Destiny’s universe is ripe with danger. Remnant Fallen scavenging the debris of the Reef Wars with the Awoken, Oryx’s remaining shadow forces dragging fresh victims into ascendant realms to be converted for the Taken Queen Savathun and the endless march of the Vex through the corridors of time itself make our solar system particularly dangerous to anyone who isn’t packing a decent shotgun.
Beyond those threats, there’s also a mystery in the form of The Nine. A mysterious collective of great power and intelligence, The Nine have interacted with the Tower and its Guardians through the weekly appearance of arms dealer Xur. In Destiny 2, the mystery behind these beings unravels even further, provided that you’re talented enough to pass their Trials. Needless to say, there are some spoilers below so consider yourselves warned.
So what clues did Destiny 2 leave behind for players regarding The Nine? From 2014 through to 2016, Grimoire cards provided clues as to their purpose and power. Some fans guessed that The Nine may be initial incarnation of the Awoken race, long-lost Warminds orbiting beyond Saturn or even the Darkness itself, a force of death that is biding its time as it heals from the injuries inflicted on it by the Traveller in their last great conflict that brought forth the great Collapse of mankind.
Recent developments suggest otherwise. Centuries before the story of Destiny 1 began, the Traveller used the last of its power to gift humanity with Ghosts. Sentient constructs that could revive their Guardians and keep them connected to the Light as the Traveller slept, nine of these Ghosts would eventually leave our planet and travel beyond the heliopause of our solar system:
The Nine are Ghosts who pierced the Deep Black without a ship and meditated on the hissing silence of the heliopause.
That theory starts to look even more likely when Guardians manage to complete a flawless run in the Trials of the Nine, eventually ending up in a strange location known only as The Third Spire. The laws of physics seem to no longer apply here, as Guardians interact with a new agent known only as The Emissary. Speaking for The Nine, the Emissary offers a few more cryptic clues to the nature of the collective:
Do you remember every death, Guardian? I know you’ve forgotten at least one.
Then there are the rewards that a player earns along the way. New legendary guns whose lore can be accessed and tells the story of a Guardian, Ghosts and the law.
The Long Walk
“There is an end to everything.” —Emissary of the Nine
[Eight sparks. A ninth, dim in the corner. And Orin in the middle.]
ORIN: Are we all here? Come into the light, please.
G-9: I like where I am.
ORIN: They said you all went to the deep without a ship. How?
G-7: Our charges are gone, but we’re still creatures of Light. No different from the one you carry in your pocket.
ORIN: You’re all either very brave or very foolish.
G-6: You sound like Shaxx.
G-5: She does. I’m glad my charge is gone.
G-4: Don’t say that.
G-5: It’s true.
G-4: Don’t say it out loud. Some of us go our whole lives without finding one. Show some respect.
G-5: Don’t talk like you’re better than me. You’re in here, too.
ORIN: Please. I’m sorry to call you all here, but—
G-2: You’re not sorry.
ORIN: I need to know what you found out there.
ORIN: At least give me the coordinates.
Hesitation kills.” —Emissary of the Nine
You sought us out in the deep black. meditation wasn’t enough for you GO AND TOUCH THE HISSING SILENCE Do not fear being submerged. Not many ships go that far, these days. you went through hell to get one, and then again to get out there YOU FOUND THE DEVIL HIMSELF. A G O L D E N S N A K E A D E V I L W H O P O S E S A S G O D No more a god than you. YOU DIDN’T FIGHT HIM. Y O U T U R N E D A R O U N D S M A R T Others did. while we watched
A Sudden Death
“Everything dies. This is proof.” —Emissary of the Nine
You spoke with the deep-orbit minds. we heard what you asked BUT THEY HAD QUESTIONS TOO The lying robot no longer lies with others. Where is he?
All this in service of one purpose. You have their attention. Let us see if you can keep it.” —Emissary of the Nine
A COURT A V A U L T A Maelstrom. a cauldron A realm. A VOID A N E Q U I N O X A meridian. A S H I F T certainly Trials no more. Not like they were. A KEEP A P A R A L L A X An apex. a plane A COURT A V A U L T A Maelstrom. a cauldron. Of what? OF STARS O F N I N E
“Embrace your fate.” —Emissary of the Nine
do you hear us YOU WANTED POWER It is not for you. W E H A V E A T A S K F O R Y O U FIND THE WORTHY. BRING THEM. three keys THREE ARE REQUIRED Show them. E M P H A S I Z E I T EVERYTHING DIES. THEY ARE NO EXCEPTION. we’re immortals, they’ll say C O R R E C T. And yet, who dies more than they do? N O N E only when they accept this can they be born anew BE RELENTLESS.
“The greatest threat to a Guardian is another Guardian.” —Emissary of the Nine
You sought us out. IN SOME SMALL WAY, YOU FOUND US. But discovery always has a price. With curiosity comes consequence. SHE IS NOT READY. SEEK JUDGEMENT, GROW.
“Show them that safe harbour is very far away.” —Emissary of the Nine
THE RED SHIPS ENTER THE AIR IS HEAVY. Now, when you move, you can actually FEEL the weight of the world. This weight is a gift. you finally have our attention.
A Swift Verdict
Judgment is final.” —Emissary of the Nine
we were young once YOU WENT MAD TRYING TO UNDERSTAND W E W E N T M A D T R Y I N G T O S P E A K This doesn’t matter. When you are ready we will take it from you AND YOU WILL BE GLAD OF IT
These eight weapons answer just as many questions as they in turn create. There’s a story here of ascension, of Ghosts who lost their Guardians and journeyed into the dark to search for answers. Answers which they never found and resulted in madness as they found something…else. A primordial evil which may have resulted in their descent into madness as they fled.
Then there’s the question of the three keys. Listed as Judgement, Death and Perfection, Guardians are urged to acquire Judgement first. With The Traveller awake following the end of the Red War, perhaps that is the first key in this mystery that has resulted in humanity earning the attention of The Nine at long last.
Eight new weapons, whose mystery leads to a singularity at the top of the Third Spire and what the Emissary calls “the end of all things”. Are The Nine allies, or are they fattening up humanity for the kill as a greater nemesis awakens beyond our galaxy? That’s the real fun of Destiny, as legends and riddles like this usually lead into greater narrative payoffs.
Last Updated: September 20, 2017