Weblore:Season of Arrivals
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Weblore is a series of lore entries posted on Bungie.net prior to the launch of, and during the associated seasons of, most Destiny 2 expansions. These lore entries expanded on the background of the characters and locations that would be featured in the expansion.
The three Season of Arrivals weblore entries were posted on June 10, September 10, and October 8, 2020, respectively.
The High Priest knelt before his withered god, mired in the ambivalence of shattered ideology; his faith replaced by the reality of Xol's failure. No wisdom or debased ritual buried in decrepit tomes could restore what was lost, nor was he inclined to attempt such an act.
Disillusion swept over—the Will of Thousands, silenced by Light and code. He would have called this an act of heresy once, when the truth had not yet been revealed:
There are no gods. There are only chains, and those at either end.
Nokris had been the ignorant staring into the sun, for what is divinity but a star that blinds? A statue to be toppled, that it may galvanize the wailing masses who seek power in the death of old things. Gods, broken by pawns, brought low and driven into the mud. ----
Nokris drifted in the heart of winter, at the northern pole of Mars. He lacked the strength to raise what remained frozen beneath the surface. He closed his eyes and reached into the tucked corners of existence with his mind, searching for remnants of Xol's power, only to find his communion denied by months of disconnected indifference.
Through his outreach, he had come to know that Xol lived, burrowed deep and forgotten within the crust of another world. He had grazed the edge of confirmation with his old god, only to feel it wriggle away, apathetic and eager to break ties. Nokris, too weak to fulfill his purpose, was abandoned. The Worm sought to be wielded by another, to fill their hands with power as self-justified servitude in the bowels of Io.
Despite the many traces of Xol's influence remaining on Mars, none would serve him better than the scrap of Worm-hide he gripped within his claws. He may be unable to produce the death necessary to feed its appetite and coerce paracausal change from it, but he knew those who could foster the necessary violence. A plan began to form in his mind, whispered from deep recesses he had not explored in many years.
He had held the scrap taken from Xol's remains for so long that it had eaten grooves into the bone plating on his hand. With it, he intended to force open that which had always been kept from him by the logic of the Sword. He meant to craft his own Ascendant gate from the grave-corpse legions of his risen brood. Fetid ranks of Thrall, rotted beneath rime on cracked chitin, encircled him and awaited the ritual. Their refurbished flesh: soulfire kindling.
He drew upon the Deep and let the latent tethers clinging to Xol's slough guide his will until he could mold reality around it. The bait was set. Agents of the Sky were expected, and so they came with fury and the fuel of death. They did as they were built to do; obsequious and domineering, they knew no other way but to cleanse that which stood in opposition to their arresting Light. Their righteous carnage berthed Nokris's transition, and his snare drew watchful eyes from the Taken Throne.
The Sky's vassals stormed the Penumbral Depths, as they had done many times before. Their fear of Xol's resurrection drove their furor like searing irons at their back. Fear he had twisted to his purpose. His death: an offering that would seal the spell and create a pinprick piercing through which his soul could slip into the Ascendant Plane.
But guile was the language of a more ancient player, and she had taken notice of his cunning. She directed Nokris away from his destination to instead wash upon the shores of her court. As his vision cleared, his eyes strained to see the Taken Queen, cloaked in the midnight glory of an event horizon.
A singularity throne perverted the space before him. The Queen of lies, wrapped in distortion and gravitational lensing, sat within its inestimable depth. Her voice was distant red-shift discord and all around him. Her presence: the realm itself, boundless and willing to take.
Savanthun's words spewed forth. "Breaker of pacts. A heretic stands here. What denial has yet to be given that you would return to me?"
"I fed the Worm, and still it faltered," he said. Nokris stared directly into the empty point of space, continually caving in on its form. He could barely define her silhouette within the warp.
"To falter is its nature," Savathun's words were tinged in curiosity, "though not by your efficacious methods."
Nokris preened the flesh of his face back to display a skeletal smile. "The Sword bears no truth. The Worms are gods of thin ambition and reign vast nothing."
"Brave words in this place. Do you not think they are watching?"
Nokris bowed his head for the first time since he was drawn here. "The Queen is clever. You did not share my father's single-minded ambition, nor my brother's taste for glory."
"You wish to serve me?" The thin image twitched within the backlit accretion glow.
"My life is spent: servitude to those who cast me away. Our blood is all that remains of the old pact."
"Then let us make use of each other."
Nokris raised his gaze. "What use would I be to a god?"
He nodded. "So it has always been."
Savathun's voice converged onto him from every direction. "You, a usurper: the first tug at the end of the chain."
"To act as distraction or await slaughter?" Nokris's voice sunk with disappointment.
"No. As a thorn, you have circumvented the Deep through forbidden sacrament, and so you shall continue. The Deep fears me, as we feared you. Ignorance keeps. Knowledge usurps. In this, you have found purpose in my court."
The High Priest's shoulders straightened. "You feared me?"
"In a younger time, intents were narrower. I see your value, as we should have then. All who denied you, blinded by the Sword, let them fall away as grains from the scythe."
"I am the implement?"
"You are the mechanism by which we sever their chain." Savathûn's voice filled his skull with silken promise. "Teach me your necromancies, usurper of the ordered way, so that together we may circumvent the anchored logic that drags us into the depths. Serve as foil to scatter the pieces of their grand game across the cosmos."
"As Xol did for my heart, I offer a trade. Knowledge for knowledge. Grant me sight into the Dreaming Mind's talent, and I will teach what you ask."
"A rebellious bargain in the midst of Dark tides; it is bound. Under my symbol, reborn and made in my image, our bargain will set new beginnings in motion."
"The Masters convene here?" Concern dripped from Nokris's words. "Do we mean to move against them?"
"Not so directly. Arrival is imminent. A Shadow will reach out and make itself known."
"I am to obscure the connection?"
"Where Sky meets Deep, you shall be the screen that sows dissonance, and for it… we will walk unhindered by the parasitic inclinations of those who believe themselves mighty."
Nokris saw the scheme. "The will of many bent to our hand. No longer do they draw upon us."
"Freedom. They are beset against each other. We walk the space between."
"An accord is struck."
"Speak my name."
"Savathûn, Subjugant to None, Sword-Breaker, and Queen to the Taken Throne."
"To me, you are bonded. Go forth an enact my will."
Nokris was cast out of Savathûn's court as suddenly as he had been ripped into her presence. He drifted in the Ascendant Plane, no longer directionless.
Behind him, the court faded, and its shimmering illusion fell like curtains upon a stage. The dark core of the singularity wavered; sunken within its gravitational well was a lone Thrall and no other. Its death spread over eons of deterioration, mouth agape to utter words at the Taken Queen's whim as patsy, and nothing more.
Her presence had been but a mirage, soaked and sold by the lie of her mouthpiece puppet to whom Nokris unknowingly spoke. In truth, only a Thrall stood within orbit of the singularity, for the Queen would not be so foolish to reveal herself.
Savathûn looked upon her charlatan court from distant transcendent hollows. Her nascent alliance had produced power twin-fold, in that of Nokris's devotion, as well as his deception through her mouthpiece Thrall positioned within the singularity. She breathed in his desperate agreement and prepared for the struggle to come.
Citizens of the City
Music. Under a streaked sky painted in the glowing wreckage of the Almighty, the people of the Last City rejoice. Debris burns through clouds and explodes like fireworks high above. Those who remember the Red War peer upward with cautious hope. The Warmind had done as Commander Zavala said it would, and now the Traveler—a great shield beneath a torrent—turns away any remaining danger from the fallout. Fragments of the sun-eating hulk that would have struck it instead cascade off its wide dome of Light and skip into the distance.
Under the watch of Titans posted at the borders of every district, children run laughing through the streets with wooden rifles. Their imagination transforms the stone walkways into Warmind bunker tunnels; homes and side streets allow them to access terminals, duck behind cover, and use offshoot ventilation shafts for quick flanking maneuvers. Rufus, a large black neighborhood hound, bounces through the horde of children as a ferocious Warbeast. They swarm around to pet him, and he flops over, belly raised to the fiery sky, defeated. The older children howl at the fall of their mighty Warbeast and charge with Cabal-themed papier-mâché armor, painted red. Sparkler grenades burst and shine as if infused with Light.
A true Guardian stands beneath the Traveler, in command of the not-so-tall forces of the Light gathered around him. His armor—slick-gold and clean to imaginative eyes—is in reality, dull and marred from ricochet dents and the imprints of close calls. His holsters: empty, save the loaded Sidearm pinned to his chest by a tight bandolier. He raises a fist to steady their hearts against the charge. The Cabal menace advances with a wild clattering. The defenders raise their wooden rifles. The Guardian drops to a knee, slams his fist into the ground, and a rift of restorative Light spreads from his touch. The children cheer.
Their forces clash. The Cabal complain they have no Guardians.
Rehnpeir listens to the ruckus outside as he rings soapy water from a coarse cloth. Droplets break the water's rhythm of ripples pulsing in time with the music of a passing parade. He watches the dissonance with optimism.
"Come clean up for supper!" he calls out.
"Not yet, Gramp! We're protecting Rasputin from the Cabal!"
Rehnpeir's mouth curls into a smile. His grandchildren's words were spoken with careless abandon. Their idea of battle is a facsimile of heroic tales told by booming-voiced Guardians clad in legend. The children, even the older ones, barely remembered the Red War, let alone the conflicts fought on distant alien worlds. The walls had stood since their birth, and stories held tight in the throats of their elders carried little weight without the foundation of experience. They did not understand the horror that calls heroism to the fore, nor that heroes pay for fame in broken bodies and dead friends. Past strife became a tangled myth in youthful minds; an allegory of forgotten lessons amidst the City's stability.
Their naivety warms his heart. For all the danger washing up against the gates, this day is safe. Innocence can be coddled a little longer, and maybe there will soon be a time when the people of the City remember nothing but peace.
2. Social Graces
A quiet dusk settles, revealing cinder-orange blankets within bands of receding blue sky as shadows spill from the western wall. Congregations under the streetlights that were brought on by the Almighty's destruction had slowly died down since the arrival of the Black Fleet; their revelry laid to rest in tombs of speculated dread and anxiety.
Titans reinforce aging sections of the wall and patrol the streets. Hunters form recon fireteams and slink into the surrounding wilderness, keeping tabs on enemy movements spurred by the arrival as the cover of night materializes above them. Warlocks gather en masse in the stone gardens beneath the Traveler in a desperate meditation, scouring their Light for signs.
The remnants of socialite resistance steal away to shelters of any kind; a handful of ornery citizens still find refuge above ground in Rehnpeir's Drunken Noodle Ramen Bar. A few patrons sit behind the massive glass window, and the glow of the Drunken Noodle signage, complete with neon bowl, fills the far wall. Beyond there, shuttered shops loom silently over the shoulders of a patrolling Titan. The ramen shop stands alone, alive in a faint glow and the wafting scent of hot broth that press back the depression of nightfall.
"Lockdown after lockdown. I'm sick of curfews," Frank sighs. "I understood it for the Almighty, but this?"
"The Commander will handle it," Rehnpeir says and leans over the bar counter, refilling glasses and bowls with sustenance.
"Please…" Frank's voice is thick with sarcasm.
"I don't see a ship crashing down anymore, do you? He did it before, and he'll do it again."
Distant melancholy hymns ebb and flow outside as the voice of a chorus rises beneath the waves of music.
A young woman name Milley speaks up from a secluded corner table. "Zavala's a politician. What's he going to say, 'People of the City, you're all going to die.'?" She shifts in her chair. "He rolled the dice on the Almighty and got bailed out. Guardians didn't do squat."
"Oh yeah? Big talk from someone living in their walls, under their Traveler," Jean, an old regular, calls back.
"I was born here, ma'am." The title drips with derision. "And now, there ain't anywhere else left to go," Milley snipes.
"Used to be, wasn't anywhere to go. Period," Jean says and glares.
Frank nods at Milley. "Look. Guardians have had years and years, and we're still stuck in one spot. They're just in it for glory; they love running around on their little missions, playing hero." He leans back and speaks loudly. "Listen to how Shaxx yells from up in their tower. Not one word about the little guy."
Rehnpeir cuts in. "Frank, you'd be dead in two seconds out there, and Milley… your mother was coughing up blood before—"
"Before! Before, before… it's the same words coming out of all you geezers. You're all so caught up talking about before. What about now?" Milley asks and slaps her hand down on her table.
The not-so-distant chorus turns onto the Drunken Noodle's street. Deeper tones of their hymn, now full and symphonic with the backing of a hundred voices, bleed into a funeral dirge. Several of the restaurant patrons, as well as Rehnpeir, crane to see the procession.
"Dead Orbit freaks. Traveler's done good by us. Some of you don't appreciate what you have," Jean interjects.
"I'm with Milley. Guardians aren't here for us; Traveler's looking out for itself. Legion hit us, and it didn't do jack until its life was on the line," Frank says. He stares at his bowl before turning to view the procession through the window. "It just sat there, while our homes burned. I lost my son on Titan. We don't even have his body."
A host of citizens led by a crier in Dead Orbit black flow down the stone road. The crier's voice is crisp as they call for unity—speaking of warnings unheeded. Pleading for the like-minded to join the procession. Promising hope. Seeking to shepherd others to the intangible beyond.
Rehnpeir refills Frank's glass with mead. "We all mourned Henry with you, Frank—"
"It's crisis after crisis; living scared and losing. This place was supposed to be safe. Instead, we've all paid. It's time the Traveler pulls its weight," Milley says, riding the wave of Frank's frustration.
Her argument is interrupted by the commotion outside, where a Guardian watches over the procession from the opposite side of the street. She does not flinch as a hurled bottle shatters against her helmet. Spit, glass, and stinging words. Her weapons remain slung. Her Ghost, concealed.
The dirge wanes and moves on.
Rehnpeir breaks the eerie hold first. "The Traveler will. They all will. We're here, aren't we? They won the City back." He points through the window. "They brought a man back from the dead!"
"Death doesn't mean anything to them. They never suffer the consequences, and you expect them to understand what it feels like?" Frank exhales, voice tremoring.
"You're talking out your ass. Saint-14... When I was a girl, he was like a giant... He could do anything—he would do anything to help. You don't know how it was. Guardians will get it done," Jean says and crosses her arms.
"We'll see," Milley replies, slurping through a mouth half full of noodles.
Quiet night settles back in the ramen bar's atmosphere. Warmth soothes unrest; the shrill violin stroke fades.
"Glad we got that out." Rehnpeir thumps a fist against the counter twice. He looks at his patrons' grave faces. "Sake?"
Dead Orbit ships sweep away the clouds around the Traveler as midnight approaches. He keeps his ring by the door—in case he has to leave. He only keeps one magazine loaded, but loose brass rounds fill the gaps inside the go-bag under the coat rack.
"If they hit, they'll come here." That's what she always says. "Right here." But Lissa was born here, and she hadn't been out there like he had.
He doesn't know if they can leave before that happens. Gravity dragged them back here twice before: two failed excursions, though they were solitary exercises. Surely the world would kick them back again, just like it always did.
"Third time's the charm. You'll have me. And we'll have one of the Free Capitals. Lightless and away from all this." Her latest appeal to leave.
The Free Capitals are just rumors, buried cave-cities that pre-date the Golden Age. He had listened to patrons in his brother's ramen house sling stories back and forth over mead and sake. No one has been there; everyone has met someone who knows someone who has a story about where these cities are… but there had to be other people out there. After all, they came to the City from somewhere. He's sure there are other somewheres out there, without so much noise.
Quiet. All day, there was nothing, and he can't get it out of his head. He needs something to fill the void that isn't talking or is at least talking about something that doesn't matter. Every person, every wave-band station is just an opinionated jukebox of the same 20 tunes.
Skyward eyes. A bilious wave creeps over his stomach. Equilibrium flexes. His vision goes concave for a moment, like a singularity pinching at four points deep in the sky. Is the ground moving? Gone.
He rubs his eyes until his vision runs blurry. Everything is normal.
He wants to walk through the trees outside to where the Firebreakers made their stand. To clear his mind. There is too much noise.
Hunters come and go, returning bloodied with alarming frequency. Future War Cultists welcome offloading refugees to the final battle with wide smiles. Fewer caravans appear. It's mostly jumpships now, Dead Orbit over the Tower hangar.
His mother used to tell him the Guardians held the City at Six Fronts; they held at Twilight Gap, and they will hold so long as we still have hope in them. They wouldn't lose to this. They wouldn't leave for this. Third time's the charm.
"They're not coming."
Those words have finality when said aloud. An indirect farewell. Zavala can't quite see Ikora's expression in the muted reflection from his office window, but he can hear the disappointment in her voice. Beyond the glass, the City seems agnostic to the tempest of emotions. Ships soar through the night sky, lights glitter against the dark, the Traveler looms silently.
"I know," is Zavala's belated reply. He watches as Ikora's reflection reaches toward him, but he's still surprised when he feels the weight of her hand against his shoulder.
"I want to commend them for their bravery," he says, confiding in her. "But I'd prefer they be here to berate them for their foolishness."
Ikora wordlessly squeezes Zavala's shoulder in response before standing beside him at the window. "I remember when you and I felt invincible. When our Ghosts felt invincible. When we could lay the foundation for the future with our bare hands. But now, it's different. The list of names to memorialize gets longer by the day," she says, watching debris slowly orbit the Traveler. "We've said goodbye to too many friends over the years."
"And who is left to join us now… Rasputin? To think that I welcomed him in," Zavala says, turning his back to the window and the Traveler, "only to find out he betrayed the Iron Lords all those years ago." He looks across the datapads on his desk, jaw clenching. "Are we that desperate that we're willing to accept mass murderers—"
He settles into his chair with a heavy sigh, lifting a hand to his forehead, eyes shut.
"Zavala." Ikora's voice is stern but tempered with concern as she follows him to his desk, her fingers curled against her palms. "Stronger together, remember? We aren't abandoning anyone now." The slight quaver in her voice belies her confidence. Most people wouldn't notice, but Zavala has known her for over a century. When their eyes meet, she sees an unvoiced burden on his face that would appear to anyone else as a merely stoic and unflinching expression.
She sits on the corner of his desk, hands folded in her lap. "You know they'd all be lost without you," she affirms. He doesn't answer, but she can tell he agrees. "I would be lost without you." When Zavala starts to counter her argument, she continues over him, unrelenting. "Out there, thousands of people look to us as a sign of hope. We need that. Everyone does."
"It feels like I'm lying to them. To everyone," Zavala interrupts. "The Darkness is here. We're facing the end of all things, and I..." he closes his eyes, "I feel helpless."
Ikora shakes her head and gives Zavala's shoulder another squeeze. "Maybe we are." It seems a poor thing to say at first, but she continues. "Even so, helpless doesn't mean hopeless. We forget that sometimes, and instead of embracing our faith in moments like this, we often turn against it out of fear and doubt. When I found my faith diminished, I exiled myself to Io. I questioned everything. Including the Traveler." She levels a knowing look at Zavala, who also recalls how that chapter of their lives ended.
"What has the Traveler ever done for us?" Zavala exclaims, his words strained through gritted teeth as he slaps his palm against his desk.
Ikora gently lifts her hand from his shoulder and searches her old friend's face. She understands the pain behind his words and recognizes the wave of anger in his eyes as it recedes. She rises from the corner of his desk, walking back to the window.
"I'm sorry," Zavala mumbles after the fact.
"It's all right," Ikora replies, gazing up at the Traveler hanging weightlessly over the City illuminated by its light. "If nothing else, the Traveler did one thing right by us." It takes a moment for Zavala to respond to her candor.
"And what was that?" he asks, rising from his chair.
Ikora watches Zavala's reflection in the glass, little more than a dim silhouette with glowing eyes. She smiles softly, and he can see a moment of peace and relief in her expression. A moment of faith. A moment of truth.
"It brought us together."
- ^ Bungie, (6/10/2020), Weblore: FALSE IDOLS
- ^ Bungie, (9/10/2020), Weblore: CITIZENS OF THE CITY
- ^ Bungie, (10/8/2020), Weblore: "They're not coming."