The Dead Orbit fleet is well clear of Saturn. They’ve picked up a high-gain signal from the Cabal beachhead on the Dreadnaught. The message is outward bound… its target is far outside the solar system. We have to know what they’re saying, and who they’re saying it to.
Signal’s down. It was encrypted, but some of the headers are legible. This was a detailed distress signal intended for… the head of the Cabal Empire.
Welcome back Guardians. With many rumours circulating about Destiny and the potential Cabal storyline, I thought it about time to discuss the lore surrounding the Cabal. I will discuss the Backstory of the Cabal, the Cabal Empire and potential storyline pathways involving Psions, the Warmind Charlemagne and Cabal accessing Vex technology.
The artwork at the beginning of this video was supplied by Brandon McCamey (aka Gammatrap), see his website for his latest paintings, artwork videos and t-shirt designs. Link is in the description. For those wanting more lore about the Cabal, be sure to check out the Reddit post by Drexodthegunslinger, which collated a huge amount of lore about the Cabal, link in the description. My twitter, twitch and podcasts details are also below
This is myelin games and I hope you enjoy this latest Destiny Lore episode.
Firstly, lets briefly discuss the Cabal backstory. Whilst, little is known about the Cabal backstory it is speculated that they encountered Oryx, this speculation is even confirmed by Game Informer who posed the question to Bungie, however received no confirmation. The Game Informer article reads,
“The Cabal’s arrival in our Solar System isn’t entirely understood, but there’s reason to believe they’ve had some unfortunate encounters with Oryx and the Hive, and are simultaneously looking for refuge and for a way to fight back against the Hive’s god-king, but these points remain unconfirmed speculation.”
The Ghost Fragment: Cabal 2 also hints that the Cabal encountered something, causing them to flee. It reads,
“For all their might and strength, for all that they have dug into Mars and flung up battle walls with the bureaucratic grimness of conquerors, I suspect they are fleeing from something. That within their hard shells and thousand-folded shields is a sharp seed of terror. But of what? Does something follow them? Should we fear it too?”
In addition, there is also speculation that the Cabal home world has been destroyed. The spinning Golden planet holograms that are often seen at Cabal terminals, may represent their destroyed home planet. This is reinforced by the Ghost Fragment: Cabal 2 grimoire card which reads,
“A hologram of a spinning golden planet, in stasis, turning gently. You can see the storms moving over its face. But when the Commanders congregate below it, when they activate whatever controls are below, it changes. Fissures appear on its face. Is that their home?”
So, the Cabal have been said to not have a word for retreat, so let’s assume that the Empire sent the Cabal to our system to gain the military might to destroy whatever threat faced their home planet.
On that note, let’s now speak about the Cabal Empire. The Cabal’s culture is highly militarised and most Cabal place duty and allegiance to the Empire above everything else, including death. This is reinforced in the Ghost Fragment: Cabal 3 grimoire card, which documents a conversation between Primus Ta’aun and Valus Tlu’urn. Primus Ta’aun has been given an order from the Emperor himself to board the Dreadnaught at any cost. The card reads,
“I have my orders. Our report went all the way up, and the decision came all the way back.” Valus Tlu’urn’s blank helmet swivels to stare. “You mean — ?” “It came from the Emperor Himself.” Ta’aun can feel the pressure gel pumping against his skin, keeping him insulated from this deadly world, keeping him alive. “I’m ordered to board and capture the Hive flagship. At any cost.” “Mutiny,” Tlu’urn whispers. “You should mutiny.” Oh, to mutiny. To be like Valus Trau’ug, who took his Broken Legion against the Reef — and failed, failed utterly. Duty is victory. Mutiny is worse than death. Even if death seems certain. “No,” Ta’aun says. And that’s that.
This card is very interesting for a number of reasons, apart from just emphasising the military culture of the Cabal. Surprisingly, it confirms contact with not only the Cabal Empire but the Emperor himself. In fact, Valus Tlu’urn seems even surprised about the contact, he says, “You mean -?” and the Primus responds with “from the Emperor himself.”
This gives me the impression that not all Cabal are aware of the Emperor’s continued existence and that even high level Cabal who has a status of Valus do not communicate directly with the Emperor. This once again reflects the military nature of the Cabal and the restriction of information between military ranks.
It actually appears that this restriction of information combined with a long absence of the Empire has had a negative effect on Cabal loyalty, some like Valus Tlu’urn have suggested mutiny disobeying their ancient marching orders. This is reinforced in the Ghost Fragment: Cabal grimoire card. It reads,
“There is a vast Empire behind these creatures, many star systems away. Some pledge allegiance to that far Empire, obeying their ancient marching orders. Some do not. They disagree among themselves about the answers.”
The Cabal are definitely in a weakened position post The Taken King events, considering both known Primus’s have been killed. Primus Ta’aun, the Primus for the Skyburners was taken by Oryx, and Primus Sha’aull was killed in vanilla Destiny during the Garden’s Spire mission. If you consider that only the highest Cabal rank communicates with the Emperor, i.e. the Primus, you have to wonder how the Cabal are still operating, not to mention that we have obliterated nearly the entire Cabal leadership. In fact, the Cabal Champions grimoire card reinforces that we have done such damage to the Cabal heirachy that the Empire will be forced to respond. The card reads,
“Our assaults on Cabal leadership in-system has had a devastating impact. The Skyburner’s Primus, his bond-brothers, Valus Ta’aurc, Valus Trau’ug, Primus Sha’aull, and a smattering of lesser Vals and Bracuses… all dead or on the run, all thanks to us. In short, I believe your supposition is correct. The Empire will have no choice but to respond.”
If you combine the information from this card, with the in game description from the mission, Outbound Signal, Destiny 2 is primed to see an appearance from the Cabal Empire and the Emperor himself. The Outbound Signal mission ends with,
“Signal’s down. It was encrypted, but some of the headers are legible. This was a detailed distress signal intended for… the head of the Cabal Empire.”
So apart from the Emperor showing up in Destiny 2, please let him be a raid boss, what could the other Cabal related storylines involve. Well, I think Psions, Warminds and the Vex would be integral to a Cabal based release.
As you likely know, Psions are thought to be an unrelated species to the Cabal and it is suggested that that they have been enslaved by the Cabal. This is reinforced by the Taken: Psion grimoire card which reads,
“You are a Psion. Clever, canny specialist. Bolted into the Cabal hierarchy: a pilot, an investigator, a manipulator, an operative. You have been taken. Be still. Your endless vigilance is done. Nothing will enslave you ever again.”
The Psions are extremely powerful, using their minds as weapon, emitting disorienting and deadly psychokinetic Arc Blasts. The Vanguard classify them as a serious threat and Warlocks speculate that the pulled Phobos, the moon of mars, from it’s Orbit. The Psion Flayers card reads,
“The extent of their ability is still uncharted, but Cryptarch studies and Warlock fears have led the Vanguard to classify them as a serious threat. Many among the Warlock orders believe the Flayers pulled Phobos from its natural orbit, holding it in place, waiting for the order to release as a weapon.”
That is why when you are on Mars, you can see Phobos spinning on the spot!
If the Psions are so powerful then how did the Cabal enslave them, well the The Taken: Psion grimoire card hints that the Psions have a hidden plan or agenda. The card reads,
“What hidden plan do you obey? What is your secret principle? Your mind is a weapon. The world breaks when you think. Secrets peel apart for you — like fruit. But you are a rare thing. There are so few of you. Your frailty betrays you.”
The Psions are also ordered to gain access to the Warmind of Mars in the strike mission the Dust Palace. The strike mission description reads,
“A new Cabal force has unleashed powerful Psion Flayers to seize control of the old Martian Warmind. Face this new threat and secure what reminds of the ancient network.”
The strike mission is actually a direct continuation of the Ghost Fragment: Rasputin 2 grimoire card where a Hunter witnesses an orbital weapon of the warminds released upon the Cabal, it reads,
“Then dawn light, a terrible dawn—the sky opens up to admit devastation, thrown down from orbit: Minotaurs fall burnt and broken with their fluids boiling out. Cabal guns detonate in thunderous chains as tiny piercing flechettes fall out of the sky and find their ammunition bunkers.”
The battle stops. The Vex wink out. On the Cabal network the voice of Valus Ta’aurc roars: Find the source! Rouse the Flayers and find the source!”
I assume that the Warmind that the Psions, seek out is Charlemagne, even though Charlemagne existence is mostly seen in prelease content, the Warminds presence is confirmed by the Sleeper simulant quest line. Even though the Psions tried to access Charlemagne, Rasputin was the one protecting Charlemagne and I assume the one who activated the Orbital strike, as Rasputin took control over all assets during the collapse.
So in regards to Destiny 2, I think there is great opportunity to expand on Charlemagne and whether the Psion Flayers were able to extract any information about the Warminds prior to us stopping them upon the top of the Dust Palace. Regardless, the Psions in my opinion are the most interesting Lore aspect of the Cabal, not only because they use Arc abilities, i.e. do they manipulate the light somehow, but their link to the warminds and potential secret plan.
Lastly, let’s speak about the Vex. Old rumours about Destiny 2, when Destiny 2 was meant to release in 2016, speculated that Osiris would be the main quest giver. If this turns out to be true, this would indicate greater expansion on the Vex and I do think there are some nice ways that the Cabal and Vex can be linked from a lore point of view.
The Cabal in general have an interest in the Vex, whether this is because they are trying to gain new technologies to further their military or maybe, simply they shared a common enemy in Oryx and the Cabal were looking for tactical intelligence.
The Cabal seem to trying to acquire Vex technology, this is supported by the Blind Legion grimoire card, the Garden Spire grimoire card, the Ghost Fragment: Cabal 4 grimoire card and the Primus Sha’aull grimoire card. A summary of these cards reveals that Primus Sha’aull is in command of the Blind Legion, who are in constant war with the Vex on Mars, they seize a Vex gate artefact, specifically the Garden Spire, which Guardians end up claiming for themselves by breaching the Blind Legion perimeter and charging the Gate Lord’s eye with the spire, which we then use to enter the Black Garden.
The fact that the Cabal were in possession of a very powerful Vex artefact would lead to some nice Destiny 2 storyline possibilities involving the Cabal and the Vex. Mars is not the only place that the Cabal encountered the Vex, in fact Cabal have also been detected on Mercury. This is told to us in the Crucible map grimoire card, Vertigo which reads,
“When the Vanguard launched its first waves of exploratory ships to Mercury, it found that the Cabal fascination with the Vex isn’t contained to the warfronts of Mars. The Guardians discovered a small fleet of Cabal dropships hanging in place alongside a collection of unique structures. Their propulsion systems were slaved in sequence to keep the ships there indefinitely. The fate of the Cabal is as mysterious as Vertigo itself— the Guardians detected no catastrophic malfunction, no disease, and no bodies aboard any of the fully-supplied ships”
I think that Destiny 2 could quite easily offer a storyline explaining the Cabal expedition to Mercury and whether the Cabal acquired any new Vex technology. Lots of questions still remain, what are the Psions planning, have the Cabal secured Warmind technology, have the Cabal secured Vex technology… however there is one thing we can be certain about, the Cabal Emperor is coming.
That concludes this latest Destiny Lore episode, if you would like to support the channel and cannot think of a comment, leave the phrase “The Empire Strikes Back”, to represent the possibility of the returning Cabal Empire in Destiny 2. As usual, it has been a pleasure, this is myelin games. Peace