Destiny’s story may have started as a jumbled mess, but it’s slowly evolved into an expansive and complex space opera. From the misleading secret of the Traveler in vanilla Destiny, to the hard-reset in Destiny 2’s story with the Red War, to embracing the Darkness in Beyond Light, a lot has happened. So much, in fact, that keeping track of the Destiny 2 story can be a bit confusing (to say the least).
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Luckily, you don’t have to! We’ve covered the main story beats throughout the last seven years of content. So sit back and kick on the Destiny 2 soundtrack as we regale you with the tale of your Guardian and the expansive history of the Destiny universe.
Chapter 1: The Golden Age
Prior to you waking up in Old Russia, the Golden Age was in full swing after mankind came across the Traveler. This icon of light traveled from planet to planet, transforming them, sharing knowledge, and empowering different planetary races. This led to Earth’s expansion to Venus, Mars, and even Titan, and later to the creation of the Exos — android shells holding human consciousness — by sociopathic industrialist Clovis Bray.
This monumental progress was cut short during the Collapse when the ethereal Darkness emerged and destroyed most of humanity. The Traveler sacrificed itself to disperse the Darkness, went dormant, and created Ghost shells (little robots filled with Light) to seek out and revive chosen individuals to become what we know as Guardians. Eventually, a group of these individuals known as the Iron Lords would come together to form the Last City below the Traveler.
Chapter 2: Your Story Begins
Fast forward the Destiny story, and you’re being revived for the first time by a Ghost. You don’t remember your past life, but immediately have the power of the Traveler and make your way to the Last City. At the Tower, you meet the main lineup of characters — Zavala, Cayde-6, and Ikora, known as the Vanguard. You also learn of the history of the Traveler from the Speaker, who gives you your purpose — to protect the Traveler from threats throughout the Galaxy.
Through a series of missions, you encounter the Fallen and Hive, as well as a long-dormant AI Warmind known as Rasputin. Now able to leave Earth, you travel to the Moon to explore what the Hive are up to, and meet the Exo Stranger for the first time. She helps you disrupt the Hive and later warns you about the time-traveling machines known as Vex while you’re searching Venus.
She also sends you to the Reef, home of the Awoken merged beings of Light and Darkness, to meet with Queen, Mara Sov, and her brother Prince Uldren. Here you also meet the friendly sect of Fallen, known as the House of Wolves, and uncover the Vex’s home base on Mars, the Black Garden. This pocket out of time holds a physical piece of the Darkness that the Vex are working to expand to assimilate the Galaxy.
You visit Mars, encounter the warmongering Cabal, and claim the Eye of the Vex Gatelord to open the Black Garden. After killing the heart, you meet up with the Stranger, earn her weapon, and wait to hear from her until Beyond Light.
Chapter 3: The Dark Below
Destroying the Heart in the Black Garden helped a once lost Guardian, Eris Morn (who is now transformed by the Darkness), escape the caverns below the Moon. She warns of the Hive Prince known as Crota, who is mounting incredible power within the Moon that can strip Guardians of their Light. In fact, he used this power to wipe out Eris’s entire Fireteam during an earlier raid of the broken rock.
You’re tasked with defeating his physical form, destroying Omnigul the Hive Wizard before Crota is revived, and taking him down once and for all in the Crota’s End Raid. Here, you face his true form and snuff out his essence once and for all.
Chapter 4: House of Wolves
Skolas, a Fallen captain and part of the House of Wolves, is attempting a coup against Queen Mara Sov and the Awoken. Attempting to bring together all of the Fallen sects and become the Kell of Kells, Skolas intends to harness Vex technology in order to gain an edge against the Awoken.
Tasked by the queen’s emissary, Petra Venj, to hunt Skolas down, you capture him alive and send him to the Prison of Elders, where you can continuously defeat him over and over again.
Chapter 5: The Taken King
Serving as a fresh restart for the Destiny origin story, the Taken King introduces Crota’s father and God-King of the Hive, Oryx. Stationed just outside Saturn on an enormous ship known as the Dreadnaught, he immediately makes his presence and power known by wiping out the entire Awoken fleet, including queen Mara Sov. Seeking revenge for his son’s death, Oryx begins unleashing his Taken army, former members of the various enemy races now twisted into dark reflections, to presumably destroy those wielding Light.
Eris Morn, who has a strange connection to the hive after her isolation on the Moon, works with you and Cayde-6 to begin a siege of the Dreadnaught. You immediately encounter Cabal soldiers attempting to find and destroy Oryx for taking their kin and venture further into the depths of the ship to locate cloaking tech that can open up the Dreadnaut to other Guardians.
Eventually, you track down and eliminate Oryx, only to have to destroy his god-like form in the King’s Fall Raid. With a power vacuum in Hive command and the Cabal sending out a distress beacon outside the solar system, several dark occurrences are produced even after this incredible victory.
Chapter 6: Rise of Iron
Destiny’s final expansion explores the history of the Iron Lords, who shepherded the last remnants of humanity during the Great Collapse. This is spurred on by the Fallen House of Devils seeking out Golden Age nanotechnology, known as SIVA, to become Splicers. Lord Saladin, who heads up the Iron Banner tournament, is the last of these Lords and tasks you with seeking out what the Fallen are up to.
After facing a SIVA-infused Sepiks Prime (and jamming out to a rock version of the main theme), your exploration leads to the Plaguelands in Old Russia to stomp out the SIVA infection. Here you discover that the Iron Lords sacrificed themselves to contain the initial outbreak, which was brought on by the Warmind Rasputin as an inherent defense mechanism. You’re able to put a stop to the Splicer leaders in the Wrath of the Machine Raid and quarantine the Plaguelands to help avoid any future spread.
Chapter 7: Destiny 2 and the Red War Begins
Two years after the original Destiny comes the first part of the Destiny 2 story, a period when the Cabal distress call comes back to haunt you. Dominus Ghaul, the leader of the Red Legion, responds by heading to Earth, destroying the Last City, and restraining the Traveller, causing you to lose your Light. After your escape, you head out into the European Dead Zone (EDZ) to find a broken-off piece of the Traveler. You regain your abilities, team up with the leader of the city’s refugees, Suraya Hawthorn, and set out to get the band back together.
Seeking out Zavala on Titan, Ikora on Io, and Cayde-6 on Nessus, you bring them all back together to devise a plan of attack. The current threat is the Almighty, a warship designed to supercharge a sun until it goes supernova and destroys the entire system. Since the galaxy is so wild and full of enemies, the Cabal see this as the only way to victory.
As the only Guardian with Light, you board the ship and disable it, only to have Ghaul kill the Speaker and siphon the remaining Traveler energy into himself. He becomes a giant being of light and nearly kills you until the Traveler awakens and disrupts Ghaul, seemingly killing him. Of course, now that the Light has returned, so has the Darkness — you get a glimpse of the Darkness Pyramid ships heading toward Earth.
Additionally, you’re contacted by the deposed Emperor Calus and invited to challenge him on his massive city-sized ship, the Leviathan. This is where the Leviathan, Eater of Worlds, and Spire of Stars Raids occur. First, you try to reach Calus, only to defeat a powerful mechanical double. Then you help remove a Vex intruder and halt a Red Legion coup attempt. After that, the Leviathan disappears along with the Emperor.
Chapter 8: Curse of Osiris
After only visiting Mercury in the Crucible, you finally get to explore it alongside Ikora’s mentor and exiled Warlock Osiris. Unfortunately, the Vex have completely converted the planet and developed a massive simulation known as the Infinite Forest. Osiris, now captured within it, has realized that the Vex are using it to explore potential outcomes and manipulate time.
You venture into the simulation, save Osiris, disrupt a future where the Vex win, and help Osiris take control of the Infinite Forest. Afterward, Osiris continues to study potential outcomes in the hope of understanding the threat of the Darkness to come.
Chapter 9: Warmind
This part of the Destiny 2 story introduces Ana Bray, granddaughter of the mythic Clovis Bray, who has discovered the true location of Rasputin on Mars. During the Collapse, the Warmind was attacked by Nokris (necromancer and Oryx’s exiled son), along with a giant Hive worm-god and herald of the Darkness known as Xol.
To stop Nokris and Xol, Rasputin froze an area on Mars known as Hellas Basin, trapping the Hive and itself. Now, Rasputin is using other Warsats to thaw the ice, allowing you to enter the Rasputin Complex to defeat the two Hive leaders and determine Rasputin’s intentions. You also gain The Whisper Sniper Rifle, which may in fact be a remnant of Xol. No one is sure if the Hive worm-god is trying to infect you or is simply dormant, but that will likely reemerge later on.
Chapter 10: Forsaken
Another heavy reset point in the Destiny 2 story, Forsaken starts off with you and Cayde-6 attempting to stop a break-out in the Prison of Elders. Cayde is eventually separated and encounters the Scorn Barons, a powerful group of amped-up Fallen criminals who Cayde put there. They are led by Prince Uldren Sov, who executes Cayde right then and there.
As a strange aside, you’re simultaneously introduced to the Drifter and the Gambit game mode. Strangely, the Drifter has you gather and bank motes of Darkness, implying that he may have a greater understanding of the larger incoming threat of the Darkness Pyramids.
Back to the main story, you head to the Tangled Shore, a chained-together section of asteroids in the Reef, and meet up with the crimelord Spider. Forming a tentative partnership, you do favors for Spider in exchange for information on the Barons, who you hunt down and eliminate.
Eventually, you catch up to Uldren, who is trying to open up the forbidden sanctuary of the Awoken, known as the Dreaming City. Turns out, he’s been infected by the Taken and influenced by Riven, a shape-shifting wish-dragon known as the Ahamkara who had once been hunted down to near-extinction by the Guardians. Riven had been working with the Awoken Queen, only to be taken by Savathun during the events of The Taken King.
Uldren is killed, the way to the Dreaming City is unlocked, and the Hive, Scorn, and Taken are able to invade. Savathun’s true plan is unraveled as you learn she wants to enter the Distributary, the birth palace of the Awoken where light and dark meet. You enter the Dreaming City, through the Last Wish Raid and kill Riven, only to unleash a curse where the city is now in a three-week time-loop. To this day, you’re still trying to break the curse by disrupting Hive and Taken rituals where they attempt to enter the Ascendant Plane.
Also, turns out, Mara Sov actually used this exact process to enter the Ascendant Plane and is currently alive with the potential to be revived in our world. This storyline will likely play out in the Witch Queen expansion in 2022.
Chapter 11: Season of the Forge
Now operating with regular seasonal content, we’re introduced to the sole survivor of Golden Age weapon manufacturing, an Exo known as Ada-1. Of course, the Fallen are attempting to take this weaponry for themselves, but Ada doesn’t initially want your help. Instead, she tests you by having you gradually restart the Black Armory forges, where you’re able to create some incredible weapons.
This season ends with you defeating Siviks, the leader of this rogue group of Fallen, and venturing into an old Armory bunker within the destroyed streets of the Last City. Of course, you come across Fallen attempting to restart a giant mech called Insurrection Prime, which you have to put down.
Chapter 12: Season of the Drifter
The Drifter is back with new game modes known as Gambit Prime and Reckoning, plus a whole bunch of lore. These have you enter his cargo bay to take on Taken enemies (and, of course, bank more Dark Motes). Slowly throughout the season, you learn of the Drifter’s history, his impact on the Destiny 2 story order, and about a couple of Guardians, Shin Malphur and Dredgen Yor.
Dredgen had once been the kind of the Crucible, but he eventually succumbed to the Darkness due to Thorn, his Hive Hand Cannon. Shin hunted down and defeated Yor, along with a group of followers known as the Shadows of Yor, who believe that harnessing the Darkness is the key to defeating it. Turns out, The Drifter was among them, leading you to investigate his activities for the Vanguard.
Eventually, you must decide who to side with, which limits some rewards but seemingly has no impact on the narrative. The Vanguard begrudgingly accepts that the Drifter isn’t a bad guy and that working with him is still beneficial. You also gain access to a replica of Thorn, as well as Shin’s weapon, The Last Word, with the dire warning from the legendary Guardian to stop the Hive from ever recreating the real Thorn for themselves.
Chapter 13: Season of Opulence
Emperor Calus returns into the Destiny 2 story with a new activity known as the Menagerie. This mini-Raid puzzle is meant to challenge you and prepare you to take on a Hive-corrupted Cabal, known as Gahlran, in the Crown of Sorrow Raid. Ever the secretive type, Calus had attempted to recruit spies within the Hive, only to realize that they aren’t that easy to control.
Taking the Crown of Sorrow, a relic from the Ascendant Realm, he forced Galhran to wear it in order to try to take over a Hive operative. Of course, this went poorly and he became corrupted and himself controlled by Savathun. Luckily, you’re able to venture deep into the Leviathan to put a stop to Savathun and the Crown of Sorrow, both of which will make a deadly return.
Chapter 14: Shadowkeep and Season of the Undying
The Darkness Pyramids have arrived! Of course, they decide to park around the Moon, giving us lots of exciting new beats in the Destiny 2 story.
When the Darkness Pyramids land, it leads to the detection of The Scarlet Keep, a giant Hive fortress located on the dark side. Thanks once again to Eris, you uncover that this Keep is developed around a giant Darkness Pyramid, proving how little the Vanguard know about their enemy.
The Darkness awakening leads to vestiges of Guardians and other enemies, such as Crota, that have been killed returning. They spread throughout the solar system forcing you to hunt them down, and uncover what has led them to return before the Ghosts of Eris’s old Fireteam drive her mad. Eventually, this leads you to defeat Crota’s daughter, Hashladun, and directly commune with the Darkness. It appears as a reflection of you in the Black Garden and attempts to persuade you to step away from the Light.
Not so easily convinced, you reemerge with an artifact and hand it over to Eris for further study. Of course, this all ties back to the Vex, who have resurrected the Undying Mind and are trying to take the Pyramid within the Moon. This leads to a full-out offensive led by Ikora through a rebuilt Vex Gate in the Tower and the discovery of a signal within the Black Garden. You reenter it, through the Garden of Salvation Raid only to discover an identical statue of the Darkness entity.
Chapter 15: Season of Dawn
Osiris is back and now has a time machine that he calls the Sundial. He’s hoping to use this to find his former friend Saint-14, who Titans likely know from his sweet Exotic helmet. Of course, while Osiris has been using the Sundial, some Psion Flayers have taken control and are attempting to use it to create a timeline where they won the Red War.
You eventually defeat the Psions through multiple timelines in the Destiny 2 story, as well as find and save Saint-14 and return him to the present.
Chapter 16: Season of the Worthy
Not ones to be taken down so easily, the Red Legion engages in one last-ditch effort by boarding the Almighty. It’s been hanging around Mercury and they successfully pull it out of orbit toward Earth, where it will destroy the Last City. Without enough firepower, who do you turn to? Rasputin, of course, with its network of battle-equipped satellites that you help further by sending more into orbit.
Throughout this process, you learn more about the Iron Lords, including that Felwinter was in fact an Exo built by Rasputin to study humanity. It turns out that Rasputin purposely unleashed SIVA on the Lords in order to finally get its component back, which it now seemingly regrets. Rasputin displays this by shooting down the Almighty at the end of the season in the first-ever live event in Destiny history.
Chapter 17: Season of Arrivals
Turns out that throughout the last season, the Darkness Pyramids were getting closer. They finally arrive above Io, Mars, Mercury, and Titan and immediately shut down Rasputin, which Anna saves a bit of. Strangely, the Darkness starts sending encrypted signals and offering weapons and armor. Seemingly wanting you to stay in the dark, Savathun and Xol continuously try to eliminate Guardians who visit the Pyramids.
During this time in the Destiny 2 story, you evacuate the planets and return to the Tower as Ghosts throughout the system suddenly feel a strong pull. The Traveler reforms itself and suddenly all of the planets that The Darkness hovered over just disappear (cough…cough..sunset content).
Chapter 18: Beyond Light and Season of the Hunt
The Darkness isn’t done, though, and the Destiny 2 story next leads you to Europa. Once again, a rogue Fallen Kell known as Eramis has discovered a way to wield the Darkness through a technique known as Stasis. You, alongside the finally returned Exo Stranger, Drifter, and Eris Morn, are tasked with simultaneously taking down the Fallen and learning more about Stasis.
Throughout the campaign, you continue to commune with the Darkness and unravel new Aspects and Fragments of Stasis. You also venture into the Bray Research Colony and uncover the giant living Exo head of Clovis Bray himself. Turns out he may have been the one to invite the Vex into the Solar System while researching Stasis, and potentially caused the Great Collapse. Also, his original Exo form is Banshee-44, who has been wiped so many times that he no longer holds the hideous personality of his former self.
Additionally, you return to the Forgotten Shore to discover a newly revived, Light-infused Prince Uldren, who now works for Spider and goes by Crow. You work with him and Osiris to take down Oryx’s sister, the Hive-God of Wrath, who is attempting to take advantage of the Darknesses’ recent attacks.
By the end of the season, you and Crow have successfully put a stop to the Hive’s plans, and you help Crow reconcile with his memories by tracking down pieces of the Hawkmoon. Knowing that he is a completely different being now, Osiris welcomes him as a Guardian, which leads to him being stationed at the Tower.
Chapter 19: Season of the Chosen
The Cabal is back with a vengeance with the introduction of Empress Caitl, the daughter of Emperor Calus who we once helped through a series of Raids on the Leviathan. Caitl does not care for her father, even going so far as to take part in overthrowing him. After arriving and learning that you are not working with Calus anymore she offers to join forces to help wipe out the Hive threat, as long as the Guardians are subjugated under her rule.
Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t go over well and Zavala refuses. This leads to an all-hands-on-deck campaign to take out Caitl’s leading Generals to invoke the Rite of Proving that the Cabal holds dear. This replaces an all-out war with a one-on-one (sort of) battle to the death to see who reigns supreme. To reach that final round, you have to whittle down her forces through a series of Battleground events that prove you are worthy of this final confrontation.
Once Caitl’s champion is defeated, a final truce that requires no subjugation is set to be made. However, there are teases of a threat against Zavalla’s life leading up to it putting everyone on edge. This was for good reason, with a rogue group of Cabal Psions attempting to assassinate Zavala by trapping his Ghost. Crow dispatches the assailant only to lose his mask and come face to face with Zavala in the process. Rather than seeing him as his former self (Uldren Sov) the killer of Cayde-6, Zavala accepts Crow as a reborn Guardian and thanks him for saving his life. In the end, the truce is made and Caitl swears that she’ll track down and eliminate those responsible for the attack.
In the midst of all this, you uncover a distress signal aboard The Glykon, an abandoned Cabal ship. It’s from a lost Guardian who has possibly been working with the deposed Emperor Calus in his exile to run experiments on the Hive and Scorn. This was all done using The Crown of Sorrows, a Hive artifact that had driven its last wearer insane and of course led to the ship being overrun with some sort of creeping fungus. As you continue to explore the ship, you finally come across the now dead Guardian and claim his Scout Rifle.
Chapter 20: Season of the Splicer
In the spirit of partnering with old enemies, Season of the Splicer has you make nice with an old Fallen enemy from all the way back in the Prison of Elders expansion—Mythrax. Mythrax is reintroduced on Europa, where he is guiding the refugees from his Kell, the House of Light. You are made aware of his presence through a distress signal as he and his family are set upon by the Vex and other Fallen Houses.
Mythrax then explains how the Vex are making some sort of move and that he can lead us directly into the Vex network through a process called Splicing. This initially sends you into the Vex realm to steal specific codes that will provide additional access to the Vex Network. Once found, you and Ikora strike a deal to house his House within the Last City. This doesn’t sit well with everyone, leading to a divide forming among the Last City’s people, spurred on by the fear-mongering of Future War Cult Leader Lakshmi-2.
Of course, our initial excursion into the Vex Network did not go unnoticed and the Vex, in turn, impose a simulation, the Endless Night, over the Last City. This is all to drain the light from the city, meaning that you need to enter the Network, again and again, to fully purge them from it. The purge itself can only be done by completing Expunge and Override to uncover the root of what’s causing this to occur.
Of course, as you near the end of the season, it’s revealed that the Vex are not fully responsible. Instead, the Taken emerge led by the will of Savathûn, who had been slowly emerging as a threat over the last few seasons. To fully free the Last City from the grip of her influence, you have to venture into the corrupted network one last time to defeat her Taken puppets.
Even after all of this, Lakshmi still thinks that Mithrax and the House of Light will bring about some great calamity. So, she opens up a Vex portal into the city in order to kill them only for the Vex to kill her instead. As things are looking most dire, Saint-14, Commander Holiday, and Ikora Ray come to the rescue. But, off in the distance, Osiris looks over the battle only to walk away without saying a word, leading many to believe he has been corrupted by the Witch Queen.
Chapter 21: Season of the Lost
This latest season confirms our suspicions about Osiris. Immediately, Savathûn reveals herself as a giant frozen crystallized version of the winged Hive god that had been wearing Osiris like a cheap suit. She claims that he is alive somewhere without his Light, but we can’t tell for certain if that’s true.
To complicate matters further Savathûn has not come alone. Mara Sov the Queen of the Awoken has also returned after her original demise during the Taken King (those pesky Awoken just can’t stay dead). Oh, and she has also agreed to work with Savathûn to help take down her sister, Xivu Arath, who has taken control of the Taken forces and threatens the Dreaming City.
This involves Guardians collecting Ascendant Anchors and realigning beacons in the Ascendant Realm to possibly break the curse that has overtaken the Dreaming City since Forsaken. We’re only a few weeks in so far, but this is sure to go sideways at some point. Mara Sov is holding on to a Darkness-tinged Ahamkara egg, Crow is trying to understand why the Queen distrusts him and of course, anything Savathûn says can’t really be trusted.
For now, we collaborate with a known enemy and hope for the best.
The Story Continues…
Now that you know the Destiny 2 story so far, you’re prepared to unravel the teases leading up to the Witch Queen expansion next year. To help get your Fireteam up to speed, be sure to share this article on your favorite social channels. And be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest on Destiny 2.