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On Europa in Destiny 2, We're Still Waiting On Revelations About Cayde-6

It seems we haven't uncovered all of Europa's secrets, or learned all there is to know about Destiny's dearly departed Hunter Vanguard.

One of the best things about Destiny 2's Beyond Light expansion is how much concrete story it has delivered. Destiny's story has always been unwieldy, largely because there's a lot of it--but most of it took place in the distant past, somewhere outside of what's actually in the game. In Beyond Light, Bungie tied together a host of dangling lore threads, filling in gaps we've been wondering about for a long, long time. Names like Clovis Bray finally have faces, and characters we've been wondering about from Destiny 1, like the Exo Stranger, have finally explained their actions.

Every so often, Bungie collects some of those lore entries together into book form, as Destiny Grimoire Anthologies. The books center on specific themes, like the influence of the Darkness or the history of the Fallen, and each one has been relevant to whatever stories Destiny 2 was telling at the time of their release. Grimoire Anthology Vol. 3, which was released right around the launch of Beyond Light, includes lore relevant to the Exos, Rasputin, and Clovis Bray--and gives some clues about what we might still learn on Europa.

Beyond Light's backstory is all about the birth of the Exo race--robots into which human consciousnesses have been downloaded. That's a major part of the third Grimoire Anthology book as well, with the book compiling lore entries about the Exos' strange relationship with the Deep Stone Crypt. The book ends with what feels like a major clue as to what we can expect from the story on Europa as it continues to unfold in coming seasons. The last portion of the book focuses on Destiny's most famous Exo, the former Hunter Vanguard and the character who was murdered to kick off the Forsaken expansion: Cayde-6.

The Cayde lore entries in the Grimoire Anthology compile some information about his past. One explains that, back when he was still fully human, he owed a big debt to Clovis Bray, the genius industrialist whose company was responsible for creating Exos (as well as other things, like Rasputin, the giant artificial intelligence that controlled all the solar systems defensive weaponry). When Bray came to collect, the human who would become Cayde expected some dire consequences, but he was instead offered an opportunity to join the Exo program.

Cayde's history from there is a bit spotty, in part because of the fact that Exos often get their memories wiped to keep their human minds functioning well inside their robotic bodies. We know he worked for Clovis Bray as an Exo bodyguard and soldier for a while, and he seems to have lost track of his human past--including his family. As somebody who was part of the Exo program and worked for Clovis Bray, he seemingly got pretty close to the company during the Golden Age.

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The relevant part for what might be next on Europa comes from some story points uncovered after Cayde-6's death in the Forsaken expansion. After he was killed, players could depart on a mission to find several stashes of gear Cayde hid on Titan. In each one was a recorded message Cayde created for whoever killed him; since he didn't know who that might be, he recorded a bunch of messages for a bunch of people, including his friends.

The message that matters is the one Cayde left for the people who built the Deep Stone Crypt, the facility where Exos were first created and the scene of Beyond Light's raid. It's also the very last entry in the book.

"This one's for the minds behind the Deep Stone Crypt," Cayde said in the recording. "You think just 'cause you made me, you can unmake me? Hey, I understand. [If] I were you, I wouldn't want people knowing what I did either. Guess you better hope I didn't tell anyone about the Crypt. Or about the, uh, what was it? Oh yeah... Long Slow Whisper. 'Cause if I did, that would be real bad for you, huh? I may be dead, but I guarantee you ain't heard the last of me."

The message itself raises some questions about what Cayde might have been threatening to share, and who in particular he was threatening. We've uncovered a lot on Europa, but the phrasing of Cayde's message, the reference to the Long Slow Whisper, and Cayde's closing line suggest there's more to uncover.

Having found the Crypt itself and other secrets hidden on Europa, we have a fair sense of some of the things the creators of the Exos might have wanted to keep people from knowing. First, there's the fact that Exos are not just robots--they're made possible through the use of both Darkness energy and Vex technology. Lore entries suggest that Exos have strange dreams whenever they're reset that often include them fighting (and killing) an army composed of everyone they've ever met. Pair those frightening visions with the fact that Exos have elements of the Darkness and the Vex baked into them from the moment they're built, and you might suddenly become a little distrustful of your robot Guardian pals.

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Second, Clovis Bray didn't just have an epiphany and start building Exos. The process of finding a way to get human minds to accept their new robot bodies was a long and difficult one; early in the process, Exos would fall to madness and literally tear themselves apart. Exploring Europa reveals the brutal experiments Bray and his workers committed on their test subjects to try to find a solution to the Exo problem, which included injecting them with Vex radiolarian fluid and grafting robotic parts onto their human bodies. It was all pretty horrific.

But since we already know about those things, they don't seem likely to be what Cayde is referring to when he threatens to reveal information about the Deep Stone Crypt. We uncovered Clovis Bray's crimes and the inner workings of the Exos just by wandering around on Europa, so you'd think that the insider knowledge Cayde possessed would be something even deeper and more nefarious.

"Long Slow Whisper" is the name of the emblem players who completed the Deep Stone Crypt raid on Day One, and it could refer to the influence of the Darkness on people who get too close to it (we know it was influencing Clovis Bray and the researchers who discovered the pyramid on the Moon, which is the centerpiece of the Shadowkeep expansion). But this is such an explicit phrase that it feels like Bungie's writers would have made a bigger note of calling attention to it, and its specific link to Cayde and the Forsaken story. So maybe the Long Slow Whisper is something more, something we haven't yet learned about.

The other question this all raises is one of who Cayde is referring to in his message. We know some of the people behind the Deep Stone Crypt at this point. They include Clovis Bray, who downloaded himself into an Exo body and eventually became Banshee-44, the Gunsmith. Another copy of Clovis's original personality persists as the AI in charge of the Europa research facility. Elsie Bray, the Exo Stranger, was also a key figure in running the Europa facility, but Clovis kept her in the dark about the inner workings of the Exo program, and when she learned the truth, she tried to stop him--she'd be fine with Cayde publicizing whatever he knew. These people don't really seem like the folks Cayde would be threatening. The AI head was more or less dormant before Guardians arrived on Europa; Banshee doesn't remember being Clovis and has no ties to that life; and Elsie hasn't shown up since Destiny 1's vanilla campaign. So who was Cayde threatening to expose?

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There's some additional evidence that there might be more story about Cayde on the way as we continue in Destiny 2's story past Beyond Light. Recent events in the game have been heavily related to Cayde's story in Forsaken, bringing the murdered Vanguard back to the forefront in players' minds. Running simultaneously with the release of Beyond Light was the Season of the Hunt, in which players worked closely with a character named the Crow to hunt down enemies corrupted by a new Hive villain, Xivu Arath. The Crow is actually Uldren Sov, the guy who murdered Cayde and who players killed in revenge at the end of the Forsaken story campaign. Soon after his death, Uldren was revived by a Ghost named Glint, turning him into a Guardian who calls himself the Crow--which means the Crow has no memory of the man he used to be, or the circumstances of his own death.

That made the events of the Season of the Hunt pretty charged as we got to know the Crow and the person he had become. We worked closely with the Crow, the murderer of Cayde-6 who we, in turn, murdered. In what seems to be the final story mission of the season, though, the player character accepts the Crow as a Guardian, effectively forgiving him for his past crimes and acknowledging that he's a new person. But while we learned a lot about the Crow, there's a key piece of information the Crow doesn't have about us: that the player character is the one who killed him, in Cayde's name.

All that is to say that the effects of Cayde's death are still being felt, and that the character--as an Exo, as someone who worked for Clovis Bray, as a member of the Vanguard, and as a memory--is relevant to everything that's going on in Destiny right now. Hell, even the final boss of the Deep Stone Crypt raid, Taniks, has major ties to Cayde. Among his stashes, Cayde left a recording to be played in the event that Taniks was the one who finally killed him. The pair had a long-standing history of trying to kill each other, and it was Taniks who murdered Andal Brask, one of Cayde's best friends and his Hunter Vanguard predecessor.

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Since the release of Beyond Light, we destroyed a character who might be Cayde's greatest nemesis and witnessed the redemption of the guy who murdered him, while also learning about the people who helped create Cayde in the first place.

So although Cayde has been dead for two years now, he still looms large on the landscape of Destiny 2's storytelling, and there seems to be business left unfinished as relates to his character. After all, there's still no Hunter Vanguard to replace Cayde, and we've spent the last few months wandering the halls of Clovis Bray's Eventide settlement and the Deep Stone Crypt. Cayde said that, even dead, the folks behind the Deep Stone Crypt hadn't heard the last of him, and I have a feeling we haven't either.

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philhornshaw

Phil Hornshaw

GameSpot editor in Los Angeles, and 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. Hoped the latter would help me get Han Solo hair, but so far, unsuccessful.

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