The universe that is Destiny is chock full of references to the real world in terms of history, literature, and culture. On top of that, there are several themes that have persisted throughout the game’s life, including references to various mythologies, Wolves, and Gnosticism. However, there is one theme that has gone relatively unexplored, a bit of an UNSUNG hero in the Destiny Lore discussions. That would be the power of song, and how the Hive have turned music into a weapon.
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Eris Morn, Goth Crooner?
One of the earliest instances of song having supernatural power was during the campaign missions of the expansion, The Taken King, back in Destiny 1. During the mission, “Last Rites” our Guardian works their way deep into Hive territory, specifically the throne world of Crota, where we are witnessing his death ceremony. Once we are able to absorb as much of the essence as we can, we are spotted and are confronted with a rising horde of Taken enemies. We are about to be completely overrun, until we are blessed with a Deus Ex Machina by way of…Eris Morn singing over our coms? We don’t know exactly how it works, but as Eris starts her ethereal chanting, the screen blurs and we are whisked away to safety.
This is our first hint that music is going to be playing a significant role in the mythos of Destiny, particularly the Hive and the Darkness. After we complete the Taken King campaign, we are sent back to the Dreadnaught for various missions and ultimately the King’s Fall Raid. While we are running amok on Oryx’s ship, we are tasked with finding these collectibles known as “Calcified Fragments”. There are 50 in total, and finding each one reveals a new lore entry into your grimoire which eventually fills Destiny’s first Lore book, “The Books of Sorrow”. In the entry, “Verse 4:7 – shapes:points”, Oryx addresses one of his daughters:
And you, Ir Halak, you are a wizard too, as is the way of twins. I have been with Xivu Arath, who complains that you have made a song, and sung it in her throne world, and killed everyone who listened, quite irrevocably. Will we have songs instead of swords and boomers?
Eris’s teleportation song was reprised during one of the early missions in the Destiny 2 expansion, Shadowkeep. Here, while we are fighting a Nightmare of Crota, nice little nod there, when we are suddenly confronted with all the other Nightmares simultaneously. Simply put, a fight that we would not win. Thankfully, Eris is still looking out for us, and we are once again whisked away to safety by way of her song.
So it would appear that there is something in song and music that allows the manipulation of strange energies.
Songs and Crystals
There is also a strong emphasis on the use of Crystals in Hive Magic, which seems to go in tandem with the use of song. This concept was brought to the forward during two activities in Destiny 2, the first of which being the “Siren Song” adventure on Titan. Ya know, where Savathun’s presence is the strongest. The initial purpose of this adventure is to investigate strange gravitational waves found at a few locations on the surface. Turns out, they are part of some kind of Hive ritual happening deep below deck. As we travel deeper, Sloane begins to feel increasingly nauseous, with Amanda softly joking, “Keep it together, girl!”. As we enter the final chamber, we become witness to the source of the anomalies: a final MASSIVE crystal that seems to be singing. Not only that, but the Hive Knights that we have to fight in the mission’s final encounter seem to be drawing upon the crystal’s power by actually singing back to it! Worth noting is that through the entirety of this adventure, Amanda Holliday doesn’t show any discomfort from the experience, which I suspect has something to do with the fact that she is not a Guardian. Once the final Knight is defeated, everyone rejoices, Sloane feels much better, and Amanda thinks it would be a great idea to bring that crystal INSIDE the Tower. I’m sure nothing terrible will come of that.
The second activity that involves crystals and a music theme is the strike, Savathun’s Song, which also takes place on Titan. Again descending into the depths of the rig, through the Utopia and further down, but this time we’ve got a full fireteam for support. The initial purpose of this strike is that we are sent on a rescue mission to recover a lost fireteam. Along the way, we are required to take out various Void energy crystals that are creating barriers that block our way. We later come to the realization that those crystals are actually former Guardians that have had their Light ripped out of them.While there isn’t much else in the way of musical references, the strike’s name itself, Savathun’s Song, should be quite alarming. We know that the Hive have been harnessing the power of music for awhile now, and the fact that Savathun, the Hive God of Cunning, has a strike attributed to her that contains the word “Song” in the title should be concerning. Apparently her little tune has something to do with ripping the Light out of a Guardian and then using it as a power source? That can’t be pleasant….
So what does all this mean, besides doom and gloom for Guardians? Well, first off, we need to consider that Eris Morn was able to use song to her, and our, benefit, twice. She is known for having a deep understanding of the Hive, so it would follow the game’s lore naturally for her to be the one who would be able to wield this power. This therefore proves that the power to wield music as a weapon is not unique to the Hive. In fact, this power was taught to the Hive by the Worm Gods. Going back to the Books of Sorrow, Verse 2:6 – Sword Logic, there is the transcription of a conversation between one of the Worm Gods and Auryx, after the Ammonites had begun using their own paracausal weapons. These weapons, of course, tore through the Hive forces, but the Worm God stated as follows:
But you are armed to respond in kind. Savathûn’s mothers have listened carefully to our teachings. We will not give you the Deep, King Auryx — that power is for us, your gods. But we will teach you to call upon that force with signs and rituals.
Small minds might call it magic.
Therefore, the ability to use song and music in this way isn’t actually a Hive practice, but that of the Worm Gods and the Deep. Therefore, should someone become sufficiently versed in Hive arcana, they too would be able to use music in this way. THUS, we have Eris saving us twice through the use of song.
Hey, remember when Anna Bray talked about the Hive, and how despite all their mysticism she was convinced that everything they did was founded in Science? I wonder if she’s made any progress….
So with all this discussion about how music and singing can hold so much power, and the fact that ANYONE could theoretically use it, it is frightening to think of what could happen if something so simple could be adopted by a faction with questionable motives. But then again, It’s not like a Golden Age supercomputer, originally designed as an Artificial Intelligence specifically for war against unknown combatants, which was given the ability to determine its own moral code, keep secrets, and establish its own sense of machine ethic while having access to war satellites across the known galaxy, yet the Vanguard still treated as a blunt tool, which would eventually piss off this “WARMIND” of sorts, to the point where it casts off its virtual shackles and declared its autonomous independence, where it will serve humanity, and itself, however it shall see fit, has figured out how to leverage this power to the point where it has developed its OWN VERSION OF CRYSTALS to transmit information through the use of a RESONANT FREQUENCY and disrupt a race of time traveling robots who were designed by the creators of the UNIVERSE ITSELF, right? RIGHT?
And THAT concludes this video! Please let me know your thoughts on this and drop a like if you feel so inclined. If you would like to support this channel but can’t think of anything to leave as a comment, write the phrase, “Danse Macabre”, as a connection between the performance arts and the fact that music is going to be the death of many in this universe. Also remember to subscribe if you want to hear more lore explained in this fashion and keep up to date with my regular podcast, Videogame Crosstalk, the monthly podcast of gamers talking Tech, Science, and whatever else comes to mind.
Until then, I’ll see you in the Tower!