The Taken War was a major, system-wide conflict fought between the Hive, led by Oryx, the Taken King, 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 began blighting the system with his Taken forces. The war continued to rage even after Oryx's death, as the Taken continued to haunt the system and pretenders arose to lay claim to the Taken King's vacant throne.
For centuries, the Guardians of the Last City have fought with the Hive to prevent them from invading Earth and destroying the Traveler, only in the recent years have the Guardians been able to make progress in driving the Hive back. The Hive in the system were led by Crota, Son of Oryx who brought about the Great Disaster after the Guardians sought to retake the Moon. Though a fireteam led by Eriana-3, a survivor of the battle, sought revenge against the Hive Prince, but her team failed in killing Crota. Only Eris Morn survived that mission and has since then feared Crota's return and has sought the means to destroy him and avenge her fallen comrades. Her fears came true when Crota's servants endeavored to resurrect their master and have him lead an all-out invasion of Earth.
Gathering Guardians who listened to her warnings, Eris sought to put a halt on Crota's return by first eliminating his armies' leaders and preventing the ritual to return Crota's soul to the material world. Thanks to the Guardians' efforts, Crota's followers fell and in the Chamber of Night, the Guardians destroyed Crota's soul crystal, preventing his return to the physical world. Despite this accomplishment, Eris knew that Crota could only be killed in his throne world, located within the deepest pit of the Hellmouth and she advised the Guardians to prepare.
Forming a new Raid team, the Guardians breached Crota's throne world and battled with the Hive Prince. Despite the Hive God's formidable powers and his Oversoul, the harrowing battle ended with Crota being slain by the Guardians with his own sword. With Crota's death, the Hive were dealt their first real defeat in centuries.
However, this victory was short-lived as with his last breath, Crota called out across the stars and his father had heard it. Furious at his son's death, Oryx, God-King of the Hive vowed to avenge Crota and finish what he began by destroying the Guardians. Taking his Dreadnaught and Hive Fleet, Oryx began to travel to the Solar System to destroy the Light's last hope.
Battle of Saturn
The Awoken of the Reef were the first to respond to the Hive God's invasion. Queen Mara Sov gathered her fleet to engage the Dreadnaught, Oryx's capital ship, directly in the Battle of Saturn. When conventional weapons failed, the Queen and her Techeuns unleashed the Harbingers, energy weapons of mysterious power. While they tore through the lesser Hive ships, the Dreadnaught was unscathed. In retaliation, Oryx unleashed his Oversoul, which obliterated the Queen's fleet in a single blast, including her flagship and a few of Oryx's own ships. Though no body was recovered, the Queen was assumed dead, and Petra Venj was named Queen Regent. However, the battle succeeded in its primary objective, halting Oryx's fleet and keeping it locked outside of the inner system.
Later on, Oryx would have his forces invade the Reef in retaliation for their defiance. Oryx even managed to partially breach and Take the Dreaming City, the mysterious homeland of the Awoken. While in the Dreaming City, Oryx encountered an Ahamkara, Riven, said to be the last of her kind. There, the Taken King Took Riven and begun to create bargains with the wish-making entity.
Discovery of the Taken
Oryx began blighting the system, beginning on Phobos. The Skyburners stationed there discovered strange activity and began to investigate; shortly after, huge numbers of Cabal were being taken and made to fight their comrades. The base commander, Primus Ta'aun ordered a mass evacuation, which caught the notice of the Vanguard. Fearing the activity was a prelude to a new Cabal offensive, they sent the Guardian to investigate. The Guardian arrived at the base as the last of the Cabal were desperately evacuating and was confronted by a vision of Oryx, who declared his intention to eliminate the Guardian and unleashed his Taken upon them. The Guardian barely escaped just as more Taken overwhelmed the base. Oryx's Taken hit Mars at the same time, delivering massive casualties to the Dust Giants, Blind Legion, and Sand Eaters legions of Cabal on the planet's surface.
The Taken then began to appear across the system in large numbers, officially beginning the Taken War.
Boarding the Dreadnaught
As the Vanguard debated on how to fight back against Oryx, Eris Morn warned Commander Zavala that the Taken were unlike any foe they had faced before, and that Oryx's army would only grow unless he's stopped. Cayde-6, meanwhile developed a secret plan to board the Dreadnaught, using stealth technology he stole from Rasputin. Cayde had the Guardians travel to the Cosmodrome to find a stash he hid before the Fallen overran the complex. The Guardian arrived in Old Russia as the House of Devils were in a losing battle with the Taken. Fighting past Fallen and Taken, the Guardian ascended an old Colony ship occupied by the Devils, where Cayde's stash was located. At the top of the Devil's Spire, the Guardians were attacked by an Echo of Oryx but were able to repel it and find Cayde's stealth technology. After helping the Guardian outfit Eris' ship, the Guardian managed to slip onto the Dreadnaught, disable its primary weapon and establish a beachhead.
As the Guardians worked to establish a beachhead they also encountered the Skyburners Cabal Legion main battleship rammed into the Dreadnaught. Knowing that the Cabal have been on the Hive warship longer, they would have real field intelligence on finding a way to reach Oryx. The Guardian infiltrated the crashed Cabal ship and learned that Oryx could only be reached through a portal called a rupture and the Cabal already had to team sent to the coordinates, led by Primus Ta'aun. The Guardian was able to catch up to the Primus just as they reached the portal entrance and were on the verge on being overrun. Primus Ta'aun was then assaulted by the Taken and was soon Taken himself. As the Guardians neared the portal, an Echo of Oryx and a wave of Hive and Taken attacked but the Guardian survived but when they tried to pass through the rupture they were repulsed. Eris Morn explained that only an ascendant Hive could enter the rupture. To become ascendant, the Guardian needed to gather Crota's essence; by collecting a shard of crystal from the Chamber of Night, and using the same stealth technology from Rasputin, the Guardian snuck into Crota's throne world and stole the essence in the middle of Crota's death ceremony. Though they were discovered and nearly killed, the Guardian succeeded in escaping with enough of Crota's essence to pass as an Ascendant.
Returning to the Dreadnaught, they successfully passed through the rupture and at reaching the second portal rupture, Oryx unleashed his two new Taken Champions, Ta'aun and Baxx. The Guardian defeated them and entered the rupture to the entrance of Oryx's room, where Oryx personally challenged them to come and face him. Despite his dark power Oryx was unable to defeat the Guardian and retreated to the Ascendant realm, leaving behind his sword, Willbreaker.
Removing the Blights
Though Oryx vanished from the material realm, he continued to blight the system. Only by attacking the source of the blights on each planet could the Vanguard direct their attention on ending Oryx himself. Defeating the Taken's Champions helped to narrow down the source of the blights. Cayde-6 tracked down the source of the blight on Earth to an Echo of Oryx hiding in King's Watch, where it was defeated. Ikora Rey discovered a message from Praedyth coming from the Vault of Glass; however, this was a Vex ploy to get the Guardian to remove the Taken that had invaded the Vault, as Praedyth had long since died. The blight on Venus was tracked down to the top of The Citadel, where another Echo of Oryx was encountered and defeated. Commander Zavala discovered another Echo of Oryx on Mars, this time using a secret entrance under Freehold to invade the Black Garden. The Echo was driven from the Garden and was defeated finally on Phobos, in the very room where the War had begun.
The Reef aided the Last City in this phase of the war, helping to clear blights and defeat Champions on Earth, Venus, and Mars. However, the Reef was also interested in looking for signs of the missing Queen, and preventing an opportunistic House of Wolves from rising to power again, as they attempted to make a new home on Mars under the leadership of Orbiks Prime. With Variks and Petra's aid, the Guardians were able to track the Wolves down and destroy Orbiks Prime, leaving the Wolves broken and leaderless once more.
The Cabal's Struggle
In addition to dealing with the Taken and Hive plaguing the system, the Guardians also had to attend with the remnants of the Cabal Legions that remained following Oryx's arrival and Primus Ta'aun's mission to ram into the Dreadnaught with his own warship to establish a beachhead. However, following Ta'aun becoming Taken and eventually being killed by the Guardian, the Skyburners Legion continued to fight a hopeless war of survival aboard the Dreadnaught, all in the name of their mission that their Dominus placed upon them. The Guardians maintained constant surveillance on the Cabal's position on the Hive vessel, ensuring they don't gain any ground and take out any remaining field commanders that stray from the ship
Growing desperate, Ta'aun's bond-brothers and chief lieutenants, Valus Mau'ual and Valus Tlu'urn, launched an extreme plan to destroy their Hive and Taken enemies: by placing explosives on the Dreadnaught's power core. Whether to force the Hive into submission or to retrieve their lost Primus (whom are possibly unaware of his death), the destruction of the Dreadnaught's core would create a blast strong enough to wipe out half of the Solar System. Wishing to avert such a catastrophe, the Guardians form a strike team to disable to explosives before they detonate. Reaching the core, the Guardians face off against both of the bond-brothers, who remain determined to finish their mission and avenge their Primus. Despite their fire power and formidable teamwork, the Guardians prevailed against the bond-brothers, thereby saving the System.
In light of the devastating losses to both the forces of the Last City and Oryx, the remaining Cabal forces transmitted a detailed distress signal directed to the head of the Cabal Empire, Dominus Ghaul, to inform him of their casualties and findings. Although the Guardians learned of the transmission and intercepted it, the signal was nonetheless received by the Cabal Empire.
Years later, the Cabal would ultimately answer the signal, leading to the beginning of the Red War.
Though the Fallen Houses in the Solar System suffered immensely with Oryx and the Taken's arrival, a couple Houses saw the Guardian's preoccupation with the Taken King as an opportunity to take advantage of. Among those houses was the House of Devils, House of Winter and the House of Wolves.
Though the House of Devils lost a majority of their numbers and even the Devil's Spire to the Taken, the Devil Fallen sought a way to give themselves a means to either survive against the Taken or battle against the Guardians. They soon found one in the ancient Warmind Rasputin. Using an advanced Shank created by "Rising Archons" to breach Rasputin's defenses, the Devils would then gain access to it Golden age technology and weaponry, spelling catastrophe for the Last City. Sensing its security was at risk, Rasputin sent out a distress signal to the Guardians for reinforcements against the Fallen. The Guardians answered Rasputin's call and fought their way to one of Rasputin's bunkers after receiving the necessary data and intel from a Warsat Rasputin sent. After clearing out the Fallen invading the facility, the Guardians made their way to the center of the bunker and encountered the Shank attempting to bypass Rasputin's security protocols, S.A.B.E.R.-2. Though the upgraded Shank proved a challenge with its varied weaponry and Shank reinforcements, the Guardians managed to destroy S.A.B.E.R.-2, thereby saving Rasputin from being hacked and it's weaponry used against the Last City. With the bunker secure, Commander Zavala sent more teams to ensure the security of the facility.
The House of Wolves, attempting to rebuild their strength after Skolas's humiliating defeat and eventual death during the Wolf Rebellion, rallied under the leadership of the renegade Archon, Keldar, who managed to rebuild the Wolves's previous Prime Servitor, Orbiks Prime. With their leadership cemented, the Wolves took advantage of the Cabal's crippling losses against Oryx by settling on Mars and taking over strongholds once belonging to the Blind Legion. Variks's took notice of the Wolves's reemergence and sought to prevent them from becoming a threat again. Contacting the Guardians for aid, Variks relayed his findings on the Wolves's plans. The Guardians managed to drive Keldar out of hiding to take him out and eventually discover that Orbiks Prime was using the Conflux as a disruption against detection. Breaching past Wolf raiders and Cabal squads to the main Conflux site, the Guardians confronted the rebuilt Prime Servitor and its zealous defenders. Despite Orbiks's power and defenders, the Guardians managed to destroy the Prime Servitor for good, completely breaking the House of Wolves, leaving them at the mercy of the Cabal and the harsh martian environment.
On their part, the House of Winter remained relatively quiet following the death of their Kell, Skolas's failed rebellion and their raid on the Prison of Elders that led to the release of Aksor. However, with the Taken plunging the Fallen into disarray, the leaderless Winter Fallen desperately sought a way to survive. Without any true form of leadership however, they did not know how this could be done. Resolving to break into the Prison of Elders once again and recruit a new leader, the Winter Fallen took advantage of the Reef's distraction with the Taken and successfully raided the prison again. Their success was short-lived however, for while the Winter Fallen managed to gain the cyrocell that housed a capable leader, the Taken led a large attack on the Fallen, leading their candidate to become Nixis, Hunger of Oryx. As a result, Nixis and the Taken completely scattered the Winter Fallen. Fortunately, the Guardians were informed of the Winter's second theft of the prison and sought to repeat what they had done over a year prior. Traveling to Venus, The Guardians managed to fight past the fleeing Winter Fallen and the assaulting Taken to Nixis's location and before he could cause anymore damage, the Guardians managed to slay him. With their plan to find a new leader ending in failure, the remaining forces of the House of Winter had no choice but to desperately hide for the remainder of the war.
The King's Fall
With the blights eliminated and other threats maintained, the Vanguard made preparations to once again enter the Dreadnaught, and defeat Oryx for good. Oryx's Lieutenants still lived, most of them residing in the Court of Oryx. Eris had the Guardians depose the Court, as well as eliminate The Infantine before it could be infused with Taken power. Soon, there was none left but Oryx himself, as well as his closest allies, the Warpriest, Golgoroth, and his daughters Ir Anûk and Ir Halak.
With the Court soundly defeated, the Guardians used the rupture there to progress deeper into the Dreadnaught, killing his remaining Court one by one and finally confronted the Taken King in his true gigantic form. In the pivotal battle for the sake of the system, the Guardians destroyed Oryx's subjects and used his captured Light against him, defeating Oryx and ending his threat once and for all.
Pretenders to the Osmium Throne
The Taken War did not end with Oryx's defeat, unfortunately. The Taken continued to persist despite the loss of their master; though without Oryx's will to follow they began to slowly decay, they remained a significant threat that the Guardians had to continue fighting. With the Osmium Throne vacant, some powerful Hive and Taken saw an opportunity to seize it for themselves. One was Alak-Hul, the Darkblade, a Hive Knight who Oryx had considered a foster son. Before Alak-Hul could break free of The Sunless Cell where Oryx had imprisoned him earlier for his attempted usurpation, and become the King of the Hive, he was defeated by a fireteam of Guardians.
Sometime later, the Taken Knight Malok, Pride of Oryx enacted his own bid to claim dominance over the remaining Hive and Taken with his mastery of the blights to become the New Taken King. Variks, the Loyal received reports of Malok's activities and sent in the Guardian to investigate. Eventually, the Guardian was able to drive Malok out of the Dreadnaught and into the Hellmouth, where he met his end when confronted by a fireteam at the Shrine of Oryx.
Noru'usk, Servant of Oryx, a Taken Cabal Centurion incarcerated in the Prison of Elders, had aspirations to become the next King where others (including Oryx himself) had failed but was struck down before he could escape and ascend the Throne.
The death of Malok and other powerful contenders before any of them could take Oryx's place, would officially mark the end of the Taken War. However, the Guardians would have to continue fighting the weakened Taken and Hive forces within the Solar System while also dealing with the Devil Splicers conflict a year later.
Nonetheless, the Hive and Taken lost the progenitor of their kind and were essentially leaderless. Two years following the Taken War's conclusion, however, the Taken and Hive would gain new leadership.
Pockets of Taken and their blights continued to be active, surviving into the Red War. They thrived within the European Dead Zone and on Io, engaging the surviving Guardians, the invading Cabal Red Legion while infesting the Vex and Fallen.
On Io, the Cabal attempted to siphon the remaining Traveler energy within the planet but the Light's energy drew in the Taken which took the Cabal by surprise as a great number of their forces were Taken, as it seems a mysterious entity is directing the Taken in Oryx's absence. Evidence points to Savathûn, one of Oryx's sisters and Witch-Queen of the Hive, and Quria, Blade Transform, a Taken Hydra who was gifted to Savathûn after Oryx Took it. However, thanks to the Guardians efforts, the Taken failed to corrupt the Light and provide a bridge to their world.
In the European Dead Zone, the Taken primarily haunt a section of the Dead Zone, the Dark Forest, and engage both the Fallen and the Cabal. Following the Last City's liberation, the Guardians discovered a Taken plot to corrupt the EDZ with Taken energies, threatening their base at the Farm. Fortunately, the Guardians found and destroyed the Blights polluting the land and water of the area but at the center of the infestation, the Guardians battle against a Taken Cabal, Grask, the Consumed, a Phalanx belonging to the Red Legion. The Guardians managed to slay Grask but his appearance as a Taken only worries the Vanguard, as the Red Legion were not present during Oryx's invasion years prior, further confirming that someone, namely Savathûn, has assumed the Taken King's place.
Following the Red War and the Hunt for the Scorn, a greater Taken resurgence emerged in the Reef as Riven and Savathûn schemed to wholly corrupt the Dreaming City with a Taken Curse. Though the Guardian managed to slay Riven and stall the Taken surge, Savathûn continues to gain greater control over the Taken and Riven's final wish only strengthens the curse over the Dreaming City.
Furthermore, around the same time that Eris Morn discovered the Pyramid on the Moon, the Taken make an assault on The Endless Gate on Io, battling the Vex in the area and corrupting the Vex installations within. With Eris's help, the Guardians and Zavala discover that Savathûn is once again making an assault against the Vex. Though the Guardians managed to prevent the Taken from infesting the Vex, Eris warns that Savathûn is preparing for something and that the Vanguard must be prepared for when the Witch-Queen shows her hand.
List of appearances