Edit: Never mind, I was wrong. Crown of Sorrows was 100% a Calus thing. Read on anyway if you want to be entertained by my wishful thinking.
So, for Crown of Sorrow, the new raid coming with the third and final season of Bungie’s first Annual Pass for Destiny 2, something rather interesting is happening. The raid releases on the start date of the season, June 4th, at 4PM PDT. There are other changes as well – like the Contest debuff, which caps power during encounters in the World’s First chase, making overlevelling irrelevant to the experience.
But what really, really interests me is why the Raid is launching on day one. And for that, I’m thinking about Forsaken’s Lash Wish raid. Unlike previous raids in Destiny and Destiny 2, Last Wish was a vital part of the Forsaken experience. It triggered the curse, unlocked new content for all players, and made a dramatic difference to the way the story played out over the course of Forsaken’s timeline. Crown of Sorrow, I feel, may do something similar.
The other piece of information that feeds into this idea is the fact that Bungie’s announcing the future of Destiny 2 on June 6th. Again, the timing is really, really interesting. Granted, it could simply be an announcement to build hype ahead of Bungie’s presence at E3, but I feel like something significant is going to happen within or after the raid which, in turn, will energize the playerbase and dovetail neatly into a big reveal for the future.
And I think Crown of Sorrow might be setting Toland up as the next Taken King.
Am I insane and wrong? Probably.
But also consider the way Bungie’s handled lore from Curse of Osiris onwards. They’ve reached into the past to either wrap stories up or move them forward in interesting directions. Saint-14 met a tragic, yet noble end. We’ve met Osiris and found him wanting. We know what happened to Mara and Uldren Sov after the events of The Taken King. Dredgen Yor’s tale has taken on an entirely new shape. Shin Malphur isn’t quite the man we thought he was. We finally – finally! – know who and what the Nine are.
But Toland has been kinda sorta floating around as a ball of cryptic light for close to a year now, and he’s a pretty big player in the overall franchise.
Each of Destiny’s 3 antagonist races have had one Guardian closely associated with them in some capacity. With the Fallen, it was Saint-14. With the Vex, Osiris. And with the Hive, it was always Toland. But unlike other figures of legend that Bungie’s pulled out and dusted off for new stories, Toland has been largely untouched beyond his various appearances in Forsaken. And given that previous Leviathan-related content has been Cabal, and Vex-themed, coupled with the fact that the Fallen were recently front and center in Black Armory, it seems likely that Season of Opulence and the associated raid will be Hive-focused. Which means, probably, we’ll see Toland’s story move forward in some capacity.
Now, while his role in events hasn’t been especially meaningful, his presence itself feels tremendously significant. His obsession with the Hive was well-documented in Destiny’s original Grimoire cards and we know from those stories that he’s been eyeing Oryx’s throne – or a place of power among the Ascendant Hive in general – for a while now. And story-wise, with the darkness converging on our little blue marble, Toland feels like a massive ace in the ascendant realm.
In The Taken King, Toland was very, very keen on us challenging Oryx. He spoke to us of the sources of Oryx’s power and the flow of his tribute, helped us understand his echoes, and, most importantly, asked that we let him know if a vacancy opens. But at the end of The Taken King, when Oryx is finally, thoroughly dead, two things happen.
First, Toland acknowledges the vacancy and asks if we know who benefits from the things we do. Whether we really understand the great pattern that we set in motion when we ventured into the Hellmouth and killed the King’s son. And next, he flies into a confused rage when we dethrone Oryx and leave his seat of power vacant.
This is the relevant quote:
You fools! You disastrous, bumbling squanderers! It’s not right! Who now shall be First Navigator, Lord of Shapes, harrowed god, Taken King? Not you! You might have been Kings and Queens of the Deep! But you have toppled Oryx and you have not replaced him!
There must be a strongest one. It is the architecture of these spaces.
Why are you leaving?
We’ve killed Oryx and we could have been Taken Kings or Queens ourselves, but we left that seat of power vacant and now it belongs to no one. And I think that vacancy continues to be relevant simply because of how Hive sword logic works. Oryx made himself The Taken King by killing Akka, the Worm God, and carving the secrets of speaking to the Deep upon the Tablets of Ruin. That is terribly, terribly important because it means that in killing Oryx but not claiming his throne and power, we’ve kinda made sure that no Hive can replace Oryx. At least, not yet.
For Savathun or Xivu Arath to become Taken Queens, they need to take that power from us because the way of the Sword Logic is taking. But, as Oryx also says in the King of Shapes card, giving is for the Sky. We can, in theory, make the next Taken King (or Queen) by giving away the right to the throne that we earned by killing Oryx. And lore-wise, I think that’s what Crown of Sorrows will be about.
The clue is in the name (unless, of course, I’m crazy).
Oryx’s story was the Books of Sorrow. And, going entirely by that and literally no other information at all, I feel like Crown of Sorrow relates to him as well. It is his crown, his empty throne, his abandoned throneworld, that is at the heart of the conflict in Season of Opulence.
(For the record, there’s no doubt in my mind that the ultimate story of Destiny is the conflict between the three Hive siblings and us, the mad Guardian that makes a habit of murdering Gods. We are the chosen champions of Dark and Light respectively and we decide how that great eternal conflict plays out. But that’s a whole other post, I suppose.)
However, there’s more than one contender for the throne – Savathun and Mara Sov are two that come to mind – and while both of them are likely candidates, I feel like Toland actually getting it would be the most interesting.
Consider, for a moment, everything that we’ve seen Toland do in Forsaken. That floating ball of light is everywhere. In every Ascendant challenge, throughout Mara Sov’s throneworld – Toland has basically been mapping and navigating the Ascendant Realm in much the same way that Osiris has been doing for the Vex Gate Network. But to what end?
The one thing that Toland has proven – by the mere fact of his presence – is that he can navigate through and into spaces that are meant to be locked off from everyone and everywhere else. When we get into Elusinia once every three weeks, for example, he’s already there, waiting for us. So if he’s looking for a way to get into Oryx’s abandoned throneworld, perhaps we’ll be the ones who help him get there, though whatever connection the Leviathan’s Ascendant Realm has to everywhere else. Or perhaps he’s already found his way in and only needs our blessing to take what it feels like he’s always wanted.
So, what’s next?
This, really, is my hope: The darkness – or its equivalent of the Traveller – is on its way to us. The Ominous Triangles of Doom are awake, roused from their slumber by the Traveller’s waking and we’re probably not entirely equipped to handle them. What better ally – or perhaps, what more interesting ally – to have around for that fight than one crazy warlock, seated upon Oryx’s throne, a once-Guardian, now-Taken-King, who’s after things that none of us really understand?
Wouldn’t that be something?