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The Elder Cipher was a quest that rewarded a Guardian with Lord of Wolves, Queenbreakers' Bow, or Dreg's Promise. It was received as a random reward immediately after killing the final boss of a level 34 or 35 Prison of Elders challenge activity.

In The Taken King, the Elder Cipher is no longer obtainable. The Year 1 weapons are instead obtained randomly from the Queen's Chest at the end of the Level 28 Prison of Elders activity, and the Year 2 weapons are obtained randomly upon returning to orbit at the end of a Challenge of the Elders activity.


  1. Take the Elder Cipher to Variks in the Vestian Outpost.
    • Variks will show the possible rewards, but the reward is not chosen at this time. Simply press the button to continue.
  2. Acquire the Queen's Cipher from the Queen's Chest in an Arena Challenge.
    • This cipher can be obtained from the Queen's Chest in the level 32, 34, or 35 challenges.
  3. Return Queen's Cipher to Variks.
  4. Variks will summon you once the Elder Cipher is ready.
    • There is no notification for when the Elder Cipher is ready; just check with Variks periodically. This normally takes one to three days (in real time, not game time).
  5. Kill Bosses in the Arena. Challenge Bosses are worth more.
    • Obtain 1,000 points. Mini-bosses and level 28 final bosses give 75 points, level 32 final bosses give 200 points, level 34 final bosses give 350 points, and Skolas gives 450.
  6. Return to Variks in the Reef.
    • Choose whether to receive Lord of Wolves, Queenbreakers' Bow, or Dreg's Promise.


  • When House of Wolves was released, a bug caused players to not receive the bounty if their bounty slots were full. Update fixed this bug, but introduced a new bug that didn't allow some players to accept the quest from Variks and move on to step 2. This bug was fixed in Update
  • A second bug caused a player to receive two copies of the bounty simultaneously, while granting only one reward upon their completion. Discarding either copy risked canceling the entire quest, and both disappeared upon delivery of the reward.
  • On September 8, 2015, any players who had yet to finish the bounty had it auto-completed with the release of Update 2.0.0.