At the time of this recording, The Shadowkeep expansion has been out for several months and this would be some player’s first real dive into the culture and hierarchy of The Hive. This race of necrotic mystics worship in what is referred to as The Sword Logic, and praise a trio of Gods, Xivu Arath, Savathun, and Oryx. However, newer Guardians may not have a full understanding of what these Gods represent, or how they came to be. The origin story of not only the Hive Gods but the Hive as a species is outlined in a collection of Destiny 1 Grimoire cards known as “The Books of Sorrow”.
In my opinion, The Books of Sorrow establishes the basis for much of the lore within the Destiny Universe as a whole and was found by locating “Calcified Fragments” within the “The Taken King” expansion. Guardians scoured the Oryx’s Dreadnaught for 50 of these calcified fragments that were found in hidden locations and by completing various challenges and activities. When compiled and read in order, they tell the story of how the Hive came to be and how Oryx rose to Godhood. Keep in mind that this recounting of events is written by Oryx himself, so perspective is heavily skewed, as one would expect from a person who sought, and ultimately achieved, Godhood.
This is Part 1 in a 5 part series. I will summarize the first book within the context of what we know now, and some details have been omitted for the sake of time. This is Videogame Crosstalk, and I hope you enjoy this Destiny Lore Video.
Ultimately, the Books of Sorrow is the origin story for the Hive, and is revered as their sacred text. It will establish many concepts that are now integral for how the Destiny universe operates. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take this one step at a time.
The first books establish the race of people know as the “Krill”, found on the planet “Fundament”. Here, the Krill are the smallest lifeforms and have a life expectancy of about 10yrs. They are ruled by the King of the Osmium Court and are neighbors to others known as the Helium Drinkers and the Star Cutters.
However, in Verse 1.0 – The Fundament, we are told that Aurash has discovered that the “Timid Truth” of the Krill: That they are not originally from this planet and neither are their neighbors, and therefore were not destined to be prey for the others. This verse is addressed to “Sathona”, from her first surviving sister, “Aurash”.
And thus the stage is set with sisters who live on a distant planet where they and their species are the weakest to be found, and the eldest of the sisters discovers something that contradicts their childhood teachings.
Verse 1:1 – Predators is written by the 3rd surviving sister from the Osmium King’s last brood, Xi Ro. Here, we learn just how far down in rank the Krill actually are. We learn that there is a bizarre custom that an ambassador of the Helium Drinkers eat the Krill as tribute. We also learn of Mothers, who are smart and strong and live longer than most. Also, if you tamper with their eggs, they will eat you. (ahem, Titan). Basically, Everything on Fundament is out to kill the Krill, and Xi Ro will have none of it.
In Verse 1:2 – The Hateful Verse, we are introduced to Taox who describes herself as a Sterile Mother and teacher to the children of the Osmium throne. This verse is interesting because it lays the foundation for several machinations. The idea that a mother would be sterile is interesting, since the concept of a mother is that a person is a caretaker and provider for their children, yet Taox is sterile. She then goes on to describe each of the children and their desires: Xi Ro to be a Knight, Sathona to be a Mother, and Aurash to dream of the infinite ocean. In her allegiance to the Osmium Court, she views none of these daughters as suitable heirs as they will refuse to follow the status quo, and sees only herself to be a proper ruler. Even if that means that she will rule as Regent under the Helium Drinkers, she views this a favorable outcome to whatever future may lie within the three sisters. Taox therefore sends a message out to the Helium Drinkers to come invade their continent while the Osmium King is in his Orrery.
In Verse 1:3 – The Oath, we see that the Helium Drinkers answer her call and the continent of the Krill is laid to waste. One by one, the three sisters in turn swear a blood oath to claim vengeance on Taox. The sisters only have Aurash’s ship between them, but it will be enough for them to travel and plot their next move.
In verse 1:4 – Syzygy, we learn of what the Osmium King has been so concerned about: the Syzygy. A “God Wave” that would wipe out all life on Fundament. This would in actuality take place in the form of a massive tidal wave that would form as the 52 moons of Fundament come into alignment and create a massive swell of the planet’s oceans. This would of course only be a temporary alignment, and upon its release the resulting wave would wipe out all life it would fall upon. If Aurash could find her way back to her father’s Orrery, she may be able to find a way to stop it.
Verse 1:5 – Needle and Worm, is written in a very peculiar form. This is the first of several, so I will interpret this the best that I can. This passage is written from the perspective of Sathona with interruptions by an Ahamkara.
A what now?
By this time, you may have already defeated Uldren Sov and learned of Riven, the Ahamkara that corrupted him. Ahamkara are long dead beasts also known as “Wish Dragons” that are able to gift great boons upon people or just mess with them in general. Believing them too dangerous the exist, the Vanguard ordered the extinction of them all through the initiative known as, “The Great Hunt”. Ahamkara are able to influence others by sensing what they desire most, playing on those desires, and slowly corrupting them, just as Riven corrupted Uldren Sov through the course of the Foresaken campaign.. They are extremely powerful and their essence can persist after physical death, as can be seen in various exotic gear pieces. A tell-tale sign of an Ahamkara’s corruption is that at some point in their whispers, they will always use the phrase, “Oh (BLANK) mine” when concluding a statement, as seen at the end of this verse with the phrase, “Oh vengeance mine.” In this case, the Osmium King’s Familiar has the appearance of a dead, pale, white worm. Sathona has been communing with it in private, giving her insight on their quest. Through this influence, the sisters are convinced to seek out the ship known as Needle and travel deep into Fundament’s core where they find, and further commune with, the Worm Gods of The Deep.
OK! Back to the Lore!
In Verse 1:6 – Sisters, Sathona is feeling a bit down. As her sisters try to cheer her up a bit, she eventually opens up to what is bothering her. Simply put, their lives as Krill are short and they have already passed into what they would be considered “middle aged”. They have traveled and learned so much, yet there is so much more to travel and learn. They will have lived out their natural lives without finding what they seek. The original knights that had sieged their home would have died off by then and Taox would still have many years in her life. What the sisters desperately need, what they desire, is more time. A way to extend their lives so they may eventually taste vengeance. To do this, they must continue to dive deeper and deeper into their planet’s core. They do this, even while knowing what happened to the original crew of the Needle and that nothing but horrors await them.
Verse 1:7 – The Dive is the story of how they continue to dive down into the planet’s core and eventually meet the Leviathan. In response to the sister’s appearance in the deep, the Leviathan issues it’s warning in Verse 1:8 – Leviathan. One by one, each sister issues their own protest against the Leviathan’s warnings. They state their own reasons for pushing on, each unique to their own personalities and values. Aurash insists on learning all she can to save her people. Xi Ro declares that she will slaughter all that stand in her path. Savathun plays with rhetoric to convince her sisters to disregard the Leviathan’s warnings, asking,
Who will you trust? The voice that wants us to live and suffer, as we have lived and suffered? The Leviathan that offers no hope against Taox or the world-wave?
Or the plain, honest worm?
Let us see where its whisper leads us, Aurash. Let us go deeper, Xi Ro!
Let us dive, oh sisters mine!
In Verse 1:9 – The Bargain, the sisters have reached the core of the planet, as so influenced by the Osmium King’s familiar, which is clearly a small Ahamkara. Here we learn the names of the Worm Gods: Yul, Eir, Xol, Ur, Akka. If you had played Destiny 1 and completed the King’s Fall Raid Set as a Warlock, these names should be familiar to you as each piece is named after one of these Worm Gods. Collectively, they refer to themselves as the Virtuous Worms. Upon their meeting, the Worm Gods go on to explain how grateful they are to have been found and begin to tell the Sisters of how terrible the Leviathan is and how good they will be to the Sisters. In order to help them, Yul asks that each sister serve as hosts for a worm larvae. Through this symbiosis, the Worm Gods will be able to bestow great power and immortality, surely enough power to weigh their vengeance upon Taox. There’s only one simple thing that the Worm Gods ask of the sisters, and that is to always be true to their nature. Aurash must never stop learning, Xi Ro must never stop fighting, and Sathona must never abandon cunning. For if they do, the worm larvae will consume them from within. Now…
Reach up to me. Let my flesh be your sacrament.
And THAT concludes the first book within the Books of Sorrow! What we have so far is what has happened before the Hive actually became the Hive as we know them at current. Moving forward, we will learn how the Hive grew and what happens when you make deals with Worm Gods of the Deep. If you enjoyed this video, please let me know and drop a like. If you would like to support this channel but can’t think of anything to leave as a comment, write the word, “Virtuous Worms”, for what the Worm Gods of the Deep refer to themselves as. 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!