‘Destiny 2’ aka The Red War
Destiny 2 kicks off a new conflict with the least prominent of the darkness’ factions, the Cabal. At the game’s outset, a new Cabal army led by the villainous emperor, Dominus Ghaul, invades the Last City on Earth. As the Guardians and Vanguard work on evacuating civilians, Ghaul reveals his true goal — he attacks the Traveler with a giant ship that creates some kind of energy barrier around it. This effectively cuts off the Traveler’s Light from the rest of the solar system. Suddenly, Guardians can’t be resurrected from the dead. Without the Light, the Guardians lose their advantage: Ghaul’s army, known as “the Red Legion,” overwhelms them and takes the City. The player and his or her Ghost only barely survive, and manage to slip out of the Cabal-occupied City and into the wilds surrounding it.
While the Guardians are scattered and dying across the solar system, Ghaul captures the Speaker for the Traveler and tortures him to find out more about the Traveler, so he might earn its favor. Ghaul’s main goal is to get the Traveler’s Light, the blessing that makes Guardians immortal and give them their various superpowers, and use it himself.
Out in the wilds of Earth, the player stumbles across a group of survivors, led by a woman named Hawthorne, who fled the city and are holed up in the woods near the Shard of the Traveler. The piece broke off centuries ago when the Darkness first attacked the Traveler during the Collapse. As players wander through the woods hoping to survive, they see a vision from the Traveler that directs them to the Shard. It turns out there’s still some of the Traveler’s Light in the Shard, and touching it restores the Light to the player. Suddenly, you’re the only immortal Guardian in the system, and it’s up to you to save the day.
Through the course of Destiny 2, the player reconnects with the Guardians’ leaders, Zavala, Cayde-6, and Ikora, all of whom are trying to figure out how to defeat Ghaul in their own way. Upon seeing that a Guardian has regained their light, the Vanguard trio agrees to reunite, and devises a plan to retake the City. While the player is running around bringing them together, they also discover that Ghaul has an insurance policy — a sun-killing superweapon called “the Almighty” that can destroy the entire solar system. As it turns out, if the Cabal can’t manage to conquer a place, they annihilate it.
The player heads to the Almighty and shuts down the weapon, taking away Ghaul’s ability to fire it if he loses the Last City. That serves as a signal for Zavala, Ikora and Cayde, along with Hawthorne and the rest of the Guardians they’ve gathered, to attack the City. The battle goes well for a while, but when the player gets back to Earth to join the fight, they find that the Vanguard leaders have been hurt and can’t go on to take down Ghaul. Using Cayde’s Vex teleporter, the player zaps over onto Ghaul’s command ship to defeat him once and for all.
By this point, Ghaul has tortured the Speaker to death and managed to use technology to access the Traveler’s Light. He’s got a whole inferiority complex about not having been chosen on his merits to receive the Traveler’s gift, and he throws all that anger at the player, trying to kill them with their own superpowers.
The player manages to defeat Ghaul, and he zaps himself with so much Light that he becomes what seems like a giant immortal Light monster. But that causes the Traveler, which has been dormant for centuries after pushing back the Darkness way back during the Collapse, to suddenly wake up. It blasts Ghaul, annihilating him, and returns Light to the Guardians across the solar system.
We don’t know yet what the reawakening of the Traveler is going to mean for Destiny, but it’s definitely a big deal. There’s also a post-credits scene in Destiny 2 that suggests a new threat is on its way; a group of black ships waiting dormant outside of the galaxy that are reawakened by the Traveler’s massive surge of energy.
Meanwhile, on Mercury
The story doesn’t end when players take down the Cabal and defeat Dominus Ghaul. There’s the “Leviathan” raid, in which players encounter former Cabal emperor Calus, whom Ghaul sent into exile. Exploring Calus’ ship/palace reveals quite a bit of the information about the Cabal’s history and suggests there is more going on with the aliens than just what happens in the main story.
And then there’s what is happening on Mercury.
The first expansion for Destiny 2, dubbed Curse of Osiris, takes players to Mercury, a planet that was previously off-limits in Destiny, for the most part. At some point before the first Destiny, the planet was taken over by the time-traveling Vex and converted into a machine world. This is the hivemind’s general M.O. — We’ve seen it try the same thing on Venus in Destiny, and seen what happens when it succeeds on Nessus in Destiny 2.
While the Vanguard fought the Cabal in Destiny 2‘s main campaign, the Vex have been up to something. Dominus Ghaul’s Red Legion struck major blows against the Vex on Mars, driving it out of strongholds the Cabal has struggled with for years. But with Ghaul’s death, the Vex has been able to regroup.
Ok, here’s where things get weird: The Vex has a big, scary talent — time travel. The hivemind sends its forces back in time to manipulate timelines constantly, and can create spaces that exist outside of time, like the Vault of Glass.
At the outset of Curse of Osiris, Ikora discovers that the Vex are amassing an army from multiple timelines, pulling robots from both the past and the future in a bid to take over the solar system.
That information comes from Ikora’s former mentor, Osiris, a figure who looms large in Destiny’s lore. (You may him from the “Trials of Osiris” multiplayer event, which is put on by his followers). Players had never actually met Osiris — Until now.
Osiris is a legendary Guardian who used to serve in the Vanguard — the military commanders that protect the Last City. (You know them as your quest-givers: Cayde-6, Ikora, and Zavala). In his time, Osiris wasn’t just a warrior and commander, he was also a scholar. Like other members of the Warlock class, he studied the Traveler, its Light, and “the Darkness,” which ostensibly seems to be the name for all the aliens that want to conquer and destroy the Traveler and the worlds it protects. Osiris wanted to know as much about the Darkness as he could find and used his Vanguard posting to divert resources to find out about things like the Hive, their god Oryx, and the Vex.
Over time, Osiris became increasingly obsessed with these ideas. Eventually, his studies undermined the safety of the City, and the Speaker for the Traveler exiled him. Though his studies drove him close to madness, we learned over the course of the series that Osiris’ research-and-intelligence-gathering outfit was right. He predicted Oryx’s coming long before it actually happened, and warned that the Vex would be a huge danger if left unchecked. The Guardians who realized this, and agreed his Osiris’ priorities, known as the Cult of Osiris, put on the “Trials,” and try to gather other Guardians to work with the exiled leader.
Turns out, Osiris had been investigating a Vex simulation construct known as the Infinite Forest on Mercury, which the time-traveling robots used to test all kinds of futures. He headed into the Infinite Forest to try to stop Panoptes, the Vex mind that ran the place and was using it to direct Vex strategies by simulating all possible timelines. Cornered by the Vex, Osiris sent his ghost, Sagira, out of the Infinite Forest to contact the Vanguard Ikora for help in defeating Panoptes. At the end of Curse of Osiris, The Guardian teams up with the exiled Osiris and destroys Panoptes, preventing the Vex from creating a future in which their victory was assured.
The Warmind exposed
Destiny 2‘s upcoming expansion, Warmind, tells an entirely separate story, one that surfaces a lot of lore from the series’ apocalyptic history. Back during the Golden Age, the corporation known as Clovis Bray helped colonize the solar system and created many powerful technologies. The company was responsible for the skyscraper known as the Dust Palace on Mars and helped build the city of Freehold. Its researchers were also responsible for SIVA, thanks to some unethical science. They also helped build the Warminds, the big defense supercomputers that protected the solar system prior to The Collapse. Bray built the Warminds in a facility called Futurescape on Mars, located in a region known as the Hella Basin. It seems that facility might even house the core of the powerful Warmind Rasputin, which Guardians have interacted with a few times before, according to some new Grimoire card-type entries published on Bungie.com.
Not much is known about Bray in the present era, but at least one member of the Bray family, Anastasia, became a Guardian. She fought at Twilight Gap, a massive battle on Earth in which the armies of the Fallen nearly overtook the Last City before disappearing. It turns out Ana did something Guardians aren’t supposed to do: She looked into her past, from before her first death. Upon learning her identity, she went to Mars to find out more about herself and Clovis Bray.
In addition to whatever secrets she uncovered, Ana has found a Hive army hidden in Mars’ polar ice cap. It turns out that the Moon was not the first place that humanity encountered the Hive. The Hive attacked Mars at some point, apparently led by their worm god, Xul, and one of the sons of Oryx, Noktis. There’s not much information about Noktis — he was a Hive god that was cast out by Oryx and his ilk. Apparently, they were all frozen in the ice on Mars … in a region known as the Hella Basin.
Noktis’ army is thawing out thanks to some satellites crashing into the glaciers there. Ana plans to head to Hella Basin to take down the new darkness starting to stir there, and, presumably, we’re going too…
Updated on May 4: Added information regarding the Warmind expansion.