Here’s the Lore: Destiny 2 – Mara Sov & The Coming Darkness

Destiny lore is a deep, dark world with branching pathways and incredible stories. For the majority of the franchise, the lore has been left to books and Grimoire cards — out-of-game snippets of story you need to read online. But with the advent of Destiny 2: Forsaken, the story being told in game is coming to light in very cool ways.

One of the coolest is how Bungie has injected lore into Destiny 2 via visits to Mara Sov, the presumed-dead queen of the Awoken, in her “Throne World.” Unlocked via gameplay bounties, players can contact Mara once a week. Every third week, you can visit her in her own court.

Missing for years, Mara was waiting and watching silently since her presumed death at the hands of evil demigod Oryx, The Taken King, in the original Destiny. But to the surprise of no one, and the delight of Mara’s right-hand woman, Petra Venj, and the Awoken people, Mara Sov reconnected with the rest of the cosmos at the end of the Destiny 2: Forsaken campaign. The Queen is alive!

With your Guardian in attendance of the meeting with Petra (by way of the mysterious Oracle Engine in the Dreaming City) Mara Sov offered the treasures of the Awoken in return for defeating and rescuing Riven of a Thousand Voices, the Last Ahamkara, a.k.a. a “wish dragon,” who had been Taken. That is to say, they were possessed by Oryx’s old crew of cosmic monsters.

The Nightmare Cycle

Following the retrieval of Riven’s heart in The Last Wish raid, a curse was placed upon the Dreaming City. On a never-ending, three-week cycle, the curse is repelled and reborn again and again — thanks to Riven granting one last wish to some strange entity unknown to the game’s cast. Back in the real world, we players know that this is thanks to Savathun, Oryx’s sister, who we presume is the new Taken Queen.

The Oracle, a mysterious machine within the Dreaming City, opened up for the first time in the third week of the never-ending Nightmare Cycle. It invited Guardians into the Throne World of the Awoken Queen, Mara Sov.

Each third week, when the Taken curse is at its strongest, Guardians retrieve an Offering to the Oracle via a bounty from Petra that tasks you with powering up a special horde mode called the Blind Well. And each third week, a new piece of info is revealed via Mara in the Throne World.

Mara Visit Number One

The first visit with Mara is the first time she has been seen in-game since the opening cutscene of The Taken King expansion in 2015.

Mara: “Come closer, Lightbearer.”

Ghost: “It’s done. The curse is broken.”

Mara: “[chuckle] It thinks itself so wise.

We all played right into her hands—beginning with my beloved baby brother. There are those who are more dangerous dead than alive. And there are those who win when we believe they’ve lost.

You enter the infinite, Lightbearer. This will all happen again, and again, and again. You bear witness to the fate of my people.”

Ghost: “Then fight with us.”

Mara: “Oh, but I do. Petra Venj is my Wrath.

A gift, in commemoration of your achievement.

You may go.”

The gift was the third Seed of Light, which allowed players to unlock a third new subclass in Forsaken. But that would not be the last gift from Mara — the Queen continued to offer new lore each third week again and again.

Mara Visit Number Two

In the next visit, Mara opens up about her feelings on Guardians (or Lightbearers, as she calls them) and The Traveler (the source of players’  in-game superpowers) But there was something very, very interesting elsewhere in the Throne World.

Mara: “If it were up to me alone, I would have destroyed your Traveler when I had the chance. But there are too many who fear what might thrive without it, and not enough who fear the wars that it seeks out so deliberately.

Too much of a good thing will make you sick. Balance can come down to a single grain of sand.

My people were born of calamity. Who knows what will awaken when it collapses again. Maybe only then will you understand.

You may go.”

Mara’s foreboding words here speak of the balance between Light and Darkness — the Light of the Traveler, and the Darkness of the ominous, pyramid-shaped ships seen at the end of the base Destiny 2 campaign. The very same ships are seen as projections on the table within Mara’s pocket universe.

The Awoken being “born of calamity” is a reference to when the Awoken people first met with the Darkness, just before human civilization collapsed. The story of the creation of the Awoken is explained superbly in the video below.

It’s clear that the Darkness is coming and Mara knows it. What’s not clear is where exactly she stands in the coming battle. That question will only become more mottled as time goes on.

Mara Visit Number Three

In the third visit, Mara is holding court with a familiar visitor — if you played Destiny 2 during its first year, that is.

Mara: (to the Emissary of the Nine) “If that’s so, I accept their terms. Move the asset into position beyond the grave of the first fleet. And do remind them: I have shown more than enough patience.”

Mara: (to you) “It was a friend, once. A confidante. Now, it is a shell. Avoid falling into schemes of the Nine. Like the curse on my people, their games never end.

All this, and we find ourselves at the whims of so many small minds.

Leave now. My next audience does not find the presence of the Traveler’s Chosen to be…respectful.”

That floating lady is an Emissary of the Nine. Back in year one, she was the vendor and mysterious being responsible for the hardcore multiplayer mode Trials of the Nine, which is on a long hiatus as Bungie attempts to tweak it.

The Nine are yet another mysterious faction within Destiny lore. But it’s widely believed they are rulers of the worlds beyond the Milky Way galaxy, from an alternate dimension known as Unknown Space.

This lore video by MynameisByf explains the Nine.

Meanwhile, this second video goes much deeper into who the Emissary probably is (or was) as far as Mara is concerned.

What’s even more interesting, however, are Mara’s final words. What kind of guest would consider the presence of a Guardian to not be “respectful”? Odds are it’s one of humanity’s many enemies, but it’s anyone’s guess.

Mara Visit Number Four

In the fourth visit to Mara Sov’s Throne World, she inquires about her brother, Uldren Sov. He was the catalyst for the events of the Forsaken campaign. You may also know Uldren as the man who murdered fan favorite character Cayde-6, played by Nathan Fillion in the first and second games, and Nolan North at the beginning of Forsaken.

Mara: “Tell me how my brother died.”

Ghost: “He… died for you. Everything he did, he did to save you.”

Mara: “My brother was strong. Clever. Devoted. But… suggestible. I knew my plans put him at risk. I was not surprised to feel him die.”

Ghost: “He killed our friend.”

Mara: “Yes. I’m sure you miss it.

Were you satisfied by your vengeance? …I wasn’t.”

Mara’s complete dismissal of Cayde-6, going so far as to call the robotic being an “it,” is enough to send shivers down any Guardian’s spine.

Mara Visit Number Five

In the most shocking visit yet, by far, Mara was altogether absent from the Throne World. Instead, the Guardian got a vision of something that could have tremendous implications for the future of Destiny 2.

That’s right — Uldren Sov is alive. Not only that, he is now a Guardian. What’s more is that he could possibly become the new Hunter Vanguard, thanks to Cayde-6’s “Vanguard Dare.” Basically, Cayde willed whoever killed him to take up his mantle.

You’d think making a pseudo-villain like Uldren such a major part of Guardian infrastructure would be a problem. But think all the way back to the beginning of the first Destiny. When a Guardian is “born” (that is to say resurrected from the dead and chosen by the Traveler) their past life is forgotten. It’s most likely that Uldren will not remember anything of who he used to be or what he did. That could make for an incredibly awkward life for him on the Tower, since everyone else would remember him, if he does indeed become the new Hunter Vanguard…

The video below explains the story of “Pulled Pork,” the Ghost who had been seeking out its Guardian for a long time. That Guardian turned out to be Uldren Sov.

And this next video, of course, goes much deeper into who will be the new Hunter Vanguard.

Mara Visit Number Six

Things get testy between Mara Sov and the player’s Ghost this week. In the week six conversation, she responds to an angry message from Ghost during the previous week’s Oracle offering. You can listen to that one below.

And here’s the text, if you don’t feel like watching the whole thing!

Ghost: (one week prior to Visit 6) “Mara Sov! We need answers, and your people need help. They are suffering while you’re busy with…what, exactly? I don’t know because you never say anything. Nothing plain! Nothing useful. Guess you’re too wrapped up in your own affairs to be a good queen.”

And now here’s Mara’s response…

The transcript doesn’t quite capture her indignant rage, but you get the picture.

Mara: “So, you know how to rule, do you? You speak of good queens and absent rulers, Little Light, so you must know these things.

Tell me what I have done wrong.

SPEAK!

What should I do, when my every action is in service of a future that benefits YOU?

You do not know me or the things I do. Do not dare to presume. You have not earned the right.

Get out of my sight.”

Mara Visit Number Seven

In one of the most interesting visits to date, Mara speaks of a callback to one of the earliest missions in the first Destiny. The scene features one of the series’ most iconic, mysterious, and meme’d characters to date.

The Exo Stranger did appear in Destiny 2 prior to this reference. Although it was purely in the form of text logs introduced in the Warmind expansion. Here’s the transcript of Mara’s message:

Mara: When there is too much Darkness in the universe, Light must cast it away. And when there is too much Light, Darkness must drown it out.

This truth is our burden. This is what it is to be Awoken.

I dreamt of a friend I will come to have. She will tell me: A side should always be taken. Even if it’s the wrong side.

I think I should like her.

The next act is about to begin, and I do not know when I will return.

Fear nothing. Bow to no one. We will meet again. One day.”

And with that, Mara Sov teleported out of the Throne World to an unknown destination. She left behind more questions than answers, as usual.

Mara’s words are key, because she is speaking of a dream where she meets a key figure. The words about sides being chosen were spoken by the Exo Stranger in Destiny, and can be seen in the video above.

What this means for future visits to the Throne World is unknown, but it’s clear that Mara is alluding to the future of the series. The Darkness is coming and “the next act is about to begin.”

Stay tuned and come back for more whenever there’s new lore to be discovered in Destiny 2.

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Scott Duwe

Scott has been writing about video games for the better part of a decade, with bylines at sites like PC Gamer, Dot Esports, Red Bull Esports, and more.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this. As someone new to Destiny that didn’t play D1, I’ve been struggling to piece together “what the hell is going on” by watching hours upon hours of lore videos (Mostly Byf) and have basically figured out the structure to the main storyline going from D1-D2 Forsaken end campaign.

    Where I got befuddledly lost was what came after Uldren Sov’s death, because unfortunately Bungie is telling THAT story on time released and not player reached timeframes. So when I did my first offering to the Oracle, I did not get the first “meeting with the queen” it was far down the list of already seen stories. I was so confused, actually still am because I don’t know what’s going on at all in the Dreaming City. This is because I don’t raid, and I don’t have a dedicated Fireteam. I’m a casual player who’s lost in the lore because I can’t see what’s in the Last Wish or the lore behind it. So I have no clue what’s going on with the Taken being in the Dreaming City or what’s the “big thing sleeping” deep within it.

    Furthermore, the Black Armory is a complete mystery to me too because again, casual player, I don’t have high light level or a dedicated fire team so the story of that entire DLC is lost to me.

    Thank you again for this write up and really hope to see more from you in the future, this was a great help.

    1. I’m looking to publish a handful of Here’s the Lore posts this quarter. Not all of them will be Destiny 2, but it does seem like one of the best candidates. Glad you enjoyed it!

      I 100% agree with the confusion caused by so much lore being locked behind high level or group related activities. In a perfect world, we’d explain it all! Lord knows I’d love to. Anyway, appreciate the comment!

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