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Era of Light: "Destiny's" First Six Years and What's to Come

A 28-year-old nerd who loves writing, history and just learning as much as possible Works part-time as an SAT-Prep Teacher at Huntington

Promo Art for 2020 DLC

Promo Art for 2020 DLC

A New Era on the Horizon

In 2014, Destiny hit the world putting us in the role of a Guardian, a resurrected soldier granted with the mysterious Light, tasked to protect what's left of Humanity from the forces of Darkness both on Earth and across the Galaxy. From time-traveling robots, insect-like space pirates, alien worm gods, and military rhino-turtle thingies, our Guardian(s) (if you had more than one) time and time again would put an end to the forces of evil who wanted above all else to silence the Traveler and what's left of humanity. At the end of three years, we, "The Guardian/Young Wolf" would arguably be god-like in our strength as the ones who continuously beat the odds and always come out on top.

But all of that changed when the Red Legion attacked.

2017 saw the advent of Destiny 2, where Dominus Ghaul, the leader of a splinter faction of the Cabal Race sealed the source of our powers and stripped us of our Light. This had a domino effect, that caused the mysterious long-thought dead Traveler to awaken with a massive light blast, that not only eviscerated Ghaul, but let the entire galaxy know that it's up. This event, triggered the fleet of Pyramid-like Ships only known as the Darkness, to start making their way towards us. Fast Forward to the summer of 2020, with the Season of Arrivals, and thus, the conclusion of the first era, and the prologue to what's to come.

This article is designed to give my brief interpretation of the last six years, as well as looking back at a statement that was first heard in the first Destiny Raid "Vault of Glass," which at the time of writing was recently announced to make its way back to Destiny 2 in the near future. I will also be using the Ishtar Collective to pull some lore bits in the latest season, so Spoiler Warning here in case you wanna search for the lore yourself. With that said, let's jump right in.

Vault of Glass Depiction

Vault of Glass Depiction

Guardians Make Their Own Fate

"Guardians make their own fate" . . . these words real world-lore-wise were told to the Fireteam that defied the embodiment of time itself, Atheon in the Vault of Glass raid. Atheon and its Vex attempt to erase the Fireteam from the timeline by connecting to one where they don't exist, but through their willpower, they take it upon themselves to choose their destiny (Roll Credits) and defeat Atheon once and for all. As My name is Byf points out in his video, Destiny Lore - Why is Destiny...called Destiny?, Guardians are embued with the Light, a paracausal source of power that defies logic, which is the source of the Vex's defeat in VoG. Beating logical beings with illogic, basically. We defy the basic binary that the universe seemingly operates on, causing us to "make our own fate."

And from Atheon, to Crota, to Skolas, to Oryx, and Aksis, we do just so.

We continuously defied fate and proceeded to exceed expectations as we took down everything that the universe threw at us. For three years, we followed the same formula: We're the Good, they're the Bad, Light vs Dark, we kill, we loot, we're basically OP. And with the lore, including Dredgen Yor's serial final killings of Guardians and being the first arguably known "Dark Guardian," we've just assumed we were the good guys. I mean, what's there to question? We have light, and everything in the universe is trying to kill us because of it. So . . . that would make us Heroes by default, right?

I don't know about you readers, but it's something I never began to question until Destiny 2.

The Other Side of the Coin

So . . . what are we without our Light? Are we still heroes? Vanilla Destiny 2 threw that question towards us with the opening act and through it we were able to retrieve our light and defeat Ghaul, proving that we were more than just the powers we were granted. The Leviathan Raid, though after completing it, had it's owner Emperor Calus, claim it had something stronger than our Light, and that he'd be willing to show us if we accepted it.

Surprisingly enough, the article, "How Destiny 2: "Season of Opulence" Closes a Major Story Arc" that I wrote around this time last year, toyed with the theory regarding fighting fire with fire so-to-speak, assuming that Calus would lead us to get the Darkness for ourselves to defeat the Darkness. I supported my theory too in regard to Osiris, Ana, Guardian Uldren, and others, highlighting that while they're Guardians, they each are doing their own things outside the Vanguard's jurisdiction. Granted the former two are legends, and one is hiding in the City, the point is that they're Guardians who are acting their own, away from the status quo, therefore they've made their own fate.

And over the last year, we have Eris and the Drifter, two characters of which have an actual idea what the Darkness is (or at least know where to find answers) and is willing to jump headfirst into understanding it. And since Forsaken, when the Drifter was introduced, lore tabs have revealed information about more Guardians following the path of Dredgen Yor. Specifically, those who find themselves excelling in the adrenaline pumping Gambit matches. As per example, the new lore in Season of Arrivals mentions a young Guardian named Enina who finds Eris studying the Tree of Silver Wings and offers to help her. Eventually, Eris becomes suspicious of her new friend, and it's revealed that Enina and her fireteam want to learn about the Darkness after excelling in the Drifter's Gambit. While Eris finds herself thrilled at the thought of having more assistants, she's smart and sends Enina away to avoid Savathun's spies that may lurk nearby.

Regardless, Guardians like Enina, like the Dredgens, are those who are choosing to make their own fate.

Should We Be Afraid of the Darkness?

Then there's the Darkness itself. Shadowkeep introduced us to the Pyramid underneath the Moon, and we learn that the Hive was attempting to access the powers within it, along with new dialogue that confirms that the Hive is NOT Darkness itself, despite their might. In Beyond Light, we learn that Eramis, a new Fallen Kell of Devils, discovers another ship underneath Europa and obtains a new power. This begs the question: Is the Darkness really "evil" or is it just the other side of the coin? Of the Six enemy factions we currently have, none of them have been able to completely snuff out Guardians because they have no real way to counteract our Light. This is why Ghaul was our biggest threat up to this point because he did the one thing that no one else could at that point, and that was to kill our powers outright. It took the Traveler intervening to put an actual end to him as well.

The Darkness claims to come in "peace" to an extent, and unlike the Traveler, it's actually speaking to us. The Speaker of the Traveler confessed that he never heard the Traveler speak before he died to his captors. So without any way of communicating, the Darkness has all the power to explain itself, both its existence, and its purpose. Lies or otherwise, we get the initial impression that the Darkness exists to keep balance. The Light has overstepped its boundaries, presumably via the traveler, and the Darkness as its natural function is to undo it—undoing what the Traveler has done leads to our "Salvation" as they put it. It's not inherently evil, and in my opinion, seeks to make us understand the full scope of things. It's making us question our roles in the grand scheme of the universe. It's showing that even Paracausal, illogical matter, has its own set of rules to follow and that us using these powers are essentially breaking the fundamental laws that were set at the dawn of time.

Of course, that's just us making our own fate, right?


Concluding Thoughts

Light and Darkness in the Destiny Universe isn't the same as moral Light and Darkness. What was once a Game Theory in the first game, is the running theme of the second, and even more going into the new "Era of Darkness," with Beyond Light, The Witch Queen and Lightfall (working title), along with subsequent Seasons 12–23. While we can only speculate what the next three years will bring about, I think it's safe to say that we will get a glimpse of what is the true nature of Light and Dark: two opposing forces of metaphysical nature that balance one another out. They have to exist for each other out of necessity, and theoretically speaking, I wouldn't be surprised if it boils down to us Guardians defying both the Light and Dark and, once again making our own fate.

Because let's face it; there are tons of questions that we can ask, and have been brought up in lore within Destiny 2, such as but are not limited to:

  • Why were we picked as Guardians?
  • Why are we forced to an immortal life full of fighting?
  • Why do the memories of our past lives disappear with our rebirths?
  • Have we been tricked to think we're the "good guys" in all of this?
  • And if so, what are we gonna do about it?

That's something I'm gonna keep in mind as we learn more about the Darkness in this season and the upcoming expansion. Because if the last six years meant anything, it's that the world of Destiny is far from Black and White.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Nolan Johnson