The Darkness, also known as the Black Heart to the Vex and The Deep to the Hive, is an ancient, mysterious enemy of The Traveler and is the cause of the Collapse, the cataclysmic event that ended humanity's Golden Age. The Traveler sacrificed itself to save humanity from it, and following its last battle against it, became silent and dormant in the place it now rests, hovering low above Earth and protecting The City.
Though few remember exactly what the Darkness is, it is returning to finish its war against The Traveler and humanity. Guardians must push it back and wake the Traveler in time, or humanity could be lost.
In Destiny 2, a fleet of Black pyramidal ships began to approach Earth after the awakening of the Traveler, and it is suggested these are if not the Darkness itself, then direct servants of it.
The Darkness is vaguely described at best, with many conflicting views in the City on what form it takes, its powers or even if it is a distinct entity or group of entities at all. It is generally agreed that the Darkness is the enemy and in opposition to the Light granted by the Traveler, as well as its ancient enemy. Whatever the Darkness is, it is paracausal-- capable of actions that do not conform to cause and effect-- and is to some degree willing to share its power with others.
The Darkness, when seeming to speak for itself, represents itself as a cosmic force entwined with that of the Light before the beginning of time and the Universe. Allegorically it refers to itself in this state as the 'Winnower', a being that removed unfit or lacking patterns that were created by its counterpart, the 'Gardener'. The Gardener became dissatisfied when playing a game allegorically simulating the universe, as all configurations were eventually consumed by a seemingly eternal final pattern. The Gardener decided to add a new rule to their game that would reward and promote the creation of complexity (in other words, the Light) infuriating the Winnower who found this final pattern to be an ideal state. Both warred, which causes the initiation of the universe at the big bang, and Both entered the universe as elements capable of changing the rules: the paracausal forces of Light and Dark.
The Darkness is both the pursuer of and creator of the "final shape", the final configuration of life that will survive at the end of the universe. The Darkness states this as a philosophical position: only that which exists because it is impossible for it to be any other way has a right to exist. Therefore, anything which may not exist can and will be killed. The final shape is therefore whatever is left when all unnecessary elements are removed, focused and devoted entirely to the act of existing. In the Darkness' view, this is the most moral outcome, as only living things can suffer and death is the end of suffering, while the final shape by its nature has no room within itself to suffer. It is unknown if the Darkness is representing itself validly or attempting to manipulate humanity, however. The Final Shape to exist in the original simulation is no longer the final outcome however, the universe being paracausal in nature. The original pattern, however, did survive into the current universe as a familiar foe.
The earliest known mention of the Darkness is in the Book of Sorrows written by Oryx, where it is known as "The Deep". The book describes the origins of the Hive from the moon Fundament, where Aurash, Sathona, and Xi Ro ventured beneath the surface of the moon and discovered the ancient Worm Gods, ancient, serpent-like beings who served Darkness. Through the powers of the Dark and the Worm Gods, the three sisters were transformed into Auryx, Savathun, and Xivu Arath.
Some time later, Auryx slew the Worm God named Akka in order to craft the Tablets of Ruin and learn the ability to Take. After doing this, he renamed himself Oryx, and used his new powers to summon the Darkness itself into an Ogre, where it spoke directly to Oryx about its goals and beliefs.
In another indeterminate time before the Collapse, Calus, the Cabal Emperor encountered the Darkness after exiting the Leviathan, where it either showed him or caused him to have an epiphany of the coming future. From that point onward, Calus became determined to enjoy the remaining time, and be the last one to witness the end the Darkness promised.
It is also possible that the Darkness caused The Whirlwind, a armageddon that lead the destruction of Riis, the fallen homeworld and giving the Fallen their nickname. This theory could be true because of in-game illustrations in Destiny 2 shown dark winds, similar to Taken energy which was made by darkness. And the only reason why the Traveler would migrate is if it was in great danger, and when moving towards the Solar System the darkness followed it.
The Darkness, or some envoy of it, was the antagonistic force responsible for The Collapse. Very little information on the events of the Collapse is available. Rasputin was the first to detect the approaching threat and assumed a defensive posture which had minimal effect. The weaponry or transit of the Darkness or its forces caused the deformation of the ice crust of Titan, which, once the gravity anomaly ceased, created a cataclysmic wave that rendered Titan's arcologies unsafe for habitation. The Traveler left its place on Io to move to Earth, presumably to establish a defensive posture.
Nothing is known about the specifics of what happened on Earth, though there are suggestions of terrible monsters and countless fatalities. The Traveler and Darkness itself battled, and while no record of what occurred remains, the Darkness was seemingly banished and the Traveler left comatose and its shell damaged. Rasputin is said to have encountered the Darkness personally, and survived an attack from the Darkness itself.
At some point during the Dark Ages, the Vex in the Black Garden encountered and began worshiping the Black Heart, a malevolent entity somehow connected to the Darkness. Also you can see the Darkness At the end of the Red War which lead to the Warmind.
During the City Age, a Guardian encountered an unnamed Exo known as the "Exo Stranger" who warned the Guardian of the evils of the Vex, the Black Heart, and the Darkness. Now on a mission to defeat the Black Heart, the Guardian learned the location of the Black Garden and the Black Heart from the Awoken of the Reef. The Guardian proceeded to travel to the Black Garden and defeat the Black Heart and its army of Vex soldiers.
After the invasion of the City by the Red Legion and the awakening of the Traveler, a fleet of pyramidal ships on extra-galactic orbit is awoken by the wake of the Traveler's Light, whereupon they begin to approach the Milky Way Galaxy.
Months after the battle between Rasputin and Nokris' Grasp, the Scorn, an undead group of Fallen who were corrupted by Darkness-infused ether effected a prison breakout from the Prison of Elders.
Mara Sov has a map of the fleet of Pyramids in her court, and the Nine, as well as the Drifter seem to be aware of the coming Darkness as well, with the Drifter claiming that Gambit is to help prepare Guardians for what could be described the coming return.
In Shadowkeep, Eris Morn discovered one of the pyramid ships, which had either been stranded on the Moon or left there after the Collapse. Now active, the ship began to create ghostly apparitions of Guardians' past traumas called nightmares. When a Guardian manages to approach the pyramid, their Ghost is forced to speak on behalf of the entities within, who disparage the Light and offer the Guardian a mysterious artifact as 'respite'.
Upon claiming the artifact, the Guardian briefly has a vision of the Black Garden with pyramids in the sky above. An entity taking the form of the Guardian approaches them, claiming to be neither a friend nor an enemy, but their salvation.
After this, messages are received through the artifact from the pyramid, ostensibly from the Darkness itself, explaining its reasoning and the supposed origins of itself and the Light as cosmic, fundamental tendencies from before the birth of the universe. The Darkness expresses fascination with the guardians, who it considers the final wager of its counterpart: By winning us over, it proves the Gardener wrong. It then announces its proximity, and eagerness to meet.
The Pyramids arrive shortly after the destruction of the Almighty, and immediately cause Rasputin to shut down in response to his defensive measures. A Pyramid comes to rest over the Cradle on Io, and attempt to directly communicate with the Guardian through their Ghost momentarily before the machinations of Savathun interfere with it's signal. Ghost notes that the Pyramid seems less like a ship and more like a paracausal entity; just like the Traveler.
Eris Morn discovers a Tree of Silver Wings at the center of the Cradle, directly beneath the waiting Pyramid. Using a seed from this tree, she begins to try and reach through the Hive interfereance to receive the message of the Darkness while the Vanguard attempts to contain the Darkness from the Pyramid's remote drone-like Scales. More Pyramids arrive and come to rest on Mars, Titan, and Mercury. The Vanguard then begins to evacuate each planet with a ship on it.
After the Guardian defeats Nokris, the Darkness hijacks their Ghost once again and teleports them to a shrine with a statue of a Pyramid ship, surrounded by statues of Guardians, Cabal, Fallen, and Hive. Taunting the Guardian, the Darkness declared an "ancient power" awaits them on Europa.
As the Darkness began to consume Io, Titan, Mercury and Mars, the Traveler began to heal its wounds from the Red War and unleashed a pulse of Light to push its ancient enemy back; Eris Morn noted it would serve to escalate the war between Light and Dark, not end it.
Known Members of the Darkness
- Black Heart
- "The Formless One"
- The Veil
- Although Destiny referred to all enemy alien races collectively as "minions of the Darkness," they are not directly affiliated with the Darkness. However, the Hive worship the Darkness.
- The Vex also worshiped the Black Heart, which is described as being a part of the Darkness, and granted the Vex powers of Darkness.
- The Taken are individuals infected by Darkness itself.
- The Scorn are also linked to the Darkness, as they were all Eliksni who were revived from the dead through Darkness-tainted Ether, or "Dark Ether".