Destiny 2 has had a lot of character-defining moments over the last few years: Crow’s growth as a defender of the city; Saladin stepping up to take responsibility for him and join Caiatl’s war council; Ghost’s “this far and no further” speech to Savathun at the end of Witch Queen. But of all of these, none can compare to Season of Plunder’s canonization of one of the most compelling character pairings in Destiny 2. More than Zavala and Caiatl, more than Osiris and Saint-14. I’m talking, of course, about Drifter and Eris — Drifteris, in shipping terms.
Ever since Season of Arrivals, Destiny 2 players have enjoyed Eris Morn and the Drifter’s banter. The two worked together to understand Stasis in Beyond Light, and seemingly were poised to form a kind of “Dark Vanguard” along with Elsie Bray, but that never really materialized. Since then, though, we’ve gotten snippets of their interactions, as the two are some of the foremost experts on Darkness around. Drifter calls Eris “Moondust,” she calls him “Rat.” Jokes and memes began to circulate depicting the two as the Guardian’s weird aunt and uncle in contrast to Ikora and Zavala’s parental role — like a childless aunt and uncle, Drifteris let you get away with more. When you’re staying over with Drifter and Eris, you get to eat Count Chocula for breakfast, play violent games on the computer, and delve into ancient Hive magics.
Drifter didn’t play a big role in Season of the Haunted, but we did get a piece of lore in which he makes soup for Eris on Savathun’s Throne World. We also heard a message from Eris to Drifter at the end of the season, in which she reaches out to him about their past pains, telling him she’s found peace in helping others heal. “But,” she adds, “I might allow myself to want more than peace… Is joy the word? Might I find that again?” That, for me, cemented the Drifteris relationship as definitely happening, but Season of Plunder has taken things a step further.
In this week’s post-mission radio conversation, Drifter offers Eris the Darkness relics we’ve collected so far as a gift. Then, in chapter three of the lore book “Between Stolen Stars,” we learn about a meeting between the two. Eris questions Drifter’s motives in helping the Guardian and the Eliksni, and he’s typically evasive until he admits that he thinks House Light needs a win. Drifter again offers Eris the Darkness relics, and she asks if he trusts her. His reply is simple: “Who wouldn’t?” She then tells him to sit and be silent as he expounds on their potential utility, and, the story informs us, “Drifter did as she asked.” Good god!
Drifter, having just heard Eris’s message from the end of the season: (grabs pirate hat) would a guy who needs therapy do THIS??
— k.r. (@kransomwastaken) August 23, 2022
What makes Drifteris so compelling? Drifter and Eris are both deeply wounded characters who have been through some of the worst that the Destiny universe has to offer. Eris was a part of the doomed fireteam that tried to take out Crota, saw her closest friends killed, and had her Light taken from her. Drifter was raised during the Dark Ages and saw firsthand the most terrible cruelties that human beings could inflict on one another. Few other characters can understand the things either of them have lived through, and both have developed defenses against getting too close to anyone else. They’re a natural fit, and there’s almost nothing shippers love more than two wounded people learning to trust again through each other.
Season of Plunder is a welcome break from the heavy tone of Haunted, dealing as it did with trauma and recovery. We’ve delved into the dark, and now we’re having a fun and silly pirate adventure. But the inclusion of the Drifteris relationship is giving Season of Plunder a character angle that’s a nice counterbalance to swashbuckling antics, and I’m interested to see how it develops moving forward. Sure, the real story here is about the background of Mithrax (sorry, Misraaks — but I’m human so I can’t pronounce it correctly), but I just want everything to work out for these two crazy kids.