The Distancing From Eliksni Lore in Destiny 2
Among all of the enemies and races in the Destiny universe thus far, the Eliksni, otherwise known as the Fallen, are without a doubt the most prominently encountered by our Guardian. In Destiny, the Fallen were found in nearly every patrol space available in some manner or form. The same can be said of Destiny 2, where the Fallen occupy half of the major patrol spaces and are constantly competing with other races for territory. Since the start of the Destiny franchise the Fallen have been one of the most featured and detailed alien races in the mythology, with them being the focus of two major expansions, House of Wolves and Rise of Iron, respectively, a number of well-written and informative Grimoire cards (surpassed only by the Books of Sorrow and tales of Thorn and Last Word), and having some of the most interesting social dynamics of race.
In Destiny, we are introduced to the feudal nature of Eliksni society. Fallen Houses are led by a triumvirate: the Kell who acts as the political leader; the Prime Servitor, a household god that provides ether for household; and the Archon, the priest who maintains and protects the Prime. Across the Sol system, each Fallen House encountered had its own unique sigil and color. The House of Devils wore red cloaks marked with a demonic image. The House of Kings wore yellow cloaks with an embroidered throne. House Winter had pale blue cloaks with jagged, icy symbols. The House of Wolves wore deep blue cloaks depicting the face of rabid animal. Finally, House Exile, who live among the Hive on the Moon, took for themselves the symbol of the Hive to wear upon their dark green rags.
There was more to the Fallen Houses than just their regalia, however, as each seemed to follow its own agenda in order to, presumably, reacquire the Traveler for the Eliksni. The House of Devils, arguably the largest at the start of Destiny, had continuous waged skirmishes and assaults in Old Russia against the City since the battles of Six Fronts and Twilight Gap. A splinter group of Devils (Devil Splicers) would eventually break-off from the main house and establish themselves in the Plaguelands, where they sought apotheosis under different leadership. On Venus, Draksis, Winter Kell, led his Fallen into the desolate research facilities of the Ishtar Collective to plunder whatever Golden Age secrets they could find. Following Twilight Gap and the Reef Wars, the House of Wolves fell under the Kellship of Mara Sov, Queen of the Awoken, until Skolas the Rabid was released from his prison and rallied the Wolves against the Awoken and the Guardians. House Exile, being a desperate household made up of disgraced members who fled from the centuries-long war with the City, struggled to survive among the Hive and were thought by many, including former-Hunter Vanguard Cayde-6, to be “crazy”. All the while the Kell of Kings silently manipulated the other houses hoping that he might find an opportunity to make enact his own plots.
This may seem like one giant summary of the Fallen’s actions throughout Destiny, but when you look at the Fallen of then against those of now, do things not seem more monotonous? In Destiny 2 we are introduced to the newly founded House of Dusk, whose origins are hinted in some of the final Grimoire cards of Destiny, the details of which not being fully told until the release of the Book: Forsaken Prince lore book in Destiny 2: Forsaken. Member of House Dusk wear dark purple cloaks with an embroidery meant to symbolize the “twilight” that has befallen the Eliksni people. House Dusk is a single, super-household made up of members from all the Fallen houses in the Sol system after the leadership of each was decimated by the Guardian and the Vanguard–all save for the Craask, the Kell of Kings, who implored Prince Uldren to rally the scattered Fallen under one banner, abandoning their households out of pure desperation. Now, House Dusk scours the Sol system seeking resources and territories for the purposes of survival and the eventual re-establishment of their society. Players will encounter House Dusk attempting to oust the Cabal and claim the power from the Traveler’s shard in the European Dead Zone, locate supplies and resources among the Clovis Bray facilities on Titan, recover Golden Age technologies from the Exodus Black Colony ship on Nessus, and loot the Spider’s caches across the Tangled Shore. Essentially, across nearly every patrol space in Destiny 2 you find the same faction, doing the same things, and, as a result, the Fallen have become generic and mundane.
Even from a design standpoint, the Fallen of Destiny 2 are almost entirely identical across all ranks and members. The only notable difference is that member of Captain rank wear purple cloaks with their sigil painted gold, as opposed to lower ranking members whose sigils remain white. Granted, in Destiny, it was only in Kells and Archons where we saw truly unique designs, but their designs gave us a hint to their houses’ identities. Furthermore, there were a number of Fallen who were affiliated with one House, but were garbed in the cloaks or inhabited the territories of another House. This led to some speculation within the lore community. Why did Riksis, Devil Archon, and Draksis, Winter Kell, look identical? Why did Naksis, Devil Baron, who we found in The Devil’s Lair strike, wear Winter regalia? Did Aksor, Archon Priest, belong to House Kings or Wolves? And whose colors did he bear on his robes? Was Taniks truly the last surviving member of House Scar and did he still bear their sigil on his cloak?
These questions and more existed in Destiny, but with the singularity of House Dusk across the Sol system, all of that has faded out of existence as they now hold no relevance or presence in the current story of Destiny 2. Bungie had created a colorful and unique, yet familiar alien culture which has now lost much of its luster and identity. Perhaps this is the progression that Bungie was always working towards, as we were clearly being given hints since the Rise of Iron expansion. Nor do I at all want to neglect what great stories within mythology have come about from the reshaping of the Fallen and the story of Destiny 2. Since the release of the Forsaken expansion, we have begun a tenuous friendship with the Spider, a Fallen mobster who employs renegades from the Fallen Houses, as well as Guardians and other mercenaries, to locate lost treasures and artifacts throughout the solar system. In the Black Armory we encountered Siviks, Lost to None, whose terrorist organization seeks to brew chaos across the system. Finally, we have Mithrax, the Forsaken, a former member of the House of Wolves who joined House Dusk after the Skolas’ failed rebellion and would later defect, choosing to swear allegiance to the Last City and join a fireteam after a chance encounter with our Guardian on Titan. There are still many stories of the Fallen that are waiting to be told, lest we forget about the yet-to-be mentioned Variks, the Loyal; but, when it comes to playing and encountering the Fallen in-game, since the release of Destiny 2, there has been a certain amount of mystique and intrigue waiting to be reclaimed.
Deciphering the Prophecies of House Rain
The prophecies of House Rain appear to be written, or translated, in a form of alliterative verse. From my minimal researching, it seems that the prophecies of House Rain are of the Germanic style of alliterative verse–two half lines broken by a caesura (pause) with at least two stressed syllables in each line. Curiously, in each of the following prophecies, you can see that each half-line has three or more alliterated syllables (although this does not mean that each syllable is stressed). Alliterated syllables, as well as the caesura between lines, have been bolded.
Before him, foes will flee or fall. // But he will heal the houses, make them whole.
The Great Machine will marvel, moved by might, // and come to crown him Kell of Kells.
What Whirlwind whisked away will be rewrought, // and every Kell and Ketch will kneel to the Kell of Kells.
These prophecies of House Rain are spoken by Variks the Loyal of House Judgement in Destiny, who keeps them following House Rain’s extinction. With little context, we can assume that these prophecies were made after the calamity of the Whirlwind hit the Eliksni homeworld, as each refers to the Kell of Kells who will reclaim the Great Machine i.e. the Traveler. Given that Variks knows their prophecies well, it may have been that House Rain acted as the seers and augurs, living in service to the Eliksni civilization in a similar fashion to House Judgement. It is also likely that this lack of leadership may have contributed to their extinction following the Whirlwind, but that is purely conjecture.
Deciphering Eliksni Folklore
“I am a marvel with ten thousand arms.”
There is a story, old as time, of he who could catch the stars. Unnamed and eternal, the star-catcher would lead the Fallen, rising from the lowest station to the highest exalted peaks. It is a fairy tale allowed to persist by the four-armed to keep the docked hopeful, placated—even the low may one day ascend. Myth, fairy tale or a prophecy of what will be, it’s best to not take chances. After all, one can’t reach across the black to claim dominion over ten thousand stars with ten thousand arms if they die here and now with only two.
The origins of the myth of the Star-catcher are completely unknown and could very well predate the prophecies of House Rain pertaining to the Kell of Kells. Even more mysterious is that the text recorded in the Dreg’s Promise Grimoire card, other that the flavor text on the weapon, is a second-hand summary of the myth and not the myth itself. Only one other item in Destiny may actually cite a line from the Star-catcher myth, that being the Devil’s Dawn sniper rifle. The flavor text reads: “My arms are red and manifold, and nothing is beyond my grasp”.
Arms are an incredibly significant symbol in Eliksni culture and caste system. Those docked of their arms are demoted as Dregs, forced to scrounge and grovel at the feet of others to survive. That the myth of the Star-catcher is focused on the rising of a dreg to become a universe-conqueror may just be a legend; it should be noted, however, that when Skolas the Rabid returned to the Sol system to rally the Fallen, he spoke to them saying, “I am the first, Kell of Kells, and I am the last, the Dreg of Dregs . . . I am the Dreg of Dregs because I remember that a dreg will grow back what is lost to him.” (Ghost Fragment: Fallen 3)
The myth of the star-catcher also has some parallels in real world mythologies. In reading the summary of this Eliksni myth, I find it impossible not to imagine the Hecatoncheires (Hundred-Handed Ones) of Greco-Roman mythology or the goddess Kali and the Asura from India.
1 Fallen story found beside the disabled skiff, unknown House, partly corrupted, rendered as follows:
what others call dark // which is not // I know what it is // but no time // room calm // given for an appropriate telling // so I say only that what is not shadow is an ally // and a wonder // and I respect what I cannot steal from // and you cannot take from the dark // you can claim only pain from the dark // and that is why the dark is worthy of love beyond all other love // that astonishing ability to evade being robbed
Ghost Fragment: Fallen 2
I love what I will not name
I have segmented the records to the best of my abilities, although I am fully aware that other interpretations may be imposed upon the text.It is currently unclear whether the corrupted recording details an Eliksni folktale or a first-person account of a previously unknown experience. Given that this recording is categorized as coming from an unknown House, it is entirely possible that this recording predates the Whirlwind and Scatter[ing]. The last line of this excerpt (“I love what I will not name”) appears to be a commentary on the recently uncovered story, implying that the Fallen Dreg who discovered it has always been aware of a certain truth.
Does anything in this recording refer to recent events—since the start of Destiny? Or does the recording perhaps predict the future? What exactly is that which “others call dark, which is not”? Is there any significance to the following phrase: “and you cannot take from the dark, you can claim only pain from the dark”?
1 story, Fallen and found beneath the skiff, unknown House, story uncorrupted
subsequently the second recording has been washed away
Ghost Fragment: Fallen 2
I know what no one else knows and now I am a marvel with ten thousand arms
Unfortunately, the contents of this second recording are unknown. Presumably, upon discovering and observing this uncorrupted story, the Fallen Dreg elected to erase the file and scrub away any other possible traces of its existence—this is made clear by the subsequent line which reads, “operator error”. Once again, the last line appears to be a recorded commentary, but the final clause should be recognizable as a verse from the Star-catcher myth summarized in the Dreg’s Promise Grimoire card.
What is the purpose of that verse being used here? Do Fallen Dregs recite it as a sort of pledge, or dare I say promise? Has this Fallen Dreg truly discovered something momentous enough to warrant hiding it from others and, if so, what did they find in that recording? And what is a Dreg’s promise?
Deciphering Quotes from the Eliksni
We are a long way from home.Arrha (trans. from Eliksni)
What is Arrha talking about here? Of course, the Eliksni homeworld was ravaged by the Whirlwind and its population sent adrift across the cosmos; but is this a simply lamentation for the past or acknowledgement that the Eliksni have truly Fallen beyond their redemption and reclamation of their identity?
The Kells are dead or mad. The era of Houses is over. So I came to the Shore.Arrha (trans. from Eliksni)
Draksis of Winter, Skolas of Wolves, Craask of Kings, and Solkis of Devils are all certainly dead. It is unclear as to whom Arrha is referring to when he says “the Kells are [mad]”. Arrha could be referring to Variks the Loyal who recently announced himself Kell of Judgement, or even Mithrax the Forsaken who is Kell to the “mind-open Eliksni”. In any event, Arrha strongly believes that the Eliksni culture of old has long since become obsolete, seeking now only to live and survive within the Spider’s crime syndicate.
I was at the Final Attempt. I saw a Guardian wield a gun that left molten gold in her wake. I ran and never looked back.Arrha (trans. from Eliksni)
Avrok is clearly recalling the efforts of the Fallen houses to reclaim the Traveler during the Battle of Twilight Gap. The Guardian in question was Ana Bray who was renown for being so attuned and proficient and brilliant in her use of Golden Gun that she left wells of Light with each bullet. Around a year earlier, the Hero of the Red War witnessed those wells of Light and utilized them during a mission in support of the Future War Cult.
How do you think we got here?Avrok (trans. from Eliksni)
Avrok is a relatively recent associate of the Spider’s, having escaped from the House of Kings when Uldren was first captured, using his ship Death to Kells as a buy-in to the crime syndicate. Much like Brivi, Avrok was once a member of the Kings. Twice-docked and spiteful of Fallen hierarchy, Avrok clearly understands the destructiveness of the internal politics that surrounded the Fallen houses from as far back as the Battle of Twilight Gap.
Was Wolf once. Still Wolf after Scatter, but…different. Then Queen’s. Wolf again. Bannerless. Then Spider’s.Avrok
This quote briefly outlines Avrok’s history. He was originally a member of the House of Wolves – known on the Eliksni homeworld as Mraskilaasan, i.e. Gentle Weavers (Lord of Wolves). After the Scatter, Avrok remained one of the Wolves throughout the Reef Wars and the Kellship of Mara Sov. When Skolas the Rabid returned from his imprisonment, Avrok sided with him and the other Wolves until the Hero of the Red War stopped the would-be Kell of Kells. Despite claiming to be “Bannerless”, we know that Avrok spent time with the House of Kings until escaping to the Tangled Shore.
One final note that may be lost on a first reading – Avrok seems to be decently fluent in English. We know that the Spider is completely fluent, and he remarks that Variks is equally as fluent but feigns semi-fluency. Fikrul and many of the Barons were also fluent in English, as well as Mithrax. It is possible that the increased number of English-speaking Eliksni could lead to an established alliance between them and humanity.
I was of Kings. Then of Exiles. Now I’m here. The Shore is bad…but everywhere else is worse.Brivi (trans. from Eliksni)
This statement comes with a lot of questions. Given we have no idea when Brivi was cast out of the Kings, we cannot say what the situation was like for the Fallen at the time. Even then, what are circumstances that force a Fallen out of their House? Has this ever been made clear? Do we have any examples of this? Furthermore, what then propelled Brivi to abandon the Exiles and risk travel to the Tangled Shore for employment under the Spider? To make it from Luna to the Tangled Shore without encountering the House of Dusk (or the Scorn depending on when Brivi arrived) is most certainly an achievement.
The Great Machine isn’t killing us. We’re killing ourselves over the Great Machine.Brivi (trans. from Eliksni)
Having once been a member of the Kings and Exiles, Brivi understands that it has been more due to in-fighting and ethical struggles that has lead to the overall decline of the Eliksni within the Sol system. It is unclear exactly what Brivi has experienced in his life, but it was clearly enough to push him from living among the Hive on Luna and finding refuge within the Spider’s syndicate.
They gave us nothing…so we’ll take everything.Elykris (trans. from Eliksni)
The Scorned Barons were castaways from the equally-shunned House of Exile. Together with Fikrul, a former Archon-Priest for the Wolves, the Barons embraced a new ideology which condemned the Eliksni way of life and began to wreak havoc throughout Awoken territories and the Tangled Shore. This appears to be a declaration of war against the remaining Fallen in the solar system just prior to those assaults on their kin.
The Barons fight together.Elykris (trans. from Eliksni)
Elykris is one of the Scorned Barons, known primarily as the Machinist. She is fiercely loyal to her fellow Barons and strongly believes in their united cause as being their ultimate strength. Her commitment is such that she was willing to fight the Hero of the Red War just so that Fikrul the Fanatic and Uldren Sov could be allowed time to complete their goals. At some point later, Fikrul manages to temporarily reanimate Elykris to assault the Tangled Shore during the Ether Ritual [Public Event].
Let them have the Great Machine. They deserve it.Mithrax (trans. from Eliksni)
Misraaks. Mithrax the Forsaken. Former Vandal of the House of Wolves and captive of the Queen’s Wrath, Sjur Eido. Former Captain of the House of Dusk.
It is only recently that we’ve learned that Mithrax has managed to peacefully join a Guardian fireteam and now fights to protect the Traveler and the Last City. By his own judgment, it is humanity who is worthy of the grace of the Traveler and has willingly been open to his fireteam, which includes at least a Hunter and Warlock, concerning his belongings and his personal opinions on the Eliksni, even implying that Variks in an unsuitable leader for his people.
Here we can start over.Mithrax (trans. from Eliksni)
Knowing what we know now about Mithrax’s history and current endeavors, we can assume that this is part of his proclamation to the “mind-open Eliksni” for whom he has become their Kell. From the lore tab on the Lord of Wolves, we know that Mithrax has been incorporated into a local fireteam and has begun working for the sake of preserving the Traveler and the population it has now chosen.
They rejected technology when technology transformed the Eliksni into a proper people.The Spider
I wonder if the Eliksni were initially a technologically primitive species back on their homeworld; and if the arrival of the Traveler brought about a technological age, not just a Golden Age, for the civilization. Given that these words are being spoken by the Spider, however, it is possible that he is referring to the behaviors of the Barons and Scorn. Fikrul, the Fanatic and de facto leader of the Scorn, promotes the abandonment and mutilation of Fallen servitors in rejection of their old religious practices, having been given a second life by the Dark Ether wished into being by Uldren Sov through Riven of a Thousand Voices.
In a world without Kells, Dreg strength will breed nothing but chaos.Variks
Here Variks speaks a proverb from House Rain regarding the decline of Eliksni society without its proper hierarchy. Given that House Rain is known primarily for its prophecies, it may be that they were the poets and bards (and paeans) of Eliksni society.
With all other Kells dead, Variks recognizes that the remaining Fallen in the Sol system will sink into a cycle of wanton savagery and conflict, a fate he is loathe to see his people suffer. While Variks condemns “Dreg strength” here, he will later acknowledge that there is dignity in Dreg strength as a means to keep one alive and striving towards a better future (Book: Most Loyal).
Deciphering Outliers (Book: Stolen Intelligence)
[Please excuse some of the humor . . . I couldn’t help myself. TLN AGENT: CMYT-257]
DECRYPTION KEY: 73XK5V2PG1$AUN-326
REP #: 692-FALLEN-DUS
AGENT(S): RAN-187 [Randal the Vandal? Randy? Random Guardian?]
SUBJ: Countercultural intelligence update
1. Fallen armed forces continue to fall back from active fronts across Terra. Factions of House Dusk remain active in the European Dead Zone. [Remnants of the House of Dusk persist under the shadow of the Traveler’s shard in the EDZ. They were briefly encountered by Uldren Sov during his taken by Riven of a Thousand Fac . . . Voices.] Throughout the rest of the globe, refugee attack incidents have dropped by more than 70% since the conclusion of the Red War – largely attributable to depressed Fallen and human populations rather than any significant change in interspecies relations.
2. In absence of any united leadership, House Dusk continues to splinter and radicalize.
[The splintering of House Dusk may have begun almost immediately after its creation.] The recent trending emergence of so-called “crime syndicates” (cf. report #004-FALLEN-SIV) [The Spider’s estranged brother, Siviks, Lost to None—except every single Guardian who entered Bergusia.] is emblematic of the continuing destructuralization of Fallen society. Likely an artifact of multi-generational colonization of human strongholds, this agent believes that because these syndicates have no relation to indigenous Fallen culture, young Fallen are appropriating and imitating human mythology [What pre-Golden Age sources of society and human culture remain intact? Does the City’s library preserve any of these pre-Golden Age works of religion and literature?] in absence of a strong cultural heritage of their own.
Much like the dissolution of the Kell/Archon theology, this is positive news for those interested in the complete extirpation of invasive Fallen from the system.
3. That being said, we should continue to monitor reunification efforts. Several personalities have emerged as potential leaders. First, the would-be integrationists:
VIP #1121, well-known to Guardians of the inner system as Variks, or Variks the Loyal. [Loyal to whom, I wonder?] Directly responsible for the release of the murderer Uldren Sov from the Prison of Elders, #1121 subsequently fled Awoken holdings in the Reef and now styles himself the Kell of Kells, still representing House Judgement. [Many in the community have long speculated Variks would take up the mantle of Kell of Kells or that he was, in fact, the fabled Kell unknown even to himself.] The Praxic Order has petitioned the Vanguard for permission to detain #1121. The Awoken monarchy, acting through the Queen’s Wrath, has claimed jurisdiction over #1121 and further stated that any prosecution in absence of their involvement will be considered an act of war. [Speculation: Petra Venj would likely see Variks brought to justice on her own terms, not just for releasing Uldren and the Barons, but also because of the resulting death of Cayde-6, the crippling of Awoken territories throughout the Reef, and the invasion of the Scorn into the Dream City. Petra is emotional that way.] The Vanguard has not yet made a statement about their position on the issue.
VIP #3987, another former confederate of the Awoken, is a lesser-known personality known as Mithrax. Scattered field reports suggest that like #1121, #3987 styles himself a Kell of the so-called “House Light,” [“In blackest day, in brightest night, no evil shall escape my sight…] an otherwise unknown House apparently founded by #3987 himself. We have secondhand accounts that Mithrax has engaged in allied operations with Guardians in the field, [So in all seriousness, if Mithrax and his “mind-open” followers are allying themselves with active Guardian fireteams, where have they taken up residence? How did Mithrax first contact his fireteam members? Who are his fireteam members? ] though we have not as yet been able to corroborate these accounts with any degree of veracity. This agent is inclined to treat these reports with a healthy degree of skepticism until otherwise confirmed, as they may be propaganda from Fallen sympathizers in the Old Russian and Red War Guardian cohorts. [The Old Russian and Red War Guardian cohorts refers to those of us who first came to the City in circa. 2014 (Old Russian) or circa. 2017 (Red War) – this is to say that is concerns those players who began their journey with either Destiny or Destiny 2. As such, it comes as no surprise that there are “Fallen sympathizers” in these cohorts. The #DREGLIVESMATTER movement is well-known within our own lore community. With that said, Shiro-4 mentions the existence of Guardians that are “running away to the outer rim. Dissenters, bug-huggers, pacifists”. The reference to “bug-huggers” may nod to a Guardian-Eliksni colony existing in the Outer Rim territories.] We have requested intelligence records from the Awoken which may further clarify the matter.
In addition, whatever the findings of said intelligence records may be, it should be stressed that one or two sympathetic outliers cannot be relied upon to erase the wrongs of past centuries, nor should their good-faith efforts to correct the sins of their forebears be taken as sufficient symbolic reparation.
Second, the would-be separatists:
VIP #4503, a recent personality known as Fikrul, or the Fanatic. A close confederate of the murderer Uldren Sov, #4503 has the apparent ability to raise himself from the dead in a manner not dissimilar to Ghost-aided resurrection. [In my opinion, what is less important here is not Fikrul’s resurrection per se, but rather the potency and attributes of his Dark Ether. As the princeps civitatis of the Scorn, does Fikrul’s Dark Ether allow him to resurrect indefinitely? How long do the powers of an Ahamkara remain in this plane of existence?] Though his reign on the Tangled Shore was limited, he possesses sufficient skill, hatred, and motive to warrant ongoing surveillance. Given #4503’s propensity for resurrection, the inherent risk of #4503 reclaiming the body of the murderer Uldren Sov from his final resting place in the Dreaming City goes without saying. [I can just imagine his arguments with Pulled Pork over Uldren’s attention.] The Vanguard continues to deploy fireteams to suppress #4503; our agents have reached out to the Cryptarchy and the Gensym Scribes to request guidance as to his permanent destruction.
VIP #2029, a once-known personality known as Eramis, or Eramis, the Shipstealer. A House Devils Baroness incarcerated during the Wolf Wars, #2029 successfully fled the Prison of Elders during the mass escape orchestrated by #1121. [Eramis must’ve been quite wily to be stealing Skiffs and Ketches (presumably) from the Wolves during the Reef Wars.] #2029 is a classical Fallen pirate of the old ways: vicious, uncompromising, and possessing cunning of the highest degree. Field reports indicate that she is rallying violent dissidents to reconstruct House Devils from the ground up. [It seems House of Devils was not as extinct as we all thought. Soon Eramis will cross the Narrow Sea. The Fallen drink secret toasts to her health. They cry out for their true Kell.] This agent believes her to be the most viable candidate for universal Fallen reunification, and would urge the Vanguard and other interested leadership to aggressively prioritize her destruction.
We have come too far to pull our punches now.
It is done and now I am a marvel with ten thousand arms.