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Destiny 2 Story Recap: Everything That Happened From Beyond Light To Witch Queen

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Destiny 2's story has been better than ever in the last year, but if you missed any content, there's a lot that might be confusing in the game's next expansion.

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen releases today, February 22. It looks to be a major inflection point in the story, as Savathun will at long last be taking a more direct role in the action. To make sure you're prepared for what's to come, we're recapping the last year-plus of Destiny 2's story. Can't remember who The Stranger is? Or what Xivu Arath has been up to? Or even what Savathun has been doing to set the stage for The Witch Queen? We've got you covered.

Destiny 2 and its predecessor have always included a huge amount of story, with expansive histories and extremely deep lore. The trouble was, often the tales told in-game were thinner than those hinted at in grimoire cards and weapon flavor text. In the last few years, however, the game has gone through a dramatic shift in storytelling, with the seasonal model putting a huge new focus on Destiny 2's characters and world. In the year-plus since the release of the Beyond Light expansion, we've seen the best, most interesting storytelling Destiny 2 has ever offered--but that also means that a whole lot has happened in the last 14 months, and it can be tough to keep up.

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Now Playing: Destiny 2 Savathun Animated Cutscene (SPOILERS)

If you've missed that story, either because you haven't played extensively through the four seasons since Beyond Light's launch or because you lapsed with the game because of decisions to vault content or sunset certain weapons, you might feel a little lost. New characters have popped up along the way, villains have executed carefully laid plans, and internal conflicts among mainstays of the Destiny universe are at an all-time high. There's a lot to know about leading into The Witch Queen expansion.

Below, you'll find an extensive rundown of Destiny 2's story beats from Beyond Light and, well, beyond. From Clovis Bray's exploits on Europa, to the introduction of The Crow, to the diplomatic talks with the Cabal and the nascent alliance with the Fallen, to the exorcism of Savathun's worm, there's a whole lot of ground to cover. Here's everything that has happened since Destiny 2 last expansion to get you ready for The Witch Queen.

As a note: We're going to assume you're pretty familiar with Destiny 2's story up until Beyond Light. If you need even more of a catch-up, check out our even longer Destiny story summary, going all the way back to Destiny 1.

Beyond Light

A whole lot changes in the Beyond Light campaign. After the Darkness's arrival and the disappearance of Mars, Mercury, Titan, and Io in the Season of Arrivals, Guardians are summoned to Europa by a distress signal. There, we encounter Variks of House Judgment--a Fallen who was formerly a servant of Queen Mara Sov of the Reef but has been missing since the events of Forsaken. He was being hunted by other Fallen, but thanks to our intervention, Variks escapes death at the hands of people we soon discover were his former comrades.

We get a sense here of what Variks has been up to for two years. Back in Forsaken, he helped a Fallen leader named Eramis escape the Prison of Elders. He'd come to believe that Eramis held the key to leading the Fallen to freedom and salvation in the solar system, and threw in his lot with her. That prison break also allowed Uldren Sov and the Scorn Barrons to escape way back in Forsaken--so in no small way, Variks, a former ally of Guardians and the Awoken, was responsible for the death of Cayde-6 and made the curse on the Dreaming City possible.

Eramis was a powerful and charismatic leader, but when she started using Stasis, her goals became less about safety and more about conquest.
Eramis was a powerful and charismatic leader, but when she started using Stasis, her goals became less about safety and more about conquest.

Eramis and her group previously tried to gather Golden Age technology to aid their cause--they were behind the attack on the Tower Vault in the Zero Hour mission, which Guardians foiled with the help of Mithrax, a Fallen captain who has become something of an ally to humanity. (More on Mithrax later). After that, she led her group of Fallen to Europa, where the band created a new settlement for the Fallen to live.

However, after establishing the city of Riis-Reborn, named after the home planet of the Fallen (or, as they call themselves, the Eliksni), Eramis and her allies make a series of discoveries driven by the arrival of the Darkness in the solar system. They uncover the research facilities of Golden Age industrialist Clovis Bray. That's the guy whose facilities are scattered around the solar system, including on Mars, and it was Bray's company that created the Warmind Rasputin, along with a whole lot of other things. Bray and his scientists also set up facilities on the moon to study the pyramid ship there, which we uncovered in the Shadowkeep expansion.

After his research on the moon (which, not so coincidentally, drove Bray's research team out of their minds), Bray's discoveries drew him to Europa. There, he uncovered something he called Clarity Control: a giant Darkness statue hidden under the ice, very similar to the one seen in the pyramid ship beneath the Shadowkeep on the moon and in the Black Garden at the end of the Garden of Salvation raid. The main difference between the statues was that Clarity Control is huge, and apparently extremely powerful.

Clarity Control is, seemingly, a conduit straight to the intelligence behind the force that is the Darkness, as well as a source of an "anti-entropy" field (this, it appears, is whatever the Darkness energy actually is, a similar physics-defying force to the Traveler's Light). Bray began researching Clarity Control and built an entire colony around it, called Eventide. Thanks to the arrival of the Black Fleet in the solar system and what was left in those research facilities, Eramis discovers artifacts called Splinters of Darkness that allow her to control Darkness energy, now known as Stasis. Essentially, she gains superpowers that give her command of ice and cold. She names herself Kell of her band of Fallen, the newly formed House Salvation, and plans to use Stasis not to free the Fallen, but to create a new empire. The power seemingly corrupts Eramis and her council of advisoers. Variks, seeing the leader he once believed in falling to the dark side, flees and calls the Guardians for aid. Once again, he betrays his leaders, but tells us he did so for the good of his people.

Variks might not seem especially trustworthy after everything that's happened in the last few years, but he does seem to have the Fallen's best interests at heart.
Variks might not seem especially trustworthy after everything that's happened in the last few years, but he does seem to have the Fallen's best interests at heart.

Despite lingering animosity between the Vanguard and Variks for his role in Cayde's death, Guardians join him on Europa against the growing threat of Eramis and her Stasis powers. It quickly becomes apparent, however, that Guardians' usual Light abilities might not be enough to stop the Kell of House Salvation. The player Guardian escapes Eramis and her abilities, soon after meeting up with a band of characters who have been researching the Darkness on behalf of humanity--Eris Morn, the Drifter, and the Exo Stranger from way back in Destiny 1. The group explains that they believe the only way to defeat the Darkness and the Black Fleet is by using the enemy's own power against it, and so you set out under the Stranger's guidance to gain Stasis powers yourself.

The power proves to be incredibly useful in fighting Eramis and her forces, but the Vanguard, and Zavala in particular, are not happy about the idea of Guardians wielding Darkness powers. After all, there are more than a few stories of Guardians who were corrupted by their quests for forbidden power, and all became devastatingly dangerous.

Guardians slowly take down Eramis's advisers one by one, while also aiding Variks as he guides Eliskni refugees out of Riis-Reborn so they can escape the fighting. Eventually, the Guardians defeat Eramis herself, although it seems the Darkness turns against her when she proves too weak to stand against the Traveler's warriors. Of course, the whole situation has the feel of a manipulation by the intelligence behind the Darkness, in an effort to seduce Guardians to its side with the power of Stasis.

The Deep Stone Crypt

With Eramis out of the picture, the Vanguard goes on to mop up the last of her followers, and you work closely with the Exo Stranger to uncover Clovis Bray's secrets. The Stranger reveals her real identity: Elsie Bray, granddaughter of Clovis and sister to Ana Bray, the Guardian who you formerly worked with on Mars before it disappeared in the Season of Arrivals. Elsie helps you to further expand your Stasis powers, while also asking your assistance in uncovering what Clovis was up to on Europa.

Beyond Light is as much about uncovering the secrets of the Exos, Clovis Bray, and the Stranger as it is about the Darkness.
Beyond Light is as much about uncovering the secrets of the Exos, Clovis Bray, and the Stranger as it is about the Darkness.

And Clovis was up to quite a bit, as it turns out. His research on Europa included the Darkness, but it had a specific goal in mind: the creation of the Exos, one of Destiny's three character races. Exos are robots into whom human minds have been transferred--they're people, but without living bodies. The Bray family suffered from a congenital disease that caused them to slowly deteriorate, and toward the end of his life, Clovis was obsessed with staving off his own death by transferring his consciousness into an Exo. With what he learned about the Darkness--as well as the guidance (or manipulations) of the intelligent "entity" behind it--he was able to finally crack the code of putting human minds into Exo bodies. His Exo research program was located in a Europan facility called the Deep Stone Crypt.

The Deep Stone Crypt is also the site of Beyond Light's raid; a team of Guardians are sent there to stop Eramis's last remaining lieutenant, Atraks, from using its technology to create an army of Fallen Exos. It turns out that at least two Exos have already been created using the facility: Atraks herself, and Taniks, a Fallen mercenary you've been hunting (and killing, though he never seems to stay dead) since all the way back in Destiny 1. As you invade the Crypt, you fight Atraks and Taniks in its attached orbital facility, which Clovis created partially as insurance. He knew Clarity Control, his conduit to the Darkness that made the Exo program possible, could potentially be manipulating him, and the orbital facility served as both a research station and a giant nuclear bomb he could drop on the Crypt if things got out of control. Taniks attempts to drop the facility on Europa, destroying the entire moon, during the raid. The Guardians eventually stop him, saving Europa and the DSC, and putting a final end to the threat of Eramis and the Fallen Exos.

There's a lot more to the story of the Brays, however. Your raid on the DSC isn't the first time Elsie tried to shut down the Exo program. She did the same back during the Golden Age, not long after she was first transferred into an Exo body herself in order to save her from the Bray line's degenerative disease. The magic bullet that Clovis discovered to make the Exo program work was, it turned out, the Vex. Clarity Control imparted the wisdom he needed to build a portal to a Vex colony, and Clovis and his researchers opened it to capture Vex constructs and use them in horrific human experiments as they perfected Exo bodies. Elsie tried to stop Clovis's experiments and seal the portal to the Vex by dropping the orbital facility on the DSC--but she failed, and Clovis killed her.

When Clovis Bray transferred himself into his Exo body, his memories were wiped. Faced with the choice of who he wanted to be, the newborn Exo fought to save the people of Eventide and became Banshee-44.
When Clovis Bray transferred himself into his Exo body, his memories were wiped. Faced with the choice of who he wanted to be, the newborn Exo fought to save the people of Eventide and became Banshee-44.

But while one version of Elsie was killed, thanks to the Exo creation process, a copy of her mind remained. Clovis rebooted Elsie in a new body without the memories of her death or betrayal. In fact, wiping memories is a key part of the answer to getting human minds to accept Exo bodies; regular memory wipes are essential to keep the hardware and software in sync. (That's why Exos all have a number after their names; it refers to the number of times that Exo has been rebooted with a mind wipe, which makes each iteration a slightly different person.)

Just as Clovis was finally about to transfer himself into an Exo, the Vex used the portal he'd opened to invade Europa, just as Elsie had feared. When Clovis awoke in his new Exo body, he didn't recall the arrogant, self-centered man he had been, and with the threat of the Vex bearing down on the Braytech researchers and colonists, he joined the fight. With this new Exo's help, the Vex were repelled and the people living on Europa were saved. The Exo abandoned the identity of Clovis Bray and the villainous man he had been, instead taking on a new identity: Banshee. Yup, the Tower's gunsmith was formerly Clovis Bray himself. In fact, Banshee's full name is Banshee-44, a testament to his ferocity and resolve in battle. He went through those 44 iterations during his war with the Vex, falling and rebooting again and again, and the degradation those reboots have had on his mind is why the character has always been so forgetful when players have interacted with him in the Tower. A copy of the original Clovis's mind still exists, though, in the form of the artificial intelligence that runs Deep Stone Crypt. It's still there, preserved in the facilities beneath the Europan surface.

The Dark Timeline

We learn one last thing during the battles on Europa to secure the Deep Stone Crypt and stop Eramis. During our time with Elsie, she reveals why she had appeared in Destiny 1 and guided player Guardians to the Black Garden. Elsie, it turns out, is a time traveler, seemingly using some combination of Bray and Vex technology from the Golden Age to leap between timelines. When she appeared in Destiny 1 and interacted with players, she did so to alter the course of history. Sending players to destroy the Heart of the Black Garden apparently turned the course of events away from devastation. When she appears on Europa to guide Guardians in using Stasis, Elsie is messing with the timeline yet again.

In the other timelines Elsie has seen, the Darkness eventually corrupted many of the Guardians in the solar system, turning them against one another. That corruption found Eris Morn, turning her into a threat worse than even the Hive gods, Savathun and Xivu Arath. The Vanguard was destroyed, Guardians were killed, and eventually, the Darkness won. Most importantly, though, in the futures Elsie had seen, Ana Bray was also corrupted. Elsie has killed the dark version of her sister many times; her interference in the timeline is, first and foremost, about saving Ana.

The Bray family relationship is an important part of Elsie's attempts to fix the timeline.
The Bray family relationship is an important part of Elsie's attempts to fix the timeline.

Convincing Guardians to understand and use the Darkness, Elsie believes, could be the thing that saves humanity. The idea is that guidance in using Stasis against the Darkness can protect Guardians from being seduced by it; in the futures when Guardians have discovered the power on their own or been lured to it by the Darkness, they've inevitably fallen. Elsie also reveals her identity to Ana for the first time in our current timeline, hoping that her presence as a positive force in Ana's life will help prevent her from turning to the Darkness.

Importantly, though, we've now entered a present that Elsie has never experienced before, because she has altered the flow of events through her interference, and she doesn't know how things will play out. Her big gamble has been to encourage Guardians to use the power of Stasis as a weapon, and that puts her at odds with some characters, including Zavala. And though it has mostly been an undercurrent element of the story this year, appearing mostly in lore text, Stasis has corrupted some Guardians along the way. The threat of the Darkness taking hold of Guardians remains.

The Season of the Hunt

While the crisis on Europa was unfolding, other threats were appearing in the solar system. After the Season of Arrivals, exiled Guardian Osiris traveled the solar system, gathering information about the places where Mars, Io, Mercury, and Titan had once been. During his investigations, he is attacked by the High Celebrant, a powerful minion of Xivu Arath, the Hive god of war and sister of Oryx.

Osiris sends a message to the Vanguard warning of Xivu Arath and imparting that the High Celebrant has killed his Ghost, Sagira. Seeking vengeance, Osiris goes after the High Celebrant with the goal of killing it, but with no Ghost to resurrect him, the Warlock is vulnerable to dying one final time. In response, player Guardians speed to the moon to rescue Osiris, but we arrive just in time to see him saved by a "freelance" Lightbearer who calls himself The Crow.

The Crow, we quickly discover, is a resurrected Guardian who had once been Uldren Sov, Cayde-6's murderer and brother to Awoken Queen Mara Sov. Uldren was also the man we, the players, executed during the Forsaken expansion in revenge for Cayde. However, Guardians don't remember their past lives after they've been resurrected--but with Uldren's face, a confused Crow repeatedly found himself attacked by Guardians enraged at seeing the killer of Cayde-6. Eventually, Crow was taken in by the Spider, the crime lord in residence on the Taken Shore, and employed as an enforcer. But the Spider isn't especially benevolent: He places explosives inside the shell of Crow's Ghost, essentially turning him into a slave. If Crow ever does something Spider doesn't like, the crime lord will kill Crow's Ghost, severing him from the Light and making him mortal.

In the Crow's early life as a Guardian, he was hounded by other Lightbearers who thought they'd found the hated Uldren Sov.
In the Crow's early life as a Guardian, he was hounded by other Lightbearers who thought they'd found the hated Uldren Sov.

Spider agrees to allow Crow to help the Guardians and Osiris deal with the threat of Xivu Arath, which is spreading through a portion of the solar system. When the Darkness arrived in the season before Beyond Light, Savathun attempted to interfere with the signals it sent to Eris Morn and the other Guardians. Failing in her attempt to keep us from interacting with the Darkness, Savathun went into hiding. That gave Xivu Arath an opening to consolidate her own power. She dispatches Hive totems called Cryptoliths across the Tangled Shore, the Dreaming City, and the moon. The powerful artifacts corrupt the minds of nearby creatures, turning them into an army called the Wrathborn. Under Osiris's guidance and with Crow's help, we set out to hunt the Wrathborn and destroy them, with the ultimate goal of tracking down and killing the High Celebrant.

Though we and Spider both know Crow's original identity, that information is withheld from Crow himself, as is our role in Uldren's death. But Crow is not Uldren, and while we hide our connection to him, we soon become friends as we work to hunt down the Wrathborn. It is ultimately Crow's plan, as well as his willingness to risk himself, that allows us to trap and destroy the High Celebrant and avenge Sagira.

Along the way, Crow begins experiencing strange dreams, much like those players had during the Red War, which seem to be direct messages from the Traveler. They lead him, and us, to the EDZ on Earth in a mission called Harbinger, where we battle Hive and Taken enemies attacking a Shard of the Traveler. It seems that Crow's connection to the Traveler is a powerful one, and that's likely going to come up again in the future.

The defeat of the Wrathborn means that, for once, the Spider owes us something. We use our leverage with the crime boss to buy Crow's freedom. Osiris takes care of him, finding a mask Crow can wear that hides his identity. When Zavala calls on Osiris for help with a growing diplomatic issue, Crow accompanies him and finds a place in the Last City--while hiding his former identity as Uldren Sov.

The Season of the Chosen

Xivu Arath isn't just attacking our solar system. The Hive god of war sacked the Cabal homeworld, forcing the empire to flee to the Sol system.
Xivu Arath isn't just attacking our solar system. The Hive god of war sacked the Cabal homeworld, forcing the empire to flee to the Sol system.

Xivu Arath isn't just at work in our solar system, making trouble with her Wrathborn. While we were messing around on Europa, the Hive god of war tried to deal a deathblow to the Cabal on their home planet, Torobotl. The Cabal there resisted the Hive as best they could, but ultimately, the planet was lost. The remaining Cabal fled the planet, led by Empress Caiatl, the daughter of the exiled Calus and successor to Dominus Ghaul, the leader of the Cabal's Red Legion from back in vanilla Destiny 2.

Things are desperate for Caiatl, so she brings the last of the Cabal empire to join up with the remnants of the Red Legion. She's also seeking other allies: Guardians. That's a hard sell for people like Commander Zavala, given a long history of animosity with the Cabal and the devastation of the Red War. Diplomatic tension increases when Cabal culture demands that Caiatl suggest Guardians join the empire and become subservient to her. An alliance against the Hive between the Vanguard and the Cabal would mean Zavala kneeling before Caiatl and surrendering to her leadership. As one might expect, that's a big "no sale" from the Vanguard commander.

Zavala isn't happy about the idea of another major leader growing a war machine in the solar system, though. Together with Osiris, Lord Saladin, and Crow, he looks to disrupt Caiatl's plans of gathering a war council from the Cabal in the solar system. As part of ancient tradition, Caiatl institutes a ritual called the Proving Grounds, where Cabal warriors can battle to prove themselves worthy of serving on her war council. But with the right Cabal artifacts, tradition dictates that anyone can take part in these rituals--so the Vanguard starts dispatching Guardians to fight in the rituals and mess up Caiatl's plans and kill her champions.

Even while it's interfering with Caiatl's plans, the Vanguard is open to talks of some kind of peace accord with the Cabal, but Crow starts to suspect that a plot is afoot against Zavala. Osiris thinks Crow's worries are overblown, but Crow starts following Zavala without his knowledge, though keeping his distance--Osiris and Ikora have hidden from Zavala the fact that Crow used to be Uldren. Despite Osiris's doubts, Crow turns out to be right: Cabal Psions try to assassinate Zavala in the Last City, but Crow is there to stop it. Zavala catches sight of him during the assassination attempt, and while he doesn't realize the person he saw was Crow, he does get the impression that he saw Uldren before the other man disappeared. Crow learns more about the Psions' plans to assassinate Zavala, including their use of a miniaturized version of Ghaul's Traveler net, which they're going to use to disable Zavala's Ghost and sever his connection to the Light.

Zavala finally learned Crow's former identity after the young Guardian saved the Vanguard commander from an assassination attempt.
Zavala finally learned Crow's former identity after the young Guardian saved the Vanguard commander from an assassination attempt.

The second assassination attempt goes down at a meeting with Caiatl, but Crow again steps in to stop it. This time, Crow's mask slips, revealing his true identity to Zavala. Instead of reacting harshly against Uldren, the man who killed his friend Cayde, Zavala responds to the situation by offering Crow his hand in friendship.

At the same time, Caiatl maintains that she had nothing to do with the Psions' attempts on Zavala's life (and in fact, the Psions are members of the Cabal who were formerly slaves but are now gaining power as an individual faction). Caiatl executes the Psions responsible and Zavala manages to maintain tenuous diplomacy with the Cabal going forward. There are no outright hostilities between the two groups, but they're not quite allies, either.

As for Crow, Zavala isn't happy that he was deceived by people close to him, but he decides to keep the freelance Lightbearer close--and that Crow should continue to hide his identity from the public.\

Eventually, the crew of the Glykon was killed by the things they experimented on.
Eventually, the crew of the Glykon was killed by the things they experimented on.

Presage: A Glimpse of the Future

While the Vanguard executes its plans to disrupt the Cabal, a strange discovery is made. A Guardian distress call leads to the discovery of a Cabal ship called the Glykon floating derelict in space, and Osiris dispatches us to check it out. Logs discovered on the ship reveal that it was captained by Katabasis, a Guardian who worked for the exiled Calus. The Glykon's mission was to try to commune with the "entity," the intelligence seemingly behind the Darkness (which essentially seems to be the Darkness version of the Traveler, although we know nothing about it yet). To do that, Calus ordered his soldiers to capture Scorn--former Fallen who were resurrected through the power of the Darkness--and tried to use their Darkness-addled minds in combination with the Crown of Sorrow to make contact with the Entity.

The Crown of Sorrow is an artifact with its own history with the Darkness. Calus discovered the item some time ago and hoped it would give him the power to control the Hive, but he suspected a trap and refused to wear the crown himself. Instead, he used the Leviathan to genetically engineer a soldier named Gahlran expressly to use the Crown of Sorrow. As it turned out, Calus was right to be cautious: The Crown was created by Savathun, and she hoped to use it to gain control of the Cabal emperor. Instead, the crown corrupted Gahlran and he took over a portion of the Leviathan with the Hive Calus kept there. All that served as backstory for the now-vaulted Crown of Sorrow raid, in which Guardians killed Gahlran, leaving the artifact in Calus's possession. In Presage, we see how he tried to experiment with it.

Aboard the Glykon, the result of using the crown on the Scorn became pretty horrific. Osiris analyzes the Glykon's data logs as you explore it, and is later joined in the attempt by Caiatl, who insists on observing your investigation into the ship because she's searching for the whereabouts of Calus, her father. The pair learn that, after failed attempts to make contact with the Darkness, the Glykon flew into the strange spacial anomaly left in Mars's place when the planet disappeared at the end of the Season of Arrivals. That allowed Calus, finally, to connect with the Entity--before he vanished as well. Trapped in the anomaly, the Glykon and its crew underwent strange changes, losing their grips on reality, and the ship seemed to rearrange itself in impossible ways. Eventually, the Scorn went mad, overran the ship, and killed everyone. Katabasis's Ghost was corrupted by the dark power, and you eventually find the Guardian himself dead on the bridge of the ship, covered in strange vines that seem to grow from (or feed on) Darkness.

What are these weird plants and what did they do this this Guardian?
What are these weird plants and what did they do this this Guardian?

What happened to Calus is unknown, and the information gleaned from the Glykon suggests that the emperor did manage to commune with the Entity, although it's unclear to what end. After the ship is fully investigated, Osiris suggests the Crown of Sorrow be returned to the Tower for Vanguard study, although there's a fair amount of pushback against that idea because of worries about Savathun's potential influence exerted through the artifact. At this point, the ultimate fate of the Crown of Sorrow is unknown.

The Season of the Splicer

While diplomatic relations of a type are at least open between the Vanguard and the Cabal, another threat moves against the Last City soon after the failed assassination attempt against Zavala. The Vex, using some sort of simulation technology, manage to blanket the Last City in an endless night. Though the mechanics of that Endless Night are a little unclear, its effects are immediate--the perpetual darkness drains the city's power and helps to spread sickness.

At the same time, the Vanguard receives a distress signal from Europa through Variks. The Eliksni refugees who left Eramis's ranks have come under attack by Vex. Guardians, along with Ikora Rey, are dispatched to help, escorting the Eliksni and their leader, Mithrax, back to the Last City.

Mithrax is a Fallen captain who appeared in a mission way back at the beginning of Destiny 2. He leads you on a chase through the old facilities of Titan, and when you come to the end of that chase, you find him locked in battle against a Hive Knight. If you shoot the knight but let the captain live, he is surprised, seemingly thanks you, and disappears. (You can kill the Mithrax or both enemies instead, but that's the non-canon conclusion to the mission.) Your mercy changed Mithrax's mind about humanity and the Fallen's situation, and he later helps the Vanguard, most notably aiding Guardians against Eramis's crew when they tried to steal Outbreak Perfected. He also traveled with a fireteam of Guardians for a time, before he started a new Eliksni house to protect those who do not wish to fight: the House of Light.

The internal politics of the Tower were at the forefront of the Season of the Splicer, and it was great.
The internal politics of the Tower were at the forefront of the Season of the Splicer, and it was great.

As well as being a new Kell (the Eliksni word for leader or king), Mithrax is also a sacred splicer, resurrecting ancient Eliksni practices for communing with machines. He believes he can help you hack into the Vex network and end the Endless Night--that's why the Vex are trying to kill him in the first place. So Mithrax joins the Vanguard and, with his help, you work to hack and enter the Vex network to uncover how the Endless Night was created and put a stop to it.

Not everyone is excited about this Eliksni alliance, however. Many of the people living in the city see them as enemies who have terrorized humanity for centuries, and now, suddenly, humans are forced to share space with the Eliksni and live beside them. Some are welcoming--Ikora sees the benefits of the alliance and Crow, who spent time living with the Eliksni on the Tangled Shore, sees them as friends--but others are unwilling to look beyond the past.

The loudest voice among those who don't trust the Eliksni is Lakshmi-2, the leader of the Future War Cult. The FWC is one of three factions that represent the civilian population of the Last City, and along with the Vanguard, serve to govern it. The faction's whole deal is using strange technology to look into the future and preparing for the conflicts that await there. Lakshmi sees several futures this way and believes that the Eliksni will turn on the humans. She wants to stop them, but she also believes she can use this situation to her advantage to gain political power.

While Mithrax and the Vanguard make moves to try to stop the Vex, Lakshmi uses radio broadcasts to drum up civil unrest and hatred of the Eliksni among the people. She also gathers the other factions, New Monarchy and Dead Orbit, with the plan of attempting to overthrow Zavala and the Vanguard, seeing them as having abandoned their duties by bringing the Eliksni inside the city walls. She tries to gain the support of Osiris and Saint-14, the latter of which went on a famous one-man crusade against the Fallen. But Saint-14's mind is changed when Mithrax tells him that, among his people, "The Saint" is considered a legendary monster, much like the Fallen are to humanity. That softens Saint's heart, and as he spends more time with the Eliksni, he becomes a friend to Mithrax and an ally to the House of Light.

Mithrax and Saint-14 defended the Eliksni refugees together, despite the fact that Saint's campaign against the Fallen had turned him to a monster of legend in their eyes.
Mithrax and Saint-14 defended the Eliksni refugees together, despite the fact that Saint's campaign against the Fallen had turned him to a monster of legend in their eyes.

Things are made worse as Lakshmi continues her anti-Eliksni propaganda, which results in vandalism and attacks against the Eliksni. Just as the unrest seems like it could get out of control, though, Mithrax, Ikora, Osiris, and the Guardian discover that the force behind the Vex's attack on the Last City is Quria, Blade Transform--a Vex mind Taken by Oryx some time in the distant past. Oryx gifted Quria to Savathun, so we discover that it's the Hive god of deceit who is truly behind the Endless Night, and who is using the Vex as pawns to execute that attack. With Mithrax's help, you're able to track down Quria in the Vex network. Osiris suggests that capturing Quria might be a good idea, but in the end, the Vanguard decides it's better to destroy the mind, and by killing it, you stop the Endless Night.

Still, Quria is not the only enemy you still have to face. Lakshmi tries to execute her coup plans and opens a Vex gate in the Eliksni quarter of the City, allowing the robot aliens to stream in and attack. She claims Osiris helps her, but Lakshmi is killed during the attack and Osiris disappears. Meanwhile, Saint, Ikora, and the Guardians manage to defeat the Vex and save the Eliksni refugees, solidifying the alliance between the Vanguard and House Light.

The Season of the Lost

Immediately after the Vex incursion is stopped, however, you're called to the Dreaming City. At long last, after years away, Queen Mara Sov has returned. As you arrive, she is meeting with Osiris--who suddenly reveals that he was, in fact, Savathun in some kind of shape-shifted disguise. You haven't been interacting with Osiris at all since Beyond Light, in fact. Since the moment Crow saved the Warlock on the moon, the person you've been confiding in was the Hive god of deception.

Savathun encases herself in some kind of huge magic crystal, and claims that she wants the help of the Guardians and Mara Sov to destroy the parasitic worm within her. The worms are the source of the Hive's dark powers, but they also demand constant feeding, which is why the Hive never stop murdering, conquering, and growing their strength. Savathun wants to break that cycle, and she claims that she has been working with you, in the guise of Osiris, to aid you so that you might help her gain her freedom. She makes a bargain with the Vanguard: She'll reveal the location of the real Osiris in return for our help. Stricken by the revelation that Osiris was really Savathun, Saint-14, the Warlock's partner, begins to search the solar system for the missing Guardian.

Savathun essentially turns herself in and is encased in a crystal, but that doesn't stop her from continuing to sew dissension.
Savathun essentially turns herself in and is encased in a crystal, but that doesn't stop her from continuing to sew dissension.

Mara agrees to help Savathun destroy her worm, although this too is a ruse. The real plan for Mara is to kill the worm, and then put an end to Savathun, too--destroying the worm will sever Savathun's connection to the Darkness and make her vulnerable. Savathun has been a major threat for years in Destiny 2--it was Savathun who used Riven (with the help of Quria) to curse the Dreaming City, locking it into a three-week timeloop. Mara also blames the Hive god for Uldren's death, since Savathun and Riven together used him to gain access to the Dreaming City in the first place.

But to get rid of Savathun's worm in the first place, Mara needs the help of her Techeuns, a group of powerful Awoken witches. The Techeuns were scattered throughout the Ascendant Realm when they ventured there to help Mara, who had been hiding out in the strange dimension after her death at the hands of Oryx. Dying and resurrecting on the Ascendant Plane was all part of Mara's elaborate plan, but she didn't anticipate the wrinkle of Xivu Arath when the queen finally was ready to come out of hiding. The Techeuns found Mara and managed to save her from the Ascendant Plane, bringing her back to our world, but they were lost in the attempt and some were even Taken. So the Vanguard decides to send Guardians to help Mara rescue the Techeuns, which is done by reawakening pathways through the Ascendant Realm called "leylines." Each time leylines are restored, however, Xivu Arath gains more pathways to attack the Dreaming City, and it quickly becomes apparent that she has consolidated all the forces of Darkness into her army to do so: the Hive, the Taken, and the Scorn.

At the same time, Savathun seems to be running a game of her own. In wanting to destroy her worm and escape her covenant from it, she's turned against the Darkness--that's why she was trying to stop Guardians from receiving its signals back in the Season of Arrivals. Turning against her former patrons, the worm gods, has made Savathun an enemy to Xivu Arath, and the Hive god of war is hunting her sister. Hiding out as Osiris, manipulating the Guardians, and moving pawns around the board all year are actions in service of Savathun's greater plan.

She discusses the situation with you at a number of intervals, explaining that there is much you don't know about what is happening, and a much larger threat looming just out of sight--presumably the Entity Calus tried to contact. Savathun claims that she is a friend and was acting in humanity's interests when impersonating Osiris. That last point is particularly difficult for Crow, who did consider Osiris a friend and is struggling with his feelings about Savathun. What's more, Crow knows there's much that everyone is keeping from him, especially Mara Sov, who doesn't reveal that Crow used to be her brother Uldren. Eventually, it's Savathun who reveals Crow's past to him, restoring his memories. Haunted by who he was and what he did as Uldren, Crow leaves the Dreaming City and requests a new assignment. Ikora sends him to act as a liaison with Caiatl and introduces him to Mithrax's old fireteam, providing him a new potential role with the Vanguard. It's an open question of how Crow might react to Mara's plans for Savathun--and Mara, it appears, has plans for Crow as well, hoping to gain his loyalty and control him the way she did her brother.

The Season of the Lost shows how the two queens--Mara Sov and Savathun--are both trying to use their cunning for their unknown agendas.
The Season of the Lost shows how the two queens--Mara Sov and Savathun--are both trying to use their cunning for their unknown agendas.

After months of preparation, Mara and her Techeuns are finally able to begin their exorcism of Savathun's worm, but the work we did to reconnect the leylines also opens the door for Xivu Arath. She launches an assault on Mara's spire where the exorcism takes place, and Guardians are forced to fight their way through the attack to get to Mara, the coven, and Saint-14 to protect the ritual. Despite Xivu Arath's efforts, however, the Guardians hold off the assault and the exorcism is a success, removing Savathun's worm.

With the ritual complete, Mara prepares to conclude her plan and destroy the now-vulnerable Savathun. Much to her chagrin, however, Savathun is one step ahead somehow. When the crystal encasing the Witch Queen shatters, she's (somehow) already gone, presumably through some combination of space magic and Ascendant Plane trickery. Perhaps she was never present to begin with.

Someone is there, however: Osiris. He has survived the ordeal and is free of Savathun's possession. Saint-14 returns Osiris to the Tower to care for him, and Mara notes that while her inability to kill Savathun was a setback, it's not a total loss. Savathun held up her end of the bargain, and Mara was able to extract her living worm. From the sounds of things, Mara intends to interrogate or otherwise gain intelligence from the creature, which could be useful in the war against the Darkness.

And that brings us up to the present. The Witch Queen launches on February 22, and promises to upend Destiny 2's story yet again as we work to uncover Savathun's secrets. There are still some lingering questions from the Season of the Lost that could see answers in the expansion. And still, while Savathun appears to be our enemy, it's not clear what her current motivations and plans are.


Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a former senior writer at GameSpot and worked as a journalist for newspapers and websites for more than a decade, covering video games, technology, and entertainment for nearly that long. A freelancer before he joined the GameSpot team as an editor out of Los Angeles, his work appeared at Playboy, IGN, Kotaku, Complex, Polygon, TheWrap, Digital Trends, The Escapist, GameFront, and The Huffington Post. Outside the realm of games, he's the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler's Guide to Time Travel and The Space Hero's Guide to Glory. If he's not writing about video games, he's probably doing a deep dive into game lore.

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