My Name is Byf has been producing videos on Destiny's lore since the beginning of the series. Here, we've asked him to tell the story of the Guardian who's had the greatest impact on the universe's recent history: you, the player. For more detailed lore dives into Destiny's story, visit My Name is Byf's Twitter (opens in new tab), YouTube (opens in new tab) and Patreon (opens in new tab) pages.
Since launching back in 2014, Destiny’s story has evolved as much as its world has—the player’s actions sparking stories of revenge, war and discovery. From killing the Hive gods to returning the Iron Lords to their former glory to avenging Cayde-6, Destiny’s players have experienced a vast number of adventures in the last five years. However, new players arriving with New Light or lapsed veterans who are looking to return with Shadowkeep might be looking to catch up on all the story they’ve missed.
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As far as the story and lore are concerned, Destiny can become surprisingly deep, so it’s easy for a player to get lost when new expansions are released. Here's my brief guide to help you catch up with what you might’ve missed.
While Destiny's story goes back eons, humanity's role in it starts in the 21st century with the discovery of The Traveller. After sending an expedition to Mars, we discovered that the planet was being terraformed by The Traveller—a mysterious force for good. Humanity subsequently enjoyed a golden age for centuries, and proceeded to colonise the entire solar system. Human life spans tripled, technology advanced, and life as a whole was peaceful. Humanity even sought to prepare for potential danger with the creation of an advanced artificial intelligence called Rasputin, a Warmind.
Eventually, the Traveller’s ancient enemy—known only as The Darkness—arrived in our solar system and, in spite of humanity’s defences, caused an apocalyptic event known as The Collapse that left humanity in ruin. The Traveller was able to defeat its enemy, but in the process was left crippled and dormant. With its last dying breath, The Traveller released the Ghosts, small autonomous drones capable of gifting the power of The Traveller to those capable of wielding it. These champions would be resurrected as light-bearers who were immortal as long as their Ghosts also survived. In the later stages of Destiny’s story these chosen champions would come to be known as Guardians.
Our personal story started in Destiny 1, back in an old cosmodrome when we were resurrected as a Guardian by our Ghost. After making our way to The Last City we were directed by the leader of the Guardians, The Speaker, to push back The Darkness and its minions. In the process of our adventures we went to the moon and encountered both The Hive and The Exo Stranger. The Hive are an ancient enemy race that worship The Darkness and share its beliefs. Even though we learned that The Hive were planning to invade Earth, The Exo Stranger directed us to meet her on Venus so we could learn of an even greater threat.
Upon arriving we discovered The Vex, who are best described as a microscopic race that pilot larger, humanoid mechanical frames and who are capable of time travel. The Exo Stranger directed us to find The Black Garden, where The Vex were born, and to defeat its dark heart. This led us to the Awoken, a group of humans forged into a new race by Darkness and Light, who live mostly in The Asteroid Belt. After discovering The Black Garden’s location from the Awoken our journey led us to a massive Vex gate on Mars. After gaining ingress we found and defeated The Heart of The Black Garden—a presence of The Darkness that The Vex of The Black Garden had taken to worshipping so as to become more powerful.
Later that same year we also undertook two more adventures in the The Dark Below and House of Wolves DLC packs. In The Dark Below we prevented the Hive god Crota from conquering Earth with his army of Hive, and with the help of the fan favourite character Eris Morn were able to defeat him permanently in the Crota’s End raid. In House of Wolves we assisted the Queen of the Awoken in tracking down the House of Wolves. The House of Wolves came from a race known as the Fallen, who commonly opposed humanity and who had previously even tried to invade the Last City en masse. We were able to track down their leader Skolas, who we eventually killed within The Prison of Elders in The Reef during a Trial in “the ways of old.” After this trial by combat, The House of Wolves was left shattered and leaderless and the relations between The Last City and the Awoken began to improve.
The Taken King
A year after our resurrection as a Guardian, Crota’s father, Oryx, The Taken King, arrived in our system and bringing his army of Taken soldiers with him. The Taken were Oryx’s main force and they still exist in the system today although they are now commanded by Oryx’s sister Savathûn. The Taken are enemies that have been ripped out of our dimension, empowered by darkness and returned as compliant slaves of their overlord. The expansion also began with a battle over Saturn that saw Mara Sov, the Queen of the Awoken, supposedly die. Oryx would have overrun the system were it not for the efforts of you, The Hunter Vanguard Mentor Cayde-6 and Eris Morn. With their help you invaded The Dreadnought, discovered a way into its depths and defeated Oryx in his physical form. After taking time to prepare and weakening Oryx’s armies you also went into The Dreadnought’s heart and killed Oryx within his throne world, ending him for good.
A year after the events of the Taken King, Lord Saladin, one of The Iron Lords returned to an old mountaintop fortress called Felwinter Peak, where The Iron Lords had previously had a base of operations. The Iron Lords were an order of light-bearers that pre-dated the Guardians, and were some of humanity’s earliest saviours after The Collapse. However, when they ventured into an area of The Cosmodrome to the north east, they were all slaughtered by SIVA, a mysterious nanite-based technology that was controlled by a fragment of The Warmind Rasputin. Lord Saladin and Lady Efrideet were the only survivors of this event, and only Saladin would remain a warrior after the matter. However, a Fallen House known as The House of Devils discovered SIVA and used it as a means to become cyborgs. Given that the Fallen worship machines, becoming a cyborg was akin to becoming a demi-god. However, their plans would be doomed to fail as Saladin invited us to Felwinter Peak to aid in defeating The Fallen. We destroyed SIVA, defeated the Fallen Devils and became the first of a new generation of Iron Lords, ushering in an age of triumph, where briefly The Last City was at peace.
That peace was shattered by Dominus Ghaul, the leader of The Cabal, another race that had invaded our solar system. Him and his Red Legion arrived in force at the start of Destiny 2 and took The Last City by force. They caged The Traveller and stopped its light from reaching the Guardians and their Ghosts, effectively making them both mortal and powerless.
This left us to reclaim our powers from a shard of The Traveller in the European Dead Zone on Earth, before reuniting the Guardian leaders of the Last City known as the Vanguard to take back the Traveller. After finding the Titan Commander Zavala on Titan, the Hunter Cayde-6 on Nessus and the Warlock Ikora Rey on we you concocted a plan to retake The Last City and assassinate Ghaul, whilst also disabling a super weapon called The Almighty. The Cabal had aimed it at our Sun to destroy it and the solar system should their plans fail. We made it to The Last City and fought against Ghaul, who wished to be chosen by The Traveller as its champion. He had empowered himself with stolen Light and used its power to battle us on the deck of his ship. After defeating him, we saw him temporarily manifest as a giant avatar of himself before being destroyed by The Traveller as it awakened. This awakening sent a pulse of light radiating out across the universe which sparked the events of the Curse of Osiris and Warmind campaigns as well as reawakening The Darkness out at the edges of the Galaxy.
In the Curse of Osiris campaign, we went to Mercury and helped the Warlock Osiris and his Ghost Sagira defeat a Vex Mind known as Panoptes. Panoptes was the overlord of a Vex simulation engine called the Infinite Forest and had used it to calculate a method by which The Vex could conquer the universe if they were not stopped. Ikora Rey assisted us in this adventure and after we defeated Panoptes, she was reunited with Osiris who had been her teacher and mentor long ago. Osiris now watches over The Infinite Forest and safeguards it so that The Vex cannot use it against us again.
In the campaign of Warmind, we returned to Mars and met up with Ana Bray, a legendary guardian who had long been thought to be dead. She had discovered The Warmind, Rasputin’s main hub as well as a Hive Worm God known as Xol beneath the Ice of the Hellas Basin region of Mars. We had to defeat Xol, as well as his herald, Nokris, Oryx’s exiled son, to save Rasputin who launched a new series of Warsats into the system and declared itself to be a defender of humanity once again.
All of this leads us to the previously most recent expansion in Destiny, Forsaken, which saw us return to the Prison of Elders to stop a prison riot with Cayde and Petra Venj, a character who had aided us in the House of Wolves expansion. This all went wrong when Cayde was murdered by Prince Uldren and his Scorn Barons.
Prince Uldren was the brother to the Queen of The Awoken Mara Sov, who had died at the hands of Oryx. Uldren had fallen into madness thanks to the actions of an Ahamkara (space dragon) called Riven. Riven had been taken by Oryx before his death and she was now manipulating Uldren in a complex plot that led him to turn on his people.
Uldren planned to destroy the Awoken with the use of The Scorn, resurrected Fallen created by Uldren’s second in command, The Fanatic. We returned Cayde’s body to The City but then went on a quest for revenge, hunting down Uldren and his Scorn with the aid of Petra and a Fallen gangster known as The Spider. This eventually led us to an Awoken watchtower where we discovered Uldren. He had been consumed by a powerful taken entity that we had to destroy and upon killing it we were able to face our friend’s murderer.
We don't know whether it was us or Petra who killed Uldren but his death would only be temporary as he was later resurrected as a Guardian and has not been seen or heard from since. Following this we were asked by Petra to enter The Dreaming City, one of the most sacred sites of The Awoken. We received a communication from the Awoken Queen who had in fact survived Oryx’s attack and who wished us to kill Riven as revenge for her betrayal of The Awoken. In doing so we released a curse onto The Dreaming City and its inhabitants that still lingers to this day.
In the last year we also met new character such as The Drifter and Ada-1 who respectively had seasons expanding upon their stories and lore and we even got a season dedicated to Emperor Calus, the former leader of the Cabal. All of this leads us to the events at the start of Shadowkeep, where we will return to The Moon and reunite with Eris Morn to face an even greater threat.
For an even deeper overview of Destiny's story, consider watching My Name is Byf's four-hour rundown of the complete Story of Destiny, embedded below.