Destiny Defined – Of Ten Suns

Destiny Armory Defined entry

This world is yours to cross.

Of Ten Suns

Basic Information

Released: Destiny 2: Season of Arrivals

Rarity: Exotic

Category: Other

Other Subcategory: Sparrow

Affiliations: Daito; The Nine

Expanded Information

The reference also ties into the lore and naming of the Jade Rabbit within the Destiny universe.

Definition Summary

“Why did Yi shoot down the suns?”

Reference to one verse in the famous ancient Chinese poem, Heavenly Questions, in which Hou Yi shot down nine of the ten suns. Considered the greatest archer of all time, Yi is married to the moon goddess, Chang’e of the Jade palace where the Emperor and Jade Rabbit also live. 

Hou Yi is depicted as an inhumanly strong, young man. He carries a large bow made of tiger bone that only he can draw and his arrows are crafted from dragon tendons. Usually shown in art dressed in a traditional soldier’s outfit and animal skins. He was once an immortal who lived in the Jade Emperor’s palace. Hou Yi made the decision to become human in order to help humanity in times of need.

In Hou Yi vs The Ten Suns, Hou Yi and the Ten Suns lived during time when the earth was still very young and the mythical Emperor Yao ruled China, there were ten suns that took turns illuminating the planet. The Jade Emperor told them that only one of them could play in the sky at a time, otherwise they would destroy the earth. However the Suns were young children and they decided that going out together would be much more fun.

All ten suns appeared in the sky and the temperature on earth became unbearably hot. Chaos ran, crops died and people suffered as the earth began to burn. Because of this, monsters emerged from the shadows and began to prey on humanity. When the skilled archer Hou Yi witnessed the destruction he immediately went to the Jade Emperor and told him that if the suns would not behave themselves, he would be forced to shoot them down in order to save the earth.

Seeking to protect his grandchildren, the Jade Emperor scolded them and begged them to return home. However the suns were having too much fun and they could not hear the Emperor over their own laughter. Realizing that he couldn’t reason with them, the Jade Emperor gave Hou Yi permission to do what must be done.

Armed with a massive bow made of tiger bones and arrows made of dragon tendons, Hou Yi set about slaying the monsters terrorizing the countryside. When he was finished, he climbed to the top of a tall mountain to confront the suns directly, giving the children a final warning to return to the Emperor’s palace.

The Suns mocked him and Yi fired nine arrows upon the suns. Nine of them fell from the sky and the tenth sun was so scared that he ran away and hid. The earth plunged into darkness and cold. Every living thing on the planet begged the last sun to come out, but he was so scared of Hou Yi that he ignored them.

After countless attempts to bring the Sun out a rooster climbed to the top of his roost and shouted, “Brother!” The Sun was able to hear the load scream and decided to emerge. It is said, whenever roosters crow “brother” in the morning, the sun rises to greet them.

Hou Yi was given a bottle of the Elixir of Immortality so that he might return to the Jade Emperor’s palace as a god. Even though he wanted to be immortal, Yi did not want to leave his wife Chang’e to die alone. So he hid the elixir away until he was able to decide. However, Chang’e stole the vial from him while he was sleeping. She drank the contents of the bottle and fled to the moon to escape her husband’s wrath.

Hou Yi was so upset with his wife that he aimed an arrow at her, wanting to shoot her down, but in the end, he could not bring himself to do it. After his anger had passed, Hou Yi started to leave out Chang’e’s favorite desserts and fruits each night to show that he had forgiven her.

They are considered star-crossed lovers and to this day remain a very important part of Chinese folklore/traditions.

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