Savathun’s Story, Part 5: Heretic To The Hive
With the Witch Queen on the horizon, I thought it best to refresh Guardians’ memory a little. Today, and over the course of several other articles, we’ll be going over everything we know about Savathun, from her origins as Sathona of Fundament to the Witch Queen we know today. We’ve already released Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4, and today we’ll be completing the story with Part 5: Heretic To The Hive.
The Witch Queen’s efforts to subvert the Pyramids would not go unanswered; the Hive broods that previously sworn to Savathûn would brand her a heretic for having conspired against the Darkness with the exiled Nokris and defected from her ranks as the Black Fleet invaded Sol, sending the former into hiding. Due to this her own court was left in the dark of her whereabouts.
This granted her sister, Xivu Arath, the opportunity to consolidate the Hive in the Solar System into her power and release her Wrathborn corruption with the Cryptoliths. Xivu would also send her champion, the High Celebrant, to hunt the excommunicated Witch Queen and wrestle control of the Hidden Swarm free from her schemes.
In reality, Savathun was hidden in plain sight. Taking the form of Osiris after he lost his Light in a confrontation with Xivu Arath’s High Celebrant, she ‘saved’ him from her younger sister and certain death to serve her own needs. At this point, she and Osiris were one, his consciousness drowned out by her own, though still watching on, helpless.
Later, Savathun, still masquerading as Osiris, managed to track down the Celebrant to the Shrine of Oryx. It turned out to be a trap, however as the High Celebrant managed to confine her in the Shrine and deployed a Cryptolith to command the Hive.
However, the Guardian arrived just in time, managing to wipe out the Hive and chase the Celebrant back into the Ascendant Realm. Osiris attempted to meet up with the Guardian, when he was ambushed by another Hive Knight. Fortunately, he was saved by the resurrected Uldren Sov, now known as the Crow. Together, all three of them departed from the Moon to continue their Hunt for the Wrathborn.
The Witch Queen’s absence did not impede her Taken forces, however, as they swarmed upon a new piece of the Traveler in the EDZ, which was calling out to the Guardian and the Crow through the form of a paracausal hawk.
Savathun shrouded the shard in her interference much like the Tree of Silver Wings on Io, and watched the fight that ensued. Observing Crow and the Guardian celebrate their victory at a bonfire, she was hit with a sudden wave of nostalgia, remembering her father, sisters, and their shared past on Fundament. She would later lead Crow to the City, in order to redeem him in the eyes of the Vanguard.
Titles of the Taken commanders she sent to battle the Guarian under the shard – Akorith, Lightdrinker of Savathûn, Ishrasek, Lightbinder of Savathûn, Korusk, Lighteater of Savathûn and Tarusk, Lightstealer Savathûn – imply she might be trying to siphon the Light from the Traveler in some way.
The Destruction of Torobatl
At some point after Dominus Ghaul’s defeat, Savathûn began to meddle with the Evocate-General Umun’arath’s mind and fuel her obsession with the Hive. Umun’arath started to believe the worship of Hive gods and deployment of their battle techniques was necessary for the Cabal’s survival.
Under the Witch-Queen’s influence, she began conducting a ritual in the central square of Torobatl’s weaponsmith district, and when Caiatl approached her, she tried to coax her into kneeling before the “god of war”. Caiatl slew the former General, but her death only fueled Savathûn’s plan to conjure Xivu Arath in Torobatl and gift her another system to wage war upon.
Dismantling The War Council
This act led Caiatl and the Cabal to flee Torobatl, driving them to the Sol System. Savathun, as Osiris, accompanied Zavala to a meeting with Empress Caiatl. She sought an alliance between the Cabal and humanity following the loss of the Cabal capital and homeworld of Torobatl to the Hive.
Osiris cautioned Zavala against it, noting that the Cabal did not have allies but were instead conquerors. He also pointed out that Caiatl had previously betrayed her father Emperor Calus to Dominus Ghaul and warned that she would betray them as well. The Empress called her father soft, but Osiris noted he simply lacked ambition, leading Caiatl to accuse them of the same flaw and that it would doom humanity if they did not expand their horizons.
However, her offer ended with the demand that Zavala bow and join the Cabal Empire, which the Commander immediately refused. As the Empress’s bodyguards prepared to attack, Caiatl called them off and allowed Osiris and Zavala to leave peacefully with a declaration she would see them on the battlefield.
Osiris was assigned to help advise a task force put together by Zavala to combat the Imperial Cabal under the command of Lord Saladin Forge. Savathun brought Crow into the task force as their reconnaissance expert, with Shipwright Amanda Holliday providing air support. The Young Wolf struck the first blow by slaying Commander Dracus on Nessus, capturing a Bell of Conquests in the process.
Osiris informed them that the Bell allowed them to present themselves as a formal challenger to the Cabal Empire, which he believed they could use to their advantage. Osiris briefed Lord Saladin on the Bell and its role in the Rite of Proving, comparing the ritual to the Crucible as a means of settling disputes.
Meeting with the Young Wolf and Crow in the H.E.L.M., Osiris complimented Crow’s new Hunter attire and brushed off his offer to pay for it by asking that he simply keep his new mask on to prevent anyone in the Last City from recognizing his face. Crow reassured him that he was willing to wear it if it meant being able to help the City. Osiris noted that he had once had to disguise himself to walk the City’s streets during his long exile, but that he was now welcomed there and that Crow would one day be welcomed as well.
Turning his attention to the Young Wolf, Osiris complimented their work on Nessus and listened as Crow reported that the Caiatl was attempting to build her War Council using the Rite of Proving. Osiris decided that they would kill all the contenders for the Council, preventing the Cabal from reorganizing and starting a new war in the system.
The first target eliminated was Basilius the Golem on Europa, from whom the Young Wolf acquired the Hammer of Proving. Returning it to the H.E.L.M., Osiris explained to the Young Wolf that the Hammer was to have been an offering to Caiatl and that with it they could wield the Cabal’s own history and culture against them.
Following the elimination of Val Ma’rag, Osiris was contacted by Caiatl for a meeting. Keeping her waiting until the Young Wolf arrived at the H.E.L.M., Osiris activated the holographic communicator on the war table and greeted the Empress, mockingly apologizing for the delay and blaming it on having to take time to handle her subordinate’s antics. Caiatl corrected him by noting the Rite of Proving was a time-honored tradition that the Guardians should not interfere with.
Osiris countered that since they were auditioning for her War Council it concerned him a great deal, but Caiatl simply offered once more to add Zavala to that council and that she was offering humanity a way out of war and that he was wise enough to understand that. Although impressed that she had learned from the mistakes of her predecessors by offering mercy, Osiris noted that she was falling back on old traditions to try and hold what remained of the Cabal together and that she was an empress without a true empire and thus not in the position to offer anything.
Angered by this, Caiatl claimed the Cabal still had their honor if not their home and that her patience was running thin, ending the communication. Turning to the Young Wolf, Osiris informed them that their orders would remain the same and that even if Caiatl had honor, she would have no war without a council.
The next target of the taskforce was Ixel, the Far-Reaching, a Psion seeking to gather data from the Vex prediction engines on Nessus. While the Young Wolf slew Ixel, three other Psions escaped with information stolen from the Vex that related to possible futures of Commander Zavala. Osiris met with the Young Wolf and Crow at the war table to hear their reports. He was interested in Crow’s spying efforts on the Cabal, which revealed that while they were angry at the disruption of their Rites of Proving, many of them were also upset that Caiatl had offered humanity a place within the Cabal Empire.
Osiris believed that they might use this to disrupt the internal stability of the Cabal further, but Crow worried they might use the stolen data to retaliate against Zavala. Osiris noted that data was only possibility, not fate, and argued that they needed to know more. He ordered the Young Wolf and Crow to investigate further, but Crow protested that Zavala deserved to know. Osiris told them that he hoped there would be nothing to report if the two Guardians saw their task through.
Investigating The Glykon
As the war against the Chosen rages, Guardians intercept a Red Legion signal in their shipyard in the EDZ. The distress signal is coming from a Cabal ship, the Glykon Volatus – more specifically, from a Guardian aboard the vessel. The Guardian is then cleared for engagement and the rescue of the distressed Guardian.
Aboard the vessel, the Guardian discovers strange, otherworldly flora and an abundance of Scorn, all whilst being guided by Caiatl and Savathun as Osiris. They eventually come across a Scorn known as the Locus of Communion and defeat, making their way to the bridge only to find the missing Guardian, strung up with vines of the strange Darkness flora, being sucked of light by the Darkness. The Guardian returns week after week, uncovering the secrets of the Glykon Volatus and Calus’s ritual with assistance from both Osiris and Caiatl.
Initially, the ship was stolen and boarded by a lone Guardian, Katabasis (the Guardian found dead on the bridge) and his Ghost, Gilgamesh, assisted by a Psion officer under the command of Emperor Calus in a Red Legion shipyard on Nessus.
The ship was used for experiments on the Scorn in hopes that Calus would be able to understand more about the Darkness. Katabasis piloted the ship to the Reef where he rendezvous with Calus in a Loyalist vessel. It was here that the Loyalists brought the Crown of Sorrow aboard the Glykon.
The experimenting with the Scorn continued, now utilizing the Crown as a means of observing how the Darkness interfered with the Scorn’s corrupted consciousness. Many test subjects perished from “continuous neuron death” except for one who “spoke with many dead voices”. This Scorn would become the Locus of Communion.
Soon after, the Black Fleet would arrive and seemingly wipe out many planets and moons following the events of Season of Arrivals. The Glykon Volatus would be caught in the very edges of this sweep of Darkness and become abandoned.
Katabasis and his Ghost, still trapped aboard the vessel, begin to feel the effects of pure Darkness corruption. While finding a way to escape the locked ship, Katabasis and Gilgamesh begin to talk less and less to each other, growing distant, their personal connection from the light slowly fading.
It was at this time that the strange flora began to grow and develop aboard the ship and the corruption strengthened, Gilgamesh eventually craving suicide, or as he called it, “salvation”. Katabasis was firm minded, and refused to let his Ghost kill himself. Eventually, Katabasis gives in, and destroys his ghost with a shot from the Dead Man’s Tale, his rifle.
Katabasis then made his way to the bridge of the ship and sends the distress signal that is intercepted by the Guardian. Eventually, the Guardian would uncover the Crown of Sorrow once more, placing it under Osiris’ care – or rather, Savathun’s.
That’s all for this entry, Guardians. Next time will see us dive into Savathun and Quria’s actions in the Vex network and beyond. Stay tuned.