Destiny 2 Vanguard Command: The Story of Zavala
Analyzing the life so far of the current Vanguard Commander!
Whether we wanted it or not, we allied with the Vanguard over the course of these past seven years. In the beginning Warlocks, Titans, & Hunters had a unique vendor for their own armor sets; but when Rise of Iron arrived (then with Destiny 2 a year later) the other members of the Vanguard began providing for all classes. Zavala, while not the fan-favorite when discussing Vanguard members, resides at the top of the Vanguard chain of command as Commander alongside his fireteam: Ikora Rey and, the now deceased, Cayde-6. So before we lose another member of the Vanguard or we ravage the Tower to hunt down the big blue baldy, let’s breakdown the life of Zavala.
An Age Without Guardians
Long before the Tower Age, an awoken was reborn in the crash of an old jump ship in the Cosmodrome. This awoken would later be known as Zavala and he was drawn to the Traveller. Zavala would travel by foot across the Russian terrain encountering Fallen along his way. These fallen would give the future vanguard his first death. After being revived, Zavala would arm himself with an Eliksni spear and as he fought back the scavengers he would take back what they had stolen, including an auto rifle from a dead vandal. His journey would have him arrive at an encampment. This society had other guardians protecting civilians and Zavala would call it home. While at the camp Zavala would make allies out of a Warlord known as Shaxx and the Speaker. Years down the line this camp would become the Last City.
As more citizens arrived in this fortified camp, Zavala would save the life of his future companion Cayde-6 along with other refugees by using the Fist of Havoc. The larger the community got the more walls the Titans built. Aided by Sloane, Ikora, & Shaxx the once small camp would become a city.
Zavala would become a student of the Iron Lord Saladin Forge as the future commander grew famous for his victories in the Crucible. After his friend and mentor Saint-14 stepped down from the Titan Vanguard position, Zavala was given the role under Vanguard Commander Osiris, whom he would soon watch be exiled from the Last City. After the Speaker and Consensus elected him for the Vanguard Commander role, Zavala would nominate Ikora Rey as Warlock Vanguard.
The Cost of War
Before the battle of Twilight Gap, Zavala would confront Ana Bray about investigating her past, but before he could convince her otherwise Andal Brask would interrupt with news of a Fallen Invasion. During this invasion, Zavala would witness the death, later disproved, of Ana Bray as a fallen captain threw her off a cliff. Zavala, wielding the exotic machine gun Thunderlord, would lead the charge against the fallen. Zavala would not only defend the Last City from the endless assaults but would also aid Queen Mara Sov in the Reef Wars, going toward to toe against the House of Wolves assassins known as the Silent Fang.
Upon returning to the Tower, Zavala would refuse to join any of the Last City’s factions. This would lead into the Battle of Burning Lake. The Consensus wanted an all-out war on the Hive after this being their first encounter with them. Shaxx warned Zavala of starting war with the Hive and explained the effects of the weapons the species held. Zavala ignored Shaxx’s pleas and allowed the assault. This would be known as the Great Disaster. As thousands of guardians raced to reclaim the moon , Zavala could only watch in horror as the comrades he sent to the moon were all slaughtered by the Hive Brood living there. The Speaker would create the Lunar Interdiction banning all Moon travel.
Zavala would later exile the Concordat faction and its radical leader Lysander after they attempted to overthrow the Speaker. The Future War Cult would be formed in the absence of Concordat. Zavala would erase all files on the Sunbreakers, a Titan order deemed radical and dangerous due to their hate of the Vanguard. Leading into the events of Destiny 1, Zavala would discover someone accessing Braytech files at the Fu’an Institute Library. Hoping it was Ana Bray, Zavala met Owl Sector and their agent Carmin Dumuzi. Dumuzi would inform Zavala that a civilian named Staysa Pak had accessed the files. Unbeknownst to the Vanguard Commander, Staysa Pak was the alias of Ana Bray.
The Story Begins
Zavala would oversee the training of a new guardian. As this guardian grew stronger he would lead them to combat the House of Devils in Old Russia and eventually reclaim Cosmodrome Communications. A temporary alliance is formed with Rasputin as the guardian ventures to other planets. Eventually landing on Venus, Zavala thanks the guardian in their fight against the House of Winter. Zavala would witness the Speaker give a speech about how this rookie guardian has pushed back the Darkness and destroyed the Black Heart within the Black Garden. During the Taken War, Zavala would mend relations with the Sunbreakers.
A World Without Light
On the anniversary of the Battle of Six Fronts, the Red Legion attacks destroying the Tower. Zavala saves his fellow Vanguard with the Ward of Dawn. As the city evacuated, Zavala would combat the Red Legion until Ghaul enslaved the Traveller severing the tie to the light. Zavala would issue a system-wide retreat to all guardians as he and Ana Bray fled to the moon of Titan. When the guardian arrives wielding a newer form of light, Zavala would ask their assistance in defeating the Hive on Titan. After their victory, Zavala would relocate to the Farm on the EDZ and reform the vanguard. The reformed vanguard, using the guardian as their weapon, take down Ghaul and the Almighty and reclaim the Last City. After the Traveller awakens and his light is returned, Zavala aids in ushering in the New Golden Age with a new tower. With the Speaker dead, Zavala disbands the Consensus.
Zavala returns to Mars and discovers his old ally, Ana Bray, digging into her past. After awakening the Warmind Rasputin, Zavala aids in taking down the Worm God Xol.
The Vanguard becomes divided after the death of Cayde-6. Zavala doesn’t want conflict in the reef in fear of losing more guardians, but Ikora disapproves and wants to avenge their fireteam. After the guardians eliminate Uldren and the Barons, Zavala is disappointed in our vengeance. Zavala aids in reclaiming the awoken homeland as the Dreaming City opens to all guardians.
After fighting a vex invasion on the moon and returning to the Black Garden, Zavala apologizes to the guardian for the way he handled Cayde’s death. During the Season of Dawn, Zavala assigns the guardian to aid in Saint-14’s return and acclimation to the Last City.
Zavala and Ana Bray would lead an assault on the vacant Almighty. They discover the Almighty is crashing toward the Last City. After forming a new alliance with and saving Rasputin from the House of Dusk, Zavala would share his fear of a new collapse. Rasputin shares the same fear and destroys the Almighty. Zavala would also send guardians to reclaim the Fourth Horseman from Cabal forces.
During the season of Arrivals, Zavala would send the trio of the Drifter, Eris Morn, and the guardian to investigate the pyramids. After the Darkness gifts the guardian the Ruinous Effigy, Zavala shares his disapproval of its use. Zavala uses the factions to gain intel on the Darkness. Exodus begins with Commander Zavala sending the guardian to Io, Titan, Mercury, and Mars to evacuate the planets. As the season came to a close, Zavala along with all of the other guardians were recalled to the Last City as the Traveller erupted to push back the darkness once more.
Commander Zavala dispatched all guardians to scour the solar system to see what impacts the darkness made. While Zavala disapproves of our use of Stasis, he still aids in securing Europa and all of Clovis Bray’s resources.
Zavala lifts Osiris’ exile and appoints the lightless guardian as his advisor. Zavala and Osiris are invited aboard Empress Caiatl’s ship to discuss a treaty against the hive and the “black fleet.” After Caiatl insists the pair bow to her and she will give Zavala a seat in her war council, Zavala refuses and Caiatl challenges Zavala to a war of champions. Using the H. E. L. M., Zavala alongside Amanda Holliday, Lord Saladin, Osiris, and the Crow aims to use the guardian to show the Cabal the Last City is not to be trifled with once more.
Now that you know a little more about Zavala, how do you feel about him? Have his actions been justified? Or is he nothing more than a tyrant running the Vanguard?