Factions have gone and the Eliksni are staying--here's what the epilogue to the Endless Night means for the future in Destiny 2.
Note: This article contains spoilers for the end of Destiny 2's Season of the Splicer, so you might want to complete the epilogue before reading further.
Two more weeks remain in Destiny 2's Season of the Splicer, but with the launch of the final Override activity, the story of the season seems to have officially concluded. The epilogue quest, "As Prophesied," closes off the story threads of the season, brings together its themes, and sets up where things are going as we draw nearer to Destiny 2's next expansion, The Witch Queen. In a big way, the Season of the Splicer also just upended a lot of long-standing elements in Destiny 2, and that could have a big impact on the game's future.
First, a quick rundown of everything that's happened during this season. After the Vex created the Endless Night simulation and Ikora recruited Mithrax and the House of Light Eliksni to help deal with it, we found ourselves in the uncomfortable situation of having Eliksni refugees in the Last City. After centuries of fighting the Fallen in a war that could have meant humanity's extinction, we were giving quarter to our longtime enemy. That angered a lot of people in the City, the loudest voice being that of Future War Cult leader Lakshmi-2.
Despite Lakshmi's objections and unrest brewing in the City, Guardians worked with Mithrax to learn who was behind the Endless Night and how to stop it, but that took time, which allowed Lakshmi to foment more resentment against the Eliksni refugees. With anger rising among the people, Lakshmi started working with the other faction leaders to launch a coup against the Vanguard, seemingly with the goal of installing herself as the leader of the Last City. She looked to major figures for support, including Saint-14 and Lord Saladin, although neither ended up aiding her.
Eventually, we ended the Endless Night with the help of the Eliksni. But that didn't fully ease tensions, and in the epilogue, we saw what Lakshmi's rhetoric finally wrought. Claiming she had the help of Osiris, she used Future War Cult technology to open a portal for the Vex in the City's Eliksni quarter, in hopes that the invading robots would eliminate them. In the final mission, various major characters from the Vanguard and around the City worked together to save the Eliksni and drive back the Vex invasion.
That leaves a bunch of major changes in the wake of the end of the season. Lakshmi perished in the Vex invasion. The members of her Future War Cult have scattered, as have her supporters in New Monarchy, another of the factions. The third faction, Dead Orbit, has left the City as well, even though it didn't participate in the coup. So it seems that in addition to Lakshmi, we won't be seeing Arach Jalaal or Executor Hideo around the Tower again.
The three factions have been a part of Destiny since the first game released, originally appearing for the most part as part of an event called Faction Rally, in which players would pledge loyalty to one group in exchange for special weapons and armor. Faction Rally hasn't been a part of Destiny 2 for years, though, and this story development more or less makes official the fact that there haven't been factions for quite a while.
What's interesting, though, is what the lack of factions might set up for Destiny's future. Future War Cult, Dead Orbit, and New Monarchy were three groups that, along with the military leadership in the Vanguard and the Speaker, made up the Consensus--what was essentially the government of the Last City. The factions represented the City's civilians, but they're now gone, and the Speaker was killed back in Destiny 2 vanilla. All that's left of the Consensus, then, is the Vanguard, which could leave a power vacuum of government in the City. That could also strain the already stretched Vanguard, which now has to take on whatever governmental duties formerly fell to the factions. Given how interesting intra-city politicking became in the Season of the Splicer, addressing how the people of the City govern themselves--or don't--could lead to some very interesting situations in Destiny 2's future.
We've also seen some big changes in many of the major characters of Destiny 2. After supposedly helping Lakshmi and watching the battle with the Vex without participating in it, Osiris has disappeared. There's a lot of speculation for what that could mean from a plot perspective, and we may well have a new villain on our hands. Meanwhile, Saint-14 has become the Eliksni's biggest ally, which is a huge shift. This is a guy famous in Destiny's lore for fighting the Eliksni, so much so that they have stories they tell their children describing him as a monster. The epilogue cutscene saw Saint-14 fighting to defend the Eliksni, before he was eventually backed up by Ikora, Zavala, and Amanda Holliday. It seems very likely that this year's continuing theme of re-evaluating our enemies and finding common ground with them is only going to continue now that we've watched several main characters risk their lives for their former enemies.
The Eliksni are staying in the City, at least for the time being. We can now likely expect Mithrax, and other Eliksni, to become regular characters as they become citizens under the same Guardian protections as other humans. That's huge. It's a major change to the Destiny status quo--as a reminder, the Fallen are the very first enemies you ever fight in Destiny--and it feels like it's going to build to an even larger shift over time as Bungie fundamentally shifts the underlying premise of who are our allies and who are our enemies.
We don't know where Destiny 2 is headed just yet (although we're making some guesses), but it's not much of an exaggeration to say that the Season of the Splicer has shaken up Bungie's game world pretty profoundly. Elements introduced way back in Destiny 1 have been fundamentally altered or removed altogether. Characters we've known for years are changing their perspectives. The status quo going forward has already shifted.
That's all great news for Destiny 2, even as it raises more questions about where the game is headed going into Season 15. We'll likely learn more during Bungie's Destiny 2 showcase on August 24, but even without more clues to the future, it's rewarding to watch Destiny 2 continue to evolve into something new and exciting as it challenges its own underlying foundations.
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