In the story of Destiny, characters grow and evolve as their personal story develops. They stay true to their nature during their changes, but the stresses of such a violent and uncertain existence makes drastic life choices inevitable. These kinds of choices go far beyond what profession to pursue; These are the kinds of choices that alter the course of history as a whole.
Such is the life of Uldren Sov, brother of Queen Mara Sov, and Prince of the Vestian Throne. The Book “The Forsaken Prince”, tells the story of Uldren in the events that lead up to just before the opening of the game’s third expansion, “Forsaken”. I will summarize the contents of this book, so that we may gain a better understanding of what Uldren’s motivations were leading up to the expansion’s fateful conclusion.
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Presence in Destiny 1
Prince Uldren Sov’s story extends FAR beyond the scope of this single book. In the Destiny 1 vanilla campaign, we meet up with Uldren a few times when we enter the Queen’s court. He’s a sneering, condescending welp that has an oddly intense affection for his sister. He hates guardians, and he is appalled that not only was the player character allowed on the Reef, but that the Queen is actually cooperating with a Light Bearer.
Leading up to the Taken King expansion, Uldren participated in battle against Oryx’s Dreadnaught. Uldren narrowly escaped, and crash landed on Mars. He immediately sets forth in finding out what happened to his sister, and in the process realizes that he will need the aid of the Eliksni. However, in order for him to be granted a face to face meeting with Craask, the Kell of Kings, he has to allow himself to be taken into custody, and consequently beaten and battered, before being dragged before the Kell as a prized hostage. Uldren is eventually successful, but the details of what happened are reiterated later in this book. In Destiny 1, there were a slew of Fallen Houses: House of Devils, House of Winter, House of Wolves, House of Kings, House of Judgement, and others. In this way, Uldren has gathered himself a new army and all eliksni are now under the same, singular house; House of Dusk.
What happens next is outlined in a variety of locations, but for the sake of keeping this video limited to the scope of this one book, we’ll leave those details for another time.
The Length of a Chain – Parts 1 & 2
The first two entries in this book, “Length of a Chain – Parts 1 & 2” set up the foundation for Uldren and his relationship with his sister, Mara. First, we must consider the metaphor in play with the use of a “Chain” and determining the “Length” of it. A Chain is essentially a rope that is made of metal links, thus making in much stronger and more difficult to break. In certain contexts, Chains are used to establish a relationship between a servant, an enslaved, or other “lesser”, and a master or other dominant. The lesser is on one end of the chain and is in a submissive status, and this individual will be typically bound in some way; either by way of shackles or a collar. The other end of the chain would be the Master, or the individual that holds dominance over the servant or the enslaved. The master is simply holding the chain, and through various commands and manipulations of the chain in hand controls the lesser’s actions. In this metaphor, Uldren is lesser and Mara is the Master. Through the course of these two entries, Uldren attempts to learn how far he can go before Mara metaphorically yanks him back into subservience, thus testing and establishing, “The Length of his Chain”.
The first paragraph in the first entry of this book tells us what a main event will be. Quote:
“Jolyon, my man,” Uldren Sov whispers, “you and I are going to take the Black Garden.”
Well then, not much mystery there! Jolyon jokes briefly with Uldren, as this suggestion is absolutely absurd.
“I’m serious, Jol.”
“And you’ll be dead serious if you go to Mars, har-dee-har-har. Target range 2,900 meters. Wind and rotation?”
“Wind 21 kph from your three o’clock. You are two degrees off spin-north. I’m going, though, I really am. You’ve got to come! You’ll never live it down if you miss this one.”
“I’ll never live anything down if I’m dead! Shot ready.”
“Send it,” Uldren says. The Supremacy booms and kicks into Jolyon’s shoulder. Uldren doesn’t even bother to check that it’s a bull’s-eye. “You’ve been with me on all the big ones, Jol. I can’t do it without you. Besides—” He opens his hand to reveal the ejected cartridge, snatched from midair, cobra quick. “If we don’t do it, some Guardians will, and the next thing you know, Mara will be inviting them in to do Crow work.”
In this exchange, we can deduce a few things. First off, it is sounding like Uldren wants to be the first to enter the Black Garden; The site of the final boss battle of Destiny 1’s vanilla campaign and site of the Garden of Salvation raid in Destiny 2. This tells us that this actually takes place BEFORE the events of Destiny 1. Uldren is out being a spotter for his close friend Jolyon, who apparently is a master sniper. For the American viewers, a rough conversion from kilometers to miles is about 1,600, meaning that the shot taken by Jolyon, that Uldren didn’t even bother to verify, was 1.8 miles! Through other lore entries in various locations, we know that a “Crow” is a member of the Awoken spy network, and these two seem to be highly skilled.
There is a brief exchange between the two Crows regarding how insane this mission would be, and why that is precisely why they need to do it. They joke about how there are “Nameless Horrors” within the Black Garden, but they’re only nameless because no one has named them yet. When Uldren asks Jolyon if the prospect of being so bold is enticing, Joly simply responds,
“No. Because your sister’s forbidden it, Uldren.”
Obviously, this pretty much seals the deal for them. Especially since Uldren knows how much the Awoken people love a good hero’s tale.
As they prepare to make their departure, Uldren tries to assure Joly that they will be able to slip away without anybody noticing their departure. However, once they finally get ready for departure…
When they set out for their ship, they find the promenades and galleries aswarm with cheering throngs of Uldren’s fans and followers. He waves and waves, turning, grinning, in a better mood than he will maybe ever be again.
So much for stealth. Still, amidst all this celebration, he has doubts. Uldren feels that the only reason his people love him so is because of his proximity to his sister, the Queen. He feels that no one sees him for who HE is, or why he’s always venturing out so far, at times directly defying her orders. The answer is simple:
He wants his sister’s approval. He knows and accepts that. But he wants her approval for something she did not anticipate, did not plan or foresee, and did not account for: he wants her to thank him with surprise.
So what he truly wants, what he DESIRES, is the approval of his sister. This DESIRE is what later attracts the attention of Riven, and how Riven is ultimately able to free herself from the prison within the Dreaming City. Part 2 of this pair of entries ends with final confirmation of the entrie’s titles, and that he is, in all efforts, trying to establish the length of his chain. Since he keep extending the limits of his actions, he interprets to mean one of two things: Either he truly is free to do whatever he pleases, or perhaps he has not yet reached the end of his chain.
At the Gate, Parts 1 & 2
The next two entries are the Crows’ journey to Meridian Bay on Mars. At the Gate, Parts 1 & 2 describes Uldren and Joly’s journey to the Vex Gate that is the entrance to the Black Garden. Part 1 is mostly concerned with how much Uldren hates Guardians, or as he describes them, “Horseflies of the Traveler”.
So he’s done everything to Guardians he can think of—shot them up, shot them down, sent them on doomed quests, dunked their Ghosts in intolerably stinky selenophenol, drilled holes to bury their obnoxious patrol beacons inside solid rock, tricked them into disassembling mighty weapons.
Despite all that, he still acknowledges that he’s mortal. In a firefight against a Vex Goblin, it is noted that he stays so far back that he can barely see his target. We guardians would most likely take our shots to the chest for the chance at scoring a melee kill towards completing a Vanguard bounty, but for mortals, well, it’s best not to chance it.
At this point Uldren is currently pinned down by the Vex. However, since the Vex have a pesky habit of teleporting, he’s not sure if he’s pinned down by just a lone Goblin or 10. Thankfully, Joly is still a master sniper and he’s able to pop the troublemaker right in the juice box. This, of course, attracts the attention of the Cabal in the region, and now Jolyon is under fire from the other opposing faction. Thankfully, Jolyon survives the poorly aimed salvo.
The crows have another exchange over the comms, debating about how to properly enter the Black Garden. The entrance is well known, as it’s not exactly a tiny nor hidden structure. The problem is activating the portal, getting past all the Vex that guard the entrance, and passing through the Gate in one piece. The only way to get the Gate to open is to attract the attention of a Vex Gate Lord and defeating it. That may not sound like a major problem to us Guardians, but remember that Uldren and Jolyon have neither the power of the Light nor do they have Ghosts to resurrect them. That means no flashy grenades, no supers, no ducking behind a boulder while you heal in a few seconds, no fireteam buddy to rez you after you take Vex cannon blast to the face, nothing. Nothing but your own basic weaponry.
Just then, Uldren gets an idea…
“I have a princely idea.” This is what Uldren lives for. Skittering past death, brushing its whiskers, leaping away from that toothy maw. “Break contact. We need stealth now. Then we need to pick a few unfortunate targets…”
Through the Gate
In the next entry, Through the Gate, amounts to a detailed play-by-play for a simple yet ingenious plan. Uldren, and for that matter Jolyon, know full well that they stand no chance against a towering Gate Lord on their own. But ya know who does have enough fire power? Some annoyed Cabal patrols who are itching for an opportunity to bomb something! After picking off wandering Cabal for a while, the Crows have finally also attracted the attention of the Vex.
Finally, the Gate hums to life and a Gate Lord begins to assemble, and assesses the situation.
Inside the Vex entity, there are mighty algorithms constructing a model of this merely temporal place, calculating potential threat, weighing the utility of weapons discharge against the good that power might do elsewhere. This computation is the only reason Uldren’s still alive.
Essentially, the Gate Lord acknowledges the existence of Uldren and Jolyon, but questions if they are worth the effort. Meanwhile, the Cabal that Jolyon has enraged has finally zeroed in on their location and is about to drop some serious bombardment on their location.
Which just happens to be directly underneath the Vex Gate Lord.
Uldren activates a deflection grenade just in time to save them from shelling.
Outside, the full fury of a Cabal fleet carrier lands on the Gate Lord.
When the barrier fades, the Gate Lord is dead, and Uldren and Jolyon are no longer on Mars.
And THAT concludes the video! 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, “Approval”, Since this is what Uldren so desperately desires from his sister, Queen Mara Sov. 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!