws that shape it and give one the impression that it is inexhaustible and eternal. Life is an affront to the universe because it refuses to accept the limitations imposed on it by the natural order.[30]

According to the Darkness Itself

Ghost Fragment: Darkness 4 contains an excerpt of unknown origin, addressing an unknown recipient. Its opening line: "This war is all there is for you." is also a line of dialog, spoken by Future War Cult representative Lakshmi-2, in which she asks the player what they would do if, "on some dreadful night, the Darkness were to come creeping up" and whisper the aforementioned statement to them. This would suggest that the excerpt in Ghost Fragment: Darkness 4 is the full text of that opening statement, indicating that the Darkness is addressing a Guardian, attempting to entice them into turning away from the Light, or at least plant the seeds of doubt. [31]

The Darkness has also communicated directly with the Young Wolf via the Lore Book "Unveiling" which contains a series of stories and discussions on the Darkness' role in cosmological events and its personal philosophy. This account reveals that the Darkness is a paracausal force that has existed since "before" time, space and the universe (to the extent that such a statement has any meaning), as is the Light, and that its overriding objective is to reduce the universe to a maximally simplified form that will exist for eternity.

From The Books of Sorrow

Auryx faces the Worm God, Akka

"Out in the world we ask a simple, true question. A question like, can I kill you, can I rip your world apart? Tell me the truth. For if I don't ask, someone will ask it of me.
And they call us evil. Evil!
Evil means 'socially maladaptive.' We are adaptiveness itself.
"
— The Darkness

Following the arrival of Oryx, the Taken King in the Sol System, records were discovered aboard Oryx's Dreadnaught that provide new insight into the Darkness' history and nature. These records suggest that the Darkness is a manifestation or embodiment of the universal struggle for existence: whereas the Traveler seeks to nurture civilization by encouraging peace and mutual cooperation, the Darkness is dedicated to the annihilation of all beings and civilizations who do not possess the strength to survive in the face of conquest. Its eventual goal is to bring about a universe inhabited solely by those entities who have survived by defeating all opposition. To this end, it has destroyed countless planets and civilizations, either through direct action or through its disciples, such as the Hive.[32]

On one occasion, Oryx went deep into the Ascendant Realm using the Tablets of Ruin and prepared an unborn Ogre, which he used as a vessel to summon and communicate with the Darkness, saying "I can see you in the sky. You are the waves, which are battles, and the battles are the waves. Come into this vessel I have prepared for you." It is here that the Darkness explained to Oryx how it viewed existence and how the universe functioned.[33]

Aspects and Manifestations

Much like the Light manifests itself in varying forms such as Arc, Void and Solar Light, it appears that the Darkness also manifests itself in a variety of ways that can be wielded by its servants.

Stasis

Stasis is an elemental aspect of the Darkness that enables its wielders to freeze objects by halting the motion of their constituent particles.

Strand

Strand is an elemental aspect of the Darkness that enables its wielders to manifest threads of psychic energy.

Taking

" Taking involves reforming matter in a self-contained reality, where the creator defines past, present, and future; imagine how a more insightful being could expand these definitions, to different ends. Overcoming a target's will must consume a large portion of energy. What if you used that energy for larger shifts in reality? You could teleport an army into a Hive mothership… move a fleet outside time and space… perhaps even alter a moon's orbit, devastating the planet below. The military applications could be far graver than simply creating an army."
Ophiuchus

The Darkness can be used to displace beings from the "normal" universe into the Ascendant Realm, allowing them to be subsequently corrupted into Taken through an unknown process. It appears that this is only one specific application of a broader power, as the Witness has demonstrated the ability to move entire planets between dimensions, as well as temporally shift selected regions of a planet into different points in time.

Deepsight

Deepsight is a form of clairvoyance that allows one to see through illusions and perceive echoes of past events.

Nightmares

Nightmares surrounding the Luna Pyramid

Nightmares are apparitions created by the Lunar Pyramid using the Darkness, usually manifesting to a given individual as a former foe or comrade whose memory is associated with fear, regret or other emotional trauma. Like Deepsight, this power is thematically in keeping with the Darkness' association with memory.

Darkness Fields

Based upon matching descriptions from Emperor Calus, the Hive, Cayde-6, and Awoken records, the Darkness and certain Darkness-related entities seem to have the ability to project some sort of field that gives the impression of complete darkness surrounding an individual. Calus wrote that upon encountering the Darkness, it appeared as a complete void to him, while the Awoken reported being surrounded by a force that "made the stars go out." Cayde-6 similarly described being enveloped by a smothering, paralyzing black cloud during the Collapse; however, in this case, it left his senses intact so that he could witness the destruction of his surroundings. The Drifter also encountered mysterious entities on an unknown, distant ice world that were trapped in alien monoliths. These beings had a disturbing ability to kill Ghosts from just being near them, and to nullify Light itself. The beings were everywhere on the world, and were described as having a "Darkness field."

Influences

Guardians

"You are the gardener's final argument. It would mean everything if I could convince you that I am the right and only way.
I truly value you. To the gardener, you are a means to an end. To me, you are majestic. Majestic. You are full of the only thing worth anything at all.
I am, by the only standard that matters or will ever matter, the winning team. Existence is a test that most will fail. Would you not count yourself among the victorious few?
Don't hurry to deliver your answer. I'll come over and hear it myself.
"
— The Darkness to the Guardian
Guardians wielding the Dark powers of Stasis

The Darkness desires to sway the Guardians to its philosophy, as it acknowledges them as beings powerful enough to potentially become the "final shape" it wishes to bring about.

There are a handful of Guardians who fell into the darkness, notably Dredgen Yor.[34] Yor came to desire taking innocent lives and sowing despair, claiming he had developed a hunger for it. Toland, the Shattered claimed to be able to communicate with the Darkness,[35] whereas Eris Morn was able to survive and escape the Hellmouth wielding the very power she fought against.[36] Eris had one time even used the power of Darkness to rescue the Guardian from being trapped in the Oversoul Throne. As noted above, it would appear that the Darkness attempts to turn Guardians away from the Light. One example is when Pujari had his vision of the Black Garden; the vision made him doubt the righteousness of the Guardians when the vision told him, "You are a dead thing made by a dead power in the shape of the dead. All you will ever do is kill. You do not belong here. This is a place of life."[37] This hearkens back to Ghost Fragment: Darkness 4, where the Darkness calls Guardians "a dead husk" animated by "an ancient corpse," referring to the "dead" Traveler.

Fallen

Eramis, Kell of Darkness with the Splinter of Darkness

"What others call dark which is not I know what it is but no time room calm given for an appropriate telling so I say only that what is not shadow is an ally and a wonder and I respect what I cannot steal from and you cannot take from the dark you can claim only pain from the dark and that is why the dark is worthy of love beyond all other love that astonishing ability to evade being robbed."
— Ghost Fragment: Fallen 2

According to Fallen Lore, their civilization was destroyed when the Great Machine left them and the Whirlwind tore the sky. The Great Machine and Whirlwind are the Traveler and Darkness respectively, making the Fallen one of the races to survive the Darkness's devastation, and confirming Saint-14's hypothesis as partially true. A reclaimed (though corrupted) Fallen story mentions that the Fallen respect what they cannot steal from, which is "why the dark is worthy of love beyond all other love that astonishing ability to evade being robbed".[38]

Sometime during around the events of Shadowkeep, Guardians were introduced to Fallen Champion who had been "touched" by the Darkness and given powerful abilities to fight back against their foes.[39] Usually they are seen in high-leveled endgame content such as Nightfalls and recently Raids.

Later Eramis would proclaim herself as the Kell of Darkness of the House of Salvation and led the newly formed House to Europa to acquire the powers of the Darkness. They began utilizing the Darkness as a means to destroy the Guardians and The Last City, going against the Fallen's traditional rules and ideals by willingly using and harnessing the very thing that destroyed their home. With her newfound power, she began plotting to rebuild their Eliksni civilization and take vengeance against the Traveler for abandoning her people centuries prior and wanting to make it her their "pain".[40]

Scorn

The resurrecting Fikrul the Fanatic

Prior to the formation of the House Salvation, the Scorn, a group of undead Fallen, were created through the use of Ether infused with Darkness. They were championed by their heretical Archon, Fikrul, the Fanatic who denounced the worship of Servitors and followed a Dark interpretation of Faith.[41]

Cabal

According to a dead Ghost, the Cabal are secretly running away from a terrible power following them, presumably the Darkness.[42]

The Cabal had some texts on their athenaeum worlds that theorized about the Darkness, with the little concrete information the texts contained about the Darkness having been recorded from the "dreams of worms".[43]

Evocate-General Umun'arath, Primus of All Legions, once said in reference to Cabal civilization and culture that "The war is all there is. All this is just logistical support." This echoes the above-mentioned phrase used by the Darkness and the Future War Cult.[44]

Zavala, Osiris, and Cabal talking about the Darkness

During his exile, the former emperor Calus sought the means to defeat his usurper Ghaul by exploring the secret places of the galaxy and pushing the limits of reason once he regains control of the Leviathan. He eventually crossed paths with a perfect void at the edge of the universe, most likely the Darkness itself, and resolved to become its herald.[45] He would watch it consume the light of the universe, and all among the last of the living would know his greatness.[46] Calus also knows of the pact that Oryx made with the Worms, comparing it to Ghaul's takeover of the legions.[47] Calus' strange powers and his claims of "knowing the truth" about the galaxy and his mockery of the Guardians' "feeble light" implies that he may have some knowledge of the inner workings of the Darkness.

At some point, Red Legion Psions used their psionic powers to successfully harness and infuse Taken energy into themselves and their superiors, empowering them with Taken-ehanced shielding. However, this effort was stopped by The Guardian.[48]

During the Season of Dawn, the Guardians had faced Cabal Champions who were "touched" by the Darkness and were given newfound abilities.[39] Soon they were frequently encountered at high-leveled endgame content, most notably Nightfalls.

Hive

Darkness calling out the Hive, Fallen, and Cabal

The progenitors of the Hive made a pact with their highest gods, the Worms, who grant the powers of Darkness to the Hive. They worship the Darkness as a force of destruction, and their worship has taken the form of chronicling every planet they have seen the Darkness destroy, a massive archive known as "the World's Grave" found deep within the Hellmouth.[49] The Hive religion has a pantheon of other gods, but one in particular, Oryx, is of significant importance. Oryx commands both the Hive and his own personal army, the Taken, by using the power of the Darkness (see below). This power he stole from his patron deity, the worm Akka, so that he could access the Darkness directly like the Worms could. Osiris prophesied that should the Spawn of Crota succeed in snuffing out the worlds of Light, Oryx's coming would be unfettered,[50] reminiscent of the Darkness's predicted arrival. The Hive religion, based around the 'Sword-Logic', closely matches Toland's theory above.

Vex

Sanctified Mind defending a Pyramid Scale.

"In all their transformations, they retained that kernel of ultimate self-sufficiency that had made them victors in the flower game.
But they are not incontrovertibly destined to rule this cosmos. They were made before Light and Darkness, but the rules are different now, and even this pattern must adapt.
They are not all mine, not in the way that admirers such as my man Oryx are mine: utterly devoted to the practice of my principle. But some of them have, nonetheless, found their way home.
"
— The Darkness

The majority of the Vex avoid the Darkness, due to a combination of their inability to simulate paracausality and the fact that their ultimate goal of Convergence (an end state of the universe where only the Vex exist) means that they would have to overcome the Darkness. The Vex of the Sol Divisive however, worship the Black Heart, an aspect of the Darkness.[51]Osiris theorized that some Vex technology is tuned to react to the presence of the Darkness.[52]

Through unknown means, the Sol Inherent, a powerful subdivision of the Sol Divisive, appear to have been exposed to the Darkness and changed by it somehow, causing them to take on malformed, organic, visceral appearances. Upon the deactivation of the Sanctified Mind, a structure behind it opens up to reveal a statue identical to the one found on the Pyramid, hidden by a geometrical platform above which floats a Pyramid Scale. The significance of this is unknown.

During the events of Shadowkeep, Guardians faced Vex Champions who have been "touched" by the Darkness and were given newfound abilities to be on-par against their powerful adversaries.[39]They were later encountered in high-leveled content such as Nightfalls.

Awoken & Jovians

The Emissary showing the Drifter the Darkness fleet

The Awoken were once humans but were transformed during the Collapse upon reaching the edge of the asteroid belt. Beyond the belt, "the edge of the Deep Black", the system is totally immersed in Darkness.[53][54] The events of their transformation were further detailed in the Lore book "Marasenna", which reveals that the Awoken were captured in a kugelblitz formed by the Darkness and Light battling one another in the vicinity of the Yang Liwei. As a result of this event, the Awoken were reborn as beings containing both Light and Darkness within themselves.

During his possession by the Taken Ahamkara known as Riven, Uldren Sov emitted streams of Darkness from his eyes to activate the gate of the Dreaming City.

Taken

Oryx demonstrating the power to Take

Through Oryx, the Darkness can be used to take direct possession of other beings, transforming them into Taken. When a being is Taken, they are warped into the Ascendant Plane, where they are reshaped by the Darkness into spectral ghost-like versions of their former selves, with new paracausal abilities and a single-minded dedication to the one that Took them. Reports from the Ecumene fighting Taken described them as having abilities that are "physically illegal," meaning their very existence broke all known laws of physics.

Trivia

  • The Darkness bears resemblance to the Armies of the Dark and its leader in Bungie's Myth series—a resurgent dark force that is the antithesis to the (forces of) Light.
  • The idea of the Darkness arising from a primordial universe bears resemblance to the origins of the W'rkncacnter from Bungie's Marathon series.
  • The tetrahedral shapes often seen in association with the Darkness allude to the philosophy of the Darkness; tetrahedrons are the simplest possible three-dimensional shape, and the Darkness seeks to reduce the universe into a maximally simplified, eternal form. Notably, the Pyramid ships are themselves tetrahedrons, with each face being either a right, isosceles or regular triangle. In contrast, the Traveler is a sphere, which can be described as having infinitely many faces; this may allude to the philosophy of the Light, which encourages complexity and diversity.
  • A teaser released on the official Destiny 2 Twitter page on the 29th of May 2020 features a 1:13 long video that plays audio that seems to fit the nature of the Darkness. The Video also features a typical soundbar background but the bars do not move in time with the audio itself, instead, they are frozen with some of the bars forming the shape of a small pyramid and a large pyramid. At the end of Season of Arrivals, it was revealed that these sounds were the ambience for the pillar room. Many of these sounds were reused for the Europan Pyramid's interior, mixed with the pulsing from the Lunar Pyramid.
  • The theme that accompanies the Darkness and the Pyramids contains seven notes.

List of appearances

Gallery

References

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  2. ^ https://www.bungie.net/en/Explore/Detail/News/47849
  3. '^ Bungie (2019/10/1), Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Unveiling - Gardener and Winnower
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