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r/DestinyLore
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Posted by8 months ago

Analyzing Altar of Reflection - Pact

Instead of waiting a few days, I decided to go straight into this Altar. We'll see how that pans out. The reason I didn't wait is because, as I mentioned in the Catalyst post, I really want to talk about it. I really want to talk about the Witness.


Without further ado, let's get into it.


Two Truths, Two Lies

- Osiris is dead.

- Savathun is dead.

- The Witness birthed the Darkness.

- In the end, your destiny lies beyond this system.


Osiris is not physically dead, but his mind is "not there." Curious. Would this count as death? Maybe, maybe not. I'm leaning on false, as I believe Osiris will return one day. It'd be a shame to lose him from an Amogus plot line, of all things.


Savathun is physically dead, but Immaru is alive, therefore she always has the chance to return. Furthermore, projections of herself exist guarding the Sunken Pyramid. I will pin her as dead, making this statement true, but like Osiris, the answer is suspect... this one even more so.


The Witness birthing the Darkness... I don't think so. Unveiling is an interesting tale, and I've already discussed multiple times that it stops being an allegory once T=0 and everything becomes material. So, if we are to take that as fact, then Light and Darkness entered the material plane as rules when their creators did. That being said, Unveiling recently has been thrown up for debate yet again. The Witness's existence is a curious one, but its identity ultimately means that either this interpretation, and others like it, are true, or the entire book is false. I mean, we've had our fair share of near-meaningless lore books.


I will put this as false, but most of my reasons behind it will be discussed in the second part of this post. If it is true, then it's a case of "the Witness birthed the Darkness AS IS," which is a completely different story. As in the Witness is responsible for how it's been used, who uses it, and our beliefs of it. Those come with their own caveats, but it's perhaps another way to interpret the statement.


The discussion of Destiny's ending is a complex one. For one, if a Destiny 3 ever happens, it's a LONG way from now. Furthermore, the end of the Light and Dark Saga is not the end of the series' timeline. In the event that "in the end" refers to the end of the saga, I think this statement is false. However, if this is a reference to the end of Destiny's timeline, then I believe it's true, especially considering what might be the final enemies of the franchise, IMO being either the Vex (so unkillable that they show up in futures where the Darkness won) or the Nine (it's a long story). I mean, we have Volantis, Fundament, and whatever's left of Riis and Torobatl to visit. We could also have completely new worlds. I'll pin this as true.


My verdict is:

- False

- True

- False (if P1)

- True (if post-saga)


What is the Witness?

- The Witness birthed the Darkness. Darkness is the errant child of a tight-fisted creator. A force designed for wicked purposes... but with a will of its own.

- The Witness is the child of Darkness. Those who say there is no Final Shape, that Darkness exists in perfect, formless neutrality? Liars.

- The Witness was once mortal. Its people were blessed by the shadow of Darkness, just as your kind were blessed by Light. In that Darkness, these beings found power and knowledge. But they were not content. Power and knowledge turned to greed and despair. The Witness was forever changed.

- The Witness was once mortal. Its people were blessed by the Light, just as your kind were. In the Light, these beings found power and knowledge. But they were not content. Power and knowledge turned to greed and despair. The Witness was forever changed.


OK, point 1. So this one echoes sentiments from a prior point in the first half of the post, but expands on it. This refers to literal creation, as in the Witness DID create the Darkness as a force. What's curious is that Light and Dark exist on a spectrum, and can even be accessed through each other were one to take the right steps. Keep in mind that Drifter did this once. There's an idea here that perhaps the Darkness was borrowed from the Light and then twisted. However, we run into the issue of contradicting Unveiling. There's also another statement made by Savathun that suggests that, despite being on the same spectrum, only we're capable of using both at a time. Keep in mind that this statement was not made under the categories of presented in these posts. While that does not necessarily mean it's the truth, it makes it more likely.


Darkness having a will of its own, however, seems to be much less controversial of a statement. A Hidden agent once did a deep analysis on Stasis (Witch Queen Collector's Edition) and found that it had crazy computations going on within the crystals, suggesting it DID have a mind of some sort. I don't think the Darkness was made by the Witness, but I do think it has a mind of its own.


Point 2 directly contradicts point 1, saying the Darkness made the Witness. I say that this is less literal, and more a matter of Darkness corrupting or making the Witness possible. This also further suggests the Darkness having a will of its own, implying that it made the Witness who they are now. I believe this is completely true. I'd say that this statement actually refers to the Darkness FORMING the Witness, but then I feel as if these two would be referred to as the same here rather than two different things, as this would make the two damn-near synonymous, if not completely, and... there's quite a bit to suggest otherwise. Let's get into that.


Points 3 and 4 are almost completely the same, telling the story of a race that found power, eventually growing tired of it and wanting more and more until eventually something happened and the Witness was effectively born. Not literally, I just mean what they are now was made. This also suggests that the Witness was once mortal.


And I think both are completely true. Let me explain.


Literally Just Explaining my Opinion of Points 3 and 4


The Pyramids are a very interesting topic. Ghost's analysis makes them out to be paracausal beings, something I've discussed numerous times as meaning (in this particular case) a being made of sentient [LIGHT OR DARK] energy. Ghosts, for example, are a case of this, being literal pieces of the Traveler inhabiting a shell that they make after their birth. The Ghost is a spark of Light. Ergo, the Traveler is a bigger spark of Light with its own shell. As such, the Pyramids would be the same thing, but Dark. Granted, the differences between the Pyramids and the Traveler/Ghosts are a bit different. The Pyramids are also certified ships. Think Radiant Accipiter but more eldritch, actually alive, and also like 100+ of them acting in sync with one mind, that mind being the Witness.


Where am I going with this? Well, if these are living Darkness beings... why are they ships? Why do they have interiors if they're sentient energy? WELL, a long time ago, people would've said that they made them on command. And they are very well capable of that. However... they didn't.


Introducing the Sunken Pyramid, the first Pyramid with a guaranteed inhabitant that hasn't left in eons. It's even personalized, with murals everywhere depicting Lubrae and its history as well as the triumphs of its sole inhabitant, Rhulk. Hell, even the architecture is personalized... except it isn't. Many of you have noticed that the Europan Pyramid has also fallen in line with the Sunken Pyramid's interior design, with the differences being that it lacks the murals and iconography associated with Rhulk and Lubrae.


That's because the entire band of Pyramid architecture, from an outside-game context, has undergone rapid change in order to open it up and showcase some style and culture. However, the small number of differences between Rhulk's Pyramid and the Europan one suggest that perhaps this architectural style was made for one type of species, and given that Rhulk is the last of Lubrae, it wasn't him. Furthermore, the style is also seen in the Witness's Pyramid (presumably the Mothership) in the cutscene.


To sum up, the Pyramids, despite being energy, made interiors ages ago for a race that isn't us, the Lubraeans, Hive, Fallen, Vex, or Cabal. One that has its own culture and history.


So with the conclusion that the Pyramids were originally designed to host a race unknown eons ago, how does this all connect to points 3 and 4 of Pact? Well, the natural conclusion is that the race the Pyramids were designed for... was the one the Witness came from.


So, were these beings blessed by Light or Darkness? I think both. The Traveler entered the universe seeking to uplift a race. It found them, gave them a Golden Age (perhaps more but that's a discussion for another day), and these beings reveled in it. Thanks to people like Clovis Bray, it should be obvious that not everyone takes this power and uses it wisely, even during a Golden Age (as the Regime was post-GA for Lubrae, they are not an example here).


Furthermore, the Darkness doesn't like to bless people. It prefers to corrupt. When power and knowledge turns to greed and despair, who else shall answer but the Deep itself? The Deep that encourages this. That encourages the want to take more and more. So these beings turned to the Darkness. I believe this is the material recreation or manifestation of the First Knife, the first beings to reject (or be rejected by - long story) the Light and fall to Darkness. These beings, in their power, would craft an army and begin the crusade against the Traveler. Not just undoing its work, but ending it. Carving their path to the Final Shape.


But what about the Witness? What about it changed? That's a curious question with no definitive answer. I could say that the switch to Darkness merged most, if not all of this race into one being, that being the Witness. It could simply be that the Witness is just one person who became the most powerful, a vessel of pure Darkness moreso than any other, a demigod. Perhaps this race died, and their memories meet within the Witness. Who really knows the answer to that? Well... Bungie does. I mean, hopefully they do. Bit late to change plans last second. Even worse to MAKE them last second.


So, my thoughts on this are:

- Witness didn't make the Darkness, Darkness does have a will of its own (partially true)

- True (not literal, but the Darkness made the Witness possible)

- True (but after point 4 and technically not a blessing)

- True


Still gonna ask if I missed anything, also going to ask for thoughts because it's past 1:00 AM and I have no idea if my essay about sentient energy and ancient aliens was properly explained.

32 comments
93% Upvoted
level 1
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Vote
level 1

I don't think Truth to Power - or other partially/totally false lore books - is meaningless. Knowing that a given lore source is partially or wholly deceptive gives us insight into our enemies - why are they lying to us in this particular way? What do these lies say about their current circumstances (as in the Chronicon)? I think it's really important to read the lore critically, moreso than in pretty much any other game I can think of, but it's all contributing to the story from one angle or another.

I think points 3 and 4 on the Witness, furthermore, don't call Unveiling into question. Unveiling more or less ends at T=0, with some clumsy propaganda from (presumably) the Witness tossed in and the introduction of the Vex to close it out. That leaves...a lot...of time for civilizations to develop. I think if the Witness and even the Traveler were the last remnants of two extremely old, extremely powerful civilizations who took the philosophies associated with the Gardener and Winnower and turned them into ideologies, then we could be caught between two sides fighting an incredibly ancient war.

Under this explanation, the Witness' species found a way to harness the rules of the universe associated with the Winnower and weaponize it, and call it Darkness. Did the Witness birth the Darkness as a law in the universe? No more than the first gun birthed the idea of velocity. And by that same token, the Traveler (or, more to the point, whatever's inside it) found a way to turn the rules associated with the Gardener into Light. This game already leans into the idea that any sufficently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic (see the Hive, the Awoken), so this wouldn't be that big of a stretch.

8
level 1

And where can I see the order of how the Altars fall out one after another? How many are there in total? Do they mix or follow each other?

4
level 2
Op · 8 mo. ago

They kinda mixed and matched after week 3 I think. Here's a playlist of all the dialogue.

4
level 1
· 8 mo. ago

Great analysis!

3
level 1
[deleted]
· 8 mo. ago

Why would the Witness making the Darkness make Unveiling false? The Witness and the winnower being the same being isn't confirmed to be right or wrong

1
level 2
Op · 8 mo. ago

That's why I posed it as a possibility. The Witness's mere existence has gotten us all to question things, but until confirmations are in order, it's up for debate. In the event that the Witness is confirmed to be the narrator of Unveiling, then the book is meaningless with the exception of the Wager and the basic rundown on ideologies. However, there is equal chance that it is not, which is what my ultimate discussion in the final third of the post is about.

2
level 2
· 8 mo. ago
Rasputin Shot First

I think it's pretty much confirmed that the Winnower and Witness aren't the same. And Witness been last member of mortal race is the most likely conclusion. There is no Winnower in our galaxy, it is the Witness who make "Darkness" the way we see it today, like Pyramid ships, Final Shape ideology (possibly taken by the Witness from Unveiling), etc.

2
level 1

I feel like just chalking up savathun as dead could be a mistake. When she dies they very intentionally show her ghost fleeing, which I think they wouldn't have worried so much about if it wasn't going to be important later, maybe mentioned off-hand in a lore entry. I agree, yes she is physically dead, but do the writers consider her really dead?
Very underrated post, by the way, deserves more attention given the work put in.

1
level 2
Op · 1 mo. ago

She is dead. Doesn't mean she's permanently dead, but she is, as of the time of this statement, dead.

1

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