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The Ascendant realm (also known as the Ascendant Plane, Netherworld, Overworld, Sea of Screams, or the Howling) is an extradimensional plane of existence related to the Darkness. Entities closely linked to the Darkness, most notably powerful Hive such as Oryx, Savathun, Xivu Arath, and Crota, create "cyst universes" within the Ascendant Realm known as throne worlds, where they have absolute power over it through the Sword-Logic. The Worm Gods, a higher group in the Hive pantheon, also dwell in a deeper part of the Ascendant realm, much closer to The Deep.
The Ascendant realm appears to be an infinite expanse of blackness, suffused with a thick fog or mist that often limits visibility, with occasional pockets of solid geography scattered throughout, typically in the form of throne worlds. The only natural illumination is a harsh, flickering white light from an unknown source. Toland's accounts of the Ascendant realm describe it as containing green-black "suns"; when the Guardians later entered the Ascendant realm themselves, massive Taken Blights could be seen in various locations within it, perhaps the same objects Toland was referring to.
Existence in the Ascendant plane is mutable, and maintained by force of will. Well-defended ideas there take physical form, creating bizarre and twisted landscapes. Similarly, using the Sword Logic to define one's own terms of existence causes one to develop a throne world suspended in the Ascendant Plane. All laws within these realms obey the Sword Logic, even other paracausal forces, such as the Light. They are typically formed and can grown in size by the deaths of powerful entities, including the Light-affiliated Guardians. They are completely immune to the effects of paracausal weaponry, such as the Harbingers of the Awoken, being spiritual worlds created from the mind of their resident god. If the god is killed, they persist still as all Throne Worlds are located and connected on the Ascendant realm's plane.
Throne Worlds have a connection to the Deep, the Worm Gods naturally living close to that connection while Oryx built a pathway and altar to communicate. If one of the Hive Gods is slain in the material world, or in another god's Throne, their soul will pass to their throne where they will regain their strength until they can re-enter the material world; this can potentially be accelerated by the sacrifice of lesser Hive. If they are killed within their own throne, they will die permanently. The lesser Hive may enter the Ascendant realm at will, but only if they are Ascendant Hive, those Hive warriors who command legions of lesser soldiers and can pay a tithe of death and destruction to the Hive god who rules them.
The Hive are not the only entities capable of forming a throne world. Hiraks, the Mindbender is an unprecedented Ascendant Fallen, as he fell into the Hellmouth as a Dreg and somehow gained Ascendant status, forging his own Throne within the Ascendant realm by means of Cayde's death. Other means of invading the Ascendant plane separately from the Darkness exist, as evidenced when the Harmony wishful bishops "wrestled" with Xivu Arath near her throne.
The Ascendant realm can also seemingly pull locations in our world into itself as well, as it did with the Dreaming City. Asteroid 128 Nemesis within The Reef also phase shifts between our world and the Ascendant realm, due to experimentation upon it by Hiraks, the Mindbender.
During the Taken War, Mara Sov also developed a Throne World known as Eleusinia with Eris Morn's knowledge of the Sword Logic and through Riven's wish-magic; showing the possibility to build a throne world for the Light. However, it was corrupted by Oryx following her death in the Taken War, and is now a lair for Dûl Incaru, the Eternal Return where she is staging the Taken curse of the Dreaming City.
The origins and true nature of the Ascendant realm remain unknown. The description of the Warlock artifact known as the Sins of Kharad-Tan indicates that others walked the Ascendant realm long before Oryx, the Taken King and the Guardians, but no records have yet been discovered documenting these events.
The Ancient Past
Auryx was the first among the Hive to discover the Ascendant plane when Savathûn killed him for negotiating with the Ammonites, and the first to realize the innate power it held when the Worm Gods told him to slay his Hive and observe how his relationship to baseline reality began to change. These realms would prove to be a boon in the Hive's quest for immortality as they warred amongst themselves to deepen their power and understanding and during the war with the Ecumene, these realms gave them a place in which to recover.
During the war with the Ecumene, Auryx and his sisters were on the verge of defeat, and so met in his throne world to find a solution; Auryx then killed them after in order to gain the necessary strength. He then traveled the Ascendant plane in search of the Worm God Akka, to take the power needed to save himself and the Hive. Oryx would later return to explore the Ascendant plane more, trying to unlock the secrets of The Deep. He would later move his throne world out of the Ascendant realm when he built his Dreadnaught, turning it inside out and pouring it into the material plane.
There have only been six recorded events in which these realms were breached: once by the Vex; once by the Harmony's wishful bishops; and four times by the Guardians of Earth. The Vex were let into the High War by Savathûn tricking her nephew and proved difficult to defeat, mainly because of Quria, Blade Transform. Later the Harmony wishful bishops stalemated with Xivu Arath until her sister came to her aid. Finally, many years later, Crota's own realm was breached and the God-Prince killed; and Oryx's was invaded twice by Guardians, who first destroyed his material form and later faced his true form, once again vanquishing him, save for his heart, in which he continued to exist. Guardians also breached the Oversoul Throne a second time to steal a piece of Crota's soul. The sole exception is Toland, the Shattered; instead of breaching it, Toland was allowed to enter the Ascendant plane by Ir Yût, who did so by killing him with her Deathsong. This gave him greater insight into the Hive, but his true purpose was to search for Osiris.
At some point, Hiraks fell into the Hellmouth, surviving and learning to harness the power of the realm for his own purposes. He later used the power to pull Asteroid 128 Nemesis between our world and the Ascendant realm.
Known Throne Worlds & Locales
List of appearances